September 7, 2013

War dogs...

Good sense from Bookworm Room, As a Jew, why am I not more exercised about the use of poison gas in Syria?:

...What’s happening in Syria is a civil war.  In the hierarchy of wars, civil wars are always the most bloody and least humane, in much the same way that, in the area of law, the most vicious cases are divorces.  Your opponent is close enough for you to hate wholeheartedly.

In Syria, we are witnessing a fight between two closely-related, rabid dogs.  These war dogs can be put down entirely or they can be ignored.  They cannot be trifled with in an inconsequential way, or they will turn the full fury of their wrath on the trifler, even as they escalate actions against each other.  If America goes in, she must go in to destroy one side or the other.  Doing less than that is futile and tremendously dangerous, especially because these are Arabs....
Posted by John Weidner at 7:21 AM | Comments (9)

May 9, 2013

Just give the terrorists what they want...

Charlene found this post, and it's dead-on. What Boston did was the best way to encourage more little Islamic loons to make bombs. My area of concern is that declaring safety to be our highest good is nihilism. (Other posts on this here.) It is saying that ones self is the most important thing in the cosmos, and no higher values exist. Honor, defending others, defending your city or country, defying evil... these DO NOT EXIST. Boston broadcast the message that only your self is important.

This is also a good indicator that what used to be called "Liberalism" no longer exists. Most liberals today just wear their fake-liberalism as a disguise. It is no longer a cause that is bigger than the self.

Boston's troubling message:

...In the wake of the bombing, Boston and its surrounding communities went into a defensive crouch, as nearly one million people "sheltered in place."  Boylston Street, the heart of the business district, became a ghost town and remained so for nine days.  At the height of the crisis, there was no public transit, no taxi service, no Amtrak service.  The public schools and dozens of colleges shut down.  City employees were told not to report to work.  Courthouses closed, and jurors were sent home, as the justice system ground to a halt.  The Boston Red Sox and the Boston Bruins postponed their games.

Now this is one way to deal with terrorism, and it carries with it certain advantages.  It enhances public safety.  No one knew whether other explosive devices remained in Boston's public areas.  Citizens locked inside their homes are less exposed to danger.  And streets bare of vehicular traffic make it much easier for law enforcement to track and pursue terrorists.

But other cities have dealt with other crises differently.  On the morning of July 7, 2005, 52 civilians were killed and over 700 injured as terrorists detonated three bombs in the London Underground, and a fourth on a double-decker bus.  By 4 pm that same day, bus service had resumed.  Subway service, except in the damaged stations, resumed the next morning.

Israel has withstood scores of suicide bombings, and tens of thousands of rocket and mortar attacks on its civilian centers.  It has developed a strict protocol for handling crime scenes.  Victims are evacuated, body parts respectfully removed.  Then clean-up crews arrive to remove the wreckage and repair the walls and the glass.  Within hours the affected facility - a bus station, a restaurant, a market - is reopened and back in business.

A quick return to business as usual is not callousness.  Israeli cities are dotted with plaques bearing the names of the victims of terrorism.  They are not forgotten.

But Israelis, Londoners, and others realize that the goal of terrorism is to inculcate a sense of vulnerability and helplessness.  Therefore, one of the most effective anti-terrorist tactics is the prompt return to normality....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:16 AM

April 20, 2013

Chechens... What could possibly go wrong?

Howie Carr is scathing on these Muslim scum terrorists, and their America enablers. USA needs refuge from refugees. I concur. BUT, he doesn't understand how strange and evil the situation is. This mess is not just the result of fatuousness and foolishness.

The key to understanding is to recognize that for a large part of our population all meaning and belief has drained away. People have become simply nihilists. That is, they believe in nothing bigger than themselves. They typically don the disguises of liberalism or pacifism. But they are nothing like the leftists of the past, for whom the cause was often bigger than the self. Their pacifism or Quakerism is a fraud.

And what the nihilist of today hates is belief. Including anything that symbolizes belief. (None of this is conscious, by the way. They will deny the whole thing with perfect sincerity.) The things this leads them to hate are many, including America, Jews and Israel, Western Civilization and Christianity. All of these symbols of belief irritate and infuriate them, because they all demand our allegiance. They are bigger than the self. And if that's the case, then one obvious remedy is to encourage Muslim immigrants. That will tend to undermine all four!

No sane person would advocate allowing immigration from Chechnya. Chechen terrorists even frighten the other Muslim terrorists. They are beyond crazy--Google Beslan if you don't believe me. But to today's empty people none of that is real. Their world has shrunk to the circle of their own (unconscious) pain. They are like you would be if you were in agony in the ICU. A wrinkle in your sheet might be a misery you would do anything to ease. News of a million people dying in an earthquake would be meaningless. (More posts on this here.)

Here's some of Carr's piece...

So once again, no good deed goes unpunished.

Uncle Sam lets another bunch of leeching future terrorists into the country who have absolutely no business being here, gives them “asylum,” making them immediately eligible for welfare, and this is the thanks we get?

They turn into mass murderers.

We bring in thousands of Muslims from a primitive society that has been battling Christians for centuries, and put them into a peaceful Christian society — what could possible go wrong?

This is what I was thinking about yesterday, with much of the city under what amounted to martial law. Once more, law-abiding American citizens were paying the price for the insane immigration policies that have so damaged this society in recent years.

You can see the decay everywhere — in the emergency rooms, in the courts, in the welfare offices and, yes, in the epidemic of senseless murders. The only difference this time was one of the bloodthirsty fiends was actually a naturalized U.S. citizen.

And then these “refugees” started killing the generous Americans who supported them for years in their indolence. The young Tsarnaev even got a $2,500 scholarship from the City of Cambridge — which is why I never, ever gave a dime to the Cambridge scholarship fund when I lived there.

I know you’re not supposed to paint with a broad brush, unless you’re a liberal, in which case you are not only permitted, but expected to make Adam Lanza the poster boy for 100 million law-abiding legal gun owners.

But please, before the Kool-Aid drinkers in the Senate try to get amnesty for at least 12 million un­documented Democrats, can somebody please consider how many more of these Dzhokhar Tsarnaevs we really need?

A better question: How many of these jihadist “refugees” can we as a society survive?...

UPDATE: I should add that the Chechens have a reason for being even more evil and crazy than the usual Islamic terrorists. As part of their noble project of building a better world, free of the evils of competition and freedom, the Progressive regime of Joseph Stalin shipped most of the Chechens to labor camps in Siberia. When the survivors returned home (presumably purged of the false ideas of capitalism and individualism) they found their land and homes occupied by Russians. They have been quite testy ever since. Which seems perhaps very selfish of them, since the Progressives were only trying to make them better people. As they are doing here.)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:24 PM | Comments (0)

November 14, 2011

Quelques chose...

Here are just a few things I've been meaning to blog...

So, will Lefties apologize to George W Bush?

Military Commission for Terrorist Mastermind Begins — The Weekly Standard:

...The trial by military commission of top al Qaeda operative Abd al Rahim al Nashiri is set to commence today at Guantanamo. Nashiri's time in U.S. detention has been controversial because he was one of only three senior terrorists waterboarded by the CIA. Nashiri was subjected to other so-called enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs) as well....

Charlene recommended...

The Shadow Superpower - By Robert Neuwirth — Foreign Policy:

... Like almost all the transactions between Nigerian traders and Chinese manufacturers, it was also sub rosa: under the radar, outside of the view or control of government, part of the unheralded alternative economic universe of System D.

You probably have never heard of System D. Neither had I until I started visiting street markets and unlicensed bazaars around the globe.

System D is a slang phrase pirated from French-speaking Africa and the Caribbean. The French have a word that they often use to describe particularly effective and motivated people. They call them débrouillards. To say a man is a débrouillard is to tell people how resourceful and ingenious he is. The former French colonies have sculpted this word to their own social and economic reality. They say that inventive, self-starting, entrepreneurial merchants who are doing business on their own, without registering or being regulated by the bureaucracy and, for the most part, without paying taxes, are part of "l'economie de la débrouillardise." Or, sweetened for street use, "Systeme D."...

... In 2009, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a think tank sponsored by the governments of 30 of the most powerful capitalist countries and dedicated to promoting free-market institutions, concluded that half the workers of the world -- close to 1.8 billion people -- were working in System D: off the books, in jobs that were neither registered nor regulated, getting paid in cash, and, most often, avoiding income taxes.

No big surprise here....

Smoking-Gun Document Ties Policy To Housing Crisis:

...But what if government encouraged, even invented, those "abusive practices"?

Rewind to 1994. That year, the federal government declared war on an enemy -- the racist lender -- who officials claimed was to blame for differences in homeownership rate, and launched what would prove the costliest social crusade in U.S. history.

At President Clinton's direction, no fewer than 10 federal agencies issued a chilling ultimatum to banks and mortgage lenders to ease credit for lower-income minorities or face investigations for lending discrimination and suffer the related adverse publicity. They also were threatened with denial of access to the all-important secondary mortgage market and stiff fines, along with other penalties....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:46 AM

October 18, 2011

I'm with Obama on this one...

Jonah Goldberg: Obama's right on Uganda fight :

...One other thing: The White House announced we're putting boots on the ground in sub-Saharan Africa.

President Obama notified Congress that he's sending about 100 combat-equipped troops to advise African forces on how best to kill or capture (but hopefully kill) one of the truly hideous villains breathing today, Joseph Kony, and destroy his militia cult, the Lord's Resistance Army.

And Obama is absolutely right to do it.

The news was so sudden, unexpected and just plain odd that the reaction from both left and right has been hurried and confused. Many claims are simply wrong. For instance, the LRA is not a "Christian" militia. The LRA routinely burns down churches and slaughters the congregants, but usually not before raping and mutilating them.

Kony is a classic example of the charismatic terrorist cult leader. He blends indigenous witchcraft with bits of Christianity and Islam (soldiers pray the rosary and bow to Mecca) to brainwash his uneducated, terrified flock of hostages and child soldiers, many of whom were forced to murder their own parents....

Hopefully we won't be fooling around with taking prisoners.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:30 PM

September 21, 2011

Why bother?

Evelyn Gordon, What Incentive Does Netanyahu Have to Make More Concessions?-- Commentary Magazine:

Yesterday, I asked why Israel should keep signing agreements with the Palestinians if the world won't enforce previous ones? This question has an important corollary: Why should Israel keep making concessions if it gets no credit for previous ones?

A recent New York Times editorial demonstrates the problem in microcosm. While various parties share blame for the Israeli-Palestinian impasse, it opined, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "has been the most intractable, building settlements and blaming his inability to be more forthcoming on his conservative coalition."

In reality, Netanyahu is the only prime minister in Israel's history to impose a 10-month moratorium on settlement construction, a move even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared "unprecedented." Indeed, there has been less construction in the West Bank – and East Jerusalem – during his term than under his predecessors. But he gets no credit for this; instead, he's the premier who obstructs peace by "building settlements." So what incentive would he have to make further such gestures?

As for being insufficiently "forthcoming," Netanyahu, like all his predecessors, has repeatedly expressed willingness to cede most of the West Bank; what he's refused to do is cede the entire territory in advance. By contrast, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas hasn't yet agreed to cede anything Israel wants (settlement blocs, the "right of return," recognition as a Jewish state, etc.), but the Times omits him entirely from its list of parties who share the blame. So Netanyahu, who has already ceded most of the West Bank, is "intractable," but Abbas, who has ceded nothing, is blame-free. Given this, what incentive does Netanyahu have to make further concessions?...

"from its list of parties who share the blame." Well, that's easy to explain. The Times does not consider Palestinians to be human beings, so they cannot be expected to be rational or moral actors. They are just trained animals in the nihilist circus, they exist only to express Jew-hatred.

Do you consider this extreme? Well, think about it. Suppose you cared about someone. And they were committing acts of extreme immorality and violence. Would you not strive to persuade them to act differently? For their own good? Would you not be screaming "Stop!"?

Then suppose you did NOT care about this person. You might be blithely indifferent when this someone, say... oh, blows up pizza parlors where families with little children are having parties. That's exactly the NYT and the "liberals" who read it.

If western "liberals" actually cared about the Palestinians, they would have been leaning on them to the advantage of Netanyahu's 10-month freeze on settlement construction, begging them to make some concessions of their own, in search of peace. But the sort of people who are always joining "peace" movements and "anti-war" movements have not the slightest interest in peace in Israel.

Friend of Israel emblem

Posted by John Weidner at 8:00 AM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2011

Lawfare by the good guys...

Meet the Legal Wonks Who Brought Down the Flotilla — Commentary Magazine:

...The "right-wing" law center that caused Benjamin so much grief is Shurat HaDin – the Israeli group that single-handedly took down the "Freedom Flotilla II" simply by filing creative lawsuits. In total, nine out of the 10 boats in the flotilla never touched Israeli waters, largely due to Shurat HaDin's work.

Led by Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and her husband Avi Leitner, the legal center is pioneering a new strategy of Israeli-self defense: Pro-Israel Lawfare.

"There is a way of fighting back, we just have to start thinking like Jews again," Avi Leitner told me during the Leitners' recent visit to D.C. "And remember, the Jews invented lawfare, the Jews invented law. So you don't sit on your hands."

The first step the legal center took against the flotilla was to target private companies that may have been assisting it. "We thought, what do boats need in order to sail?" Darshan-Leitner told me. "And we realized that all boats must have insurance." Shurat HaDin began by contacting the major maritime insurance agencies, and informing them they might be criminally liable for "aiding and abetting" a terrorist organization if they provided insurance.

The response was very positive: some of the companies even said they were aware of the legal consequences, and had already made the decision not to work with the flotilla.

Shortly after, Shurat HaDin was contacted by the Israeli Prime Minister's office, which offered its assistance. "They said we had to do anything, anything possible to stop the flotilla," said Darshan-Leitner. "They asked if there was anything they could do. We said, 'you tell us, what else do ships need?'"

The prime minister's office said the boats would require satellite communication service to access GPS, contact the port, and – most importantly – to facilitate media coverage. Shurat HaDin immediately sent a letter to the major satellite provider for the area, warning it of the legal consequences if it worked with the flotilla.

And here's another plus for Governor Perry...

Next, Shurat HaDin lawyers discovered American flotilla activists were potentially in violation of the Neutrality Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens from taking part in a hostile act against an allied country. "So we approached the Attorney General of the United States to fix it. And we also got Gov. Rick Perry to write a letter to Eric Holder," said Darshan-Leitner.

It may seem a little weird that the governor of Texas would be one of the first people Darshan-Leitner approached to help with the plan. But she explained that Perry was enthusiastically on-board with the cause ever since he met her on a trip to Israel.

"I once spoke at a mission that Perry took part in, in Israel," she said. "And he approached me and said, 'I love what you do. It's amazing what you do. If you ever need help combating Israel's enemies, I'm here to assist.'"...

If you like this kind of thing, here's the web site of Shurat HaDin.

It's important to keep in mind that "pro-Palestinian" is almost invariably a disguise for anti-Semitism. Our western fake-liberals never pay the slightest bit of attention when the Palestinians are abused by Arab countries, as the frequently have been. Nor do they care about other oppressed peoples of the Middle East. Their concern is fraudulent; they are Jew-haters.

And in fact the type of westerners who wear keffiyehs are Jew-killers. (See here for a good piece on the keffiyeh fashion.) That's the main industry of the Palestinians, to be proxy Jew-haters and Jew-killers for the rest of the world. We support them (the US gives 600 million a year) to do what many in the West want done while avoiding the need to be conscious of it.

That may all sound improbable, but I believe that much of what we all do is really decided unconsciously, and that the unconscious parts of us are often more intelligent and purposeful then the conscious. And I strongly suspect that many a ditzy keffiyeh-weasring young trendoid (COUGHMeganMcCainCOUGH) who could not coherently argue for anything is unconsciously symbolically rejecting God, by attacking His Chosen People.

Israel flag. 

Posted by John Weidner at 8:42 AM

June 18, 2011

John Yoo, good sense once again...

Let the Fight over Libya Be Commander-in-Chief vs. the Purse - By John Yoo - The Corner - National Review Online:

I hate it when I agree with the editorial page of the New York Times, even half-way. The Libyan conflict falls within the terms of the War Powers Resolution, and both Democrats and Republicans are flipping the constitutional positions they held under the last administration. At least this time the NYT editorial writers have the diagnosis right. But they would administer the wrong medicine.

The treatment isn't to force everyone to obey an unconstitutional law, the War Powers Resolution, that is both untrue to the Framers' original understanding and unsuited to the exigencies of modern war. The New York Times's solution is the equivalent of using leeches on a patient with the common cold. The right constitutional answer (as I explain in this morning's Wall Street Journal) is to toss the empty symbolism of the Resolution and meaningless lawsuits aside and let them fight it out using their own powers — commander-in-chief versus the purse — in the political process.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:43 PM

April 4, 2011

I love being on the right side (in both senses of the word)

Breaking: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to Be Tried by Military Commission at Guantanamo:

... John Yoo:
It has taken two years for the Obama administration to snap out of its never-never land approach to national security. But by announcing a reversal�on their plans for civilian trials of terrorists including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, they are implicitly confessing that their campaign attacks on the Bush administration were wrong and that decisions like opening Gitmo and military commission trials are the best balance of security needs and protections for liberty.�Military courts will provide a fair trial and allow the United States to protect intelligence secrets, which are the most important weapon in this war. I still believe, however, that the administration has yet to prove that it can run terror trials successfully, and until thy do, the best choice is still to capture more al Qaeda leaders rather than kill them, and to detain them while exploiting the information that they have....
Posted by John Weidner at 11:08 AM

March 4, 2011

One-off's... No pattern to be seen here, folks...

William M. Briggs, Statistician, Reaction To The Latest Attack In Frankfurt:

...The spin from the military and from the Obama government regarding Army Major Nidal Hasan's bloody Allahu Akbarization of Fort Hood said he was a troubled man, influenced only by himself.

The story from Scotland when they let Abdel Basset al-Boom-Boom al-Megrahi free was that the poor man's manhood had shriveled beyond toleration, and that he killed because he was a troubled man, influenced only by himself.

The reason the Obama administration has canceled the planned prosecution of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the man who Allahu Akbared 17 sailors on the USS Cole in October of 2000, was because they were concerned that this troubled man, who was influenced only by himself, would not receive a fair trial from a military tribunal.

From these instances, and others similar to them, we can guess that Mr Obama, a man who never troubled to learn the pronunciation of corpsman, will say that the Kosovoan who Allahu Akbared our airmen in Germany yesterday did so because he was troubled, that he was influenced only by himself.

On no account are we to be influenced by the vast accumulation of evidence and draw the troublesome conclusion that radical Islamists have it in for the USA and her citizens. That would be—dare we say it?—a racist conclusion....
More here...
Posted by John Weidner at 11:34 AM

February 17, 2011

"The problem of radical Islam is the problem of Western weakness."

Once again, pacifism causes wars...

Richard Fernandez :

...Why would anyone believe, even for a moment, that any Western state could "pre-emptively" nuke the Muslim world when it cannot muster the will to secure its borders, balance its budget, get Pakistan to release a diplomat or get Argentina to release a C-17's cargo load of equipment? That would be like thinking that man who can't run 50 yards can run the 100 meter dash in 9.5 seconds.

The path to nukes is far more probably going to take the path of use in desperation. And in fact a country which secured its borders, drilled for its own oil, got Pakistan to release diplomats, and did the normal things would be the only kind of country which might use nukes pre-emptively because it conceive of such a strategy. Yet ironically it would be the kind of country that wouldn't have to attack pre-emptively. The idea of country going straight from supine behavior to nuking pre-emptively is a fantasy built on the awareness of weakness. Solve the weakness and then your enemies will consider you capable of pre-emption. But guess what: solve the weakness and you won't have to pre-empt. They will back away.

This is all elementary game theory; and tried, true and hoary deterrence theory. Be strong and you won't need to use nukes. Be weak and you'll use them for sure.

The problem of radical Islam is the problem of Western weakness. That is the problem to which the policy nuking Muslims is an impertinent answer. Who's going to do it? Obama? And yet if Obama lost the next election in favor of someone who might actually resist, then the probability of having to pre-empt declines dramatically.

The logical problem is that any strategy which requires pre-emptively nuking the Islamic world implies a President who is too weak to do it anyway. But that doesn't mean it might not happen. As I've argued ad nauseam, the biggest danger to nuclear use, in both the Israeli and general Western case, is via the act in desperation.

As long as Israel's strategic position is strong, it will not unleash the nukes. But only in its dying gasp will that be certain. So what do the geniuses at State do? Bring Israel to the point of strategic death.

For the same reasons, the weaker Obama makes America the more its enemies are emboldened. Yet this does not bring pre-emption closer. That becomes more and more unthinkable until the last push, when desperation takes hold. Then the probabilities go from near zero to near 1.

The Pakistanis and even the rapists in Tahrir Square are testing, testing. And they are finding no resistance. Therefore they will push and sooner or later, they will push too far. Why not since no stop signal will be received from the Smartest Man in the World....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:37 PM

February 16, 2011

Obaman's got it right...

Obama assertion: FBI can get phone records without oversight — McClatchy:

...WASHINGTON — The Obama administration's Justice Department has asserted that the FBI can obtain telephone records of international calls made from the U.S. without any formal legal process or court oversight, according to a document obtained by McClatchy....
The Obama Administration is dead right. I told you this was the case back in 2006...
...And for as long as electronic communications have existed, the United States has conducted surveillance of those communications during wartime�all without judicial warrant. In the Civil War, for example, telegraph wiretapping was common, and provided important intelligence for both sides. In World War I, President Wilson ordered the interception of all cable communications between the United States and Europe; he inferred the authority to do so from the Constitution and from a general congressional authorization to use military force that did not mention anything about such surveillance. So too in World War II; the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt authorized the interception of all communications traffic into and out of the United States....
-- Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez

All the stuff about our right to be free of unwarranted search and seizure are concerned with criminal law. Honest Abe had Lafayette Baker's thugs out tapping telegraph lines all the time. With no crap about search warrants. But if they overheard that you had robbed a bank, you were safe—that admission could not be introduced as evidence against you. Your civil rights were safe. On the other hand, if they discovered that you were a Confederate spy, you were headed to Old Capitol Prison with a gunny sack over your head. And Gawd help you, you were going to... talk. Sorry, that's the way it was. We freed the slaves and preserved the Union, but the brass knucks had to be used to do it.

And that was right. why? Because this is in a different category. the category is not law, but WAR! when the rule of law and diplomacy and fair dealing breaks down, then you are in the category called war. And it is a category error to apply the rules of peace. to paraphrase Talleyrand, "It was worse than a crime. It was a category error!"

Kit Carson, Lafayette Baker (seated)
Posted by John Weidner at 9:39 PM

January 31, 2011

Diplomacy is not the opposite of force. It is the alternative to force.

Commenter Bisaal directed my attention to this piece by David Warren, Watching Egypt, which argues that the Islamists are likely to take over in Egypt, after the small liberal bourgeois fraction of the population takes down the Maburak regime. My comment included this point, which has long bugged me.

Well, that's the bad possibility. I have no argument with Warren, it may turn out that way.

It may be inevitable.

But if it is not inevitable, if the issue now hangs in the balance, then the simple fact to consider is that we had a lot of clout in the region in 2005, and we have almost none now.

We had a lot of power and influence for exactly the reason that I blogged about over and over. Diplomacy is the alternative to force. If it doesn't look like you are willing to use force then diplomacy won't achieve much.

We had a lot of influence then because people thought Bush was a crazy cowboy who would go to war any moment. Once it became clear that he was politically too weak to fight any new wars, then his freedom agenda was dead. Diplomacy was dead.

Bush should have had the support of all the free people of the world. Warm-hearted support!

That's one of the several reasons I would argue that pacifism causes wars.

Imagine that you lead a union, and the big contract is coming up for re-negotiation. And you don't want to go on strike. That is, you don't want war. What do you do?

Do you announce that you have no stomach for a fight? Of course not! What you do is let it be known that your boys are spoiling for a fight, and might just start a war strike out sheer cussedness and orneriness.

Am I right? And it would also help if you'd fought a bloody war strike not long in the past, right?

There was a time, a small window of time, when Condi would frown and tyrants would tremble in their boots. And remember how Lybia voluntarily gave up its WMD programs! That was an exciting hopeful moment, but it was soon destroyed. Destroyed by "liberals," who hated Bush because he was a real liberal, and exposed them for the frauds they are...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:46 PM

January 19, 2011

Vindication of me, too...

It's such a pleasure to watch our fake-liberals squirm now that they are running the war.. Actually, Greenwald is more honest than most, who just drop stuff down the memory hole...

The vindication of Dick Cheney - Glenn Greenwald:

...Aside from the repressiveness of the policies themselves, there are three highly significant and enduring harms from Obama's behavior. First, it creates the impression that Republicans were right all along in the Bush-era War on Terror debates and Democratic critics were wrong...

Were WERE right, and you nihilists WERE wrong.

And I predicted what would happen. I several times wrote that Bush had set the template of the War on Terror, just as Truman did for the Cold War.

...Second, Obama has single-handedly eliminated virtually all mainstream debate over these War on Terror policies. At least during the Bush years, we had one party which steadfastly supported them but one party which claimed (albeit not very persuasively) to vehemently oppose them. At least there was a pretense of vigorous debate over their legality, morality, efficacy, and compatibility with our national values.

Those debates are no more. Even the hardest-core right-wing polemicists -- Gen. Hayden, the Heritage Foundation, Dick Cheney -- now praise Obama's actions in these areas. Opposition from national Democrats has faded away to almost complete nonexistence now that it's a Democratic President doing these things. ..

Because you are FRAUDS! You were dishonest all along.

...Third, Obama's embrace of these policies has completely rehabilitated the reputations and standing of the Bush officials responsible for them...

Ha ha.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:27 AM

December 11, 2010

Reminder of how wars really start...

You probably already know this, but it's good to be reminded. Quakers are working tirelessly to foment war and bloodshed, and we who love peace have to be vigilant, and push back.

Bin Laden's Lonely Crusade — Politics — Vanity Fair:

... Abu al-Walid al-Masri, an Egyptian who was an early bin Laden associate, explained that, in the years before 9/11, bin Laden had come increasingly to the view that America was weak: "As evidence he referred to what happened to the United States in Beirut when the bombing of the Marines headquarters led them to flee from Lebanon." Bin Laden also cited the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Somalia, following the "Black Hawk Down" incident, and the pullout from Vietnam in the 1970s.

When I traveled with Peter Arnett to meet with bin Laden in Afghanistan, in 1997, he stated as if it were a self-evident fact that "the U.S. still thinks and brags that it still has this kind of power even after all these successive defeats." Bin Laden had come to the delusional conclusion that the United States was as weak as the Soviet Union had once been....
Posted by John Weidner at 4:50 PM

November 29, 2010

Hawks and conservatives were right. As usual.

The Wikileaks affair is too crazy for me. I'm afraid I'm too much of a sober-sides to savor it. On the one hand, it's the obvious time for assassinations to occur, and after hearing all my life about how the horrid CIA was a hotbed of assassins, I'm feeling a bit let down.

On the other hand, al lot of the info that's been revealed merely confirms that us knuckle-dragging conservatives have been right ll along about various things...

Jennifer Rubin:

I would strongly concur with J.E. Dyer's observation concerning the leaked cables:
Its true value lies in confirming what hawks and conservatives have been saying about global security issues. China's role in missile transfers from North Korea to Iran; Syria's determined arming of Hezbollah; Iran's use of Red Crescent vehicles to deliver weapons to terrorists; Obama's strong-arming of foreign governments to accept prisoners from Guantanamo — these are things many news organizations are reporting prominently only because they have been made known through a WikiLeaks dump. In the end, WikiLeaks's most enduring consequences may be the unintended ones.
You can add to the list of the hawks' confirmed truths: the enthusiastic support of the Arab states for a more vigorous U.S. response to Iran, the mullahs' possession of more advanced technology than previously acknowledged, and the recognition by Secretary of Defense Bob Gates that "reset" has been a disaster for democracy in Russia....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:25 PM

November 27, 2010

Don't bother reading SF...

Charlene recommends...

Mystery Surrounds Cyber Missile That Crippled Iran's Nuclear Weapons Ambitions:

...The target was seemingly impenetrable; for security reasons, it lay several stories underground and was not connected to the World Wide Web. And that meant Stuxnet had to act as sort of a computer cruise missile: As it made its passage through a set of unconnected computers, it had to grow and adapt to security measures and other changes until it reached one that could bring it into the nuclear facility.

When it ultimately found its target, it would have to secretly manipulate it until it was so compromised it ceased normal functions.

And finally, after the job was done, the worm would have to destroy itself without leaving a trace.

That is what we are learning happened at Iran's nuclear facilities -- both at Natanz, which houses the centrifuge arrays used for processing uranium into nuclear fuel, and, to a lesser extent, at Bushehr, Iran's nuclear power plant.

At Natanz, for almost 17 months, Stuxnet quietly worked its way into the system and targeted a specific component -- the frequency converters made by the German equipment manufacturer Siemans that regulated the speed of the spinning centrifuges used to create nuclear fuel. The worm then took control of the speed at which the centrifuges spun, making them turn so fast in a quick burst that they would be damaged but not destroyed. And at the same time, the worm masked that change in speed from being discovered at the centrifuges' control panel.

At Bushehr, meanwhile, a second secret set of codes, which Langner called "digital warheads," targeted the Russian-built power plant's massive steam turbine....
Posted by John Weidner at 7:07 AM

October 3, 2010

"Israel is the laboratory - the test market."

An excerpt from a sermon delivered on the first day of Rosh Hashanah by Rabbi Shalom Lewis of Atlanta, Ehr Kumt. Read, as the saying goes, the whole thing. (Thanks to Bookworm)

...Let us understand that the radical Islamist assaults all over the globe are but skirmishes, fire fights, and vicious decoys. Christ and the anti-Christ. Gog U'Magog. The Sons of Light and the Sons of Darkness; the bloody collision between civilization and depravity is on the border between Lebanon and Israel. It is on the Gaza Coast and in the Judean Hills of the West Bank. It is on the sandy beaches of Tel Aviv and on the cobblestoned mall of Ben Yehuda Street. It is in the underground schools of Sderot and on the bullet-proofed inner-city buses. It is in every school yard, hospital, nursery, classroom, park, theater - in every place of innocence and purity.

Israel is the laboratory - the test market. Every death, every explosion, every grisly encounter is not a random, bloody orgy. It is a calculated, strategic probe into the heart, guts and soul of the West.

In the Six Day War, Israel was the proxy of Western values and strategy while the Arab alliance was the proxy of Eastern, Soviet values and strategy. Today too, it is a confrontation of proxies, but the stakes are greater than East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Israel in her struggle represents the civilized world, while Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Queda, Iran, Islamic Jihad, represent the world of psychopathic, loathsome evil.

As Israel, imperfect as she is, resists the onslaught, many in the Western World have lost their way displaying not admiration, not sympathy, not understanding, for Israel's galling plight, but downright hostility and contempt. Without moral clarity, we are doomed because Israel's galling plight ultimately will be ours. Hanna Arendt in her classic Origins of Totalitarianism accurately portrays the first target of tyranny as the Jew. We are the trial balloon. The canary in the coal mine. If the Jew/Israel is permitted to bleed with nary a protest from "good guys" then tyranny snickers and pushes forward with its agenda.

Moral confusion is a deadly weakness and it has reached epic proportions in the West; from the Oval Office to the UN, from the BBC to Reuters to MSNBC, from the New York Times to Le Monde, from university campuses to British teachers unions, from the International Red Cross to Amnesty International, from Goldstone to Elvis Costello, from the Presbyterian Church to the Archbishop of Canterbury....

Of course if you are a regular RJ reader you already know why all this is happening...

IDF paratroopers in training
Israel Defense Forces paratroopers in training. From Israel Insider.


Posted by John Weidner at 5:05 PM

August 6, 2010

We need grownups!

That was Charlene's response when I mentioned this gem...

Why Are We In Afghanistan If Our Government Won't Even Designate the Taliban a Terrorist Organization? - The Corner - National Review Online:

...To be an enemy combatant, an operative must be affiliated with the enemy we are fighting in a war. Yet, though we have been at this for nearly nine years now, though Americans have been told we need to continue the fight in Afghanistan because the Taliban must be defeated, though the Pakistani Taliban is closely linked to the Afghan Taliban, and though the Pakistani Taliban is plainly plotting to attack our homeland, Congress has never amended the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) enacted after 9/11. The AUMF does not expressly name either Taliban organization, much less both of them, as enemies. Nor does it name other jihadist organizations targeting our forces, such as the Haqqani Network and Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin (the faction of Gilbuddin Hekmatyar, whom I discussed in Tuesday’s column).

It gets worse. Yesterday, after three months of delay, the State Department finally issued its congressionally mandated annual terrorism report. It shows that the United States has not even designated the Taliban as a terrorist organization — not in Afghanistan, not in Pakistan. Similarly, the government has also failed to designate both the Haqqani Network and HIG. (Hekmatyar himself, in his individual capacity, has been designated as a "global terrorist" since 2003.)...

Like so many things recently, one can hardly even blog about this, because it's just meaningless and bizarre. I can't criticize the administration's plan, because there is no apparent plan. If you read on in the piece, it quotes the State Department's reporting on Afghanistan, with lots of hideous terrorism by both the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban...

* Update: Actually, I'm perfectly capable of explicating this. It is completely consistent with my oft-repeated theory that most Left-leaning people (which would include most of the State Department and the Obama administration) are really not liberals, but nihilists. This is just a clue to their (mostly unconscious) inner drama. To the nihilist, America and Israel are the true enemies, because they symbolize belief. Especially, belief made concrete in decisions to wage war, and take life. (This is the same symbolic reason that most leftists favor gun control.)

Belief or faith are irritations and affronts to them—reminders of their frightening inner emptiness. If my thinking is true, then it must grate maddeningly on State Department leftists to declare the Taliban to be terrorists, since this justifies... war by the United States!

Posted by John Weidner at 6:04 AM

July 27, 2010

Unreal deaths...

CBS's Lara Logan, responding to Katie Couric,..

...Well, the issue of civilian casualties is a major one and the U.S. has taken a lot of criticism because of this. However, what's interesting to note that is according to the documents, 195 Afghan civilians have been killed. But also according to the documents, two thousand Afghan civilians have been killed by the Taliban, which is more than ten times the number said to be killed by U.S. and NATO forces. And very little is being made of that. The coverage would indicate that it's more of an issue for the U.S. to kill Afghan civilians than it is for the Taliban to do so....

This just puts a finger on what I keep saying, that to most leftists, the world is not real, except for the US and Israel. Even if the Taliban slaughter millions, it won't be of any concern to them. The only real thing is their interior psycho-drama, as they desperately strive to cobble up excuses to avoid their duty to God and country, and avoid confronting the interior vacuum.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:54 AM

July 13, 2010

We must try harder not to pre-judge...

Charlene found this comment at Bookworm Room...

Charles Martel:
It's a sad state of affairs when we automatically suspect jihad whenever somebody with a Muslim-sounding name runs into a group of pedestrians, or accidentally sprays bullets in a mess hall, or detonates himself at an airport.
Posted by John Weidner at 6:04 PM

June 5, 2010

Not a "tragedy"

Statement By Liz Cheney On President Obama's Response To The Flotilla Incident:

...Yesterday, President Obama said the Israeli action to stop the flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip was "tragic." What is truly tragic is that President Obama is perpetuating Israel's enemies' version of events. The Israeli government has imposed a blockade around Gaza because Hamas remains committed to Israel's destruction, refusing to recognize Israel's right to exist and using territory under their control to launch attacks against Israeli civilians. The Israeli blockade of Gaza, in order to prevent the re-arming of Hamas, is in full compliance with international law.

Had the Turkish flotilla truly been interested in providing humanitarian aid to Gaza, they would have accepted the Israeli offer to off-load their supplies peacefully at the Israeli port of Haifa for transport into Gaza. President Obama is contributing to the isolation of Israel, and sending a clear signal to the Turkish-Syrian-Iranian axis that their methods for ostracizing Israel will succeed, and will be met by no resistance from America. There is no middle ground here. Either the United States stands with the people of Israel in the war against radical Islamic terrorism or we are providing encouragement to Israel's enemies—and our own. Keep America Safe calls on President Obama to reverse his present course and support the state of Israel immediately and unequivocally...

Thank you Liz.

And I'm sure I don't have to remind you of another event that Leftists keep labeling a "tragedy." Instead of an act of war.

WTC falling

Posted by John Weidner at 7:54 AM

April 29, 2010

I was right about this one...

Bin Laden had 'no clue' about Sept. 11 retaliation:

... WASHINGTON - Osama bin Laden had no idea the U.S. would hit al-Qaida as hard as it has since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, a former bin Laden associate tells WTOP in an exclusive interview.

"I'm 100 percent sure they had no clue about what was going to happen," says Noman Benotman, who was head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group in the summer of 2000.

"What happened after the 11th of September was beyond their imagination, " says Benotman, who adds that al-Qaida thought the U.S. was a "paper tiger....

I don't have time to find my old posts, but I've written before that al-Qaeda expect one of two reactions to 9/11. Either that America would lash out wildly, or that we would flinch. Either one would have suited bin Laden's purposes.

What they did NOT expect was that we would cooly and methodically take apart two terror-supporting Islamic nations, and try to bring them freedom and democracy. That was a nightmare for them.

President Bush is the only world leader who has really been effective in fighting Islamic terrorism. Because he did what they didn't expect. It may have been unconscious on his part, but it was generalship of a high order.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:24 AM

April 22, 2010

Who Needs Apartheid?

Mark Steyn:

This is a question that should be asked more often:
Moshe Ya'alon, a former Israel Defense Forces general who now serves as Benjamin Netanyahu's strategic affairs minister, posed the following query in an interview published in the Jerusalem Post: "If we are talking about coexistence and peace, why the [Palestinian] insistence that the territory they receive be ethnically cleansed of Jews? Why do those areas have to be Judenrein? Don't Arabs live here, in the Negev and the Galilee? Why isn't that part of our public discussion? Why doesn't that scream to the heavens?"
As Jonathan Tobin points out, the official goal of the Middle East "peace process" is a "two-state solution", in one of which Muslims live alongside Jews and have voting rights and representation in the legislature, while in the other there are no Jews at all and, as in "moderate" Jordan, to sell your house to a Jew is a crime punishable by death. There goes the neighborhood, right? When the western campus left holds its annual "Israeli Apartheid Week", presumably it's in philosophical support of the notion that you don't need to run an "apartheid" system if you just get rid of everyone who's not like you....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:49 PM

April 15, 2010

War is like that...

Chuck Colson is a man I generally admire, but I think he is off-base in this piece, Guts and Principles.

* Update: The real problem with this is that this piece itself, and the thinking behind it, rewards al-Awlaki for committing war crimes. It is a crime to wage war from among civilians, and from within a country that is not itself at war. It is a war crime to act in a way that makes assassinations necessary. Colson is suggesting that we should modify our behavior because of these crimes. al-Awlaki is in fact committing crimes precisely because he can rely on us to reward them.

* Update: Our reader in India comments: "That he is a US citizen is irrelevant to Just War considerations. That he is called an American is beyond crazy. And that pundits are mixing up Geneva Convention and Just War theory is tells of the hopeless corner that US has positioned itself."

Colson:

The Obama administration has targeted Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric, for assassination. Al-Awlaki has been linked to both the "underpants bomber" and the shootings at Fort Hood.

There's no doubt that Americans would be safer in a world without al-Awlaki, but that's not the only question we should be asking ourselves.

Al-Awlaki was placed on the "kill or capture" list after the White House concluded that he had gone beyond inciting attacks to actually participating in them.

Since al-Awlaki is currently in Yemen, the "kill" option is the most likely. And the most likely way of killing him is using a Predator drone, the kind used in Pakistan and Afghanistan against Al Qaeda and Taliban targets.

As one official told the New York Times, "None of this should surprise anyone."

Well, my gut reaction is to applaud this resolution—kill the bad guys. But my gut instincts, like everyone else's, are fallen. That's why we need to ask what principles are involved in this kind of assassination.

For starters, al-Awlaki is an American citizen. We're talking about executing an American citizen on the basis of evidence that has never been presented in open court, or any court for that matter. [This is totally irrelevant! al-Awlaki has taken up arms against this country. Killing him is as proper as killing some American who was fighting for the Germans in WWII.]

Killing him would be satisfying, and it may make us safer, but it also sets a troubling precedent about the due process every citizen is guaranteed. There's nothing in the reasoning being employed here that limits extra-judicial executions to people outside the United States—the next time those suspected of participating in alleged terrorist activities might be in Michigan or Idaho. [It's in fact rather unlikely that that would happen. But in 4th Generation Warfare, the battlefield can be anywhere. It's not our fault; our enemies have decided that. So if the battlefield is in Michigan, we may have to kill al-Qaeda there. And the world of combat is DIFFERENT from the world of crime prevention. Often you must hit targets without knowing exactly what's there. War is like that.]
Then there are the just war implications of targeting al-Awlaki. The legal justification for the assassination is the September 12, 2001, congressional authorization of force against al Qaeda. This makes going after him an act of war and, to Christians at least, something that must be judged by just war criteria.

While this case clearly meets the "just cause" requirement, there are other considerations. Historically, the just war tradition has looked askance on assassination. Among other things, it has viewed assassination as treacherous and even cowardly because it doesn't give the target a chance to defend himself. [Colson, you blockhead, we would LOVE to fight al-Qaeda openly and honorably. America would happily pay a trillion dollars for the privilege. But you fight the war that life hands you. And if Just War Doctrine is not some dead letter, it must, like all Church teachings, be adapted to new circumstances. That's what YOU should be helping with; you have the brains and knowledge. Historically there was no NEED for assassination. Now there is.]

It has also been concerned about what today is called the "collateral damage." Drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan have not only killed the bad guys but also their families and neighbors, a violation of non-combatant immunity. [Uh, Chuck, if you would check you would see that it is a WAR CRIME for combatants to mingle with non-combatants, or to fail to wear uniforms and make themselves distinguishable. THEY are violating "non-combatant immunity," not us. You are falling into the Leftist mindset of thinking that only America is capable of doing anything, and everything else is purely passive.]

Then there's the way that assassinations can devolve into a kind of "tit-for-tat" that undermines order. A world where warfare is increasingly irregular is a world without meaningful limits on the way we conduct war. [Colson, warfare has become TOTALLY irregular. There IS no "order" anymore, and that is not in the slightest the responsibility of the US. We didn't do it, we didn't want it. We would LOVE to have "limits on the way we conduct war," as long as the limits were observed by the other side.]

Apart from some voices on the left, coverage of this story seems to assume the legality and rightness of the policy. But I make no such assumption, nor should you.

I don't really know how I come out on this. The "kill or capture" decision may pass muster or it might not. But I do know that the rule of law and the just war tradition are two of Christianity's great contributions to Western civilization. And I know also that, in a fallen world, a ruthless leader might rely on this precedent to kill Americans for the wrong reasons. This is a tough—yes, dubious—call. No matter what our gut tells us. [EVERY wartime slaughter MIGHT be a precedent for killing for the wrong reasons. So what? That's why we have our political decision-making process. A "ruthless leader" doesn't refrain from ruthless action because there is no precedent; there's always something you can claim is a precedent. He refrains because he's worried about losing elections, or losing Congressional support for his war.

War, of necessity, must involve strong—often ruthless—executive power. Wars cannot be fought by legislatures or committees. And frequently the rules must be made up as you go along, since every war is different. The Founders intended the president to have great powers during emergencies, [Link, Link] but to have to face the voters afterwards.]
Posted by John Weidner at 9:44 PM

April 5, 2010

Pacifism Kills, #340. (Thank you for the tip, AOG)

AOG writes,

...I want to touch on this comment by Hey Skipper
The common strategy prior to 9/11 was to accede to hijacker demands in order to ensure passenger safety.

How do I know? I was flying for a passenger airline then.

You will, of course, remember hijackings where airplanes flew all over heck and gone, and had hijackers in the cockpit all the while.

After 9/11, the common strategy changed completely. No matter how many pax are getting killed in back, the crew will take the airplane to the closest suitable airport where it will be met with armed force.
Has anyone else noticed how many fewer hijackings have occurred since this change? Another one for the pacifism kills files....

I remember the first airplane hijacking. (Or at least the first one that was famous.) When I was a boy some guy hijacked a plane to Cuba, to the consternation of the country. Of course the authorities did nothing, lest the passengers be endangered. The result was....... a spate of hijackings Cuba-ward, and that hijackings have been a plague ever since.

And I have often thought in recent decades of how history might have been different if those in power had just said "NO." "No, You are not going to Cuba, even if we have to shoot down the plane and kill ALL the passengers." Think of the hundreds—maybe thousands—of hijackings—many ending in bloodshed and loss of life—that might have been prevented. Think of the billions of dollars and millions of man-hours that would not have been squandered on airport security if hijackings weren't a worry. Think of the millions of lives that might have been saved or enriched or improved if that treasure had been put to constructive uses. Oh, and there's the little matter of 9/11. That form of attack would have never even been thought of if we had stood resolutely against hijacking

The "pacifism" (I'm obviously using the word in a broad-brush way) of not fighting back against the first hijacking was MURDER. Pacifism Kills.

But what is more infuriating to me than the waste of human lives is that there was no debate. Nobody made the case for appeasing hijackers; they just drifted along with the conventional wisdom. And while I'm very glad that the newer policy seems to have ended the scourge of hijacking, I don't think anyone is making the case for that either!

[**pause while I kick and pummel and slap some liberals because I am so aggravated by their intellectual pusillanimity** Ah! There, I feel better now...]

And think of this. Probably most of our squashy-brained mushy-thinking pacifist types would agree that it would have been a good idea for the first African tribesmen to have been enslaved to have fought back against capture by slave traders, even if many died in the attempt. Yet anyone who is hijacked or taken hostage is a temporary slave. Or perhaps long-term; many hostages are held for years. Surely the same logic should apply?

Posted by John Weidner at 6:14 PM

April 1, 2010

What's a little carnage to a Chicago politician?

Michael Medved, Honor for a Terrorist Draws No Objection:

During Joe Biden's Middle East visit, American media focused on Israeli plans to build 1,600 housing units in a Jewish neighborhood in Jerusalem but a simultaneous Palestinian provocation received no attention. In its administrative center of Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority dedicated a traffic circle, and promised an heroic statue, to honor Dalal Mughrabi—a notorious terrorist. In 1978, this nineteen-year-old militant led a gang of eleven in the "Coastal Road Massacre"—seizing two passenger buses and a taxi, and butchering 38 Israeli civilians, including 13 children. Mughrabi died in a gun battle with police, but she's revered as a Palestinian heroine.

A decision by America's ally to build new homes in its own capital city drew Washington's condemnation, but Americans made little complaint about formal honors for a killer who slaughtered more than three dozen innocent Jews some thirty years ago.

One of the several causes of the War on Terror is the widespread Leftist idea that it's not terrorism if you are killing Jews. All the savageries of the terrorist scum have been tried out on Jews first—Ma'alot was a warm-up for Beslan. Then, when the Western powers shrug over the deaths of a few Yids, or the "pacifists" are just fine with armed violence along as it is killing Jews,the terrorists take it as a wink and a nudge to do more.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:43 AM

March 25, 2010

Pacifism kills #339

Alan Sullivan, Pirate Update:

The hesitancy is incredible. Piracy now and piracy in the Eighteenth Century are no different. Once a coastal people has taken to piracy for a living — the best living the sea has to offer for subsistence fishermen — the only way to break the cycle is to kill a lot of pirates.

Read the article he links to. It is just steeped in the fatuous ideas that I try to pin down under slippery labels like "pacifism" or "non-violence" or "anti-war." They are the very same arguments that are used against fighting terrorists, or deposing fascist dictators, or fighting crime. And they are wrong; they encourage violence and war. Pacifism causes war.

It would have been a merciful deed, and an act of Christian Charity, to smack the pirates hard the very first time they acted, even if it meant killing people. To allow them to get away with piracy in the beginning has confirmed them in the value of a life of crime. We will be probably be fighting pirates for decades to come, probably with increasing violence on both sides. We of the West, of the developed nations, have failed our clear duty.

It is exactly the same with the War on Terror. The West should have slammed Islamic terrorism ruthlessly decades ago, as soon as it reared its head. When it was still small, and had not yet sunk deep roots. The failure to do so will probably cost millions of lives in the long run, if it hasn't already done so. And keep in mind that the terrorists kill about 10 Muslims for every westerner. So failure to stop them early was violence against Muslims.

Pacifism is murder.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:44 AM

March 18, 2010

"If you are pro-Israel, you are pro-American"

Obama and the Jacksonian Zionists - Walter Russell Mead's Blog - The American Interest: (Thanks to Jim Geraghty

...Many of the arguments and perceptions that have weakened support for Israel on the left cut no ice with the populist right. The argument that just war theory forbids the 'disproportionate' use of force has absolutely no weight in much of American opinion. When somebody attacks you, especially in an underhanded terrorist way, you have a natural right to defend yourself using every weapon and every tactic that comes to hand. This is the way most Americans think about war; American public opinion on the whole does not regret the use of nuclear weapons against Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Two-thirds of American respondents tell Pew pollsters that they favor the use of "torture" under some circumstances. Such people are not necessarily indifferent to Palestinian rights, and they may not feel that every Israeli action is well judged, but they strongly believe that as long as Palestinians engage in terrorism, Israel has an unlimited and absolute right of self defense. It can and should do anything and everything it can to stop the attacks and many Americans consider international laws against such practices as pious hopes with no binding legal or even moral force. If the terrorists shield themselves behind civilians, that only shows how evil they are — and is an extra reason why you have both the right and the duty to eliminate them no matter what it takes.

This view may be right or it may be wrong, but its cultural hold on a substantial section of the American people is a fact. It is one of the strongest and most persistent elements in the national character.  It is unlikely to change anytime soon.

For many Jacksonians, Israel is a litmus test. If you are pro-Israel, you are pro-American exceptionalism, pro-western values and pro-defense. The more clearly you support Israel, the more you look like a reliable American patriot who will do what it takes to defend the country from religious violence and the more you seem to share the values of tens of millions of gentile Americans....

Using nuclear weapons against Japan saved millions of lives, and did more to bring peace on Earth than all the "pacifists" in history. it is only reasonable that we have no problem with them.

And of course, if you are anti-Israel, you are anti-American. They go hand-in-hand, and vice versa.. Read on to see what the student of Jeremiah Wright is up to...

Obama blocks delivery of bunker-busters to Israel:

The United States has diverted a shipment of bunker-busters designated for Israel.

Officials said the U.S. military was ordered to divert a shipment of smart bunker-buster bombs from Israel to a military base in Diego Garcia. They said the shipment of 387 smart munitions had been slated to join pre-positioned U.S. military equipment in Israel Air Force bases.

"This was a political decision," an official said

In 2008, the United States approved an Israeli request for bunker-busters capable of destroying underground facilities, including Iranian nuclear weapons sites. Officials said delivery of the weapons was held up by the administration of President Barack Obama.

Since taking office, Obama has refused to approve any major Israeli requests for U.S. weapons platforms or advanced systems. Officials said this included proposed Israeli procurement of AH-64D Apache attack helicopters, refueling systems, advanced munitions and data on a stealth variant of the F-15E.

"All signs indicate that this will continue in 2010," a congressional source familiar with the Israeli military requests said. "This is really an embargo, but nobody talks about it publicly." ....
Posted by John Weidner at 9:13 PM

February 20, 2010

Devastating critique...

Andy McCarthy, on the malicious attack by the Justice Dept's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR)

...For whatever reason, when the Justice Department released its report to Congress, inevitably ensuring that it would be made public, it did not release a crucial letter to OPR written by the Bush Justice Department's two highest officials, Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip. That letter, dated January 19, 2009 (the last full day of the Bush administration), shredded OPR's initial Draft Report and the process by which OPR's preliminary conclusions about ethical misconduct were reached.

I have obtained a copy of that letter and I am releasing it here on NRO this morning. It can be found here.

Messrs. Mukasey and Filip are both distinguished former federal judges, and their 14-page analysis of OPR's shoddy work is withering. The letter ought to be read in full, but here are some highlights:...

I'm posting the highlights below. Man, just read a few paragraphs. This has been a truly ugly persecution of good Americans.

[Highlights] After taking nearly five years to complete a nearly 200-page, single-space report, OPR withheld it's work from the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General until December 23, 2008 – right before the Christmas and New Year's holidays, and four weeks before the conclusion of the Bush administration, so that DOJ was then busy with transition to the new Obama administration. OPR did this with an eye toward releasing the report on January 12, 2009. This schedule would have ensured no meaningful review by top DOJ officials, and no meaningful opportunity for comment on the report from counsel for the Bush OLC attorneys whose work was criticized (even though OPR had made a commitment that there would be an opportunity for review and comment).

The original OPR draft report proceeded, as Mukasey and Filip put it, "seemingly without any consideration of the context in which the OLC opinions were prepared"—namely, in the aftermath of a catastrophic attack on the United States in which almost 3000 Americans were killed, and under circumstances where the OLC lawyers were under "virtually incomparable and extended pressure" to provide guidance to the intelligence community.

The OPR draft report, after taking nearly five years to review the law, derided the Bush OLC lawyers for failing to cite Khanuja v. I.N.S., a Ninth Circuit case interpreting the UN Convention Against Torture. However, Khanuja is an unpublished opinion, and under Ninth Circuit rules (which are well known to Justice Department lawyers), the citation of unpublished opinions is prohibited and lawyers who disregard this rule may be sanctioned for ethical misconduct.

Despite having had nearly five years to do its own legal analysis, OPR relied heavily on the work of academic critics of the Bush administration without (a) any explanation of why their work was somehow authoritative, and (b) balance in the form of views of other academics and commentators who had defended the professionalism of the OLC lawyers. For example, in critiquing the work of Bush OLC lawyers John Yoo (a legal scholar and tenured professor of law at the prestigious University of California Bolt School of Law) and Jay Bybee (an accomplished lawyer and now a federal appellate judge), OPR relied extensively on Professor David Luban. As Mukasey and Filip noted, though obviously a thoughtful and prolific scholar, Prof. Luban is not an attorney, has never practiced law (he is a trained philosopher), and is a vigorous critic of the Bush administration and the War on Terror generally. There was no mention of this background and Prof. Luban's patent potential bias in OPR's Ddraft Rreport.

The OPR draft report claimed it was "unreasonable" for the Bush OLC lawyers, in construing the concept of "severe pain" for purposes of the federal torture statute, to rely on Congress's use of the term "severe pain" in a health care statute. But there was no direct precedent for the meaning of "severe pain" in the torture statute, and, as Mukasey and Filip observed, "it is a common practice for lawyers to look to other sources for guidance in interpretation when there is no direct precedent" – and that is exactly what the OLC lawyers explained that they were doing, in addition to turning to dictionary definitions, another common practice.

The OPR draft report, on the basis of no evidence, questions not only the methods but the motives of the Bush OLC lawyers, claiming that they attempted to reverse a refusal by DOJ's Criminal Division to decline prosecution for future violations of the torture statute. As Mukasey and Filip recount, "Notably, the Draft Report presents no evidence that the OLC attorneys even opposed the Department's decision to decline prosecution; to the contrary, OLC was tasked with drafting the written notice refusing to decline prosecution of future statutory violations."

OPR privately acknowledged to Mukasey and Filip that there was no direct evidence that the OLC opinions reflected anything other than the OLC lawyers' "best legal judgment at the time." Yet, astoundingly, that fact was not mentioned a single time in OPR's draft report – a report that was centrally about whether the OLC lawyers had provided their best legal judgment.

It was the OPR Draft Report that recommended the re-examination by DOJ of various declinations to prosecute incidents of detainee abuse. Those declinations were reviewed "independently by two sets of prosecutors, first in the Counterterrorism Section ... and later in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Virginia"; they were arrived at based on case-related considerations that had nothing to do with the information examined in OPR's Draft Report; and, indeed, the review by the career prosecutors from the Eastern District of Virginia occurred in 2005 – long after the 2002 OLC memos had been withdrawn by DOJ. (ACM note: Attorney General Holder ordered a review of these declinations anyway, just as OPR recommended.)

OPR's draft report recommended that later OLC memos be reviewed, alleging that there was "pressure ... to complete legal opinions which would allow the CIA interrogation program to go forward." As Mukasey and Filip recount, this allegation "misinterprets the only evidence it cites." In fact, Stephen Bradbury, the well-regarded OLC chief behind those memos, stated repeatedly – both in sworn testimony and in interviews with OPR – that "he was never pressured to reach any particular result in his evaluation of the CIA's interrogation program."

The OPR report urged that the Bradbury memos be reviewed by the Justice Department despite the fact that they had already been personally reviewed by Attorney General Mukasey, pursuant to a request by Congress.

The OPR faulted OLC for failing "to consider and address the moral and policy considerations triggered by the issues." Yet the precise job of OLC is to provide strict legal advice, shorn of policy and other considerations. Moreover, as Mukasey and Filip concluded, OPR's suggestion would run afoul of the D.C. Bar's ethical rules, which counsel that a lawyer is to provide technical legal advice when asked for purely technical legal advice – only where a client is "inexperienced in legal matters" should guidance go beyond "strictly legal considerations." Nothing in the profession of lawyering makes one expert in matters of morality and policy, and the point is to avoid a situation in which the lawyer's personal predilections are masqueraded as legal requirements.
Posted by John Weidner at 8:55 AM

February 15, 2010

Being "anti-torture" kills...

This news is bad for the war, but it also points up the serious moral error of the anti-torture (so-called) crowd, who have gummed-up the interrogation process to the point where the administration would rather just kill people. To put it simply, the only reason to snatch terrorist leaders rather than kill them, is to squeeze info out of them. Therefore the Mark Shea types are effectively putting a gun to the heads of people like Saleh Ali Nabhan and executing them.

And the moral error is double because every one of those anti-torture types, if offered the choice between death and water-boarding, would himself chose the latter. But they are making the opposite choice for other people, and condemning them to death. And feeling smug about it!

And they are triply wrong, because they, and pacifist types in general, are always slippery about their own responsibility. None of them ever comes out and honestly says, "My policies will result in deaths, and I take responsibility for that." And quadruply wrong because the brute fact is that Islamic terrorists kill about 10 Moslems for every Westerner. So the small extent to which the pacifistic crowd does acknowledge that they want less done to protect us still leaves most of the iceberg underwater: A little less protection for us is a lot less for wretched folk in the Third World.

This is a specific instance of my more general point that the sort of people who call themselves "pacifists" are always engaged in turning someone else's cheek. They are happy to let some niggers in Pakistan do the suffering and dying, while they toddle home to a comfy bed. And if hoodlums are breaking their back door at night, they instantly call the cops, to come with guns and protect them! I'll believe there is such a thing as "Christian pacifism" when I start to hear stories of pacifists dying rather than protecting themselves.

Washington Post Confirms We Are No Longer Capturing & Interrogating High-Value Terrorists:

The Washington Post reported yesterday morning front-page, above the fold that the Obama administration has stopped capturing and interrogating senior al-Qaeda leaders, killing them instead with Predator drones. This confirms my story last week in Foreign Policy, "Dead Men Tell No Tales," explaining the danger of this approach.

The Post tells the story of a senior leader of al-Qaeda in East Africa named Saleh Ali Nabhan who was located last September. The White House was given the choice of either killing him or capturing him alive for interrogation. The military wanted to take him alive. But the White House chose instead to take him out. A senior military officer is quoted as saying: "We wanted to take a prisoner. . . . It was not a decision that we made."

The Post adds: "The opportunity to interrogate one of the most wanted U.S. terrorism targets was gone forever."

And the paper quotes a senior military officer explaining why the opportunity to interrogate this senior al-Qaeda leader for intelligence was sacrificed: We "don't have a detention policy or a set of facilities" to hold high-value terrorists.

A former intelligence official briefed on current operations tells the Post that killing, instead of capturing terrorists is far from ideal, saying "now there's an even greater proclivity for doing it that way."...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:03 AM

February 12, 2010

To be meanly-mouthed is to be a LIAR...

Shaun Waterman, Washington Times, Terror reviews avoid word 'Islamist':

...Two new documents laying out the Obama administration's defense and homeland security strategy over the next four years describe the nation's terrorist enemies in a number of ways but fail to mention the words Islam, Islamic or Islamist.

The 108-page Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, made public last week by the Department of Homeland Security, uses the term "terrorist" a total of 66 times, "al Qaeda" five times and "violent extremism" or "extremist" 14 times. It calls on the U.S. government to "actively engage communities across the United States" to "stop the spread of violent extremism."

Yet in describing terrorist threats against the United States and the ideology that motivates terrorists, the review - like its sister document from the Pentagon, the Quadrennial Defense Review - does not use the words "Islam," "Islamic" or "Islamist" a single time....

Sick. If the Islamic terrorists don't hit us hard just to express their contempt for this sort of death-wish nihilism, they are far bigger wimps that I imagine. America deserves to be attacked, for tolerating such weak-kneed gutless womanish crap.

We will be hit, and then President Palin will take office and chase those flea-ridden scumballs howling back to their caves...

Terrorists turned to grease spot in Yemen.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:56 PM

February 4, 2010

Baiting traps...

YID With LID:

Michael Leiter the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told the Senate Homeland Security Committee that the United States sometimes chooses to allow people into the country who are on the federal government's Terrorist Watchlist. We choose to allow them in, terrorists... on purpose.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Me.), the ranking minority member of the committee, said at the same Jan. 20 hearing that the government should suspend the U.S. visas of anyone whose name appears in its master database of all people with suspected connections to terrorism and then put the burden on them to prove "they do not intend to harm this nation or its citizens."
In that same hearing Leiter said he did not know exactly how many people on the Terrorist Watchlist entered the United States in 2009 but that it was probably a "very significant number." He than added that "when people come to the country, if they are on the watch list, it is because we have generally made the choice that we want them here in the country for some reason or another."

The government of the United States is using its citizens as a target to lure bad guys to our shores? There is something very wrong with that...

Wrong? Not necessarily. In this sort of covert warfare we might sometimes need to do stuff like that. BUT, it would be wrong if you were using US citizens as bait, and then not acting decisively to nullify the threat. Either by killing the terrorists or locking them up indefinitely at Gitmo.

It would be immoral to use us little people as bait and then fail to act with maximum force. As happened recently with the knicker bomber.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:57 AM

January 25, 2010

In fourth-Generation warfare, the front line is anywhere...

I'm just surprised that this hasn't been tried before. Or a number of other possible attacks I could mention. (But won't—no need to give certain people ideas.)

Terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba 'planning paraglider attacks' in India - Times Online:

Indian intelligence officials suspect that the terrorist group behind the 2008 Mumbai attacks is planning another audacious strike on the country — this time from the air, using suicide bombers flying paragliders.

U. K. Bansal, an Indian Home Ministry official, told reporters that the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba faction was thought to have acquired a number of the gliding parachutes.

"We have intelligence reports that LeT has purchased 50 paragliding kits from Europe with an intention to launch attacks on India," he said... [...]

..."It would be natural for them to plan another spectacular attack from the air. The warning has to be taken seriously." Paragliders usually do not have an engine but can — in skilled hands and in the right conditions — cover large distances. The world record for flying a paraglider is more than 460km (285 miles).

However, they usually need to be launched from a high point, or towed by a boat or car, which could limit their effectiveness....

Oh, yeah, that's really going to limit effectiveness.

* Update: Take a look at this video. We are SO lucky that Islam is almost as damaging to cognition as liberalism, or those suicide-bomber Johnnies would be much more troublesome...



Posted by John Weidner at 11:37 AM

January 21, 2010

Good piece on how the wise men in Washington are protecting you...

Stephen Hayes, System Failure — The Weekly Standard:

There is one reason that White House should be thrilled about the Massachusetts Senate race. It crowded out news that came out of the stunning testimony of Obama administration officials Wednesday on the Christmas Day terrorist attack. Four top counterterrorism officials testified before a congressional committee that they were not consulted about how to handle the interrogation of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the al Qaeda operative who attempted to blow up Flight 253 on December 25, 2008.[...]

..."The decision to arrest [Abdulmutallab] and put him in criminal courts, the decision was made by the agents on the ground, the ones that took him from the plane and then followed up on the arrest in the hospital," Mueller told the committee. He also said: "In this particular case, in fast-moving events, decisions were made—appropriately, I believe, very appropriately—given the situation."

Again, stunning. The FBI Director believes it is appropriate — very appropriate — that four of the nation's top counterterrorism officials were never consulted about how to handle an al Qaeda terrorist who very nearly blew up an airplane with almost 300 passengers aboard.

Mueller testified that those FBI agents interviewed Abdulmutallab about "ongoing and other threats." What the FBI director did not mention was that his agents interviewed the terrorist without any input from the National Counterterrorism Center — the institution we now know was sitting on top of a small mountain of not-yet-correlated information about the bomber....

I'm all too familiar with governmental incompetence, but this is just weird. These guys are zombies.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:24 PM

January 9, 2010

Palin/Cheney (Liz, that is) 2012....

From Facebook | Sarah Palin: It's War, not a Crime Spree:

...It simply makes no sense to treat an al Qaeda-trained operative willing to die in the course of massacring hundreds of people as a common criminal. Reports indicate that Abdulmutallab stated there were many more like him in Yemen but that he stopped talking once he was read his Miranda rights. President Obama's advisers lamely claim Abdulmutallab might be willing to agree to a plea bargain – pretty doubtful you can cut a deal with a suicide bomber.

John Brennan, the President's top counterterrorism adviser, bizarrely claimed "there are no downsides or upsides" to treating terrorists as enemy combatants. That is absurd. There is a very serious downside to treating them as criminals: terrorists invoke their "right" to remain silent and stop talking. Terrorists don't tell us where they were trained, what they were trained in, who they were trained by, and who they were trained with. Giving foreign-born, foreign-trained terrorists the right to remain silent does nothing to keep Americans safe from terrorist threats. It only gives our enemies access to courtrooms where they can publicly grandstand, and to defense attorneys who can manipulate the legal process to gain access to classified information.

President Obama was right to change his policy and decide to send no more detainees to Yemen where they can be free to rejoin their war on America. Now he must back off his reckless plan to close Guantanamo, begin treating terrorists as wartime enemies not suspects alleged to have committed crimes, and recognize that the real nature of the terrorist threat requires a commander-in-chief, not a constitutional law professor. ...

"A commander-in-chief, not a constitutional law professor." Amen, sister.


Sarah Palin Rifle Training

Posted by John Weidner at 1:52 PM

December 31, 2009

Kill Americans and win valuable concessions...

Andy McCarthy , It's Not Yet Friday, But It Is New Year's Eve -- What Better Time to Release an Iran-Backed Terror Master Who Murdered American Troops?:

...Today, New Year's Eve, while everyone's attention is understandably on family and friends, we learn (thanks to the ever alert Bill Roggio, reporting on the Standard's blog) that the administration has now released Qais Qazali, Laith's brother, [released previously by Obama] who is the head of the Iran-backed terror network, in addition to a hundred other terrorists. In violation of the long-standing, commonsense policy against capitulating to kidnappers and terrorists because it just encourages more hostage-taking and murder, the terrorists were released in exchange for a British hostage and the remains of his three contract guards (whom the terrorists had murdered).

So, as the mullahs, America's incorrigible enemies, struggle to hang on, we're giving them accommodations and legitimacy. And the messages we send? Terrorize us and we'll negotiate with you. Kill American troops or kidnap civilians and win valuable concessions — including the release of an army of jihadists, and its leaders, who can now go back to targeting American troops....

He's on the other side.

Keep this outrage in mind when "moderates" deride us extremists for suggesting that Obama's not a loyal American, or not willing to fight the War on Terror.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:59 PM

December 30, 2009

Is this a valid complaint?

President Obama takes the heat President Bush did not - - POLITICO.com:

Eight years ago, a terrorist bomber's attempt to blow up a transatlantic airliner was thwarted by a group of passengers, an incident that revealed some gaping holes in airline security just a few months after the attacks of Sept. 11. But it was six days before President George W. Bush, then on vacation, made any public remarks about the so-called "shoe bomber," Richard Reid, and there were virtually no complaints from the press or any opposition Democrats that his response was sluggish or inadequate.

That stands in sharp contrast to the withering criticism President Barack Obama has received from Republicans and some in the press for his reaction to Friday's incident on a Northwest Airlines flight heading for Detroit....

There's one big difference. President Bush, on September 11, 2001, had the moral clarity recognize, and to say, that we were at war. No one knows whether Mr Obama has the same moral clarity. (I strongly suspect that he has never given the underlying question serious thought.)

That's something the President has to say. It's not his job to lead in battles, other people do that. But seeing clearly and speaking clearly about what the deep problem is, is what a President does. That's what America is still waiting to hear from Obama, and why we are frustrated at his insipid response to Ft Hood, and now to the close call with the "knickerbomber."

Watch this video, if you've forgotten....



Posted by John Weidner at 8:19 AM

December 28, 2009

"horrible desiccated complacency"

Mark Steyn :

...Putting aside the stuff that was just plain wrong (this guy's an "isolated extremist" - oh, yeah?), the President's remarks had a horrible desiccated complacency. "Alleged..." "suspect..." "charged..." - because this is no different from a punk holding up a gas station, right? In all their alleged allegedness, this Administration has an allergy to the concept of war, and thus to the tools of war, including strategy and war aims. In essence, they've accepted a Fort Hood model for this challenge: every so often, something will happen and people will die, and we'll seal off the crime scene and take the alleged suspect into alleged custody. But it's reactive, and it cripples our ability to prevent the death of innocents.

There's a difference between an alleged suspect (which is what he is is the President's fantasy) and an enemy combatant (which is what he is in reality). If this were a war, we would question him about who he hooked up with in Yemen, who did he meet with in London, and maybe get a lead on attacks to come. Instead, the authorities, having issued the Knickerbomber a multi-entry visa, having permitted him to board the plane, and having failed to detect his incendiary underwear, now allow him to lawyer up and ensure that we'll never know who he knew in Yemen or anywhere else.

This would be a big enough gamble in the best of circumstances. Up against the broader background Derb discusses, it makes disaster inevitable....

"The Knickerbomber!" Perfect.

It's treasonous not to be water-boarding this guy right now. But they can't do so because that would be to admit that we are the good guys, at war with monsters. And most Leftists can't admit that, because they are self-worshippers, and it would be admitting that there are things more important than themselves.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:42 PM

December 27, 2009

The terrorist attempt was successful--it terrorized us...

Andy McCarthy :

...Apropos Mark's observations (here and here), I couldn't help but be struck by this ambiguous passage in the Washington Post's report this morning: "The incident marks the latest apparent attempt by terrorists to bring down a U.S. aircraft through the use of an improvised weapon, and set in motion urgent security measures that disrupted global air travel during the frenetic holiday weekend." No doubt the Post means that "the incident" has "set in motion urgent security measures," but it was just as clearly "an attempt by terrorists" — and a successful attempt, at that — to "set in motion urgent security measures." It sounds trite but it's worth repeating: The object of terrorism is to terrorize, and obviously the mission has been accomplished even if the plane was not brought down.

In Willful Blindness , I recount the debacle of repeated entries into the United States by, among others, the Blind Sheikh (Omar Abdel Rahman) and al Qaeda operative Ali Mohammed — the former permitted free entrance, egress and, finally, a green card (as a special religious worker) even though he was one of the world's most famous jihadists and was on the terror watch lists for having authorized the murder of Anwar Sadat; the latter permitted to immigrate from Egypt and join the U.S. army despite having been caught trying to infiltrate the CIA.

Now, nearly 20 years later — after 9/11, the 9/11 Commission, etc. — we have Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab: He was in the terrorist "database" because we were warned by his own influential father of his radical ties and proclivities, and he was evidently notorious among associates in Africa and Europe for his jihadist leanings; yet, he was issued a multiple-entry visa. And he claims to have been trained in Yemen — the al Qaeda hub to which the administration has just sent a half-dozen trained jihadists previously detained in Gitmo, and where it hopes to send many more...

Well, I've often explained why they are "willfully blind; no need to repeat myself...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:22 PM

December 26, 2009

Drag queen theatrics...

RELIGION OF PEACE ATTEMPTS TO BLOW UP ANOTHER AIRPLANE TODAY — HillBuzz:

...Well, Muslims are the ones blowing up airplanes. Until they stop doing that, profile the living s*** out of them. Make them fly totally naked, with no carry-on bags allowed, or don't let them fly at all. Inconveniencing members of "The Religion of Peace" is a small price to pay for permanently preventing these animals from bringing down any more airplanes.

What's going to happen is this: Liberals will guarantee Muslims will continue to have the ability to kill Americans in airplanes. Muslims will effectively bully the TSA and airlines, with Liberals' aid and comfort, to lower the security levels enough so that they are able to sneak the next generation of liquid and powder explosive combinations onto flights. With love of theatrics greater than any drag queen we've ever known, Muslims will use the current administration's fondness for Islam to stage either another round of hijackings/crashes into buildings or will just pick a day in the future and detonate bombs on a dozen or so planes all at once, putting fireballs over major cities. The Liberal MSM will then puzzle and wonder how this happened, and will of course try to blame the Bush Administration in some way.

It sure feels like Al Queda's back in the air terror business after successfully being shut down during the Bush years. But, with the Lightbringer in office, and Eric Holder in the Justice Department, it sure feels like Muslims are once again comfortable with taking down airplanes.

This appears to be coordinated efforts to test our systems, in advance of another big attack.

Which is all ridiculous, of course, if you believe Islam really is "the religion of peace" — because how could Muslims, if they really do love peace so much, sit quietly on their butts all over this country when their fellow Muslims plot and scheme to bring down planes like this?

That's a question we never can find a very good answer for....

Actually someone pointed out the answer recently. It's perfectly possible to interpret Islam as a "religion of peace." BUT, those Muslims who do so are in much the same position as pro-abortion Christians. They can never win the intellectual battles. They can never be a winning movement that changes the religion as a whole.

Even if most Muslims are peaceful (whatever that may mean to them), "peaceful Islam" is a fringe movement, and will continue to be so until we have pounded on war-loving Islam with murderous violence for a century or two. That's just the way it is.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:39 AM

Thought for the day...

Hugh Hewitt:

...We are 45 weeks from the chance to begin to repair the damage that has flowed from marrying high school rhetoric and plans with power. We had another close call yesterday. Pray we keep being lucky for a while longer until we can start to be smart again.
Posted by John Weidner at 8:04 AM

December 24, 2009

Even on Christmas Eve, we should not overlook the evils of our time....

Charlene recommends this from Joshua Pundit:

I was hoping to keep today light, but I feel this needs attention.

Rabbi Meir Chai HY"D was murdered near Shavei Shomron in Samaria (AKA The northern part of the West Bank) yesterday afternoon.

He was a teacher at the local Talmud Torah School,who left a wife and seven children ranging from a two months-old to an 18 year-old. He was only 45.

He was murdered by automatic weapons fire as he was driving along Route 57, between the Samaria communities of Shavei Shomron and Einav.

According to the Jordanian news agency Ma'an,'credit' for his murder was taken by a group affiliated with Fatah's al-Aksa Martyr's Brigade...you know, the Obama Administration's preferred terrorists.

It would be interesting to do a ballistic study and determine if the shots came from one of those shiny new M-16's General Keith Dayton is using to arm the Palestinian army he's training.

A key part in the assassin's being able to get in and out easily was the removal of two IDF checkpoints last week, which was done as a gesture to President Obama and the Palestinians even though the residents begged them not to...

A—wait for it—A gesture!. What a brainstorm. Gee, why hasn't anyone thought of that before our wonder-working president? Just make a "gesture" to Palestinian terrorists, and their soft hearts will just melt, and peace will surely be coming down the pike.

As far as I'm concerned, the Palestinian terrorists are enemy terror groups we need to exterminate in the WoT. And it would be just as just and moral for American troops to kill them as any other bunch of deranged murderers. And, Obama and his fellow Leftists are on the other side from America and all good people, and if there were any justice they'd all be getting Caribbean tans at a much-expanded Gitmo.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:38 PM

December 20, 2009

Our insanity is a thing of dream-like beauty...Failures can be repeated endlessly, effortlessly...

Police expect Mumbai-style terror attack on City of London - Times Online:

Scotland Yard has warned businesses in London to expect a Mumbai-style attack on the capital. ["Expect." But don't you dare DO anything]

In a briefing in the City of London 12 days ago, a senior detective from SO15, the Metropolitan police counter-terrorism command, said: "Mumbai is coming to London." [And we will work really hard at being as sappy and shit-stupid as the Indians.]

The detective said companies should anticipate a shooting and hostage-taking raid "involving a small number of gunmen with handguns and improvised explosive devices". [But shooting back will be punished by long prison terms.]

The warning — the bluntest issued by police — has underlined an assessment that a terrorist cell may be preparing an attack on London early next year

It was issued by the Met through its network of “security forums”, which provide business leaders, local government and the emergency services with counter-terrorism advice. ["Advice." Oh. And what, pray, IS THE ADVICE? Hmm? What COULD it be? How about: "In Case Of Attack, Cower."] ...

Perhaps this, from the same piece, will shed light...

...Earlier this year, police, military and intelligence services held an exercise in Kent to see whether they could defeat a commando raid in London by terrorists.

"The exercise brought out to those taking part that the capability doesn't exist to deal with that situation should it arise," said a military source....
What's the old new saying? "When seconds count, the police will be there in minutes"...
...The Met is understood to be struggling to draw up effective plans to deal with the challenge of mass shootings followed by a prolonged siege with terrorists prepared to kill their hostages and themselves.

In Mumbai, many victims were killed in the first half hour of the attack. The Met is concerned that it will be much longer before the SAS, which has traditionally dealt with terrorist sieges in London, would arrive from its base at Regent's Park barracks...

Of course it must be longer. The laws of physics can't be repealed, even by those Lefty geniuses who would no doubt find it easy to create the "New Soviet Man." Even if SAS commandos were sitting, fully armed, in their helicopters, it would STILL take at least a half hour to get to the scene and get into action. And that's assuming the attackers stay put, instead of fanning out in different directions in the confusion and attacking at random points.

There's only ONE possible answer. I posted this on November 12, 2001!   (My very first week as a blogger. I was telling the TRUTH then, I'm still telling the same truth. And what have I gained? Just a certain personal satisfaction.):
InstaPundit mentions that John Lott has written an exceedingly interesting piece in the New York Post on the Israeli view of concealed handguns.

"Israelis realize that the police and military simply can't be there all the time to protect people when terrorists attack: There are simply too many vulnerable targets. (When the police or military are nearby, terrorists wait until they leave.) And when terrorists strike, their first targets include anyone openly carrying a gun.

What Israel has found helpful in thwarting terrorist attacks is allowing law-abiding, trained citizens to carry concealed handguns. About 10 percent of Jewish adults there now have permits to carry concealed handguns."

I feel quite confident is asserting that the general run of British (and American) Leftists would happily accept tens-of-thousands of deaths rather than adopt the obvious counter-measure, which is an armed citizenry. Leftism is murder. Pacifism is murder. Leftism and pacifism are anti-Christian. They are diabolic.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:59 AM

December 1, 2009

It's because of what America IS...

You've probably already seen this piece by Byron York, Obama keeps his Afghan promise, but Dems crumble. It's worth a read.

The dilemma the Democrats are in is exquisite. Not just because they are now stuck with campaign promises that were in fact lies. On a deeper level, America simply does not abandon allies. We believe we should be trustworthy. The one occasion when we did abandon an ally, South Vietnam, is still a point of extreme sensitivity. And that wasn't "America's" action, it was the Democrat Party which had suddenly been handed power ofter a Republican scandal. And which immediately used that power for evil, handing an ally who had trusted us over to communist tyranny and mass-murder.

Now the electoral fluke of 2008 has again handed them great power, and the chance to express the nothingness in their hearts. But they gained that power by promising to do what America has always believed in, keeping faith with our friends! (Although the promise was packaged as an excuse to betray another ally, the democratically elected government of Iraq—ironies within ironies!.)

...And yet, in the 2008 presidential season, from the Democratic primaries to the general election, Democrats felt required to promise to step up the war in Afghanistan. Was it because the Democratic base that now opposes escalation supported it back then? No. A Gallup poll in August 2007 — in the midst of the Democratic primary race — found that just 41 percent of Democrats supported sending more U.S. troops to fight in Afghanistan.

If the base didn't support it, then why did candidates promise it? Because Democratic voters and candidates were playing a complex game. Nearly all of them hated the war in Iraq and wanted to pull Americans out of that country. But they were afraid to appear soft on national security, so they pronounced the smaller conflict in Afghanistan one they could support. Many of them didn't, really, but for political expediency they supported candidates who said they did. Thus the party base signed on to a good war-bad war strategy.

"One of the things that I think is critical, as the next president, is to make absolutely certain that we not only phase out the Iraq war but we also focus on the critical battle that we have in Afghanistan and root out al Qaeda," Obama said at a Democratic candidates' debate in New Hampshire in June 2007. The war in Iraq, Obama continued, "is an enormous distraction from the battle that does have to be waged in Afghanistan."

"There isn't any doubt that Afghanistan has been neglected," said chief Obama rival — and now Secretary of State — Hillary Clinton at a debate in April 2008. "It has not gotten the resources that it needs."
. Other top Democrats adopted the get-tough approach, at least when it came time to campaign.  In September 2006, as she was leading the effort that would result in Democrats taking over the House and her becoming speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi said George W. Bush "took his eye off the ball" in Afghanistan. "We had a presence over there the past few years, but not to the extent that we needed to get the job done," Pelosi said. The phrase "took his eye off the ball" became a Democratic mantra about the supposed neglect of Afghanistan — a situation that would be remedied by electing ready-to-fight Democrats.

But now, with Democrats in charge of the entire U.S. government and George Bush nowhere to be found, Pelosi and others in her party are suddenly very, very worried about U.S. escalation in Afghanistan.  "There is serious unrest in our caucus," the speaker said recently.  There is so much unrest that Democrats who show little concern about the tripling of already-large budget deficits say they're worried about the rising cost of the war.

It is in that atmosphere that Obama makes his West Point speech.  He had to make certain promises to get elected.  Unlike some of his supporters, he has to remember those promises now that he is in office.  So he is sending more troops.  But he still can't tell the truth about so many Democratic pledges to support the war in Afghanistan: They didn't mean it....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:57 AM

November 20, 2009

American war crimes...

Click here for shocking scenes of American imperialistic brutality against hapless Third-World children...
Posted by John Weidner at 6:44 PM

November 18, 2009

Ka Ching....

The Crescat:

...if islam is such a "religion of peace" then why the hell is our president, liberal politicians, and the media so afraid to offend moslems? I think tip toeing around moslems delicate sensibilities sends a very clear message... they don't even believe their own bull shit....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:40 PM

Truth to tell....

This is a teaser for tonight's Palin interview with Sean Hannity. In it she says that Major Hasan is an obvious case for profiling. And she says she's going to get clobbered when the interview is aired for saying such an un-PC thing.

We'll see. I'm guessing she's picked the right moment to say what needs to be said.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:34 AM

November 17, 2009

But I'm sure this has nothing to do with religion... Pre-Traumatic Stress Syndrome no doubt...

The Jawa Report: Plot Thickens: Indians Now Believe American Key to Mumbai Massacre
UPDATE: Attack on Nuke Sites Planned?
:

...Today we learn that Headley also visited Mumbai's Chabad center -- also a target in the 2008 attacks -- and passed himself off as Jewish.

On Saturday I said that this could be a coincidence. The two hotels that Headley stayed at are frequented by Westerners. But to call this a coincidence would be to stretch incredulity.

It is becoming increasingly clear why the FBI would raid a halal meat processing plant (that employed only 13 people) run by Headley's accomplice -- Tahawar Rana -- with over 100 agents: Headley and possibly Rana were involved in the Mumbai massacre.

To what extent did Headley or Rana know that LeT was planning an attack on such a massive scale? That remains a mystery. It could very well be that Headley alone or in concert with Rana was asked to scope out areas of Mumbai but not told for what reason.

But it should be remembered that Headley approached LeT with the plan to attack the Jyllands-Posten. That is, we know that he is a terrorist entrepreneur. Perhaps he thought Mumbai offered a soft target the LeT would be interested in?

Either way, this is bad news. Headley is an American citizen. And to have any Americans involved in the Mumbai attacks is bad news. It means our homegrown terror problem is much worse than even I thought....

My prediction is that the Democrat strategy of pretending the War on Terror was just a bad dream is not going to work in the long-term...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:30 PM

Compare and contrast...

Just as an addendum and a comparison to the previous post, this is an example of Christopher Hitchens at his clear and thoughtful best...

Seven salient facts about Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan:

...The above list is not exhaustive, but I would submit that five of the seven items (the first and the last four) would have been grounds to have had him either put under close surveillance or dismissed from the service. Proselytizing in uniform, for example, is already banned by a general order. To be "inclusive," the United States armed forces must exclude or discipline those who oppose inclusion. This, of course, goes for zealots of all faiths, and it won't do to point out that it isn't always universally applied. The Hasan atrocity makes such an application more urgent, not less...

...I wrote some years ago that the three most salient characteristics of the Muslim death-squad type were self-righteousness, self-pity, and self-hatred. Surrounded as he was by fellow shrinks who were often very distressed by his menacing manner, Maj. Hasan managed to personify all three traits—with the theocratic rhetoric openly thrown in for good measure—and yet be treated even now as if the real word for him was troubled. Prepare to keep on meeting those three symptoms again, along with official attempts to oppose them only with therapy, if that. At least the holy warriors know they are committing suicide.

If I were more awake and witty this morning I'd write about the three most salient characteristics of the Leftist who's losing his faith..... Maybe: Ranting against God, Sarah Palin, and? Hmmm...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:51 AM

November 13, 2009

"Hang 'em high!"

Thank you, governor...

Facebook | Sarah Palin: Obama Administration's Atrocious Decision:

Horrible decision, absolutely horrible. It is devastating for so many of us to hear that the Obama Administration decided that the 9/11 terrorist mastermind, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, will be given a criminal trial in New York. This is an atrocious decision.

Mohammed and his terrorist co-conspirators are responsible for the deaths of more than 3,000 Americans. Thousands of American families have suffered through the loss of loved ones because of the disgusting attacks launched against the United States, and now this trial venue adds insult to injury, in addition to compromising our efforts in the War on Terror. Heaven forbid our allies see this decision as a reason to become less likely to support our efforts in the future. [They'd be stupid not to.]

Criminal defense attorneys will now enter into delaying tactics and other methods in the hope of securing some kind of win for their "clients." [Send for Johnny Cochran!] The trial will afford Mohammed the opportunity to grandstand and make use of his time in front of the world media to rally his disgusting terrorist cohorts. It will also be an insult to the victims of 9/11, as Mohammed will no doubt use the opportunity to spew his hateful rhetoric in the same neighborhood in which he ruthlessly cut down the lives of so many Americans.

It is crucially important that Americans be made aware that the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks may walk away from this trial without receiving just punishment because of a "hung jury" or from any variety of court room technicalities. If we are stuck with this terrible Obama Administration decision, I, like most Americans, hope that Mohammed and his co-conspirators are convicted. Hang 'em high. [And if anyone raises the objection that this would be un-Christian, I reply that Obama's appeasement is un-Christian, and will make bloodshed and violence and terrorism more likely. Like most "pacifists," he is an enemy of peace, and of the USA.]

Posted by John Weidner at 5:50 PM

November 12, 2009

"It is whatever its various adherents say it is."

Charlene recommends some good stuff from Mark Shea (thanks to Kathy Shaidle):

...We want very much to believe that Violent Islam is a perversion of the Islamic tradition and Wise and Benevolent Islam is the Real Islamic tradition. But the reality is that Islam is an invented human religion that borrows from fragments of Judaism and Christianity, mixes in Mohammed's own delusional (or lying) claims of revelation, and completes it with a dash of conventional wisdom from seventh-century Arab culture. It is not a magisterial faith with some adjudicating body that defines what is and is not the orthodox reading of the Koran. It is whatever its various adherents say it is.

That means that if you are looking for a sanction for violence in the Koran, you can find it, because it's there. So is the wisdom, almsgiving, and peace stuff, if you want that. So Muslims who commit these heinous acts with such frequency are not "betraying Islam" when doing so out of self-described piety. They are, in fact, implementing one possible interpretation of the Muslim tradition (and often slaughtering a great many other Muslims in the process). Westerners who lie to themselves that these monsters are "not real Muslims" are simply self-deluded fools. They are as Muslim as Mohammed, as are their Muslim victims. There is no Islamic Magisterium to excommunicate them. They don't speak for all Muslims, but they most certainly do speak and act for the disturbingly large percentage of Muslims who either applaud them, remain silent, or complain about being victims of suspicion and distrust by the victims of terror instead of complaining about the thugs who commit the terror in the name of Islam.

That said, the reality is that the cure, if it is to come at all, will have to come from within Islam: from Muslims who inculcate in their children a sense of shame for Radical Murderous Islam, just as Christians have successfully inculcated shame in their own ranks for expressions of Christianity that turned a blind eye to slavery, terrorism, oppression of women, and racism. It will not come from the preferred Western dream of a post-religious secular world scrubbed clean of "religion." Such experiments have been attempted in communist countries; they are akin to saying, "We've noticed a correlation between immune systems and disease, so let's get rid of immune systems." Not accidentally, the disease of human sin has only prospered in such regimes to the tune of millions slaughtered. Instead of pretending the beast of Radical Islam is not there, the West will sooner or later have to learn how to educate itself about theology again -- or perish. It will also have to profile those who have not a particular skin color but a particular ideological paper trail of ideas and views that makes it obvious they sympathize with Radical Islamic violence, just as we should profile those who sympathize with skinheads, Klansmen, or tales of the Glorious IRA Terrorists.

Most of all, it means we need to get theologically literate again and find a more sophisticated way of understanding things than simply dumping Christianity and Islam into a bucket and calling it all "religion" (which, as we all know, leads to undifferentiated "violence"). The only way to counter an inflamed theology like Islam is with a healthy one, not with the watery delusions of postmodern secularism. And that, sooner or later, means a return to the sanity of the Catholic Faith.
Posted by John Weidner at 7:39 AM

November 6, 2009

Political Correctness kills...

Armed Israeli Defense Force girls

The above picture is one I took on our last year's pilgrimage to the Holy Land. You see young people like this everywhere in Israel. Maybe, just maybe, Israelis know something about dealing with Muslim terrorists. Hmm?

Political Correctness and the Ft. Hood Shooting - Stephanie Gutmann:

...Soldiers in other countries are allowed to carry arms on base and even when they are off-duty. In Israel, for instance, soldiers are issued a rifle and then . . . it's theirs. One sees slender 18-year-old girls, traveling from base, home to the suburbs for Shabbat dinner, still slung with a massive M-16 rifle almost as big as they are. The prevalence of arms doesn't mean the country experiences the kind of random mass murders seen in the United States. It means that the few times someone has gone crazy with a gun in a city street, he was taken down fast by bystanders.

But not American soldiers....

Pacifism, or rather nihilism disguised as fake-pacifism, is one of the sicknesses of our time. No matter how many times it's proved wrong, a large portion of the populace will continue to believe that looking and being weak will make them safer and will prevent violence and war. But pacifism causes war.

Whoever gave the orders that American soldiers should not carry their sidearms or other weapons on our military bases murdered those soldiers who died at Ft Hood. Charlene was an Army brat, and she says that personnel carried their weapons on the base when she was young. Somebody (the phrase "death panel" springs to mind) disarmed the very men and women who are sworn to protect us using violent force when necessary. INSANE! SICK!

And I remember when Reagan became President, one of his first acts was to rescind an order that forbade officers from wearing their uniforms much of the time when working in Washington DC. It's the same sickness.

Bookworm writes, in a good post:

...I've also heard from back channels that people like Hasan have been an ongoing concern within the military. The fear inspired by political correctness, however, has meant that internal enforcement agencies (FBI, military police, etc.) have been afraid to act on their suspicions for fear of being tarred as racists or ideologues. This climate of PC fear must have increased dramatically since Obama's justice department made it plain that it considered those who acted in defense of the U.S. as potential war criminals. In the topsy turvy world of Obama politics, it's a worse sin to be politically incorrect than to be a terrorist. Our national security forces have read the tea leaves and, no matter how patriotic I'm sure they are, they've concluded that the sure risk to their career for being un-PC is greater than the potential risk of a terrorist attack from some psychiatrist or foot soldier somewhere in the South or the Midwest, or wherever else the next Muslim loony-toonz starts making noise on American soil...

Any sane society would have interned Major Hassan. Slapped him into a nice comfy summer-camp as soon as he started talking his Islamist trash-talk. Or at least discharged him! But that would require believing that our country is worth doing tough, even brutal, things for. It is belief that the nihilist fears. Belief in anything that is bigger than the self, anything that demands putting the self second.

What is the common thread among the things that our fake-liberals hate and want to destroy? Christianity and Judaism, America, Israel, family, Western Civ., traditional morality, traditional art and architecture, our military, global responsibility. TRUTH. ALL of them are, on a symbolic level, things that are bigger than the individual, bigger than the supposedly "autonomous" self. Things that demand servanthood, and sacrifice, and devotion.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:47 AM

Sudden Jihad Syndrome... again...

Victor Davis Hanson :

...2) what I once in two NRO essays called al Qaedism, or the spontaneous rage of disaffected Muslims, who connect their own failures in some sense to generic radical Islamist sentiments, and act out that anger by running over the innocent (San Francisco or North Carolina), shooting Jews (the LAX or Seattle attacks), or shooting up malls or sniping. These are of course different from but in addition to the 24 organized plots that have been broken up since 9/11, four of them this year alone.

In reaction officials and news people often opt for therapeutic exegeses — stress, often of the post-traumatic sort, ill-feeling and bias shown Muslims, family problems, or brainwashing by nefarious outside actors — to explain the cold-blooded nature of the murdering...

It's called Sudden Jihad Syndrome, Mr Hanson. I blogged a bit about it two years ago here:

[Quoting Srdja Trifkovic] ...The SJS pattern, both in America and in Europe, is boringly predictable: a Muslim commits an act of violence, or is caught plotting to commit one. The authorities are either quick to deny the suspect's links with Islamic terrorism, or, if such a link is nevertheless suspected, adamant that he is acting alone. The local Muslim community responds with a mix of indignation and denial. Non-Muslim civic leaders then respond by reassuring the Muslim community that it is loved and appreciated. The media report heart rendering stories of the Muslim sense of sadness, rejection, alienation, or else dwell on the perpetrator's history of woe—in a "Bosnian" case by evoking alleged wartime traumas and blaming the Serbs.

Over the past couple of years there have been several SJS incidents directed against Americans. It is remarkable that even when the perpetrator explicitly linked his motives to jihad, the authorities refused to accept his word....

Something I wrote back then, which still applies:

...And we are not just talking left/liberal elites here. Republican leaders do it as well. I suspect they all know, perhaps unconsciously, that there is no centralized elite-controlled remedy, that the only way to fight such sporadic attacks is to empower ordinary people to arm themselves and watch and fight back. And to communicate horizontally, rather than up and down a hierarchy.

And the critical lack in many of our leaders is the belief that our civilization is worth fighting for. Or anything is worth fighting for. They may concede that that we should fight terrorists in far-off Afghanistan, where they don't have to see it. But what's also needed is to get really hard-assed right here in our own towns. There are groups right here who include or shelter our deadly enemies, and they should be getting slammed around hard. For the sake of peace.

And a lot of our paralysis is due to political correctness. For instance anyone in school now is bombarded with the message that America did a loathsome thing by interning Japanese-Americans in WWII. Well, OK, but it is never mentioned that IF that community had really included the spies and saboteurs that were feared, and IF there had been no other way to stop them, then internment would have been the correct decision. I suspect that a lot of people preaching jihad should be interned right now. But if I were a leader I would not suggest it, because most people have been so brainwashed that they could not even consider or discuss the question. They literally could. Not. Think. (I recommend you read: Political correctness lowers your effective IQ.)
Posted by John Weidner at 8:07 AM

October 24, 2009

Truth spoken in the Temple of Lies...

I recommend this speech by Colonel Richard Kemp, at a UN hearing on the vile Goldstone Report. (Thanks to Powerline.)

Why do Leftists (and Islamists) hate Jews? Because they symbolize being chosen by God. Jews are the Chosen People, and this remains so even of the many Jews who have assimilated to secular liberal culture, and abandoned the faith of their fathers! Delicious irony. A lifetime of following atheistical Lefty fads and and embracing appeasement and weakness and anti-American groveling, and still they are gonna get the chop if any of the world's myriad Jew-haters gets the power!

Posted by John Weidner at 8:17 AM

October 11, 2009

Why W and I like India and Obama doesn't...

Far Eastern Economic Review | Why Islamic Extremists Hate India: (Thanks to O Judd)

...But more than anything else, India is a danger because by its pluralistic nature it is a real threat for Islamic extremists. Not only does India have the world's third-largest Muslim population (Pakistan finally overtook India recently), despite domestic differences with the majority Hindus, Indian Muslims have remained loyal to the Indian state, and have fully embraced democracy. While many Muslims live in poverty in India, so do other Indians, including Hindus. And Muslims alone are not victims of human rights abuses in India. What's more, talented Muslims have often reached the top of Indian corporations, judiciary, armed forces, bureaucracy, and other fields, entirely on merit. They are able to express their grievances through the democratic system. It is no surprise, then, that of all the recruits al Qaeda has been able to attract around the world, barely a handful of Indian Muslims have been swayed by al Qaeda's nihilist ideology.

This is not an accident; it is the result of India's democratic structure. Despite all its flaws, and despite the failure of the Indian system to bring to justice those who have been implicated in horrifying religious riots in the past, the Indian system works. And while its two large neighbors — Pakistan and Bangladesh — have elected governments at the moment, both have suffered long bouts of military dictatorships or other unrepresentative governments. Except for the brief period of 19 months under the Emergency in the mid-1970s, when Indira Gandhi suspended key provisions of the constitution, detained opposition leaders, and imposed press censorship, India has been democratic. (Indeed, voters threw out Gandhi's government in 1977, and like any other flawed democrat, Gandhi left office, returning to power only after she had regained electoral support in 1980).

Many in Pakistan — and Bangladesh — value democracy as much as do Indians. But in Pakistan's case, the troika of corrupt politicians, fundamentalist mullahs, and military commanders with a disproportionate sense of self-importance, have never allowed real democracy to take root. At the time of India's independence in 1947, the rationale of dividing India along religious lines was based on the assumption that Muslims in the Indian subcontinent would not be able to live peacefully under Hindu domination. Muslims wanted that homeland; the Congress in India did not want the country to be divided initially, but later agreed to the partition. But six decades after that, despite several bloody riots, Indian Muslims have thrived in secular, democratic India; Pakistan has veered towards being declared a failed state....

Democracy isn't "cool." In fact it is the very opposite. It's a club that admits ordinary people, so self-styled elites always hate it and sneer at it. It implicitly says that ordinary messy life is of great worth, so gnostics draw away from it with disgust. As do entertainment stars, "artists," journalists, trend-setters and academics.

Unfortunately we have reached the situation where a large part of the population has the leisure and affluence to hunger to think of themselves as being part of some small cutting-edge elite. Everybody wants to be chiefs, and nobody wants to be indians. Or Indians.

How crazy is it that kids at the mall patronize a nation-wide (maybe world-wide by now) chain of shops selling mass-produced rebellion-against-middle-class-conformity punk clothes? That advertises the "Fall Collection" complete with funky sneakers?

One laughs, but it's actually dangerous, because it's just this type of thinking that gave us Obama, and Suck-Up-To-Loudmouth-Dictators Week. Hugo Chavez is a pathetic creep, but you gotta take whatever Ché you can find...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:23 AM

October 3, 2009

Never again.

Charlene recommends this piece by Robin of Berkeley in American Thinker, Sympathy for the Devil. It's very much a "read the whole thing" thing. But I will quote a line that struck me...

...We have a man who has been privileged with the greatest honor, the Presidency, and what does he do? Does he demonstrate an ounce of gratitude or humility?

No, he betrays us in the most profound way possible: by not protecting and defending us....

And defending us means defending Israel. Israel is part of us. Part of our DNA, as Spengler put it. A sibling, in a way no other country is. An almost invariable marker of the sickness of Leftism is ice-heartedness towards both America and Israel.

Thanks to Roger Simon for these...

And this...

AFP: Israel gets two more German submarines:

...JERUSALEM — Israel has taken delivery of two German submarines ordered four years ago, a military spokesman said on Tuesday.

"We have received two Dolphin-class submarines built in Germany," he said, on condition of anonymity. The submarines, called U212s, can launch cruise missiles carrying nuclear warheads, although when it confirmed the sale in 2006 the German government said the two vessels were not equipped to carry nuclear weapons. The subs were ordered in 2005 and delivery was initially expected in 2010.

Including the two new ones, Israel has five German submarines -- the most expensive weapon platforms in Israel's arsenal.

Germany, which believes it has a historic responsibility to help Israel because of the mass murder of Jews in World War II, donated the first two submarines after the 1991 Gulf War....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:01 AM

September 28, 2009

Speaks for itself...

ThreatsWatch.Org: Commentary: General Silence:

...David Martin, CBS: How often have you talked to the President?

Gen. McChrystal: I've talked to the president since I've been here once on a VTC [Video Tele-Conference via secure satellite communications].

David Martin, CBS: ...You've talked to him once in 70 days.

Gen. McChrystal: That's correct.

David Martin, CBS: Do you expect to be talking to him more than that? It seemed the theater commander spoke with President bush on a weekly basis.

Gen. McChrystal: Well I don't think I lack for guidance or an understanding of his intent, but it would certainly be up to him on the frequency. ...

McChrystal is an honorable officer who won't criticize the Commander in Chief if he can possibly avoid it. But we can fill in the dots. And we can remember those foul lying leftists, including Obama, who excoriated Bush for supposedly neglecting the "central front" in the WoT. Just 'till they got power, of course. Now their true natures are coming out, in horrid betrayals of our troops and those countries who made the mistake of trusting us...

Rush Limbaugh: Better He Should Fail

Posted by John Weidner at 12:52 PM

September 23, 2009

At least this guy's honest about his party's dishonesty...

Matthew Hoy:

...Which brings us to this revealing admission from a lefty blogger I've never heard of but who will stand in for much of the left because what he said is obviously true. (via Ace)
Escalation is a bad idea. The Democrats backed themselves into defending the idea of Afghanistan being The Good War because they felt they needed to prove their macho bonafides [when] they called for withdrawal from Iraq. Nobody asked too many questions sat the time, including me. But none of us should forget that it was a political strategy, not a serious foreign policy.

There have been many campaign promises "adjusted" since the election. There is no reason that the administration should feel any more bound to what they said about this than all the other committments [sic] it has blithely turned aside in the interest of "pragmatism." [emphasis added]
While American men and women have been fighting and dying half a world away, Democrats were only supporting them because it was politically convenient....

What personally annoys me is remembering the Leftie bloggers who attacked people like me, with unctuous self-righteousness, for supporting President Bush while he was supposedly "neglecting the real enemy in Afghanistan." Now they have the chance to do what they wanted. Are any of them urging Obama to get going, and find Bin Laden? Ha!

Posted by John Weidner at 7:11 AM

August 20, 2009

Made me proud...

I recommend this piece by Michael Yon, Do Americans Care about British Soldiers?

It's about an amazing effort to save a severely wounded British soldier in Afghanistan. It involved multiple airlifts, coordinated by the The Combined Air and Space Operations Center, which is an amazing place in itself.

...Officials at the Combined Air and Space Operations Center and Joint Patient Movement Requirements Center at an air base in Southwest Asia, and the Global Patient Movements Requirement Center and 618th Tanker Airlift Control Center at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., immediately started working to find the aircraft, aircrews and medical crews to airlift the soldier to further care.

"We received the call on our operations floor to airlift the British soldier from Afghanistan to Germany and immediately did what we could to make it happen," said Col. John Martins, the 618th TACC director of operations who led coordination efforts for the mission. "It was a complex move. Not only did we have to find a plane and crew to fly the patient out of theater, but also we had to find another plane and aircrew to get the right medical personnel and equipment into Afghanistan because we needed specialized medical teams to care for the patient in-flight."

In less than six hours, a C-17 Globemaster III previously scheduled to fly a cargo mission was airborne with the required medical personnel and equipment from Ramstein Air Base, Germany, to Afghanistan...

And, sorry to interject politics here, but the Brits themselves were capable of neither the medical nor the logistical miracles needed to save their own soldier. Why? Because that once-great nation has been destroyed by the very socialist policies that Obama and "Progressives" want to use to destroy the United States of America.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:40 PM

July 26, 2009

Is this insane, or what?

Clinton says Iran's nuclear pursuit is futile -- Reuters:

...WASHINGTON, July 26 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday that Iran would not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon and major powers were united to prevent that from happening.

"Your (Iran's) pursuit is futile," she told NBC's "Meet the Press" program, adding that Iran did not have the right to develop a nuclear weapon.

Her comments come after Clinton annoyed ally Israel last week by saying the United States would cope with a nuclear Iran by arming its allies in the Gulf and extending a "defense umbrella" over the region... (my emphasis)

Is there something worse than allowing a mad tyrannical theocracy with dreams of regional domination to build nuclear weapons? YES. Making threats against them and then backing down! Even our brain-dead pacifists should be able to understand that.

SO, what does "would not be allowed" mean here? What are we going to DO? Can one even imagine Barack Obama acting with Churchillian firmness to lead the free world in disarming Iran—even if it requires military force? I sure can't. If he can do it I'll take back all those things I said about him...

And "major powers are united?" Since when? Which powers? If Hillary has accomplished that, I'll bow down and reverence her as one of the great diplomats of all time. But it sure sounds like BS to me.

Not to mention calamitous folly...

Posted by John Weidner at 4:11 PM

July 23, 2009

Candle-light vigil postponed...

...Awaiting the inauguration of President Palin. Then the pacifists and fake-Quakers will come out of the woodwork and start blubbering about how un-Christian it is to believe in anything enough to fight for it...

From an Instapundit reader... (Thanks to AOG)

Notice how there was no "antiwar" movement during the '90's, even though we were at war the entire time in Iraq, Haiti, Kosovo, a dab here and there in Afghanistan and Sudan. Then, after 9/11, it was the "Next Vietnam" with a passionate "antiwar" movement with the NYTs full treasonous participation, just like the good old days. And now, even though the daily death count has matched the highest daily rate we ever saw in Iraq, there is no "antiwar" movement or daily casualty count in all the newspapers. It's like the "antiwar" movement can be turned off and on like a switch, depending on which party is in the White House.

It's not war the pacifist dreads, it's when the President says that we are the good guys, undertaking a noble cause worth sacrificing for.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:45 PM

July 13, 2009

Blogging helps you not forget...

This is an old post, from 2003. Frivolous souls may forget the pain and sacrifice and nobility of that time, but I don't forget...

I was just thrilled by this story by a 9/11 widow who went to Iraq on a USO tour...

by Christy Ferer
6/30/2003 - NEW YORK (AFPN) -- When I told friends about my pilgrimage to Iraq to thank the U.S. troops, reaction was underwhelming at best.
Some were blunt. "Why are you going there?" They could not understand why it was important for me, a 9/11 widow, to express my support for the men and women stationed today in the Gulf...
How can anyone not understand? Unbelievable! Well, actually not so hard to believe-- sure and I know the type. Prissy cold-hearted urban-elite liberals--this town is full of them too...
...As we were choppered over deserts that looked like bleached bread crumbs, I wondered if I'd feel like a street hawker, passing out Port Authority pins and baseball caps as I said "thank you" to the troops. Would a hug from me mean anything at all in the presence of the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders and a Victoria’s Secret model?

The first "meet and greet" made me weep. Why? Soldiers, armed with M16s and saddlebags of water in 120-degree heat, swarmed over the stars for photos and autographs. When it was announced that a trio of Sept. 11 family members was also in the tent it was as if a psychic cork on an emotional dam was popped.

Soldiers from all over our great country rushed toward us to express their condolences. Some wanted to touch us, as if they needed a physical connection to our sorrow and for some living proof for why they were there.

One mother of two from Montana told me she enlisted because of Sept. 11. Dozens of others told us the same thing. One young soldier showed me his metal bracelet engraved with the name of a victim he never knew and that awful date none of us will ever forget...

...One particular soldier, Capt. Vargas from the Bronx, told me he enlisted in the Army after some of his wife's best friends were lost at the World Trade Center.

When he glimpsed the piece of recovered metal from the Towers that I had been showing to a group of soldiers he grasped for it as if it were the Holy Grail. Then he handed it to Kid Rock who passed the precious metal through the 5000 troops in the audience. They lunged at the opportunity to touch the steel that symbolized what so many of them felt was the purpose of their mission -- which puts them at risk every day in the 116 degree heat, not knowing all the while if a sniper was going to strike at anytime...
In a recent post Donald Sensing wrote that 3d Division was a wasting asset. That because of its over-long deployment, re-enlistments would fall catastrophically and the division would have to be almost re-built with new people. Perhaps it will be so, it will be interesting to see. But perhaps he has overlooked one thing. We are all of us hungry to have meaning in our lives, to feel like we are making a difference. Our guys in Iraq have a difficult duty, but I would guess that every one of them also has the deep satisfaction that comes from doing something that may change the world... [As far as I've heard, The excellent Mr Sensing was, happily, wrong.]
Posted by John Weidner at 8:57 PM

June 26, 2009

We right. You wrong...

White House Is Drafting Executive Order to Allow Indefinite Detention of Terror Suspects - washingtonpost.com:

The Obama administration, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, is drafting an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations.

Such an order would embrace claims by former president George W. Bush that certain people can be detained without trial for long periods under the laws of war. Obama advisers are concerned that bypassing Congress could place the president on weaker footing before the courts and anger key supporters, the officials said....

This issue is, and was from the beginning, a no-brainer. If you fight a war with some group, you have to hold prisoners. It's either that or shoot them all on the battlefield. Am I right?

And if your enemy follows the laws of war (which require wearing uniforms) then it will be obvious who is a combatant deserving to be held. If they don't, then they are committing war crimes, and THEY are responsible if someone is held wrongly. AND, gentle reader, those leftists who blame America for—possibly—holding someone unjustly are committing a grave moral wrong, by not apportioning blame honestly.

Likewise, if our enemy follows the laws of war, then it will be clear to all when the war has ended, and thus when prisoners should be released. If they fail to do so, then prisoners will be held indefinitely. BUT, that is the fault of the enemy, such as al-Qaeda. Not us. And it is a disgusting moral crime when anti-American leftists claim that it is America's fault that there is no clear end for the conflict.

Pre-dawn raid, Ain Lalin, Iraq
[Picture originally posted here]

Posted by John Weidner at 8:27 PM

June 19, 2009

Am I the only one who notices that what we are doing is INSANE?

North Korea has announced that it will shoot a missile in the direction of Hawaii. So what do we do? We take defensive measures! Arrrghhh!

I mean, like, if a 400lb crazy brute is harassing people, you do want to be a wee bit cautious about how you handle the situation. But suppose a two-foot tall midget lunatic is wandering around whacking people with a golf club. And we react...How? By being very careful not to provoke him, and by trying to bribe him not to express his feelings. And by advising people to wear shin-guards, just in case.

And by searching our consciences to find out what we've done to deserve these blows. And by declaring that stopping this pint-sized juggernaut would be un-Chistian. And that even talking about doing so is evidence that one is dangerously bellicose, and not to be trusted.

And then when we learn that he's trying to build a machin e gun, we...do what? Why, redouble our efforts to be pacifistic and non-judgemental.

And if I point out that he has people imprisoned in his basement, and is torturing them and starving them to death.... Why, that means I'm some kind of neo-con imperialist! A bad person, obviously!

Mark Steyn, on the Hugh Hewitt Show...

...HH: Now let me play for you an extraordinary, historic bit of tape, Mark Steyn. Earlier today, Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense:

RG: We do have some concerns of they were to launch a missile to the West in the direction of Hawaii. I've directed the deployment again of THAD missiles to Hawaii, and the SBX radar has deployed away from Hawaii to provide support.

HH: Mark Steyn, he's talking about North Korea shooting missiles in the general direction of Hawaii.

MS: Yeah, and this has been a slow-motion train wreck, I think, for American credibility in the world. Ostensibly, they're not supposed to have the capability to do this. Again, the Washington bigwigs used to mock the rumors that were, going back now to I think 1998-1999. There was a rumor that the North Koreans were planning on firing a nuke at Vancouver or Montreal because it would demonstrate to the Americans that they were serious, but without inviting their own nuclear retaliation. And the State Department mocked it as preposterous. Now flash forward ten years later, and we have the Secretary of Defense of the United States making a serious, sober statement about protecting Hawaii from a nuclear attack by a state that has a lower GDP per capita than Zimbabwe. This is deeply damaging to American credibility in the world today....
Posted by John Weidner at 5:03 PM

June 2, 2009

Once the poison is in the system...

Wall Street Journal: Islamists Lose Ground in the Middle East:

...The results of Kuwait's elections last month -- in which Islamists were rebuffed and four women were elected to parliament -- will likely reinvigorate the movement for greater democracy in the region that has stalled since the hopeful "Arab spring" of 2005...

Well, it didn't just "stall." When our "Democrats" undermined their own country in war-time, they were also undermining all the good things that were flowing from our efforts.

...It also puts pressure on the Obama administration to end its deafening silence on democracy promotion....

Yeah, like they care...

...Although ruled by a hereditary monarch, Kuwait is the most democratic of the Arab countries. The press is relatively free, parliament has real power, and politicians are chosen in legitimate elections. However, Kuwait is a part of the Persian Gulf, where the subordination of women is traditionally most severe. Historically, Kuwait's political process was for males only. But in 2005 parliament yielded to female activists and approved a bill giving women the right to vote and hold office.

In 2006 and 2008, several women ran for parliament, though none won. The women that captured four of the 50 seats last month weren't aided by quotas; they won on their own merits. Their success will undoubtedly inspire a new wave of women's activism in nearby countries.

So, "feminist" organizations and leaders. You're going to support this, right? Ha ha.

...Almost as significant as the women's gains were the Islamist losses. The archconservative Salafist Movement's campaign for a boycott of female candidates obviously fell flat, and the number of seats held by Sunni Islamists fell sharply.

Thus continues a string of defeats for Islamists over the last year and a half from west to east...

President George W. Bush knew exactly what he was doing when he injected his democracy juice right into the arteries of Islamic despotism. And our "Democrats" and "pacifists" and "feminists" and all the other fake-leftists knew exactly what they were doing when they fought him every inch of the way. Their aim is tyranny.

(I have no good reason to put this picture in, save to remind us of happier times, and perhaps irritate some prune-faced fake-liberals...)

Barbara, Laura and Jenna Bush

Posted by John Weidner at 7:15 AM

May 24, 2009

A great American versus an amiable con-man...

I liked this piece by Michael Goodwin, Obama gets schooled on terror: Cheney bests him in speech duel — by sticking to the facts:

* NOTE on the caricature below. It's by cartoonist F. T. Rea. (With permission.) I think it's cool—I LIKE tough old white guys who haven't succumbed to lefty nihilism and relativism. Possibly I'm not on quite the same, er, philosophical wavelength as Mr Rea, but hey, great art transcends partisan politics!  ;-)


It was a tale of two speeches. One was clear, direct and powerful. Barack Obama gave the other speech.

It would have been heresy to write those words any other time, so commanding has President Obama been with the spoken word. [Not if you prefer honesty and straight talk.] But the real Mission Impossible was to imagine that wheezy old Dick Cheney would be the speaker to best Obama. [Character and honesty trump all. TRUTH trumps all. And real Americans HONOR those who have grown old and wise in the service of their country.]

Yet that happened last week, and I predict it won't be a fluke. From here on out, results will increasingly trump the sensation of Obama's high-toned lectures every time.

Especially if they are as dreary as last Thursday's, which was so disingenuous and self-reverential as to be one of the low moments of his presidency. Besides not being able to clearly lay out his plan for Guantanamo detainees, Obama never mentioned what will happen to others we capture in Iraq and Afghanistan. [Good question!] Perhaps we will take no more prisoners? [We will continue to take prisoners—we're the good guys. But it would be perfectly legal and reasonable to just shoot them—they torture and kill any Americans they capture. Which never bothers the fake-liberals who pretend to "care" about prisoners.]

Meanwhile, the occasion showed that Cheney, the darkest of dark horses, is emerging as a fact checker in exile. With Democrats holding all Washington power, the ex-veep's willingness to challenge Obama's narrative of the war on terror is a poor substitute for an institutional check-and-balance, but it's all we have. [Cheney's always been the same guy. It's only those who believe the lies of our lying press who are surprised by his vigourous defense of our country in time of war.]

What I love about Dick Cheney is that he doesn't buy into the idea that leftists get to set the terms of the debate. That we have to be mealy-mouthed about our patriotism and our determination to destroy terrorist animals. He doesn't CARE if lefty journalists call him a "hate-monger." Bless the man.

In that sense, Cheney's ability to outduel Obama could mark a turning point in the debate on this and other critical issues. His TKO over the President recalls the three most important things in real estate: Location, location, location. The key to Cheney's powerful performance: Facts, facts, facts.

Cheney, whose wife jokes that calling him Darth Vader "humanizes" him, coughed his way through a 40-minute defense of the Bush administration's anti-terror strategy. He glossed over huge lapses, such as the flawed intelligence leading to the invasion of Iraq, [WRONG. That was the SAME intelligence EVERYBODY had, including Dem leaders in Congress. We learned through the Duelfer Report that Saddam's own generals thought the WMD's were there! Saddam's guys were more honest than our "Democrats," who now claim "Bush lied" for believing exactly what they believed and said in 2002.] but used to great effect the most compelling fact - no successful attacks on America since 9/11...
In a contrast-and-compare sequence, he challenged Obama's approach, including the release of the so-called torture memos and talk of prosecuting Bush officials.

"To the very end of our administration, we kept Al Qaeda terrorists busy with other problems," Cheney said. "We focused on getting their secrets, instead of sharing ours with them. And on our watch, they never hit this country again. After the most lethal and devastating terrorist attack ever, seven and a half years without a repeat is not a record to be rebuked and scorned, much less criminalized. It is a record to be continued until the danger has passed." [Amen, brother Richard. And a lot of the credit goes to you.]

For his part, Obama sounded like a put-upon plaintiff arguing a Supreme Court case. The heavy symbolism of his setting, the National Archives in front of an original copy of the Constitution, added to the worrisome impression he is lost in the legal and political weeds. [Not to mention that he's a pygmy compared to that setting.]

Ironically, his criticism that Bush took his eye off the ball to invade Iraq [WRONG of course. Iraq is precisely WHY they haven't attacked us again. It was what the terrorists hate and fear most—democracy and freedom planted right smack-dab in their heart of darkness. If Dems REALLY want peace they should promise that America will do the same thing again if we are attacked. Then we WON'T be attacked.] has a corollary in Obama's fixation on interrogation techniques. He is missing the larger point

[PS: Don't tell anyone, but the real reasons I advised George and Dick and Tony to invade Iraq are here.]

After conceding terrorism presents unique challenges, Obama argued "the decisions that were made over the last eight years established an ad hoc legal approach for fighting terrorism that was neither effective nor sustainable - a framework that failed to rely on our legal traditions and time-tested institutions; that failed to use our values as a compass." [We have no "time-tested institutions" for this new situation. All we have is the template Bush has created—which Obam is, in fact, following closely!]

Whoa Nellie - are the terrorists going to hit us again or not? That's what people want to know, not whether a bunch of lawyers think we're being too tough on them.

Unfortunately, Obama was less than reassuring, saying: "Neither I nor anyone else standing here today can say that there will not be another terrorist attack that takes American lives." [What a PASSIVE thing to say. Compare with JFK promising to "pay any price" to defend freedom. Or Bush promising to "smoke 'em out."]

That's a fact, of course, but it's also a fact that he's been warned his policies will make it more likely we will be hit again. It's a warning he dismisses at America's peril.

I actually think the Mr Cheney's arguments are too narrowly focused, concentrating on just the defense of the USA. The poor folk in various Third World countries are a thousand times more at risk than we are. I'd suggest this as a better context for our debates:

America has, reluctantly, and because no one else will do it, become almost the only "cop on the beat" in the rough gang-ridden neighborhood that is our planet. A neighborhood where one hears screams coming out of buildings at night, and bodies are found on the sidewalks in the morning. This cop sometimes roughs-up suspicious characters, and it may be right to criticize him. BUT, if he fails, then criminal gangs take over, and the little people's sufferings will be extreme.

Therefore, the starting point for criticism is to be in sympathy with the cop and his extremely difficult task. And to be in solidarity with the common citizens who are going to be crushed if hoodlums can take over the streets. One should start by imagining what it must be like to try to preserve the rule of law among vicious criminals. It is hard, dangerous and thankless. And then imagine what it must be like to try to raise an child to be honest and moral in a place where drug-dealers and gangsters strut and kill people, and seem more successful than those who obey the law.
Posted by John Weidner at 6:07 PM

May 22, 2009

The genius of democracy....

Krauthammer:

...If hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue, then the flip-flops on previously denounced anti-terror measures are the homage that Barack Obama pays to George Bush. Within 125 days, Obama has adopted with only minor modifications huge swaths of the entire, allegedly lawless Bush program.

The latest flip-flop is the restoration of military tribunals. During the 2008 campaign, Obama denounced them repeatedly, calling them an "enormous failure." Obama suspended them upon his swearing-in. Now they're back.

Of course, Obama will never admit in word what he's doing in deed. As in his rhetorically brilliant national-security speech yesterday claiming to have undone Bush's moral travesties, the military commissions flip-flop is accompanied by the usual Obama three-step: (a) excoriate the Bush policy, (b) ostentatiously unveil cosmetic changes, (c) adopt the Bush policy....

And this is right on the money...

...The genius of democracy is that the rotation of power forces the opposition to come to its senses when it takes over. When the new guys, brought to power by popular will, then adopt the policies of the old guys, a national consensus is forged and a new legitimacy established.

That's happening before our eyes. The Bush policies in the war on terror won't have to await vindication by historians. Obama is doing it day by day. His denials mean nothing. Look at his deeds....

Like I been telling you since November of 2001, [link, link] President Bush has been doing what is right, strategically, tactically, legally and morally...in the Global War On Terror. And now we see Obama agreeing with me and the former President. Running the circus "concentrates the mind."

And not once have the slippery Lefty cowards who snipe at me engaged in serious principled debate. They say life imitates art. Well, I say life imitates Random Jottings!

Posted by John Weidner at 8:29 AM

May 21, 2009

We are the Good Guys. That's the politically-incorrect truth...

I recommend former Vice-President Dick Cheney's Speech at the AEI. An antidote to the moral squalor and squashiness of the Obama universe...:

...The United States of America was a good country before 9/11, just as we are today. List all the things that make us a force for good in the world--for liberty, for human rights, for the rational, peaceful resolution of differences--and what you end up with is a list of the reasons why the terrorists hate America. If fine speech-making, appeals to reason, or pleas for compassion had the power to move them, the terrorists would long ago have abandoned the field. And when they see the American government caught up in arguments about interrogations, or whether foreign terrorists have constitutional rights, they don't stand back in awe of our legal system and wonder whether they had misjudged us all along. Instead the terrorists see just what they were hoping for--our unity gone, our resolve shaken, our leaders distracted. In short, they see weakness and opportunity.

What is equally certain is this: The broad-based strategy set in motion by President Bush obviously had nothing to do with causing the events of 9/11. But the serious way we dealt with terrorists from then on, and all the intelligence we gathered in that time, had everything to do with preventing another 9/11 on our watch. The enhanced interrogations of high-value detainees and the terrorist surveillance program have without question made our country safer. Every senior official who has been briefed on these classified matters knows of specific attacks that were in the planning stages and were stopped by the programs we put in place.

This might explain why President Obama has reserved unto himself the right to order the use of enhanced interrogation should he deem it appropriate. What value remains to that authority is debatable, given that the enemy now knows exactly what interrogation methods to train against, and which ones not to worry about. Yet having reserved for himself the authority to order enhanced interrogation after an emergency, you would think that President Obama would be less disdainful of what his predecessor authorized after 9/11. It's almost gone unnoticed that the president has retained the power to order the same methods in the same circumstances. When they talk about interrogations, he and his administration speak as if they have resolved some great moral dilemma in how to extract critical information from terrorists. Instead they have put the decision off, while assigning a presumption of moral superiority to any decision they make in the future....

Vice President Cheney with troops in Qatar, March 17, 2002

Posted by John Weidner at 5:33 PM

May 20, 2009

Put pressure on the Palestinians? Unthinkable!

Remember? Remember that "brief interruption" when Bush actually demanded that Palestinians start acting more like human beings as a pre-condition of peace? Heady days, but they couldn't last, of course...

Rachel Abrams in the Weekly Standard...

So, after a brief interruption during which George W. Bush reversed generations of American policy and put pressure on the Palestinians before making demands of the Israelis, it's back to business as usual for U.S.-Israel relations. What happened at yesterday's meeting between Bibi Netanyahu and Barack Obama was no more than a return to the U.S. policy of pressing Israel to endanger herself for the sake of whichever "strategic interest" happens to be paramount at the moment--today it is our diplomatic opening to Iran that may be imperiled by a lack of progress on the establishment of a Palestinian state--and, of course, that ever-desirable, always-elusive siren, "peace."

Put another way, you, Israel, can have peace as soon as you agree to diminish yourself to a helplessly undefended and vulnerable entity, whether by ceding land or conceding on a divided Jerusalem or acceding to the "right of return" of Arabs displaced after losing the war they launched against you in 1948--and we, America, can have good relations with sheikhs and mullahs who hate you only slightly more than they hate us.

I've explained the "whys" of this many times, but it still amazes me that our "pacifists" can suck-up to people who teach kindergarten children to be suicide bombers, and our "Democrats" always oppose the only democracy in the Middle East. (Well, now there's a second one, and, surprise, they are not rooting for that one either!)

Or that the one country in the Middle East that has equal rights for gays and women is hated by our fake "gay-activists" and fake feminists...

woman of the Israel Defence Forces
Woman of the Israel Defense force. Detail from a
picture by photographer
Ashkan Sahihi.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:02 AM

May 18, 2009

Finally... Thank you, Mr Cheney!

Stephen F. Hayes: Cheney's War on the Democrats:

...Cheney is making arguments that the Bush administration largely avoided throughout the second term. Aside from an occasional, defensive speech about its war on terror policies, the Bush White House allowed its opponents to level harsh attacks with little or no response. Only in the final months of the administration did the White House offer a consistent, unapologetic argument that Bush administration policies, however controversial, were responsible for keeping the country safe in the seven years after the 9/11 attacks.

Equally important is that the views of the American public on national security are much closer to Cheney's than Maureen Dowd's. Democrats have made the assumption that because Cheney is personally unpopular, the policies he has advocated are, too. Obama did not become president because voters supported his positions on national security and the war on terror. They don't....

I would make a broader argument, but Dick Cheney is dead right. I'd argue that George W Bush did not just keep the US safe, he made the WORLD a much safer place. Remember, most of the suffering inflicted by al-Qaeda and the Taliban and other terror groups is inflicted on people in the Third World. We are very safe compared with the poor wretches in Pakistan or Afghanistan.

(That's why I despise pacifists. Especially "Christian" pacifists. They always turn someone else's cheek. They say "Jesus said we mustn't oppose evil with force." Then they toddle off to dinner and a safe bed, protected by armed cops and the world's strongest military. The animals know full well that massive slaughter will be inflicted on anyone who threatens them. And their icy little hearts are unmoved when niggers in far places are shredded by suicide bombers. They pass on the other side of the road.)

That's part of what drove me nuts about the passivity in debate of the Bush Administration. If you are doing something morally wrong, then stop. If you think you are morally in the right, you have the obligation to say so loud and clear. You must be willing to debate. To stand up against false arguments. Bush was wrong to not fight for his ideas in the ring.

Vice president Cheney and his wife and daughters

Posted by John Weidner at 8:23 AM

May 16, 2009

Toldja...

Another Friday, another bow to Bush's antiterror legacy -- WSJ.com:

...President Obama's endorsements of Bush-Cheney antiterror policies are by now routine: for example, opposing the release of prisoner abuse photographs and support for indefinite detention for some detainees, and that's just this week. More remarkable is White House creativity in portraying these U-turns as epic change. Witness yesterday's announcement endorsing military commissions....

Just call me Sister Toldja. I wrote on August 23, 2008....

...George W Bush has set the template of the Global War on Terror, much like Truman did for the Cold War, and that's the way we will proceed from here on out... [Link]
And here's another link. June 07, 2008...
...President Bush has created the template for fighting the War on Terror, just as Truman set our course for the Cold War. Future presidents will be limited to filling in the details. Even pygmies like Obama. If they are smart, they will just read Random Jottings.

Or, better yet, listen to this deep old file....
Posted by John Weidner at 11:41 AM

May 7, 2009

"Small "t" torture"...

TigerHawk:

...Jon Stewart had to call Truman a war criminal over Hiroshima-Nagasaki, else he'd have lost the debate. QED.

A similar tactic from the left is to force debate over whether waterboarding is or isn't torture. If you admit it is, then waterboarding gets lumped in with far worse tortures -- you lose the debate. But by saying it isn't, you look disingenuous or worse.

I'm convinced waterboarding keeps coming up, because the left enjoys playing this rhetorical game. Waterboarding is a small sideshow in the scheme of things -- it's small "t" torture, didn't happen a lot, and many of us would wish far worse things upon guys like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Obama has dredged it up to make himself look good -- especially with his base -- and as a distraction from more momentous things that are going on.

Exactly. It's a rhetorical game, defining "torture." We always lose.

But more important is not to let the real context of the debate be denied. The US ended torture and cruelty in Iraq and Afghanistan that were millions of times worse than anything we've even been accused of. But this "debate" is one the Left has moved onto it's own ground, where nothing happens unless the US (or Israel) is present. A world where only the US is real. We should not let Lefty psycho-dramas set the terms of debate.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:25 AM

May 4, 2009

Yer toast, Jews...

Roger L. Simon:

...Did Rahm Emanuel just put the screws to his own people? Quite possibly, although all we have at present is a second hand report of what he told 300 big donors to AIPAC in a private meeting. According to the Jerusalem Post: Thwarting Iran's nuclear program is conditional on progress in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. [bold mine]

Great, Rahm. What a guy you are for spelling this out. But before you do anything, would you please explain the word "progress"? When last we saw serious negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians (Bill Clinton and then Taba), the Palestinians, led by Arafat, walked out and began Intifada II. Would you have blamed Israel for that lack of "progress" and allowed Iran to get the bomb? Could it just be that the Palestinians (Hamas and Fatah) don't really want a two-state solution? Has the occurred to you after all this time? What if that turns out to be true? Think about that, Rahm. This isn't a Hollywood negotiation that your brother might conduct between Warner Brothers and Universal. People die here, big time. As Ayatollah Rafsanjani has told us, the Iranians don't fear a nuclear war with Israel because there are hundreds of more millions of Muslims than there are Jews.

One last question, Rahm. How do you sleep?...

Israel better look to itself. The White House is running on the Jeremiah Wright worldview, and Jews are definitely expendable. Israel should pull out all the stops to bolster its alliances with the other friends of America that Obam is now abandoning in favor of tyrants. You know, horrid oppressor countries like India and Turkey and Indonesia and Japan. And she should take out Iran's nukes NOW.

And still American Jews will support Obama. It's part of their religion, which is liberalism. Suicidal liberalism. And if Tel Aviv gets turned to green glass, it will be a "tragedy," and they will STILL vote Democrat. And if they or their loved ones get their heads sawed off with rusty knives, they will STILL not vote for Republicans--why, of course not, that would be tacky!

And the whole business of linking Middle East peace to "progress" in "peace negotiations" between Israel and the Palestinians has always been an utter fraud and sham. It's just an excuse to do nothing, since there will never be peace with a sick death-cult that wants to destroy all the Jews. It's an excuse to leave tyrants in power in the interests of "peace." The peace of death for all the victims of tyranny and anti-Semitism.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:07 PM

April 28, 2009

"Is it ever just for us NOT to war against such regimes?"

Orrin Judd:

...So where Mr. Douzinas's intended audience, Europeans, have to answer his ridiculously easy question in the negative--wars can never be just, by definition, because their atheism excludes justice--we face a quite different question here in America. Particularly given the ease with which we can effect change once we turn our attention to states where unjust regimes prevail--Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti, Libya, Southern Sudan, etc.--the genuinely difficult moral question becomes: is it ever just for us not to war against such regimes? Do we implicate ourselves in the injustice when we fail to remove the dictatorships in Syria, Cuba, North Korea, Burma, the PRC, etc? Does the universal applicability of our Founding impose some moral obligation upon us to advance the march of Liberty wherever and whenever we can?

That's a pretty awesome burden and it's easy to see why the massively self-absorbed seculars want no part of it. But it isn't one that the residents of the City on the Hill can ever dodge more than briefly...

I sometimes wonder what might happen if St Thomas Aquinas (noted for explaining Just War Theory, along with almost everything else) came back, and was asked about the "War on Terror." My guess is that he would say that it is not a war at all. No armies are arrayed against us; we fight against no prince.

Rather, our situation is like dealing with infestations of quasi-revolutionary robber-bands. Lestai. Brigands! And he would say that we don't need to indulge in a lot of head-scratching about what is the moral course of action. It is obvious we should quickly go smoke them out and string them up before they loot and pillage nearby towns.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:26 AM

April 24, 2009

Testing Obama...

At Least 60 More Are Killed in New Attacks in Baghdad - NYTimes.com:

BAGHDAD — Two suicide bombers struck outside the gates of the holiest Shiite site in Baghdad on Friday, killing at least 60 people and wounding scores more, according to preliminary reports from police officials....

They aren't doing this because they have any hopes of restoring the Caliphate in Mesopotamia. Or of frightening Nouri al-Maliki!

Nuh uh. This is aimed at one place. Washington DC. They know perfectly well who the weak sisters are. They know who's been traveling the globe apologizing for America's horridness, and threatening to prosecute those who have kept America safe for eight years.

This is what "pacifism" and appeasement get you. The moral and pacifist thing for Obama to do right now is to poke al-Qaeda in the eye with his eye-poking stick. Give them a brutally painful lesson.

But he won't. So you may expect things to get worse. The next test will be bigger...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:49 PM

Yet another comment on a comment....

I started to comment on a comment by my friend Dave T, at this post, but it grew longer and longer, and I decided to make it a stand-alone post because I don't want to waste electrons on Earth Day:

What Dave's given here won't lead to an honest debate [on so-called torture]. There is something askew, something missing.

Think about the recent Israeli incursion into Gaza. Put aside the question of who was right or wrong, and think about the fact that the whole Western world was riveted by the conflict. Why? It was tiny on a global scale, yet it was treated like the biggest of things. Treated as a much bigger deal than, say, the death of a million people in Rawanda. Why? The Middle East has multitudes of oppressions and attacks, but no one cares if Turks kill a bunch of Kurds, or Iranians oppress the Ghashghai. Why is Israel important? It is weird, yet everyone takes it for granted.

I won't keep you in suspense. The reason is that there are only two countries that are real to the average Western Leftist. The USA, and Israel. To most liberals, this planet is like some vast dark warehouse where the only lights are America and Israel. All the other places are only seen if one of us two comes near. Only exist at that moment.

I could cite hundreds of examples, but I'll just give you two. (Extrapolate! You can do it.)

Example: The French are much rougher on terror suspects than we are. Gitmo is a playpen compared to their jails, but no one cares. (This is not just a matter of us Americans giving priority to our own supposed sins; European Lefties obsess over Guantanamo just as much as we do.) Also the French have made numerous military incursions into Africa in the post-colonial period, but no one asks them to obey "international law," or ask permission of the UN. Why? Why do no "pacifists" protest? No one pays the least attention. The US is real, from a Left perspective, and France is not. Why?

Example: In 1992 30,000 Palestinians were kicked out of their homes and sent into exile. Quick, how many of you reading this can name the country that did the deed? Hmmm? And for bonus points, describe the protests that convulsed the globe as liberals and "pacifists" took to the streets demanding justice, and calling on the UN to take action. Well, you can't describe the protests because there weren't any. All those Libs who say they "care" about the Palestinians? They are liars.

Yet....not exactly liars. To them there is no lie, because only Israel is real. Nothing happened to the Palestinians in 1992 because they were not hurt by Israel. Kuwait does not exist to them! It's not real!

We see this stuff all the time, but we don't notice it. I feel like that obnoxious kid pointing out that the Emperor is naked.

Look at the quote by "IOZ" that Dave posted. It is, to put it bluntly, delusional. Crazy. It paints a world where nothing moves except the United States. No one else acts, or speaks, or has any effect on anything. The entire rest of the human race is just a deer in the headlights.

And Dave's own comments assume that the US is the only moral actor that can be considered. The only one that exists. I've followed Dave's writing for many a year, and he has never subjected other countries to intense moral scrutiny. Oh wait, I'm wrong! Actually, it did happen, just once. The country was......Israel! He once heaped harsh moral censure on Israel for striking back against a terror bomber by bulldozing a house. SO, get this, terrorists turn women and children into shredded meat, Israel responds without killing or injuring any person....and who does our supposed pacifist condemn? I've been shaking my head at the sheer craziness of that one for years.

Trying to reason with such a worldview is a waste of time. It's like telling a paranoiac that nobody's trying to get them. The simple fact is that America, which would really like to stay home and enjoy the good life, has been forced into the position of being the decent cop in a rough neighborhood. Of course we slap some wise-guys around, but it's necessary if hoodlums are to be kept from taking over and making things a million times worse.

We water-boarded a few people (and do so routinely to our own troops such as Navy SEALS in training) in the course of fighting against people who interrogate using electric drills to drill into people's heads and knees. That's the context that somehow goes missing when you try to debate with leftists. If poor brown-skinned fellows get tortured or massacred in distant corners of the globe, they don't care. They posture all the time about how "caring" they are, but they. DO. NOT. CARE. It's not even real to them. Therefore what America is doing in the WoT is not real.

Actually they don't even care about the real living breathing America or Israel! These are only important to them as symbols. Remember your college psych class? Symbols, right? Important, psychologically. And spiritually. (Actually in the Catholic worldview symbols can actually "come alive" and be real! Awesome life-changing stuff, but that's for another day.)

So what's going on, symbolically speaking? Well, you have to understand first that liberals are not liberals any more. (Sorry if you've heard this already.) Once upon a time liberalism was a philosophy that people believed in, would fight for. (Imagine Harry Truman or JFK being asked if it's morally right to fight to topple a fascist dictator, and bring democracy to oppressed people! They would have laughed to think one would even need to ask such a question.) Liberalism was a sort of religion, in the sense that it was bigger than the individual.

But that belief has drained away, and left nothing inside. Nothing but self-worship. Nihilism. NOTHING. Now people like IOZ or Dave are wearing liberalism as a kind of disguise.

But if you put yourself in the center, if you make yourself god, then you will hate and fear rival gods. Countries of course are not normally anything like gods. BUT, there are two countries (guess which) on this planet that are something analogous to gods, in the sense that they are really ideas, ideas that demand our service and belief. They are the only two countries you can easily join by accepting their idea. If you dig it, if you "get" the constitution and the Declaration and the Federalist Papers and similar things, then you are an American. Even if you never set foot on US flag territory! (And here's an interesting piece on becoming an Israeli.)

But the nihilist hates and fears belief. He is always against God (sometimes cloaking this in a religious disguise) because being a Christian or a Jew means being a "servant of the Word," or "bearing the yoke of Torah." If you worship yourself you can't be no servant! And on a much lower, but analogous, plane, being an American or an Israeli means being the servant of an idea. It means putting yourself second.

When Leftists rant interminably about the sins of Israel and America, (ignoring everything else in the world) what they are really saying is, "Don't you dare make a claim on me! Don't you dare suggest that anything could be more important than ME! I'm never going to be a servant!" They scrabble endlessly to find excuses to avoid duty, hence the way they savor any mistakes made by... you know who.

This is, I more and more suspect, a very unhappy state of existence. But the empty soul doesn't realize he's unhappy. Why? Because he's like that paranoid, who also doesn't think he's unhappy. He thinks everything would be FINE if only those people weren't trying to kill him! WE know that he's unhappy. He's obviously deeply unhappy. But he can't see it himself.

And the biggest pity is that it's all so unnecessary. People imagine that being a servant to things greater than the self is a kind of death. That it will be a misery. But it is just the opposite. It's hard to demonstrate this point when you look at the big ideas, but the cosmos works by analogies, and there is a small-scale analog close at hand that most people can understand. That is the family. You could look at me as a wretched slave to my wife and children, and in a way I am. But while I've lost big-time as an autonomous individual, I've gained enormous dignity and respect-worthiness as a member—a servant—of my little family. And gained far more than I've lost in richness of life. (And of course we see a lot of people who look on the family in the way Lefties look at America. And call abortion a "blessing," and being unattached "freedom.")

And all the other analogous things work just the same way, up and down the ladder of importance. They look like death to the self, but they are really where the self can be what it wants to be, and was always intended to be, the servant of greater things. Poor IOZ, he thinks he's declaring truths, but he looks to me like some poor ragged wretch walking down the street screaming paranoid fantasies.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:49 AM

April 23, 2009

Just for the record...

You might keep in mind this article from the Washington Post, December 9, 2007, Hill Briefed on Waterboarding in 2002. (From a good piece by Hugh Hewitt.)

This is similar to the abu Ghraib scandal, in which members of Congress knew of the problem months before it hit the news, knew it was being corrected and the guilty were due to be punished...then, when those pictures surfaced, they suddenly discovered that betraying their country with fake outrage would be a big partisan winner.

Same with "torture." Democrat leaders never gave a damn about waterboarding. Not until America was in difficulties. Then the dirty turncoats jumped-ship to what looked like the winning side—al Qaeda.. Leftist fake outrage about torture is treason pure and simple.

And any talk or action now about prosecuting Bush administration officials for things Congress was in agreement with at the time, and declined to make illegal....is not only vile injustice, but treason.

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said.

"The briefer was specifically asked if the methods were tough enough," said a U.S. official who witnessed the exchange.

Congressional leaders from both parties would later seize on waterboarding as a symbol of the worst excesses of the Bush administration's counterterrorism effort. ...


...Yet long before "waterboarding" entered the public discourse, the CIA gave key legislative overseers about 30 private briefings, some of which included descriptions of that technique and other harsh interrogation methods, according to interviews with multiple U.S. officials with firsthand knowledge.

With one known exception, no formal objections were raised by the lawmakers briefed about the harsh methods during the two years in which waterboarding was employed, from 2002 to 2003, said Democrats and Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter. The lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan).

Individual lawmakers' recollections of the early briefings varied dramatically, but officials present during the meetings described the reaction as mostly quiet acquiescence, if not outright support. "Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing," said Goss, who chaired the House intelligence committee from 1997 to 2004 and then served as CIA director from 2004 to 2006. "And the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:18 AM

April 20, 2009

Commenting on a comment...

I started to answer a comment by our friend Bisaal at this post, and decided to just make my answer—or rather, partial answer—a post in itself.
I am not clear on this subject at all but are you saying that rough work works so it is OK to do it now and then?.

Mark Shea I don't think radiates any partisan hatred or venom. He is consistent: anything that deviates from Church preaching is to be rejected.

Had the Catholics consistently followed this principle, a lot of past trouble eg World Wars might have been avoided.

Maybe you will object, that this goes against Prudence and thus Catholic States never applied such standard to themselves. But perhaps USA needs to set higher standards for itself.

The virtue of Prudence is crucial for Moral Reasoning. (For all people, not just Christians. Moral law exists objectively, applies to all of us, and can be apprehended by reason.) Prudence is not optional. It is not a "lower standard." It is not some sort of fudge-factor added on so that people can compromise with the strict demands of doing what is just. ALL good deeds and good things can be bad if done at the wrong time or place or situation. The beautiful poverty and service of St Francis would have been an evil thing if he had left a wife and children to starve to death!

There is NO situation—either personal or societal—to which one can simply "apply Church teachings" without considering Prudence.

And therefore there is no complex situation where one can simply take one small aspect and demand that people do the moral thing, without considering the whole. Prudence demands looking at the whole picture.

Therefore, if a moralist is going to try to influence people on how we should fight the "War on Terror," then he or she must consider the situation as a whole, and think through things. Think about questions like how, in general, this new kind of war can best be fought. And how those tactics and strategies fit in with moral principles.

As an example, people need to ponder how Christian "Just War" thinking should be applied to a new sort of war Aquinas never imagined. Another example: one needs to think about how our words and actions will be seen by others, and what behavior they will elicit. Are we tempting people to wrong-doing? (I'd say that Mr Shea is broadcasting messages that encourage terrorism.)

There are lots of similar things that need to be considered to decide what the moral way to deal with our world situation is. I don't follow everything Shea writes, so I may be doing him an injustice, but, it looks to me like he has cherry-picked those issues he happens to be interested in, and opines on them without ever articulating a philosophy of how the situation as a whole should be seen, and how dealt with. This is morally wrong; it is a failure to exercise Prudence.

In fact he not only has the duty to think through the whole situation, he also has the duty to encourage criticism and discourse. The way he sneers at those who disagree with him is itself a moral failure—it is doubling-down on his basic failure of Prudence. I wouldn't even consider challenging Shea's ideas at his blog, because I've never heard of him making reasoned responses like this one I'm trying to write. (Bisaal is doing me a favor by criticizing me, by prodding my reasoning, and I'm grateful.)

And I think Shea is partisan because his attitudes and the issues he in interested seem to match precisely those of far-left political activists. You can SEE this. The issues that make his cheeks glow and his eyes sparkle match up closely with groups like moveon.org or Code Pink. And he never seems (I don't read everything he writes, so I may be mistaken) to work up a sweat over the victims of terrorism, or over the war crimes that groups like al-Qaeda commit every day.

Who are the REAL Christians today? Well, I've blogged my opinion on one that often enough. Try this post. Or this....

Cradle
(photo by Michael Yon, of a child deliberately slaughtered by terrorist madmen.)

(And now I've really got to get to work, and I haven't even addressed torture specifically. Oh well, another day)

Posted by John Weidner at 10:31 AM

April 17, 2009

I call them heroes...

John Hinderaker at Power Line, About Those "Torture Memos":

...You can read the memos here. If you do, you will see that DOJ's lawyers grappled carefully and fairly with issues that are, by their nature, both difficult and distasteful. I find much to agree with in the memos and little, if anything, with which I disagree from a legal standpoint. Several things about the memos are striking: the concern that is shown for the health and well-being of the detainees; the very limited circumstances under harsh interrogation techniques were used (only when the CIA had reason to believe that the detainee had knowledge about pending terrorist attacks, among other limitations), and confirmation of the fact that thousands of American servicemen have been waterboarded and subjected to the other techniques in question, as part of their training--a practice that continued at least up to the dates of the memos.

I think the opinions were correct in substance; in any event, CIA officials were obviously justified in relying on them. In this context, the Obama administration's announcement that it will not prosecute the CIA personnel involved is evidently grandstanding. Of course they won't be prosecuted: to do so would be a double-cross of the worst sort, and the likelihood of getting a conviction would be nil. The fact is that the CIA officials who extracted valuable information from captured al Qaeda leaders--information that we have every reason to believe prevented successful terrorist attacks--are heroes. Their task was a thankless one, but, based on all the information we have, including the newly-released DOJ memos, they performed it well....

They are heroes. Exactly. They do the rough work necessary to protect us, while the fake-liberals who sneer and stab at them continue to luxuriate in the safety we have. And would howl in outrage if any danger actually approached them. Frauds. Pigs.

And none of the "anti-torture" crowd acknowledges that the US and Coalition militaries ended (at a painful sacrifice in dead and wounded) torture by the Saddam regime that was a million times worse than even what America is accused of. None of them ever said "thank you" for our ending (while "liberals" sat fat and safe, and never lifted a finger to help the suffering) the mass-production torture that was going on in Iraq. They are frauds, all of them. Their "concern" about torture is pure enmity against America and Bush. (I especially despise Mark Shea in this, since he is a well-known Catholic writer who just radiates partisan hatred and venom. What a twisted disgrace to our faith.)

* Update: [link] "Most prominent among those briefed on waterboarding was Nancy Pelosi. According to the Post’s interviews, members of the Congressional oversight committees understood that they had to weigh the limits of inhumane treatment of people known to have Al Qaeda connections against the threat of new attacks. They believed that these techniques struck the right balance in the circumstances. Yet I haven't heard of any serious call for prosecuting Speaker Pelosi or any of her colleagues for complicity in torture."

Posted by John Weidner at 12:55 PM

April 11, 2009

I would normally just blast the squalid hypocrisy of the Obamanoid's, but...

...even more aggravating is the STUPIDITY of the general population of the world who took the attacks on Guantanamo seriously. If you fight a war, you will have to lock up prisoners, right? Unless you want to just shoot them on the battlefield, right? And you know who to lock up, and how long, only if your enemy follows the LAWS OF WAR, and does things like wearing uniforms, and having ranks and serial numbers, and keeping combat away from civilians.

If an enemy like al-Qaeda does not do such things, then they are committing war crimes. And if we lock up people without being perfectly sure that they are in fact combatants, it is because of al-Qaeda's war crimes. Not because we are doing anything wrong, but because we've been forced into doing things in an imperfect way.

The leftists who heaped criticism on the Bush Administration for Gitmo committed a vile injustice. Which they are now compounding by following—as logic demands—the very same policies. There's nothing I can do about it, except express my utmost contempt for the horrid lefty worms who took part in such a loathsome betrayal of decent Americans. And did so not out of conviction, but to gain political power.

Likewise, it is not our fault if the detention is of indefinite duration. Imagine if our enemies in WWII had been almost impossible to clearly defeat, because they could magically disappear whole armies, and then emerge in a year or two in a distant place to start fighting again. What would have been the fate of any prisoners we held? They would have been kept in indefinite detention, right? Am I right?

Now think of the above fantasy, and imagine that the Republicans orchestrated a huge clamor against Presidents Roosevelt or Truman. Enough so that they seriously hindered the Allied war effort, and forced the administration to release prisoners. Who subsequently returned to the fight and killed American soldiers. What would that be called? What's the word we are groping for???

Obama Administration Will Appeal Court Ruling Which Allows Habeas Petitions for Certain Captives in Afghanistan:

...The Obama administration has announced that it will appeal a recent Federal District Court decision, which held that three captives at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan could challenge their status as "enemy combatants" in United States courts. The District Court held that the Supreme Court's ruling in Boumediene v. Bush, which allows Guantanamo Bay detainees to file habeas corpus petitions, also gives Bagram detainees access to United States courts. The Obama administration opposes the petitions and has announced that it will appeal the District Court's ruling.

Civil liberties advocates blasted the Bush administration for subjecting Guantanamo Bay captives to indefinite detention and for denying them access to federal courts. The outrage over Guantanamo Bay among President Obama's liberal base and among the populations of certain United States allies (particularly in Europe) probably explains why President Obama's first set of executive orders included a provision directing the closure of the controversial detention facility.

The Obama administration, however, has taken the position that Supreme Court's reasoning in Boumediene does not confer habeas rights to Bagram detainees. This is the same argument that the Bush administration made.

This logic, however, could support the capture and transfer of individuals to Bagram, where they could face prolonged and indefinite detention and denial of access to United States courts. Bagram could become the functional equivalent of Guantanamo Bay....
Posted by John Weidner at 2:07 PM

April 2, 2009

Traditions exist for reasons. Often good reasons.

From an e-mail from one of my sons....

...But now on to the heart of this email: I read that Mrs. Obama touched the Queen while visiting her. Apparently it is Etiquette to not touch the Queen. Unless the Queen extends her hand to you, you are supposed to just touch it, not firmly shake it. Why is that? When did this tradition start? Do you know if there is there something similar with other monarchs around the globe? Or with His Holiness Pope in Rome?...

In the past, before this new-fangled democracy business muddled things up, one would always treat anyone of higher rank with respect. Which included avoiding anything that smacked of "familiarity." Touching someone says, in body language, "I'm your equal."

There was a whole language of gesture, ceremony, pomp, and display, most of which we've forgotten. And the messages conveyed by this language had big political implications. One could "read" a political situation by observing subtleties of posture. Allowing familiarity by an inferior could be dangerous—a signal that one was uncertain, insecure, hesitant. A political enemy might decide this was the time to strike.

Nowadays in political conflicts one can just take a poll! Or ask focus groups. Or make a speech in Iowa and see how the world reacts.

But this only applies to domestic politics. You can't do that kind of thing in international relations. On the international stage gestures of strength and confidence—or weakness and uncertainty—are still critically important. Because they are "read," by friends and enemies alike.

Traditions usually embody wisdom learned in the past. It is not a minor thing that traditionally in America we have believed that "partisanship should end at the water's edge." It's extremely important. If we look divided, or weak, or confused, we invite attack by enemies. And we are telling friends we can't be trusted. That's why Obama's bumbling diplomacy is a deadly serious matter.

I'm sure all my readers have seen the film Russian Ark, since I recommended it. Think back to the scene of the reception of the Persian delegation. Ponder that elaborately staged performance, its beauty, splendor, grace and power. That was not just done for swank, it was a political message. It said Russia is strong and young and confident. Like an athlete whose strength and gracefulness intimidates the competition.

(The exact same thing is seen in bad neighborhoods, where the rule of law and electoral politics have broken down. The gangster projects power and confidence with his flashy cars and babes, his attentive entourage, his bold gestures in defying the law. If he stumbles or looks confused in any way, watchful eyes will note, and his position my be challenged. And if you touch him with familiarity in public you might end up sleeping with the fishes! The same applies to the forces of law and order. Imagine a dramatic raid by the police, and the gangster led off in cuffs looking helpless! That might be a game-changing display. Earth is a kind of bad neighborhood, and we are the cops.)

That's why it was wicked folly for Democrats to attack and weaken President Bush in his works of diplomacy and warfare in the War on Terror, and the Iraq Campaign particularly. That was warmongering. It heartened our enemies, and made the Iraq Campaign longer and more bloody. It made future conflicts more likely. It invited future 9/11's.

And that's why Obama's disgraceful performances with the PM, and now the Queen, make our situation in the world more dangerous. Britain usually stands with us in world crisis, but now it is certain that our relationship is being re-calculated in Whitehall and London. You don't to stand shoulder to shoulder with a nation led by erratic goofballs...

* Update: To me an even more interesting question is WHY are so many Democrats making elementary mistakes in this field. Stupid obvious mistakes. My theory is—sorry to repeat myself—that the morphing of liberals into nihilists is to blame. The nihilist hates those things which have a claim on us. Which are bigger than the individual. Things that make claims of duty and respect, to which we should put our selves second. They trash the great traditions and customs of our civilization in the same way they vandalize our traditions of art and architecture, the same way they malign America and Israel, the same way they crucify God as a daily routine.

And now poor Obama is like a dirty child who has always scorned manners and courtesy, and finds himself visiting a polite household. He's spitting on the floor not because he's trying to express insult, but because the habits of trashiness are all he, and his group, ever let themselves learn. It's the same with Clinton. How could anyone make an official visit to the Western Hemisphere's most important religious shrine, and not bother to learn the story of it? She's learned a few things, but deep down she's a child of dirt. She showed precisely the same inner squalor, and hatred of the good and beautiful, when her husband was getting started in Arkansas politics and she offended people by still wearing hippie sandals.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:27 AM

February 18, 2009

"We can run from our moral duty but we can't hide"

Bush's Greatness, by David Gelernter, in the Weekly Standard:

...Bush's greatness is often misunderstood. He is great not because he showed America how to react to 9/11 but because he showed us how to deal with a still bigger event--the end of the Cold War. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 left us facing two related problems, one moral and one practical. Neither President Clinton nor the first Bush found solutions--but it's not surprising that the right answers took time to discover, and an event like 9/11 to bring them into focus.

In moral terms: If you are the biggest boy on the playground and there are no adults around, the playground is your responsibility. It is your duty to prevent outrages--because your moral code demands that outrages be prevented, and (for now) you are the only one who can prevent them.

If you are one of the two biggest boys, and the other one orders you not to protect the weak lest he bash you and everyone else he can grab--then your position is more complicated. Your duty depends on the nature of the outrage that ought to be stopped, and on other circumstances. This was America's position during the Cold War: Our moral obligation to overthrow tyrants was limited by the Soviet threat of hot war, maybe nuclear war.

But things are different today. We are the one and only biggest boy. We can run from our moral duty but we can't hide. If there is to be justice in the world, we must create it. No one else will act if the biggest boy won't. Some of us turn to the United Nations the way we wish we could turn to our parents. It's not easy to say, "The responsibility is mine and I must wield it." But that's what the United States has to say. No U.N. agency or fairy godmother will bail us out.

Of course our moral duty remains complicated. We must pursue justice, help the suffering, and overthrow tyrants. But there are limits to our power. We must pick our tyrants carefully, keeping in mind not only justice but our practical interests and the worldwide consequences of what we intend. Our duty in this area is like our obligation to show charity. We have no power to help everyone and no right to help no one. In the event, we chose to act in Afghanistan and Iraq to begin with--good choices from many viewpoints....

"If you are the biggest boy on the playground and there are no adults around, the playground is your responsibility." That's simply the way it is. We didn't ask the job, it just fell to us.

The complaints that we are oppressors amassing an empire because we are oil-stealing bullies are just stupid crap from nihilists who are desperate to avoid all moral duties. Including the duty of patriotism and love for this greatest of all countries.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:01 PM

January 21, 2009

Add one more to the lonnnng list...

US reaches deal on Afghan supply routes to troops - Yahoo! News:

...ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Russia and neighboring Central Asian nations have agreed to let supplies pass through their territory to American soldiers in Afghanistan, lessening Washington's dependence on dangerous routes through Pakistan, a top U.S. commander said Tuesday.

Securing alternative routes to landlocked Afghanistan has taken on added urgency this year as the United States prepares to double troop numbers there to 60,000 to battle a resurgent Taliban eight years after the U.S.-led invasion....

So, is Mr Obama going to say "Thank you Mr Bush?" Thank you that my supply lines are no longer dependent on holding the Khyber Pass?

Here's my list of Bush accomplishments. Let the undoing begin!

Posted by John Weidner at 7:20 AM

January 15, 2009

Pretend your neighbors were shooting at YOU...


Thanks to Bookworm, a video from Israel, on the years of rocket attacks they've been enduring. (None of which bothers our Jew-hating leftists and "pacifists.")



Posted by John Weidner at 7:23 PM

January 14, 2009

Progressives, Unite Against The Jews!

Charlene recommends this video, How To Effectively Boycott Israel...

Thanks to israellycool

Posted by John Weidner at 6:25 PM

January 6, 2009

Suddenly we're all interested in the morality of war...

Jeffrey Goldberg, The World's Pornographic Interest in Jewish Moral Failure :

...Okay, yesterday I was depressed. Today, I'm just pissed off. It's absolutely astonishing to me how interested the world is in Israel's failings. This is the source of a bitter but hilarious observation I once heard a Kurdish leader make: He was complaining to me that his people were cursed, and I asked him what he meant: Cursed by geography, cursed by their proximity to Kurd-hating Arabs, what? He said the Kurds were cursed because they didn't have Jewish enemies. Only with Jewish enemies would the world pay attention to their plight...

I'm pissed too. Hamas has been shooting rockets into Israel for what? Three years now? And where were all the moral geniuses then? Where were the "pacifists?" The "anti-war activists?" Where was the Vatican, and "religious leaders?" Where were the "progressives?" What a bunch of phonies.

But let Israel start to fight back, and people start furrowing their brows and pondering ponderously. Suddenly morality is really a big deal. Mostly Jewish morality...

...One more thing, speaking of pornography -- we've all seen endless pictures of dead Palestinian children now. It's a terrible, ghastly, horrible thing, the deaths of children, and for the parents it doesn't matter if they were killed by accident or by mistake. But ask yourselves this: Why are these pictures so omnipresent? I'll tell you why, again from firsthand, and repeated, experience: Hamas (and the Aksa Brigades, and Islamic Jihad, the whole bunch) prevents the burial, or even preparation of the bodies for burial, until the bodies are used as props in the Palestinian Passion Play. Once, in Khan Younis, I actually saw gunmen unwrap a shrouded body, carry it a hundred yards and position it atop a pile of rubble -- and then wait a half-hour until photographers showed. It was one of the more horrible things I've seen in my life. And it's typical of Hamas. If reporters would probe deeper, they'd learn the awful truth of Hamas. But Palestinian moral failings are not of great interest to many people...

The "reporters" won't probe; they are on the other side.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:03 PM

December 27, 2008

Zombies. They're back again. Can't kill 'em....

I don't know why I bother to repeat this kind of thing...it is about as inevitable as anything can be that Leftists are going to love a regime that hates America and promises to nuke some Jews. What an intoxicating thrill for our "pacifists!" (And they get the added frisson of betraying their supposed feminism and homo-philia. I suspect a lot of lefties get an almost sexual kick from doing these things that are so deliciously wicked and perverse.)

Anyway, read all about it. Code Pink Hearts Iran's Mullahs:

....Benjamin and Evans wrote daily accounts of their trip to Tehran on their blog — and wasted not a word on poor Fatemeh or on the tragedy of women's rights in Iran under the mullahs and their Sharia laws. Benjamin and Evans portray a rosy and unrealistic situation, where Iranians of all social classes and political persuasions welcome them enthusiastically, share their anti-war sentiments, and desire for peaceful and loving relations with the U.S. and all nations. Medea Benjamin, who lived for seven years in Cuba calling the Castro dictatorship "a paradise on earth," notices that in Tehran "public transportation is priced right -- 20 cents for the subway and 2 cents for the bus." She fails to mention that the Iranian currency sustained 700 percent devaluation since the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and that inflation is at 23% according to governmental statistics and significantly higher than that according to World Bank estimates. Income per capita in Iran is $300 per year, a pittance when compared to other oil-rich nations in the Persian Gulf, like Kuwait ($26,000), United Arab Emirates ($25,000), or Saudi Arabia ($12,400).

Recently, an Iranian parliamentarian blurted out that almost 50% of Iran, the fourth most oil-rich country in the world, is living on or under $1 a day. This means there are some who are not able to satisfy their basic needs for food, clothing, and housing, let alone transportation, even if the public transportation ticket does "only" cost 20 cents of a toman, the Iranian currency....

By the way, while those limousine radicals were in Iran, a woman was executed there for the crime of killing her husband to prevent him raping their 14-year old daughter. Hung from the neck until dead. Let's all just hold our breaths, waiting for our anti-death-penalty "activists" to raise their voices in protest...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:55 AM

December 22, 2008

"And the answer is: This is my duty"

I've blogged about this before, but the story is bigger than I knew. A "clandestine operation" forsooth! This is what real men do. Christian gentlemen. Duty, always duty. The hollow men of our time, the Eloi--they find excuses to duck their duty to God and country and the world. They pretend to be "pacifists," or seize hungrily upon abu Ghraib (which was a trifle compared to the usual abuses that happen in war) as their out. Their cold empty hearts acknowledge no duty, except to themselves.

Washington Times: For much of the past seven years, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have waged a clandestine operation inside the White House. It has involved thousands of military personnel, private presidential letters and meetings that were kept off their public calendars or sometimes left the news media in the dark.

Their mission: to comfort the families of soldiers who died fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and to lift the spirits of those wounded in the service of their country.

On Monday, the president is set to make a more common public trip - with reporters in tow - to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, home to many of the wounded and a symbol of controversy earlier in his presidency over the quality of care the veterans were receiving.

But the size and scope of Mr. Bush's and Mr. Cheney's private endeavors to meet with wounded soliders and families of the fallen far exceed anything that has been witnessed publicly, according to interviews with more than a dozen officials familiar with the effort.

"People say, 'Why would you do that?'" the president said in an Oval Office interview with The Washington Times on Friday. "And the answer is: This is my duty. The president is commander in chief, but the president is often comforter in chief, as well. It is my duty to be - to try to comfort as best as I humanly can a loved one who is in anguish."

Mr. Bush, for instance, has sent personal letters to the families of every one of the more than 4,000 troops who have died in the two wars, an enormous personal effort that consumed hours of his time and escaped public notice. The task, along with meeting family members of troops killed in action, has been so wrenching - balancing the anger, grief and pride of families coping with the loss symbolized by a flag-draped coffin - that the president often leaned on his wife, Laura, for emotional support.

"I lean on the Almighty and Laura," Mr. Bush said in the interview. "She has been very reassuring, very calming."

Mr. Bush also has met privately with more than 500 families of troops killed in action and with more than 950 wounded veterans, according to White House spokesman Carlton Carroll. Many of those meetings were outside the presence of the news media at the White House or at private sessions during official travel stops, officials said.

The first lady said those private visits, many of which she also attended, took a heavy emotional toll, not just on the president, but on her as well.
Vice President Cheney with troops in Qatar, March 17, 2002
Posted by John Weidner at 7:43 AM

December 18, 2008

Looks like being in the Loyal Opposition is going to be a lot of laffs...

There are so many funny things lately. I keep finding myself staring at the screen with a big grin. This one sounds like a classic dirty trick played on some Euro-nihilist terror-appeasers who really deserve it...

SPIEGEL ONLINE: US Military Praise 'Ludicrous': Steinmeier Rejects Doubts about Agents in Iraq :

...The parliamentary investigative committee had been meeting for hours by the time daylight began fading in the middle of the afternoon on Thursday in Berlin. But right at 3:24 p.m., Germany's normally unflappable Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier lost his temper. He had said a number of times throughout the day that his patience was growing thin. This time, though, he pounded loudly on the table.

Few were surprised by the display of frustration. Anticipation of Steinmeier's appearance before the committee has been growing all week -- ever since SPIEGEL published US military praise for the help provided by two German intelligence agents stationed in Baghdad in the run-up to the United States-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. At the time, Steinmeier was chief of staff under then Chancellor Gerhard Schr�der, who had staked his political reputation on his opposition to the war. Now, he is the Social Democrat candidate for the Chancellery in next year's elections. Should the investigative committee find that Germany assisted the US invasion, it could seriously harm Steinmeier's credibility.

All of which helps explain Steinmeier's vehement rejection of the new claims that German intelligence played an important role in the Iraq War. Repeatedly, he called the investigative committee "na�ve" for believing that the new US military comments weren't politically motivated. He called US comments 'ludicrous' and 'outlandish.' He said that the military praise of German intelligence was 'poisoned.'

The comments Steinmeier was referring to, though, are difficult to brush aside. General Tommy Franks, who led 'Operation Iraqi Freedom,' told SPIEGEL that 'it would be a huge mistake to underestimate the value of information provided by the Germans. These guys were invaluable.'

General James Marks, who was in charge of pre-invasion reconnaissance, told SPIEGEL that the two German agents from the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence agency, were 'heroes' who had helped save American lives. He said 'we trusted the Germans more than we trusted the CIA.'

Marc Garlasco, who was head of High Value Targeting at the Pentagon during the Iraq invasion, told SPIEGEL that 'it is rewriting history to deny that the BND helped us in US military and combat operations during the war.' He also said 'German (human intelligence) was far more robust and ever present than any of the garbage we got from CIA sources. The Germans were reliable, professional military people...

I think W should give the guy a medal. That would fix his wagon!

"...the military praise of German intelligence was 'poisoned.'" Well yeah.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:53 PM

December 16, 2008

We brought peace to the planet, and nobody noticed...

Our friend in India, Bisaal, put a comment at this post. I'm taking the great liberty of expanding my answer into a post, since I don't have any other inspiration this morning.

Bisasl wrote:

The Vietnam intervention didnt work out very well.
USA still has a lot of Army stationed in North Korea.
And now you have Iraq and Afghanistan as well.
The question is what does US wants to achieve in Iraq and Afghanistan. I am yet to see an "Exit strategy".
Perhaps Afghanistan is a ruse for Pakistan in some way and Iraq WAS a danger (still it was a great pity that US had to undertake such trouble to get rid of an unpopular tyrant).

Bisaal, take a look at this photo.

See North Korea shrouded in inspissated gloom? And South Korea and Japan blazing with light? We (and the Brits) made that possible. Peace, prosperity and democracy. We still have a couple of brigades stationed in SK, but so what? They ensure that neither NK nor China is going to even think of military aggression on the Korean Peninsula, which is the natural path towards Japan. (And our air elements there help ensure that China will never invade Taiwan, another place that shines at night thanks to us.) We are the pacifists, 'cause we keep the peace.

Vietnam was badly bungled, but we ended up with a South Vietnam that was defending itself successfully against North Vietnamese attacks---until the vile traitor Democrats who controlled Congress after the Watergate scandal suddenly killed our military aid to them, and condemned them to Communist tyranny. If that hadn't happened satellite photos of the region would probably show contrasts similar to Korea's.

What do we want to achieve in Iraq? Much the same. (And we are already a long way towards that goal--we are no longer doing much real fighting there.)

Afghanistan may be hopeless as a possible democratic state, but that's the region where global jihad is centered, and I suspect we are just whacking at the hornet's nest, in hopes of stirring up open trouble we can solve. (Reminds me of a joke I found hilarious when I was six years old: "How do you cure a cold? You stand in the rain until you get pneumonia, because we have a cure for that."

The most important part of what we and our allies have achieved is that the places we have conquered aren't dangers to the world anymore. But the crazy thing is, we did it so well that nobody can even see it! You don't see it! Possible aggression by Germany or Japan or Italy used to be a HUGE worry, not to mention a huge reality. That's GONE! So far gone you don't even notice it.

We brought peace to most of the planet, and now everyone just takes it for granted, and thinks peace is the normal state of mankind! We talk about wars now, but there aren't any wars--not real ones. In September 1918 America committed 1,300,000 troops to the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. We suffered about 117,000 casualties, including 48,909 dead. Wars like that are extinct; the last one was the Iraq-Iran War in the 1980's. That was the last time nation fought nation in any serious way. (This is reason #67 why "liberals" discourage the study of history.)

What we call "wars" now are always internal slaughters and genocides within failed states. (This includes our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan; in both cases the governments in power melted away like mist, and we were almost immediately faced with the job of creating democratic states.)

Of course our fake-pacifists hate America! Our "exit strategy" is victory--followed by peace.

* Update: Oh, and Bisaal.... what we do is an Anglosphere thing. Britain did lots of peace-keeping in the 19th Century. Our main allies in all the fights of the 20th Century have been Britain, Canada, and Australia. So guess who that progression is pointing to! Who's next?

Posted by John Weidner at 7:32 AM

December 14, 2008

The future belongs to those who will fight for it...

I found this piece from The Australian, Obama May Have To Keep Neo-con Ideals, very revealing. For the obvious irony of course, but more for the underlying dilemma of the left--which won't go away because a lefty is in the White House... (I point the problem out in paragraph three.)

Ian Buruma writes:

WITH George W. Bush's presidency about to end, what will happen to the neo-conservatives? Rarely in the history of US politics has a small number of bookish intellectuals had so much influence on foreign policy as the neo-cons had under Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney, neither of whom is noted for his deep intellectual interests. [They are both of them deeper thinkers than the press wants us to know. But more importantly, the job of a leader is NOT to be a clever intellectual, but to have the wisdom to chose the right policies. A wise leader uses intellectuals such as the neo-cons, none of whom should ever be president.]

Most presidents hope to attach some special meaning to their time in office. The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, gave neo-con intellectuals the chance to lend their brand of revolutionary idealism to the Bush-Cheney enterprise. [Note how the author insunuates motives here--but he will not present any evidence for the sneer. The neo-cons had been saying for decades that our policies were failing, and we were heading for big trouble. Being right when everyone else was wrong tends to EARN one the job of cleaning up the mess.]

Writing for journals such as The Weekly Standard and using the pulpits of think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute, neo-cons offered an intellectual boost to the invasion of Iraq. The logic of the US mission to spread freedom across the globe - grounded, it was argued, in American history since the founding fathers - demanded nothing less. [I'll fill you in on what's really going on. You can skip the rest of my stuff, but understand this: This "neo-con" notion of overthrowing tyrants and spreading freedom is linked in our history with certain leaders...FDR, Truman, JFK. It is the quintessential LIBERAL project. In fact it is fair to call the neo-cons Liberals, in the older sense of those who think that things and countries can be fixed.

They, and Bush, are the true liberals of our time. That's why they are hated by the Left. Because most leftists are no longer liberals, but are still wearing liberal garments as a disguise. Bush and the Iraq Campaign have shone a cruel spotlight on leftists, and revealed them as the nihilists they have become. You will never understand current politics until you grasp that liberals aren't liberal anymore. Baruma is tiptoeing around the problem in this piece.]

Objections from European and Asian allies were brushed away as old-fashioned, unimaginative, cowardly reactions to the dawn of a new age of worldwide democracy, [Which they were.] enforced by unassailable US military power. [The neo-cons never said any such thing. Rather, that democracy was something that would grow and take root if our power cleared it some space. Since this has happened many times in the post-WWII world, it's not an unreasonable proposal.]

The neo-cons will not be missed by many. [I'd bet money you are wrong.] They made their last stand in the presidential election campaign of Republican John McCain, whose foreign policy advisers included some prominent members of the fraternity. (Most were men.) None, so far, seems to have found much favour in the ranks of Barack Obama's consultants.  [Wait'll he actually decides to accomplish something. He'll need to find some thinkers who still believe that things can be fixed. Nihilists and "realists" won't cut it.]

Such clout as the neo-cons wielded under Bush is unusual in the political culture of the US, which is noted for its scepticism towards intellectual experiments. [And yet with a straight face Leftists will say that Bush is "anti-intellectual."]

A certain degree of philistinism in politics is not a bad thing. Intellectuals, usually powerless themselves outside the rarefied preserves of think tanks and universities, are sometimes too easily attracted to powerful leaders in the hope that such leaders may carry out their ideas.

But wise leaders are necessarily pragmatic because messy reality demands compromise and accommodation. Only zealots want ideas to be pushed to their logical extremes. The combination of powerful leaders with an authoritarian bent and intellectual idealists often results in bad policies. [Baruma's so close, but can't make the leap. The Iraq Campaign was extremely pragmatic. You can read my reasons here.]

This is what happened when Bush and Cheney took up the ideas promoted by the neo-cons. Both previously had been pragmatic men. Bush first ran for office as a cautious conservative, prepared to be moderate at home and humble abroad. Cheney was better known as a ruthless bureaucratic operator than a man of bold ideas. But he was obsessed with the notion of expanding the executive powers of the president. [He was, wisely, concerned to reverse the post-Watergate erosion of Presidential power. It was not an expansion. And each of our major wars has required the amplification of executive power. Bush has done nothing compared to Lincoln or Wilson or FDR.]

The combustible mix of autocratic ambition and misguided idealism took hold soon after the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Even if, by some miracle, Iraq were to evolve into a stable, harmonious, liberal democratic state, the price already paid in (mostly Iraqi) blood and (mostly American) treasure is already too high to justify the kind of revolutionary military intervention promoted by the neo-cons. [ Nonsense. The price has been TRIFLING compared to our other experiments in freeing countries and helping them become democratic. About one tenth of the price for South Korea for instance---does the author think that was a mistake? Would he care to compare North and South Korea, and then apply the same standard to Truman that he does to Bush?]

Another casualty of neo-conservative hubris may be the idea of spreading democracy. The word, when voiced by US government spokesmen, has become tainted by neo-imperialist connotations. [The connotations exist only in the heads of lefty nihilists. To the oppressed peoples of the earth the dream is as sweet as ever. As witness the ENVY being expressed in Third World countries because here in America a corrupt governor has been arrested!]

Similar things have happened before, of course. The idealism of Japanese intellectuals in the 1930s and early '40s was partly responsible for Japan's catastrophic war to liberate Asia from Western imperialism. [What pernicious nonsense. This is the usual "moral equivalence" malarky of people desperate to deny that there are high ideals that impose a DUTY on them. ]

The ideal of pan-Asian solidarity in a common struggle for independence was not a bad one; it was commendable. [That "ideal" was never Japanese policy. Our ideals ARE policy.] But the idea that it could be enforced by the imperial Japanese army running amok through China and Southeast Asia was disastrous. [There is no comparison. We have not "run amok;" we have liberated just two countries, and helped them form elected constitutional governments. ]

Socialism, too, was a brave and necessary corrective to the social inequalities that emerged from laissez-faire capitalism. Watered down by the compromises without which liberal democracies cannot thrive, socialism did a great deal of good in western Europe. [Europe is DYING, you fool. Dying of socialism before our eyes. Every European country is in demographic collapse. Europe is bankrupt and decadent, no longer leading in ANY realm except bureaucratic regulation. Not in religion, nor ideas, nor movements, nor economic growth, nor innovation, nor the arts. No one goes to Europe for the exciting new trends. (Except to Vatican City.) Socialism has failed, always and everywhere.] But attempts to implement socialist or communist ideals through force ended in oppression and mass murder.

This is why many central and eastern Europeans view even social democracy with suspicion. Even as Obama is worshipped in western Europe, many Poles, Czechs and Hungarians think he is some kind of socialist. [They KNOW! They know the beast.]

The neo-cons, despite their name, were not really conservatives at all. They were radical opponents of the pragmatic approach to foreign strongmen espoused by people who called themselves realists. Even though the arch-realist Henry Kissinger endorsed the war in Iraq, his brand of realpolitik was the primary target of neo-con intellectuals. [To oppose "realism" does not mean you are not a conservative.]

They believed that aggressive promotion of democracy abroad was not only moral, and in the US tradition, but in the national interest as well. [They didn't just assert it, they made a case. Which leftists have never countered in any credible way. Instead they just pretend the theory has already been invalidated.]

There is a core of truth in this assertion. Liberals, too, can agree that Islamist terrorism, for instance, is linked to the lack of democracy in the Middle East. Realism, in the sense of balancing power by appeasing dictators, has its limits.

Democracy must be encouraged, wherever possible, by the most powerful democracy on earth. But revolutionary wars are not the most effective way to do this. [I've bad news for you pal. It's always going to be a bloody and messy business. Therefore it will only be done by those who still have beliefs they are willing to fight for. Therefore you Eloi are out of the game. You are useless and obsolete. The future belongs to those who will fight for it.]

What is needed is to find a less belligerent, more liberal way to promote democracy, stressing international co-operation instead of blunt military force. [It'll never happen. It's the same with nations as with individuals. Those who are willing to fight are real, all others are just fading shadows. You might notice that the "shadows"�people or nations� have at least two things in common. Lack of Christian or Jewish faith.......and socialism.]

Obama is unlikely to repeat the mistakes of the neo-cons. [He will have to folllow the template Bush has set for the WoT. But he will probably not do it as well.] But, to succeed, he will have to save some of their ideals from the ruins of their disastrous policies. [He is going to piggyback on Bush's successes, and try to claim them as his own.]

Posted by John Weidner at 6:28 PM

December 8, 2008

"I should be very much obliged if you would slip your revolver into your pocket, Watson..."

Reason #339 why liberals discourage the study of history... (Thanks to Glenn R.)

If each of us carried a gun--Times Online:

....Rhetoric about standing firm against terrorists aside, in Britain we have no more legal deterrent to prevent an armed assault than did the people of Mumbai, and individually we would be just as helpless as victims. The Mumbai massacre could happen in London tomorrow; but probably it could not have happened to Londoners 100 years ago.

In January 1909 two such anarchists, lately come from an attempt to blow up the president of France, tried to commit a robbery in north London, armed with automatic pistols. Edwardian Londoners, however, shot back -- and the anarchists were pursued through the streets by a spontaneous hue-and-cry. The police, who could not find the key to their own gun cupboard, borrowed at least four pistols from passers-by, while other citizens armed with revolvers and shotguns preferred to use their weapons themselves to bring the assailants down.

Today we are probably more shocked at the idea of so many ordinary Londoners carrying guns in the street than we are at the idea of an armed robbery. But the world of Conan Doyle's Dr Watson, pocketing his revolver before he walked the London streets, was real. The arming of the populace guaranteed rather than disturbed the peace.

That armed England existed within living memory....

I've read about incidents like this in Israel, where people pull out their pistols and chase down terrorists. Terrorism isn't a new concept. what's new is our populations of hapless "protected" people, who are taught to think that nothing's worth fighting for. Also new is the twisted idea that countries can safely wage covert war by supporting terrorist groups. In the past that would have been pointless, because they would have gotten open war pronto. Just another way that pacifism causes war and bloodshed.

The article also has this quote by Ghandi, which I had not seen before:

"Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India, history will look upon the act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest"
Posted by John Weidner at 7:55 PM

December 4, 2008

How likely is the "accident" theory?

A prominent SF Jewish gay pro-Israel activist goes to his Arabic class--which was cancelled, but he didn't get the message--and somehow forces open the door of an out-of-order elevator and falls down the shaft and is killed. Police are calling it an "accident."

Read here.

Of course they call it an accident. THEY DON'T WANT TO KNOW! Don't want to know they're at war.

Same as huge numbers of other people don't want to know. Like these:
...So why are so many prominent Western media reluctant to call the perpetrators terrorists? Why did Jon Snow, one of Britain's most respected TV journalists, use the word "practitioners" when referring to the Mumbai terrorists? Was he perhaps confusing them with doctors?

Why did Britain's highly regarded Channel 4 News state that the "militants" showed a "wanton disregard for race or creed" when exactly the opposite was true: Targets and victims were very carefully selected. Why did the "experts" invited to discuss the Mumbai attacks in one show on the state-funded Radio France Internationale, the voice of France around the world, harp on about Baruch Goldstein (who carried out the Hebron shootings in 1994), virtually the sole case of a Jewish terrorist in living memory?...

Especially sickening to me is that American Jews don't want to know. Or rather, liberal Jews. They've converted to a new secularist faith, and desperately wish that the crazy uncles in their mental attics would just go away, and stop the God talk, so they can assimilate in peace, and enjoy being Eloi.

FOOLS. If you are Jewish, there are millions of people on this planet who would enjoy killing you. Personally. With their own hands. And they don't care that you've discovered flower-power and you think weakness and passivity will make war go away and everyone live as brothers-in-insipidity.

And this would be less of an evil if "liberals" were only endangering themselves. But appeasment tends to get other people killed.
You may not be interested in war,
but war is interested in you.
    -- Leon Trotsky

* ALSO: I wrote a post a couple of years back, about the way police almost always label lone-wolf jihadis as anything except......Islamic terrorists. They are always said to be mentally disturbed individuals who were upset by their purely secular personal life.....even if they put a Koran in their pocket and start killing people. I can't find the post now. Does anybody remember any key-words I can search for?

* Update: Never mind, I found it. The key-word was "Bosnia." GO READ IT!
>

November 30, 2008

Failed policies that caused war re-packaged as..."a radically different strategy"

This piece by Walter Mearsheimer is just everything I hate...

The United States is in deep trouble in the Middle East. Despite Barack Obama's promises to withdraw from Iraq, the debacle there shows no sign of ending soon. [Actually things seem to be working out rather well. In fact we've clearly won.] Hamas rules in Gaza; [So? How is this more trouble than Palestinian terrorism has always been?] Iran is quickly moving to acquire a nuclear deterrent. [If they only wanted to deter, they wouldn't be a problem.] We need a radically different strategy for the region. [Wait for it, folks, he's gonna propose something we've never heard before...]

Fortunately, there is a strategy that has proved effective in the past and could serve again today: "offshore balancing." It's less ambitious than President Bush's grand plan to spread democracy throughout the Middle East, but it would be much better at protecting actual U.S. interests. The United States would station its military forces outside the region. And "balancing" would mean we'd rely on regional powers like Iran, Iraq and Saudi Arabia to check each other. [I get it. You're consulting Richard Nixon via Ouija Board! So how's our partnership with the Shah workin' out?] Washington would remain diplomatically engaged, and when necessary would assist the weaker side in a conflict. [Like the Iran-Iraq War, right?] It would also use its air and naval power to respond quickly to unexpected threats. But--and this is the key point--America would put boots on the ground only if the local balance of power seriously broke down and one country threatened to dominate the others. [So if Iran gets its nukes, then we should invade? Is that what you're saying?]

This approach might strike some as cynical. It would do little to foster democracy or promote human rights. But Bush couldn't deliver on those promises anyway, [Iraqis are voting, and traveling, and criticizing their government, and not being tortured to death by a mad tyrant. Same for Afghanistan. Sounds like Bush delivers pretty well.] and it is ultimately up to individual countries to determine their own political systems. [How about this: The PEOPLE of those countries determine their own political systems.] It is hardly cynical to base U.S. strategy on a realistic appraisal of American interests and a clear-eyed sense of what U.S. power can and cannot accomplish. [It is purely cynical and evil. I spit on your nihilism with the utmost contempt.]

Offshore balancing is nothing new: the United States pursued such a strategy in the Middle East quite successfully during much of the Cold War. ["Successful" if you are cynical and don't care what happens to worthless brown-skinned people.] America helped Iraq contain revolutionary Iran in the 1980s. [A million HUMAN BEINGS perished that war, but hey, why should we care about some rag-heads?] Then, when Iraq's conquest of Kuwait in 1990 threatened to tilt things in Baghdad's favor, the United States assembled a multinational coalition to smash Saddam Hussein's military machine. [And you "realists" managed to keep Saddam in power when we might easily have removed him. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died as a result. That's your "realistic appraisal of American interests?" The blood of the Shi'ites is dripping from your hands.]

The strategy has three particular virtues. First, it would significantly reduce the chances that we would get involved in another bloody and costly war like Iraq. America doesn't need to control the Middle East with its own forces; it merely needs to ensure that no other country does. [Canard. We are not trying to control the ME with our forces. Iraq is shaping up to, with a bit of luck, be a democratic terrorist-hating nation with a powerful military that will tend to stabilize its own neighborhood.]

Second, offshore balancing would ameliorate America's terrorism problem. Foreign occupiers generate fierce resentment. Keeping America's military forces out of sight would minimize the anger created by having them stationed on Arab soil. [The same old BS--They are only terrorists because WE are horrid. Oh, and Jews of course--they should do some "offshore balancing" into the Mediterranean.]

Third, offshore balancing would reduce fears in Iran and Syria that the United States aims to attack them and remove their regimes--a key reason these states are currently seeking weapons of mass destruction. Persuading Tehran to abandon its nuclear program will require Washington to address Iran's legitimate security concerns and to refrain from overt threats. [To Jew-haters, Iran and Syria always have "legitimate security concerns." Guess who they have the "legitimate" right to target?]

A final, compelling reason to adopt this approach is that nothing else has worked. [Including this approach.] After the Gulf war, the Clinton administration pursued a "dual containment" strategy: instead of using Iraq and Iran to check each other, the United States began trying to contain both. As a result, both came to view the United States as a bitter enemy. The policy also required the United States to deploy large numbers of troops in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, which helped persuade Osama bin Laden to declare war on America. [He has said openly he dared to attack us because we have RUN AWAY from fights in places like Somalia, and are afraid to take casualties. It's Mearsheimer-ism that's got us into this war.]

Offshore balancing wouldn't eliminate all the problems we face in the Middle East. But it would be considerably less expensive in both human and financial terms. It's not a foolproof strategy, but it's probably as close as we can get.

[Think of it this way. There are neighborhoods in any big city that are dangerous places. Let's have the cops practice "offshore balancing," so crooks will no longer be angry at the "occupying" forces, and we can save a lot of expense. We'll just "balance" the criminal gangs, encouraging them to fight each other! It's foolish to worry about the PEOPLE in those neighborhoods; if they had any value they would already have moved to where the better sort live.]

Mearsheimer is a professor of political science at the University of Chicago and coauthor of“The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy." [The old blood libel was that Jews are secretly controlling the world like puppet-masters. The new one is that ISRAEL is secretly pulling the strings. I say they are both the same toxic brew.]

Note: PowerLine Blog has exhaustively covered the grotesque anti-Semitism of the authors of “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy." See this search. (Of course the PowerLine guys are important and respectable, and never call anyone "anti-Semitic. Just anti-Israel. [Here's an example.] I'm a nobody, and don't have to be so mealy-mouthed.)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:23 AM

November 28, 2008

Wake up, wake up, wake up....

Bill Roggio, in the Weekly Standard Blog...

...While it is too early to know exactly how the Mumbai strikes were planned and executed, one thing seems clear: This attack is the most significant terrorist attack since the Sept. 11 attack against the United States.

The terrorists launched a sophisticated, multi-pronged attack into a city of 18 million residents. This requires planning, training, funding, and detailed reconnaissance. The targets were chosen carefully to achieve maximum effect. The terrorists hit hotels, a train station, a movie house, a residential complex, and a hospital--all soft targets. They also were able to plant bombs in taxis as well as capture a police van, which was then used in a drive-by shooting spree.

The assault teams--there is no other way to describe them--coordinated and synchronized their attacks to overwhelm Mumbai security. The terrorists were able to take a significant number of hostages. They knew where to find foreigners and wealthy Indians--at the five star hotels...

Some of the things I'd say this means...

• If you voted for Obama because you wanted to go back to the "Holiday from History" of the 1990's, you just lost your bet.

• In Fourth Generation Warfare, the "front lines" can be anywhere, at any time. You--yes, YOU--can be drafted into the War on Terror at without notice. Your duty is to fight.

• I think that intelligent law-abiding citizens of the civilized nations should be strongly encouraged to carry concealed firearms. My very first week as a blogger, in the dark ages of 2001, I posted this quote, from an article by John Lott in the NY Post:

..Israelis realize that the police and military simply can't be there all the time to protect people when terrorists attack: There are simply too many vulnerable targets. (When the police or military are nearby, terrorists wait until they leave.) And when terrorists strike, their first targets include anyone openly carrying a gun.

What Israel has found helpful in thwarting terrorist attacks is allowing law-abiding, trained citizens to carry concealed handguns. About 10 percent of Jewish adults there now have permits to carry concealed handguns...

• India seems to have been, up to now, fairly muddled and morally unclear about fighting terrorism. I daresay this will concentrate some minds.

• It is my belief that we have not been hit again since 9/11 because George W Bush led America and her few allies in doing exactly what al-Qaeda and other islamic terror groups DID NOT WANT......Bringing freedom and democracy right into the Arab heartland. To Iraq. They are not afraid to die, but they are afraid of that. If Obama is smart--I don't think he is quite this smart--he will announce that, criticisms of the Iraq Campaign notwithstanding, if there's another 9/11 he going to be throwing a dart at a list of terror-supporting Muslim nations, and regime-changing one of them!

Posted by John Weidner at 5:07 PM

November 22, 2008

Guess where this is heading...

India Times: India, which is planning to send four more warships to the Gulf of Aden, has already conveyed to Somalia that it will use all necessary means to fight pirates who have targeted merchant ships passing through one of the world's strategic shipping lanes off the coast of Somalia.... [It's in those Anglosphere genes.]

....After the Indian offensive against the pirates, the Indian government is now considering the option of augmenting forces in the pirate-infested waters. [Ramp it up. If nothing else, you will blood the troops.] At present India has deployed INS Tabar, a stealth guided missile frigate, that has successfully defended two merchant ships against a pirate attack and ensured safe passage of many more. [Unilateralist cowboys! Advocates of violence!] The proposal is to send four more warships to the region. Naval officials also met defence minister A K Antony to discuss matters related to the continuing naval operation.

But even as the Navy takes a decision at augmenting its efforts in the Gulf of Aden, there is also consensus within the Navy and the government that the menace can only be tackled effectively if there is a coordinated international effort to take on the pirates who have managed to grab the world's attention by seizing a number of ships including Saudi owned supertanker. At the moment countries are only defending their own merchant ships. [The term you will be needing soon is "Coalition of the Willing." Try the Poles.]

India has been pushing for such an international effort and at a recent meeting of the International Maritime Organisation had revived a proposal to set up a UN peacekeeping force to take on pirates in the region. "These proposals are under consideration," said Mr Ravi, adding that a concrete proposal would emerge after consultations in the UN. [Been there, done that. Won't work.]

Mr Ravi also pointed out that were two United Nations Security Council resolutions on piracy. UN resolution 1816, which was approved on June 2, 2008, allows foreign navies to enter Somalian territorial waters to pursue pirates while resolution 1838, which was passed on October 20, 2008, authorises the use of "necessary means" to combat piracy in international waters. India can take action under these two resolutions but there is recognition that a more substantive resolution is needed for a coordinated international effort. [There were 16 "Binding UN Resolutions" against the Saddam regime. When we finally enforced them, all the world's lefty frauds said we were "violating international law." Just warning you.]

However, India is not isolated in its call for an international effort. The US and other countries have also talked about the need for an international effort against pirates. The US said that it is worked in the Security Council to pass a new resolution piracy. ["The US and other countries..." It's called the "Axis of Good." Guy named Bush started it. It means you go through the UN bullshit, then a few non-decadent countries just go ahead and do what's necessary.]

"It's an international problem. You're not going to solve this � the US is not going to solve this alone," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack was quoted as saying. [Actually, we could. But we are paralyzed by the Nihilist Party.] Similarly, an anti-piracy watchdog, which welcomed the sinking of the pirate ship, also called for an international effort. "If all warships do this, it will be a strong deterrent. But if it's just a rare case, then it won't work," Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau's piracy reporting centre told an agency.... [In other words, the problem could be solved fairly easily if everybody did their duty. Instead the evil of pacifism will prolong the problem indefinitely, and cause rivers of blood to flow...]

(Thanks to O Judd.)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:32 AM

November 11, 2008

But... He's "shredding our civil liberties!"

Shannon Love:
....Let the rehabilitation of Bush begin! For the past 8 years, the most strident and hysterical leftist criticism of Bush has centered on his intelligence policies which leftists assured us arose purely out of a callous disregard for civil liberties and human rights, if not outright evil.

Now we read this from the WSJ [h/t Instapundit]:
President-elect Barack Obama is unlikely to radically overhaul controversial Bush administration intelligence policies, advisers say... They say he is likely to fill key intelligence posts with pragmatists.
Whoa, whoa whoa! Pragmatic? Bush's polices are suddenly pragmatic? What about the incessant ranting for years that Bush had gone far beyond any practical necessity?

Poof, it's gone. It's gone because it has fulfilled its purpose. Leftists demonized and distorted Bush's policies for one of two reasons: (1) They were idiots who didn't understand modern technology and conditions or (2) they sought to demonize Bush for their own political gain. I think Obama operates from Reason 2. Now that the responsibility for national security falls in his lap, the steps that Bush took to bring intelligence methods and law into the 21st Century suddenly look like nothing but common sense. Obama will not risk American lives and his own legacy merely to pander to leftist hysterics who still think everyone communicates over analog phone lines....

In advance, I spit with utmost contempt on all you leftists and "Democrats" who are going to shrug off Obama's doing the very same things that you howled in fake-outrage over Bush doing... You shit upon this great country in her hour of need, and now that it suits your politics you will take shameless advantage of the selfless labors of real men and women....

Posted by John Weidner at 4:14 PM

October 1, 2008

Starting Wars for Dummies, 1st ed.

A lot of people have mentioned this article because of the possibility that the Iranian ship has radioactive materials aboard that are killing the pirates. To me the much much more interesting issue is that we see revealed a miniature, a little "Cliff Notes" version of the path that led to the Global War on Terror we are now in. Maybe I should write a book, "War Promotion for Dummies!"

A tense standoff has developed in waters off Somalia over an Iranian merchant ship laden with a mysterious cargo that was hijacked by pirates.

Somali pirates suffered skin burns, lost hair and fell gravely ill "within days" of boarding the MV Iran Deyanat. Some of them died....

...About 22000 ships a year pass through the Suez Canal and the Gulf of Aden, where regional instability and "no-questions-asked" ransom payments have led to a dramatic rise in attacks on vessels by heavily armed Somali raiders in speedboats.

The Iran Deyanat was sailing in those waters on August 21, past the Horn of Africa and about 80 nautical miles southeast of Yemen, when it was boarded by about 40 pirates armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades. They were alleged members of a crime syndicate said to be based at Eyl, a small fishing village in northern Somalia...
This is just insane. We, the Western, developed world, are tolerating piracy in the 21st Century? WHY?
  • Is there any question that piracy is totally wrong according to the generally accepted values of the civilized world?
  • Is there any question that the powers have both a right and duty to suppress it?
  • Is there any question that we have fought piracy in the past, to the great good of the planet. (And especially to the poor of the world, who would be hurt most by contractions in trade?)
  • Is there any question that the problem will get worse if not stopped now? That the profits of piracy will be invested in more powerful weapons and the recruitment of more pirates?
  • Is there any question that we have ample power to fight the problem? (Think satellite surveillance, Predator drones, Hellfire missiles into any speedboats approaching ships.)

The answer is that we are paralyzed because we have lost the core values of Western Civilization. America partly, Europe almost totally. The real problem is inside the souls of the people of the West. The problem is nihilism.

And that is precisely the case with the War on Terror. We had the right and duty to squelch terrorism when it first became a problem, many decades ago. And we didn't. And because we failed to slaughter hundreds of people back in, say, the 1960's, hundreds of thousands have to die now. Maybe millions. The short answer is that pacifism is murder, and those who call themselves pacifists or anti-war activists these days have blood of innocents dripping from their hands.

But the bigger problem is that there is almost no real pacifism today--it's just a smokescreen to hide empty souls who don't dare to take any decisive action, because that requires acknowledging higher duties.

Western civilization is, to its very core, a Christian civilization. Once the habits of Christian virtues (which can also be held by unbelievers) are lost, there is really nothing left.

...The moral approach to war in Aquinas and Calvin is refreshing for those familiar with modern Christian approaches to warfare--approaches which, more often than not, do little to help Christians understand why they should be prepared to participate in or support war of any kind. Aquinas and Calvin, in contrast, teach Christian soldiers why they need to participate in and support just wars. From the divine point of view, God desires to restrain evil among His creatures. And in using human beings to do so, God actually elevates the restrainers...

...The most noteworthy aspect of the moral approach to warfare in Aquinas and Calvin is that it teaches--contrary to today's prevailing views--that a failure to engage in a just war is a failure of virtue, a failure to act well. An odd corollary of this conclusion is that it is a greater evil for Christians to fail to wage a just war than it is for unbelievers. When an unbeliever fails to go to war, the cause may be a lack of courage, prudence, or justice. He may be a coward or simply indifferent to evil. These are failures of natural moral virtue. When Christians (at least in the tradition of Aquinas and Calvin) fail to engage in just war, it may involve all of these natural failures as well, but it will also, and more significantly, involve a failure of charity. The Christian who fails to use force to aid his neighbor when prudence dictates that force is the best way to render that aid is an uncharitable Christian. Hence, Christians who willingly and knowingly refuse to engage in a just war do a vicious thing: they fail to show love toward their neighbor as well as toward God.
    -- Darrell Cole

The story or myth that expresses this is the story of the knight who protects the innocent. I don't think the like occurs in non-Christian cultures. There are no folk-tales or ballads of the Centurion or the Samurai who has a duty or calling to protect the little people. If you follow the stories of our troops (and sometimes the Brits) in Iraq and Afghanistan, you will see the old story told anew. (You won't get it from the foul devils of our "news-media," but us bloggers pass the tales on like Samizdat.)

Posted by John Weidner at 11:24 AM

September 23, 2008

Who do you stand shoulder to shoulder with?

From the always-worth-reading Caroline Glick, in the J Post, on the scandal of Governor Palin being barred from the rally against Iran...
....LIBERAL AMERICAN Jews, like liberal Americans in general, and indeed like their fellow leftists in Israel and throughout the West, uphold themselves as champions of human rights. They claim that they care about the underdog, the wretched of the earth. They care about the environment. They care about securing American women's unfettered access to abortions. They care about keeping Christianity and God out of the public sphere. They care about offering peace to those who are actively seeking their destruction so that they can applaud themselves for their open-mindedness and tell themselves how much better they are than savage conservatives.

Those horrible, war-mongering, Bambi killing, unborn baby defending, God-believing conservatives, who think that there are things worth going to war to protect, must be defeated at all costs. They must intimidate, attack, demonize and defeat those conservatives who think that the free women of the West should be standing shoulder to shoulder not with Planned Parenthood, but with the women of the Islamic world who are enslaved by a misogynist Shari'a legal code that treats them as slaves and deprives them of control not simply of their wombs, but of their faces, their hair, their arms, their legs, their minds and their hearts.

The lives of 6 million Jews in Israel are today tied to the fortunes of those women, to the fortunes of American forces in Iraq, to the willingness of Americans across the political and ideological spectrum to recognize that there is more that unifies them than divides them and to act on that knowledge to defeat the forces of genocide, oppression, hatred and destruction that are led today by the Iranian regime and personified in the brutal personality of Ahmadinejad. But Jewish Democrats chose to ignore this basic truth in order to silence Palin.

They should be ashamed. The Democratic Party should be ashamed. And Jewish American voters should consider carefully whether opposing a woman who opposes the abortion of fetuses is really more important than standing up for the right of already born Jews to continue to live and for the Jewish state to continue to exist. Because this week it came to that.

Most people probably find this situation confusing. Why would Jews reject help in standing up to terrorists who want to kill Jews? Why would they put lefty politics ahead of preventing the possible destruction of Israel? Regular readers of Random Jottings know the answer, everyone else has to flounder.

I was going to rant here, but really, you can guess my opinion on this... and I won't try to top Caroline.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:09 PM

"Today's Democrats will not stand against the darkness"

I think Dr Sanity has this right...

...Because, you see, Iran and the rest of the terrorists are patiently waiting. They are waiting for the Democrats--with all their inherent moral weakness and confusion; the Iranians are waiting because they perceive fear, appeasement, defeat, and surrender in the Democratic rhetoric and behavior. They know that as soon as an Obama gets elected, they will be home free and will not have to suffer any consequences for wiping Israel off the map--from the U.S., anyway. They will be able to do as they like without interference.

The dithering Democrats will excuse, rationalize and basically look for any reason to exculpate any atrocity Iran initiates, because they are 'the party of peace' and they just know they can talk to lunatics and trust them

They Iranians know that today's Democrats will not stand against the darkness; instead they will simply turn off the lights and dwell in the dark without protest--then say it is a good thing...

My own feeling is that we will continue to fight the War on Terror in the pattern wisely set by President Bush. Democrats will have to do it, or be turned out by the voters.

BUT, it will likely be a much bloodier and longer war if we elect Obama, or any similar Dem. The terrorists play a game of advance and retreat. They try to gain objectives by using enough violence to destroy the forces of order and freedom in some odd corner of the globe, without actually rousing various sleeping giants.

Put yourself in the shoes of al-Qaeda, and look at Mr Obama. You just know he doesn't want to fight. Nor do Pelosi or Reid or Biden or any of the Dems. Terrorists will push a lot harder if those people are in control. And all those who look to us for global leadership will be discouraged, and will be less likely to stand up to terrorist intimidation. Eventually we will roused to action, but in the meantime a LOT of people will die. (And Tel Aviv may get turned to green glass, and then Tehran in retaliation, in which case tens-of-millions will die.)

And those deaths will be the responsibility of those who are appeasers. Who project weakness instead of resolve. AND those who vote for them.

Voting for Mr Obama is murder. Voting for the party that ejected its one senior leader who strongly supported the War on Terror is murder.

Voting Democrat right now is voting to kill little brown-skinned people in distant corners of the planet.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:54 AM

September 18, 2008

There are things to really like about John McCain...

I'd recommend this, by Nibras Kazimi, What would a McCain presidency mean for the Middle East?

A McCain presidency can't be a very reassuring thing for the House of Saud. Senator McCain is probably one of a handful of Washington players that the influential former Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, couldn't get through to over the last two decades. The Saudis never saw the need to do that; they assumed that McCain was too anti-establishment, given his integrity-bound internal compass and natural maverick-ism, to ever make it to the highest rungs of the power game.

They may be proven wrong.

The Saudis can't rely on existing channels to McCain that he has trusted and is likely to trust, whereas even with President George W. Bush, though he may have been alerted to the idea that the Saudi regime may be a liability more than an ally, at least he could be reached and reasoned with either through his father's network, the Republican Party 'realist' foreign policy camp or the oil companies.

No such long-standing channels connect the Saudis to McCain. He is too off their navigational charts, making him too dangerous for the long-term survivability of the Saudi royals for comfort; McCain is not a card-carrying member of the "This is how it's always been, and this is how it should stay" elite--both Republican and Democrat--that's been rubbing shoulders with the Saudis for decades.

Let's posit a hypothetical: How would America respond to another attack of the same or greater magnitude as 911, either on U.S. or European soil, and with young Saudis again being heavily involved?

With McCain as president, the White House would be ready to contemplate a future Middle East that does not include the House of Saud remaining in power. A McCain presidency would challenge the conventional status quo, pushed by the Middle Eastern-related bureaucracies at the State Department, the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency, that the Saudi royals are needed to maintain stability within their country and throughout the region.

McCain would likely see the Saudi royals are part of the problem, rather than as part of the solution. Alternatively, McCain may seek to invest more heavily in Iraq, a country and a cause dear to his heart, as the new regional power, and as America's most important Muslim ally in the region...

Read on; he's got Obama figured out too...

And I'll go out on a limb and guess that President Palin will not be wildly impressed by Saudi princelings and their loot either....

Posted by John Weidner at 3:39 PM

September 16, 2008

We don't have to think about this, it's in our blood....

From What is truly frightening about Sarah Palin, By Bradley Burston

....The question about the Bush Doctrine was not a trick. It was not a trivial point designed to make Sarah Palin look bad. It is the summary of a worldview that has guided American foreign and military policy for the seven years since September 11, 2001. It is America's formal explanation for sending Americans into harm's way. It is America's explanation to the world for what America has done.

Even my Israeli cab driver, a non-American through and through, knew more about the Bush Doctrine than Sarah Palin. And that is cause for serious concern.

The cabbie knew, for example, that the doctrine provided for anticipatory self-defense, and pre-emptive strikes to forestall hostile acts even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack.

"This would never have happened in Israel, ever" remarked a journalist friend, referring to the choice of Governor Palin, whose credentials in the realms of foreign policy, statecraft and the military are limited in the extreme.

With irony bordering on the painful, the journalist added, "Sarah Palin has restored my faith in Israel."

Israel is far from a model of good government, wise policymaking and exemplary leaders. But here, at least, voters and the politicians they make it their business to know inside and out, relate to politics not as if it were a spectacular bowl game or a reality show.but for what politics really is, in America and Israel both: a matter of life and death....(Thanks to Orrin)

Sorry, Mr Burston, but I think you are wrong here. Do you imagine Governor Palin doesn't GET "pre-emptive strikes to forestall hostile acts?" Of course she does. It's just American cowboy common-sense. It's Jacksonian. For all I know she's never heard of the Osirak raid, but do you imagine she wouldn't understand it in the blink of an eye? And say, "Well duh! They're building nuclear bombs to fry you? Of course you should hit them. Go for it."

And the Bush Doctrine on the subject of spreading democracy? We Americans started arguing furiously on that subject even before we had written our Constitution. I don't know what her views are, but she would absolutely understand the question. It's in our blood. (And I'm guessing your Tel Aviv cab driver hasn't thought much about that part.)

* Update: An irony is that all the major Democrats, such as Clinton, Kerry, and Gore, are on record before 2000 saying that Saddam is a danger to us, and ought to be removed from power. Once Bush proposed actually doing something about it they pretended they had never heard of such a disgusting non-European idea. But that was not a failure to understand the concept, it was moral bankruptcy

Posted by John Weidner at 11:24 AM

September 11, 2008

" We have been privileged to live amongst those who have volunteered"

The president this morning at the Pentagon for the dedication of 9/11 Pentagon Memorial

...For future generations, this memorial will be a place of learning. The day will come when most Americans have no living memory of the events of September the 11th. When they visit this memorial, they will learn that the 21st century began with a great struggle between the forces of freedom and the forces of terror. They will learn that this generation of Americans met its duty � we did not tire, we did not falter, and we did not fail. They will learn that freedom prevailed because the desire for liberty lives in the heart of every man, woman, and child on Earth.

We can be optimistic about the future because we've seen the character and courage of those who defend liberty. We have been privileged to live amongst those who have volunteered to spread the foundation of peace and justice, which is freedom....


Posted by John Weidner at 10:41 AM

September 3, 2008

Symbols matter...

Andy McCarthy, at The Corner:

Secretary of State Rice's favorite Palestinian "moderate," PA president Mahmoud Abbas, made time last week to meet in Lebanon with Samir Kuntar, the terrorist recently freed by Israel in a swap with Hezbollah for the remains of Israeli soldiers.

The International Herald Tribune delicately mentions that Kuntar killed three people in "a grisly attack" in 1979. I posted about that attack around the time of Kuntar's release � how Kuntar made sure to make a 4-year-old girl watch her father being killed right before he murdered her by crushing her skull.

Just remember, when you see Western liberals wearing kaffiyahs, this kind of Jew-killing is what they are, symbolically, FOR.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:22 AM

August 23, 2008

Biden?

Pretty funny, really. The guy who has never DONE anything, just talked talked talked talked............picks a running-mate who has...........yes, exactly.

And also he picks the closest thing the Dems have to a "neo-con" hawk. Someone who voted for the Iraq Campaign! Well, I told you that it doesn't matter who's president, George W Bush has set the template of the Global War on Terror, much like Truman did for the Cold War, and that's the way we will proceed from here on out....

Mostly I think this is just so revealing of the empty souls of the "Left." To accomplish anything one must, at least in some obscure way, believe in something. For a person to possess the awesome power available to a member of the United States Senate, and to do nothing of note with it—that's just stupefying!

It says as clear as day that you have nothing inside. You are hollowed out.

And if a large segment of society thinks these hollow men are fit to be President and Vice-President........what does that say about them?

You read it here first...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:12 AM

August 11, 2008

The world changes, people lag behind....

Good news for the future of our army...

....Most of today's Army generals rose through the ranks during the Cold War as armor, infantry, or artillery officers who were trained to fight large-scale, head-to-head battles against enemies of comparable strength—for instance, the Soviet army as its tanks plowed across the East-West German border.
The problem, as many junior officers have been writing over the last few years, is that this sort of training has little relevance for the wars of today and, likely, tomorrow—the "asymmetric wars" and counterinsurgency campaigns that the U.S. military has actually been fighting for the last 20 years in Bosnia, Panama, Haiti, and Somalia, as well as in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2006 and again in 2007, the Army's promotion board passed over Col. H.R. McMaster, widely regarded as one of the most creative strategists of this "new" (though actually quite ancient) style of warfare. In Iraq, he was commander of the unit that brought order to Tal Afar, using the classic counterinsurgency methods—"clear, hold, and build"—that Petraeus later adopted as policy. When I was reporting a story last summer about growing tensions between the Army's junior and senior officer corps, more than a dozen lieutenants and captains complained bitterly (with no prompting from me) about McMaster's rejection, seeing it as a sign that the top brass had no interest in rewarding excellent performance. The more creative captains took it as a cue to contemplate leaving the Army.

This was why many Army officers were excited when Petraeus was appointed to chair this year's promotion board. Rarely, if ever, had a combat commander been called back from an ongoing war to assume that role. It almost certainly meant that McMaster would get his due. (Some referred to the panel as "the McMaster promotion board.")

McMaster did get his star—but so did many others of his ilk. That's what makes this list an eyebrow-raiser.....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:08 AM

July 30, 2008

John Yoo should be shot for this....

(Thanks to Tim B)

The lawyers for the Bali bombers plan to lodge a constitutional court challenge against the way their clients are to be executed...

...Lawyer Mahendra Data said that because their clients may be shot twice before they are dead, there is a potential for them to experience pain...[link].

They "might experience pain!" How dreadful. How barbaric! What is the world coming to? (It's all Bush's fault, torturing people around the globe, just because they want to blow people into bloody shreds of hamburger.)

But talk about "Western cultural imperialism" corrupting the indigenous cultures of the world. Now we got crazed Islamic killers going the ACLU route. (They should never have let in KFC.) Hey stupes, you are supposed to be MARTYRS!

Posted by John Weidner at 9:22 AM

July 28, 2008

"When heroes arise"

Charlene recommends this piece by Andrew Klavan in OpinionJournal, What Bush and Batman Have in Common...

....There seems to me no question that the Batman film "The Dark Knight," currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.

And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society -- in which people sometimes make the wrong choices -- and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell....

....Leftists frequently complain that right-wing morality is simplistic. Morality is relative, they say; nuanced, complex. They're wrong, of course, even on their own terms.

Left and right, all Americans know that freedom is better than slavery, that love is better than hate, kindness better than cruelty, tolerance better than bigotry. We don't always know how we know these things, and yet mysteriously we know them nonetheless.

The true complexity arises when we must defend these values in a world that does not universally embrace them -- when we reach the place where we must be intolerant in order to defend tolerance, or unkind in order to defend kindness, or hateful in order to defend what we love.

When heroes arise who take those difficult duties on themselves, it is tempting for the rest of us to turn our backs on them, to vilify them in order to protect our own appearance of righteousness. We prosecute and execrate the violent soldier or the cruel interrogator in order to parade ourselves as paragons of the peaceful values they preserve. As Gary Oldman's Commissioner Gordon says of the hated and hunted Batman, "He has to run away -- because we have to chase him."....

Well, she also recommends the film, but so does everybody else. She told me she thought it was the first film that really deals with the War on Terror. My guess is that it's the second; the first being the Lord of the Rings movies. I recollect John Rhys-Davies (Gimli) writing sardonically that Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn) didn't even realize he was playing George W Bush...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:17 AM

July 16, 2008

Neither tough nor principled...

Joe Lieberman responds...

...Senator Obama this morning said that he wants a foreign policy that is “tough, smart, and principled.” This afternoon, I ask: was it tough when Senator Obama voted to order U.S. forces to retreat from Iraq on a fixed timeline—regardless of the recommendations of our military commanders, regardless of conditions on the ground? Was it smart when Senator Obama opposed the surge and predicted that it would fail to improve security? Was it principled when Senator Obama said that he would order U.S. troops to retreat from Iraq, regardless of the humanitarian consequences for millions of innocent Iraqis—even genocide? Was it tough and principled when Senator Obama said he would be open to changing his plan for Iraq after going there and talking to General Petraeus—only to change that position a few hours later after being heatedly criticized by organizations like Moveon.org? I say respectfully, the answer to all of those questions is no.

Senator Obama also said this morning that he wants a foreign policy that recognizes that we have interests “not just in Baghdad, but in Kandahar and Karachi and Tokyo and London.” But what Senator Obama does not seem to recognize is that—in an interdependent world—what happens in Baghdad affects our interests in Kandahar and Karachi and Tokyo and London. What Senator Obama does not seem to understand is that—had we taken the course he had counseled and retreated from Iraq—the United States would have suffered a catastrophic defeat that would have left America and our allies less safe not just in Baghdad, but in Kandahar and Karachi and Tokyo and London...

Thank you Senator Joe...

It is good to remember that ALL our big Twentieth Century wars were Democrat wars. WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam... and in ALL of the them Republicans supported America as a LOYAL opposition. This was hard for us, because we had to refrain from many of the criticisms that might have helped us politically. For instance, we've been hearing Democrats howling about mistakes made by the Administration. Well, the mistakes made in the Democrat wars dwarf anything that's happened now. There were mistakes that caused casualties in the tens-of-thousands, in the space of weeks or days. But no Republican leader undermined our war efforts by publicly pillorying the administration.

To be loyal in war time does not mean "no criticism,' but it does mean only constructive criticism within the context of general support for our country and the success of our military.

The Iraq Campaign is not "Bush's war," it is America's war. It was voted for by the Congress of the United States of America. Once that happens, to undermine our troops, to undercut our war efforts for mere political advantage is treason. Sorry, I know that's a harsh word. But I'm a very minor blogger, not influential, and I don't have any reason to pussyfoot.

What the Dems have been doing is treason. What Obama is doing is treason. To encourage our enemies by publicly promising retreat is treason. And, of a certainty, these actions have killed, and will continue to kill, American troops. The blood of our soldiers is on their hands.

To vote Democrat at this particular time is to vote for traitors. It is morally wrong.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:31 AM

July 7, 2008

The flip-side of the story...

NY Daily News:

A young undercover city detective spent four years in the shadowy world of terrorist wanna-bes - taking part in jihadist discussions and training in parks in the dead of night - to get a handle on the homegrown threat.

At great personal risk, he participated in everything from prayers at a mosque to martial arts training under cover of darkness to watching jihadist videos, with many of the activities laced with talk of killing, according to a source familiar with the undercover's investigations.

His experiences paint a vivid portrait of the potential for local terror. While the picture is in no way indicative of the city's Muslim population as a whole, it provides insight into its most radical element.

The detective spent his time interacting with informal groups of youths and men who shared extremist views - and his experiences illustrate what police say is the potential for radicalization of some elements in the community.

He reported that after prayers at a neighborhood mosque, there were often private classes that included discussions about bombing different areas.

The men discussed violent jihad in bookstores, private houses and on buses en route to paintball and shooting-range events.
He was invited to join in "bonding" activities like working out at a gym and martial arts training in parks at night, during which the group discussed ideological justifications for killing Westerners....

It's good to be aware of things like this.

But, as always, what really interests me is the invisible flip-side to the story. If you think of radical Islam as a pressure, tending to expand and grow, there is also a partial vacuum that is encouraging that growth. Drawing it forth.

Let me ask you, why isn't this kind of story in the NYT or the WaPo? It would sell papers. It would be good for business. Why? It is because they and their readers don't want to know.

Leftists often complain about how Bush is destroying the Constitution to wage perpetual war, etc etc blah blah. But if you know anything about our history you know that what is conspicuously absent in this war is tough quasi-lawless action against domestic subversion. If Bush had been acting like Abraham Lincoln (scaled-up to our greater population) there would have been tens-of-thousands of suspicious characters imprisoned, beat-up, roughed-up, kicked-out, disappeared, or hanged at Gitmo. "Terrorist wanna-bes" wouldn't dare go from a mosque to "paintball and shooting-range events." And I say that it is the absence of that fear that is like a vacuum drawing-out violence and terrorism.

My point here is not about whether we should be doing such stuff (that's a different topic), my point is that there is that there is something missing in the souls of maybe 30 or 40 percent of Americans, such that they are repelled by the thought of taking decisive and tough action in defense of our country (and won't give it political support). Something that wasn't missing before. Wilson and FDR were liberals, but they never hesitated to take ruthless action in defense of our nation. Wilson for instance shut down hundreds of newspapers.

And my theory, which I've often mentioned, that it is really the absence of ALL belief that we see here. That most liberals today aren't liberals at all, they are nihilists. That belief in anything (except themselves, and perhaps family) has drained away, leaving them like HD Wells' Invisible Man, wrapping themselves in bandages to conceal their emptiness.

It's not only liberals who are running on empty, but "liberalism" is the most useful set of bandages right now. It allows one to puff up the all-important self without demanding any real commitment. Liberal or New-Age religios now performs the same function. To inflate the ego by being too "spiritually advanced" to believe in anything.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:26 AM

June 25, 2008

Go for it, Israel...

The Wall Street Journal, on the possibility of Israeli strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities...

....Those exercises – reportedly involving about 100 fighters, tactical bombers, refueling planes and rescue helicopters – were conducted about 900 miles westof Israel's shores in the Mediterranean. Iran's nuclear facilities at Bushehr, Isfahan and Natanz all fall roughly within the same radius, albeit in the opposite direction. The point was not lost on Tehran, which promptly warned of "strong blows" in the event of a pre-emptive Israeli attack.

The more important question is whether the meaning of Israel's exercise registered in Western capitals. It's been six years since Iran's secret nuclear programs were publicly exposed, and Israel has more or less bided its time as the Bush Administration and Europe have pursued diplomacy to induce Tehran to cease enriching uranium.

It hasn't worked. Iran has rejected repeated offers of technical and economic assistance, most recently this month. Despite four years of pleading, the Administration has failed to win anything but weak U.N. sanctions. Russia plans to sell advanced antiaircraft missiles to Iran and finish work on a nuclear reactor at Bushehr, though spent fuel from that reactor could eventually be diverted and reprocessed into weapons-usable plutonium. Chinese companies still invest in Iran, while the U.N.'s chief nuclear inspector, Mohamed ElBaradei, has repeatedly downplayed Iran's nuclear threat...

Diplomacy hasn't worked. WELL OF COURSE IT HASN'T WORKED! Diplomacy works as an alternative to force. If you are too sick and corroded inside to be willing to use force, then why should anyone bother to give you anything at the negotiating table? And if you can't solve problems through diplomacy, what do you get? War!

Weakness leads to war. Pacifism leads to war. Quakerism leads to war.

This one won't be an actual war, just a surgical strike on certain facilities. But there will be casualties, including civilians. That's because the evil Iranian regime has placed it's nuclear bomb facilities to make this happen. Which is a war crime, by the way. Not that they will get any blame for it. Our morally-depraved "liberals" will place all the blame on Israel, as always. How dare the Jews defend themselves against nuclear attack?

Well I say, go for it, Israel. You will only be doing what the US should have done years ago. And doing the world a huge favor.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:25 PM

June 16, 2008

Go for it, President Karzai...

One of the really stupid and violence-producing aspects of the world we live in is the common assumption that terrorist thugs can use certain countries as bases for attacks on other countries, but that they can't be counter-attacked, because their bases are in a "sovereign" nation we are not at war with. (This idea would have been laughed to scorn long ago, except that it dovetails perfectly with lefty nihilism, which hates above all things our believing in anything enough to fight for it.)

But one of the good aspects of war is that it slowly burns away falsehoods. What's left may be ugly, but it is true. (ref: Sherman, Grant, Patton, Epaminondas, Chatham, Wellington.) One of the most shocking and radical blows of the War on Terror has been the way President Bush has re-defined sovereignty as requiring democratic legitimacy. That's much a bigger deal than invading Iraq, but his opponents watch the hand that the magician waves in the air, and don't see the real move. The lie that is our old idea of sovereignty is being burned away, and high time...

Karzai threatens to chase militants in Pakistan

President Hamid Karzai threatened Sunday to send Afghan soldiers into Pakistan to fight militant groups that operate in border areas there to attack Afghanistan.

His comments, made at a news conference in Kabul, are likely to worsen tensions between the two countries just days after American forces in Afghanistan killed 11 Pakistani soldiers on the border while pursuing militants.

"If these people in Pakistan give themselves the right to come and fight in Afghanistan, as was continuing for the last 30 years, so Afghanistan has the right to cross the border and destroy terrorist nests, spying, extremism and killing in order to defend itself, its schools, its peoples and its life," Karzai said.

"When they cross the territory from Pakistan to come and kill Afghans and kill coalition troops, it exactly gives us the right to go back and do the same," he continued....

The frontier provinces of Pakistan are waging war on Afghanistan, right now, while crossing their fingers and claiming to be at peace. Tolerating the situation means that that war will continue indefinitely. To do so is to reward the aggressors. The path to peace is to punish the criminals. Being, myself, a real pacifist, not a fake one, I say it is time to put a stop to it.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:10 AM

June 10, 2008

FDR Lied....Or should have if it had been necessary.

The Rockefeller Report supposedly substantiates the "Bush lied" line of leftist propaganda. But the actual report demonstrates the opposite, as this editorial in the WaPo (no friends of Bush they) shows...

.....But dive into Rockefeller's report, in search of where exactly President Bush lied about what his intelligence agencies were telling him about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, and you may be surprised by what you find.

On Iraq's nuclear weapons program? The president's statements "were generally substantiated by intelligence community estimates."

On biological weapons, production capability and those infamous mobile laboratories? The president's statements "were substantiated by intelligence information."

On chemical weapons, then? "Substantiated by intelligence information."

On weapons of mass destruction overall (a separate section of the intelligence committee report)? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information." Delivery vehicles such as ballistic missiles? "Generally substantiated by available intelligence." Unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to deliver WMDs? "Generally substantiated by intelligence information."

As you read through the report, you begin to think maybe you've mistakenly picked up the minority dissent. But, no, this is the Rockefeller indictment. So, you think, the smoking gun must appear in the section on Bush's claims about Saddam Hussein's alleged ties to terrorism.

But statements regarding Iraq's support for terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information." Statements that Iraq provided safe haven for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other terrorists with ties to al-Qaeda "were substantiated by the intelligence assessments," and statements regarding Iraq's contacts with al-Qaeda "were substantiated by intelligence information." The report is left to complain about "implications" and statements that "left the impression" that those contacts led to substantive Iraqi cooperation....

Now the "Bush lied" story has always been bullshit, among other reasons because all the Dem leaders are on the record as saying exactly the same sort of things about the dangers posed by the Iraqi regime. And they had access to the same intelligence. Still, it's nice to see the Post confirm it.

But I have always thought that the whole controversy is based on a false and very pernicious philosophy. One that in fact causes war. I think the basic Western default "common wisdom" response to terrorism is the very reason terrorism exists and works. It's a game played by rules that ensure that the game will go on and on.

Imagine that Iran sent a plane and dropped a bomb on some American base, and killed some of our people. We would say that that is an act of war. We would, at the very least, bomb them in retaliation, and make no apologies about it. But suppose Iran covertly supports a terrorist group that sends a suicide bomber and kills the very same Americans. We are supposed to pretend that nothing much has happened. If we suspect an Iranian connection and bomb Iran's Presidential Palace in retaliation, world opinion would say that we are starting a war!

That's crazy. And that kind of thinking is the reason there are terror-supporting nations. They fund and arm terror groups because they can get away with it. Our enemies can attack us without much fear of retaliation. So they do. It is the lack of response that promotes terrorism. We reward them, rather than punishing them.

And the way our "conventional wisdom" works is by declaring the terror-supporting nations innocent until proven guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. That's what the "Bush lied" campaign is all about.

But Saddam was openly a supporter of terrorism. He was paying bounties for Jews killed. (Some of whom were Americans.) We are in a global war on terrorism. We have a perfect right to attack any terror-supporters and terror groups. Just as we had a right to attack nations that were aiding the Axis during WWII, even though we were not technically at war with them.

The only way to stop terrorism is to stop playing the silly game of "we can't hit back unless we prove beyond doubt that you hit first." That encourages covert attacks. that rewards them. The way to peace is to smack hard any country that even looks like it might be supporting terror groups.

IF Bush lied about the dangers of Iraq (he didn't) it is only because of a crazy system that protects Iraq. We should be taking out obdurate terror-supporters, and if it took a lie to get us doing what was right, then it was a noble deed. He shouldn't even need to ask permission. We are in a war, Iraq was clearly on the other side, President Bush is Commander in Chief, so he should be able to order the invasion of Iraq without any fuss.

President Roosevelt didn't go to Congress for permission to invade North Africa, even though we were not technically at war with French Morocco. He just did it. And if he had not had a loyal opposition party, if he had had a disloyal opposition, an anti_American opposition, as we do now, then he might have had to lie to get permission to attack. And if so, then his duty would have been to lie.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:21 AM

June 7, 2008

Toldja... "The sensible options for defending them are relatively limited"

From the Washington Post this morning...

IN THE HEAT of the Democratic primary campaign, some on the left were inspired to believe that Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) offered a far-reaching transformation of U.S. foreign policy, "the most sweeping liberal foreign-policy critique we've heard from a serious presidential contender in decades," as one particularly breathless article in the American Prospect put it. Yet, when Mr. Obama opened his general election campaign this week with a major speech on Middle East policy, the substantive strategy he outlined was, in many respects, not very much different from that of the Bush administration -- or that of Republican Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). That's not a bad thing; rather, it's a demonstration that there is a strong bipartisan consensus about America's vital interests in the Middle East and that the sensible options for defending them are relatively limited....

Do read it all and smile. The re-positioning on Iraq will come soon, depend on it.

President Bush has created the template for fighting the War on Terror, just as Truman set our course for the Cold War. Future presidents will be limited to filling in the details. Even pygmies like Obama. If they are smart, they will just read Random Jottings.

Or, better yet, listen to this deep old file....

Dick Cheney on a Segway

Posted by John Weidner at 6:58 AM

May 29, 2008

"Is it a country or a cause?"

Amir Taheri, in the WSJ, writes about how Iran is both a nation, that we can deal with rationally, and a revolutionary regime that feels no need to placate the Great Satan, or anybody.

It's very easy to be confused; to assume that one Iran or the other is the "real" one. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is an apocalyptic nut-job, but also won office by running on a platform of economic reform. It's a peculiar situation. Iran will probably become more moderate and friendly over time, but we need to deal with things right now...

....The reason is that Iran is gripped by a typical crisis of identity that afflicts most nations that pass through a revolutionary experience. The Islamic Republic does not know how to behave: as a nation-state, or as the embodiment of a revolution with universal messianic pretensions. Is it a country or a cause?

A nation-state wants concrete things such as demarcated borders, markets, access to natural resources, security, influence, and, of course, stability – all things that could be negotiated with other nation-states. A revolution, on the other hand, doesn't want anything in particular because it wants everything...

....The problem that the world, including the U.S., has today is not with Iran as a nation-state but with the Islamic Republic as a revolutionary cause bent on world conquest under the guidance of the "Hidden Imam." The following statement by the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the "Supreme leader" of the Islamic Republic – who Mr. Obama admits has ultimate power in Iran -- exposes the futility of the very talks Mr. Obama proposes: "You have nothing to say to us. We object. We do not agree to a relationship with you! We are not prepared to establish relations with powerful world devourers like you! The Iranian nation has no need of the United States, nor is the Iranian nation afraid of the United States. We . . . do not accept your behavior, your oppression and intervention in various parts of the world."...

...whenever Iran has appeared as a nation-state, others have been able to negotiate with it, occasionally with good results. In Iraq, for example, Iran has successfully negotiated a range of issues with both the Iraqi government and the U.S. Agreement has been reached on conditions under which millions of Iranians visit Iraq each year for pilgrimage. An accord has been worked out to dredge the Shatt al-Arab waterway of three decades of war debris, thus enabling both neighbors to reopen their biggest ports. Again acting as a nation-state, Iran has secured permission for its citizens to invest in Iraq.

When it comes to Iran behaving as the embodiment of a revolutionary cause, however, no agreement is possible. There will be no compromise on Iranian smuggling of weapons into Iraq. Nor will the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps agree to stop training Hezbollah-style terrorists in Shiite parts of Iraq. Iraq and its allies should not allow the mullahs of Tehran to export their sick ideology to the newly liberated country through violence and terror....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:57 AM

May 26, 2008

There's a little Jimmy Carter in all of us....

John at PowerLine:

On the stump, Barack Obama usually concludes his comments on Iraq by saying, "and it hasn't made us safer." It is an article of faith on the left that nothing the Bush administration has done has enhanced our security, and, on the contrary, its various alleged blunders have only contributed to the number of jihadists who want to attack us.

Empirically, however, it seems beyond dispute that something has made us safer since 2001. Over the course of the Bush administration, successful attacks on the United States and its interests overseas have dwindled to virtually nothing.

Some perspective here is required. While most Americans may not have been paying attention, a considerable number of terrorist attacks on America and American interests abroad were launched from the 1980s forward, too many of which were successful. What follows is a partial history.....

He has a very interesting timeline of terror attacks inside America or against American interests abroad. And a very interesting list of possible reasons why attacks on us have dwindled to nothing.

And yet I think he misses the real explanation.

Terrorist attacks are done for a reason. The terrorists hope to get something out of them. The normal reaction in the West is to give them what they want. They want to sow fear, so we become fearful. They want publicity, so our "journalists" hasten to oblige. They want to demonstrate that we are not really dangerous, and so we lash out ineffectually. They want concessions, we run to the negotiating table. They want a break, we give them a truce.

It's like our collective mind has a little Jimmy Carter whispering in its ear.

2002 and 2003 was the first time we responded to terror attacks by doing something they REALLY don't want us to do. We cold-bloodedly and effectively brought democracy and freedom to two Islamic countries, and most importantly, one of them right in the Arab heartland. If our project in Iraq succeeds, al-Qaeda and its project are locked out of that country forever. They know it, they've said it, they've thrown their best efforts into the counter-attack.

And they fear that if they attack us we may do something like Iraq again

That's why they have not hit us.

* Update: And also, what has been our reaction to al-Qaeda's bloody counterattack in Iraq? It should have been: "YES! We've stung them! Let's do more of this! Faster, please."

Instead, for many of us, including almost all Democrats and leftists, and much of our government, it's been, "Give them what they want!" And who has done the most to resist the pressure to cave in Iraq? To resist the pressure to give the terrorists what they want? President George W. Bush. We are gonna miss this guy, I predict. We're gonna miss him once he's gone. [My thoughts on WHY the left is so desperate to lose in Iraq are here.]

(This is just an old photo from 2003, from my Iraq archives.)

Iraqi schoolgirls with new slates
Iraqi schoolgirls show off their new chalkboards donated by friends and family of U.S. Navy Seabees assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion Four. Navy Seabee units have been participating in extensive reconstruction of schools, hospitals and bridges throughout Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Lt. Brandon Harding [From DefendAmerica's Sept.'03 Photo Archive]

Posted by John Weidner at 7:50 AM

May 24, 2008

New terrain...

Good post by Victor Davis Hanson: Any more Grants and Shermans?...

Who becomes a general — and why — tells us a lot about whether our military is on the right or wrong track.

The annual spring list of Army colonels promoted to brigadier generals will be shortly released. Already, rumors suggest this year, unlike in the recent past, a number of maverick officers who have distinguished themselves fighting — and usually defeating — insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq will be chosen...

Let's hope so! All of America's significant wars have been new terrain for those who fought them—each a new type of war. All of them started with costly mistakes until the new way of warfare was learned. [The leftist claim that the Iraq Campaign is somehow illegitimate because mistakes have been made is stupid and dishonest.] And always many officers, steeped in the thinking of the last war, had to be removed or sidelined to make room for those who could adapt.

Hanson writes about the Civil War, and the many generals Lincoln went through before getting Grant and Sherman. And also how WWII was won by generals that George Marshall promoted from relative obscurity.

WWI was a similar case.

I wrote a small piece here about General Pershing's immense task in finding officers for our huge "instant army," when so many colonels and generals were sunk in mental lethargy from decades of garrison duty broken only by occasional indian wars. (Hunter Liggett, who was mentally ready, was given a Division in January, 1918, and by October was commanding an Army!)

And Pershing himself had been bumped in rank over many senior officers. Teddy Roosevelt thought highly of him, and wanted to make him a colonel. But the Army would not agree. There was, however, another possibility... From Wikipedia:

...In June 1903, Pershing was ordered to return to the United States. He was forty-three years old and still a captain in the U.S. Army. President Theodore Roosevelt petitioned the Army General Staff to promote Pershing to colonel. At the time, Army officer promotions were based primarily on seniority, rather than merit, and although there was widespread acknowledgment that Pershing should serve as a colonel, the Army General Staff declined to change their seniority based promotion tradition just to accommodate Pershing. They would not consider a promotion to lieutenant colonel or even major. This angered Roosevelt, but since the President could only promote army officers in the General ranks, his hands were tied...

...After serving as an observer in the Russo-Japanese War, Pershing returned to the United States in the fall of 1905. In a move that shocked the army establishment, President Roosevelt convinced Congress to authorize the appointment of Pershing as a brigadier general, skipping three ranks and more than 835 officers senior to him....


General Pershing and colonel Marshall, during WWI

Posted by John Weidner at 10:37 AM

May 22, 2008

Lead the caravan, let the dogs bark...

Reg Jones posted this excerpt in a comment, and I'd like to emphasize it. If you do the right thing, you are not going to be popular. But history will remember those who fought evil and tyranny and poverty and terrorism. And will utterly forget the ankle-biters who hinder them. The nihilist dogs bark, but the caravan moves on...

This is Jay Nordlinger, interviewing President Kartzai of Afghanistan...

...I say, “There is a lot of contempt for President Bush expressed at conferences like this. What is your opinion of him?” Karzai says that he, along with Afghanistan at large, has nothing but “respect, admiration, and praise” for him...He says that, without American action, Afghanistan would be “the most miserable nation on earth — the poorest, the hungriest, the most suffering.”

But, thanks to that action, the country has a new life. Decency, health, and material supply have been restored. Afghan identity has been “recovered and revived.” And “we are extremely grateful. The Afghans owe George Bush and the United States a lot.”...On the subject of Bush, one of the journalists teases him a little. He says, “You’re the only one who supports him.” Karzai responds that he doesn’t care — he’s not going to criticize someone just because others do; he will not “jump on a bandwagon.” “Others can say what they have to say. I have my own opinion. And my judgment is one of praise and recognition.”

He even allows that he has argued with U.S. senators over Bush, irritating them. I can just see it!..

      -- Jay Nordlinger, Sharm El Sheikh Journal, 5/21/2008
Posted by John Weidner at 9:44 AM

May 21, 2008

"A defining feature of his campaign and of his political persona..."

Caroline Glick, from Jerusalem, refreshingly blunt.

....The only strong reaction that Bush's remarks provoked in Israel was relief. In spite of the Bush administration's own participation in the six-party talks with North Korea, its support for the EU-3's feckless discussions with the mullahs, its paralysis in the face of Hizbullah's takeover of Lebanon, and its support for the establishment of a Palestinian state run by Fatah terrorists dedicated to Israel's destruction, at the very least, standing before the Knesset, Bush effectively pledged not to allow Iran to acquire the means to conduct a new Holocaust.

From an Israeli vantage point then, it was shocking to see that immediately after Bush stepped down from the rostrum, Obama and his Democratic supporters began pillorying him for his remarks. Most distressing is what Obama's reaction said about the Democratic presidential hopeful.

Obama's response to Bush's speech was an effective acknowledgement that appeasing Iran and other terror sponsors is a defining feature of his campaign and of his political persona. As far as he is concerned, an attack against appeasement is an attack against Obama....

Of course he's an appeaser. And anti-Israel. He could not possibly be a successful and popular Democrat candidate otherwise. If he weren't, the "activist" Dems would turn on him, like they turned on Joe Lieberman. It's the party of appeasement. And you already know why it's the party of appeasement, 'cause I've told you lots of times.

And also good is Bret Stephens, Obama and the Jews...

...Or take Iran, which Israelis universally see as their deadliest enemy. Yes, there are arguments to be made in favor of presidential-level negotiations between Washington and Tehran – perhaps as a last-ditch effort to avert military strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities. But does anyone seriously think Mr. Obama would authorize such strikes?

Instead, Mr. Obama says he favors "tough diplomacy," including tighter sanctions on Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps. Last fall, however, he was one of only 22 senators to oppose a Senate resolution calling for the IRGC to be designated as a terrorist organization, a vote that made him a dove even within the Democratic Party. Mr. Obama argued at the time the amendment would give the administration a pretext to go to war with Iran. It was an odd claim for a nonbinding resolution...

"Tough diplomacy." Right. There's no such animal. If you are tough in general, then diplomacy often works. Diplomacy is a way of avoiding a fight. But out enemies will look at Obama and know he doesn't want to fight. So why should they negotiate?

Posted by John Weidner at 7:18 AM

May 17, 2008

You knew this, but it's nice to have them admit it...

Nibras Kazimi writes:

Fascinating: The Jihadists Admit Defeat in Iraq

A prolific jihadist sympathizer has posted an ‘explosive’ study on one of the main jihadist websites in which he laments the dire situation that the
mujaheddin find themselves in Iraq by citing the steep drop in the number of insurgent operations conducted by the various jihadist groups, most notably Al-Qaeda’s 94 percent decline in operational ability over the last 12 months when only a year and half ago Al-Qaeda accounted for 60 percent of all jihadist activity!

The author, writing under the pseudonym ‘Dir’a limen wehhed’ [‘A Shield for the Monotheist’], posted his ‘Brief Study on the Consequences of the Division [Among] the [Jihadist] Groups on the Cause of Jihad in Iraq’ on May 12 and it is being
displayed by the administration of the Al-Ekhlaas website—one of Al-Qaeda’s chief media outlets—among its more prominent recent posts. He's considered one of Al-Ekhlaas's "esteemed" writers....

Worth reading. Charts and all. They are in Arabic, but even so the picture is dramatic...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:20 AM

May 12, 2008

I'll bet this is right

From a 5/12/08 NY Sun column by Nibras Kazimi...

Iran’s Shifting Strategy

The healing in Iraq and the deterioration in Lebanon are not unrelated. In fact, Iraq will serve as both cause and effect to Lebanon’s misfortunes. Iran, eclipsed in Sadr City, had decided to allow its sectarian acolytes to put on a show of strength in Beirut. And the jihadists of Al Qaeda’s ilk, soon to be eclipsed in Mosul, will migrate to Beirut to meet Iran’s challenge.

Five years ago, there was a hope that held Iraq as a would-be beacon for democracy throughout the Middle East, but that vision had too many determined enemies both inside and outside Iraq. Yet as the situation there darkened through the actions of these regressive forces, the spontaneous outpouring of liberty demonstrated by the Lebanese people seemed to validate the notion that democracy and liberty would take in the region, and that the hope for what Iraq may portend was not misplaced. But the Cedar Revolution, as the March 2005 events of Beirut are remembered, also had too many internal and external enemies determined to spoil the elation.

Two countries that were dead-set against Iraq succeeding were Syria and Iran. These are also the two countries most responsible for fomenting political paralysis and chaos in Lebanon....
Posted by John Weidner at 12:42 PM

April 10, 2008

There's nothin' like peace

Israel Today (Thanks to ALa)

Israeli Minister of National Infrastructure Benjamin Ben-Eliezer warned on Monday that if Iran attacks the Jewish state, it will suffer widespread destruction as a result.

Speaking at the headquarters for Israel's largest ever national emergency and defense drill, Ben-Eliezer said that "an Iranian attack will prompt a severe reaction from Israel, which will destroy the Iranian nation."...

....In related news, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad proudly announced on Tuesday that his nation had begun installing an additional 6,000 advanced centrifuges for the enrichment of uranium. Iran already has 3,000 uranium enrichment centrifuges on line....

What Iran and Israel are doing makes sense---crazy dictators always want to kill Jews, it's in their nature. And Jews quite naturally have another opinion.

What gets me, what seems just crazy, is that if the US now drops some bunker-busters on those centrifuges, we will be called "warmongers," and aggressors!

And if President Bush does nothing, sits on his hands, lets two countries edge towards nuclear war, that's "peace."

Sick. Pacifism is sick.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:42 AM

March 31, 2008

"Stultifying spiritual emptiness"

Spengler's latest offers us a clear view of what may really be going on with the Pope's baptism of Magdi Allam.

...Magdi Allam presents an existential threat to Muslim life, whereas other prominent dissidents, for example Ayaan Hirsi Ali, offer only an annoyance. Much as I admire Hirsi Ali, she will persuade few Muslims to reconsider their religion. She came to the world's attention in 2004 after a Muslim terrorist murdered Theo van Gogh, with whom she had produced a brief film protesting the treatment of women under Islam. As an outspoken critic of Islam, Hirsi Ali has lived under constant threat, and I have deplored the failure of Western governments to accord her adequate protection.

Yet the spiritual emptiness of a libertine and cynic like Theo van Gogh can only repel Muslims. Muslims suffer from a stultifying spiritual emptiness, depicted most poignantly by the Syrian Arab poet Adonis (see Are the Arabs already extinct?, Asia Times Online, May 8, 2007). Muslim traditional society cannot withstand the depredations of globalized culture, and radical Islam arises from a despairing nostalgia for the disappearing past. Why would Muslims trade the spiritual vacuum of Islam for the spiritual sewer of Dutch hedonism? The souls of Muslims are in agony. The blandishments of the decadent West offer them nothing but shame and deracination. Magdi Allam agrees with his former co-religionists in repudiating the degraded culture of the modern West, and offers them something quite different: a religion founded upon love....

It's worth reading...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:24 PM

March 26, 2008

"Don't be foolhardy"

Gerald Augustinus posted some comments from the National Catholic Reporter on the Pope's recent baptism of a prominent Muslim who has converted to Christianity...

They make, for me, painful reading. If you want to know WHY we are in a Global War on Terror, this one comment is worth thinking about:

This does seem to be a very dangerous political game for the Vatican to be playing. It is like poking a stick in their cave. It seems rather foolhardy.

Western Civilization is, more than anything else, Christian Civilization. And there is no moment and no place that is closer to the heart of Western Civilization than St Peter's at Easter. And there is no human being who has better right to claim to be the leader of our civilization, than Benedict XVI. (Think not? Name another.)

And there is nothing closer to the heart of all that is Christian, than the Sacrament of Baptism, especially baptism of an adult catechumen, one who may be risking martyrdom for the Faith.

There could not possibly be a better moment to stand bravely�defiantly�up for what we of the West believe in than this one. Stand up even at the risk of death and war. Ruat caelum fiat iusticia. Even an honest atheist should see that flinching away at this moment would be a grave error.

But what is the reaction of today's "Christian?" "Don't poke a stick in their cave."

Imagine the early Christians saying, "Best not poke a stick in Caesar's cave." Imagine the countless Christian martyrs saying: "Don't be foolhardy. Don't poke a stick at Mao/Hitler/Henry VIII/Emperor of China/Emperor of Japan."

Imagine Martin Luther saying, "Here I stand. Er, umm, on second thought, maybe not. It would be foolhardy to poke a stick in the Pope's eye."

Imagine the heroes of Lepanto and Vienna and The Siege of Malta saying, "Let's not poke a stick in the Sultan's eye. Better to be a live coward than a dead hero."

And the kind of thinking expressed in the comment is not only profoundly non-Christian, it is precisely the thinking that has resulted in WAR.

The War on Terror is not an affair of one nation trying to conquer another. It is a matter of violent crazy criminals growing bolder and bolder over the course of many decades, while the West has repeatedly flinched. Think of a violent gang in your town. And think of the authorities saying, "It's dangerous to poke a stick in their cave. Better to just leave them alone."

If any lefty Christians are reading this, THINK! You are the warmongers.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:01 AM

March 25, 2008

Odd behavior...

Puzzling stuff about Mr Obama, from Richard L. Benkin, concerning bipartisan congressional efforts to free a moderate Muslim leader and freedom fighter....

...In fact, I approached about 15 percent of the House and a handful of Senators: Democratic, Republican, left, right, moderate; you name it. And every one of them reacted with support; every one of them, that is, except one. Who was the one lawmaker that took a pass on saving the life of an imprisoned US ally and opponent of Islamist extremism? That's right, my own Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

I first met with his staff in April 2005 in his DC office. Keep in mind this was the same week that Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) spent hours learning about the case and then met well after "working hours" in a very difficult meeting with the Bangladeshi ambassador and me to secure Shoaib's release. I brought Obama's staff extensive documentation of the injustice, as well as other evidence of Shoaib's activities; we spoke for quite a long time, but they never called back. In fact, they ignored all my subsequent follow-up contacts. But it was, after all soon after his election; perhaps early disorganization was to blame.

Yet, I spoke personally with Obama 13 months later at a general meeting hosted by Obama and Durbin. To my delight, when my name was mentioned, Durbin responded immediately with praise and support, saying that it was "an important human rights case," and asked to see me privately about the matter. I spoke with to both him and Obama, who at his best moments looked quizzical and confused. While Durbin later sent a formal protest to the Bangladeshis, Obama never responded; nor again did he or his staff reply to my subsequent entreaties.

I spoke with Obama one other time about Shoaib's case, less than six months later. I reminded him or our last encounter, gave him an update on the case, and asked for his support in one of any number of ways. He hesitated a moment then held out his hand and said, "Well, we're sure happy for all the work you are doing." Propriety prevents me from verbalizing what I was thinking then. I offered to send him more information, which he asked me to do. And, guess what, I never heard back despite the reams of evidence I did send.

Barack Obama wants us to think that he has a special sensitivity to injustice and that his entire life has been about combating it. Yet, in this one concrete situation he faced, he failed to act. The fact that not one of the dozens of other lawmakers failed speaks volumes. The fact that support was never contingent on ideology speaks volumes. I often wondered if his refusal to act was strategic, ignorant, or simple cowardice. No matter, the impact on Shoaib Choudhury was the same, as it would be on any freedom fighter...

One has to wonder what was going on his head. It would seem like a no-brainer, to join in something like this...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:24 AM

March 19, 2008

Obama war speech

Ethan Hahn writes:

Did you see this speech? Man, was I thrilled when I read it. I think he's dead wrong on Iraq, misreading the current situation and married to a foolish policy of withdrawal - but if you look past the gratuitous and inaccurate rips on Bush and McCain, and the Iraq situation, it's a fantastic speech. He's engaging the Bush administration big-picture policy everywhere else. A surge in Afghanistan; strength with Al Qaeda in Pakistan, while supporting the moderate middle and democracy, along with increased engagement; military training missions across the world, supporting failed states, growing the military, standing tough against Iran (using the same ideas McCain used on Hugh's show the other day)...I still support McCain because he's on the same page, but without the artificial deadline in Iraq, and without the crazy economic populism (well...LESS crazy economic populism) - but this was a great speech...

What do you think?

It's a good speech. [You can read it here] And since I've criticized him for lack of substance, I should commend him for putting some real positions on the table.

If I were McCain, I'd thank him for his candor and make a counter-speech, billing it as a debate-at-a-distance, without pesky moderators! That would be interesting.

I don't find it very convincing; there's too many things in the speech that anyone would like to do, including Bush, but that are very hard. Make NATO more nimble? How likely is that? The problems of NATO are just the problems of Europe writ small, and there's not much the President can do about it.

"...Now is the time to meet the goal of cutting extreme poverty in half, in part by doubling our foreign assistance while demanding more from those who receive it.." Well, if you are really interested in cutting poverty you have to do things like allow poor third-world countries to sell their crops in the developed world. Tough stuff, especially if you are a protectionist. I bet McCain could do it better than Obama. But I could be wrong.

And of course I think he's simply wrong to say that Afghanistan and Pakistan are the "central front" in the war. But it's good that he's taken positions. As always with Obama one wonders if he really means it.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:37 PM

March 13, 2008

"work together in pursuit of shared goals "

Here's the News Report from those foul lying traitors honest patriots you see on TV...

March 13, 2008 2:44 PM

ABC News has requested and obtained a copy of the Pentagon study which shows Saddam Hussein had no links to Al Qaeda.

It's government report the White House didn't want you to read: yesterday the Pentagon canceled plans to send out a press release announcing the report's availability and didn't make the report available via email or online.

Based on the analysis of some 600,000 official Iraqi documents seized by US forces after the invasion and thousands of hours of interrogations of former officials in Saddam's government now in US custody, the government report is the first official acknowledgment from the US military that there is no evidence Saddam had ties to al Qaeda.....

And, here's the first paragraph of the Executive Summary of the actual report...(Thanks to Steven Hayes):

Captured Iraqi documents have uncovered evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism, including a variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist and Islamic terrorist organizations. While these documents do not reveal direct coordination and assistance between the Saddam regime and the al Qaeda network, they do indicate that Saddam was willing to use, albeit cautiously, operatives affiliated with al Qaeda as long as Saddam could have these terrorist-operatives monitored closely. Because Saddam's security organizations and Osama bin Laden's terrorist network operated with similar aims (at least in the short term), considerable overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financing, and training the same outside groups. This created both the appearance of and, in some way, a "de facto" link between the organizations. At times, these organizations would work together in pursuit of shared goals but still maintain their autonomy and independence because of innate caution and mutual distrust. Though the execution of Iraqi terror plots was not always successful, evidence shows that Saddam’s use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until the collapse of the regime...(my emphasis)

That's all you need to know. Saddam's was a terror-supporting regime. We are engaged in a global struggle against terrorism. For that reason alone we were perfectly justified in taking out Iraq. In fact there was no need to ask permission of Congress, just as FDR needed no special permission to invade French Morocco, (or Iceland, for that matter). The President could have just picked up the phone and told Rumsfeld to do it. And informed the public after the fact.

Wars are to fight. In a war you attack your enemies. Duh.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:17 PM

"A fatal threat to the terrorist organization..."

From Al-Qaida's Fading Victory: The Madrid Precedent, By Austin Bay

...Al-Qaida needed a Madrid Precedent. The "9-11 Precedent" hadn't worked as planned. Rather than perishing like a fire-struck Sodom or becoming "quagmired" in Afghanistan like the lurching Soviet military, the United States responded aggressively and creatively, and with an unexpected agility.

Moreover, America had chosen not merely to topple al-Qaida's Taliban allies, but had made the bold decision to go to "the heart of the matter" and wage a war for the terms of modernity in the center of the politically dysfunctional Arab Muslim Middle East.
[Well put!]

Don't think that al-Qaida's leaders didn't know that stroke -- establishing a democracy in Iraq -- represented a fatal threat to the terrorist organization.

Al-Qaida's dark genius had been to connect the Muslim world's angry, humiliated and isolated young men with a utopian fantasy preaching the virtue of violence. That utopian fantasy sought to explain and then redress roughly 800 years of Muslim decline. The rage energizing al-Qaida's ideological cadres certainly predated the post-Desert Storm presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia.

In February 2004, al-Qaida's "emir in Iraq," Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, bluntly noted he faced defeat. Islamist radicals were "failing to enlist support" and had "been unable to scare the Americans into leaving." Once the Iraqis established their own democracy, Zarqawi opined, al-Qaida was lost. Moreover, a predominantly Arab Muslim democracy offered the Muslim world an alternative to al-Qaida's liturgy of embedded grievance. Zarqawi's solution to looming failure was to murder Iraqi Shias and ignite a "sectarian war."...

And "sectarian war" was itself a disastrous policy. When it failed, as it has in Iraq, the result was a whole nation waking up and realizing who the realbad guys are. Iraq is now immunized against al Qaeda and similar groups. (And, despite what some silly people say, they are probably immunized against friendliness to the world's #1 terror-supporting nation, right next door.)

It's pleasant for me to read this, confirming what I've been arguing for so long. (See #'s 1 and 2 on my list of reasons for invading Iraq.)

And one thing that has amazed me is how blind people are to the simple fact that the result of the Iraq campaign has been that our enemies have been forced to react to our moves, rather than us reacting to theirs. This is something that has been stunningly obvious for years now, but most people refuse to see it.

In any war, seizing the initiative gives you a big advantage. But it's much more important in irregular warfare, against a shadowy and elusive foe. The normal pattern in terrorist campaigns is that something goes ka-boom!, and then we scramble around looking for clues. Wouldn't it be good if we could somehow choose a place to fight, far from our own civilians, garrison it with our troops, plus lots of potential allies, and then force al Qaeda to come there and fight us!

Posted by John Weidner at 6:23 AM

March 8, 2008

Treason pure and simple

Michelle Malkin has a long long LONG report on the many ongoing attacks and harassment of military recruiters by leftists. It's worth reading. These things have nothing to do with any sort of legitimate free speech or democratic political action.

They are crimes, pure and simple. And treason pure and simple. And evil, pure and simple--this has no connection to any sort of real pacifism. (Which is apparently extinct—I don't expect our current crop of fake-pacifists to make any protest against lawless violence. Violence in favor of left-wing goals is always fine with those frauds.)

Leftists hate America, and hate the Iraq Campaign, and hate our military...for one reason. Those three have something in common. They each symbolize a willingness to fight for what one believes in. To the nihilist, belief is an affront and an irritant.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:02 PM

March 7, 2008

Germans are good at following orders...

From Al-Qaeda Is Losing the War of Minds , By Peter Wehner,

On the way various influential clerics are turning against Jihadism. Such as Sayyid Imam al-Sharif ("Dr Fadl"), a former mentor to Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Sheikh Abd Al-‘Aziz bin Abdallah Aal Al-Sheikh, the "highest religious authority in Saudi Arabia." (The poor terrorist boobies will soon be reduced to using the Archbishop of Canterbury for religious leadership.)

...Not surprisingly, al-Qaeda’s stock is falling in much of the Arab and Islamic world. A recent survey found that in January less than a quarter of Pakistanis approved of Mr. bin Laden, compared with 46 per cent last August, while backing for al-Qaeda fell from 33 per cent to 18 per cent.

According to a July 2007 report from the Pew Global Attitudes Project, "large and growing numbers of Muslims in the Middle East and elsewhere [are] rejecting Islamic extremism". The percentage of Muslims saying suicide bombing is justified in the defence of Islam has declined in seven of the eight Arab countries where trend data are available. In Lebanon, for example, 34 per cent of Muslims say such suicide bombings are often or sometimes justified; in 2002, 74 per cent expressed this view. We are also seeing large drops in support for Mr. bin Laden. These have occurred since the Iraq war began.

Since General David Petraeus put in place his counter-insurgency strategy early last year, al-Qaeda has been dealt punishing military blows. Iraqis continue to turn against al-Qaeda and so does more of the Arab and Muslim world. In the past half-year an important new front, led by prominent Islamic clerics, has been opened. Militarily, ideologically and in terms of popular support, these are bad days for Mr. bin Laden and his jihadist jackals.

If we continue to build on these developments, the Iraq war, once thought to be a colossal failure, could turn out be a positive and even a pivotal event in our struggle against militant Islam. Having paid a high cost in blood and treasure and having embraced the wrong strategy for far too long, we stayed in the fight, proving that America was not the "weak horse" Mr. bin Laden believed it to be. Having stayed in the fight, we may prevail in it. The best way to subvert the appeal of bin Ladenism is to defeat those who take up the sword in its name...(Thanks to Orrin Judd).

Toldja so.

But wait, haven't we been in this situation before? Where we beat the stuffing out some murderous enemy, and then they suddenly discover that our ideas have merit?

I think it was in Lionel Davidson's thriller set in postwar Germany, Making Good Again, that somebody asks how a bunch of ex-Nazi's can ever form a democracy. And the answer was something like: "Germans are good at following orders. We've ordered them to become a democracy. They will obey." I always liked that. And it was true! Same thing with Japan.

And it will be true with the Islamic world too. They are good at following the "strong horse." That's us, if only we don't lose our civilizational self-confidence...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:09 AM

They sense our soft underbelly...

From John Howard's Irving Kristol Lecture at the AEI...

....In the protracted struggle against Islamic extremism there will be no stronger weapon than the maintenance by western liberal democracies of a steadfast belief in the continuing worth of our own national value systems. And where necessary a soaring optimism about the future of freedom and democracy.

We should not think that by trading away some of the values which have made us who we are will buy us either immunity from terrorists or respect from noisy minorities.

If the butter of common national values is spread too thinly it will disappear altogether.

We should not forget that it is the values of our societies that terrorists despise most. That is why we should never compromise on them.

It is not only their intrinsic worth that should be staunchly defended. It is also because radical Islam senses – correctly – that there is a soft underbelly of cultural self-doubt in certain Western societies.

There are too many in our midst who think, deep down, that it is really “our fault” and if only we entered into some kind of federal cultural compact, with our critics, the challenges would disappear.

Perhaps it was this sentiment which led the Archbishop of Canterbury to make the extraordinary comment several weeks ago, that in Britain some accommodation with aspects of Sharia law was inevitable.

It is fundamental to the continued unity and purpose of a democratic nation state that there not only be respect for the rule of law but the state have but one body of law, to which all are accountable, and from which all are entitled to an equal dispensation of justice....

Like I said...but never so well.

* Update: The page from The Australian that I copied John Howard's speech from had a good example of our "soft underbelly" (and of why I hate "journalists.") There was a box displaying the latest headline, and it read: "Eight dead in school gunbattle." As if maybe two equivalent factions had starting shooting at each other. It should have read, "Terrorists Murder Eight Students in Cold Blood." But that would imply an acceptance of Western values. And imply that we ought to be defending them.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:46 AM

March 4, 2008

Tough-love...

AOG writes:

Gateway Pundit has an article about various Islamic radicals threatening and / or encouraging the assassination of Prince Harry. What struck me as odd is that these radicals live in the UK. I am a fervent supporter of free speech, but even I think that kind of direct, personal, encouragement of political killing is over the line. As far as I know, saying something like that here about a member of the President’s family would result in an arrest and hopefully prosecution.

In my opinion, the proper course of action is internment, not prosecution. These things are not really within the scope of criminal law. This is a very different matter from, say, those leftists who have "suggested" that Bush ought to be assassinated. We are at war with Islamic radical terrorists, and these British radicals are, at the very least, giving them encouragement.

We are at war, and it is not our fault that our enemies are violating the laws of war. Our situation now is analogous to that which Lincoln faced. The uniformed armies of the Confederacy were, of course, fought openly and honorably. But, there were also large numbers of Confederate sympathizers scattered among the northern population, among whom were spies and saboteurs, and all sorts of ankle-biters and foot-draggers.

The situation required that Lincoln that Lincoln win the war. That was his Christian and American duty. And therefore it required that he use irregular methods against those who opposed us by irregular means. And for that reason he tapped telegraph lines repeatedly (no warrants), suspended Habeas Corpus, and had Lafayette Baker and the 1st DC Cavalry out kidnapping people and disappearing them into Old Capitol Prison. (Known locally as "Baker's Bastille.") And, yes, squeezing information out of them by methods you would not prefer over waterboarding. (Baker was, alas, far less clever than he thought he was, and the assassins who killed Lincoln gathered right under his nose.)

Our schoolchildren are subject, at least in California, to relentless propaganda about how wrong the US was to intern Japanese-Americans during WWII. This is a product of America-hating leftists. In hindsight it looks like Roosevelt was wrong—in practice—to intern them, BUT in principle he was absolutely correct. If he honestly feared that there were significant numbers of saboteurs among the Japanese-American population, who could not be easily identified, it would have been morally wrong not to intern that group. Roosevelt's duty—his Christian duty—was to win the war, and if the methods needed were irregular and brutal, then it was his duty to use them.

If the Western nations interned Islamic radicals who were inciting violence, the moral opprobrium would rest on the terror groups who use these people. Not on those doing the interning. There are laws and moral norms for waging war. Leftists tend to use these (and things like "International Law" and "Just War Theory") as if they only apply to America and her allies. Doing so is utterly dishonest and despicable. If the Islamic radicals mentioned above have gone so far as to actually encourage someone to assassinate Prince Harry, they are waging war. And committing a war crime. They could, with perfect legality, be stood up against a wall and shot. And that would arguably the morally correct thing to do, though in practice we would more likely give them a long comfortable vacation somewhere.

Our fake-pacifists often argue from Christian morality, saying in effect that we should "turn the other cheek" to terrorists or genocidal tyrants. This is false reasoning. Why? Because they are turning someone else's cheek! They don't suffer. They condemn some poor devil in the Third World to suffer, and then jump in the Prius and go home to a gourmet dinner and a safe (Thanks to our armed forces) night's sleep.

The analog, on the level of nations, to "turning the other cheek," is to flatten your enemy utterly, so he does not think of starting another war. And THEN to extend the hand of friendship, and give him aid and encouragement, and help him onto a better path. That's what we did after WWII. That's what Lincoln wanted to do after the Civil War.

And if any of you "pacifists" out there don't like what I write, don't sneer and carp, like scrubs. Make a case. Show me where my reasoning is wrong.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:02 AM

March 2, 2008

When truth goes chasing lies around the globe...

...It helps to have a bookmark to the facts. So keep this link on hand. (Thanks to Orrin.) Jonathan Last, in the Philly Inquirer...

A Democratic line is emerging about Sen. John McCain that is voiced daily by Sen. Obama (and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton) in the presidential campaign.

"Senator McCain said the other day that we might be mired for 100 years in Iraq," Obama says, "which is reason enough not to give him four years in the White House." Or more directly, as Obama told a Houston audience, McCain "says that he is willing to send our troops into another 100 years of war in Iraq."

Obama's claims are, at best, deliberately misleading. At worst, they are the type of politics-as-usual distortion that the Illinois senator usually decries. No one, in politics or the media, who voices the "100 years" canard is being fair-minded. So let's put it to rest now, once and for all:

On Jan. 3 in Derry, N.H., a voter prefaced a question to McCain by saying, "President Bush has talked about our staying in Iraq for 50 years . . ." Here, McCain cut him off, interjecting, "Make it a hundred."

The voter tried to continue his question, but McCain pressed on: "We've been in . . . Japan for 60 years. We've been in South Korea 50 years or so. That would be fine with me, as long
as Americans are not being injured or harmed or wounded or killed. It's fine with me, I hope it would be fine with you if we maintain a presence in a very volatile part of the world where al-Qaeda is training, equipping and recruiting and motivating people every single day."

McCain's analysis is, objectively speaking, exactly correct. Throughout history, U.S. troops have remained in the field long after the conclusion of successful wars...

He goes on to list all the many places our troops have remained long after our victories. Philippines, Japan, Germany, Italy, South Korea. Iceland, even!

And of course the really important point is, Why? Why are we still in most of those places?

A. It works. We want them to stay democratic and peaceful, so we stick around and keep our eyes on things.
B. It puts our forces close to various bad guys around the globe. Mighty handy, that's been. Mostly because it prevents wars. It is the real pacifism.
C. The whole way of picturing the US as just another nation or empire fighting this war and that is stupid. We are, actually, the cops on this planet. We are not fighting "wars" (in any classical sense of the word) at all. We are cleaning up bad neighborhoods. And if a police station is built right in the middle of gang territory, and the cops start aggressively patrolling and walking the beats--that just makes sense. It's good. It's good that we will have troops sitting right next to Iran and Syria and Saudi Arabia. That's one of the many excellent reasons we are in Iraq.
Posted by John Weidner at 2:05 PM

February 23, 2008

iPods in the Battle Zone...

This is pretty neat. iPods carried by our troops to use as phrase-books, and repositories of all the information they need for a mission....

...The creator of the VCommunicator software -- Orlando-based Vcom3D -- originally designed it to teach soldiers basic Iraqi Arabic phrases. However, now troops are finding new tactical applications for the device, said Ernie Bright, product manager at Vcom3D.

Troops also are uploading maps and other images and content onto the video iPods to assist them at vehide checkpoints and door-to-door searches, said Bright.

If soldiers are looking for a particular individual, they can load a photo of their target and correlate it to Arabic script that asks, "Do you recognize this person?"

Troops also can store sound clips and other pertinent information that they need to conduct mission briefs for small units, said Bright.

The most recent version of the Vcommunicator comes on the new iPod nano, which troops are strapping to their wrists or wearing on lanyards around their necks.

The nano units are much faster, much smaller and more user-friendly, said Youmans. "That's one of the benefits of using commercial off-the-shelf -- the technology advances really quickly," he told National Defense in a phone interview.

The nano variants were completed in time for the 4th Brigade's deployment last fall, he said.

The devices also come in languages that are suitable for operations in Afghanistan. In October, during a training exercise at Fort Polk, La., soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division tested iPod nanos programmed with the Dari and Pashto languages. Youmans said he expects the unit will request the devices for future deployments....

That off-the-shelf technology thing is very true. Can you imagine the Army ordering the creation of a Mil Spec equivalent? Spending a billion dollars developing something the size of a brick, and available by 2014? They could call it the Aquila-Pod!

That's one of the good things about an actual shooting war; it concentrates the mind. People solve problems—they just ruthlessly go ahead and solve them, without bureaucratic politeness. Which is another reason why the people who claimed that actually fighting a Global War on Terror would fray and frazzle and just wear out and spoil our shiny perfect military all have brown eyes—because they are full of shit up to their eyebrows.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:47 AM

February 21, 2008

Toldja...

Amir Taheri, writing today in the WSJ, Islam at the Ballot Box...

....The Islamist defeat in Pakistani confirms a trend that's been under way for years. Conventional wisdom had it that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the lack of progress in the Israel-Palestine conflict, would provide radical Islamists with a springboard from which to seize power through elections.

Analysts in the West used that prospect to argue against the Bush Doctrine of spreading democracy in the Middle East. These analysts argued that Muslims were not ready for democracy, and that elections would only translate into victory for hard-line Islamists.

The facts tell a different story. So far, no Islamist party has managed to win a majority of the popular vote in any of the Muslim countries where reasonably clean elections are held. If anything, the Islamist share of the vote has been declining across the board....

And he's got plenty of data to back it up. I was a bit surprised at how many elections do get held in the Islamic world.

...Far from rejecting democracy because it is supposed to be "alien," or using it as a means of creating totalitarian Islamist systems, a majority of Muslims have repeatedly shown that they like elections, and would love to join the global mainstream of democratization. President Bush is right to emphasize the importance of holding free and fair elections in all Muslim majority countries.

Tyrants fear free and fair elections, a fact illustrated by the Khomeinist regime's efforts to fix the outcome of next month's poll in Iran by pre-selecting the candidates. Support for democratic movements in the Muslim world remains the only credible strategy for winning the war against terror.
Posted by John Weidner at 9:59 PM

The question is already decided, in my opinion...

This is a reply I was writing to comments by Bisaal at this post. But I'll just make it a post by itself, rough as it is, since I've already expended this morning's small reserve of time and energy on it...

Bisaal, I'm not ignoring you; your points deserve a longer reply than I have time for at the moment. Even their own post.

I don't agree with Mr Cella. I don't think there is some "thing" called "jihad" that exists. Or a thing called "Islam," so that one can say "Islam" is this or does that. The world of those who practice islam is as complex and varied as any other "world," and is made up of human beings with many motives besides those of religion.

I agree that "Mohamendanism is a Satanic perversion of Christianity," but I would say the same about all the modern revolutionary movements such as socialism and communism and fascism. And Islam is particularly nasty in the way it glorifies violence. But, people are still people.

Intelligent Musselmen (there's an old term I like) probably looked at 10th-Century Europe and saw a terrifying and evil movement called "Crusadism" that was surely unstoppable, and was beyond all reason. In fact we know now that the Crusades were a storm caused by the confluence of several different factors, which were unable to stay unified for very long. (One of them was the mix of French and Viking that became the Normans, one of the great conquering peoples of history. They embraced the Crusading movement, but also conquered England and Sicily and southern Italy at the same time. And their great military moment didn't last.)

"The war has been prosecuted on the proposition that the two are indeed incompatible: that building democracy will weaken the Jihad." --Paul Cella. Not exactly. The proposition is that the jihad is already weak, because most people are not fanatic death-ninjas ready to die for some cause. They have mixed motives, and mostly want to just get on with their lives. And IF they have a situation where they have hope of getting on with their ordinary lives, then they are going to strongly resent the brutal tyranny of groups like al Qaeda and the Taliban. Especially once they get a good stiff dose of them, as the Iraqis have.

And IF they have a strong and effective government that responds to their will, they will tend to turn against jihadists. I say we are seeing that right now in Iraq, on a huge scale.

Also, I think your idea that Iraq will become a puppet of Iran is not realistic. It is sort of like the assumption that Communist Russia and China were going to work together for "the Revolution". It looked good on paper, but never happened. They were just too different, and had different wants and needs. And both were internally much weaker and more divided than outsiders suspected. I grew up learning that communism was an international movement full of dedicated disciplined fanatics, which democracy was probably too decadent to oppose successfully. Ha!

Iran is a MESS. It has horrible internal problems, the regime is very unpopular, and is divided against itself. It is a major oil-producing country that has to ration gasoline!! A place where mothers often turn to prostitution to feed their children. Yet you assume that Iran will be the one spreading its influence. Think a minute. How about influence spreading the other way? Why is that somehow impossible?

The Iranian system is a big fat failure. The Taliban system was a failure. Al Qaeda is a failure, it can only rule places by brutal force, which is resented bitterly. Ask the people of Ramadi. All these jihadist groups can only rule people by force. That in itself says that democracy is incompatible with jihadism. In fact I'd say the question has already been decided, and Mr Cella is wrong.

Remember, President what's-his-name of Iran ran on a platform of economic reform! (And without a unified opposition.) If he had told the people his real desire was to spread the Revolution, he would not have been elected.

* Update: Also, thank you Bisaal, for stimulating my thoughts! And if you ever meet my dear wife, Charlene, you two will get on well together--she thinks of Moslems the way you do. (You of course have a more pressing reason, because of where you live.)

And I do not mean to imply that democracy will make anybody good. It just tends to keep people occupied in different ways. And it is quite likely that elections may result in thugs coming to power. Especially in places where the desire of the people is for some big nationalist grievance that can over-rule the desire for ordinary good government. ie, the Palestinians. But even with them, regular elections (if they happen) will tend to result in politicians who address bread-and-butter issues.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:29 AM

February 20, 2008

I mean, the Mahdi's due any day, right?

Dr Weevil writes:

Barack Obama’s weirdly Messianic campaign could conceivably turn out to be useful in the War on Terror. Why not start a rumor that he’s the Twelfth Imam? That should freak out Ahmadinejad and his millennarian terrorist buddies. How better to be a ‘Hidden’ Imam than to arrange to be born in Hawaii, insist that you are not a Muslim, and run for presidency of the Great Satan? An imam can’t get much more hidden than that...

I like it a lot. I'd guess our intelligence agencies are not up to this, but maybe the Brits or the Israelis could do it.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:37 AM

February 17, 2008

Moderate Pakistan?

I can't say how much weight one should put on this article, Islam Needs Democracy, by Waleed Ziad, but it's damned interesting. I'd keep it in mind. As a general rule, I'd opine that whenever you hear that some country or group or movement is unified, monolithic (and supposedly unbeatable by us disorganized folks) you should be very skeptical. (Thanks to Orrin Judd)

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: While it's good news that secular moderates are expected to dominate Pakistan's parliamentary elections on Monday, nobody here thinks the voting will spell the end of militant extremism.

Democratic leaders have a poor track record in battling militants and offer no convincing remedies. Pakistan's military will continue to manage the war against the Taliban and its Qaeda allies, while President Pervez Musharraf will remain America's primary partner.

The only long-term solution may lie in the hands of an overlooked natural ally in the war on terrorism: the Pakistani people.

This may come as a surprise to Americans, but the Wahhabist religion professed by the militants is more foreign to most Pakistanis than Karachi's 21 KFCs. This is true even of the tribal North-West Frontier Province.

Last month I was in the village of Pakpattan observing the commemoration of the death of a Muslim Sufi saint from the Punjab - a feast of dance, poetry, music and prayer attended by more than a million people. Religious life in Pakistan has traditionally been synonymous with the gentle spirituality of Sufi mysticism, the traditional pluralistic core of Islam.

Even in remote rural areas, spiritual life centers not on doctrinaire seminaries but Sufi shrines; recreation revolves around ostentatious wedding parties and Hollywood, Bollywood and the latter's Urdu counterpart, Lollywood.

So when the Taliban bomb shrines and hair salons, or ban videos and music, it doesn't go down well. A resident of the Swat region, the site of many recent Taliban incursions, proudly told me last month that scores of citizens in his village had banded together to drive out encroaching militants. Similarly, in the tribal areas, many local village councils, called jirgas, have summoned the Pakistani Army or conducted independent operations against extremists.

Virtually all effective negotiations between the army and militants have involved local councils; in 2006, a jirga in the town of Bara expelled two rival clerics who used their town as a battleground.

The many militant outfits in the frontier regions are far from a unified popular movement. Rather, they are best characterized as ethnic or sectarian gangs, regularly changing names and loyalties.....
Posted by John Weidner at 5:30 PM

February 13, 2008

"So cheer thee well, thynges could be wors"

Iowahawk is the poet of our age. If you haven't read his latter-day Canterbury Tales, Heere Bigynneth the Tale of the Asse-Hatte, do so right away...

...61 Then bespake the Po-Mo artist,
62 "My last skulptyure was hailed as smartest
63 Bye sondry criticks at the Tate
64 Whom called it genius, brillyant, greate
65 A Jesus skulpted out of dunge
66 Earned four starres in the Guardian;
67 But now the same schtick withe Mo-ha-med
68 Has earned a bountye on my hed."
69 Sayed the Bishop, "that's quyte impressyve
70 To crafte a Jesus so transgressyve
71 But to do so with the Muslim Prophet
72 Doomed thy neck to lose whats off it.
73 Thou should have showen mor chivalrie
74 In committynge such a blasphemie."
75 And so it went, the pilgryms all
76 Complaynynge of the Muslim thrall;
77 To eaches same the Bishop lectured
78 About the cultur fabrick textured
79 With rainbow threyds from everie nation
80 With rainbow laws for all situations.
81 "But Father Rowan, we bathyr nae one
82 We onlye want to hav our funne!"
83 "But the Musselman is sure to see
84 Thy funne as Western hegemony.
85 'Tis not Cristian for Cristians to cause
86 The Moor to live by Cristendom's laws
87 Whan he has hise sovereyn culture
88 Crist bade us put ours in sepulture.
89 To be divyne we must first be diverse
90 So cheer thee well, thynges could be wors
91 Sharia is Englishe as tea and scones,
92 So everybody muste get stoned."
93 The pilgryms shuffled for the door
94 To face the rule of the Moor;
95 Poets, Professors, Starbucks workers
96 Donning turbans, veils and burqqas.
97 As they face theyr fynal curtan
98 Of Englande folk, one thynge is certan:
99 Dying by theyr own thousande cuts,
100 The Englande folk are folking nuts.
101 BURMA SHAVE
Posted by John Weidner at 8:22 AM

February 11, 2008

Toxic to his cause...

This article in Weekly Standard, A New Middle East, After All, is worth reading . This is just a little part that grabbed me...

....Although Senators Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joseph Biden would rather burn in oil than give George Bush credit for his insistence on linking the war in Iraq to the battle against Islamic extremism, the president has damaged al Qaeda--and al Qaeda has damaged itself--more in Mesopotamia than on any other battlefield. Al Qaeda will live on in the forbidding mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and from there it may do horrendous harm to the United States and its European allies. But if al Qaeda is ever to evanesce, it will be because its jihadism lost its ethical appeal in the Arab heartland where it was born. American and Pakistani paramilitary successes against al Qaeda will never be sufficient to demonstrate the organization's evil to Muslims worldwide. Indeed, Pakistan's ineffectual attempts to assert control over tribal border areas have been counterproductive, giving bin Laden a fillip of hope at a time when his jihad is facing decided difficulty in Iraq.

By contrast, it is democracy in Iraq, as bin Laden correctly foresaw, that would be toxic to his cause: Few ideas elicit from him more venom. It is one of the great ironies of the war that President Bush, a man not known for perusing much primary material, actually did read bin Laden's declarations about Iraq and did consider his ideas. It is by no means clear Bush's antiwar critics ever have. We have not been able to counter the Egyptian and Saudi Arabian intellectual engines of jihadism against the United States; this would be difficult even if Bush's State Department actually tried it. But what we have done is help Iraqis grope their way toward democracy, even as al Qaeda's cruelty has rallied Iraqis to fight at our side....

"al Qaeda's cruelty has rallied Iraqis to fight at our side.." Exactly. WE can't defeat al Qaeda. It's impossible. It's like, we're gonna try to sort wheat from chaff from amongst a billion Muslims? No way. But, the Moslem world is as divided as any, and so any enemy of ours implies that there are allies we can work with.

Still, it's pretty amazing what George W. Bush has accomplished. He didn't nibble around the periphery, or futz around with half-measures. He flung us right into the Arab heartland, took one of the most populous and advanced Arab countries, and in a very short time (as cultural transformations go) and at a very small cost (as wars go) has converted 25 million people into al Qaeda-haters!

And what fills me with glee is that is is probably too late for our fake-pacifsts and fake-liberals to reverse the decision. Conservatives are still wringing their hands over the possibility that we might pull out and and a Cambodia-type bloodbath would ensue. But there's no need to worry, I believe. It's too late for the Democrat Party's al Qaeda allies. The game's over. We could leave Iraq tomorrow, and Iraq's government would still muddle through. (There are of curse, huge advantages to keeping some forces in Iraq, and we will certainly negotiate a long-term security agreement with Iraq before Bush leaves office. And President Obama will just have to lump it.)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:14 AM

February 7, 2008

Death to traitors...

If this story is true, it just makes my day...

Close on the heels of the killing of top Al Qaeda leader Abu Laith al-Libi in Pakistan's North Waziristan region, an American Al Qaeda militant has been killed in the same region, media reports said.

Adam Gadahn, also known as Azzam al-Amriki, was reportedly killed in an attack by a US Predator drone on a house near Mir Ali, one of the main towns of North Waziristan, a few days ago, The News reported on Thursday.

Gadahn, a 32-year-old American from southern California, has been accused by the US of praising the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks and attending Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan's tribal areas...

Ha ha. It looks like "Azzam al-Amriki" is now "Azzam al-Grease-Spot."

Lafayette Baker, seated

Posted by John Weidner at 8:24 AM

February 6, 2008

Axis of Good...

Orrin Judd:

....President McCain will inherit the Axis of Good that W forged--with the particularly important additions being India, Indonesia, Brazil, France (at least momentarily), Canada, and Germany. It's only Bush Derangement Syndrome that prevents foreign policy experts from seeing that. Formalizing the League would be a useful but unnecessary step...

It probably doesn't matter, as far as the Global War on Terror is concerned, who gets elected. At least for the big picture. Bush is similar to Truman, whose vision crated our template for fighting the Cold War. Truman was enormously unpopular, but there was not a chance that his successors would repudiate his policy.

The Bush Doctrine will be America's doctrine now. All the current candidates appear to be pygmies compared to him, and so not have the capacity to formulate a new strategic doctrine, even if one were possible.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:08 PM

February 3, 2008

"something more raw and instinctual at work here"

The older and cannier among you will remember All in the Family, and its theme song, which contained a line I always thought was totally wrong for Archie Bunker: "...Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again." No way. That one must have come out of the mind of some bookish Hollywood songwriter, not an urban working-class guy like Archie.

A real Archie of that time in the mid-seventies hardly have been able to express what he wanted, because Archie was clearly a "Reagan Democrat" before Reagan was nominated. He had no political philosophy that he could have ever articulated, but he was disgusted with the sickness of the Democrats and the culture of the 60's. And when Ronald Reagan came along, the Archies liked him instantly, without ever thinking much about policies or philosophy. It was mostly gut feeling.

And I suspect something like it is happening for John McCain right now. (NO, I'm not saying McCain is a Reagan, or abating one jot or tittle the reasons why I dislike the man.) And I'm still a Romney supporter. BUT, I can't help noticing how much Romney is like Herbert Hoover. Hoover was a great American, a talented businessman and manager of government programs, and a world-class humanitarian hero in the aftermath of WWI. But he was not a guy the ordinary American warms to.

There's a famous line attributed (falsely) to Admiral King, "When the going gets tough, they send for the sons-of-bitches." I think there's a something similar in the inarticulate soul of America that says, "When leaders turn mushy in times of war or crisis, send for the Jacksonians." (Here's the piece to read on Jacksonians, by Walter Russell Mead.) Patrick Ruffini writes:

....But there is something more raw and instinctual at work here too. Older belligerent men are not afraid of confrontation, either personally or politically. I’ve heard more than one guy mention McCain’s volcanic temper as a positive. They equate this with toughness against our enemies.

A commenter on my previous post also reminded me again of McCain’s family origins: like many Southerners, he’s Scots-Irish and has the temperament to match. If you’re not an ideologically driven activist, and you fit the profile of an older belligerent man, you’ll probably end up choosing the Jacksonian flag & country candidate over the corporate titan....
Well, I can resonate with that. I loathe McCain for the many times he's poked ME, as a conservative Republican, in the eye. BUT, there's a lot of people who deserve a poke in the eye, and I'm not unready to see President McCain pick up his eye-poking stick and do something about it. And something in me hopes that he will take to hunting down and exterminating jihadi animals with the same tenacity that the Scotch-Irish demonstrated in hunting down redskins, a ferocity they learned in Britain as border-reavers and as Protestants transplanted into Catholic Ireland.

And Orrin Judd writes, about this article by Mark Steyn...

...We yield to no one in our regard for Mr. Steyn. He's consistently funny and insightful. He was helpful when I needed a jacket blurb for my book and I keep his book of columns on 9-11 on hand for when I want to stoke the fires of righteous anger. It's always a treat to chat with one of his bevy of personal assistants. Heck, I even pulled a couple strings to get into a Dartmouth student event where he's speaking later this month.

Which all makes it excruciatingly painful not just to read that he actually thought the neocons knew anything about Republican politics, but that little bit about how happy Hillary must be happy about how the election is shaping up. Being a conservative imposes certain obligations, none higher than a respect for the lessons that history teaches us. The notion that, in a contest to lead one's country, being an older straight white male war hero leaves one in an inferior position to a liberal woman or black is so ahistorical that even Bob Herbert knows better: "Those who may think that a woman named Clinton or a black man named Obama will have an easy time winning the White House this year should switch to something less disorienting than whatever it is they’re smoking." It's a sad day on the Connecticut when a Timesman makes more sense than a Hampshireman...

    

Another thought. Hugh Hewitt is worried that McCain will be a candidate like Bob Dole, too old, and uninspiring. But McCain is nothing like Dole, and, more importantly, he misses an important aspect of Jacksonian values. Mead writes:

....Respect is also due age. Those who know Jacksonian America only through its very inexact representations in the media think of the United States as a youth-obsessed, age-neglecting society. In fact, Jacksonian America honors age. Andrew Jackson was sixty-one when he was elected president for the first time; Ronald Reagan was seventy. Most movie stars lose their appeal with age; those whose appeal stems from their ability to portray and embody Jacksonian values—like John Wayne—only become more revered...

And yet another thought. I've hearing reports that lots of lefties are saying how much they like McCain. Doubtless this is because they are deranged with hatred of Bush, and McCain has been a big thorn in Bush's Side. So what happens when Bush is gone, and McCain's the leader of the Republicans? Do you think things will continue to be friendly? My theory is that lefty nihilists hate Bush because he believes in God, and believes in America. To the nihilist, belief is an affront and an irritant. So what happens when they discover that McCain is a patriot? Ha ha. We may be in for some fun.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:31 PM

January 31, 2008

"A world at peace they could scarcely remember"

C Northcote Parkinson performed the unusual feat of writing a biography of a fictional character, The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower: A Biography of C. S. Forester's Famous Naval Hero. It's not a good as the Hornblower books themselves, but it's not bad. Anyway, I happened to pick up my copy recently, and noticed this passage...

...To understand Hornblower's proposal [using explosive shells against wooden ships] and Cornwallis's reaction we have to remember that the senior officers of 1793-1815 had all been trained in the War of American Independence; a war fought between gentlemen on either side. Admiral Rodney had been living in France when war began. Howe had thought it enough to defeat the French, if he could; he did not talk of destroying them. Even Pellew had a great friend among his opponents. He and others retained some sense of chivalry. Thus, a ship-of-the-line in battle never fired at an enemy frigate unless she fired first. The game was played according to the rules; rules which might be broken but which were still held to exist. The French Revolution brought about an abrupt change of atmosphere, there being few gentlemen left on the French side. Some idea of fair play lingered even then but Napoleon lowered the tone still more, aiming now at his enemy's destruction. Some senior officers of the Royal Navy became almost as ruthless, Nelson being the chief of these.

After them, however, came younger men, and Hornblower among them, who had been trained in this particular war. Theirs was a war against the first of the modern dictators. Of the older and more chivalrous warfare they knew nothing. A world at peace they could scarcely remember, having seen it only from the classroom. Among them, moreover, were some, like Cochrane, who had been influenced by the industrial revolution....

This is accurate history, and is similar to what has happened in other wars. The American Civil War is a good example. And thinking about this gives me a certain feeling of optimism about our long-term prospects in the Global War on Jihadism.

We are in this war, and are now hobbled in fighting it, because of a variety of stupid leftist and fake-pacifist and "realist" ideas . Such as that jihadism is no big deal as long as they are just killing Jews. Or that the arhabis have legitimate grievances that can be appeased or placated.

But it seems to me likely that the young officers and troops now serving around the globe are going to be a lot more clear-sighted about things. And they are the leaders of the future. They will be much more willing to take the gloves off and destroy the enemy.

Oh, and by the way, by "destroy the enemy" I do not primarily mean by slaughter and mayhem, although those will be necessary (and merciful and Christian) at the proper times. Much more I mean the sort of thing we are doing right now in IRAQ, fostering democracy, economic freedom, and globalization, in alliance with the local population. These are weapons of the war. And their value is clearly demonstrated by how much our enemies HATE them. Jihadis, tyrants, fake-liberals, fake-pacifists, and nihilists of every stripe, are UNITED in their hatred for the possibility of Iraqis and Afghans, and other oppressed peoples becoming free and prosperous allies of the United States. That alone is enough to tell me that we are on the right course, and to say, "Thank you President Bush, for doing the right things."

   
Posted by John Weidner at 10:01 AM

January 28, 2008

"...By lunchtime of September 11th"

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld

A couple of good quotes on former Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, a man I greatly admire. As usual, the Corgis-of-doom are biting at his ankles...

Mark Steyn, at The Corner....

...Personally I find the idea of [McCain] running explicitly as a "man of honor" rather unseemly, and more than a little reminiscent of Emerson's line that "the louder he proclaimed his honor, the faster we counted the spoons" - the spoons in this case being campaign finance, illegal immigration, global warming, Big Pharma demonization, etc.

But, that aside, there's something extraordinarily petty about the High Horseman's jibes at both Romney and Rummy. Rumsfeld's tenure at Defense is for the historians now, but I know this: he was an unusually far-sighted thinker for a Cabinet official, and his instant strategic clarity by lunchtime of September 11th was critical to this nation's response. The reductive notion peddled by the Senator � that everything that's gone wrong in Iraq is Rumsfeld's fault and everything that's gone right is McCain's � is not only false but weirdly obsessive.

Rumsfeld's (and Bush's) strategic clarity was to realize immediately on 9/11 that we were AT WAR. As opposed to the view that we were dealing with an aberration by a few lunatics. And that we must fight for our civilization and our safety, and the peace of the world. Which instantly earned them the hatred of all the lefty nihilists, who don't think anything worth fighting for.

Another good one, by Hugh Hewitt:

Rumsfeld's life has been defined by public service of the highest sort. His leadership in the war, from the moment he went towards the crash site on 9/11, was defined by a relentless focus on the enemy, a focus so extraordinary that it made him a political liability and a target for every grouser inside the Pentagon and every critic of the war--for whatever reason-- outside of the building. His conflicts with State are still only dimly understood, and the mistakes in Iraq though always assigned to him will be found in time to have had many fathers.

Only small-minded people think Rumsfeld is other than a great American and patriot, though of course a controversial one. He continues to deserve the respect and thanks of the American people.

I thus wonder whenever Senator McCain snarls out "Rumsfeld" as he does in debate after debate if others beside me find it unsettling and off-putting that there is so much venom there?...
Posted by John Weidner at 9:20 AM

January 15, 2008

Stating the obvious...

This should be so obvious that it would never need to be mentioned. Anyone even slightly aware of our history (or that of almost any other country) knows that, unless they are suffering horrific losses, military forces improve rapidly under the stress of war. All the talk about how Iraq is destroying our military has just been rubbish.

But, since it seems to be necessary to state the obvious, here's The Lessons of Iraq, by Eric Swabb...

....It is true that repeated deployments have caused considerable strain on service members, equipment and our ability to respond to other contingencies. These problems, however, only tell half the story. The Iraq war is also dramatically improving the military's understanding, training and capabilities in irregular warfare. Since this is the preferred method of Islamic extremists, the experience in Iraq is transforming the military into the force required to help win the Long War....


....My old unit returned from Iraq last spring after serving in a city in Anbar Province. As a mechanized reconnaissance company, its traditional mission focused on scouting for Soviet-style armored forces. The unit's performance in Iraq more closely resembled that of the Green Berets.

Soon after occupying its forward outpost, the company met heavy insurgent attacks. But it did not over-react with mass detentions and other alienating tactics. Instead, the Marines took a patient approach to win the support of the population and eject the extremists hiding among them. They partnered with Iraqi police, established a pervasive security presence throughout the city, and worked with local leaders to improve basic services, governance and the economy. Such tactics used to be rare, but are now increasingly the norm, thanks to Gen. David Petraeus's dogged emphasis on seeing counterinsurgency conducted by all units...

And not all of the Iraq-is-killing-our-military talk has been leftist hate-America BS. Some has come from people who support our forces, but think they should be preserved in pristine condition, in original packaging, to be READY for large-scale armored conflict on the plains of.....well, somewhere. Sometime. You never know. It could happen.

Well, no, it can't happen. There is no threat like that on earth anymore. Actually, there aren't any wars any more. Not wars as the world has always defined them. Today's "wars" are all messy internal wars within failed states. Sorry, that's all we get. And our military has to fight those, or have no purpose at all.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:16 AM

January 12, 2008

An old joke, but one that's been apposite for thousands of years...

I was really angered by this piece, by a fake-pacifist, about how Jews are being obnoxious by not "moving on" from the Holocaust, and how Israel is causing all its own problems by defending itself with weapons instead of "befriending its enemies." With, of course, not the slightest criticism of Moslems, or suggestion that they befriend anybody, or do anything positive.

I was going to fisk it, but really, it's hopeless to reason with this kind of dirt. So I'll just post an old joke:

You've all heard about the Romans used to feed Christians to lions in the arena. But you may not know that they also did so to Jews. With one difference; the Jews were always buried up to their necks first!

One time, when this was happening, a lion stepped over one of the Jews. The Jew stretched his head up and managed to bite the lion on the balls.

With one motion the entire arena full of Romans stood up and screamed, "Fight fair, Jew!"

* Update: I just remembered another one of these things, from years ago, but still aggravating to me. For a while Israel was discouraging Palestinian suicide bombers by bulldozing the houses of their families. And it worked! Violence dropped off. For a while at least, until the killers started concealing the identities of the bombers.

and that was the occasion for another fake-pacifist to heap harsh criticism on the Jews, for supposedly violating Jewish morality. Ohhh-kay. The Palestinians wrap dynamite with nails and ball-bearings, and shred whole pizza-parlors full of women and children. Then the Israelis respond with tactics that do not kill or injure a single human being. And THEY are the ones who have violated moral laws? And it's a "pacifist" who objects? Is it any wonder I call them fakes?

Posted by John Weidner at 3:00 PM

January 7, 2008

Opportunist infection in a weakened body...

Mark Steyn writes, about Mr Huckabee:

....In The Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan observed of Huck that "his great power, the thing really pushing his supporters, is that they believe that what ails America and threatens its continued existence is not economic collapse or jihad, it is our culture."....

...There is a potentially huge segment of the population that thinks homo economicus is missing the point. They're tired of the artificial and, indeed, creepily coercive secular multiculti pseudo-religion imposed on American grade schools. I'm sympathetic to this pitch myself. Unlike Miss Noonan, I think it's actually connected to the jihad, in the sense that radical Islamism is an opportunist enemy that has arisen in the wake of the Western world's one-way multiculturalism.

In the long run, the relativist mush peddled in our grade schools is a national security threat. But, even in the short term, it's a form of child abuse that cuts off America's next generation from the glories of their inheritance.

Where I part company with Huck's supporters is in believing he's any kind of solution. He's friendlier to the teachers' unions than any other so-called "cultural conservative" – which is why in New Hampshire he's the first Republican to be endorsed by the NEA. His health care pitch is Attack Of The Fifty Foot Nanny, beginning with his nationwide smoking ban. This is, as Jonah Goldberg put it, compassionate conservatism on steroids – big paternalistic government that can only enervate even further "our culture."....

"Relativist mush.....is a national security threat." I could not agree more. And homo economicus should realize it's an economic threat as well.

"Relativist mush" is deadly. consider. If we still retained the kind of civilizational morale we had in the days of the Indian wars, we would have slapped down the jihadists 4 or 5 decades ago. Slapped them down brutally and bloodily. A horrible wicked un-Christian thing that would have been. Hundreds of people might have been killed! Oh, and also, guess what? We would not be in a war right now! So HUNDREDS-OF-THOUSANDS of lives would have been saved. (How the "pacifists" would hate that!)

But that's purely a matter of culture, of spirit. Of belief. The strength has been there all along, but we haven't had the will to use it. So we were forced into a very preventable war. Relativist mush kills.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:52 AM

January 5, 2008

More from George Weigel

More from Hugh Hewitt's interview with George Weigel...

HH: Mr. Weigel, as we went to break, we were talking about how theology matters so much. Lesson two in your book is, “To speak of Judaism, Christianity and Islam as the ‘three Abrahamic faiths,’ the three religions of the book, or the three monotheisms, obscures rather than illuminates. These familiar tropes ought to be retired.” As soon as I read that, I said oh, you’re going for broke here. You’re going to break the china.

GW: (laughing)

HH: I mean, no one’s allowed to say that kind of thing, are they?

GW: (laughing) It’s a challenging statement, but I think it’s true, and I think serious Muslims with whom I’ve been in conversation would not find that an unacceptable formulation. The relationship that Islam has in its own self-understanding to Christianity and Judaism is simply incommensurable with how Judaism understands Christianity, and Christianity understands Judaism. In fact, this trope of the three Abrahamic faiths has no foundation in Islamic thought. It was invented by a French Catholic Arabist in the late 1920’s, who taught it to a generation of graduate students who then spread it throughout the world. And it’s one of these things that we become so familiar with because it’s used so promiscuously, that we then say wait a minute, what are we saying here? What does this mean? I’m a great believer in serious inter-religious dialogue. But inter-religious dialogue, as one of my Muslim colleagues, interlocutors has said to me, is not Kumbaya. It begins with the acknowledgement of serious differences, and tries to find, in this case, moral points of contact.

HH: You’re also a great believer in clarity, and I think you make an argument in Lesson three that, “Jihadism is the enemy in the multi-front war that has been declared on us, that can’t be refuted.” I am pleased that both Romney and Giuliani refer to the enemy as jihadism, as being a particular variant of radical Islam that the Takfiris embraced that says we can kill anyone at any time for any reason, because we’re right. And is it going to travel, do you think? Is it going to catch on?

GW: I hope so. I think it captures the reality of the situation, historically, which is that an intra-Islamic civil war that has to do with Islam’s very difficult encounter with modernity, and particularly political modernity, and such ideas as the right of religious freedom, or the separation of religious and political authority in the state, that intra-Islamic civil war in which Muslims declared jihad on their own, and for the sake of purifying the house of Islam, that is now broken out into the wider world. The second reason why I believe jihadism is the appropriate description of what it is we’re fighting is it’s what the enemy calls himself. And I believe in taking people seriously…

HH: Yup.

GW: …when they call themselves this. It is objected, it will be objected, it has been objected in the past, that the great majority of Muslims do not accept the jihadist definition of what the demands of Islam are. That is both true and completely beside the point. The fact is the jihadists believe that this is what their faith requires of them, and that’s why they behave the way they do. And if we don’t recognize that, if we indulge this weird, Victorian reticence about using the J word in public, then we are disarming ourselves in the face of an enemy who believes he has very serious warrant for what he is doing....

Posted by John Weidner at 6:49 AM

January 3, 2008

"Great challenges present great opportunities"

Hugh Hewitt had an interview with George Weigel. He posted this excerpt on his blog. (The interview transcript is here.)

HH: I want to read from the very beginning of the book, Page 8, on the complexity of the situation facing us, because I think this is one of the things that voters have to keep in mind as they cast their ballots this year, is just how difficult the situation the U.S. finds itself in. I quote now from George Weigel’s brand new book, Faith, Reason and the War Against Jihadism, “The war is now being fought on multiple fronts, with more likely to come. Many are interconnected. There is an Afghan front, an Iraqi front, an Iranian front, a Lebanese-Syrian front, a Gaza front, a Somali front, a Pakistani front, a North Africa-Magreb front, a Sudanese front, a Southeast Asian front, an intelligence front, a financial flows front, an economic front, and energy front, and a homeland security front. These are all fields of fire. Some kinetic, others of a different sort, in the same global war, and they must be understood as such.” George Weigel, that requires enormous capacity on the part of our leaders, our elected leaders.

GW: Well, great issues ought to test our great personalities to seize the opportunity to defend the cause of freedom. And as I indicate at the end of the book, Hugh, I think this can be a great moment of national renewal. We shouldn’t look at this as simply one in a series of problems to be solved, but rather if we were to gather ourselves, to make the kind of arguments for the free and virtuous society that we’re going to have to make, if we gathered ourselves to understand better, more comprehensively the role of religious and moral conviction in public life, if we rationalized our homeland security policies so that political correctness was not driving the bus, but the safety of the American people was driving the bus, if we began to defund jihadism by getting serious about alternatives to petroleum as a transportation fuel, all of these are aspects of a genuine process of national renewal for the United States. So if I were a candidate for the presidency, I would cast all of this as an opportunity, that great challenges present great opportunities. And I believe the American people are willing to rise to the occasion.

One of my beefs with President Bush is captured here. I think the oft-heard complaint that Bush has not asked the nation to "sacrifice" is really STUPID. (It usually implies mass mobilization like in the World Wars, which we don't need now, and those same critics would hate it if Bush actually did request such sacrifices.) But, I keenly regret that he has not called upon the nation to stretch itself in other ways. Jihadism is an intellectual and spiritual challenge, one that conventional liberalism is almost totally incapable of rising to.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:55 AM

January 1, 2008

One of our gals...

Michael Goldfarb at the Weekly Standard Blog notes the top ten opinion pieces (by page views) of the WaPo for 2007. Who's number one?

Retreat Isn't an Option, By Liz Cheney, January 23, 2007

....We are at war. America faces an existential threat. This is not, as Speaker Nancy Pelosi has claimed, a "situation to be solved." It would be nice if we could wake up tomorrow and say, as Sen. Barack Obama suggested at a Jan. 11 hearing, "Enough is enough." Wishing doesn't make it so. We will have to fight these terrorists to the death somewhere, sometime. We can't negotiate with them or "solve" their jihad. If we quit in Iraq now, we must get ready for a harder, longer, more deadly struggle later....

Liz is Dick and Lynne Cheney's daughter. that's her on the right in the picture. (And who's number two in the WaPo? A guy named Kristol.)

Vice president Cheney and his wife and daughters

Posted by John Weidner at 10:22 AM

December 31, 2007

Good news to wake up to...

Lovely morning! Bad news for lots of bad people. Good news for the good guys. From Gatewaypundit:

With 24 hours remaining...
The US military is on track to see the lowest number of monthly fatalities in Iraq since the war began in March, 2003.

In February 2004 the US lost 20 soldiers in the 29 day period.This month the US has lost 21 soldiers in the 31 day period.

The Bush Surge continues to show amazing results.

This follows the news yesterday that 75% of the Al-Qaeda network has been eliminated in Iraq.

I don't think most people understand what has happened here. In war you always try to choose to fight where the situation is advantageous for you. It's very hard to do—you enemy is trying his best to make just the opposite happen.

And in fighting against a guerilla enemy it's harder yet. In fact it's common to put ones forces in a bad position just so the enemy will be tempted to come out and fight!

And we've all been learning a little bit about Pakistan lately, right? (As the old saying goes, war is God's way of teaching Americans geography.) That would be the worst place to fight al Qaeda. We may have to do just that one of these days, but if we do we will wish we were still fighting in Iraq.

President Bush chose to fight in Iraq, and forced al Queda to come and attack us there. In a country where we automatically had some natural allies—if one group is against us, their old enemies would tend to be for us. And where the population was advanced enough to be immune to most of al Qaeda's blandishments. (For instance, creating alliances by forcing local daughters into marriage with al Queda bosses did not work at all with proud Sunni tribes.) There are many other reasons why Iraq was a smart move. (Here are a few.)

Obviously the administration did not anticipate what a scrap it was getting into. Perhaps that's good; it might have been paralyzed if it had. The historical comparison I keep thinking of is the Guadalcanal Campaign in WWII.

In mid 1942 we were NOT ready to fight Japan head on. Seizing the island of Guadalcanal was very rash, and we were several times close to being defeated there. But, this situation was tactically advantageous for us because we held the airfield, while Japanese air support had to fly hundreds of miles to support their troops. They had better planes and pilots, but we usually knew they were coming, and they arrived with almost no reserves of fuel. Even a little bit of damage or bad luck would mean that the Japs lost a plane and pilot, while our guys had their planes (and wounds) patched-up time and again. The attrition of skilled Japanese pilots over six months of fighting was devastating to their long-term hopes. Everything else—thousands of soldiers killed, dozens of ships sunk—was secondary to that fact.

It was very easy at the time (or later) to perceive the fighting in the Solomon Islands as a pointless stalemate, and as military incompetence. Blood was being shed copiously, but the lines on the map did not move at all! But the real battle was almost invisible. In the Pacific War, air power trumped everything else.

I think Iraq is something similar. The arhabi have poured men and resources into Iraq, and their defeat will be a devastating blow, especially for future recruiting. Bin Laden boasted that Americans would not fight, that we would run away like we did from Somalia. (And our lefty nihilists have done their damnedest to prove him right.) That boast is not going to work any more.

It was decades of weakness and appeasement—pacifism—that caused the global war we are in. And it is only toughness and lots of bloody fighting that will end it. The real pacifists, the real Christians of our time are serving in the United States military.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:43 AM

December 28, 2007

Good book...

Charlene and I are reading Faith, Reason, and the War Against Jihadism: A Call to Action, by George Weigel. We recommend it highly for its clarity, and its challenge to Americans to think more clearly about what is going on.

...as Dean Acheson said at another moment when history's tectonic plates were shifting, the task that he and Harry Truman faced "only slowly revealed itself. As it did so it began to appear as just a little bit less formidable than that described in the first chapter of Genesis. that was to create a world out of chaos." Our task today is not dissimilar. In carrying it out we would do well to remember the counsel of the late public philosopher Charles Frankel: "The heart of the policy-making process...is not the finding of a national interest already perfectly known and understood. It is the determining of that interest: the reassessment of the nation's resources, needs, commitments, traditions, and political and cultural horizons—in short, its calendar of values.

Efforts to accelerate change in the Arab Islamic world by the administration of George W. Bush were shaped by a realistic assesment of the situation after 9/11. As Fouad Ajami notes, the "custodians of American power were under great pressure to force history's pace." To attempt to accelerate the transition to responsible and responsive government in the Middle East was neither an exercise in cowboy apocalypticism nor in Wilsonian romanticism. It was a realistic objective, given an unacceptable status quo that was inherently unstable; that was unstable because it was corrupt; and that was producing terrorists and jihadists determined to challenge those corruptions...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:59 PM

December 27, 2007

Trends...

Michael Yon has posted another part of his Ghosts of Anbar series: Part III of IV, A Model for Success...As always, he is worth reading (and supporting, if you happen to have any extra shekels)...

...Now I started to understand why the Army officers had been telling me the Marines are more advanced in counterinsurgency. Normal Marines have morphed into doing vintage Special Forces work. Many of our Army units are excellent at this work, but the Marines, at least these particular Marines, did seem to have an edge for it.They were even studying Arabic in their filthy little compound. Lightweight study, but they were showing the Iraqis they were making the effort. The Iraqis appreciated it. I have yet to see an Army unit undertake such a clear effort to learn Arabic...

...Iraqis in every province I have traveled all respond to strong leadership. It’s a cultural touchstone. A man like SSG Rakene Lee is not someone they would overlook. Physically, the man is amazingly strong. But what is most amazing is the strength of his moral fiber. Whatever the man talked, he walked. After all of al Qaeda’s false promises, the people here have learned a hard lesson about the true value of character...

...Over the next several days, I saw how much the Iraqis respected Rakene Lee and the other Marines who were all courageous, tactically competent, measured, and collectively and constantly telling even the Iraqis to go easy on the Iraqis. It’s people like Rakene Lee who are winning the moral high ground in Iraq. It is people like this who are devastating al Qaeda just by being themselves. Over those same several days, I would also see the Iraqi Lieutenant Hamid treat prisoners with respect and going out of his way to treat other Iraqis the way he saw Americans treating them. Lieutenant Hamid, in his young twenties, seemed to watch every move of the Marines and try to emulate them...

Naturally I'm thinking today about Pakistan, a nation of 160 million people, + nukes, that just may be sliding into Islamist madness. How little there is we can do, directly, to influence Pakistan. How clumsy our tools are.

It makes me think once again that the invasion of Iraq was the best move we have made in the War on Terror. Why? Because we are sowing the seeds of change in the very heart of the Muslim world. Change in the direction of freedom, democracy and economic growth. Of course it is a risky and difficult operation. Big ambitious moves always are. But with a bit of luck we are starting another trend in the Middle East, one that will compete with the trend towards jihadism.

All the world's nihilists and America-haters leapt at the chance to declare Iraq an failure and a catastrophe. But that was always a pretty stupid idea. The "insurgency" could probably have been stopped at any time if the Iraqi government decided to go in for some serious slaughter. In fact that is sort of what happened, since the brutality of the Shia militias probably had a lot to do with the Sunni getting realistic about their chances of success as rebels. And it was pretty clear early on that the mass of ordinary Iraqis were not keen on al Qaeda's terrorism, and were going to be even less keen after a couple of years of murder.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:52 PM

"Emotional and social vapor"

John Podhoretz: The End of the Primary’s Holiday From History

The past three months have seen an odd turn in the presidential primary process in both parties — a turn away from the key issues confronting the United States and toward emotional and social vapor. The success of the surge in Iraq, coupled with the bizarre “we’re safe” reading of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, drained some of the passion from the anti-war fervor in the Democratic primary electorate and from the hawkish fervor of the Republican primary electorate. In their place came the Christian identity-politics rise of Mike Huckabee on the Republican side and the “we need a nice new politics” rise of Barack Obama on the Democratic side. Republicans squabbled about sanctuary cities and sanctuary mansions. Democrats squabbled about how many uninsured there would be left if their various health-care plans were imposed on the country.

The horrifying assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan this morning comes only one week before the Iowa caucuses and 12 days before New Hampshire. It is a sobering and frightening reminder of the challenges and threats and dangers posed to the United States by radical Islam, the nature of the struggle being waged against the effort to extend democratic freedoms in the Muslim world, and the awful possibility of a nuclear Pakistan overrun by Islamofascists. This is what the next president will be compelled by circumstance to spend a plurality of his or her time on. This is what really matters, not the cross Mike Huckabee lit up behind his head in his Christmas ad.

American politics would dearly love to take a holiday from history, just as it did in the 1990s. But our enemies are not going to allow us to do so. The murder of Bhutto moves foreign policy, the war on terror, and the threat of Islamofascism back into the center of the 2008 campaign. How candidates respond to it, and issues like it that will come up in the next 10 months, will determine whether they are fit for the presidency.
Posted by John Weidner at 9:25 AM

December 10, 2007

So, what changed their minds?

A friend sent me a link to this, from today's WaPo. (You've probably already seen it, but indulge me in a bit of scorn...)

In September 2002, four members of Congress met in secret for a first look at a unique CIA program designed to wring vital information from reticent terrorism suspects in U.S. custody. For more than an hour, the bipartisan group, which included current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), was given a virtual tour of the CIA's overseas detention sites and the harsh techniques interrogators had devised to try to make their prisoners talk.

Among the techniques described, said two officials present, was waterboarding, a practice that years later would be condemned as torture by Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill. But on that day, no objections were raised. Instead, at least two lawmakers in the room asked the CIA to push harder, two U.S. officials said...

So, what changed their minds? did an angel come down from Heaven to give them a moral revelation? Nuh uh...

....Only after information about the practice began to leak in news accounts in 2005 -- by which time the CIA had already abandoned waterboarding -- did doubts about its legality among individual lawmakers evolve into more widespread dissent...

The liars never had doubts about its legality. They just saw a chance to bash the administration, and posture and preen as morally superior beings. The fact that they were betraying their country for partisan advantage didn't seem to bother them at all. As usual.

This is exactly like what happened with abu Ghraib. Congressional leaders were told about problem, and that it was being dealt with, months before it hit the news. And they raised no objections, made no outcry. They expressed no shock, outrage or dismay. It was only when those pictures surfaced, and those nasty little media-bots realized the potential for faux indignation that they suddenly started shedding crocodile tears for the sort of brown-skinned people they normally hold in contempt. Fakes, phonies, shams, frauds. Democrat leaders, I spit upon you.

Living here in Pelosiville, I feel extra contempt and loathing for Nancy Pelosi. Killing babies by the millions is just fine with Miss Culture of Death, but frightening terrorists (without inflicting any injury on them) is somehow morally repugnant to her. In 2007. But not in 2002.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:33 AM

December 3, 2007

Biter bit...

Reading this, I have to smile, thinking about how Leftists and Democrats worked SO HARD to help their Communist allies, and to turn the people of South Vietnam over to slavery and torture and death, and what happens? NOW, when they are working hard to turn the people of Iraq and Afghanistan over to a similar cruel fate, here is a Vietnamese person (not the only one, by the way) who is filled with gratitude towards the Great Satan, and is helping others in their hour of need...

On the nights when no mortar shells fell, Anh Duong listened to the Saigon crickets. More often, though, the girl lay by her open window, her hair damp against her cheeks, and wondered, as the lights from flares flickered on the leaves of a plum tree, if the next Viet Cong rocket would smash into her house.

"Why would you want to randomly blow up civilians?" Duong remembers thinking.

Now, at age 47 and living in Maryland, Duong is still grappling with the question, trying to apply bedtime lessons from Vietnam to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Duong is known as "the bomb lady" around the Pentagon and as the engineer behind America's first thermobaric, bunker-busting explosive. A 5-foot-1-inch suburban mother of four, Duong has become, according to Thomas A. Betro, director of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, "one of the most important weapons-developers of the modern era."

For Duong, who was honored recently as one of the federal government's top civil servants, producing tools for U.S. troops is a way of life. After years of pioneering explosives for the Navy, she now creates systems to help identify terrorists.
"I don't want My Lai in Iraq," Duong said at the Pentagon, where she works on anti-terrorism issues as a science adviser. "The biggest difficulty in the global war on terror -- just like in Vietnam -- is to know who the bad guys are. How do we make sure we don't kill innocents?"

Duong's most recent innovation, the Joint Expeditionary Forensics Facilities (JEFF) project or "lab in a box," analyzes biometrics. It will be delivered to Iraq at the beginning of 2008, the Navy said, to help distinguish insurgents from civilians.
"The best missile is worthless if you don't know who to shoot," Duong said.....
Posted by John Weidner at 11:43 AM

November 26, 2007

Eloi Archbishop curries favor with Morlocks...

From the Times: US is �worst� imperialist: Archbishop.

THE Archbishop of Canterbury has said that the United States wields its power in a way that is worse than Britain during its imperial heyday.

Rowan Williams claimed that America�s attempt to intervene overseas by �clearing the decks� with a �quick burst of violent action� [This is simply a dirty lie.] had led to �the worst of all worlds�. [Yeah, uppity niggers allowed to vote in Iraq and Afghanistan, and nobody respects their British betters any more.]

In a wide-ranging interview with a British Muslim magazine, the Anglican leader linked criticism of the United States to one of his most pessimistic declarations about the state of western civilisation. [Civilization is what you are willing to fight for. The "Archbishop" has already dropped out of Western Civ.]

He said the crisis was caused not just by America�s actions but also by its misguided sense of its own mission. He poured scorn on the �chosen nation myth of America, meaning that what happens in America is very much at the heart of God�s purpose for humanity�. [I'd say he's a nihilist, but Anti-Americansm is a kind of religion.]

Williams went beyond his previous critique of the conduct of the war on terror, saying the United States had lost the moral high ground since September 11. ["Moral high ground" means lying on the ground being kicked. You "lose the moral high ground" (if you are Western) the instant you start to fight back. I'm willing to bet money he NEVER tells his Moslem pals they should let themselves be booted around.] He urged it to launch a �generous and intelligent programme of aid directed to the societies that have been ravaged; [Welfare. Works so well.] a check on the economic exploitation of defeated territories; [UH, got any evidence for that Leftist lie, Rowan?] a demilitarisation of their presence�. [Earth to Rowan: They are not "defeated territories" anymore. They are soverign states with elected governments, which have allied with the United States. And they are, like any country under attack, raising armies. Since you are on the other side, you want them "demilitarized." SO, when have you ever suggested that any of America's ENEMIES be "demilitarized?" Why have you never suggested that Iran or North Korea or Syria be "demilitarized?"]

He went on to suggest that the West was fundamentally adrift: �Our modern western definition of humanity is clearly not working very well. There is something about western modernity which really does eat away at the soul.� [I agree. You are a perfect example.]

Williams suggested American leadership had broken down: �We have only one global hegemonic power. It is not accumulating territory: it is trying to accumulate influence and control. That�s not working.� [No, we are working to promote "self-control." We are the only cops on the planet, and our goal is to strengthen the elements of order and growth and freedom.]

He contrasted it unfavourably with how the British Empire governed India. �It is one thing to take over a territory and then pour energy and resources into administering it and normalising it. Rightly or wrongly, that�s what the British Empire did � in India, for example. [And now India is a strong nuclear power ever more closely allied with the US.]

�It is another thing to go in on the assumption that a quick burst of violent action will somehow clear the decks [The term we like is "destabilize."] and that you can move on and other people will put it back together � Iraq, for example.� [Huh? So he opposes the Democrats and Leftists who think we should pull out of Iraq? I don't think the "Archbishop" is playing with a full deck.]

In the interview in Emel, a Muslim lifestyle magazine, Williams makes only mild criticisms of the Islamic world. [I'm just SO surprised.] He said the Muslim world must acknowledge that its �political solutions were not the most impressive�.[Either fascist tyrannies or Islamic fundamentalist tyrannies or terrorist tyrannies. Yep, I'd say "not impressive" hits the nail on the head.]

He commends the Muslim practice of praying five times a day, which he says allows the remembrance of God to be �built in deeply in their daily rhythm�. [and he commends for Christians the nihilist practice of denouncing America five times a day.]

* Update: VDH has a good reply to the "Archbishop."

Posted by John Weidner at 5:45 AM

November 18, 2007

Indispensable man...

(I'm not, by the way, signing on to the views on the War on Terror of the columnist who dubs himself Spengler. But for 'thought-provoking," he's hard to beat. And this book sounds great; I'm surely going to read it.)

Twentieth-Century Catholic Theologians by Fergus Kerr. Reviewed by Spengler

It may seem eccentric to hail a theological text by a Scots Dominican, ranked 133,692nd in recent Amazon sales, as the year's most important work on global strategy. Now that I have your attention, humor me for a paragraph or two.
To win a gunfight, first you have to bring a gun, and to win a religious war, you had better know something about religion. America's "war on terror" proceeds from a political philosophy that treats radical Islam as if it were a political movement - "Islamo-fascism" - rather than a truly religious response to the West. If we are in a fourth world war, as Norman Podhoretz proclaims, it is a religious war. The West is not fighting individual criminals, as the left insists; it is not fighting a Soviet-style state, as the Iraqi disaster makes clear; nor is it fighting a political movement. It is fighting a religion, specifically a religion that arose in enraged reaction to the West.
None of the political leaders of the West, and few of the West's opinion leaders, comprehend this. We are left with the anomaly that the only effective leader of the West is a man wholly averse to war, a pope who took his name from the Benedict who interceded for peace during World War I. Benedict XVI, alone among the leaders of the Christian world, challenges Islam as a religion, as he did in his September 2006 Regensburg address. Who is Joseph Ratzinger, this decisive figure of our times, and what led the Catholic Church to elect him? Fr Kerr has opened the coulisses of Catholic debate such that outsiders can understand the changes in Church thinking that made possible Benedict's papacy. Because Benedict is the leader not only of the Catholics but - by default - of the West, all concerned with the West's future should read his book...
....Kerr's subtitle is, From Neo-Scholasticism to Nuptial Mysticism. By this he means something quite accessible to laymen and non-Catholics. Between the early years of the 20th century, and the papacies of Wojtila and Ratzinger, emphasis in Catholic theology shifted from attempting to prove the tenets of the faith by philosophical argument, to portraying God's self-revelation through love by reference to such Biblical texts as the "Song of Songs". The present pope's first encyclical, Deus Caritas Est ("God is Love"), summarizes what Kerr calls "nuptial mysticism".[3] ....
...In Kerr's engaging account, the rationalistic mainstream was challenged by theologians at the margin of the Church, such as the French Jesuit Henri de Lubac and the Swiss Jesuit Hans Urs von Balthasar, now widely regarded as the greatest Catholic theologian of the century. They were encouraged by the research of medievalists such as Etienne Gilson and Marie-Dominique Chenu, who challenged the Enlightenment distortion of Thomas Aquinas. These dissenters spent long and lonely years in the wilderness, sometimes forbidden to write or preach. Their day came with the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), and the reigns of John Paul II and Benedict XVI....

"Random Thoughts Sundays"250

Posted by John Weidner at 6:41 AM

November 2, 2007

logic error....

Uncle Jimbo at Blackfive points out a logical anomaly...

....I disagree on the judgment that the act of waterboarding fits the proper definition of torture or even the more restrictive definitions employed by human rights groups and the left.


Without going into the whys of that, let me pose a simple question.


If waterboarding is torture and torture is illegal, then didn't Congress break the law every year when they passed a military budget that contains funds specifically dedicated to conducting waterboarding [used in training of US troops] as a matter of course?...[Thanks to Dave Price.]

The real logical absurdity here is that most of the people complaining about torture don't really care about the subject at all. It's only the United States and the Bush administration that they hate. Any other use of torture leaves them ice-heartedly indifferent.
For instance, the regime of Saddam Hussein was guilty of---by anybody's reckoning---tens-of-thousands of times more torture than we are even accused of. It was in fact probably more obsessed with torturing people than any other government in history.

Yet none of our torture sob-sisters ever gives thanks to the US military and George W Bush for stopping this. Or even acknowledges that this is the case.

They are phonies, they are liars, they are frauds. Most people who complain about torture are frauds. (And if anyone out there doesn't like it that I am using such blunt and contemptuous language, don't start sniveling, refute my argument. Show me I'm wrong.)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:35 AM

October 12, 2007

This guy was worth a thousand pacifists...

Lt Murphy, awarded Medal of Honor
LA Times: CORONADO — A Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan will be awarded the Medal of Honor, the first such award for troops serving in Afghanistan and the first for a SEAL since the Vietnam War, the White House announced Thursday.

Lt. Michael P. Murphy, 29, who had SEAL training here and was assigned to a SEAL team in Hawaii, was killed in June 2005 during a mission in the Hindu Kush mountains to find a key Taliban leader.

Ambushed by insurgents, Murphy's four-man SEAL team engaged in a fierce firefight and was in danger of being overrun.

Although he was wounded, Murphy risked his life to save fellow SEALs and then maneuvered into an open position to send out an emergency call and to continue firing at the enemy. While making the call, he was hit again.

Only one of the SEALs on the team survived. Eight other SEALs and eight soldiers aboard a MH-47 Chinook helicopter sent to rescue Murphy's team also were killed when the craft was brought down by a rocket-propelled grenade.

The incident was the worst single-day loss of life for Navy Special Warfare personnel since World War II...

Don't, uh, hold your breath waiting for Democrats and our "news" media to heap honor and respect on Lt Murphy. Or for our "schools" to hold him up as an example and inspiration to young Americans.....

(But congrats to the LAT for covering the story.)

Posted by John Weidner at 11:21 AM

A "lucky" coincidence..

The chart that accompanies this Wired article, NSA's Lucky Break: How the U.S. Became Switchboard to the World, is astonishing. Most of the planet's international phone traffic passes through the US...

A lucky coincidence of economics is responsible for routing much of the world's internet and telephone traffic through switching points in the United States, where, under legislation introduced this week, the U.S. National Security Agency will be free to continue tapping it.....

...Press leaks [how I hate those animals!] in recent months have revealed that the NSA began tapping the U.S. communications hubs for purely international traffic shortly after 9/11, at the same time that it began monitoring communications between U.S. citizens and foreigners as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program.

After the Democrats took over Congress in 2007, the administration put the NSA surveillance programs under the supervision of a secretive spying court, which ruled shortly thereafter that wiretapping U.S.-based facilities without a warrant was illegal, even for the purpose of harvesting foreign communications.

In August, Congress granted the NSA "emergency" temporary powers to continue the surveillance, which are set to expire in February. The RESTORE Act (the Responsible Electronic Surveillance That is Overseen Reviewed and Effective Act of 2007) is the Democrat's effort to extend that power indefinitely, while including some safeguards against abuse. It would legalize both the foreign-to-foreign intercepts, and the domestic-to-foreign surveillance associated with the Terrorist Surveillance Program.

The bill enjoys wide support in the House, but on Wednesday President Bush vowed to veto any surveillance legislation that doesn't extend retroactive legal immunity to telephone companies who cooperated in the NSA's domestic surveillance before it was legalized -- a provision absent from the RESTORE Act. AT&T, which is facing a class-action lawsuit for allegedly wiretapping the internet on behalf of the NSA, is reportedly among the companies lobbying hard for immunity....

OF course they should have immunity! What lunacy, to even hesitate on that. And the scum behind the "class action" (the class I presume being bloodsucking lawyers and hate-America leftists) should be sent off for a nice Caribbean holiday. How crazy is this, that companies can be sued for helping our nation fight global terrorism? Sick.

And, just as a historical note, we have always tapped international communications in war time. When we entered the World Wars, presidents Wilson and Roosevelt immediately ordered surveillance of cable traffic entering or leaving the US. And there was no crap about warrants, either, and since the Democrats had not yet become traitors, no one thought anything of it. Lincoln tapped telegraph lines repeatedly, also without warrants.

And guess what, none of these measures resulted in America turning into a police state! In fact we have become far more tender about such things than ever before. The whole trend of our history has been in exactly the opposite direction. This nation has REPEATEDLY taken rough ruthless measures against suspected enemies in wartime, and REPEATEDLY bounced back afterwards towards greater respect for civil liberties..

Why do we get heavy-handed in war time? Because it's a WAR, stupid, and the thing you do with wars is, you WIN them. And, if you are America, leave the world a better place afterwards, and a more peaceful place. Anybody worried about aggression by Germany, Japan, Italy, South Korea? Was anybody worried that the South would start another Civil War? No, because we beat our enemies up so hard that even to think about it would have been considered a sign of insanity. After the War of 1812 (which considering the huge disparity of forces can be considered a signal victory) were we in any real danger of British attacks? Not at all. The region north of Mexico had been repeatedly torn by international war, but we put a definitive stop to that. By winning. The gruesome slaughter of the Battle of New Orleans brought peace and prosperity to a large portion of the globe.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:49 AM

October 8, 2007

Ongoing epidemic: Sudden Jihad Syndrome...

I recommend this post: Sudden Jihad Syndrome in Vienna, by Srdja Trifkovic

Austrian authorities announced on October 2 that they arrested a second Bosnian-Muslim suspect in the plot to attack the American Embassy in Vienna. Mehmed D. (34) was apprehended following the arrest of Asim C. (42) last Monday, after the latter tried to enter the Embassy carrying a backpack packed with grenades, plastic explosives, nails, screws and other metal fragments. This was a classic case of Sudden Jihad Syndrome; and the Austrian authorities’ reaction to it is depressingly familiar to those of us who have been following the ongoing SJS epidemic here in America.

That reaction has four key elements:

1. Denial that the attack is motivated by Islam;
2. Strong hint that the attacker is insane;
3. Assurance that the attacker(s) acted alone, and that there is no al-Qaeda link;
4. Prominent publicity to the Muslim “community’s” expressions of shock & horror.....

...The SJS pattern, both in America and in Europe, is boringly predictable: a Muslim commits an act of violence, or is caught plotting to commit one. The authorities are either quick to deny the suspect’s links with Islamic terrorism, or, if such a link is nevertheless suspected, adamant that he is acting alone. The local Muslim community responds with a mix of indignation and denial. Non-Muslim civic leaders then respond by reassuring the Muslim community that it is loved and appreciated. The media report heart rendering stories of the Muslim sense of sadness, rejection, alienation, or else dwell on the perpetrator’s history of woe—in a “Bosnian” case by evoking alleged wartime traumas and blaming the Serbs.

Over the past couple of years there have been several SJS incidents directed against Americans. It is remarkable that even when the perpetrator explicitly linked his motives to jihad, the authorities refused to accept his word....

More than "several;" he has a lonnng list of American attacks. Invariably with the authorities downplaying any connection with islamic terrorism, and usually blaming insanity. We've all noticed the pattern, but when all the incidents are lined up together the effect is powerful.

...The list will continue for many years to come, and the victims’ blood is on the hands of the Western elite class, in Vienna, Denver, London, and any other place that is blessed and enriched with the presence of a Muslim “community.” The ongoing refusal of the elite class to protect the people they rule from Islamic terrorism is the biggest betrayal in history. It is rooted in the mindset that breeds the claim that “force is not an answer” to terrorism, that profiling is bad and open borders are good, that Islam is peaceful and the West is wicked. The upholders of such claims belong to the culture that has lost its bond with nature, history, and the supporting community. In the meantime, thanks to them, the quiet onslaught continues unabated, across the Mediterranean and through every major airport in Western Europe and North America...

Read that paragraph again. And we are not just talking left/liberal elites here. Republican leaders do it as well. I suspect they all know, perhaps unconsciously, that there is no centralized elite-controlled remedy, that the only way to fight such sporadic attacks is to empower ordinary people to arm themselves and watch and fight back. And to communicate horizontally, rather than up and down a hierarchy.

And the critical lack in many of our leaders is the belief that our civilization is worth fighting for. Or anything is worth fighting for. They may concede that that we should fight terrorists in far-off Afghanistan, where they don't have to see it. But what's also needed is to get really hard-assed right here in our own towns. There are groups right here who include or shelter our deadly enemies, and they should be getting slammed around hard. For the sake of peace.

And a lot of our paralysis is due to political correctness. For instance anyone in school now is bombarded with the message that America did a loathsome thing by interning Japanese-Americans in WWII. Well, OK, but it is never mentioned that IF that community had really included the spies and saboteurs that were feared, and IF there had been no other way to stop them, then internment would have been the correct decision. I suspect that a lot of people preaching jihad should be interned right now. But if I were a leader I would not suggest it, because most people have been so brainwashed that they could not even consider or discuss the question. They literally could. Not. Think. (I recommend you read: Political correctness lowers your effective IQ.)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:20 PM

September 29, 2007

Things are happening...under the radar

There's a lot of interesting info in this article from American Thinker: A Quiet Triumph May be Brewing:

(Thanks to Rand)

.....The Trap
Let me summarize the fantastic work that the
Internet Anthropologist has been doing. You may remember a couple of months ago a report that al Qaeda and its' affiliates had abandoned their training camps in Pakistan along the Afghan border. The initial report caused quite a blog storm but soon the mystery was forgotten. According to AI, which links to references for all of this, the US got fed up with not being able to reach al Qaeda inside Pakistan. Then a few months back the US government told the Pakistani government that we had the coordinates for twenty-nine terror training bases and in a week we will be destroying them (perhaps on Cheney's visit this summer). The intent was to drive the terrorists from those camps so we could get to them.

It worked. That's why those camps emptied out.

So the US left the terrorists an escape route into Tora Bora. Once they had detected a large group of al Qaeda at the fortress and the likelihood of High Value Targets as determined by large scale security detachments, the US dropped the curtain on the escape routes back into Pakistan. We have been pounding the hell out of them for weeks in near complete secrecy.

But an observer may wonder why, if al Qaeda had to vacate the camps, didn't they just go to other hideouts in Pakistan?.....

Lots more. Read it all. Another morsel:

...Cutting al Qaeda's support in Pakistan has been a massive coup, of which our media has no clue of right now. It is the exact sort of thing that the Democrats and their media accomplices always complain that we are not doing and then completely ignore when we do it....

Isn't that the truth! I bet if they were honest—ha ha—they would say, "When we said we should be fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan and not Iraq, we didn't mean we should be fighting in al Qaeda in Afghanistan."

And there's this:

....It bears mentioning that this cutting off of support might not have happened if Saddam had been left in power to flood the Pakistani jihad groups with cash through the Maulana and his associates. Cutting off this funding took the Maulana out of play as a major money raiser for al Qaeda and the Taliban. Without that cash, he became dispensable to al Qaeda, which may not have realized that this man wielded such power among the Taliban that he could turn them against al Qaeda....

The author, Ray Robison, has a book, Both In One Trench: Saddam's Secret Terror Documents which will be available on Amazon.com in a few weeks. It might just be very interesting. One of the lesser reasons I've listed for invading Iraq is that totalitarian regimes always keep good records, and we could expect to learn a lot about what's really going on in the world...

Posted by John Weidner at 2:59 PM

September 22, 2007

Sea roads...

Lost at Sea - New York Times:

THE ultimate strategic effect of the Iraq war has been to hasten the arrival of the Asian Century.

Patrick Thomas
While the American government has been occupied in Mesopotamia, and our European allies continue to starve their defense programs, Asian militaries — in particular those of China, India, Japan and South Korea — have been quietly modernizing and in some cases enlarging. Asian dynamism is now military as well as economic.

The military trend that is hiding in plain sight is the loss of the Pacific Ocean as an American lake after 60 years of near-total dominance. A few years down the road, according to the security analysts at the private policy group Strategic Forecasting, Americans will not to the same extent be the prime deliverers of disaster relief in a place like the Indonesian archipelago, as we were in 2005. Our ships will share the waters (and the prestige) with new “big decks” from Australia, Japan and South Korea.

Then there is China, whose production and acquisition of submarines is now five times that of America’s. Many military analysts feel it is mounting a quantitative advantage in naval technology...

Yeah, well, the Soviets built a lot of ships and subs too, and how did that work? I'm not buying this stuff. I would change the headline to: The ultimate strategic effect of the Global War on Terror has been to hasten the arrival of the Axis of Good. I mean, how crazy is this? All the countries mentioned above except China are our friends and allies. Lefties have all been moaning about how Bush is a unilateralist cowboy, and yet here he is drawing Australia, India, Japan and South Korea into building up their navies and joining us in keeping the world free and the sea lanes open.....and are they happy? No, the NYT complains that we are no longer the only boat in the bathtub! Well, this isn't a problem.

The truth is brutally simple. To build big decks, you gotta have a LOT of shekels. To get them, you gotta swim to the top of the foaming torrent called globalization. To do that, you must become more like the United States of America. That's what globalization is. We are the pattern, we are the model, we are the best at it. There is no other way. Australia, India, Japan and South Korea are following that path, not that they have much choice.

And growth works in stages, and at any one of them countries can stall, unless they change. And the changes always consist of becoming more like nasty ol' USA. SO, the fact that China is growing fast right now does NOT mean that she has solved the problem of growth, or can continue being a commie country with partial economic freedom.

And anyway it does not matter how many subs China builds. They are useless, unless the Axis of Good loses its nerve. Why? Because China's wealth is totally dependent on trade, and we can stop her trade at will. She cannot go to war, because a handful of naval mines will close her ports.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:28 PM

The headline would be very different if their side had won...

This headline just struck me as coming from twisted thinking...

New York Times: Fighting Leads to Deaths in Southern Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 21 — About 40 Taliban fighters and at least four civilians have been killed in fierce clashes in southern Afghanistan, officials said today, while two NATO soldiers were killed in other attacks...
(Thanks to Orrin)

So "fighting" does not normally lead to deaths? Is this analogous to "Teen Party Leads To Deaths"? Is it being implied that things have been bungled in some way? I suspect we are supposed to think: "Once those Americans invade a country, things go downhill and violence "appears."

And that word "fighters," what do they mean? Are these people combatants in a war? If so, they are committing war crimes, and have forfeited the right to certain niceties, like being taken prisoner rather than being shot out of hand. If they are NOT combatants, then they are terrorists. Which is it, NYT?

The headline ought to be: Taliban Attacks Thwarted; 40 Terrorists Killed by NATO Forces

Posted by John Weidner at 7:35 AM

September 11, 2007

Special morning...


Firefighters raise our flag in WTC ruins

Photograph �2001 The Record (Bergen County, N.J.). Photo Credit: Thomas E. Franklin, Staff Photographer

.

Charlene and I went to the 6:30 Mass this morning. We've been trying to do so once a week. Afterward she jumps on a bus for downtown, and I drive home.

As I was driving back I passed a fire station, and saw the firefighters lined up, raising our nation's flag. I felt rather awed. I wish I'd had a camera. I hurried home and put out our flag.

One of the many thoughts in my head is that America is not just a country, like other countries. It is an authoritative tradition, handed down to us from our forefathers and from God. America is an idea. (I wrote about that here.) "The rights of Englishmen are derived from God, not from king or Parliament, and would be secured by the study of history, law, and tradition." The rights of Englishmen are what we fought the Revolution for, and their origin is exceedingly ancient, and mysterious, and not something created merely by men.

And I think America makes demands on us, analogous (not the same, but analogous) to the claim made on us by God. And, analogously, we resist that claim in a thousand squirrely ways. We invent heresies, to put it bluntly. Certain people suddenly discover they are pacifists or internationalists. Someone this morning mentioned a prayer-intention for the victims of the disaster on 9/11. Nuh uh. It was not a disaster, it was a murderous terror attack on our nation and on innocent fellow-citizens.

And an attack on our land makes claims on us. It requires that we put our own concerns second and rally to the defense of our country, even at the risk of our lives, or the loss of elections. And, analogous to the other, greater sphere, many people answer non servum.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:29 AM

September 10, 2007

Best thing I've read this morning...

Hugh Hewitt (or Dean Barnett; it's not clear):

....There’s a local TV show that I appear on. Practically every time I’m on, the host, a good egg even though a pronounced lefty even by Boston standards, asks me how Republicans are supposed to stand by this war effort and still prevail in 2008. I always respond the same way: They aren’t. In all likelihood, 2008 will be a disaster for Republicans at the ballot box. But we, the rank and file of the Republican party, expect Republicans to risk their comfortable offices in order to see the war in Iraq through to a satisfactory conclusion and to continue the war against the forces of Jihad. Let the political chips fall where they may.

Whenever I repeat this sentiment, the host and the other two guests who are usually also liberal, look at me like I have two heads. They obviously suspect some ploy is afoot. But I mean it. And so do most other Republicans. A party that won’t see this thing through isn’t worth supporting, not in political defeat and even more so not in political victory.
Posted by John Weidner at 6:51 AM

September 9, 2007

What's happening Sept. 15?

From Der Spiegel:

....Three suspected Islamist militants who were planning to attack American targets in Germany had orders to act by Sept. 15 and knew police were hot on their trail before their arrest, a magazine said on Saturday.

The plan was foiled on Tuesday when police arrested two German converts to Islam and a Turk in the biggest German police investigation in the last 30 years.

According to surveillance details published in Der Spiegel magazine, the men had been given a two-week deadline for their planned strikes in a late August call from northern Pakistan that was monitored by German police....

September 15th? Gee, I wonder what could be the significance of that day? wasn't there some political party or other that was worried about that day? Trying to deflect attention from something? Crazy the ideas that pop into my head...

....According to Der Spiegel, two of the militants mentioned "a disco filled with American sluts" along with airports, nightclubs or a U.S. military base as targets during a July 20 conversation that was bugged by police...The arrests were the culmination of an investigation that began a year ago, when U.S. officials alerted German authorities to e-mails intercepted from Pakistan....

Why, they can't DO that! That's a violation of their civil rights! Call the ACLU! If militants can't receive e-mails from Pakistan in peace, the jackboot of Bush's Christianist fascism is about to descend upon us!

Posted by John Weidner at 7:42 AM

September 8, 2007

The big loser...

From the Belmont Club...

Here's a link to the transcript of Osama Bin Laden's message to the American people. Two things stand out. The first is his claim to victory in a theater (Iraq) where by all accounts his forces have been worsted and the only insurgent force with a plausible claim to victory is not al-Qaeda's but Iran's.

Secondly, his talking points, with their references to the Global Warming, taxes, Noam Chomsky, etc. almost seem to suggest an inversion. It's almost as if Osama the Muslim, not the infidel, has converted. From the tone of his remarks, Osama no longer speaks to the American people as the potentate of an unstoppable international apocalyptic movement, but rather as someone, who if you were ignorant of his true identity, might just as well be a spokesman for the Muslim wing of a Western political party....

As I've often pointed out, we had a number of different reasons and goals for the Iraq Campaign. So it's possible to both win and lose there. (Something most people seem weirdly incapable of processing.) For instance, we hope that sponsoring freedom and democracy in Iraq will start to break the grip of despotism and cruelty that plagues the Middle East. BUT, planting democracy in the heart of the Caliphate is ALSO waving a red flag in front of al Qaeda! They hate the idea. We forced them to fight on ground of our choosing! (I suspect this was unconscious genius on the part of the administration.)

And if one is fighting an elusive enemy who uses guerilla tactics, then almost any fight is good news for us. (Another obvious thing most people can't process.) We want a fight. We DON'T want al Qaeda free to plot and strike at its leisure. So the bloodshed in Iraq is both bad, for goal number one, and really really good for goal number two!

And lordy, what is Osama saying now? He's admitting he's lost!!!!! He's whining that his representatives in the Democrat Party have failed to win his war for him! What a loser. I am just SO trembling with fear. And quoting Noam Chomsky! Ha. Ha. Ha. And Ha. Don't they deserve each other. And this is really an information war we are fighting. The perception of al Qaeda driven from Iraq is far more important than us killing a bunch of them.

Losers! The next thing to expect is that he'll be bragging about how he gives his people free health care! And angling for a slot as Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at San Francisco State. Give him tenure guys, he's worked hard for it!

Posted by John Weidner at 4:05 PM

September 4, 2007

"a present for the start of the new school year"

From PowerLine...

Earlier today, Palestinians launched a Kassam rocket attack against the Israeli town of Sderot; a total of seven rockets landed in and around Sderot, one of them in the courtyard of a day care center. The Jerusalem Post reports here....

...Islamic Jihad said that the rocket attack was "a present for the start of the new school year," so it appears that the targeting of schools and day care centers was deliberate....

SO, and when are our pacifists going to protest? Where are the "Quakers?" Where are all the lefties who would scream bloody murder if Americans or Israelis targeted schoolchildren? When will we hear outrage from the press? Which radical priest will condemn this?

Won't happen. Never happens. They're just Jews, fair game as far as the Left is concerned.

(Yeah, I know, I'm repeating myself over and over again. So what, it's my blog.)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:12 AM

August 4, 2007

Questions about Fred...

I myself know nothing about Fred Thompson's new campaign manager, Spencer Abraham, but Debbie Schlussel has a long post on the guy, and she's not happy. It sounds like maybe ol' Fred is not quite on the same page as the rest of us... She has lots of info; it's a long post. (From last week; I'm running way behind)

He hasn't entered the Presidential race yet, but Fred Thompson, yesterday, showed us why he's the scariest Republican Presidential candidate. And maybe the scariest of both parties.

Don't believe Thompson's claim that he understands the Islamist jihadist threat to America. His announcement, yesterday, of his choice of Spencer Abraham as campaign manager, told us everything we need to know. Although Abraham, of Lebanese descent, is a Christian, he is a career water carrier for Islamists of the most extremist stripe and made that the cornerstone of his failed, one-term Senate career and equally lousy tenure as Energy Secretary...

Even if Abraham's not a "career water carrier for Islamists of the most extremist stripe," this sort of thing makes me think Fred has the flavor of a certain sort of Republican I don't much care for. Old complacent realist-type insiders who know all the other old insiders and pick each other for appointments regardless of talent.

And I still don't have any good answer to my big question about Fred Thompson. What, exactly, has he been doing to aid the war effort over the last 5 years? He talks a good line now, when he's running for office. But before that?

The real frontline of the war is here. Our military can handle anything the terrorists can throw at them. But the terrorists have allies in the "Democratic" Party and the "Progressive" gang who are working day and night here to sabotage our country and bring about our defeat. Right here is the real fight, and it sure looks to me like Fred has been AWOL...

Posted by John Weidner at 3:01 PM

July 30, 2007

News from the Front...

Too busy, so I'll quote another blogger...

Dave Price at Dean's World...

So, as has been widely reported, new Pew polling finds Muslim support for suicide bombings has fallen dramatically.

Hmmm, how could that have happened? Where has the world media's attention been focused the last few years, where lots and lots of suicide bombings have been killing Muslims? Must be that place the NYT has taken to calling
Mesopotamia.

But weren't we told American invasions of
Khorasan and Iraq were radicalizing Muslims and creating terrorists? Seems instead they've actually been de-radicalized, especially by events in Babylonia.

By now it's obvious to all but the most thick-headed or information-deprived observers that not only are Americans not looting and pillaging either country, they're the ones driving the effort to make them decent places to live (and spending lots of blood and treasure to do so).

Meanwhile, the splodeydopes are just killing Muslims as best they can. Apparently they're not winning many hearts and minds with that strategy...
Posted by John Weidner at 1:03 PM

July 23, 2007

We had it and we threw it away...

PowerLine has a good post on how the three leading Democrat candidates have made statements in Iran, such as this one from Clinton...

...We cannot permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons. We also must not let go unanswered its state sponsorship of terrorism. We must not stand silent in the face of brutal repression of women and minorities. And we must not tolerate threats to the existence of Israel...

But, none of them mention the possible use of force. Only diplomacy, or sanctions, or "engagement," or "working directly with Russia and China."

This is blatantly stupid, in two ways. One, you've said we "cannot"... "must not," blah blah blah. SO, what do you do if your diplomacy doesn't stop the things you said we "must not" allow? Is "must not" a lie? What. Do. You. Do?

Two, diplomacy works as an alternative to force. If you don't have a credible threat of force, then your adversary doesn't have much of a reason to make diplomatic concessions. It's the possibility of force that makes him scramble to find some diplomatic way out of whatever problem is on the table.

Renouncing force makes the use of force more likely, not less. Pacifism causes wars.

If you oppose war, if you want peace, then the best stance is to be perceived as aggressive, pugnacious, even a bit crazy. If I have a dispute with my next-door neighbor, and he's a hippie pacifist dweeb, I'm likely to brush him off. If he's erratic and combustible, and I worry that he might burn my house down, then..................how am I going to act, huh? You fill in the blank.

And the twisted thing is, we had this advantage! After March of 2003, the world looked at us as a bunch of crazy cowboys who might do anything. And as a result, our enemies started scrambling to make nice, and tyrant brutes like Mubarak and Assad trembled when Condi frowned. Omar Khadaffi imagined himself being dragged out of a spider-hole, and decided WMD's weren't worth the risk. Diplomacy was working!

We had it, AND WE THREW IT AWAY! Or rather, traitor Democrats threw it away, by undercutting our nation's foreign policy and making it obvious that they would drag down to defeat any attempt by the administration to make any serious use of force. Now our diplomacy no longer works. For instance, a large part of our current problems in Iraq stem from the massive flow of terrorists and deadly munitions over the borders of Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Those countries are in fact making war on us, killing American soldiers (and huge numbers of Iraqis). And they feel free to do it because they have little fear of retaliation.

They are waging a covert war. and it is a war caused by pacifism. Caused by people like Clinton, Obama and Edwards. War caused by people who claim to be for peace. And it is murderous war partly caused by people—the very thought makes me want to puke— who claim to be Christians.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:30 PM

Where-to-go....

Take a look at N.Z. Bear's revamped Victory Caucus. It's very impressive.

I've been able to write with confidence about the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, because I follow New Media sources that give a better picture than what we get from the perverted Old Media. (Or, as one of the Fadhil Brothers termed them long ago, The Gasping Media.)

But now there's a really good aggregator of these sources.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:51 AM

July 21, 2007

The other side of the coin...

Regulars here know that I don't get too worked up on the issue of the death penalty itself. But I am a bitter opponent of the dishonesty and moral obtuseness of "anti-death penalty activists." [ link, link, link.]

I have several reasons, and one of them is that, in the propaganda of the activists, the victims always vanish. The little people who were slaughtered (and the communities devastated) are less than dirt to the lefty "activists" and journalists and fake-pacifists, even as they invariably give us saccharine portraits of the killers.

The same thing is frequently done in the case of terrorists. I recommend, as an inoculation, this post at PowerLine, about HBO's and the NYT's portrait of a pretty young Palestinian girl in an Israeli prison....juxtaposed with a letter from the parents of another sweet young lady, who was slaughtered by that pretty monster. And who is, of course, a non-person to the NYT, and of no interest to activist crowd. Her death penalty will merit no candle-light vigils by the nihilists.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:02 AM

July 17, 2007

run towards, not away...

Thanks to Harold Sutton for pointing this one out to me, from National Review:

GOP Hopefuls Keep Distance From Bush; Republican Candidates Run from Bush; Republicans Backing Away From Bush. These are the headlines we have and will continue to see again and again throughout the remainder of the 2008 primary campaign and after every GOP debate. With approval numbers in the high 20s and low 30s, the president cannot expect the GOP candidates for president to run toward him, and on any number of issues the candidates are well within their rights and judgments to put daylight between the outgoing administration and their hopeful one.

But on one issue, the candidates should not run from the president, in fact they should run toward him and close any distance or doubt between them: the battle of our lifetime, the global war against Islamic terrorism and its battleground Iraq.

We propose they do so as soon as possible, in one press conference where they all stand united in one voice and say: “On this issue, on the war against Islamic terror, in the battle for Iraq, we stand with one voice and one policy: Victory. We support both the troops and the mission and you cannot divide that support. The troops and their generals believe in what they are doing, that they can win if they are given the necessary support. We believe them, we believe in them, and will do everything in our political power to help see them through to victory. On this issue, there is no daylight among the president, our servicemen and women in Iraq, and us. We will not support premature withdrawal or surrender.”

Let the press conference happen soon, as the House has just voted to stop the war in April of next year; the Senate is debating the very same; other politicians are arguing for an even sooner withdrawal; and the media is making heroes of a handful of Senate Republicans who are distancing themselves from the president on Iraq.

Let it take place at Ground Zero in New York. Politicizing the war? Hardly. That has already been done by those who have stampeded to the Senate and House floors, rushing to be the first with a new withdrawal plan for Iraq; or by declaring the war “a failure;” or “a meatgrinder;” or the lives of our soldiers “wasted” or “squandered;” or saying the president lied us into war; or by the attempted rewriting of history from the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act (signed by President Bill Clinton) to what those who voted to authorize the war in 2002 did and did not say — did and did not mean — when they spoke in favor of and voted for the authorization of that force....
Posted by John Weidner at 1:12 PM

July 13, 2007

For us or agin us...

Orrin Judd quoted a few paragraphs by Camille Paglia...

[I] don't share your admiration of President Bush's post-9/11 speech about terrorism. His warning to the world -- "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists" -- may please the ear with its syntactical symmetries, but it reveals a shockingly simplistic reading of geopolitics and indeed of life itself.

Camille dear, it was simplistic for a reason. And the reason wasn't "syntactical symmetries." If you can't even see that, you can't criticize intelligently. A big part of the strategy and tactics of the terrorists is to blur the distinctions between combatants. Both on a small scale, by mingling with non-combatants (a war crime, by the way, not that any of you lefties care) and on the scale of nations. Many nations allow terrorists to operate on their territory while pretending to be friendly with us. Bush is saying that this is no longer acceptable. Do you agree, or disagree?

...Since when did any nation -- even America, which I love -- become the dictatorial arbiter of morality?

It is not a question of morality, it's politics. But let's say that it is a moral claim. ANY moral issue will divide people into for-and-against. That's just a fact. If I say it is always morally wrong to drink alcohol, and you say it's OK in moderation, you are against me. And it is my duty to speak as an arbiter.

...On what authority did President Bush, imperfectly advised by incompetent or mendacious underlings, divide the human race into those with us or against us?

He didn't divide the world, he was just pointing out a divide that already existed, and which many people hoped would continue to be ignored or fudged. (That's why people want to frame terrorism as a law enforcement issue...to avoid hard choices.) Frankly, it should have been done many decades ago. We are in a war because we allowed terrorism to grow over a long period, because we didn't want to make tough choices. We accepted guys like Arafat talking peace in English and "Death to the Jews" in Arabic...We didn't want to call him on it, and the result was...the situation we are in.

...Who are we to demand or enforce such exclusivity and privilege?

It's a WAR! That's just what happens in wars. 9/11 changed a shadow-war into an open war, and war forces decisions whether or not Bush makes a speech. At the beginning of our Civil War a number of states tried to say they were neutral. Yeah, sure, how long did that last? "Who are we?" We are the strongest and the best of nations. We are, by default, the world's police. We are, by default, the only nation that can exercise global leadership. We are, by default, almost the only altruistic and moral nation.

Yes, yes, I know we have many human failings. That doesn't change the fact that the US has a large moral component to its foreign policy. And that non-Anglosphere nations fall woefully short in that regard, as we have seen with our erstwhile European "allies." It is reasonable, considering our position, to make some demands during a crisis. Moral demands, if you want to call them that.

...Why should our own self-interest take priority over that of all others?

Why not? That's what self-interest means! Seriously, to paraphrase the famous mis-quote of Alfred Sloan, what's good for America is good for the world. We are the champions of global law-and-order, freedom, democracy, free trade....All good things for us AND just what the poor and oppressed of the planet also need. The most important foreign aid program on the planet is the US Navy, because she keeps the sea-lanes open, so the trade that the world depends on continues to flow. It's in our self-interest AND the world's interest to fight for a peaceful and orderly planet safe from the threat of terrorism. Or perhaps you think that's NOT in the bests interests of the Earth? If so, what is? What are you FOR?

...This is hubris, the excessive pride that both the Hebrew Bible and Greek tragedy warned against.

No Camille, it's not hubris. It would be if we were literally dividing the world into for-and-against. But if you bother to look at what's actually happening, you will see that we are continuing to allow the situation to be fudged in many instances. We don't force Pakistan (or France) to be completely with us or against us. It would not be practical to do so. But this is now a concession on our part from a clearly announced position.

* Update: In a larger sense, I reject, with the utmost scorn and contempt, and sheer hatred, the moral relativism, (not you personally, but your belief) that says "Who are we to say what's right or wrong." Moral laws are objective facts, graven into the fabric of the Universe since the beginning.

It's like saying, "Who are we to say what the speed of light should be?" Phooey. I say it's 186,000 miles per second, and that lady, you are either for us or against us!

Posted by John Weidner at 9:18 AM

July 12, 2007

Worst nightmares...

I highly recommend (no doubt everyone else will too) Victor Davis Hanson's The New York Times Surrenders: A monument to defeatism on the editorial page...

...We promised General Petraeus a hearing in September; it would be the height of folly to preempt that agreement by giving in to our summer of panic and despair. Critics called for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, a change in command in Iraq and at Centcom, new strategies, and more troops. But now that we have a new secretary, a new command in Iraq and at Centcom, new strategies, and more troops, suddenly we have a renewed demand for withdrawal before the agreed-upon September accounting—suggesting that the only constant in such harping was the assumption that Iraq was either hopeless or not worth the effort.

The truth is that Iraq has upped the ante in the war against terrorists. Our enemies’ worst nightmare is a constitutional government in the heart of the ancient caliphate, surrounded by consensual rule in Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Turkey; ours is a new terror heaven, but with oil, a strategic location, and the zeal born of a humiliating defeat of the United States on a theater scale. The Islamists believe we can’t win; so does the New York Times. But it falls to the American people to decide the issue...

And the left's worst nightmare is US victory in Iraq. The Iraq Campaign has exposed their pretensions to being "liberal" as a total sham. They are nihilists and reactionaries. And the only way to escape the harsh spotlight that is shining on them is for our liberation of Iraq to be discredited...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:23 PM

This round, it's not defeatists we are fighting, but fantasists...

Rick Richman was at the California Dinner of the Republican Jewish Coalition. The speakers were Natan Scharansky, and Hugh Hewitt, who he quotes:

...In 1978, when Mr. Sharansky was convicted wrongfully by an illegal regime, I was a graduating senior from Harvard, driving across the country to go to work for Richard Nixon in San Clemente. . . There are so many parallels between the election of 2008 and the election of 1980 that I observed from San Clemente, the Elba of America at the time.

I had gone out to ghostwrite a book for President Nixon . . . called “The Real War.” ...It was, perhaps, in 1978-1979 the lowest point of the Cold War -- the point at which America seemed least likely to even win a stalemate.

If you will recall, Cubans were throughout Africa and on the march; the Shah had fallen; shortly thereafter the Soviets would occupy Afghanistan; Americans were held hostage in Teheran; Mr. Sharansky was in the most infamous prison in the most dictatorial country in the world, on his way to exile eventually in Siberia. The future looked very, very bleak indeed... I had sat at my commencement, in the rain, listening to Alexander Solzhenitsyn tell us about A World Split Apart, and predicting that in fact the West would not survive. . .

Ronald Reagan’s candidacy was also in trouble. . . . Reagan was flaying [flailing?] around through early 1980 and it did not look, even though Carter was in trouble, that the Republicans could pull it together. . . . A lot of people think 1980 [was easy]. It was such a close thing if you go back and revisit it. . . . It did not in fact break until October 28 of that year. . .

I bring that up because I believe we are in for the same kind of election. I believe that 2008 is going to be as closely run and as difficult . . . but for a very different reason. In 1980 Ronald Reagan presented optimism . . . against Jimmy Carter’s resigned defeatism . . . a belief that we could not rally ourselves and perhaps we could get to some sort of separate peace. This time it’s not defeatists . . .

This [election] . . . is really against fantasists -- against people who do not believe that the threat is what it is. . . . Our fellow citizens and our friends also felt as badly as we did about the events of [9/11]. But increasingly they have come to believe that it was a lucky one-off, a fluke, a tragedy, as opposed to the first massive expression of a very sinister and very powerful will . . . intent not on peaceful coexistence . . . but on the relentless expansion of their radical vision of Islam.

The Republicans are going to be saying a very hard thing to hear -- that we are locked in an existential struggle . . . and that indeed it is going to be a long and difficult and often bloody 20-30 years ahead of us. That’s a very tough hard message to sell in 60 seconds . . . especially when Democrats insist on saying it’s not so, and that we can retreat from Iraq without the carnage following us home, and that we can pretend that the radicalization of the Islamic population in Europe is neither far advanced nor continuing....

Question is, can a nation long endure, when a large portion of its population is living in a rubbishing hippie dream-world where you "visualize" things to make them happen? And now we have a double-whammy, with many of our leaders in Congress "visualizing" failure in Iraq at the very moment when the tactics of General Petraeus (who they voted unanimously to confirm) are starting to take effect, and when all our people actually on the ground in Iraq are reporting very positive developments?

Posted by John Weidner at 6:30 AM

July 6, 2007

Just asking...

This LA Times editorial brought out the mischief in me:

A FAVORITE Washington fantasy this summer is that clever U.S. diplomacy might somehow succeed in splitting Syria from its current patron, Iran. The dream is a bipartisan indulgence — and probably quixotic. Instead, the United States and its allies would do better to turn quickly to the urgent matter of preventing war between Syria and Israel. [Why? I'm not saying we shouldn't do so, but why, exactly?]

War fears have been fanned by a notable Syrian arms buildup. Damascus has purchased surface-to-surface missiles, antitank weapons and sophisticated air-defense systems. It is also believed to have received Iranian funds to pay Russia for missiles and a reported $1-billion purchase of five advanced MIG-31E fighter jets. [So you are saying we should prevent a war until Syria completes its arms build-up? To make things more "fair" perhaps?] Syria denies Israeli reports that it is rearming Hezbollah, whose weapons stores were depleted during its war with Israel last summer. But a recent report to the U.N. Security Council warned that poor security along the Syrian-Lebanese border allows arms smuggling to Hezbollah to continue. [No sensible person doubts that Syria is re-arming Hezbollah terrorists. So why, EXACTLY, is it in our interest to prevent them getting what they deserve?]

Even more ominously, Syria has hinted that if Israel continues to spurn its offers to restart peace talks on the return of the Golan Heights, perhaps a war to retake the Golan might be its only option. [This is backwards. It is only the threat of war that forces Israel to hold on to the Golan. Without it they are much more vulnerable to Syrian attack.] The Bush administration has been opposed to Israeli-Syrian peace talks, which it sees as undermining its campaign to isolate and punish Syria. Israelis are divided on the matter, but so far their government has opted not to pursue talks — perhaps using U.S. resistance as a convenient excuse. [Perhaps. perhaps not. You have yet to present the slightest shred of evidence that Syria is interested in peace. They are the war-mongers here.]

At last month's meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, President Bush finally stepped aside and said Israel was free to conduct whatever negotiations it wished with Syria — but the U.S. would not take part. That lessens prospects for peace, because an Israeli-Syrian pact is unlikely without U.S. mediation, or at least Washington's blessing. U.S. attempts to isolate Damascus have failed, and Syria's economy boomed last year despite U.S. sanctions and a steady decline in oil production. Is it worth risking war merely to keep Israel from talking to its longtime enemy? [We are already IN a war. It's known as the Global War on Terror. Syria is our ENEMY. It is a terror-supporting state, and the enemy of all peace-loving people. So WHY should we care if they are thrashed by Israel? Which side are you on here, Mr LAT?]

Meanwhile, opportunities mount for miscalculation. Israel does not want to appear weak in the eyes of Syria, nor does it want Damascus to fear an Israeli attack. Syria might not want war either, but it has reason for paranoia given its provocative role in supporting the Fatah al Islam militants and Hezbollah in Lebanon. [And it's in our interests for these evils to continue? Why?] Beirut or Gaza might easily provide the spark for a disastrous new Middle East war, perhaps fought by proxies. [Why would it be "disastrous?" Just asking.]

Some analysts say Syria would not go to war against Israel without Iranian approval. But who wants to gamble on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's calculations of Iran's national interest? Diplomacy and deterrence [Sorry to throw a new concept at you, but deterrence is based on the threat of war. If you are afraid to go to war, you have little or no deterrence.] are a safer bet. [We are in a war on terror, and IRAN is the number-one terror supporting state. So WHY is it in our interest to prop-up their client, Syria? ]

x

Posted by John Weidner at 7:36 PM

July 3, 2007

Juggle the thoughts back and forth...

Scott writes:

....Other Official Left-Libertarian Blogger Henley Theories I’m interested in hearing addressed: if Iraq is Jihad U., a common-enough complaint and one easy enough for even a dumb hick like me to understand and potentially even buy into, wouldn’t there be whole lot more death-dealing being done in England and Scotland with this spasm of car-bombs? Are they saving the really bright Jihad U. graduates for something or someplace else?....

He's a hick all right. Urban sophisticates can believe two (mutually-exclusive) impossible things before breakfast. It's obvious that Iraq is generating legions of unstoppable terror-bombers (who would otherwise all be peaceful doctors), and also obvious that the War on Terror is a hoax intended to make George W Bush dictator of the world. If you can't think both these thoughts at once, flip rapidly back and forth between them...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:23 AM

June 28, 2007

Save for future battles.

Here's something you might want to save, just in case you have an opportunity to counter-attack against the torrent of lies spread by those who hate this nation. And it's from the NYT, so it's not like anyone can say it's pro-administration propaganda... The Guantánamo I Know:

LINDSEY GRAHAM, a Republican senator from South Carolina, is right: “The image of Guantánamo Bay and the reality of Guantánamo Bay are completely different.” It is disappointing that so many embrace a contrived image. Reality for Guantánamo Bay is the daily professionalism of its staff, the humanity of its detention centers and the fair and transparent nature of the military commissions charged with trying war criminals. It is a reality that has been all but ignored or forgotten.

The makeshift detention center known as Camp X-Ray closed in early 2002 after just four months of use. Now it is overgrown with weeds and serves as home to iguanas. Yet last week ABC News published a photo online of Camp X-Ray as if it were in use, five years after its closing.

Today, most of the detainees are housed in new buildings modeled after civilian prisons in Indiana and Michigan. Detainees receive three culturally appropriate meals a day. Each has a copy of the Koran. Guards maintain respectful silence during Islam’s five daily prayer periods, and medical care is provided by the same practitioners who treat American service members. Detainees are offered at least two hours of outdoor recreation each day, double that allowed inmates, including convicted terrorists, at the “supermax” federal penitentiary in Florence, Colo.

Standards at Guantánamo rival or exceed those at similar institutions in the United States and abroad. After an inspection by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in March 2006, a Belgian police official said, “At the level of detention facilities, it is a model prison, where people are better treated than in Belgian prisons.”

Critics liken Guantánamo Bay to Soviet gulags, but reality does not match their hyperbole. The supporters of David Hicks, the detainee popularly known as the “Australian Taliban,” asserted that Mr. Hicks was mistreated and wasting away. But at his March trial, where he pleaded guilty to providing material support to a terrorist organization, he and his defense team stipulated he was treated properly. Mr. Hicks even thanked service members, and as one Australian newspaper columnist noted, he appeared in court “looking fat, healthy and tanned, and cracking jokes.”...

It's an indicator of the level of deception going on, that I didn't know Camp X-Ray had been closed after only 4 months. I just assumed things were the same...

The deeper issue is, that if you are in a war, you need a place to put prisoners. And the Geneva conventions reserve the status of "prisoner of war" to those who fight by the rules. (The conventions are not about prisoners; the POW provisions are just "carrots" to encourage nations to fight by certain rules, mostly about keeping fighting away from civilians.) So, under International Law it would be illegal to call our prisoners POW's. In fact it would be perfectly legal to just shoot them. Since we are humane, we treat them in a way similar to how we would treat POW's. But this opens us up to a torrent of accusations and "legal" attacks by dishonest people who really want to undermine the war.

(I put the rest of the article below, in case the original is unavailable...)

...Some imply that if a defendant does not get a trial that looks like Martha Stewart’s and ends like O. J. Simpson’s, then military commissions are flawed. They are mistaken. The Constitution does not extend to alien unlawful enemy combatants. They are entitled to protections under Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, which ensures they are afforded “all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.”

Justice John Paul Stevens, in the Hamdan decision that rejected an earlier plan for military commissions, observed that Article 75 of the Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions defines the judicial guarantees recognized as indispensable. A comparison of Article 75 and the Military Commissions Act of 2006 shows military commissions provide the fundamental guarantees.

Each accused receives a copy of the charges in his native language; outside influence on witnesses and trial participants is prohibited; the accused may challenge members of the commission; an accused may represent himself or have assistance of counsel; he is presumed innocent until guilt is established beyond a reasonable doubt; he is entitled to assistance to secure evidence on his behalf; he is not required to incriminate himself at trial and his silence is not held against him; he may not be tried a second time for the same offense; and he is entitled to the assistance of counsel through four stages of post-trial appellate review ending at the United States Supreme Court.

One myth is that the accused can be excluded from his trial and convicted on secret evidence. The administrative boards that determine if a detainee is an enemy combatant and whether he is a continuing threat may consider classified information in closed hearings outside the presence of the detainee. But military commissions may not. The act states, “The accused shall be permitted ... to examine and respond to evidence admitted against him on the issue of guilt or innocence and for sentencing.” Unless the accused chooses to skip his trial or is removed for disruptive behavior, he has the right to be present and to confront all of the evidence.

Morris D. Davis, a colonel in the Air Force, is the chief prosecutor in the Defense Department’s Office of Military Commissions.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:52 PM

June 22, 2007

England is dead. Long live the Anglosphere...

By Frank Gardner, BBC News:

...When Iranian Revolutionary Guards captured the British sailors and Royal Marines in March, it was not exactly their first attempt.

It turns out that Iranian forces made an earlier concerted attempt to seize a boarding party from the Royal Australian Navy.

The Australians, though, to quote one military source, "were having none of it".

The BBC has been told the Australians re-boarded the vessel they had just searched, aimed their machine guns at the approaching Iranians and warned them to back off, using what was said to be "highly colourful language".

The Iranians withdrew, and the Australians were reportedly lifted off the ship by one of their own helicopters...
Posted by John Weidner at 4:35 PM

June 13, 2007

Clear thought...

Mike Plaiss e-mailed to tell me of a WSJ article, but only available to subscribers: "There is one today (not on-line) called My Only Son by Leon de Winter that could have simply been lifted off your blog. If you don't regularly get the WSJ make sure to pick one up today. You'll want to read this."

Well, as they say, "Information wants to be free." Several bloggers have reprinted the piece. You can find it here. I'll quote part of it...

Leon de Winter: My Only Son

During the past four years, 170,000 Americans have died in traffic accidents. For young people, traveling in a car is the leading cause of death. Over the same period, 3,500 Americans were killed in Iraq in a war against radical Islam. These statistics haven’t been properly contrasted.

Mobility is a must in Western society. It’s a prerequisite for affluence and it fosters a sense of freedom. No politician could ban cars or severely limit their use. Transportation is the nation’s lifeblood. Its inherent risks are inescapable for an open society.

So Americans manage to deal with the fact that tens of thousands of people will be killed each year on the roadways. But when it comes to the war against Islamic fascism, the nation may soon decide that 3,500 deaths over four years is too much. This for a great nation of 300 million inhabitants.

If that is the case, then the United States will have begun to undermine the moral foundations spelled out in its own Declaration of Independence. If America is unable to carry out a war of its own choosing in defense of liberty because the cost of 3,500 lives is unacceptable, then it will soon be unable to maintain its position and power in the world...
...How did we get to this point?

Western civilization’s pursuit of affluence, secularization and sexual revolution have all sapped its willingness to make sacrifices. Today’s parents often have no more than two children, some may have only one son. His life is so precious that it has come to seem unbearable for him to be killed in battle. In his study “Sons and World Power,” German genocide expert Gunnar Heinsohn investigates family size in various societies in relation to the frequency of violent conflict since 1500 A.D. His conclusion is disturbingly simple: The presence of large numbers of young men in nations that have experienced population explosions—all searching for respect, work, sex and meaning—tend to turn into violent countries and become involved in wars. He cites, as an example, the Palestinian territories, where many families have as many as four sons.

Most countries in which Islamofascism has taken root have experienced population explosions. Huge numbers of young men are searching in vain for a respectable future. They legitimize their frustration with a radical ideology that channels their dissatisfaction and finds roots in the ancient religious traditions of Islam.

Mr. Heinsohn’s explanation shows the extreme pacifism of today’s Europe to be more than a response to the horrific experiences of World War II. He sees Europe’s low birthrate as the basis for the remarkable period of peace Europe has nurtured since 1945. Europe’s sons have become too precious for war.

This same phenomenon is also happening in America. Large families are becoming scarce. As a result, the sacrifice of a second or third son to a violent death, a possibility since the dawn of civilization, is not possible because those sons simply aren’t there....

I'm not sure if de Winter is correct in his reason why we may be unwilling to endure the casualties of the War on Terror. But he's thinking clearly, which sure can't be said for most Americans. One of the ways people are muddled is that they don't even realize that, while we have averaged 620 combat deaths a year since 9/11, the normal number of non-combat deaths in our military is about 700 or 800 per year! (Accidents, disease, suicide, homicide, etc.) That's the price we pay just to have a peace-time military.

Almost everything our nation does costs lives in some way or another. something I've never seen mentioned by the people who shed fake-tears and claim that 3,500 deaths is "unendurable."

Posted by John Weidner at 5:20 PM

Antibodies...

From the Belmont Club...

...These [three] stories all illustrate how the Jihad is destroying every Muslim society in which it is raised. It has created far more havoc on those societies than any conceivable American military strike. Terrorism as a defense creates far more collateral damage than any conceivable "protection" it may offer. A case in point is Iraq. Far from being a brilliant strategy to defeat the America the "networked insurgency" has so far managed to smash Iraq's infrastructure, unleash murder gangs, cause the exile of hundreds of thousands of Sunnis to neighboring countries, cripple its oil production, dissolve every semblance of social order it can corrode and finally, unleash such a wave of revulsion that even thugs and smugglers are making common cause with the Coalition so that they can return to a life of peaceful crime. In Gaza, men on street are improbably longing for the return of the Israeli soldier, whose presence, however stern, now seems the very soul of gaiety in comparison to sadistic brutality of Hamas and Fatah. Even Pakistan's Northwest Frontier, the historical epitome of lawlessness, is watching all its grim records broken. "Now, Tank is becoming a virtual no-go zone, even for ethnic Pashtuns who make up the majority of its 150,000 people. Islamic fundamentalists have issued Taliban-style edicts and set up their own courts in the city and nearby districts. Extremists have warned barbers not to shave customers' beards and bombed shops selling Western music or films."

And the Jihadis have just gotten started. The terrible logic of terror means that it must continuously raise its level of grisliness to keep its victims, already brutalized and inured to routine shocks, spasming in fear...

I remain convinced that we are tacitly allied with most of the people of the Islamic world, even though they may not realize it, and may even hate and despise us.

And that the jihad is an insidious and very dangerous disease, but also one that creates antibodies, who will be our allies in the future. And of course we are seeing just that in Iraq, though the process has been slower and bloodier than we expected.

(And though it's not PC to say it aloud, the logic of our situation implies that the mistakes we have made in the Iraq Campaign, especially in not adopting counter-insurgency tactics a couple of years ago, are actually a good thing in the long run. Assuming we don't run away before we win. The blood had to be shed, to prevent far more carnage in the future.)

And the "logic of terror" works for us in the long run. The fake-pacifists and fake-Democrats are writhing and twisting in agony, trying to appease the un-appeasable, and trying to avoid the demand that they fight to preserve the civilization they no longer believe in. But it won't work. The terror-attacks will inevitably ratchet up. Coexistence is not possible.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:45 AM

June 7, 2007

"Discovery"

Long-time RJ reader Frank sent a link to a WSJ article (which should work for us non-subscribers for 7 days) about how lawsuits can rebound on plaintiffs. In this case the Islamic Society of Boston sued for libel against critics of a suspiciously sweet land deal with the Boston Redevelopment Agency...

...The Islamic Society nonetheless sued, claiming both libel and civil-rights violations. Motions to dismiss the case were denied, and the litigants began to compel third parties to turn over documents bearing on the case. In short order, one after another of the allegations made by the Islamic Society collapsed.

Their complaint asserted that the defendants had falsely stated that monies had been sent to the Islamic Society from "Saudi/Middle Eastern sources," and that such statements and others had devastated its fund-raising efforts. But documents obtained in discovery demonstrated without ambiguity that fund-raising was (as one representative of the Islamic Society had put it) "robust," with at least $7.2 million having been wired to the Islamic Society from Middle Eastern sources, mostly from Saudi Arabia.

The Islamic Society claimed it had been libeled by a variety of expressions of concern by the defendants that it, the Society, had provided support for extremist organizations. But bank records obtained by the defendants showed that the Islamic Society had served as funder both of the Holy Land Foundation, a Hamas-controlled organization that the U.S. Treasury Department had said "exists to raise money in the United States to promote terror," and of the Benevolence International Foundation, which was identified by the 9/11 Commission as an al Qaeda fund-raising arm.

The complaint maintained that any reference to recent connections between the Islamic Society and the now-imprisoned Abdurahman Alamoudi was false since it "had had no connection with him for years." But an Islamic Society check written in November 2000, two months after Alamoudi publicly proclaimed his support for Hamas and Hezbollah, was uncovered in discovery which directed money to pay for Alamoudi's travel expenses.

To top it all off, documents obtained from the Boston Redevelopment Authority itself revealed serious, almost incomprehensible, conflicts of interest in the real-estate deal. It turned out that the city agency employee in charge of negotiating the deal with the Islamic Society was at the same time a member of that group and secretly advising it about how to obtain the land at the cheapest possible price.

So the case was dropped....

Personally, I think it is absurd and suicidal weakness and decadence on our part that such obvious scumbags are not being interned in a comfy camp someplace where Caribbean breezes waft across the sparkling sands.

But isn't "discovery" cool? Charlene sometimes does the same stuff, on a smaller scale. Winkles out the connections and secrets of dubious plaintiffs using interrogatories and "requests for production of documents." Plus some cool Internet search tools.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:49 AM

June 4, 2007

On the Geneva Convention

Rand Simberg says something I've said before, and says it better. Of course all you regular readers already understand this stuff, but I like to blog good arguments to have them available in the future...

...There seems to be a single-minded focus on the Geneva Conventions as protectors of prisoners' rights, even for prisoners who behave in utter violation of those Conventions. To do so is to display a profound ignorance of the primary intent of the Conventions, which were an attempt to reduce the impact of war on innocent civilians, a concept that our enemy holds in utter contempt.

This subject has been discussed multiple times in the blogosphere over the last few years, but apparently many of the commenters either haven't read, or have read and forgotten, or lacked the reading comprehension to understand it.

The Conventions require that combatants fight in recognizable uniforms. Why? So that it makes it easier to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants, and to reduce the incidents of collateral casualties.

The Conventions require that combatants not wage war from designated sanctuaries such as churches, mosques, hospitals, or ambulances. Why? I'd like to think that the answer is obvious.

The Conventions require that those waging war accept the Conventions. Why? Because if not, then there is no point in having them, since people who violate them would still be granted the benefit of them....
...Since 911, in the face of the most ruthless enemy imaginable, who would wipe us off the face of the earth with the flick of a finger had they our power, we have fought the most humane war in the history of humankind. We have spent untold billions of dollars to develop precision weaponry that can destroy a building while leaving another one right next to it intact, that can destroy a tank while leaving a car sitting next to it unscratched. We (and the Israelis) will send in troops and risk their lives to take out specific terrorists, when we could instead simply wipe out a neighborhood, safely from the air. Why? Simply to avoid civilian casualties. We have rules of engagement that put our troops at further risk, so that we don't accidentally hit a civilian.

But we have an enemy that not only hides in mosques and ambulances, and behind women's skirts, but one that rejoices in deliberately murdering civilians, even of their own religion.

When people unthinkingly demand that we grant the rights of standard POWs stipulated by the Conventions to illegal combatants, they are in effect demanding that we violate the Conventions, and they are in fact undermining the purpose of the Conventions. This isn't about having "moral authority" in the eyes of the world (a dubious premise, anyway, given how little moral authority most of the world has). That's like worrying about what gangsters think about our occasional speeding tickets. No, it's about trying to enforce the rules of war that were an (admittedly paradoxical) attempt to civilize it...

Actually, the absurd situation we are in, where it's demanded we apply a treaty to people who are not only not signatories but, not being nations, could not become signatories, reinforces my contention that what we are in is not a war, in any traditional sense of the word.

The Geneva Convention issue is, of course an entirely different issue from whether we should treat prisoners humanely. And the fact that it is almost impossible to discuss these things rationally with the "anti-war" crowd is evidence of profound self-induced brain damage among those who lean to the Left.

And the commonly held idea that terrorists should not be punished for gross violations of norms that are applied stringently to the US and her allies, is not only racist, but is a profound failure of morality and moral reasoning.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:48 AM

June 2, 2007

We get what we deserve...

Just in case you didn't hear this story....

NEW YORK - Federal authorities announced Saturday they had broken up a suspected Muslim terrorist cell planning a "chilling" attack to destroy John F. Kennedy International Airport, kill thousands of people and trigger an economic catastrophe by blowing up a jet fuel artery that runs through populous residential neighborhoods.

Three men, one of them a former member of Guyana's parliament, were arrested and one was being sought in Trinidad as part of a plot that authorities said they had been tracked for more than a year and was foiled in the planning stages.

"The devastation that would be caused had this plot succeeded is just unthinkable," U.S. Attorney Roslynn R. Mauskopf said at a news conference, calling it "one of the most chilling plots imaginable."

In an indictment charging the four men, one of them is quoted as saying the foiled plot would "cause greater destruction than in the Sept. 11 attacks," destroying the airport, killing several thousand people and destroying parts of New York's borough of Queens, where the line runs underground...
. . . . . . . . .

....The arrests mark the latest in a series of alleged homegrown terrorism plots targeting high-profile American landmarks.

A year ago, seven men were arrested in what officials called the early stages of a plot to blow up the Sears Tower in Chicago and destroy FBI offices and other buildings.

A month later, authorities broke up a plot to bomb underwater New York City train tunnels to flood lower Manhattan.

And six people were arrested a month ago in an alleged plot to unleash a bloody rampage on Fort Dix in New Jersey.

Well, we've spent decades teaching people that terrorism works. So it should be no surprise that they try stuff like this.

My suggestion is that this nation publicly commit, in the event of another 9/11-scale attack, to invading another Moslem country, and bringing it freedom, democracy and capitalism. It's obviously hard to deter attackers who are not afraid to die, but that's the one thing that might give them pause.

Of course we are actually doing pretty much the opposite, with a large part of the nation's leadership publicly advocating weakness and surrender. Announcing, in fact, that terror campaigns work! So we can expect lots more of this kind of thing. Pacifism kills. Voting Democrat is tantamount to national suicide.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:32 PM

May 26, 2007

If they really wanted to fight al Qaeda, they'd be rarin' for a fight...

Andy McCarthy has a good word in The Corner....

...Senator Obama says: " It is time to end this war so that we can redeploy our forces to focus on the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 and all those who plan to do us harm."

Senator Obama, are you proposing that we move U.S. troops from Iraq to Afghanistan, where you guys keep saying the "real" War on Terror is?

There is also a very good chance that bin Laden and some al Qaeda hierarchy are in Pakistan. When you say "redeploy," are you suggesting that we invade Pakistan?

Folks, let's not let these guys get away with this. By "redeploy," they don't really mean move the troops to where they say al Qaeda is. They don't want to fight al Qaeda. If they wanted to fight al Qaeda, al Qaeda is in Iraq — that is indisputable. Bin Laden has said repeatedly that Iraq is the central battle. You can argue about whether al Qaeda has been in Iraq all along or whether they are there only because we've drawn them there. Reasonable minds differ on that. But however they got there, they're there.

If you really want to fight al Qaeda, you stay in Iraq.

If you really believe al Qaeda is not in Iraq — that the real al Qaeda is only in Afghanistan and its environs — then you're on drugs. But, sure, fine, "redeploy" our troops ... to Afghanistan. But can we please have five seconds of honesty? You guys don't have the slightest intention of doing that. You don't want to go to Afghanistan. You want to go home.

When you say redploy, you mean withdraw. You don't actually want to "focus on the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11." You are content to bring the troops home and leave "the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11" to build a safe-haven in Iraq even as they continue to make mayhem in Afghanistan...

Wars are to fight. That's just what they are. Senator Obama (along with many other Democrats) is a foul and horrid liar when he says he "wants to fight the real War on Terror." If he were telling the truth, he'd be spoiling for a fight! Even without the question of Iraq, al Qaeda is known to be present in a variety of places. (From the WaPo: ...U.S. Gen. Charles Wald, deputy commander of the European Central Command, has been warning Congress and the Pentagon for months that al Qaeda-affiliated groups are active in Mauritania, Mali, Chad and Niger....)

So where's the call to action from Mr Obama about this? Why isn't he urging us to get out the knives and go after these thugs? Why isn't he criticizing the Bush Administration for flinching from action in Mali? Of course he's not going to do that; everyone knows perfectly well that "fight the real War on Terror" is a lying code phrase for "don't fight; appease."

To be a "Democrat" is to live and breath lies. I doubt if Obama is any longer even aware of the boundaries between lies and truth. There is not a single area of policy where Dems do not have to use code words to give a wink and a nudge to convey that they are saying one thing but of course mean another.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:09 AM

May 22, 2007

We see the same patterns over and over again...

Here's a report from UC Irvine. But it could easily describe a city or a country...

UCI Intifada: Preaching Terror on Campus

Yesterday, I visited the Crystal Cove Auditorium at UCI to hear Amir Abdul-Malik Ali, a radical Islamic activist sponsored by UCI's Muslim Student Union. As soon as I arrived I could hear his typical racist vitriol on how the Jewish people are the greatest threat to civilization; the same sentiment I had heard months earlier when I heard him at the front of the flag polls praising Hezbollah's war of attrition against Israel. This time it was different. As soon as I took my seat, with Sony camcorder in hand, many members of the audience gave me the stare of death. One guy sitting next to me told me to put my camera away. "The speaker doesn't want to be audio or video recorded, he said. I refused. So a band of thugs from the Muslim Student Union started to flood the aisles, blocked my camera view, and threatened to get the police If I didn't stop recording. The police never came. From talks with them afterward, they seemed unsympathetic to Mr. Ali and his army of spawns. Dean Edgar J. Dormitorio, in charge of security at the event, finally told me to go. So I succumbed to his wishes.

The intimidation didn't stop there. Members of the Muslim Student Union tracked my movements as I walked across the 1500 acre campus and stalked me to my next class. As soon as I sit down, I received similar stares. A man comes in class with his little sister, who I assume attended the Holocaust revival speech with him, and snaps a picture of me.

Why did the MSU’s thugs shove and demand that I empty the footage from my camera? We have all heard Mr. Ali preach hate before, what was different about this time? If they sponsor men like Mr. Ali, why are they so paranoid and embarrassed about what he has to say?

In the spirit of full dislosure, here is some raw footage of my struggle to capture the speech before I was forced to shut the camera off.

Anyone with a grain of sense will agree that allowing this sort of thing to go on without challenge or punishment will breed worse problems in the future. Letting bullies intimidate people while "security" looks on and does nothing will result in more thuggery. And sooner or later in violence. When this is done on a larger scale the eventual result is something people call war.

And what really infuriates me is that all the fake-Christians and fake-Quakers and fake-antiwar activists will ignore (or abet) all the steps that lead up to conflict. Then when things get violent, and authorities are forced to respond harshly, they will suddenly focus on the problem and act as if it just started.

And they will shed tears and talk about Gandhi and Jesus and how violence never solved anything! And how war never solved anything. When in fact they are responsible for the violence, because they are among those who ignored the beginnings of it. They refused to take notice when the problem was still small.

The Global War on Terror is exactly this situation on a larger scale. It grew over a span of many decades from small beginnings. mAnd at every step the "authorities," that is Europe, america the UN, etc, flinched from the task of slapping down bullies. And the result was that each subsequent stage was more violent and dangerous. Remember, more than 1,000 Americans were killed by Islamo-fascist terrorists before 9/11. We had a lot of excuses to respond with massive force when the terror groups were smaller and less well entrenched.

And we flubbed every one of them.

And that, Oh my brothers and sisters, is why we are wading in blood now. Pacifism kills. Pacifism is evil. (There may have been real pacifists in past times, but what calls itself pacifism now is really nihilism. It's the refusal to fight for what you believe, because you don't believe anything.) Ignoring lawbreaking is evil.

Like it or not, America is "the cops" on this planet. We just are, by default. There is no other alternative. (Europe and Japan should also be cops, but are paralyzed by nihilism.) And the GWoT is basically NOT a "war," but rather a crime situation that has been allowed to grow unchecked until it turns into something that looks like a war.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:06 AM

May 19, 2007

We've forgotten, they haven't.....

From Belmont Club:

Will IEDs Come To the West?
One of the first western journalists to interview Osama Bin Laden thinks IEDs will be deployed and used in Western cities regardless of whether the U.S. stays or withdraws from the war. There is no obvious physical or logistical reason why this can't can't true. Although it doesn't have the apocalyptic mystique of a nuclear weapons attack scenario, the use of IEDs in the West causing hundreds of casualties raise the same strategic questions. If the attacks are unattributed against whom shall we retaliate? If the attacks are attributed, shall we go after them? If we choose to appease or surrender to them, to whom shall the check be mailed?

It will be argued that any IED attacks on the West will be "blowback" for having invaded Iran or Afghanistan, or that the IED technology was proliferated as a consequence of the war. But this is a faulty line of reasoning because you can extend this argument to preclude any response on the grounds that terrorists might "learn" from any action taken against them and therefore it is best not to act against them at all...

"Here" includes America, a topic of interest to me. Since "IED" simply means "improvised explosive device," there's never been a reason why terrorists couldn't use them here. (IED's are also becoming more sophisticated, with armor piercing versions, but that's irrelevant to terror attacks on civilians.) And terrorists could surely cross our porous borders if they tried.

So why haven't they done so already? Three reasons, I'd guess. One is that mounting secret operations on foreign soil is difficult for any organization, and our home-grown terrorists don't seem to be a very impressive bunch so far. So al Qaeda or other groups would have to send in teams, and procure parts and explosives etc. All the steps are simple, but at each step somebody might get suspicious and tip off the FBI.

The second is that we are keeping them rather busy. We and our allies are hunting them round the globe. (And although decadent countries like France won't fight alongside us, they are perfectly happy to lock up terror suspects in nasty holes that make Gitmo look like a Sunday school.) And of course we were clever, and invaded Iraq, and that has presented al Qaeda with a dilemma that has absorbed most of its energy. Fudging up a "civil war" among people who really don't have their hearts in it is a bitch.

And the third is that, the last time they improvised an explosion on our soil, we punished them in a way they really hated. 9/11 was supposed to provoke either a weak cringing response, or an angry hasty lashing-out. Either would have been good for al Qaeda. Instead we cooly and methodically disassembled two Moslem countries, one of them in the Arab heartland, and put them back together with the beginnings of democracy and freedom and Globalization.

Our foolish politicians may live in an eternal present, where nothing exists but the sound-bites on tonight's TV news. They've forgotten, but you can bet that al Qaeda hasn't forgotten. And the terrorists are obviously aware of our politics, since they are butchering thousands of innocent people in order to dominate our news, and get Democrats elected. So they probably realize that terror attacks on our soil would almost certainly force even Democrats to fight back, or be tossed out of office.

The key geo-political fact of our times is that Europe's people and leaders are mostly nihilist, but the American population is only partly nihilist. Terror bombings in Europe (such as Madrid or the London Tube Bombs) will NOT rouse European nations to unity and vigorous action. Terror bombings in the US WILL rouse a large part of our people to demand that we fight back. Probably enough to tip the political balance and put the Republicans solidly in power. (Assuming we can come up with some politicians with guts.)

Key read: America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It, by Mark Steyn. Oh, and there's another guy, who seems to be close to the heart of where I'd suggest that what you might call "anti-nihilsim" is really coming from...


Posted by John Weidner at 7:30 AM

May 16, 2007

It's like rolling over a rotting log...

Jonah Goldberg has a good op-ed in the LAT, Just how crazy are the Dems?

MOST FAIR-MINDED readers will no doubt take me at my word when I say that a majority of Democrats in this country are out of their gourds.

But, on the off chance that a few cynics won't take my word for it, I offer you data. Rasmussen Reports, the public opinion outfit, recently asked voters whether President Bush knew about the 9/11 attacks beforehand. The findings? Well, here's how the research firm put it: "Democrats in America are evenly divided on the question of whether George W. Bush knew about the 9/11 terrorist attacks in advance. Thirty-five percent of Democrats believe he did know, 39% say he did not know and 26% are not sure."...

....We don't know what kind of motive respondents had in mind for Bush, but the most common version has Bush craftily enabling a terror attack as a way to whip up support for his foreign policy without too many questions.

The problem with rebutting this sort of allegation is that there are too many reasons why it's so stupid. It's like trying to explain to a 4-year-old why Superman isn't real. You can spend all day talking about how kryptonite just wouldn't work that way. Or you can just say, "It's make-believe."

Similarly, why try to explain that it's implausible that Bush was evil enough to let this happen — and clever enough to get away with it — yet incapable either morally or intellectually of doing it again? After all, if he's such a villainous super-genius to have paved the way for 9/11 without getting caught, why stop there? Democrats constantly insinuate that Bush plays politics with terror warnings on the assumption that the higher the terror level, the more support Bush has. Well, a couple of more 9/11s and Dick Cheney will finally be able to get that shiny Bill of Rights shredder he always wanted.

And, if Bush — who Democrats insist is a moron — is clever enough to greenlight one 9/11, why is Iraq such a blunder? Surely a James Bond villain like Bush would just plant some WMD?...

It's easy to refute the conspiracy theories with logic, but they were never based on logic, They are desperate psychological defense measures. The problem with these people is that belief and meaning have seeped away imperceptibly, to the point that they no longer even believe in belief, no longer believe that belief is a normal part of life.

9/11 threatens them at this very point, where they have no defenses. It said, unambiguously, that here is a case of Right and Wrong—and where do YOU stand?

It also said, to people steeped in a vague mush of anti-Americanism, "America, YOUR country, has been brutally attacked. Where do you stand?"

They hate this because they don't stand for anything, and millions of them have never before been put to the test like this. Never had such a spotlight shone upon them.

I feel like a bit of a prophet. On my very first week of blogging, November 12, 2001, I wrote:

A war begins. It's like rolling over a rotting log, the sun suddenly shines on a miriad of things both beautiful and creepy. We suddenly have a lot to say.
"They ought to have reflected . . . that as there is nothing more desirable, or advantageous than peace, when founded in justice and honour, so there is nothing more shameful and at the same time more pernicious when attained by bad measures, and purchased at the price of liberty."
Abigail Adams, in a letter to John Adams, August 19, 1774

Well, I still do have a lot to say. Lots of my blogging friends from back then have long since run out of steam.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:37 AM

May 15, 2007

"But influence is a two-way street..."

One of the reasons I placed on my list of reasons to invade Iraq was...Iran. Right now we are focused on how the Iranian regime is fomenting violence in Iraq. But we hardly stop to wonder what Iraq is fomenting in Iran. And exactly why Iran might wish to make trouble for a majority Shi'ite state. I found this article very interesting..

.....Traditionally, Shiites have believed that clerics should stay out of politics until the return of the Mahdi, the last of the revered early Shiite imams, who disappeared in the ninth century. Shiites believe he went into hiding and will someday reveal himself.

Only he can establish a perfect Islamic state, according to traditional believers -- including some in the Tehran bazaar, whose influential religious merchant class backed the revolution but has since grown more skeptical of the ruling clerics.

"Only the Mahdi is the genuine leader," said Ghaie's brother Mohammad, 45, whose family, like many Iranian merchants, has lived in both Iran and Iraq over generations.

Expressing such opinions is dangerous: Several prominent religious scholars -- chief among them Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri -- are under house arrest or other official sanctions for opposing clerical rule or proposing limits on it.

The quietist philosophy suited disempowered Shiites, who through most of their history lived under Sunni powers. Shiites are a minority among Muslims and within all modern Middle Eastern states except Iran, Iraq, and Bahrain.

But now, in Iraq, Shiites are witnessing a new alternative: They can defend their rights at the ballot box, without establishing a religious state.

"We believe that politics is separate from religion," said Iraq's ambassador to Iran, Mohammed Majid al-Sheikh. "Of course there are debates about this. If Iran wants to take on these debates, it will benefit. And I could say that the experiment of Iraq will ripple throughout the Middle East."

Iran has worked hard to influence Iraq. US officials have accused it of fomenting violence there. Analysts say Iran welcomes low-grade chaos in Iraq in part to prevent the emergence of a democratic Shiite alternative that could embolden Iranian reformists, while at the same time courting Shiite Iraqis by presenting itself as a stable and benign neighbor.

But influence is a two-way street, especially between two countries whose shrine cities and capitals have been tied by trade and pilgrimage for centuries. About 1,500 Iranians go to Iraq on pilgrimage every day, Sheikh said. The Ghaie brothers went recently and were impressed to see the parade of Iraqi politicians visiting Sistani's modest house in Najaf -- voluntarily -- for advice.

Last month, the Iranian press reported, Jalaluddin Taheri, a dissident cleric who resigned as Isfahan's Friday prayer leader in 2002 after criticizing the regime as corrupt and autocratic, went to Najaf to pay respects to Sistani.

The representative of Iraq's most pro-Iran political party, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, touted Iraq's freer system.

Majid Ghamas contended in an interview in his Tehran office that Iranians, because of their country's somewhat competitive elections, have more freedom than Saudis, Jordanians, or Egyptians.

"But not as much as in Iraq," he said, "now that we have a government that respects Islam and the rituals of Islam but does not impose Islam by force so that it becomes a rigid Islam."

But persuading the Iranian masses that their country should emulate Iraq would be an uphill battle.

"If there were security there, these changes [in Iraq] could be appreciated" by Iranians, he said. "But without security you cannot appreciate anything else."

The evil alliance of Democrats and despots and terrorists has, for the moment, derailed our efforts to spread democracy in the Middle East and other Islamic trouble spots. (The tyrants and terrorists at least have the excuse of not knowing any better.) BUT, ideas spread. No one can really hide the fact that Iraqis are voting for their leaders. And that Sistani is not setting himself up as a power.

Al Queda has succeeded in giving the Dems a congressional majority, and so Condi is no longer jetting about and leaning on the Mubarraks and Assads. But there is more to globalization than just McDonald's and KFC.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:10 AM

May 11, 2007

Wake up calls, but few wake up...

Life is too busy for much in the way of blogging, but I recommend VDH's piece Al Qaedism, Again

Posted by John Weidner at 7:10 AM

May 9, 2007

Think of a fallen log on the forest floor...

Captain Ed has an interesting post on this article, about the growing "marriage of convenience" between the left and Islamist groups.

...It's the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact for our age. The Left, with its insistence on multiculturalism and the end of religion in public discourse, has begun to ally itself with the most xenophobic religion on the planet, one which insists on transcendence in temporal matters above all other law. Its leaders now praise the same groups that target and kill civilians, oppress the media, openly practice anti-Semitism, and routinely stone those who have the audacity to date without permission from their families.

In the case of Noam Chomsky, this seems particularly egregious, but not terribly surprising. Chomsky can talk about Enlightenment ideals out of one side of his mouth, as he did in Imperial Ambitions, and then warmly support Hamas, which completely rejects those ideals of freedom, liberty, and individual conscience. In that book, he told David Barsamanian that "No other industrialized country has anything like the degree of extremist religious beliefs and irrational commitments like you see in the United States," and yet he has aligned himself with violent religious extremists like Hamas, and does so on the television network of the equally violent and extreme Hezbollah.

People like Chomsky love Hamas and Hezbollah not for their supposed "Enlightenment ideals," but for their hatred of America. That's the one thread that follows through all of these alliances between the Western Left and the Islamist nutcases who, on a philosophical basis, should be their ultimate nightmare. The people who drop brick walls on homosexuals get praise and support from the Chomskys of the world because the US cannot decide between allowing civil unions or gay marriage. Chomsky frets over the fact that "Large majorities are convinced of miracles, the existence of the devil, and so on," but then praises those who believe that infidels are agents of Satan and must be destroyed in jihad.

What we see is a class of people who hate America and who now grope for an intellectual basis to align themselves with America's opponents and enemies.

This is puzzling only if you think that the Left is still following a leftist philosophy. That they still believe in something. But the belief is gone, and few people seem to have noticed.

One of the most important phrases you should know, if you want to understand our world, is HOLLOWED OUT. Think of a fallen log on the forest floor. Sometimes you see one, and it looks solid. But insects and decay have eaten out the inside, and left only a shell of bark supported by dusty fibers.

We live in a time of rapid change, and we adjust to new conditions, but mostly not openly. Our thoughts gradually change, and later our behavior changes, without apparent reason. This is hugely frustrating to anyone who is concerned with the way our world is changing and moving , because we can't grapple with the underlying change, just the outward changes. No one admits to the interior transformation, so how can one argue about it?

The quote above is about a change in behavior, one that makes people like me want to grab the chomskys and shake them and scream, "What are you doing? Why? How can you say one thing and do the opposite?" But it's useless, because the real issue is the underlying change in philosophy, and Leftists refuse to acknowledge it, much less debate it. In fact they've been hollowed out, their old ideas are gone, but they still talk the talk.

One of the really wierd things about our time is that we see the "hollowing out" in nested layers. The phrase was originally coined for Christian churches that have had their faith drain away, replaced by mushy leftism. "Liberation Theology" is an extreme example, but the more common one is the Mainline Churches, where the leadership is indistinguishable from the general run of lefty activists. But now the leftist faith which hollowed out many churches is itself hollowed out, drained of the meaning it once had...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:26 PM

May 2, 2007

It was a different world...back in 2005

Atlas Shrugs has an interview with Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey, who recently quit blogging because of hostile attention from the police...

...SANDMONKEY: "Any kind of democratic reform in the country [Egypt] for the past 3 years has been rolled back specifically because there is no more pressure coming from Washington anymore."

ATLAS: Why? What happened to the pressure in Washington?

SANDMONKEY: You know what happened to the pressure in Washington. The Democrats won the Congress. There is no more pressure coming from Bush because he is not able to push people anymore to do those things. He is not able to push the Egyptian government anymore because the American public is suddenly not interested in reforming the Middle East because of what's going on in the Iraq. So suddenly the Egyptian government is not afraid of the American pressure. They are doing whatever they want to do. They are beating up demonstrators, they are cracking down on activists, they are changing the constitution, and eroding civil liberties once and for all and they are using proxies to take down bloggers....

"beating up demonstrators...cracking down on activists...changing the constitution, and eroding civil liberties." Gee, sounds like the kind of crap Lefties say about Bush's "fascist" America. Only this example is REAL. It's real, it's brutal, and it's what you get when you vote for "Democrats."

We were, for a while, pressuring Egypt and other Middle East tyrannies towards more freedom and democracy. Go back and read this post of mine from 2005. It was a different world.

Bush's foreign policy is idealistic, it wants to create a better world. BOTH because that's a good thing in itself, and also to make us and the world safer. But he can only do it from a position of strength. These things need to be supported by both parties. They SHOULD be supported by both parties; it is traditional in America that "politics stops at the water's edge." Of course on lots of small issues it doesn't, but when a president, especially in time of war, pushes an important foreign policy initiative, there is absolutely no excuse for the opposition party to undercut him.

Especially when it is an attempt to make a better world in a way that is consistent with our most cherished values.

It is wrong, it is EVIL, it is sick and twisted. Even if they are opposed to the Iraq Campaign, the Democrats should have made it absolutely clear that they are firmly in support of the President on these and other foreign-policy goals. But they are too sick and evil to care.

I'm doubly bitter about this because of the many times I pointed out that the Iraq Campaign, whether right or wrong, was going to lead to huge peaceful diplomatic gains. Why? Because diplomacy is the "good cop" that only works because there is the "bad cop" of war waiting to take over if the good cop can't extract some concessions. The fact that we looked like a country that might unleash crazy violent regime-change at any moment was a huge incentive towards peaceful change.

And the fact that we now look like a country that is paralyzed and won't respond to provocations is exactly why Egypt and Syria and Iran and many other countries can thumb their noses at us and crack down on any glimmers of freedom. And this is creating the seeds of future wars.

Pacifism KILLS. Right now the fake-pacifists and fake-Quakers and fake-Christian "peacemakers" are hugging themselves with glee because Bush and Rice have been forced into retreat. Domestic politics and anti-Americanism are all that's real to them. They care nothing for the realities of peace-making.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:42 AM

April 28, 2007

Jerks...

Apparently the al Queda honcho Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, who we have stashed at Gitmo...is the guy who, among many many nasty deeds, organized the London Tube bombing that killed 52 people.

So the Brits are happy, right? The info this guy has will may help them them to save innocent lives. That's good, right?

Ha ha ha, what a stupid notion. There's a hitch. Dafydd writes:

...Because Tony Blair's government has gone on record demanding that we shut down Camp X-Ray at Guantánamo Bay and end all interrogations there, it just doesn't seem, well, entirely cricket for agents of MI5 and MI6 to trundle off to the place they don't believe should exist, to interrogate people they don't believe should be at the place that oughtn't exist -- and possibly even use techniques that should never be used on the people who shouldn't be at the place that oughtn't exist in the first instance....

Of course there will be a work-around. The info will be extracted by the Yanks, while the Brits posture and preen in their moral superiority, and spit on us.

Jerks. Phonies. Frauds. If I was running things I'd publicly announce that al Iraqi had spilled LOTS of beans, including plots against Britain, but we are so impressed by the prodigious moral purity of Britain, as compared to us dirty horrid Americans, that of course we will honor their wishes and tell them none of it.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:34 PM

April 25, 2007

Poking the hornet's nest is a good thing...

Good, from Rudy...

..."If one of them gets elected, it sounds to me like we're going on the defense," he said. "We've got a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. We're going to wave the white flag there. We're going to try to cut back on the Patriot Act. We're going to cut back on electronic surveillance. We're going to cut back on interrogation. We're going to cut back, cut back, cut back, and we'll be back in our pre-September 11 mentality of being on defense."

Giuliani said he believes the United States ultimately will win the war on terrorism, regardless of whether the country is led by Republican or Democratic presidents, but added that Republicans will do a better job of keeping the country safe, with fewer losses.

"The question is going to be, how long does it take [to win that war] and how many losses will we have along the way. And I truly believe that, if we go back on defense for a period of time, we're going to ultimately have more losses and it's going to go on much longer," the former mayor said...
(Thanks to Captain Ed)

That's the simple truth. We tried "being on the defensive" for decades. The result was the rise of al Qaeda. It is vital to go on the offense, to pursue them, to not give them rest to plan new 9/11's.

But how do you go on the offense against shadowy guerillas who rarely come out for an open fight? That's my question for you Democrats. (Yes, I know, I'm wasting my electrons. Democrats don't use logic. Just mushy emotions and habits. Oh well, I try.)

How do you do it? You do something they can't tolerate, so they have to come out and attack you. That's GOOD. In any kind of guerilla warfare, if you are in a fight with your elusive enemy, that's a good thing. Any sensible Democrats out there, your leaders are deceiving you.

Essentially, what they are saying is, "We've made al Qaeda mad at us. That was bad, let's pull out." No, mad at us is GOOD. We want to do things that make them come out and fight. And the Iraq Campaign was, and is, a splendid strategic move in just that way. (Yes, I know it's messy and bloody and we've made mistakes. But sorry, this is war. Our other major wars have been much bloodier, and the mistakes were much bigger. Trust me, I'm big on history. I know this stuff. I can show you.)

The US in Iraq, which is part of the Arab heartland, was a move al Qaeda could not ignore. A democratic and prosperous Iraq is a nightmare to them. They have to fight. And fight on unfavorable terrain. Why unfavorable? Because their only option was to ally with the Sunni Arabs. So they were forced into conflict with 80% of the population! (And because Iraq is so divided, it's favorable ground for us. We are always going to have allies there, no matter how many mistakes we make.)

This strategic terrain remains the same as it was in 2003.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:02 AM

April 21, 2007

"Both have mutated in interaction, or perhaps have become that which they really were"

From an article by By Katherine Kersten, Minneapolis Star Tribune...

...Canada, our neighbor to the north, is farther down the "accommodations" road. A glance north can shed light on whether prayer spaces and ritual washing facilities are likely to satisfy activists for long.

Last month, the Canadian Federation of Students issued a report, titled "Final Report of the Task Force on Needs of Muslim Students," that calls for sweeping changes at the country's institutions of higher education. The federation represents more than 500,000 students across Canada, about half of the nation's total. While the report focuses on Ontario, its conclusions are applicable across the country and internationally, said Jesse Greener, the Federation's Ontario chairperson.

Some recommended changes could affect all students. For example, the report criticizes Canada's loan-based system of financing higher education and calls for outright grants to students. "Education related government loans should not accumulate interest," it says, since Islam "opposes usury and involvement with interest-bearing loans." Other changes would be more focused. The report endorses "women-only" time at athletic facilities, and urges colleges to "provide curtains or screens over the observation windows" when women are using the pool.

The report calls not just for Muslim-only prayer space but for "multiple prayer spaces" with "easy access" from all over campus. All new building plans should include prayer space and ritual washing facilities if necessary, it adds.

Food service workers must learn to prepare halal food, which is ritually slaughtered and otherwise permissible under Sharia law. After preparing non-halal food, staff must "change sanitary gloves and wash cutlery and surfaces" to avoid contaminating halal food.

What if a campus fails to make these changes, and others like them? It is guilty, says the report, of "Islamophobia" -- an "emerging form of racism,".....
[There's more of this in the article. (You knew that, didn't you?)]

The thoughts one might think about this are too many for a mere blogpost, and I'm too busy anyway. But here are a couple of mine...

On the surface level, this is just another Lefty group, robotically applying, as they have done a thousand times before, the template of the Civil Rights Movement to create a wedge issue, and increase their own power, and bully and silence ordinary people. The fact that they are working against thier own professed "progressive" values means nothing, since they don't really believe in those.

Deeper than that, I think I will just re-post this beautiful bit from Belmont Club:

...the observation that both the Left and Islamism react together to produce an extremely toxic combination which neither could have achieved alone. It takes some reflection to remember just how far both the notions of Islamism and Leftism have moved since September 11. The former was an unknown towards which the man in the street would have been indifferent while the latter was a kind of eccentricity, rough yet without danger. Neither will be again. Both have mutated in interaction or perhaps have become that which they really were.

Both are struggling for the space in which conservatism can never go and for the prize which no sane man ever covets: the dominion of souls. Without their mutual presence either could have occupied a kind of cultural sanctuary in which they would brood, proof against interference from people with simple day jobs. Together they guarantee that their places of safety, every media outlet, every school and every place of worship will be transformed into arenas of unparalleled ferocity -- to the possible benefit of the world. Is the Global War on Terror necessarily against the Left? We shall see. We shall see....
[link to the original essay]

[My belief is that we are now in the stage of early skirmishes in the real war. We are still peering through the dust and smoke of the first explosions, and it will be a while before lines are firmly pencilled onto the maps. "The prize which no sane man ever covets." Keep that one in mind.]

Posted by John Weidner at 1:21 PM

April 4, 2007

Equivalent to murder.

From a really good piece, Democrats Playing With Fire By Thomas Sowell...


Congressman Tom Lantos, who is a member of the delegation that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is leading to Syria, put the mission clearly when he said: "We have an alternative Democratic foreign policy."...

- - - - - - - - -

....[throughout our history] members of the opposition party, whichever party that might be at a given time, knew that their role was not to intervene abroad themselves to undermine this country's foreign policy, however much they might criticize it at home.

During the Second World War, the defeated Republican presidential candidate, Wendell Wilkie, even acted as President Roosevelt's personal envoy to British Prime Minister Churchill.

He understood that we were all in this together, however we might disagree among ourselves about the best course to follow.

Today, Nancy Pelosi and the Congressional Democrats are stepping in to carry out their own foreign policy and even their own military policy on troop deployment -- all the while denying that they are intruding on the president's authority....

Most Americans are shockingly ignorant of history and "civics." They don't realize what a truly sick evil thing the Democrats are doing right now. Foreign policy is the responsibility of the Executive Branch. We have this thing called "The Constitution." It's a law. Our supreme law, in fact. Nancy Pelosi has no more business having an "alternative Democratic foreign policy" than Bush has issuing an "alternative budget" by executive order. Pelosi is violating the law.

More importantly, as said in the article, we have an unwritten law in this country that both parties must support our government and our troops in time of war. Or even when there is a threat of war, and diplomacy demands a united front. What the Dems are doing is a gross violation of our country's traditions.

And also, the war on Terror is not a "war of attrition," like, say WWII, where both sides are likely to keep fighting until one is exhausted. Rather, it is a war where perceptions often matter more than physical realities. In insurgencies and guerilla wars for instance, the perceptions of the local population are critical. Each side needs their support, and they will usually go with whoever they think is winning, or is there for the long haul. It is an absolute certainty that the Democrats are now undermining our soldiers in the field, by causing doubts about our commitment and unity.

It is therefore a certainty that American soldiers are going to die because of what Pelosi and her gang are doing. She is murdering Americans just as much as as if she put a gun to their heads and pulled the trigger.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:02 PM

March 26, 2007

We''ll start negotiations by giving you what you want.

This was a recent interesting bit of news...

Exclusive to PJM by Richard Miniter, PJM Washington Editor
American forces in Iraq now hold some 300 prisoners tied to Iran’s intelligence agencies, Pajamas Media learned from both diplomatic and military sources.

This is believed, by both sources, to be a record number of prisoners tied to Iran. Virtually all were captured in the past two months...

Now I don't know to enough to comment on the Iran situation in general. But the following seems to cast light in a general way on WHY we are in a war on terror, and WHY we are likely to stay that way for a while...

...The Pentagon received “considerable pressure” from officials in the State department and CIA to release some or all of the Iran-linked prisoners to facilitate discussions between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Iranian officials...

So, we are supposed to give the other guys something they want before we start negotiations! That's smart. And of course there's no suggestion that Iranians should do anything to facilitate anything. And no mention of the fact that the Iranians are sending terrorist murderers into Iraq to "facilitate" the slaughter of innocent people. Noooo. That would be impossible, because it would suggest that the US and her allies are in the right, that we are the good guys here. That we are trying to protect innocent people. That would not be "liberal." Not "progressive." Actually believing in America is not done at State or CIA.

But the good news is that our soldiers are not—at least the ones who actually fight—infected with lefty sickness...

...Apparently, Gen. Petraeus sharply disagreed, saying that he intends to hold the prisoners “until they run out of information or we run out of food,” according to our sources who heard these remarks through channels...


The captives are thugs sent by a brutal tyranny to kill Americans and to kill Iraqi civilians and foment civil war in Iraq. We have no reason to apologize for holding them, in fact it would be perfectly legal and just to simply put them in front of a firing squad. (No, I'm not saying we should do so.) They are clearly war criminals, and, though this never gets mentioned by our lefty press, the Geneva Conventions only apply only to those who respect the rules themselves.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:32 AM

March 25, 2007

A failure to engage in a just war is a failure of Charity

From the essay Good Wars, by Darrell Cole...

...The moral approach to war in Aquinas and Calvin is refreshing for those familiar with modern Christian approaches to warfare—approaches which, more often than not, do little to help Christians understand why they should be prepared to participate in or support war of any kind. Aquinas and Calvin, in contrast, teach Christian soldiers why they need to participate in and support just wars. From the divine point of view, God desires to restrain evil among His creatures. And in using human beings to do so, God actually elevates the restrainers...

...The most noteworthy aspect of the moral approach to warfare in Aquinas and Calvin is that it teaches—contrary to today’s prevailing views—that a failure to engage in a just war is a failure of virtue, a failure to act well. An odd corollary of this conclusion is that it is a greater evil for Christians to fail to wage a just war than it is for unbelievers. When an unbeliever fails to go to war, the cause may be a lack of courage, prudence, or justice. He may be a coward or simply indifferent to evil. These are failures of natural moral virtue. When Christians (at least in the tradition of Aquinas and Calvin) fail to engage in just war, it may involve all of these natural failures as well, but it will also, and more significantly, involve a failure of charity. The Christian who fails to use force to aid his neighbor when prudence dictates that force is the best way to render that aid is an uncharitable Christian. Hence, Christians who willingly and knowingly refuse to engage in a just war do a vicious thing: they fail to show love toward their neighbor as well as toward God...

I blogged this quote once before, years ago. It bears repeating. Those "modern Christian approaches to warfare" he mentions are usually just mushy warmed-over lefty nihilism and anti-Americanism. Especially in senior churchmen, who tend to be of my generation, and are steeped in the rubbishing thought of the 60's.

Also, when I hunted-up this quote, I happened upon a comment left in a similar post by blogger John Byrnes, that is still very applicable...

This idea is not only consistent with Catholic doctrine, and Christian philosophy, it is, despite the blustering of the Kofi Annans and Jaque Chiracs, a perfectly just cause for war under International Law as well. International law today calls on its constitutent nations to enforce its tenets. While this law directly supports national sovereignty, it also outlaws crimes against humanity such as genocide. Outlaws them to the point that such crimes are undermining of legitimate sovereignty itself, and are grounds for intervention. The US action in Iraq was technically legal on that basis alone. Nevermind UN Resolutions 1330 et al. Your neighbors house is sacrosanct, even from police without a warrant, unless you can hear him mudering his children, then no warrant is required...

Most of today's "pacifism" is really "hearing the neighbor murdering his children," and saying, "Sorry kids, Jesus told us to turn the other cheek."

I should learn more about international law, but really, what would be the point. I've been blogging since just after 9/11, and have never yet succeeded in having any rational debate with anti-war lefties. For them "international law" means whatever will hinder the US and her allies at that particular moment, and no amount of counter-argument will make the slightest difference.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:53 AM

March 19, 2007

Makes me proud...

Andrea pointed to this collection of pictures of the counter-protesters in Washington, DC. Too cool. Very moving. Thank you, gentlemen.

And Michelle Malkin's broad coverage of the events contained this line:

Why did the Eagles come? One common refrain: Vietnam veterans, some fighting back tears, told us they came to show the kind of support for the troops that they did not receive when the surrender lobby marched on the Pentagon 40 years ago today...

We're battling the same bunch of foul devils then and now. They are not "anti-war," they are just anti-American. They are not "pacifists;" they sent millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians to their deaths 40 years ago, without a peep of protest, without a tear shed, without apologies, without any @#$%&* candle-light vigils, without any remorse in their frozen hearts.

And they are just as ready to sacrifice millions of lives today, to protect their nihilist fantasy world. ("Millions of lives" meaning, as always, millions of brown-skinned people in distant places. If the fake-pacifists themselves are threatened with violence, they hesitate about 1/100 of a second before dialing 911, to bring tough men with guns to protect them and their organic salad greens.)

Posted by John Weidner at 3:22 PM

March 7, 2007

Think Martha...

Dean Barnett:

...Though I have nothing of any worth to offer specifically regarding the Libby trial, I can offer some generalized observations on prosecutors gleaned from first hand observations working among them.

Prosecutors exist to get people thrown in jail. That’s their job, and the good ones love it. The close cases, the tough ones, are the ones that quicken their pulses, not the slam dunks. The guilt or innocence of the defendant has less to do with the prosecutor’s zeal in an individual case than does his love of the game and the size of his quarry. That’s why so many prosecutors get so excited when they get a famous person in their crosshairs....

I've never been comfortable with the "adversary system of justice," but then neither am I aware of some other system that works a lot better in practice. Sort of like democracy. But this whole business started with a false premise, and has been a slow-motion train wreck ever since.

If lying is a crime the people who should be going to jail are named Plame and Wilson. Not to mention the legions who cynically used them to undermine our country in time of war.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:41 AM

March 1, 2007

I'm not usually the type for demonstrations, but...

If I were near Washington DC on Martch 17, I'd want to be joining in the counter-protest. Michelle Malkin writes:

....Last time the left-wing, peace-loving fun bunch came to town, their minions gone wild threw rocks at a military recruitment office in D.C's Dupont Circle neighborhood and at a local Fox News van, broke through a Capitol Hill police security cordon, spray painted the Capitol Grounds with impunity, desecrated the Lone Sailor statue that stands watch at the U.S. Navy Memorial and reportedly spat at disabled Iraq war veteran Josh Sparling as he voiced his support for his fellow troops.

Tens of thousands of anti-war demonstrators were at that event last month. How many showed up with Sparling to counter the far Left? Forty.

Now, imagine our troops getting word of that count. They're walking the talk, committed to the long, hard mission of counterinsurgency in Iraq and abroad, risking life and limb - and only 40 of their fellow Americans bothered to represent them in the nation's capital?

Don't get mad. Get moving.

These protests have nothing to do with being against war. They are only opposed to America and her allies. The real issue is nihilism vs belief. To the nihilist, belief is an affront, and patriotic Americans still believe that there are things we should fight for. So they hate us. If France still believed in fighting for freedom, democracy and human rights, then the fake-pacifists would be burning the Tricolor.

To show the flag in opposition to those poison-reptiles is to demonstrate for peace, and for liberty, and for life. (And for good taste.)

Smelly hippie lights cig on burning American flag

Posted by John Weidner at 12:42 PM

February 28, 2007

Please bomb us...

John at PowerLine writes, concerning the suicide bomber in Afghanistan (who of course never had the slightest chance of getting near the Vice President):

....Suicide bombing is a tactic favored by the weak. It was developed initially by the Palestinians--the ultimate in weakness--and then implemented by Iraqi insurgents, who have little ability to engage coalition forces in combat. The Taliban's adoption of the tactic is perhaps also born of weakness, but no doubt the perceived success of the Iraqi insurgents has also inspired the Taliban to imitate them.

The Taliban must be heartened by the reaction of many Americans to the ongoing violence in Iraq. The group's leadership may have inferred that it can drive the U.S. and its allies from Afghanistan, not only by killing American soldiers, but through the much easier expedient of using suicide bombers to murder Afghan civilians. If that's what the Taliban has in mind, the fact that the bomber got nowhere near Vice-President Cheney doesn't mean that he failed. On the contrary, the massive publicity being given to the attempt, and to the resulting deaths of a number of innocent Afghans, most likely means that the bombing achieved its objective.
[My emphasis]

We are teaching the Taliban, and all the other crazies of the world, to do this. We tell them over and over again that this is a tactic that works. The purpose of suicide bombing is not military victory, but the creation of a climate of discouragement in the West. And, surprise, this is exactly the goal of our press, democrats, fake-pacifists and the whole nihilist Left.

The way to teach terrorists to be suicide bombers is to respond with publicity and public pronouncements of discouragement. We do thise every time.

The way to teach terrorists not to use suicide bombers is to respond with public defiance, and by doing just the opposite of what they want. Anyone who even suggests this is called a "warmonger," and "un-Christian."

Posted by John Weidner at 6:43 AM

February 19, 2007

"to be an enemy of a man's creed but a friend to the man himself"

I was noodling around looking for a Chesterton quote, and came upon this great little essay by Paul Cella, from 2003: What Threatens Us. I think I read it back when, and it's worth re-reading. It's partly about how modern secularist society just can't "see" faith, and can't therefore get any feel for the threat posed by Islam. And that we need to consult men who did understand, such as GK Chesterton and Hillaire Belloc. Both of whom were astonishingly prescient, both of them predicting the future rise of Islam at a time when Moslem lands were impoverished backwaters, and seemed to "rational" types to be of no account whatsoever.

I liked this part in particular, since last Sunday's lesson was on the old "loving your enemy" thing. Ouch. Hard, if you take this stuff seriously, especially if your enemy is a jihadi who would torture and kill you just for the heck of it. (Or, far worse, if your enemy is a leftizoid nihilist whose non-creed is eating like acid at the roots of our beloved civilization.)

...In this, "ChesterBelloc" again reveal narrowness of the modern world's bluster about tolerance and pluralism: having repudiated in a glib and small-minded way the power of faith on the minds of men, the modern mind makes itself ignorant as mud, and walks about the world in a kind of daze. The hardest thing for the Modern Age to do is actually see a thing other than itself.

Chesterton and Belloc saw in Islam precisely the sort of spiritual energy which was proving evanescent in the West even in their time. Belloc, for example (and probably Chesterton too, although I myself do not recall reading it) emphatically declared Islam a heresy -- a heresy which derived its strength from the affirmation of some true doctrines of Christianity while denigrating fatally other true doctrines. A heresy is not necessarily evil; it is simply wrong; staggeringly, definitively, but plausibly wrong. This sort of judgment is very nearly impossible today: it provokes the charge of crankishness, or even bigotry. But therein lies our suffocating narrowness. We have resolutely undertaken to amputate some of our mental faculties; like the faculty of distinguishing a creed from its adherents. The rigid secularist cannot see the creed, only its followers. But it is, I think, a solid fact, no matter what modern insularity avows, that a man may be an implacable enemy of Islam and still a friend of Muslims.

Modern multiculturalism denies this fact. And I will grant it this small concession; that it is no easy mental task to be an enemy of a man's creed but a friend to the man himself. Not easy, but possible -- and indeed necessary. In this sense secularism, along with its accomplice multiculturalism, is a capitulation or abdication of responsibility; it is the surrender of clever poltroons. In the face the challenge of charity, the challenge propounded by the awesome equality of the Christian creed: "love your neighbor as yourself," the modern world resigns itself to dull platitudes....

Mr Cella blogs here. Some recent interesting posts concern his A Reactionary’s Shorter Catechism, which is thought-provoking, to say the least...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:43 PM

Swatting flies. Since 2001

I seem to be encountering a lot of, well, let's be tactful and call it "unchecked data," about Iraq and the War of Terror lately. Today I heard "the war" associated with 600,000 deaths (of exactly who or where was not specified). Hey, what's an Order of Magnitude between friends...

And even the Washington Post felt moved to criticize the falsehoods of Congressman Murtha!

...Mr. Murtha's cynicism is matched by an alarming ignorance about conditions in Iraq. He continues to insist that Iraq "would be more stable with us out of there," in spite of the consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies that early withdrawal would produce "massive civilian casualties." He says he wants to force the administration to "bulldoze" the Abu Ghraib prison, even though it was emptied of prisoners and turned over to the Iraqi government last year. He wants to "get our troops out of the Green Zone" because "they are living in Saddam Hussein's palace"; could he be unaware that the zone's primary occupants are the Iraqi government and the U.S. Embassy?

It would be nice to believe that Mr. Murtha does not represent the mainstream of the Democratic Party or the thinking of its leadership. Yet when asked about Mr. Murtha's remarks Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered her support...

I doubt if I will get around to doing much more swatting of flies than I already have been for the last five years. But it's on my mind. But as a small bit of fighting back, I'm going to re-post this quote, which I originally posted here, almost a year ago. As far as I know, it NEVER was reported as news; I found it in a book. From The Faith of the American Soldier by Stephen Mansfield, page 156:

....It worked. Both through the reforms that the military enacted to correct the scandals, and through the proactive ministries of the new chaplains, Abu Ghraib has been transformed. Chaplain Taylor explained that there have been no further abuses and that, in fact, the prison has become a model success story. Attendence at chapel services reaches into the hundreds. Now, many of the soldiers stationed at Abu Ghraib with the 391st [Military Police Battalion, from Columbus, Ohio] carry medallions in their pockets that express their pride in the opportunity to live down the negative stigma of the prison. The slogan on the coin defines their newfound sense of mission. It says simply, "Restoring America's Honor."....

America's honor, and the Christian decency of our soldiers, are, of course, not newsworthy... Leftists continue to claim that abu Ghraib is the real face of America at war. They are right; you see the true America in the above quote.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:08 AM

February 17, 2007

slaves and knaves...

Yesterday Charlene and our son Will had the, ummm, interesting experience of passing through Los Angeles International Airport on Friday afternoon before a 3-day weekend. (And flying Southwest, to add to the charm.)

She was just now mentioning the dense masses of people pouring through—no possibility of even sitting down—and how vulnerable it all was to any sort of terrorist attack. Almost indefensible. Shuffling masses of sheep.

Which makes me very angry, to think of the utter stupidity of people to not realize that this is why we are hunting terrorists in the far corners of the globe. Not to mention the cluelessness of many Americans, who don't even know that we are hunting terrorists in the far corners of the globe!

STUPID STUPID STUPID! Montebanks, nihilists, piecrusts! Pigeon-livered lean-witted peasant slaves, as Shakespeare might have put it...

Whew, there...I feel better now...

There's no way we can wall-off America from danger. The world has become very small. Millions board planes for distant places every day. There's no possibility of keeping them all under observation. I could plot a crime in Frisco today, and execute it in Tokyo or Moscow or Calcutta tomorrow.

Brave Americans and our allies are, right now, at painful cost, whacking wasp's nests in places most people don't know exist, such as the Horn of Africa, or the Philippine archipelago, or Waziristan. We should be supporting them with unstinting encouragement and gratitude. But most Americans are too stupid to care. Shuffling sheep, so stupid they actually believe that what's on the TV news is reality.. And Leftists and pacifists and journalists and "academics" are worse than stupid—they are on the other side.

Folly heaped upon folly..

Canadian soldiers in Panjwai district of Kandahar, Afghanistan

Canadian soldiers of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) stand guard in Panjwai district of Kandahar, Afghanistan on Jan.10.
Allauddin Khan / The Associated Pres
s (Army Times, Frontline Photos 1/23/07)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:19 AM

February 13, 2007

Kick can down road, repeat....

Harold Sutton writes:

John-
North Korea to Close Reactor in Exchange for Raft of Aid - New York Times:

Does this kind of trade off have even a slight chance to produce the desired effect? Or are we being snookered again -- a la we give up something, they give up nothing? What are your thoughts?
Perhaps equally important, the United States and Japan agreed to discuss normalizing relations with Pyongyang. The United States will begin the process of removing North Korea from its designation as a terror-sponsoring state and also on ending U.S. trade and financial sanctions.

…. [[and at the bottom of the article, as you might expect it]]

Some experts doubt that the North will ever agree to turn over its weapons, which it considers its main bargaining chip with the West, and Kim's only insurance policy against being toppled.

My answer to him: I'd guess the chances of it working are slim to nim. It's another sham to paper things over. And that the real failure here, as ever in the War on Terror, is the failure of the resolve of the West.

If we are in a war on terror (and the whole or most of the West IS in such a war; among other things, we have an alliance called NATO that says an attack on one is an attack on all) then any terror-supporting country can legitimately be attacked, or forced into regime-change. And I'd add, any of them also making nuclear weapons MUST be attacked.

We have the right to take care of NK in the same way that we had the right to attack French Morocco or Rumania, in WWII. Or to occupy neutral Iceland, for that matter. And we also have a humanitarian obligation. NK is a genocidal death-camp nightmare on a scale with Nazi Germany. Remember "never again?" What a joke that turned out to be!

The West has a Christian obligation to act. NK is the lunatic wandering the streets attacking people and screaming threats. WE are the cop on the beat. WE are the law-abiding citizens. Sorry, but the job falls to us. ("WE" meaning Western Christendom--there's the real lack, I guess. As far as Christian in any meaningful sense goes, it's "America Alone," these days.)

(I think I'll make this e-mail a blog post, since I've gone on so long here. "What oft was said, but ne're so tediously repeated.")

Peace should be the object of your desire; war should be waged only as a necessity, and waged only that God may by it deliver men from the necessity and preserve them in peace. For peace is not sought in order to the kindling of war, but war is waged in order that peace be obtained. Therefore, even in waging war, cherish the spirit of the peacemaker, that, by conquering those whom you attack, you may lead them back to the advantages of peace; for as our Lord says: 'Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.'
--Saint Augustine

Standing idle while lunatics build nuclear weapons is the opposite of "peace," although our fake-pacifists would so define it.

Also, International Law, as expressed in the Bush Doctrine, says that sovereignty is dependent on democratic legitimacy. Attacking NK would not be attacking a sovereign nation. And in fact would not really be a war at all; just cleaning up a mess, a sort of infestation of bandits. (Yes, I know that "International Law" includes no such thing. But if The Bishop of Bormenia can claim that "international law" supports whatever position of appeasement he happens to prefer at the moment, I can do the same thing.)

* Actually, The whole War on Terror is not a war, in many senses of the word. It's a new thing, more like a campaign against bandits expanded to global scale. That's the source of much of our confusion and hesitancy. We need a new word for this thing.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:24 AM

February 12, 2007

Amazingly uninformative...

Dafydd has an interesting post on the many defeats suffered by the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the reluctance of our news media to report losses when it's their own side that's losing...

I read this New York Times story a few days ago, and something struck me as odd: we were told that 4,000 people died... but the Times was amazingly uninformative about who they were:
President Hamid Karzai offered peace talks with a resurgent Taliban after the bloodiest year since they were driven from power in 2001. More than 4,000 people, including about 170 foreign soldiers, died in fighting in 2006. Suicide bombings also rose sharply.
The phrase “4000 people” caught my eye. Did “people” include bad guys as well as innocent civilians? If so, how many?

What if a majority of those deaths were of Taliban terrorists? If so, then far from signalling a Taliban resurgence threatening Afghanistan's security (thus our own), it would mean their "surge" was as complete a failure as the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War...

Lots there worth reading...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:04 PM

The question remains...

"Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always, even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth dying for? What is worth living for?"
-- William J. Bennett, In a lecture to the United States Naval Academy 11/24/1997

I'm too tired and busy to really blog, so I went looking in my digital ragbag for a quote, and found the one above.

Then I followed the link that was saved with it, and came to a cool essay, which you've probably encountered before. The one about sheep, wolves and sheepdogs, by LTC (RET) Dave Grossman. It was good to read it again.

...."Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves feed on the sheep without mercy." Do you believe there are wolves out there who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in denial.

"Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to protect the flock and confront the wolf." If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow citizens? What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking the hero's path...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:42 PM

January 23, 2007

I want to distance myself from this one...

I agree with Dean Barnett, here, that the thesis of Dinesh D'Souza's new book is NOT what most conservatives think, and that we ought to be distancing ourselves from it because, sure as anything, lefty-bloggers and our vile news media will be pointing at it and saying "that's what conservatives think!" They will all be playing their little gotcha games, instead of debating the real issues...

Here are Dean's actual criticisms of the book. And here is some blurb material from the book:

  • Muslims are right: the West is waging a war against Islam.
  • What has really enraged the fundamentalists is not America's freedom, but our abuse of that freedom, specifically the sexual liberty we grant to women and the corruption of childhood innocence by our vulgar and licentious popular culture.
  • By attacking the depravity of the left, conservatives can win friends among Muslims and other traditional people around the world.

SO. to make myself clear. I DO partly blame the Left for 9/11, but this has NOTHING to do with our sexual depravity or "licentious popular culture," bad though those things are. D'Souza is full of baloney. We are in a war now because the West failed to slap the terrorists down hard when they surfaced a few decades ago. And that is due mainly to our loss of civilizational morale, and our Western guilt and self-loathing. And also to a loss of the Christian and Jewish moral strength and conviction that required us—then and now—to use deadly force to protect the weak and preserve the rule of law without which there can be no freedom.

(And I would emphasize that "the weak" in this context are mostly Muslims, and other groups living in Muslim countries. They are the main victims of the terrorists. For every westerner killed by Islamic terrorists, scores of Muslims die. It was a failure of Christian Charity for us to fail to decisively crush these monsters early on. Plus also a failure of simple good sense, since our irresolution has caused the death-toll to be far greater. Pacifism kills.)

And these failures can mostly be attributed to the realm of leftist thought. Or rather, lack of thought. But not all of them; there has been too much irresolution on the Right as well.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:12 AM

January 17, 2007

Surprise, surprise...

U.S. Forces Fighting Iranians In Iraq - CBS News:

As President Bush tries to sell his new Iraq policy, his administration is keeping an eye on another threat — Iran, reports CBS News national security correspondent David Martin.

U.S. officials tell CBS News that American forces have begun an aggressive and mostly secret ground campaign against networks of Iranians that had been operating with virtual impunity inside Iraq.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress on Friday that Iranians are now on the target list.

"Twice in the last two or three weeks, in pursuit of those networks, when we have gone and captured those cells, we've captured Iranians," said Gen. Peter Pace.

According to U.S. military figures, 198 American and British soldiers have been killed, and more than 600 wounded by advanced explosive devices manufactured in Iran and smuggled in through the southern marshes and along the Tigris River. Attempts to disrupt these networks, combined with the decision to send a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf as a warning to Iran, significantly raises the stakes, according to former Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk...(Thanks to Rand)

What's this? We are in conflict with Iran? Who'd a dreamed? Or rather, who would dream that an American government would ever admit it? Well, one can't expect them to be hasty. Iran has only been at war with us since 1979. We don't want to rush into anything...

I think the Bush Administration has been making a grievous mistake, and really, is mostly continuing to do so, in trying to sweep the iranian issue under the carpet. And it just doesn't make sense. I can understand a Democrat administration denying the existence of war or danger, dangers which would shine a spotlight on the deep-rooted anti-Americanism typical of the core of the party... But what the hell did Bush think he would gain by playing this game? Did he think Democrats would like him even one-percent more if he was mealy-mouthed about the dangers we face? Phooey. They would hate him even if he put on Gandhi-robes and led peace marches. Did the think the fake-pacifists would cut him the slightest bit of slack for being pacific? Pacifists don't give a flying blippity blip blip blip about war or peace. Their adgenda is something else...

And mainly, he is making a big mistake by not trusting the American people.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:59 AM

January 10, 2007

Good idea...

Charlene found this at Gates of Vienna. (It's also on many other blogs) A proposal to put pressure on our first Muslim congressman to speak out about the plight of women in Islamic countries.

To: Congressman Keith Ellison, Fifth District, Minnesota
From: Interested Americans
Re: Your great opportunity

You have been elected to serve the Fifth District of Minnesota in the United States House of Representatives. This is a crucially important opportunity, not only for all of your district’s constituents, but also for Muslims in America — even Muslims worldwide, who watch American politics with close attention.

You are in an unprecedented position: the political point man for Islam in this country. As our only elected Muslim in national office, you have the heavy burden and the unique responsibility to aid the cause of Islam in its endeavor to become the religion of conciliation.

There is no doubt that you, as our sole Muslim member of Congress, could bring to bear a high level of influence on Iran and other Muslim countries, in order to make the situation for women in these countries more humane.

If you were to use your bully pulpit to speak out about the plight of women under sharia law — especially in Iran and Pakistan — you would be a powerful influence for good....

There's more, with address and phone/fax/e-mail addresses.

Sounds like a good idea to me. From what I know of Ellison, he will wriggle and squirm away from this without giving the world much satisfaction. BUT, it is always a good practice to force the Left to acknowledge that their hatred of America and their coziness with Islam and Islamic terrorists is in blatant contradiction with their espousal of democracy, and of rights for women and gays. They want very much to fudge these issues. They should be forced to declare themselves.

The War on Terror is, above all, an information war. Something I wish our government were more openly aggressive about fighting. There are a lot of possible places where wedges can be inserted. ..

Posted by John Weidner at 6:55 AM

January 7, 2007

What will be the cost of "Peace Now?"

There's a good little essay by Jules Crittenden, Crossroads. It's getting a lot of attention, and you've probably already seen it. We are at a decision point--Pelosi and the appeasers in Congress are demanding we cut and run from Iraq. Well, you already know how I think about those animals, and about the consequences of being unwilling to fight and win the War on Terror. Actually we should label them "Pelosi and the warmongers."

Which is why I liked this thought, on the essay, by Don Surber...

I will add this, the penalty for early withdrawal is cataclysmic. The Fall of Saigon led to 2 million deaths in Cambodia alone. [That's two million people killed by those who now LEAD the Democrat Party. 2 million killed by "antiwar" activists and fake-pacifists.] Stopping short of Baghdad 16 years ago cost a quarter-million lives directly, plus whatever number of deaths they tag on to the Oil for Food scandal. [That's a quarter-million human beings killed by "realists" and blue-blazer Republicans.]

Childish demands for "Peace Now" ignore history and reality and the welfare of the Iraqi people.

And our own soldiers. We could have had Iraq for free in 1991. What's it cost us to return? 3,000 lives? A half-trillion dollars? [And what will it cost us to return in 2013? A bucket of blood, you can bet, in exchange for "Peace Now."]
Posted by John Weidner at 8:25 AM

January 6, 2007

"we’re not living in a hedgehog world anymore"

Hugh Hewitt is doing an interesting thing. Maybe unprecedented. On his radio program he is doing a series of interviews with Thomas PM Barnett, each covering a chapter (!) of The Pentagon's New Map. Barnett is that rare bird, a person with a detailed view of the world at a level of Grand Strategy. Even if you don't agree with him, you need to be aware of what he is saying if you want to think clearly about the global War on Terror. This is from a transcript of the first one:

HH:...but that the middle levels are willing to accept that the paradigm has shifted dramatically on them. Has that accelerated in the last three years?

TB: Absolutely. A good example, they were trying to invite me to go to the Army War College for years to give the brief. I finally did, Summer before last. When I got there, I said what’s been the hold up? You know, I’d briefed everywhere else. They said a lot of the people on the staff here thought you were crazy. I said well, why am I here now in the summer of 2005? They said the second tour in Iraq did it. That changed their mind. That gave them a sense that this was an inescapable sort of…you know, not a one off, not a blip, not a pause before we resume our brilliant pursuit of the near peer competitor China, but frankly, the long war, as John Abizaid likes to call it.

And when you get guys like Mattis coming back to the Marines, Jim Mattis, Dave Petraeus coming back to Leavenworth, the big schoolhouse for the Army, now going back to be the head of the MNF troops, our whole effort in Iraq, you’re starting to see a kind of experience....

....it’s the reason why I started a blog, quite frankly, when the book came out back, the first book, back in April of 2004, so I could get a dialogue with a wide array of people, because I know it’s not easy. I mean, we lived in kind of hedgehog times in the Cold War, you know, the hedgehog knows one big thing, the fox knows many things. Well, knowing one big thing in the Cold War was enough. You know, containment, mutual assured destruction, let the Soviets size our forces. We discovered on 9/11 we’re not living in a hedgehog world anymore. You’ve got to deal with multiple players, multiple types of players, multiple regions, you know, all sorts of dynamics involving economics and other things. It is a complex world. It requires complex explanations. But I believe it’s essential that we raise a generation of not only informed citizens, but frankly a generation in the national security community of real strategists, real grand strategists, people who think about war within the context of everything else, not just war within the context of war, but within everything else we call globalization, because we’ve outsourced the job of grand strategies to journalists, and op-ed columnists, and that’s just not doing the job....

Barnett's a liberal of some sort, but open-minded to a fascinating extent. This is from his blog, writing about the interviews...

...I know Hewitt's pretty conservative, but--quite frankly--it's been the right and the right-of-center that's given me the openings time and time again, so I'm grateful for the exposure and psyched for the exchange....

One waits, perhaps in vain, for the other shoe to drop. I searched his blog for the word "Steyn," and got no results...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:50 AM

December 30, 2006

“He scaaaares me,”

Dean Barnett shares some of my frustration with a certain American irresolution and fuzzyness in the War on Terror in recent times. But, he also sees the other side of the question...

...But President Bush has his strengths. The weak-kneed among us, like the NewYork Times editorial board and the president’s father, never knew what to do with Saddam Hussein. George W. Bush did – kill him. At his best, Bush shows a focus and a harshness that scares the stuffing out of the rest of the world.

Our enemies were watching last night. I bet Bashir Assad was picturing his neck in that noose, knowing full well that George W. Bush’s ire would be something that John Kerry, Arlen Specter and any other sympathetic Senatorial dhimmis would be unable to save him from. Kim Jong Il and a host of loonies in Iran probably took notice as well. For them, the sad fact is that they remain alive only at the pleasure of George W. Bush. I doubt that thought gives them much comfort.

I’VE NEVER OFFERED THE FOLLOWING SPECULATION in print, primarily because I didn’t want to jinx things. But I think the main reason we haven’t had a repeat of 9/11 or something worse in over five years is because George W. Bush scares the s**t out of his enemies. When domestic liberals whine, “He scaaaares me,” they really mean it. The world’s bad people feel the same way. The American reprisals to a terror attack that took place under George W. Bush’s watch would likely be swift, brutal and disproportionate....

"Swift, brutal and disproportionate.." That describes our response to 9/11. And it was exactly the right thing to do. We didn't just pursue al Qaeda, we invaded and deconstructed TWO terror-supporting Muslim countries. One of them in the very heartland of Arab culture and history. There's not the slightest doubt that we freaked-out our enemies (and we got to fight a lot of al Qaeda thugs to boot). And that's what we are supposed to do. This is a WAR.

Our actions are supposed to be "swift, brutal and disproportionate..." In fact, this is traditional, and there's even a old-fashioned locution to refer to this concept. The term (and this is a very specialized and technical word; you Democrats and fake-pacifists will probably be in over your heads here) is: WINNING.

Many of you have probably been taught that war is a thing to be cherished and coddled, like an endangered species. Pacifists for instance. But war is very destructive, in fact it is harmful to children and other living things, and it is better to bring them to an end. Dean mentions in his piece several little-known techniques to get to the condition called "winning." Such as "focus," "harshness," and scaring the bejeezus out of terrorist animals and genocidal tyrants...

Posted by John Weidner at 1:03 PM

December 21, 2006

"Talmudic atavism"

Mark Steyn, reviewing a book by David Pryce-Jones, Betrayal: France, Arabs and the Jews. Steyn is worth reading, as always. The lesson of history as revealed in our time is the same lesson as of old: We cannot by our own efforts disentangle ourselves from our sins. And, as of old, the Jews are our litmus paper...

....but then spools backwards across the centuries to build a case for France's present predicament as a monument to the vanity and strategic stupidity of its diplomatic class. There is a lot of anti-Semitism on display -- not the offhand anti-Semitism of your average languid English toff of similar vintage, but something more corrosive and obsessive. There is, in that sense, a direct line between those French emissaries in Russia and Germany blaming Bolshevism and Nazism on "Talmudic atavism," and Daniel Bernard, M. Chirac's ambassador to the Court of St. James's, announcing airily at a London dinner party in 2001 that the problems of the world can be laid at the door of "that shitty little country" Israel. From "Talmudic atavism" to "shitty little country" may mark a deterioration in Gallic rhetorical élan but at least its prejudices remain inviolable.

If you had vaguely assumed that the now routine comparisons of Israelis to Nazis derived from an antipathy to Ariel Sharon or the post-1967 transformation of the Zionist Entity from plucky embattled underdog to all-conquering military behemoth, it's sobering to be reminded that the French were doing the Israelis-are-the-new-Nazis shtick within 10 minutes of the end of the Second World War. Jews, wrote the consul general René Neuville in a lengthy cable from Jerusalem in 1947, are "racist through and through . . . quite as much as their German persecutors." The dispatches of Pierre Landy, French consul in Haifa, rely heavily on "the Israeli Gestapo" and similar formulations. In public, the political class was usually more circumspect, though not always. President de Gaulle famously raged at a press conference that the Jews were "an elite people, self-assured and domineering" with "a burning ambition for conquest." In the ensuing controversy, M. le Président assured the Chief Rabbi that he'd meant it as a compliment....

"...within 10 minutes of the end of the Second World War." I wasn't aware of that, although the history of French anti-Semitism is a long and dishonorable one. The name Dreyfus springs to mind. And the French tendency to counter its European enemies by allying with the Ottomans is a very ancient one.

It is a bitter thing to reflect upon the way I grew up with the idea that anti-semitism was something from the ugly past, no longer known among enlightened folk. And now we see it everywhere. Usually in the thinly-disguised form of "anti-Zionism" or extreme sympathy with the so-called Palestinians. And many Jews are as blind today as they were in the 1930's.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:06 AM

December 20, 2006

A great American says goodbye...

Washington Post, Dec. 15 — Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld bade farewell to the Pentagon on Friday with a combative valedictory speech in which he warned against hoping for “graceful exits” from Iraq and said it would be wrong to regard the lack of new attacks on American soil as a sign that the nation is safe from terrorism.

“Today, it should be clear that not only is weakness provocative,” Mr. Rumsfeld said, standing at a lectern with President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney at his side, “but the perception of weakness on our part can be provocative as well.”

It was a clear parting shot at those considering a withdrawal from war that would define his legacy and perhaps that of the president.

“A conclusion by our enemies that the United States lacks the will or the resolve to carry out missions that demand sacrifice and demand patience is every bit as dangerous as an imbalance of conventional military power,” Mr. Rumsfeld said in a buoyant but sometimes emotional speech....

Obvious stuff, but in this decadent age it must be said again and again. Weakness, or the perception of it, is provocative--of bloody wars and terrorism. The war criminals of our time are the appeasers and fake-pacifists. And the world-weary moderns whose civilizational-self-loathing and nihilism prevents us from defending our civilization promptly when trouble arises, thus causing small problems to exponentiate, and rivers of blood to be shed.

Donald Rumsfeld is one of the great men of our age, and we are very lucky to have had him—both as the youngest-ever Secretary of Defense, and the Oldest ever. Both times with a very young and lively mind.

And he's right to warn against "graceful exits," which is squeamish-talk for cut-and-run. We are the good guys in the War on Terror, we are the cops of this planet. We are fighting evil, we are fighting crime, and the only moral position is to pursue victory relentlessly. To do less is to betray billions of people for whom we are a beacon of hope, and who will be the main victims of the terrorist animals...

We are in the position of Christian knights of old, whose duty was to protect the weak from barbarians.

SecDef Donald Rumsfeld serves Christmas Dinner to troops, 12-2004

Posted by John Weidner at 9:18 PM

December 5, 2006

This is what our Leftists support...

J Post: A hitherto unknown group calling itself the Just Swords of Islam issued a warning to Palestinian women in the Gaza Strip over the weekend that they must wear the hijab or face being targeted by the group's members.

In pamphlets distributed in various parts of the Gaza Strip, the group also claimed responsibility for attacks on 12 Internet cafes over the past few days.

The warning was directed primarily against female students in a number of universities and colleges who do not cover their heads in line with Islamic tradition.

The group said its followers last week threw acid at the face of a young woman who was dressed "immodestly" in the center of Gaza City. They also destroyed a car belonging to a young man who was playing his radio tape too loudly.

Addressing female students, the group said: "We will have no mercy on any woman who violates the traditions of Islam and who also hang out in Internet cafes." (Thanks to Tim Blair)

When you see our lefty lack-wits wearing kaffiyas, this is where the path they are on is headed. They won't admit it to themselves, but it's true. They have had ten thousand opportunities to choose between Palestinian thuggery and Israeli openness and tolerance and democracy. And they always go with the worst. They always go for anti-Semitism. It's no accident, and they aren't going to change now. (Here's a good link)

And we won't see any of our professional "feminists," or "human rights" organizations denouncing this stuff. (It's not just mental rigidity. If you are a card-carrying "feminist," there's a lot of loot involved. Organizations and politicians usually show that they care about women not by caring about women, but by hiring a certified "feminist." If you say nice things about Israel or criticize Palestinian murderers you will be tossed off the gravy train.)

Leftists are not going to turn aside from their path, because they have no brakes. There's no institution, no built-in safety mechanism that can call a halt. Newman noted this 150 years ago, in battling against liberal religion. No brakes. It's the same with "liberalism" [in its modern, not classical sense] in general. And libertarianism. (And we sure see Newman vindicated now, looking at today's Anglican gay/female/divorced bishops. A Moslem is next, I bet you.)

Posted by John Weidner at 10:31 AM

December 2, 2006

Quote doo joor...

John Podhoretz, on the Baker Report...

....But then, that's Baker for you. Give him a problem and he'll tell you your best hope of solving it can be found in sucking up to an Arab dictator....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:59 AM

December 1, 2006

Meanwhile, while we've been feeling safe and lucky...

....Our friends and allies in Israel are bearing the weight of murderous attacks by terrorist filth...

Renata reports...

No kids!!!
Until last year, during disengagement - where the stress made me burst up in tears - I've had cried only once since I started working as a journalist, nine (!) years ago. I remember October 1998. I was a police affairs correspondent for "O Povo" newspaper and between a crime and another I was asked to help the newsroom and cover a little party at the Cancer Hospital in Rio to celebrate children's day. Many actors and celebs got there to hang out with the kids and try to make their (maybe last?) days better.

Got there pissed off as I always prefered the "action". Slums, crime, police, riots, death and that kind of "nice'(ugh!) things. Once I got into the auditorium... I felt sick... Much sicker that when I used to be when seeing dead people assassinated and even mutilated in Rio's slums. Sick to see so many young children suffering so much. The hair falling, the signs of the tumor risked in some of their faces and heads. Many of them receveing infusions. Wheel chairs. And they were so happy because of the party. So many smiles... I hated myself for a moment. I hated complaining about my life, problems and challenges. Felt guilty. Felt a stupid. Thanked God for my life. I guess it's been the first time I did it. And I cried. My eyes flew and I couldn't stop crying.
... ... ...

Nine years later, that sensation came back again yesterday. I travelled to Sderot, the Israeli Southern city bombed daily by Qassam missiles thrown from the Gaza Strip. Many wounded and one dead this week. I prepared a report on life these days, mainly kid's life. Oh God... Why kids? Why the hell do I have to handle with them? Got to the conclusion I'm a very strong woman, but kids are the only thing that can disarm me. I prefer wars, crimes, blood or anything else... But please don't put a kid suffering beside me. I can faint, I guess....

Sderot is our front line too, though we are too blind to see it. The terrorists warm up on the Jews, and then hit the gentiles. Most importantly, they learn what they can get away with! We teach them. Ma'alot taught them that they could get away with Beslan.

We and Israel together should have said NO to the very first terror attacks. Our position should have been that this in not allowable, even if we have to kill a hundred for every one of us that dies. We were stupid and weak and "pacifist," and the result is that hundreds of thousands of people have died, or will die. Maybe millions. This is called "peace." Ain't it wonderful.

Don't miss her post, if only for her pictures of heaps and piles of rusting terrorist rockets that have fallen on this little settlement...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:01 PM

So this means war, right?

ABC News: WASHINGTON, Nov. 30, 2006 — U.S. officials say they have found smoking-gun evidence of Iranian support for terrorists in Iraq: brand-new weapons fresh from Iranian factories. According to a senior defense official, coalition forces have recently seized Iranian-made weapons and munitions that bear manufacturing dates in 2006.

This suggests, say the sources, that the material is going directly from Iranian factories to Shia militias, rather than taking a roundabout path through the black market. "There is no way this could be done without (Iranian) government approval," says a senior official.

Iranian-made munitions found in Iraq include advanced IEDs designed to pierce armor and anti-tank weapons. U.S. intelligence believes the weapons have been supplied to Iraq's growing Shia militias from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, which is also believed to be training Iraqi militia fighters in Iran...

Well, one-sided war. They get to kill us, we get to offer them bribes to pretend to not be making nuclear weapons. Of course this means the Jews are going to get fried. But hey, what's that in the big picture, compared to allowing an American administration to kick the can down the road for a few more years?

I hope that's not what's going to happen. In the past I would have been prepared to declare that Bush is not the guy to do that. Lately I'm not so sure. We seem to be so passive.

THIS IS A WAR! We are supposed to attack our enemies. That's not bad, that's good. We are the good guys. They are the bad guys.

By "bad guys," by the way, I'm referring to the Mullahs, not the ordinary people of Iran. We are basically on the same side as the ordinary Iranians in all this. They would love to be liberated from their tyrants, and to enjoy freedom and democracy. Which is why an attack on Iran would not be a "war" in any traditional sense, just as our attack on Iraq was not a war. (We were not fighting against a nation. The Iraqi army melted away, and even in that initial 3-week conquest, most of the real fighting was against irregulars and jihadis. Here's an example.) This is why I never refer to Catholic Just War doctrine. It doesn't apply to the present world situation. We are not in a war, by any traditional definition. We are in what is more like a campaign against brigands and robber-bands.

And for all those leftists and fake-pacifists who keep telling us that our nuking Japan was the worst thing that ever happened (I think differently). Here's your chance! Your chance to support efforts that are likely to prevent future nuclear attacks! Uh, what are you waiting for? What's that you say? You're on the other side? Well fancy that! Whoever would have guessed...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:02 AM

November 25, 2006

Wiretaps...

From the NYT:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24 — When President Bush went on national television one Saturday morning last December to acknowledge the existence of a secret wiretapping program outside the courts, the fallout was fierce and immediate.

Mr. Bush’s opponents accused him of breaking the law, with a few even calling for his impeachment. His backers demanded that he be given express legal authority to do what he had done. Law professors talked, civil rights groups sued and a federal judge in Detroit declared the wiretapping program unconstitutional.

But as Democrats prepare to take over on Capitol Hill, not much has really changed. For all the sound and fury in the last year, the National Security Agency’s wiretapping program continues uninterrupted, with no definitive action by either Congress or the courts on what, if anything, to do about it, and little chance of a breakthrough in the lame-duck Congress...

This is moderately interesting. It's good to learn that the NSA wiretaps continue, since they are an obvious necessity of the war. And they are clearly legal. We've always tapped foreign communications in times of major war. Among the very first moves of FDR and Wilson in the World Wars were to order taps on all foreign wire and telephone traffic. And Lincoln routinely had telegraph wires tapped. All without warrants of any kind!

I think the President should have just said that this was not a matter that the courts have any right to enquire into. Period.

And the leakers and editors and reporters and publishers responsible for revealing classified information should all be enjoying long terms in a federal prison.

Alas, in these last decadent days of America these sensible things are not politically possible.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:29 AM

November 24, 2006

All autocracies must destroy their antitheses...

A piece you should read, by VDH...

No, no, no….

The problems in Iraq, in the radical Middle East at large—with democratization, with nuclearization, with Islamism—are not, repeat not, a lack of dialogue with Syria and Iran.

We know what both rogue states wish and it is our exit from the Middle East and thus a free hand to undermine the newly established democracies of Lebanon and Iraq—in the manner that all autocracies must destroy their antitheses.

They both sponsor and harbor terrorists for a reason—to undermine anything Western: a Western-leaning Lebanese democracy, a Western-style democracy in Iraq, a Westernized Israel, or soldiers of the United States in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Syria, as we see once again with the killing of Pierre Gemayel, is practicing serial murdering in Lebanon. I was on the Hugh Hewitt show last night, and he was right to make the point that Syria is like the Nazi regime of the late 1930s that sent its agents into Eastern Europe and Austria to assassinate and undermine republican leaders, to pave the way for the ‘necessary’ and ‘welcome’ entrance of the order-bringing Wehrmacht into a ‘brother’ state....

The time for "dialoging" with murderous tyrants—if there is such a time—is not when we are having trouble, but when we have hurt them badly enough that they are looking for a way out of trouble. That should be obvious.

I hope that's what our government is thinking right now. Our passivity is not a good sign. It's going to cause a lot more trouble in the long run. Pacifism causes wars. It's as simple as that.

...And for all the conundrum, the war against the jihadists is still going well. Iran and Syria are striking out because they feel surrounded—democratic Turkey on one side, Israel on the other, with nearby democracies struggling to become established in Kurdistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Al Qaeda is being dismantled, and a Europe galvanizing against Islamic fascism. Even the impotent UN is beginning to stir against Iran and Syria. If we can stabilize Afghanistan and Iraq, we can bring enormous pressure on both these two rogue nations. So why give up now—which is what talking to these amoral governments constitutes, given our previous rhetoric and vow to quit the appeasement?...

I think VDH is a bit over-optimistic about Europe and the UN, but this is still the simple truth. We have put ourselves in a strong position, and our job now is to exploit it. The only problem is that a lot of Americans don't want to accept the ugly fact that a war means fighting.

Pacifism causes wars. Voting Democrat causes wars. Future wars. Weakness now will mean a bigger price to pay in the future. I'm not being a warmonger here, I'm a peace-monger. Nancy Pelosi is the warmonger.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:59 AM

November 20, 2006

This makes me feel much better...

Fred Barnes, in the Weekly Standard

RARELY HAS THE PRESS gotten a story so wrong. Robert Gates, President Bush's choice to replace Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld, is not the point man for a boarding party of former national security officials from the elder President Bush's administration taking over defense and foreign policy in his son's administration. The media buzz about the realists of Bush 41, so cautious and practical, supplanting the idealists of Bush 43, whose grandiose, neoconservative thinking got us stuck in Iraq, is wrong.

President Bush--the current one--decided to hire Gates two days before the November 7 election. He didn't consult his father. He didn't talk to James Baker, his father's secretary of state and now co-head of the Iraq Study Group, whose official advice on Iraq is expected in December. Nor did he tell Rumsfeld that he was lining up someone to take his job.

Before hiring him, Bush had to make sure Gates didn't think America's intervention in Iraq was a mistake and wasn't deeply skeptical of Bush's decision to make democracy promotion a fundamental theme of American foreign policy. With Gates, it came down to this: "The fundamental question was, was he Brent Scowcroft or not?" a Bush aide says....

...Gates had at least one supporter inside Bush's circle, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She, too, had worked for Scowcroft in the senior Bush's administration. She told the president that whenever she had sought to wean Scowcroft from a narrow realist position--such as his dismissal of Russian democratic leader Boris Yeltsin as a rube and his unyielding support for Mikhail Gorbachev--she turned to Gates for help....

Too cool. The press got it wrong (if Barnes is right) and the dextrosphere too. I can't count the number of opinions I've read about how it's all over but for the helicopters landing on the embassy roof. And how the author knew all along that Bush wasn't a conservative, and would sell us all out and cut deals with new pal Nancy.

And the part about Secretary of State Rice is interesting too. How little those on the outside know of what's really going on! How eager I am to read the memoirs that will be coming out over the next decade or two...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:50 PM

November 15, 2006

Do you want to know where future wars come from? It's right in front of you.

Mark Steyn, a must read, as so often...

...For the rest of the world, the Iraq war isn't about Iraq; it's about America, and American will...

...As it is, we're in a very dark place right now. It has been a long time since America unambiguously won a war, and to choose to lose Iraq would be an act of such parochial self-indulgence that the American moment would not endure, and would not deserve to. Europe is becoming semi-Muslim, Third World basket-case states are going nuclear, and, for all that 40 percent of planetary military spending, America can't muster the will to take on pipsqueak enemies. We think we can just call off the game early, and go back home and watch TV.

It doesn't work like that. Whatever it started out as, Iraq is a test of American seriousness. And, if the Great Satan can't win in Vietnam or Iraq, where can it win? That's how China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Venezuela and a whole lot of others look at it. "These Colors Don't Run" is a fine T-shirt slogan, but in reality these colors have spent 40 years running from the jungles of Southeast Asia, the helicopters in the Persian desert, the streets of Mogadishu. ... To add the sands of Mesopotamia to the list will be an act of weakness from which America will never recover...

It is just a perpetual bewilderment and grief to me the way pacifists and leftists are divorced from reality. Osama and al-Zarkawi and other enemies openly proclaim that they are attacking us because they know, from past experience, that we will run when things get tough. Our running causes wars, causes terror attacks. They don't even bother to hide it!

And yet, predictable as clockwork, when things get bad the advice is to run away. The peaceniks don't even believe that in their own lives; they don't tell their children that problems solve themselves if you run away from them. They don't tell anyone who finds themselves in some menacing slum neighborhood to look weak, so people won't bother you. But that's what they invariably want the US (and Israel) to do.

This stuff doesn't come from belief. There used to exist, I think, principled pacifism and leftism. But they don't exist any more. What we are seeing is nihilism.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:41 PM

November 8, 2006

My one big concern...

As far as domestic politics goes, this Dem victory will probably be good for the country and the GOP in the long run. It will shine a light on "San Francisco values." If that doesn't wake people up, we are probably doomed no matter what we do.

BUT in one sense this may be a big disaster. Our enemies in Iraq ramped up their random killings over the last few months precisely to get appeasers elected in the US. They and all Islamic terrorists will take this as a victory, and an incentive to more slaughter. We are, as we have for decades, teaching them that killing people gets them what they want!

Once again, pacifism is going to kill people and cause wars. We will pay in blood for our folly.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:39 AM

November 3, 2006

Prescient? I blog, you decide...

Ethan mentioned, in a comment to the previous post, that I was prescient. Well, I rarely am, but in this case he's right. I wrote in February of 2003 that there were going to be documents...millions of them. I was right. Here's the link.

And I knew that from reading Witness, by Whittaker Chambers. He knew how lefty totalitarians act (Here's the link)...He wrote:

...Vern Smith and one of the other signers took the petition to national headquarters on 125th Street. There was consternation. It was not entirely due to the breach of discipline. Another peculiarly Communist attitude entered in. Revolutionists have a respect, amounting to awe, for the signed document. They have broken, or are trying to break, the continuity of order in society. By that act, they repudiate tradition, and the chaos they thereby unloose also threatens them, for they can no longer count on the inertia or authority of tradition to act as a brake or a bond on chaos. Hence that fussy attention which revolutionists pay to mere legalistic forms that puzzles outsiders both in the case of the Nazis and the Communists—their meticulous regard for protocol and official papers. Hence the tiresome detail and massive fictions of their legal and constitutional procedures, and the formal pettifoggery, with all the i's dotted, of a secret police that works entirely beyond the law...

If you want to know how the world works, read what Random Jottings recommends. Do not read the crap that your Tranzi professor recommends.

By the way **ahem** oh my faithful readers, if you click on one of these Amazon links and buy the book I get a little cut. What you may not know is that if you click through and then buy something else from Amazon.com, the hungry needy Weidner family also gets a cut. So if you are thinking of buying something, just start here! (One suspects there's some catch, and diamond chokers aren't included. Maybe someone wants to test this?)

Posted by John Weidner at 12:13 PM

I already knew Bush didn't lie, but...

...It's nice to have it confirmed by the NYT (I'm sure you've already seen this stuff, but it's fun to post)

Dean Barnett:

....In its semi-annual November surprise, the New York Times “reveals” that the Bush administration put documents on the web that showed that Iraq was quite far along in its quest for nuclear weapons. Naturally, that’s not the focus of the story. The focus of the story is the cursed incompetence of the Bush administration, the Republican Party, and even right-wing media-types (like me!) who wanted the documents released.

But the takeaway from the story for normal people won’t be that conservatives both inside and outside the administration are all a bunch of blithering incompetents. Besides, Andrew Sullivan’s vote had already been pretty much sewed up. The “news” in the story is how far along Saddam was in his bid to acquire the ultimate WMD. While that’s an old story to many of us, it’s heartening to see the Times splash it all over this morning’s front page and in so doing refresh the nation’s memory regarding the most disputed causus belli of the current war....

And of course having the NYT, of all organizations, admit that leaking stuff might be harmful...delicious...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:02 AM

October 31, 2006

Revised list of reasons to invade Iraq.

I'm re-doing my list of reasons to invade Iraq.—I've been keeping notes for possible revisions for a while now. And I've put it back into the present tense as of 2003, which eliminates reasons like our discovery of the UN Oil-For-Food Scandal, and any unexpected successes we've had since then. (Note: The redoutable Dean Esmay long ago posted Seven Reasons, which formed the origins of this list. And Wretchard blogged reason #1. I didn't just think this stuff up myself. Here's another good list, by TM Lutas.)

1. Avoid fizzle-out. The big danger of a war against shadowy terror groups is that they can destroy our resolve to fight by pretending to negotiate or change their ways. By attacking the very heartland of the Arab world, we will avoid the cycle of truces and negotiations that have crippled Israel's war on its terrorists. The jihadis MUST fight for Iraq, the stakes will be too high. They won't be able to just lie low for a few years and then strike again. We will be forcing them to react to our moves, instead of us always reacting to theirs—this should really be a reason by itself.

2. Until the culture of despotism and backwardness of the Arab world is changed, new terrorist groups will continue to arise. Iraq is the best choice for starting the process of change, with a well-educated population that has suffered terribly from tyranny. Changing Iraq will change the dialog in the region. Deposing tyrants is a start, but there are good reasons to believe that democracy might take hold in Iraq—That would really change the region.

3.Terror-supporting nations. We can't make progress in changing them, until we take out ONE of them. Iraq is a good choice because we already have a good legal case, with many binding UN Resolutions, plus Iraq's failure to comply with peace-terms from the Gulf War. And also because Saddam is the most considerable of the terror-supporting dictators, so his fall will have the biggest effect on the others.

4. Iran: The most important instance of the above is Iran (which is the worst of the terror-supporting countries). The Mullahs can't close off their border with Ira, because their Shi'ite Holy Places are there. Invasion of Iraq puts an army right on Iran's border. And Iraqi Shi'ism, impotent under Saddam, does not agree with theocratic Iranian Shi'ism. We need its ideas to flourish.

5. The humanitarian reasons are compelling. Tens-of-thousands of people are being tortured and murdered in Iraq each year. This is an internal war--to end it is to be on the side of peace. The UN sanctions regime has left children dying without food and medicine, while Saddam builds palaces and funds terror groups and corrupts Western governments with kickbacks. And we are INVOLVED in the sanctions perversion--we have a responsibility to end it. Saddam is waging an internal war against his people. Pacifists are enablers of Saddam's war and want it to go on forever—America should end it.

6. Similarly, we bear responsibility for encouraging the Shi'ite revolt against Saddam after the Gulf War. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were slaughtered because of our mistakes. We should have moved against Saddam years ago for that reason alone.

7. WMD's: a danger that must be eliminated. (Note from the perspective of 2006: While it's true we haven't found large stockpiles, we've found weapons programs that could have quickly rebuilt stockpiles. And more importantly, this is a war. A global war against islamic terrorism. Not a case at law. The mere appearance of plans to attack us or our allies is justification for an attack. In a war, it is our responsibility to attack an enemy nation if feasable. It is those who oppose war-like attacks during war time who bear the responsibility of providing reasons why we should not.)

8. We have partly created the terrorists, by consistent weakness and vacillation over several decades. We have taught the terrorists to attack us! Withdrawing from Lebanon taught Hezbollah that suicide bombs work. Failure to respond in the Iran hostage crises taught a generation of terrorists that we are weak and vulnerable. Withdrawal from Somalia taught bin Laden that we can't take casualties. We have waited so long to respond, that only a long bloody struggle will teach them a new lesson. If Iraq becomes a quagmire, that's good. Assuming we stick it out and win.

9. Diplomacy. Obviously it is best to solve problems peacefully by diplomacy and negotiations. But our diplomacy has been crippled by lack of a credible threat of violence as an alternative. This dates from our betrayal of South Vietnam, and is exacerbated by the decline of most other Western powers into military impotence. Diplomacy works as the "good cop" alternative to a military "bad cop." Our failure in this has been so great that it could only be redeemed by some seriously crazy violence. Iraq--perfect! Now Colin Powell's "good cop" will be contrasted with a really scary "bad cop" named Donald Rumsfeld. Expect big diplomatic payoffs.

10. Consensus of elected leaders. President Bush has requested approval for the invasion of Iraq from Congress. The Senate debated the question and voted overwhelmingly in favor. Our nation made this decision. We made the decision. That's a powerful reason in favor. [Note from 2006: For various people, including some of the Senators who voted for this campaign, to now sit on the sidelines and whine, "I don't know anything about this and nobody told me anything and it has nothing to do with me" is despicable.]

11. To learn how to fight this new kind of war. There has never been a war like this before. We need to learn how to fight it, and keep learning as enemy tactics evolve. There's no other way to learn than just plunging in and fighting. Armchair strategists are not much help. And Iraq is big enough to blood the entire US Army and Marine Corps, without being very dangerous (by historical standards, that is. Think Shiloh, or the Meuse-Argonne Campaign).

12. Revenge. Saddam and al Qaeda have been responsible for the terror-killings of American citizens, including American diplomats. These murders have gone unpunished. It was wrong for us not to avenge them violently. (I'm using the term "revenge" provocatively, to irritate appeasers. But feel free to toss out the concept of vengeance. it is still wrong, both morally and logically, to allow criminals to flourish and prosper through their crimes, and to prey on the weak. It is a sin.)

13. Archives. Totalitarian regimes always keep good records. We are going to learn a lot about what's really been going on in the world once we get into the files. (Me, I'd scan everything and put it on the Web.)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:14 AM

fog of war...

A friend e-mailed and asked about how I thought Iraq was going.

I've always seen the Iraq Campaign as working on several levels, and having various goals. (I've posted lists from time to time. None of my drive-by lefty critics has ever dared to debate them one-by-one.) So it's not simply a win or lose thing.

We've already won on many of those levels:

  • show resolve--undo disasterous reputation for caving...√
  • Ending Saddam's hideous internal war against his own people. √
  • Ending Saddam's supporting terrorists and the threat of WMD's...√
  • Lured al Qaeda into a fight and hurt them...√
  • Turned a bunch of Arabs against al Qaeda types...√
  • "De-stabilized" the ME in some possibly good ways...√
  • Got us past the "No peace in ME until Palestinian question solved" nonsense...√
  • Stirred up some hopes of democratic reform in region...√
  • Placed armies on both sides of Iran...√
  • Uncovered the Oil-for-Food scandal...√

But of course we are hoping to transform the whole game, not just take some pawns and rooks. In that sense I'm worried and disappointed. We'll see.

And we hoped to have the other terror-supporting tyrants quaking in their boots, not just feeling a bit nervous. They were for a while there, but that hope has been sabotaged by our own domestic traitors, who have refused, for vile partisan reasons, to support their country (and Western Civilization) in its hour of need.

And It's hard to judge things while one of the big battles of the War on Terror is being fought. I refer to the US election. All the despots and terror groups have their heels dug in, hoping for a Copperhead victory. And it's no accident that attacks in Baghdad have been ramped up just now.

We are in the fog and smoke of battle. We onlookers just can't know how it is going. Look at this, for instance:

AFP najaf • Radical cleric Muqtada Al Sadr gave the go-ahead to a US-led raid on the bastion of his Mahdi Army militia in Baghdad and plans to purge his movement of violent elements, an aide said yesterday.

Sheikh Abdel Razzaq Al Naddawi, a senior assistant to the firebrand Shi’ite preacher, said Sadr had given the green light to last week’s action by US and Iraqi forces after meeting Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki.

“It was meant to pinpoint the bad elements and hold them accountable before the law,” Naddawi said here. “This movement does not protect those who abuse people and the innocent.”

Last week Iraqi special forces and US advisers raided an address in Sadr City hunting what they described as a death squad leader. A subsequent battle left 10 militants and four civilians dead.

Previous raids by US forces in Shi’ite districts have drawn criticism from Sadr supporters, but the powerful young cleric is trying to reposition himself as an ally of Maliki’s struggle to halt a wave of sectarian violence. (Thanks to Orrin Judd)

Don't ask me what it means...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:28 AM

October 27, 2006

Rambling thoughts...

Optimism is not a Christian virtue. Optimism is simply a matter of optics, of seeing what you want to see and not seeing what you don't want to see. Hope is facing reality with eyes wide open and saying, nonetheless this is what we're going to do by the grace of God. --Fr Richard John Neuhaus

I'm in a bit of a grim and cranky mood today. There are various things that don't look good to me. This new blogger, Reconquista, is crunching numbers and graphing Islamic terror attacks. I don't like the smell of what he's coming up with. Trouble.

...From this picture it’s immediately apparent that the attacks come in surges, with a fall-back between surges, as if they’re girding their loins for the next surge. Every new surge goes higher than the one before, and every fall-back doesn’t fall back as far as the previous one. It also looks as if the height of the surges is accelerating – each one increases attacks by a greater amount than the previous one did. It’s not absolutely certain from this view, but we can return to it later. There is a ratchet in operation.

Also, you might have noticed that we are currently in a fall-back stage, and might be wondering when the next surge will start? Strange as it may seem, the world is currently experiencing a – relative – lull in terrorist attacks, with another surge about to begin. Well, that’s what it looks like from this picture, but let’s revisit the monthly pictures armed with this new insight....

Thinking about more trouble on the way makes me doubly bitter about the appeasement and weakness and indecision that has got us into this mess, and is even now making things much worse.

And reading Mark Steyn's America Alone has made various things I was already thinking much more real and pressing. Is Europe past the point of no return? I've been suspecting so, and Steyn is painfully persuasive. One of the feelings that has got me down is a sort of mourning. Grieving. Countries like France and Germany are like much-loved uncles and aunts to me, and the thought of their senility and foreseen death is a bitter thing to deal with.

I'm finding myself somewhat more in accord with the Malkinites---"Islam is the problem." Maybe so. But what's their strategy? What's their long-term plan? Bellyaching is not a plan.

And I think they have no Christian Charity. For instance, the people who suffer the most from Islamic terrorists are ordinary Muslims. They are being killed in far greater numbers than are Westerners. It should be our goal to save them as well as ourselves. If possible.

I do not, by the way, have any sympathy with the view of certain people that Christian Charity means letting ourselves be kicked around, or means sitting by passively while tyrants oppress the weak or while genocides rage. That's just stupid. (And they don't even believe it themselves. it's just Christian tinsel draped over their real belief: Appeasement and Western self-hatred.)

Charity requires extending ourselves to fight evil and injustice. The world we are in now often puts us—either America or the ordinary citizen—in the position of the policeman who must shoot to save hostages or prevent murders. Both for individual and country, focused extreme violence is sometimes the Christian duty. And hand-wringing and indecision is sometimes a sin. We should be thinking about this. Thinking clearly. And mostly we are not.

Also, Fourth-Generation Warfare means that the "front" can be anywhere, anytime. The ordinary citizen can become a soldier in the blink of an eye. Like the people on Flight 93. I think that should be one of the central thoughts of all of us. (And I fault the Bush administration deeply for not emphasizing this, trusting instead in bureaucracies and plans. Pure folly.) Are you ready? Am I?

Another thing buzzing at the back of my brain is a dinner Charlene and I attended recently, honoring a quintessential "radical priest." That evening was, well, thought provoking. I could blog a lot about it, but probably I should just keep mum. But one thing we got to hear a lot of was how abu Ghraib was apparently the worst thing that had happened in recent years. Since I had in mind the fact that in Darfur about 10,000 people are being killed a week, the rants about abu Ghraib were...well, I'll just stick with "thought provoking."

A huge genocide is happening right this moment. A war in fact, an internal war. One of the bloodiest in history. And the only thing that can stop it is American military intervention. And who is stopping us from ending this war? In a large part is is the "anti-war" people. The "pacifists." The Christians so-called, whose "Christianity" consists mostly of Bush-hatred and leftist cliches.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:05 AM

October 21, 2006

Obsessing over Global Warming is a way to avoid facing the big problems...

Charlene and I have been reading Mark Steyn's America Alone. It's about demographic implosions and the collapse of civilizational morale in the Western world. And about population growth and growing aggressiveness in the Islamic world, which is moving into the vacuum at a frightening rate...

And it's all stuff I already know about and have blogged about. But it's different having a brilliant writer like Steyn slam it into your face. All at once, not picked up her and there. Grim. Painful. Highly recommended...

....The single most important fact about the early twenty-first century is the rapid aging of almost every developed nation other than the United States: Canada, Europe, and Japan are getting old fast, older than any functioning society has ever been and faster than any has ever aged. A society ages when its birth rate falis and it finds itself with fewer children and more grandparents. For a stable population—i.e., no growth, no decline, just a million folks in 1950, a million in 1980, a million in 2010—you need a total fertility rate of 2.1 live births per woman. That's what America has: 2.1, give or take. Canada has 1.48, an all-time low and a more revealing difference between the Great Satan and the Great White North than any of the stuff (socialized health care, fewer hand-guns, more UN peacekeepers, etc.) that Canucks usually brag about. Europe as a whole has 1.38; Japan, 1.32; Russia, 1.14. These countries— or, more precisely, these people—are going out of business....

...In the fourteenth century, the Black Death wiped out a third of the Continent's population; in the twenty-first, a larger proportion will disappear—in effect, by choice. We are living through a rare moment: the self-extinction of the civilization which, for good or ill, shaped the age we live in. One can cite examples of remote backward tribes who expire upon contact with the modern world, but for the modern world to expire in favor of the backward tribes is a turn of events future anthropologists will ponder, as we do the fall of Rome...

The vastness and strangeness of the changes that are happening leave me abashed, and I don't feel like pontificating. But I found it interesting that Steyn quotes Henri de Lubac, who placed the blame for the modern world's many troubles on "atheistic humanism." De Lubac wrote, famously, "It is not true, as is sometimes said, that man cannot organize the world without God. What is true is that, without God, he can only organize it against man."

My gut feeling is that that's the key.

Charlene surprised me by remarking that it's a "fun book." I resisted the impulse to say, "You're crazy," but yet I immediately understood, evil fellow that I am. We are witnessing a great bonfire of failures of everything we hate. Trendy leftism, smug secularism, feminism, multiculturalism. Pacifism. Big-government liberalism. Anti-human environmentalism. Atheism. The Culture of Death (and how!). Nihilism! Steyn captures it perfectly when he writes that it's the belief that everything is going to end up being like Sweden. (In whose capital, by the way, the most popular boy's name is now...Mohammed.)

...Across the developed worid, we're at the beginning of the end of the social-democratic state. The surest way to be in the demographic death spiral is to be a former Communist country in Europe: the five lowest birth rates in the wor!d are Latvia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Russia, and Ukraine. But the next surest way is just to be in Europe: nineteen of the lowest twenty birth rates in the world are on the Continent (the twentieth is Japan). Conversely, the only advanced nation with a sizeabie population reproducing at replacement rate is the United States. True, there are significant variations from red state to blue state, immigrant to native-born, and in other areas: Mormons in Utah have one of the highest fertility rates on the planet, while the city of San Francisco could easily be mistaken for an EU capital, though in fairness to the good burghers of that town they had to embrace homosexuality to achieve levels of childlessness the Continentals have managed to achieve through ostensibly conventional sexual expression.

But the fact remains: Europe is dying and America isn't, Europe's system doesn't work and America's does, just about.

So here's a radical thought for Will Button and the Europeans: instead of cal!ing for America to "join the world," why not try calling on Europe to rejoin the real world? Otherwise, you'll be joining what we used to call "the unseen world."...
Posted by John Weidner at 10:31 PM

October 20, 2006

More on Grownups do the work while the children whine, etc...

So, Clinton endorses “torture” in special cases...

Where's the outrage? Well, yeah, there isn't any because it's not politically useful.

But I think there's something more going on. The outrage crew indulges in its fits with the knowledge that they are protected, that they can fuss all they want but that rough men will still guard the walls. "...Travellers scowl at us and countrymen give us scornful names. "Strider" I am to one fat man who lives within a day's march of foes that would freeze his heart, or or lay his little town in ruin, if he were not guarded ceaselessly..."

Our Butterburrs know perfectly well (though perhaps they don't articulate it consciously) that if that famous hypothetical "ticking bomb" situation occurred in their little town, somebody would do something. So they are free to sit on the sidelines of life, Pharisaically scrubbing their hands in search of "purity," without any fear of consequences. What Clinton said fit their wishes perfectly.

My own deeper concern is to what extant the supply of "Striders" is a renewable resource. Whether they will always be there when needed, or whether things like indoctrinating our schoolchildren obsessively on the evils and faults of America is going to dry up the springs of Republication virtue. Dry up the supply of strong men who go out and put their lives on the line to protect us all....

Posted by John Weidner at 7:57 AM

October 19, 2006

Grownups do the work while their children whine but expect to be fed...

Seen in Best of the Web...

..."British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett last week issued the latest European demand to close down the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba," The Washington Post reports. "The existence of the prison is 'unacceptable' and fuels Islamic radicalism around the world, she said, echoing a recent chorus of complaints from Europe about U.S. counterterrorism policy."

OK, so the Europeans want us to shut down Guantanamo. And what do they propose we do with the detainees?

Behind the scenes . . . the British government has repeatedly blocked efforts to let some prisoners leave Guantanamo and return home.

According to documents made public this month in London, officials there recently rejected a U.S. offer to transfer 10 former British residents from Guantanamo to the United Kingdom...

So, what is the plan of the critics to deal with those captured in the War on Terror? Of course there is no plan. Or rather, the plan is that the US continue to do the heavy lifting, while everybody else gets to earn appeasing-points by biting our ankles. "We're not your target. It's those meanie Americans you should attack."

x

Posted by John Weidner at 5:36 AM

October 10, 2006

Magic thinking.

Apparently there are appeasers who are saying that if only Bush had not made his Axis of Evil speech, we wouldn't be having problems with North Korea!

Unbeleivable. I think this is an example of what psychologists call "magic thinking."

I would simply be laughing, and heaping scorn and derision on this, except that one starts to wonder if our civilization is simply doomed, if ostensibly intelligent and serious people can be so stupid and craven and blind.

Bush was RIGHT. Neo-cons and theo-cons were right. Even the paleo-cons were right on this one.

And there's something even more stupid, if that's possible. these guys believe that negotiations are the solution to our problem, right? And what is the basic posture for successful negotiating? Do I have to SPELL THIS OUT, for any liberals who may chance upon this post???

IF you want negotiations and other non-violent solutions to succeed, then you present a united front. You present an appearance of confidence and strength. Right? If the WaPo is negotiating with its unions, it would be appalled if an editor revealed that they felt like they were in a weak position and would have to yield a lot. He'd be, rightly, FIRED.

So when we see leftist opinion leaders constantly undercutting the administration, at the very time we are trying to solve these ticklish problems without opening new military campaigns in the war, we can safely conclude that they don't want the United States to win.

They don't. They simply don't. What they want is for us to lose, in a manner similar to Vietnam. Then they will hit the electoral jackpot, and the COST, like in Vietnam, will be merely be millions of brown-skinned people dying, conveniently offstage, where the fake pacifists and fake anti-war activists and opportunistic leftist politicians don't have to smell the millions of rotting corpses that they are responsible for.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:02 AM

October 9, 2006

Gurkhas...

This is cool, if you know anything about these guys: Gurkha Spirit Triumphs in Siege of Nawzad

...The first major attack began at 1.50am when a Gurkha corporal spotted armed men "leopard crawling" towards the compound 60 yards away. He opened fire killing four.

Ten minutes later a coordinated assault began from three directions. Every one of the six sand-bagged positions around the compound and on its roof were hit by rocket-propelled grenades. The command post on the roof received four separate hits.

For many of the Gurkhas, seven of whom had just finished training, it was their first experience of combat. "For the first five minutes under fire I was just so frightened," said Tkam Paha Dur, a 19-year-old Gurkha rifleman, to the amusement of his comrades."After that it became just like a live firing exercise."

With the Taliban closer than 50 yards, Rifleman Nabin Rai, 20, manning a heavy machinegun on the roof, had several rounds ricochet off his weapon before a bullet went through the gunsight and hit him in the face.

"His commander called for him to be medi-vacced out, but he refused to come down from the roof," said Major Rex. "Later he was again hit, this time in the helmet. He sat down and had a cigarette, then went back to his position."

With a full moon negating the advantage of British night vision equipment, the Taliban launched another full-scale assault the next night, using dried up underground watercourses to move men and ammunition around the British position.

"We took two or three RPG hits on one position and significant machinegun fire from a range of about 20 yards," said Lt Angus Mathers, 26.

"They had used tunnels and knocked holes in the compound walls to get close."

The Gurkhas threw 21 grenades at the Taliban position before an Apache helicopter arrived overhead.

The pilot later described the situation as "like the Wild West", with tracer converging on him from numerous positions. He hovered 20 yards above the compound firing back with the helicopter's cannon while the empty shell cases cascaded on to the heads of the Gurkhas below...

Many have said that the Gurkhas, Nepalese hill-men of several tribes, are the best natural soldiers in the world. Brave, deadly in battle, and unfailingly cheerful and good-natured.

I'd opine that we ought to be raising some Gurkha battalions ourselves, but they would not fit in at all with the ways of the US military, which tends to use people as interchangeable parts, transferring them here or there. But a Gurkha battalion is a home and a little world unto itself, and the British officers who join it learn Gurkhali, and the rather odd Gurkha culture. And they often spend their whole career with their battalion.

The book to read is Bugles and a Tiger, by John Masters. I give it my highest recommendation. It's a rare treat if you are interested in either military things, or India...

Excerpt below:

....Most Gurkhas are Hindus of a sort, though their reiigion does not sit heavily on any except those of the higher castes, which the 4th did not enlist. In Flanders in 1914, when our 1st Battalion had had no food for a couple of days, food at last appeared in the trenches—several hundred cans of corned beef, each canclearly marked with the canning company's trade mark, a bull's head. No Hindu, however lax, can eat beef; but this time it was going to be beef or nothing. The colonel sent for the senior Gurkha officer and wordlessly pointed to the rations.

After a moment came the quiet reply, "Sahib, We are here to fight the Germans. We cannot fight if we starve. It will be forgiven us. Remove the labels, and let it be corned mutton."

Gurkhas vary in shade from pale wheat-gold to dull, dark brown. Their skulls are usually round—but, whatever the shape, always thick. I saw a Gurkha havildar (sergeant) bend down to tie his bootlace just behind a particularly fractious mule. The mule let drive, and both iron-shod hoofs smashed with murderous force into the havildar's temple. He complained of a headache all afternoon. The mule went dead lame.

Though there are, of course, exceptions, the distinguishing marks of the Gurkha are usually a Mongolian appearance, short stature, a merry disposition, and an indefinable quality that is hard to pin down with one word. Straightness, honesty, naturalness, loyalty, courage—all these are near it, but none is quite right, for the quality embraces all these. In a Gurkha regiment nothing was ever stolen, whether a pocket knife, a watch, or a thousand rupees. Desertions were unheard of, although once the men had gone on furlough to their homes in Nepal they were quite inaccessible to us. There were no excuses, no grumbling, no shirking, no lying. There was no intrigue, no apple-polishing, and no servility. The perfect man—or, at the least, the perfect soldier? Not quite. The Gurkha was slow at book-learning, and he liked gambling, rum, and women; and, in his own home, he was apt to be unkempt....

Posted by John Weidner at 7:57 PM

October 6, 2006

A bit of info

There's a lie currently being parroted, by a certain "herd of independent minds," to the effect that the President can declare anybody an "enemy combatant," and just lock them up indefinitely.

I assumed this was false, and though I have a little list, I didn't bother to pass it on to Karl. But I didn't have the facts at hand, so I was glad to encounter this at Best of the Web:

...In fact, every detainee held by the military goes before a Combatant Status Review Tribunal--an Article 5 hearing in the Geneva Convention's parlance--and under the Military Commissions Act the decisions of these tribunals are subject to judicial review by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Currently, that means every detainee held; Khalid Sheikh Mohammad and the other 13 new arrivals at Guantanamo Bay will receive Article 5 hearings in the next few months...

Truth, as always, will chase the lie around the globe in vain, but at least in the Information Age we little people can give her an extra push. So keep this stuff in mind..

And of course the Bush-haters never mention the trifling fact that the whole reason there is any question about who to detain is that the terrorists are committing a war crime, by not clearly distinguishing themselves from non-combatants.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:03 PM

September 30, 2006

About those crusades..

This is from Al-Zawahri's latest rant:

....Al-Zawahri also called a U.N. resolution to send peacekeepers into Sudan's war-torn Darfur region a "Crusader plan" and implored the Muslims of Darfur to defend themselves.

"There is a Crusader plan to send Crusaders forces to Darfur that is about to become a new field of the Crusades war. Oh, nation of Islam, rise up to defend your land from the Crusaders aggression who are coming wearing United Nations masks," he said. "No one will defend you (Darfur) but a popular holy war."...

Now I don't know the history of the use of the word "Crusade" in the Islamic world, but I'll put my money on it's not being a big deal before the 20th Century. That is, before self-hating Western intellectuals started dwelling obsessively on our supposed sins. I think the Jihadis learned to denounce "Crusaders" from us.

Of course the basic idea is silly. The implication is that the Crusades were a version of modern European Imperialism, which is nonsense. And that they were a case of the strong attacking the peaceful weak—the opposite is true. (The Christians were only successful, temporarily, because of Muslim disunity.)

We are also expected to believe that the Crusades were somehow especially evil and murderous. But all the wars back then were barbaric by our standards. (The Normans were only a few generations removed from being actual barbarian tribesmen, of a group we call the Vikings.) The Crusaders were just treating other people the same way they treated each other.

And it's implied that the Crusades were unprovoked, but actually they would never have happened if the Muslims had just allowed pilgrims peaceful access to the Holy Land. And, most important of all, the Muslim Conquests were themselves "crusades." (And what does Al-Zawahri call for in the quote above? "...A popular holy war!" ) What should happen is that if any Muslim complains about the Crusades, Westerners should just laugh! We have nothing to be ashamed of, and, for pity's sake, the thing was 900 years ago!

My question is, as always, what is wrong with the soul of the West? What's wrong in the souls of all our limp-wristed professors and journalists and fake-pacifists, who were, you will recall, all so unified in denouncing Islamic homophobia and sexism, unified in denouncing the statue-destroying Taliban. Until the instant the West started to actually do something about these problems, when they all flipped into "anti-Crusader" mode. What IS this sickness?

Posted by John Weidner at 8:00 AM

September 28, 2006

"war on terror causes terrorists”...and Bushes, Blairs and Howards...

I like this morsel that Charlene spotted at Gates of Vienna....

…we should not be surprised when liberals take things out of context and distort reality to fit their perceptions. For them to say “the war on terror causes terrorists” is simply a cherished assumption dressed up as a conclusion. If you give it a moment’s thought, their whole world view is just so stupid. Would they ever report that terrorists are the cause of the American military that liberals so despise, and that if terrorists would only appease America, our military would stop trying to harm them? Or that Islamo-nazis have to stop their unwinnable war on the west, because it will only create more George Bushes and Tony Blairs and John Howards?

Or that they themselves must stop mindlessly attacking conservatives, because it will just make us stronger?

Personally, I hope they never figure out that last one...
Posted by John Weidner at 9:57 AM

Good way to start the day...

Here's a link to video of the joint press conference of President Bush and President Karzai. It's well worth watching how men deal with ankle-biting pygmies. (Charlene found it at the Anchoress, and we are listening to it right now.)

Karzai's dignity and eloquence are very very impressive. As is his politely-supressed amazement that he has to tell American journalists about the incredible heroism and decency of American soldiers!

I recommend it most highly.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:40 AM

September 27, 2006

Thank you, President Karzai...

From the joint press conference of President Bush and President Karzai...

FoxNews....The president rejected claims that the U.S. presence in Iraq has increased terror threats, saying the United States wasn't in Iraq when America was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001; or when the USS Cole was hit; or when the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya were bombed.

"If we weren't in Iraq, they'd find some other excuse because they have ambitions. They kill to achieve their objectives," Bush said. "The best way to protect America is to defeat these killers overseas so we don't have to face them at home."

Karzai, whose country is facing an increase in terror after the Taliban were defeated in late 2001, interjected to offer a similar plea.

"Terrorism was hurting us way before Iraq or September 11 ... These extremist forces were killing people in Afghanistan for years, closing schools, burning mosques, killing children, uprooting vineyards," Karzai said. "They came to America on September 11, but they were attacking you before September 11 in other parts of the world. We are a witness in Afghanistan.

"Do you forget people jumping off the 80th floor or 70th floor when the planes hit them? Can you imagine what it will be for a man or woman to jump from that high?" Karzai asked recalling some of the more shocking scenes from the World Trade Center bombing. "How do we get rid of them? ... Should we wait for them to come and kill us again?"....

Of course they forget 9/11. They don't just forget, they have made a heroic effort to expunge it from their own memories, and everybody else's.

And anyway, the attitude that one should only do that which minimizes danger is suicidal in war, and is likely to increase our danger over the long run. Especially in anti-guerilla/terrorist warfare. That's not bravado, or jingoism, it's just what history teaches. In fact, it's that attitude that CAUSED this war.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:01 PM

Thank you, New York Times...

The criminal and treasonous publication by the NYT of classified information in the NIE has backfired on them in a delightful way. The report has been declassified. It was obviously cribbed from Random Jottings...

"If democratic reform efforts in Muslim majority nations progress over the next five years, political participation probably would drive a wedge between intransigent extremists and groups willing to use the political process to achieve their local objectives."

Remember that the next time somebody tells you we are in Irag "for no reason."

The "journalistic" goal of the NYT and rest of the Gasping Media is to promote appeasement, lefty nihilism, and the election of Democrats. (Yes, that's redundant.) So, don't expect them to make much of this:

Greater pluralism and more responsive political systems in Muslim majority nations would alleviate some of the grievances jihadists exploit. Over time, such progress, together with sustained, multifaceted programs targeting the vulnerabilities of the jihadist movement and continued pressure on al-Qa’ida, could erode support for the jihadists.

Like I was sayin'.

The Iraq conflict has become the "cause celebre" for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of US involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.

Well, duh. I can just see those expense-account Johnnies meeting in fine restaurants with their laptops, and translating RJ into bureaucratese with the aid of Cognac and cigars. They could've at least invited me!

If democratic reform efforts in Muslim majority nations progress over the next five years, political participation probably would drive a wedge between intransigent extremists and groups willing to use the political process to achieve their local objectives. Nonetheless, attendant reforms and potentially destabilizing transitions will create new opportunities for jihadists to exploit...

The above is my first quote, with its second sentence added. It should be digested by those conservatives of the PowerLine or NRO stripe who declare democracy a failed policy the instant it fails to produce instant gratification. Democracy is messy, and is a long-term answer, not a short-term remedy.

Other affiliated Sunni extremist organizations, such as Jemaah Islamiya, Ansar al- Sunnah, and several North African groups, unless countered, are likely to expand their reach and become more capable of multiple and/or mass-casualty attacks outside their traditional areas of operation...

That's for the fatheads who keep implying that we are only in a war against al Qaeda, and anything else we do is a "distraction."

CBRN capabilities will continue to be sought by jihadist groups...

But of course a pre-emptive attack would be wicked. Our Christian duty is to supinely wait until we are nuked. (Then go to the UN for permission to act.)

And there's something else, that's conspicuous here, by its absence. There is no Leftist plan (or Isolationist plan, or Realist plan) to be held up and contrasted with the Bush Administration's vision. They have no plan. They are empty men. Nihilism equals paralysis.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:29 AM

September 26, 2006

"not the harbinger of disaster that the Times and WaPo would have us believe..."

This is worth reading...

Yesterday, we noted that the MSM (along with their fellow travelers in the intel community), had apparently "cherry-picked" information from a recent National Intelligence Estimate, making their case that the Bush Administration's War on Terror had actually made the problem worse. In closing, we observed that if the NIE was that biased, it represented a grave disservice to both the community and the nation.

Thankfully, the actual NIE is not the harbinger of disaster that the Times and WaPo would have us believe. According to members of the intel community who have seen the document, the NIE is actually fair and balanced (to coin a phrase), noting both successes and failures in the War on Terror--and identifying potential points of failure for the jihadists. The quotes printed below--taken directly from the document and provided to this blogger--provide "the other side" of the estimate, and its more balanced assessment of where we stand in the War on Terror (comments in italics are mine)....
(Thanks to PowerLine)

Philosophically, by the way, I think that the fact that mistakes have been made is good. A good sign. This War on Terror is a new thing, and the only way to learn how to fight it is is to jump in and try, and make lots of "mistakes." And the only way to avoid making mistakes is inactivity. Clintonism.

Actually, I am oversimplifying. You need to "jump in and try things," but within the context of a correct basic understanding of what it is you are trying to do. You need to have a compass heading to follow, before you start thrashing through the sticker patch.

I support the Administration in the War not because I think they don't make mistakes, but because I agree with their compass heading. And the contempt I feel for President Bush's liberal opponents is huge, not because I think they would necessarily make more "mistakes" if they were in charge, but because they have no compass.

They have never made a philosophical case for a different Grand Strategy. Without that, to continually oppose and hinder our elected leadership means they are not a "loyal opposition." They are just treasonous ankle-biters.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:25 AM

September 25, 2006

Pay back....

Associated Press.BAGHDAD, Iraq A leader of Ansar al-Sunnah, a group linked to al-Qaida in Iraq that responsible for kidnappings and beheadings, has been captured by Iraqi and U.S. forces, the prime minister's office said Saturday.

Muntasir Hamoud Ileiwi al-Jubouri and two of his aides were arrested in Muqdadiyah, 90 kilometers (56 miles) northeast of Baghdad late Friday, Brig. Qassim al-Mussawi, spokesman for the General Command of the Armed Forces, told The Associated Press....

...The Sunni militant group has claimed responsibility for numerous suicide attacks, the August 2004 execution of 12 Nepalese hostages and a December 2004 explosion at a U.S. military mess hall in Mosul that killed 22 people. Believed to have been an offshoot of another group, Ansar Al-Islam....(Thanks to Dean)

Good news of course. Lots of thoughts come to mind (all of which you've heard before.) One of the reasons for the Iraq Campaign was to make Iraq an ally in the War on Terror. Well, we can see that. My guess is that most people of the Islamic world are our allies, but just haven't realized it yet. They don't want to be ruled by Talibs, or by brutes like Saddam. But it will take them a while to realize it.

And we notice once again terrorists being called "militants" by their fawning pals in our vile press, may Allah the Merciful and Compassionate pull the beards from their cheeks.

And this by the way is revenge. This is vengeance against murderers and war criminals, and we can and should enjoy it. Celebrate it. Hey, you Democrats out there, let's hear how pleased and proud you are that you country and its ally have won a victory!
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Well, maybe tomorrow we will hear from them.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:11 AM

September 23, 2006

The most important story of the day...

Yesterday, sort of out of the blue, Charlene said, "After this election, I think we are going to go to war with Iran." (I agree, although the situation may well be resolved with lesser pressures; blockades or sanctions or some such.)

Then I encountered this post. by Rick Richman at Jewish Current Issues, about Bolton's speech (un-reported, of course, by our fake news media). He's got the speech, and it's worth reading, but especially interesting is Richman's conclusion...

...When the Head of State (directly or through his authorized representatives) says to another nation that its possession of nuclear weapons is “unacceptable,” the use of that word is (as I’ve noted here and here) significant in itself.

But more than that: you don’t say that word repeatedly; you don’t explain that its meaning is self-explanatory; you don’t present it without qualifiers or adjectives or modifiers; you don’t have it said officially (on the same day) by your Secretary of State, UN Ambassador and White House spokesperson; you don’t have it repeated later by your Vice President; and finally, you don’t re-emphasize it on the steps of the United Nations, to a crowd of tens of thousands, with the head of state of Iran in the building behind you -- you don’t do all that and then accept an Iranian nuclear weapon.

There may be various tactics in pursuit of your strategy, pursued in successive stages. But having said that word repeatedly, one thing you cannot possibly do -- not simply because of your regard for your reputation, or your place in history, or even simply because of your concern for the credibility of American diplomacy in the future, but rather because you know that, in fact, the problem is a threat to the whole world -- is leave office with it unhandled.

If it is unacceptable, you don’t go home and accept it. And one thing we have learned in the last six years is that George W. Bush means what he says.

The message Wednesday was undoubtedly meant not only for the crowd, but -- since it was delivered in a highly visible public forum by an important official of the United States -- for Iran. By choosing not to cover it, the MSM not only violated basic principles of journalism (and the NYT its own credo), but missed the most important story of the day.

George W Bush is not a Clinton, to kick this problem down the road, or hope it just goes away. He's a man, and he won't shirk the duty. I predict it. Unlike cowardly lefty-bloggers, I'm not afraid to make a prediction or take a position that I can be held to.

And I predict that the Democrats, and the "pacifists," the UN, the terrorists, the EU, China and Russia will all be working against us and trying to preserve the Mullahs in power. An Axis of Appeasers, with a mighty weapon: Ankle Biting! That's about even odds. Bring 'em on..

And I will note (and keep noting it to the point of tiresomeness, but hey, it's my blog) that this isn't going to be a "war" in any traditional meaning of the word. We have no quarrel with the nation or the people of Iran. In fact we are in tacit alliance with them, to remove the blood-sucking tyranny that battens upon them. Operations like this, or the Iraq Campaign, are really like campaigns against robber bands in olden times. There is no reason for "anti-war" activists to break out the giant puppets, except what is for them the most important reason, which is that they hate America, and the freedom and peace of which we are the symbol and the reality. If the Iranian government were murdering hundreds-of-thousands of its own people, like Saddam was, the "pacifists" would be supporting that internal war exactly the same way they supported Saddam's internal war.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:07 PM

September 22, 2006

Keep this in mind..

Mohammed at Iraq The Model:

...Anyway, it looks like the reaction of Muslims were not as violent or as bloody as the leaders wished them to be and that's why they're now provoking and yelling at the "sleeping" masses and pushing them to show more fury.

They want to add another big scene to the countless previous ones—angry mobs burning flags and pledging to destroy the "infidels".

Actually their latest calls for MORE ANGER are becoming pretty much like begging. Iran thinks the Muslim people fell short of doing their duty and Qaradawi calls Muslims to have a "day of fury".

All these are theatrical acts directed by governments and corrupt clerics seeking controlled anger among the mobs to use in intimidating the west and discouraging it from applying more pressure on, or calling for changing, these tyrannical regimes....[emph. added]

Whatever the reality of Islam may be, it is stupid to think that what's publicly displayed by the news media is the reality. (That isn't even true here--35,000 people demonstrated against Iran in NY on Wednesday, and it was almost totally unreported by the "news" media.)

The tyrants and terrorists of the Islamic world are trying to paint a certain picture, because the thing they fear most is having Condalezza Rice come knockin' at the door, come to talk about elections and reforms.

And they are closely allied with our own corrupt would-be elites---Democrats, journalists, pacifists, liberals---who have their own empires of nihilism to protect. Arab despots and pony-tailed professors hate and fear George W Bush for exactly the same reason. Because he is both the symbol and the reality of the tides of change that are lapping at their sandcastles.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:20 AM

September 20, 2006

"Near-despairing expedients to fill the aching void..."

Wretchard, referring to the speech of the Pope, plus statements by Cardinal Pell and former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey. (And contrasting these with the ludicrous attempt by ABC News to "explain away" the Muslim term "Day of Rage.")...

...How has it happened that the most unlikely persons are speaking on what is apparently the most volatile of subjects? It is doubly surprising because there is a powerful reluctance within the organizational culture of Christian churches to voice any criticism of another religion. The statements by Pope Benedict XVI, Lord Carey and Cardinal Pell are really near-despairing expedients to fill the aching void left by Western cultural and political leaders -- a vacuum which has emboldened militant Islamic preachers to cross boundaries they would have respected until recently.

This erasure of cultural borders caused by the near total desertion of the frontier by the so-called opinion-leaders has invited the most reckless elements of Islam across and raised the risk of real clash of civilizations. As Lord Carey put it: "We are living in dangerous and potentially cataclysmic times". It is a time made perilous not only by the absence of moderate voices within Islam but by the even more conspicuous absence of any leadership among Western politicians.

It is a failure which will sooner or later lead to what military historians call a "meeting engagement" in which two forces, each possessed of its own momentum, blunder into each other with catastrophic results. A false kind of tolerance has abolished the fence between the piggery and mosque, the adult video store and the cathedral, the flaming match and the stick of dynamite and called it progress. It is no such thing. It is called stupidity.

"...the near total desertion of the frontier by the so-called opinion-leaders." Exactly so. There are TWO problems facing us. One is Islamic radicalism, and the other is the vacuum in the soul of the nominally-Christian West. And I think number two is a bigger problem by orders of magnitude. "...a vacuum which has emboldened militant Islamic preachers to cross boundaries they would have respected until recently."

We are drawing them forth. We are
emboldening and empowering the worst elements of Islam, by rewarding their bad behavior. (Instead of doing what we should have done, which was to squash them a long time ago--that would have been the path of peace. But you can't act unless you believe, and the hollow men do not.)

There's
always going to be crazy evil in the world. If the entirety of Islam vanished tomorrow, there would soon be some new strain of bacterium emerging from some slime bog somewhere. And if, as I would expect, the forces of order and civilization cringe away from it, then there will be a new global threat.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:45 PM

September 18, 2006

Political, not judicial

Harold Sutton sent me a link to a piece in OpinionJournal. (And that was a ten days ago, and you've probably all already read and digested it and moved on.) It's on the lunacy of Hamdan, and why the founders did not intend for the judiciary to be involved in national defense...

...However patently central it is to a good society, the judicial function remains largely irrelevant to the international order. For all the blather about our "international community," it is an ersatz community, lying beyond our laws and democratic choices. Unlike dreamy modern internationalists, the Framers well understood that broad swaths of this "community"--enemies of the United States--would always pose threats, some existential, to the body politic.

Such threats are not legal problems. They do not principally involve Americans being deprived of their legal entitlements by their government--the cases and controversies judicial power was designed to resolve. They are clashes between the American national community and the outside world. They are the stuff of political power--diplomacy, force, and all the intermediate measures wielded by the political branches. The judicial power has no place because American courts are part and parcel of the American national community; they do not exist outside or above it....

The Hamdan decision is just another example of the sickness of our civilization. Hamdan rests on the supposition that there is something wrong with our defending ourselves. That if we are attacked by crazed killers, we should examine ourselves, and find ways to be more meek and humble. (And this has not the slightest connection to Christian humility. In fact it is profoundly anti-Christian.)

No. We are right, they are wrong. We are the good guys, and they are the bad guys. It is our duty to take off the gloves and fight as hard as we can. And win. And it is the duty of the Executive branch to do the job, and the duty of Congress to authorize, oversee and critique the work, and vote the funds.

The President is elected by ALL the people. If the people do not like the way he is running foreign policy, they can vote him out, as they have done many times in the past. Federal judges are not elected, and are almost impossible to remove. That privileged position rests on the assumption that they should confine themselves to a narrow role addressing specific cases, and not act as legislators or presidents. And alas, our history of the last half century is full of examples of them doing just that, mostly as a way to enact liberal legislation and social policies by fiat which would never be approved by the voters.

That's a sickness, and now the sickness has spread to enacting leftist foreign policy, a policy of appeasement, weakness and self-hatred. I think the President should have told the Court to take a hike, that Mr Hamdan's concerns are none of its business, and the decision was NULL because it infringes the Executive Branch's role as specified in our constitution. That was not a political possiblility, so we all need to vote Republican, and make sure sane judges are put on the bench in the future.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:17 AM

September 17, 2006

"There's really only one Christian power left in the world"

Ron Coleman, at Deans World, gets something exactly right...

...Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted the pope apologize to the Muslim world, saying he had spoken "not like a man of religion but like a usual politician."

...Erdogan has actually got it exactly backwards. What the Pope was said was consistent with his being the leader of the Roman Catholic church; what they want him to say is the usual political pap. Of course, Erdogan himself, a moderate chap, is looking over his own shoulder at the suicide belt crowd. He's got little choice; he was probably already in hot water with those cats over a papal visit to Turkey. Now his back is to the wall.

Pity Rome. There's really only one Christian power left in the world, though it isn't a Catholic one. And that one is already at war with these perpetually "raging" charmers, having gotten precious little support from the world's tiniest, and also its largest, state. It is hard to imagine the Pope staying the course on this one, but so far, he has...

The Vatican changes only verrrry slowly. And that's a good thing. And it can't take sides in a war of course. But things are obviously changing, and the Regensberg speech was, I think, calculated to a nicety to open a few minds that are still capable of opening, and also to change the position of some of the pieces on the board.

It's true that the Holy See hasn't given us much encouragement so far in the War on Terror. But if it just happens to be under attack by Islamic savages and the nihilist press and lefty appeasers everywhere, well....it may find itself on the side of the good guys de facto.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:19 PM

"...or the malice was intended"

David Warren writes an excellent piece on the press coverage of the Pope's Regensburg speech...

...This was not a crude anti-Islamic polemic; nor was it so at the end of the 14th century. It was a quest for peace and amity, then as now.

By turning the story back-to-front, so that what’s promised in the lead -- a crude attack on Islam -- is quietly withdrawn much later in the text, the BBC journalists were having a little mischief. The kind of mischief that is likely to end with Catholic priests and faithful butchered around the Muslim world. Either the writers were so jaw-droppingly ignorant, they did not realize this is what they were abetting (always a possibility with the postmodern journalist), or the malice was intended. There is no third possibility.

From the start, the BBC’s reports said the Pope would “face criticism from Muslim leaders” -- in the present tense. This is a form of dishonesty that has become common in journalism today. The flagrantly biased reporter, feigning objectivity, spices his story by just guessing what a man’s enemies will say, even before they have spoken.

While I don’t mean to pick especially on the BBC, when other mainstream media are often as culpable, they are worth singling out here to show the amount of sheer, murderous evil of which this taxpayer-funded network is capable...

"sheer, murderous evil..." Yes.

And it should be kept in mind that we of the West are teaching the Islamic fanatics to react the way they have. By our various apologies in the past for things like the Danish cartoons, we have rewarded angry mobs burning this or that. Even when we are in the wrong, we should never apologize in reaction to unreasoning violence.

In fact, the very first violent Islamic mob (within Western lands) should have had its leaders publicly hanged. [Well, OK, maybe pardon them after they've had a good scare.] That would have been the path of peace. Instead, the self-loathing appeasers and pacifists have been running things, and the result is murderous violence, and the destruction of civilized discourse, with lots more to come.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:00 AM

September 12, 2006

And then, on a bright September morning, it became clear...

My work is keeping me very busy, and I expect to be a bit sporadic in blogging for a while....

But there are more important people to pay attention to than me. From the President's speech last night..

...Our nation is being tested in a way that we have not been since the start of the Cold War. We saw what a handful of our enemies can do with box-cutters and plane tickets. We hear their threats to launch even more terrible attacks on our people. And we know that if they were able to get their hands on weapons of mass destruction, they would use them against us. We face an enemy determined to bring death and suffering into our homes. America did not ask for this war, and every American wishes it were over. So do I. But the war is not over -- and it will not be over until either we or the extremists emerge victorious. If we do not defeat these enemies now, we will leave our children to face a Middle East overrun by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons. We are in a war that will set the course for this new century -- and determine the destiny of millions across the world...

...We are now in the early hours of this struggle between tyranny and freedom. Amid the violence, some question whether the people of the Middle East want their freedom, and whether the forces of moderation can prevail. For 60 years, these doubts guided our policies in the Middle East. And then, on a bright September morning, it became clear that the calm we saw in the Middle East was only a mirage. Years of pursuing stability to promote peace had left us with neither. So we changed our policies, and committed America's influence in the world to advancing freedom and democracy as the great alternatives to repression and radicalism.

With our help, the people of the Middle East are now stepping forward to claim their freedom. From Kabul to Baghdad to Beirut, there are brave men and women risking their lives each day for the same freedoms that we enjoy. And they have one question for us: Do we have the confidence to do in the Middle East what our fathers and grandfathers accomplished in Europe and Asia? By standing with democratic leaders and reformers, by giving voice to the hopes of decent men and women, we're offering a path away from radicalism. And we are enlisting the most powerful force for peace and moderation in the Middle East: the desire of millions to be free....
Posted by John Weidner at 11:48 AM

September 11, 2006

Party's over...

The story about the journos who were forced to pretend to convert to Islam has been much in my mind. What does it mean? Somehow this doesn't seem like just another terrorist outrage.

Kathy Shaidel has some thoughts, (here and here). And she picked up and quoted this, that Andrea wrote in a comment thread:

The fact that makes so many educated, secular, “my religious beliefs are private” (not even God knows what they are?), fun-loving Westerners uncomfortable is the growing realization that the party may be over, and we may have to (ugh) actually stand up for what we believe in, and in doing so we may actually find that the things we thought we believed in were nothing but froth and fairy-dust....

Party's over. Yes. Lotsa people been playing make-believe. It wasn't just two men who adopted an inimical faith at gun-point, and renounced the underpinnings of their own civilization. They were proxies for hundreds of millions of other westerners who would do the same. Our hollowness is being exposed for all to see. ("Froth and fairy-dust." Yeah, I live here.)

(And even ignoring the religious aspect, we need to realize that our whole culture of "do what the person with the gun tells you to" may have been a huge mistake. It encourages, like all pacifism, more violence. You can bet those turkeys will be doing this again. Next time it may be a hundred people. Our weakness draws this kind of thing forth. And the next incident will be partly the responsibility of those journalists, who are encouraging this by their choice. One can hardly blame them, since no one in our culture is taught to think that yielding to threats is going to mean someone else gets threatened. Those two guys may be brave men who would dive into a torrent to save a drowning child, but it would not occur to them to defy a terrorist to save a future victim!)

Kathy at least is thinking clearly....

...Are there any Christians on this thread? Because like it or not, Christ told his followers again and again to be prepared to suffer for his sake. "He who saves his own life will lose it..." ...

....I pray for the grace not to renounce Christ for any reason, under any circumstances. And the power of grace is the only thing that can give you that courage. Those who rely
solely on will power or mental fortitude can't be expected to understand that....

....I'd add that a well brought up, commited Christian does in fact know what he or she should aspire to do in the face of martyrdom, or when faced with an incurable disease or the murder of a child, just as a well trained fireman knows he will run into, rather than away from, a burning building. Such a Christian, having practiced spiritual disciplines such as prayer and fasting, and therefore being more receptive to supernatural grace, may be surprised herself by the relative ease of "doing the right thing."....

There are plenty of people who call themselves Christians who think that martyrdom, like miracles, is something that belongs in picture books about long ago. We may have some wake-ups coming...

Posted by John Weidner at 5:43 AM

How many people worked in the Twin Towers?

I don't know the number, but it's probably something over 50,000. That's how many people our enemies were TRYING to kill.

They would snuff out that many lives without a qualm. So don't think for a moment that if—when—they get nuclear weapons they will hesitate to use them out of any moral scruples. (Or use them against their own people. The terrorists have killed far more Muslims than Christians.)
WTC tower falling
The war is REAL. The urgency is real. The necessity for all parties and factions to support our elected leaders is obvious.

Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear?
And do you not remember? (Mk 8:18
)
Posted by John Weidner at 5:22 AM

September 6, 2006

"And then their faces would light up..."

Readers of RJ will not be surprised by this, but it's good to see it again. From a good article in the WaPo on a reporter's trip to Iran. (Buried in the Travel Section of course. It should be on the front page.)

...What took place over the next fortnight astonished me. Everywhere I went -- from the traffic-choked streets of Tehran in the north to the dusty desert town of Yazd in central Iran, to the elegant cultural centers of Isfahan and Shiraz -- I was overwhelmed by the warmth and, dare I say it, pro-Americanism of the people I met.

Ponder the irony of that last statement for a moment. While much of the rest of the world seems to be holding their collective noses at us Americans, in Iran people were literally crossing the road to shake an American's hand and say hello. Who knew?

Initially, when Iranians asked me where I was from, I'd suggest they guess. But this game quickly proved too time-consuming -- no one ever guessed correctly. So instead I would simply mumble "American." And then their faces would light up. For better or worse, Iranians are avid fans of America: its culture, films, food, music, its open, free-wheeling society...

I blogged this in 2003, about American wrestlers being welcomed in Iran. Wresting is a huge sport there.

Iran has an evil government, but is, geopolitically, a natural ally for us. When the day comes we send an ambassador, we should pick a wrestler. If Charlene and I had some extra dough, Iran would be high on our list of places to visit...

...What astonished me the most about Iran were its women. I met and spoke with scores of them from all parts of the country. And everywhere they were wonderful: vivid, bold, articulate in several languages, politically astute and audaciously outward-looking. While some men demurred, the women weren't afraid to voice opinions about anything under the sun.

In fact, women in Iran can work and drive and vote, own property or businesses, run for political office and seek a divorce. The majority of Iran's university graduates are women.

But socially, Iran's women still live under Islamic edicts: They must wear the hijab when leaving the house, and they cannot normally associate with any male who is not their father, brother or son, or shake hands with a man. Despite these restrictions, they manage to remain utterly feminine. They are keen on bright lipsticks, nail polish and eye shadow. And they have a passion for imported handbags and shoes.

It's the women who give me the most hope that this once noble nation will one day return to its tolerant roots. Most of the young people I spoke with insist that change is coming...
Posted by John Weidner at 8:30 AM

Thank you, Governor Romney...

Governor Mit Romney has ordered all Massachusets public agencies to refuse assistance to Khatami's visit if asked. From the press release:

  • ...During the period of time he was in office, from 1997 to 2005, Khatami presided over Iran’s secret nuclear program. Currently, the Iranian Government under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is snubbing the international community’s request to cease nuclear weapons production.
  • In the recent conflict along the Israel-Lebanon border, Khatami described the terrorist group Hezbollah as a “shining sun that illuminates and warms the hearts of all Muslims and supporters of freedom in the world.”
  • Khatami has endorsed Ahmadinejad’s call for the annihilation of Israel.
  • During Khatami’s presidency, Iran refused to hand over the Iranian intelligence officials who were responsible for the attack on the Khobar Towers that killed 19 U.S. military personnel.
  • In his own country, Khatami oversaw the torture and murder of Iranian students, journalists, and others who spoke out for freedom and democracy. Khatami relaxed freedom of speech laws giving democracy reformers a false sense of security only to engage in one of the largest crackdowns in the country’s history.
  • In Khatami’s Iran, there was no religious tolerance. According to the U.S. Office of International Religious Freedom, Iran was one of the worst offenders of religious persecutions. Minorities, such as Evangelicals, Jews, Catholics and others, have suffered..

Harvard, of course, is glad to welcome any human-rights abuser, including a person who killed and jailed and tortured student protesters, as long as he is anti-American.

(Thanks to Hugh Hewitt)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:07 AM

August 27, 2006

Backpedalling...

Yahoo News:

BEIRUT, Lebanon - Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah said in a TV interview aired Sunday that he would not have ordered the capture of two Israeli soldiers if he had known it would lead to such a war.

Guerrillas from the Islamic militant group killed three Israeli soldiers and seized two more in a cross-border raid July 12, which sparked 34 days of fighting that ended with a cease-fire on Aug. 14.

"We did not think, even 1 percent, that the capture would lead to a war at this time and of this magnitude. You ask me, if I had known on July 11 ... that the operation would lead to such a war, would I do it? I say no, absolutely not," he said in an interview with Lebanon's New TV station...(Thanks to Captain Ed)

This is a very interesting thing. He doesn't sound like a death-or-glory guerilla leader at all. More like a politician doing some backpedalling.

People say that the attacks on Israel by Hamas and Hezbollah prove that the hope that pushing democracy as an antidote to terrorism in the ME has failed. Sounds to me like it is just starting to bite.

It's also interesting that this guy is admitting to starting a war with reckless folly. So why isn't he being inundated with criticism by our "peace-activists"and "pacifists?"

x

Posted by John Weidner at 5:31 PM

August 24, 2006

Only path that makes sense...

Norman Podhoretz has a great essay in OpinionJournal, Is the Bush Doctrine Dead?

....Are we then to conclude that the latest reports of the death of the Bush Doctrine are not "greatly," if indeed at all, exaggerated, and that it has at long last really been put to rest?

So misrepresented has the Bush Doctrine been that the only way to begin answering that question is to remind ourselves of what it actually says (and does not say); and the best way to do that is by going back to the speech in which it was originally enunciated: the president's address to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 20, 2001.

In analyzing that speech shortly after it was delivered, I found that the new doctrine was built on three pillars. The first was a categorical rejection of the kind of relativism ("One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter") that had previously prevailed in the discussion of terrorism, and a correlative insistence on using such unambiguously moral categories as right and wrong, good and evil, in describing the "great harm" we had suffered only nine days earlier. But, the president went on, out of that harm, and "in our grief and anger, we have found our mission and our moment."

In spelling out the nature of that mission and moment, [This is really the first pillar, as explained later in the essay] Mr. Bush gave the lie to those who would later claim that the idea of planting the seeds of democracy in Iraq was a hastily contrived ex post facto rationalization to cover for the failure to find weapons of mass destruction there. Indeed, the plain truth is that, far from being an afterthought, the idea of democratization was there from the very beginning and could even be said to represent the animating or foundational principle of the entire doctrine.... ...The second pillar on which the Bush Doctrine stood was a new conception of terrorism that would, along with the "mission" emerging out of the rubble of 9/11, serve as a further justification for going first into Afghanistan and then into Iraq. Under the old understanding, terrorists were lone individuals who could best be dealt with by the criminal-justice system. Mr. Bush, by dramatic contrast, now asserted that they should be regarded as the irregular troops of the nation-states that harbored and supported them...

One thing that's blatantly obvious to me is that no one on either the left or the right has been able to make a case against the Bush Doctrine, or propose a better one. They just snipe at it, or make pronouncements of its death. In fact it was and is the only logical path to take.

For instance, it's frequently claimed that, since democratic elections haven't fixed Lebanon, or the Palestinian Authority, the project has failed. But it's never been claimed to be a quick fix. Rather, we can see, unfolding right in front of us, over the last 50 years or so, the connection between democracy and ever increasing peace and prosperity. Pacifists and Leftists hate this, because it invalidates their elitist world view. But it's a fact. Large parts of the globe no longer fight wars, support terrorists, or indulge in genocide. And those parts are democratic, with increasingly free economies.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:16 AM

August 21, 2006

The real McCoy...

The Anchoress, on why she will not agree to suggestions she drop her support of Rudy Giuliani, although she disagrees with his positions on social issues like abortion...

....Giuliani showed me who he was ‘way back when he was refusing Yassar Arafat access to NYC, at a time when the whole world was lauding the monster and kissing his backside. He showed who he was when we were attacked and he managed to reassure the whole nation that capable, adult people were in charge. He showed me who he was when he attended scores of funerals, comforted hundreds of families, walked brides down the aisle because their slain fathers and brothers were lost in the WTC rubble. He showed me who he was when he returned a “relief check” for ten million dollars to a Saudi Prince, because the money came with a denunciation of Israel and of the Jews and US Policy. We need this unshakable and intrepid man, who is incapable of dithering, in these times.

We know this man, Giuliani, and he is a man-in-full. I would rather have one faulty, imperfect man-in-full in office, (one who is willing to be unpopular, if that’s what it takes) and dealing with our devils, than a dozen “more perfect and palatable” types who either can’t get elected or are too distracted by the demands of “the base” to do what needs doing.

And so, no…I won’t be withdrawing my support for Rudy Giuliani at this time. I’m not into throwing people away as “lost causes,” simply because they don’t “fall in line,” and who would want someone who does that, anyway?....

I agree. He's the only real man among those running, of either party. It looks like it's going to be a lonnng war, and the last thing we need is some weak sister in the White House. He's wrong on some issues, but has been superbly right on others...

Posted by John Weidner at 2:34 PM

August 18, 2006

Effrontery...

Best of the Web points out that page 17 of Judge Anna Diggs Taylor's ruling includes this morsel:

....Plaintiffs here contend that the TSP has interfered with their ability to carry out their professional responsibilities in a variety of ways, including that the TSP has had a significant impact on their ability to talk with sources, locate witnesses, conduct scholarship, engage in advocacy and communicate with persons who are outside of the United States, including in the Middle East and Asia.

Plaintiffs have submitted several declarations to that effect. For example, scholars and journalists such as plaintiffs Tara McKelvey, Larry Diamond, and Barnett Rubin indicate that they must conduct extensive research in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, and must communicate with individuals abroad whom the United States government believes to be terrorist suspects or to be associated with terrorist organizations.

In addition, attorneys Nancy Hollander, William Swor, Joshua Dratel, Mohammed Abdrabboh, and Nabih Ayad indicate that they must also communicate with individuals abroad whom the United States government believes to be terrorist suspects or to be associated with terrorist organizations, and must discuss confidential information over the phone and email with their international clients...

This just amazes me. You expect to find plaintiffs in cases like this complaining that they are innocent persons being harassed unfairly. These guys are complaining that they are being harassed because they are guilty! The duty of an American citizen who has contacts with possible enemy agents during wartime is to go to the FBI, and cooperate fully with whatever measures are needed in the way of intelligence gathering, surveillance or attempted capture. (Or in the case of terrorists, who are violators of the laws of war, assassination.)

Since these plaintiffs have not done any of this, they are, in my estimation, spies and traitors, and should be treated as such.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:32 PM

August 17, 2006

"exposing the real nature of the war"

Captain Ed, on the Lebanese general who has been jailed for appearing in a videotape with friendly Israelis...

...Daoud finds himself in jail not for fraternization, but for exposing the real nature of the war. Israel had no beef with the kind of military police force Daoud commanded. In fact, Israel wants to have precisely these kinds of forces across their northern border, rather than the Hezbollah terrorists that have held the territory for years. That is why Israeli soldiers treated Daoud so chivalrously.

The Siniora government cannot afford to have the Lebanese see the Israelis treating the LA well, however, at least not while Hassan Nasrallah is still in charge. It interferes with the preferred terrorist narrative that the Israelis committed a war of aggression on Lebanon instead of a war against the terrorists that committed a casus belli in the first place. If Israel treats Lebanese people in a friendly manner, then the Lebanese people will wonder why they need Hezbollah protecting them from the IDF....

It's just another example of how the meaning of the word "war" has changed. War between nation-states is still what we associate with the word. But war between nation-states is virtually extinct. Everything we now label war is actually internal violence within failed states, or interventions by Western powers (normally just the Anglosphere) to try to prevent such violence. Our war against the nation-state of Iraq lasted only a couple of weeks, and was, in fact, never seriously fought by the Iraqis. The huge Iraqi army, with mountains of fairly modern equipment, simply evaporated.

(But within days our troops started to see un-uniformed guys with AK-47's driving around in Toyota pickups. We didn't know at first what that meant, but within a few days we did, most painfully. Actually, most of the real fighting before we over-ran Iraq was against terrorists. Read this, for an example.)

Pacifists and leftists don't dare admit that war has changed. To do so would be to confront the fact that there are obvious good guys and bad guys. And that implies a moral demand to support the good.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:03 AM

August 16, 2006

“Throw them in the oven”

Jamie Glassman, a comic writer, at the Edinburg Festival...

...There have always been anti- Semitic jokes. But you know times are changing when you go along to a stand-up show at the Pleasance Courtyard at the Edinburgh Fringe and you hear audience members shouting “Throw them in the oven” when the comic suggests kids should stop playing Cowboys and Indians and replace it with Nazis and Jews.

Stand-up comedy is as good a prism as any through which to look at the changing attitudes in our society. If my past few days are anything to go by then it is becoming increasingly acceptable to hate the Jews. Again....

...But what is going on in Edinburgh now is no satire. For me, Hughes represents a growing trend among left-thinking people in this country and around the world to accept as dogma that those on the Left should hate Bush, Blair, American imperialism, Israel and, while we’re at it, the Jews. It is a cultural trend that I’ve found increasingly evident but never before has the Jew-hating element been so overt. This week has confirmed that my Jewish paranoia is not entirely unfounded. As the old saying goes: “Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me.”.....

Wake up, fools.

Something I see in many realms of life is, one can only be a "decent Leftist" (or libertarian) by not extrapolating. By refusing to see trends. I have no doubt there are lots of good people on the Left who deplore this sort of thing. Well, that's fine. But I bet that almost all of them assume this is a situation that is static, that won't go any farther. If you prod them they always reply with "of course" lines. Of course no one will take this any farther. Of course there are no slippery-slopes. It's in bad taste, but of course it's not serious. Of course we are not on the side of the terrorists. Of course you can criticize Israel (obsessively) without being anti-Semitic...

Same thing with every other damn "slippery slope."

Wake up, fools.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:46 AM

August 15, 2006

straight talk...

Michelle Malkin has a video of a great speech by Lt Col Randolp C. White, to a graduating class at Fort Benning.

If you are sick of the latté crowd shitting on America all day and then toddling home to sleep in safety while far better men and women watch through the night on Freedom's Wall.....well, you will enjoy this guy telling it like it is.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:31 PM

Same old...

Saul Singer in the JPost:

Here is my grand unified theory of the history of the universe:

democracies show weakness;
dictators are emboldened and attack;
democracies respond slowly, insufficiently, or appease;
dictators are further emboldened and attack harder;
war;
democracies win;
start over again...

This is not original stuff. Alexis de Tocqueville knew it in 1835. Winston Churchill said as much in 1933....(Thanks to Betsy N)

Not much to add to that. Save that I've read that the appeasers of the 1930's were not just weak, but that many of them considered appeasement a virtue! Sounds familiar, doesn't it?...plus, like today's pacifists, they were happy to toss the Jews out of the sleigh first. and were stupid enough to think that was making them more safe, rather than less....

Posted by John Weidner at 9:36 AM

August 14, 2006

Play the hand you are dealt, or fold and wait for a better one...

I recommend this post, by Dafydd. I won't try to summarize it, but it's the first thing I've read that really makes some sense out of the confusing and disappointing developments in Lebanon.

He makes an analogy to the first and second battles of Falluja, and his post is also the first thing I've read that makes sense of that...makes sense of our withdrawal after partial success during First Falluja. And I take comfort from it. The handwringers back in April 2004 were quick to declare that we had been defeated, lost our nerve, blown our last chance, etc etc. But we went back when the time was right, and crushed the terrorists.

It's going to be a long war. That's not surprising, what with sneaky guerilla/terrorist enemies, fifth-columnists within, and various "allies" in deep moral decline...BUT, we've been there before. Abe Lincoln fought a long messy war that makes this one look like a sunday-school picnic. And, notably, we got better at it as we went along! We learned. We learned cruel and ugly lessons, to be sure. But that's what war is like. And we didn't start this war, we didn't ask for it.

I read somewhere that many of the successful generals of the Civil War got their start in the pitiless guerilla fighting in Missouri. As a result, they didn't have any of the illusions of chivalry and gentlemanly conduct and restrained war common among our Victorian soldiers. (Any Civil War buffs out there know more about this?) And no, I'm NOT saying that what worked in the Civil War is what's needed now. I have for instance, argued many times that the countless acts of humanity and decency by our troops are weapons in this war. (And I'd say that the concealment of these deeds by our vile press, and by leftist bloggers and politicians, is a weapon used by the other side.)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:28 PM

Deep moral confusion...

From an appalled feminist...

...The peace movement lost a foe in Reagan but has gone on to find new friends in today’s Stop the War movement. Women pushing their children in buggies bearing the familiar symbol of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament marched last weekend alongside banners proclaiming “We are all Hezbollah now” and Muslim extremists chanting “Oh Jew, the army of Muhammad will return.”

For Linda Grant, the novelist, who says that “feminism” is the one “ism” she has not given up on, it was a shocking sight: “What you’re seeing is an alliance of what used to be the far left with various Muslim groups and that poses real problems. Saturday’s march was not a peace march in the way that the Ban the Bomb marches were. Seeing young and old white women holding Hezbollah placards showed that it’s a very different anti-war movement to Greenham. Part of it feels the wrong side is winning.”...(Thanks to Rand)

That the left has turned sick and evil is rather too obvious to comment on. My question is, were they sick when they opposed Reagan for standing up to the Soviet Union? Or just confused?

Posted by John Weidner at 11:19 AM

August 13, 2006

"into the lazy dog days..."

Great piece in the Washington Post, on the American side of the recent terrorist plot foiled...

It was the last week of July, heading into the lazy dog days of official Washington, but Michael Chertoff was suddenly busy.

The homeland security secretary discreetly asked subordinates about plans developed months or even years ago, focused on aviation safety, threat levels and other minutiae. In briefings, he quizzed staffers about responses to an aviation threat: What was the default plan for going to "orange alert"? What items can we ban from airplanes if we need to?

Those taking the questions -- including many of Chertoff's closest aides -- had no idea what was really going on, two senior counterterrorism officials said....

The secrecy involved was extraordinary. Read about it. Why secrecy? Only one reason folks, because we have traitors. People for whom the only "war" is the war against the Republicans and President Bush. Traitors who would gladly leak this information to the NYT, which would spill the beans in an instant. You think I'm crazy? Think back on Judith Miller calling that Islamic "charity" to tell them they were under investigation.

And the case involved massive amounts of all the things leftists and the ACLU want to stop or hinder. Wiretapping, Internet surveillance, surveillance of young Moslem males and their "social networks," and what the were shopping for, such as GPS devices,

...More than 200 FBI agents and scores of analysts and other personnel would be assigned to the operation in late July and early August, mounting dozens of clandestine surveillance and search operations on individuals with possible links to the London plotters, officials said. Among the individuals were people who had been called or e-mailed by suspects or their relatives and acquaintances, as the FBI combed through layers of the group's "social network" inside the United States...

That's what it takes. Abe Lincoln did exactly the same stuff, and much worse, for the same damn good reasons. Lafayette Baker was tapping telegraph wires instead of e-mails. And snatching suspects in the night and tossing them into Old Capitol Prison, to be squeezed for information much harder than the Bush Administration even dreams of. And Lincoln didn't even think about warrants. Ditto for Wilson and FDR.

And none of it did any damage to our civil liberties, which have been increasing steadily over the entire course of our history. The civil liberties concerns are just a foul lying excuse to attack the administration; leftists never minded the same stuff when Democrat Presidents, including Clinton did them. Sanctimonious frauds.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:04 AM

August 10, 2006

Wave bye-bye...

Charlene woke me up early, said I'd want to read the news. Wow. No kiddin'. Hey, do ya think we are in a war, or something?

Bad day for some folks. We move down the River of Time, and wave bye-bye to those frumpy people with their graying pony-tails and "No War blahblahblah" signs who are stuck on the mud-bank. They are gone, they are melting into the mist...

Of course they will actually still be with us, but more and more they will be like, say, people who are still counting sightings of flying saucers.

When I was a bookseller, I used to sell a children's book titled A Hole Is To Dig. (It had funny children's definitions, such as "toes are to wiggle" or "a hat is to wear on a train.") There's another one that keeps running through my brain: A war is to win.

That's the inescapable logic of war. Somebody wins, somebody loses. There is a modern variant, invented by our "peace" types, which goes: "Let's keep war going for decades and centuries, so nobody loses their Self Esteem." But, sorry, it doesn't work. All they have done is to nourish and nurture the terrorists to the point where more and more people are forced to say, "it's us or them."

Bad day for the Copperheads--they were wrong. Good day for George and Tony--they were right. Thank you! Thank God for leaders who understand that this is a war. And a war is to win. Faster, please.

* Thoughts added as they occur: If my logic is correct, and if we really are in a war, then a "warmonger" is someone who wants the war to end, who longs for peace. And a "pacifist" is someone who wants the war to continue. I'll just sit here and hold my breath waiting for this to be refuted with facts and logic by some pacifist...

* And what a nasty irony, that this should happen the day after the Copperheads repudiated just about the only leader they have who has given unequivocal support to AMERICA'S War on Terror. Thanks, pals, for making it sparkling clear who's on the other side.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:57 AM

August 9, 2006

Conceptual artist...

PowerLine had this good one today. They were unclear about whose work it is; I'll add credit later if possible...

Innocent Hezbollah cartoon

* Update: It's by Australian John Spooner. Thanks, Andrea.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:41 AM

Unintended consequences...

Vin Suprynowicz:

...Today, Hezbollah and Hamas have a problem. All their planning was based on the fact that the world and the United States have never allowed Israel to really win a war -- they always call a cease-fire after a maximum of 20 days.

Can anyone see the terrorists looking around now, wondering when they get their next three years off for rest, refit and resupply? "Hey, it's been the full three weeks. Guys? Anyone? Hello?"

We started out saying war is horrible and is to be avoided whenever possible. But there is a corollary doctrine. If you want a generation of peace, those who launch wars have to be shown this, good and hard....

We have taught Hamas and Hezbollah to make war. Taught them with "ceasefires," which have ingrained the lesson that they can start violent conflicts, and not have to finish them, not have to live with the consequences. We've done it over and over, and the result is war---over and over.

I have no doubt that the church leaders who are now calling for a ceasefire are sincerely seeking peace. But there never was a bigger example of the law of unintended consequences than this one...

Or actually there is. On the very same subject of "ceasefires." Because the biggest ceasefire of them all was the Armistice in November 1918. We know now that Germany was then on the brink of total economic and military collapse. But the war-weary Allies allowed them to sue for peace, and the Great War was ended in a way that left many Germans thinking that their armies had surrendered while they were still intact, and similar in strength to the allies. This was completely false, but it looked to many Germans like they had been "stabbed in the back," and that they could win on the next go-around. Including a fellow named Adolph Hitler...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:32 AM

August 4, 2006

Harbingers...

A friend writes, about Tom Friedman,

Tom threw in the towel today on Iraq. Since he is almost always wrong (zigs when he should zag), this must be a bottom.

Sounds right to me. My question is, has Johnny Apple of the NYT declared Lebanon to be a "quagmire?" I shall be very worried about our friends, until that portent of victory appears...

And also, I've been meaning to link to this post by Rand, which calls Israel....

Israel flag.

THE OTHER LONE-STAR STATE!

Posted by John Weidner at 9:03 AM

August 1, 2006

Clarity...

From Hugh Hewitt, who writes, "Clarity is a very, very good thing. Democratic majorities in either the House or the Senate will compel the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq whether or not the country's young government can survive such a withdrawal..." Clarity indeed. It's good that they are openly in favor of losing a critical campaign in the War. We know where they stand. (We always did, but simple folk have often been fooled by their twistyness.)

WaPo: After months of struggling to forge a unified stance on the Iraq war, top congressional Democrats joined voices yesterday to call on President Bush to begin withdrawing U.S. troops by the end of the year and to "transition to a more limited mission" in the war-torn nation.

With the midterm elections three months away, and Democrats seeing public discontent over Iraq as their best chance for retaking the House or Senate, a dozen key lawmakers told Bush in a letter: "In the interests of American national security, our troops and our taxpayers, the open-ended commitment in Iraq that you have embraced cannot and should not be sustained. . . . We need to take a new direction."...

Notice that that, other than cut-and-run, there is no "new direction." No plan, no vision, no philosophy, nothing proposed as a way to deal with Islamo-fascist terrorism. Not even the ghost of a clear statement of how they view the problem.

They never will come up with a plan or a vision. They can't. They are nihilists. They are empty of any compelling vision of something bigger than themselves; they only wish to feed their own ravenous little egos. To be a leftist is to be a nihilist. To be a "core Democrat" is to be a nihilist.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:54 AM

July 31, 2006

Playing possum?

Varifrank thinks that Israel is playing possum. Looking ineffectual and weak in order to tempt Hezbollah to stay engaged, to stay in the fight, and stay in South Lebanon. And that we are going to see the real moves soon. I HOPE he's right. I worry a lot.

...Arab terrorists have started a war, and they have for once – gotten exactly that in return. And I have to say as revolting as war is, I find this fact to be downright refreshing. Finally, starting a war has consequences beyond who sits on what side of the negotiation table. Finally starting a war might mean that you will lose! What a concept! (It certainly takes all the fun out of it, doesn’t it? – which is precisely why I think the President is following that idea. Terrorism isn’t any fun if it doesn’t get you what you want, but instead costs you everything you have. The first step towards ending terrorism is to stop making it pay as a strategy for engaging the enemy.)...

We have, in truth, allowed terrorism against Israel to pay off, which is one of the main reasons we are in a war on terror ourselves. And the stakes keep getting higher. Iran is supplying missiles by the thousands to Hezbollah, and working on nuclear weapons. (Funny thing how blasé certain people are about that.) The terrorists, and Iran, have promised genocide for the Jews. (Curious also how blasé certain people we all know are about that. Including some purblind Jews.) Roger Simon had a good quote by Trotsky: "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you."

Here's one delightful little chappie whose opinions should by more widely known:

..."We have to keep this sacred hatred of the enemies of Islam alive in our hearts until the time of revenge comes," General Yahya Rahim Safavi was quoted as saying by the semi-official Fars news agency.

"I hope our nation can one day avenge the blood of innocent people in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan," he said, adding: "I ask God to arouse the dignity of Muslims and destroy America, Israel and their associates."

His comments came the day of an Israeli strike that killed 52 people -- more than half of them children -- in the village of Qana, the deadliest attack in its near three-week offensive against Lebanon.

"I ask God that the crimes and atrocities of Zionists hasten the annihilation of this regime. Hezbollah and Lebanese people are invincible and this cancerous tumor... should die," he added, calling on "clerical leaders in the Islamic world (to) clarify the duty of Muslims against Israel."...

All those addle-pates who are demanding that Israel be "proportional" in this war should be very glad that Israel isn't likely to be exactly that.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:59 PM

"the catechism of a ceasefire"

Good post by Dean Barnett, blogging at Hugh Hewitt's...

In his magnificent biography of Winston Churchill, “The Last Lion – Alone: 1932-1940,” William Manchester used the term “the catechism of appeasement” to describe the European powers’ irrational faith in their ability to appease Hitler. In spite of Hitler’s belligerence and plainly evil objectives, the wise men of Europe labored at convincing themselves that their program of appeasing Hitler would be successful.

Regarding the Middle East right now, we have something similar – call it the catechism of a ceasefire. There is nothing that suggests that Hezbollah or its state sponsors want any kind of lasting peace with either Israel or the United States. But the cries for a ceasefire continue. If only the bombs would stop falling, ceasefire proponents seem to argue, we could once again comfortably insert our heads into the sand and pretend all is well.

The fact that we would only defer the true day of reckoning to a later though likely bloodier date seems not to be a consideration....

This is particularly insane with regards to Israel, because we have already been through the "ceasefire" routine many times. The terrorists get to bomb Israeli civilians with near impunity. Then, when Israel decides to counter-attack, and starts killing terrorists, the world suddenly discovers that there is something terrrrrrrible happening, and there are tears shed for innocents, and diplomats flying about like wasps, and candle-light vigils, and...always...demands for a ceasefire. Pressure on Israel for a ceasefire.

Whereupon the terrorists get to feel victorious, and get to rebuild in safety for the inevitable next attack.

Someone once wrote that the purpose of "peacekeepers" is to extend the duration of a war for the longest possible time. The same could be said about Middle East ceasefires. We've gone down that road decade after decade, and the result is always more bloodshed. Not that pacifists and leftists and liberal clergy care about that in the slightest...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:03 PM

July 27, 2006

Are we in a war?

Hugh Hewitt has a good long post on the notion that the attacks on Israel will hurt the Republicans politically...

...As the November elections approach, the same debate has begun as surrounded the 2002 and 2004 contests: Are we in a war, and if so, which party is better equipped to lead it? Reporter Peter Baker anchors his "analysis" to the premise that "[f]or the president, the timing could not be much worse." I cannot imagine any single sentence that could be so very, very wrong. The war and all its deadly seriousness and enormous perils are back at the center of the political debate. Nothing benefits the president more politically than the necessity of serious debate about serious issues. The minimum wage debate and bogus arguments about the deadlines within the prescription drug program just disappear against the backdrop of the existential threat to Israel and the new revelations about the strength of a Hezbollah terror organization operating globally....

Leftists continually push the line that there really is no war, that it's mostly Bush scare-tactics. It's easy for ordinary voters to be fooled during a lull in the action (or, ironically, due to the splendid success of the Administration in protecting us from attacks). But if rockets are raining down on Israeli cities, it tends to concentrate people's minds. Especially because ordinary Americans are not anti-Semitic leftists, and tend to admire the pluck and enterprise of Israel, and sympathize with her fight against vile murdering savages...

Posted by John Weidner at 2:30 PM

Using innocents to provide cover...

Jay Tea, on the deaths of the UN observers...

...[quoting Canadian Major Paeta Hess-von Kruedener] "Team Sierra is currently observing both IDF/IAF and Hezbollah military clashes from our vantage point which has a commanding view of the IDF positions on the Golan mountains to our east and the IDF positions along the Blue Line to our south, as well as, most of the Hezbollah static positions in and around our patrol Base."

In military speak, "static" means not moving, or permanent. Here the Major is saying that Hezbollah has set up regular positions IN and AROUND the UN's base. UNIFIL had allowed Hezbollah to literally move right in with them....

....Hezbollah has already been shown to use any form of innocents it can to provide cover. It stores its weapons in private homes. Israel captured a small arsenal inside a mosque. They set up their offices in apartment buildings. And now we see that they are using UN peacekeepers as unwilling human shields against Israel -- and those peacekeepers, trained soldiers all, are not only staying where they are ordered to, but speaking (as clearly as they can) that they are NOT blaming the Israelis who are dropping the bombs and firing the shells that are landing so close to them.

"...they are using UN peacekeepers as unwilling human shields..." So my question is, where are those people who believe in the UN? Where are those who believe in "international institutions?" Where are their protests?

Here's a good piece on how Hezbollah has made human shields the centerpiece of its tactics:

...Those who have visited any Hezbollah installation in Lebanon over the years always remark on the fact that there are families, women and children, in and around the place. "Secret" bases are usually hidden in plain site. Houses or apartment buildings become weapons storage or even operations centers.  An innocent shed or garage may contain a Toyota or a missile launcher.

Seldom, if ever, has a guerrilla movement been able to so openly and exquisitely weave itself into the fabric of a society as Hezbollah has done in Lebanon...

These are WAR CRIMES! Real war crimes. Committed in broad daylight, for all the world to see. So where are those people who are always complaining about alleged American or Israeli "war crimes?" Where are the protests?

What utter frauds "pacifists" are.
What utter frauds "anti-war" activists are.
What utter frauds "Progressives" are.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:45 AM

July 25, 2006

bitter reality...

I came back, and found myself getting all wound up about the "moral equivalence" crowd. But what's the use, they are morally brain dead, and can palter with any amount of evil, and snap it into their template. But this Israeli puts things well...

...Now, the bitter reality of which Israel’s right wing had warned about all along is beginning to settle in. It is not lost on virtually any Israelis that the two primary fronts on which this war is being conducted are precisely the two fronts from which we withdrew to internationally recognized borders.

We withdrew from Gaza, despite all the internal objections, hoping to move Palestinian statehood – and peace – one step closer. But all we got in return was the election of Hamas, and a barrage of more than 800 Qassams that they refused to end. And then they stole Gilad Shalit. Not from Gaza. Not from some contested no man’s land. From inside the internationally recognized borders of Israel. As if to make sure that we got the point – “There is no place that you’re safe. There is no place to which we won’t take this war. You can’t stay here.”

Because as much as we have wanted to believe otherwise, they have no interest in building their homeland. They only care about destroying ours...(Thanks to a good post by the Anchoress).
Posted by John Weidner at 8:55 AM

July 18, 2006

If we lead, they will follow...

Orrin Judd writes, on Prime Minister Harper's statement of firm support of Israel...

....and we were talking last night about how pleasant it is to have Canada standing with the good guys instead of backstabbing and about how little traction Mr. Harper's critics have been able to gain, particularly the press, which he's made a point of being confrontational towards.

It's also amusing to cast your mind back a few years to when the Left and Realists were certain that George W. Bush's unilateralism was doing irreparable harm to our relations with former allies who would never see the world in our stark moral terms. Funny how those nations have instead been electing leaders who see the world the same way and even the Arabs generally support Israeli unilateralism at this point...

"If we lead, they will follow." Some neo-con said that, I don't remember who. Scorn and abuse followed, but it was the simple truth. It just takes time for peoples and nations to adjust, to adapt to a new world. (And, of course, the theo-cons Bush and Rice have been leading the neo-cons, and cons of all other flavors, reluctant though they may be. Which is just as it should be.)

I'd say that if you are investing in foreign stocks, the best long-term strategy might be to go for those countries that show adaptability, as evinced by the elections of men with the flavor of George W. Bush. Think Harper, Howard, Koizumi, Calderon...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:10 AM

July 17, 2006

Not two wars...only one.

Treppenwitz has some suggestions for things people can do to help Israel... This would be a good time to take a vacation in Israel. One might leave the Northern Galilee 'till next trip. (Or maybe not. There's nothing like a hint of danger to give life savor.) If I had some dough to spare, I'd do it.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:37 AM

There's only one war...

Ben Smith, in the NY Daily News, City's left is torn by Mideast crisis:

The broadening violence in the Middle East is endangering a political species with deep roots in New York: the liberal Israel hawk.
Although parts of the American left are more sympathetic to the Palestinian side of that conflict, "in New York the liberals are Zionists, because they're Jews," says Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn, Queens).

But the anti-war, anti-Bush, pro-Israel "progressive" political space occupied by the likes of the upper West Side's Rep. Jerrold Nadler and national Democrats such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is shrinking.

Israel's American allies are increasingly in the Republican Party, and leading journals of the American left have been skeptical of Israel's aggressive military response to the kidnapping of its soldiers.

Nadler said he sees "an increasing strain on the far left that is unreasonably anti-Israel, which I do not understand." An unwillingness to support Israel's right to defend itself, he said, could be tantamount for supporting the destruction of Israel. "If this kind of support for genocide of Jews continues to infect the left - that's not a left I want to be part of," Nadler said. The criticism of Israel's recent response as "disproportionate" has widened the gap between Democrats who back the Israeli government and their more critical allies.

"I think it's gong to end up pushing them farther apart," said Chris Owens, a Brooklyn congressional candidate who has called for negotiations between Israel and its neighbors...

I yield to no one in my admiration for American Jews--they can keep their heads in the sand with an obstinacy that is truly superhuman. Reality is a bitch, so the wise person just ignores it and keeps doing whatever worked for them when they were young.

You gotta sympathize. How grossly unfair it is when you don't get to chose what side you are going to be on in the big game! Pity the poor Jew, whose natural home is on the Jew-hating God-hating terrorist-supporting Left. Whatcha gonna do? It's hard to feel completely comfy sticking with the side that would happily toss you to the sharks, like Leon Klinghoffer... Yet how unfair it is that reality has allied you with George Bush, Condi Rice and Christian Red-State America! Not just unfair, it's too too tacky!

Posted by John Weidner at 8:08 AM

July 16, 2006

"Realist" fatuity

I think this NYT Op-Ed, An American Foreign Policy That Both Realists and Idealists Should Fall in Love With, is totally muddled...[NOTE: This is a long boring fisking you can skip if you like. The "new foreign policy" is an attempt to be effective without giving up leftist moral relativism, and admitting that we are the good guys. A flat-out impossibility.]

Robert Wright writes:

AS liberals try to articulate a post-Bush foreign policy, some are feeling a bit of cognitive dissonance.

They have always thought of themselves as idealistic, concerned with the welfare of humankind. [Turns out, not so.] Not for them the ruthlessly narrow focus on national self-interest of the “realist” foreign policy school. That school’s most famous practitioner, Henry Kissinger, is for many liberals a reminder of how easily the ostensible amorality of classic realism slides into immorality. [Nixon and Kissinger were liberals.]

Yet idealism has lost some of its luster. Neoconservatism, whose ascendancy has scared liberals into a new round of soul-searching, seems plenty idealistic, bent on spreading democracy and human rights. Indeed, a shared idealism is what led many liberals to join neocons in supporting the Iraq war, which hasn’t turned out ideally. [Are you saying that idealism is only OK if everything works perfectly? Some idealism.] In retrospect, realists who were skeptical of the invasion, like Brent Scowcroft and Samuel Huntington, are looking pretty wise.[Not to me.]

It’s an unappealing choice: chillingly clinical self-interest or dangerously naïve altruism? Fortunately, it’s a false choice. [It's false because there's a third possibility. But this article isn't it, just realism with some frosting on the cupcake.] During the post-cold-war era, the security landscape has changed a lot, in some ways for the worse; witness the role of “nonstate actors” last week in India, Israel and Iraq. But this changing environment has a rarely noted upside: It’s now possible to build a foreign policy paradigm that comes close to squaring the circle — reconciling the humanitarian aims of idealists with the powerful logic of realists. And adopting this paradigm could make the chaos of the last week less common in the future.

Every paradigm needs a name, and the best name for this one is progressive realism. The label has a nice ring (Who is against progress?) and it aptly suggests bipartisan appeal. [Since "progressive" is the latest sneaky pseudonym for leftist, this is really stupid] This is a realism that could attract many liberals and a progressivism that could attract some conservatives.

With such crossover potential, this paradigm might even help Democrats win a presidential election. But Democrats can embrace it only if they’re willing to annoy an interest group or two and also reject a premise common in Democratic policy circles lately: that the key to a winning foreign policy is to recalibrate the party’s manhood — just take boilerplate liberal foreign policy and add a testosterone patch. Even if that prescription did help win an election, it wouldn’t succeed in protecting America. [At least you admit that "boilerplate liberal foreign policy" is not about protecting America.]

Progressive realism begins with a cardinal doctrine of traditional realism: the purpose of American foreign policy is to serve American interests. [Which are what? Exactly?]

But these days serving American interests means abandoning another traditional belief of realists — that so long as foreign governments don’t endanger American interests on the geopolitical chess board, their domestic affairs don’t concern us. In an age when Americans are threatened by overseas bioweapons labs and outbreaks of flu, by Chinese pollution that enters lungs in Oregon, by imploding African states that could turn into terrorist havens, by authoritarian Arab governments that push young men toward radicalism, the classic realist indifference to the interiors of nations is untenable. [Yes. Clearly true.]

In that sense progressive realists look a lot like neoconservatives and traditional liberals: concerned about the well-being of foreigners, albeit out of strict national interest. But progressive realism has two core themes that make it clearly distinctive, and they’re reflected in two different meanings of the word “progressive.”

First, the word signifies a belief in, well, progress. Free markets are spreading across the world on the strength of their productivity, and economic liberty tends to foster political liberty. Yes, the Chinese government could probably reverse the growth in popular expression of the past two decades, but only by severely restricting information technologies that are prerequisites for prosperity. Meanwhile, notwithstanding dogged efforts at repression, political pluralism in China is growing.

Oddly, this progressive realist faith in markets seems to be stronger than the vaunted neoconservative faith in markets. After all, if you believe that history is on the side of political freedom — and that this technological era is giving freedom an especially strong push — your approach to fostering democracy isn’t to invade countries and impose it. And if you believe that the tentacles of capitalism help spread freedom, you don’t threaten to disrupt economic engagement with China for such small gains as the release of a few political prisoners. [In other words, "faith in progress" means you don't have to actually DO anything. Dems should love that.]

A strong Democratic emphasis on economic engagement always threatens to alienate liberal human rights activists, as well as union leaders concerned about cheap labor abroad. But the losses can be minimized, thanks to the second meaning of the word “progressive.” [Toss 'em some Tranzi bones, to shut them up.]

II.

The American progressives of a century ago saw that as economic activity moved from a regional to a national level, some parts of governance needed to reside at the national level as well. Hence federal antitrust enforcement and the Pure Food and Drug Act. Analogously, problems that today accompany globalization call for institutionalized international responses.

In the economic realm, progressivism means continuing to support the World Trade Organization as a bulwark against protectionism — but also giving it the authority [What kind of authority, exactly? And do we get to VOTE on this stuff? Of course not.] to address labor issues, as union leaders have long advocated. Environmental issues, too, should be addressed at the W.T.O. and through other bodies of regional and global governance. [And if they fail? As they usually do? Or if they act against American interests...The "Progessive" does...what?]

Nowhere does this emphasis on international governance contrast more clearly with recent Republican ideology than in arms control. The default neoconservative approach to weapons of mass destruction seems to be that when you suspect a nation has them, you invade it. [Simply a LIE. This has never been the Republican OR neo-con position.] The Iraq experience suggests that repeated reliance on this policy could grow wearying. The president, to judge by his late-May overture toward Iran and his subdued tone toward North Korea, may be sensing as much. [Neither country has ever been a good candidate for invasion. And if we are planning invasions, they are not on the back burner because we are "weary," but because our will to prosecute the WOT has been deliberately sabotaged and undermined by traitor Democrats.]

Still, he is nowhere near embracing the necessary alternative: arms control accords that would impose highly intrusive inspections on all parties. [Because they ALWAYS FAIL against rogue regimes, and are unnecessary against all others. You write "impose." WHO imposes? By what amount of force? What army? The UN? The World government?" As soon as one asks the question, one sees that only the USA could "impose" anything of the kind.] Neoconservatives, along with the Buchananite nationalist right, see in this approach an unacceptable sacrifice of national sovereignty. [And YOUR position on national sovereignty is? Could you be specific here?]

But such “sacrifices” can strengthen America. One reason international weapons inspectors haven’t gotten a good fix on Iran’s nuclear program is that the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty gives them access only to “declared” sites. Wouldn’t Americans be willing to change that and let inspectors examine America more broadly — we have nothing to hide, after all — if that made it harder for other nations to cheat on the treaty? [Is this stupid, or what? Why would the Iranians or other rogue nations become more cooperative just because inspectors inspect our weapons, which everyone already knows exist?]

There is a principle here that goes beyond arms control: the national interest can be served by constraints on America’s behavior when they constrain other nations as well. This logic covers the spectrum of international governance, from global warming (we’ll cut carbon dioxide emissions if you will) to war (we’ll refrain from it if you will). [And if they DON'T? You are left with...what? But even before that, the absurd thing about this kind of thinking is that "progressives" only get EXCITED about the "restraining America" part. We see this every day, in the WOT. They will ALWAYS go mushy when it comes to "constraining other nations."]

This doesn’t mean joining the deepest devotees of international law and vowing never to fight a war that lacks backing by the United Nations Security Council. But it does mean that, in the case of Iraq, ignoring the Security Council and international opinion had excessive costs: (1) eroding the norm against invasions not justified by self-defense or imminent threat; (2) throwing away a golden post-9/11 opportunity to strengthen the United Nations’ power as a weapons inspector. The last message we needed to send is the one President Bush sent: countries that succumb to pressure to admit weapons inspectors will be invaded anyway. Peacefully blunting the threats posed by nuclear technologies in North Korea and Iran would be tricky in any event, but this message has made it trickier. (Ever wonder why Iran wants “security guarantees”?) [It was only the threat of invasion that got the inspectors into Iraq, where they were blatantly hindered from doing anything. And Blix was put in charge, against our wishes, precisely because certain nations on the Security Council knew he could be trusted to "see no evil." And if WMD's had been found, it would still have been the USA and the Axis of Good that would have to force action. The same if inspectors found WMD's in Iran.]

The administration’s misjudgment in Iraq highlights the distinction — sometimes glossed over by neoconservatives — between transparency and regime change. Had we held off on invasion, demanding in return that United Nations inspections be expanded and extended, we could have rendered Iraq transparent, confirming that it posed no near-term threat. Regime change wasn’t essential. [This simply ignores the ever-more clear support of terrorism by Saddam, the massive humanitarian crises, the crumbling of the sanctions regime, and several other pressing reasons for invasion.]

To be sure, authoritarianism’s demise is a key long-term goal. Authoritarian states never have the natural transparency of free-market democracies, and the evolution of biotechnology will make an increasingly fine-grained transparency vital to security. But this degree of transparency will only slowly become a strict prerequisite for national security, because the bioweapons most plausibly available to terrorists in the near term aren’t effective weapons of truly mass destruction. (Anthrax isn’t contagious, for example, and there is a vaccine for smallpox.) For now we can be patient and nurture regime change through economic engagement and other forms of peaceful, above-board influence. [Oh right. Let us NURTURE! We've heard that stuff before. It always means "don't make waves."]

The result will be more indigenous, more culturally authentic paths to democracy than flow from invasion or American-backed coups d’état — and more conducive to America’s security than, say, the current situation in Iraq. Democrats can join President Bush in proclaiming that “freedom is on the march” without buying his formula for assisting it. [You there! Yes YOU, the 8 million Iraqis with purple fingers. Your democracy is not "culturally authentic." You risked your lives for nothing. The all-wise "Progressives" think your democracy should "evolve." Slowwwwly. Out of "authentic" sources, which presumably means the Ba'ath Party, which was surely going to "evolve" soon. But only If "nurtured."]

When expressing disdain for international governance, the Bush administration morphs from visionary neocon idealist into coolly rational realist. Foreign policy, we’re told, is not for naïve, “Kumbaya”-singing liberals who are seduced by illusions of international cooperation. [Everything I've read here so far says that Bush is right.]

Yet the president, in his aversion to multilateralism, flunks Realism 101. He has let America fall prey to what economists call the “free rider” problem. Even if we grant the mistaken premise that the Iraq war would make the whole world safer from terrorism, why should America pay so much blood and treasure? Why let the rest of civilization be a free rider? [Why? 1. Because we are the good guys, not selfish "realists." 2. Because things always only get fixed if the strong LEAD. 3. We BENEFIT the most, because we benefit the most from Globalization, which is really the spread of OUR system throughout the world. And the blood and treasure are trivial compared to past wars.]

The high cost of free riders matters all the more in light of how many problems beyond America’s borders threaten America’s interests. The slaughter in Darfur, though a humanitarian crisis, is also a security issue, given how hospitable collapsed states can be to terrorists. But if addressing the Darfur problem will indeed help thwart terrorism internationally, then the costs of the mission should be shared. [Nothing will happen unless America leads. That's the brutal fact that this article is trying to squirm away from. And because the President's political capital is limited, he must focus on only the most pressing issues. If the Democrats SUPPORTED America, we could fix Darfur tomorrow, and probably drag in some reluctant partners too. DEMOCRATS, LIBERALS are killing blacks in Darfur, right now, by hindering the President, instead of urging him to action. The blood is on your hands, lefty. Pacifism kills.]

President Bush’s belated diplomatic involvement in Darfur suggests growing enlightenment, but sluggish ad hoc multilateralism isn’t enough. We need multilateral structures capable of decisively forceful intervention and nation building — ideally under the auspices of the United Nations, which has more global legitimacy than other candidates. [Sudan is part of the UN! Plus China, which is hungry for oil from Sudan, and many countries who wish mostly to thwart our interests, or who think Moslems killing blacks is no bad thing. To expect ANYTHING good to come out of the UN slimehole is fatuous.] America should lead in building these structures and thereafter contribute its share, but only its share. To some extent, the nurturing of international institutions and solid international law is simple thrift.

And the accounting rules are subtle. As we’ve seen lately, the cost of military action can go not just beyond dollars and cents, but beyond the immediate toll of dead and wounded. In an age when cellphones can take pictures and videos of collateral damage and then e-mail them, and terrorists recruit via Web site imagery, intervention abroad can bring long-term blowback. [Uh, and if the UN were involved such things would not happen?]

Further, when you consider the various ways information technology helps terrorists — not just to recruit more fighters to the cause, but to orchestrate attacks and spread recipes for munitions — and you throw in advances in munitions technology, an alarming principle suggests itself: In coming years, grass-roots hatred and resentment of America may be converted into the death of Americans with growing efficiency. [But the UN NEVER stimulates hatred of the US...]

That domestic security depends increasingly on popular sentiment abroad makes it important for America to be seen as a good global citizen — respecting international laws and norms and sensing the needs of neighbors. One of President Bush’s most effective uses of power was the tsunami relief effort of 2004, which raised regard for Americans in the world’s largest Muslim country, Indonesia. Much of the war on terror isn’t military. [No duh! And WHO DID IT? Bush, and the incomparable US military, with some help from the Axis of Good. While the UN and Old Europe were utterly useless and selfish. So what is the lesson here, Mr Wright?]

Of course, some of it is, and we’ll need the capacity to project force anywhere, anytime. Still, a full accounting of the costs of intervention makes it clear that we can’t afford to be the world’s army... [Rubbish. Our current military spending is roughly comparable to the rest of the world's combined. Yet we are not straining our economy, and our spending as a % of GDP is well below Cold War highs.]

[I'll snip out a section where Wright says, correctly, that Globalization is causing a decline in world conflict, and then calls for--this will surprise you--yet MORE international institutions!]

IV.

And I'll nip out a section on "realism," and how it requires--surprise, surprise--more international institutions. Here's the crux:

....This sounds harsh, but it is only acknowledgment of something often left unsaid: a nation’s foreign policy will always favor the interests of its citizens and so fall short of moral perfection... [That is a failed idea. I think so, and George Bush and Condaleeza Rice think so. America is a profoundly moral nation, grounded in Christian and Jewish principles. "Realism" is an amoral policy that often serves to advance evil. ]

...Harnessing this benign dynamic isn’t the only redemptive feature of progressive realism. Morgenthau emphasized that sound strategy requires a “respectful understanding” of all players in the game. “The political actor,” he wrote, “must put himself into the other man’s shoes, look at the world and judge it as he does.” [Bullshit. One should chart a moral and world-uplifting course, and attempt to LEAD in that direction.]

This immersion in the perspective of the other is sometimes called “moral imagination,” and it is hard. Understanding why some people hate America, and why terrorists kill, is challenging not just intellectually but emotionally. [And somehow it always leads to the conclusion that we should do little or nothing.] Yet it is crucial and has been lacking in President Bush, who saves time by ascribing behavior that threatens America to the hatred of freedom or (and this is a real time saver) to evil. [Which somehow usually leads to vigorous moral action. (And, as in Kissinger's famous joke, it has the additional advantage of being true.)] As Morgenthau saw, exploring the root causes of bad behavior, far from being a sentimentalist weakness, informs the deft use of power. Realpolitik is reality-based. [No, it's a twisted fantasy. If "realists" had been in charge, much of the world would still be groaning under Communist tyranny. (And we'd still be supporting an army three times as big as now!) If "realists" had been in charge Iraqis would still be going feet-first into the shredders.]

Is progressive realism salable? The administration’s post-9/11 message may be more viscerally appealing: Rid the world of evil, and do so with bravado and intimidating strength. But this approach has gotten some negative feedback from the real world, [Negative feedback! Oh dear! We can't endure that!] and there is a growing desire for America to regain the respect President Bush has squandered. [That wasn't respect. Complicity in ignoring evil is more like it.] Maybe Americans are ready to meet reality on its own terms. [We are.]

You know what I really DESPISE about realists? (And pacifists and liberal Christians and leftists?) Whatever they do or say, it's always someone else who has to suffer for their ideas. They put on a big show of being "realistic" (or moral, or peaceful, or spiritual) but by some mysterious alchemy it's always some poor devil in another country, or another neighborhood, who has to pay the price.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:47 PM

July 15, 2006

More murk...

Charlene and I were both keenly disappointed in Cardinal Secretary of State Sodano's statement about the conflict between Israel and Hamas and Hezbollah. Particularly this:

..."In particular, the Holy See deplores the attack on Lebanon, a free and sovereign nation, and gives assurances of its closeness to those people who have suffered so much in the defense of their own independence...

Uh, Israel is also a "free and sovereign nation," and its civilian population is being showered by hundreds of Iranian-made rockets fired from...Lebanon. Fired by a group that has members in the Lebanese Parliament.

This is the usual rubbishing Euro "moral equivalence." Or maybe "un-equivalence," since the terrorists always get the best of these arguments. But it should be noted that Sodano retires in a month, and Bertone of Genoa is coming in. I have hope that shafts of light will soon start shining down into certain murky corners of St Peter's.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:59 AM

July 14, 2006

building permits include bomb shelters...

Yoni writes...

Last night 100 million Americans were ordered to spend the night in their bomb shelters.

If this was the news how would America respond to the threat that caused 1/3 of the total population to spend the night in their bomb shelters?

Last night 2 million Israelis, 1/3 of Israel's population, were order to spend the night in their bomb shelters. How many of you could live for 50 plus years in a situation where when you built a new house in order to get a building permit a bomb shelter had to be part of your new house?

Respond? How would we respond? Well I can tell you one thing, the moral equivalence/pacifism/appeasement crowd would be driven out of public life the very next day. And a great many Americans would shake off the foul drug of leftism overnight, and those who were too deranged to do so would start creeping very small, and hoping to avoid a richly deserved coat of tar 'n feathers. And I'd be buying the stock of Raytheon, 'cause we would need a lot of TLAM's.

Unfortunately the pattern of the last 50 years has been to force Israel to be proxy-victim for the people who would love to have their own countries abase themselves and crawl to tyrants and terrorists to beg forgiveness for Western Civilization.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:40 AM

July 12, 2006

Damascus KFC to open soon...

Hugh Hewitt writes

The news that Hezbollah has kidnapped two Israeli soldiers and that Israel has responded by invading Lebanon underscores the reality that Israel has no choice in the current situation.

Hamas wants a war with Israel. Hezbollah wants a war with Israel.

When that war comes in full force, the West should make a stand in the U.N. and everywhere else and be very clear about the fact that the war was one of choice for the Islamist militias, and that Israel was obliged to accept war, but did not chose it...

The terrorists want a war, Israel should give them what they want. But the real war-mongers are in Syria and Iran. Hopefully the Israelis will head for Damascus, and obliterate anybody who looks at them cross-eyed. Then we can step in and kick those nasty ol' Jews out...and since things will be fairly chaotic, why it will be our simple duty to help out, with the same sort of stuff we are doing in Iraq. (And, what a coincidence, we have a small army right next door, with less and less to do. We can give Congressman Murtha what he wants, and start "re-deploying" out of Iraq. Syria's halfway to Okinawa, you know.) Freedom, democracy, economic opportunity...how the lefties will howl.

Of course, to them, everything will be Israel's fault. But nothing Israel could do, short of suicide, would appease them, so their opinions should carry zero weight. (Not, mind you, that I'm saying that they are anti-Semitic. Any Jew who's dead or lying on the ground bleeding has their complete sympathy. Providing a Christian did it. If an Arab did it, then the Jew deserved what he got.)

The world's criticism will mostly be heaped on the Jews, not the terrorists. This reminds me of an Israeli joke I once heard: You know that the Romans used to have Christians eaten by lions in the Arena. What you may not know is that they did the same to Jews, but with a twist. The Jews were always buried up to their necks. One day when this was happening, a lion was stepping over one of the Jews, who stretched his head up and bit the lion on the tenderest part. The entire audience immediately rose up, and with one voice screamed, "Fight fair, Jew!"

Posted by John Weidner at 3:46 PM

July 7, 2006

A few more senators, and we can put him on the Court..

How I admire John Yoo. A voice of sanity and clarity. Read this one:

...Long-standing U.S. practice recognizes that the president, as commander in chief, plays the leading role in wartime. Presidents have started wars without congressional authorization, and they have exercised complete control over military strategy and tactics. They can act with a speed, unity and secrecy that the other branches of government cannot match. By contrast, legislatures are large, diffuse and slow. Their collective design may make them better for deliberating over policy, but at the cost of delay and lack of resolve.

The Sept. 11 attacks succeeded in part because our government was mired in a terrorism-as-crime approach that worried less about preventing attacks than about hypothetical threats to civil liberties — hence the "wall" preventing our law enforcement and intelligence agencies from sharing information. Our laws considered war as conflict only between nations and failed to anticipate the rise of non-state terrorist organizations that could kill 3,000 Americans, destroy the World Trade Center and damage the Pentagon in a single day.

Bush invoked his constitutional authority to fight this shadowy enemy that does not wear uniforms, targets civilians and violates every rule of civilized warfare. Like George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Lincoln and FDR, Bush established military commissions to try enemy combatants for war crimes. If the commander in chief couldn't have taken wartime actions on his own, then the slaves would have remained Confederate property during the Civil War and Britain would not have fully benefited from American aid and military support before World War II....
(Thanks to Orrin)

I had kind of forgotten about what FDR did before the US entered WWII. But it was, in fact, a shocking "power grab," and some of it was probably grossly illegal for any non-emergency situation.

But FDR was right, and that's what Presidents do! That's what we have them for. To act. The writers of the Constitution certainly considered having everything run by the legislature. But they were as wise and experienced bunch of constitution-drafters as have ever assembled on the face of the earth. They had, many of them, helped write constitutions for their states, and they had fought through a long messy war whose contours were almost as shifty and treacherous as the one we are in now. They knew.

And we have a counter-example. Boy-oh-boy do we ever.

Jimmy Carter was warned by his national security advisors that Russia was likely to invade Afghanistan for a year before it happened. And he ignored them! And, like all of today's fake Christian-pacifist-lefty hand-wringers, he loved (and still does) dictators. And loved any rules that restrain the US, and put power into the hands of "International" organizations. And hated the very idea of America intervening in the world to support freedom.

So nothing was done. And millions died. And millions fled to hideous refugee camps.

(This is also the perfect counter example to those mired-in-the-past lefties who still bring up the overthrow of Mossadeqh, as if it were some horrible thing. But the result was that Iran did not fall into the Soviet orbit, millions did not die, millions did not end up in stinking hell-holes.)

* Update: I had made a bit of a vow to give up Carter-bashing, after I read about how he led an international effort that eradicated a particularly grotesque (don't look it up, you don't want to know) tropical disease. But the logic of this post was just too compelling. In penance, I will say ...*gulp*...that Jimmy Carter has his good points.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:20 AM

July 5, 2006

We SHOULD be offending people...

Hitch, clarity as usual:

...If I was to interrupt this article every few sentences, asking you whether or not I was making a good impression on you, I hope and believe that you would think I was a servile jerk. Yet this is what our politicians are doing in every speech (most notably in the absurd recent debate on “flag-burning”) and this is apparently what we hire Karen Hughes to do in our public diplomacy.

Faced with a complete beast like the late Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi, who has been trying to kill us for several years, millions of Americans appear to believe that he only appeared in Iraq because in some way we made him upset. Well, even if this was true — which it is not — it wouldn’t be such a bad thing. (What would you say to a policy that made him contented, instead?).

Thus, for a Fourth of July message, I would suggest less masochism, more confidence on the American street, and less nervous reliance on paper majorities discovered by paper organizations.

Happy Independence Day.

We SHOULD be pissing the al-Zarqawis off, to the point that they try to kill us. In a war against guerillas or terrorists, the main problem is getting the enemy to come out and fight. If al-Zarqawi is trying to kill us, that's good. If al-Zarqawi is hiding and plotting, that's bad. It will kill a lot more of us in the long run, and lead to future wars.

Appeasers and pacifists and all the fools who think we should be "sensitive" are trying to kill you (and your children and grandchildren). To minimize casualties and destruction, we should fight aggressively. In fact we should project the appearance of pugnacious craziness. The best strategic move of the war has been the Iraq Campaign, which has forced thousands of terrorist loonies into the fight. (And the schwerpunkt is the introduction of democracy into Iraq and the Arab world. That's what they really fear, them and their western leftist allies.)

I read that the Church of England is thinking of getting rid of St George as a patron, because he is too "warlike," and might offend Moslems. Servile jerks. Not only do they make it obvious that they are post-Christian, but that's the very worst thing to do if you are worried about trouble from Islamic crazies. It's like walking around with a sign on your back that says "kick me." And our own sensitive plants are on exactly the same wavelength. Murderers.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:36 PM

June 29, 2006

Activists to protest war crime...

I'll just sit hear and wait for pacifists and leftists and "anti-war" activists to get the old candle-light vigil going for this victim of a brutal and pointless war crime. (Ha ha. I sure am in a silly mood today.)

Eliyahu Asheri, teenage victim of Palestinian animals
Jerusalem Post. The IDF confirmed early Thursday a report
the Popular Resistance Committees issued from Gaza that
it had executed Eliyahu Asheri, 18, of Itamar,
who was kidnapped earlier this week in the West Bank.
Asheri's family has been notified.

C'mon, Bolshies. Take a hard look at this guy and tell us how he's a brutal Imperialist aggressor who deserved to die.

The one good thing is that Gaza is no longer Israeli territory. So this attack is a clear-cut cold-blooded act of aggressive war. Israel has a perfect right to retaliate however it sees fit. (Since Israel is led by human beings, it will, like the US, try to conform to the laws of war. But it has no legal obligation to do so against this sort of criminal enemy.)

Posted by John Weidner at 11:47 AM

June 28, 2006

Thought for the day...

...We wish the IDF well in their noble effort to rescue a comrade and to punish the psychopathic terrorists who make life in the region so difficult.
    -- John Hinderaker, at PowerLine
Posted by John Weidner at 6:16 AM

June 26, 2006

It's just as much murder as putting a bullet in someone's head..

The chairman of the House homeland security committee urged the Bush administration on Sunday to seek criminal charges against newspapers that reported on a secret financial-monitoring program used to trace suspected terrorists.

Representative Peter King cited the New York Times in particular for publishing a story last week that said the Treasury Department was working with the CIA to examine messages within a massive international database of money-transfer records...

..."We're at war, and for the Times to release information about secret operations and methods is treasonous," King told The Associated Press...
.[Link. Thanks to PowerLine]

Someone Talked...It Was A Liberal

Thank God somebody in government has the guts to say the obvious, that when someone openly violates the law, they should be prosecuted. Unfortunately he's in the wrong Branch.

And the really uggle thing is, that in the latest NYT-LAT atrocity, about the financial surveillance, they themselves admit that the program is effective and legal. (And, though they didn't mention it, was only concerned with institutional transfers, not your bank account or mine.) There was not even the coloration of any valid civil liberties concerns. Frauds.

By aiding terrorists, the NYT is killing people just as much as if they went out and gunned them down.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:38 AM

June 24, 2006

How many Moslems are there in India?

Dave T posted a question at this previous post, when I mentioned restrictions on civil liberties ending "when the danger has passed" in previous wars. He asks: When will the danger pass in this so-called war?

Good question! And RJ is always the place to go, for more of an answer than any sensible person would want.

Obviously there will be no Armistice, no signing of papers on the Battleship Missouri. We are in the realm of "fuzzy logic" and fuzzy boundaries, but that should not daunt us. I suspect the ability to judge those to a nicety is part of our evolutionary heritage. skills learned from assessing the situation on the savannah. For instance, we urbanites are twitchily sensitive to crime. We will walk along one block, but not the next--it doesn't feel right. And when crime is reduced, as was done amazingly in New York City under Mayor Giuliani, you read stories about how people are returning to this place or that, or riding the subway later at night...

It's the same with terrorism in Israel. The building of the wall has brought new life and prosperity to various places. People know. They go to their favorite pizza joint not because they think the danger is zero, but because they instinctively calculate that it is now too low to justify missing out on the pleasures of life.

We are making the same calculations right now about the WOT. The loony left probably imagines that conservatives are salivating over the prospect of endless war. But in fact responsible conservative opinion seems to be agreeing that we are a good way along, and maybe even at the halfway point. For instance we have uncovered several ugly bomb plots lately. That says there is still danger. But, the plots are much less impressive in skill and organization than earlier ones. Plus there's the simple fact that we have uncovered them, and also that the successful bombings since 9/11 have not been nearly as deadly as many had feared. I'd say that when we go 2 years with no new serious plots uncovered, we will all start to agree that it looks like the war is ending. And democracy itself is an extremely efficient mechanism for turning millions of people's thoughts and hunches into conclusions.

Our efforts to find terrorists hiding within peaceable countries is one front of the war...

There are two other "fronts," on both of which we have made substantial and fairly measurable progress. First, the roots of most of the terrorism are found in the despotism and hopelessness that exist in many Moslem countries. When people don't have personal opportunities, and can't vote out bad leaders, this combines with certain other frustrations common in the Moslem world into a dangerous brew. It is easy to assess this by asking: How many Moslems are there in India? (about 130 mil.) And how many have joined al Qaeda? None that I've heard of.

Hence the second front, the Administration's push for democracy and better government in the ME. It's not only a good thing, it is an effective war weapon. (Unfortunately our efforts have been sabotaged and undercut by people who claim to want "peace," and many a brutal murdering tyrant is digging in his heels and "waiting Bush out," hoping for his friends to gain the White House.)

But none the less, we are making clear progress. It is important to remember that, in its capacity as a weapon, democratization does not have to work very well. It doesn't have to be like New Hampshire town meetings. Even if the political battles get murderous, they still mean that the focus is internal and political. Even with the violence in certain parts of Iraq, we don't hear of Iraqis heading off to terrorist training camps or madrassas elsewhere. They are focused on their own political scene. And thanks to our friends at al Jazeera, the whole Arab world is watching. This movement isn't going to stop.

The third front is the terror-supporting countries. Here again, we are obviously making steady progress, and the idea that we are faced with endless war is puerile. Libya, and for the most part Afghanistan are out of the game, Saudi Arabia is cracking down, Pakistan is still a mess, but, increasingly, fighting with itself rather than easily exporting terror. (And we are learning much more now about Saddam's support of terrorists, and we now know that chopping him was a bigger victory than we realized.) The big question mark is IRAN (!) which is and long has been the #1 terror-supporting country. Until there is regime-change in Iran, the war can't be ended.

Iran is the clear and obvious next move in the game. And has been so from the beginning (remember "Axis of Evil?") The fall of the Mullahs would be a huge step towards peace, and if it happens we will probably start talking about "mopping up." But any move the administration makes will require political capital. Unfortunately, the President's political enemies are not supporting their country in time of war (although Republicans supported them loyally when they got us into conflicts that make this one look like a little girls tea-party.) SO, what does this political impasse mean? It means that the war will probably drag along for a lot longer than necessary.

Or maybe not. My guess is that Bush will act against Iran. Probably after the next elections. He's a man. And not the sort to kick such a can along to the next administration. The peaceniks will, as always, do their best for war and tyranny, but they've lost too much credibility by their deranged anti-Americanism and transparent partisanship masked with phony peace sentiments.

My guess: Iran neutralized by 2008, the conflict by 2011 reduced to a level of "background noise" that we will all, by common consent, no longer call war.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:04 PM

June 22, 2006

50 to zip...

From an article by Cap Weinberger and Wynton Hall...

...Case in point: the New York Times and their love affair with the Abu Ghraib prison abuses. To date, the New York Times has devoted over 50 front page articles to the story! Currently, not a single individual chronicled in our book, Home of the Brave: Honoring the Unsung Heroes in the War on Terror, - some of the most highly decorated members of the United States military - has received a front-page story devoted to his or her valorous actions. Even when Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the best the New York Times could muster was a story buried on page 13. A nation that ignores or worse attacks its heroes erodes and disparages its own ethos...

The NYT has no interest in our ethos. America's, that is. They hate this country, because it elects Republicans and is a living breathing refutation of the statism they represent.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:37 AM

Thank you!

A Paratrooper who ran to the aid of a wounded American soldier while under heavy fire could be among the first British troops to be awarded a gallantry medal in Afghanistan.

Pte Peter McKinley has been praised by his commanders for a "massive display of bravery" after saving the life of the US sergeant in one of the most intense battles 3 Bn the Parachute Regiment has experienced during its deployment to Helmand province....Pte McKinley, 21, was part of a 100-strong force of Paras that came to the rescue of an American convoy of 10 vehicles that had been ambushed near the town of Sangin in northern Helmand.

The Americans had taken high ground where the Paras formed a defensive cordon, but as darkness descended a force of 30 heavily armed Taliban crept close to their position and opened fire with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns...

Link. Thanks to Jim Miller

Posted by John Weidner at 5:21 AM

June 16, 2006

This is very good news...

Leftists tend to picture America as a warmonger, but in fact our main problem in the WOT is that, like any democracy, we have no enthusiasm for long frustrating campaigns in distant lands. (Which is one of the reasons the terrorists fight the way they do.) Our problem is that we are NOT warmongers, so only self-discipline can enable us to stay the course. From the LAT:

The Iraq war is the most immediate foreign policy problem besetting the Bush administration. But as a political issue, the White House and top Republican strategists have concluded that the war is a clear winner.

GOP officials intend to base the midterm election campaign partly on talking up the war, using speeches and events to contrast President Bush's policies against growing disagreement among leading Democrats over whether to support immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops...

The job of a politician is to both lead and follow. They must both follow the wishes of the voters, but also, especially in grave issues of war and peace, provide clear leadership and ask the voters for their support. I had started to wonder about the Republicans, so I find all this to be very good news indeed.

....Republican lawmakers and strategists said Wednesday that the campaign to frame the Iraq debate would play out over the summer and into the fall, focusing on battleground congressional districts and states with competitive Senate races.

Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman has already sent an e-mail to 15 million supporters asking them to reject "craven, politically motivated demands for instant withdrawal."....

Notice, friends, that there's no "October surprise," no need to be sneaky. The plan is announced. Having "nothing to hide" is the best secret strategy of all. Pure Rove. Thank you Karl.

...Officially, the House debate will be the first time the chamber has argued the pros and cons of the invasion and occupation of Iraq since the war began more than three years ago. But Democrats, who have repeatedly called for debate on the war, have denounced this week's events as little more than a political trap to embarrass them and force acquiescence with the administration's policy...

Whereas the pathetic puke-worthy Democrats have to scurry away from their own strategy, not to mention the Republican strategy. The "calling for a debate" scam is the same silly thing they did in 2003. If you want to debate, turkeys, start a debate! No one is stopping you. You can introduce your own resolutions, you can say whatever you like.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:19 AM

June 15, 2006

"The very goodness of life, the goodness of being..."

Charlene and I, normally as simpatico as any couple can be, tend to differ on one point, which comes up like a recurring speed-bump in our conversations. Usually over some new Islamist outrage, usually in Europe, something like the rioting and threats over the Mohammed cartoons.

She thinks it's all part of a movement, a conspiracy, a plot, and must be stopped! I respond that there's no active plot, but rather, that these enormities are being drawn out, summoned, by the moral vacuum in the soul of Western Christian society, especially (but not exclusively) in Europe. And that if a country like Denmark had even a tenth of the moral self-confidence it had a hundred years ago, there is no way a crowd of shit-kicking North African peasant immigrants would even think of making demands and committing blatant crimes.

Which is why I found this quote, from a column by George Weigel, very apposite to my thoughts:

...[Prof. Rémi] Brague, who knows a great deal about Islamic philosophy, knows all about the threat to the West from jihadist Islam. In Vienna, however, he insisted that nihilism – a soured cynicism about the mystery and wonder of being — is the prior enemy-within-the-gates. For nihilism leads to deep skepticism about the human capacity to know the truth of anything; skepticism leads to what Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger described on April 18, 2005, as the “dictatorship of relativism;” and relativism is a solvent eating away the foundations of western self-understanding, western civilizational morale — and the western capacity for intelligent self-defense.

An Enlightenment intellectual, cited by Professor Brague, once said that he didn’t have children because begetting children was a criminal act — a matter of condemning another human being to death, to oblivion. That is the kind of nihilism that lies beneath Europe’s demographic suicide of recent decades. That is the kind of nihilism that occupies some of the commanding heights of American culture. That is the kind of nihilism that makes the defense of western civilization difficult today — and would make it impossible tomorrow, were it to triumph culturally.

The very goodness of life, the goodness of being — that is The Issue beneath all the other issues of the 21st century. So suggested Rémi Brague. I’m afraid he’s right...

"The Issue beneath all the other issues". I too am afraid he is right.

(You can access Weigel's columns here.)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:49 AM

June 14, 2006

Common understanding...wrong.

Excellent summary in OpinionJournal, on the case law and constitutionality of the news media's claim that they can, with impunity, under cover of the First Amendment, betray our country by publishing classified information. They can't. Period.

There's also another matter covered, of interest to bloggers...

....The second extraordinary claim made by Mr. Keller that needs to be addressed is the notion that the First Amendment's Freedom of the Press creates a special preserve for the institutionalized press, as opposed to ordinary citizens. Although this is a common understanding among reporters and newspaper editors, it is wrong. The Freedom of the Press was designed to protect the published word of all citizens, not just an institutionalized fourth estate. As one of the anti-federalist opponents of ratification of a constitution that did not include a bill of rights noted, the liberty of the press insures that "the people have the right of expressing and publishing their sentiments upon every public measure . . . . "

James Madison's initial proposal for the First Amendment clearly expressed this common understanding, guaranteeing the right of the people "to speak, to write, or to publish their sentiments." Roger Sherman's own proposal a month later mirrored Madison's: "The people have certain natural rights which are retained by them when they enter into society, Such are the rights . . . of Speaking, writing and publishing their Sentiments with decency and freedom . . . . Of these rights therefore they Shall not be deprived by the government of the united States." These formulations were drawn from the amendments proposed by several of the state ratifying conventions, and lest their be any doubt that "freedom of the press" was synonymous with the right of the people generally to speak, write, and publish their sentiments, the Pennsylvania proponents of a Bill of Rights made that amply clear: "That the people have a right to the freedom of speech, of writing, and of publishing their sentiments, therefore (emphasis added), the freedom of the press shall not be restrained by any law of the United States."

As my Claremont Institute colleague Thomas West has noted, what is protected is not just the right to use a printing press or to go into the newspaper business, but the right of every citizen to publish, to make and distribute copies of words and/or pictures communicating his or her sentiments to the public. The founders would never have accepted the view that the freedom of the press is limited to members of a particular industry called "the press" or "the media."....

If I ran the circus, Mr K and his colleagues would be treated to sabbaticals, to give them some time for reflection, aided by soft tropic breezes, warm sunshine, three squares a day, and respectful servants who put on gloves before touching any Korans.

Publishing ones ideas, by the way, always requires some expenditure of money. If you are not allowed to pay to get your thought before the public, then you are in effect being forbidden to publish. The legislation know as 'Campaign Finance Reform" is as clearly unconstitutional as anything can be. But you already knew that.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:33 AM

June 9, 2006

Where "realism" makes sense...

From The Telegraph. (Thanks to Orrin)

Washington scored a significant victory in its contest with Moscow for influence in Central Asia yesterday when Kazakhstan agreed to start pumping oil to the West through a British Petroleum pipeline that bypasses Russia and Iran. [Central Asia. Bet you don't learn a lot about that corner of the globe from the Nightly News.]

The deal, secured largely because of a personal visit to Kazakhstan last month by Dick Cheney, the United States vice-president, will infuriate the Kremlin. [Thank you, Mr Vice President. Yet again.]

But there will be secret relief in European capitals, where there is growing concern over Russia's apparent willingness to use its vast energy supplies as a political weapon. [You know, there's a lot of that "secret relief" stuff whenever America does the heavy lifting. Parasites.]

Nursultan Nazarbayev, the Kazakh president, told an investors' conference in the capital, Almaty, that a formal agreement would be signed next week to begin delivery through an existing BP pipeline that connects Azerbaijan to the Turkish coast. This loops through Georgia, thus avoiding Russia to the north and Iran to the south. [Russia, Iran. Couldn't happen to two nicer countries.]

The deal will give the West greater access to the vast oil fields of the Caspian Sea - estimated to hold the world's third-largest reserves - and ease its growing dependence on energy from Russia and the Middle East. [Third-largest. Fancy that.]

America and Russia are locked in fierce competition for access to Central Asia's vast energy wealth... [Uh huh. And there's also a big part of the WOT going on there. It's a tricky and dangerous region, and of obvious importance to us. So, will right-wing isolationists and left-wing appeasers give the President any support or thanks? Ha ha ha.]

....Mr Cheney, a former oil man who for more than 20 years has highlighted the importance of the Caspian Sea, has grown increasingly skeptical of Russia's intentions towards the West. [We are very lucky to have such a deep old file working on our side. And very lucky to have two oil guys in the White House.]

He launched a scathing attack on the Kremlin last month and caused outrage by flying to Kazakhstan immediately afterwards, where he was fulsome in his praise for Mr Nazarbayev's even more democratically dubious regime. [Smart. This is a case where compromising our push for democracy makes sense. And we are still pushing democracy in the region, and among Kazakhstan's neighbors. Their turn will come.]

President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, the other major oil-producing country on the Caspian to sign an energy deal with the West, was recently entertained at the White House - though he too has been accused of cheating in an election last year. [Journalists love to snark about any compromises made by the President. And then the next minute they complain that he's too rigid and never willing to change his mind or listen to advice.]

The new deal could help to bring down world oil prices, another factor likely to upset Russia, whose energy-dependent economy could wobble if crude falls below $50 a barrel. [And Iran too. But Bush will get no thanks if these distant dealings yield advantages for us.]

Kazakhstan has become a serious rival to Russia as a hydrocarbon exporter. But Mr Nazarbayev is in a tricky situation...[Tough, ain't it.]

Posted by John Weidner at 5:15 PM

June 5, 2006

We do this stuff for a reason...

This is ONE of the reasons we need to monitor terrorist communications...

....In short, the network itself has become so decentralized that it is almost as easy as plugging a laptop into a wide-area network jack, figuratively as well as literally. With the demolition of al-Qaeda's functional leadership, the lack of direction has moved the jihadi movement from the hills of Afghanistan to a system of mosques and imams, preaching their own brand of hatred. Young men looking for a cause or an outlet for their frustrations can easily find these Muslim supremacists. If they can't find them physically, they can certainly find them with just a few minutes on the Internet. This particular group found each other, and then found like-minded prototerrorists in five other nations, including the US.

The above is the bad news. The good news is that the rapid decentralization of Islamic terror has led to a rapid decline in the discipline and quality of the jihadis. The Canadians caught up with this group two years ago and have followed them closely, apparently never tipping their hand to the seventeen bright lights they arrested yesterday and the day before. By monitoring their Internet communications, they not only discovered this cell but also others around the world, all of whom have now been neutralized as threats. The increasing reliance on amateurs like the Toronto 17 makes it more likely that we will continue to root out their partners, wherever they may be....

Canadians, and other nations presumably including the US, have been watching these guys for 2 years. And, during that time, when any pomposos denounced the "erosion of our civil rights" due to monitoring communications, those government officials who happened to be in the know would have had to keep their mouths shut and just take the heat.

Under ideal circumstances there should probably have been no public arrests at all. The junior jihadis should have been quietly whisked off to Gitmo, so as not to alert others that they are being watched.

However, the loss of secrecy is counterbalanced by giving ordinary decent citizens a look at the reasons why we are waging a necessarily secret war. Leftists will be unmoved of course; they are opposed to the very idea of fighting for Western (and especially Anglospheric) values of liberty and economic opportunity. They are on the other side.

But honorable people will take note of this, and be more likely to give our leaders the support they deserve.

One other thought. Our leaders are good men, but one does tend to harbor doubts that they have the imagination to really exploit these situations. One hopes that we are setting up our own Internet jihad networks, with our own radical imams, luring the gullible young goofballs off to our own "terrorist training camps," or supplying them with some very special recipes for explosives...

Posted by John Weidner at 3:58 PM

June 4, 2006

Appeasement makes you safer...

This is a good piece on the Canadian terrost arrests...

Be sickened. Be frightened. Be angry. But don't you dare be shocked.

Unless you've been had.

Either way, the time has long passed for domestic bliss born of ignorance, virtue and wilful denial.

For everyone who thought Canada could cower in a corner of the planet, unnoticed and unthreatened by evil men — even when the most menacing of a very bad lot has twice referenced this country as a target for attack — take a good, hard look at what's been presented and what's being alleged.

Three tonnes of ammonium nitrate, thrice the amount used by Timothy McVeigh to demolish a government building in Oklahoma City. Cellphone detonators. Switches. Computer hard drive. A 9-mm pistol. Soldering gun. Camouflage gear.....

F--ing lotta good appeasement and military weakness has done Canada. Oh, and by the way, this is what a ton of Ammonium Nitrate does...

Oklahoma City Bombing

The Oklahoma City bombing. Did you notice the line quoted above? "Unless you've been had." Well folks, the reference to Oklahoma City reminds me that there is a high degree of likelihood that YOU have been had, too. Clinton and the press leaped on the idea that Oklahoma City was a right-wing plot inspired by Rush Limbaugh. The result was that we never got the answers to some sticky questions.

How did Nichols get the money for trips to the Philippines? Why did his paths cross those of Ramzi Yousef? (Remember him? The first WTC bombing.) Why did Oklahoma City use a new bomb formula also found on a captured terrorist's laptop a month before? Here are some more of the questions. Don't expect any answers....

Posted by John Weidner at 10:32 PM

May 28, 2006

Straight talk...

The President's commencement speech at West Point is well worth reading...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:33 AM

May 23, 2006

What did YOU do in the Great War, papa?

The war against the terrorists is just one front of a much larger war, a post-modernist war against our civilization, against Christianity, and against truth, and against the very idea that there IS truth.

So when you ask yourself, "What can I do in the war?" one of the answers is to push truth as hard as you can. and relentlessly, because the liars don't sleep.

This piece by Peter Wehner in OpinionJournal is very worth reading and passing on, because it is a very clear concise debunking of some of the lies that we are constantly told about the Iraq Campaign...

  • The president misled Americans to convince them to go to war.
  • The Bush administration pressured intelligence agencies to bias their judgments.
  • Because weapons of mass destruction stockpiles weren't found, Saddam posed no threat.
  • Promoting democracy in the Middle East is a postwar rationalization.

Yes, they've all already been thoroughly debunked. Smashed, thrashed and trashed. But that's just the point! The people who say these things don't care in the slightest about truth, and will not hesitate to repeat things they personally know to be false. In fact, they probably prefer it that way. Truth is their real enemy, and to pervert it is much better for them than just inventing a lie.

And another point. Lorie Byrd, (now blogging at Wizbang) writes:

...I have argued previously that another reason the record on Iraq should be set straight is so that voters in 2006, and especially 2008, can decide "on which side of the decision-making equation they want their leaders to err in this post-9/11 world." As Wehner points out, there was plenty of evidence to convince even John Kerry that Saddam posed a grave threat. Voters should be reminded that Democrats, when faced with such evidence, not only failed to act, but many of those who initially supported the president's decision to act, later withdrew their support. This is why Democrats, and their supporters in the mainstream media, have such a stake in rewriting the history of Iraq....
Posted by John Weidner at 11:43 AM

April 30, 2006

The word "war" doesn't mean what it used to mean.

One of the sins of Donald Rumsfeld, in the eyes of many, was the canceling of the Crusader artillery system. Crusader is what we are not doing. What's more interesting is what we are doing. Jason van Steenwyck writes:

The artillery is getting a new weapon: The Excalibur features a precision-guided warhead as small as 50 pounds, with a near vertical drop to the target. It's about time.

The Army has depended on Air Force CAS for far too long, while the Air Force has steadfastly resisted creating and fielding munitions that are suitable for close-in urban combat...

...Our M109 Self Propelled Howitzers are largely gathering dust. It's a fine system - but the enemy rarely chooses to engage or allow himself to be engaged in open areas where our artillery and Close Air Support can be effective. Many of our cannoncockers have been relegated to quasi-infantry and quasi-police tasks on the ground in Iraq.....

An artillery shell that weighs 50 lbs! (23kg). I could lift it with one hand.

Think about that.

And those big dogs not barking in the night.

Think about them.

And there are lots of related things I've blogged over the last few years, about us not using the destructive force we have. Bombs filled with concrete instead of explosives. The incredulity of people in Kabul when we dropped bombs into housefulls of Talibs, without harming the neighbors. Or the attack of our Israeli brothers on Jenin, which, despite the filthy leftist campaign of lies about it, was an act of extraordinary humanity. The Israelis could have flattened that neighborhood with impunity, but instead sent soldiers to fight (and die) house-to-house to avoid unnecessary civilian casualties.

The same is true of most of our actions in Iraq. In 2004 I blogged this: "....He informed us that a large number of the residents of Fallujah, before fleeing the battle, left blankets and bedding for the Marines and Soldiers along with notes thanking the Americans for liberating their city from the terrorists, as well as invitations to the Marines and Soldiers to sleep in their houses...."

The image in most of our minds when we hear the word "war" is some pointless mass slaughter, some Belleau Wood, with poor fellows being mowed down in their thousands by machine guns. But war is not like that any more.

War is no longer All Quiet on the Western Front. It's like this. And this, It's, well, like Seven Samurai.

  • War is hope for the poor and oppressed.
  • War is the best of the young men and women of the Anglosphere and Israel risking their lives to shield the weak from savages.
  • War is anti-war! The worst blood-lettings of our time are the internal wars of failed nations and regions. Our wars aim at ending cruel slaughters and genocide. Our wars save far more lives than they cost, as has clearly happened in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • War is building and teaching. Our soldiers turn to doctoring or school-mastering or election monitoring with ease.
  • Our wars are just wars. They do not aim at conquest or enrichment or glory.
  • War now is not what we learned in the 20th Century.
  • Nor is it the 30 Years War, or the Peloponessian War. (But it is stunningly similar to THIS.)
  • War is not sending conscripts to pointless slaughter.
  • War is not leveling cities, and leaving the survivors huddled in bombed-out basements.
  • War is not sending millions of refugees trudging to distant camps. (Unless the UN is involved.) Our wars are opportunities for refugees and exiles to return home and help their homelands.

War is a Christian duty in this time.

Cradle
(This photo was taken by Michael Yon. I blogged it here.)

War as Christian Duty. This article by Darrell Cole explains it well.
....This strikes a discordant note among many. How, we are asked, can an act of force be loving? The short answer is that force becomes an act of love when it seeks to resemble God’s use of force. In practice this means, among other things, that acts of force must never involve intrinsic evil (such as intentionally killing innocent people, for instance).

The most noteworthy aspect of the moral approach to warfare in Aquinas and Calvin is that it teaches—contrary to today’s prevailing views—that a failure to engage in a just war is a failure of virtue, a failure to act well. An odd corollary of this conclusion is that it is a greater evil for Christians to fail to wage a just war than it is for unbelievers. When an unbeliever fails to go to war, the cause may be a lack of courage, prudence, or justice. He may be a coward or simply indifferent to evil. These are failures of natural moral virtue. When Christians (at least in the tradition of Aquinas and Calvin) fail to engage in just war, it may involve all of these natural failures as well, but it will also, and more significantly, involve a failure of charity. The Christian who fails to use force to aid his neighbor when prudence dictates that force is the best way to render that aid is an uncharitable Christian. Hence, Christians who willingly and knowingly refuse to engage in a just war do a vicious thing: they fail to show love toward their neighbor as well as toward God.
Posted by John Weidner at 9:41 AM

April 19, 2006

Quote for you...

Charlene passed on to me my quote of the day, by Jonah Goldberg:

The week the deranged president of Iran again calls for the annihilation of Israel and once again denies the Holocaust ever happpened James Carroll draws the only logical conclusion: Bush is a lunatic and this administration is run by "deeply frustrated, angry, and psychologically wounded people."

Yeah, and if Iran turns Israel into a smidgeon of burnt-on crust, why, it will because WE have projected our "psychologically wounded" American and Republican evil onto them, and forced them to act contrary to their normally sweet natures. Blehpfff, I say.

And how many decades have we been hearing that being conservative is some kind of psychological disorder? If you can't argue with facts and logic, just say that your opponent is crazy. Stupid weakling lefties.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:40 AM

April 9, 2006

I can't restrain this guy much longer. He's a wild man!

The Bush administration is planning to use nuclear weapons against Iran, to prevent it acquiring its own atomic warheads, claims an investigative writer with high-level Pentagon and intelligence contacts.

President George W Bush is said to be so alarmed by the threat of Iran's hard-line leader, Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, that privately he refers to him as "the new Hitler", says Seymour Hersh, who broke the story of the Abu Ghraib Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal...[
link]

I'll bet dollars to your donuts that this was leaked intentionally. And we'll be hearing more.

The game is called good cop/bad cop. I'll guess Jack Straw is playing good cop right now. "Mahmoud, my friend, you gotta give me some help here. This guy is crazy! He's gonna fry you like Donbalaan! Rumsfeld's pinned the map to the dart board. I seen it. I wanna help you man, but you gotta give me something to show!"

If pacifists and leftists actually cared about peace, they would be playing this up like mad, instead of undercutting it. Playing their parts. But they are either phonies, or they are just stupid. And if we actually have to use military force because Tehran calculates that Bush is politically unable to act, well, the appeasers will have started yet another in their long list of wars.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:06 AM

March 29, 2006

What do you call sabotaging your country in time of war?

Amir Taheri writes in OpinionJournal, that many countries are now "waiting Bush out," in hopes that political weakness will undermine and end his push for democratization. It makes ugly reading.

I will repeat what I have written before. Our tradition, in this country, is for the party out of power to support our leadership in time of war. It is tradition, and also an obvious necesity. What the Democrats are doing now---Democrats, news-media, pacifists, academics---is treason. It is a deliberate sabotage of their country in war time, and we can see the results.

And it is treason to the world. The hopes for freedom of hundreds of millions of people are hanging in the balance, and these scoundrels are siding with tyrants and terrorists and murderers...

....It is not only in Tehran and Damascus that the game of "waiting Bush out" is played with determination. In recent visits to several regional capitals, this writer was struck by the popularity of this new game from Islamabad to Rabat. The general assumption is that Mr. Bush's plan to help democratize the heartland of Islam is fading under an avalanche of partisan attacks inside the U.S. The effect of this assumption can be witnessed everywhere.

In Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf has shelved his plan, forged under pressure from Washington, to foster a popular front to fight terrorism by lifting restrictions against the country's major political parties and allowing their exiled leaders to return. There is every indication that next year's elections will be choreographed to prevent the emergence of an effective opposition. In Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, arguably the most pro-American leader in the region, is cautiously shaping his post-Bush strategy by courting Tehran and playing the Pushtun ethnic card against his rivals....

...According to sources in Tehran and Damascus, Mr. Assad had pondered the option of "doing a Gadhafi" by toning down his regime's anti-American posture. Since last February, however, he has revived Syria's militant rhetoric and dismissed those who advocated a rapprochement with Washington. Iran has rewarded him with a set of cut-price oil, soft loans and grants totaling $1.2 billion. In response Syria has increased its support for terrorists going to fight in Iraq and revived its network of agents in Lebanon, in a bid to frustrate that country's democratic ambitions....

And what Democrats are doing (not all of them, but "core" Dems for sure) is treason to their own traditions of supporting democracy and the hopes of the oppressed. And treason to the obvious requirement that great questions be decided with moral seriousness, and not out of spite and fear and personal interest.

The bloody wars of the 20th Century were, for Americans, all Democrat wars. And in every case the Republican Party supported our country, not grudgingly, but with warm-hearted generosity. No enemy of America, not the Kaiser or Hitler or Tojo or Mao or Ho Chi Minh ever thought they could "wait it out," because Republicans might come into power and sell their country out.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:53 AM

March 22, 2006

Coffee break...back to Derbyshire

More hasty thoughts on this...

1. He's oh so stasist.

2. Introducing democracy is not "social engineering," except for the initial set-up. Rather, it's giving people the means to do their own social engineering. And the initial results in Iraq and Afghanistan say that that this is something people take to. They "get it," without an unreasonable amount of teaching and prodding.

3."...THWTHs are more inclined to the old British-imperialist notion that up to a fairly distant point (suttee and thuggee being beyond that point) peoples in foreign parts should be left alone to practice their own disgusting folkways, so long as they did not impinge on our interests..."

Sorry, don't work any more. The world is grown too small. Ignoring distant countries is now equivalent to, in the old Imperialist days, ignoring a distant British county. Yorkshire can't be left to Thuggee...

4. "...We don’t particularly care whether the Sunnis, Shias, and Kurds of Iraq put down their arms. We only want them to put down their arms against us. Henry Kissinger .... famously said of the Iran-Iraq War that it was a pity both sides couldn’t lose. One doesn’t want to be accused of inhuman callousness; but I am willing to confess, and believe I speak for a lot of THWTHs (and a lot of other Americans, too) that the spectacle of Middle Eastern Muslims slaughtering each other is one that I find I can contemplate with calm composure...."

Trouble is, a lot of the people we are worrying about have emerged from previous wars and slaughters. Afghanistan in particular. Chechnia, or tribal Pakistan...On the other hand, consider that India has about 130 million Muslims. How many of them have you heard of joining al Qaeda? How many of them are in Gitmo? I would contend that democracy is the most powerful weapon in our arsenal.

* Update: "...the spectacle of Middle Eastern Muslims slaughtering each other is one that I find I can contemplate with calm composure." Why not. They're not people, just cartoon characters wearing towels on their heads, with evil smirks, hooked noses, and holding bombs with fizzing fuses..

Posted by John Weidner at 11:52 AM

Quick post...

This is a quickie post (I'm very busy this week) on this, by John Derbyshire...It deserves a lot more working over, I think he's all wrong, but this is a start...

....I suspect that rather a lot of Americans, when they see footage of GIs handing out candy to children in some occupied place, think: “What a good nation we are! Surely the enemy will see our goodness and cast down his arms!” There is no inconsistency in reflecting, when seeing such scenes, that yes, we are a good nation, but that’s not what soldiers are for....

Sorry, John, but this is counter-insurgency warfare, and candy can have clear tactical value. (sometimes literally; I once blogged a story about an American column stopping on a Baghdad street, because a little girl was sitting in the middle of the road. They were very worried that this might be a trap, but, being Americans, they stopped anyway. She was trying to prevent them from driving over an IED! I can't find that post, but read this.)

And counter-insurgency warfare, (and similar frustrating even-lower-level fights below the level of "insurgency) are all you get! Our forces would love to fight our enemies with all the force we possess, but nobody is going to play that game anymore. Even Saddam's army wouldn't stand against us. And we did get some real fights against the insurgents in places like Falluja, but that's over. (The genius of the Iraq Campaign was that it forced people to fight against us. But alas, it never lasts once we show how we can slaughter them with ease.)

War between nation-states is over, and all the efforts of pacifists and the wishful thinking of paleo-hawks and defense contractors won't bring it back again...

Soldiers are "for" whatever fight or danger the world happens to serve up. And is quite likely we never again see our forces committed to battle in entire corps. Possibly in entire divisions. In fact our army is now moving away from divisions as tactical units, and building more independent brigades. (Divisions, corps and armies will still exist as administrative bodies.)

And by the way, that's how it was for most of our history. When Hunter Liggett was trying, as President of the Army War College just before WWI, to teach America something of modern war, he had officers re-fight (without troops) battles of the Civil War. Why? Because that was the last time we had fielded armies, corps, and yes, divisions! No American had maneuverd a division since the Civil War...

* Update: About that story of the little girl sitting in the street. I don't know if a piece of candy helped win her heart, but it's not unlikely. And just consider the cost of supporting a disabled soldier, perhaps for the next 50 years. Guys like Derbyshire think of themselves as hard-headed realists sneering at dreamers, but one little piece of candy may have saved the US treasury tens of millions of dollars, not to mention lives...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:06 AM

March 21, 2006

Too busy to blog today, but...

...I liked this post, about a mysterious delivery of flowers on March 18th...
(Thanks to Hugh Hewitt)

And both Belmont Club and Trent Trelenko point out the obvious (once someone points it out) fact that all the (wishful) talk of civil war in Iraq is a tacit admission that the "insurgency" has failed. And Trelenko makes some grim comparisons with a real civil war, in Bosnia...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:42 AM

March 18, 2006

70's poison in the national bloodstream...

Byron York has a fascinating piece in NRO on the FISA Court of Review decision called In re: Sealed Case...

In early September 2002, just before the first anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, a group of lawyers gathered in a heavily protected, windowless room in the Department of Justice building in Washington. There were three federal appeals-court judges, Laurence Silberman, Edward Leavy, and Ralph Guy. There was Theodore Olson, the U.S. solicitor general. There was Larry Thompson, the deputy attorney general. And there was John Yoo, the Justice official who had closely studied questions of war powers and presidential authority. Rounding out the group were a few other department staffers, one official from the FBI, and David Addington, Vice President Cheney's top lawyer.

The purpose of the meeting was to argue a case whose details remain so classified that they are known by only a few people, but whose outcome, a decision known as
In re: Sealed Case, has become one of the key documents in the hottest argument in Washington today: the fight over what President Bush calls the "terrorist surveillance" of persons with known al-Qaeda connections, and what the president's opponents call "domestic spying."....

I had no idea that after Congress with the Patriot Act had removed "The Wall," the FISA Court had put it back in place! Madness. 70's Lefty madness that keeps coming back, like some Night of the Living Dead. FISA itself was a result of one of the lowest moments in American history, when the fall of Richard Nixon swept a putrid mass of America-hating leftists and pacifists into Congress and the White House. The result, besides FISA, was betrayal of South Vietnam to Communist tyranny and murder, and the abandonment of the hostages to the mercies of Iranian crazies. All of which sent a big fat message to the people who are now our enemies in this war, that we could be attacked with impunity.

There are still millions of Americans to whom the world of 1973 is the baseline of everything. To whom America is the evil tyrant of the world, needing to be brought down by virtuous leftists. And for whom any enemy of America looks good, no matter how murderous and tyrannical. And we are fighting against them as much as against al Qaeda. Ted Olson is as much a soldier in the War as anyone fighting in Iraq.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:41 PM

March 15, 2006

Dash for the elevator...

I keep smiling as I think of this article, on how the Dems are running for cover from the Feingold Resolution. Literally running! Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of unprincipled scoundrels...

....Next in the Senate TV gallery came Schumer. An aide hung up a poster showing a port. The senator called the ports situation "extremely troubling." The aide hung up a poster of an Exxon cartoon. "Obscene profits," decreed Schumer, equally passionately.

CNN's Henry asked the Feingold question. Schumer ended the news conference.

Outside the Democrats' lunch downstairs, the senators were similarly agile. The number two Democratic leader, Richard Durbin (Ill.), darted out of an elevator and into lunch when he thought nobody was looking.

"I haven't made any judgment," said Jeff Bingaman (N.M.). Two minutes later, he reappeared. "I will support an alternative that would call for an investigation," he amended....

They are running because they, as you might say, "don't have a leg to stand on," and like 'toons, they can keep running off the edge of the cliff as long as they don't stop and look down...

There is not the slightest doubt that the NSA intercepts are legal and constitutional. There's only one interesting question remaining, and that is why Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez only used one of the two possible legal arguments in favor of the intercepts. He argued on the basis of the Hamdi decision. (And also used the historical precedents. Lincoln, Wilson and Roosevelt all used extensive wiretaps without warrants.) He did NOT make the Constitutional argument, that this is an Executive Branch matter under Article II, and can't be abridged by laws passed by Congress.

I can't wait for the memoirs to come out, to answer this and lots of other questions. This is the first time in my life I've followed national events so closely. In the past, without the Internet, I only got the boiled-down versions from the press, and usually didn't know that there were such mysteries...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:21 PM

March 9, 2006

"Our shining city on the hill just had a few bulbs burn out"

Scott writes, about a report that the UAE is very unhappy, and considering taking some business elsewhere (like buying Airbus planes instead of Boeings)...

...Who knows how far they’ll go? I’m sure that these dudes are pissed and are ranting a little bit. Here’s what I do know — I’ll drive 20 miles to avoid ungracious or apathetic assholes, and spend money somewhere it’s wanted and appreciated (and reciprocated.) I just think it’s goddamned stupid to be so xenophobic. The way we’re going to win the war on terrorism is the export of American ideals, and this Fortress America isolationist horseshit is distinctly not one of them. We are the world’s largest economy, and this is a horrifyingly embarassing precedent to set. Our shining city on the hill just had a few of those capitalism bulbs burn out. More like the dipstick congresscritters pulled the fuse to win a couple of extra votes. A curse upon them and their dunderheadedness...

Amen, brother.

I have various thoughts running around my head about this...One is, that it is wrong, in time of war, to bollix up some aspect of our country's war effort, just because you don't like it or agree with it. If you don't like the current strategy or tactics, feel free to disagree, and propose a better plan. BUT, in the meanwhile, we have a war, voted by Congress, and a President and an Executive Branch whose job is to fight it. Once a strategy has been decided on by them, it's our duty to help carry it through. It is our DUTY as citizens. None of us, even Senators, have the right to sabotage our war efforts.

Second, speaking of having a better plan to propose, that's what NONE of those who were opposing Dubai Ports has. NONE of them have based their opposition on a thought-out plan for winning the war. I find that intellectually disgusting. Can they possibly be so ignorant and foolish as not to realize that this issue is bound to interact with hundreds of other issues, and that the only responsible way to move ahead is to have an overall plan, that dictates how we decide individual cases?

Third, I think that Ms Malkin (and others of her kidney) is, though she denies it vociferously, an Islamophobe. She claims that her anti-ports stance is based solely on rational security concerns. But if that were true, she would be eager to modify the damage this will do to our relations with moderate Islamic states. She would propose making this up to the UAE in other ways, and express gratitude for the help they are giving us in the war. She would appreciate their good points, even if they also have bad points. But you will never hear anything like that from her.

Look, I agree that there are horrible pathologies in the Islamic world, and they need to be pointed out, and possible stamped out. But there is a certain sort of person whose eyes light up when they can relate some Muslim horror story. And who never notice any tales of kindness or decency from the same people. But both sides are "the truth."

And again, what is the strategy? If we can't trust the UAE, then presumably we can't trust any part of the Arab world. Can't win friends and allies. At least that's what's implied. So what does Malkin want us to DO, to win the war? She never says. If her complaints are part of a larger picture, we never get to see it. In her obsessive focus on our borders, she sounds like an isolationist. But she never says what she is, or isn't. I call that intellectually shabby.

And I agree with Scott. We will win the Long War by exporting our ideals, and our secrets of success. By being a light unto the nations, and a friend to mankind.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:55 PM

Stupid party once again...

Dafydd has it right. We're seeing the return of the "Stupid Party"...

Today, several prominent GOP congressmen tried their level best to lose the 2006 election -- an election they could have won by being less... well, stupid.

Fingers in the air, quivering bunny noses sensing a change in the wind, Republican Reps. Peter King (NY), Jerry Lewis (CA), Duncan Hunter (CA), Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (IL), and newly elected House Majority Leader John Boehner (OH) have decided to attach a rider to an appropriations bill funding the troops and Hurricane Katrina victims; the rider is intended to kill the Dubai Ports deal outright, even before the extended investigation completes. No sense wasting time by waiting for actual facts!...

It's not even like they even have the vile excuse of being Islamophobes; this is just political poll-driven bullshit. At least the Democrats here have certain principles that they are expressing, such as hatred of America (whose good ally UAE is) and hatred of our military (who the UAE welcomes in many ways) and unwillingness to fight against terrorism (in any military action against the #1 terror-supporting state, Iran, the friendship of the UAE would be critical--just look at the map) and hatred of capitalism and globalization, and hatred of President Bush...

The Republicans have no excuse!

I'm totally disgusted.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:11 AM

March 8, 2006

Hey, all you lefties and pacifists...

Here's a plea from some the of prisoners held so cruelly at Gitmo. I challenge you to take up their cause...

....Inmates have told military tribunals they worry about reprisals from militants who will suspect them of cooperating with U.S. authorities in its war on terror. Others say their own governments may target them for reasons that have nothing to do with why they were taken to Guantanamo Bay in the first place....

....A Uighur told a military tribunal that he feared going back to China so much, he considered trying to convince the panel that he was guilty, according to a hearing transcript.

“If I am sent back to China, they will torture me really bad,” said the man, whose name did not appear in the transcript. “They will use dogs. They will pull out my nails.”

Two of the Uighurs are appealing a federal judge’s rejection of their request to be released in the United States, where a family in the Washington suburbs has offered to take them in.

“Home is China, and in China you disappear into a dungeon and no one ever hears from you again,” said their lawyer, Sabin Willett. “These guys are not a risk to anyone. They should be released here.”...

The liars and frauds who whine endlessly about the detainees at Gitmo will not, you may rest assured, give a damn about these guys. Or any of the others; their concern is purely with attacking Bush and America. And especially, they will not criticize communists, who can torture anybody they like without protests from the post-humanitarian Left.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:58 AM

March 5, 2006

"Lots of us talk about how awful it would be if this worked out."

Bill Quick just posted this piece from back in 2004, in which Glenn Reynolds is quoting the Daily Telegraph's correspondent Toby Harnden. And I'll post it too, because few things have shown more clearly what's really going on:

The other day, while taking a break by the Al-Hamra Hotel pool, fringed with the usual cast of tattooed defence contractors, I was accosted by an American magazine journalist of serious accomplishment and impeccable liberal credentials.

She had been disturbed by my argument that Iraqis were better off than they had been under Saddam and I was now — there was no choice about this — going to have to justify my bizarre and dangerous views. I’ll spare you most of the details because you know the script — no WMD, no ‘imminent threat’ (though the point was to deal with Saddam before such a threat could emerge), a diversion from the hunt for bin Laden, enraging the Arab world. Etcetera.

But then she came to the point. Not only had she ‘known’ the Iraq war would fail but she considered it essential that it did so because this would ensure that the ‘evil’ George W. Bush would no longer be running her country. Her editors back on the East Coast were giggling, she said, over what a disaster Iraq had turned out to be. ‘Lots of us talk about how awful it would be if this worked out.’ Startled by her candour, I asked whether thousands more dead Iraqis would be a good thing.

She nodded and mumbled something about Bush needing to go. By this logic, I ventured, another September 11 on, say, September 11 would be perfect for pushing up John Kerry’s poll numbers. ‘Well, that’s different — that would be Americans,’ she said, haltingly. ‘I guess I’m a bit of an isolationist.’ That’s one way of putting it.

The moral degeneracy of these sentiments didn’t really hit me until later when I dined at the home of Abu Salah, a father of six who took over as the Daily Telegraph’s chief driver in Baghdad when his predecessor was killed a year ago.

Moral degeneracy is exactly right. Made more puke-worthy because these people often cover their hatred of America (whenever it's so sunk in evil as to not elect Democrats) with fake pacifist or humanitarian malarky.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:26 PM

March 4, 2006

Asking questions...

I recommend this PoliPundit post, What Some Arabs Are Saying, by DJ Drummond. He knows some American Moslems and Arabs personally, and set out to ask them some questions..

...And it is in that mind that I asked my Arab and Muslim acquaintances about the attitude which seems prominent among them, to allow the more radical and militant voices to speak for the whole and give the false impression, if it is indeed false, that Islam and the Arab world hate the West and America in particular, and wish to wage war against us in the name of their religion. As I expected, the general reaction to such a claim was one of angry denial in various degrees, though finding out why there is no effective push-back to the Jihadists is a long and murky process....

I wasn't surprised by what he found. Take a look...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:23 AM

March 3, 2006

Slice n' dice. Just couldn't resist...

This article by Michael Kinsley, What Bush Gets Wrong about Nation-Building, seemed to me like a pumpkin that really needed some carving. It's probably more than anyone wants to read, but fun for me. Kinsley writes:

....But the case against spreading democracy—especially through military force—as a mission of the U.S. government is also pretty self-evident, and lately it's been getting more so. Government, even democratic government, exists for the benefit of its own citizens, not that of foreigners. American blood and treasure should not be spent on democracy for other people. Or, short of that absolute, there are limits to the blood and treasure that the United States should be expected to spend on democracy elsewhere, and the very nature of war makes that cost hard to predict and hard to limit.

When you hear something’s “self evident,” you can expect some malarky. Here it starts by Kinsley just ASSUMING that we have gone to war for the PURPOSE of spreading democracy. That somebody said: “Democracy’s great—let’s start killing people!” Stupid.

We no more did that than we went to war with Germany, Italy and Japan to spread democracy. We encouraged democracy after WWII, for practical reasons—to achieve the long-term result of building allies and prosperous trading partners. Similarly, our war aim now is to WIN THE WAR, and democracy is a TOOL for that. (And of course there was and is a lot of idealism involved in both cases. But it’s idealism harnessed to sensible and useful plans.)

Furthermore, the encouraging discovery that free elections are possible in unexpected places has a discouraging corollary: If tolerance and pluralism and suchlike Western values are not essential preconditions for democratic elections, they are not the necessary result of elections either. By definition, democracy produces a government that the people—or some plurality of the people—want, at least at that moment. But it may not produce the kind of government that we wish they would want, or—more to the point—that we want.

This is a strawman. It’s not being claimed that it will always produce what we desire. Neither will any other strategy that’s been proposed. (And, since this is a war we are talking about, it must be added that even if democracy results in chaos, that in many cases will be an improvement over terror-supporting hostility.)

The present debate over when to use American power in defense of democracies other than our own is at least more wholesome than the previous debate about using force to thwart or overthrow foreign democracies. The argument against tolerating Communist governments elected fair and square used to be that the election that brought them to office would likely be the last. "I don't see why we need to stand by and watch a country go Communist due to the irresponsibility of its own people," as Henry Kissinger famously put it in reference to the election of Salvador Allende in Chile. (And we didn't just stand by and watch.)

And the results were very happy. Chile is now a prosperous democracy with a lot of freedom and economic opportunity for its people. If communists had taken over it would be an impoverished police state with a sex-tourism industry, like Cuba.

But today's concern about what we might call "nasty democracy" (defined as election results we don't like) is in some ways more profound and depressing. It is not that a regime will use democracy in the short run to stifle it in the long run (thus emboldening us to destroy democracy in order to save it). The danger is that democracy will reveal the people's true and continuing preference for a society with no place for all the other Western liberal values that our founding document calls "self-evident" (equality, freedom to pursue happiness, and so on). Even worse, these societies may decide to export their distaste for Western values just as we try to export the values themselves—and they may not agonize, Western-style, over the distinction between violent and nonviolent means of persuasion.

They MAY do any number of things. But this ignores the fact that countries have been turning democratic at a rate of about 1.5 a year since WWII. And USUALLY the result is peace and prosperity. It’s worth placing a bet on. (And it’s not like those OTHER policies we have tried in dealing with the terrorism-generating places have been safe bets, or even moderately successful.)

Recent news has left us awash in examples: the triumph of Hamas (religious fanatics dedicated in both theory and practice to the destruction of Israel) in the Palestinian elections; the emergence of a similarly attractive group, the Muslim Brotherhood, as an electoral force in Egypt; and above all the result of the American-sponsored election in Iraq, which seems to be just about the opposite of the lion-and-lamb tranquility that democracy enthusiasts had hoped.

The Palestinians did not have any non-terrorist option to vote for. And Hamas was elected partly for its reputation for not being corrupt. (Likewise, Amadjinabad ran in Iran on a platform of economic reform! His election does not mean the people support his terror policies.) Voters tend to favor bread-and-butter issues, and time will probably push the Palestinian and Egyptian politicians in that direction.

And the Iraqi election results are splendid so far, with much politicking and compromising and wrangling among groups that have never worked together non-violently. That’s GOOD.


The Bush administration denies a report in the New York Times that it is actively trying to undermine the Palestinian election result. And the evidence in the Times story did seem to describe a totally justified withdrawal of support more than anything like an old-fashioned CIA coup...

It’s not going to be a total withdrawal of support. (Or a coup.) It will be carrots and sticks. After 50 years under the tutelage of the UN, the Palestinians will not achieve sanity easily, no matter what we do. But making their own choices via ballot-box may help them along.

…But if these developments gave Bush any pause about his aggressive democratization project, he gave no sign of it Tuesday during his surprise drop-by in Afghanistan. From Bush's description, that legendarily bloodthirsty land has been transformed into something like Minnesota. It's a place where "men and women are respected" and "young girls can go to school" and "people are able to realize their dreams." We shall see.

In speeches you sweeten things up, but what Bush said is true. Not that it’s like Minnesota, but compared with any other time in Afghan history, there's much to rejoice in. What’s happened so far in Afghanistan justifies enthusiasm by President Bush.

In his biography of Margaret Thatcher, the British journalist Hugo Young used the term "inspirational certainty" to describe the strength that some political leaders get from refusing to let anything give them pause or change their minds. Thatcher had it, and so did Ronald Reagan. Bush would like to have it. But on this particular issue, at least, he can't because he actually has changed his mind. In the 2000 election, he opposed what was then called nation-building—and he opposed it for all the self-evident reasons. Now he supports it, for equally self-evident reasons. If the arguments for both sides of some policy question are self-evident, the correct answer must not be. But Bush avoids the trap of complication by taking his self-evident truths sequentially.

That’s the stupidest paragraph I’ve read in months. A British journalist claims that conservatives are incapable of reflection, or even thinking. Surprise. But that doesn’t make it true. Real leaders make decisions and then pursue them with tenacity. But that is not some kind of “opposite” to being able to change your mind, or change tactics, or reflect.

And neither Young nor Kinsley has not the slightest idea whether these leaders, in their private moments, are riven with doubts, or utterly confident. He can’t read their minds. He has no way of knowing whether Bush has avoided complication, or embraced it. This is just silly armchair speculation, in which it is discovered—try to contain your astonishment—that journalists are much wiser and deeper than conservative heads-of-state.

Bush parries any challenge to explain his change of views with the simple assertion that Sept. 11, 2001, changed everything. It's easy to see how that day might have changed his opinion about the urgency of the war on terrorism. But how exactly is it supposed to have changed his opinion about the aggressive pursuit of democracy as a tactic in that war?

He DIDN’T change his mind. He’d previously opposed nation-building that was PEACETIME do-gooding. America was not at war before 9/11. Even if you think nation-building is a useful war tactic, it’s still a perfectly possible to not support it as a peacetime effort. (In fact Bush was reacting against the sort of nation-building practised by Clinton. It was a reasonable position at the time.)

Democracy now stands as the only remaining official rationale for the Gulf War (which the administration insists is a battlefield in the larger war against terrorism). This is grimly amusing, given that George W. Bush's Gulf War is really a continuation of his father's, which was in defense of two feudal monarchies and had nothing to do with democracy.

This is grimly SILLY, since we are fighting al Qaeda in Iraq, since the evidence of Saddam’s terror-support, always strong, is getting much stronger, since the recently released tapes show that Saddam was by no means finished with WMD’s, including nukes, and since our agression in Iraq has transformed all the other areas of the GWOT, giving us credibility in dealing with a host of other leaders and groups.

We don't want a President Hamlet, publicly rehearsing his doubts as he leads the nation into battle. But the men and women risking their lives for democracy in Iraq deserve at least a tiny sense that the president who sends them there has taken the trouble to consider the evidence and arguments against his policy—and that he knows why he rejects them.

Since the President has ably defended his policies in countless speeches and other debates and forums, it is foolish to suggest that he doesn’t know the arguments against them. In fact, not just foolish, but preposterous. And if you pay any attention to what our soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan say, you discover that they understand Bush’s policy with great clarity, and support it. They “get it.”

Lefties want Bush to “rehearse his doubts” because they can use them as a political weapon against him, not because they give a damn about what our troops “deserve.” But imagine for a moment that Bush publically mentions some doubts about democracy-promotion. Do you really think that Mr Kinsley would be satisfied? Pleased? Happy? Yeah, like sharks are happy when blood’s in the water….

Posted by John Weidner at 9:37 PM

Millions of documents

I have to agree with this editorial in OpinionJournal,

When the 9/11 Commission bullied Congress into creating the Directorate of National Intelligence, we doubted that another layer of bureaucracy on top of the CIA would fix much of anything. Our skepticism has since been largely reinforced--most recently by the DNI's reluctance to release what's contained in the millions of "exploitable" documents and other items captured in Iraq and Afghanistan.

These items--collected and examined in Qatar as part of what's known as the Harmony program--appear to contain information highly relevant to the ongoing debate over the war on terror. But nearly three years after Baghdad fell, we see no evidence that much of what deserves to be public will be anytime soon....

The question "what are they trying to hide" is probably not the first one we should ask. Most people in government have the basically leftish view that important things should be left to experts , and the little people should not pry into matters that may upset them, and cause them to vote for people who will upset apple-carts. Even if the material contains no bombshells at all, they instinctively won't want it in the public's hands. that's what we have to fight.

However, the question "what are they trying to hide" is probably the second question we should ask. The answer, probably lots! For instance, this:

....In another disclosure, The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes was told by about a dozen officials that Harmony documents describe in detail how Saddam trained thousands of Islamic radicals in the waning years of his regime. So much for the judgments of many in the intelligence community--including Paul Pillar, the latest ex-spook to go public with his antiwar message--that the secular Saddam would never consort with such religious types....

Ooops, don't want that news to get out.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:44 PM

March 1, 2006

One more crumb of info...

Since the Arab boycott has been mentioned lately, this, from the Jerusalem Post is interesting:

....Today, however, even the most hardline Arab countries are officially dropping the official primary level of the boycott to join trade organizations and agreements.

The most significant "fall" was of Saudi Arabia, which agreed last September to drop the primary boycott of Israel to join the WTO. On Sunday December 11, the world's biggest oil exporter will become the 149th WTO member. Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are also WTO members.

"Today the Arab boycott is all bark and no bite," said Danny Halperin, who founded and headed the Israeli Authority Against Economic Warfare (IAAEW). "We succeeded."

The IAAEW worked closely with the Foreign Ministry to get the US to pass a bill to make it illegal for US companies to cooperate with the boycott. In 1977 President Jimmy Carter signed the anti-Arab boycott bill, marking the dramatic beginning to the boycott's end.

Various historical events weakened the boycott further. Egypt made peace with Israel in 1978. In 1991, Kuwait agreed to rescind its secondary and tertiary boycotts after the US freed it from Iraqi occupation. The 1993 Oslo Accords were the nail in the boycott's coffin. The Arabs said they would not compromise until a full landfor-peace settlement was reached between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but they partially rescinded the boycott anyway.

In 1996 the OAB stopped convening.

Today, trade between the Jewish state and the Arab world remains "undercover," but goes on regularly. (The products cannot be identified as Israeli or they may end up back on the ship.)....
(Thanks to Orrin)
Posted by John Weidner at 6:42 PM

Coupla items...

I was driving this morning and heard Rush make a couple of good points.

One, is that no foreigners are or will be managing our ports!

What they are managing are TERMINALS. (Sometimes you hear them referred to as berths. "Company X runs six berths in Los Angeles.") The whole issue sounds much more scary when you say ports, but that's a sloppy misuse of the language.

He also played a clip of Senator Reid Denouncing us turning over our "ports" to a country that boycotts Israel, etc. (Notice how few mentions of security lately.) BUT THEN Rush read from the transcript of what went right before that statement. "Read," because there was no audio available (I'm sure it's pure accident that that part wasn't recorded) of Senator Reid admitting he had no idea who P&O is!

Posted by John Weidner at 11:01 AM

February 27, 2006

Also...

Also, concerning the Mosque bombing, there is some evidence that it may be an Iranian caper. Which is very interesting, because various people have been claiming that Muqtada al Sadr and his militias are wholly-owned subsidiaries of Iran, and that Iran could, maybe IS, blackmailing us with the threat that they can use the Sadrists to throw Iraq into civil war whenever they like. That's a point made in this piece by Spengler, which I never got around to blogging about. "...Muqtada already has warned that if the United States attacks Iran, his militias will rise in Iraq..." That threat looks a lot less credible right now.

I think the problem with analyses like Spengler's is that they resemble the plans I used to draw up when I played military board games in my youth. "I'll strike here. And there. And while he reacts to that I'll drop my paratroops on his supply lines and he will be helpless!" The problem was that I assumed the other chap would not attack me, and I assumed my cardboard battalions would be successful in their attacks. Either of which could turn out to be wrong.

Spengler writes:

....Much as Washington complains about Iran's efforts to arm militant Shi'ites in Iraq, it cannot do anything to hinder this except to deliver and execute a military ultimatum. The longer Washington dallies, the more resources Tehran can put in place, including:

  • Upgrading Hezbollah's offensive-weapon capabilities in Lebanon.
  • Integrating Hamas into its sphere of influence and military operations.
  • Putting in place terrorist capability against the West.
  • Preparing its Shi'ite auxiliaries in Iraq for insurrection....

We can't do anything to hinder? Says who? Iraq may be arming "militant Shi'ites," But everything we are doing in Iraq is tending to make Iranian infiltration more difficult. The stronger the Iraqi government and military grow, the less likely militia uprisings become. And arming terrorists is useful as a threat, but actually using them turns them into targets, and justifies retaliation against Iran.

Spengler could just as logically have said: "The longer Tehran dallies, the more resources Washington can put in place."

Posted by John Weidner at 8:08 AM

February 24, 2006

Lizard smells opportunity...

Mike Plaiss sent a link to a fun editorial by Amity Shales, In Ports Debate, U.S. Battles Its Inner Lizard:

Feb. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Politics are like markets -- a struggle between the lizard brain and the cerebral cortex. The uproar over the sale of several U.S. ports to a company based in the United Arab Emirates is no exception.

Our collective lizard brain balks at the Bush administration's approval of plan to let Dubai Ports World manage operations at harbors from New York to Miami. The collective cerebral cortex, that part of the national brain that does strategy, duly rebuts. On the Dubai Ports question, the lizard seems to be gaining ground.
......

Lizard: You didn't hear me. I have trouble thinking of the United Arab Emirates as an ally.

CC: But the UAE is an ally. Our U-2 spy planes are based there.

Lizard: Chuck Schumer is right. This deal is too hasty. President Bush was caught flat-footed. Lizard smells opportunity for domestic political advantage.

CC: This deal was cleared by people lower down on the basis of old and explicit policy. The way President Bush reacted to the news of Dubai Ports World isn't called "being caught flat- footed.'' It is called "efficient delegation.'' This fight is not about Bush. It's about policy....
Posted by John Weidner at 4:55 PM

Fighting the last war...

Ethan Hahn e-mailed some thoughts that seem to me to be right on the mark:

I read Hugh Hewitt's interview with Austin Bay on RadioBlogger last night:

...and near the end, Hugh has a line that finally made a connection for me. He and others keep talking about the incremental increase in the threat - that Al Qaeda sleepers could infiltrate DPW and get their hands on, I don't know, schematics or protocols or shipping schedules or whatever else...here's the line that hit me: "we go back to Cold War bad guy days, and we know what penetration operations look like. And even though they don't have anywhere near the technology or the number of say, Stasi, they've got advantages in terms of our ability to detect them, because of the cultural differences."

...and it struck me...as happens in every conflict - these guys are fighting the last war! The Soviet Union had vastly different goals than the jihadi's do. I don't know near as much about the history of the Cold War as you, but my understanding is that the Soviets wanted to infiltrate our industries to steal our technology; infiltrate the government to find out what we were doing or how we'd react in situations; infiltrate our infrastructure to find out as much about our capabilities as possible so that if full-scale war ever came they'd have an advantage; infiltrate foreign governments to exert hegemony over Europe and Asia and Central and South America; and in every way, to erode our power, economically, politically, etc. Full frontal confrontation would be suicide - so their best weapon was stealth, plausible deniability, proxy agents, etc. They didn't want to take out one of our cities, or nuke Tel Aviv, or behead prisoners on live TV.

All these arguments would have made perfect sense in 1968, or in 1983 - but in 2006, the incremental threat posed by an enemy agent having access to financial documents or maps of the air ducts is just nonsensical to worry about. Let's worry about someone putting smallpox in a container loaded in Odessa, or putting a nuke on a passenger jet out of Tunisia and setting it off at JFK. And most of all, let's try to transform the Middle East, bringing liberty and prosperity to them, helping them embrace liberty and globalization and western values - let's not slam the door in their face.

We have to do the 'Homeland Security" thing; it's expected. But if terrorists decide to ht us, they will. Look at Iraq. We have an army constantly patrolling, we have what's become a very large and effective Iraqi Defense Force, we have an aroused, armed and vigilant population, and yet...ka-boom. Goodbye Golden Mosque. They could do the same thing here. Heck, I could blow up a big building myself, for probably less than $20,000. (How? Should I say? Why not. Lots of big buildings have retail space inside--often whole shopping centers. So I rent a shop, fill it with cheap curios to sell, and start accumulating Ammonium Nitrate or Ammonium Sulfate in my store-room. Buy it in small quantities in different locations as fertilizer. Same with some diesel oil. Ship it to myself in small quantities by UPS, or just bring it in a small box at a time. Six months later, BOOM.)

Al Qaeda isn't interested in us. They want to control the Muslim world. And with the prospect of an elected government and a free people right smack dab in the Arab heartland, they have much higher priorities than attacking us. That's one of the reasons hitting Iraq was a stroke of pure genius. Al Q has been forced to react to our moves. That's what's protecting us from attack.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:21 PM

February 23, 2006

look at the map.

Dafydd points something out that hasn't received enough attention in the Dubai Ports controversy.

What's our biggest, most dangerous problem in the Middle East? Iran.

Is the problem going to be resolved diplomatically? Not likely.

Is George W Bush the kind of guy who is going to hope the problem goes away, or let some future president inherit it? Even less likely.

So that points to a strong likelihood of some sort of military intervention in the near future.

And Dafydd has a map. And on the map there's a glaringly obvious problem for us. The Persian Gulf, The Gulf or Oman, and especially the Strait of Hormuz. Through which flow much of the world's oil. Here's a more detailed map. Notice which country holds most of the peninsula that forms the strait...

If a problem is looming, then the first item on W's check-list is going to be: UAE ~~give 'em whatever they want...

I wonder what's happening in the Sultanate of Oman these days? They're the other occupants of that peninsula...

Posted by John Weidner at 1:52 PM

February 22, 2006

Disappointments...

I'm very disappointed in the manner in which a number of conservatives have opposed the ports transfer. Partly because they aren't very interested in facts, and don't feel compelled to present much in the way of evidence to back up their assertions. But even more, it's the ungenerous flavor of their discourse that I don't like.

Even if--let us stipulate for the sake of argument--that it's true that the deal is a security risk to our ports. None of the anti-Dubai crowd has suggested in any way that we should do anything else to encourage the friendship of the United Arab Emirates, or to reward them or thank them for the help they have given us, or to compensate them for the loss of this deal. They have nothing generous or warm-hearted to offer. No alternative plan to extend the hand of friendship to these people. They only think about us. OUR security is all-important, the rest of the world is uninteresting and uninspiring.

This is particularly galling to me, because it's similar to the cold-hearted selfishness that seems to me to be the chief characteristic of today's leftists...

Dennis the Peasant is even harsher in his judgment than I am...

...I am afraid we are coming to the moment of the Great Divide within the Conservative Movement. It is increasingly apparent to me that a substantial number of ‘Conservatives’ have never shared the noble impulse of President Bush’s vision of a democratic, secular and prosperous Muslim world. Instead, that has been co-opted by those whose vision begins and ends with the application of brute force, and who have come to the belief that subjugation or destruction are the only option available to us when dealing with the 'Other'... Our final solution, as it were...

Well, probably it was always thus. I don't think this is a "Great Divide," because we were always divided. Think back to the Cold War. Back then there were conservatives who dreamed of liberating the oppressed victims of socialism, and other conservatives who just hated commies, and cared only for our safety. That's just basic human nature. Not many people are going to sign on for a noble and idealistic (but difficult) cause at any time.

And it IS a "noble impulse." And one that has deep roots in conservative culture. The idea of fighting communism by promoting democracy was more-or-less invented within the Reagan Administration, and applied with great success. And many of the same people are still working in the same cause, this time against the Islamists. (They are labeled "Neocons." And no, they are not running things, and weren't in Reagan's time either. We just use them.)

After 9/11 a lot of people signed on for war against Saddam or the Taliban. But that doesn't mean they signed on for years of patient effort to make these people friends and equals...Nuh uh. I think a lot of people on the right never actually "got" the idea. Probably thought it was just happy talk, fit to be ignored.

I'm in the camp of the idealists and dreamers. And I'm very disappointed in that section of conservatives that has never been warm-hearted about Bush's vision for the Moslem world and other needy parts of the globe. Hey, I rather like those people of the Middle East, and Central Asia, though I only get to meet them vicariously via the Internet. (And yes I'm perfectly aware that the Islamic world, especially the Arab world, has LOTS of pathologies and horrible flaws and shortcomings. But think this is a difference of degree, and not of kind.)

And if we conservatives of America and the Anglosphere don't try to build a better world, who else is going to do it? Leftists? Europeans? It is to laugh.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:24 PM

February 21, 2006

Now suddenly we have real enemies!

I caught a little bit of Rush while running errands, and he made a good point.

Regardless whether the Dubai Ports acquisition goes through, Bush has really flushed out the Democrats. Everything they've been doing--attacking our war efforts from every direction, talking impeachment--has been predicated on the position, spoken or unspoken, that this is not a real war we are in. That Bush is just using the pretext of war for a power grab/fascist takeover/one-party state/enriching Halliburton blah blah blah...

Now suddenly Democrat leaders are saying that we have real enemies! That there's a real danger! That we must be vigilant! They are also taking the extremely "racist" position that no Arabs can be trusted, even ones that have been working with us in the War...

Whatever happened to "Why do they hate us?" Whatever happened to the idea that getting tough with Arabs or Arab countries would turn them against us, would cause them to become enemies?

Posted by John Weidner at 9:56 AM

February 19, 2006

It's globalization...

The cries of outrage about Dubai Ports World buying the company that runs many big US ports are, I suspect, just plain stupid. I see that a lot of people just haven't actually grasped the reality of globalization.

Dennis has a good post on this:

...In any event, just how does one draw the conclusion that the argument that port security a change in ownership at Peninsular and Oriental from English (read White and Christian) to Dubai Ports World (read Non-White and Muslim) would automatically lead to U.S. ports being overrun by swarthy, gun-toting Arab/Muslim terrorists? Dubai Ports World has already announced the Peninsular and Oriental’s headquarters location (London), management (English) and operations will remain intact. Beyond that, all of Dubai World Ports have received the same independent security certification – International Ship and Port Facility Security – as has Peninsular and Oriental ports....

Those of you who are dreading the thought that A-Rabs are going to have a choke-hold on our sea-borne commerce (confess, you had no idea that the English were running our ports, did you?) just gather around, and I'll show you something. This thing I'm going to show you is called a "link"...wait...here it comes: LINK. Click with your mouse on the link, and you will learn a whole heap about Dubai Ports.

Dubai Ports manages ports in: Australia, Djibouti, India, Romania, Australia, Germany, Dominican Republic, Hong Kong, China, Malaysia and Venezuela....Here's another list.

Probably most of the people in those places have no idea that their ports are run by DP, just as New Yorkers have no idea their port is being run by an English company. And they will probably never notice that Dubai has taken over. Why? Because Peninsular and Oriental hired Americans to run the American ports they manage. And DP will do the same, plus they will keep the various Englishmen and other folk of P&O.

How do I know this? Because that's how it's done! DP has to keep local governments happy, if they are going to keep managing ports. So they are not going to fire the locals and bring in guys wearing head-towels. (and BTW, NY's port is partly run by another foreign company, Mærsk. You didn't know that either.)

And they are already working closely with American security. How do I know this? Because that's how it's done! We don't just sit and wait until a ship appears on the horizon to start wondering if it might be a security risk. We work closely with the ports and countries where those ships are coming from. And a lot of those ports are managed by.....DP.

Here's a useful post. (In which a commenter points out that the Chinese are involved in port management on our West coast!)

Posted by John Weidner at 11:24 PM

February 15, 2006

a resource...

Bill Roggio is back from Iraq, and blogging once again at his own site, Fourth Rail. He is, as he was before, indispensable in following what's really happening in the war. You won't find this stuff in the newspaper.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:49 AM

February 11, 2006

Keep this in reserve...

I just happened upon something I'd read before, lawyer and PowerLine blogger John Hinderaker's analysis of the legality of the NSA intercepts, from last December. You might want to bookmark it, in case you are in an argument with the loony-bats.

There's a lot of case law that clearly and explicitly says that the President has the right to warrantless wiretapping if it is primarily for gathering foreign intelligence. John lays it all out lucidly.

* Update: And this article is very useful too. It points out the hypocrisy of many Democrats who are now castigating Bush for the exact things they themselves advocated when in power. For instance, it was Carter's Attorney General, Griffin Bell, who argued Truong, where...

...the court said the executive branch has the "inherent authority" to wiretap enemies such as terror plotters and is excused from obtaining warrants when surveillance is "conducted 'primarily' for foreign intelligence reasons."...

And when FISA was passed in 1978:

...When Mr. Bell testified in favor of FISA, he told Congress that while the measure doesn't explicitly acknowledge the "inherent power of the president to conduct electronic surveillance," it "does not take away the power of the president under the Constitution."(Thanks to Betsy N)

And now the odious Jimmy Carter says it is "ridiculous" for Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to say the spying is justified by Article II of the Constitution!!

Democrats are not honorable or honest people, and can't be trusted with national security.

(And it is important to keep in mind that each branch has its powers given under the Constitution, and Congress can no more take away Executive Branch powers with a law, than the President can take away Congress's powers with an Executive Order. Windbags are now trying to cloud these issues by pompously proclaiming that, "the President is not above the law!" Actually he is not above the Constitution, and any law that is Constitutional.)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:38 AM

February 10, 2006

If I'm too utilitarian...

If you are bored with my hum-drum practical approach to the War, or Clash of Civ's*, or whatever it is, you might like Andrea's Mock the Casbah

*Alan writes..

...Describing a Lee Harris essay to the skipper, I told him that Harris denied the ‘clash of civilizations’ thesis because a clash requires two combatants, and in this instance one side hasn’t really been fighting.

“The other side isn’t a civilization,” blurted the skipper.
Posted by John Weidner at 8:33 AM

February 6, 2006

Diversions

FoxNews: KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghan troops opened fire on demonstrators Monday, leaving at least four people dead...

Now cartoons are killing people. It was inevitable. One hopes that Danish newspapers and cartoonists thought all this through carefully, and decided to proceed because they were ready for war and bloodshed. Likewise everyone else who is jumping on the bandwagon. I doubt it.

And it's a clear example of how America's policy is being hurt by this--those Afghan troops ought to be fighting the Taliban. Now they are fighting people who have probably been feeling fairly friendly towards the West up to now. One hopes Europe is planning to throw extra resources and troops into the War, to make up for those they are distracting from the fight....

And Unca Sam has spent vast amoounts of treasure and more than a few lives creating the Afghan Army. No doubt Denmark will be reimbursing us for the part of those resources now being squandered...

I really have not idea whether the cartoon war will do good or harm in the long run. But I'm certainly disgusted at the thoughtlessness of it. There seems to be a current of modern, especially leftist, thought that says that one should not decide things with cold calculation of risks and benefits. Impulsive is best. This is probably done to avoid difficult moral decisions--"no one can blame the Danes for anything; they just impulsively decided to make a statement about Free Speech." You can guess what my position is on that....

Posted by John Weidner at 1:31 PM

"Sanctimonious stateless moral rectitude"

Brian Tiemann brings up a good point...

...I’d love to hear the Leu