Monday, July 26, 2004

The face of the enemy 

Amir Taheri critiques the 9/11 Commission's report in the New York Post Online Edition. Excerpt:

The typical politician in a democracy, starting with ancient Athens, is a deal-maker. He practices the art of compromise, not confrontation. He is always ready to understand the other side, to accept part of the blame, and to propose give-and-take. A more cynical version of this type of politics leads to triangulation, a la Bill Clinton. That kind of politics, however, does not work with the kind of enemy the United States now faces.

This enemy does not want to give and take, to compromise, or to triangulate. He wants you to obey him in every detail or he will kill you.

I don't think the powers that be in this country -- especially the leadership of the Democratic Party and the mainstream media -- understand yet the true nature of our enemy. We are in an all-out, multifront, unconventional and asymmetric war. As Taheri says, ". . . this is a war that must also be fought on diplomatic, cultural, religious and political battlefields." The bin Ladens and the Jemaah Islamiah and the Janjaweeds must not only be annihilated but utterly discredited or they will win. Not only are they on a religious mission to convert us or destroy us, they are quite capable of waiting decades, if not centuries, to achieve their goals.

It is imperative that we as a society understand what we are up against and mobilize to fight this war on all fronts and on every battlefield. If we permit this cancer of Islamist fascism to spread, I fear that we will at some future time have to choose between the destruction of Western society (whether by warfare or capitulation) and the destruction of Islam, which by then will be under the total control of the kind of people Taheri describes. If it gets that far, the result will be catastrophic, millions will die, and the grandchildren of Gen X may be praying five times a day while bowing toward Mecca.

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Mark Steyn on Berger, Cleland and Viewpoints 

Mark Steyn is spot on, as usual. Go ye now and read!

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Sunday, July 25, 2004


I've not commented on Sandy Berger, primarily because my dad and his wife have been visiting from Japan and we have been busy enjoying each others' company. That said, I have been thinking about it, and have a few observations.

A long time ago I worked for the DoD and had a security clearance. The materials I had access to were all "Confidential," which I believe is the lowest level of confidentiality that requires special handling. Those documents were kept in a locked, fireproof file cabinet and had to be signed in and out. They were not to be left unattended, even in the secure area where I worked. If you didn't follow the rules for handling the materials, your life would suddenly become a lot more exciting as all kinds of people questioned you about what you were doing with the documents you'd signed out and not returned. If your failure to follow the rules was severe enough, or happened often enough, you'd lose your security clearance and be fired. I've read a lot of comments on many blogs from people who handled materials higher up in the confidentiality tree, and more recently, and what they say corroborates well what I remember.

That said, it is inconceivable to me that Sandy Berger didn't understand exactly what he was doing when he admittedly smuggled notes and drafts of codename classified materials out of the National Archives. I don't believe "inadvertently" on any level. Nor do I believe "stupid mistake." Berger is much too smart to have been that stupid. Especially if he in fact stuffed items into his drawers and socks to avoid detection. And it appears that he concentrated on drafts of one document. That is definitely not an indicator of "inadvertence". I would hazard that it contraindicates "inadvertence." Others have observed that anyone with a security clearance is required to have training on the care and handling of secrets and as National Security Advisor Berger would not only have known what the rules are, he would have been responsible for enforcing them in one way or another.

I am also appalled that the staff of the National Archives didn't do their jobs. They didn't search Berger when he left the reading room, and apparently on at least one occasion they didn't check his leather briefcase. Someone ought to have his head handed to him for that.

What I and many others would like to know is why Berger took the documents, what he did with the information, who he shared it with, and what happened to the documents that he took but didn't return. I hope we find out.

At the very least, the Berger case is yet another example of a member of the "elite" acting as if the rules that apply to the "little people" don't apply to him. Maybe John Edwards is right about there being "two Americas," but they aren't what he thinks. The two Americas suggested by the Sandy Bergers of the world are the power elite on one hand, who can break rules and laws with impunity, and everyone else on the other hand. If those two Americas really exist, then the situation must be fixed or ahead lies chaos, because you can't have government of law unless the law applies equally to everyone. If it doesn't, you eventually get Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, Saddam's Iraq or North Korea. Not the kind of nation where most Americans want to live, I suspect.

It is therefore imperative that the investigation into the Berger affair be done thoroughly and rapidly, that the results of that investigation be made public, and if the investigation indicates that laws were broken (which I believe is the case based on what I have read so far), then Berger should be prosecuted and if convicted, punished severely. Someone who breaks the public trust by abusing his position should, in my view, be punished much more severely than someone who merely forgets to put something away.

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Monday, July 05, 2004

Kerry on Abortion 

(Written before reading any other blogs)

The news this morning says John Kerry has announced that he “is personally against abortion” and that “life begins at conception” but that he refuses to apply his personal beliefs in legislation because he doesn't feel it's appropriate to impose his view on others.

I find this statement astounding.

Either Kerry is telling the truth about his personal beliefs or he is not. If he is not telling the truth, then his statement is nothing more than an attempt to straddle the abortion issue, as he has so often straddled other issues.

If Kerry is telling the truth about his personal beliefs, then he evidently believes that a fetus in the womb is a human being from the moment of conception. It therefore appears Kerry believes – notwithstanding his own views -- it should be legally permissible in our society to kill a human being who does not satisfy some arbitrary criterion that differentiates those human beings whose lives are protected by law from those whose lives are not protected by law. I have no idea where Kerry would draw his bright line test. Perhaps it would be viability outside the womb (a test which medical science will probably make immaterial within a few decades at most). Perhaps it would be at 180 days of gestation. Perhaps it would be breathing air.

Wherever Kerry draws the line between disposable people and those whose lives are protected for purposes of the abortion argument, the fact that he is unwilling to impose this belief of his on others via legislation implies that he believes that under some arbitrarily determined circumstances homicide should be permissible in our society. In other words, the question of which persons are protected by law and which are not is a matter of politics, not underlying moral or ethical principles.

Now, if it is permissible to designate a certain class of people (i.e., unborn babies) as disposable, why would it not be equally permissible to so designate one or more other classes of people? For instance, why not make it legal to kill terminally ill people? Or the very old? Or the insane? Or Muslims? Or Catholics? The only restriction on who could be designated as disposable would be the collective conscience of the majority of voters. There are people living today who have lived in the kind of society that line of thought engenders. Some of them are called Holocaust survivors.

I will leave it to the reader to reflect upon what this statement of Kerry's reveals about his qualifications to be President of the United States. You already know where I stand.

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