Friday, November 18, 2005
Go ye now, and read the whole thing. There are lots of photos, too.
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
The nonbinding amendment was much weaker than a competing Democrat-sponsored one, which was easily defeated in a floor vote. Also, there's nothing like the amendment in the House version of the defense bill. This is the good news.
The bad news is that the Republicans felt that they had to do anything at all in regard to the conduct of the Iraq war. The last thing this country needs is micromanagement of a war by a bunch of legislators. Talk about armchair generals! Sheesh!
But to get to the point expressed in the title, this kind of thing is the reason I regard a presidential candidate's status as a Senator as almost a disqualifier. The jobs are nothing alike. Presidents lead, execute, select subordinates, take heat for their decisions, and the good ones have the courage to stick to their guns unless and until situational change (other than political and media pressure) calls for different action. Senators, on the other hand, debate, argue, ponder, horse trade, compromise, and point fingers (usually at the President). The very qualities that make for a successful career in the Senate are those that would make for a disastrous term as President. As a result, when any Senator announces his or her candidacy for President, I start out with a negative view of the candidate.
Mitigating factors, for me, are (a) the candidate served successfully as an elected executive such as governor or mayor of one of the larger cities in America, or as a four-star military officer and (b) the length of service in the senate is not more than two terms. The first factor demonstrates ability and experience as the top dog in a political arena, and the second factor marks the difference, in my mind, between being in the Senate and of the Senate. Someone who is of the Senate has, in my thinking, experienced a conversion akin to finding religion which overshadows any previous executive experience.
Friday, November 11, 2005
My dad retired from the US Army in 1972 after 30 years of service to his country. Not too many can honestly wear that baseball cap he has on. I honor him today for his service.
Pop retired as a Command Sergeant Major. He was in the Medical Corps, and achieving CSM rank was a higher hurdle for him than for those serving in the combat arms. He achieved much and overcame many obstacles. In his own way, he is as courageous as any combat soldier.
Since retirement he has lived in Japan. This picture was taken (I believe) at Camp Zama a couple years ago.
Thanks, Pop, and thanks to all your comrades in arms, living and dead, who have given so much so that we may enjoy our freedoms. God bless you!
Thursday, November 10, 2005
I do think that what's pathetic about all Western countries, including the United States, including France, including Canada, and a lot of other countries, is that they make these sort of high school sophist arguments about terrorism, as if it's some sort of theoretical debate. It's not. We're dealing with a very difficult situation here. And if you accord to terrorists all the rights of somebody who gets arrested for holding up a liquor store in Des Moines, you are going to lose to the terrorists, because when you accord them the full rights of somebody who is a criminal, you make it impossible to prosecute this as a war, which is what it is.
That, in a nutshell, is the issue that we as a society are going to have to resolve properly, or our grandkids or great-grandkids will be praying five times a day while kneeling towards Mecca, and our women will be wearing burqas.
Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for noting this and pointing to the transcript on Radioblogger
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
So, I thought, why, exactly, is Bush getting such a bad rap on the Iraq war and US policies in general? While the Bush administration has made many mistakes in Irqaq, particularly in "winning the peace," I think they've finally gotten their act together. It's pretty clear to anyone who actually pays attention to what's going on that those like Cindy Sheehan and Colleen Rowley (MN Congressional candidate) who cry, "We can't win!" are reflecting their own ideology a lot more than the reality on the ground. The main reason, in my view, that the Iraq war is viewed so negatively is that the New York Times, the LA Times, CBS, ABC, NBC, AP and Reuters have from the beginning marched in lockstep in reporting only the bad news. That theme has been echoed around the world and the vast majority of people have heard, read and seen nothing else, almost since September 11.
In response, the Bush administration has been Casper Milquetoast, saying little in its own defense, and doing almost nothing to educate people about what's going on, the successes it has achieved, and its goals. Bush himself has finally gotten around to identifying the enemy--it's not "terror" (as in, "The Global War On Terror"), it's Islamofascist terrorists. He could do a lot more, and should have been doing so since day one, to clarify what we as a society are facing, and what we need to do to win the struggle.
One of the best things Bush said, early on, was that the struggle will last years, maybe decades. He's right, because it's pretty difficult to change the mind of religious fanatics. Unfortunately, the kind of secularism that constitutes religion for most in the West, and almost everyone in Europe, doesn't lend itself well to fanaticism, so the West is still rather blase about Islamofascism. It'll take a catastrophe like September 11, maybe several such catastrophes, before most people wake up to reality. France may be on the threshold of such a catastrophe, but it's unclear whether the French will react before it's too late.
As for the lamestream media, I don't think that foundationally they're ideological about the struggle between Islamofascism and liberal western society--they just want to sell papers/TV ads, and they don't want to appear to be in the politicians' pockets. Hence the "if it bleeds, it leads" mentality. Also, most people who have entered the journalism profession since Watergate in the early 1970s have been both indoctrinated by leftist professors in J-school and have secret dreams of being the next Bob Woodward or Carl Bernstein. In combination, these two factors have created a media establishment that naturally opposes any Republican administration. What is interesting is that the media obviously believe that Western society will ultimately triumph despite their naysaying, because it is clear from examples like Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia that there will be no such thing as a free press in the New Caliphate.
Bottom line, we need to defeat Islamofascism, the sooner the better. We cannot remain complacent, because if we do, our grandchildren will be facing Mecca while praying five times a day. Bush needs to hammer the message home with an all-out media campaign to rival anything that Madison Avenue has ever come up with, or we will keep hitting our societal snooze button until the cost of victory, if achievable at all, will be measured in hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives.
UPDATE 20051111: Stephen Green addresses the media issue in a long post at his Vodkapundit blog. He does it much better than I.
Sunday, November 06, 2005
Reading Wretchard's items, the first thing I thought of was, "What if the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto had been armed--would the result have resembled the Paris suburbs?" Upon reflection, I think not, because the instant communication afforded by cellphones didn't exist and the Nazis would not have hesitated to bomb the ghetto to dust if the Jews had attacked as these rioters have.
Something to think about: What if France had something like the Second Amendment to the US Constitution?
Friday, November 04, 2005
It’s past time that we quit worrying whether a killer who blows himself up on the West Bank, or a terrorist who shouts the accustomed jihadist gibberish as he crashes a jumbo jet into the World Trade Center, or a driver who rams his explosives-laden car into an Iraqi polling station, or a Chechnyan rebel who blows the heads off schoolchildren, is in daily e-mail contact with Osama bin Laden. Our present lax attitude toward jihadism is akin to deeming local outbreaks of avian flu as regional maladies without much connection to a new strain of a deadly — and global — virus.
Instead, the world—if it is to save its present liberal system of free trade, safe travel, easy and unfettered communications, and growing commitment to constitutional government—must begin seeing radical Islamism as a universal pathology rather than reactions to regional grievances, if it is ever to destroy it materially and refute it ideologically.
In arguing about such things as whether Saddam had WMD, the Western elites are engaging in the modern equivalent of debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. We need serious thought, followed by serious action. Read the whole thing.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
Many times, we found huge drums of cyclosarin-based "pesticides" hidden in camouflaged ammunition bunkers... and many times we found empty chemical rockets and artillery shells, often at the same ammo dumps. But evidently, that doesn't constitute chemical weapons according to the ISG. But if Hussein's regime had actually poured the first into the second, then and only then would they be defined as chemical weapons.
Does this mean that a gun is not a gun if it's not loaded?
The point is, the Iraqi Survey Group was giving the benefit of all doubt to the nonexistence of chemical weapons, notwithstanding that many pesticides differ from chemical weapons only in the degree of toxicity to humans and the method of "application." Given Saddam's history of using chemical weapons, logic would suggest that the presence of many barrels of "pesticide" in close proximity to munitions designed to disperse chemical warfare agents is solid evidence that Saddam had them, and was prepared to use them.
Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele is a conservative Republican who happens to be black, and is a candidate for the US Senate. Mr. Steele has of late been bombarded with racial epithets, pelted with Oreo cookies and has had his altered image portraying him as a blackface minstrel posted on a blog run by Steve Gilliard, a New York liberal who also happens to be black. Michelle Malkin chronicles all of this here. Jeff Goldstein expounds on this phenomenon at length at his Protein Wisdom blog.
Not all Democrats fall into the racist camp, however. Tim Kaine, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Virginia, showed a lot of character by pulling his campaign ads from Gilliard's blog in protest. Gillaird responded by calling Kaine a coward.
The lamestream media aids and abets this abhorrent behavior, of course, by giving the Leftist racists like Gilliard a free pass while being exquisitely sensitive to any real or imagined racial slur by anyone on the Right or in the Center, as exhibited by the recent dustup over remarks by William Bennett. I did a quick web search on the Steele/Gilliard item and turned up only two newspaper items, in the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Post. No references to the NYT or any of the broadcast media that I could find.
I think this kind of behavior on the part of the loony Left will lead to one of two scenarios: (1) moderate Democrats will become alarmed about what is happening to their party and will purge the loonies from the party; or (2) more and more moderate Democrats will stop supporting their party, if not actually move to the Republican side, which will eventually lead to the formation of a centrist party that will attract moderates from both the Dems and the GOP. Neither scenario would be favorable for the moonbats, and that would be a good thing.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
He's not interested in gaining control of our border with Mexico.
He defaulted to the Democratic governor of Louisiana and Democratic Mayor of New Orleans after hurricane Katrina, and allowed FEMA to make his administration look totally incompetent.
He's doing a lousy job of selling the War on Terror, especially the Iraq front.
He doesn't appear to be doing anything about Iran's nuclear buildup.
He let his political opponents outspin him in the Valerie Plame kerfuffle.
He doesn't use the bully pulpit of the Presidency to counter the half-truths and outright falsehoods that the lamestream media put out.
He has let the Republican-controlled Congress spend like drunken sailors without using his veto.
He signed the McCain-Feingold bill into law (Prohibition as applied to politics – with similar results).
His nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court was politically tone-deaf and needlessly alienated a large class of his supporters, especially following the home run of the Roberts nomination.
He's allowed the momentum that accrued to him after the September 11 attacks to slip away and at times seems like he's not making any attempt to control events.
All that said, I remain absolutely convinced that the United States is better off with him in the White House than if Kerry (or any of the other Democratic candidates in 2004, with the possible exception of Lieberman) had won that election.
I say by all means, let's investigate ALL of the prewar intelligence. Glenn Reynolds correctly points out that a thorough investigation of the subject should start by examining the intelligence on which the government relied when Congress enacted, and President Clinton signed, the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998.
The American People have a Right to Know how both the current administration and its predecessor used intelligence to further their own agendas.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Anyone who finds moral equivalency between what we are doing in Iraq and Afghanistan and what the islamofascists are doing is either unbelievably softheaded or, more likely, wants the bad guys to win.