Thursday, December 15, 2005

Hanoi Jane Redux 

I know I'm late to the party on this one, but it seems Jane Fonda is up to her old tricks. She now claims that US troops are being trained to commit atrocities against innocent civilians. She says the source of this revelation is "secret meetings" with military psychologists.


One needs only to review how Operation Iraqi Freedom was conducted to see how inane Ms. Fonda's pronouncements are.

The purpose of any military is, bluntly stated, to kill people and break things. It so happens that the US military is orders of magnitude better than any other armed force on the planet at killing military people and breaking military things while sparing nearby civilians. Knowing of our national concern about killing innocents while waging war, the bad guys purposely locate military installations within, next to, under or on top of such civilian structures as schools, hospitals, places of worship and homes. They also unabashedly use civilians, especially women and children, as human shields when engaging US troops. These practices are, of course, gross violations of the Geneva Convention, but that doesn't seem to bother anyone except Americans, in particular American military leaders.

In response to these tactics, America has developed such things as "smart" bombs and battle techniques that are specifically designed to minimize the destruction of anyone other than the military targets that are to be destroyed. Ms. Fonda, of course, ignores this, conveniently forgetting that the alternative to smart weapons and advanced techniques would probably be carpet bombing or massive artillery barrages that literally flatten the target and everything and everyone near it.

It is true that the American military is more lethal than any other military is, or has ever been. You don't want to be the recipient of its careful attention. But the whole purpose of such lethality is to convince the enemy that they don't stand a chance against it, so they will save their lives by surrendering. If they don't surrender, the best way to fight a war is to kill the other guys as fast as you can, because that will shorten the war and in the long run save both American lives and those of noncombatants.

It disgusts me that someone like Ms. Fonda, who at best is a know-nothing and at worst is a traitor to the country that made her wealthy and famous, gets so much publicity for her misinformed statements. And by the way, that "apology" for her love affair with North Vietnam? How sincere does that seem now?

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Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Anti-Howard 

Glenn Reynolds points to this op-ed in the Washington Post (of all places!) by a Marine preparing for his third tour in Iraq. What he says is drastically different from the gloom-and-doom of the lamestream media, and from the French-like surrender talk from Howard the Hapless Haranguer, Pusillanimous Pelosi and their ilk.

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The Nature of the Enemy 

This article by former CIA Director R. James Woolsey is a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand the nature of the enemy we face in the (poorly named) global war on terror. He identifies the enemy as Salafist Islamists and coins a new title for them. Instead of referring to them as "Islamofascists," he uses the term "IslamoNazis" because of their genocidal dogma against Jews, Christians, other Islamic denominations such as Shia and Sufi, and other non-believers, He notes that the Italian form of fascism, though horrible, was not genocidal as the Nazis were. I concur with his logic, and henceforth will refer to the bad guys as IslamoNazis.

Woolsey sketches a strategy for dealing with the IslamoNazi threat, which is informed by our history against totalitarian regimes from WWII through the end of the Cold War. His piece is definitely food for thought, and he brings a lot more personal knowledge and experience to the table than almost any Democratic defeatist that you care to name.

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Late and Unlamented 

Early this morning, Stanley "Tookie" Williams was executed by the State of California. Williams had been condemned to death for four murders committed in 1979. He was convicted in 1981. In the 24 intervening years, his appeals at all levels were consistently rejected by state and federal courts, including both the ultraliberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. After a final motion for stay of execution was rejected yesterday by the 9th Circuit, California governor Schwarzenegger denied clemency, noting that Williams had never admitted committing the murders nor had he ever demonstrated any remorse for his deeds. In his wrtten remarks, Schwarzenegger said, "Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption."

Frankly, I'm glad that society will never have to deal with Tookie again. The man was, in my judgment, an unrepentant monster who deserved to die.

Williams had become the darling of Hollywood's loony left, who campaigned on his behalf until the very end, and beyond. They comprised a mix of anti-death penalty activists (most of whom, for reasons known only to themselves, are pro-abortion) and classical "bleeding hearts" for whom Williams was the cause du jour. Predictably, these folks turned the last few days outside the gates of San Quentin into a media circus. According to the Fox News story linked to in the first paragraph, Williams' witnesses to the execution cried,
after he was declared dead, "The state of California just killed an innocent man," as they walked out of the execution chamber.

Not hardly.

If by some stretch Williams was not in fact guilty of the murders for which he was convicted (notwithstanding a unanimous jury verdict and exculpatory evidence sufficient to overturn the conviction not having been found by numerous courts over the last 24 years), he was not "innocent." Among other things, he was the co-founder of the notorious LA gang, the Crips, who collectively are responsible for hundreds, if not thousands, of deaths.

As Wretchard notes, the uproar was not really about Tookie, or his victims, it was about politics. He observes,
Issues of guilt and innocence; crime and punishment have been distorted by the political process. How else do you have Ramsey Clark defending Saddam and European investigators refusing to provide cooperation because it might lead to the Death Penalty? Crime stops being about criminals and their deeds and becomes yet another battleground in the culture wars. It becomes less about human beings and more about political agendas.
As for myself, I'm mildly pro-death penalty. I think the ultimate punishment should be reserved for the most egregious cases, such as when torture or terrorism is involved, or when a cop or a child has been murdered, or when someone serving a life sentence commits murder. Short of that, I think life without parole should be a sentence that is as hard and miserable as we can make it without running afoul of "cruel and unusual punishment" as the phrase was understood in 1790 America. Those sentenced to LWOP should, in my opinion, contemplate suicide as a favorable alternative to what they can look forward to each and every day of their incarceration (without, of course, having the means to actually commit suicide). It is a fact that the vast majority of convicted murderers have had many more chances than they gave their victims--they should not live in comfort while the innocents they killed lie rotting in the ground.

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Thursday, December 08, 2005

The Miami Incident 

I was listening to FNC this morning, in a segment about the incident at Miami International Airport yesterday in which federal air marshals shot dead a man who, according to reports, was acting erratically and claimed to have a bomb in his backpack. Tragically, it turns out that the dead man, one Rigoberto Alpizar, had bipolar disorder and had not taken his medication, but had no bomb.

One of the people FNC had on was evidently a passenger on the plane or waiting in the terminal, who thought that the air marshals should have attempted to subdue Alpizar with less than deadly force. I believe that man was wrong--what he advocated is a luxury that our law enforcement agents no longer have, post 9/11.

Sometimes people need to be reminded of the obvious:

1. If a person explodes a bomb near a lot of people, a lot of people are likely to be killed or seriously injured.

2. A person who claims to be in possession of a bomb on an airplane (or any place, for that matter) is not legally or logically entitled to the benefit of any doubt whatsoever.

3. A person who is acting erratically and who claims to have a bomb on his person may reasonably be considered an imminent threat.

4. A second person yelling at a law enforcement agent claiming to know something about the bomber is at best a distraction and at worst an accomplice.

5. A law enforcement agent has at most a few seconds to decide how best to neutralize a bomber without unduly endangering bystanders. This time window decreases if the bomber attempts to escape or get closer to potential victims.

6. A wounded bomber who is not incapacitated can nonetheless set off his bomb.

In light of all this, it is my judgment that the air marshals acted appropriately in shooting to kill. If Mr. Alpizar had in fact been a bomber, the air marshals would be applauded as heroes for stopping a terrible attack.

I'm truly sorry for Mr. Alpizar and his family, but in a war, innocents are often victims. We are at war with an enemy that has no scruples and no honor, who regards us and our society as less than human, and vigilance is mandatory. The fact that this incident occurred may deter some terrorist from attempting a real attack with a similar scenario. If so, Mr. Alpizar will not have died in vain.

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Howard the Hapless Haranguer II 

The always entertaining Junk Yard Blog points out that DNC Chairman Howard Dean presses on regardless in an appearance on CNN this morning, saying "Our troops don't belong in Iraq."

Although I've seen several stories about how some Democrats disagree with Dean's recent defeatist remarks, so far there appears to be no call by Party regulars to dump him as Party Chairman. They'd better get on the stick and do something if they want to have a hope of capturing centrist voters in 2006.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005

France Lite 

So I'm listening to FNC this morning and the subject is Dean's recent remarks and the Bush administration's insistence that we won't leave Iraq until we've achieved victory. There's a Democratic spokeswoman/strategist on who uttered the phrase, "it depends on what you mean by 'victory.'" My immediate reaction was, "Oh, great, we're back to Clintonian 'nuance' but this time we're not talking about sex."

I must confess that I didn't listen much to the woman after that, as she went on at length trying to explain, without using the words, how "cut and run" is equivalent to "victory." Then I thought about yesterday's post and the notion that the Democrat defeatists want to turn the United States into France Lite, i.e., France without the "culture."

Then it struck me that the Democrats really DO want to turn the US into France. They want the government to regulate everything, so that businesses become instruments of government policy. They think the government should own or control key industries such as transportation, telecom and electric power. They want generous welfare payments to those out of work, with no responsibility on the part of individuals to try to get employment. They want the government to own or control all health care, which is provided "free" to all (but with an 18 month wait). They think multiculturalism, of the kind that keeps immigrants ghettoized and unassimilated and led to the recent spate of car burnings throughout France, is a wonderful thing because it shows how "sensitive" our society is. They believe that talking about solving a problem is the same as actually solving it. They believe that the American people need to be 100 percent safe from all risks, real or imagined, and especially need to be protected from themselves. They want a military, but mostly so they can funnel money to political friends in the form of defense contracts, and so they can be surrounded by military pomp and ceremony on the kinds of special occasions that politicians love to devote to speechifying and photo ops. (But that military has to withdraw as soon as it gets a bloody nose because "we must protect the troops." If the French are "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" I guess the Democrats' ideal America might be "burger-eating surrender monkeys.") They want the de facto mind control that follows from heavily-enforced political correctness. I could list more things the Democrats want to do to turn the US into France Lite, but it's getting tiresome.


Oh, and one other thing--the Democrats very much want a double standard--one set of rules for their elite and a different set for everyone else. They'd be right at home as courtiers in the realm of the Sun King. I know Spiro Agnew was a dishonest and venal man, but he got it right with that remark about "effete snobs."

I wonder what happened to the Democratic Party of Harry Truman and Scoop Jackson and even Hubert Humphrey. At least those guys knew what the United States was really about. All the current crew wants is to be in charge--they don't much care about "of what."

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Not Anti-war, Anti-USA 

Howard Dean, the National Chairman of the Democratic Party, has come out and said the war in Iraq is "unwinnable." I am far from alone in saying that the only reason it would be unwinnable is political cowardice in Congress.

This statement, and its timing--10 days before the Iraqi parliamentary elections--leads me to conclude that Howard Dean wants the United States to lose the war, and is willing to surrender and leave the field in order to make it happen. He is a traitor to the interests of the United States of America and to the sacrifices of our troops in Iraq for what he believes is partisan political advantage. If the Democratic Party does not replace him within days as their national spokesman, it will be fair to conclude that the Democratic Party, by virtue of agreeing with its loose-cannon chairman, also stands against the interests of the United States of America. Some of the other Democratic Party leaders, for example Nancy Pelosi and our old buddy John Kerry, are clearly on the wrong side of this issue as well as Dean.

In response to those who would say, "Don't question our patriotism!" I say, why not? By your words and deeds you have demonstrated that you have gone far beyond being the loyal opposition, and are now acting in ways that directly harm the interests of the country.

Merely by saying those things, people such as Dean, Pelosi and Kerry who occupy positions of influence aid and abet the likes of Zarqawi, bin Laden and the remnants of the Saddamites, by giving them hope that bin Laden's assessment of the United States as a nation of feckless cowards is correct after all. Their words also demoralize the Iraqis who will soon be deciding the future of their nation.

Many have made the point that if the United States walks away from Iraq before the job is finished, the repercussions on America's international relations will be momentous and long-lasting. Such an event would be regarded by both allies and enemies as one more failure of will by the US along with Vietnam, Beirut, the Iran Hostages, Khobar Towers, Mogadishu and the USS Cole episode. The inevitable result will be that allies will no longer trust us and enemies will be emboldened. In fact, it may encourage some "allies" to switch sides and join those who would destroy us. Saudi Arabia comes to mind as such a possibility. We would be regarded as a much larger France.

The Democratic Party has some serious thinking to do. Let's hope that they do it soon, and keep the interests of the country foremost.

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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Do as I say, not as I do .... 

Bill Roggio reports at Threatswatch of how the AP and al-Reuters got snookered (I'm being generous, here) by the bad guys and ran with a false story of an uprising in Ramadi, Iraq. It looks like the lamestream media swallowed al Qaida in Iraq's propaganda hook, line and sinker, and then dressed it up using old AP TV footage. In other words, they LIED. Even if you don't buy that they lied, they failed to perform, even perfunctorily, the most basic task of a news reporter--fact checking and confirmation by independent sources.

The same lamestream media are some of the same folks who have their panties in a knot about the US military planting truthful stories in Iraqi newspapers in an effort to counteract al Quaida's lies. Their big complaint? It's propaganda! It doesn't conform to the standards of US journalism!


Can you spell H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y? I knew you could.

UPDATE: See Roger L. Simon's thoughts here.

UPDATE 2: Jeff Goldstein is on target with laser-like precision here.

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