The Discerning Texan

All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for good men to do nothing.
-- Edmund Burke
Monday, August 29, 2005

Bosnia terror connection hits the airwaves

You may recall a couple of weeks back when we previously discussed here the Balkans connection to the current Al Qaeda world terror network, and how this network was allowed to grow and prosper under the inactive and unwatchful eye of President Clinton and Wesley Clark. Well, lo and behold, it has hit the electronic media now. Of course it is only Fox News (the number one cable channel); this probably means a couple of more weeks will pass before ABC, NBC, CBS or CNN get hold of it. And I wouldn't hold my breath on even that. But the Fox News story is quite interesting:

The arrest in Serbia (search) of a top terrorist fugitive has raised fresh concerns of an Al Qaeda (search) presence in the volatile Balkans (search), where thousands of U.S. and other international troops are stationed as peacekeepers.

Abdelmajid Bouchar, a 22-year-old Moroccan, sought for involvement in last year's train bombings in the Spanish capital Madrid, that killed nearly 200 people, was caught at the Belgrade railway station in June.

The arrest, revealed earlier this month, revived concerns that the Balkans — with its porous borders, unsophisticated security systems, rampant corruption and organized crime — could serve as a haven for Al Qaeda-linked terrorist groups.
Local officials and experts have long warned that the Balkans at least is a major transit route for the terrorists, as well as for organized crime, including human and drug trafficking. They said the two often go hand in hand.

Serbian Interior Minister Dragan Jocic said police believed Bouchar was most likely passing through Serbia. He noted that "Serbia-Montenegro lies on important east-west transit routes."
Bouchar was arrested by chance during a routine police patrol check at a train that arrived to the Serbian capital from the northern town of Subotica, located on the border with Hungary, Serb authorities said.

Bouchar was sitting in a train compartment with several other people. He said he was an immigrant from Iraq en route to Western Europe — a common sight for Serbia's police which are used to escorting people who are heading west.

But Bouchar stood out, they said. He was traveling in the wrong direction, from north to south, had no documents on him and was too well-dressed for a poor Iraqi immigrant in search of a better life in Western Europe.

A month and a half later, after weeks of back-and-forth with Interpol, it turned out that Bouchar was one of the world's most wanted fugitives.

"He was arrested thanks to the good thinking of a police officer," said Darko Trifunovic, who teaches at Belgrade's security faculty. "This wasn't a well-planned action."

No details about Bouchar's stay in Serbia have been made public. Jocic told The Associated Press that an investigation was under way to determine what he was doing in Belgrade and whether he had any associates here.

Zoran Dragisic, a terrorism expert from Belgrade's Faculty of Defense, warned that the Balkans could be more than just a transit station.

"The Balkans is the springboard for Europe-bound terrorism," he told AP. "We should all be extremely careful."

Dragisic claimed that Al Qaeda put down roots in the Balkans in the early 1990s, when the region exploded in a series of ethnic conflicts. The political turmoil and ensuing instability led to the collapse of the security network, allowing organized crime to flourish.

News reports during the conflict in Bosnia suggested that outsiders joined Bosnia's Muslims in their conflict with the region's Serbs and Croats — though the extent of their impact in the chaos was never clear. Dragisic said that radical Islamic fighters came to the region to fight.

Some of the outsiders married local women and stayed long after the end of the 3 1/2 year war.
In 2002, during worldwide anti-terrorist raids following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in New York, six Arab men suspected of ties with Al Qaeda were arrested in Bosnia and shipped to the U.S. base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The United States suspected them of planning attacks against foreign embassies in Bosnia.

Dragisic argued that Balkans is "convenient" for the terrorist groups and criminals because "you can buy anything, including your freedom, here with a couple of thousand euros."

"The states here are weak and corrupt," he said. "You can do anything here."

DiscerningTexan, 8/29/2005 03:55:00 PM | Permalink | |

Hitchens refuses to back down to his former leftist "friends"

Christopher Hitchens, who I saw absolutely ambushed by on not funny and boring as hell Daily Show with John Stewart the other night (he has the gall to call that a comedy show???), has written a coherent and strong argument (published in Front Page Magazine) for why we are in Iraq, why we should be in Iraq, why we should stay, and why people like Stewart are not only wrong in doing what they do, but indeed they are contributing to the dangers we face in this global war:

Let me begin with a simple sentence that, even as I write it, appears less than Swiftian in the modesty of its proposal: "Prison conditions at Abu Ghraib have improved markedly and dramatically since the arrival of Coalition troops in Baghdad."

I could undertake to defend that statement against any member of Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International, and I know in advance that none of them could challenge it, let alone negate it. Before March 2003, Abu Ghraib was an abattoir, a torture chamber, and a concentration camp. Now, and not without reason, it is an international byword for Yankee imperialism and sadism. Yet the improvement is still, unarguably, the difference between night and day. How is it possible that the advocates of a post-Saddam Iraq have been placed on the defensive in this manner? And where should one begin?

I once tried to calculate how long the post-Cold War liberal Utopia had actually lasted. Whether you chose to date its inception from the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, or the death of Nicolae Ceausescu in late December of the same year, or the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, or the referendum defeat suffered by Augusto Pinochet (or indeed from the publication of Francis Fukuyama's book about the "end of history" and the unarguable triumph of market liberal pluralism), it was an epoch that in retrospect was over before it began. By the middle of 1990, Saddam Hussein had abolished Kuwait and Slobodan Milosevic was attempting to erase the identity and the existence of Bosnia. It turned out that we had not by any means escaped the reach of atavistic, aggressive, expansionist, and totalitarian ideology. Proving the same point in another way, and within approximately the same period, the theocratic dictator of Iran had publicly claimed the right to offer money in his own name for the suborning of the murder of a novelist living in London, and the génocidaire faction in Rwanda had decided that it could probably get away with putting its long-fantasized plan of mass murder into operation.

One is not mentioning these apparently discrepant crimes and nightmares as a random or unsorted list. Khomeini, for example, was attempting to compensate for the humiliation of the peace agreement he had been compelled to sign with Saddam Hussein. And Saddam Hussein needed to make up the loss, of prestige and income, that he had himself suffered in the very same war. Milosevic (anticipating Putin, as it now seems to me, and perhaps Beijing also) was riding a mutation of socialist nationalism into national socialism. It was to be noticed in all cases that the aggressors, whether they were killing Muslims, or exalting Islam, or just killing their neighbors, shared a deep and abiding hatred of the United States.

The balance sheet of the Iraq war, if it is to be seriously drawn up, must also involve a confrontation with at least this much of recent history. Was the Bush administration right to leave--actually to confirm--Saddam Hussein in power after his eviction from Kuwait in 1991? Was James Baker correct to say, in his delightfully folksy manner, that the United States did not "have a dog in the fight" that involved ethnic cleansing for the mad dream of a Greater Serbia? Was the Clinton administration prudent in its retreat from Somalia, or wise in its opposition to the U.N. resolution that called for a preemptive strengthening of the U.N. forces in Rwanda?

I know hardly anybody who comes out of this examination with complete credit. There were neoconservatives who jeered at Rushdie in 1989 and who couldn't see the point when Sarajevo faced obliteration in 1992. There were leftist humanitarians and radicals who rallied to Rushdie and called for solidarity with Bosnia, but who--perhaps because of a bad conscience about Palestine--couldn't face a confrontation with Saddam Hussein even when he annexed a neighbor state that was a full member of the Arab League and of the U.N. (I suppose I have to admit that I was for a time a member of that second group.) But there were consistencies, too. French statecraft, for example, was uniformly hostile to any resistance to any aggression, and Paris even sent troops to rescue its filthy clientele in Rwanda. And some on the hard left and the brute right were also opposed to any exercise, for any reason, of American military force.

The only speech by any statesman that can bear reprinting from that low, dishonest decade came from Tony Blair when he spoke in Chicago in 1999. Welcoming the defeat and overthrow of Milosevic after the Kosovo intervention, he warned against any self-satisfaction and drew attention to an inescapable confrontation that was coming with Saddam Hussein. So far from being an American "poodle," as his taunting and ignorant foes like to sneer, Blair had in fact leaned on Clinton over Kosovo and was insisting on the importance of Iraq while George Bush was still an isolationist governor of Texas.

Notwithstanding this prescience and principle on his part, one still cannot read the journals of the 2000/2001 millennium without the feeling that one is revisiting a hopelessly somnambulist relative in a neglected home. I am one of those who believe, uncynically, that Osama bin Laden did us all a service (and holy war a great disservice) by his mad decision to assault the American homeland four years ago. Had he not made this world-historical mistake, we would have been able to add a Talibanized and nuclear-armed Pakistan to our list of the threats we failed to recognize in time. (This threat still exists, but it is no longer so casually overlooked.)

The subsequent liberation of Pakistan's theocratic colony in Afghanistan, and the so-far decisive eviction and defeat of its bin Ladenist guests, was only a reprisal. It took care of the last attack. But what about the next one? For anyone with eyes to see, there was only one other state that combined the latent and the blatant definitions of both "rogue" and "failed." This state--Saddam's ruined and tortured and collapsing Iraq--had also met all the conditions under which a country may be deemed to have sacrificed its own legal sovereignty. To recapitulate: It had invaded its neighbors, committed genocide on its own soil, harbored and nurtured international thugs and killers, and flouted every provision of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. The United Nations, in this crisis, faced with regular insult to its own resolutions and its own character, had managed to set up a system of sanctions-based mutual corruption. In May 2003, had things gone on as they had been going, Saddam Hussein would have been due to fill Iraq's slot as chair of the U.N. Conference on Disarmament. Meanwhile, every species of gangster from the hero of the Achille Lauro hijacking to Abu Musab al Zarqawi was finding hospitality under Saddam's crumbling roof.

One might have thought, therefore, that Bush and Blair's decision to put an end at last to this intolerable state of affairs would be hailed, not just as a belated vindication of long-ignored U.N. resolutions but as some corrective to the decade of shame and inaction that had just passed in Bosnia and Rwanda. But such is not the case. An apparent consensus exists, among millions of people in Europe and America, that the whole operation for the demilitarization of Iraq, and the salvage of its traumatized society, was at best a false pretense and at worst an unprovoked aggression. How can this possibly be?

There is, first, the problem of humorless and pseudo-legalistic literalism. In Saki's short story The Lumber Room, the naughty but clever child Nicholas, who has actually placed a frog in his morning bread-and-milk, rejoices in his triumph over the adults who don't credit this excuse for not eating his healthful dish:

"You said there couldn't possibly be a frog in my bread-and-milk; there was a frog in my bread-and-milk," he repeated, with the insistence of a skilled tactician who does not intend to shift from favorable ground.

Childishness is one thing--those of us who grew up on this wonderful Edwardian author were always happy to see the grown-ups and governesses discomfited. But puerility in adults is quite another thing, and considerably less charming. "You said there were WMDs in Iraq and that Saddam had friends in al Qaeda. . . . Blah, blah, pants on fire." I have had many opportunities to tire of this mantra. It takes ten seconds to intone the said mantra. It would take me, on my most eloquent C-SPAN day, at the very least five minutes to say that Abdul Rahman Yasin, who mixed the chemicals for the World Trade Center attack in 1993, subsequently sought and found refuge in Baghdad; that Dr. Mahdi Obeidi, Saddam's senior physicist, was able to lead American soldiers to nuclear centrifuge parts and a blueprint for a complete centrifuge (the crown jewel of nuclear physics) buried on the orders of Qusay Hussein; that Saddam's agents were in Damascus as late as February 2003, negotiating to purchase missiles off the shelf from North Korea; or that Rolf Ekeus, the great Swedish socialist who founded the inspection process in Iraq after 1991, has told me for the record that he was offered a $2 million bribe in a face-to-face meeting with Tariq Aziz. And these eye-catching examples would by no means exhaust my repertoire, or empty my quiver. Yes, it must be admitted that Bush and Blair made a hash of a good case, largely because they preferred to scare people rather than enlighten them or reason with them. Still, the only real strategy of deception has come from those who believe, or pretend, that Saddam Hussein was no problem.

I have a ready answer to those who accuse me of being an agent and tool of the Bush-Cheney administration (which is the nicest thing that my enemies can find to say). Attempting a little levity, I respond that I could stay at home if the authorities could bother to make their own case, but that I meanwhile am a prisoner of what I actually do know about the permanent hell, and the permanent threat, of the Saddam regime. However, having debated almost all of the spokespeople for the antiwar faction, both the sane and the deranged, I was recently asked a question that I was temporarily unable to answer. "If what you claim is true," the honest citizen at this meeting politely asked me, "how come the White House hasn't told us?"

I do in fact know the answer to this question. So deep and bitter is the split within official Washington, most especially between the Defense Department and the CIA, that any claim made by the former has been undermined by leaks from the latter. (The latter being those who maintained, with a combination of dogmatism and cowardice not seen since Lincoln had to fire General McClellan, that Saddam Hussein was both a "secular" actor and--this is the really rich bit--a rational and calculating one.)

There's no cure for that illusion, but the resulting bureaucratic chaos and unease has cornered the president into his current fallback upon platitude and hollowness. It has also induced him to give hostages to fortune. The claim that if we fight fundamentalism "over there" we won't have to confront it "over here" is not just a standing invitation for disproof by the next suicide-maniac in London or Chicago, but a coded appeal to provincial and isolationist opinion in the United States. Surely the elementary lesson of the grim anniversary that will shortly be upon us is that American civilians are as near to the front line as American soldiers.

It is exactly this point that makes nonsense of the sob-sister tripe pumped out by the Cindy Sheehan circus and its surrogates. But in reply, why bother to call a struggle "global" if you then try to localize it? Just say plainly that we shall fight them everywhere they show themselves, and fight them on principle as well as in practice, and get ready to warn people that Nigeria is very probably the next target of the jihadists. The peaceniks love to ask: When and where will it all end? The answer is easy: It will end with the surrender or defeat of one of the contending parties. Should I add that I am certain which party that ought to be? Defeat is just about imaginable, though the mathematics and the algebra tell heavily against the holy warriors. Surrender to such a foe, after only four years of combat, is not even worthy of consideration.

Antaeus was able to draw strength from the earth every time an antagonist wrestled him to the ground. A reverse mythology has been permitted to take hold in the present case, where bad news is deemed to be bad news only for regime-change. Anyone with the smallest knowledge of Iraq knows that its society and infrastructure and institutions have been appallingly maimed and beggared by three decades of war and fascism (and the "divide-and-rule" tactics by which Saddam maintained his own tribal minority of the Sunni minority in power). In logic and morality, one must therefore compare the current state of the country with the likely or probable state of it had Saddam and his sons been allowed to go on ruling.

At once, one sees that all the alternatives would have been infinitely worse, and would most likely have led to an implosion--as well as opportunistic invasions from Iran and Turkey and Saudi Arabia, on behalf of their respective interests or confessional clienteles. This would in turn have necessitated a more costly and bloody intervention by some kind of coalition, much too late and on even worse terms and conditions. This is the lesson of Bosnia and Rwanda yesterday, and of Darfur today. When I have made this point in public, I have never had anyone offer an answer to it. A broken Iraq was in our future no matter what, and was a responsibility (somewhat conditioned by our past blunders) that no decent person could shirk. The only unthinkable policy was one of abstention.

Two pieces of good fortune still attend those of us who go out on the road for this urgent and worthy cause. The first is contingent: There are an astounding number of plain frauds and charlatans (to phrase it at its highest) in charge of the propaganda of the other side. Just to tell off the names is to frighten children more than Saki ever could: Michael Moore, George Galloway, Jacques Chirac, Tim Robbins, Richard Clarke, Joseph Wilson . . . a roster of gargoyles that would send Ripley himself into early retirement. Some of these characters are flippant, and make heavy jokes about Halliburton, and some disdain to conceal their sympathy for the opposite side. So that's easy enough.

The second bit of luck is a certain fiber displayed by a huge number of anonymous Americans. Faced with a constant drizzle of bad news and purposely demoralizing commentary, millions of people stick out their jaws and hang tight. I am no fan of populism, but I surmise that these citizens are clear on the main point: It is out of the question--plainly and absolutely out of the question--that we should surrender the keystone state of the Middle East to a rotten, murderous alliance between Baathists and bin Ladenists. When they hear the fatuous insinuation that this alliance has only been created by the resistance to it, voters know in their intestines that those who say so are soft on crime and soft on fascism. The more temperate anti-warriors, such as Mark Danner and Harold Meyerson, like to employ the term "a war of choice." One should have no problem in accepting this concept. As they cannot and do not deny, there was going to be another round with Saddam Hussein no matter what. To whom, then, should the "choice" of time and place have fallen? The clear implication of the antichoice faction--if I may so dub them--is that this decision should have been left up to Saddam Hussein. As so often before . . .

Does the president deserve the benefit of the reserve of fortitude that I just mentioned? Only just, if at all. We need not argue about the failures and the mistakes and even the crimes, because these in some ways argue themselves. But a positive accounting could be offered without braggartry, and would include:

(1) The overthrow of Talibanism and Baathism, and the exposure of many highly suggestive links between the two elements of this Hitler-Stalin pact. Abu Musab al Zarqawi, who moved from Afghanistan to Iraq before the coalition intervention, has even gone to the trouble of naming his organization al Qaeda in Mesopotamia.

(2) The subsequent capitulation of Qaddafi's Libya in point of weapons of mass destruction--a capitulation that was offered not to Kofi Annan or the E.U. but to Blair and Bush.

(3) The consequent unmasking of the A.Q. Khan network for the illicit transfer of nuclear technology to Libya, Iran, and North Korea.

(4) The agreement by the United Nations that its own reform is necessary and overdue, and the unmasking of a quasi-criminal network within its elite.

(5) The craven admission by President Chirac and Chancellor Schröder, when confronted with irrefutable evidence of cheating and concealment, respecting solemn treaties, on the part of Iran, that not even this will alter their commitment to neutralism. (One had already suspected as much in the Iraqi case.)

(6) The ability to certify Iraq as actually disarmed, rather than accept the word of a psychopathic autocrat.

(7) The immense gains made by the largest stateless minority in the region--the Kurds--and the spread of this example to other states.

(8) The related encouragement of democratic and civil society movements in Egypt, Syria, and most notably Lebanon, which has regained a version of its autonomy.

(9) The violent and ignominious death of thousands of bin Ladenist infiltrators into Iraq and Afghanistan, and the real prospect of greatly enlarging this number.

(10) The training and hardening of many thousands of American servicemen and women in a battle against the forces of nihilism and absolutism, which training and hardening will surely be of great use in future combat.

It would be admirable if the president could manage to make such a presentation. It would also be welcome if he and his deputies adopted a clear attitude toward the war within the war: in other words, stated plainly, that the secular and pluralist forces within Afghan and Iraqi society, while they are not our clients, can in no circumstance be allowed to wonder which outcome we favor.
The great point about Blair's 1999 speech was that it asserted the obvious. Coexistence with aggressive regimes or expansionist, theocratic, and totalitarian ideologies is not in fact possible. One should welcome this conclusion for the additional reason that such coexistence is not desirable, either. If the great effort to remake Iraq as a demilitarized federal and secular democracy should fail or be defeated, I shall lose sleep for the rest of my life in reproaching myself for doing too little. But at least I shall have the comfort of not having offered, so far as I can recall, any word or deed that contributed to a defeat.

DiscerningTexan, 8/29/2005 03:34:00 PM | Permalink | |
Saturday, August 27, 2005

The shame of the "objective" American media: Winning against the Jihadists while taking body blows to morale daily at home. The MSM: fighting the good fight for bin Laden and al Zarqawi...
DiscerningTexan, 8/27/2005 12:14:00 AM | Permalink | |

Cyberwar: using our technological advantage to save lives

Lawrence Henry makes a compelling case in The American Spectator that it is high time we looked at ways to shut down the Islamist Terrorist websites, whatever that takes:

Two weeks ago I wrote about an English newspaper report that Islamist websites had been taken down wholesale by British intelligence after the London tube bombings. The report was exaggerated; two such websites turned out to have been taken down more or less permanently among the estimated 4,500 terrorist URLs.

A sidebar question remained unexplored: Would it be a good strategy for Western nations to attack terrorist communications in this fashion? It would seem obvious. A blogger wrote, back when the erroneous report appeared, that "causing those websites to go offline is far more significant than it may appear":

To a normal army or even the older sort of terrorist organizations we have dealt with in the 1960s through the 1980s, this would be irrelevant. But many terrorist organizations today are little more than a website and people who read the website and then take action. This is not something that is uniquely Moslem in any way. The so-called "Earth Liberation Front" has evolved into this same pattern in the United States....

The websites are one of the few things which connects these people and their attacks at all. ...Losing these websites may be as important a problem for the jihadist movement as the loss of radio communications is for a conventional army."Contrast that view with establishment opinion. "Taking the websites down is not necessary," says Mike Kern, a senior analyst with the Washington, D.C.-based
SITE Institute, which tracks terrorist activity on the Internet. "It's an advantage, especially with those on U.S. servers, to leave them up, because there's a lot of valuable information that can be subpoenaed."

In addition, just as penetrating Japanese and German communications in World War II helped the allies win, leaving Islamist websites up and running keeps the intelligence community in the West ahead of the game. It makes defense easier.

But consider Islamist web techniques as described by Steve Coll and Susan B. Glasser's recent three-part series in the Washington Post, the article from which the figure of 4,500 websites is attributed to University of Haifa Professor Gabriel Weimann. The Islamists devote most of their web space and time to open recruiting, instruction, motivation, brainstorming, and advertising. And that is a very different thing from military communications, which are secure, originate in a single command structure, and are designated for certain recipients only. Military communication also requires acknowledgement and feedback. Not so with open web warfare. It doesn't matter who picks it up. Anybody can act on it, and with its help. Many do, and more will. Recent reports suggest the London tube bombings came about in this way, not by any direct orders. The D.C. snipers could have been inspired in the same way, and look how effective they were.

If it's a good idea to relegate Osama and his cohorts to the wilds of Pakistan, why not put the websites to flight, too, by constant nation-sponsored hackery and destruction? It would certainly reduce the troubling metastasis of terror. To put it another way, it would shut down radical Internet evangelism. Yes, as Mike Kern points out, closed websites "often reappear within 24 hours, even using the same URL." So? Hit them again. I SUSPECT THE ESTABLISHMENT types would resist. I suspect that when officialdom tells of "increased levels of chatter," what they mean is a blizzard of open messages of one sort or another. And I suspect, given the general passivity and recalcitrance of the U.S. intelligence establishment, that if the U.S. were to destroy Islamist websites wholesale, the Department of Homeland Security would have very little left to say.

If it would get the DHS off its butt, all the more reason to take those websites down. And if doing so destroys some embedded secure communications critical to al-Qaeda operations, better still.Want to get tougher on terror? As hundreds of bloggers commented after the erroneous report two weeks ago of a wholesale web offensive, it's about time.
DiscerningTexan, 8/27/2005 12:01:00 AM | Permalink | |
Friday, August 26, 2005

(Revised) Victor Davis Hanson takes on the extremists

This piece by Victor Davis Hanson gave me so much pleasure, on so many levels, when I really needed it, that I felt that it ought to be shared with as many people as possible.

I know I have said this before, but in my opinion Hanson and Mark Steyn are probably the most intelligent political writers on the planet. To see that there are such smart, articulate minds that really "get it" makes one feel like there really is hope for the world. We are very very fortunate to have them both.

I hope the esteemed Professor Hanson will forgive me for using his own words to "out"some of the unfathomably reality-challenged wackos that are out there; part of winning this war against western civilization is for reasonable citizens to distance themselves from nut-cases like this:

It is becoming nearly impossible to sort the extreme rhetoric of the antiwar Left from that of the fringe paleo-Right. Both see the Iraqi war through the same lenses: the American effort is bound to fail and is a deep reflection of American pathology.

An anguished Cindy Sheehan calls Bush "the world's biggest terrorist." And she goes on to blame Israel for the death of her son ("Yes, he was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel. My son joined the Army to protect America, not Israel").

Her antiwar venom could easily come right out of the mouth of a more calculating David Duke. Perhaps that's why he lauded her anti-Semitism: "Courageously she has gone to Texas near the ranch of President Bush and braved the elements and a hostile Jewish supremacist media."

This odd symbiosis began right after 9/11. Then the lunatic Left mused about the "pure chaos" of the falling "two huge buck teeth" twin towers, lamented that they were more full of Democrats than Republicans, and saw the strike as righteous payback from third-world victims.

The mirror-imaging fundamentalists and censors in turn saw the attack as an angry God's retribution either for an array of our mortal sins or America's tilting toward Israel.

In Iraq, the Left thinks we are unfairly destroying others; the ultra-Right that we are being destroyed ourselves. The former alleges that we are bullying in our global influence, the latter that we are collapsing from our decadence.
But both, in their exasperation at George Bush's insistence on seeing Iraq emerge from the Hussein nightmare years with some sort of constitutional government, have embraced the paranoid style of personal invective.

They employ half-truths and spin conspiracy theories to argue that the war was unjust, impossible to win, and hatched through the result of a brainwashing of a devious few neocons.I'll consider four diverse attacks (by a socialist, anarchist, racialist, and paleocon) on my support for the removal of Saddam Hussein, and the effort to prompt constitutional government in his place, that are emblematic of this bizarre new Left/Right nexus, shared pessimism, and paranoid methods.

I. The Cabal
In the current issue of The American Prospect, Harold Meyerson — hitherto known as the polemicist who compared President Bush to the secessionist, pro-slavery Jefferson Davis (e.g., "The American president — though not of the United States — whom George W. Bush most nearly resembles is the Confederacy's Jefferson Davis"), Sen. Zell Miller to Joseph McCarthy, and the voting of the California white middle class to a "riot" —
charges that a number of pundits are responsible for what he sees as a catastrophe in Iraq, specifically Tom Friedman, Christopher Hitchens, Charles Krauthammer, Bill Kristol, and myself. (The chief complaint of Meyerson's is his belief that Iraq has ruined almost everything):

"As anti-war sentiment began to mount, Hanson dismissed it. 'We are told,' he wrote contemptuously in February 2002, 'an attack against Iraq will supposedly inflame the Muslim world. Toppling Saddam Hussein will cause irreparable rifts with Europeans and our moderate allies, and turn world opinion against America.' What to Hanson was nonsense looks like pretty fair prophecy today."

Hardly. After a surge of anti-Americanism, continental Europeans, from the Dutch to the French, are now certainly more involved in the war against terror than they were in February 2002, as are the British.

Anti-Americanism in the Arab world was at an all time high well before Iraq. In early 2002, 72 percent of the Kuwaitis, whom we saved in 1991, expressed a dislike for the United States. Two thirds in the Arab world insisted that Osama bin Laden had nothing to do with September 11.

I thought that the radical Islamic world was "inflamed" on September 11, when Palestinians danced in the streets on the news, Saddam Hussein praised the murderers, and mothers starting naming their children "Osama."
Yet Osama bin Laden's popularity is less now than it was then as well; there is no more Hussein dynasty; and Mr. Abbas is asking for American help. We have never been as close to moderate allies as we are now — whether we define such friends as India (where over 70 percent express admiration for America) or Japan. Elections in France, Holland, and soon in Germany do not bode well for anti-American, EU leftists.

Yes, the long corrupt and murderous Middle East is aflame. But that is precisely because after Iraq, the Syrians have left Lebanon, the Egyptians are convulsed over novel elections, democratic Iraqis and Afghans are killing terrorists, a no longer secure al Qaeda is fragmented after losing Afghanistan, we are pressuring Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Libya to reform, and after 25 years of somnolence the United States is finally fighting back against Islamic fascism. By Meyerson's logic, 1942 was far more disastrous than 1939, when the sway of prewar autocracies was unquestioned and we were at peace.

How odd that Meyerson,
a vice chairman of a national socialist organization, has become a harsh critic of American support for democratic reform in the Middle East.

But then we remember that the prime directive of the hard Left is to be against anything that Bush is for — even if it means praising the hyper-capitalist, commodities speculator George Soros, whose machinations once nearly ruined the Bank of England along with its small depositors. In Meyerson's gushing praise: "[Soros] made his money the old-fashioned way, on Wall Street."

I also plead guilty to Meyerson's other two charges: Abu Ghraib really was blown way out of proportion and was not simply, as Ted Kennedy slurred, a continuation under new management of Saddam's gulag where tens of thousands perished.

And, yes, Iraq can craft a constitutional government as it is now doing, and that will make the Middle East both a more humane place and less a risk to the security of the United States. The only flickers of hope right now in the Middle East for an end to the old autocracy and fanaticism are in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Egypt — and all such movement is due solely to the United States' removal of the Taliban and Saddam and pressure on Mubarak.

Aflame? Perhaps, but at least there is hope where there was none before.

II. The Anarchist Howl
But if Meyerson's skewers facts and twists progress into abject failure, take the example of someone using the name Gary Brecher of Encore magazine. In an article called "
Victor Hanson: Portrait of an American Traitor, " Brecher became incensed about a suggestion that neither the formal education nor the autodidacticism of the Hollywood elite granted them any privileged wisdom about American foreign policy:

"That column got me so furious I daydreamed about driving down Highway 99 to Hanson's farm and setting all his orchards and vineyards on fire. I kept thinking of what the Spartans said when one of their neighbors threatened them: "Your cicadas will chirp from the ground," meaning, "We'll burn your olive orchards if you mouth off again."

To understand the mindset of the anarchist, consider his similar fury right after 9/11.

"The best war is when you can hate both sides, and that's how it was with the WTC. I cheered those jets...Until those planes hit the WTC nobody dreamed you could knock down an American corporation building. Nobody ever thought one would come down. And when they did, damn! It was like the noche triste, when Aztecs made the Conquistadors bleed for the first time and said, "Hey these aren't magic six-legged metal monsters, they're just a bunch of victims like us."

"Hate both sides" in fact, is not quite accurate, since in reality more often the invective is reserved only for the United States — as when he cheers for the terrorists on 9/11, not for us. But then compare the recent antiwar hysteria that equates Abu Ghraib with Saddam's death jails, Guantanamo with the Gulag and Nazi death camps, and the terrorist killers in Iraq with Minutemen.

III. It's About White People?
Then there is the racialist Right, whose tactic is to turn to the old neoconservative slander and prattle on about betrayal of the foundations of the white American republic at war with a darker other.

In their view, trying to foster democracy in the Islamic world, rather than dealing with the same oil Realpolik, is, well, connected with (yes, you guessed it) a general betrayal of the American race, and equivalent to some sort of love of perpetual war.

So one F. Roger Devlin writes in something called
The Occidental Quarterly. In his article, "The Case of Victor Davis Hanson: Farmer, Scholar, Warmonger," he argues that we are wasting our time trying to promote democracy in Iraq, and that, more importantly, I never understood the role of race, both ancient and modern:

"If the valleys of Dark Age Greece had been inhabited by the present citizens of Equatorial Guinea, whose average IQ is said to be 59, the result would not have been the classical city-state, self-rule under law, tragedy, philosophy, and the Parthenon. Hanson, unfortunately, has milked the "antiracial" aspect of his own thesis for a great deal more than it is worth. He never misses an opportunity to reiterate that Western Civilization is a matter of "culture, not race" — as if informed racialists were unaware of anything besides biology... And whatever Hanson may think, race is no exception to the rule that one ought to know something about a subject before endeavoring to instruct others. Sadly, Hanson knows less about racial differences than I do about raisin production."

In Devlin's world, race is the key to everything. Only those who don't understand racial superiority would attempt such a fool's errand at promoting democracy abroad.

IV. America as bin Laden?
In an online magazine called (article titles in the online magazine range from "Heil, Abe" to "I Hate Rudy Giuliani"), one Gene Callahan takes off from where Devlin ended.

Once again one is derided as a lover of war for suggesting that the United States, when it goes to war against fascists, should defeat them, insist on their unconditional surrender, and stay on to promote democratic reconstruction.In the past, Callahan (who predicted that after our October strike against the Taliban in Afghanistan there would be "thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of deaths this winter due to massive famine") has questioned the need for fighting both the Confederacy and Hitler, and now turns his anger in "
Hanson Agonistes" to my conclusion that dropping the bomb on Hiroshima probably saved millions of lives.

"Among pundits currently urging Americans to embrace an eternal state of war, I find Victor Davis Hanson one of the most disturbing. .. His recent column defending the atomic bombing of Hiroshima reveals the Mr. Hyde lurking within our Dr. Jekyll. "

Callahan ignores the fact that the bomb ended, not perpetuated "eternal" war, abruptly saving millions of casualties on both sides. Only unconditional surrender discredited the militarists and thus allowed democracy to emerge — and with it more than a half century of Japanese prosperity, security, and liberal government. And in the security of the present he forgets that the allies much earlier had tried a negotiated, rather than unconditional surrender and subsequent occupation of the enemy homeland in 1918 — and got Hitler and another war later as thanks.

"Hanson would claim that the US had to demand unconditional surrender in order to prevent the possibility that a revived Japan might undertake aggression again in the future. (One wonders how near he believes that future must be — can one wipe every member of an enemy nation to ensure safety from it forever?) But realistic worries on that front can be worked out in peace negotiations."

He slurs the United States military of WWII by suggesting the logic of forcing Japan to surrender leads to "wipe (sic) every member of an enemy nation". In this world of moral equivalence, rightwing dictatorships are usually always bereaved victims of leftwing American imperialism. So Callahan continues on his screed that we should have negotiated with the militarists of imperial Japan:

"That does not mean both sides in the discussion have the same voice. Japan was willing to discuss its terms of surrender, and was not demanding that of the US."

Tell all that to the Chinese in Nanking or those who fought on Okinawa. In such a world of relativism it makes no difference who starts wars, much less whether they are fought by fascists or democracies. Indeed, to Callahan, the United States in World War II operated on the same premises that bin Laden does now:

"Note that this sort of thinking is exactly how Osama bin Laden justifies striking civilian targets in the US, Britain, or Spain. We must grant that the conduct of modern warfare blurs the line between combatants and non-combatants — on which side of it are the workers in a bomb factory? But as blurry as we might make it, an infant in Hiroshima or a new immigrant delivering a sandwich to the World Trade Center are obviously non-combatants."

Ponder that: Dropping a bomb on the headquarters of the Japanese 2nd Army to force a military cabal to surrender during a war they started that was taking 250,000 Asian lives a month is the same as blowing up an office building full of civilians at a time of peace.

Such a strange, strange world we live in now of David Duke praising Cindy Sheehan's scapegoating Israel.

George Bush who risked his presidency to free millions of Iraqis is to be the moral equivalent of Jefferson Davis — but perhaps is just as hated by the unhinged Right because he is not enough like their beloved Jefferson Davis.
Forcing imperial Japan to surrender is the same as terrorists blowing up the World Trade Center.

And stopping the genocide of Saddam and promoting constitutional government are warmongering.

And all this nonsense transpires in the midst of a war in which the only way we can lose is to turn on each other and give up.

******I should preface my remarks that every fact that Meyerson adduces is incorrect. Take the following:

"Soon after 9-11, the San Joaquin Valley classics professor began writing regularly for The National Review, demanding we go into Iraq, imparting martial lessons from Greece and Rome to an America abruptly at war. In short order, Hanson became a fellow at Palo Alto's Hoover Institute (sic), a dinner companion of Bush and Dick Cheney, and the most unswerving defender of administration policies."

I wrote regularly for the National Review Online, not National Review. I never "demanded" that we go into Iraq, but urged that we do so after considering both the pros and cons of that difficult choice. The Hoover Institution is not "Palo Alto's" but affiliated with Stanford University, whose administration must approve senior fellow appointments in a lengthy process that is not done "in short order." I have never on any occasion been "a dinner companion of Bush." Nor have I been an "unswerving defender of administration policies" but criticized many of its stances from immigration and farm subsidies to deficit spending and current policy toward Saudi Arabia.

** How strange that about the time that Mr. Brecher's article appeared, someone in fact did try to torch our vineyard, but managed only to scorch about 20 vines near the road before the nearby Mid-Valley Fire Department arrived to put out the fire.

DiscerningTexan, 8/26/2005 08:41:00 PM | Permalink | |

Sometimes, there is only faith...

My apologies about the lack of posts last night -- the DT got some very disheartening news last night from the DW, and the coming weeks may well be critical as to exactly what that means for our future… If I have learned anything in life and love, it is that one cannot force another human being to feel something that is not in their heart to feel. Anyway, suffice it to say that the system got quite a shock last evening, and so I just wasn't in the posting mood. But for anyone out there who is listening, your prayers for "what is right and what is appropriate" would definitely be appreciated -- this is one I've always liked a lot:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can
And the wisdom to know the difference

That kind of clarity is about all that anyone can reasonably hope for. And once one has sent this kind of prayer off into the ether, then you finally reach the place where there can only be faith -- faith that what is supposed to happen, will happen...

I am headed for Scandinavia tomorrow and will be there on business all next week. This actually might be a good thing; sometimes distance provides valuable perspective and insight which would not be possible without it. Anyway, my posting may be sporadic during this next week or so, but I will do the best I can, depending on various factors like time availability, personal crises (or the lack thereof), connectivity, etc. But rest assured I will return soon enough, because our country and the survival of our civilization is far too important to let any personal setbacks prevent me from making whatever small, minute difference I can make. And so we march on...

In the meantime, thanks to everyone who has been visiting the site regularly, and to those sending emails and comments. I am grateful for your continued patronage; it is my hope and intent to make the site even more insightful and "discerning" in the days ahead. See you soon.
DiscerningTexan, 8/26/2005 10:34:00 AM | Permalink | |
Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Something we Americans get far too little of: Perspective

Power Line has posted a must read on the differences in military casualties in war and peace: and you will be VERY surprised by the conclusions:

It is universally acknowledged that public support for the Iraq war is eroding. Some of the polls supporting this claim are faulty because they are based on obviously misleading internal data, but the basic point cannot be denied: many Americans, possibly even a majority, have turned against the war.

This should hardly be a surprise. On the contrary, how could it be otherwise? News reporting on the war consists almost entirely of itemizing casualties. Headlines say: "Two Marines killed by roadside bomb." Rarely do the accompanying stories--let alone the headlines that are all that most people read--explain where the Marines were going, or why; what strategic objective they and their comrades were pursuing, and how successful they were in achieving it; or how many terrorists were also killed. For Americans who do not seek out alternative news sources like this one, the war in Iraq is little but a succession of American casualties. The wonder is that so many Americans do, nevertheless, support it.

The sins of the news media in reporting on Iraq are mainly sins of omission. Not only do news outlets generally fail to report the progress that is being made, and often fail to put military operations into any kind of tactical or strategic perspective, they assiduously avoid talking about the overarching strategic reason for our involvement there: the Bush administration's conviction that the only way to solve the problem of Islamic terrorism, long term, is to help liberate the Arab countries so that their peoples' energies will be channelled into the peaceful pursuits of free enterprise and democracy, rather than into bizarre ideologies and terrorism. Partly this omission is due to laziness or incomprehension, but I think it is mostly attributable to the fact that if the media acknowledged that reforming the Arab world, in order to drain the terrorist swamp, has always been the principal purpose of the Iraq war, it would take the sting out of their "No large stockpiles of WMDs!" theme.

One wonders how past wars could have been fought if news reporting had consisted almost entirely of a recitation of casualties. The D-Day invasion was one of the greatest organizational feats ever achieved by human beings, and one of the most successful. But what if the only news Americans had gotten about the invasion was that 2,500 allied soldiers died that day, with no discussion of whether the invasion was a success or a failure, and no acknowledgement of the huge strategic stakes that were involved? Or what if such news coverage had continued, day by day, through the entire Battle of Normandy, with Americans having no idea whether the battle was being won or lost, but knowing only that 54,000 Allied troops had been killed by the Germans?

How about the Battle of Midway, one of the most one-sided and strategically significant battles of world history? What if there had been no "triumphalism"--that dreaded word--in the American media's reporting on the battle, and Americans had learned only that 307 Americans died--never mind that the Japanese lost more than ten times that many--without being told the decisive significance of the engagement?

Or take Iwo Jima, the iconic Marine Corps battle. If Americans knew only that nearly 7,000 Marines lost their lives there, with no context, no strategy, and only sporadic acknowledgement of the heroism that accompanied those thousands of deaths, would the American people have continued the virtually unanimous support for our country, our soldiers and our government that characterized World War II?

We are conducting an experiment never before seen, as far as I know, in the history of the human race. We are trying to fight a war under the auspices of an establishment that is determined--to put the most charitable face on it--to emphasize American casualties over all other information about the war.

Sometimes it becomes necessary to state the obvious: being a soldier is a dangerous thing. This is why we honor our service members' courage. For a soldier, sailor or Marine, "courage" isn't an easily-abused abstraction--"it took a lot of courage to vote against the farm bill"--it's a requirement of the job.
Even in peacetime. The media's breathless tabulation of casualties in Iraq--now, over 1,800 deaths--is generally devoid of context.

Here's some context: between 1983 and 1996, 18,006 American military personnel died accidentally in the service of their country. That death rate of 1,286 per year exceeds the rate of combat deaths in Iraq by a ratio of nearly two to one.

That's right: all through the years when hardly anyone was paying attention, soldiers, sailors and Marines were dying in accidents, training and otherwise, at nearly twice the rate of combat deaths in Iraq from the start of the war in 2003 to the present. Somehow, though, when there was no political hay to be made, I don't recall any great outcry, or gleeful reporting, or erecting of crosses in the President's home town. In fact, I'll offer a free six-pack to the first person who can find evidence that any liberal expressed concern--any concern--about the 18,006 American service members who died accidentally in service of their country from 1983 to 1996

The point? Being a soldier is not safe, and never will be. Driving in my car this afternoon, I heard a mainstream media reporter say that around 2,000 service men and women have died in Afghanistan and Iraq "on President Bush's watch." As though the job of the Commander in Chief were to make the jobs of our soldiers safe. They're not safe, and they never will be safe, in peacetime, let alone wartime.

What is the President's responsibility? To expend our most precious resources only when necessary, in service of the national interest. We would all prefer that our soldiers never be required to fight. Everyone--most of all, every politician--much prefers peace to war. But when our enemies fly airplanes into our skyscrapers; attack the nerve center of our armed forces; bomb our embassies; scheme to blow up our commercial airliners; try to assassinate our former President; do their best to shoot down our military aircraft; murder our citizens; assassinate our diplomats overseas; and attack our naval vessels--well, then, the time has come to fight. And when the time comes to fight, our military personnel are ready. They don't ask to be preserved from all danger. They know their job is dangerous; they knew that when they signed up. They are prepared to face the risk, on our behalf. All they ask is to be allowed to win.
It is, I think, a reasonable request. It's the least that we--all Americans, including reporters and editors--can do.

DiscerningTexan, 8/24/2005 09:43:00 PM | Permalink | |

Which sources were used by the 9/11 Commission to Whitewash Able Danger testimony?

It really comes down to one question: regarding the whereabouts of Mohammed Atta, did the 9/11 Commission believe the testimony of Al Qaeda terrorists or did it believe the testimony of three Army Intelligence officers who gave conflicting testimony? Answer: they went with the terrorists. Ed Morrissey writes a full report for the Weekly Standard website, a portion of which is quoted below:

There are two timelines for Mohammed Atta's whereabouts in April 2001.

One is provided by American intelligence officers, the other by terrorists.

The ongoing controversy over the Able Danger project deepened this week when two more sources from the U.S. Army data-mining project came forward. Navy Captain Scott Phillpott and civilian contractor James Smith joined Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer in claiming that Able Danger identified Mohammed Atta and three other 9/11 hijackers as potential al Qaeda operatives well before the attacks. Phillpott specifically told the New York Times when he went public that Able Danger made that connection between January and February of 2000, 19 months before the attack.

However, that puts the Able Danger scenario in conflict, again, with the 9/11 Commission's final report--this time on the Atta travel timeline. On pages 167-168 of the report, the Commission provides a narrative of the Hamburg cell movements during this period:

After leaving Afghanistan, the four began researching flight schools and aviation training. In early January 2000, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali--a nephew of KSM living in the UAE who would become an important facilitator in the plot--used Shehhi's credit card to order a Boeing 747-400 flight simulator program and a Boeing 767 flight deck video, together with attendant literature; Ali had all these items shipped to his employer's address. Jarrah soon decided that the schools in Germany were not acceptable and that he would have to learn to fly in the United States. Binalshibh also researched flight schools in Europe, and in the Netherlands he met a flight school director who recommended flight schools in the United States because they were less expensive and required shorter training periods.

In March 2000, Atta emailed 31 different U.S. flight schools on behalf of a small group of men from various Arab countries studying in Germany who, while lacking prior training, were interested in learning to fly in the United States. Atta requested information about the cost of the training, potential financing, and accommodations.

The Able Danger team has insisted it made the identification of Atta while he lived inside the United States, however. This created the problem that kept them from coordinating with the FBI when their analysis pointed out this potential terrorist cell. Had they identified Atta and his cohorts while in Hamburg, Able Danger could easily have notified the State Department of their suspicions and kept cell members from getting visas.

If Atta had already made it to the United States, how did the Commission establish this timeline? They deduced it from FBI interrogations of three sources: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh, two of the plotters who helped create the 9/11 attacks, and Mohammed's nephew Ali Abdul Aziz Ali. The footnotes in the Report to the Atta timeline paragraphs give almost no corroborative evidence besides that of the testimony of these men--who have little motivation to cooperate honestly with American investigators.

Could the "intelligence" gleaned from the interrogations of these al Qaeda plotters and high-level terrorists have been an attempt at disinformation?

When you compare that "intelligence" to hard military intel that was also given to the 9/11 Panel, and which was basically ignored by the panel in favor of the testimony from terrorist enemies of the United States, something is decidedly rotten in Denmark.

There is much more to come on this story. There is only so long that the stench of a rotting and decomposing corpse can be hidden. And this one is already beginning to smell to the high heavens.
DiscerningTexan, 8/24/2005 07:49:00 PM | Permalink | |
Tuesday, August 23, 2005

click to enlarge
DiscerningTexan, 8/23/2005 11:07:00 PM | Permalink | |

The "American Spirit"? Do we still have what it takes?

Sunday we pointed to an excellent essay by a former New York City Policeman, who remembered back to a time when the media and American people got behind our country in times of war -- when the people, media, and our troops abroad acted as one team.

Teamwork and team spirit has been stressed, has been coached into me and my friends, ever since I was a small child. As a kid I watched my childhood heroes, men like Darrell Royal and Vince Lombardi, talk about one thing: Teamwork -- the very essence of success. The very essence of winning. Our sports heroes and championship teams are always built of the same material: hard work, common purpose, and teamwork. And team spirit. Is it any wonder why America wins so often. We are raised to win.

All the great American heros we have idolized througout the decades have had these qualities of heart, hard work, and teamwork. Babe Ruth, Johnny Unitas, Michael Jordan, Vince Lombardi. Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, George Patton. Men who would...not...lose.

But they have not left us, it only appears that way. Along with these great men of the past, we still find them, although finding them is much harder today--especially given a media who only wants to paint a picture of anti-American doom and gloom. We saw it with Todd Beamer on 9/11. We saw it in our own President as he stood on that pile of rubble, and raised the spirits of a nation as he told the purveyors of terror they were no longer safe. And he is making that promise happen.

We still see our heroes at work every day in places like Afghanistan and the Sunni Triangle and the Syrian border... No our heroes haven't left us; they are still very much with us--it is the media that has left them behind. These brave men and women, who are our very finest, who put themselves on the line every day only get heard from in our media when they come home in a body bag. Or when one of their "grieving" mothers decided to become the next poster child of national victimhood. It is attention on people like these by the Michael Moores and the George Soros' that are the cancer that is killing the American spirit. And so our real heroes, the ones in harms way, go unnoticed except as martyrs for a "losers" ideology. But even if our anemic press does not extoll the virtues of our heroes, we know they are still there. They are still among us.

So here is my question: what has happened to us??

Michelle Malkin asks the same questions of us today: namely what is it that caused a country of citizens that simply could not be defeated, anyplace, anytime, to a country that was brought to its knees during the Vietnam conflict--not by its external enemies who could not win alone, but by its internal enemies--the anti-American left, raving anti-war zealots, their willing "comrades" in the media, and distorted reporting of a far away war we were actually winning, but whom our press convinced a large number of our citizens we were losing. And so we folded our tents and went home--and in so doing left millions to be slaughtered in the killing fields by monsters like Ho Chi Minh and Pol Pot. So I think it is hugely relevant that Malkin (with help from David Frum) asks a relevant question: is it happening again? :

The war we are fighting, the one that includes Iraq as a theatre of combat but encompasses a second theatre in Afghanistan and many smaller ones in Africa, the Philippines and elsewhere, is a post-modern war. That is this war's one striking similarity to the Cold War, of which Vietnam was a theatre we happened to lose without losing a single battle. How did we lose that theatre without losing any battles? Can the same thing happen again today?

We lost Vietnam because it was the first post-modern war theatre, and we failed to appreciate that. One man did appreciate it, though, but unfortunately for us he commanded the other side. His name was General Vo Nguyen Giap, and he commanded the North Vietnamese army from the 1950s through the 1970s. In that time he defeated in succession France (at that time a world power), the United States (a superpower) and China (a rising regional power). The latter is especially interesting--Giap studied infowar under Mao Zedong in the 1930s. He used Mao's own tactics, improved by Giap's brilliance and extensive experience against us, against Mao's own creation, Communist China. Giap managed to defeat three nations whose military capabilities were vastly superior to his own. He may have been the 20th Century's most intelligent general.

How did Giap do it? In short, he discovered how to make his own troops expendable proxies, while he waged the actual war in the mind of his opponent. With the US, he discovered that we are unbeatable in combat but we are political hemophiliacs. Prick us in just the right spot, and we will bleed ourselves to death. The facts on the battlefield become secondary to the facts as we perceive them, whether those perceptions are accurate or not. The Tet Offensive was Giap's greatest show of post-modern warfare. It was an unmitigated disaster for his own troops, who were slaughtered all across Vietnam during that uprising. But it crystallized in the US political mind as a defeat for us that presaged inevitable defeat in the war itself, thanks mostly to the way the anti-war movement and the media portrayed Tet. Giap went on to lose Tet and every other battle after it, but he won the war. He won with a post-modern war strategy, the only type of strategy that can defeat us.

Principally, he played to the US anti-war movement, using it as a psychological nuclear weapon to devastate our will to fight. Giap had discovered by the mid-1960s that the US anti-war movement was the key to his own success or failure, far more relevant to the war than anything actually going on in Vietnam itself. He began to court that movement, to cry common cause with it, as a way to divide the US public on the war. Absent a coherent counter message coming from our own leadership at the time, through the Johnson and Nixon administrations, Giap's message prevailed. The left turned irrevocably against the war, Jane Fonda and her cohorts supplied the high-level pro-North propaganda, and we eventually retreated. We won every battle but the one that mattered most--the one that took place in the American mind.

It can happen again today. We premised this war not so much on a nation's right of self-defense as on our moral superiority over the enemy. We do happen to be morally superior to Osama bin Laden and his head-chopping henchmen, but our war premise had the effect of leaving us vulnerable to any flimsy charge either the caliphascist enemy or the anti-American agitators in the West could throw at us, and they have managed to throw quite a lot at us: Abu Ghraib, false allegations of mistreatment at Gitmo, old charges of US crimes in the MidEast, our support for Israel, whatever small offense or canard our enemies could come up with. Once our moral superiority is punctured, our rationale for war loses much of its steam. And absent a coherent and consistent counter message from our own leadership, the enemy's narrative begins to take hold: We're bogged down in a fruitless war in Iraq, we should never have invaded in the first place, our leaders are liars, etc.

We're not getting that coherent and consistent message from the Bush administration. The facts are available, but we're getting a muddle of same-old same-old and platitudes instead of a sustained morale-building information campaign.
David Frum is sounding the alarm that we're in trouble in the post-modern aspects of the war, and I hope the White House gets the message. If they don't, the caliphascist message most prominently expressed in Fahrenheit 9-11 and the media will take hold, and irrespective of how things are going in the war on the other side of the world--where things are going pretty well, mostly--we will lose heart right here. And then we will lose Iraq to the caliphascists, just like we lost Vietnam to General Giap.

Are we going to let it happen again... only this time with much more to lose--possibly everything? (the vaporization of American cities perhaps? the bilogical death of a few hundred thousand innocents followed by a crippling financial crash ?). Is this what we have come to? To sit by and watch our country's humiliation like mourners at a wake, because a bunch of Hollywood actors or news anchors feel guilty about making 20 mil per movie and driving around in limos??? I think not.

Are we, the citizens of the greatest country in the world, going to allow these elitist ivory-tower neo-socialist cretins to hypnotize us into the self-destruction of everything that our forefathers have given for us in their toil and sweat and blood? Not if I have anything to do with it.

No, I have a different question: When are we going to show them what we are made of? When are we going to rise up and prove to the world that America IS the greatest experiment that has ever occurred or will ever occur on this planet. That Americans are WINNERS because we were built that way; and we will continue to prevail--not simply because we work harder or because we have the freedom to be creative and innovative--but because we still have that American spirit buried deep inside ourselves. This American spirit is the same spirit that carried us through two World Wars, a Revolutionary War, and a Civil War. This is a soul buried deep within each of us; a spirit that can and must flower once again and move us as it moved our ancestors: to act as one to accomplish great and noble achievements.

It will and must lead us to ridding the world of mass murderers and bearded psychopathic misogynistic female-phobes who would imprison us all in a 9th centruy fundamentalist hell; we will rise up and prevail because we simply have no other choice. And because we can: we alone have the pedigree. For we are the same country that saved the world from Nazism and Fascism. We put a man on the moon. We remain the one destination on this planet were people wake up in the middle of the night and dream of finding a way, any way, to get here--to beome a part of the American Spirit, even in today's troubled times.

And yet is anyone suggesting that we are going to let these...traitors in our midst--these people so filled with anti-American negativity that they can't see with their own eyes--tell us we can't win this thing? Over my dead body.

So it is up to us all to stop the bleeding and to shut these preachers of doom down for good. Can we find our collective spirit as a nation in time to prevent the defeatists from sabotaging us? You are damn right we can. And I not only believe that we can, but we will. But first we have to cut through the crap the mainstream is throwing at us: we have to quit listening to the losers and the defeatists and the naysayers, and instead to find that quiet "one heartbeat" of who we really are and where we come from--and then we need to get to work. We have to find that sense of teamwork, that spirit we once had in spades--the spirit of being one nation, under God, indivisible--and a team that will not let the doomsayers talk us into quitting this time.

In short we each need to look deep within ourselves and into the genes we inherited from our ancestors, and we have to find the American Spirit again: without that spirit we will continue to listen to low-lifes like Krugman and Moore and Dowd and Kennedy--as they try to talk us into surrender; into succumbing to monstrous low-lifes like bin Laden--and we will pay an incalculable price.

But I don't see it coming down that way--because we ARE Americans, and all the CNN doom and gloom cannot take that away from us. And WITH that American Spirit, anything is possible. We will find ourselves collectively beginning to laugh at these sick purveyors of negativity--and then we will quit listening to them altogether. We will rid the world of those who would murder millions with mushroom clouds, and we will not feel bad or guilty about having done this for the fellow inhabitants of our planet. By demonstrating how to create wealth and spread prosperity through ingenuity and hard work, we will save the economies of those parts of the world through our democratic example, and through our basic decency. Because with the American spirit, we can achieve anything. You know it and I know it.

So what's your choice? And what are you going to do about it?
DiscerningTexan, 8/23/2005 08:22:00 PM | Permalink | |

Massive inner-city voter fraud uncovered

When looking for sources for news that is both highly impactful and also ahead of the curve, I return daily to The American Thinker, because these folks, led by editor Thomas Lifson, have a knack for sniffing out really important stories, including stories the mainstream elitists for whatever reason are burying or refusing to print.

The contributors to this blog come from all over, and I have yet to see one source writing for this blog whose credentials are not impeccable. There is a center-right point of view to this site (but let's be honest: what news organization today does not have a point of view?); nevertheless all of the news and ideas here are presented in a reasonable, non vitriolic tone, and the stories and sources are always backed up with facts that lead the reader to draw his/her own conclusions.

In my own opinion, the site focuses on topics that are of greatest concern and critical importance in our world: defeating tyranny and worldwide terror, defending Western civilization, advancing American interests at home and abroad, fighting for a sound economy, defeating world socialism/marxism, and exposing fraud and corruption wherever it exists in our government and our society.

So today, when I came across yet another blockbuster story from The American Thinker, I had to do something beyond simply referencing the story, because if you do not have a permanant link to The American Thinker, it ought to be; if this is not a daily stop in your surfing rountine, you are missing out on some of the most thoughtful, insightful, and hard-hitting writing on the web.

Today's piece by Selwyn Duke on the uncovering of massive inner-city voter fraud on behalf of Democrats is not shocking to me (who have suspected this for sometime), but it is outrageous. Duke's conclusions follow, but the detail supporting it is worth your time as well:

I was contacted recently by a source (who wishes to remain anonymous) who is a local Washington, D.C. community leader and who has “done some computer work for several candidates over the years in DC.” He is also a man who has conducted his own study of vote-fraud in the inner-city. Close-up, and definitely not for attribution. I will dub this source “Deep Vote.” Deep Vote told me that in a previous article I had missed the most important single factor of all, one that logically explains why the majority of vote fraud takes place in the inner cities, and benefits Democrats. There has been a lot of controversy recently about comparative vote fraud.

Experience has taught Deep Vote that it is transiency which provides Democrat political operatives with the most golden of opportunities to steal votes. In depressed urban areas an inordinate number of residents move in and out every year, with some taking up residence for only a brief time. Stability is less common among the poverty-stricken and others suffering social dysfunctions, and such people are more numerous in large urban areas than elsewhere.

A high rate of transiency inevitably leaves a large number of people who no longer live in an area on the voter rolls. The local authorities, says Deep Vote, “are always somewhat late on removing non-residents.” All the Democrat operatives need do then is ascertain who these people are and vote for them. Deep Vote explains the mechanics of this process.

The mechanics are well worth your time, but the overriding truth is that Democrats have been trying to steal elections for years. Thanks to investigative reporting teams like The American Thinker, Americans are finally beginning to wake up to the ugly truth.
DiscerningTexan, 8/23/2005 07:33:00 PM | Permalink | |
Monday, August 22, 2005

Ignoring the "Writing on the Wall"

Thomas Ryan, writing in Front Page Magazine gets to the very heart of the Able Danger operation, and how the Clinton Administration's policies led to its conclusions being mothballed. What follows is a portion of a much longer and more detailed story that is a must-read:

From 1998 to 2001, the Army Intelligence and Special Operations Command initiated a small and highly classified intelligence-gathering endeavor titled Able Danger, whose mission was to investigate the al-Qaeda threat in the United States and abroad. Through its efforts to root out clandestine terrorist cells by means of data analysis and advanced technology, in 1999 Able Danger identified by name Mohammed Atta, as well as three other terrorists, as members of an al-Qaeda cell based in Brooklyn, New York.

Also monitoring terrorist activities at this time, including the movements of Atta, was the Czech Republic. It has been reported that Czech officials had observed Atta traveling to Prague on three separate occasions. On his first visit, on May 30 of 2000, Atta flew to Prague but, upon arrival, was not permitted to leave the airport because he had failed to secure a visa. On his second trip, on June 2, 2000, Atta arrived in Prague by bus, and was monitored and photographed by the Czech intelligence agency – the Security Information Service (BIS). Three days later, a large but undisclosed sum of money was transferred into Atta’s personal bank accounts.

Atta’s third visit to Prague, according to Czech officials, occurred on April 9, 2001. During this visit, Atta is believed to have met with Ahmed al-Ani, an Iraqi counsel, later revealed to be an Iraqi intelligence officer. Al-Ani was scheduled to meet with a “distinguished Arab student” on that date, and the BIS observed the meeting, which took place in a Prague restaurant. There is a dispute between U.S. and Czech officials as to whether or not that Arab student was indeed Atta (conflicting information from U.S. sources places Atta in Florida that day); however, three days later, an additional $100,000 was deposited into Atta’s bank account (enough to help finance the planned attacks on New York and Washington), providing credible evidence of another visit to Prague. The Defense Department’s Able Danger program was as well aware of Atta’s movements throughout this period but never transmitted its intelligence to the FBI. Had the FBI been informed of Atta’s activities, his terror cell could have been broken and the 9/11 plot would likely have unraveled.

The Wall Between Agencies
On August 15, 2005, Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, the first member of Able Danger to speak publicly about his
role with the operation, told the press about Able Danger’s findings and detailed the policies that caused the crucial intelligence to go unheeded. Shaffer acknowledged that Able Danger had been actively monitoring Atta and tried to arrange a series of meetings in 2000 with the Washington field office of the FBI to share its information.

Shaffer also noted that military lawyers intervened and canceled the meetings, citing, according to Shaffer, fear of controversy “if Able Danger was portrayed as a military operation that had violated the privacy of civilians who were legally in the United States.” At the root of this fear was a clearly defined prohibition against inter-agency intelligence sharing in terror investigations. This prohibition, commonly referred to as the “Wall” blocking such communications, had its roots in the first term of the Clinton administration.
DiscerningTexan, 8/22/2005 10:31:00 PM | Permalink | |

It's official: the Left in alliance with Radical Islam

What we have been saying for months, and the subject of David Horowitz' book "Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left" has now become more than simply a connect the dots exercise, as shown by this latest post in The American Thinker by Christopher Cantrell.

Even though we could feel it, to read this piece is actually enough to make one physically ill:

So the hard left and the Islamists have established a coordinating committee, according to Douglas Davis of the London Spectator. In Britain the steering committee of the Marxist–Islamist alliance consists of 33 members — 18 from myriad hard-Left groups, three from the radical wing of the Labour party, eight from the ranks of the radical Islamists and four leftist ecologists (also known as ‘Watermelons’ —green outside, red inside). The chairman is Andrew Murray, a leading light in the British Communist party; co-chair is Muhammad Aslam Ijaz, of the London Council of Mosques.
In other words, the war on terror is to be a continuation of the old war, the war between capitalism and its various discontents that was waged throughout most of the twentieth century. Norman Podhoretz is right. This is World War IV.

But few people want to admit it. Ever since the Enlightenment people have believed that war would soon become the aberration and peaceful cooperation the norm. Even though the Enlightenment culminated in the warlike and unpeaceful French Revolution, this idea seems to be dying a very slow death. And it is not just utopian socialists that believe in it.

Conservatives, ancient and modern, believe in the power of the rule of law and right reason to corral the Bull of Heaven, and the left still believes in the revolution that will end all oppression and usher in an age of peace and justice. Surely, war is going out and peace is coming in.

That was what people thought at the turn of the twentieth century in the run-up to World War I, and again in the 1930s during the appeasement of Hitler’s Germany. They believed it even as the titanic struggle between capitalism and communism that we call the Cold War raged around them. And they believed it during the Islamist raids of the 1990s: the first World Trade Center bombing, the Khobar Towers bombing, the USS Cole bombing, the East African embassy bombings, and, for the conspiracy-minded, the Oklahoma City bombing and Flight 800. The “why do they hate us” crowd are still at it. We all need to believe in a rosy future purged of struggle and strife.

When Lee Harris interpreted the war against terror as a moment in the confict between the western “team” and the “eternal gang of ruthless men” in
Civilization and its Enemies his argument seemed overdrawn, for it scorned the idea of perpetual peace and interpreted the human condition as an eternal conflict. But events support his analysis. The punctuations of the terrorists in exhibitionist bombings, the bombastic declarations of the Daily Kos that “we will be ruthless” against George W. Bush, the now formalized coalition between the hard left and the Islamicist raiders are sending us a message. The war against the western team continues.

The team concept goes all the way back to the Greek farmers, the hoplites who first fought as disciplined heavy infantry in shock battle. When combined with Alexander’s Companion heavy cavalry the team army routed the Persian Empire, and it has been just about unbeatable ever since. From time to time the eternal gang of ruthless men has succeeded in harnessing the western team to assist their ganglike predations, most notably when the Nazis used the German army, the team built up by Scharnhorst, Moltke, and Seekt, to lay waste to Europe. Fortunately the ruthless men fail to understand that the team army is but a part of the integrated western team concept. It is the relentless power of citified western teams measured against tribal gangs—in economic, political, religious, and cultural affairs—that provides the motive power for the world-beating western team army.

Our western media do not understand the importance of the team concept either. They have been raised to a faith in creativity and a belief in the transforming power of the creative artist to break the constricting bonds of narrow middle-class conformity. They love the rebellious outrages of the terrorist gangs because they are directed against the same object as their own rage, the western middle-class team.

Still, the formal coalition between the hard left and the Islamists is a shock. It is difficult to believe that the secular left could really find common cause with religious fundamentalists of any stripe. But we should remember our history. In World War I, progressive souls sympathized with the German effort to humble the capitalist nation of shopkeepers. In World War II, progressives were indifferent to the fate of the European democracies until Hitler invaded the Soviet Union. In World War III they actively cheered for the Soviets although they denied the right of anyone to complain about it.
It makes complete sense that the left’s first act in the twenty-first century should be to form a coalition with a new anti-western force. The war against democratic capitalism continues.

DiscerningTexan, 8/22/2005 10:15:00 PM | Permalink | |
Sunday, August 21, 2005

Day by Day by Chris Muir (click to enlarge)
DiscerningTexan, 8/21/2005 02:08:00 PM | Permalink | |

CQ blows a big hole in the Left's Gorelick counter-argument

Yesterday I watched Juan Williams on 'The Beltway Boys' yesterday try to explain away the Jamie Gorelick/Janet Reno "wall" that prevented the Able Danger information about the Mohammed Atta Al Qaeda cell from being forwarded up the food chain -- a year before 9/11 happened -- because as Williams put it, such a wall "did not apply" to the Defense Department.

So today, when I came across this post by Captain Ed with evidence to the contrary, I thought it was quite timely, to say the least. I think we can safely report that in this latest "engagement at sea" of right vs. left, this Captain's Quarters "broadside" has sent Juan Williams' lame argument to the bottom of the sea before it had barely "set sail" (bold emphasis is the Captain's):

One of the arguments at places like Think Progress and other sites which have made themselves the defenders of former Deputy AG Jamie Gorelick consists of pointing out that Gorelick didn't work at the DoD when she erected the "wall" separating intelligence and law enforcement operations.

Therefore, they argue, she had no effect on the DIA's decision not to share information with the FBI. As I pointed out earlier, that argument fails for two reasons. The first is Gorelick's earlier assignment at the DoD as general counsel for ten months, during which one supposes she promulgated Bill Clinton's policies as the top attorney at Defense just as she did later at Justice. The second, and most obvious, is that as the number-two person at Justice, she still set policy for the FBI. Since sharing and cooperation require two parties to work together, her wall would have made any attempt to engage the FBI pointless.

Now William Tate at
What's In The News points out another reason why the "wall" constrained Defense. Gorelick addressed her 1995 memo to several different people:

* Mary Jo White, US District Attorney, prosecuting the 1993 WTC bombing terrorists

* Louis Freeh, FBI Director

* Jo Ann Harris, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division (DoJ)

* Richard Scruggs, Chief Counsel, Office of Intelligence Policy and Review

This last addressee makes the connection to the Department of Defense that the Gorelick defenders claim didn't exist. As Tate points out and as the
OIPR website makes clear, the DoD looked to the OIPR for legal opinions on anything having to do with the legality of their operations, especially in regard to those involving domestic targets:

The Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, under the direction of the Counsel for Intelligence Policy, is responsible for advising the Attorney General on all matters relating to the national security activities of the United States. The Office prepares and files all applications for electronic surveillance and physical search under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, assists Government agencies by providing legal advice on matters of national security law and policy, and represents the Department of Justice on variety of interagency committees such as the National Counterintelligence Policy Board. The Office also comments on and coordinates other agencies' views regarding proposed legislation affecting intelligence matters.

The Office serves as adviser to the Attorney General and various client agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Defense and State Departments, concerning questions of law, regulation, and guidelines as well as the legality of domestic and overseas intelligence operations.

The inclusion of Richard Scruggs, the lead counsel at the OIPR, intended to send the message that any advice given to the DoD, CIA, and State regarding the sharing of files had better fall in line with her new stated policy of going "beyond the law" to avoid any appearance of impropriety. Given that Gorelick held a high-profile position within Justice as a political appointee of Bill Clinton, this policy would rightly get attention as an official directive of the President's wishes. The one office that all of these intelligence agencies would consult in terms of sharing and coordination between themselves and law-enforcement operations would therefore have advised all agencies to follow the Gorelick Wall as a standard and as White House policy.

Given that kind of connection, it doesn't take much imagination to understand why all of these agencies became shy about even attempting to stretch the limits of the Gorelick policy.

Are you listening, Juan?
DiscerningTexan, 8/21/2005 01:44:00 PM | Permalink | |

American Heroes: Then and Now

Wonderful essay in today's American Thinker by Bob Weir, a former NYC detective now living in Houston. Weir's essay (a portion of which is quoted below) talks about the how America has always found its heroes, and about how that is getting much more difficult today.

The part of the essay that really resonated with me was Weir's comparison of the way that America's government and press supported our country's war efforts during "the greatest generation", contrasted with the shameful way that today's post-modern elitist media support our enemies instead of those who are trying to protect our country and its citizens:

I’m not old enough to remember the mood of the country during World War 2, but America’s sentiments can be readily understood by viewing any of the movies made during the war against the Axis powers in Europe. Even during the 50’s, a decade after the troops were back home, the films continued to portray the greatness of our country and its fight for freedom around the world. It was a time of John Wayne, James Stewart, and Betty Grable; major stars whose patriotism was self-evident in the roles they played and the additional time they spent supporting the troops. It was a time when men shed their blood fighting on the battlefield and women backed them up with their sweat and tears in defense plants from coast to coast. It was a time when families prayed together and prominently displayed flags in front of their homes to show their love of country and their support of the men in uniform. Legendary comedian, Bob Hope was entertaining the troops at military bases around the world, accompanied by other major Hollywood celebrities. It was a time in our history when we knew the good guys from the bad guys. It was the time of heroes.

Where are the heroes of today? Since the turbulent 60’s with its anti-American rhetoric and its drug induced revolution against propriety, we have witnessed an erosion of values that has sought to turn religion into a prohibited practice and patriotism into a foolish philosophy only engaged in by fascists. In 1941, when our naval bases at Pearl Harbor were attacked, it was a wakeup call for America, and the sleeping giant became a well oiled, thundering machine that produced airplanes, tanks, and bombs that would be used to settle the score.

In 2001, when innocent civilians were massacred during the 9/11 attack, President Bush said:

“The people that brought down these buildings will hear from us.”

It was a time when leadership was needed. It was a time for speaking clearly and acting decisively. Once again, it was a time when America needed heroes. Out of the fire, smoke, and ashes of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a new resolve was born in our country. It was a determination that we, as a nation, will not be cowed into submission by the homicidal lunacy of fanatical terrorists. While other countries have groveled at the feet of the lethal but shadowy international cartel of thugs, America, led by a man of substance, has refused to capitulate. George W. Bush recognizes that we’re engaged in a life and death struggle for the survival of western civilization. Ms. Sheehan’s protestations notwithstanding, the troops on the field of battle recognize it too. The United States of America, that shining beacon of freedom in a hostile world, has always found its heroes in times of need.

DiscerningTexan, 8/21/2005 11:02:00 AM | Permalink | |