The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Islamic "Values" on display in France
Here is a cry for help from French philosophy teacher Robert Redeker, now in hiding from Islamofascist death threats. In a letter written to his friend philosopher André Glucksmann, Redeker writes:
I am now in a catastrophic personal situation. Many very precise death threats have been addressed to me, and I was condemned to death by associates of Al-Qaïda. The (French security services) have helped somewhat, but… I no longer have a right to my own home. On the websites condemning me to death there is a map showing how to get to my house to kill me, my photo, the places where I work, the telephone numbers, and the death sentence. But at the same time the authorities do not provide me a place, I am obliged to wander, two evenings here, two evenings there… I am under permanent police protection. I must cancel all my planned conferences. And the authorities make me move on. I am a displaced person. It all leads to a lunatic financial situation, I have to pay all the expenses including rental for a month or two in distant places, moving costs, notary expenses, etc. … It is quite sad. I exercised a constitutional law (to free speech), and I am punished for it, even on the territory of the Republic. This business is also an attack against national sovereignty: foreign laws, decided by criminal fanatics, punish me to for exercising a French constitutional right, and I am suffering great damage even in France.
The French conservative daily Le Figaro showed considerable courage by publishing Redeker’s critique of Mohammed and the Koran. After the death threats, the paper also published a frontpage editorial declaring:
“We condemn as resolutely as possible the serious attack on the freedom of thought and the freedom of speech that this affair has provoked.”
France may be waking up—- slowly and very reluctantly. However, if truth-tellers are going to be forced into hiding, there is still something very wrong with the French Republic and its governing elites. Redeker only received tepid support from his boss, Gilles de Robien, education minister, who declared his “solidarity” with Mr Redeker, but argued that “a public employee should be prudent and moderate in all circumstances.”
Well, Redeker was not “moderate” but he was truthful. Here is what he wrote in Le Figaro: under the title, “Faced with Islamic intimidation, what should the free world do?” Here is how he describes the traditional picture of Mohammed.
‘Pitiless war leader, pillager, butcher of Jews and polygamous (people), this is how Mohammed is revealed by the Koran.’”
That may seem pretty tough, but it is no worse than the last two centuries of open French criticism of Christianity and Judaism. Over the long term anti-clericalism made religious establishments more self-critical. Christian churches have finally erased their overt anti-Semitism and nationalist fervor. The Catholic Church has dropped its absurd condemnation of Galileo. All human institutions are fallible; all can profit from reasoned criticism.
Islam’s affinity for violence has changed little since the 7th century, because it declared itself immune from criticism, and enforced it with the sword. The question is just what Robert Redeker asked, “Faced with Islamic intimidation, what should the free world do?” One thing we cannot afford to do is give in. The results would be disastrous for us and for Muslims as well—- who are also under the threat of the sword.
Violence is part of all scriptures, because it is part of virtually all cultures. As traditional religions developed over many centuries, they generally left that part behind. Most Christians are not enamored of the saying attributed to Jesus that “I bring you not peace but a sword.” No modern Jews celebrate the Biblical battle of Jericho, with its bloody aftermath. Hindus may revere the Bhagavat-Gita, but not many take Arjuna’s advice to fight and kill one’s cousins, as long as it is done without mental attachment to the outcome.
Only Islam still clings to a past of violent confrontation with non-Muslims. But there is a vast body if reinterpretation of the Koran, and there must be Muslims who ignore the bloodier passages and elevate the more peaceful ones. It doesn’t have to be done officially by some version of Vatican II. Most traditions change more subtly.
But until a reborn Islam places a firm taboo on violence on behalf of religion, modern people will rightly be suspicious and take their precautions. That is a good thing, because that is the only way a more peaceful Islam will evolve. Cultures clash all the time; it’s just a question of the outcome.
We need many more Robert Redekers in France and elsewhere, to keep challenging Islamist threats. Hopefully they will receive a much more robust and united defense as the West comes to its senses.
Hat tip: Michelle Malkin
Is the West's Enemy ALL of Islam?
Given this assumption is the case, a relevant question then becomes: on which side of this War to establish Islamic law worldwide will the Western secularists side? It seems from my perspectivce that Christians and Jews in the West can see this problem much more clearly than the non-religious. Do the secularists not recognize that--for all their bluster and fear of of what 'the religious right' stands for, Sharia law under Fundamentalist Islam would be exponentially worse--even according to the values of freedom and free speech and "open society" that Western secularism implies? Show me a Muslim "open society" and I will show you some beach front property in New Mexico for sale...
Too, the Marxist/Socialist doctrine that many of these secularists believe to be "the answer" will soon lead the a bankrupted Europe, and the US programs such as Social Security and Medicare are not in much better shape than their European counterparts. The dependence on big government for their every need cradle-to-grave is clearly an idea that flunks every test of basic economics--especially condisering the plunging birth rates in the west. There will be far fewer people to pay the enormous bills being incurred by their more prolific forebears. In short, continued high taxation and reliance on this model is a recipe for economic disaster.
Which leaves "civil liberties". I think many liberals, "anti-Christians", anti-Semites, and the Howard Dean Democrat fire-breathers are clueless about the long term ramifications of their short term scorched-earth beat-Republicans-at-any-cost mindset. Do they not understand that by torpedoing the West's War against Islamist fanaticism, they are playing right into the fanatics' hands--which is completely antithetical to EVERYTHING they stand for? The liberal values of womens rights (including the right to walk around with their head uncovered...), reproductive "rights", sexual freedom, or even the ability to go grab a beer at a local sports bar that we all take for granted--would all be out the window under sharia law--yet the fanatical anti-war left is playing right into the hands of the will and mindset of religious zealots who would eliminate all of those "freedoms" which we in the west take for granted seem to be favored by a majority of the non-religious in this country. Why?? Do they not understand the will and determination of our religious zealot enemies--determination that would cause men to crash airliners into buildings for Allah? Do they not see that their own appeasement is leading directly to them having fewer freeedoms, less money and more persecution? The left seems so petrified of the Western model of religion that it seems to have lost its perspective--because they are enabling a religious view of the world that is far more opressive. The real problem here is that Democrats and leftists do not yet realize that their vaunted ideals are under siege all over the world--and that siding with our enemies now is creating enormous long terms problems for the future of Western Civilization.
If you are one of those who thinks that Muslims will come to their senses if we only appease them and "play nice", then you should read and ponder out this post by a Muslim in Canada, courtesy of Jihad Watch:
An extraordinary column in the Toronto Sun (thanks to Nooze):
In a recent column, Michael Coren, my colleague here at the Sun, demanded Muslims apologize for wrongs too numerous to list.
Coren is right. I, as a Muslim, apologize without equivocation or reservation for the terrible crimes -- small and big -- committed by Muslims against non-Muslims and against Muslims, as in Darfur, who are weak and easy prey to those who hold power in the name of Islam.
I imagine, however, Coren is not seeking an apology from a person of Muslim faith such as I, who maintains no rank and cannot speak on behalf of the institutionalized world of Islam.
Like many others who share his frustration and legitimate anger, Coren is asking to hear a contrite voice from within institutionalized Islam -- to repent for Muslim misconduct, past and present, that is indefensible by any standard of civility and decency, and seek forgiveness.
But Coren and others might well wait indefinitely for such an apology from those representatives of institutionalized Islam convinced of their own righteousness, even as they are engineers of a civilization's wreckage and prosper in it by the art of bullying.
Muslims and non-Muslims often point to the fact there is no Vatican in contemporary Islam -- no figure like the Pope or the Archbishop of Canterbury who authoritatively represents the Muslim world....
And here comes a point with extraordinary implications:
Within the Arab Sunni world the Egyptian-born Sheikh Qaradawi, 80, of Qatar, is the face of institutionalized Islam. He is the closest to what might pass for a titular head of Muslims akin to the Pope. Qaradawi's words, now broadcast by television network al-Jazeerah, are taken as authoritative pronouncements of Islam. He is the "spiritual" leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement formed to repudiate freedom and democracy, and a defender of Islam's war against the West by any means, including suicide bombings.
For such representatives of institutionalized Islam, all things are political. They are the authoritative guardians of the ideology that in Islam religion and politics are inseparable, and jihad -- holy war -- is its defining aspect.
Hence, since this institutionalized Islam is at war with the West, for Coren or anyone else to expect an apology from its generals is rather naive.
Well, not naive at all really, given the repeated insistence from Muslim and non-Muslim authorities alike that the overwhelming majority of Muslims abhor jihad violence. But in any case, search for Qaradawi at Jihad Watch and at Dhimmi Watch. Find out what he has said about jihad, about martyrdom-suicide bombings, and about a host of other issues. And reflect for a moment on the implications, if Mansur is correct that he is "the face of institutionalized Islam."
Sobering, to say the least...
Thursday, September 28, 2006
MSM Missing in Action: a Chronic Problem
- Last night we already brought up the rioting in Brussels. MSM: Missing in Action
- The NIE scandal: MSM was in a huge rush to leak the lie. But when the truth comes out? Missing in Action again...
- How about this one--just saw it today, but not in the MSM: Zogby has Bush's approval ratings at over 51% ! NRO had it--but where was the mainstream? Nowhere to be found.
- Did you know that Ahmadinejad wanted to meet with Michael Moore when he visited? Gee, I wonder why that one didn't make your news wires?
- A laundry list of MSM "sins of omission" would not be complete without two words--words which say it all about the utter moral depravity of the MSM and the War for our civilization. The Words? Valerie Plame
- But the words that sear burning anger into my consciousness--encompassing everything I detest in the MSM and believe should be addressed with nothing less than jail time, is two more names: James Risen and Eric Lichtblau. This is the lowest of the low, the toxic waste of the American Media
How can we know what to believe? That is what a neighbor asked me several weeks ago over dinner. We were discussing the fact that she no longer believes everything she sees in the news and often wonders what is the truth.
While there have been news stories found to have been fabricated, and even some news photos staged and digitally altered, more often of concern are technically truthful stories which have been slanted by selective reporting. Two stories over the past week are examples.
The first story that got a lot of attention this week was the Fox News Sunday interview with Bill Clinton. News anchor Chris Wallace asked Clinton the question, “Why didn’t you do more to put bin Laden and al-Qaida out of business when you were president?”
For that, he was attacked by a visibly angry, finger-pointing Clinton, and later by some on the left, for conducting a “conservative hit job.”
It is understandable that the theatrics of the interview got lots of attention, although none of the networks showed the most unhinged clips.
What was focused on by few, however, was the content of Clinton’s remarks, including the demonstrably false statements he made during the interview. DNA does not apply in this case, but surely those reporting on this story have heard of a LexisNexis or Google search. Few, if any, thought to do either one, though.
Instead of reporting about a former president who lost his composure and made statements that could not withstand scrutiny, the interview was spun by many news outlets as a forceful defense of Clinton’s efforts to capture bin Laden.
How can we know what to believe? Is the former president throwing a red-faced temper tantrum and making false assertions in a last-ditch effort to guard what is left of his legacy or is a terrorist-fighting elder statesman making a fact-based, forceful and heartfelt defense of his administration’s tireless efforts to capture Osama bin Laden?
The other widely reported story this week was of a selective leak from a national intelligence estimate written in April — yes, April — which said that the war in Iraq was being used by terrorists as a means of recruiting.
Reports early in the week focused on that one leaked portion of the five-month-old document. The information was frequently reported as a factual conclusion without so much as a “questioning of the timing,” nor a mention of what the rest of the 40 pages of the NIE said about successes and failures in the fight against terrorism. There was not even any reference in most news reports that there were any other opinions or conclusions expressed in the NIE other than the one leaked.
In response to the leak of the NIE excerpt, and to the distorted representation of the report being broadcast to the world, President Bush made the decision to declassify additional parts of the report. The declassified material released on Tuesday included the following statements that could have just as easily been cherry-picked and leaked:
» “United States-led counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qaida and disrupted its operations.”
» “Greater pluralism and more responsive political systems in Muslim-majority nations would alleviate some of the grievances jihadists exploit. Over time, such progress, together with sustained, multifaceted programs targeting the vulnerabilities of the jihadist movement and continued pressure on al-Qaida, could erode support for the jihadists.
Many of the statements in the NIE echo ones made by the president in numerous speeches. When reporting the newly released material, however, the Associate Press chose to highlight the part of the report that was leaked previously, running the following lead: “A declassified government intelligence report says the war in Iraq has become a ‘cause celebre’ for Islamic extremists, breeding deep resentment of the U.S. that is likely to get worse before it gets better.”
How can we know what to believe? Does the April NIE report consist of one inerrant statement of fact that the war in Iraq is the root of terrorism in the world today or is it a 40-page document that presents successes and setbacks in the war on terrorism and supports the validity of many of the president’s approaches to the problem of global terrorism?
In the case of both the Clinton and NIE stories, all the reader/viewer needed was the full set of facts in order to know what to believe. Is that too much to ask?
The Imploding Democrats: Clinton's Meltdown is only the Beginning
Hot on the heals of the NIE which clearly states Iraq is pivatol to success in our war against terror, the fall’s regularly falling gas prices, a rising stock market reaching new highs, low unemployment and surging consumer confidence, and poll after poll showing Democrat leads disappearing (in most cases) comes more news - the idea that Democrats are exaggerating their chances at winning this fall! [H/T Drudge]
Democratic pollsters are pushing lots of polls that show second- and third-tier candidates performing surprisingly well. If most of these challengers win, the Democrats will gain 30 or 40 House seats.
Obviously, that’s unlikely. Extremely unlikely, writes Stuart Rothenberg in fresh editions of ROLL CALL.
Say it ain’t so - Democrats exaggerating?! Too funny. One would ask why are they doing this? What is the point? The point is their base is so emotional and so angry that if they get a whiff of defeat they are going to throw a fit. And that fit will be aimed squarely at the national democrat leaders in the House and Senate. The far left has been spoiling for a fight with the conservative majority and they expect their incoherent rantings to lead the way to victory. The NIE fiasco this week is a clear example of the grasping at mirages the left has now succumbed to. The Dems and media feed some half true leak about Iraq that fits the fantasy world-view of the far left, they go crazy and then reality smacks them up side head when they find out the truth is the IC says we cannot lose in Iraq and stay safe.
The Democrats are weaving tales and myths and basically lying to their foot soldiers they are on the path to glory - when in reality it is all make believe. Make believe so they won’t quit on them and lose worse than they will. It was a huge gamble the leftwing media and congressional democrats decided to try. Lying to your base is pretty gutsy. You can lie about your opponents in politics - you should never try and fool your base. If you get caught the damage is unbelievable.
This is a great read, and there is much more; read it all here.
Speaking of meltdowns, a couple of additional posts today pretty much tie up the whole Clinton temper tantrum and ties it neatly with a golden bow. The first of these was an analysis of the meltdown itself, courtesy of Ed Morrow in National Review Online (bold emphases are mine):
So, was it a political ploy crafted to raise doubts about George Bush’s terrorism policies just before midterm elections? Or, was Bill Clinton playing the Spiro Agnew role for his wife, scoring the political points that please the wilder elements in their party and that Hillary/Nixon can’t make while triangulating her way into the White House? Could it be, as Hillary and other Democrats proclaimed afterwards, that Clinton was righteously standing up to politically motivated critics unfairly blaming him for 9/11? Well, no, no, and no. As those who have worked with Clinton have written, he often throws nasty tantrums, especially when he is embarrassed. The rant he launched into when Chris Wallace interviewed him for Fox News Sunday wasn’t a tactic or role playing or insulted dignity; it was a narcissistic meltdown with fiery bursts of Clintonian bluster, insults, truths shaved down to fit, and fervid insistence of his own exceptionalism.
The spark to Clinton’s rant was a question Wallace said many of his viewers had e-mailed him to ask the ex-president. After the airing of the ABC docudrama The Path to 9/11, it was the obvious question of the moment and Clinton should have expected it. “Why didn’t you do more to put bin Laden and Al Qaeda out of business when you were president?” In response, Clinton went nova, spinning a strange conspiracy theory. It’s hard to follow his logic but it appears to go like this: Wallace was giving him a hard time because Fox boss Rupert Murdoch was about to support Clinton’s global-warming campaign and Fox’s viewers would be annoyed. To placate these fanatical right-wingers, who, we must suppose, are all pro-global warming, an ambush of Clinton was plotted by Wallace and Fox big wigs. This plotting presumably excluded Murdoch, the biggest wig at Fox, because he could have avoided offending Fox viewers by not supporting Clinton’s cause in the first place. As with a lot of paranoid reasoning, the gaps in logic don’t have to be closed for the paranoid thinker to reach his conclusion. In this case, that conclusion was that Wallace was part of a “serious disinformation campaign” meant to blame Clinton for 9/11.
Clinton could have simply said I did X, Y, and Z to get bin Laden and al Qaeda, then the questioning would have moved on to other matters, but the former president is accustomed to the most gentle media treatment. As Wallace noted in the Washington Post after the incident, he was surprised that no other television interviewer had already asked Clinton the question during Clinton’s recent round of interviews conducted as part of his publicity campaign for the Clinton Global Initiative. No one at CNN, CBS, MSNBC, or anywhere else asked him anything so rude. They were more apt to ask, “Do you get angry when your critics unfairly attack you?” Or “Why do you think your critics want to destroy America and kill all the puppies and kittens?”
Instead of a calm, presidential answer, Clinton lashed out at Wallace. Among other things, he said, “You’ve got that little smirk on your face. It looks like you’re so clever.” This criticism was undercut by Clinton’s own smirking and I’m-so-smart insinuation that he had Wallace’s plan all figured out. “So you did Fox’s bidding on this show,” he said. “You did your nice little conservative hit job on me.” He leaned into Wallace’s face and wagged the same finger he wagged back when — well, you remember when. He then employed it to angrily poke the notes Wallace had on his knee. He even contemptuously accused Wallace of intending “to move your bones.” I suspect he meant to employ the gangland euphemism, “making your bones,” for a mobster committing a murder in order to be initiated into the mafia. The Sopranos may be a hit show but being compared to a hitman is still pretty insulting.
Clinton asserted, “There is not a living soul in the world who … was paying any attention to it or even knew terrorists associated with al Qaeda was a growing concern in October of ’93.” Clinton seems to have forgotten that al Qaeda was identified as the group behind the February 1993 attack on the World Trade Center that killed six while injuring over a thousand. Later, Clinton’s national-security adviser Anthony Lake was quoted as saying that it was after this attack that he first heard the name Osama bin Laden. He said he then briefed Clinton about bin Laden. Rep. Bill McCollum (R., Fla), chairman of the House Taskforce on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare wrote several letters to Clinton, beginning in 1993, warning him about bin Laden. Apparently, both these gentlemen are zombies, bereft of living souls.
Touche! But it would not be fitting to put the Clinton tantrum to bed without some real historical background. Brandon Miniter gives us all the history we could possibly want in today's Opinion Journal:
With that in mind, let us examine Mr. Clinton's war on terror. Some 38 days after he was sworn in, al Qaeda attacked the World Trade Center. He did not visit the twin towers that year, even though four days after the attack he was just across the Hudson River in New Jersey, talking about job training. He made no attempt to rally the public against terrorism. His only public speech on the bombing was a few paragraphs inserted into a radio address mostly devoted an economic stimulus package. Those stray paragraphs were limited to reassuring the public and thanking the rescuers, the kinds of things governors say after hurricanes. He did not even vow to bring the bombers to justice. Instead, he turned the first terrorist attack on American soil over to the FBI.
In his Fox interview, Mr. Clinton said "no one knew that al Qaeda existed" in October 1993, during the tragic events in Somalia. But his national security adviser, Tony Lake, told me that he first learned of bin Laden "sometime in 1993," when he was thought of as a terror financier. U.S. Army Capt. James Francis Yacone, a black hawk squadron commander in Somalia, later testified that radio intercepts of enemy mortar crews firing at Americans were in Arabic, not Somali, suggesting the work of bin Laden's agents (who spoke Arabic), not warlord Farah Aideed's men (who did not). CIA and DIA reports also placed al Qaeda operatives in Somalia at the time.
By the end of Mr. Clinton's first year, al Qaeda had apparently attacked twice. The attacks would continue for every one of the Clinton years.
• In 1994, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (who would later plan the 9/11 attacks) launched "Operation Bojinka" to down 11 U.S. planes simultaneously over the Pacific. A sharp-eyed Filipina police officer foiled the plot. The sole American response: increased law-enforcement cooperation with the Philippines.
• In 1995, al Qaeda detonated a 220-pound car bomb outside the Office of Program Manager in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, killing five Americans and wounding 60 more. The FBI was sent in.
• In 1996, al Qaeda bombed the barracks of American pilots patrolling the "no-fly zones" over Iraq, killing 19. Again, the FBI responded.
• In 1997, al Qaeda consolidated its position in Afghanistan and bin Laden repeatedly declared war on the U.S. In February, bin Laden told an Arab TV network: "If someone can kill an American soldier, it is better than wasting time on other matters." No response from the Clinton administration.
• In 1998, al Qaeda simultaneously bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224, including 12 U.S. diplomats. Mr. Clinton ordered cruise-missile strikes on Afghanistan and Sudan in response. Here Mr. Clinton's critics are wrong: The president was right to retaliate when America was attacked, irrespective of the Monica Lewinsky case. Still, "Operation Infinite Reach" was weakened by Clintonian compromise. The State Department feared that Pakistan might spot the American missiles in its air space and misinterpret it as an Indian attack. So Mr. Clinton told Gen. Joe Ralston, vice chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, to notify Pakistan's army minutes before the Tomahawks passed over Pakistan. Given Pakistan's links to jihadis at the time, it is not surprising that bin Laden was tipped off, fleeing some 45 minutes before the missiles arrived.
• In 1999, the Clinton administration disrupted al Qaeda's Millennium plots, a series of bombings stretching from Amman to Los Angeles. This shining success was mostly the work of Richard Clarke, a NSC senior director who forced agencies to work together. But the Millennium approach was shortlived. Over Mr. Clarke's objections, policy reverted to the status quo.
• In January 2000, al Qaeda tried and failed to attack the U.S.S. The Sullivans off Yemen. (Their boat sank before they could reach their target.) But in October 2000, an al Qaeda bomb ripped a hole in the hull of the U.S.S. Cole, killing 17 sailors and wounding another 39.
When Mr. Clarke presented a plan to launch a massive cruise missile strike on al Qaeda and Taliban facilities in Afghanistan, the Clinton cabinet voted against it. After the meeting, a State Department counterterrorism official, Michael Sheehan, sought out Mr. Clarke. Both told me that they were stunned. Mr. Sheehan asked Mr. Clarke: "What's it going to take to get them to hit al Qaeda in Afghanistan? Does al Qaeda have to attack the Pentagon?"
There is much more to Mr. Clinton's record--how Predator drones, which spotted bin Laden three times in 1999 and 2000, were grounded by bureaucratic infighting; how a petty dispute with an Arizona senator stopped the CIA from hiring more Arabic translators. While it is easy to look back in hindsight and blame Bill Clinton, the full scale and nature of the terrorist threat was not widely appreciated until 9/11. Still: Bill Clinton did not fully grasp that he was at war. Nor did he intuit that war requires overcoming bureaucratic objections and a democracy's natural reluctance to use force. That is a hard lesson. But it is better to learn it from studying the Clinton years than reliving them.
Is China attacking US Satellites?
China Attacks US Satellites [Sobek]
As far as I can tell, it's a temporary "blinding" rather than permanent damage, designed to keep us looking at China but not from looking at anything else. From the UK Telegraph:
China has secretly fired powerful laser weapons designed to disable American spy satellites by "blinding" their sensitive surveillance devices, it was reported yesterday.
Purple Avenger comments: "As an aside, we're now at war with China. They've been shooting at our sats."
I don't know if that means we're at war, really. Apparently people can do all kinds of things to the US, like Iran funding attacks in Iraq or Mexico teaching people how to invade our borders, and we don't really consider it "war" until we retaliate. And nothing in the article suggests we're going to do that. Quite the contrary:
"The hitherto unreported attacks have been kept secret by the Bush administration for fear that it would damage attempts to co-opt China in diplomatic offensives against North Korea and Iran."
The Bush doctrine ("if you're not with us, you're against us") is actually nothing of the sort. China is clearly against us, but the US is for some reason under the impression that we can leverage them to our advantage in certain areas. Even to the point that we'll take a couple of attacks without comment to avoid diplomatic concerns. This is the height of "nuanced" (read: useless) foreign policy, but the Lefties of course will never give Bush et al. due credit.
One thing that concerns me: the Administration was trying to keep this story secret. So why is it showing up (a) at all, and (b) in a British paper?
"Leakers and Liars"
All of this begs the question, for the umpteenth time: When is our Executive Branch--the FBI and the Justice Department--going to finally do something about prosecuting the leakers? And when is Justice going to step in and prosecute or sue the Publishers for extreme negligene. The damage done to a country trying to win a war--when faced with the irresponsibility of the papers knowingly printing these lies--is incalculable.
In any case, I have included below a representative portion of this superb Op-Ed. You can read the whole thing here (bold emphases below are my own):
President Bush, by releasing a declassified version of that controversial intelligence report on terrorism and the Iraq campaign, has put the lie to claims that even his own spies say toppling Saddam Hussein was a bad idea.
Yes, the report says that the war in Iraq is one of four factors that have energized the jihadists.
But it also maintains that the greatest threat to America and the West will come if the insurgents are seen to have won in Iraq - and that the way to prevent that is to defeat them, not to follow the Democrats' cut-and-run formula.
"Perceived jihadist success [in Iraq] would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere," the report notes, adding: "Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed, we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight."
Repeat: Showing the terrorists that America will stay the course until they are defeated will dissuade others from joining the jihadist movement.
Now, none of this was apparent in the weekend reporting on the intelligence survey found in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Los Angeles Times.
Of course not.
There are at least two possible reasons for this:
* The leakers cherry-picked the report, intending to undermine the administration's war policies, and the reporters bit - hook, line and sinker.
* Or the reporters - and editors - themselves collaborated in disseminating deliberately deceptive "news."
Either way, the original newspaper stories amounted to distribution of propaganda - witting or otherwise - that materially aided the cause of the enemy in time of war.
And somebody needs to be held to account for that.
You got that right...
More Intelligent Reasoning from "The Religion of Peace"
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Keith Olberman: Demagogic Moonbat
But in the meantime, Rick Moran shines the light of day onto Mr. Olberman, and it is not a pretty sight. But it IS a must read.
Just a small taste:
I rise from my sickbed this morning to weigh in on Keith Olbermann’s latest “Special Comment” during which he referred to Fox News Reporter Chris Wallace – a journalist who has won every major broadcast news award around – as a “monkey posing as a newscaster” and accused Republicans of trying to foist blame for 9/11 onto the Clinton Administration.
The fact that I am dizzy, drugged up, and incoherent this morning makes me the perfect candidate to respond to Olbermann’s ignorant rant. Judging by some of the jaw droppers unleashed by the Unhinged One during his confused and typically shallow critique of Fox News, conservatives, Republicans, the Bush Administration, and the press, MSNBC should probably initiate drug screenings for its on air talent at the earliest possible moment. Either that or someone should make sure that Keith is still taking his Lithium religiously for it is apparent the reality Keith is experiencing is on some other plane of existence than the rest of us.
For the longest time, I tried my best to peg Olbermann, to define his appeal in normative terms; A left wing clown? A liberal provocateur? A humorist a la Will Rogers? A self-anointed Diogenes, carrying the lantern throughout America looking for the one honest man?
Olbermann tried all of these approaches and failed miserably. It wasn’t until he realized that his bread was buttered by liberal bloggers did he begin to demonstrate some traction with his show. In fact, it is eerie how like a liberal blog his show has become; wildly accusatory with no evidence to back up outrageous charges; sophomoric flights of logic and reason; an unhinged whining that causes the viewer to actually recoil in disgust at some of the self-pitying “woe is us” rhetoric; and a breathtaking shallowness that outlaws context and substitutes emotion for rational thought.
In this respect, Olbermann’s shtick is reminiscent of the high school know-it-all who used to drive everyone nuts by trying to prove he was smart by using a large vocabulary – invariably misusing terms willy nilly – while taking on a professorial air of superiority that attracted every bully in the school like flies to rotting meat. Loud, insufferable, and laughably incoherent at times, the know-it-all was able to gather around him the witless, the woebegone, and the wasted where he would hold forth every day in the lunchroom, his sycophants hanging on every word.
Reading this transcript of his remarks last night, it is clear that Olbermann has slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of idiocy. To call a fellow journalist a “monkey” is so far beyond what passes for rational discourse that even a lefty blog should find such rhetoric disturbing.
Of course, they don’t. In fact, they are cheering Mr. Olberman on to ever higher flights of rhetorical excess and juvenile name calling. Reporter Wallace is a “monkey.” Bush is a “coward.” This is what passes for reasonable dialogue on lefty blogs and Olbermann doesn’t let his audience down.
But the real dishonesty by Olbermann comes when he ascribes actions to the Bush Administration that he not only offers no proof for but that are also belied by the facts. For instance:
Moreover, for the last five years one month and two weeks, the current administration, and in particular the President, has been given the greatest “pass” for incompetence and malfeasance in American history!
This, of course, is one of the Über talking points on liberal blogs; that the press are a bunch of lapdogs. One wonders how Olbermann and his shipmates on the S.S. Perpetually Outraged got their high school diplomas without benefit of acquiring the ability to read. How, in fact, did we find out about this “incompetence and malfeasance?” A little birdie? Perhaps Olbermann has powers of divination that allows him special access to the supernatural for his Special Comments?
Should we tell Keith and his crew that their ammunition to prove incompetence and malfeasance comes from the press and therefore negates the “Bush is getting a pass” meme? Not if you don’t want to be showered with brain matter following the collective explosion of liberal heads. Logical thought to a lefty is like anti-matter. When it comes in contact with the muddled gray stuff in their confused, limited, and emotionally charged cranium, the two forces annihilate each other thus causing a rupture in the space-time continuum. Thankfully, there isn’t much chance of swaying a liberal with logic so we’re safe for the time being.
There is much more where that came from. And if this is Moran when he is feeling ill, I would hate to piss him off when he was feeling at the TOP of his game...
"Moral Equivalency?" Yeah, Right...
Da Ev33l J00 shares the Best analogy i’ve seen thus far:
When confronted with the assertion that the Soviet Union and the United States were moral equivalents, William F. Buckley responded that if one man pushes an old lady into an oncoming bus and another man pushes an old lady out of the way of a bus, we should not denounce them both as men who push old ladies around.
Later on Ev33l J00 adds:
Consider killing. In every society in the world, murder is punished more harshly than non-lethal torture. If I waterboard you, or lock you in my basement with Duran Duran blasting at you 24/7, even if I beat you for hours with a rubber hose, my punishment will be less severe than if I murder you, simply because it is worse to take a life deliberately than to cause pain, even sadistically. We all understand this. Would you rather take some lumps in a dungeon for a month, or take a dirt nap forever?
Waterboarding, Duran Duran? Rubber Hoses?
Bah! Sounds like my first year of college. If I were in charge of interrogations…well…let’s just say that these items would be involved:
- Cassette tape of Clay Aiken covering King Crimson songs
- A can of goat broth packaged in Kazekstahn
- Nude pictures of Helen Thomas
Dick Morris on the Clintons: the gift that keeps on giving
Dick Morris came out of the corner swinging...
Dick Morris first talked about a Latest Clinton Scandal... the "Sheik Shakedown" Scandal!
Bill and Hillary Clinton's connection between the emir of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, seems ever more intimate. There is no six degrees of separation here! And, just how is Clinton being compensated for helping the Sheik?
* We don't know.
* There is a substantial basis for believing that it is a very large sum.
* The flip side is that there is a political side to this involving Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
* The emir is not a great guy. He is cited in a Miami court case for camel jockeying- child camel riders, a very dangerous profession especially for children.
The political reputations of the Clintons are linked to this story.
This was touched on briefly in the spring.
Bill Clinton's Ship Comes In as Hillary Closes Port
Clinton's UAE Dealings No One Night Stand, Hillary in Denial
More on the Clintons and the November Election:
* Clinton was a dismal failure in fighting terrorism.
Dick Morris told Bill Clinton that his legacy would include how he dealt with the terrorism. He failed!
Hillary is a European liberal and believes that they have a system that we need.
Was Clinton deliberate in his interview? 9-11 Report (and the conservative blogs) contradicts everything that the Clinton's said during his FOX interview.
There is nothing Bill does that is out of control. His rages are the ultimate form of control. The closer you get to the truth the more vociferous he is with his indignation. Once the issue was raised about how he fought terrorism, he thought he had to unload. September is always his month. Not this year. Bill stepped on his story and brought attention to the Clinton years. This was a mistake. Ask Bill about something that hits close to home and he rages.
Sandy Berger was trying to take documents with hand written notes that would implicate the Clintons. This essentially knocked him out of the race for the Secretary of State. He was covering for the Clintons and actually destroyed some of the documents that he stole.
Muslims Rioting in Brussels: MSM Silence is Deafening
This came from Snapped Shot (h/t Michelle Malkin):
The Brussels Journal reported today (via FreeRepublic) that the third day of rioting in the Marollen district of Brussels commenced today, events which were sparked by the apparent murder of a Moroccan prisoner in a Brussels prison. What makes this story unusual is that so far, there has only been one report issued across the newswires (by Reuters) covering the events, and even though the rioting is entering its third day, not a single photographer has been dispatched to document the activities of the Muslim mob.
We have learned from reports in Belgium (which have been roughly translated via Babelfish) that the prisoner was apparently poisoned, and there were no external signs of injury on his body. The parents of the family, and subsequently the mob, blame the Belgian government for his death, but autopsy reports turned in so far have not been definitive. A more telling video documents some of the reported destruction, but I'm sure there's plenty there that's not covered as well.
In the riots, as reported by the Brussels Journal, stores have been firebombed, bus shelters have been demolished, cars have been set alight, and two Molotov cocktails were thrown into St. Peter's Hospital, which is "one of the main hospitals in central Brussels." Yet amongst all of this meleé, the Associated Press hasn't seen fit to send a photojournalist? Nor Reuters?
The wires' lack of interest in this story is telling, indeed.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
The One Judgment you Can't influence by playing the "Victim"
Regarding that NIE "Leak"
If it sounds familiar, it is exactly the same thing that occurred before the last election; that time the leaker was a disgruntled State Department employee named Armitage: do the names Plame and Wilson might ring a bell? Clarice Feldman reminds us:
As in the Plame case, selective leaks of the NIE appear long after the distribution of the document—in this case almost 6 months afterward—with a clear intent of helping the Democrats in the upcoming election. As in that case, a complete refutation would require declassifying the report and making secrets public-a process which takes time and gives the lie time to spread. And to make the analogy complete, the cherry-picked portions of the report leaked to the Washington Post and New York Times make no more sense than did Ambassador Munchausen’s tale of his Mission to Niger.
But this new leak of National Security information isn't about yellowcake, it is about (surprise!) the Iraq War. Robert Kagan of the Washington Post thought that...well, that it was a bit incomplete:
It's too bad we won't get to see the full National Intelligence Estimate on "Trends in Global Terrorism" selectively leaked to The Post and the New York Times last week. The Times headline read "Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat." But there were no quotations from the NIE itself, so all we have are journalists' characterizations of anonymous comments by government officials, whose motives and reliability we can't judge, about intelligence assessments whose logic and argument, as well as factual basis, we have no way of knowing or gauging. Based on the press coverage alone, the NIE's judgment seems both impressionistic and imprecise. On such an important topic, it would be nice to have answers to a few questions.
For instance, what specifically does it mean to say that the Iraq war has worsened the "terrorism threat"? Presumably, the NIE's authors would admit that this is speculation rather than a statement of fact, since the facts suggest otherwise. Before the Iraq war, the United States suffered a series of terrorist attacks: the bombing and destruction of two American embassies in East Africa in 1998, the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in 2000, and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Since the Iraq war started, there have not been any successful terrorist attacks against the United States. That doesn't mean the threat has diminished because of the Iraq war, but it does place the burden of proof on those who argue that it has increased.
There is much more to Kagan's piece that bears reading, but let's move on. Today the President--in order to try and add actual context to the horribly slanted leaked material--authorized the de-classification of the summary portions of the NIE in question. John Hindraker of Power Line (with an assist from Paul Johnson) reports on this, and his post includes a link to the newly released NIE "plus context":
President Bush lost no time in agreeing with suggestions from Senator Cornyn and others that the National Intelligence Estimate that was the basis for stories in the New York Times and Washington Post, claiming that the Iraq war has hurt our efforts in the war on terror, be declassified so the American people can judge for themselves:
Bemoaning an election-year leak, President George W. Bush on Tuesday said he would declassify a secret terrorism document that included a judgment the Iraq war had spread Islamic extremism.
At a news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, Bush said political opponents had disclosed only select parts of the National Intelligence Estimate, a U.S. global report on terrorism, and he decided to make the document public so "you read it for yourself."
"Somebody has taken it upon themselves to leak classified information for political purposes," Bush said.
I think that's great. Last night, we provided a preview of what else the NIE may contain.
Via Power Line News.
UPDATE: Earlier this morning, Democrats tried to force the House of Representatives into a secret session to talk about the NIE report. This grandstanding would have generated more leaks and more headlines, but it was voted down. Now, with the report itself being declassified, the Democrats won't be able to pull this kind of stunt.
UPDATE by PAUL: I don't have time to review it now, but here's the NIE report.
Be sure and read the actual report that Paul links to.
Tonight I would like to end our little saga by adding probably the best commentary I have read thus far today on the NIE matter. Today is not to go into a rant against media traitors leaking national secrets to try and cripple a Presidency--there will be other days for that. No, today is for understanding how utterly stupid the whole gist of the NY Times and Washington Post exposes about these "leaks" are. And for this, if there is anyone better at cutting to the chase than Froggy--in that way that only Froggy can--I would like to know who it is. This is masterful:
Is it just me, or do you find it puzzling how people are unable to make the simplest of logical assumptions when it comes to just about anything in this country? It seems that every day on the news we are treated to the results of some brilliant scientist's research study that states the obvious after spending millions in grant money. Did you know that children who live in homes with alcoholic crack addicts who own guns are 10 times as likely to shoot themselves accidentally as children that go to northeastern college prep schools? Really, you don't say?
Should it come as any surprise then that after decades of cowering after terrorist attacks that when the US decides to fight back and take the battle to their home turf that more of them would get involved in the fight? Just taking a wild stab in the dark here, but I would imagine that recruiting for the US military might have ticked up a bit after the 9/11 attacks. I seem to remember a guy, Pat somebody, who blew off an NFL career to join the Army around that time.
My question for these brilliant political scientists in the Congress and elsewhere would be, "What policy do you advocate that both reduces terrorism and recruitment of terrorists?" Or how about, "Which priority is more vital to the security of the US, fighting terrorism or reducing recruitment of terrorists? Because as I recall, the terrorists had no trouble recruiting when we were pulling out of Beirut or Somalia. It seems that showing weakness in the face of enemy aggression is pretty good for recruiting too. We could have continued this response to our enemy in perpetuity if they hadn't gone and killed 3000 of our people... but they did.
The way I see it, we can concern ourselves with only one of these problems at the present time. Until democracy breaks out in the middle east, theocratic nutburger regimes liberalize, and islam goes through a reformation we can either worry that more terrorists are being recruited or thank God that more American soldiers are joining up to kill those recruits. I think I'll go with door number two.
Me too, Froggy. And while we are at it--isn't it about time we got serious about these leakers of State secrets who have set about trying to destroy our Democratic Republic?
Condi Sets the Record Straight
Condoleezza Rice stepped out of character for just a moment yesterday and responded forcefully to allegations Bill Clinton made during his Fox News Sunday interview with Chris Wallace. The New York Post reports that the Secretary of State allowed herself a rare moment of anger when defending herself against Clinton's attacks on the Bush administration:
Rice hammered Clinton, who leveled his charges in a contentious weekend interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News Channel, for his claims that the Bush administration "did not try" to kill Osama bin Laden in the eight months they controlled the White House before the Sept. 11 attacks.
"The notion somehow for eight months the Bush administration sat there and didn't do that is just flatly false - and I think the 9/11 commission understood that," Rice said during a wide-ranging meeting with Post editors and reporters.
"What we did in the eight months was at least as aggressive as what the Clinton administration did in the preceding years," Rice added.
The secretary of state also sharply disputed Clinton's claim that he "left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy" for the incoming Bush team during the presidential transition in 2001.
"We were not left a comprehensive strategy to fight al Qaeda," Rice responded during the hourlong session.
UPDATE: Dr. Rice is not the only person who has been speaking out; so has Michael Scheuer, who was in charge of the Bin Laden unit for the CIA in Afghanistan. CBS make the mistake of interviewing Scheuer--who has in the past has had his plenty of criticism to go around--thinking it was going to get vindication for its "icon" Bill Clinton. Wrong! Ace reports:
CBS Accidentally Reveals Truth [Retired Geezer]
HayZeus is one of the blogs I normally read when my sock drawer is organized. Since I make one pair of socks last a week, that usually means every day. I was glad I checked him out today because HayZeus discovered an amazing truth:
Normally, news of CBS doing damage control for the Clintons on one of its programs would be of the “dog bites man” variety. However, today’s attempt resulted in some unintentional hilarity as their reliably anti-Bush terrorism expert is none other than Mike “Anonymous” Scheuer. Mr. Scheuer was the head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit at the time to which Mr. Clinton refers when he lays the blame for not capturing Bin Laden at the feet of the CIA and the FBI.
You can kind of see what's coming, can't you.
Moreover, Mr. Scheuer has been vocal in the past about his feeling that his unit was repeatedly frustrated by the Clinton administration’s lack of willpower concerning terrorism, going so far as to suggest that the lackadaisical attitude of Clinton, along with Sandy Burger and Richard Clarke, actually abetted Al-Qaeda.Go grab some laughs yourself.
CBS forgot to do it's Homework ... Again.
Dem Congressional Candidates reveal their strategy should they win: We Will Stop Funding the War
Its official folks - if the Dems win the House they promise to surrender Iraq to Al Qaeda. (Hopefuly the link will work again - but Rangel is on the record promising to cut Iraq funding if the Dems win the House).
The actual article from "The Hill" that Strata cites is well worth your scrutiny. A small sampling. (bold emphases my own):
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) will chair the powerful Ways and Means Committee if Democrats win control of the House next year, but his main goal in 2007 does not fall within his panel’s jurisdiction.
“I can’t stop this war,” a frustrated Rangel said in a recent interview, reiterating his vow to retire from Congress if Democrats fall short of a majority in the House.
But when pressed on how he could stop the war even if Democrats control the House during the last years of President Bush’s second term, Rangel paused before saying, “You’ve got to be able to pay for the war, don’t you?”
Rangel’s views on funding the war are shared by many of his colleagues – especially within the 73-member Out of Iraq Caucus.
Some Democratic legislators want to halt funding for the war immediately, while others say they would allocate money for activities such as reconstruction, setting up international security forces, and the ultimate withdrawal of U.S. troops.
“Personally, I wouldn’t spend another dime [on the war]” said Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-Calif.).
Woolsey is among the Democrats in Congress who are hoping to control the power of the purse in 2007 to force an end to the war. Woolsey and some of her colleagues note that Congress helped force the end of Vietnam War by refusing to pay for it.
Read the rest here.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Next Stop: Oprah
Clinton's Meltdown: Two Penetrating Viewpoints
Last week, former president Bill Clinton took some time out of his busy dating schedule to have a not so friendly chat with Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday. Given his rabidity, Mr. Clinton might consider taking a few milligrams of Valium the next time he allows himself to face “fair and balanced” questions, assuming once wasn’t enough that is.
This wasn’t Mr. Clinton’s finest hour. In fact, it could be by far the worst performance of his career, which is saying a lot given that his acting skills were typically much more apparent than his policy-making acumen when he was in office.
From the onset, Mr. Clinton seemed ill at ease. This is understandable, as he didn’t see the normally comforting initials of the “Clinton News Network” proudly displayed on the video cameras in front of him. But, this doesn’t absolve him of appearing before the American people as if he were Norman Bates just questioned about his mother.
On the other hand, maybe asking the former president anything of consequence these days will elicit such volatility, as the fireworks started as soon as Wallace brought up historically factual statements made in a new book, The Looming Tower. In it, author Lawrence Wright addressed how Osama bin Laden had indicated that when American troops pulled out of Somalia in 1993, he and his al Qaeda buddies saw this as an indication of American weakness.
Although this certainly couldn’t have been the first time he had heard this, it didn’t sit very well with Mr. Clinton, who lashed out in a fury akin to a president that had just been accused of having sexual relations with an intern:
I think it’s very interesting that all the conservative Republicans who now say that I didn’t do enough, claimed that I was obsessed with Bin Laden. All of President Bush’s neocons claimed that I was too obsessed with finding Bin Laden when they didn’t have a single meeting about Bin Laden for the nine months after I left office. All the right wingers who now say that I didn’t do enough said that I did too much.
Republicans claimed that Clinton was obsessed with bin Laden? He did too much to try to capture the infamous terrorist leader?
Do the facts support such assertions, or is this the typical Clinton modus operandi: when questioned about your own mistakes, bring up Republicans, neocons, and conservatives – the liberal equivalent of lions and tigers and bears…oh my – and how it’s all some kind of a conspiracy the complexities of which only Oliver Stone fully grasps.
Historically this line of attack has worked quite well with an adoring interviewer that buys such drivel hook, line, and sinker. However, what Mr. Clinton and his ilk seem to forget regularly is a recent invention known as the Internet. It is indeed odd the former president is unaware of this, inasmuch as his vice president created it.
Regardless, this tool – with the assistance of search engines and services such as LexisNexis – allows folks to go back in the past to accurately identify the truth. Sadly, as has often been the case with the rantings of the Clintons, their grasp of the past is as hazy as their understanding of what the word “is” means. At least that is the charitable interpretation.
Nothing but GOP support for getting bin Laden
With that in mind, a thorough LexisNexis search identified absolutely no instances of high-ranking Republicans ever suggesting that Mr. Clinton was obsessed with bin Laden, or did too much to apprehend him prior to the bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000. Quite the contrary, Republicans were typically highly supportive of Clinton’s efforts in this regard.
As a little background, prior to the August 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Africa, there is hardly any mention of bin Laden by President Clinton in American news transcripts. For the most part, the first real discussion of the terrorist leader by the former president – or by any U.S. politicians or pundits for that matter – began after these bombings, and escalated after the American retaliation in Afghanistan a few weeks later.
At the time, the former president was knee-deep in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, so much so that the press was abuzz with the possibility that Clinton had performed these attacks to distract the American people from his extracurricular activities much as in the movie Wag the Dog.
Were there high-ranking Republicans that piled on this assertion? Hardly. As the Associated Press reported on the day of the attacks, Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Georgia) said the following on August 20, 1998:
Well, I think the United States did exactly the right thing. We cannot allow a terrorist group to attack American embassies and do nothing. And I think we have to recognize that we are now committed to engaging this organization and breaking it apart and doing whatever we have to to suppress it, because we cannot afford to have people who think that they can kill Americans without any consequence. So this was the right thing to do. [emphasis added]
Gingrich was not alone in his support. CNN’s Candy Crowley reported on August 21, 1998, the day after cruise missiles were sent into Afghanistan:
With law makers scattered to the four winds on August vacation, congressional offices revved up the faxes. From the Senate majority leader [Trent Lott], “Despite the current controversy, this Congress will vigorously support the president in full defense of America’s interests throughout the world.” [emphasis added]
“The United States political leadership always has and always will stand united in the face of international terrorism,” said the powerful Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee [Jesse Helms]. [emphasis added]
It was vintage rally around the flag, just as they did for Ronald Reagan when he bombed Libya, for George Bush when he sent armed forces to the Gulf.
The Atanta Journal-Constitution reported the same day:
“Our nation has taken action against very deadly terrorists opposed to the most basic principles of American freedom,” said Sen. Paul Coverdell, a Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “This action should serve as a reminder that no one is beyond the reach of American justice.” [emphasis added]
Former vice president Dan Quayle was quoted by CNN on August 23, 1998:
I don’t have a problem with the timing. You need to focus on the act itself. It was a correct act. Bill Clinton took—made a decisive decision to hit these terrorist camps. It’s probably long overdue. [emphasis added]
Were there some Republican detractors? Certainly. Chief amongst them was Sen. Dan Coats of Indiana:
I think we fear that we may have a president that is desperately seeking to hold onto his job in the face of a firestorm of criticism and calls for him to step down.
Arlen Specter (R-Pennsylvania) also questioned the timing at first. However, other Republicans pleaded with dissenters on their side of the aisle to get on board the operation, chief amongst them, Gingrich himself. As reported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Speaker felt the “Wag the Dog” comparisons were “sick”:
“Anyone who saw the bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, anyone who saw the coffins come home, would not ask such a question,” said the House speaker, referring to the 12 Americans killed in the embassy bombings.
In fact, Gingrich did everything within his power to head off Republican criticism of these attacks as reported by the Boston Globe on August 23, 1998:
Indeed, Gingrich even saw to it that one of his political associates, Rich Galen, sent a blast-Fax to conservative talk radio hosts urging them to lay off the president on the missile strikes, and making sure they knew of Gingrich’s strong support. [emphasis added]
That’s the same Rich Galen, by the way, who is openly urging Republican congressional candidates to try to take political advantage of the president’s sex scandal in their television advertising this fall.
Sound like Republicans were complaining about President Clinton obsessing over bin Laden? Or, does it seem that Mr. Clinton pulled this concept out of his… hat in front of Chris Wallace, and ran 99 yards with the ball, albeit in the wrong direction?
Regardless, in the end, sanity prevailed, and both Specter and Coats got on board the operation:
After reviewing intelligence information collected on bin Laden, Specter said: “I think the president acted properly.” [emphasis added]
As for “neocons,” one so-called high-ranking member, Richard Perle, wrote the following in an August 23, 1998, op-ed published in the Sunday Times:
For the first time since taking office in 1993, the Clinton administration has responded with some measure of seriousness to an act of terror against the United States. This has undoubtedly come as a surprise to Osama Bin Laden, the Saudi terrorist believed to have been behind the bombing of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and to the regimes in Afghanistan and Sudan who provide him with sanctuary and support.
Until now they, along with other terrorists and their state sponsors in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya and North Korea, have manoeuvred, plotted, connived and killed with confidence that the United States would do little or nothing in retaliation.
So Thursday’s bombing is a small step in the right direction. More important, it reverses, at least for now, a weak and ineffective Clinton policy that has emboldened terrorists and confirmed that facilitating terror is without cost to the states that do it. [emphasis added]
Does that sound like a “Bush neocon” claiming that Clinton was “obsessed with bin Laden” to you?
In reality, the only person that appears to have said that Clinton was fixated with the al Qaeda leader was Richard Clarke, who stated the following on CNN on March 24, 2004:
Bill Clinton was obsessed with getting bin Laden. Bill Clinton ordered bin Laden assassinated. He ordered not only bin Laden assassinated but all of his lieutenants.
Well, at least somebody felt Clinton was obsessed with Osama. But Clinton referred to Clarke quite favorably during his tirade.
Moving forward, conservative support for Clinton’s Afghanistan attacks didn’t end in the weeks that followed. On October 25, 1998, high-ranking Republican senator Orrin Hatch of Utah said the following on CNN:
You’ve seen the great work of the FBI and the CIA in particular with regard to the Osama bin Laden matters.
Yet, maybe more curious than the delusion by Mr. Clinton that Republicans were claiming he was obsessed with bin Laden is the fact that he believes he was. After all, if Clinton had been so focused on this terrorist leader that Republicans would have thought it was over-kill, wouldn’t there be indications of this obsession in the record?
Quite the contrary, much as there is no evidence of any Republican expressing such an opinion, there is no evidence that anti-terrorism efforts were a huge focus of the Clinton administration. For instance, just five months after the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Africa, President Clinton gave a State of the Union address.
Think terrorism or the capture of bin Laden was a central focus to the supposedly obsessed former president? Hardly. In a one-hour, seventeen minute speech to the nation on January 19, 1999, this is all President Clinton had to say about such issues:
As we work for peace, we must also meet threats to our nation’s security, including increased danger from outlaw nations and terrorism. CLINTON: We will defend our security wherever we are threatened—as we did this summer when we struck at Osama bin Laden’s network of terror.
The bombing of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania reminds us again of the risks faced every day by those who represent America to the world. So let’s give them the support they need, the safest possible workplaces, and the resources they must have so America can continue to lead.
We must work to keep terrorists from disrupting computer networks. We must work to prepare local communities for biological and chemical emergencies, to support research into vaccines and treatments.
Furthermore, twelve months later, even though he spoke for almost an hour and a half during his final State of the Union address on January 27, 2000, according to a LexisNexis search, the name Osama bin Laden was never mentioned. This appears almost impossible to believe given revelations that very morning about a connection between the individual apprehended trying to cross the Canadian border with explosives in December and bin Laden.
So much for obsession.
Sadly, this entire incident speaks volumes about how the press have given Clinton a pass for his transgressions, and, maybe more important, the danger of such negligence. When one watches this interview, it is easy to see a man that is unused to challenging questions from the media. After all, this is the first time that Clinton agreed to be on Fox News Sunday, and, as a result, he’s become so accustomed to the softballs fed to him by folks like Tim Russert and George Stephanopoulos that he feels it’s his right to not be challenged.
Just look at some of the disdain Clinton showed for his interviewer all because he was asked a question he didn’t want to answer:
You set this meeting up because you were going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers because Rupert Murdoch is going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers for supporting my work on Climate Change. And you came here under false pretenses and said that you’d spend half the time talking about…
You said you’d spend half the time talking about what we did out there to raise $7 billion dollars plus over three days from 215 different commitments. And you don’t care.
Or, how about this wonderful statement by a former president:
And you’ve got that little smirk on your face. It looks like you’re so clever…
Or this one:
So you did FOX’s bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me.
Just imagine President Bush speaking this way to a member of the media when he is being grilled either during a press conference, or in the middle of any of his interviews since he became president. Or getting in the face of his interviewer and tapping on the host’s notepad that’s sitting on his lap.
Would this be acceptable? Not a chance. However, such was the behavior of America’s 42nd president. And, as much as he and his troops appear to be aggressively defending his actions to preserve his legacy, they have failed to recognize that such displays in front of a well-regarded member of the press will defeat their purposes no matter how much they try to rationalize them.
In the end, it’s not clear which is more surprising: Mr. Clinton once again lying to the American people and disgracing himself so, or that he didn’t realize that in his self-absorbed desire to revise history for the benefit of posterity, he was actually doing himself more harm than good.
Equally worth your time is this wonderful offering from Alexandra. Here is a hard-hitting excerpt (read it all here):
We did not have a clue about al-Qaeda in October 1993, and "October 1993" is what Clinton repeatedly said and not November 4th 1998 when the Indictment came out, allowing all those years of hindsight and gathering of intelligence, accusing bin-Laden and al Qaeda's Muhammad Atef, of conspiring to kill Americans.
And yes, we knew about him in 1996 when he declared war on the U.S, and in 1998 when he bombed the embassies in Africa, and in 2000 when he hit USS Cole. But it is simply untrue that we knew about him in October 1993 when Black Hawk Down occurred. At the time we all thought that the Muslim war lord named Muhammad Adid, was murdering Pakistani Muslim troops in their thousands. We went in there with no agenda to establish new Governments or democracy, or investigate an at the time inconsequential bin-Laden, but simply to put Adid's nose out of joint, and eventually transfer power to the ever ineffective UN. As he quite rightly points out we also wanted a quick withdrawal, despite the ordeal having eventually taken six months at the insistence of his Administration.
For goodness sake does no one realize how the gathering of intelligence works. To quote an Indictment produced in November 1998 as proof, is simply naive.
In fact the conservatives and the entire military were jumping up and down when Clinton suggested the below, which he now of course does not mention was accompanied by an accusation by the opposition that he was attempting to divert attention away from the Lewinsky scandal. From the Wallace/Clinton transcript:
I authorized the CIA to get groups together to try to kill him. The CIA was run by George Tenet [...] The country never had a comprehensive anti terror operation until I came to office. If you can criticize me for one thing, you can criticize me for this, after the Cole I had battle plans drawn to go into Afghanistan, overthrow the Taliban, and launch a full scale attack search for Bin Laden. But we needed basing rights in Uzbekistan which we got after 9/11. The CIA and the FBI refused to certify that Bin Laden was responsible while I was there. They refused to certify. So that meant I would have had to send a few hundred special forces in helicopters and refuel at night. Even the 9/11 Commission didn’t do that. Now the 9/11 Commission was a political document too. All I’m asking is if anybody wants to say I didn’t do enough, you read Richard Clarke’s book.
Well the Clinton defense "read Richard Clarke’s book" is much easier to challenge, as it simply shows a weak President unwilling to stand up against the U.S. Military, the FBI and the CIA, presumably overly preoccupied with the self-inflicted situation presented to him by the Lewinsky scandal. From the Richard Clark book, the very bible Clinton uses as his defense:
Because of the intensity of the political opposition that Clinton engendered, he had been heavily criticized for bombing al Qaeda camps in Afghanistan, for engaging in ‘Wag the Dog’ tactics to divert attention from a scandal about his personal life. For similar reasons, he could not fire the recalcitrant FBI Director who had failed to fix the Bureau or to uncover terrorists in the United States. He had given the CIA unprecedented authority to go after bin Laden personally and al Qaeda, but had not taken steps when they did little or nothing. Because Clinton was criticized as a Vietnam War opponent without a military record, he was limited in his ability to direct the military to engage in anti-terrorist commando operations they did not want to conduct. He had tried that in Somalia, and the military had made mistakes and blamed him. In the absence of a bigger provocation from al Qaeda to silence his critics, Clinton thought he could do no more. (h/t Powerline)
Clinton again reiterates in case we did not get it the first time round:
The entire military was against sending special forces in to Afghanistan and refueling by helicopter and no one thought we could do it otherwise…We could not get the CIA and the FBI to certify that Al Qaeda was responsible while I was President. Until I left office.
No one can deny that Afghanistan is a 'Forgotten War', and that bothers me. But then am I conveniently using the 'hindsight gives me 20/20 vision' rule which is the very accusation I am hurling at us now.....
What did I do? I worked hard to try and kill him. I authorized a finding for the CIA to kill him. We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since. And if I were still president we’d have more than 20,000 troops there trying to kill him. Now I never criticized President Bush and I don’t think this is useful. But you know we do have a government that think Afghanistan is 1/7 as important as Iraq.
We can blame Bill Clinton for not being a strong enough leader, to stand up to the military, the FBI and the CIA, who have all too long been a law unto themselves, but we cannot blame him for not trying. He may not have succeeded in killing bin-Laden, but in 'his mind' he did try.
The problem lies in what it is that he "tried" to do? He tried to 'persuade' them, instead of issuing a command as a Commander-In-Chief should, and the President of the U.S. is expected to do. It's the same 'stop or I'll say stop again' appeasement strategy the Democrats have in mind for dealing with the War on Terror, and Clinton's narcissistic display does not help us alleviate those fears.
Emphasis mine. Excellent commentary i;s Alexandra's. Read the rest of her piece here.