The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Kerry's Meltdown(s) (UPDATED)
First of all, just listen to Kerry's statement last night and then answer these questions, regarding to what might happen if the students he was talking to did not study hard and "do well":
I don't think there is any question: Kerry got caught with his guard down and is now spinning an outright lie to try and cover his tracks. Personally I think this kills any hope of Kerry ever getting near another Presidential nomination (if it wasn't dead already).
But even more importantly--in a week where Dems are doing their best to hide their liberal base from the media in order to come across to the public as more "mainstream"--Kerry's remarks highlights the Democrats' general contempt for anything miltary in neon lights, one week before a national election.
Kerry can talk all he wants about his own "service", but everyone knows about his three purple hearts in one month and quick exit from the military, his involvement with Anti-war groups immediately thereafter, and the almost universal disdain that any veteran (past or present) has for Kerry.
Rick Moran pretty much sums up my own feelings about this man and this incident:
When I first read of John Kerry’s remarks holding our troops in Iraq up as an example of what happens if you fail in school, my contempt for the man – already high – passed over into the realm of having the mere mention of his name trigger my gagging reflex. How in the name of all that is good and holy did this man come so close to commanding these very same troops that he has so cavalierly disparaged? And an even more basic question this election season is can’t the Democrats see that Kerry, as their nominee for the highest office in the land in 2004, speaks for them when is quoted thusly?
The contemptuousness that Kerry showed by making those remarks was exceeded by his statement today that, rather than clarifying his remarks or apologizing for them, he hurls the rawest and most shocking invective at Republicans only seen perhaps on the far left websites that the Senator from Massachusetts has been writing for recently:
“If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they’re crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I’m sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.
I’m not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq. It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.”
Note for the record that Kerry does not even address the subject of his insulting remarks. Rather, he slimes his critics – a classic defense strategy for murderers and rapists but not, one assumes, a United States Senator who ran for President two short years ago.
Those are extremely personal attacks. Rarely does a politician immerse himself so thoroughly in excremental politics by debasing the motives, the honesty, and the honor of his opponents as Kerry did in that short statement. No doubt, the ignoramuses on the left are cheering Kerry on. This, the man who consorted with the enemy during the Viet Nam War, who met with representatives of the Viet Cong and agreed to carry their propaganda water for them here in the United States while that very same enemy was shooting and killing men in uniform that Kerry now pretends to respect.
YOU be the judge (via Allahpundit at Hot Air). Today Kerry tried to spin this--in so many words that "the White House knew I was talking about President Bush's terrible leadership..." and that THEY owe the troops an apology? What say you?Allah has a follow up to his own post here, regarding Kerry's defensive response. And this suprise from Juan Williams, about CNN...
Captain Ed has more to say on Mr. "Reporting for Duty."
And Blackfive's posts here and here pretty much illustrates in general how these remarks are sitting with those serving in our Armed Forces.
Also: Gateway Pundit and Michelle Malkin.
Monday, October 30, 2006
"If there were no Iraq War, No Danish Cartoons, No Israel..."
Historical Muhammed and the Inseparability of Islam and "Tolerance"
Dr. Trifkovic (bold emphasis mine):
Robert Spencer’s “The Truth About Muhammad” (Regnery, a HUMAN EVENTS sister company) was not written in order to disprove the gnostic notion that history has a comprehensible pattern, a determinate logic and a finite number of possible resolutions or outcomes. But that is, indirectly, what the book achieves. This brief and readable summary of the life and times of the prophet of Islam, derived from eminently orthodox Muslim sources, reveals the centrality of Muhammad not only to Islam-as-religion but also to Islam as a totalitarian ideology, Islam as a geopolitical project, and Islam as a normative moral and legal system devoid of any “natural” foundation.
If we look at the ancient world in the half-millennium after Rome passed her zenith under Trajan and Hadrian, we can discern no “objective” reason why the Arabs should have been more successful than any number of other nomadic warriors—the Cimmerians, or Scythians, or Huns, or Parthians—in making not only spectacular but also enduring conquests, conquests that were not ephemeral but capable of producing imperial edifices and breeding imperial ambitions of breathtaking audacity. They were all crude nomads in search of water and pasture and plunder. They all shared the low labor requirements of pastoralism, leaving most men instantly available for war. Various attempts at a socio-economic explanation of the Arab phenomenon have been made, notably by the late Geoffrey de Ste Croix, but they were but ex post facto rationalizations that undoubtedly would have been applied with equal force to the Thousand-Year Hun Empire had it happened.
It did not, but the Arab one did, and Muhammad— “victorious through terror” —made all the difference. His kinsmen and tribesmen were prone to war by custom and nature, accustomed to living by pillage and the exploitation of settled populations. Theirs was an “expansionism denuded of any concrete objective, brutal, and born of a necessity in its past” (Ibn Warraq), but Muhammad provided a powerful ideological justification for those wars—a justification that was religious in form, global in scope and totalitarian in nature. In the space of a decade, the “warner in the face of a terrific punishment” morphed into a vengeful warlord, slayer of prisoners, murderer of political opponents and exterminator of Jews (chapters 6-9), his every move duly condoned by “revelations” from on high.
From Muhammad’s second year in Medina on, Islam combined the dualism of a universal religion and a universal state, and jihad became its instrument for carrying out the faith’s ultimate objective by turning all people into believers. As Spencer explains, Muhammad postulated the fundamental illegitimacy of the existence of non-Islam, and mandates permanent “rejection of the Other” —to use a fashionable term—by every bona fide Muslim as a divine obligation. To a Muslim, Jihad does not necessarily mean permanent fighting, but it does mean a permanent state of war.
Even the cornerstone statement, “there is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet,” goes beyond a declaration of monotheism and implies the radical division of the world into two camps. Antagonism toward non-Muslim religions, societies and cultures is certainly not the trait shared by all Muslims, but it is an attitude mandated by Muhammad to all true Muslims and prevalent among most to this day. Thanks to its founder, Islam has emerged as a quasi-religious ideology of cultural and political imperialism that absolutizes the conflict with other than itself, and knows no natural limits to itself.
Muhammad’s actions and words presented by Spencer are frankly shocking by the standards of our time, and punishable by its laws that range from genocide, crimes against humanity and murder to enslavement, rape and child molestation. But even in the context of 7th-Century Arabia, Muhammad’s deeds were often considered repugnant. He had to resort to “revelations” as a means of justifying his actions and suppressing the prevalent moral code of his own society. Attacking caravans in the holy month, taking up arms against one’s kinsmen, slaughtering prisoners, reserving a lion’s share of the booty, murdering people without provocation, violating treaties and indulging one’s sensual passions were also at odds with the moral standards of his Arab contemporaries. Only the ultimate authority could sanction it, and Allah duly obliged him. As an Edwardian author put it in the blunt language allowed in his time, the problem with Muhammad is not that he was a Bedouin, but that he was a morally degenerate Bedouin.
The title of Spencer’s book is inevitably a misnomer: Its author is well aware that “the truth” about Muhammad is more than we really know about the historical man, and “traditions” are not history. The “truth” that matters to us all, however, and the reason this book is important, is not what verifiably came to pass between 570 and 632 AD in Western Arabia, but what one-fifth of humanity believes to have happened. Ernest Renan’s famous assertion that Islam was “born in the full light of history” (p. 20) is incorrect: “The full light” is but the reflected glimmer of medieval Muslim scholars, men who were believers and, therefore, of necessity, apologists. But the construct completed some two centuries after Muhammad’s death is held by all true Muslims to be not only true but universally and eternally valid as a perfect model of virtue for all time.
As Spencer points out, on its own admission, Islam stands or falls with the person of Muhammad, a deeply flawed man by the standards of his own society, as well as those of the Old and New Testaments, both of which he acknowledged as divine revelation, and even by the new law, of which he claimed to be the divinely appointed medium and custodian. Fourteen centuries later, the problem of Islam, and the problem of the rest of the world with Islam, is not the remarkable career of Muhammad per se, undoubtedly a “great man” in terms of his impact on human history. It is the religion’s claim that the words and acts of its prophet provide the universally valid standard of morality as such, for all time and all men.
Our judgment on Muhammad rests on evidence of his followers and faithful admirers, and those who go into paroxysms of rage over Pope Benedict’s lectures or Danish cartoons can scarcely complain if, even on such evidence, the verdict of the civilized world goes against their prophet. That verdict, once it is passed—and thanks to the courageous people such as Robert Spencer it will be passed—will make the gentle mockery of Muhammad in those cartoons appear as inappropriate tomorrow as it would be inappropriate today to lampoon Hitler for his out-of-wedlock liaison with Fräulein Braun or for his inability to control flatulence.
Looks like it is time to make another book purchase--in fact I just did while finding the link.
Here's the thing: no matter how the Left and moral relativists in America or elsewhere may try to portray this war as about "land" or "Palestine" or "socio-economic wealth", they are showing their utter ignorance of both history and the nature and mindset of the religious zealot. Jihad has never been about Western "haves" vs. Muslim "have nots"--it is about moral standards, the application of which are as different from ours as night is to day. On the one side is a brand of totalitarianism which brings to mind Stalinism at its worst or the mythical "Borg" of Star Trek: Assimilate or Die. On the other side, a moral code driven by Judeo-Christian principles and the subsequent Reformation. A code driven by faith, but also which encourages the questioning of previously-held tenets by scientific and psychological exploration; a code whose basis is respectful treatment of one's fellow man (and other religions and faiths), tolerance, and individual free will.
"Live and let live" is completely foreign to a religion whose proponents offer only three choices: Convert, Live in Slavery (or pay an onerous "unbelievers' tax"...), or Die. Clearly the utter inflexibility of idea of Jihad in the Muslim mind married to the historical violent "live and die by the sword" code of the fundamentalist Islam--which has not changed in almost two centuries, and is spreading rapidly thanks to population demographics and Saudi-funded madrassas--is not compatible with Western Civilization as we know it.
Yet for some reason many in the tolerant West believe that somehow religious zealotry is something that can be negotiated away in a game of meeting halfway "your interests" vs. "my interests". I understand the mindset: I am a trained mediator. But for this model to actually work, both sides actually have to honor their agreements. When Islam teaches that any earthly agreement is subserviant to Allah and the "words of the Prophet", any negotiated appeasement is not even worth the paper it is written on. If ultimately the two "interests" being "negotiated"--the Western: live and let live within reasonable bounds only present in order to protect society and civilization vs. the Islamic: convert to Islam, become a slave and respect the laws of sharia, or die--it is needless to say a bit difficult to find workable "middle ground" there.
Islam is "Absolutism" in the extreme. "Agreements" like treaties merely becom expedient documents to postpone the inevitable conflict and bloodshed to come, because the need for Jihad never ends for any practicing Muslim (see: Iran and its Nuclear treaties...). And to fundamentalist Islam, jihad and sharia trump any earthly agreements between men--which are viewed merely as "means" to an ultimate totalitarian "end".
It is men like Robert Spencer and Serge Trifkovic--and others such as Mark Steyn and Melanie Phillips and Victor Davis Hanson--whose voices are slowly waking the Western world up to what we are really fighting for here. Let us hope they succeed before it is too late for all of us. You would have thought 9/11 and 7/7 would have shaken a lot more people out of their lethargy; unfortunately--as another greater Prophet once said--"men have eyes but they do not see."
It is wake up time. The clock is running out on civilization as we know it. There is no negotiation with blind ideological fanatacism. If the question is: "who must be forced to assimilate, them or us?"... I choose: them. How about you?
This is (Still...) CNN
Attention Elites: Dems attempt to "steal" Texas House seat may Fail
And since I learned of this judicial travesty--and I am not making this up--I have continued to think "what if Sekula-Gibbs actually WINS this race." It would be a huge "in your face" to Texas Dems whose whole Delay witch-hunt seemed to be designed to steal a Congressional seat that did not represent the will of the people in its District (something that Texas Democrats have been quite accustomed to doing over the years)...
Therefore, when I saw this on the Fox News site, I must admit to not only being really pumped up by the good news, but also feeling somewhat vindicated in that I gave my fellow Texas Republicans a lot more credit than the Elitist Media seemed willing to do:
HOUSTON — In the race for the congressional seat
once held by former Rep. Tom DeLay, the same number of likely voters said they would vote for a write-in candidate as for the Democratic nominee, according to a new poll.
Thirty-five percent of respondents said they would vote for a write-in candidate, a statistical tie with the 36 percent support for Democrat Nick Lampson, according to the poll of likely voters in the Houston area's 22nd Congressional District.
Of the respondents who said they'd choose a write-in candidate, 79 percent said they planned to name Shelley Sekula-Gibbs, a Houston city councilwoman backed by the Republican Party.
Twenty-five percent of surveyed voters said they were still undecided.
"Both candidates seem to be swimming upstream here," said pollster John Zogby, president of Zogby International, which conducted the poll. "What's clear on one hand, is Nick Lampson seems to have had the opportunity and has not closed the deal just yet. On the same token, Shelley Sekula-Gibbs has a great opportunity in a Republican district."
The poll was conducted for the Houston Chronicle and KHOU-TV and appeared on their Web sites Sunday night.
The poll also shows that 62 percent of respondents were aware that there's a write-in candidate. Sixty-one percent said they know how to cast a write-in vote.
Fifty-two percent of poll respondents identified themselves as Republicans, 32 percent as Democrats and 16 percent as independent.
"Punditry was coloring the district blue. It's still a Republican district. Even harder than selling a write-in, is selling a Democrat in this district," Zogby said.
DeLay, the former House majority leader, resigned from Congress in June amid legal and ethical problems. He had already won the GOP nomination for his district. But the courts refused to allow Republicans to replace him on the ballot, forcing them to turn to a write-in candidate.
Sekula-Gibbs said the poll results show that Lampson is a weak candidate. "I think we are at the top of the hill. We are ready to plant the flag," she said.
If I were Sheila's campaign advisor, my advice for the first words of her victory speech would be: "Hey Ronnie Earle: Stick THAT in your pipe and smoke it..."
"Help us make the world Safer for your children..."
The Worst Case Scenario: Please Read BEFORE Voting
December 7, 2008, began inauspiciously.
At 0753 at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, the attack that had triggered America's entry into World War II, sixty-seven years before, was ceremoniously commemorated, an honor guard, taps, a 21-gun salute, the bugle's notes and the rifles' crack drifting across the bay to the USS Arizona memorial, where Admiral Arthur Peterson, USN Ret., laid a wreath in memory of the sailors sleeping below, one of whom was his own grandfather.
On the West coast it was 1053, and in Washington D.C. it was one fifty-three in the afternoon, 1353 military time.
In 2006 America, tired of War in Iraq, had elected Democrats to modest majorities in both houses of Congress. Representative Nancy Pelosi became Speaker of the House, third in line for the presidency. In the spring of 2007, on a narrow, party-line vote, Congress, led by Senators John Kerry and Ted Kennedy and Barbara Boxer refused to authorize spending to continue the war in Iraq, and set September 30, 2007, as the deadline for complete withdrawal of American troops.
President Bush spoke to the country, to the American forces in Iraq, to those who had been there, and to the Iraqi people, to apologize for the short-sightedness and irresponsibility of the American congress and the tragedy he believed would follow after leaving task of nurturing a representative and stable government in Iraq half done, his voice choked, tears running down his stoic face, a betrayal of emotion for which he was resoundingly criticized and denounced in much of America's media.
The level of violence across Iraq immediately subsided, as the Americans began preparations to redeploy back to the States. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad praised the new Congress for its clear vision and sound judgment. America's Democrats rejoiced and congratulated themselves for bringing peace with honor and ending the illegal war based on lies that George Bush had begun only to enrich his friends in the military-industrial complex, and promised to retake the Presidency in 2008.
"The failure of many Americans, including many of the leading Democrats in Congress, and some Republicans, to fully appreciate the persistent, long-term threat posed to America's liberties and survival, and to the future of Liberal Democracies everywhere, by an Islamic Resistance Movement that envisions a world dominated and defined by an Islamic Caliphate of religious totalitarianism, and which will fight any war, make any sacrifice, suffer any hardship, and pay any price to achieve it, may prove to be the kind of blunder upon which the fate of America turns, and falls."At 1000 on September 30, 2007, precisely on schedule, the last C-5A Galaxy carrying the last company of American combat troops in Iraq had roared down the Baghdad runway and lifted into the air. Only a few hundred American technical and military advisers and political liaisons remained in-country.
The Galaxy's wheels had scarcely retracted when Iraq erupted in the real civil war many had feared and foreseen, and which many others had predicted would not happen if only the American imperialists left Iraq. Sunni militias, Shia militias, and Al Qaeda militias ravaged and savaged the country, killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis known or suspected to have collaborated with the Americans, killing Shias for being Shias, Sunnis for being Sunnis, Americans for being Americans, and anyone else who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
By noon, not one of the American advisers and liaisons left behind remained alive. Many had been beheaded as they screamed. Most of their bodies were dumped in the river and never seen again. In the next thirty days more than a million Iraqis died. The General Assembly of the United Nations voted to condemn the violence, and recessed for lunch and martinis. In America, there was no political will to redeploy back to Iraq. And after a few months of rabid bloodletting, the situation in Iraq calmed to a tense simmer of sporadic violence and political jockeying, punctuated by the occasional assassination, while several million refugees fled the country. Only Kurdistan, in the north, which had thrown up a line of its Peshmurga fighters to keep the southern violence away, remained stable and at relative peace.
In the spring of 2008 America began its quadrennial circus of a national election, and in November elected a Democrat, the Junior Senator from New York, Hillary Rodham Clinton, as it next president, to the surprise of few. Her running mate, to the surprise of many, was San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, whose intelligence, charisma, and reputation as an indefatigable campaigner for gay marriage and the homeless of San Francisco helped solidify Clinton's support among liberal Democrats who only grudgingly forgave her for not openly opposing the Iraq war sooner, and the Clinton-Newsom ticket went to the top with a narrow 50.2% lead over Republican John McCain's 49.8% of the popular vote, despite, or perhaps because of, Clinton's and Newsom's lack of foreign policy and military experience.
America, or a slim voting majority of it, felt it had had all the war it ever wanted to see, and Hillary had led her party to a glorious (if narrow) victory with the unambiguous slogan: "Clinton & Newsom: No More War." Crowds at every whistle stop had cheered and chanted, No more war! No more war! No more war! At victory parties George Bush, Dick Cheney, Karl Rove, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice were hung and sometimes burned in effigy, enthusiastic crowds chanted "No more war!" many times more, and local bands cranked up the theme from the first Clinton electoral victory, "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow...yesterday's gone, yesterday's gone...," and indeed, it was.
President Bush had been a very lame duck since the 2006 election, and with a Democratic Congress could do little but veto most of the bills it sent him. The Democrats couldn't override his vetoes, so for nearly two years almost nothing important had been accomplished by anyone on the Hill or in the White House. After the 2008 election it was transition time, flocks and herds of thoroughly demoralized Republican staff began leaving Washington in search of greener pastures, Congress adjourned for the Holidays, Democrats came house hunting, and Clinton and Newsom began the briefings they would get from a fully cooperative Bush administration on the state of the nation and the state of the world they would inherit and have to cope with for the next four years, or eight, and in those last weeks of November both Hillary and Gavin seemed to age rather quickly. The exhilaration of the campaign was over, and the weight of a tumultuous world began to settle on their shoulders.
Back in early October, 2006, North Korean President (for life) Kim Jong Il had announced the detonation of a nuclear bomb deep in a tunnel in the stony mountains of North Korea. The seismic signature had been small, and American intelligence at first doubted whether it had been a nuclear explosion at all.
Traces of radioactive emissions were detected a few days later, and the intelligence estimate revised to conclude that it had been a failed test that produced perhaps only 10% or less of the expected yield, only 0.5 to 1.5 kilotons, not the 20 kilotons, at least, that Western intelligence had anticipated.
Kim Jong Il gloated. The deception had worked. The Americans were thinking in terms of long range intercontinental ballistic missiles with huge warheads that they could shoot out of the sky with their sophisticated billion-dollar anti-missile defense systems. He was thinking in terms of small warheads carried by small, medium range cruise missiles that could be launched from many places, and infiltrated close enough to slip in under the radar and hit America's coastal cities.
On the evening of December 6, 2008, a junior analyst in the National Security Agency was going over routine satellite photo production of ship movements in the Atlantic and Pacific within a thousand miles of the US coasts. Late in the shift he thought he saw something through a haze of fatigue and caffeine, and called a supervisor over to talk.
"Look," he said, photos up on several computer screens, more printed out and spread across his desk, "See? These boats, not big ships, fishing boats, yachts, they've been moving in along shipping lanes for several days, across from the South Pacific toward the West coast, up from the South Atlantic toward the east. Nothing very unusual, they're all small and slow, and scattered up and down the oceans, it seems, but if you look at the times and courses..." and he pulled out a chart he had plotted, "They're approaching so they will all arrive at about the same time, or all be about the same distance off the coast at about the same time...," he trailed off.
The supervisor looked a bit quizzical. "Coincidence? Probably. You need more sleep. Too much fun in the night, eh? Let me know if you see something we can do something with." And walked away.
At 0723 Hawaii time on the 67th Anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack three old fishing trawlers, about 100 miles apart, and each about 300 miles off the east coast, launched six small cruise missiles from launch tubes that could be dismantled and stored in the holds under ice, or fish, and set up in less than an hour. The missiles were launched at precisely one minute intervals. As soon as each boat had launched its pair, the skeleton crew began to abandon ship into a fast rubber inflatable. The captain was last off, and just before going overboard started the timer on the scuttling charges. Fifteen minutes later and ten miles away, each crew was going up the nets into a small freighter or tanker of Moroccan or Liberian registry, where each man was issued new identification as ship's crew. The rubber inflatables were shot and sunk, and just about then charges in the bilges of each of the three trawlers blew the hulls out, and they sank with no one on board and no distress signals in less than two minutes.
The missiles had been built in a joint operation by North Korea and Iran, and tested in Iran, so they would not have to overfly any other country. The small nuclear warheads had only been tested deep underground. The GPS guidance and detonating systems had worked perfectly, after a few corrections. They flew fifty feet above sea level, and 500 feet above ground level on the last leg of the trip, using computers and terrain data modified from open market technology and flight directors, autopilots, adapted from commercial aviation units. They would adjust speed to arrive on target at specific times and altitudes, and detonate upon reaching the programmed GPS coordinates. They were not as adaptable and intelligent as American cruise missiles, but they did not need to be. Not for this mission.
They were small, less than twenty feet long, and only 18 inches in diameter, powered by small, quiet, fuel-efficient, high-bypass turbofans, and painted in a mottled light blue and light gray ghost camouflage. Cruising at 600 knots, just below the speed of sound, they were nearly impossible to see or hear. They came in under the radar until they reached the coast. After that they were lost in the ground clutter. Nobody saw it coming.
At precisely 0753, Hawaii time, 1353 in the District of Columbia, sixty-seven years to the minute after the Pearl Harbor attack began, the first of six missiles to hit the Washington area exploded in a huge white burst of nuclear fire just 500 feet above the White House, which disappeared in a mist of powdered plaster and stone, concrete and steel. President Bush and President-Elect Clinton had been meeting with Condoleezza Rice and Mrs. Clinton's national security adviser, reviewing the latest National Security Estimate, when they instantaneously turned into a plasma of the atomic elements that had once been human beings. No trace remained.
Alarms immediately began going off all over Washington, and precisely one minute later the second missile exploded just as it struck the Capital dome, instantly turning thousands of tons of granite that had one moment before been the nation's center of government into thousands of tons of granite shrapnel that shredded several square miles of Washington like a leviathan Claymore mine. At precisely one minute intervals, four more 3 kiloton nuclear weapons exploded at an altitude of 500 feet AGL above the Pentagon, the CIA headquarters, the NSA headquarters, the FBI headquarters, all of which were fully staffed in the middle of the day. In five minutes, the government of the United States of America was decapitated, and a quarter million of the people who made the place run were dead, or dying, or had simply disappeared.
Also at 1353 Eastern time, a missile had blown off just above the New York Stock Exchange, in New York City, and thousands of years of collective financial knowledge and experience evaporated in the nuclear flame. In one minute intervals, others had hit the financial centers of Boston and Baltimore, and the Naval base at Norfolk, Virginia.
Simultaneously, within the same 10-minute window of hell, nuclear tipped cruise missiles devastated the largest intermodel shipping facility on the West coast at San Pedro harbor, exploded just above the Library Tower in central Los Angeles, and short circuited the computer technology ghetto of Silicon Valley in Santa Clara County, big time. One exploded ten feet away from the top of the Bank of America Building in San Francisco and set much of the east slope of the city ablaze. Another giant fireball flared among the phalanx of office towers along the Capitol Mall in Sacramento, instantly obliterating Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state government of California, the largest state economy in the US, the seventh largest economy in the world. Two ripped open the heart of Portland, Oregon, one shattered the financial district of Seattle, and the last one turned the Microsoft campus into a pillar of fire and smoke, wiping from the face of history, in a second, the IT giant that had revolutionized global communications.
It was 0803, Hawaii time. Ten minutes.
Three million Americans dead. And not a trace of the assault fleet remained on the surface of any ocean.
Vice-President Elect Gavin Newsom was in his bedroom at home in Pacific Heights, his window overlooking the Golden Gate and the Marin bluffs. He thought he heard an oddly loud crack of thunder and saw a flash reflected on the hills across the inlet, but it was a clear day and nothing else seemed out of place. He continued packing for the return trip to Washington, his second since the election, to continue his transition briefings and begin organizing his staff. His nomination as Hillary's running mate had come as a huge surprise, and he was elated.
Someone rapped on the door, loudly, twice, and without waiting for a reply the senior Secret Service officer on his detail opened it and stepped quickly in. "Come with me, now," he said. Gavin was startled. "I need to finish packing," he replied.
"No time, sir. Something has happened. Very big. I fear. No details yet. We have to get you out of here, NOW! RIGHT NOW! GO! GO! GO!" He grabbed Newsom's arm, swung him around, and pushed him out the door, where two other Secret Service agents flanked him down the stairs and out to a running black Suburban waiting in the garage. They pushed him into the back seat, jumped in, and the driver gunned the engine, out the drive, down the street, tires squealing. Nobody spoke until they were headed over the Bridge, northbound at seventy-five miles an hour, weaving through the traffic which wasn't yet the gridlock it would soon become.
"What the hell's going on?" he finally demanded.
"Okay. This is what I know," the officer said. "The US has apparently sustained multiple nuclear attacks in the last fifteen minutes, including Washington D.C. and San Francisco. Financial district. We're not sure how many, at least ten, maybe twenty. Lots of dead. Got the White House, the Capital, the Pentagon. Our job is to get you on an airplane at the nearest functioning airport, that'll be Novato, and get you to a safe place. Prestissimo."
"Where?" Newsom asked. Things were moving way too fast now.
"Don't know yet. We'll get orders."
The Air Force Learjet had been airborne for two minutes when a cell phone buzzed, and the Secret Service captain answered it and handed it off to the Vice President Elect. "It's Mr. Cheney, sir," he said.
"Gavin?" Dick Cheney asked. "Yes, sir," Newsom replied, subdued, for the events of the last hour had sobered up his elated mood considerably.
"Okay, Gavin. I don't know what you know, so I'll tell you what I can. There have been approximately 20 nuclear strikes on government and financial targets in the US, about an hour ago. No real damage estimate yet, except that it's awful. A hundred times 9/11, maybe a thousand times. I happened to be at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, and have moved into Cheyenne Mountain to set up a temporary HQ, until we get things sorted out. As you know Cheyenne was vacated by NORAD a few years ago, so we have plenty of space. You will be flown here, nonstop."
"I know you haven't a lot of national and international experience." Cheney had thought of saying that Newsom had none, but Newsom would be too painfully aware of that. He didn't need reminding. "The President is missing and presumed dead. So is Mrs. Clinton. So you may become the next president, in about six weeks. I don't know. he Constitution says the Vice President succeeds a president who is dead or disabled, but it doesn't say what happens if the President Elect dies before being inaugurated. I suppose the Court will have to answer that, if we can cobble one together by then. In the meantime, I will assume you will be inaugurated. You'll have a steep learning curve, a real steep curve. All presidents do, under the best of circumstances, and these are not the best of circumstances."
The next day a hard winter storm roared down the West coast from Alaska, pelting rescue workers in bombed out city centers with hard, cold rain, that did not let up for a week. People alive but injured or trapped in the wreckage died of hypothermia before they were found. Two days later, a cold front out of Canada brought heavy snow to the Northeast. Millions were already without electricity, and in a week of subzero weather hundreds of thousands more died. More than four million, altogether. More than one of every one hundred Americans.
Al Qaeda had picked December 7 because it was the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, and because, just before Christmas, the Infidel holiday, it would destroy the Christmas shopping season so important to so many retailers, driving another nail into the national economy of the Great Satan. And it would destroy the festive spirit of the season for millions of Americans, perhaps for all. The perfect psyop. Psychological warfare. And the weather forecasters had predicted severe winter storms on both coasts during the week immediately after disaster.
Al Qaeda leaders had calculated, correctly, that by turning up the violence in Iraq during the weeks before the 2006 election it could achieve an anti-war Democratic Congress that would vote to end America's wars in the Middle East, and then by turning down the violence in Iraq after the election of an anti-war Democratic Congress, it could lull America into a false sense of safety and security in anticipation of the "peace in our time" that America's new ruling party had promised would follow from what Al Qaeda perceived, correctly, as America's retreat before the unstoppable determination of the Islamic Resistance Movement, the Jihad. America did not call it that, of course. The Americans thought they were just ending a bad and illegal war ginned up by George W. Bush to depose Saddam Hussein who had proven not to have WMDs after all, the ones the Americans had never found, the ones buried in Syria. Al Qaeda saw more clearly. It was a capitulation, a de facto surrender of the Middle East to the coming Islamic Caliphate that would someday rule the world. The martyrs of Islam had beaten the Great Satan to its knees. In time they would cut off its head.
By Christmas, the American economy had imploded. Inflation soared, unemployment soared, businesses closed, cities that had suffered direct hits became ghost towns. Tax revenues evaporated, leaving state governments without funds to pay unemployment benefits or teachers' salaries. With the New York Stock Exchange gone, stock trading ended, and values plummeted. Retirement assets and pension funds disappeared in a wink. Nobody knew what to expect. Real estate crashed, and major banks filed for bankruptcy. With the collapse of the American economy, the largest on earth, the most productive country on earth, with just 5% of the global population producing one third of the global economic output, the rest of the global economy fell into chaos. Oil shipments stopped, food shipments stopped, and in that winter millions of people in third world countries starved to death.
The America era was over.
"In the spring of 1941, Nazi Germany was poised to dominate the earth. France, the low countries, Norway, Denmark, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Greece, and much of Poland had been overrun by the Germans. All of Europe, save neutral Sweden and Switzerland, was in the hands of Hitler's friends and allies: dictators or monarchs who ruled fascist Italy, Vichy France, Franco's Spain, Portugal, the Balkan countries, Finland, and above all the Soviet Union."
"A single German division under General Erwin Rommel, sent to rescue beleaguered Italians in Libya, drove Britain's Middle Eastern armies flying and threatened the Suez lifeline; while in Iraq a coup d'etat by the pro-German Rashid Ali cut the land road to India. In Asia, Germany's ally, Japan, was coiled to strike, ready to take Southeast Asia and invade India. No need to involve the United States; by seizing the Indies, Japan could break the American embargo and obtain all the oil needed for the Axis Powers to pursue their war aims.
"Hitler should have sent the bulk of his armies to serve under Rommel, who would have done what Alexander did and Bonaparte failed to do: He would have taken the Middle East and led his armies to India. There he would have linked up with the Japanese. Europe, Asia, and Africa, would have belonged to the coalition of dictators and militarists."
"The Nazi-Soviet-Japanese alliance commanded armed forces and resources that utterly dwarfed the military resources that the holdouts, Britain (with its empire), and the United States, could field. The English-speaking countries would have been isolated in a hostile world and would have had no realistic option but to make their peace with the enemy, retaining some autonomy for a time, perhaps, but doomed ultimately to succumb. Nazi Germany, as leader of the coalition, would have ruled the world."
"Only Hitler's astonishing blunder in betraying and invading his Soviet ally kept it from happening." - David Frompkin, Professor of International Relations and History, Boston University, writing in What If: Eminent Historians Imagine What Might Have Been (Putnam 1999) pp. 308, 309.
History is made, wars are won and lost, cultures and nations and civilizations come and go, rise and fall, as much by blunders as by victories.
The failure of many Americans, including many of the leading Democrats in Congress, and some Republicans, to fully appreciate the persistent, long-term threat posed to America's liberties and survival, and to the future of Liberal Democracies everywhere, by an Islamic Resistance Movement that envisions a world dominated and defined by an Islamic Caliphate of religious totalitarianism, and which will fight any war, make any sacrifice, suffer any hardship, and pay any price to achieve it, may prove to be the kind of blunder upon which the fate of America turns, and falls.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
The Myth of "Islamic Tolerance"
The unpleasant fact is that "mainstream" Islam is mutating into a much more virulent form--within which violence, terror, decapitations, "honor killings", and other forms of 7th century barbarism are becoming not only more "accepted" within the Muslim community--but are even being seen as justified, and are increasingly being encouraged by imams in greater numbers world wide; this is a dirty little secret that not even the "Religion of Peace" spin masters like CAIR can hide.
The oft-asked question (including on this blog) of when will an "Islamic Reformation" come is fast becoming a moot point. As a prelude to my quotation from Thornton's piece, here are a couple of paragraphs from Chapter Five (pp.80-81) of Mark Steyn's America Alone dealing with the idea of an Islamic reformation. It is almost delusional to continue to pretend that Islam as a whole is not a problem that must be dealt with as such--rather than treated like just another "peaceful" religion. Klansmen used to hold "religious services" as well[ that did and does not justify murder of innocents. Bold highlighting is my own:
What we still don't know, as the years drift by since September 11, how deep the psychoses of jihadism reach within Islam in general, and the West's Muslim populations in particular. How many are revolted by the slaughter of those Beslan schoolchildren or the beheading of Daniel Pearl and other hostages, and how many are willing to rationalize it? More to the point, of those Muslims who are affronted by what is done in the name of their religion, what percentage are prepared to do anything about it? How many Western Muslims have formed "Not in Our Name" groups and marched to protest the bombings of their fellow citizens in New York, Madrid, and London? How many have joined "Islam Against Suicide Bombing" or banded together to force jihadist imams out of their mosques? How many are prepared to stand up and say they didn't come to America to raise their children as Saudis?
Hello? Anyone out there?
We--the befuddled infidels--talk airily about "reforming" Islam. But what if the reform has already taken place and jihadism is it? What if the long percolation of Islam through Wahhabism, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Iranian revilution, and contemporary Western-promoted whining over grievances such as "colonialism" is the reform?
We chatter breezily about "assimilating" Western Muslims. But compare a gathering of mainstream Muslim politicians and religious leaders in Baghdad with any similar get-together in London or Detroit or Sydney, and you realize the Iraqis sound a lot more reasonable than and amenable than most Western Muslim lobby groups. What if the problem is not that Muslims are unfamiliar with the customs of their new land but rather that they are all to familiar with them--and explicitly reject them? And that the result is a mutated form of Islam uniquely well informed in its hostility to the infidel--and one furthermore in which ancient tribal hostilities between Sunni and Shia, Arab and non-Arab have been subsumed within a new pan-Islamic identity.
Thornton's piece (read the whole thing here) demonstrates that at its core, Islam is anything but "tolerant" of other faiths or secular beliefs. If Jesus taught love for your fellow man no matter what their faults, forgiveness, tolerance and "turning the other cheek"; then Muhammed--as Hanson demonstrates in his superb essay. Facts are powerful things:
The arrogant intolerance of any other religion finds its source in Muhammad’s assertion to Muslims, “Ye are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah.” The rationalization of violence by invoking the hostility of unbelievers is also warranted by Muhammad: because of the rejection of him by his tribesmen the Quraysh, Allah “gave permission to His apostle to fight and to protect himself against those who wronged them [Muslims] and treated them badly.” Hence the various offenses fabricated by today’s jihadists to justify their aggression against the West. But Muhammad justifies not just defensive warfare but also violence in the service of the faith: “‘Fight them [unbelievers] so that there be no more seduction,’ i.e., until no believer is seduced from his religion. ‘And the religion is God’s,’ i.e. until God alone is worshiped.” We see here the jihadist’s hatred of the West and globalization, whose political freedoms and hedonistic prosperity “seduce” believers from the faith.
As Spencer concludes, “The Qur’an . . . commands much more than defensive warfare: Muslims must fight until ‘the religion is God’s’ — that is, until Allah alone is worshipped. Later Islamic law, based on statements of Muhammad, would offer non-Muslims three options: conversion to Islam, subjugation as inferiors under Islamic law, or warfare.” So much for the protestations of tolerance and co-existence constantly peddled by jihad’s Western publicists.
Every aspect of Islamic practice and belief finds its basis in Muhammad’s words and deeds. When Muhammad’s lieutenant Abdullah attacked a Quraysh caravan during a month when fighting was prohibited, Muhammad’s initial displeasure was changed by a “revelation” [i.e. from the angel Gabriel, who dictated the Koran to Mohammad] saying “persecution [i.e. of Muslims] is worse than killing,” and Abdullah was forgiven. “This was a momentous incident,” Spencer concludes, “for it would set a pattern: good became identified with anything that redounded to the benefit of Muslims, and evil with anything that harmed them, without reference to any larger moral standard. Moral absolutes were swept aside in favor of the overarching principle of expediency.”
As Spencer progresses through the Prophet’s life, the evidence for Muhammad’s model as the source of modern jihadist practice becomes overwhelming. The penchant for beheading enemies displayed by jihadists is validated by Muhammad’s decapitation of his enemy Abu Jahl after the battle of Badr against the Quraysh. A “revelation” after the battle codified this practice and linked it to the terrorizing of the enemy that would help Muslims prevail: “‘I [Allah] will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.’ This because they contended against Allah and His Messenger: If any contend against Allah and His Messenger, Allah is strict in punishment.” Given that “contend against” can be defined as any activity that “seduces” believers or stands in the way of Muslim interests, the divine justification for the violence and terror perpetrated by jihadists from Indonesia to Africa, Israel to England is obvious.
So too with the practice of making tactical treaties and truces only to break them later. “If thou fearest treachery from any group, throw back (their covenant) to them, (so as to be) on equal terms: for Allah lovest not the treacherous,” a statement also revealing of the double-standard many Muslims take for granted when dealing with non-believers. Armed with this loophole, Muhammad moved against the Banu Qaynuqa, a Jewish tribe who had resisted Islam but with whom Muhammad had a truce. As Muhammad famously said, “War is deceit.”
This precedent of deceit is obviously pertinent today, particularly for Palestinian Arab dealings with Israel. We have seen agreement after agreement signed by Arafat and others, only to be violated when circumstances seem to favor force.
The mistreatment of women, polygamy, child-marriage, stoning of adulterers, cutting off the hands of thieves, mutilation of enemy corpses, the sentence of death for apostasy, the subjection of dhimmi or Christians and Jews, even the killing of writers who displease the faithful — remember the sentence of death against Indian novelist Salman Rushdie, still in force — all have their precedents in the things Muhammad said and did. And as Spencer documents in his conclusion, this invocation of Muhammad is continually made by the jihadist terrorists themselves, who accurately link their violence to incidents and sayings from the life of Muhammad. To pretend that these devout Muslims are ignorant of their own religion’s traditions or are “hijacking” them is willful blindness.
Perhaps the most important precedent established by Muhammad, however, and one at the root of modern jihadist violence, is the demonization of Christians and Jews. Centuries before the existence of Israel, the actions and words of Muhammad legitimized the hatred of Jews. As Spencer shows, this disdain and resentment reflected the powerful barrier the Jews of western Arabia presented to Muhammad’s new faith and ambitions, not to mention the extent of Muhammad’s borrowings from Jewish scripture and traditions. But the continuing refusal of the Jews to accept that Muhammad was the “seal of the prophets” eventually led to his war against these potent rivals, including the Qurayzah of Medina, 600-700 of whom were beheaded. This hatred was justified by calling the Jews along with the Christians “renegades” who had turned against God and the true faith of their ancestors. Thus throughout the Koran one finds codified an intolerance and hatred of Jews still infecting the Islamic world today. The notion of apologists that Islam offers tolerant accommodation to Jews and Christians is belied by verses in the Koran such as, “Oh ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors,” and most notoriously of the Jews, “You brothers of monkeys, has God disgraced you and brought His vengeance upon you?”
Given all this evidence, as Spencer writes, “It is nothing short of staggering that the myth of Islamic tolerance could have gained such currency in the teeth of Muhammad’s open contempt and hatred for Jews and Christians, incitements of violence against them, and calls that they be converted or subjugated.” And this historical evidence is ratified by contemporary events that show modern Muslims following to the letter the example of Muhammad, from continuing persecution of Jews and Christians in Muslim lands, to the riots and calls for violence that attended (and validated) the Pope’s quotation of a Byzantine emperor’s observation that violence in the service of religion is Islam’s sole innovation.
Spencer concludes with some common-sense suggestions, most importantly demanding that so-called “moderates” condemn jihad and teach against religious intolerance in their schools and mosques. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to happen, given the power of Muhammad’s example of enmity against unbelievers, and given the arrogant intolerance and unwillingness to compromise that typify too many Muslims. The anxiety about appearing “racist” and the sentimental idealization of the “other” dominating American society make it even more unlikely that any politician will challenge Muslims about the facts of Mohammad’s words and deeds that jihadists today use to justify their actions. Unless we heed people like Robert Spencer, it seems that only another graphic example of jihadist violence within our borders has a chance of teaching us the history of the enemy.
Harold Ford: Focusing on the REALLY "Important" issues
Hopefully the news item belowstory is getting plenty of publicity in Tennessee. It not only contradicts the charade that Ford is trying to pull on the Volunteer State by attempting to paint himself as a strong-on-defense "hawk" in the War against Islamist Fascists, it also clearly illustrates the danger of turning over America's National Security interests to ANY Democrat. If THIS is a hawk, then the rest of the Party must be taking Advanced Seminars at the French Institute of Surrender Science.
From Ace of Spades HQ (Ace himself, actually...):
Harold Ford, Jr., Speaks Passionately On Nuclear Threat Posed By... Australia
[I]f Mr Ford, already a US congressman, wins his bid to become a more powerful senator, Australia had better watch out.
Because according to Mr Ford, Australia has an interest in nuclear weapons and is part of the broader nuclear threat to the US.
His skilled oration on domestic politics may be flawless, but his grip on foreign policy is error-prone. Yesterday he stumbled into gaffes on the North Korean nuclear tests and then mentioned Australia in the same breath as rogue nations wanting to go nuclear.
"Here we are in a world today where more countries have access to nuclear weapons than ever before," Mr Ford said, adding that when he left college in 1992 he thought the nuclear age had come to an end "and America would find ways to eliminate the number of chances that a rogue group or a rogue nation would get their hands on nuclear material".
"Today nine countries have it - more than ever before - and 40 are seeking it, including Argentina, Australia and South Africa," he said.
Uh-oh. South Park may have jeopardized our security by inflaming the Australians by depicting Steve Irwin (PBUH).
There is no "Third Way"; for America "losing Iraq" means losing a great deal more than that...
The latter group, of course is, even worse; especially when the person in question runs the largest worldwide news network on the Globe. At least the blissfully ignorant who don't get it that we are at war--let alone the enormously high stakes between winning and losing--can claim a mental handicap rather than out-and-out sedition.
Mark Steyn's sensational column in today's Chicago Sun-Times blows the doors off of both arguments, as does his unbelievably riveting page-turner America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It (this should be required reading for every single American citizen: it is profoundly disturbing and sobering, but it is one hell of a better alternative for a wake-up call than would be New York, Washington, or LA going up in a mushroom cloud.)
Yes we are at War, and it is the most critical war since the American Civil War. So maybe it is time for the ignorant to wake the hell up and for the seditious to be thrown in jail and taken off the air.
Agree with that last point or not, after reading Steyn's book (and today's column) if you still can't comprehend the dire situation America and the world is in--and the consequences of losing this war--say goodbye to the United States we have long known and loved.
This is probably as important a mid-term election than any you will see in your lifetime--the stakes of failure are that high; we simply cannot risk leaving the country in the hands of those who would destroy what we have in this country.
I know many people will read this and insist I am being melodramatic; that in itself is indicative of just how clueless many people are about the danger before us. Read America Alone. And then try telling me where Steyn has it wrong....
Friday, October 27, 2006
This is only the Beginning...
Cartoon by Cox and Forkum (click to enlarge): The taxi controversy at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has caught the nation's attention. But the dispute may go deeper than the quandary over whether to accommodate Somali Muslim cabdrivers who refuse to carry passengers carrying alcohol. Behind the scenes, a struggle for power and religious authority is apparently playing out. ...
Have a great weekend!
Steyn is not buying the Democratic victory buzz
To be honest, the election campaign has felt a bit like an out-of-body experience, or an out-of-body-politic experience. I’ve never been terribly partial to that Bertolt Brecht line about how it’s time to elect a new people. Nevertheless, as Donald Rumsfeld might say, you go to the polls with the electorate you have. And, if this electorate decides to anoint the Democratic party of Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Howard Dean, that’s their prerogative.
And, if that comes to pass, Republicans should at least be grown-up enough not to take refuge in what seems to be a fast metastasizing Comforting Delusion of the Month — that if the Dems do happen to take Congress, in 2008 voters will be so disgusted after two years of Speaker Pelosi et al. there’ll be a GOP landslide. I doubt it. If Democrats win even one chamber in ’06, it will position them very well for both — plus the White House — in ’08. Unless, of course, Des Moines is wiped out in a nuclear strike, and Nancy says this proves we need to get a really strong resolution in the Security Council, and that causes a decisive point-oh-oh-oh-oh-whatever swing to the Republicans in a tight Senate race in South Dakota and a critical House seat in Georgia.
But let’s not move on to the new Comforting Delusion of the Month too early.
For what it’s worth, I don’t reckon the Dems will win. The wild gains predicted for the party in November are just the usual self-insulating Democrat-media bubble bolstered by the usual dodgy polling and an even more pathetic than usual pseudo-scandal in La Cage au Foley. Republicans are a tough sell, in part because no party’s gone three-for-three with their man in the White House since FDR — and he had a much bigger margin of error: The difference between then and now is that, in 1937, 17 wasn’t the age of Mark Foley’s pen pal but the number of Republican senators. Today, in a much more finely poised electoral landscape, any slippage by the majority party in this or that corner of the map is a potential loss nationally. Nonetheless, I would still bet on Republicans’ clinging to power on the Wednesday morning after a nail-biting night before.
The question then arises: Why is it this close?
Speaking of Mark Steyn, don't miss the video of Michelle Malking interviewing Steyn. Great stuff--watch Part One here and Part Two here.
CAIR giving Big Money to Dems: Go Figure
You do the math.
A President Who Understands the Danger
The Oval Office today is a war room, and this is a war presidency. In these most partisan of times, Mr. Bush barely mentions the media and not once utters the word "Democrats." But as in 2004, we are again going to the polls to vote on national security. With Baghdad a cauldron of violence, this is the fight the Democrats say they want, and the one they are going to get Nov. 7. However many Republican candidates are separating themselves from Mr. Bush's war, the president is guaranteeing that the subject goes to the voters.
What struck me Wednesday was how Mr. Bush's public news conference was almost wholly about the Iraqis and their government, and how his private conversation with us was mostly about the stakes for the American people. Over these war years, there should have been more of the latter. Admittedly, it is difficult to convey in public the urgency about the war on terror that Mr. Bush conveys in private. But it is obvious that he regards the threat to the American people as palpable.
"My biggest issue that I think about all the time," Mr. Bush says, "is the next attack on America, because I am fully aware that there are people out there that would like nothing more than to have another spectacular moment by killing American people. And they're coming. And we've got to do everything we can to stop them. That's why we need to be on offense all the time." This, he insists, is the justification for the terrorist wiretaps, the Patriot Act, the interrogations and the Iraq war.
Mr. Bush goes on offense himself in the kind of plain speech that maddens his detractors but may endear him in the heartland: "Maybe it's not nuanced enough for some of the thinkers and all that stuff--that's fine. But that's exactly what a lot of people like me think."
On the nation's sense of frustration: "You don't have to tell me people are out there looking for something. I'm from Texas. My buddies are saying, 'Are you doing enough?'--not, 'Are you doing too little?' They want to know, 'Are we winning?' They want to know, this mighty country, are we doing what it takes to win?"
The burden of war, however, has not sapped Mr. Bush physically as it did Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. Recalling the deep toll that war and partisanship imposed on their presidencies, I looked closely at Mr. Bush for similar evidence: none. The hair's gone gray, but there is little sign of fatigue in his face or demeanor. I asked how he stays normal: "Prayer and exercise."
He dismisses the notion that Iraq is a mistake or a distraction: "This stuff about how Iraq is causing the enemy . . . whatever excuse they need, they have made up their mind to attack and they grab onto things to justify. If it's not Iraq, it's Israel. If it's not Israel, it's the Crusades. If it's not the Crusades, it is the cartoon."
Still, it's evident that Baghdad's sectarian violence has sent the U.S mood into a trough. The next day in a similar conversation with Vice President Cheney--ballast to the energy of his president--I ask if he senses a nation veering again toward the disillusion of the Vietnam War. He says no: "9/11 changes a lot. It's a watershed event and makes it more difficult for someone to argue that if we just bring the troops home we'll be safe and secure behind our oceans. The threat is there and it's real."
No matter the election results, it's obvious this president won't step back. He says, "We will press and press and press to protect ourselves. . . . If this country lets down its guard, it will be a fatal mistake."
Maybe it's too much. Maybe the country, or most of it this fall, doesn't share Mr. Bush's desire to be on offense all the time. Maybe they think he's exaggerating the threat for political effect. Maybe. But with or without a Republican Congress, if the country has a commander in chief who feels this deeply about protecting American soil from another 9/11 for at least another two years, it's fine by me.
Me too, Dan; Me too.
The Global Threat: Will we Protect Ourselves?
Choosing to Protect America
October 27, 2006
This November American voters will vote in the third federal elections since the 9/11 attacks. Once again as in 2002 and 2004, we are having an important national dialogue as to how we will win the war against our enemies and protect Americans from an increasingly organized anti-American coalition of terrorists and dictators.
In this dialogue, voters should first consider five big facts.
First, the threat to our survival is mortal, direct, and immediate. In the age of nuclear and biological weapons, even a few determined hateful people can do more damage than Adolph Hitler did in the Second World War. The loss of two or three American cities to nuclear weapons is a real threat. The loss from a biological attack would be even more devastating.
Second, the threat is global in nature and involves increasing cooperation among an emerging anti-American coalition. America is an unavoidably engaged in an emerging third world war and any look at the active players and the centers of violence indicates just how worldwide it is. North Korea with its missile and nuclear weapons program are potential assets for Iran , which is allied with Syria and subsequently Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas, which operates not only in the Middle East but also in South America . Iran also has ties with Hugo Chavez in Venezuela . By simply marking on a map every place where there are acts of terrorism or dictatorships actively engaged in strengthening themselves for a possible future confrontation with the United States unmistakably reveals just how worldwide this threat is.
Third, our enemies are increasingly confident. Their statements of their intention to defeat us are direct and clear. Iranian Dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said, "To those who doubt, to those who ask is it possible, or those who do not believe, I say accomplishment of a world without America and Israel is both possible and feasible."
The Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said, "The world of Islam has been mobilized against America for the past 25 years. The peoples call, 'death to America .' Who used to say 'death to America ?' Who, besides the Islamic Republic and the Iranian people, used to say this? Today, everyone says this."
In our own hemisphere, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has called on Iran to "save the human race, let ' s finish off the U.S. empire."
Fourth, despite these unambiguous statements from our enemies, there is still great confusion among our elites and in the news media. Changing this by getting agreement on the scale of the threat is vital to the successful prosecution of the war. The key in this conflict, in military terms -- the center of gravity, is the American people and secondarily all the free people of the world.
Fifth, we have to confront the fact that while much has been accomplished in the last five years much more must be done if we are to win. Time is not on our side. We must confront the reality that we are not where we wanted to be nor where we need to be. We have not captured Bin Laden. We have not defeated the Taliban in its sanctuaries in Northwest Pakistan . We have not stopped the recruitment of young fanatics into terrorism. We have not stopped either the Iranian or the North Korean nuclear programs. We do not have a stable democratic Pakistan capable of securing its own nuclear weapons. Neither Afghanistan nor Iraq is stable and secure. The United Nations is unreformed and we have failed to convince the people of America and of our fellow democracies of the correctness and necessity of what we are doing. We have vastly more to do than we have even begun to imagine.
The evidence from even before 9/11 through today is that our enemies are vivid, direct, and unequivocal in their desire to defeat us even if they have to die to do so. If they were to acquire biological or nuclear weapon, they would not hesitate to use it in order to kill us in substantial numbers and shatter our freedom. We cannot afford to be confused. Our cities and our own lives are at risk.
As the November election draws near, there are two factions of American politics that predominate. The appeasement wing declares the war too hard and the world too dangerous. These defeatists try to find some explainable way to avoid reality while advocating return to "normalcy," and promoting a policy of weakness and withdrawal abroad.
A second faction argues our national security system is doing the best it can and that we have to "stay the course"--no matter how unproductive.
With American survival at stake, Americans must choose a path to victory that rejects as unthinkable the first group's strategy of negotiated surrender and rejects as insufficient the second group's unwillingness to do whatever it takes to win. The path to victory requires that we are willing to reorganize everything as needed in our national security system. We are in a real war in a lot of places and all of our national institutions need to be in that war. This path will require more entrepreneurship and more speed as well as more resources and more accountability.
A new war budget should be developed from war time requirements rather than peacetime constraints. Intelligence and the land forces (Army and Marines) are all under funded. Those who think we currently have a wartime budget simply have no notion of the scale of American war efforts historically. We have a robust peacetime budget while trying to fight three wars and contain four dictatorships. That is a risky formula and makes victory much more difficult.
Put to do what is required, pro-victory leaders must first understand Margaret Thatcher's axiom that "first you win the argument and then you win the vote." In the end, it is only with the support of the American people that political leaders can do what it takes in order to protect us from these mortal threats.
America knows how to win; we have been in such a situation before. In November of 1980, voters had had enough of the domestic and foreign policy failures of the Carter administration. They had just experienced the first year of what Mark Bowden in Guests of the Ayatollah called "the first battle in America's war with militant Islam" -- the seizure of the American embassy in Iran in November 1979.
In choosing to replace President Carter with former movie actor and former California Governor Ronald Reagan, the American people embraced a clear vision of victory. Famously asked by a reporter during the campaign about his vision of the Cold War, Reagan answered with these four words, "We win - they lose."
Reagan's personification of strength and courage coupled with his ability to connect with the American people with his warmth and wit stood in stark contrast to Carter's humorless acceptance of weakness abroad and lowering economic standards at home. The voters heard Reagan loud and clear and so too did our enemies. On the day of Reagan's inauguration in January of 1981, the 444-day ordeal of the 52 American hostages finally ended.
President Reagan along with his allies, Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II, went on to implement a systematic plan using economic and political might to defeat the Soviet Union without going to war. A few short years after Reagan left office, the Berlin Wall collapsed and the Soviet Union was no more.
Civilizations rise and fall because of the decisions of their political leaders. In the world's democratic societies, these leaders are chosen by their voters and it is ultimately their choice that matters. In the 2006 midterm election, the stakes for this choice couldn't be higher.
We are in an emerging third world war. We must choose leaders who will insist upon victory. We owe it to our children and grandchildren who deserve an even safer, freer and more prosperous American future.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
Flags of our Cut and Runners
The Elite Media and Revisionist History
Will the Center Hold?
Depression apparently abounds these days. In the latest Time, Robert Galluci, the present Dean of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, pleads with us to talk to North Korea (“Let’s Make a Deal…”)—as if their present plutonium stockpiles did not originate during the Big Talk of the 1990s under the Carter/Clinton shuttles, or that a regime that has recently starved to death over 1 million of its own cares much about either talking or honoring anything that might come out of such discussions.
And why should Pyongyang concede anything, when its past talking, dissimulation, and nuclear enrichment earned it both a bomb and billions in food and fuel? All the communists need to do is update the discussions: instead of promising not to build a bomb, they can now promise not to test another bomb in exchange for more largess. Then after they let off accidentally, kinda of a second blast, they will promise not to launch a three-stage missile—for more cash, and on and on, all in the Rhineland/Anschluss/Sudenland/Poland manner.
Short a horrific war, about the only thing that will make Kim Jong Il cease is Chinese pressure—and about the only thing that might prompt the Chinese to pressure North Korea is the specter of successful, rich, and angry democracies, such as Japan, South Korea, or Taiwan pointing their newly acquired nuclear missiles at Beijing. All things considered, the thought of such states making nukes like Toyotas is a far scary nightmare for China that North Korea’s Taepodong missile is for us.
On the same pages, Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council of Foreign Relations, writes an essay “Would Defeat in Iraq Be So Bad?” in which he harkens back to Vietnam circa 1975, concluding that after we were defeated and fled ignominiously, the dominos did not fall in Southeast Asia and thus things were not all that “bad”. He is apparently forgetting the 1.5 million who were the boat people, and those sent to reeducation camps or executed, and the millions who lived since under communist totalitarianism rather than something like South Korea, and the holocaust in Cambodia that a chastised United States did not dare address, and the other late 1970s’ ripples like the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Central American mess, the Iranian hostage crisis, and a nearly ruined and disheartened American military that followed from the perception of a defeated and demoralized United States.
The Metrosexual Mob
Watching and reading the recent Washington punditry, whether in print or on television, is a depressing spectacle. Almost all—Charles Krauthammer is the most notable exception—have somehow triangulated on the war, not mentioning why and how in the B.C. days they sort of, kinda, not really called for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. For some the Road to Damascus was the looting or Abu Ghraib, for others the increasing violence. Still more now say the absence of WMD did the trick.
But almost none of the firebrands of 2003 speaks the truth behind the facade: They supported the war when it looked like few casualties and a quick reconstruction and thus confirmation of their own muscular humanitarianism—and then bailed along the way when they realized that wasn’t going to happen and the unpopular war might instead brand them as “war mongers”, “chicken-hawks” or just fools.
Instead of that honest admission, we get instead either cardboard cut-out villains of the “my perfect three-week war, your screwed-up three-year occupation” type—a Douglas Feith, Gen. Sanchez, or Paul Bremmer—or all sorts of unappreciated and untapped brilliance: from trisecting the country to “redeploying” to Kurdistan, or Kuwait, or Okinawa?
Apparently pundits think that the entire country has gone crazy and lost its memory that almost every cable news talking head, Time magazine pundit, Washington Post insider, and syndicated columnist—other than those at the Nation and the American Conservative—at the beginning supported the present war.
I have no problem with the notion that the perceived pulse of the battlefield governs ongoing attitudes toward the wisdom of conducting war—only with the denial of that truth. Pericles, after all, was fined after both the plague and Spartans roaming the fields of Attica disabused once zealot supporters that “his” war was going to be short. And a motion for censure of Churchill in July 1942 was discussed when the British were depressed after the fall of France, Singapore, and Tobruk, and knowledge that neither Bomber Command nor British forces in North Africa had done much to check Hitler. In contrast, had the United States had a republic secure and up and running in Baghdad 3 months after the end of the three-week war, at a cost of say, 400, fatalities, missing Weapons of Mass Destruction and all other the other complaints would not have been real issues, as supporters would have pointed to the other 22 writs of war in the October 2002 Congressional resolutions that are as valid now as they were then.
Air America: A "Campaign Contribution" to get around (the despicible) McCain-Feingold
The Washington Times publishes a superb op-ed today by John R. Lott Jr. and Bradley A Smith on Air America and the absolute mess that Senators McCain and Feingold and the US Supreme Court have foisted upon our democratic republic.
The starting point is the question of whether or not Air America amounts to a disguised illegal campaign contribution on the part of its welathy leftist backers.
When is a campaign donation not a campaign donation? Apparently if you spend the money to run a radio program instead of paying for campaign ads that run on that same program. Just look at Air America. With $41 million in losses since 2004, and $9.8 million owed just to Robert Glaser, RealNetworks chairman, Democrats who bankrolled this “company” weren’t so much investors as campaign contributors. The losses are seen as simple business ineptitude,but Air America effectively, and perhaps intentionally, cleverly avoided the campaign finance limits which Democrats had worked so hard to pass. [....]
It’s hardly a coincidence that Air America debuted in time for the 2004 presidential campaign or that the bankruptcy filing was put off long enough so that creditors actions won’t stop broadcasts before the Nov. 7 election. As if the willingness to lose money weren’t already obvious, over a year ago the network started asking listeners to donate money to keep the programs on the air.
The real story, however, is not the hypocriy and calumny of the left, but rather the impossible mess which has been created.
As Justice Anthony Scalia noted during the oral arguments on McCain-Feingold’s constitutionality: “if history teaches us anything, [it] is that when you plug one means of expression, the money will go to whatever means of expression are left.” One such means is the press: broadcast stations, magazines and newspapers are exempt from the law.
But the term “news media” is difficult to define. When McCain-Feingold first passed in 2002, the National Rifle Association generated outrage when it talked about buying a TV station, so that like other media, it could mention a candidate’s name during the 60 days before the general election. Sen. John Kerry demanded that the Federal Election Commission block any attempt by the NRA to get a media exemption, stating, “We urge you to prevent the NRA from hijacking America’s airwaves with the gun lobby’s money.” There is no record of Mr. Kerry objecting to Air America’s expenditures.
It gets much worse. We now stand on the brink of regulation of news and commentary, if it becomes clasified as an “in-kind campaign contribution” when media figures support one candidate or position on a ballot issue, as is already being alleged in Seattle.
McCain Feingold is a travesty, and the Supreme Court disgraced itself when it upheld the law. Sen. John McCain, a decent and patriotic man, owes it to the country to repudiate his handiwork and actively campiagn for its repeal. I hold less esteem for Sen. Feingold, one of the most left wing members of the Senate, but he, too, should take a look at what he has wrought and repent.