The Discerning Texan
-- Edmund Burke
Thursday, May 31, 2007
Dummy on Board
Cartoon by Michael Ramirez (click to enlarge)
"What's right for America": It's nothing Personal, Mr. President; it's just a Bad Bill
As someone who has supported this President through thick and thin, I think I can at least begin to understand now why so many on the left are infuriated by him: some of his pronouncements are so "black and white" that they leave very little wiggle room. "What's right for America" is an enormous brush with which to paint this issue--especially when so many in his own party (myself included) see this more as steering the Titanic towards the iceberg, full speed ahead. It's easy (for me anyway) to agree with "what's right for America" when the President is discussing the War against Jihadists worldwide--but it is also becoming easier to see why those on the opposite side of that argument are so virulent.
Speaking for myself, I'm not looking at "a narrow slice of it" but only at its first and most important consequence: The conferring of instant open-ended legal residency and employment rights on just about anybody on the planet who wants them under a visa that, while technically "probationary", will in practice be all anybody ever needs because (aside from its other benefits) it removes any possibility of deportation. After that's gone into effect, the "narrow slices" and "little aspects" in Section 739(f) won't matter.
Any "background check" will be perfunctory and conducted by an agency manifestly unable to cope with its present caseload. When I saw the President a few months ago, he touched en passant on the sclerosis of government departments. I find it hard to believe that as the chief of state he's not aware that this particular state agency is in no position to "solve this problem". If he is really unaware, I suggest he visit those CIS processing centers where, due to shortage of space, the adjudicators have to store files at home or in the trunks of their cars. That's one reason why, for example, an agency which demands original documents manages to lose so many of them.
I respect the President and I appreciate that his sincerity on this issue has been obvious for his entire political career. But I don't think he should impugn the good faith of those who, equally sincerely, disagree - not on "narrow slices" but on the central proposition: that drive-thru legalization for millions of people subject to desultory background checks by an agency without the resources to conduct them is not "what's right for America".
While I would be the first to defend many moral absolutes as an undisputed prerequisite to the rule of law in a civilized society--still in the President's attempt to build an inclusive society, using such terms as "what's right for America" and disparaging anyone who disagrees with him is hardly a way to be a "uniter." When you make black and white pronouncements like that, yet are unable to come up with facts to effectively back them up, it is a recipe for disaster--and that is what we saw yesterday in Georgia.
Yes he stands on his core principles, and I can and always have admired and respected that. But most thinking American people have principles too, and the rule of law happens to be high on my list. And an absolutist communication style which does not leave someone who believes the laws ought to apply to everyone any wiggle room is at best myopic and at worst suicidal. Yet that is exactly what President Bush managed to do in one destructive paragraph yesterday.
Since the mid-60's Americans have been looking the other way when it comes to Illegal Immigration. Some of the 9/11 hijackers were here illegally, and so were two of the Fort Dix conspiritors. There are many more Islamist illegals who are already here, just looking for a weakness to exploit or an opportunity to commit mass murder. I have no doubt of this. And I think it is high time that we made it more difficult--not easier--for those people. To ignore their illegal entrance into this country does exactly that. To make it illegal to deport them is like spitting in the face of the rest of us who do believe that a society which does not enforce its laws is an invitation to anarchy.
Mr. President, we simply cannot afford to look the other way any longer. If any of our laws are to have meaning, all of our laws must have meaning. As one example of many I could choose from, how can you possibly support a bill that would forgive these illegals their back Income Taxes owed? What does that say to the millions of us who have paid taxes through the nose? So...while you are at it, how about mailing me refunds for my tax receipts back since Amnesty I came to a border crossing near you in 1986. I followed the law; I paid my dues. So why don't I as a law abiding American citizen get the same benefits that you suddenly want to dole out to 12-20 million illegals--including the pool of about 20-60 thousand or so of those from which future mass murderers may be festering; if you believe the Pew poll, 1 in 4 of those 60K want an opportunity to kill Americans for Islam. Is that good for America?
In my mind, showing its citizens that laws matter and that no one is above them is "what's right for America." Show us a bill that does that, and show us you can and have enforced our existing laws-- and then let's talk.
Laura Ingraham goes postal: "It's Official; Bush has become a neo-Liberal..."
I'm scratching my head about this because I really do admire the President's stance on the war to date--and I view him as a visionary when it comes to setting the wheels in motion of defending us against the Islamists. But I really don't understand how after 9/11 we can still be so ignorant of border security, or allow the 20,000-60,000 estimated illegals from "countries of interest" to be granted legal status to be here. I don't understand how a bill could not mandate cooperation with state and local law enforcement to deport illegals if they are caught. If nothing else, just by virtue of an person being here illegally from places like Jordan or Saudi Arabia or Sudan or Pakistan should be cause enough in a post 9/11 world to deport that person.
But there is nothing here to make us think the new laws will be enforced, any more than the existing laws are (not) being enforced... I hate to use his father's line, but Mr. President: "where's the beef?"
Kathryn Jean Lopez has much more to say on the fallout between the President and his base:
What she said. Read it all.
Maybe I’ve caughtBush Derangement Syndrome. I’d like to believe I have, since that will alleviate my guilt a little. I hate being another Bush-administration detractor.
There’s a war going on, and the stakes are just too high to be fooling around and compromising a commander-in-chief’s authority unnecessarily. I’ll compromise where I have to. I’ll put up with bad judgment here and there: Harriet Miers? The incompetent Alberto Gonzales? Torching the First Amendment by signing campaign-finance reform? The war is important enough that you can get over some things. He knows there’s an enemy out there that hates America. I’m glad he’s president and neither Al Gore nor john Kerry is.
But immigration is about the war, too. It’s literally our first line of defense. Who gets in and out? Who is here? These are pretty fundamental questions in a country where there are already an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants. And yet, the president, instead of taking such concerns seriously, engages in immature name-calling.
This is ugly, and it could cost us big in the Long War. To paraphrase a great man in Berlin: "Mr. President: Don't tear down this party."
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
The Venezuelan Riots in Pictures
Could this be the beginning of a coup? One can only hope... it would be quite a spectacle to see the smiling fat man who was so smug on that UN podium fleeing to Cuba for his life.
al Sadr's Militia Kidnapped Brits
Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army apparently masterminded the kidnapping of five Britons in Iraq. The abductions likely came as retribution for the death of Sadr's lieutenant in a gunfight earlier this month between the Mahdis and the British [...]But it is the Captain's final words which are the key here:
[...] If this is true, it challenges the status of Sadr as a politician to a degree not seen since his capitulation in Najaf in 2004. It also highlights the problem of Sadr's influence on the Interior Ministry, controlled by one of his allies and reportedly infiltrated to a high degree by Mahdis and other Shi'ite militias. The kidnapping took place at a government building, the first time Westerners have been abducted from such a facility.
The big worry is that the Mahdis will sell the hostages to another group, perhaps even al-Qaeda. The commandos of the SAS have been put on alert in case they are needed for rescue and extraction. In the meantime, the UK and the US have to pressure the Maliki government to either take care of Sadr or to stand by while we do so. The raids on Sadr City this week sent a message, but as we have seen with Sadr in the past, that message needs to be personal -- and final, this time.Emphasis mine. The only thing the Arab mind understands is strength--brutal strength. And there is very little time left for us to beat around the bush. We knew it was going to come down to going after al Sadr. He has only grown more aggressive since returning, and since the foolish and stupid decision to actually talk to the #1 sponsor of State terror on Planet Earth. Somehow the words "You are either with us or you are with the terrorists" just don't quite have that same snap and believability. Go figure...
Fred! is getting in!
Hugh Hewitt seems to think Thompson's lymphoma could still play a negative role--and I can see where it might. However anyone who has been paying attention to Hewitt knows that in his heart of hearts he is squarely in Romney's camp.
Personally I'll vote for any Republican vs. a Marxist. But McCain's immigration stance might make me physically ill before pulling the lever for him. Fortuntately I don't think it will come to that. Rudy will be in until February, but I am not sure McCain will make it that far.
For now, I have to lean to Fred, although if Newt jumps in, it may give me pause for further reflection. Romney third. Rudy fourth. I like Huckabee, but he seems like a strong VP candidate at the moment.
Things are about to get very interesting.
ps - Mr. President: we know you want this horrible immigration bill. We know you think it is the right thing. We respectfully disagree. But please, please do not spend all of your War Capital on this Amnesty albatross. You are going to kill both the war effort and your own party if you do not back away from the Immigration question. We have to be united in the fall. So please stop dividing us now.
They may want to rethink that Global Ice Age theory again
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Betrayal and Shame
Cartoon by Cox and Forkum (click to enlarge)
USA Today: Feds Hiding $59 Trillion in Debt via "Accounting Rules"
Al Qaeda Traitor Ghadan: US Should Expect Worse Attacks than 9/11
An American member of Al Qaeda warned President Bush on Tuesday to end U.S. involvement in all Muslim lands or face an attack worse than the Sept. 11 suicide assault, according to a new videotape. Wearing a white robe and a turban, Adam Yehiye Gadahn, who also goes by the name Azzam al-Amriki, said Al Qaeda would not negotiate on its demands.
"Your failure to heed our demands ... means that you and your people will ... experience things which will make you forget all about the horrors of September 11th, Afghanistan and Iraq and Virginia Tech," he said in the seven-minute video.
So--by all means--let's put up those Stars and Stripes and pull out our White Flags; after all, the only thing we have to do to live in peace is to follow the Democrats' advice and bug out of Iraq and leave Al Qaeda and a Nuclear Islamic Republic of Iran sitting on top of 1/3 of the World's oil supply... yeah, that's the ticket...
But--all kidding aside--if we put the Democrats in charge in 2008, you might want to get sized up for that burka--and a hazmat suit. Just calling them as I see them.
Alexander Cockburn blasts "The Greenhousers" Out of the Water
Justice Department Scandal Widens...
UPDATED--CHAVEZ SHOOTING STUDENTS*** Chavez moves to close ANOTHER opposition TV station
*********** Original Post ************
A mere three days after it shut down the highly popular RCTV, the Hugo Chavez "Brownshirts" are now targeting another TV station for "ideological cleansing". Meanwhile Chavez is reportedly sending more police, troops, and Chavez Brigades to rough up those participating in large scale demonstrations.
Does this sound like a Democracy to you? (It did to Jimmy Carter.)
UPDATE: If you haven't noticed, the Associated Press is an intellectually and morally bankrupt institution. It is beyond belief how they are spinning this clear-cut power play by the Marxist thug Chavez. If you want to know why local newspapers--including the once-great Dallas Morning News--are failing miserably, it is because they are all clear-cutting their own bureaus (e.g. the Morning News no longer has a robust--and conservative-leaning Washington bureau; now it relies almost solely on AP Wire Stories, the New York Times, and the Washington Post. So folks who once could count on their hometown papers to show some semblence of Common Sense are now being subjected to non-stop leftist propaganda that does not agree with their sensibilities). This abomination by the AP is but another example of why newspapers will one day be an afterthought for a majority of Americans.
Possible Fountain of Youth discovered for Women!
God is Great, indeed!
"Amnesty International" = Former Communist Party
This has been a public service announcement.
P.S. - I was flattered by Yaacov's kind inclusion of The Discerning Texan in this post. If only I could write as well and as passionately as he does... If Breath of the Beast is not on your blogroll, it needs to be.
Monday, May 28, 2007
Unintended Consequences (But Thanks to all Vets anyway)
Whining NY Times sad it can't publish pictures of the Wounded
Meanwhile over at the Wall Street Journal, Peter Collier gets Memorial Day right.
A pretty telling contrast, if you ask me.
What is Gordon Johnroe smoking?
NR Editors: It's Worse Than You Think
How to make an ass of yourself on Memorial Day
The Highly Corrupt Mr. Murtha
Repression in Venezuela
The people of Venezuela aren't happy about it either. This weekend riot police were clamping down on protests against the repressive Chavez government. Turkish News reports:
Using water cannon, police dispersed thousands of stone-throwing protesters outside Venezuela's telecom authority, which ordered the station off the air.There is video of the rioting here.
Memorial Day in Pictures
Sunday, May 27, 2007
American Success? "That's Not in Our Style Book..."
Day by Day Sunday Comics by Chris Muir (click to enlarge)
This is ALL you need to see to Understand the Immigration Issue
Seen enough? OK now is the time to pick up the phone (or start typing an email) and call your US Representative, both of your Senators, the Minority Leader of the Senate, the Minority Whip of the Senate, the House Minority Leader, and the House Republican Whip.
If they ask you what district you are in, tell them you are a citizen of the United States and thus have great interest in how they will be voting. Be sure and tell them that interest extends to the RNC--and that if they pass this stinker of a bill, the RNC will not be seeing one red cent fom you. We can still prevent a catastrophe for both the country and for the Republican Party. If not now, when?
Iraq, 2007? Or India, 1946?
In both cases there were strong religious factions maneuvering for power--including Muslims. And in India, the British unwisely tried to impose false deadlines on transferring power--a mistake which directly resulted in somewhere between 200,000 and 400,000 deaths.
There are other parallels as well, all pointing to the same conclusion: those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it...
Everyone wants to sound reasonable and be the chap who charts the middle course between the Scylla of open borders and the Charybdis of mass deportation. But these are not equivalent dangers. The Charybdis of mass deportation is a mythical monster: It does not exist. It will never exist. No politician is arguing for it, and no U.S. agency is capable of accomplishing it. Indeed, even non-mass deportation does not exist. Go on, try it. Go to your local immigration office and say: Hello, boys. Here I am. I'm an illegal immigrant, got no right to be here, been breaking the law for 20 years, but I've seen the light and I want you to deport me back to Mexico, Yemen, you name it. The immigration guys will say: Leave your name and address and we'll get back to you in a decade or three.
But the Scylla of open borders does exist. It's the reality of the situation. What else would you call it when a population the size of Belgium's (the lowball estimate) or Australia's (the upper end) moves onto your land? And with the connivance of multiple state agencies, not to mention those municipalities that proudly declare themselves to be "sanctuary cities?"
In life's rich tapestry, there are bound to be questions to which there are no good answers -- that Missouri paternity suit is one of them. That's how advocates of the "bipartisan compromise" prefer to talk about immigration: difficult business, no ideal solution, and only extremists would pursue such theoretical perfection as "mass deportation."
OK. But whatever happened to non-mass deportation? Not long after Sept. 11 I chanced to be heading north on I-87 between Plattsburgh and Montreal. At the border crossing from Champlain, N.Y., to Lacolle, Quebec, I noticed that what appeared to be a mini-refugee camp had sprung up. It's not often that you see teeming hordes lining up to get into Canada, so I asked the immigration officer what was going on. He rolled his eyes and did a bit of boy-those-crazy-Yanks stuff and then explained that most of the guys waiting to get in were from Pakistan. In the wake of 9/11, the authorities had rounded up various persons of interest in the New York City area. Whether or not they were terrorists, they'd certainly violated immigration law, overstaying visas and so forth. And as a result, many other illegal immigrants from Muslim countries had concluded it was time to liquidate their assets and break for the border. In other words, the roundup of a relatively small number of persons sent thousands more fleeing to Canada. As that Missouri grandma would say, don't look on it as losing a Pakistani illegal but as gaining a Canadian neighbor.
So the question is: Why is enforcement of U.S. immigration somewhere between minimal and nonexistent? By some estimates, half of all illegals have arrived on George W. Bush's watch -- i.e., they broke into a nation at war with borders supposedly on permanent "orange" alert.
To return to the 72-virgin jackpot, even the looniest jihad-inciting imam understands that human nature responds to incentive, to the tradeoff between obligation and reward. But the immigration bill is all reward and no obligations. The only clause that matters is the first one: the mandatory open-ended probationary legal status the bill will confer the moment it's passed. All the rest -- the enforcement provisions on border agents and security fences that will supposedly "trigger" Z-visas and then green cards -- is nonsense, most of which will never happen. If you're "undocumented," you don't care about whether your Z-visa leads to citizenship 15 years from now: What counts is crossing the line from illegal to legal, which in this bill happens first, happens instantly and happens (to all intents and purposes) irreversibly. All the rest is Beltway kabuki.
The Case for Bombing Iran
There is much, much more where that came from. But Podheretz has a point: the time to act on this is now--before we draw down forces in the area. As far as I am concerned, the sooner we take the inevitable step, the better.
At the outset I stipulated that the weapons with which we are fighting World War IV are not all military—that they also include economic, diplomatic, and other nonmilitary instruments of power. In exerting pressure for reform on countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, these nonmilitary instruments are the right ones to use. But it should be clear by now to any observer not in denial that Iran is not such a country. As we know from Iran’s defiance of the Security Council and the IAEA even while the United States has been warning Ahmadinejad that “all options” remain on the table, ultimatums and threats of force can no more stop him than negotiations and sanctions have managed to do. Like them, all they accomplish is to buy him more time.
In short, the plain and brutal truth is that if Iran is to be prevented from developing a nuclear arsenal, there is no alternative to the actual use of military force—any more than there was an alternative to force if Hitler was to be stopped in 1938.
Since a ground invasion of Iran must be ruled out for many different reasons, the job would have to be done, if it is to be done at all, by a campaign of air strikes. Furthermore, because Iran’s nuclear facilities are dispersed, and because some of them are underground, many sorties and bunker-busting munitions would be required. And because such a campaign is beyond the capabilities of Israel, and the will, let alone the courage, of any of our other allies, it could be carried out only by the United States. Even then, we would probably be unable to get at all the underground facilities, which means that, if Iran were still intent on going nuclear, it would not have to start over again from scratch. But a bombing campaign would without question set back its nuclear program for years to come, and might even lead to the overthrow of the mullahs.
The opponents of bombing—not just the usual suspects but many both here and in Israel who have no illusions about the nature and intentions and potential capabilities of the Iranian regime—disagree that it might end in the overthrow of the mullocracy. On the contrary, they are certain that all Iranians, even the democratic dissidents, would be impelled to rally around the flag. And this is only one of the worst-case scenarios they envisage. To wit: Iran would retaliate by increasing the trouble it is already making for us in Iraq. It would attack Israel with missiles armed with non-nuclear warheads but possibly containing biological and/or chemical weapons. There would be a vast increase in the price of oil, with catastrophic consequences for every economy in the world, very much including our own. The worldwide outcry against the inevitable civilian casualties would make the anti-Americanism of today look like a love-fest.
I readily admit that it would be foolish to discount any or all of these scenarios. Each of them is, alas, only too plausible. Nevertheless, there is a good response to them, and it is the one given by John McCain. The only thing worse than bombing Iran, McCain has declared, is allowing Iran to get the bomb.
And yet those of us who agree with McCain are left with the question of whether there is still time. If we believe the Iranians, the answer is no. In early April, at Iran’s Nuclear Day festivities, Ahmadinejad announced that the point of no return in the nuclearization process had been reached. If this is true, it means that Iran is only a small step away from producing nuclear weapons. But even supposing that Ahmadinejad is bluffing, in order to convince the world that it is already too late to stop him, how long will it take before he actually turns out to have a winning hand?
If we believe the CIA, perhaps as much as ten years. But CIA estimates have so often been wrong that they are hardly more credible than the boasts of Ahmadinejad. Other estimates by other experts fall within the range of a few months to six years. Which is to say that no one really knows. And because no one really knows, the only prudent—indeed, the only responsible—course is to assume that Ahmadinejad may not be bluffing, or may only be exaggerating a bit, and to strike at him as soon as it is logistically possible.
Associated (with Murderers) Press: all the bad news that's fit to print
I’m beginning to get the impression there is nothing more important to the Associated Press in its Iraq reportage than the number of “American soldiers killed in this unpopular war.” That phrase, with a number, is typically trotted out no later than graph three in AP stories on Iraq. It’s as though the body count is the sole measure upon which all decisions and action must turn. There certainly has been no effort by the Associated Press, or other major news organizations on the ground in Iraq, to examine progress in anything but the most dismissive manner, with a quick revert to body count.
In case you care, Terrorist Death Watch’s tally of officially announced terrorists offed by U.S. forces in Iraq since June 1 last year is 1,578. I suspect that number is conservative. The Associated Press remains noticeably disinterested in that number. In addition to that, there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of terrorism suspects taken prisoner. There are car bomb factories and Iranian weapons smuggling operations that were shut down. There are people who have come forward with information. There are Iraqi units that have come on line, combat effective, playing a growing role in operations.
Since Memorial Day last year, we’ve seen Anbar turn, we’ve seen Sunni-Shiite reconciliation become popular enough that Moqtada al-Sadr is now trying to get in front of it. We’ve seen businesses reopen and people return to their homes in Baghdad. We’ve seen Shiite militias aggressively engaged and Sunni insurgents on the run. We’ve seen the number of sectarian murders drop. Those facts typically get buried when they are mentioned at all, unless there’s an uptick in death, when they suddenly become news again, to be cited as evidence of failure. AP prefers its milestones grim.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
Needed: One Can of Raid
Fred! on Memorial Day
I have been marvelling on line at how spot-on Fred has been in hitting my personal hot buttons; and also because he has an uncanny knack for saying exactly the right thing at the right time. This is a skill that has been missing from the Presidency since Reagan left the Presidency. Maybe it is time to return that skill to the Oval Office.
Here is yet another sterling example of Thompson's timing and the power of his words to inspire:
The man has a point. For those of you who do know and do remember--let's be grateful to those who gave their lives so that we could carry on. And let's make it our task to help as many of those people who don't "get it" as possible to understand the greatness of where they live, who they are, and--most importantly--who came before them.
I remember when I was a kid; one thing was clear to me. The more I learned about the rest of the world, the luckier I felt just having been born in America. The more I learned about America, the more I appreciated what those who came before us built; and how exceptional they were.
Not that there aren’t other great places to live, but America is unique. It’s not just that we are the freest and most prosperous county the world has ever seen. America has also freed more people than any other nation in history.
A lot of people have done their part to see that we are blessed with the advantages we enjoy — from hardworking pioneer mothers to the Framers of the Constitution. Memorial Day is coming up, though, and I’m thinking more about American soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice — those who died to protect our way of life and make the world safe for democracy.
There are some people, though, who don’t think that’s such a good idea. Some people even want to use Memorial Day to protest our military’s presence in Iraq. The irony is that their right to protest was paid for by people willing to risk everything to keep the forces of tyranny at bay — here as well as Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Korea, Burma, Vietnam, the Philippines, and dozens of other countries.
Over the years, a lot of people have tried to talk us out of feeling about America the way we do. Instead of pride in what America has done, they want us to feel guilty — generally because we have so much more than rest of the world. Of course, it wouldn’t help the rest of the world one whit if we had less — either of freedom or of prosperity. On the contrary, it’s our liberties that have made us prosperous and there’s no reason the rest of the world couldn’t be just as well-off — if they embraced freedom as well.
Almost always, when I talk to people who see America as the problem, their arguments are based on ignorance or an outright tangling of history. What they thought they knew about America and the world came second- and third-hand through people with axes to grind.
That’s why I was troubled recently when I came across a report by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. The report’s conclusion was that American colleges and universities are failing to increase their students’ knowledge of America’s history and institutions.
Students polled in a wide range of colleges and universities showed no real improvement in their historical knowledge. Some actually forgot part of what they’d learned in high school by the time they graduated — and I’m talking about some of our best-known Ivy League schools.
Less than half of college seniors knew that, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal” is from the Declaration of Independence. Less than half knew basic facts about the First Amendment. Half didn’t know that the Federalist Papers were written in support of the Constitution’s ratification. Only a quarter of seniors knew the purpose of the Monroe Doctrine.
This is our quandary. Memorial Day is about remembering. It’s about remembering those who died for our country; but it’s also about remembering why they believed it was worth dying for. Too many Americans, though, have never been taught our own history and heritage. How can you remember something that you’ve never learned?
If we can get to a place where once again a majority of the citizens understand and celebrate the true meaning of Memorial Day, we will have come a long way. Let's get started.
Imagining Iran and Al Qaeda with Nukes
The Iranian Crackdown Continues
9th Inning in Iraq: Now it is time to Take off the Gloves
Op-ed writers (and presidential candidates) will of course continue in the coming months to deny the obvious: That we are fighting (pace John Edwards) a real war on terror; that Iraq is, as al Qaeda says it is, the war's central front; and that the Iranians and Syrians are actively supporting our enemies. But the Bush administration, with congressional obstruction on hold, can move ahead with policies that deal with reality.
The reality is that foreign fighters are flowing into Iraq to kill Iraqis and Americans. Almost all suicide bombers in Iraq are foreign fighters, for whom this is the crucial battle. This means that our victory there will be an important victory in the larger struggle against terrorism--and our defeat there would embolden and empower our enemies. And the reality is that Iran and Syria are enemies. Most foreign fighters join al Qaeda in Iraq via Syria. And Iran has been sending advanced weapons and advisers into Iraq. These weapons and insurgents supported by Iran are killing our soldiers on a daily basis. There should be no doubt about the hostile role Iran and Syria are playing in Iraq today.
General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker are already focused on these realities. They've just completed a strategic review and are pursuing a joint campaign plan to win the war. But even as the leaders of the political and military effort in the theater work to grapple with real problems, some in the Bush administration continue to toy with exit strategies and diplomatic strategies that imperil the victory strategy the president has embraced.
[...] Congressional battles calling into doubt our commitment to winning in Iraq have been the major threat to progress since the president began pursuing the right strategy in January. The president, supported by congressional Republicans, has beaten back that threat. Now he needs to deal with his own administration, which has not made up its collective mind to support the president's strategy wholeheartedly. Mixed messages from Bush's advisers and cabinet undermine the efforts of our commanders in the field. The president adopted a new strategy four months ago. The new commander took over three months ago, and the new ambassador not long after. All the military units will soon be in place, and the provincial reconstruction teams constituted. This is no time to hedge or hesitate. Now is the time to put everything behind making the president's strategy--which looks to be a winning strategy--succeed.
Worst Congressional Start...Ever?
"We are making progress for the American people, governing effectively and getting results. Our work is not over, it has begun," said Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland."I've been here 26 years; I think this first five months may be the most productive five months that I've spent as a member of ... Congress," he said.
The most productive? Until this week, the only accomplishments that Pelosi & Co could highlight was (a) a funding bill left over from the last session, (b) a minor NATO restructuring plan that had no opposition, and (c) a number of bills that renamed federal property like post offices. The Democrats spent almost four months playing around with the Iraq supplemental, trying desperately to craft it in such a fashion as to force a withdrawal and blame it on George Bush, only to get outplayed by the White House.
Even this one accomplishment is hardly noteworthy. The Democrats could probably have passed the minimum-wage hike on its own months ago. All they had to do to get White House buy-in was to include tax relief for small businesses to offset the costs, which they did in this bill anyway. Bush indicated early in the session that he would not veto a package that included both, and the wage hike has enough Republican support to carry the day in the Senate.
Steny Hoyer tried hard to sell the first four months of this session as a proud moment in Democratic history, but it has been a complete embarassment. They folded on Iraq, they dithered on ethics legislation, and they accomplished almost none of their rapid-fire agenda that they claimed would pass within the first 100 hours of the 110th. Over 150 days later, most of it remains on the table, and the "Do-Nothing" insult they threw around freely during the midterms has stuck to them with a vengeance.
George Will: We are better off with the Illegals in the Shadows
[...] Americans are skeptical about the legislation, but not because they have suddenly succumbed to nativism. Rather, the public has slowly come to the conclusion that the government cannot be trusted to mean what it says about immigration.
In 1986, when there probably were 3 million to 5 million illegal immigrants, Americans accepted an amnesty because they were promised that border control would promptly follow. Today the 12 million illegal immigrants, 60 percent of whom have been here five or more years, are as numerous as Pennsylvanians; 44 states have populations smaller than 12 million. Deporting the 12 million would require police resources and methods from which the nation would rightly flinch. So, why not leave bad enough alone?
Concentrate on border control, and workplace enforcement facilitated by a biometric identification card issued to immigrants who are or will arrive here legally. Treat the problem of the 12 million with benign neglect. Their children born here are American citizens; the parents of these children will pass away.
[...] To sentimentalists who cling to "the myth of the redeeming power of Hispanic family values, the Hispanic work ethic, and Hispanic virtue," she says: From 1990 to 2004, Hispanics accounted for 92 percent of the increase in poor people. Only 53 percent of Hispanics earn high school diplomas, the lowest among American ethnic groups. Half of all children born to Hispanic-Americans in 2005 were born out of wedlock -- a reliable predictor of social pathologies.
[...] Robert Rector of The Heritage Foundation stunned some senators who heard his argument that continuing, under family-based immigration, to import a low-skilled population will cost the welfare state far more than the immigrants' contributions to the economy and government. He argued that low-skilled immigrants are costly to the welfare state at every point in their life cycle, and are very costly when elderly. Just the 9 million to 10 million illegal adults already here will, if given amnesty, cost an average of $300,000 -- cumulatively, more than $2.5 trillion -- in various entitlements (Social Security, food stamps, Medicaid, housing, etc.) over 30 years.
To those who say border control is impossible -- often these are the same people who said better policing could not substantially reduce crime, until it did -- one answer is: It took just 34 months for the Manhattan Project to progress from the creation of the town of Oak Ridge in the Tennessee wilderness to the atomic explosion at Alamogordo, N.M.
That is what America accomplishes when serious.
In an attempt to anesthetize people who sensibly say "border control and workplace enforcement first," important provisions of the legislation would supposedly be "triggered" only when control of the border is "certified" by the president. But in what looks like a parody of the Washington mentality, certification would be triggered not by border control but by the hiring of border control agents and other spending.
Four UK Terror Suspects at Large after violating "Probation"
One of them’s a suspected associate of Zarqawi’s. What’s a control order, you ask? Rusty analogizes it to probation, leading one to wonder why four suspected terrorists would be allowed out in public instead of locked away. Answer: because they haven’t been tried or convicted of anything. Control orders are actually a hybrid legal device that lets the Brits impose certain legal disabilities on people — electronic tags, limitations on freedom of movement, mandatory check-ins with the police, etc. — if they’re suspected of jihad but there’s not enough evidence to prosecute. Needless to say, they’re highly controversial and highly ineffective: this isn’t the first time a suspect’s skipped out.
Friday, May 25, 2007
USA Today Headline--"Poll: MOST Muslims Seek to Adopt American Lifestyle"
Is Bush setting the Troops up for Defeat with Immigration Bill?
Bush needs a unified Republican Party going into the fall, which may be the most difficult moment of his presidency. The most likely scenario is that Gen. David Petraeus will report modest to substantial improvements in the war in Iraq, but not definitively enough to fend off Democratic efforts to use his report as a key occasion to end the war.
The president must have his own party in his corner at that time. And yet the party is on the verge of self-immolation over immigration. Passage of the bill would drain most of the remaining affection and respect for Bush from Republicans on Capitol Hill, who would have to deal with the populist fallout from the bill's passage.
He needs all the help he will get. And he will lose a lot of help. What's
astonishing about the bill's arrival is that the White House knows perfectly well it's political poison. In 2004 Bush first announced his immigration reform plans, and the response from the Republican base was so violent that he immediately tabled the subject.
Last year an immigration bill surfaced and all hell broke loose again. It was the dominant subject on talk radio for two months, and helped contribute to the lassitude that overcame the GOP base in the months before the election.
So here is Bush, entering a critical period on the most critical issue of his presidency and for the nation - and he is playing salesman for a piece of legislation that divides his own supporters.
He's got that right: this bill needs to be defeated. But there are political as well as National Security reasons. And Bush needs to back down and let the People and the Congress debate this. He has had his chance to sell this albatross. The future of the Western World may depend on what happens when the funding bill comes up in the fall--and a Republican Party divided by its President is not what is needed to prevail in the War at home.
Let it go, Mr. President: it's just not worth it. And the country would be better of with a bill that protects our borders first.
Raining on al-Sadr's Parade
Al Qaeda Playing the Media like an Electric Guitar
An aspect of the war on terrorism that gets too little attention, yet is as important as any other, is the media war. Whether they realize it, members of the mainstream media are participants in the war on terrorism, and nowhere is that more evident than in Iraq.
Blogger Bill Roggio, who has embedded as a journalist in Iraq and Afghanistan, says the enemy’s documents reveal that much of their strategy revolves around manipulation of the media. An enemy unable to beat us on the battlefield is employing a strategy of attacks planned specifically for maximum media coverage and effect.
Roggio recently told the Christian Science Monitor that most mainstream media reporters “display a lack of knowledge of counterinsurgency and the role the media plays in an insurgency’s information campaign.” He says al Qaeda and insurgent groups frequently choose their targets to get specific media coverage they desire.
He cited the way a suicide attack in the Anbar province was reported as an example. “U.S. success in Anbar was immediately negated when al Qaeda conducted a suicide attack in Ramadi in early May, and The Associated Press ‘reported’ that the attack dealt ‘a blow to recent U.S. success in reclaiming the Sunni city from insurgents.’ Al Qaeda conducted the attack to generate such an opening paragraph.”
Read the rest here.
Protectionist Dems: About to commit Economic Suicide
Like it or not, the US Economy is joined at the hip with China. You can't hurt one without hurting both. It's too bad the protectionist left is so incredibly short-sighted.
Is it 2008 yet?
Iran Rounding up Dissidents by the Thousands
If the President really is contemplating action against the mullahs, all that is left (after dealing with al-ABC and the leakers in the CIA...) to say is: Faster, please.
Meanwhile--via Instapundit--Iran's already in-the-ditch economy took another heavy hit today.
The Growing Problem of Federal Subsidies
"The Greatest Scientific Scandal of Our Time"
Meanwhile, more than 90,000 direct measurements of CO2 in the atmosphere, carried out in America, Asia, and Europe between 1812 and 1961, with excellent chemical methods (accuracy better than 3%), were arbitrarily rejected [by supporters of anthropogenic climatic warming]. These measurements had been published in 175 technical papers.
For the past three decades, these well-known direct CO2 measurements, recently compiled and analyzed by Ernst-Georg Beck (Beck 2006a, Beck 2006b, Beck 2007), were completely ignored by climatologists-and not because they were wrong. Indeed, these measurements were made by several Nobel Prize winners, using the techniques that are standard textbook procedures in chemistry, biochemistry, botany, hygiene, medicine, nutrition, and ecology. The only reason for rejection was that these measurements did not fit the hypothesis of anthropogenic climatic warming. I regard this as perhaps the greatest scientific scandal of our time.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
On Second Thought... Take it ALL
The Way Out: Organizing the Tribes
Unlike most military weapons systems, this "capability" doesn't consist of hardware. There are fundamentally no bombs, computers, rockets or death-rays involved in this organizing power, at least not directly. The ability to work effectively with indigenous populations consists in the institutional memory, human skill, language capability, cultural familiarity, in the fragile spiderweb of personal networks that Americans have painstakingly created and are striving to pass on. Like all capabilities based on human flesh, it is an extremely perishable commodity. This weapons system -- the one that has driven al-Qaeda from Anbar -- actually resides in an enumerable set of Americans and Iraqis, in their skulls and remembered conversations; it cannot be stored away in some missile silo and kept there for a distant decade. It is as fleeing and as powerful as the wind.
And its superiority is relative. While US forces have the temporary upper hand because they keep killing off experienced al-Qaeda cadres and tipping them off balance by constant pursuit, the advantage could evaporate in a moment if the enemy were given a chance to regroup. That would give the enemy a chance to rebuild their institutional memory; to learn from its mistakes. It could evaporate if bad political decisions drive experienced personnel from the US Armed Forces and out into other jobs. The tribal networks themselves could even be turned against America should they feel betrayed. Such advantages as exist in Anbar are like embers in the time before matches. The fire must be passed on or it will go out. The value of tempo in warfare essentially consists of making temporary advantages last for the duration of the war. Once you are ahead, never relinquish the lead.
But the skill of organizing the tribes is but the first in a whole series of new capabilities that the West must acquire to combat the networked insurgency. It has not yet learned how to neutralize enemy sanctuaries across international borders without a conventional invasion. It has not yet discovered how to counter the insidious and hate-filled propaganda of al-Qaeda. It has not yet even learned to convey its successes to the Western public. But it has learned something. And it shows.
Amnesty International Jumps the Tracks
Soldiers Weigh In on Media Betrayals
...Hello media, do you know you indirectly kill American soldiers every day? You inspire and report the enemy's objective every day. You are the enemy's greatest weapon. The enemy cannot beat us on the battlefield so all he does is try to wreak enough havoc and have you report it every day. With you and the enemy using each other, you continually break the will of the American public and American government.
"We go out daily and bust and kill the enemy, uncover and destroy huge weapons caches and continue to establish infrastructure. So daily we put a whoopin on the enemy, but all the enemy has to do is turn on the TV and get re-inspired. He gets to see his daily roadside bomb, truck bomb, suicide bomber or mortar attack. He doesn't see any accomplishments of the U.S. military (FOX, you're not exempt, you suck also)...
Labels: Media War
A REAL Solution to the Immigration Question
John Edwards Gets Oh So Pretty
Another triumph for the "man of the people".
Romney hits back hard at John Edwards
Towering Idiocy and Irresponsibility
Read the whole thing.
When the history of these times is written 100 years from now – that is, if the west is vouchsafed such a luxury as surviving that long – historians will view the role of the free press in the western world with a combination of confusion and awe. Confusion because they will look in vain for evidence that many in the media were actually working for the enemies of freedom, so often it seemed they played directly into their hands or seemed to do their bidding. And a feeling of awe that those professing to be so intelligent could act with such towering idiocy and irresponsibility:
The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert “black” operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com. The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject, say President Bush has signed a “nonlethal presidential finding” that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran’s currency and international financial transactions.
Of course, the press is not disloyal – at least not according to their lights. But I can’t think of anything that ABC could have published that helps Iran more. Especially since it now appears that, as I have predicted many times (and despite what the hysterical left has been saying for two years about an “imminent” attack on Iran) the Administration has apparently abandoned the military option in favor of turning up the heat on the Iranian regime politically and financially.
Or, at least that was the plan. Enter ABC News and their feelings of entitlement to undermine US policy and all of a sudden, the military option may be back on the table. This begs the question of who or what faction in our intelligence agencies leaked this time? Pro-war advocates? Anti-intervention advocates? Some stray partisans who hate Bush? Some stray partisans doing the President’s bidding? Perhaps those involved in a turf war of some kind in our intelligence agencies?
Take your pick. One is as good as the other. It wouldn’t be the first time for any of those factions in the last 6 years to leak classified information. It’s just that this time, the leaking has arguably made the world a more dangerous place.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
The End of Journalism as We Knew It
Ace covers the Rosie vs. Elizabeth Catfight
Does CIA leak mean it is time to try again with an Intelligence Agency that works FOR America
That may well be, but if American lives are lost because of this leak, the overall situation in Iran is secondary in my mind when it comes to this treason from within. Those Agents are sworn to secrecy under penalty of prison. Someone is breaking that promise and endangering American personnel and American strategic objectives in WAR. In my book whoever is guilty of these leaks should rot in jail--and so should any ABC News source that does not give them up.
If ever Alberto Gonzales were to grow a pair, now would be an appropriate time.
John Cornyn has proposed an even more critical amendment, one that appears to have Democrats a bit flummoxed:Cornyn's Amendment is undoubtedly one that would need to be in any package that were to become law. But it is only a step in the right direction; there is a lot more that requires correction in this
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee’s Immigration, Border Security and Citizenship subcommittee, on Wednesday introduced an amendment to the immigration bill to close a gaping loophole in the bill that will ensure the following individuals are either permanently barred from the United States or prohibited from getting any immigration benefit: members of terrorist-related organizations, known gang members, sex offenders, alien smugglers who use firearms and felony drunk drivers.
“The question I put to my colleagues is this: Should Congress permanently bar from the U.S. and from receiving any immigration benefit: suspected terrorists, gang members, sex offenders, felony drunk drivers, and other individuals who are a danger to society?,” Sen. Cornyn said. “I hope that every Senator would answer this question with a positive response.
Sen. Cornyn’s amendment also closes the loophole in the pending bill that allows legalization of those illegal immigrants who have violated court ordered deportations, or absconders.
This will address two key points on the Heritage Foundation's list of issues about the immigration proposal. It also creates an almost unbearable political situation. Who will go on record as endorsing the entry/normalization of gang members, coyotes, sex offenders, and other undesirables? Whoever votes against the Cornyn amendment will have to deal with election advertisements that say, "Senator X voted to allow known sex offenders and drunk drivers in your community."
Good luck rebutting those.
It also addresses the issue of absconders. These are people who have deportation orders that they have ignored until now. Heritage estimates that over 600,000 absconders would receive de facto pardons under this plan.
Cornyn wants to restore the rule of law and the authority of the criminal-justice system by denying them profit from their refusal to obey a court order. It's another tough point for critics to rebut. If Cornyn can get his amendment to the floor, expect it to pass by an overwhelming margin.
One wonders if the biggest loophole of all can be closed; namely that of the fact that there is not process nor funding to properly screen those already here before they are granted de facto amnesty. In light of Todd Bensman's frightening 5-part series on the trafficking of illegals from "countries of interest"--i.e. Islamic countries, a lot more needs to be done.
In case you have missed it, Bensman--a reporter with the San Antonio Express-News--has become an instant celebrity with his hard-hitting series, one part of which I linked to yesterday. Hugh Hewitt has links to all 5 parts an interview with Bensman, and a graphical representation of the findings. Anyone weighing in on this issue will want to review Bensman's work.
Cellular Battlespace in Iraq
Romney SLAMS ABC for outing Iran Covert Ops
Does it help with my anger? No. But this is getting entirely too little airplay and may cost some young American troops their lives. In Covert Ops, surprise is everything. If soldiers die in Iran in the near future, ABC will have blood on its hands. Nice going, a**holes.
Winning the War: one Journalist at at time
If it were me I would make the policy "Imbed only", and revoke the passports of the rest of the hyenas who are doing their damndest to engender an American defeat.
Bodies may be those of Missing US Soldiers
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
ABC Leaks Secret order from Bush to CIA re: Iran
I'm not going to say anything else right now because my emotions are running pretty strong. But we are being betrayed from within by our media and I for one am sick of it and them.
P.S. - Mr. President: take off the gloves--against the leaker, against ABC, AND against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
MUST READ: A Complete Mockery
Labels: Illegal Immigration
1/4 of Young American Muslims support Terror
Todd Bensman blows the doors off the notion that the Border is a "Mexican problem"
Brits are "Kicking Arse" in Afghanistan
The Democrats Dirty Secret Regarding "Comprehensive Immigration Reform"
Some unions are squawking about the negative effects of the reform bill on wages, but Rep. Barney Franks takes the longer view. The May 12th National Journal reports:
Top Democratic leaders and activists see Hispanic migration as a long-term opportunity for the party. The arrival of additional immigrant workers is "bad for blue-collars," Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, told National Journal late last year. But immigrants can help elect Democratic majorities, and "if [a Democratic Congress] were to significantly strengthen unions, then you would offset the negative effect on the income of workers," he said.
Voting Rights for Illegals in Texas?
Islamist Violence in Beirut continues to spread
Bob Kerrey Steps Up
Whatever his reasons for speaking up, Bob Kerrey deserves our thanks. Yes, we've had our policy disagreements over time, but tonight I want to raise my beer glass to say: Well done, Sir.
A portion of Kerrey's WSJ Op/Ed:
No matter how incompetent the Bush administration and no matter how poorly they chose their words to describe themselves and their political opponents, Iraq was a larger national security risk after Sept. 11 than it was before. And no matter how much we might want to turn the clock back and either avoid the invasion itself or the blunders that followed, we cannot. The war to overthrow Saddam Hussein is over. What remains is a war to overthrow the government of Iraq.
Some who have been critical of this effort from the beginning have
consistently based their opposition on their preference for a dictator we can control or contain at a much lower cost. From the start they said the price tag for creating an environment where democracy could take root in Iraq would be high. Those critics can go to sleep at night knowing they were right.
The critics who bother me the most are those who ordinarily would not be on the side of supporting dictatorships, who are arguing today that only military intervention can prevent the genocide of Darfur, or who argued yesterday for military intervention in Bosnia, Somalia and Rwanda to ease the sectarian violence that was tearing those places apart.
Suppose we had not invaded Iraq and Hussein had been overthrown by Shiite and Kurdish insurgents. Suppose al Qaeda then undermined their new democracy and inflamed sectarian tensions to the same level of violence we are seeing today. Wouldn't you expect the same people who are urging a unilateral and immediate withdrawal to be urging military intervention to end this carnage? I would.
American liberals need to face these truths: The demand for self-government was and remains strong in Iraq despite all our mistakes and the violent efforts of al Qaeda, Sunni insurgents and Shiite militias to disrupt it. Al Qaeda in particular has targeted for abduction and murder those who are essential to a functioning democracy: school teachers, aid workers, private contractors working to rebuild Iraq's infrastructure, police officers and anyone who cooperates with the Iraqi
government. Much of Iraq's middle class has fled the country in fear.
With these facts on the scales, what does your conscience tell you to do? If the answer is nothing, that it is not our responsibility or that this is all about oil, then no wonder today we Democrats are not trusted with the reins of power.
American lawmakers who are watching public opinion tell them to move away from Iraq as quickly as possible should remember this: Concessions will not work with either al Qaeda or other foreign fighters who will not rest until they have killed or driven into exile the last remaining Iraqi who favors democracy.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Newt: Immigration Shipwreck Ahead?
The announcement last week that the White House and a group of senators have reached an agreement on "comprehensive immigration
reform" should have the same effect that the word "iceberg" had on the passengers and crew of the Titanic.
This proposed agreement is a disaster of the first order, and it would severely cripple America for the foreseeable future.
You can tell how bad this bill is by the Senate Democratic leadership's announced goal of trying to pass it before the Memorial Day weekend.
Remember, this bill has not yet been finished. Senators and their staffs were still negotiating over the weekend and many key items were still in confusion. So here's what we have to do:
TODAY'S ACTION ITEM: CALL YOUR SENATORS AND LET THEM KNOW HOW ANGRY YOU WILL BE IF THEY PASS A BILL BEFORE IT HAS BEEN PRINTED AND PUT ON THE INTERNET AND EXPOSED FOR THE COUNTRY TO READ AND UNDERSTAND.
Iraq from All Angles
Dems Surrender to Bush on War Funding
Meanwhile the Kossaks are not pleased. Awww.... (be sure and read the comments)