Saturday, May 31, 2008

What the Frak?

In an age when teenagers and young adults do not seem to be able to express a thought without the abundant use of vulgarities and obscenities, and when the television, movie and music industries seem to be trying to outdo themselves in the ‘shock-value’ of their offerings, it’s good to know that a few people are still dedicated to returning to some level of decency.

Reality time for broadcast-indecency regulations

May 31, 2008 Providence Journal

THE MEDIA-WATCHDOG GROUP Parents Television Council (PTC) publicly commended NBC television last month when the network announced plans to make the 8-9 p.m. hour a time for family-friendly viewing. Just days later, NBC aired an episode of 30 Rock in that time slot that didn’t strike the PTC as fitting the family-friendly category.

The 30 Rock episode centered on a fake reality show called MILF Island.

The acronym stands for “Mothers I’d Like to ....” NBC’s idea of family viewing includes a sexy mother taking off her bikini top (with some digital blurring) in front of eighth-grade boys, and the cast of 30 Rock making obscene hand gestures that blurring fails to really hide. NBC’s family-oriented dialogue includes such family-funny lines as “erection cove,” “eating bugs to earn tampons” and “what the frak?,” an obvious attempt to substitute a word not currently on the Federal Communications Commission’s sanction list for one that is.

If NBC thinks that this is the kind of show that families gather to watch, the cultural divide between the “entertainment” industry and the majority of Americans is massive. Clearly, network television is trying to make a statement to the FCC and the federal courts about what content should be allowed on broadcast airwaves, which are publicly owned.

Regarding the 30 Rock flap, NBC executive Alan Wurtzel told an industry publication, “We’ve always felt that the people who get the jokes aren’t going to be offended.” Translation: Only ignorant people could possibly be offended by our clever humor.

The networks and their activist professional organizations are spending millions of dollars fighting federal laws that prohibit indecent and profane communication on broadcast airwaves. CBS continues to fight FCC fines for the 2004 Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction. A federal appellate ruling is expected soon. ABC is appealing fines for a 2003 episode of NYPD Blue that showed female nudity. Fox television refuses to pay fines for a 2003 episode of Married by America, prompting the Justice Department to sue to collect the money. NBC and Fox are appealing decisions related to indecent utterances by celebrities on live awards broadcasts. The matter of so-called “fleeting expletives” will be heard by the Supreme Court next fall. Many other cases are bottled up at the FCC, pending guidance from these eventual court decisions.

Shrill spokesmen for media organizations are in full voice pushing a network vision of what constitutes suitable content. Fox’s appeal told the FCC that it shouldn’t make “subjective assessments about the morality of a program.” Of course, Fox thinks that its own assessment of program content is fully objective.

Jonathan Rintels, of the Center for Creative Voices in Media, challenged the FCC in a published interview to clear up the confusion on indecency enforcement: “The line has to be clearly drawn and crystal clear so that creative people can speak and write and create up to that line.”

He went on to say that he didn’t think that the FCC could actually draw such a line.

The New York Times editorialized that FCC indecency enforcement has done “serious damage to free speech,” but failed to indicate how. The Times said the words targeted for FCC enforcement are commonly heard and that Bono’s f-bomb on live television was just a lighthearted slip.

CBS commentator Andy Rooney opined, “I think if the Federal Communications Commission left broadcasters alone, there would be very little profanity on the air.” Sure, and all motorists would drive the speed limit if police would just remove speed traps.

While network executives fiddle away fighting legal battles, they are apparently oblivious to the sentiments of the audience. Network primetime viewership dropped again this year. Surveys show a disgruntled public. Nearly two-thirds of viewers say that programming is getting worse, compared to only 22 percent who think it is improving. Four out of five Americans think that there is too much sex, violence and rough language on television.

The upcoming Supreme Court decision about fleeting expletives could settle this tug of war for years to come. The court could rule broadly, either supporting the FCC’s indecency enforcement or allowing broadcasters to receive First Amendment protection for such content. If the court rules narrowly, however, focusing just on the occasional unscripted bad word, this argument will carry on.

Andrew Jay Schwartzman, of the Media Access Project, hopes that the court will side with broadcasters, of course, and has criticized the FCC’s current enforcement as “incoherent and overbroad.” He says that the FCC “has chilled the creative process for the writers, directors and producers we represent.” Not enough yet, apparently, to chill NBC from running a 30 Rock MILF program as suitable for its family hour.

Jeffrey M. McCall is a professor of communication at DePauw University, in Greencastle, Ind., and author of Viewer Discretion Advised: Taking Control of Mass Media Influences


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, May 30, 2008

A prophet is not without honor save in his own country

One thing is certain about Scott McClellan’s book: he wouldn’t have sold many copies if it had been about how well President Bush had served his country. Friends and admirers of the President don’t need to read a book like that; only future students of history do. Friends and admirers well realize that, at enormous cost to himself in the nanny-state in which we now live, President Bush has kept us safe against all odds, he steered us through a recovery from the Clinton recession and then through the incredible collapse of the economy after 9/11, and all the while maintaining liberties we gladly surrendered during previous wars.

None of this matters to the America-haters and peace-at-any-price appeasers out there; I wish we could just leave them to rot and stew in their conspiracy theories (9/11 a government plot; Selected, Not Elected; Iraq War a Cheney grab for oil), but we can’t. It is the responsibility of every patriot to keep hammering away at their ignorance, at their tendency to scapegoat and at their willingness to follow false leaders who play to their idiocies to gain power at any cost.

The President Has Kept Us Safe
May 30, 2008; Wall St Journal

With President Bush-bashing still a national pastime, it's notable how much international terrorism has been forgotten, and how little credit the president has received for keeping Americans safe.

This is a difficult issue for me. I didn't vote for President Bush – twice. And as a human-rights law professor, the events at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, along with various elements of the Patriot Act and the National Security Agency's wiretapping of Americans, are all greatly troubling to me.

Yet I live in Manhattan and I was present on Sept. 11, 2001 – admittedly 100 blocks from the murder scene, but I was here, trembling along with the rest of America. Remember those days?
Everyone on 9/12 and thereafter – here in New York City and in cities across America – was quite certain that the next terrorist strike was imminent. The stock market collapsed on such fears, and Las Vegas odds makers weren't betting on safer days ahead. We endured interminable delays at airport security checkpoints. Even grandmothers were suddenly suspects.

Sarin and anthrax – the nerve gas and poison, respectively – entered our national vocabulary. Venturing into subways and pizza shops became a game of psychological Russian roulette – with an Islamic twist. Macy's and Zabar's seemed like inevitable strategic targets. Our fears were no longer isolated to skyscrapers – from now, all aspects of daily life would evoke terror.

We would come to familiarize ourselves with the color-coded scale of threat conditions issued by the Department of Homeland Security. (Was it safe to go out on orange, or did we have to wait until yellow?)

Each American city adopted its own visions of trauma. There were new categories of vulnerable public spaces. Our worst terrorism nightmares were projected onto local landmarks: Rodeo Drive, the Sears Tower, the French Quarter, River Walk, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Space Needle. Suddenly, living in rural, outlying areas seemed like a sensible lifestyle choice.

We all waited for terrorism's second shoe to drop, and, seven years later . . . nothing has happened.

Other cities around the world became targets: Madrid, Glasgow, London and Bali; the entire nation of Denmark; and, of course, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Here in America, however, the focus moved from concerns over counterterrorism measures and the abuse of presidential authority to the war in Iraq, the subprime mortgage crisis, the failing economy, the public meltdown of Britney Spears, and now, the presidential elections.

All this time Americans have been safe from suicide bombers, biological warfare and collapsing skyscrapers, while the rest of the world has been on red alert. And yet President Bush is regarded as the worst president in American history? Sorry, I must be missing something here.

Yes, there are those who maintain that our promiscuous misadventures in Iraq, Afghanistan and Israel have rendered America even less safe. That the president has further radicalized our enemies and alienated our nation. That the animosity for America now, improbably, runs even deeper. Whatever resentments and aspirations gave rise to 9/11 have grown and will not be easily dissipated. For this reason, no one should draw comfort in the relative safety of our shores.

Maybe so. But when a professed enemy succeeds as wildly as al Qaeda did on 9/11, and seven years pass without an incident, there are two reasonable conclusions: Either, despite all the trash-talking videos, they have been taking a long, leisurely breather; or, something serious has been done to thwart and disable their operations. Whatever combination of psychology and insanity motivates a terrorist to blow himself up is not within my range of experience, but I'm betting the aggressive measures the president took, and the unequivocal message he sent, might have had something to do with it.

Americans, admittedly, have short time horizons and, perhaps, even shorter attention spans. Our collective memory has historically been poor. But had there been another terrorist attack or, even worse, a dozen more in cities all over America – a fear that would not have been exaggerated on 9/12 – would we have allowed ourselves the luxury of quarreling over legally suspect counterterrorism measures, even though such internal debates are credits to our liberal democracy and constitutional freedoms?

Terrorism is now largely off the table in the minds of most Americans.
But in gearing up to elect a new president, we are left to wonder how, in spite of numerous failed policies and poor judgement, President Bush's greatest achievement was denied to him by people who ungratefully availed themselves of the protection that his administration provided.

U.S. Cites Big Gains Against Al-Qaeda

Group Is Facing Setbacks Globally, CIA Chief Says
By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, May 30, 2008 (Excerpt)

“Less than a year after his agency warned of new threats from a resurgent al-Qaeda, CIA Director Michael V. Hayden now portrays the terrorist movement as essentially defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and on the defensive throughout much of the rest of the world, including in its presumed haven along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

In a strikingly upbeat assessment, the CIA chief cited major gains against al-Qaeda's allies in the Middle East and an increasingly successful campaign to destabilize the group's core leadership.

While cautioning that al-Qaeda remains a serious threat, Hayden said Osama bin Laden is losing the battle for hearts and minds in the Islamic world and has largely forfeited his ability to exploit the Iraq war to recruit adherents. Two years ago, a CIA study concluded that the U.S.-led war had become a propaganda and marketing bonanza for al-Qaeda, generating cash donations and legions of volunteers.

All that has changed, Hayden said in an interview with The Washington Post this week that coincided with the start of his third year at the helm of the CIA.
"On balance, we are doing pretty well," he said, ticking down a list of accomplishments: "Near strategic defeat of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Near strategic defeat for al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. Significant setbacks for al-Qaeda globally -- and here I'm going to use the word 'ideologically' -- as a lot of the Islamic world pushes back on their form of Islam," he said.”

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Two Openings for Republicans

In a year when Democrats are expected to roll over Republicans in the Congressional races, two issues are certain winners for Republicans if they can avoid wimping out to liberal threats and RINO nonsense: energy and immigration. The nation was treated to a raw demonstration of the power of the illegal immigration issue when a liberal governor of liberal New York state proclaimed the issuance of drivers licenses to illegals. Governor Spitzer, now retired in disgrace, had to reverse his order, and Hillary Clinton lost all her momentum by hemming and hawing over this issue.

Now also $4.00 gasoline may have galvanized support for a relaxation of ridiculous environmental regulations that prevent us from developing our own energy. Man’s progress, standard of living and job growth far outweigh most environmental concerns. Environmental extremists and Nazis have shut us down.

If the Republican candidates can convince the nation that they are the party that will stop illegal immigration, and that they are the party that will push through oil drilling and nuclear plant construction, and that the Democrats want to stop all drilling and have open borders, we have a chance to make some headway politically and substantively.

May 21, 2008
Categories: energy

House Republicans unveil energy agenda

House Republicans unveiled their energy policy agenda Wednesday morning on the steps of the Capitol, hoping to put a spate of bad headlines behind them and seize the upper hand on a critical issue, as gas prices once again hit record highs.

The GOP plan was particularly focused on increasing domestic production, an idea Democrats have been cool to due to environmental concerns and a desire to focus on alternative energy sources rather than domestic drilling.

The Republican agenda also called for conservation tax credits, the increased use of nuclear power, an emphasis on coal to liquid technologies and for construction of new oil refineries.

On the production issue, Republicans called for increased drilling in the outer continental shelf, tapping into domestic oil share reserves and once again calling for drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge, which has been a flashpoint in the energy debate going back to the early 1990's.

“It defies reality that China is drilling for oil off the coast of Cuba, but we cannot drill off of our own shores,” said Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.).

The energy issue has been thrust into the political spotlight in recent months, as gas prices continue to skyrocket.

Oil prices hit another record on Wednesday, reaching $132 per barrel, while the national average for a gallon of gasoline also set a record, topping $3.80.
In addition to the Wednesday press conference, House Republicans laid out their agenda in a strategy memo for members obtained by Politico.

“Republicans are committed to a comprehensive energy reform policy that will boost supplies of all forms of energy right here at home to reduce our dependence on foreign sources of energy, protect us against blackmail by foreign dictators, create American jobs, and grow our economy,” the document states.

Republicans also piled on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), accusing her of not doing enough to address rising gas prices after taking control of Congress in 2006.

"Once a nightmare scenario, $4 gasoline has become a harsh reality – on Speaker Pelosi’s watch – and now Americans are paying nearly $1.50 more per gallon at the pump than when the Speaker took office," the strategy memo states.

The speaker hit back quickly on Wednesday, calling the GOP plan “stale rhetoric” that will do little to solve the problem.

"President Bush and congressional Republicans have spent the last seven years doling out billions of dollars in subsidies to the Big Oil companies, instead of working for an energy independence plan for America," Pelosi said in a statement.

Pelosi highlighted recent House-passed bills to suspend shipments to the strategic petroleum reserve, hold OPEC responsible for price fixing and efforts to invest in renewable fuels, as examples of Democratic action on the issue.

Republicans, however, honed in on the production issue, with some calling for immediate action.

“The time for talk is long past,” said Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.). “It is time for action.”

What the country has to realize is that the Democrat leaders, like Nancy Pelosi, are only posturing, because it is their game plan to see gasoline prices go skyhigh in order to squash the driving habits of Americans. If it were completely up to them, we would all be driving tiny European-like cars or not at all.

Labels: , ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, May 26, 2008

CBS News and 60 Minutes Are Just Liars

We have understood for more than 30 years that CBS lies in order to advance a liberal-Democrat agenda, and it was no surprise when Dan Rather completely imploded. Most nights and Sundays the bias is subtle, but the network's falling and dismal ratings indicate that fewer and fewer Americans believe anything that they say. The following report illustrates another obvious example of the lengths CBS will go to in order to harm Republicans, especially Karl Rove. I apologize for its length; I saw no way to edit it fairly.

A Conspiracy So Lunatic...
Only 60 Minutes could fall for it.
by John H. Hinderaker
05/26/2008, The Weekly Standard

Jill Simpson is an unusual woman. A lawyer, she has scratched out an uncertain living in DeKalb County, Alabama. Fellow DeKalb County lawyers describe her as "a very strange person" who "lives in her own world." The daughter of rabid Democrats, she has rarely if ever been known to participate in politics as even a low-level volunteer. Yet today, she is a minor celebrity who is unvaryingly described in the press as a "Republican operative." Those who know her in DeKalb County scoff at the idea that she is a Republican at all.

Recently, Simpson's house and law office were on the auction block. Rumor has it that she is leaving DeKalb County for good and heading for the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Jill Simpson, who barely got by in Alabama, is now toasted by the national Democratic party and featured on network and cable news. All this because she has testified--without a shred of supporting evidence--to a conspiracy so vast as to be not just implausible, but ridiculous.

Simpson claims to have participated in a phone conversation with several Alabama Republicans in which she was made privy to a plot involving the Republican governor of Alabama, Bob Riley, a former justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, a federal judge, two United States attorneys, several assistant United States attorneys, the Air Force, and, apparently 12 jurors, to "railroad" former governor Don Siegelman into his 2006 conviction for bribery and mail fraud. Every person whose name Simpson has invoked has labeled her story a fantasy, including Siegelman; she claimed to have played a key role both in his giving up his unsuccessful contest of the 2002 gubernatorial election and in his defense of the criminal charges against him.

Normally one might expect a person of uncertain mental health who alleged such a comprehensive conspiracy to be ushered quietly offstage. Instead, in late February, CBS's 60 Minutes gave her a starring role. This can be explained only by the fact that Simpson included in her fable, as she related it to CBS, a final conspirator: Karl Rove, who, according to Simpson, orchestrated the plot against Siegelman.

In her 60 Minutes interview, Simpson claimed to have been Rove's secret agent in Alabama. She said that during Siegelman's term as governor of Alabama, Rove had asked her to follow Siegelman around and try to get photographs of him "in a compromising sexual position" with one of his aides. This led to one of the great moments in recent broadcast history:

60 Minutes's Scott Pelley: Were you surprised that Rove made this request?
Simpson: No.
Pelley: Why not?
Simpson: I had had other requests for intelligence before.
Pelley: From Karl Rove?
Simpson: Yes.

Pelley was at a crossroads: He knew that either (1) he was on the verge of uncovering a whole series of Rovian plots, the stuff of which Pulitzers are made, or (2) he was talking to a lunatic. Intuiting, no doubt, which way the conversation was likely to go, Pelley discreetly chose not to inquire further.

Simpson can offer no evidence that she has ever spoken to or met Karl Rove.

Moreover, when she told her story of the alleged conspiracy against Don Siegelman to John Conyers's House Judiciary Committee staff, she said that she heard references to someone named "Carl" in the aforementioned telephone conversation--she made the natural inference that this must be Karl Rove--but never offered the blockbuster claim that Rove himself had recruited her to spy on Siegelman. Neither in the affidavit that she submitted to the committee, nor in 143 pages of sworn testimony that she gave to the committee's staff, did she ever claim to have met Karl Rove, spoken to Karl Rove, or carried out any secret spy missions on his behalf, even though the whole point of her testimony was to try to spin out a plot against Siegelman that was ostensibly led by someone named "Carl."

60 Minutes chose to highlight Simpson's claim that she was Rove's secret agent without telling its viewers that this sensational allegation had been altogether absent from her sworn accounts. Subsequently, MSNBC's Dan Abrams invited Simpson to repeat her slur against Rove. This prompted Rove to write to Abrams, posing a series of questions about whether Abrams had used elementary journalistic methods to check the accuracy of Simpson's account.

Rove's letter drew a response from Abrams:

[Y]ou wrote, "Did it not bother you Ms. Simpson failed to mention [in her sworn statement to House Judiciary Committee staff] the claim she made to CBS for their Feb. 24, 2008 story, that you then repeated on Feb. 25th?"

Fair question. Which is why I asked her the following on Feb. 25, 2008: ABRAMS: And why have you never mentioned before the allegations of Rove and the pictures?

SIMPSON: Well, let me explain something to you. I talked to congressional investigators, Dan. And when I talked to those congressional investigators I told them that I had followed Don Siegelman and tried to get pictures of him cheating on his wife.

However, they suggested to me that that was not relevant because there was nothing illegal about that and they'd just prefer that not come up at the hearing that day.

Put aside the fact that before she was interviewed by House Democratic staffers, Simpson submitted an affidavit on the alleged conspiracy. In her affidavit, she did not claim that she had ever met Rove, let alone been his secret agent in Alabama.

What MSNBC found plausible was Simpson's suggestion that House Democratic staffers got their hands on the story that Karl Rove had tried to get compromising photographs of the governor of Alabama and they hushed it up! The credulity of modern journalists apparently knows no bounds.

Simpson's story is unbelievable and contradictory on so many levels that it cannot bear a moment's inspection. (Wholly unexplained, for example, is why, if Rove or anyone else wanted to spy on the governor of Alabama, he would assign the task to a conspicuously large redhead with no experience as an investigator and no ties to the Republican party, rather than hire a professional investigator.) But that has not prevented her from being hailed as a hero by the Democratic party. Citing her testimony, John Conyers has threatened to subpoena Karl Rove to testify before his committee. Siegelman himself has called her a "great American," while simultaneously acknowledging that her story, insofar as it claims a relationship with him, is false.

Siegelman's embrace of Simpson is understandable. He is facing seven years in a federal prison; any port in a storm. But what explains CBS's and MSNBC's decision to peddle her fable?

Karl Rove has become the man who cannot be libeled. Any story that includes his name is treated as self-authenticating, requiring neither supporting evidence nor the barest plausibility. Having committed the unforgivable sin of contributing to two successful Republican presidential campaigns, Rove has become, for American media, the equivalent of an outlaw, possessing no rights that must be respected.

John H. Hinderaker is a contributor to the blog Power Line and a contributing writer to The Daily Standard.

A free press is critical to a free country like ours, but huge media outlets like CBS and NBC that lie and distort to push an agenda are a danger to our liberties. Democracy needs informed voters, not propagandized lemmings.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Global Terrorism in Sharp Decline (Reuters)

Global Terrorism in Sharp Decline
Wed, May 21, 2008 (Cross-posted from Little Green Footballs)

As the Democratic Party continues to hammer away at their message and insist that the Bush administration’s policies “have not made us safer,” here’s news that directly contradicts their defeatism:

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - "A study released on Wednesday reports a decline in fatal attacks of terrorism worldwide and says U.S. think-tank data showing sharp increases were distorted due to the inclusion of killings in Iraq.

“Even if the Iraq ‘terrorism’ data are included, there has still been a substantial decline in the global terrorism toll,” said the 2007 Human Security Brief, an annual report funded by the governments of Canada, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden and Britain.

For example, global terrorism fatalities declined by 40 percent between July and September 2007, driven by a 55 percent decline in the “terrorism” death toll in Iraq after the so-called surge of new U.S. troops and a cease-fire by the Shi’ite militant Mehdi Army, the brief said."

By RALPH PETERS, New York Post
May 20, 2008 -- DO we still have troops in Iraq? Is there still a conflict over there?

If you rely on the so-called mainstream media, you may have difficulty answering those questions these days. As Iraqi and Coalition forces pile up one success after another, Iraq has magically vanished from the headlines.

Want a real "inconvenient truth?" Progress in Iraq is powerful and accelerating.

But that fact isn't helpful to elite media commissars and cadres determined to decide the presidential race over our heads. How dare our troops win? Even worse, Iraqi troops are winning. Daily.

You won't see that above the fold in The New York Times. And forget the Obama-intoxicated news networks - they've adopted his story line that the clock stopped back in 2003.

To be fair to the quit-Iraq-and-save-the-terrorists media, they have covered a few recent stories from Iraq:

* When a rogue US soldier used a Koran for target practice, journalists pulled out all the stops to turn it into "Abu Ghraib, The Sequel."

Unforgivably, the Army handled the situation well. The "atrocity" didn't get the traction the whorespondents hoped for.

* When a battered, bleeding al Qaeda managed to set off a few bombs targeting Sunni Arabs who'd turned against terror, that, too, received delighted media play.

* As long as Baghdad-based journalists could hope that the joint US-Iraqi move into Sadr City would end disastrously, we were treated to a brief flurry of headlines.

* A few weeks back, we heard about another Iraqi company - 100 or so men - who declined to fight. The story was just delicious, as far as the media were concerned.
Then tragedy struck: As in Basra the month before, absent-without-leave (and hiding in Iran) Muqtada al Sadr quit under pressure from Iraqi and US troops. The missile and mortar attacks on the Green Zone stopped. There's peace in the streets.

Today, Iraqi soldiers, not militia thugs, patrol the lanes of Sadr City, where waste has replaced roadside bombs as the greatest danger to careless footsteps. US advisers and troops support the effort, but Iraq's government has taken another giant step forward in establishing law and order.

My fellow Americans, have you read or seen a single interview with any of the millions of Iraqis in Sadr City or Basra who are thrilled that the gangster militias are gone from their neighborhoods?

Didn't think so. The basic mission of the American media between now and November is to convince you, the voter, that Iraq's still a hopeless mess

Meanwhile, they've performed yet another amazing magic trick - making Kurdistan disappear.

Remember the Kurds? Our allies in northern Iraq? When last sighted, they were living in peace and building a robust economy with regular elections, burgeoning universities and municipal services that worked.

After Israel, the most livable, decent place in the greater Middle East is Iraqi Kurdistan. Wouldn't want that news getting out.

If the Kurds would only start slaughtering their neighbors and bombing Coalition troops, they might get some attention. Unfortunately, there are no US or allied combat units in Kurdistan for Kurds to bomb. They weren't needed. And (benighted people that they are) the Kurds are pro-American - despite the virulent anti-Kurdish prejudices prevalent in our Saudi-smooching State Department.

Developments just keep getting grimmer for the fan base in the media. Iraq's Sunni Arabs, who had supported al Qaeda and homegrown insurgents, now support their government and welcome US troops. And, in southern Iraq, the Iranians lost their bid for control to Iraq's government.

Bury those stories on Page 36.

Our troops deserve better. The Iraqis deserve better. You deserve better. The forces of freedom are winning.

Here in the Land of the Free, of course, freedom of the press means the freedom to boycott good news from Iraq. But the truth does have a way of coming out.

The surge worked. Incontestably. Iraqis grew disenchanted with extremism. Our military performed magnificently. More and more Iraqis have stepped up to fight for their own country. The Iraqi economy's taking off. And, for all its faults, the Iraqi legislature has accomplished far more than our own lobbyist-run Congress over the last 18 months.

When Iraq seemed destined to become a huge American embarrassment, our media couldn't get enough of it. Now that Iraq looks like a success in the making, there's a virtual news blackout.

Of course, the front pages need copy. So you can read all you want about the heroic efforts of the Chinese People's Army in the wake of the earthquake.

Tells you all you really need to know about our media: American soldiers bad, Red Chinese troops good.

Is Jane Fonda on her way to the earthquake zone yet?

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Democrats and Our Enemies By JOSEPH LIEBERMAN

Some say the campaign between likely Democratic candidate, Senator Obama, and Republican candidate, Senator McCain, will mirror the 2006 campaign between Senator Lieberman and the pacifist, Ned Lamont, whom the Democratic Party supported against one of their sitting senators and former vice-presidential candidates. Here Senator Lieberman explains how the Democratic Party has descended from the heights of freedom-loving patriots into appeasers, unwilling to fight for anything except the right to kill babies right up to the moment of birth.

Democrats and Our Enemies

May 21, 2008 Wall St Journal

How did the Democratic Party get here? How did the party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy drift so far from the foreign policy and national security principles and policies that were at the core of its identity and its purpose?

Beginning in the 1940s, the Democratic Party was forced to confront two of the most dangerous enemies our nation has ever faced: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. In response, Democrats under Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy forged and conducted a foreign policy that was principled, internationalist, strong and successful.

This was the Democratic Party that I grew up in – a party that was unhesitatingly and proudly pro-American, a party that was unafraid to make moral judgments about the world beyond our borders. It was a party that understood that either the American people stood united with free nations and freedom fighters against the forces of totalitarianism, or that we would fall divided.

This was the Democratic Party of Harry Truman, who pledged that "it must be the policy of the United States to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."

And this was the Democratic Party of John F. Kennedy, who promised in his inaugural address that the United States would "pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and the success of freedom."

This worldview began to come apart in the late 1960s, around the war in Vietnam. In its place, a very different view of the world took root in the Democratic Party.

Rather than seeing the Cold War as an ideological contest between the free nations of the West and the repressive regimes of the communist world, this rival political philosophy saw America as the aggressor – a morally bankrupt, imperialist power whose militarism and "inordinate fear of communism" represented the real threat to world peace.

It argued that the Soviets and their allies were our enemies not because they were inspired by a totalitarian ideology fundamentally hostile to our way of life, or because they nursed ambitions of global conquest. Rather, the Soviets were our enemy because we had provoked them, because we threatened them, and because we failed to sit down and accord them the respect they deserved. In other words, the Cold War was mostly America's fault.

Of course that leftward lurch by the Democrats did not go unchallenged. Democratic Cold Warriors like Scoop Jackson fought against the tide. But despite their principled efforts, the Democratic Party through the 1970s and 1980s became prisoner to a foreign policy philosophy that was, in most respects, the antithesis of what Democrats had stood for under Roosevelt, Truman and Kennedy.

Then, beginning in the 1980s, a new effort began on the part of some of us in the Democratic Party to reverse these developments, and reclaim our party's lost tradition of principle and strength in the world. Our band of so-called New Democrats was successful sooner than we imagined possible when, in 1992, Bill Clinton and Al Gore were elected. In the Balkans, for example, as President Clinton and his advisers slowly but surely came to recognize that American intervention, and only American intervention, could stop Slobodan Milosevic and his campaign of ethnic slaughter, Democratic attitudes about the use of military force in pursuit of our values and our security began to change.

This happy development continued into the 2000 campaign, when the Democratic candidate – Vice President Gore – championed a freedom-focused foreign policy, confident of America's moral responsibilities in the world, and unafraid to use our military power. He pledged to increase the defense budget by $50 billion more than his Republican opponent – and, to the dismay of the Democratic left, made sure that the party's platform endorsed a national missile defense.

By contrast, in 2000, Gov. George W. Bush promised a "humble foreign policy" and criticized our peacekeeping operations in the Balkans.

Today, less than a decade later, the parties have completely switched positions. The reversal began, like so much else in our time, on September 11, 2001. The attack on America by Islamist terrorists shook President Bush from the foreign policy course he was on. He saw September 11 for what it was: a direct ideological and military attack on us and our way of life. If the Democratic Party had stayed where it was in 2000, America could have confronted the terrorists with unity and strength in the years after 9/11.

Instead a debate soon began within the Democratic Party about how to respond to Mr. Bush. I felt strongly that Democrats should embrace the basic framework the president had advanced for the war on terror as our own, because it was our own. But that was not the choice most Democratic leaders made. When total victory did not come quickly in Iraq, the old voices of partisanship and peace at any price saw an opportunity to reassert themselves. By considering centrism to be collaboration with the enemy – not bin Laden, but Mr. Bush – activists have successfully pulled the Democratic Party further to the left than it has been at any point in the last 20 years.

Far too many Democratic leaders have kowtowed to these opinions rather than challenging them. That unfortunately includes Barack Obama, who, contrary to his rhetorical invocations of bipartisan change, has not been willing to stand up to his party's left wing on a single significant national security or international economic issue in this campaign

In this, Sen. Obama stands in stark contrast to John McCain, who has shown the political courage throughout his career to do what he thinks is right – regardless of its popularity in his party or outside it.

John also understands something else that too many Democrats seem to have become confused about lately – the difference between America's friends and America's enemies.

There are of course times when it makes sense to engage in tough diplomacy with hostile governments. Yet what Mr. Obama has proposed is not selective engagement, but a blanket policy of meeting personally as president, without preconditions, in his first year in office, with the leaders of the most vicious, anti-American regimes on the planet.

Mr. Obama has said that in proposing this, he is following in the footsteps of Reagan and JFK. But Kennedy never met with Castro, and Reagan never met with Khomeini. And can anyone imagine Presidents Kennedy or Reagan sitting down unconditionally with Ahmadinejad or Chavez? I certainly cannot.

If a president ever embraced our worst enemies in this way, he would strengthen them and undermine our most steadfast allies.

A great Democratic secretary of state, Dean Acheson, once warned "no people in history have ever survived, who thought they could protect their freedom by making themselves inoffensive to their enemies." This is a lesson that today's Democratic Party leaders need to relearn.

Mr. Lieberman is an Independent Democratic senator from Connecticut. This article is adapted from a speech he gave May 18 at a dinner hosted by Commentary magazine.

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

You Have to Drive a Stake through their Hearts

Like vampires, the alarmists promoting man-made global warming refuse to die, and, as usual, bureaucrats, including all three presidential candidates, the head of the U.N. and several state governors (Florida included) are operating on old news and disproved evidence.

Just yesterday, Dr. Arthur Robinson of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine announced that more than 30,000 scientists (including 9,021 PhDs) had signed a petition rejecting claims of human-caused global warming.

Also yesterday, the following article was also published:

So much for 'settled science'
Lorne Gunter, National Post Published: Tuesday, May 20, 2008

You may have heard earlier this month that global warming is now likely to take a break for a decade or more. There will be no more warming until 2015, perhaps later.

Climate scientist Noel Keenlyside, leading a team from Germany's Leibniz Institute of Marine Science and the Max Planck Institute of Meteorology, for the first time entered verifiable data on ocean circulation cycles into one of the U. N.'s climate supercomputers, and the machine spit out a projection that there will be no more warming for the foreseeable future.

Of course, Mr. Keenlyside-- long a defender of the man-made global warming theory -- was quick to add that after 2015 (or perhaps 2020), warming would resume with a vengeance.

Climate alarmists the world over were quick to add that they had known all along there would be periods when the Earth's climate would cool even as the overall trend was toward dangerous climate change.

Sorry, but that is just so much backfill.

There may have been the odd global-warming scientist in the past decade who allowed that warming would pause periodically in its otherwise relentless upward march, but he or she was a rarity.

If anything, the opposite is true: Almost no climate scientist who backed the alarmism ever expected warming would take anything like a 10 or 15-year hiatus.

Last year, in its oft-quoted report on global warming, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted a 0.3-degree C rise in temperature in the coming decade -- not a cooling or even just temperature stability

In its previous report in 2001, the IPCC prominently displaced the so-called temperature "hockey stick" that purported to show temperature pretty much plateauing for the thousand years before 1900, then taking off in the 20th Century in a smooth upward line. No 10-year dips backwards were foreseen.

It is drummed into us, ad nauseum, that the IPCC represents 2,500 scientists who together embrace a "consensus" that man-made global warming is a "scientific fact;" and as recently as last year, they didn't see this cooling coming. So the alarmists can't weasel out of this by claiming they knew all along such anomalies would occur.

This is not something any alarmist predicted, and it showed up in none of the UN's computer projections until Mr. Keenlyside et al. were finally able to enter detailed data into their climate model on past ocean current behaviour.

Less well-known is that global temperatures have already been falling for a decade. All of which means, that by 2015 or 2020, when warming is expected to resume, we will have had nearly 20 years of fairly steady cooling.

Saints of the new climate religion, such as Al Gore, have stated that eight of the 10 years since 1998 are the warmest on record. Even if that were true, none has been as warm as 1998, which means the trend of the past decade has been downward, not upward.

Last year, for instance, saw a drop in the global average temperature of nearly 0.7 degrees C (the largest single-year movement up or down since global temperature averages have been calculated). Despite advanced predictions that 2007 would be the warmest year on record, made by such UN associates as Britain's Hadley Centre, a government climate research agency, 2007 was the coolest year since at least 1993.

According to the U. S. National Climatic Data Center, the average temperature of the global land surface in January 2008 was below the 20th-Century mean for the first time since 1982.

Also in January, Southern Hemisphere sea ice coverage was at its greatest summer level (January is summer in the Southern Hemisphere) in the past 30 years.

Neither the 3,000 temperature buoys that float throughout the world's oceans nor the eight NASA satellites that float above our atmosphere have recorded appreciable warming in the past six to eight years.

Even Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the IPCC, reluctantly admitted to Reuters in January that there has been no warming so far in the 21st Century.

Does this prove that global warming isn't happening, that we can all go back to idling our SUVs 24/7? No. But it should introduce doubt into the claim that the science of global warming is "settled."


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, May 19, 2008

Why Do You Keep Boring Us with Darwinism?

I’ve written several columns about my skepticism regarding Darwinism. Each time I do I receive snooty comments attesting to my stupidity and my ignorance. The Darwinists never seem to want to discuss any of the points I have tried to make, just to ridicule the very thought that there may be some kind of guiding intelligence behind the structures, the amounts of information, the complexities, the fine balance and the mysteries of life and our universe.

If anything is subject to ridicule, it is the answer that the world’s leading proponent and defender of Darwinian dogma, Richard Dawkins, gave to Ben Stein when Stein asked him about the origin of life. Dawkins answered that perhaps some alien life form seeded life on earth. Such an answer is obviously ludicrous in the context of Darwinism, and even Dawkins seemed to realize it.

Practically every day, for the past 150 years, evidence reputed to ‘prove’ Darwinism has been shown to be invalid or fake, while evidence (especially since the invention of the electron microscope) of the limitations and erroneous aspects of Darwinism has been building. Why, then, is there such a fierce reaction to anyone who wishes to examine this issue? The movie, “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”, illustrates this reaction and resistance beyond argument.

The reason for the suppression of honest inquiry is absolutely clear. Not only was Darwinism the underpinning for Nazism and Soviet Communism, it is the underpinning for modern liberalism and socialism; all of which are founded on the proposition that man is an accident, and the only course in life that makes any sense is to get yours while you can, be it material things or personal pleasure. The belief that there are no eternal truths or concepts of right and wrong justifies almost any kind of decadent behavior, such as killing babies at the moment of birth or the marriage of homosexuals. The belief that who we are and what we have are the results only of billions of years of cumulative accidents justifies income redistribution schemes and the idea that animals and the environment are just as important as mankind’s progress and quality of life.

Most people do not believe in Darwinism; it is only among the elite in academia and the media that this concept has taken root. Ordinary people have common sense. I wish common sense would take hold everywhere; it would mean the start of a better world.

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, May 18, 2008

How to Enrage a Democrat

How to Enrage a Democrat
May 17, 2008 Wall St Journal

If nothing else, we now know what it takes to make a Democrat go nuts. One word: "appeasement."

Notwithstanding that President Bush named no names in his speech to Israel's Knesset on Thursday, Barack Obama instantly called it a "false political attack." On him, of course.

To House Speaker Nancy Pelosi it was "beneath the dignity of the office of the President."

"Offensive and outrageous," thundered Hillary Clinton from somewhere in South Dakota, followed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: "reckless and irresponsible."

When the party's top four Democrats come roaring out of the blocks in unison, something has hit a nerve.

Forget the complaint that Mr. Bush used a Hitler analogy. It's the here and now that has these Democrats upset. The fuse that set them off is any suggestion inside the context of a live presidential campaign that the Democrats are soft on national security.

This has been a particular Democratic vulnerability since at least the George McGovern campaign in 1972. The most famous and destructive image from a Democratic presidential campaign the past 25 years was the helmeted Governor Michael Dukakis in a tank. In 2004, John Kerry tried to run on his biography as a Vietnam vet. Didn't work.

If Barack Obama has an Achilles' heel, this is it. He first exposed it last July in a Democratic debate when he replied, "I would," to a question of whether he'd meet as President with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "without precondition." Even Mrs. Clinton took a shot at that one, calling the Senator's comment "irresponsible and frankly naive."

Speaker Pelosi's own April 2007 sojourn to Syria is remembered mainly for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert feeling obliged to correct Ms. Pelosi's announcement that Mr. Olmert had told her he was ready to start peace talks with Syria. Untrue.

Meanwhile, Speaker Pelosi announced in Damascus: "We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace." There must be a word for this somewhere. Just last month, former President Jimmy Carter met with leaders of Hamas to promote, among other things, "human rights."

But Barack Obama is the party's presumptive standard-bearer for 2008. Thus, let's try to bring this dispute into sharper focus.

Mr. Obama asserted again yesterday that he will not meet with terrorists. He is, however, willing to meet with Iran or Syria. Virtually no serious person disputes that Iran has shipped weaponry to terrorists in Iraq and that Syria has provided safe haven to these terrorists and let them cross from Syria into Iraq. In turn, these jihadists have killed U.S. soldiers. At a minimum, one might expect that ceasing this lethal activity would be a "precondition" before committing the office of the presidency to meet with either.

These columns have regularly criticized the current President and Secretary of State for failing to execute any discernible policy to stop the participation of these two state sponsors of terror in causing U.S. casualties in Iraq. This is the real mismatch between Mr. Bush's rhetoric and record, and where Senator Obama, if he chose, could hit hard. We doubt he will.

The Bush Administration has finessed the Iran nuclear problem by handing it to the E3/EU "process" – taken nowhere by the world's top diplomatic talkers from France, Germany and the U.K. For two years, Condoleezza Rice's State Department has played footsie with whomever speaks for Iran, to no effect. For either Barack Obama or Nancy Pelosi to suggest that they know better how to talk Iran's mullahs into an acceptable deal is, to put it gently, grandstanding.

Leaving no argument unturned, Democrats have reached back to Richard Nixon's trip to China and Ronald Reagan's negotiations with the Soviet Union as evidence that Republican Presidents "talk to the enemy." Put it this way: The day Iran brings forth a Chou Enlai and Syria a Mikhail Gorbachev, sure, give them a call.

Mr. Bush is right about one thing: At bottom this dispute is about understanding the nature of the enemy in Iran, Syria and other sponsors and practitioners of Islamic terror. If the tempest over his indelicate words causes the Democratic presidential nominee to think twice about the political cost of trafficking with Tehran or Damascus, uttering "appeasement" will have been worth it.

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, May 16, 2008

Watching the Republican Party Commit Suicide

When Republican candidates run on conservative principles, they win; when they run as liberals, or when they act like liberals, they lose. Many of the new Democrats who defeated Republicans in 2006 ran as conservatives. In the face of this evidence, why, then, do so many Republicans abandon conservatism and become RINO’s as soon as they get to Washington, and why are so many Republicans running for Congress this fall as liberals? This is the question of the hour facing conservatives today as they consider the prospect of a party (Democratic), that controls a Congress with only an 18% approval rating, but is anticipating an overwhelming victory next fall.

If The GOP Wants To Govern Like Democrats, Why Have a Separate Party?
By Patrick J. Casey May 16, 2008 American Thinker (Excerpt)

“Republicans are and should be panicked over the fact that conservative Democrat Travis Childers just defeated Republican Greg Davis by a margin of 54%-46% in the race for a vacant Mississippi congressional seat. That seat is in a conservative district that had given President Bush a 25-point margin of victory over John Kerry in 2004 - it never should have flipped Democrat. This is the third double-digit loss in a row for Republican candidates in conservative districts across the United States.

Childers' victory came one week after Rep. Don Cazayoux won a House seat in the Baton Rouge, La., area that had been in Republican hands for three decades. Over the winter, Rep. Bill Foster won an election in Illinois to succeed former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, who had been in Congress more than 20 years.

What we're watching is the culmination of the decade-plus deterioration of the conservative Republican brand. Put simply, no one, including base conservatives, trusts the Republicans to govern effectively while following anything even faintly resembling a conservative platform.

That's unfortunate, since the only time that the Republicans really took the country by storm was in 1994, when they all ran on a set of firm, well established conservative values and issues. When the GOP strayed from that, falling back on the Democratic Party tradition of retaining power through excessive pork barrel spending and questionable ethical practices, they first lost seats - then lost their majorities. To regain what they have thrown away they must return to those conservative principles. If successful, they then must reject the compromising allure of power and promise to govern in the future as conservatives, not as the Democratic Party Lite.”

You call this a political party?

By David Harsanyi 05/15/2008 Denver Post

Republicans are bracing for a political annihilation of epic proportions after losing a special election this week in a solidly conservative district in Mississippi — yes, Mississippi.

We can call this "a harbinger."

And Republicans not only deserve the flogging, they should be praying for more. We can call this "creative destruction."

When Democrats claim that Republican presidential candidate John McCain would mean a third term of the Bush presidency, they're not kidding. The GOP offers no coherent policy, no leadership, no imagination, no principles and, most important, it offers no choice.

The Democrat-run Congress now carries an approval rating of 18 percent — the lowest in history, according to Gallup. You may believe such mass discontent is fertile ground for a strong opposition party to emerge. You'd be wrong.

A betrayal of fiscal conservatism and limited government by George Bush has fractured the Republican Party, and mending it won't be easy. Certainly, co-opting liberal ideas and repackaging them for moderates has failed to elect a single Republican. You may wonder, then: Why does it remain the GOP game plan?

Exhibit One: Republican presidential hopeful McCain unveiled his plan to nationalize energy with a cap-and-trade system (among other nuggets). McCain, in a speech that could have easily have been delivered by Al Gore, bemoaned the "profit" motive and claimed his solutions were "market"-driven.

If you believe McCain's new, massive energy bureaucracy is essential, there is already a party out there that will undertake the task with gusto.

Exhibit Two: In a misguided effort of legacy-building (good luck with that), the Bush administration designated polar bears as a threatened species. Seems innocuous enough. Everyone loves polar bears; they're such cuddly creatures, after all.

The administration ignored the steady increase in the polar bear population and for the first time in history, a species was listed based not on evidence but on the prospective threat relayed to us by computer models used by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

This decision may relegate huge tracts of land unusable for the extraction of energy at the worst possible time. Additionally, anyone who has the audacity to emit carbon into the atmosphere is now partially responsible for threatening the polar bear.

Wait until the lawyers get hold of this one.

If you believe polar bears need protection from theories, there is already a party for you.

Exhibit Three (the most egregious of all): The massive, $300 billion boondoggle farm bill was approved this week with a veto- proof margin. It features $25 billion in annual charity for farmers — a majority headed to commercial farms with an average income of $200,000 and a net worth of almost $2 million. A massive entitlement that drives up costs? What's not to like? (McCain opposes the bill.)

Bush has signed nearly every budget-busting spending proposal in existence — and constructed a few himself.

A veto here would be some small redemption. Allow Congress to override it and explain to the American people why, when food prices are rising precipitously, government is giving away billions in tax dollars.

Republicans, sadly, have offered little else. If they believe victory can be found in convincing voters that Barack Obama (or Hillary Clinton) is a traitor or that Iraq is worth 100 years, they will lose.

It's about time members of the GOP stopped being enablers. And a decisive defeat in November would be the perfect start.

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

We Won’t Forgot the Persecuted Border Control Agents

I have written several times about the Border Patrol Agents, Campean and Ramos, who were convicted and sent to prison for 11-12 years for shooting and wounding slightly a Mexican drug smuggler caught crossing the border. The case has always smelled to high heaven, and now an official complaint has been lodged against the federal attorney who prosecuted the case. Many observers have concluded that these agents were railroaded to placate the Mexican government who object to any rough handling of criminals who cross our border no matter how despicable are the crimes they carry out on U.S. citizens.

Ethics Complaint Filed Against Johnny Sutton

Contact: Don Swarthout, President, Christians Reviving America's Values (CRAVE), 859-219-1222, 859-619-2811 cell

WASHINGTON, May 12 /Christian Newswire/--Don Swarthout, President of Christians Reviving America's Values (CRAVE) has filed an ethics complaint with the Texas Bar Association against Prosecutor Johnny Sutton. In this complaint Swarthout charges Sutton's office willfully misled the jury in order to convict Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean for simply doing their jobs.

Swarthout has asked the Texas Bar Association to investigate Johnny Sutton for actions strikingly similar to Prosecutor Mike Nifong's mishandling of the Duke lacrosse rape case. The evidence suggests Johnny Sutton is just as guilty as Mike Nifong of unethical prosecutorial behavior.

Swarthout said, "This whole case stinks to the highest parts of heaven. How is it possible in America to convict two Border Agents for simply doing their jobs and send them to prison for 11 and 12 years? How is it possible for Johnny Sutton's office to ruin the lives of two of our Border Agents based on the word of a known Mexican drug smuggler? Why did Johnny Sutton's office twist the facts of this case and hide evidence simply to get a conviction?"

More than 90 U.S. Senators and Congressmen have reviewed this case and have asked President Bush to pardon Border Agents Ramos and Compean. These 90 elected officials represent both Democrats and Republicans. All of them agree Johnny Sutton's prosecution leaves a lot of unanswered questions.

Known drug smuggler Aldrete Davila was portrayed by Sutton as almost an "innocent bystander." In fact, he was involved in a second drug delivery to the United States during Sutton's prosecution of Ramos and Compean. This fact was covered up by Sutton's office.

It may be possible for reasonable people to disagree about whether Sutton's statements constitute "outright lies." However, the facts now in the public domain make it abundantly clear Sutton's statements were willfully misleading to the jury and that is the basis of this ethics complaint.

Saturday, May 26, 2007
From Sea to Shining Sea

Border Agent Prosecutor Appears On Glen Beck
Johnny Sutton, the U.S. Attorney whose office prosecuted the Border Control Agents Ramos and Compean, the agents who received lengthy prison sentences (11 and 12 years) for firing at and hitting an illegal-alien, drug smuggler, appeared on the Glen Beck show the other night to discuss this case.

I had previously heard Sutton in an interview with Bill O’Reilly discuss this case, and I was very disturbed at that time with the impression he made. His answers and demeanor indicated that a government cover-up of a mishandled case was in progress. I have posted articles about this case before, taking the position that these agents should not have been prosecuted, but should have been disciplined for improper, after-the-fact reporting procedures.

After this latest appearance, I am more convinced than ever that a gross injustice has been done to these men (they have been beaten up in prison). What appears more likely than a collusive effort with the government of Mexico to prosecute any agent who fires at an illegal (this Mexican is a major drug smuggler who was subsequently caught again in the act), as has been suggested in many quarters, is that Sutton was just angered that Ramos and Campean’s actions after the fact have jeopardized other cases Sutton was working on, and he went after them to teach them a lesson.

If you have been following this case, Ramos and Campean “may” not have followed procedures in filing their after-action report. All the evidence against them for the shooting itself was provided by the drug smuggler himself, who was granted immunity.

This case continues to cry out for a presidential pardon, and Sutton is making himself look more and more foolish and vindictive by appearing on TV to smear the agents.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, May 12, 2008

Between a Rock and a Hard Place? Not Really

My friends and I have cried in our beer long enough about the awful choices we face in the upcoming Presidential election next fall, and we have made it clear how much we regret having to vote for Senator McCain. What I decided to do was to list the 10 most important issues I have, in order of their importance to me, and see how the three present candidates would stack up with respect to these issues.

1. Islamic Terrorism – Continue to carry the fight to the enemy
2. Energy Resources – Drill everywhere; build nuclear plants; continue development of alternative sources without using foodstuffs
3. Immigration – Stop illegal immigration; then worry about guest workers and the illegals already here
4. Healthcare – Don’t let the federal government screw it up
5. Taxes – Keep the Bush tax cuts in place
6. Supreme Court – Fill any vacancies with judges who will stick by the original intent of Constitutional provisions
7. Military - Increase the size and the weaponry of all branches of the US military
8. Budget and Debt - Reduce the national debt by cutting all entitlement programs and subsidies and eliminating earmarks
9. Education – Eliminate the US Department of Education and all federal involvement in education
10. Man-made Global Warming – Continue monitoring climate data, but support no programs to reduce CO2 emissions on the basis of existing knowledge

The surprising thing is that both of the Democrat candidates, Clinton and Obama, would NOT support any of the 10 issues that are most important to me. In fact they would do just the opposite of what I want done and what I think is best for our country. On the other hand, Senator McCain supports at least four of my issues, and perhaps five. He supports me on issues 1,4,5,6 and possibly 7.

In 1992 I made a ‘cut off your nose to spite your face’ decision by not supporting George H. W. Bush for a second term because of his about-face on his “no new taxes” pledge and because of some of his liberal policies. I did not send him a contribution, and I let all my friends know that I was fed up with him. In the end I voted for him, but, with Perot’s venomous help, he lost, and we got eight scum-filled years of Clinton. I think a lot of people probably made the same mistake I did, but I’m not going to make the same mistake again.

I’ve gotten my McCain bitterness out of my system as I contemplate what the alternatives are. I will be sending his campaign a contribution and supporting him fully from now on.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Some May, 2008 Musings

Don’t call me a racist because I point out inconvenient facts about Senator Obama. Almost before Obama was born, I was the Campaign Coordinator in Bristol County, Massachusetts for Senator Edward Brooke, the first elected African-American senator in the United States after Reconstruction. Don’t call me a racist when 91% of the black vote is going for Senator Obama. Now that is racist!

I would be proud to vote for the first black person ever to become President of this great country, but I am not going to vote for a radical liberal whose program and policies would wreck our economy, which, despite the Democrat propaganda, has been outstanding under Bush, and whose foreign policy would invite more 9/11’s. I am not going to vote for a person whose close associates and wife preach hatred for America or participated in terror-bombings, and who refuses to honor our flag.

Be that as it may, after listening to O’Reilly’s interview with Senator McCain, I called up my friend, Mason, and we made a date for next November’s election day to meet and get drunk on Scotch after we voted for McCain. I was so disgusted with his comments on immigration, global warming and oil drilling that I had to turn it off.

At least the unthinking, emotion-driven efforts to turn foodstuffs into ethanol and to destroy our economy over so-called, man-made global warming do seem to be slowing down. Perhaps poor villagers in third-world countries have some chance for a better life after all. Many of them are still alive because DDT is back in use.

As a conservative, I have always believed that free trade leads to a bigger pot for everyone. However, I have come to the conclusion that we must protect our automobile and airplane manufacturing industries from further decline. These industries are both critical to our national security; the role of the airplane industry is obvious, and the awarding of a contract that involves farming out critical component work to France must be cancelled and given to Boeing. The competition was unfair, and Senator McCain should not have meddled. The role of the automobile industry may not be so obvious to those not familiar with it. The manufacture of automobiles involves the design and production of thousands of parts made from steel, aluminum, non-ferrous alloys, plastic, glass, rubber and many other materials. Many thousands of subcontractors draw their business and keep their technical competence by means of the automobile industry in the fields of castings, moldings, forgings, stampings, machined parts, plating, coatings, heat-treating, electronics and many other areas of expertise. If we lose these capabilities, we lose the future ability to field an army well-supplied with the most advanced equipment possible.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Going to War Over $200 Oil?

The underlying cause of World War II was the effort by Japan and Germany to take by force of arms resources they decided they needed to fuel their economies. Both countries were dictatorships; this is important because, under modern standards of conduct, democracies probably could not go to war for this reason.

Yet it is also clear that we would not be in Iraq if it were not for the fact that oil is the source of funds for the Islamic terrorists to carry out their atrocities on westerners, nor would they, without oil riches, be dreaming of restoring their caliphate; and we are in Iraq to protect our access to oil, as well. If it were not for oil, there would have been few westerners needed by the Arabs to develop their oil resources and compete for its access – bringing with them western influences that conflict with their culture. If it were not for oil, we would have little interest in the Middle East, and they would have little interest in us. As Coach Lombardi said about winning, oil is not just the main thing, it is everything.

And as time goes by, it is also clear from the Biofuels fiascos and the puny results of alternative energy research, that oil may be everything for another 100 years.

The reason for this introduction is to bring to the attention of my readers that the first known calls for us to just go in and take the oil we need are beginning to be heard.

The Candidates and Oil
By Roger Kaplan 5/6/08 American Spectator (Excerpts)

“There are at least two foreign policy issues that are arguably as important to our Great Republic as were slavery in the mid-19th century and the statist-vs.-liberty debate in the mid-20th. These are our relations with China and our relations with the oil-producing states. And nary a candidate has brought them up yet.

If I find this astonishing it may mean I am a sanctimonious pest, but the fact is that we Americans, as citizens, ought to be grateful if someone running for office, between now and November, causes us the pain and anguish of thinking about China and oil as national, not pocketbook, issues.

If you do not mind, I will return to China in due course, but today I would suggest some smart-aleck such as myself in the press corps seizes the next opportunity to get the ball bouncing by asking any candidate just what exactly prevents us from seizing the oil fields? We have the finest army in the world a few miles from the world's major reserves of hydrocarbons, am I correct? The Saudi regime, the emirates of the Gulf, would all be dead were it not for the American and British uniforms that guard them. Neither the Iraqi army, weakened by the tribal and sectarian fissures in the Tigris-Euphrates so-called cradle of civilization (as well as by our own misguided policies), nor the politicized, paranoiac Persian forces are in any position to resist a focused application of American military power.

Focused on what? Why, very simply, on the oil fields, the world's energy jugular. The pre-modern state of communal relations, otherwise known as politics, in the Middle East and more narrowly in the Gulf region is really not our problem. It becomes our problem when the locals begin threatening the rest of the world with ruin…..

Can we, as a free and democratic Republic, co-exist with regimes and movements advancing under the banner of militant Islam? ….

Apart from all the other mischief they have proven capable of, the miscellaneous tribes of Araby and environs are now partaking of the wreckage of the world's economies. They are provoking Biblical scourges, notably starvation. Doing something about that, is a mission worthy of the world's first new nation and still its most generous.

Those who are holding the world's masses hostage to hydrocarbons must be stopped. And if not by us, by whom? And why should we wait until they figure out how to build viable democratic institutions?

WHAT IS TO PREVENT US from seizing the oil fields? The U.S. Army can solemnly announce that it will not take a dime from their exploitation beyond operating costs, and surely there are economists who can figure out how to set up a distribution system that will not wreck the world's oil markets, with all the ramifications that would bring about. I am in particular thinking of what a provisional neo-colonial administration of the Gulf's oil resources might do to Africa's booming oil industries. For what it is worth, the European dependence of Russian oil will be lessened by our seizure of the Middle East's reserves.

Price controls fail. However, this is not a matter of price controls but of replacing a cartel run by tyrants with a commission that, notwithstanding your private thoughts about the U.S. government, will still be overseen by the U.S. government. Which has got to be better than a committee of Caribbean caudillos and Saudi princes.

Anyway, let the morrow take care of itself. Here we have an election in which the word change seems to come up like a bad intestinal disorder, and yet of changing an oil regime that is putting the entire world at risk of terminal disease, nary a word. Basically, this regime was set up before World War II and consolidated in the 1950s as the Brits retreated from east of Suez, and it consists very simply of this: you (Gulf Arabs) run this industry on market principles and we (Yanks) protect you. Well, hell.

YES, WE WILL SUFFER a PR reverse, as the champion of democracy in the world pulls off what the oil billionaires and the American extreme left -- the Democrats? -- will assail as "neo-colonialism," claiming vindication for their blood-for-oil thesis. Let the stupids talk to the stupids, what matters is who are the real neo-colonialists? And does anyone seriously doubt that by a swift military campaign we will do more for the cause of liberty in Africa and beyond than the half-century of boondoggling by the likes of U.S. AID, Peace Corps, and the other scams perpetrated on the American taxpayer to the benefit of spoiled children of the American middle classes who have nothing better to do than play missionary in air-conditioned offices? Mother Teresa, let alone Dr. Schweitzer, these lifelong juveniles ain't. But meanwhile, the farmer in Malawi who cannot afford petroleum for his third-hand tractor is suffering due to the stick-up, masquerading as "the market," of the oil billionaires. Does anyone really doubt he would rather have another National Endowment for Democracy-funded boondoggling NGO give him advice than a fuel bill cut by half? Yo, America, as we say in the old neighborhood, get real.

The Lincoln-Douglas debates concerned the means available to the United States to end slavery. You can say what you want about slavery, but both Illinoisans were against it, and they both understood it was not a parlor game to see who proposed the most clever gimmick. As a practical matter, Stephen Douglas's understanding of the American compact led him to take a gradualist position, which Abraham Lincoln argued would have the effect of perpetuating the peculiar institution and permit its extension into the western territories. Notwithstanding the national as well as local audiences whose attention they sought and of whose sectional interests they were well aware, their arguments were intellectually honest.

It seems not too much to ask of individuals as intelligent and morally serious as this year's contenders for the presidency that they express themselves on what the United States might do about the peculiar institution which is, by any other name, global oil slavery.”

Oil nears $123 on $200 oil prediction, supply concerns
Tuesday May 6, 5:32 pm ET
By John Wilen, AP (Excerpt)

Oil prices rise to record near $123 a barrel on prediction of $200 oil, supply concerns

NEW YORK (AP) – “Oil futures blasted to a new record near $123 a barrel Tuesday, gaining momentum as investors bought on a forecast of much higher prices and on any news hinting at supply shortages. Retail gas prices edged lower, but appear poised to rise to new records of their own in coming weeks.

A new Goldman Sachs prediction that oil prices could rise to $150 to $200 within two years seemed to motivate much of Tuesday's buying, although a falling dollar and increasing concerns about declining crude production in Mexico and Russia contributed, analysts say.”

May 7, 2008
Op-Ed Columnist
The Democratic Recession
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN NY Times (Excerpt)

“At the end of last year, Freedom House, which tracks democratic trends and elections around the globe, noted that 2007 was by far the worst year for freedom in the world since the end of the cold war. Almost four times as many states — 38 — declined in their freedom scores as improved — 10.

What explains this? A big part of this reversal is being driven by the rise of petro-authoritarianism. I’ve long argued that the price of oil and the pace of freedom operate in an inverse correlation — which I call: “The First Law of Petro-Politics.” As the price of oil goes up, the pace of freedom goes down. As the price of oil goes down, the pace of freedom goes up.

“There are 23 countries in the world that derive at least 60 percent of their exports from oil and gas and not a single one is a real democracy,” explains Diamond. “Russia, Venezuela, Iran and Nigeria are the poster children” for this trend, where leaders grab the oil tap to ensconce themselves in power.”

Of course, there is no chance that a democracy like ours would countenance a return to colonialism in this manner, or is there? If oil hits $200 and keeps going up; if Iran is on the verge of a deliverable nuclear weapon; if the Saudis keep financing schools and mosques preaching hate and the imposition of the Sharia; if OPEC continues to limit production to keep driving up prices; if CNN shows videos of third world populations dying of starvation by the millions while sheiks in the Arabian desert build indoor ski slopes, etc., etc., etc., the rules we live by may change.

Lets hope liberals in Congress and in the environmental movement can be persuaded to face facts and stop acting on emotions – the emotions that stop us from using the resources we have – before we either turn into a third world country or go to war to prevent that from happening


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

It's Either Too Hot or Too Cold, A Poem

It's Either Too Hot or Too Cold
By Lisa Fabrizio, 5/7/08 American Spectator (Excerpt)

"Today, the global-warming folks are hot and bothered about another threat to Mother Earth. But this time it's about man's predilection to breathe. However, given recent reports on cooling trends, they've changed their tack to purport that whatever the temperature may be, it's still all our fault.

At first the global warming crowd was bursting forth with glee;
Just like Sir Isaac Newton was beneath his apple tree.
They had all of the data straight from the IPCC...
But the problem for the Gore-ists, is they could not see the forests.

It's either too hot or too cold;
We can't grow our crops in a fertile way;
At least that's the news out of Turtle Bay...
The threat of global warming,
Has talking heads performing.

It's either too cold or too hot;
The greenies are now on the spot.
Next year we’ll all be burning up in searing heat unless
Their experts in the ‘sciences’ dream up a better guess.

As long they get grants, their future is gold;
It's either too hot or too cold!

We're either on fire or on ice;
It’s either too green or too frosty white.
These scientists can't seem to get it right…
This constant rearranging,
Has morphed to climate changing.

They tell us they're sure of one thing;
We'll never see Fall or the Spring.
We're either stuck in Summer's heat or Winter's icy grip
We'll surely die from frost-bite or from bad post-nasal drip.

They're winning as long as the media's sold;
It's either too hot or too cold!

They're either on fire or they're chilled;
They're freezing a lot, or too hot to trot.
It's getting much warmer, unless it's not...
The truth can only free us;
If not, you've got your Prius.

So remember this, boys:

Al Gore will never fail ya,
From Brussels to Australia.
Don't worry about India;
It's just that old El Ninia!
They'll plant a load of wood mint,
To stint our Carbon footprint.

And those polar bears will cheer up…
If they just keep that old fear up!

We're either too baked or too raw;
There's no hope of balm or of thaw.
In any case, they know the cause of all this misery;
This noble Earth would be okay if not for you and me

This used to be called just plain "weather" of old;
When, it's either to hot or too cold!"


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, May 05, 2008

In Iraq, a storm before the calm by Michael Yon

It's too bad our government is so inept in explaining to the American people how events and strategy are playing out in the Mideast. Surely some of what the respected reporter, Michael Yon, tells us here can be explained to us by the Bush Administration without compromising security.

In Iraq, a storm before the calm
By Michael Yon
Monday, May 5th 2008, NY Daily News
April saw 49 U.S. casualties in Iraq, the highest total in seven months. Does this mean, as some insist, that the enormous progress we have made since the start of the military surge is being lost?

As one who has spent nearly two years with American soldiers and Marines and British Army troops in Iraq - having returned from my last trip a month ago - here's my short answer: no.

We are taking more casualties now, just as we did in the first part of 2007, because we have taken up the next crucial challenge of this war: confronting the Shia militias.

In early 2007, under the leadership of Gen. David Petraeus, we began to wage an effective counterinsurgency campaign against the reign of terror Al Qaeda in Iraq had established over much of the midsection of the country. That campaign, which moved many of our troops off of big centralized bases and out into small neighborhood outposts, carried real risks.

In every one of the first eight months of 2007, we lost more soldiers than we had the previous year. Only as the campaign bore fruit - in the form of Iraqi citizens working with American soldiers on a daily basis, helping uncover terrorist hideouts together - did the casualty numbers begin to improve.

Now we are helping the Iraqis deal with a much different problem: the Shia militias, the most well-known of which is "Jaysh al-Mahdi," known as JAM, largely controlled by Moqtada al-Sadr.

To comprehend our strategy here, we need to understand the goals of these militias, which pundits, politicians and the press all too often gloss over. Al Qaeda's aim was to destroy Iraq in civil war. Allegedly devout Muslims, the terrorist savages were willing to rape, murder and pillage their own people just as long as they could catch America in the middle. One reason Al Qaeda in Iraq can regenerate so quickly, despite being hated by most Iraqis, is that, armed with generous funding from outside Iraq, they mostly recruit young men and boys from Iraqi street gangs, giving them money, guns and drugs.

In contrast, JAM and the other Shia militias do not want to destroy Iraq; they want power in the new Iraq. They did not, for the most part, start out as criminal gangs, but as self-defense organizations protecting Shia neighborhoods from the chaos of post-invasion Iraq, including Al Qaeda.

Because the militias are strong, well-organized and long had deep support among the population, and because their goal is political power, not random destruction, some have argued that we should have nothing to do with taking them on. They predict a bloody and futile campaign that would make us once again enemies of the Iraqi people rather than their defenders.

These critics miss a crucial on-the-ground reality: Virtually all insurgencies, however noble their original purpose, eventually degenerate into criminal organizations, classic Mafia-like protection rackets, especially as they achieve their original goals.

With Al Qaeda mostly wiped out of Baghdad, the militias that once defended Shia neighborhoods now prey on them. In Basra to the south, where al Qaeda always feared to tread, the situation is even worse. Practically speaking, that city has been ruled by an uneasy coalition of rival Shia gangs for years.

The great victory of the past year and a half has been the decision of Sunni citizens to turn against Sunni outlaws. Now, neither we nor the Iraqi government can maintain our credibility with the Sunni if the Shia militias are allowed to remain outside the law.

The militias, unlike Al Qaeda, are not insane; we can negotiate with them. But we and the Iraqi government can only capitalize on the shifting sentiments of the Shia neighborhoods if we first demonstrate that we and the government - not the gangs - control the streets.

That means, for the next few months, expect more blood, casualties and grim images of war. This may lead to a shift in the political debate inside the United States and more calls for rapid withdrawal. But on the ground in Iraq, it's a sign of progress.

Yon is an independent reporter and blogger ( His new book is "Moment of Truth in Iraq."By Michael Yon

From Wikipedia about Michael Yon:
Michael Yon is an American author, independent reporter, and blogger. He has been embedded on numerous occasions with American and British troops in Iraq, most prominently with the 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment (Deuce Four) of the 25th Infantry Division in Mosul, Iraq, a deployment that ended in September 2005. He continues to blog from Iraqi towns and battlefields.

His writing is marked by fondness and admiration for American service personnel and Iraqis who he sees as engaging bravely in nation-building. It is also marked by candor about what he regards as U.S. and Iraqi failures. Because of this candor, particularly Yon's criticism of U.S. leadership during the early days of the Iraqi insurgency, the U.S. military twice banned Yon from Iraq. Among Yon's targets for criticism are military officials who, in his view, hamper independent reporting from the theater. In particular, Yon has accused LTC Barry A. Johnson of US Central Command of "a subtle but all too real censorship" and "ineptitude in handling the press".

In April, 2008, Yon's book "Moment of Truth in Iraq" was published by Richard Vigilante Books. The book describes how U.S. counterinsurgency methods are creating what Yon sees as a foundation of success in Iraq. Within two weeks of its release date, Moment of Truth entered into's list of Top 10 bestsellers.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, May 04, 2008

O’Reilly-Clinton Interview Shows Dem Flaw

O’Reilly-Clinton Interview Shows Dem Flaw

Friday , May 02, 2008 (Excerpt)
By Dick Morris & Eileen McGann

"Bill O'Reilly asked Hillary Clinton the key question about the war in Iraq: What happens if we pull out and the Iranians move in? She talked around the issue, but never gave a convincing answer to O'Reilly's question. She said she would replace force with diplomacy. But, as Frederick the Great said, “Diplomacy without force is like music without instruments.” If our troops are long gone from Iraq, the Iranians will snub our diplomacy and laugh at our entireties. They will add Iraq to their other trophies in the region: Syria, Lebanon and Gaza.

Hillary's inability to answer O'Reilly's question reveals a larger flaw in the Democratic arguments as the election approaches. Obama will be the Democratic nominee (take that to the bank). How will the Iraq War play in the race? On the surface, it would appear to be a disaster for the Republicans. With American deaths now over the 4,000 mark and the seriously wounded at around 15,000, we are sick and tired of this war. It has destroyed George W. Bush and could well do the same to John McCain.

But maybe not. McCain's position is simple: win in Iraq. The experience and the success of the past year indicate that it may be quite possible to do so. But, whatever you may think of it, his is a simple solution.

What do the Democrats propose? Obama and Hillary both want to pull out as soon as technically feasible. OK. But what happens if Iran moves into the vacuum and takes over Iraq? And what if Al Qaeda takes advantage of the American absence and sets up a permanent base and sanctuary in Iraq, beyond our reach — a situation akin to the Taliban in Afghanistan where they could develop the capacity to hit us on 9-11 in their privileged, protected home territory? And what if hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who used to work with us start to be killed as happened when we pulled out of Vietnam? And what if the Iraqi oil falls into Iranian hands, sending the price even higher? And what if … The list goes on.

Obama really has no answer for these questions. Once he pulls out of Iraq, it will be politically impossible to go back in. Iran and Al Qaeda both realize this just as North Vietnam knew it when they negotiated an end to American troop presence in the South. In the context of an election debate, Obama is going to look weak and confused and without a clue as he tries to address these “what ifs.” Americans will sense the uncertain hand on the helm and will begin to second guess their decisions and move toward McCain.

If, by some chance, Hillary is the nominee, then the same problem will land in her lap and she showed in trying to parry O'Reilly's thrust, that she won't be any better at answering the doubts than Obama would be.

The truth is that the Democrats are cashing in on a mindless impatience with Iraq and an unwillingness to think through the consequences of pulling out. They are capitalizing on an emotional “no” in reaction to the war. But when the alternatives are carefully explained and examined, as they will be in a presidential debate, they are not going to embrace the answers Obama or Hillary will have to the “what ifs.”

They will see the Democratic position as extremist and unworkable and will come to see the Democratic candidate who is pushing them as unprepared and unrealistic. If the candidate is Obama, their concerns will resonate with their perception that he is inexperienced and doesn't know his way around foreign policy. This will raise more and more doubts about his ability to lead us in a time of crisis."

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, May 02, 2008

Democrats and the Killing Fields of Mesopotamia

Whenever I point out that liberal Democrats in Congress threw away the gains we made in Vietnam, at great cost in blood and treasure, just as we had defeated the enemy, and are indirectly responsible for the slaughter of millions of innocent people in Southeast Asia, I get comments from liberals denying that any such thing ever took place. As Democrats in Congress and Obama and Clinton line up to repeat the greatest treachery in American history, comes the following historical remembrance. The consequences of a similar surrender in Iraq will be even more dire than that which took place in Vietnam, and attempts to rewrite history should be countered and exposed.

Democrats and the Killing Fields
May 1, 2008 Wall St Journal

Most people have never heard of Operation Frequent Wind, which ended on April 30, 1975, 33 years ago. But every American has seen pictures of it: the Marine helicopters evacuating the last U.S. personnel from the embassy in Saigon, hours before communist tanks rolled into the city. Thousands of desperate Vietnamese gathered at the embassy gate and begged to be taken with them. Others committed suicide.

Those scenes are a chilling reminder of what happens when a great power decides to cut and run. Two of the three presidential candidates are proposing to do just that in Iraq. We need to remember what happened the last time we gave up on an unpopular foreign policy, not only in humanitarian terms but in terms of American power and prestige.

Actually, the U.S. had won the war in Vietnam on the battlefield, just as the surge has done today in Iraq. Over Easter 1972, South Vietnamese forces, backed by U.S. airpower, crushed the last communist offensive, killing nearly 100,000 North Vietnamese troops.

The North was forced to sign peace accords in Paris recognizing the Republic of South Vietnam. The last 2,500 U.S. support troops went home. What they left was a fragile but sustainable peace, and an elected government in Saigon that was growing stronger every month

But with 160,000 North Vietnamese soldiers still in South Vietnam, keeping the South free was going to require continued U.S. help, especially air support and military equipment if the North ever attacked again.

Democrats and American public opinion, however, had had enough. Much like Iraq today, the vast majority of South Vietnam had been pacified. Its government was taking on difficult but essential political changes, including land reform. The Democratic-controlled Congress, however, did not want to hear about success. They assumed failure in Vietnam would complete their rout of the hated Richard Nixon, who was already out of office thanks to Watergate, and position them for victory in the 1976 presidential election.

Meanwhile, the American public had been conditioned by the media to see Vietnam as a failed policy, and taught that America had gotten itself in the middle of a "civil war" which the Vietnamese had to sort out themselves. Once the last American troops left Vietnam, public opinion would never tolerate re-entry into a war widely seen as a blunder and endless quagmire.

In early 1975 the communists launched a massive attack. President Gerald Ford asked for $1 billion in supplemental funds to help the South Vietnamese, and Congress refused. They had already pulled the plug on the U.S.-supported government of Lon Nol in Cambodia. Ford had no choice but to order the evacuation of remaining U.S. personnel.

After nearly two decades of devastating war and 58,000 American combat deaths, the U.S. left Southeast Asia. As the last helicopter lifted off from Saigon, the New York Times's Sydney Schanberg wrote an article with the title, "Indochina Without Americans: For Most, a Better Life." And the Times's columnist Anthony Lewis asked, "what future could possibly be more terrible than the reality" of a war that had cost so much in lives and treasure?

With the North Vietnamese Communists and the Khmer Rouge taking over, the world was about to find out

At least 65,000 Vietnamese were murdered or shot after "liberation" – the equivalent in terms of Vietnam's population at the time, of killing three-quarters of a million people in today's U.S. The new communist regime ordered somewhere between one- third to one-half of South Vietnam's population to pass through its "re-education" camps, where perhaps as many as 250,000 died of disease, starvation, or were worked to death (the last inmates were not released until 1986).

That number does not include the thousands of "boat people" who tried to flee the totalitarian nightmare of communist Vietnam, and perished at sea.

Cambodia's fate was even worse. At least one and a half million innocent Cambodians were butchered or starved to death in the Khmer Rouge's killing fields and re-education camps, put to death by a fanatical regime that believed that anyone who wore eyeglasses must have "bourgeois intellectual tendencies" and be shot.

The scale of moral collapse and suffering went beyond Indochina. The pullout had a ripple effect on U.S. power and prestige, just as the proponents of the so-called "domino theory" had warned. American foreign policy, crippled by remorse and self-doubt, stood helplessly as others rushed into the power vacuum.

Marxist-Leninist regimes emerged not only in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, but in Ethiopia and Guinea Bissau (1974), Madagascar, Cape Verde, Mozambique, and Angola (1975), Afghanistan (1978), and Grenada and Nicaragua (1979). Soviet troops were welcomed in Fidel Castro's Cuba for the first time since the 1962 missile crisis. Cuban troops traveled freely to Africa to prop up Marxist regimes there.

In 1979 the Ayatollah Khomeini was able to establish his brutal theocratic rule over Iran, confident that America, having learned "the lessons of Vietnam," would never intervene.

The judgment of history, as Raymond Aron once remarked, is without pity. History will judge how America and its leaders handle global responsibility in Iraq and the Middle East in the next decade.

As Winston Churchill said of the appeasement of Hitler at Munich, in 1975 Americans were "weighed in the balance and found wanting." We have a responsibility to the Iraqis – and to the memory of those we left behind – not to let that happen again.

Mr. Herman is the author, most recently, of "Gandhi and Churchill: The Epic Rivalry That Destroyed An Empire and Forged Our Age," just published by Bantam.

Those who don’t have the stomach to defend the freedoms and the standard of living we enjoy should be recognized as the cowards and ostriches they are; the rest of us must continue to remind America that our freedoms were won with blood, and that military service in defense of those freedoms is the highest calling of all. The left will cry “conspiracies”, “blunders” and “war profiteering” to hide their pacifism and their ignorance of history; unfortunately there will be just enough examples of some of these situations to divert attention from the real issues, as is happening in Iraq, Afghanistan and in other places around the world. Perhaps WMD had been removed from Iraq, but Baghdad was the capital of the new caliphate the Jihadists wanted to establish (we know this from their own words and writings), and Baghdad was the center providing support and training for many, anti-West terrorist groups. Iraq also sits in the center of a sea of oil to which the Jihadists want to deny us access, and when the eventual showdown with Iran comes, our military force in Iraq will give us a strategic advantage. Thank you, President Bush for your foresight and your courage in the face of such ignorant vituperation.

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button