Thursday, November 30, 2006

Shall We Just Wait For the Next Massacre?

Now that the Democrats have taken Congress, Rumsfeld has been fired and the Baker boys are in town, ‘cut and run’ is in the air, and the mortal danger we might have avoided is now staring us in the face.

Making the Last Mistake in Iraq (Excerpt)
Tony Blankley, November 22, 2006

“But if, as it is hard to imagine otherwise, our departure from Iraq yields civil war, chaos, warlordism and terrorist safe havens -- it is very likely that Iran will lurch in to harvest their advantages, Turkey will send in its army to stop an independent Kurdistan, and Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the other Sunni states will be sucked in to fend off Shi'a Iran's hegemony. In that nightmare maelstrom the 20 million barrels a day of oil shipped from the Persian Gulf -- and the world economy with it -- will be in daily risk of being cut off.

Nor is that all. Al Qaeda and other terrorists are already gloating that they have whipped the "cowardly Americans" in Iraq. We will be seen (in fact, we are already beginning to be seen) as a weak reed for moderate Muslims to rely on in their hearts and mind struggle against the radical Islamists. Bin Laden was right in one regard: People fear and follow the strong horse; even more so in Middle Eastern culture, where restraint is seen as weakness and murder is seen as strength.

In the face of such a dreadful likelihood, the emerging Washington consensus is an exercise in self-delusion unworthy of a 5-year-old. The almost consensus Washington argument assumes that if only we would formally talk with them, Iran and Syria would volunteer to pull our chestnuts out of the fire while we start removing troops from Iraq.

Such arguments exemplify the witticism that when ideas fail, words come in very handy. Iran has been our persistent enemy for 27 years -- Syria longer. They may well be glad to give us cover while we retreat, but that would merely be an exercise in slightly delayed gratification, not self-denial, let alone benignity. So long as Iran is ruled by its current radical Shi'a theocracy, she will be vigorously and violently undercutting any potentially positive, peaceful forces in the region -- and is already triggering a prolonged clash with the terrified Sunni nations. Our absence from the region will only make matters far worse.” Tony Blankley

This country, my country, the United States of America, can defeat any foe. We proved that in World War II and again during Desert Storm in 1991. In Korea and in Vietnam our military was placed under ‘politically correct’ constraints that prevented victory and got American soldiers killed; and now in Iraq the same thing seems to have been happening - from the early Fallujah battles to the withdrawal from Sadr City. Does any one doubt that we could wipe out these 10-12,000 terrorists and so-called ‘insurgents’ in Iraq in little more than a weekend if American military power were given free rein to destroy them as we did the Germans and the Japanese during World War II? Does anyone doubt that the application of Afghanistan type ‘shock and awe’ on a known stronghold of Shia murderers combined with similar strikes on their Sunni counterparts would bring this nonsense to a screeching halt? If we unleashed the power we have, the ultra-liberal peaceniks and peace-at-any-price cowards of Europe would not hate us any more than they do now, and the Iranians and the Syrians would do what they always do in the face of far superior firepower and the will to use it – capitulate.

Instead, because of our tip-toeing, I know we have to wait for an even greater calamity than 9/11 to happen before we stop the foolishness and get serious. Instead, I have to warn my loved ones to stay out of large crowds and large cities because I know in my bones the horror of what is going to happen here sometime soon.

Representative Rangel is being ridiculed for suggesting a draft, and I know his reasons have everything to do with politics and his is not a serious effort, but reinstating the draft is exactly what we need now, and some of his comments actually do make a lot of sense:

Why I want the draft (Excerpt)
Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006, New York Daily News

“The Bush administration, the Pentagon and some Republicans in Congress are considering deploying up to 20,000 more troops to Iraq, above the 141,000 already on the ground. Among the planners are Army Gen. John Abizaid, head of the U.S. Central Command, who has admitted the difficulty of finding additional combat troops for the war without expanding the size of the active-duty military.

If Abizaid is right, increasing troop strength will mean dipping further into the reserves and National Guard units, which are already carrying an unfair burden of multiple deployments. The overstretched active-duty Army is filling the ranks in Iraq with stop-loss orders and extended deployments, and even recalls of the Individual Ready Reserves, active-duty veterans who have time remaining on their military obligations.

These facts lead me to wonder how anyone who supports the war cannot support the military draft, especially when the growing burden on our uniformed troops is obvious, and the unfairness and absence of shared sacrifice in the population cannot be challenged.

If this war is the threat to our national security that the Bush administration insists it is, then the President should issue a call for all Americans to sacrifice for the nation's defense. If there must be a sacrifice, then the burden must be shared fairly.” Charles Rangel

November 23, 2006
Before - and After - Iraq
By Victor Davis Hanson (Excerpt)

“Taking out Saddam Hussein was not dreamed up - as is sometimes alleged - by sneaky supporters of Israel. Nor did oil-hungry CEOs or Halliburton puppeteers pull strings in the shadows to get us in. And the go-ahead wasn't given merely on the strength of trumped-up fears of weapons of mass destruction: The U.S. Congress authorized the war on 23 diverse counts, from Iraq's violation of the 1991 armistice to its record of giving both money and sanctuary to terrorists.

George W. Bush resolved to democratize Iraq also as a way to confront three grim facts of our recent past.

First, the United States had been far too friendly with atrocious regimes in the Middle East. And when bloodletting inevitably broke out, either internally or between aggressive regimes, too often we cynically played one side off the other. Or we backed repugnant insurgents, with little thought of the "blowback" that would result. We outsourced sophisticated arms and training to radical Islamists fighting against the Soviet-backed Afghan government. We hoped the murderous Saddam might check the murderous Iranian theocracy - and then again sold arms to the mullahs during the Iran-Contra affair.

We breezily called for an uprising of Shiites and Kurds only to abandon them to be slaughtered by Saddam after the first Gulf War. We cynically gave the Mubarak dynasty of Egypt billions in protection money to behave. While we thought we were achieving short-term expediency, American policy only increased long-term instability by not pressuring these tyrants to reform failed governments.

Second, at key moments in the 1980s and '90s, the United States signaled that it would appease its terrorist enemies rather than engage in the difficult work of uprooting them. We did little other than file an indictment or shoot a missile at the killers who murdered American citizens, diplomats and soldiers in East Africa, Lebanon, New York City, Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Leaving Lebanon, scurrying out of Somalia, and continually flying through Saddam's skies for 12 long years without removing him only cemented the image of an uncertain America.

Third, September 11 changed the way the U.S. looked at the status quo in the Middle East. That attack was the work of terrorists who were enabled by our autocratic clients in the Middle East, and emboldened by our previous inaction. In response, Iraq was an effort to end both the cynical realism and the convenient appeasement of the past - and so to address the much larger problems of the Middle East that, if left alone, could lead to another large-scale terrorist attack in the United States.

Whatever one thinks of our mistakes after Saddam was toppled, those three facts remain central to American foreign policy. Saudi subsidies to jihadists, Pakistani sanctuary for them, and Egyptian propaganda are all symptoms of these dictatorships hedging their bets - hoping their bought terrorists don't turn on them for their own failures and illegitimacy.

Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri will still connive to bring the new caliphate to Afghanistan, Iraq and beyond. And they won't be stopped by either cruise missiles or court subpoenas, but only by a resolute United States and Middle Eastern societies that elect their own leaders and live with the results.

We can demonize President Bush and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld all we want, or wish they presented their views in a kindlier and more artful fashion. We can wish that the United States were better at training Iraqis and killing terrorists to secure Iraq. But the same general mess in the Middle East will still confront Bush's and Rumsfeld's successors.

And long after the present furor over Iraq dies down, the idea of trying to help democratic reformers fight terrorists, and to distance America from failed regimes that are antithetical to our values, simply will not go away.

That tough idealism will stay - because in the end it is the only right and smart thing to do.” Victor Davis Hanson


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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The University of Michigan vs. The People

All these years Americans have obeyed unwise laws granting special preferences to certain groups. For a while, there may have been some justification for treating some Americans differently from others, but that is no longer true, if it ever was.

Now, Mary Sue Coleman, President of the University of Michigan, should obey the law. Why is it that leftists always think they know best and have a higher ‘duty’ to subvert laws with which they disagree? This reminds me of Michael Dukakis and John Kerry (as Governor and Lt. Governor of Massachusetts), who conspired to give fake Social Security Numbers to illegal aliens so they could collect benefits to which they were not entitled. To hell with the law if they disagree.

November 23, 2006
The University of Michigan vs. The People
By Steve Chapman

After the votes were counted on election night, there were lots of gracious concession statements by losing candidates thanking their supporters, offering to work with the winners and paying tribute to the virtues of democracy. Then there was Mary Sue Coleman, who was having none of this.

The day after Michigan's citizens voted to ban the use of racial and gender preferences by public institutions, the president of the University of Michigan gave an embittered speech telling them to take a long walk off a short pier. Her message was that the school would do "whatever it takes" to delay, frustrate and circumvent the clearly expressed will of the public. She could have been more succinct if she had merely repeated the words of Dick Tuck after losing a California state senate race in 1964: "The people have spoken -- the bastards."

Coleman has been a staunch champion of the idea of correcting racial discrimination by practicing racial discrimination. The University of Michigan's admissions policies have the effect of accepting many black and Hispanic applicants who would be rejected if they were white or Asian-American.

Until the Supreme Court ruled it illegal, the formula automatically gave 20 points (out of 100 needed for acceptance) to anyone from an "underrepresented" minority group. A perfect SAT score, by contrast, was worth only 12 points. Though it struck down that approach, the court agreed to let the school employ race as a "plus factor" in a program aimed at assuring "diversity" in the student body. Double standards in the pursuit of what amount to racial quotas were allowed to continue.

But it turns out that was not the last word. Opponents of racial preferences responded to the Supreme Court decision by offering a state constitutional amendment, Proposal 2, to outlaw this kind of discrimination. On Nov. 7, it was approved with the support of 58 percent of the voters.

Coleman exudes contempt for these people, accusing them of opposing "a community that is fair and equal for all." She said California's 1996 ban on racial and gender preferences "has been a horribly failed experiment" that "we cannot, and will not, allow to take seed here in Michigan." And she assured her campus audience that she would not be bound by the intentions of the voters: "We will find ways to overcome the handcuffs that Proposal 2 attempts to place on our reach for greater diversity."

(You can see a video of Coleman's speech here.)

The good news, she said, is that a variety of "outreach" programs will remain in operation despite the new law. This is a surprising revelation, since before Nov. 7, opponents of the ban insisted it would doom efforts to recruit minority and female students. Now we are told that it won't. Were we being misled then, or are we being misled now?

The same question applies to her insistence that the university can still achieve the kind of diversity it prizes. Before the vote, supporters of the initiative said it would not make the campus a sea of rich white kids. Now Coleman seems to concur. That, or she plans to defy the new policy by using race surreptitiously to achieve the same old ends.

But she also entertains the fantasy that the university can overturn Proposal 2 in court. If she believes that, I've got some oceanfront property in Kalamazoo that she might want to buy. A liberal group has already filed a lawsuit, making the ingenious claim that the ban on racial discrimination violates provisions of the U.S. Constitution and federal laws that . . . ban racial discrimination. In response to that theory, I have three words: Ha. Ha. Ha.

As it happens, the most liberal federal appeals court in the United States heard exactly the same arguments against the California measure, and it roundly rejected them. The court noted pointedly that the 1964 Civil Rights Act has language specifically addressing affirmative action: "Nothing contained in this subchapter shall be interpreted to require any [entity] . . . to grant preferential treatment to any individual or to any group because of the race, color, religion, sex or national origin of such individual or group." End of story.

It's no surprise that Coleman doesn't welcome the new ban or the constraints it puts on her enlightened discretion. But if the head of a state university can't respect a legally valid policy approved in a binding referendum by the people she serves, here is the speech she should give: "I quit." Steve Chapman


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Monday, November 27, 2006

It's Official: Media Body Burning Story is Bogus

Cross-posted from

It's Official: Media Body Burning Story is Bogus
Posted by Greg Sheffield on November 27, 2006 - 13:25.

The news that six Sunnis were captured by Shiites, doused with kerosine and burned alive, was too sensational to not be picked up by the mainstream media. But it turns out that the event never happened. Furthermore, the Iraqi "spokesman" relied on to give all information regarding this event is as fictional as the story itself.

Jamil Hussein, the man news reports called "police Capt. Jamil Hussein," was the source for all information regarding the burning. Although he is mentioned by USA Today, the Associated Press, CBS News, and other outlets, Central Command says no such person exists. Centcom also asked the Associated Press to retract the story unless it has proof beyond Jamil Hussein's word.

Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Dear Associated Press:

On Nov. 24, 2006, your organization published an article by Qais Al-Bashir about six Sunnis being burned alive in the presence of Iraqi Police officers. This news item, which is below, received an enormous amount of coverage internationally.

We at Multi-National Corps - Iraq made it known through MNC-I Press Release Number 20061125-09 and our conversations with your reporters that neither we nor Baghdad Police had any reports of such an incident after investigating it and could find no one to corroborate the story. A couple of hours ago, we learned something else very important. We can tell you definitively that the primary source of this story, police Capt. Jamil Hussein, is not a Baghdad police officer or an MOI employee. We verified this fact with the MOI through the Coalition Police Assistance Training Team.

Also, we definitely know, as we told you several weeks ago through the MNC-I Media Relations cell, that another AP-popular IP spokesman, Lt. Maithem Abdul Razzaq, supposedly of the city’s Yarmouk police station, does not work at that police station and is also not authorized to speak on behalf of the IP. The MOI has supposedly issued a warrant for his questioning.

I know we have informed you that there exists an MOI edict that no one below the level of chief is authorized to be an Iraqi Police spokesperson. An unauthorized IP spokesperson will get fired for talking to the media. While I understand the importance of a news agency to use anonymous and unauthorized sources, it is still incumbent upon them to make sure their facts are straight. Was this information verified by anyone else? If the source providing the information is lying about his name, then he ought not to be represented as an official IP spokesperson and should be listed as an anonymous source.

Unless you have a credible source to corroborate the story of the people being burned alive, we respectfully request that AP issue a retraction, or a correction at a minimum, acknowledging that the source named in the story is not who he claimed he was. MNC-I and MNF-I are always available and willing to verify events and provide as much information as possible when asked.

Very respectfully,
Lieutenant, U.S. Navy
MNC-I Joint Operations Center
Public Affairs Officer

We know that USA Today, CBS News, the Associated Press and Reuters have been caught over and over again lying and distorting in their reporting from Iraq and from the recent Israeli-Hezbollah conflict. In this atmosphere I suppose it is too much to ask that they not publish stories from non-existent persons and from obvious propagandists for people who want to kill us?


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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Only Unlawful Enemy Combatants Need Apply

At a Thanksgiving dinner party one of the guests surprised me with the vehemence of his objection to recent Congressional action which authorized military commissions for the trying of certain Islamic terrorists. It surprised me because he was quite conservative in some of the other views he expressed that day. His complaint was that this authorization endangered his constitutional rights in general and that these powers would be abused.

Like so many other people who are not really paying attention, my dinner companion is not aware of several important points:

1. The act (Section 948d of title 10 of the United States Code) applies only to "unlawful enemy combatants" such as “a person who has engaged in hostilities or who has purposefully and materially supported hostilities against the United States or its co-belligerents who is not a lawful enemy combatant (including a person who is part of the Taliban, al Qaeda, or associated forces)”. In other words, this act does not apply to US citizens; it only applies to foreign terrorists or certain enemy combatants.

2. The US criminal justice system is not set up to handle cases of large-scale terrorism such as 9/11. The reason it is not is because one must commit an actual criminal act before one can be arrested and tried. Casing a bank or planning a bank robbery is not a criminal act to be dealt with by our criminal justice system – only when an overt step is taken towards carrying out that plan does a criminal act take place. With terrorist acts, we must PREVENT them, not punish them. We must take preventive steps to stop these acts because the scale of death and destruction they encompass is just too horrific. We cannot afford to take any chances with these mass murderers.

3. Another reason why we cannot try these cases in civilian courts concerns the intelligence secrets that would be revealed. No foreign intelligence service would ever cooperate with us again if they knew their agents and their methods would be discussed in open court, and our own intelligence assets would also be compromised and rendered useless.

4. One other problem with trying terrorism cases in US criminal court is that we unfortunately have embedded in our judiciary many left-wing, overly-lenient judges appointed by left-wingers like former President Carter. A perfect example of this was the 28 month sentence given to Lynne Stewart, the attorney for the blind Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman. This incredibly light sentence for aiding and abetting terrorists (she carried notes and passed communications from Rahman to his fellow terrorists) was issued by US District Court Judge John Koeltl. He cited her years of advocacy for the poor and downtrodden as a reason for a lenient term behind bars.

One situation that Congress does not seem to have confronted and solved has to do with US citizens who conspire with foreign terrorists to commit acts of terrorism on US soil. So far, the federal courts have ruled that they must be tried in US criminal court (Jose Padilla is a case in point). This does not seem like a reasonable or a realistic course of action. We shall see shortly as the Padilla case is making its way to trial in January, 2007. For reasons that are unfathomable to me, Padilla seems to have become a cause celebre of the American left.

From Wikipedia:
"Padilla was born in 1971, in New York, and moved to Chicago with his family when he was a child. He was involved in gang violence as a youth, and spent time in juvenile detention for involvement in a murder. Arrested several more times, his last prison stay was in 1991, when he was jailed for a road-rage shooting incident in Florida. He converted to Islam sometime after he was released from prison, and became friends with the head of Benevolence International Foundation, a charity which U.S. investigators have accused of funding terrorist activities. In 1998, Padilla traveled to Egypt, and then to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, where he is said to have met up with al-Qaeda operatives. A highly-placed al-Qaeda member named Padilla as having been sent to the U.S. to conduct reconnaisance and carry out attacks on their behalf, leading to Padilla's arrest."


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Saturday, November 25, 2006

A Profiling In Courage (or six geese a-laying and a partridge in a pear tree)

A Profiling In Courage
Posted 11/22/2006

Homeland Security: Kudos to US Airways. Risking fines and a boycott, it did the right thing this week by removing a group of Muslim men from a flight to protect its crew and passengers.

By most accounts, the six bearded men were behaving suspiciously at a time when airports were on high alert for sky terror during the holidays. "There were a number of things that gave the flight crew pause," an airline spokesman said. According to witnesses and police reports, the men:

• Made anti-American statements.
• Made a scene of praying and chanting "Allah."
• Asked for seat-belt extensions even though a flight attendant thought they didn't need them.
• Refused requests by the pilot to disembark for more screening.

Also, three of the men had only one-way tickets and no checked baggage.

Police had to forcibly remove the men from the flight, whereupon they were taken into custody. A search found no weapons or explosives, and they were released to continue on their journey.

Within hours, the men enlisted a Muslim-rights group to make a stink in the press, insisting they were merely imams returning home from an Islamic conference in Minneapolis. They say they were "harassed" because of their faith.

But were they victims or provocateurs?

All six claim to be Americans, so clearly they were aware of heightened security. Surely they knew that groups of Muslim men flying together while praying to Allah fit the modus operandi of the 9/11 hijackers and would make a pilot nervous. Throw in anti-U.S. remarks and odd demands about seat belts, and they might as well have yelled, "Bomb!"

Yet they chose to make a spectacle. Why? Turns out among those attending their conference was Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, D-Minn., who will be the first Muslim sworn into Congress (with his hand on the Quran). Two days earlier, Ellison, an African-American convert who wants to criminalize Muslim profiling, spoke at a fundraiser for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Muslim-rights group that wasted no time condemning US Airways for "prejudice and ignorance."

CAIR wants congressional hearings to investigate other incidents of "flying while Muslim." Incoming Judiciary Chairman John Con-yers, D-Mich., has already drafted a resolution, borrowing from CAIR rhetoric, that gives Muslims special civil-rights protections

While it's not immediately clear whether the incident was a stunt to help give the new Democratic majority cover to criminalize airport profiling, it wouldn't be the first time Muslim passengers have tried to prove "Islamophobia" — or test nerves and security.

Two years ago a dozen Syrian men caused panic aboard a Northwest Airlines flight by passing bags to each other as they used the lavatory. As the plane prepared to land, they rushed to the back and front of the plane speaking in Arabic.

Then there's the case of Muhammed al-Qudhaieen and Hamdan al-Shalawi, two Arizona college students removed from an America West flight after twice trying to open the cockpit. The FBI suspected it was a dry run for the 9/11 hijackings, according to the 9/11 Commission Report. One of the students had traveled to Afghanistan. Another became a material witness in the 9/11 investigation.

Even so, the pair filed racial-profiling suits against America West, now part of US Airways. Defending them was none other than the leader of the six imams kicked off the US Airways flight this week.

Turns out the students attended the Tucson, Ariz., mosque of Sheikh Omar Shahin, a Jordan native. Shahin has been the protesters' public face, even returning to the US Airways ticket counter at the Minneapolis airport to scold agents before the cameras.
In an Arizona Republic interview after 9/11, he acknowledged once supporting Osama bin Laden through his mosque in Tucson. FBI investigators believe bin Laden set up a base in Tucson.

Hani Hanjour, who piloted the plane that hit the Pentagon, attended the Tucson mosque along with bin Laden's onetime personal secretary, according to the 9/11 Commission Report. Bin Laden's ex-logistics chief was president of the mosque before Shahin took over.

"These people don't continue to come back to Arizona because they like the sunshine or they like the state," said FBI agent Kenneth Williams. "Something was established there, and it's been there for a long time." And Shahin appears to be in the middle of it.

CAIR asserts the imams are peace-loving patriots. "It's inappropriate to treat religious leaders that way," a spokesman said.

Yeah, they all wear halos. Omar Abdul-Rahman, a blind sheikh, is serving a life term for plotting to blow up several New York landmarks. Imam Ali al-Timimi, a native Washingtonian, is also behind bars for soliciting local Muslims to kill fellow Americans. Imams in New York were recently busted for buying shoulder-fired missiles. Another in Lodi, Calif., planned an al-Qaida terror camp there.

We could go on and on. Imams or not, US Airways did right by its customers. Shahin is calling on Muslims to boycott the airline; that might actually work in its favor. US Airways has been flooded with calls from Americans saying it just became the safest airline.


Power Line
November 24, 2006 (Excerpt)

"CAIR wants congressional hearings to investigate other incidents of "flying while Muslim." Incoming Judiciary Chairman John Conyers, D-Mich., has already drafted a resolution, borrowing from CAIR rhetoric, that gives Muslims special civil-rights protections.

While it's not immediately clear whether the incident was a stunt to help give the new Democratic majority cover to criminalize airport profiling, it wouldn't be the first time Muslim passengers have tried to prove "Islamophobia" — or test nerves and security.”


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Friday, November 24, 2006

Well What Do You Know, I Was Right About Conservative Giving

In December, 2005, I wrote an article entitled, “Proof Conservatives Donate More Than Liberals Do”. In that article I presented data that indicated that residents of states that voted Republican in 2004 donated more, in terms of per capita income, than did residents of states that voted Democrat. Here is an excerpt from that article:

“One of my children, who is of the liberal persuasion, implied recently that liberals were, well, just nicer people than conservatives. This goes back to the old "fish" argument - that it is better, and more compassionate, to teach a man to fish than to give him a fish. If you give him a fish you feed him once, but then he waits to be given another fish. If you teach him to fish, you feed him forever. The founding fathers of this country were well-versed in history and on the nature of man when they organized our form of government to encourage the pursuit of profit - with private property, enforcement of contracts and limited government providing the setting. Their inventions have led to the greatest prosperity and freedom ordinary working people have ever known throughout all history.

But a little research I have done shows a much more pertinent difference between liberals and conservatives on the matter of niceness and compassion. We conservatives have often considered that liberals show their "compassion" by giving away what other people earn - in the form of taxes collected and redistributed in the form of various welfare programs. Now I can prove that it actually goes much deeper than that. Liberals tend to be much more stingy in contributing their own money to charities than are conservatives.

If you look at the per capita income ranking and compare it to the per capita giving ranking, on a state by state basis, you find that the top 25 contributors were states that all voted for Bush (R) in the last election, while the bottom 9 in contributions (and 19 of the bottom 25) voted for Kerry (D).”

I got some criticism from liberals for that article. As usual, when confronted by facts that contradict what they feel, they reject the facts. Recently a book by an author who has researched the same question has been published. Here is an excerpt of an article describing that book and it’s author:

Philanthropy Expert: Conservatives Are More Generous
By Frank Brieaddy
Religion News Service

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks is about to become the darling of the religious right in America -- and it's making him nervous.

The child of academics, raised in a liberal household and educated in the liberal arts, Brooks has written a book that concludes religious conservatives donate far more money than secular liberals to all sorts of charitable activities, irrespective of income.

In the book, he cites extensive data analysis to demonstrate that values advocated by conservatives -- from church attendance and two-parent families to the Protestant work ethic and a distaste for government-funded social services -- make conservatives more generous than liberals.

The book, titled "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism" (Basic Books, $26), is due for release Nov. 24.

When it comes to helping the needy, Brooks writes: "For too long, liberals have been claiming they are the most virtuous members of American society. Although they usually give less to charity, they have nevertheless lambasted conservatives for their callousness in the face of social injustice."

For the record, Brooks, 42, has been registered in the past as a Democrat, then a Republican, but now lists himself as independent, explaining, "I have no comfortable political home."


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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Islamic Imperialism Over the Centuries – A Must Read for Americans

This is a fascinating historical summary that helps Americans better understand that the Islamofascist terrorism we face is like a recurring wave from a tidal river of history. It has reached our shore and touched us with its death and destruction, but it is nothing new, and, like the tides, it goes in and out. At the end of this piece I have placed a link to a site that illustrates in a video some of the major developments described below.

Primer on Islamic Imperialism
November 20th, 2006
The American Thinker

One of the alleged sins held against the West by Islamic radicalism – which has declared war on us through Osama bin Laden’s fatwa issued in 1998 in London – is imperialism: the imperialism of the Dutch, the British and the French from the 17th to the 20th centuries. (For some reason, Russian imperialism in Central Asia gets a pass – so far.) Israel is allegedly an outpost of European imperialism.

The original western imperial enterprise in the radical Islamic narrative was the Crusades. The First Crusade began in 1095. The Crusades were undertaken to reclaim the Holy Land for Christendom. Reclaim it from whom? From the Muslims.

But Mohammed died in Medina in 632 as ruler of the Hijaz, the northwest section of Arabia along the Red Sea which includes the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. But if they only controlled the Hijaz in 632, what were the Muslims doing in Jerusalem in 1100?

Of course, they were there by conquest! They were they by virtue of Islamic imperialism – the extension of the Land of Islam (Dar al-Islam) by holy war: jihad (notwithstanding the other meanings of this term).

Let’s review. Muhammad, the founder of Islam, was a warrior and ruler who conquered Mecca and the Hijaz from his base in Medina. Following The Prophet’s death in 632, Islam was spread by Arab and Muslim conquest. There are Muslims who are not Arabs, but the first phase of expansion was Arab expansion. The ruler of the Muslim world, the successor to Muhammad, was the Caliph – “the shadow of God on earth.”

The Caliph was both the religious and political head of the Muslim world which, unlike the Christian world, draws no distinction between the two. In North Africa and the Middle East, the lands that the Arab Muslim world expanded into were controlled by the Byzantine Empire, the successor to the Roman Empire, with its capital at Constantinople. These were Christian lands. To the East, between the Middle East and India, was the Persian Empire with a different religious tradition.

At the death of Muhammad in 632, the realm of Islam consisted of northwest Arabia. To the north and west is Christian Byzantium, to the east is Persia. Neither of these were Arab; neither of them were Muslim. But within 100 years, the territory from Persia to Spain was controlled by Muslim Arabs. How did this happen? Egypt, for instance, was not in 632 an Arab country. It was of a different ethnic stock and had been in existence for 3600 years.

What happened was conquest, one of the most impressive in history. Here is a very brief timeline:

1. 630 – Muhammad conquers Mecca from his base in Medina.

2. 632 – Muhammad dies in Medina. Islam controls the Hijaz.

3. 636 – conquest of Syria. Victory in battle over the Byzantines gives Syria and the surrounding lands, all Christian – including Palestine and Iraq – to the Caliph.

4. 636 – 642 Persia conquered by the Muslims.

5. 642 – conquest of Egypt. The Arab/Muslim conquest moves west along North Africa into hitherto non-Arab/non-Muslim lands.

First Muslim invasion of Europe: from the West

6. 711 – Tariq (after whom Gibraltar is named: the Rock of Tariq – Gib al-Tariq) invades Spain. The Muslim conquest moves into Europe.

7. 718 – conquest of Spain complete.

8. 732 – Muslim invasion of France is stopped at the Battle of Poitiers (also called the Battle of Tours). This is regarded as one of the turning points in world history. The Franks, under their leader Charles Martel (the grandfather of Charlemagne), defeat the Muslims and turn them back out of France.

Thus, in exactly 100 years, from the death of The Prophet in 632, to 732, the Arab/Muslim realm had extended from the Hijaz, a province in Arabia, to encompass Syria, Palestine, Iraq, Persia, Egypt, the North African littoral, Spain and, temporarily, part of France.

The first European interaction with Islam is with Islam in the role of a conquering army, and, in the case of Spain, one that comes to stay. Spain became a Muslim colony. Over several hundred years, Spain was reconquered – the reconquista – for Christendom. The last Moors are expelled in 1492 by Ferdinand and Isabella.

In the 1300’s, the Turks took over leadership of the Muslim world from the Arabs. They established the Ottoman Empire with its capital at Christian Constantinople after conquering it in 1453. The Muslim world under Ottoman leadership began incursions into Europe from the East.

Second Muslim invasion of Europe: from the East

9. 1453 – Muslim Turks conquer Christian Constantinople and make it the seat of the Caliphate

10. 1456 – Muslims conquer Athens

11. 1478 – Serbia, Bosnia, Crimea come under Ottoman control

12. 1480 – Otranto in Italy taken by the Ottomans

13. 1529 – Vienna besieged by the Ottomans

14. 1683 – Battle of Vienna. The Turks are defeated by the Polish king Jan Sobieski leading a combined Polish-Lithuanian army. This is the high-water-mark of Turkish/Muslim conquest of Europe from the East.

1683 is an important year, because after that the Muslim Empire had no further military successes over the West. Thus, while this date seems lost in the mists of time to most Westerners, it remains a vivid memory in Islamic history. It marks the beginning of a downward slide in military fortunes that ended with the defeat of the Ottoman Empire by the British and French in World War I, the occupation of Muslim lands by the European states, and finally the abolition of the Caliphate itself by Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk) in 1924.

But in the 1980’s, something important happened. When the Russians invaded Afghanistan in 1979, the U.S. decided that it would support the native Afghan resistance, the mujahedeen. This resulted in a massive arms support operation by the CIA, funneled through the Pakistani intelligence service the ISI.

Thus, the American hand was concealed from the mujahedeen. When, particularly with the help of the Stinger missile, the Russians were defeated by the mujahedeen, this represented in their own eyes a victory of Islamic forces over those of a modern state – indeed, a superpower – something not seen since the 17th century in the Muslim world. Here was a model to be built on.

15. 1979 – Soviet Union invades Afghanistan

16. 1988 – Soviet Union leaves Afghanistan, defeated by the Muslim mujahedeen. A victory for Islam over the “West.”

17. 1991 – Soviet Union disintegrates. Who can say that its defeat by the Muslims was not its mortal blow?

Third Muslim invasion of Europe: from the South

And now we find ourselves confronted by a third Muslim attack on the West – a third “invasion of Europe” (if “Europe” is expanded to mean culture as well as geography, and includes North America) by an expansionary Muslim philosophy – by Islamic radicalism. The first Muslim attack was from the West in the 700’s; the second was from the East in the 1400’s – 1600’s; the third began with the defeat of the Soviet Union in 1988 in Afghanistan and its subsequent collapse and is in the form of mass immigration.

The philosopher and economist Thomas Sowell instructs us to ask “as compared to what?” when evaluating and criticizing human enterprise. It is pointless to compare human enterprise to some abstract ideal that has never existed. As Sowell points out, if the standard is set high enough, anything will fail.

Was the British Empire – the archetype of Western imperialism – a bad thing?

As compared to what? As compared to the Muslim Empires? As compared to them, the British Empire was a model of enlightenment. The Muslims pride themselves on their tolerance of minorities. But that tolerance came at the cost of dhimmitude – second-class citizenship and payment of tributes. The British Empire was, yes, established by force, but it was not sustained only by force. It was also sustained by consent. And it left behind a number of the freest, richest, most liberal countries on earth. As compared to the Muslims, the British look pretty good.

But it is not the point of this article that Arab/Muslim imperialism was an evil, or at least was not a unique evil. It was a human enterprise with its strengths and weaknesses. Muslim culture at its highest was high indeed. The Muslims preserved and passed on the learning of the Greeks. The Arabs developed Arabic numerals, and invented the number zero (or the next best thing, recognized the significance of the Indians having done so), the basis of modern mathematics. Algebra is an Arabic word: al-gebera. Muslim letters, science, medicine and architecture were at the highest level of achievement.

But so are our own. Today. We can’t have a double standard here – being impressed by the achievements and conquests of Arab/Muslim civilization but at the same time embarrassed by the even more impressive achievements and conquests of the West. If conquest is something to be embarrassed by, if it is a moral disqualification, then the Arab/Muslims are at the head of the line; Europe is well back on the list! And whatever the achievements of medieval Muslim culture, and they were many, they are in the past. There are few achievements today, and none to compare with those of the West.

Yes, one can certainly ask about spiritual achievement. If the Muslims wish to live in the 8th century, nobody is stopping them. Just as nobody stops the Amish from living in the 18th century. But if the standard is living in the 21st century, then it is clear that the West is a superior culture in all respects – in comfort of living, in science, in medicine, in human rights, in the rights of women to name just a few.

We are in a fight for our lives against Islamic radicalism. We cannot unilaterally disarm ourselves morally because of some imagined slights offered to Muslim culture by the West. Yes, we are the stronger, but that was not always so. When Muslims were the stronger, they prided themselves on their conquests and their cultural and political dominance, which still shape the world in which we live.

Greg Richards is an occasional contributor to American Thinker.

To see history in action, go here.


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Monday, November 20, 2006

A Moderate Conservative Is a Non-sequitur, or Is It?

On Sunday, November 12, 2006, I wrote a piece entitled, “Where Do Reasonably Moderate Conservatives Go From Here?”. I posted this article on my weblog and also on a conservative website. It resulted in a slew of comments from conservatives that “it’s not possible to be a moderate and a conservative, too”. Some of the comments to that effect were not so polite as they could be, and obviously I had touched a nerve among some people. It got me thinking about two questions: can you be a moderate conservative; and, what separates a moderate conservative like me from a ‘real’ conservative. The answer to the first question is yes – and without being a wishy-washy RINO. We are not liberals masquerading as Republicans. The answers to the second question appear below:

1. We want illegal immigration stopped, but we are in favor of a tough, earned citizenship program and a guest-worker program. We understand that the illegals here are mostly here to perform honest work, that all of them can never be rounded up and returned, and that there are jobs (like vegetable and fruit harvesting) for which we direly need them. We do want to see that fence under construction before the rest of the program is implemented.

2. We want limitations placed on abortion after the first trimester, and we want Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton overturned - not to stop all abortions, but because these decisions represent a grievous shredding of our Constitution, and judicial activism at its worst. However, we do not wish to return to the days of back alley abortions.

3. We believe that the Terri Schiavo case and the attempt to overturn the Oregon Death With Dignity Act represented injudicial intrusions of the federal government into private family matters, but we do not want government funding of research that involves the destruction of embryonic stem cells.

4. We remember Senator Joseph McCarthy as a dangerous, drunken bully who terrorized America’s intelligentsia – some of whom, during a time when capitalism looked like it had failed, had gone to meetings at organizations that were later categorized as ’communist fronts’. We will excuse our younger conservatives for not understanding the climate of fear and the loss of freedoms that this man engendered.

5. We agree with our more conservative friends that the Department of Education and teachers unions represent the greatest barriers to improving education in America, and that educational vouchers represent the best path to that end.

6. We are for limited government and low taxes; however, we are in favor of providing whatever resources are needed by intelligence agencies and the military to advance and defend America’s worldwide interests. We support President Bush in the Iraq War and want our troops to stay there as long as is necessary and approve the employment of whatever resources are needed to stabilize Iraq and keep it from partnering with terrorists.

7. We believe that Islamic fundamentalism represents the greatest threat now faced by western and American civilization, but we do not believe that the great majority of Muslims, world-wide, support these Islamofascist terrorists. We believe we need the active support of peaceful Muslim nations to counter and defeat this threat. Muslims have the right to try to institute their Sharia by peaceful, democratic means, and the rest of us have the right to point out what they are trying to do, the damage to our freedoms and traditions the Sharia represents, and to defeat these attempts.


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Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Vast Indignity of Atheism by Avi Shafran

This impressive and thought-provoking column appeared recently in the Providence Journal. After reading of the mayhem surrounding the recent release of Playstation 3, I thought I should share it with my viewers.

Avi Shafran: The vast indignity of atheism

BACK ON MARCH 12, a paean to "the dignity of atheism" appeared on The New York Times op-ed page. It was penned by celebrated philosopher Slavoj Zizek, who, had he consulted the same periodical's obituary page a mere three days earlier, would have come face to image with the late Richard Kuklinski.

Mr. Kuklinski, who was retired from life at 70, claimed, utterly without remorse, to have killed more than 100 people as a Mafia enforcer. His favored methods included ice picks, crossbows, chain saws and a cyanide solution administered with a nasal-spray bottle.

The happy hit man's example might not have given pause to Professor Zizek, the international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities. But it should have.

Because the notion that there is no higher authority than nature is precisely what enables people like Mr. Kuklinski -- and the vast majority of the killers, rapists and thieves who populate the nightly news.

No, no, of course that is not to say that most atheists engage in amoral or unethical behavior. What it is to say, though, is that atheism qua atheism presents no compelling objection to such behavior -- or, for that matter, any convincing defense of the very concepts of ethics and morality.

The reason is not abstruse. One who sees only random forces behind why we humans find ourselves here is ultimately bound only by his wants. With no imperative beyond the biological, a true atheist, pressed hard enough by circumstances toward unethical or immoral behavior, cannot feel compelled to resist. Why should he?

In his view, a purposeless process of evolution has brought us to where we stand, and our feeling that there are good deeds and evil ones is but a utilitarian quirk of natural selection, like our proclivity to eat more than we need when food is available. And so, just as we might choose to forgo a second helping of pizza if we harbor an urge to lose weight, so may we choose, for personal gain (of desires, not pounds), to loosen our embrace of a moral, ethical life. Biological advantages, after all, are not moral imperatives.

Atheism, in the end, is a belief system in its own right, one in which there can be no claim that a thieving, philandering, serial-murdering cannibal is any less commendable a member of the species than a selfless, hard-working philanthropist. In fact, from an evolutionist perspective, the former may well have the advantage.

To a true atheist, there can be no more ultimate meaning to good and bad actions than to good or bad weather; no more import to right and wrong than to right and left. To be sure, rationales might be conceived for establishing societal norms, but social contracts are practical tools, not moral imperatives; they are, in the end, artificial. Only an acknowledgment of the Creator can impart true meaning to human life, placing it on a plane above that of mosquitoes.

Proponents of atheism bristle when confronted with the implications of their belief, that morality and ethics are mere figments of our evolutionary imagination. But, for all their umbrage, they cannot articulate any way there can really ever be, as one writer has put it, "good without G-d."

The bristlers are not liars, only inconsistent; some well-hidden part of their minds recognizes that humans have a higher calling than hyenas. But while the cognitive dissonance shifts to overdrive, the stubborn logic remains: The game is zero-sum. Either there is no meaningful mandate for human beings or there is. And if there is, there must be a Mandator.

What inspired Professor Zizek to celebrate atheism as "perhaps our only chance for peace" in the world was the unarguably dismal example set by some people who are motivated by religion. He is certainly correct that much modern mayhem is deeply rooted in claims of religious rectitude. What he forgets, though, is that the world has also seen unimaginable evil -- perhaps its greatest share -- from men who professed no belief in divinity, whose motivations were entirely secular in nature.

Adolf Hitler was no believer in G-d. Nor was Josef Stalin. Nor Pol Pot. Together, the trio was responsible for the murders of tens of millions of human beings. They pursued their dreams as atheists with no less relish than Osama bin Laden pursues his as an Islamist.

Evil is evil, whether expressed through faithlessness or misguided faith. But only a belief in a Higher Being has the potential -- realized or not -- of reining in the darker elements that haunt human souls.

Some of my best friends -- okay, one or two -- are atheists. Stranded on a desert island, I would prefer the company of any of them to Osama's. But if my choice of island partner were between two strangers about whom I knew only that one believed there is no higher reason for human life and the other that there is, I know which one I'd choose.

And I think Professor Zizek might make the same choice.

Rabbi Avi Shafran is director of public affairs for Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox Jewish organization.


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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Another Case of Throwing the Baby Out with the Bathwater

The following letter appeared in a Florida newspaper this week:

Voters handed win to the terrorists


I find it painful that I had to see Americans through Islamic terrorists' eyes, for what they really are. You Americans who voted the Democratic ticket, handed the Al Quaida and Islamic terrorists their second greatest victory after 9/11.

Through the brainwashing rhetoric of the Democratic party, you bought into their aspirations to recapture the White House at the expense of the safety of our country and children. I am ashamed of my fellow Americans who no longer have the will to fight for our freedoms and way of life.

I shouldn't be so surprised, because this is the same generation that turned on to drugs and turned off to responsibility. The same flower power children who thought everything could be solved by sitting around a camp fire, holding hands and singing "Kumbaya." The same group that spit and slandered our troops when they came back from Vietnam. The same group that even today say they support our troops, but secretly despise them.

On this Veterans Day, when we pay homage to those who served, I can't help wondering just how many of you still secretly despise us, and why you no longer have the pride and loyalty to our country and American ideals.

We have given the terrorists what they could not win on the battlefield, and I fear we will pay a heavy price in the blood of our children and grandchildren.
God bless America.

Name withheld

I completely understand and instinctively agree with the author of this well-written and thoughtful letter, but I know that this thinking gets us nowhere. We had a Republican Congress that was poorly led and had succumbed to the temptations that have afflicted people in positions of power down through history, and we have not achieved our objectives in Iraq. Trying to win is not the same as winning; it’s the same as trying to kill a king: once you try, you had better succeed; there is no going back.

Over the next two years Republicans have to have in place Congressional leadership that is tough-minded and competent, and President Bush has to stop running a ‘politically correct’ war in Iraq. I hope that the Baker boys study group is just a cover for exactly that. The word that 20,000 troops are to be shifted to Baghdad is a good sign.

The election of Senator Trent Lott is not a good sign, and neither is the appointment of Mel Martinez to lead the RNC. It may well be that conservatives and patriots are in for even bigger disappointments. The first sign was President Bush’s indication that he can work with a Democrat Congress on illegal immigration. Goodbye fence; hello amnesty without conditions.

Having said all that, I would much rather throw in with someone who recognized the threat to our existence and has tried to do something about it than with those with their heads in the sand.


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Friday, November 17, 2006

Theft Through Eminent Domain Takes a Big Hit

Among the debris of the election this month one good thing did happen – the Kelo decision by the Supreme Court was effectively nullified by many states. Kelo v. New London established the incredible concept that government bodies could take, by force, privately owned property and transfer that property to another private party. This fall, nine of twelve states passed constitutional amendments banning this practice. In addition, the federal government and many other states have passed restrictions on this anti-American practice which turns upside down our bedrock value of private property rights. Eminent domain should only be used to acquire for the public - property needed for a critical public purpose. This is developing into a major defeat for the left.

Accuracy In Media
“On September 30, 2006 the Louisiana electorate voted to amend its constitution. Yesterday twelve States had ballot propositions in varying degrees seeking to circumscribe the reasons why a governmental entity could take private property. Voters in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon and South Carolina approved these limitations. New Hampshire results are not yet available. California, Idaho and Washington voters rejected their propositions.”

USA Today
N.H. voters opt to curb eminent domain; smaller House districts also at stake
Updated 11/8/2006 3:13 AM ET

CANTERBURY, N.H. (AP) — Voters overwhelmingly decided Tuesday to amend the state constitution to bar government from taking private property from one landowner so another could develop it.

With 254 of the 301 precincts reporting, 86% voted to approve the change.

BALLOT MEASURES: Initiative results by state
Property rights advocates argued a 2005 U.S. Supreme Court decision gives government broad latitude in eminent domain cases if taking property provides a public benefit. The amendment, one of 11 on state ballots around the country, would limit takings to projects like schools and roads actually used by the public.

This spring, New Hampshire lawmakers rewrote state law to allow takings only for a public use. They also approved the proposed amendment on Tuesday's ballot.
It reads: "No part of a person's property shall be taken by eminent domain and transferred, directly or indirectly, to another person if the taking is for the purpose of private development or other private use of the property."


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Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Biggest Winners By Cal Thomas And Some Comments

It may well be that the Republican Congress deserved to be turned out. It may well be that grievous mistakes have been made in Iraq. (Churchill once said that war is a series of blunders and catastrophes until one side is exhausted and the other side wins. Look up what happened at Dieppe or at Kasserine Pass.) The fact remains that the terrorists are still out there, Iraq is still critical and still needs our support, and if we abandon them, we’ll never again get anyone to throw in with us.

It seems to me that inviting Iran and Syria to help stabilize Iraq is like inviting the foxes to help out in the henhouse. It seems to me that most of the anger about Iraq is over the fact that we haven’t accomplished our objectives there yet, and the violence between religious sects has been escalating and well-publicized. With all the mistakes that have been made, I still feel that Rumsfeld’s basic strategy of limiting the number of troops there was a wise one with the best chance of succeeding, given our experience in Vietnam.

November 14, 2006
The Biggest Winners
By Cal Thomas

The biggest winners in last week's election were the enemies of the United States, who see the results as confirmation of one of their doctrines: the United States is weak and does not have the commitment to fight a protracted war.

There is no talk of a new strategy on their side. They don't hold elections to replace their leadership with people who will negotiate and compromise with the United States, or the elected Iraqi government. Their media do not carry voices calling for a new approach to the war.

America's enemies are gloating more than Democrats. But unlike Democrats, their intentions are evil. If the terrorists are to be believed (and who can credibly doubt them?), the U.S. election will encourage them to fight on and kill more of our soldiers.

Here is some of their post-election analysis: The leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Hamza al-Muhajir, posted a recording on the Internet on which he claimed to have 12,000 armed fighters and 10,000 others waiting to be equipped to battle American troops in Iraq. He said he wants Americans to stay in Iraq so more can be killed. "I swear by God we shall not rest from jihad until we... blow up the filthiest house known as the White House," the voice on the recording said.

Those "fabulous Baker boys" will soon deliver the Iraq Study Group's report to the president. Expect whatever it recommends to be implemented. These mostly former associates of former President George H.W. Bush have long believed that Israel is the primary cause of destabilization in the region. This is, and always has been, a false doctrine, but it is an enticing one for those who do not want to disturb the flow of oil and other monetary benefits that come to people who either want to hide their anti-Semitism and/or reap large profits from Arab oil magnates.

If this were a novel, it would be chilling enough, but this is reality. The Islamofascists really do want to defeat America in Iraq and then use a failed state to replicate 9/11s (and worse) around the world. They say so, and their actions prove their intent.

Europe is in a permanent state of denial. The European media are clucking about the election results. They believe if America prematurely withdraws from Iraq, Europeans will be safer. In fact, Europe will be - and, in reality, already is - in its greatest danger since World War II.

Another reminder of the increasing threat to Europe comes from the head of British intelligence. The director general of MI5, Eliza Manningham-Buller, said as many as 30 major terrorist plots are being planned in the country and that future threats could involve chemical and nuclear technology. She said young Muslims are being groomed to become suicide bombers and that MI5 agents are tracking 1,600 suspects, most of whom were born in Britain and are linked to al-Qaeda in Pakistan. Prime Minister Tony Blair, who once called for the expulsion of seditionist radicals and the closing of some mosques, has been rebuffed by the British courts, which continue to treat terrorism as a crime problem instead of a war. Radical Muslims have flooded Europe, but Europeans pretend they will not be harmed if they imagine the enemy poses no threat.

Both a novelist and a realist could write the following scenario: In an effort to take Iraq off the table as an issue in the 2008 presidential campaign, the Bush administration adopts most of the provisions of the Iraq Study Group. In a modern version of the Paris Peace Talks, which allowed the United States to have "peace with honor" and withdraw from Vietnam (resulting in the deaths, imprisonment and "re-education" of unknown numbers of Vietnamese who wanted to be free), the administration then orders a "redeployment" of forces after "negotiations" with Syria and Iran (recommended by Blair). This allows just enough time for American troops to leave before al-Qaeda murders the elected leadership and takes over Iraq.

Meanwhile in the United States, mosques and Islamic schools paid for by the extremist Wahhabi sect, multiply like fast-food franchises. Terrorists are imported and recruited from prisons. Al-Qaeda announces that weapons of mass destruction have been placed in key American and European cities. They demand that the United States withdraw its protection of Israel. If we refuse, they threaten to detonate their weapons, killing millions of people. What president, or prime minister, will reject that demand? After capitulating on the installment plan, who will have the political or moral capital (or military capacity) to stop Armageddon?
Cal Thomas


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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Some November, 2006 Cartoons



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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Where Do Reasonably Moderate Conservatives Go From Here?

First, wait and watch a while. An analysis of the results indicates that the recent election was not a turn to the left, but more likely a turn to the right. Many liberal Republicans lost, and many of the new Democrat House members ran on conservative platforms. We have been asking for years where all the Jacksonian Democrats have gone; perhaps a new generation is back. Liberals have been known to hide their true agendas, so we will have to see what happens.

From the Washington Post:
November 11, 2006
Charles Krauthammer

“The fact that the Democrats crossed midfield does not make this election a great anti-conservative swing. Republican losses included a massacre of moderate Republicans in the Northeast and Midwest. And Democratic gains included the addition of many conservative Democrats, brilliantly recruited by Rep. Rahm Emanuel with classic Clintonian triangulation. Hence Heath Shuler of North Carolina, antiabortion, pro-gun, anti-tax -- and now a Democratic House member.

The result is that both parties have moved to the right. The Republicans have shed the last vestiges of their centrist past, the Rockefeller Republicans. And the Democrats have widened their tent to bring in a new crop of blue-dog conservatives.

Moreover, ballot initiatives make the claim of a major anti-conservative swing quite problematic. In Michigan, liberal Democrats swept the gubernatorial and senatorial races, yet a ballot initiative to abolish affirmative action passed 58 to 42 percent. Seven of eight proposed state constitutional amendments to ban gay marriage were approved. And nine states passed referendums asserting individual property rights against the government's power of eminent domain.

To muddy even more the supposed ideological significance of this election, consider who is the biggest winner of the night: Joe Lieberman. Just a few months ago he was scorned by his party and left for dead. Now he returns to the Senate as the Democrats' 51st seat -- and holder of the balance of power. From casualty to kingmaker in three months. Not bad. His Democratic colleagues who abandoned him this summer will now treat him very well.

Lieberman won with a platform that did not trim or hedge about seeking victory in Iraq. And he did it despite having a Republican in the race who siphoned off 10 percent of the pro-war vote. All this in Connecticut, a very blue state.” Charles Krauthammer

Second, carefully select new leaders in the House and the Senate. The inability of Republican majorities to deal more effectively with issues like judicial nominations, immigration, social security reform and corruption caused tremendous frustration and anger in the ranks. Republican leaders seemed indecisive and weak, and could never apply the basic rule of politics: ‘reward your friends and punish your enemies’.

We need leaders who can articulate conservative causes and have proven their competence and tough mindedness. We also need leaders who do not succumb to the Washington, DC social scene and try to be ‘good guys’ in the eyes of the media and the party-givers.

Finally, we need leaders who will be able to combat the spate of hearings, investigations and impeachment attempts that will stalemate the government and divert people from doing the jobs that need to be done. Perhaps our new leaders can study and put to use some of the obstructionist tactics used so successfully by the Democrats over the last six years.

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Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Palestinians Left Our Sympathy in Norway

Let’s review a little history and make reference to the Oslo Accords, an agreement “brokered by Norway after months of secret negotiations between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1993. By its terms, Israel and the PLO recognized each other. The PLO renounced terrorism, and Israel agreed to withdraw its military and civil authorities from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank town of Jericho, granting self-rule to Palestinians in these areas and a lesser degree of self-rule to other parts of the Occupied Territories.” From Wikipedia

Once the Oslo Accords were signed, they were followed by their trashing and by the Intifada, a continuous state of war, wherein Palestinians and other Arabs have tried to kill as many Israelis as they can. Because of this rejection and Intifada, I don’t believe any reasonable person can possibly support the so-called Palestinian cause. If it wasn’t before, it has become completely obvious that Palestinians have no interest in real negotiations and are totally devoted to driving every Israeli they cannot exterminate into the sea.

On a daily basis Palestinians fire deadly rockets filled with shrapnel (these are called cluster-bombs by most people) into Israel. They tunnel under the walls in order to let loose homicide bombers on innocent women and children. When the Israelis shoot back and hit someone, the Palestinians call in the Associated Press and Reuters and emote about how awful the Israelis are, those bloodthirsty Jews! Is there any clear-thinking person in the world who doesn’t know that, if the Palestinians stopped trying to kill Israelis, the Israelis would stop shooting back?

This week, in response to these terrorist acts, the Israelis may have missed their targets (homes, mosques and other buildings where the Palestinians hide their missile launchers as does Hezbollah), and children and supposedly-innocent adults were killed and injured. The Israelis apologized, as they have done in similar circumstances over the years. When the Palestinians issue an apology for their murder of innocents, it will be their first.

What I think we have to take note of is that the Palestinians have now this week called for the murder of Americans.
This called to mind the scene after 9/11 of Palestinians dancing in the streets in celebration of our deaths. I will never forget that scene nor will I forget the sound of that special pulsing wail Arab women make as they cheer. I don’t know whether it was a coincidence or not, but this new threat came immediately after the Democrats took Congress, and the President hinted at a possible change in Iraq policy. Perhaps the PLO should be reminded that American policy under both Republicans and Democrats is clear: we support the Palestinians gaining a state of their own through negotiation, but Israel, a democracy, is a permanent ally of the USA, and we will continue to support her fight for survival in every way.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

In a Foxhole with Lincoln Chafee Watching Your Back

Rhode Island is my second home, and since I was born and raised there, I follow the politics and happenings in the state. The name, Chafee, is a revered one there, as the Senator’s father served honorably and well in the military during World War II and as governor and senator from that state.

“Lincoln Chafee's family tree includes Sen. Henry Lippitt, who served from 1911 to 1917, and Harvard University's notable legal scholar, the late Zechariah Chaffee. (The family uses several spellings of the Chafee name). His father, John, served three terms as Rhode Island governor and more than 20 years in the U.S. Senate.

Chafee, 53, was elected to four terms as mayor of Warwick before declaring his candidacy for his father's seat in 1999. John Chafee died shortly after, and his son was appointed to replace him before winning election in 2000.”

The present senator, Lincoln Chafee, who was just defeated for reelection, is a nominal Republican who is well known for his liberal and sometimes ditzy ways. He has offered virtually no support for fellow Republicans, opposed the war in Afghanistan at the start, opposed tax cuts and opposed the Iraq War. He is probably best known for his decision to write-in the name of Bush 41 during the election of 2004. No-one has ever come forward to explain the meaning of that move.

Despite this record, a hard calculation was made by the Republican National Committee to support Senator Chafee in his primary fight against a conservative Republican, Stephen Laffey, because Chafee was thought more likely to retain the seat for Republicans in the strange world of Rhode Island politics. The RNC ran many ads for Chafee and poured much money into his campaign in the primary, which he won, and in the general election just held, which he lost.

Today, Senator Lincoln Chafee showed his colors by announcing that he would block the confirmation of the wonderful man we have in the UN, John Bolton, and that furthermore, he would no longer be a Republican. This is the way this man shows his gratitude. Don’t let the door hit you on your way out, Link.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

What Went Wrong ? The Election of 2006

The result of this midterm election makes me very fearful of the future for my children and my grandchildren. To me, the overriding issue of our time is Islamic terrorism. The Democrats have shown that they haven't a clue. Why didn’t most voters agree?

HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF.The average sixth-year midterm election, like this year, is much worse for the president's party, which typically loses 34 seats in the House and six seats in the Senate. the Democrats picked up about 30 House seats and five to six Senate seats in a sixth-year election, with lots of seats still too close to call.

DISMAY OVER THE VIOLENCE IN IRAQ. Although President Bush made it clear over and over again that the War on Terror would be a long, tough struggle, and that the center of that war is in Iraq, we are inundated every day with bad news while progress is ignored. We have short memories, and most American voters have little knowledge of history or historical relationships. The sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shia there is disheartening; it overwhelms news about the good things happening there; and it overwhelms any sense of progress there.

BUSH HATRED. When George Bush countered the attempt to steal Florida in 2000, he generated a hatred beyond all reason. All we have heard for years is “selected, not elected” and “Bush lied, people died”. I think as the war dragged on and the sectarian violence escalated, the war weariness has exasperated this hatred, and the point below about the mainstream press using their communication resources has also magnified it. I hear people all the time referring to Bush 43, Cheney and Rumsfeld as ‘criminals’. They are not criminals; they are decent, patriotic and talented men.

THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA DESTROYED REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES. “A new study by the non-partisan Center for Media and Public Affairs in Washington, D.C., analyzed midterm election coverage on the ABC, CBS and NBC evening newscasts between September 5 and October 22. The study found during these seven key weeks following Labor Day, 167 such stories were broadcast. These big three network gave Democratic candidates coverage that was 77 percent positive.

Republican candidates got the opposite – coverage that was 88 percent negative.

This year it has become difficult to tell where partisan Democratic press releases end and news coverage by mainstream journalists begins. They sound identical, as if fabricated in the same Left wing propaganda factory.

A 2005 University of California Los Angeles-led study found that 18 of the nation's top 20 media outlets skewed their news coverage significantly to the Left.

"I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican," said UCLA political scientist Tim Groseclose, the study's lead author. "But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are."”

Although we now have Fox News, the internet and talk radio to give some balance, when the mainstream media decides to destroy a candidate or an administration, it is almost impossible to fight them.

THE GANG THAT COULDN’T SHOOT STRAIGHT. Republican majorities in both chambers always seem to be working at cross purposes and never able to reach a clear objective. Unlike Democrats, who always seem to be working off the same page, battles between RINO Republicans and Republicans at different points on the liberal to conservative spectrum always seem to take center stage. Nowhere was this more noticeable and more frustrating to conservatives than on immigration policy. It’s ironic that I thought the Trent Lott lynching would at least result in better leadership from Senator Frist. I was wrong.

THE TERRI SCHIAVO CASE. The attempt by Republican leaders in the Senate and by President Bush to interject the federal government into a case most reasonable people thought was best handled as a family matter in state probate court scared and shocked many people, including me.

CONSERVATIVES STAYED HOME. I haven’t seen the numbers yet, but it’s hard to believe that conservatives would vote Democrat because they are angry about spending, corruption or morality. I think it much more likely that some of them just stayed home.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

SEEING THE UNSEEN Part 1 by Bill Whittle

Occasionally I run across a piece that says some of the things I have been trying to say much better than I can. When I do, I bring that article to you. This is a long, two-part article that fits that bill:

November 06, 2006

I grew up on an island. I was in the water almost every day. I wanted this Polaris Nuclear Sub more than I wanted the sun to rise. I had picked out a grotto where I could keep it docked. Taking the ferry across the bay from Hamilton, I would look over the rail in anticipation of the day when I would shadow that churning wake, the periscope a thin reed lost in the foam, pursuing those fat clueless prefects into a perfect firing position and their watery graves!

And I am not alone. In finding this picture, I discovered that there are thousands of boys like myself, begging and pleading for the six dollars and ninety-eight cents it costs to build a fully functional, 7-foot, 2-man nuclear submarine that had:

•Controls that work!
•Rockets that fire!
•Real Periscope!
•Firing torpedoes!
•Electrically lit instrument panel!

I stared at this ad for months and months on end as a small boy. And though I must have read each word a thousand times, I have no memory of the phrase “sturdily constructed of 200 lb. test fibreboard!” It finally fell to my father to inform me that “200 lb test fibreboard!” is, in fact, garden-variety cardboard. My immediate response was “but wouldn’t that get all soggy out in the ocean?” And I am deeply ashamed to admit that after all that time, it is only now, in posting this on the internet at 47 years of age, that I realized for the first time that the damn Polaris Nuclear Submarine doesn’t even have a propeller.

Well, that’s seven-year-old boys for you. Had I been so inclined, I was certainly smart enough to have determined that one could not build a Polaris Nuclear Sub with missiles and firing torpedoes and all the rest for $6.98. All $6.98 would buy you in 1967 was a cardboard box painted like a submarine.

I believed it – like so many of my cohorts – because I so desperately wanted to believe it…and the X-ray Specs, and especially those damn Sea Monkeys with their little briefcases and hats and aprons. What heartless son of a bitch wrote those ads? I hope he chokes on his brine shrimp, the bastard.

We live in a sea of information, an Information Age: and yet, it has been almost half a millennia since mankind has been so unwilling or unable to use critical thinking to separate the intellectual wheat from so…much…chaff! Critical Thinking -- the ability to analyze data, determine it’s usefulness and fidelity, to learn how to asses reliability, question methodology, weigh expertise and all the rest – is in shockingly short supply these days. It’s not just a shame; it’s an epidemic, it is a fatal metastasizing disease in a democracy where information is used by the public to make the decisions that steer the ship of state. For the ability to think critically allows us to see the unseen; to find the truth behind the falsehood, as well as the falsehood behind the truth.

Today, it seems that legions of people – growing legions – are falling victims to ideas and beliefs that on the face of it are patently false…things that are so clearly and obviously nuts that you really have to wonder what deep, mighty engine of emotional need could possibly drive a brain so deep into a hole. Seriously now, there are millions and millions of people on this planet who will torture logic and reason to mind-bending extremes in order to believe monumentally ridiculous “theories” … theories drawn from an emotional need so warped and debased that you are catapulted beyond anger and disbelief directly into pathos and the desire to call 911 before these people hurt themselves.

So perhaps we could take a walk through Fantasy Island armed only with a shotgun of logic and a few fact-filled shells and see what intellectual tumors we may safely blow into atoms. Time is short! So let’s start with the easy stuff and work our way up to the Lord God King Mack-Daddy falsehood of our age.

Let’s shag a few easy fly balls to warm up, shall we?
The Chickenhawk argument goes something like this: anyone who favors military action should not be taken seriously unless they themselves are willing to go and do the actual fighting. This particular piece of work is an anti-war crowd attempt to silence the debate by ruling that the other side is out of bounds for the duration.

Like all ad hominem attacks, (argumentum ad hominem means “argument against the person”) it is an act of intellectual surrender. The person who employs an ad hominem attack is admitting they cannot win the debate on merit, and hope to chuck the entire thing out the window by attacking the messenger. This is a logical fallacy of the first order, because the messenger is not the message.

The messenger is not the message. That’s all you need to throw away the entire Chickenhawk response. But why stop there when this one is so much fun?

If you ever see this charge again, you may want to reflect that person’s own logical reasoning in the following fashion: You may not talk about education unless you are willing to become a teacher. You may not discuss poverty unless you yourself are willing to go and form a homeless shelter. How dare you criticize Congress unless you are willing to go out and get elected yourself? Your opinion on a National Health Care System is negated out of hand since you are unwilling to get a medical degree and open a clinic. And as far as your opinions regarding the Democratic Underground or The Huffington Post are concerned, well, you can just keep them to yourself, mister, unless you can produce an advanced degree in Abnormal Psychology and Narcissistic Personality Disorder….

I’ve said before that living near the People’s Republic of Santa Monica gives you an unparalleled opportunity to see legions of people who can put their entire moral philosophy into a 3x10” piece of adhesive vinyl, applied to several tons of steel, hurtling down an eight-lane superhighway at six or seven miles per hour.
Here are some of my favorites, in no particular order:

Somewhere in Texas, a Village is missing its Idiot.

I chose this one first since it’s the only one that has a particle of real wit. But the Bush is an idiot meme is very tired, and the most cursory look causes it to fall apart like -- how can I make them understand? -- like a lemon almond biscotti left too long in a grande’ caffe verona.

For starters, you can of course point to the fact that the man did graduate from both Harvard and Yale, but that was with a C average, and clearly, the idea of being merely in the middle of the pack of those getting advanced degrees from America’s two preeminent universities cuts you no slack from those community-college theater major drop-outs who love to level the charge.

So let’s leave that aside for a moment – Poppy’s connections and all that – and take a moment to look at this, if you will:

This is a Convair F-102 Delta Dagger. It is a second-generation, supersonic fighter-interceptor. It cruises at 845 mph.

There were some minor aerodynamic problems with the F-102. For example, at certain power settings and angles of attack – like, say, take-off -- the jet compressor would stall and the aircraft would roll inverted. It is no picnic, skill-wise, to fly a modern F-16 with advanced avionics and fly-by-wire flight control systems. The workload on the F-102 was far higher. The F-16 has an accident rate of 4.14 occurrences per 100,000 flight hours. The F-102’s accident rate was more than three times that: 13.69 per 100,000 hours. 875 F-102A interceptors were built; 259 – almost 30% -- were lost to accidents or enemy action while serving in Vietnam.
George W. Bush flew hundreds of hours in the F-102.
Now look at this:

This is the cockpit of the F-102 Delta Dagger’s successor, the F-106 Delta Dart (I could not find an F-102 panel, but they would have been very similar)
Now, picture yourself in this chair, at 40,000 feet, traveling at one and a half times the speed of sound. Now imagine that someone has painted the windows white – you are flying on instruments. Now imagine that not only do you have to be able to fly blind, by referencing these instruments, but that you also have to stare into that orange jack-o-lantern of a radar, and interpret a squiggle that will lead you to your target. Now imagine that in addition to not hitting the ground, or your wingman, and watching the squiggle, you also have to turn those switches on the right side panel to activate weapons systems, to overcome enemy countermeasures…without looking outside, as you hurtle through air at -40 degrees F, air so thin that should you lose pressure, you have about 4-6 seconds of consciousness before you black out and die.

I maintain that the instant George W. Bush closed that canopy and took off on the first of his many solo hours in an F-102, it is quite impossible that he was either an idiot or a coward.
Here is a random question from the instrument rating exam I had to pass a few years ago.
Refer to figure 91:

What should be the approximate elapsed time from the BOSEMAN (BZN) VOR to the DUBOIS (DBS) VORTAC if the wind is 24 knots from 260 degrees and your intended True Air Speed is 185 knots? (The magnetic variation is 17deg. E)
A. 33 minutes
B. 37 minutes
C. 39 minutes
(It’s C., obviously)

If he had been a civilian rather than military pilot, Dubya would have had to have passed 60 questions like this with at least 70% correct. Questions on weather, radio communications, mechanical systems, aerodynamics, pilot physiology, airspace, navigation and a hundred other things. But, since he was military, he also had to know how to operate that primitive in-fight radar, plus weapons systems, rules of engagement, electronic warfare, hydraulics, fuel systems…it goes on and on.

People like Michael Moore and Bill Maher and Keith Olberman would not be able to figure out how to close the canopy on an F-102. These people would be weeping with fear when those afterburners light up and you barrel down that runway hoping that engine doesn’t flame out and roll you inverted into the asphalt, or when you’re rocketing through the soup at 300mph watching two little needles chase each other, praying the next thing you see out the window is a runway and not a mountain goat.
George W. Bush is not stupid. It’s not possible to be a moron and fly a supersonic jet fighter, and everyone knows it.

What George W. Bush is, however, is inarticulate. English is his second language. From what I can see he does not have a first language. Abraham Lincoln spoke in simple frontier language in an age of rhetorical flourish. Like Bush, he was considered a bumpkin and an idiot, and like Bush, he realized that there were times when having people misunderestimate you repeatedly was a real advantage. That’s goal-oriented. That’s playing the deep game. That’s cunning.

I personally have gotten to the point where Bush’s malapropisms cause me to look at the floor and shake my head with an affectionate smile, in much the same way supporters of his predecessor used to do with every new revelation of coerced sex from former employees. He is what he is. But he is a damn sight more intelligent than the graphic designer in the Mini Cooper with the Village Idiot sticker. Me, personally, I look at the man’s entire catalog of flaws in the same way Lincoln looked at Grant and his drinking: I can’t spare this man. He fights.

So to me, anyway, given the above information I feel that anyone calling President Bush a moron and an idiot comes off sounding like…well…a moron and an idiot.

Sometimes, the best way to examine a radical assertion is to assume that it is correct and examine the likely consequences. For example, proponents of the Loch Ness Monster assert that there is a surviving plesiosaur lurking in the murky depths of a Scottish lake. We are then drawn into endless discussion of distant wakes and grainy photos and claims of hoaxes, etc. But if you cut to the chase, so to speak, and grant the premise, where does that leave you? Plesiosaurs are air-breathing reptiles that have to daily consume massive amounts of fish to survive. There are essentially no fish in Loch Ness. Does it order out for pizza? Also, as an air breather, we would not have a surface sighting once or twice a decade, but hundreds of times a day. If you grant the premise of an air-breathing dinosaur the entire proposition becomes ridiculous, not on the basis of the evidence, but on the monumental lack of evidence supporting the idea.

Likewise with a “war for oil.” What would a real "war for oil" look like? Well, US troops would have sped to the oilfields with everything we had. Everything we had. Then, secure convoy routes would have been established to the nearest port – probably Basra – and the US Navy would essentially line the entire gulf with wall-to-wall warships in order to ensure the safe passage of US-flagged tankers into and out of the region.

There would have been no overland campaign – what for? – and no fight for Baghdad. Fallujah and Mosul and all those other trouble spots would never even see an American boot. Why? No oil there. The US Military would do what it is extraordinarily well-trained to do: take and hold a very limited area, and supply secure convoys to and from this limited area on an ongoing basis. Saddam could have stayed if he wanted: probably would have saved us a lot of trouble, and the whole thing would have become a sort of super no-fly zone over the oil fields, ports and convoy routes, and the devil take the rest of it. Sadr City IED deaths? Please. What the heck does Sadr City have that we need?

That’s what a war for oil would look like. It’s entirely possible that such an operation could have been accomplished and maintained without a single American fatality.

We have lost thousands killed and wounded because they are being blown up as they continue to provide security, electrical and water services, schools and hospitals to a land ravaged by three decades of fear, torture and barbarism. It is the American presence in the cities, providing security and some semblance of order for Iraqi citizens, that has cost us so many lives. If we are going to be tarred and slandered and pay the public relations price for “stealing Iraqi oil,” then the least we can do is go in and actually steal some of it, instead of dying to protect that resource for the use of the Iraqi people. Which is what is happening, because, as usual, there is not a shred of evidence to the contrary, no matter how many imbeciles hold up signs and dance around in giant papier–mache heads.

You’ve probably seen this word spelled out with various religious symbols.
Who can argue with this? Not me, certainly.

What I CAN argue with is the idea that if only enough stupid, warlike Americans would just get on the Coexist train, then the world would be a happy and peaceful garden. Who else are the people with these bumper stickers preaching to, if not their ill-informed, knuckle-dragging neocon fellow commuters?

Unfortunately, here’s where reality inserts its ugly head. There is no more multi-cultural society on earth than the United States. The United States owns the patent on Coexisting religions and ethnicities. Drive half a mile though any major US urban area and you will see more ancient ethnic enemies living cheek by jowl in harmony that any other spot on the planet. Thursday morning water cooler conversations about Dancing with the Stars wallpaper over more ancient ethnic and religious murders than history has been able to record, and this despite Hollywood and the news media’s deepest efforts to remind you on a daily basis that the black or Hispanic or Asian or white friend in the next cube is secretly seething with racial hatred just beneath that placid veneer.

Americans are able to coexist because they have subjugated, if not abandoned, those ancient religious and ethnic hatreds to join a larger family, that larger family being America. And this is why, if you truly value the idea of coexistence, you should be dead set against multi-cultural grievance and identity politics, which do nothing but pit one ethnic group against the others and reinforce, rather than dilute, ancient resentments and grievances.

Now as it turns out, there is one member of the human family that seems to be having a little difficulty with the whole coexist thing. Muslims are at war with Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, they are fighting Animists in Africa, Hindus in Kashmir, Buddhists in Southeast Asia…they are blowing up nightclubs and schools and police stations and trains and buses and skyscrapers and are under daily orders to kill Jews on sight anywhere in the world.

I don’t mind preaching so much as preaching to the choir. When I see Coexist bumper stickers in Islamabad and Cairo and especially Riyadh to the degree I see them in Venice, California, I will be a happy man. They will make a very welcome sight covering over the Death to the Infidel! stickers that seem to be somewhat outselling Coexist messages in that part of the world. Until then I think we should coexist and carry a big stick.

Can I just take another quick second of your precious time to put this one to bed once and for all?

It is a staple of the left to accuse the US of “Imperialism.” That so many people can level such a charge with a straight face is a testament to the efficacy of forty years of standards-free education reform here and around the world.

An “Empire” is defined as a nation state that has political control over other nation states, and uses that political control to extract the wealth and resources from the subjugated country.

The United States of America does not have any political control over any other sovereign nation on the face of the Earth. We have influence, but influence is to control as a rich uncle is to a prison warden. That’s all you need to know. The entire idea of American Empire and U.S. Imperialism is dead on its face after that. No control means no empire. Period.

But we do have a large footprint in the rest of the world, and have military bases all across the globe. Is that a form of empire?

Look, the whole point of having an empire is to take the wealth out of the colonies and return them to enrich the home country. The US not only does not pull in the resources of other nations…it does exactly the reverse. We pump billions and billions of dollars annually into those nations that host our facilities, and the minute any one of those nations decides we are no longer welcome, we pack our bags, leave and turn those billion-dollar institutions over to the host country. (Look up Subic Bay and Clark AFB in the Philippines for some recent examples)

This is not “imperial behavior.” It is, in fact, the precise opposite of imperial behavior. I guess somehow STOP U.S. ANTI-IMPERIALISM just doesn’t have the same snap somehow for the North Korean-backed International A.N.S.W.E.R. crowd. Color me shocked.

There are millions of people – actually, probably billions now – who genuinely believe that the wealth of the US was stolen from third world countries. This is one of the great perks of living a life free of the ability to think critically and do a little research. I have heard this slander repeated so many times I decided to look into some actual numbers to see if there is anything to this charge. This is a perfect example of how critical thinking allows you to see the unseen. That attitude, Google and ten minutes is all you need to shoot lies like this down in flames.

Okay. The US Per capita income is $41,300. That of a poor, third world country –Djibouti, say -- is $2,070.

Now it gets interesting. The US gross domestic product – the value of everything we produce in a year -- was last measured as $12 trillion, 277 billion dollars (hundreds of millions of dollars being too insignificant to count in this economy).
The GDP of Djibouti is 1 billion, 641 million US dollars.

A little basic arithmetic shows me that US has a GDP 7,481 times greater than Djibouti. A 365 day year, composed of 24 hours in a day, yields 8760 hours per year. Hang on to that for a sec.

Now, let’s suppose the U.S. went into Djibouti with the Marines, and stole every single thing that’s produced there in a year…just grant the premise and say we stole every damn thing they make. If we hauled away all of Djibouti’s annual wealth, how long would it run the U.S. Economy, which is 7,481 times greater?

Well, 8,760 hours divided by 7,481 gives you an answer of 1.17 hours. In other words, it takes the U.S. 1.17 hours to produce what Djibouti produces in a year.
If the US really did go in and steal everything that the bottom thirty countries in the world produce, it might power the US economy for two or three days.

Conversely, the billions and billions of dollars the US spends annually in aid, rent, etc. – plus uncounted billions more from private American charities – would supply the entire GDP of Djibouti for hundreds of years.
Where’s your Imperialism argument now?

Sounds reasonable to me. How much of a chance? Three years? Five? Ten years? See, now you’re playing me for an idiot.

We gave Saddam Hussein thirteen years before the Great Rush to War. He could have stopped the whole thing by coming clean, up until the instant the first tanks crossed the border. But he did not. We know what “coming clean” to weapons inspectors looks like in the real world, because a few days after they pulled Saddam from his hidey-hole, Libya’s Colonel Khadafi turned over all the details of his nascent nuclear weapons program: blueprints, locations, stockpiles…the whole enchilada. We gave peace an even longer chance with the good Colonel, and we got bupkis: bupkis, and Pan Am 103 exploding over Lockerbie. That was our peace dividend. I can not see how anyone can deny that the idea of a little old-fashioned war and its consequence on dictators may have focused Mr. Khadafi’s mind somewhat.

Okay. I’m listening. What is the answer?

No, you don’t get to say I don’t know but I know it's not war! If you admit you don’t know what the answer is, then it logically follows that you are in no position to say what it is not.

With regards to Iraq, Saddam started a suicidal war with Iran, and then with the United States. He then proceeded to break every single element of his cease-fire agreement…shooting at allied airplanes trying to belatedly enforce no-fly zones to prevent him from massacring even more of his own people, continuing with a well-documented and undeniable effort to obtain nuclear weapons, and all the rest.

So what is the answer, Mr. Moral Superiority? Sanctions? We sanctioned him for 13 years. He bribed the UN and stole billions of dollars for new palaces and industrial shredders for the opposition. Should we just leave him alone? The New York Times reported a few days ago that Saddam was a year or two away from a nuclear weapon. Do you trust the man’s judgment after Iran and Kuwait? I don’t.

War is an ugly, messy, filthy business, and the greatest slander I have seen in these last three years is the idea that somehow the pro-war crowd thinks war is a great thing. War is an awful thing. And yet I am pro war in this case. How can that be?

This is probably the most useful thing I’ll write in this essay:

Doves think the choice is between fighting or not fighting. Hawks think the choice is between fighting now or fighting later.

If you understand this, you understand everything that follows. You don’t need to think the other side is insane, or evil. Both hawks and doves are convinced they are doing the right thing. But it seems to me there is a choice between peace at any price and a peace worth having.

We cannot undo the invasion and compare that timeline to the one we have. The only data we can use to compare these philosophies in embedded in the pages of history. What does history show?

I cannot think of a single example of where appeasement – giving in to an aggressive adversary in the hope that it will convince them to become peaceful themselves – has provided any lasting peace or security. I can say in complete honesty that I look forward to hearing of any historical example that shows it does.

What I do see are barbarian forces closing in and sacking Rome because the Romans no longer had the will to defend themselves. Payments of tribute to the barbarian hordes only funded the creation of larger and better-armed hordes. The depredations of Viking Raiders throughout Northern Europe produced much in the way of ransom payments. The more ransom that was paid, the more aggressive and warlike the Vikings became. Why? Because it was working, that’s why. And why not? Bluster costs nothing. If you can scare a person into giving you his hard-earned wealth, and suffer no loss in return, well then you my friend have hit the Vandal Jackpot. On the other hand, if you are, say, the Barbary Pirates, raiding and looting and having a grand time of it all, and across the world sits a Jefferson – you know, Mr. Liberty and Restraint – who has decided he has had enough and sends out an actual Navy to track these bastards down and sink them all… well, suddenly raiding and piracy is not such a lucrative occupation. So, contrary to doomsayers throughout history, the destruction of the Barbary Pirates did not result in the recruitment of more Pirates. The destruction of the Barbary Pirates resulted in the destruction of the Barbary Pirates.

And it is just so with terrorism. When the results of terrorism do the terrorist more harm than good, terrorism will go away. We need to harm these terrorists, not reward them, if we ever expect to see the end of them.

There are endless examples of this sort of thing. It makes me wish I had a mind on the level of Victor Davis Hansen so I could name every single one of them for you. But one example rings very loud to my ears.

After World War II, the allies captured the records of the German High Command. I was stunned to discover that the Wehrmacht’s generals were so appalled at Hitler’s decision to test the resolve of the Western Powers (by marching into the demilitarized Rhineland) that they were prepared to remove or even assassinate him should there have been any resistance to the move. They were terrified of finding themselves in another war. Hitler, on the other hand, couched the violation in the same reasonable-sounding terms that Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi would have undoubtedly approved of, and in he went.

Thus began the most horrible and tragic appeasement in the history of the world.
According to the Germans' own records, a platoon of French soldiers, stationed on that bridge and unwilling to retreat (there’s your problem right there) would have caused the overthrow of Adolph Hitler, and the abandonment of his expansionist policies. Why? Because it wouldn’t have paid, that’s why. As it happened, intimidating the West paid handsomely: The Sudetenland, Austria, Czechoslovakia…It was only when the West finally realized the fruits of appeasement that Hitler was stopped. If it had happened much sooner it would have been much easier. If it had happened at the beginning it would have been painless.

Even though I did not live through it, I don’t forget lessons like this. Not something this clear. Likewise, I do not forget things that I did live through: that bullies who take your lunch money will beat you up more if you give them money and less if you fight back. There’s a logic behind this – predators have to survive every encounter with their prey, so why take chances on anything other than the sick and the weak – and there is an emotional component, too: and that is respect.

Thugs and bullies cannot produce anything of value. They have to take it from those who can. Giving it to them in the hope they will go away does not engender love or respect in them – just the opposite. It creates more contempt and confidence. If it didn’t – if they behaved like sensible people – they wouldn’t be thugs and bullies in the first place.

This projection of rationality on irrational people is the kingpin of the liberal failure to understand human nature. To those who tend to believe every claim on innocence from career criminals, I recommend COPS therapy. Watch any single episode of COPS and you will see people earnestly swear -- I swear to God, sir! – that they do not possess the drugs they are holding in their hands. What’s that crack rock on your car seat? That’s not my crack rock, sir! It’s in your car. This isn’t my car! I swear to God sir! There are five crack rocks in your pocket. These aren’t my pants, sir! A friend gave me these pants just before I left the house! I swear to God, sir!
I have heard it reliably reported that once a police officer confronted a heroin addict who had passed out with a needle in his arm. When confronted with this, he supposedly said, that’s not my arm!

Telling reasonable people what they want to hear is a survival skill for criminals. They don’t get very far without knowing how to play people. In Narcotics Anonymous they have a spot-on term for this kind of behavior. They call it “dope-fiending.” How did you get that car? I dope-fiended my mom into letting me drive it. When a spokesman for Hamas or Al Qaeda tells you that they are only fighting America or the Jews because they are worried about Global Warming, you are being dope-fiended.

How much more control do we have over terrorists if they are people with a series of reasonable demands, rather than murdering misogynists who want women enslaved and Jews and homosexuals killed on sight? See, if it’s our fault, all we have to do is change and they will go away. But if it’s who we are, rather than what we do – well that’s a little more scary, isn’t it? That might be a little too much for the kind, gentle, sensitive latte-sipping lunch crowd to fully get behind. But that is what I hear these 7th Century murderers saying, and that is what I see them doing, and I choose not to look away just because I do not much like what I see.

Some people will believe anything if they want to believe it hard enough. Which leads us to…

Recent reports of the advanced state of the Iraqi nuclear weapons program, and the confirmed presence of 700+ chemical shells leaves this chestnut in some disarray. However, even if you take that away, the entire concept is a cowardly and petty retreat spoken by people who know better.

Here is a pretty decent encapsulation of what both Republicans and Democrats had to say about Saddam and WMD’s. You will find Bush’s and Rumsfeld’s rhetoric somewhat less adamant and warlike that that of Mr. and Mrs. Clinton, John Kerry, John Edwards, Al Gore, Robert Byrd, Nancy Pelosi, Hans Blix, Madeline Albright, Sandy Berger and all the rest. These were elected representatives who studied the same intelligence that the White House did, and came to the same conclusion.

Unfortunately for them, Al Gore in his unbridled enthusiasm went and invented the Internet, and so now there is a record of what they said, and when, available to the great unwashed masses. It shows a group of people deeply concerned about what was a pressing threat to this country. And now, almost all of them claim they were lied to? Are they capable of reading intelligence reports themselves, or did Bush have to read it to them aloud, skipping the parts he didn’t think would make a good sell? Some people say that they did not get the same intelligence that Bush got. To the degree that is or isn’t true, the record shows that it was the more outlandish claims that were not included, so that the intelligence that led them to come out against Saddam and in favor of military action was less provocative than the intelligence the President and Secretaries of State and Defense saw.

The invasion of Iraq was meant to prevent Saddam Hussein from using Weapons of Mass Destruction. This mission was accomplished by the time President Bush stood on that carrier deck. The huge majority of casualties we have incurred in the occupation and reconstruction of Iraq have come about by our willingness to rebuild and secure a country that we owed nothing to whatsoever.

Here is the legacy of the Bush Lied, People Died crowd: in the future, we know that no good deeds – building of hundreds of schools and hospitals – will go reported. We know that no foul deeds – a handful of idiots humiliating prisoners over the course of a few days – will ever be put into perspective.

So why do it? Why build schools and hospitals, and protect polling places, and suffer the casualties we have suffered to get a country on it’s feet, if all we hear and see is the negative and the undeniable failures? The next time we have to go and kick the hell out of some band of rabid crazies, why not just kick the hell out of them and then go home? Because there will be a next time, and I suspect sooner rather than later. By refusing to report the myriad successes and kindnesses, our compassionate and caring moral betters in the media have only shown there is very little reason to do them in the first place, except for the satisfaction of our own morality and conscience -- which I hope will be enough.

Let me leave you with something very, very important. It is the greatest logical fallacy of them all, and if you hope to gain any perspective in the world today, I believe you have to understand what I am about to say in your bones.

You cannot just count the hits and not record the misses.

Likewise in Iraq. Hand out candies to children on a daily basis, and the smiles and gratitude are nowhere to be seen on US television. But if some death-loving lunatic decides to scatter body parts to the four winds you can bet that will get the News media’s attention. Complete a new hospital, or a water treatment plant, or bring electricity or television stations to neighborhoods that never had them before? Yawn.
On the day of the last Iraqi elections -- the day they ratified the constitution the press said these people would never ratify -- CNN's lead story was about nasty rain showers sweeping the southeast. About these historic elections there was heard not a peep.

Iraqi TV has a version of American Idol. Did you know that? They produce hundreds of hours of comedies, game shows – all that stuff. Sounds a little arcane for Iraq, you say? A little normal? That’s because people who believe they are smarter than you have decided that such stories of hope and success do not fit the narrative needed to teach you poor ignorant slobs the lesson that you are supposed to be learning, and that lesson is that George Bush is a murderer while Saddam was a statesman and that Iraq is a failure fueled by the blood of poor, innocent, child-like soldiers too stupid to realize that they are dying to line the pockets of Halliburton.

My critical thinking skills, such as they are, tell me that you might be able to corral an army and send it over there under such false pretenses. What I cannot explain is why so many people in the military re-up, two or three or four times, to go back and fight for this oil-soaked lie that people here maintain is the truth, despite what the people who have actually been over there have to say about it.

This is an all-volunteer military. Why would so many of these people keep returning to such danger, and put themselves and their families at such terrible risk, for a lie or a mistake?

If Iraq is a con game and an oil steal and an unwinnable quagmire then this just doesn’t make any sense. But back they go! That’s the data. The people most optimistic about Iraq – and those with the most to lose – are generally the same people. They are the men and women who are over there now because they believe they are doing something honorable and good. No one is forcing them to reenlist. Hear that John? I’d hire any one of these people in a heartbeat. They are brighter than the general population, and they are so far beyond their Ivory Tower critics in terms of discipline, courage, ingenuity, integrity and honor that it makes one’s head spin.

Are we beating these terrorist scumbags and child-targeting insurgent bastards? Are we winning?

Well, let’s see if we want to switch sides with them. Let’s imagine the war where the insurgents have our cards and we hold theirs.

Imagine the US completely occupied by Al Qaeda forces, subject to Sharia law. We are able to take pot shots at a few of them, and we manage to murder a few dozen of our own people every day in an attempt to stop the population from collaborating with the hated invader. But more and more Americans seem to be turning to Sharia and want to get on with their lives. We find sixty percent of the population wants Al-Qaeda to leave, but hatred for the US insurgent forces – the Wolverines – is at about 98%. The people hate the occupiers, but they despise the Wolverines.

Now imagine that a year into the occupation of America, George Bush’s two daughters were killed in a firefight with the enemy, which had surrounded the college sorority house where they were hiding. A year after that, President Bush was pulled out of a septic tank in Crawford by the Fedayeen, then put on trial and sentenced to hang, which he did on national television to widespread cheering. Condi Rice was captured in an early morning raid several years ago, and Donald Rumsfeld was killed by a suicide bomber this last summer.

Everywhere you turn – in every street and every city in America – Al Qaeda forces run security patrols, training Americans to do this for themselves. The only way to stop this is by killing our own people, which further alienates us from a populace that already despises us.

Does that feel like winning to you? Me neither. Welcome to the insurgency.

Hey, I have an idea! How about we support the troops by bringing them home victorious? Whether or not the Iraqi people deserve it or not is not terribly relevant to me anymore. The troops deserve it. They deserve to leave that place on its feet, with an imperfect government – like every other government – and crime and death and all the rest but with some sense of hope amid all of that. Perhaps the same hope that keeps Iraqi men joining their police and security forces despite the danger and the horror. Regardless of what happens from now on, these people have accomplished something. They have given millions of people hope who had no hope before. That is noble and honorable and good, and nothing and no one can take that from them. That is theirs.

It’s a slog. It’s a slow, heart-rending miserable slog, and I find it as frustrating and disappointing as everyone. But I read history – a lot of history – and I have come to discover that from the inside, ALL wars are thus. We look back on World War II as a golden road to the inevitable victory, but it did not feel that way at the time. It was a miserable, awful, bloody mess with a list of disasters as long as the list of triumphs, but triumph and disaster alike were paid for in blood not because it was desirable or good or easy but because it was necessary.

The people who are there now, who keep returning to finish the job, seem by and large to understand this. Supporting the troops by calling their mission a mistake and saying they are dying for a lie is not what I call support. Dennis Miller absolutely knocked the wind out of me when he said “I support this war, but even if I didn’t I’d lie and say I did, as long as we have those kids over there.”

This ongoing burden is a miserable solution to an ugly problem, but I believe it is the best of a series of very bad choices brought upon us not by our own doing, but by megalomaniacal lunatics who we will have to fight either now, over there, which is terrible and bloody, or later, here, which will be worse. Walking away from this fight now is like quitting chemotherapy early: immediate relief at the cost of long term consequences that are far more unpleasant.

I hate to be the person to tell you that the sub is made of cardboard. I wish it weren’t so. But sometimes all the solutions are awful, and it is the mark of an responsible adult, and a responsible adult nation, to realize that some problems you can not get around. Some problems you have to go through. Bill Whittle

I have edited this piece slightly to downsize it without changing any of its points. To see the original article go here.

Final Note: Things have changed recently. We now have incontrovertible proof that Saddam was within a year of nuclear weapons and had retained the ability to reconstitute his biological and chemical weapons capability almost overnight. Let's congratulate the Democrats on their victory and hope they will be more responsible in power than they were as minority opposition.

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