Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Incredible Success of the Bush Doctrine

On an earlier post, I made the comment that Benazir Bhutto’s assassination should remind voters that we still live in a very dangerous world, and we need a grown-up as president with the wisdom and the strength of character to utilize our military to protect our interests and our citizens. I went on to say that this rules out all Democrat candidates.

Since some either do not understand what this means (or PRETEND not to understand), lets explore this further. All through the 1990’s, a Democrat administration dealt with Islamic terrorism as if it were a problem for the civilian criminal justice system to handle, and refused to deal with Osama Bin Laden. They also failed to send support to our troops under fire in Somalia, leading to a massacre and a shameful pull-out (Blackhawk Down). This policy and actions got us a series of horrendous terrorist acts and the murder of thousands of our citizens and of others – including the attacks on the Khobar Towers, on our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, on the USS Cole, on the World Trade Towers in 1993 and eventually to the horrors of 9/11.

President Bush changed this policy after 9/11 and sent our military to hit the Islamic terrorist groups where they had training camps and were supported with money, training and refuge. We have defeated the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan; we have defeated them and other terrorist groups in Iraq and cut off their funding and access to oil revenues and oil supplies; we have turned aside Libya and North Korea in their quest for nuclear weapons; we have possibly slowed Iran’s similar quest; and we have made it possible for government forces to defeat the Islamists in Ethiopia. Throughout this period the Bush Administration has somehow managed to remain on good terms with other Islamic states and kept the oil flowing.


Since all major Democrat candidates for the presidency have vowed to pullout our troops from Iraq (some say Afghanistan too) and return to the former policy of dealing with the Islamic butchers with our civilian criminal justice system, I call them not-grown-ups who will be risking the lives and fortunes of Americans everywhere. I call people who think they can right 1000 year-old religiously based disputes by discussing the issues with brutal dictators who thrive on these feuds and violence – I call them not-grown-ops who live in a fantasy land.

The major Republican candidates are the only ones who have vowed to continue the President’s policy with respect to Islamofascism. We need to continue this policy, knowing full well that there will always be some sort of terrorist activity among Muslims around the world no matter how much we succeed. Militant Muslims seem to know only one way to deal with people who do not agree with them, and resistance to modernity and women’s rights runs deep.

Iraq says most of Al-Qaeda network destroyed in 2007

Dec 29, 2007 (Excerpt)

"The Iraqi interior ministry lauded its achievements over the past year on Saturday, saying that 75 percent of Al-Qaeda's networks in the country had been destroyed in 12 months.

Ministry spokesman Abdul Karim Khalaf also outlined sharp falls in the numbers of assassinations, kidnappings and death squad murders.

He told a news conference that increased patrols along the borders with Saudi Arabia and Syria had slowed infiltration by militants and played a key role in Iraq's improved security situation.

"We have destroyed 75 percent of Al-Qaeda hide-outs, and we broke up major criminal networks that supported Al-Qaeda in Baghdad," he said.

"After eliminating safe houses in Anbar province, which used to be Al-Qaeda's base, we moved into areas surrounding Baghdad and into Diyala province. Al-Qaeda headed north and we are pursuing them," he said."

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, December 28, 2007

Some End of the Year 2007 Thoughts

1. The assassination of Benazir Bhutto should remind voters that this is a dangerous world, and we need a grown-up as president who will not hesitate to use our military to protect our interests and our citizens. This rules out all Democrat candidates.

2. Since it is a given that some liberal in the CIA would leak the so-called interrogation tapes, and the people who saved American lives by conducting the interrogations would then be harassed and worse, destroying the tapes was the right thing to do.

3. Senator Moynihan, who died in 2003, famously said, “each generation adjusts to growth in antisocial behavior by regularly redefining deviancy and, in effect, pretending nothing got worse”. He was described as a great liberal, but considering his concerns with the mounting destruction of our society by liberal ideas, I think he was a great conservative, and I claim him.

4. Ann Coulter sometimes says things that are unacceptable, but I think, watching the performances of Reid, Pelosi, Clinton and Obama, that she was 80% right when she said, “ if Democrats had any brains they would be Republicans”.

5. Any Republican nominated for president will be hated and vilified by the left no matter what his record is, and he will be subjected to an unending campaign of hate speech and invective. It is extremely important, then, that the nominee have the strength, the ability and the inclination to fight back and immediately confront the haters and defend himself. This is one reason to support Thompson, although Giuliani and Romney have also shown these qualities.

6. Under Bush policies we have stopped them in Iraq, we have stopped them in Afghanistan, we have surrounded Iran and possibly slowed their nuclear weapons program, we turned aside North Korea and Libya from pursuing these weapons – all the while maintaining a growing economy and full employment. Pretty good, I’d say.

7. The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naive forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget. Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin (1973) "Personal Conduct"


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, December 17, 2007


Mark Steyn ranks as one of our most celebrated observers and columnists. That he is being subjected to this nonsense by Canadian authorities is an outrage, and serves as a warning to U.S. citizens not to allow Congress to pass any more "hate-crime" laws. Although HR-254, introduced by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, would have only prohibited violence against the person, it is well-understood by everyone following these measures that an amendment prohibiting "verbal assault" would soon follow. In the U.S., laws of this nature are directly aimed at Christians who believe that homosexuality is a sin, and choose to speak out against it.

The violent acts against the person covered by HR-254 are already against the law in every jurisdiction, and new laws are not needed.

December 16, 2007, New York Post

Celebrated author Mark Steyn has been summoned to appear before two Canadian judicial panels on charges linked to his book “America Alone."

The book, a No. 1 bestseller in Canada, argues that Western nations are succumbing to an Islamist imperialist threat. The fact that charges based on it are proceeding apace proves his point.

Steyn, who won the 2006 Eric Breindel Journalism Award (co-sponsored by The Post and its parent, News Corp), writes for dozens of publications on several continents. After the Canadian general-interest magazine Maclean's reprinted a chapter from the book, five Muslim law-school students, acting through the auspices of the Canadian Islamic Congress, demanded that the magazine be punished for spreading “hatred and contempt" for Muslims.

The plaintiffs allege that Maclean's advocated, among other things, the notion that Islamic culture is incompatible with Canada's liberalized, Western civilization. They insist such a notion is untrue and, in effect, want opinions like that banned from publication.

Two separate panels, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, have agreed to hear the case. These bodies are empowered to hear and rule on cases of purported “hate speech."

Of course, a ban on opinions - even disagreeable ones - is the very antithesis of the Western tradition of free speech and freedom of the press.

Indeed, this whole process of dragging Steyn and the magazine before two separate human-rights bodies for the “crime" of expressing an opinion is a good illustration of precisely what he was talking about.

If Maclean's, Canada's top-selling magazine, is found “guilty," it could face financial or other penalties. And the affair could have a devastating impact on opinion journalism in Canada generally.

As it happens, Canadian human-rights commissions have already come down hard on those whose writings they dislike, like critics of gay rights.

Nor should Americans dismiss this campaign against Steyn and Maclean's as merely another Canadian eccentricity. Speech cops in America, too, are forever attempting similar efforts - most visibly, on college campuses.

In fact, New York City itself has a human-rights panel that tries to stamp out anything deemed too politically incorrect.

Since 9/11, Americans have been alert to the threat of terror from radical Islamists. But there's been all too little concern for a creeping accommodation of radical Islamist tenets, like curbs on critical opinions.

That needs to change.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Open Letter From 100 Scientists to Ban Ki-moon

Open Letter to Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations on the UN Climate conference in Bali:

Written by 100 Prominent Scientists
Friday, 14 December 2007, ScienceandPublicPolicy
Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

Re: UN climate conference taking the World in entirely the wrong direction
It is not possible to stop climate change, a natural phenomenon that has affected humanity through the ages. Geological, archaeological, oral and written histories all attest to the dramatic challenges posed to past societies from unanticipated changes in temperature, precipitation, winds and other climatic variables. We therefore need to equip nations to become resilient to the full range of these natural phenomena by promoting economic growth and wealth generation.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued increasingly alarming conclusions about the climatic influences of human-produced carbon dioxide (CO2), a non-polluting gas that is essential to plant photosynthesis.

While we understand the evidence that has led them to view CO2 emissions as harmful, the IPCC's conclusions are quite inadequate as justification for implementing policies that will markedly diminish future prosperity. In particular, it is not established that it is possible to significantly alter global climate through cuts in human greenhouse gas emissions. On top of which, because attempts to cut emissions will slow development, the current UN approach of CO2 reduction is likely to increase human suffering from future climate change rather than to decrease it.

The IPCC Summaries for Policy Makers are the most widely read IPCC reports amongst politicians and non-scientists and are the basis for most climate change policy formulation. Yet these Summaries are prepared by a relatively small core writing team with the final drafts approved line-by-line by ¬government ¬representatives. The great ¬majority of IPCC contributors and ¬reviewers, and the tens of thousands of other scientists who are qualified to comment on these matters, are not involved in the preparation of these documents. The summaries therefore cannot properly be represented as a consensus view among experts.

Contrary to the impression left by the IPCC Summary reports:
*Recent observations of phenomena such as glacial retreats, sea-level rise and the migration of temperature-sensitive species are not evidence for abnormal climate change, for none of these changes has been shown to lie outside the bounds of known natural variability.
*The average rate of warming of 0.1 to 0. 2 degrees Celsius per decade recorded by satellites during the late 20th century falls within known natural rates of warming and cooling over the last 10,000 years.

*Leading scientists, including some senior IPCC representatives, acknowledge that today's computer models cannot predict climate. Consistent with this, and despite computer projections of temperature rises, there has been no net global warming since 1998. That the current temperature plateau follows a late 20th-century period of warming is consistent with the continuation today of natural multi-decadal or millennial climate cycling.

In stark contrast to the often repeated assertion that the science of climate change is "settled," significant new peer-reviewed research has cast even more doubt on the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused global warming. But because IPCC working groups were generally instructed (see to consider work published only through May, 2005, these important findings are not included in their reports; i.e., the IPCC assessment reports are already materially outdated.

The UN climate conference in Bali has been planned to take the world along a path of severe CO2 restrictions, ignoring the lessons apparent from the failure of the Kyoto Protocol, the chaotic nature of the European CO2 trading market, and the ineffectiveness of other costly initiatives to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Balanced cost/benefit analyses provide no support for the introduction of global measures to cap and reduce energy consumption for the purpose of restricting CO2 emissions. Furthermore, it is irrational to apply the "precautionary principle" because many scientists recognize that both climatic coolings and warmings are realistic possibilities over the medium-term future.

The current UN focus on "fighting climate change," as illustrated in the Nov. 27 UN Development Programme's Human Development Report, is distracting governments from adapting to the threat of inevitable natural climate changes, whatever forms they may take. National and international planning for such changes is needed, with a focus on helping our most vulnerable citizens adapt to conditions that lie ahead. Attempts to prevent global climate change from occurring are ultimately futile, and constitute a tragic misallocation of resources that would be better spent on humanity's real and pressing problems.

Yours faithfully,

Don Aitkin, PhD, Professor, social scientist, retired vice-chancellor and president, University of Canberra, Australia

William J.R. Alexander, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Civil and Biosystems Engineering, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Member, UN Scientific and Technical Committee on Natural Disasters, 1994-2000

Bjarne Andresen, PhD, physicist, Professor, The Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Geoff L. Austin, PhD, FNZIP, FRSNZ, Professor, Dept. of Physics, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Timothy F. Ball, PhD, environmental consultant, former climatology professor, University of Winnipeg

Ernst-Georg Beck, Dipl. Biol., Biologist, Merian-Schule Freiburg, Germany

Sonja A. Boehmer-Christiansen, PhD, Reader, Dept. of Geography, Hull University, U.K.; Editor, Energy & Environment journal

Chris C. Borel, PhD, remote sensing scientist, U.S.

Reid A. Bryson, PhD, DSc, DEngr, UNE P. Global 500 Laureate; Senior Scientist, Center for Climatic Research; Emeritus Professor of Meteorology, of Geography, and of Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin

Dan Carruthers, M.Sc., wildlife biology consultant specializing in animal ecology in Arctic and Subarctic regions, Alberta

R.M. Carter, PhD, Professor, Marine Geophysical Laboratory, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia

Ian D. Clark, PhD, Professor, isotope hydrogeology and paleoclimatology, Dept. of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa

Richard S. Courtney, PhD, climate and atmospheric science consultant, IPCC expert reviewer, U.K.

Willem de Lange, PhD, Dept. of Earth and Ocean Sciences, School of Science and Engineering, Waikato University, New Zealand

David Deming, PhD (Geophysics), Associate Professor, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Oklahoma

Freeman J. Dyson, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Institute for Advanced Studies, Princeton, N.J.

Don J. Easterbrook, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Geology, Western Washington University

Lance Endersbee, Emeritus Professor, former dean of Engineering and Pro-Vice Chancellor of Monasy University, Australia

Hans Erren, Doctorandus, geophysicist and climate specialist, Sittard, The Netherlands

Robert H. Essenhigh, PhD, E.G. Bailey Professor of Energy Conversion, Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, The Ohio State University

Christopher Essex, PhD, Professor of Applied Mathematics and Associate Director of the Program in Theoretical Physics, University of Western Ontario

David Evans, PhD, mathematician, carbon accountant, computer and electrical engineer and head of 'Science Speak,' Australia

William Evans, PhD, editor, American Midland Naturalist; Dept. of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame

Stewart Franks, PhD, Professor, Hydroclimatologist, University of Newcastle, Australia

R. W. Gauldie, PhD, Research Professor, Hawai'i Institute of Geophysics and Planetology, School of Ocean Earth Sciences and Technology, University of Hawai'i at Manoa

Lee C. Gerhard, PhD, Senior Scientist Emeritus, University of Kansas; former director and state geologist, Kansas Geological Survey
Gerhard Gerlich, Professor for Mathematical and Theoretical Physics, Institut für Mathematische Physik der TU Braunschweig, Germany

Albrecht Glatzle, PhD, sc.agr., Agro-Biologist and Gerente ejecutivo, INTTAS, Paraguay

Fred Goldberg, PhD, Adjunct Professor, Royal Institute of Technology, Mechanical Engineering, Stockholm, Sweden

Vincent Gray, PhD, expert reviewer for the IPCC and author of The Greenhouse Delusion: A Critique of 'Climate Change 2001, Wellington, New Zealand

William M. Gray, Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University and Head of the Tropical Meteorology Project

Howard Hayden, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Connecticut

Louis Hissink MSc, M.A.I.G., editor, AIG News, and consulting geologist, Perth, Western Australia

Craig D. Idso, PhD, Chairman, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, Arizona

Sherwood B. Idso, PhD, President, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, AZ, USA

Andrei Illarionov, PhD, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity; founder and director of the Institute of Economic Analysis

Zbigniew Jaworowski, PhD, physicist, Chairman - Scientific Council of Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection, Warsaw, Poland

Jon Jenkins, PhD, MD, computer modelling - virology, NSW, Australia

Wibjorn Karlen, PhD, Emeritus Professor, Dept. of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Sweden

Olavi Kärner, Ph.D., Research Associate, Dept. of Atmospheric Physics, Institute of Astrophysics and Atmospheric Physics, Toravere, Estonia

Joel M. Kauffman, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry, University of the Sciences in Philadelphia

David Kear, PhD, FRSNZ, CMG, geologist, former Director-General of NZ Dept. of Scientific & Industrial Research, New Zealand

Madhav Khandekar, PhD, former research scientist, Environment Canada; editor, Climate Research (2003-05); editorial board member, Natural Hazards; IPCC expert reviewer 2007

William Kininmonth M.Sc., M.Admin., former head of Australia's National Climate Centre and a consultant to the World Meteorological organization's Commission for Climatology

Jan J.H. Kop, MSc Ceng FICE (Civil Engineer Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers), Emeritus Prof. of Public Health Engineering, Technical University Delft, The Netherlands

Prof. R.W.J. Kouffeld, Emeritus Professor, Energy Conversion, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Salomon Kroonenberg, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Geotechnology, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

Hans H.J. Labohm, PhD, economist, former advisor to the executive board, Clingendael Institute (The Netherlands Institute of International Relations), The Netherlands

The Rt. Hon. Lord Lawson of Blaby, economist; Chairman of the Central Europe Trust; former Chancellor of the Exchequer, U.K.

Douglas Leahey, PhD, meteorologist and air-quality consultant, Calgary

David R. Legates, PhD, Director, Center for Climatic Research, University of Delaware

Marcel Leroux, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Climatology, University of Lyon, France; former director of Laboratory of Climatology, Risks and Environment, CNRS

Bryan Leyland, International Climate Science Coalition, consultant and power engineer, Auckland, New Zealand

William Lindqvist, PhD, independent consulting geologist, Calif.

Richard S. Lindzen, PhD, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Dept. of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

A.J. Tom van Loon, PhD, Professor of Geology (Quaternary Geology), Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland; former President of the European Association of Science Editors

Anthony R. Lupo, PhD, Associate Professor of Atmospheric Science, Dept. of Soil, Environmental, and Atmospheric Science, University of Missouri-Columbia

Richard Mackey, PhD, Statistician, Australia

Horst Malberg, PhD, Professor for Meteorology and Climatology, Institut für Meteorologie, Berlin, Germany

John Maunder, PhD, Climatologist, former President of the Commission for Climatology of the World Meteorological Organization (89-97), New Zealand

Alister McFarquhar, PhD, international economy, Downing College, Cambridge, U.K.

Ross McKitrick, PhD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Economics, University of Guelph

John McLean, PhD, climate data analyst, computer scientist, Australia

Owen McShane, PhD, economist, head of the International Climate Science Coalition; Director, Centre for Resource Management Studies, New Zealand

Fred Michel, PhD, Director, Institute of Environmental Sciences and Associate Professor of Earth Sciences, Carleton University

Frank Milne, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Economics, Queen's University

Asmunn Moene, PhD, former head of the Forecasting Centre, Meteorological Institute, Norway

Alan Moran, PhD, Energy Economist, Director of the IPA's Deregulation Unit, Australia

Nils-Axel Morner, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics, Stockholm University, Sweden

Lubos Motl, PhD, Physicist, former Harvard string theorist, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

John Nicol, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Physics, James Cook University, Australia

David Nowell, M.Sc., Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, former chairman of the NATO Meteorological Group, Ottawa

James J. O'Brien, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Meteorology and Oceanography, Florida State University

Cliff Ollier, PhD, Professor Emeritus (Geology), Research Fellow, University of Western Australia

Garth W. Paltridge, PhD, atmospheric physicist, Emeritus Professor and former Director of the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies, University of Tasmania, Australia

R. Timothy Patterson, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Earth Sciences (paleoclimatology), Carleton University

Al Pekarek, PhD, Associate Professor of Geology, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Dept., St. Cloud State University, Minnesota

Ian Plimer, PhD, Professor of Geology, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide and Emeritus Professor of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, Australia

Brian Pratt, PhD, Professor of Geology, Sedimentology, University of Saskatchewan

Harry N.A. Priem, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Planetary Geology and Isotope Geophysics, Utrecht University; former director of the Netherlands Institute for Isotope Geosciences

Alex Robson, PhD, Economics, Australian National University Colonel F.P.M. Rombouts, Branch Chief - Safety, Quality and Environment, Royal Netherland Air Force

R.G. Roper, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Atmospheric Sciences, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology

Arthur Rorsch, PhD, Emeritus Professor, Molecular Genetics, Leiden University, The Netherlands

Rob Scagel, M.Sc., forest microclimate specialist, principal consultant, Pacific Phytometric Consultants, B.C.

Tom V. Segalstad, PhD, (Geology/Geochemistry), Head of the Geological Museum and Associate Professor of Resource and Environmental Geology, University of Oslo, Norway

Gary D. Sharp, PhD, Center for Climate/Ocean Resources Study, Salinas, CA

S. Fred Singer, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia and former director Weather Satellite Service

L. Graham Smith, PhD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Geography, University of Western Ontario

Roy W. Spencer, PhD, climatologist, Principal Research Scientist, Earth System Science Center, The University of Alabama, Huntsville

Peter Stilbs, TeknD, Professor of Physical Chemistry, Research Leader, School of Chemical Science and Engineering, KTH (Royal Institute of Technology), Stockholm, Sweden

Hendrik Tennekes, PhD, former director of research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute

Dick Thoenes, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Chemical Engineering, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands

Brian G Valentine, PhD, PE (Chem.), Technology Manager - Industrial Energy Efficiency, Adjunct Associate Professor of Engineering Science, University of Maryland at College Park; Dept of Energy, Washington, DC

Gerrit J. van der Lingen, PhD, geologist and paleoclimatologist, climate change consultant, Geoscience Research and Investigations, New Zealand

Len Walker, PhD, Power Engineering, Australia

Edward J. Wegman, PhD, Department of Computational and Data Sciences, George Mason University, Virginia

Stephan Wilksch, PhD, Professor for Innovation and Technology Management, Production Management and Logistics, University of Technolgy and Economics Berlin, Germany

Boris Winterhalter, PhD, senior marine researcher (retired), Geological Survey of Finland, former professor in marine geology, University of Helsinki, Finland

David E. Wojick, PhD, P.Eng., energy consultant, Virginia

Raphael Wust, PhD, Lecturer, Marine Geology/Sedimentology, James Cook University, Australia

Zichichi, PhD, President of the World Federation of Scientists, Geneva, Switzerland; Emeritus Professor of Advanced Physics, University of Bologna, Italy


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Misreading the Iran Report By Henry Kissinger

The issue of Iran's intentions and capabilities involving nuclear weapons is too important to be a political issue tarnished by Bush Derangement Syndrome. This analysis by Henry Kissinger is a must read for those solely interested in their country's welfare and a stable world.

Misreading the Iran Report

December 13, 2007, By Henry Kissinger, RealClearPolitics

The extraordinary spectacle of the president's national security adviser obliged to defend the president's Iran policy against a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) raises two core issues: How are we now to judge the nuclear threat posed by Iran? How are we to judge the intelligence community's relationship with the White House and the rest of the government?

The "Key Judgments" released by the intelligence community last week begin with a dramatic assertion: "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program." This sentence was widely interpreted as a challenge to the Bush administration policy of mobilizing international pressure against alleged Iranian nuclear programs. It was, in fact, qualified by a footnote whose complex phraseology obfuscated that the suspension really applied to only one aspect of the Iranian nuclear weapons program (and not even the most significant one): the construction of warheads.
That qualification was not restated in the rest of the document, which continued to refer to the "halt of the weapons program" repeatedly and without qualification.

The reality is that the concern about Iranian nuclear weapons has had three components: the production of fissile material, the development of missiles and the building of warheads. Heretofore, production of fissile material has been treated as by far the greatest danger, and the pace of Iranian production of fissile material has accelerated since 2006. So has the development of missiles of increasing range. What appears to have been suspended is the engineering aimed at the production of warheads.

The NIE holds that Iran may be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon by the end of 2009 and, with increasing confidence, more warheads by the period 2010 to 2015. That is virtually the same timeline as was suggested in the 2005 National Intelligence Estimate. The new estimate does not assess how long it would take to build a warhead, though it treats the availability of fissile material as the principal limiting factor. If there is a significant gap between these two processes, it would be important to be told what it is. Nor are we told how close to developing a warhead Tehran was when it suspended its program or how confident the intelligence community is in its ability to learn when work on warheads has resumed. On the latter point, the new estimate expresses only "moderate" confidence that the suspension has not been lifted already.

It is therefore doubtful that the evidence supports the dramatic language of the summary and, even less so, the broad conclusions drawn in much of the public commentary.

For the past three years, the international debate has concentrated on the Iranian effort to enrich uranium by centrifuges, some 3,000 of which are now in operation.

The administration has asserted that this represents a decisive step toward Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons and has urged a policy of maximum pressure. Every permanent member of the U.N. Security Council has supported the request that Iran suspend its uranium enrichment program; the various countries differ on the urgency with which their recommendations should be pressed and in their willingness to impose penalties.

The NIE then highlights, without altering, the underlying issue: At what point would the nations that have described an Iranian military nuclear program as "unacceptable" agree to act on that conviction? Do they wait until Iran starts producing nuclear warheads? Does our intelligence assume that we will know this threshold? Is there then enough time for meaningful countermeasures? What happens to the growing stock of fissile material that, according to the estimate, will have been accumulated? Do we run the risk of finding ourselves with an adversary that, in the end, agrees to stop further production of fissile material but insists on retaining the existing stockpile as a potential threat?

By stating a conclusion in such categorical terms -- considered excessive even by the International Atomic Energy Agency -- the Key Judgments blur the line between estimates and conjecture. For example, the document says: "We judge with high confidence that the halt . . . was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran's previously undeclared nuclear work." It extrapolates from that judgment that Iran "is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005" and that it "may be more vulnerable to influence on the issue than we judged previously."

It is to be hoped that the full estimate provides more comprehensive evidence for these conclusions. A more plausible alternative explanation would assign greater significance to the regional context and American actions. When Iran halted its weapons program and suspended efforts at enriching uranium in February 2003, America had already occupied Afghanistan and was on the verge of invading Iraq, both of which border Iran. The United States justified its Iraq policy by the need to remove weapons of mass destruction from the region.

By the fall of 2003, when Iran voluntarily joined the Additional Protocol for Nuclear Non-Proliferation, Saddam Hussein had just been overthrown. Is it unreasonable to assume that the ayatollahs concluded that restraint had become imperative?

By the fall of 2005, the American effort in Iraq showed signs of bogging down; the prospects for extending the enterprise into Iran were diminishing. Iranian leaders could have felt free to return to their policy of building up a military nuclear capability -- perhaps reinforced by the desire to create a deterrent to American regional aspirations. They might also have concluded, because the secret effort had leaked, that it would be too dangerous to undertake another covert program. Hence the emphasis on renewing the enrichment program in the guise of a civilian energy program. In short, if my analysis is correct, we could be witnessing not a halt of the Iranian weapons program -- as the NIE asserts -- but a subtle, ultimately more dangerous, version of it that will phase in the warhead when fissile material production has matured.

The NIE does not so much reject this theory; it does not even examine it. It concludes that "Tehran's decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon." But a cost-benefit analysis does not exclude a rush to weapons on a systematic basis. It depends on the criteria by which costs and benefits are determined. Similarly, in pursuing the cost-benefit rationale, the estimate concludes that a combination of international scrutiny along with security guarantees might "prompt Tehran to extend the current halt to its nuclear weapons program." That is a policy, not an intelligence, judgment.

A coherent strategy toward Iran is not a partisan issue, for it will have to be implemented well after the present administration has left office. I have long argued that America owes it to itself to explore fully the possibility of normalizing relations with Iran. We do not need to tranquilize ourselves to the danger in order to pursue a more peaceful world. What is required is a specific vision linking assurances for Iran's security and respect for its identity with an Iranian foreign policy compatible with the existing order in the Middle East. But it must also generate an analysis of the strategy to be pursued should Iran, in the end, choose ideology over reconciliation.

The intelligence community has a major role in helping to design such a vision. But it must recognize that the more it ventures into policy conjecture, the less authoritative its judgments become. There was some merit in the way President Richard Nixon conducted National Security Council discussions at the beginning of his first term. He invited the CIA director to brief on the capabilities and intentions of the countries under discussion but required him to leave the room during policy deliberations. Because so many decisions require an intelligence input, this procedure proved unworkable.

I have often defended the dedicated members of the intelligence community. This is why I am extremely concerned about the tendency of the intelligence community to turn itself into a kind of check on, instead of a part of, the executive branch.

When intelligence personnel expect their work to become the subject of public debate, they are tempted into the roles of surrogate policymakers and advocates. Thus the deputy director for intelligence estimates explained the release of the NIE as follows: Publication was chosen because the estimate conflicted with public statements by top U.S. officials about Iran, and "we felt it was important to release this information to ensure that an accurate presentation is available." That may explain releasing the facts but not the sources and methods that have been flooding the media. The paradoxical result of the trend toward public advocacy is to draw intelligence personnel more deeply than ever into the public maelstrom

The executive branch and the intelligence community have gone through a rough period. The White House has been accused of politicizing intelligence; the intelligence community has been charged with promoting institutional policy biases. The Key Judgments document accelerates that controversy, dismaying friends and confusing adversaries.

Intelligence personnel need to return to their traditional anonymity. Policymakers and Congress should once again assume responsibility for their judgments without involving intelligence in their public justifications. To define the proper balance between the user and producer of intelligence is a task that cannot be accomplished at the end of an administration. It is, however, one of the most urgent challenges a newly elected president will face.

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

By All Means, Give Us the Democrat Changes

On Tuesday night former Representative Harold Ford, now chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, said that Democrats would win in 2008 “because the country needs a change”. That got me wondering just what changes the Democrats would have in mind for us if they won.

Since the Bush policies led us out of the Clinton recession of 2000 and also the post 9/11 crash, and resulted in seven years of growth, prosperity and record-breaking, continuous low unemployment, would the Democrat changes reverse this record? Or how about the trillion dollar tax increase that the Chairman of the Democrat-controlled Ways and Means Committee is talking about? Does the change Ford means include reversing the Bush tax cuts – including the new lower rates on capital gains and the elimination of taxes on smaller estates?

Perhaps Ford is talking about going back to the days before 9/11, when Democrats treated Islamic terrorism as a nuisance - a law-enforcement problem, and American interests, American properties and American people, including sailors on the USS Cole and airmen in the Khobar Towers were routinely being attacked and massacred. Since 9/11, due to President Bush’s policies, there have been no new terrorist attacks against American personnel or interests.

Another possibility is that our CIA will be retasked to concentrate on combating man-made global warming, instead of stopping terrorists from getting their hands on a nuclear weapon or a mass-murdering biological agent. This is what Speaker Nancy Pelosi seems to have in mind.

Amongst all the caterwauling we have heard for seven years, certain things stand out: we have been free from terror attacks, we are defeating the Al Qaeda effort to establish an Islamic caliphate in the west and we have had prosperity at home. This is not a record that needs changing. Even David Broder, not a fan of Republicans and considered by most to be a centrist, had this to say:

A foreign policy window opens

David Broder, December 7, 2007, Washington Post

The shape of the world has changed again, signaling the possibility of a new American foreign policy and national security strategy. The portents are hopeful if U.S. leaders have the imagination and courage to seize some of the opportunities.

Just consider the major international headlines of the past few weeks. A Middle East conference including almost all the major players in that troubled region produced an agreement by leaders of Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate toward a peace agreement within the next year.

In Iraq, the level of violence has subsided and the first troop withdrawals are planned, while tribal leaders -- without waiting for the central government -- are negotiating among themselves and forming anti-al-Qaida militias.

In Iran, U.S. intelligence reported this week that work on a nuclear weapons program was suspended in 2003, apparently in response to U.S.-led and U.N.-sanctioned pressure. President Bush says this is no guarantee that the Iranian regime can be trusted to stay disarmed. But to others, at the very least, it opens a window for negotiations.

And in our own hemisphere, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, the most anti-American of all the elected leaders in Latin America, was given his comeuppance this week by his own people. A referendum he sponsored for constitutional changes, which would have strengthened his control of the government and permitted him to serve indefinitely, was rejected. Chavez said he took it as a signal of dissatisfaction.

Now, it was not all good news. In Russia, Vladimir Putin engineered a parliamentary election that solidified his control and moved that country, with its growing oil-fueled wealth, further away from a genuine democracy.

In Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf shed his uniform but kept his hold on the presidency, and his emergency controls have made it questionable whether the opposition will have a real opportunity in the coming elections.

And in Afghanistan, the Taliban, exploiting the security they now enjoy in the border area with Pakistan, have become more aggressive against U.S. and NATO forces.

All this suggests that this is a world full of challenges -- but fortunately not facing a crisis or the likelihood of another major war.

Judging by his news conference remarks Tuesday, Bush intends to keep marching straight ahead. His view is that the improvement in Iraq results from his decision to raise the level of troops committed to that battle, and that Iran's abandonment of nuclear ambitions would not have occurred without the pressure the U.S. and its allies applied.

Bush Critics Run for Cover
Democrats in Congress have spent the last few weeks ignoring the progress in Iraq or changing their position. The fact that President Bush is emerging as a far-sighted leader who may well go down in history as the man who saved western civilization has begun to dawn on them and on such former critics as Mr. Broder.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, December 10, 2007

Have You Bashed a White Male Today?

White men ended slavery, granted the vote to the common man and freed women to vote and work beside them. For this they are constantly bashed by groups who now take full advantage of the fruits of the sacrifices made long ago and are still being made in the foul streets and blazing deserts of Iraq.

Dinesh D’Souza unabashedly sings the praises of the United States and its history in his book, “What’s So Great About America?”. He points out that slavery was practiced by every society known through history, and it was Americans and Brits who first ended the practice, which is still going on in parts of the world today.

A great discussion of the anomaly of white-male bashing is contained in the following article that I have excerpted below. White American males, be proud of your heritage! We created the modern, civilized society and the technology that doubled lifespans and brought prosperity to all.

Have You Bashed a White Male Today?
By Kyle-Anne Shiver, November 26, 2007, American Thinker (Excerpts)

"While I was a teenager and still enthralled with my own generation, the Boomers, I truly believed that we were heralding a new and better human nature. We were going to stamp out prejudice, discrimination, and every other foul practice in the hemisphere. No more bashing folks of color. No more negative stereotyping for females. No more blonde jokes, fat jokes, handicap jokes, divorce jokes, gay jokes or Polish jokes. Human nature be damned. We could all be nice to each other if we tried hard enough, if we just had enough determination.

Here we are forty years later, and it seems to me that all we've really accomplished is an exchange of all of our old prejudices for a new one. The demographic group that now gets it full on the chin at every turn, in every public sphere, is the lone, white male. Christians, especially the Catholic Church, are also an approved target, but that topic is for another article.

So we haven't gotten any better as human beings. We simply changed targets. And almost the only ones among us left with bull's-eyes upon their heads are the white males….

When it comes to the white guys, the one thing that seems to have escaped our notice, though, is that if not for all of our white-male ancestors, there wouldn't be much of a civilization here for the rest of us to climb aboard. These men get bashed up and down, day in and day out, for shutting out people of color and women, for not allowing them to take any of the leadership roles. But that's only one way of looking at it.

The other way would be to pat these guys heartily on the back, and give kudos where kudos are due.

The fact is that the world was quite different 2 and 3 centuries ago. Slavery was an institution that stretched back to Biblical times, without skipping a beat, and was rampant around the world. The British and the United States led the abolition movement for the rest of the western world, and is still on the front lines in the battle to eradicate the last vestiges of the dastardly evil. The truth is that white males did not invent the institution of slavery, but they were the first to abolish it. That ought to count for something.

Many American white men were willing to fight and die in a bloody civil war, fought largely over slavery. And many more gave up segregation without resorting to another all out war. Those things wouldn't be anything to brag about in a perfect world, but perfect this world has never been. And I think we ought to take at least some pride in seeing black men and white men, and black women and white women standing shoulder-to-shoulder in every profession. That's not a shabby accomplishment within a single generation.

Our men marched this country in a steadily advancing civilization, from an agrarian society, to an industrial one, to a high-tech one, in which the jobs requiring rigorous physical labors, to which men were far better suited, have become outnumbered by positions requiring more brains than brawn. Because of that, more than the feminist movement, women are able to participate much more fully in the workplace than ever before in history. If our civilization had not made that leap, and provided so many ingenious inventions that cut so much time and labor from homemaking chores, women would probably still be largely left out, simply because of our natural physical limits. I say we ought to celebrate our men for such a huge accomplishment. Certainly no other people in history have done as much.

Now before I get an inbox avalanche of complaints, let me state for the record that I understand as well as anyone that the white guys didn't just roll over and throw down the red carpet for all the people of color and us women to join in holding the reins of power in this country. There was quite a bit of nudging, some of it pretty forceful.

However, there was no outright war. And put into a historical perspective, American white guys stand heads and shoulders above their foreign counterparts and predecessors.

So, from now on, before you bash a white male, stop to think about the other side of the coin, and ask yourself this:

If not for all those white guys who conceived of this Nation, who built it, fought for it, protected it, developed all of those inventions that brought progress and a greater standard of living to more people than any civilization in history, where would the rest of us be? Perhaps not all that well off.

Instead of bashing the white guys, we all ought to be thanking them, and get on with making an even better America. So, I say, don't bash a white guy today. Buy that man a beer!"


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Not Much of a Huckabee Fan

Governor Huckabee of Arkansas has recently been exposed as a tax-and-spend liberal in running the affairs of his state. and his role in freeing a rapist-killer from prison who subsequently murdered a Missouri woman approaches the Dukakis-Willie Horton case in its disturbing similarities, but it is Huckabee’s exploitation of the religion issue in Iowa that I find most disturbing:

Huckabee Plays the Religion Card
By Charles Krauthammer, 12/7/07, RealClearPolitics (Excerpt)

“Huckabee has exploited Romney's Mormonism with an egregious subtlety.

Huckabee is running a very effective ad in Iowa about religion. "Faith doesn't just influence me," he says on camera, "it really defines me." The ad then hails him as a "Christian leader."

Forget the implications of the idea that being a "Christian leader" is some special qualification for the presidency of a country whose Constitution (Article VI) explicitly rejects any religious test for office.

Just imagine that Huckabee were running one-on-one in Iowa against Joe Lieberman. (It's a thought experiment. Stay with me.) If he had run the same ad in those circumstances, it would have raised an outcry. The subtext -- who's the Christian in this race? -- would have been too obvious to ignore, the appeal to bigotry too clear.

Well, Huckabee is running against Romney (the other GOP candidates are non-factors in Iowa) and he knows that many Christian conservatives, particularly those who have an affinity with Huckabee's highly paraded evangelical Christianity, consider Romney's faith a decidedly non-Christian cult.

Huckabee has been asked about this view that Mormonism is a cult. He dodges and dances. "If I'm invited to be the president of a theological school, that'll be a perfectly appropriate question," he says, "but to be the president of the United States, I don't know that that's going to be the most important issue that I'll be facing when I'm sworn in."

Hmmm. So it is an issue, Huckabee avers. But not a very important one.

And he's not going to pronounce upon it. Nice straddle, leaving the question unanswered and still open -- the kind of maneuver one comes to expect from slick former governors of Arkansas lusting for the presidency.

And by Huckabee's own logic, since he is not running for head of a theological college, what is he doing proclaiming himself a "Christian leader" in an ad promoting himself for president?

Answer: Having the issue every which way. Seeming to take the high road of tolerance by refusing to declare Mormonism a cult, indeed declaring himself above the issue -- yet clearly playing to that prejudice by leaving the question ambiguous, while making sure everyone knows that he, for one, is a "Christian leader."”

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Friday, December 07, 2007

Bad Girls by Katherine Boswell

Dinesh D’Souza was excoriated in some quarters recently for suggesting in his book, “The Enemy at Home”, that the freedoms we enjoy have a hard edge of unlimited debauchery that, because that is all the world sees of us in our movies and television, is the real reason the Islamists hate us and want to kill us. They fear the pollution of their more stabile and more decorous culture by the unrestrained west – amply illustrated by our own former President Clinton.

As some of you know, I have been having some health problems recently that have limited my ability to read and use my computer, and I have been watching lots of DVD movies. I have been absolutely overwhelmed by the violence and the portraying of every woman as a whore in practically every movie I see. The message to our young women is universal and clear: nice girls immediately jump into bed with men they have just met; everyone does it, and it is the thing to do.

I was reeling from this movie slime when I read the following book review:

Bad Girls
By Katharine Boswell

American Spectator, 12/7/07
Prude: How the Sex-Obsessed Culture Damages Girls (and America, Too!)
By Carol Platt Liebau

Despite the title, Carol Platt Liebau's treatment of America's sex-saturated culture is anything but prudish. She is not afraid to expose the seamier side of popular culture, and this book is not for the squeamish. If an extensive discussion of the prevalence of certain sex acts among minors offends you, don't read this book. If, however, you're wondering how and if popular culture affects young women, Prude offers a detailed answer.

The book is divided by topic, with a chapter apiece devoted to books and magazines, television, music (the cleverly titled "Aural Sex"), clothes, and culture. Liebau draws her information from a mix of research, interviews with girls, personal observation and popular culture. What she uncovers is troubling: in almost every medium, young women are bombarded by messages encouraging them to "just do it." The examples from television and music that Liebau cites aren't unexpected, but it seems that even reading, once the bright teen's refuge, is not exempt. From magazines to novels, the reading material marketed at teenagers is filled with casual sex, homosexuality and crudity. The wildly popular Gossip Girl series (now a television show) is little more than novel after novel about who's sleeping with whom.

Even much of the so-called "good" advice aimed at girls is bad. Sexual education in schools starts with the assumption that all teenagers are having sex and does little to encourage abstinence. Liebau says, "Whether or not to have sex is presented as just another choice, much like whether to purchase a Britney Spears album or one by Christina Aguilera." Sharon Stone also got in the act, with some of the most laughably bad advice ever given to teenagers. Stone apparently carries a condom at all times and encourages teenagers who feel pressured to have sex to offer oral sex instead, since it's safer: "Young people talk to me about what to do if they're being pressed for sex. I tell them what I believe... if you're in a situation where you cannot get out of sex, offer a blow job. I'm not embarrassed to tell them." As Liebau rightly points out, "Perhaps she should be."

In terms of facts, one would be hard put to find a book on the market more thorough than Prude. Liebau has done her homework, and the research shows. Unfortunately, there is little else to set this book apart from similar titles on the market today, such as Wendy Shalit's titles A Return to Modesty and Girls Gone Mild. The problem with Prude is that Liebau spends ten of the book's 12 chapters dwelling on the problem, and only two of them making a tentative gesture toward a solution. She offers a brief discussion of some groups working to encourage modesty and abstinence, such as the Diamond Girls Leadership program, before moving on. The final chapter is more a list of vague topics than anything else. She uses the last chapter to touch on issues that she does not elaborate on in the book itself. Unfortunately, these issues are some of the book's most interesting sections.

One such connection is the political implications of America's hypersexualized culture. Liebau rightfully notes that more traditional cultures react negatively to America's loose sexual mores and what they perceive as our obsession with sex. She quotes Joseph Nye: "Some Iranian officials say that to understand what they mean by 'the great Satan,' one need merely watch MTV." More importantly, she notes that it is difficult to successfully advocate better conditions for Middle Eastern women when American women are consistently portrayed as "sex-hungry floozies." However, these implications are only mentioned, not given space enough for a full discussion. The last chapter also includes a brief nod to the problems and pressures facing young men, but this topic is never developed, either.

Though Prude is heavy on facts, it does not offer an especially thoughtful or provocative elucidation of the problem. Anecdotes about sex parties and explicit lyrics may drive home the gravity of the problems facing our culture, but few would argue that a problem exists, or that it has a detrimental effect on young women. Who is the intended audience for this book? It's certainly too explicit for the girls themselves to read (I learned a thing or two from Liebau's discussion of slang) and most, if not all, Americans are already aware of our culture's widespread sexual obsession and its negative effects on girls.

If you're unconvinced of the widespread nature of America's sexual obsession and its effects on young girls, or you're looking for facts to confirm this suspicion, then Prude is an excellent resource. However, if you're looking for a new take on this situation or a book that offers an actual solution, then you're better off leaving it on the shelf.

I don’t accept D’Souza’s theme that the debauchery of the west is the main reason the Islamists hate us, but I do accept that it is part of the mix. The solution eludes me; I can only hope that we tire of this kind of entertainment and that this aspect of our culture represents a minority that is self-correcting. After all, how much further into the slime can a program like NBC’s “Law and Order: Special Victims” sink?


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Bush Succeeds in Disarming Iran

Apparently another Islamic regime has made the same decision that Libya’s Qaddafi made when we waged pre-emptive war in Iraq. The latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report indicates that, despite their bluster, Iran has stopped, as of 2003 or so, actively pursuing a nuclear weapon, although they have continued a program of enrichment that will eventually lead to a bomb-making capability. This makes three nations that our military might and our diplomacy have convinced to back off from developing nuclear weapons – Libya, North Korea and Iran.

Why Ahmadinejad, as did Saddam Hussein before him, continues to engage in such bluster and threats to incinerate Israel and defeat the United States, is a mystery, and may be something in the Islamic mentality that we westerners will never understand.

Another possibility is that the NIE is wrong.

Dark Suspicions about the NIE
Norman Podhoretz - 12.03.2007 - Commentary

A new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), entitled “Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities,” has just dealt a serious blow to the argument some of us have been making that Iran is intent on building nuclear weapons and that neither diplomacy nor sanctions can prevent it from succeeding. Thus, this latest NIE “judges with high confidence that in fall 2003 Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program”; it “judges with high confidence that the halt was directed primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran’s previously undeclared nuclear work”; it “assesses with moderate confidence that Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007”; it assesses, also with only “moderate confidence that the halt to those activities represents a halt to Iran’s entire nuclear weapons program”; but even if not, it judges “with high confidence that Iran will not be technically capable of producing and reprocessing enough plutonium for a weapon before about 2015.”

These findings are startling, not least because in key respects they represent a 180-degree turn from the conclusions of the last NIE on Iran’s nuclear program. For that one, issued in May 2005, assessed “with high confidence that Iran currently is determined to develop nuclear weapons” and to press on “despite its international obligations and international pressure.”

In other words, a full two years after Iran supposedly called a halt to its nuclear program, the intelligence community was still as sure as it ever is about anything that Iran was determined to build a nuclear arsenal. Why then should we believe it when it now tells us, and with the same “high confidence,” that Iran had already called a halt to its nuclear-weapons program in 2003? Similarly with the intelligence community’s reversal on the effectiveness of international pressure. In 2005, the NIE was highly confident that international pressure had not lessened Iran’s determination to develop nuclear weapons, and yet now, in 2007, the intelligence community is just as confident that international pressure had already done the trick by 2003.

It is worth remembering that in 2002, one of the conclusions offered by the NIE, also with “high confidence,” was that “Iraq is continuing, and in some areas expanding its chemical, biological, nuclear, and missile programs contrary to UN resolutions.” And another conclusion, offered with high confidence too, was that “Iraq could make a nuclear weapon in months to a year once it acquires sufficient weapons-grade fissile material.”

I must confess to suspecting that the intelligence community, having been excoriated for supporting the then universal belief that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, is now bending over backward to counter what has up to now been a similarly universal view (including as is evident from the 2005 NIE, within the intelligence community itself) that Iran is hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons. I also suspect that, having been excoriated as well for minimizing the time it would take Saddam to add nuclear weapons to his arsenal, the intelligence community is now bending over backward to maximize the time it will take Iran to reach the same goal.

But I entertain an even darker suspicion. It is that the intelligence community, which has for some years now been leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush, is doing it again. This time the purpose is to head off the possibility that the President may order air strikes on the Iranian nuclear installations. As the intelligence community must know, if he were to do so, it would be as a last resort, only after it had become undeniable that neither negotiations nor sanctions could prevent Iran from getting the bomb, and only after being convinced that it was very close to succeeding. How better, then, to stop Bush in his tracks than by telling him and the world that such pressures have already been effective and that keeping them up could well bring about “a halt to Iran’s entire nuclear weapons program”—especially if the negotiations and sanctions were combined with a goodly dose of appeasement or, in the NIE’s own euphemistic formulation, “with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security, prestige, and goals for regional influence in other ways.”

If this is what lies behind the release of the new NIE, its authors can take satisfaction in the response it has elicited from the White House. Quoth Stephen Hadley, George W. Bush’s National Security Adviser: “The estimate offers grounds for hope that the problem can be solved diplomatically—without the use of force—as the administration has been trying to do.”

I should add that I offer these assessments and judgments with no more than “moderate confidence.”


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Monday, December 03, 2007

English-Only Showdown

English-Only Showdown

Does Nancy Pelosi really object to a common language in the workplace?

November 28, 2007, John Fund, Opinion Journal (Excerpts)

”Should the Salvation Army be able to require its employees to speak English? You wouldn't think that's controversial. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is holding up a $53 billion appropriations bill funding the FBI, NASA and Justice Department solely to block an attached amendment, passed by both the Senate and House, that protects the charity and other employers from federal lawsuits over their English-only policies.

The U.S. used to welcome immigrants while at the same time encouraging assimilation. Since 1906, for example, new citizens have had to show "the ability to read, write and speak ordinary English." A century later, this preference for assimilation is still overwhelmingly popular. A new Rasmussen poll finds that 87% of voters think it "very important" that people speak English in the U.S., with four out of five Hispanics agreeing. And 77% support the right of employers to have English-only policies, while only 14% are opposed.

But hardball politics practiced by ethnic grievance lobbies is driving assimilation into the dustbin of history. The House Hispanic Caucus withheld its votes from a key bill granting relief on the Alternative Minimum Tax until Ms. Pelosi promised to kill the Salvation Army relief amendment…..

“Sen. Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.), who authored the now-stalled amendment to prohibit the funding of EEOC lawsuits against English-only rules, is astonished at the opposition he's generated. Rep. Joe Baca (D., Calif.), chair of the Hispanic Caucus, boasted that "there ain't going to be a bill" including the Alexander language because Speaker Pelosi had promised him the conference committee handling the Justice Department's budget would never meet. So Sen. Alexander proposed a compromise, only requiring that Congress be given 30 days notice before the filing of any EEOC lawsuit. "I was turned down flat," he told me. "We are now celebrating diversity at the expense of unity. One way to create that unity is to value, not devalue, our common language, English."….

“The alternative to Americanization is polarization. Already a tenth of the population speaks English poorly or not at all. Almost a quarter of all K-12 students nationwide are children of immigrants living between two worlds. It's time for people of good will to reject both the nativist and anti-assimilation extremists and act. If the federal government spends billions on the Voice of America for overseas audiences and on National Public Radio for upscale U.S. listeners, why not fund a "Radio New America" whose primary focus is to teach English and U.S. customs to new arrivals?

In 1999, President Bill Clinton said "new immigrants have a responsibility to enter the mainstream of American life." Eight years later, Clinton strategists Stan Greenberg and James Carville are warning their fellow Democrats that the frustration with immigrants and their lack of assimilation is creating a climate akin to the anti-welfare attitudes of the 1990s. They point out that 40% of independent voters now cite border security issues as the primary reason for their discontent.

In 1996, Mr. Clinton and a GOP Congress joined together to defuse the welfare issue by ending the federal welfare entitlement. Bold bipartisan action is needed again. With frustration this deep, it's in the interests of both parties not to let matters get out of hand.” Opinion Journal

Labels: ,

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Fog of War

During Hezbollah’s most recent attempt to exterminate more Israelis, both the Associated Press and Reuters were caught red-handed manufacturing stories and altering photographs in attempts to make Hezbollah look more humane than the attacked Israelis.

In Iraq, Haditha will forever live on as the place where Congressman Murtha and other liberal Democrats smeared American soldiers who were defending themselves. Other Democrats, like Senators Kennedy, Durban and Reid have also used terms like “murderers”. “losers”, and “liars”. Senator Kennedy referred to Saddam’s Abu Ghraib as “under new management”.

What is it about liberals and liberal publications that they must constantly defame American leaders and the American military, as well as a country that has been attacked over and over again by its Arab neighbors?

One liberal publication, The New Republic, has finally admitted to the publication of scandalous lies about the American military – several months after they were exposed, and after several months of mealy-mouthed explanations. Last summer I published an article that contained the following paragraph:

“Liberal New Republic Caught in Lies
Last month I reported on the antics of The New Republic, a liberal publication that previously almost went out of business because it had been exposed as the publisher of several fake stories (The Phantom Baghdad Diarist?, 7/24/07). TNR has more recently been publishing the recounting, by a soldier in Iraq, of horrendous acts carried out by American solders there. Many aspects of these stories did not pass the smell test (shades of John Kerry), and TNR was called to account. It is now certain that these were all lies gleefully reported by the once respected journal. We hope that this time it means that TNR will now go out of business. It deserves the same fate as Antioch College.”

Only this week did TNR publish a 14 page explanation called, “The Fog of War” that ended with this paragraph:

The New Republic
Fog of War by Franklin Foer
The story of our Baghdad Diarist.
Post Date Monday, December 10, 2007

In retrospect, we never should have put Beauchamp in this situation. He was a young soldier in a war zone, an untried writer without journalistic training. We published his accounts of sensitive events while granting him the shield of anonymity--which, in the wrong hands, can become license to exaggerate, if not fabricate.

When I last spoke with Beauchamp in early November, he continued to stand by his stories. Unfortunately, the standards of this magazine require more than that. And, in light of the evidence available to us, after months of intensive re-reporting, we cannot be confident that the events in his pieces occurred in exactly the manner that he described them. Without that essential confidence, we cannot stand by these stories.”

Powerline had this to say about the disgusting TNR:

“Today TNR editor Franklin Foer has posted his long-awaited climbdown from the magazine's Baghdad Diarist columns by Scott Thomas Beauchamp. Foer's 10,000-words is published under the heading "Fog of war." It is a pathetic, evasive, self-justifying, self-pitying, and deeply dishonest emission of verbal fog. Too bad, instead of all the rationalizations, that he didn't just apologize in a manly and direct way long ago as soon as the facts warranted an apology.”

I agree with Powerline's sentiments; The New Republic should just fade away.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Compassionate View of Illegal Immigration?

All my life I have prided myself as a reasonable and compassionate person - and someone with sympathy for the plight of immigrants. That has all gone out the window in recent years, as the number of illegals and the crimes they commit has become an obscenity, compounded by the obvious attempts by illegals to make over the United States into some kind of Mexican tributary, where Spanish is the "official" language, and the tax receipts from citizens support their lifestyle.

I have lost all sense of compassion and reason; I want it stopped, and I have no compassion left for the children or any other unfortunate victims of this whole disaster. It's just too bad. Build the fence; shut down the illegal entries; raid the businesses employing them, and when we stumble on them, ship them out. Then, when we have reestablished our sovereignty and our control over our own borders, I will be in a mood to listen to plans for temporary workers' permits and some way to earn legal citizenship. Until then Mr. Huckabee can just go jump in a lake.

Immigration group: Huckabee a 'disaster'

November 30, 2007, Washington Times

By Stephen Dinan - Groups that support a crackdown on illegal aliens haven't settled on their champion in the race for the White House, but there's little doubt which Republican scares them most — former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

"He was an absolute disaster on immigration as governor," said Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, a group that played a major role in rallying the phone calls that helped defeat this year's Senate immigration bill. "Every time there was any enforcement in his state, he took the side of the illegal aliens."

As Mr. Huckabee rises in the polls, his opponents are beginning to take shots at him on immigration. Just as problematic for the former Arkansas governor, however, is that the independent interest groups that track the issue are also giving him the once-over, and don't like what they see.

"Huckabee is the guy who scares the heck out of me," said Peter Gadiel, president of 9-11 Families for a Secure America, a group instrumental in fighting for the REAL ID Act that sets federal standards for driver's licenses.

Some leaders said Mr. Huckabee reminds them of President Bush, who pushed for legalization of illegal aliens and a new supply of foreign guest workers, despite his base calling for better border security and enforcement.

"I would say that Huckabee comes from the same perspective on the issue that George W. Bush came from — that out of a strong sense of compassion, he tries to identify with someone who comes to the United States, even if they came illegally," said Steven A. Camarota, research director for the Center for Immigration Studies.

Mr. Huckabee yesterday defended his record, but he said if voters are looking for the toughest guy, he's not their man.

"Is my answer satisfactory to all the Republicans? The answer's 'no.' " he said. "Some people want me to be a lot harsher. I think my answer is the honest and the right one."

The former governor said the borders should be secured and said he opposes sanctuary cities shielding illegal aliens and opposes amnesty, though he does think illegal aliens can be put on a path to citizenship — something many conservatives equate to amnesty.

But he said he finds a lot of anger and frustration directed at immigrants who don't speak English.

"Unfortunately, instead of being angry at the federal government for totally failing us in this, they sometimes get angry at the people themselves," he said.

He also said he's willing to take the heat for pushing for illegal alien students to be able to get taxpayer-funded financial aid and college scholarships.

"Our country is better than that, to punish children for what their parents did in breaking the law. If that costs me the election, it costs me the election, but somewhere along the line we cannot just pander to the anger and hostility without challenging it," he said.

Mr. Huckabee said he will produce a full plan to address illegal entry at some point, and he said he hasn't worked out specifics yet for who would get a path to citizenship and how.

"At some point, they do have to go back and start, they do have to pay a monetary fine, there has to be some type of restitution made for the law that has been broken, but it has to be reasonable and commensurate with the violation," he said.

As Mr. Huckabee's campaign gains attention — he is polling in first place in Iowa, the site of the first nominating contest — his immigration stance is getting a closer look. Fellow candidate Mitt Romney questioned him about his financial aid plan during Wednesday night's debate, and the video of that made the rounds of the immigration-control groups yesterday.

None of the groups has endorsed any candidates in the Democratic or Republican races, and they are divided on who the best candidate is.

On Thanksgiving, Mr. Beck wrote an e-mail to his supporters praising the immigration plan of Fred Thompson, a former senator who is running for the Republican nomination and who has called for attrition through enforcement.

"I really was blown away. I said, my gosh, this is an incredible platform," Mr. Beck said in an interview this week.

James J. Boulet Jr., executive director of English First, which wants to make English the official language of the government, said Mr. Romney had the best official record on that issue, opposing bilingual education during his term as Massachusetts governor.

Both Mr. Romney and Mr. Thompson have said they wouldn't create a new pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens, and Mr. Romney also has hinted he wants illegal aliens to go home through attrition. But Mr. Beck said Mr. Thompson's plan is the most detailed at this point, and he praised Mr. Thompson's call to even end some immigration programs such as the diversity visa lottery.

"The fact that he has OK'd these positions on such a volatile topic shows he really takes voters' concerns seriously and he believes there ought to be more than just sound bites about it," Mr. Beck said.

Reps. Ron Paul of Texas, Tom Tancredo of Colorado and Duncan Hunter of California all win near universal praise from the group leaders, but the leaders question whether any of the three have a shot at winning the nomination. Most of the leaders dismissed Arizona Sen. John McCain, a longtime advocate of legalizing illegal aliens, saying he appears to have little shot of winning the nomination.

As for Rudolph W. Giuliani, several leaders said his record as New York mayor was worrisome — he ran a sanctuary city, which means the identity of illegal aliens was kept from authorities in some cases — but they are impressed with his tough border-security position.


AddThis Social Bookmark Button