Thursday, November 18 2004
WHAT MOTIVATES FRIENDS AND ENEMIES:
A couple of months ago a good friend of mine explained to me why he was going to vote for John Kerry. He talked about a number of issues that motivated his decision (one of which was an intense dislike of George W. Bush, by the way) but one of the main reasons for his vote is that he thought John Kerry could lead a more effective War on Terror by restoring our alliances around the globe.

"Bush has pissed off everybody in the world" he said. "We can't do it alone. We need our friends and allies in the international community to come together out of a shared sense of responsibility and goodwill to fight terror around the world."

This was (and still remains) a very popular view among liberals in the United States. The problem is that more and more we're seeing this is an unlikely, if not utterly unrealistic assumption.

The truth is that if you sat down to compose a list of countries of significant influence who are responsible, motivated by "goodwill," and committed to leading a fight against terrorism that list would be depressingly short. A corresponding list of influential countries who are either against, indifferent, or not committed to fighting terrorism would be much longer.

The unfortunate reality is that the only feelings shared among many countries in the "international community" these days seem to be greed, envy, corruption, and self interest. I forgot anti-Semitism.

The United Nations, the epicenter of the "world community" and self-proclaimed arbiter of international justice, is mired in a mushrooming scandal so big and so thoroughly rotten that it threatens (or at least should threaten) the organization's very existence.

Two of our biggest "allies", France and Russia, are up to their eyeballs in the scam that kept Hussein in power and helped spread terror throughout the Middle East, all the while fattening their coffers. Lord only knows what other shenanigans have been going on behind closed doors and behind our backs on the east side of Manhattan.

And just last week much of the "international community" fell silent in honor of Yasir Arafat, unrepentant terrorist turned Nobel Peace Prize winner. Even though the UN, Europe, and the Arab world continue to bemoan the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the principal grievance of Muslims everywhere, history has already certified Arafat as an egomaniac who brushed aside every opportunity to lead the Palestinian people to peace and self-determination, leaving them to live in squalor and despair while taking a good bit off the top for the comfort of him and his wife.

Democrats criticize President Bush's policy of spreading democracy in the Middle East as too idealistic and not based in reality. Perhaps. But at the very least it is a forward-looking, optimistic vision designed to recognize and deal with short-term threats and to establish a framework for long-term peace and stability.

What the Democrats offer as a policy is even more idealistic (not to mention more dangerous): relying on the responsible action and the "goodwill" of the United Nations and European allies like France to help battle terrorists around the globe.

One might go so far as to characterize this policy as "reality-free" given that the United Nations and certain European countries continue to demonstrate they don't even understand the nature of the conflict we're in.

Two weeks ago Kofi Annan lectured President Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and interim Iraqi leader Ayad Allawi to "break the cycle of violence and open a new chapter of inclusiveness and national reconciliation" in Iraq and to "address, through political dialogue, the grievances of certain Iraqi constituencies."

Days later a few of the aggrieved constituents Mr. Annan would like to sit down with and bring into the political process fired a bullet into the back of an innocent 59 year-old woman's head and possibly dismembered her body. These individuals routinely kidnap, torture, kill, and maim innocent civilians and fellow citizens. Somehow I don't think an extra seat or two in the government is what they're after.

POP QUIZ: Here's a somewhat related follow up quiz for you trivia buffs. Who said the following?

1) "To a certain extent Saddam Hussein's departure was a positive thing. But it also provoked reactions, such as the mobilization in a number of countries of men and women of Islam, which has made the world more dangerous."

2) "We've gotten rid of him [Saddam Hussein], and I suppose that's a good thing." "But the capture of Saddam has not made America safer."

Click Here for Answer #1 and Answer #2. Yet more evidence the Dems have problems that need fixing. - T. Bevan 11:00 am Link | Email | Send to a Friend

Wednesday, November 17 2004
THE GOOD GUYS VS THE BAD GUYS
: Islamic terrorists executed 59 year-old Margaret Hassan who had lived in Iraq for thirty years, married an Iraqi and become a citizen herself, and who had devoted her entire life to helping the Iraqi people.

For weeks the terrorists tormented this woman physically and psychologically before putting a bullet through her blindfolded head.

Al-Jazeera chose not to broadcast the video. Not because it is too graphic - that has never stopped them before and it won't stop them in the future - but because the enablers at Al-Jazeera know that the image of this innocent woman being shot in the head hurts their cause.

But Al-Jazeera has no problem running a constant loop of the tape showing the U.S. Marine shooting a wounded terrorist - with the obvious intent of trying to hurt the USA.

It's bad enough that we have to fight the propaganda machine of Al-Jazeera and the rest of the Arab media, but shouldn't the press in OUR country show a little more judgment and restraint?

I'm not suggesting the US media just accept the Pentagon line carte blanche. But I am suggesting that they refrain from treating these types of events as equivalent in any way. It's bad enough we have to contend with headlines like "Arabs enraged by Marine's shooting" while Hassan's brutal murder gets relegated to the back pages.

Our military has pulled the Marine in question out of action and is investigating the incident, which is exactly what should be done. But every benefit of the doubt had better go to that young man putting his life on the line for our country.

More importantly, no one should forget that the wounded men in the mosque captured on video, including the guy faking to be dead, are EXACTLY the same type of people putting bullets in the head of aid workers and slicing off people heads.

It simply boggles the mind that some people don't get it. Like Chris Matthews, for example, who said this the other day:

If this were the other side, and we were watching an enemy soldier, a rival—I mean, they‘re not bad guys, especially—just people that disagree with it. They‘re in fact the insurgents fighting us in their country. If we saw one of them do what we saw our guy do to that guy, would we consider that worthy of a war crimes charge?

They're not bad guys? The London Times (courtesy of Powerline) reports that the people of Fallujah beg to differ:

Residents who stayed on through last week's offensive were emerging and telling harrowing tales of the brutality they endured. [A] poster in the ruins of the souk bears testament to the strict brand of Sunni Islam imposed by the council, fronted by hard-line cleric Abdullah Junabi. The decree warns all women that they must cover up from head to toe outdoors, or face execution by the armed militants who controlled the streets.

Two female bodies found yesterday suggest such threats were far from idle. An Arab woman, in a violet nightdress, lay in a post-mortem embrace with a male corpse in the middle of the street. Both bodies had died from bullets to the head. Just six metres away on the same street lay the decomposing corpse of a blonde-haired white woman, too disfigured for swift identification but presumed to be the body of one of the many foreign hostages kidnapped by the rebels. Such is the fear that the heavily armed militants held over Fallujah that many of the residents who emerged from the ruins welcomed the US marines, despite the massive destruction their firepower had inflicted on their city.

A man in his sixties, half-naked and his underwear stained with blood from shrapnel wounds from a US munition, cursed the insurgents as he greeted the advancing marines on Saturday night. "I wish the Americans had come here the very first day and not waited eight months," he said, trembling. Another elderly man, who did not want his name used for fear the rebels would one day return and restore their draconian rule, said he was detained by the militants last Tuesday and held for four days before being freed. "It was horrible," he told an AFP reporter."We suffered from the bombings. Innocent people died or were wounded by the bombings. "But we were happy you did what you did because Fallujah had been suffocated by the Mujahidin. Anyone considered suspicious would be slaughtered. We would see unknown corpses around the city all the time."

The same story of arbitrary executions was told by another resident, found by US troops cowering in his home with his brother and his family. "They would wear black masks, carry rocket-propelled grenades and Kalashnikovs, and search streets and alleys," said Iyad Assam, 24. "I would hear stories, about how they executed five men one day and seven another for collaborating with the Americans. They made checkpoints on the roads. They put announcements on walls banning music and telling women to wear the veil from head to toe."

This type of mentality from guys like Matthews that leads to questions with lines like these "aren't bad guys," and these guys are "just insurgents fighting us in their country" is the same kind of mentality that led to Michael Moore taking his seat right next to Jimmy Carter at the Democratic convention.

The Left in this country needs to undertake some serious soul-searching. And when I say the Left I don't just mean the fringe Left, I mean the heart and soul of the national Democratic Party, as represented by their leader in the U.S. House Nancy Pelosi. I mean the mentality of the media elite as represented by Chris Matthews, Peter Jennings and Dan Rather.

We are fighting a ruthless and evil enemy who wants to enslave the world and throw it back to the dark ages. We are fighting the people who killed 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001, killed 190 Spaniards going to work last year, and slaughtered hundreds of children going to school in Russia this September. These are the people who are desperately searching for the ability to inflict a strike that will make 9/11 look like a good day.

We have a hard enough time trying to convince people like Kofi Annan and Jacques Chirac of the true threat we are facing in Islamic fascism. The last thing we need is a press corps and a good chunk of one of our two major political parties at home who seem, at times, confused about who are the good guys and the bad guys.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: This is from George Will on Stephanopoulos' roundtable this Sunday on ABC's This Week:

In June 2002, the President said there's no problem getting to peace in the Middle East and the Palestinian state if the Palestinian people can generate a leadership that is a peaceful interlocutor for Israel. 60 days we're going to do it? The Palestinian people have been the most execrably led people of the 20th century. Palestinian leaders supported Germany and the central powers in the first World War, Hitler in the second World War, Stalin in the Cold War, Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War. That's a losing streak. Tomorrow morning, Palestinian children will get up and go to schools where teachers appointed by the Palestinian Authority and textbooks selected by them will teach them a kind of virulent anti-Semitism akin to that in Nazi Germany. We need ten years of de-Nazification to get over what the Oslo Accords produced when they brought that thug and his "thugocracy" back to Palestine.

Couldn't have been said any better. J. McIntyre 12:57 pm Link | Email | Send to a Friend

Tuesday, November 16 2004
SCHUMER STAYS:
Chuck Schumer is staying in the Senate. In return, Harry Reid is giving Schumer a seat on the Finance Committee and the chairmanship of the DSCC. Democrats in DC and New York are thrilled.

I don't know if this really the good news Democrats think it is. Yes, Schumer's decision means they have avoided a bruising, costly primary battle between two heavyweights (Schumer and AG Eliot Spitzer) for the Governorship of New York.

The flip side of the decision is that on the heels of November 2 the Democrats have just promoted a liberal, Northeastern Senator best known for arguing in favor of a pro-abortion litmus test for federal judges into the ranks of their leadership and made him the face of their 2006 election hopes. Are we a bit slow on the learning curve, or what?

Now if the Dems will just put Howard Dean in as Chairman of the Party next February, Republicans will be even money for a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate in two years......

LAY OFF POWELL'S LEGACY: I'm not sure whether I'm in the minority here or not, but I can't stand all of the carping, backbiting, and preemptive attempts at "shaping" Colin Powell's legacy.

Liberals whine and say Powell "tarnished" himself by becoming a mouthpiece and cheerleader for the neocon war effort. Neocons bitch that Powell was off the reservation and never whipped the State Department into shape behind President Bush's policies.

In my mind Colin Powell is a stud - perhaps more so today than he's ever been. He was (to play on a recent phrase of some popularity) the right man for the right job at the right time.

Did he lose some battles to the Pentagon and the Office of the Vice President during his tenure? Yes. But he also won some pretty big ones as well. The important thing, at least to my mind, is that he was willing to fight those battles day in and day out and to provide the President with a broader range of perspectives needed at the highest levels of government.

Whether you think he should have won more or lost more battles is a matter of personal opinion, but it's hard to say the country didn't benefit by having Powell in its service as Secretary of State for the last four years. - T. Bevan 11:00 am Link | Email | Send to a Friend

Monday, November 15 2004
HAVE YOU BOUGHT THE CONVENTIONAL WISDOM?:
There are three groups that really want you to believe that the religious right and "moral values" were the driving forces in this election: 1) the religious right 2) liberals and 3) the media. All three have a vested interest in cementing the conventional wisdom that this was the election of the "values voter."

Group 1 obviously wants to overstate its role in the election to increase its power and influence on the political process. Groups 2 and 3 cling to the "values voter" theme to help rationalize what happened on election day and to paint the Republican party as captive to a fundamentalist (which in the liberal mind is synonymous with "intolerant") Christian base.

But as Charles Krauthammer explained last Friday in typical, brilliant fashion, the role of the "values voter" in this year's election is mythical:

The urban myth grew around the fact that "moral values" ranked highest in the answer to Question J: "Which ONE issue mattered most in deciding how you voted for President?"

It is a thin reed upon which to base a general theory of the '04 election. The way the question was set up, moral values was sure to be ranked disproportionately high. Why? Because it was a multiple-choice question and moral values cover a group of issues, while all the other choices were individual issues. Chop up the alternatives finely enough, and moral values is sure to get a bare plurality over the others.....

If you pit group against group, moral values comes in dead last: war issues at 34%, economic issues at 33% and moral values at 22%.

And we know that this is the real ranking. After all, the exit poll is just a single poll. We had dozens of polls in the runup to the election that showed that the chief concerns were the war on terror, the war in Iraq and the economy.

Ah, yes. But the fallback is then to attribute Bush's victory to the gay marriage referendums that pushed Bush over the top, particularly in Ohio. This is more nonsense. Bush increased his vote in 2004 over 2000 by an average of 3.1% nationwide. In Ohio, the increase was 1% - less than a third of the national average. In the 11 states in which the gay marriage referendums were held, Bush increased his vote by less than he did in the 39 states that did not have the referendum. The great anti-gay surge was pure fiction.

We see more proof of Krauthammer's thesis in an AP/Ipsos poll conducted from November 3-5 among 844 registered voters:

I’m going to read you a list of issues and I’m going to read the list twice. Please tell me which one issue should be the highest priority for President Bush in his second term:
The situation in Iraq.......................27
Terrorism..........................................23
The economy ..................................18
Health care.....................................14
Unemployment ................................7
Education ........................................7
Taxes ................................................2
(NOT READ) Other .......................2
Not sure ......................................... -

Granted, "moral values" were not part of the AP/Ipsos list, but no one in their right mind would argue that voters were suggesting that a Constitutional amendment banning gay marriage or repealing Roe vs. Wade be higher on the list of the President's priorities than Iraq, terrorism and the economy.

That doesn't mean "values" issues weren't part of the mix in this election, but they were an undercurrent at best and simply do not account for President Bush's country-wide demographic and geographic gains.

If I had to characterize this election in a single phrase, I'd say it was an election about maturity, not morality. It was a referendum on serious issues and ultimately George Bush won because he was more serious about them than his opponent.

You've probably heard the reference before that the Democratic Party is the "mommy party" and the GOP is the "daddy party." The bottom line is that since 9/11 the country has been in no mood to listen to mommy.

Think about it. Democrats got their clocks cleaned in 2002 and again this year. They've suffered two history-defying losses in the last two cycles. As much as Democrats would like to boil these losses down to the bigotry of the South and/or the fear-mongering of Republicans, they simply can't seem come to grips with the primary reason for their failure: an inability to pass the national security test with the American people.

It's not that Democrats can't pass the test, but that they deliberately refuse to by shunning hawkish members of their party (like Joe Lieberman and Dick Gephardt) and by embracing antiwar leftists (like Michael Moore and Howard Dean). It's a schism that makes it extremely difficult for Democrats to be competitive nationally or in the South, and no one better represented the schism, both in symbol and in substance, than John Kerry. His campaign this year was the ultimate effort to dress mommy up like daddy, and voters could tell the difference. - T. Bevan 7:00 am Link | Email | Send to a Friend

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