You can also
visit the Military,
Veterans & Patriotic Service Organizations of America web site
and select from one
of more than 40 different charitable groups supporting various
If you can't
give money, consider something else. At "Operation
Hero Miles" you can donate frequent flier miles to US
military personnel to help them get home to visit family and friends
while on leave.
USO Care Package" where you can send, well, a care package
to our troops. Click here to view the soldiers' wish
list and, after the pangs of guilt subside, see if you have
any extra items around the house that might make life a little
easier for one of our guys and gals in Iraq.
Or you can
clean out any extra toys that might be replaced this Christmas
them to Chief Wiggles who will give them out to the children
of Iraq. Winning the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people through
acts of compassion - no matter how small - help make our troops
safer and will help get them home as soon as possible.
if for some reason you can't donate money, miles, toothbrushes
or toys, there is still something you can do. If you're reading
this blog then you've obviously got a computer, which means you
can click here,
to send a message of support to our troops.
I urge you
to do something now. One of the reasons we're able to spend a
safe, comfortable holiday at home is because the brave men and
women of the US military are willing to sacrifice these special
days on our behalf, fighting terrorism half way around the globe.
It's the least we can do and the absolute bare minimum of gratitude
that the public of a free nation owes its defenders.
and Happy Holidays to all. - T. Bevan 9:03 am | Link
December 23 2003
INSIDE THE MIND OF A SADDAM APOLOGIST: Earlier this
Charles Krauthammer explained why Saddam's capture was of
immeasurable historical importance:
was the most aggressive and enduring exemplar of a particular
kind of deformed Arabism, a kind that arose in the post-colonial
era, appealed to the greater glory of the Arab nation and promised
a great restoration. Ironically, its methods and ideology were
imported from the West, the worst of the West. The Baath Party
was modeled on the fascist parties in early 20th-century Europe.
Its economics were Western socialism at its most stifling and
corrupt. Saddam then created the perfect fusion of the two,
producing a totalitarianism of surpassing cruelty modeled consciously
destiny is important because he was the last and the greatest
of these pan-Arab pretenders, though he gave it a psychotically
sadistic character unmatched anywhere in the Arab world. This
stream of Arab nationalism brought nothing but poverty, corruption,
despair, torture and ruin to large swaths of the Arab world.
The mass graves of Iraq are its permanent monument.
To see just
how good Krauthammer's analysis is, check out this
piece by Ramzy Baroud in this morning's Seattle Times. Baroud,
who is editor-in-chief of The Palestine Chronicle newspaper, says
when he learned of Saddam's capture "something inside me
Saddam in that cluttered state, willingly opening his mouth
to an American military doctor, being treated "like a cow,"
as the Vatican claimed, provoked an array of emotions that I
could hardly contain. Even then, I had no illusions: It was
not the "capture" of Saddam that engulfed me with these emotions;
it was what Saddam represented or, perhaps, failed to represent.
It was the fear of a future undoubtedly bleak, unforgiving.
in his eccentric ways, symbolized the last drive for pan-Arab
nationalism. In many ways, he was unrivaled. He was one of very
few who dared to stand up to what many people in the world see
as a harsh and domineering United States. To many people living
in the Middle East, Saddam Hussein was simply the "lesser of
the two evils."
nationalism, even under the shabby state of the former Iraqi
leader, remained important, for it represented the only collective
political identity Arabs aspired to attain. Politically fragmented
and easy prey to outside interests, many Arabs, especially in
poorer countries, held tight to the fading dream of unity."
capture has truly changed the equation in the Middle East (and
beyond) forever. We're already seeing the repercussions
all around us and you can bet they will continue long after he's
tried and executed. - T. Bevan 3:01 pm | Link
DEAN'S LATEST DECEPTION: A reader emailed us with an editorial
that apparently ran in the Quad City Times on Sunday. I haven't
been able to find a link to it on their web site (UPDATE: Link
available here), but I see now it's also being reported
New York Times. This is a remarkable story that deserves more
It goes like
this: in August the Quad City Times submitted a list of 20 questions
to all the Democrat presidential candidates, one of which asked
them to complete the following sentence: "My closest living
relative in the armed services is...?"
by saying "my brother is a POW/MIA in Laos, but is almost
This is technically
true (the DoD did end up classifying Charlie Dean as MIA) but
grossly misleading and deceptive. For those
who don't know, Charlie Dean was a civilian and an antiwar
activist who worked for George McGovern in 1972. After the election
he left to travel the world, eventually wandered into Laos with
an Australian buddy where they were both taken hostage and, in
all likelihood, executed on December 14, 1974. Charlie's remains
were recently discovered and returned to the U.S. in late November
of this year.
Here is the
complete text of the editorial as relayed to us via email. We
normally don't publish things like this without having a link
to verify its authenticity (UPDATE: Link
available here), but I've crosschecked the text below
with quotes from the NY Times article and didn't find any discrepancies
so I believe its a true representation of what appeared in the
QC Times yesterday:
12 weeks, editorial page readers have learned a little bit about
the human side of our presidential caucus candidates.
Caucus Q&A each Sunday defines each candidate in terms behind
position statements. They have divulged childhood experiences
and influential teachers. In today's installment, the candidates
named their favorite comedy film.
Sunday, Howard Dean offered an unusually revealing answer.
candidates were asked to complete this sentence: My closest
living relative in the armed services is...?
reply:"...my brother is a POW/MIA in Laos, but is almost certainly
truthful answer provided an inaccurate response. His brother
was never a member of the armed services.
interview Friday with the Times editorial board, Dean said he
believed the question was meant to get at his personal understanding
of the military. That definitely was the intent of our question.
to know the intent of his answer.
said he visited Vietnam with veterans and military personnel
and participated in digs to unearth enlisted men's remains.
That experienced (sic) created a strong affinity for men and
women in uniform.
Dean's remains were found last month in a Laotian rice field,
ending nearly three decades of anguish for his family.
Dean by many accounts was a renegade, an antiwar activist who
didn't scream objections and wave signs.
for George McGovern, and in 1974, began a world journey. The
news stories called him a "tourist", but his activism was much
more than that. He crossed the Pacific by freighter. He worked
on an Australian ranch.
for reasons only he knew, he went to Southeast Asia to see the
point, he was arrested by Laotian communist troops and held
against the formal objections of the U.S. and Australian governments.
U.S. Department of Defense as Missing in Action (sic) meaning
that he was among those officially sought by our government.
He wasn't the only civilian with such a classification.
he was a civilian, not a member of the armed services.
Dean's capture and death in Southeast Asia certainly shaped
his brother's opinions about the American military. Knowing
that story tells us something about the candidate.
inaccurately implying a direct family connection to the armed
services for the 72,000 Quad-Citians who received Sunday's newspaper.
strong medicine coming from an editorial board, but it's well
to the New York Times, Dean responded to the editorial at a townhall
meeting in New Hampshire calling it "one of the greatest
cheap shots I've ever seen in journalism."
he misunderstood the intent of the question and was not trying
to mislead anyone:
way I read the question was that they wanted to know if I knew
anything about the armed services from a personal level," he
said. "I don't think it was inaccurate or misleading if anybody
knew what the history was, and I assumed that most people knew
what the history was. Anybody who wanted to write about this
could have looked through the 23-year history to see that I've
always acknowledged my brother's a civilian, was a civilian."
This is absurd
and shameful. First, the question could not have been more simple
and straightforward. Dean
is way too smart (we hear this all the time, don't we?) and after
campaigning nonstop for over a year should be way too experienced
dealing with the media to know better than to conjure up ulterior
motives to simple press questions.
on earth would it be the editorial board's duty to research Dean's
"23-year history" of answering questions about his brother
to find - and then add to his remarks - the stipulation that Charlie
Dean was a civilian? It isn't.
Even if the
entire country knew the story of Dean's brother (which they don't)
it would still be Howard Dean's responsibility as a candidate
for President of the United States to note for the record that
his brother was a civilian. Of course, that's only if Dean wanted
the record to be unambiguously truthful on the matter.
Dean wrote a letter to the QC Times saying he was "deeply
offended." Mr. Dean, spare us the pleas for sympathy over
your damaged sensibilities because you decided to omit a fact
that was absolutely crucial to offering a straightforward answer
to a very simple question.
links to Dean's letter and the editorial itself if and when they
rolls on. Meanwhile, Kerry
is mortgaging his house and Lieberman
is stiffing his campaign workers to pay for advertising.
is interesting. Dennis Byrne, a regular contributor to the Chicago
Tribune op-ed page, yesterday called on Illinois Republicans to
reject Peter Fitzgerald's decision to retire and organize a draft
movement to send him back to the Senate in November. Will it happen?
Doubtful. But it does give you an idea of just how bleak things
are for the Illinois GOP.
front-runner is Jack
Ryan who, despite being a political novice, probably offers
the best chance for Republicans to hold onto Fitzgerald's seat
at this point. But his worst nightmare is just beginning to play
out with the indictment
of former Republican Governor George Ryan on charges of racketeering,
conspiracy and fraud. They aren't related, of course, but that
hardly matters. The trial is going to be ugly, long, and front
page news running right through the middle of the general election
campaign. - T. Bevan 10:44 am | Link
December 22 2003
AL SHARPTON: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: You just have to love it.
Only in America can a person with no political experience and
no qualifications declare themselves a candidate for President
of the United States and then use an utterly quixotic campaign
to rehabilitate a tarnished reputation. That's essentially what
Al Sharpton has done in just a few short months.
back in January when Sharpton
made his run official, former Gore campaign manager Donna
Brazile tried mounting a "favorite son" campaign against
him. The plan called for fielding African-American candidates
in key primary states to try and dilute Sharpton's potential influence
on the primary process. Clearly, despite the entry of Carol Moseley-Braun
into the race shortly afterward, the plan hasn't worked.
that his campaign in South Carolina is "a
mess," Sharpton is pulling
11% of the vote there, tied for third place with John Edwards
and well within striking distance of both Wes Clark and leader
Howard Dean. He also continues to poll respectably in New York
(8.5% average in last 2 polls), Virginia (6%), Georgia (5.6%)
, and Ohio (6%).
polls are meaningless to legitimate candidates because they have
zero effect on the nominating process. But for fringe candidates
like Sharpton who don't have a prayer of winning and whose only
concern is a personalized seat at the table of political power,
national polls are a barometer by which they can measure - and
leverage - their influence in the party. The bigger Sharpton's
national numbers get the more he's seen as representing an important
constituency, the more coveted his endorsement becomes, and the
more the eventual nominee has to promise him in return for that
In that respect,
nobody is benefiting more from John Kerry's demise than Sharpton.
He's out-polled Kerry in three of
the four latest national polls and is running, on average,
2-points ahead of John Edwards. The man who gave us the
Tawana Brawley hoax and the riot
at Freddy's Fashion Mart is, in the eyes of some Democratic
voters, more qualified to be President than two sitting United
States Senators. How's that for creating an image of legitimacy?
has managed to do exactly what many Democrats feared most. He's
inserted himself into the middle of the biggest, most important
fight of the Democratic party and turned himself into the political
version of Don King; a flamboyant, entertaining, spotlight hugging
self-promoter. Weeks before the first vote has been cast, Al Sharpton's
mission is already accomplished.
FOR THE ANTI-DEAN GANG: An astute reader sent through this
editorial appearing in today's Burlington Free Press. Apparently
the Vermont state hospital is in such disrepair it's going to
have to shut down:
would not want their loved ones kept at the Vermont State Hospital,
why should anyone?
the thought of any member of my family going there makes me
really sick to my stomach," said Rep. Joyce Errecart, R-Shelburne,
a member of a special legislative committee studying the future
of the Waterbury facility.
10-member Health Access Oversight Committee last week recommended
closing the state mental hospital and transferring its patients
to more modern treatment centers....
the hospital embarrassment was left by the previous governor
and legislators who served with him, the 2004 Legislature
and the Douglas administration must make the state hospital
a high priority, always keeping in mind the kind of treatment
they would want for their families. (Emphasis added).
we'll see just how fast the Gephardt and Kerry campaigns can produce
direct mail. - T. Bevan 8:36 am | Link