July 18 2003
SCREW UP: Some of you may have noticed we've had an issue
with the commentary page this morning. Here's the explanation:
First and foremost, it started with me writing something I probably
shouldn't have written (see below) suggesting that people who
disagree with me should "move to another country." After
rereading the post I felt the language was not only a bit over
the top but also open to misinterpretation. But when I went to
post an update, I screwed up the commentary page altogether and
had to take today's entire blog down. Sorry.
to my comments this morning, bear with me for a moment while I
employ the time-honored Congressional tactic of "revising
and extending" my remarks.
I did not mean to suggest is that it is America's responsibility
to send military troops all over the globe trying to install Democratic
regimes and alleviate suffering. Despite our passion for liberty
at home and our desire to see it flourish around the globe, I'm
not suggesting we need to invade China because they treat their
people horribly or that it's our sole responsibility to stop civil
wars in Liberia, Congo, the Sudan, etc.
What I do
think, however, and where I think Blair was dead on the mark is
that the spread of liberty ultimately enhances our security. And
while I agree we should use diplomatic tools, economic tools,
and any other tools at our disposal to encourage its spread and
in its defense, there are times - as has been the case with Afghanistan
and Iraq - where military force is an absolutely vital component
of battling terrorism and making the world safer by breaking despotic
regimes that harbor terrorists and replacing them with democracies.
thinks we win the war on terror using all carrot and no stick
is kidding themselves. People who believe we'll end up more secure
using only military force are also being naive. What's most frustrating
about liberal ideology in this country - and we're seeing a classic
example of it now with the base of the Democrat party in the presidential
race - is a refusal to acknowledge that military force is a legitimate
and necessary response to combat the growing confluence of tyrannical
regimes and terrorists, and also an easy acquiescence to the objections
of other countries where U.S. national security interests are
concerned. - T. Bevan 2:33pm
TASK IS YOURS TO DO:" Here's hoping the Democrats spend
as much time analyzing Tony
Blair's speech yesterday as they've spent scrutinizing President
Bush's SOTU. It was a remarkable tribute to our country, our values,
and to the fundamental reason America has become the sole hyperpower
in the world.
also laid out a convincing case for why we as a country, along
with as many freedom loving allies as we can muster, have an obligation
to use every means at our disposal to aggressively prevent the
spread of terror and promote the spread of democracy around the
doubt that some on the left will interpret these ideas as a facade
designed to facilitate more "U.S. IMPERIALISM!" All
I can say is: You're damn right. What we are talking about is
an imperialism of freedom, of human rights and human dignity.
Disagree on tactics and methods if you like, but if you can't
support the passionate pursuit of liberty for your fellow man
then move to another country that doesn't hold these values quite
as dear as we do.
it. Blair gets it. The leaders of Eastern Europe get it. It's
time for the rest of the world to start getting it too.
EQUAL PATRIOTISM?: Anyone else see Fred Barnes tear up on
Report panel last night? Barnes was commenting this poignant
passage in Blair's speech:
members of Congress, don't ever apologize for your values. (Applause.)
Tell the world why you're proud of America. Tell them when "The
Star-Spangled Banner" starts, Americans get to their feet --
Hispanics, Irish, Italians, Central Europeans, East Europeans,
Jews, Muslims, white, Asian, black, those who go back to the
early settlers, and those whose English is the same as some
New York cab drivers I've dealt with -- (laughter) -- but whose
sons and daughters could run for this Congress. Tell them why
Americans, one and all, stand upright and respectful. Not because
some state official told them to, but because whatever race,
color, class or creed they are, being American means being free.
That's why they're proud.
the fact that I'm sure Ann
Coulter will be calling Fred a "girly-boy" in some
upcoming column, Barnes display of emotion intrigued me, not only
because it mirrored the emotion I felt when I watched Blair's
speech, but because it made me wonder whether such emotion is
a measuring stick (albeit a crude one) of one's patriotism.
On one hand
it's sort of an absurd idea. Some people are just more emotional
than others and are stuck differently by different symbols or
words. Mort Kondracke didn't tear up when he talked about the
speech and that doesn't mean in any way that he isn't as patriotic
On the other
hand, such a involuntary display of emotion is indicative of a
deep, overwhelming sense of love and pride for America that can
only be defined as patriotism.
doubt all Americans feel this to a certain degree. But I found
myself thinking that there is just no way you'd see Paul Krugman
or Norman Mailer burst into tears under the same circumstances.
I'll be pilloried in the blogosphere for "attacking"
other people's patriotism. Maybe it is an unfair characterization.
Maybe you can't measure the level of one's patriotism by the size
of the lump they get in their throat when they think and speak
about America. But then again, maybe you can.
Aaron Brown turned to Matt Frei, the Washington correspondent
for BBC World News, to analyze Blair's speech. Frei couldn't even
make it through an answer to Brown's first question without letting
slip a noticeable anti-American bias. Check it out:
How will the speech play, would you guess, back home?
Well, all the headlines apparently in London and in London newspapers
are history will forgive us that line from the Blair speech
and, of course, I think as Suzanne Malveaux pointed out perhaps
the voters in parliament won't forgive Tony Blair.
heat is certainly still on him but there's something that happens
in the British voter even in the most skeptical British voter,
a kind of chemical reaction when they see a British prime minister
subject to a 14-minute standing ovation in (unintelligible).
even the most hardened critic will be quite warmed by that experience
because, to be honest, everybody likes to be liked by America,
even by this America.
does Frei mean by "this America?" Even the most charitable
interpretation of Frei's remarks can't erase their disparaging
and elitist tone . It's no wonder America has such a tough time
fighting the public relations battle abroad when journalists from
even our closest ally have an anti-American/anti-Bush administration
bias that shapes the news they beam back home. - T
Bevan 9:16 am
July 17 2003
THE DEMS WORK ON BUSH: Ever shuck an oyster? You search
along its seal until you find the right spot, ram the knife in
then work like crazy twisting and turning to pry open the rest
of the shell.
This is exactly
what the Dems are trying to do to Bush. The Niger uranium story
is the knife, and every Democrat within shouting distance of a
microphone or television camera is scrambling to use the story
to launch a broader attack upon the President's credibility and
It's a bizarre
frenzy to watch, especially from a lackluster group of Democrat
presidential candidates who didn't have much of anything newsworthy
to say two weeks ago and are now falling all over themselves to
see who can make the most outrageous claims possible.
who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee and is on the record
recently saying the intelligence against Iraq provided a "compelling
case" for action, calls
the president a liar in Newsday this morning.
John Kerry is inventing new "gaps" faster than we can
count, declaring in just a matter of hours yesterday that America
suffers from an "intelligence
gap" and a Homeland Security "preparedness
gap", both of which President Bush is responsible for.
to Dem politicians and liberal columnists, Bush didn't just lie
about the Niger uranium purchase. He lied about the aluminum tubes.
He lied about al-Qaeda and Iraq. He lied about the cost and casualties
of the war.
there's more: Bush lied about the deficit, Homeland Security,
taxes, education, corporate corruption, the environment, even
his shoe size and SAT scores. The Dem line of attack is quickly
evolving into "you name it, Bush lied about it."
to wait and see if shouting "Liar, Liar Pants on Fire"
will work for the Dems as an election strategy - it certainly
didn't work for Republicans in 1996 or 1998. Then again, in '96
and '98 you had a stellar economy and a world class spin/attack
machine defending the President. Right now Bush has neither. -
T. Bevan 9:11
July 16 2003
UNIONS "YES", GAY MARRIAGE "NO": The three
Dem presidential candidates with the least chance of winning the
nomination (Braun, Kucinich, and Sharpton) went
on record yesterday supporting gay marriage. The rest of the
attendees at the Human Rights Campaign
forum (Graham and Edwards did not attend) said they support civil
unions but not gay marriage.
and John Kerry were actually hissed at by the crowd when they
offered the traditional view embraced by a large plurality of
Americans that marriage is a social, civil, and religious covenant
designated for a woman and a man.
Howard Dean was the crowd favorite, despite the fact he spent
most of his time playing semantic games with Sam Donaldson over
the definition of "civil union" and "marriage."
But it was
Dean's closing statement that caught my attention - and actually
made me laugh. He said that people ask him how on earth he is
going to win the South. To illustrate the answer, Dean told a
story of a gay WWII veteran living in the South who came up to
thank him for his support of civil unions after a recent campaign
stop. If Dean thinks the gay veteran vote is going to propel him
to victory in the South, he's a bit more delusional than I thought.
WORDS: Since the parlor game of the month seems to be parsing
the President's speech, it occurred to me that the entire flap
over Bush's State
of the Union address could have been avoided by adding two
simple words: "may have." As in:
British government has learned that Saddam Hussein may have
recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."
two tiny words would have reflected the conflicting nature of
intelligence reports without diluting the seriousness of the charge.
Both statements are true, of course, but one is definitive and
the other is not.
words. No uproar. No apologies. No having to listen to Teddy
Kennedy & Company's righteous indignation. What a shame.
- T. Bevan 8:45
July 15 2003
LET THEM EAT YELLOWCAKE: The more I watch and listen to
Democrats try and make hay out of the Niger uranium story, the
more inclined I am to add four little letters beginning with "s"
to the White
House's assessment that it's just a bunch of "bull."
the New York Times op-ed page floods the zone with an
editorial that calls the Bush administration's depiction of
Iraq's nuclear weapons program totally "indefensible."
Is that so? Gail Collins obviously doesn't read the London Daily
Telegraph which, oh by the way, reported
the following yesterday:
officials admitted that the country was Niger but insisted that
the intelligence behind it was genuine and had nothing to do
with the fake documents. It was convincing and they were sticking
with it, the officials said.
dismissed a report from a former US diplomat who was sent to
Niger to investigate the claims and rejected them. "He seems
to have asked a few people if it was true and when they said
'no' he accepted it all," one official said. "We see no reason
at all to change our assessment."
fake documents were not behind that assessment and were not
seen by MI6 until after they were denounced by the IAEA. If
MI6 had seen them earlier, it would have immediately advised
the Americans that they were fakes.
Kristof and Paul
Krugman argue this morning that the Niger story is just one
example of a larger pattern of "dishonesty" and "corruption"
by the Bush administration with respect to manipulating intelligence
to pursue a predetermined path in the war on terror.
Krugman's column struck me as particularly farfetched, especially
Iraq hawks set out to corrupt the process of intelligence assessment.
On one side, nobody was held accountable for the failure to
predict or prevent 9/11; on the other side, top intelligence
officials were expected to support the case for an Iraq war.
to Krugman, the Bush administration is to be held accountable
both for not being sufficiently alarmist with respect to
intelligence estimates prior to 9/11 and then for being unduly
alarmist with those same intelligence estimates after 9/11.
the absurdity and hypocrisy of this for a moment: Krugman wants
to vilify the Bush administration for not piecing together scraps
of intelligence, speculation and theory to "predict and prevent"
a one-in-a-million terrorist attack scenario and then turn around
and vilify the administration when they take seriously intelligence
reports - reports that the British government continues to stand
by even to this very moment - that Hussein attempted to purchase
material to make a nuclear bomb.
of this part of Krugman's argument does, I think, put a nice highlight
on why this issue may not damage President Bush the way the Democrats
hope and may even backfire on them in a big way.
offer up a clear cut case that "BUSH LIED!", what the
Niger/uranium story does indicate explicitly to voters
in this country is that if there is even the slightest indication
that terrorists or rogue regimes around the world are trying to
get their hands on WMD's, President Bush is willing to act swiftly
and forcefully to take them down and defend America. This stands
in stark - and I mean STARK- contrast to Howard "Let's Send
Troops to Liberia but Not Iraq" Dean and most of the rest
of the Dem presidential hopefuls.
So let the
Dems eat yellowcake. Let them eat as much as they want. Here's
hoping they choke on it.
THUGGERY: I'm continually amazed and astonished at the level
of vitriol and verbal thuggery that accompanies the NAACP
convention every year.
saw the outrageous
quote from Julian Bond the other day about racist Republicans.
Yesterday, Kweisi Mfume used the rhetorical racial sledgehammer
on the three Democrat presidential hopefuls who missed the event,
telling them, "Your political capital is the equivalent of Confederate
- indeed the organization itself - has become so mean-spirited
and misguided that fewer and fewer people can take it seriously.
Instead of being a national forum to discuss serious issues of
concern to the African-American community, the convention has
turned into a 4 day hate-fest with the sole purpose of inflaming
racial animosity in the country.
wrote about Mfume's similarly overheated convention rhetoric
on the issue of police brutality. It's a very serious concern
to African-Americans - indeed to most all Americans - and one
that deserves our attention. But instead of trying to foster a
constructive dialog on the issue, Mfume used the tragic case of
Louima to launch a gruesome, divisive diatribe:
what we do not support are all those others who believe that
that badge and that night stick and that gun and that uniform
have somehow given them the authority to take away the rights
of others. They want to stick plungers up us. They want to beat
us with telephone books and billy clubs. They want to smack
on us and spit on us in the station house. They want to hold
us down while we're being sodomized. They want to abuse us in
our own communities and speak to us like dogs."
of language is inflammatory and unnecessary, and ultimately it
hurts the credibility of the NAACP much more than it helps. -
T. Bevan 8:41
July 14, 2003
16 WORDS": "The British government has learned that
Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium
Russert on Meet the Press described this sentence by President
Bush in the State
of the Union as "the infamous words the president uttered
on January 28th."
All of Washington
and the weekend talk shows were in hysterics over the "False
Statement in State of the Union Address." The Democrats running
for President think they now have the goods to attack Bush on
foreign policy and national security. Forgive me if I think this
is all a political sideshow and a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking.
on CNN's Capital
Gang did one of the better jobs of summarizing the facts of
dishonesty here are all of the people who are ignoring the facts
to this hysterical reaction to the 16 words in the president's
speech. It is, in fact, not true that a possible nuclear program
was the most fundamental reason for going to war.
Powell, when he made his case, which everyone agreed at the
time was the most compelling case about the need to defend ourselves
at the U.N., never mentioned a nuclear capacity. So that's just
our intelligence agencies agreed in a confidential report last
October, they all agreed, that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear
program. They offered six reasons, none of which had anything
to do with buying uranium from Africa.
the president said the British intelligence finds that Iraq
has sought to buy uranium from Africa. That was true then, and
it remains true. British intelligence still say that is the
fact. They haven't shared the intelligence with us, but they
still stick by that assessment, and they say it had nothing
to do with the forged documents. Niger in the past had sold
uranium to Iraq and lied about it. So certainly they're not
going to be telling Joe Wilson whether or not they did so this
fact, in the early '90s, we found Iraq's program was nuclear
program was far more advanced than either the U.N. or the CIA
thought. There should have been a presumption in favor of the
British intelligence report being so, and they still stick by
mean those "infamous words" the president uttered are
actually true? Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see the
huge scandal here. This sentence was a small piece of a very large
argument for why the world needed to do something about Saddam
came to the conclusion after 9/11 that Hussein's Iraq posed a
threat to the U.S. and our allies and he made a decision to act
and do something about that threat. A
lot of these criticisms are very easy to make with 20/20 hindsight,
but you have to remember before any war starts you can not be
sure how things may go.
honest belief that Hussein posed a real threat to the U.S., Bush's
administration had an obligation to produce as much public support
as possible for the country's effort in Iraq. It's not a shocking
revelation that in attempting to do this the administration would
choose to highlight any reasonably credible evidence available
at the time that bolstered its argument.
it's very easy after the fact to say you shouldn't have included
this or that piece of evidence. The flaw in this argument is that
it assumes the "evidence" contained in the intelligence
reports on which the White House rely are akin to simple math
problems like 2+2=4 when they are really much more ambiguous documents
that force policy makers to make judgment calls.
Rumsfeld captured the essence of it very well on Meet the Press:
that it would be fair for a listener to all this to make a judgment
about it, and say, “Well, how do I feel about that?”
I think the president understood that. When he went to the Congress,
he said, “There’s no smoking gun.” This is a difficult problem.
It is a very difficult problem for the world because at that
point where a biological or a nuclear capability is transferred
to a terrorist group or used, the penalty for the mistake, the
error, the failure to act, is not 3,000 people, as we lost on
September 11, it could be 30,000 or 100,000.
how do you make those judgments? You make them honestly and
directly and forthrightly, and you told people what you know
and what you don’t know. And that’s what we’ve done.
Bush and more importantly I trust this Administration's judgment.
And I think the Democrats and the liberals in the media are going
to be sorely disappointed when this story doesn't produce the
political damage to the President they want. J.
McIntyre 7:32 am