July 25 2003
CALLING IT QUITS: I've been wondering just how long it
would take before someone would publicly advocate pulling U.S.
troops out of Iraq. I certainly didn't expect it to happen today,
less than 48 hours after the unqualified success of U.S. troops
Uday & Qusay Hussein.
here you go, courtesy of Hubert
Locke in this morning's Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
get out of Iraq sooner rather than later. Why not admit that
we've accomplished little of what was our announced intent --
we haven't found any weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein
is more likely alive than dead and "democracy" in Iraq is likely
to cause as many headaches for the United States as Saddam ostensibly
did. Let's cut our losses, really support our troops and bring
them home from the quagmire in Iraq.
start with this opus of defeatism? First, let's tackle the obvious:
whether you agreed with the premise for the war or not, it's a
universally accepted fact that pulling our troops out now would
be a disaster and make America and the world significantly less
safe. I'm not aware any of any serious politician or candidate
who is calling to bring the troops home - not even Howard Dean,
though as I said on Tuesday,
I'd like to hear exactly what he would do.
disturbing, however, is Locke's incredibly warped sense of priorities:
while state and local governments across the nation totter on
the verge of bankruptcy, vital federal programs from AmeriCorps
to the National Weather Service have their budgets slashed and
unemployment is at a new high, we're approaching a monthly outlay
of close to $5 billion for two wars, neither of which seem to
have accomplished their principal objectives.
last sentence first: the principal objective in both Afghanistan
and Iraq was to forcibly replace regimes that either 1) were supporting
terrorists or 2) pursuing weapons of mass destruction or 3) both.
Mission accomplished. Rebuilding societies shattered by such corrupt
and repressive regimes as the Taliban and Saddam is another matter
- and one that we continue to work on.
this falsehood, it's just absolutely mind-blowing that there are
people out there willing to call off the entire war on terror
so we can keep funding the National Weather Service. I'm all for
Americorps, but anyone who sees it as more of a "vital federal
program" than aggressively pursuing terrorists who want nothing
more than to kill Americans - preferably as many as possible and
on our own soil - really needs to have their head examined.
If our current
leaders had anything approaching the ridiculous views of people
like Hubert Locke, America would be a smoldering pile of ashes
today. Thankfully, they
who Mr. Locke will be voting for next year. - T.
Bevan 8:15 am
July 24 2003
DEMOCRATS & "LA LOI DE LA JUNGLE": I suppose
you might expect that French President Jacques Chirac would be
in a particularly bad mood these days, given that American troops
are making darn
good progress in completing the liberation of the Iraqi people
and are also closing in fast on his
good buddy Saddam.
this week in Malaysia Chirac went into a public spasm of anti-Americanism
that left even the reporters covering the event taken aback. Here's
the lede from the International
two virulent opponents of American involvement in Iraq like
President Jacques Chirac and Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad
of Malaysia get together, the language of disapproval of U.S.
policy normally gets a full workout. But this was a notch above
So what exactly
did Chirac say? Well, he is quoted by the AFP as urging the establishment
of a new international "mechanism" that will help "do
away with unilateralism and bring multilateralism" Mssr.
Chirac then continued:
can no longer accept the law of the strongest, the law of the
there was a bit of controversy over the official translation,
though Chirac's press office released a clarification the following
day that was just as lame.
the IHT article, however, we come across even more of a knee-slapper:
was honored, the AFP dispatch said, for his "resolute opposition
to the war in Iraq and the courage he demonstrated in placing
himself on the side of the oppressed."
striking about Chirac's statement and the rest of the language
quoted in the article isn't that it came from two virulently anti-American
international leaders halfway around the world, it's that it could
have just as easily come from nearly all of the current Democrat
presidential challengers at
a campaign stop anywhere in America.
It is absolutely
bizarre. Most rational politicians would recognize the fact that
when your policy and rhetoric becomes indistinguishable from France
and Malaysia, you've got a teeny-weeny bit of a problem on your
Led by Howard Dean, they've all got their feet pressed firmly
on the antiwar gas pedal. The top on the convertible is down.
Empty beer cans are tink-tinkling down the open road and they've
got smiles on their faces as they speed toward the brick wall
of election 2004.
WE AREN'T DOING: This
article raised the hair on the back of my neck. The U.S. Supreme
Court recently struck down a California law allowing the state
to "retroactively extend" the period for which persons
accused of sex crimes could be prosecuted. Hundreds more convicted
sex offenders are going to be released from California prisons
in the coming months.
on the other coast Massachusetts Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly
said yesterday that sex offenses within the Catholic church will
probably top one thousand. Even worse, the Boston
Reilly said that, though he wished it were otherwise, he could
find no criminal statute under which he could prosecute church
leaders, including Cardinal Bernard F. Law.
to protect our children from crime - especially from the heinous
offenses of sexual crime and sexual abuse - is one of our society's
most important jobs. We're not doing it nearly as well as we should
and that's a tragedy. - T.
Bevan 8:40 am
July 23 2003
UDAY & QUSAY GO DOWN: You wonder whether the fantastic
news that our forces killed
Saddam's murderous sons will guilt the media into focusing
on issues of a little more consequence than the phony scandal
about yellowcake from Niger.
steady drumbeat of negative news over the last few weeks it's
very easy to lose sight of the big picture and forget that while
there is still some tough sledding ahead in Iraq there is also
a lot that can go right. Yesterday's victory in eliminating Uday
and Qusay is a perfect example.
STARTS TO PANIC: "Democratic presidential candidate Richard
A. Gephardt, a staunch supporter of the war in Iraq, delivered
a blistering assault yesterday on the Bush administration's handling
of the postwar situation, saying the administration's unilateralism
and ''momentary machismo'' have left Americans ''less safe and
less secure than we were four years ago.'' ''When President Bush
landed on an aircraft carrier and declared victory in Iraq, I
think he chose the wrong backdrop for his photo-op. If you ask
me, if he really wanted to show us the state of affairs in Iraq,
he should have landed on a patch of quicksand,'' Gephardt said
in a speech before the San Francisco Bar Association. ''President
Bush may have won the support of a lot of Democrats -- including
me -- for his war effort there, but in his dissembling and mishandling,
he's steadily losing every ounce of bipartisan support he once
had,'' said Gephardt, who helped draft the resolution authorizing
force against Iraq. Gephardt's remarks represented a dramatic
change from his behavior and rhetoric last year and reflected
a growing national discontent, particularly among Democrats, over
the volatile situation in Iraq." - Boston
feeling the squeeze from the hard left in the Democratic nominating
process who absolutely hate President Bush. However, he
is making a mistake in trying to compete with Howard Dean on the
anti-war rhetoric. It's bad politics for him and an indication
to me that his campaign is starting to panic.
HISTORY: Former Clinton Defense Secretary William
Perry attempts to shift the blame from the Clinton administration's
disastrous North Korean policy to the Bush administration in today's
(Bush ) administration to this point has refused to negotiate
with North Korea, instead calling on the countries in the region
to deal with the problem. The strategy underlying this approach
is not clear, but the consequences are all too clear. It has
allowed the North in the past six months to move from canned
fuel rods to plutonium and, in a few more months, to nuclear
weapons. And the consequences could extend well beyond the region.
Given North Korea's desperate economic condition, we should
expect it to sell some of the products of its nuclear program,
just as it did with its missile program. If that happens, a
nuclear bomb could end up in an American city. The administration
has suggested that it would interdict such transfers. But a
nuclear bomb can be made with a sphere of plutonium the size
of a soccer ball. It is wishful thinking to believe we could
prevent a package that size from being smuggled out of North
Korea. How did we get into this mess?
like many of the foreign policy problems we are facing today Clinton's
group took the easy way out and decided to kick the real problems
on down the road for another President to deal with.
be real easy for President Bush to have a big "summit"
with the North Koreans where he could sign a nice long document
getting Kim Jong Il to promise to stop building nuclear bombs
and all the liberal editorial writers could gush over the diplomatic
"victory." The problem, of course, is this isn't a real
solution to the problem at all as the North Koreans would smile,
take our money, and continue their pursuit of nuclear weapons.
editorial in the Washington
Times does a good job of debunking Perry's attempt to rewrite
Another beauty from Maureen
Dowd in the New York Times. Today she imagines a letter from
Vice President Cheney to Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar where
among the many ridiculous lines comes this gem of compassion from
our Vice President as imagined in the fantasy world of Ms. Dowd:
"I know you're worried that the whiny widows of 9/11
will throw another hissy-fit...." Nice.
July 22 2003
AND YOUR PLAN IS?: Andrew
Sullivan cleans up my blog from yesterday with an incisive
post this morning:
of the current criticism of the occupation as a whole is ultimately
designed to weaken domestic support for the vital task in front
of us. That's what the antiwar left and right are now trying
to do. They lost the battle before the war and during the war.
They now desperately need the U.S. to lose the postwar. It's
time for those of us who supported the liberation of Iraq to
fight back against this potentially catastrophic gambit. For
the U.S. to give up now, to withdraw, or to show any vacillation
in the face of great progress in the Middle East, would indeed
make matters far worse than if we had never intervened in the
first place. We have an obligation to make it work. If some
Democrats continue to argue that we should cut our losses, they
are simply not ready for government."
course, begs the question of the current Dem front-runners for
president: What's your plan in Iraq? I don't want to hear how
you would have handled the run up to war differently than Bush,
I want to know exactly how you plan to deal with the current reality
in Iraq. If you spend the next 16 months undercutting the rationale
for war in Iraq and are ultimately elected President, will we
be pulling out in January 2005? If not, how many U.S. troops would
you leave? Would you simply turn control over to the UN, put American
forces under their control and be done with it?
sure that upon examining the answers to these questions we'll
find the Dems advocating a return to the foreign policy status
quo of the Clinton years. We'll be back to relying on unenforceable
"framework agreements" and the "moral authority"
of the United Nations to protect American security. Back to the
ineffective but casualty-free strategy of lobbing cruise missiles
here and there with little hope of hitting targets of any significance.
Back to waiting for terrorists to strike and then treating them
as criminals rather than combatants. In other words, we'll be
back to playing defense.
worry, fellow Americans, if elected we know the Democrats will
spend hundreds of billions of dollars on homeland security getting
us ready to respond after the next attack takes
is that this administration has chosen the hard road. They've
chosen it because in the long run they believe - as do I - that
it's the best road for U.S. national security and for keeping
peace around the world.
have to take a stand on Iraq. He could have sat back after victory
in Afghanistan with a 70+% approval rating and coasted to victory
in 2004. He could have looked at the intelligence on Iraq that
said they possessed WMD's, were harboring members of al-Qaeda,
supporting Palestinian terrorists, and pursuing a nuclear weapons
program and shrugged his shoulders while Saddam continued to play
games with inspectors and the UN Security Council.
Is the road
we're on a painful one? You bet. Would it have been easier in
the short term to embrace the false sense of security provided
by working through the UN - shaking hands, smiling and signing
on the dotted line of resolution number eighteen even as fellow
Security Council members like France and Russia continued selling
deadly weaponry and technology to countries like Iraq and Iran
that support terrorists? I suppose so. But America would be less
safe as a result.
me among the group of people who are thankful the "go-along-to-get-along"
foreign policy days of the Clinton administration are gone, even
if they have been replaced by a policy that costs us much more
dearly in terms of lives and treasure in the short run.
post by Steve Gilliard over at DailyKOS
made me want to puke:
the people going after the Bush Administration are not worried
about smears, but the men in places like Walter Reed and Bethesda.
There is nothing you can say about a Joe Wilson, or any reporter
that is as bad as being a 20-something amputee or watching parents
bury a dead 19 year old.
sense of duty goes beyond party or election and to the nation.
Maybe they feel that if the President claims a need to go to
war, that his words reflect something like the truth and not
a series of evasions, overstatements and outright lies. It may
only be 16 words in the West Wing, but it is an arm, a leg,
a future, a life to at least 1300 families in this country.
Give me a
break. There's nothing more despicable than liberals who spend
90% of their time ranting about the evil "military industrial
complex" and bashing the U.S. Armed Forces and then try to
wrap themselves around tragic stories of soldiers injured in combat.
be sure to clarify: Gilliard only plays the "compassionate"
card over troops injured under a Republican president. Think we'd
find the same outrage or tears shed over troops killed or injured
in Somalia or Bosnia under Clinton? I didn't think so.
difference between liberals and conservatives is that, in general,
conservatives actually tend to respect people in the military.
Even those of us who haven't worn a uniform spend our days praising
the commitment of the young men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces,
honoring their sacrifice and the sacrifice of their families,
and deeply respecting their contribution to America's past, present,
on the other hand, spend a good portion of their time carping
at the size of the military budget, bleating about the evils of
military force and approach our country's military institutions
with attitudes ranging from skepticism to cynicism to outright
contempt. And in far too many cases instead of celebrating their
service, many on the left treat America's soldiers, sailors, and
airmen as a combination of dupes and dolts, either too uneducated
or too unaware they are just pawns of the Washington policy makers.
in respect is big and it's noticeable. Why do you think the military
votes overwhelming Republican every year? - T.
Bevan 9:06 am
July 21 2003
GOING WOBBLY IN IRAQ: Casualties continue
to mount. Bush's approval ratings continue
to slide. The media continues to flog the "quagmire"
storyline, updated with a fresh round of bleating about low
bit of news that continually gets lost in the shuffle: it's only
been 11 weeks since we won the war, folks. I'm not trying to minimize
U.S. troop deaths or deflect attention from the long and difficult
road we're facing in Iraq, but if American perseverance and will
power to complete the tough job of combating terrorism and reshaping
a more secure Middle East is measurable in days and weeks rather
than months and years, then we've got big, big problems.
It's tough to build anything in eleven weeks, let alone
a peaceful, working Democracy in a country of 25 million people
that has been systematically ravaged by a brutal dictator for
three decades. Still, the pages of newspapers and the hours of
cable television have to be filled with something, and stories
of our significant success and progress in Iraq are infinitely
less interesting than continuous updates of the latest death,
chaos, and disorder.
Do we need
help to finish the job of winning the peace? Absolutely. I believe
as time goes by we will continue to get more and more international
help. But as President Bush warned us repeatedly, the job in Iraq
is going to be a long haul and one we should be prepared for.
the Democrats, after spending the better part of two years shouting
in the wilderness, are absolutely giddy to find themselves gaining
traction against Bush. It's no surprise the DNC rushed into the
cut an anti-Bush ad over the Niger uranium issue and that
they hope to take the "BUSH LIED" campaign national.
is that the public really doesn't really care about the Niger
issue or the overall WMD issue much at all. Bush's electability
next year rests much more on whether the military can stop the
small but consistent rate of U.S. casualties. From Time
Holder, 53, owner of a pool hall in Dickinson, Texas, voted
for Bush three years ago. She's not so sure she will again.
"A lot depends on what happens between now and the election,"
she says. "It doesn't matter to me that we have not found weapons
of mass destruction. What matters to me is that our boys are
still getting killed. I don't want this turning into another
Vietnam where we dump truckloads of money and lives." The President's
standing has dropped with nearly every group, but his fall is
particularly steep among the young—people like Meg Brohn, 23,
of Mount Clemens, Mich., and her sister Caroline, 20. They supported
the war, but they can't help noticing how many of those dying
are around their age, and that has brought it home to them in
a vivid and dismaying way. "When our troops are being so viciously
attacked, it's obvious the Iraqis don't want us over there,"
says Caroline. Her sister says, "I don't think we'll ever be
able to declare victory."
people at the DNC don't know Americans could care less about Niger,
which demonstrates how clueless they are when it comes to national
security, or their real goal is to undermine the case for war
- and thus the war itself. This way, in addition to attacking
Bush's veracity, if the difficulties in Iraq continue through
next year Democrats can play on the fears and anxieties of the
public by calling the war a quagmire and a mistake.
FOR GUV: Hard to believe, but some
people actually want Arianna Huffington to run for governor
in California. Can you imagine the debate between Arianna and
Arnold? We'd need subtitles just to make sure we could understand
what they were saying. Saturday Night Live would have to bring
back Mike Myers for a new "Sprockets"
parody of the event: "Arianna, do you want to touch my monkey?"
On a more
serious note, the article contains this quote, which puts Gray
Davis' problem in a nutshell:
the recall is despicable," said Hollywood film producer Robert
Greenwald, a liberal activist pushing Arianna's candidacy. "But
... given Gray Davis' position on everything from corporate
money to prison guards to social justice, there's no possible
way I could find myself in a position of supporting him."
that Davis will need a moving van at the Governor's mansion in
the very near future.
LESSON: A reader emails to remind us that Julian Bond's grasp
of history is almost as bad as the racially charged rhetoric in
speech to at the NAACP Convention last week:
[Republicans'] idea of reparations is to give war criminal Jefferson
Davis a pardon."
Resolution that posthumously restored the rights of citizenship
to Jefferson Davis was passed
by the 95th Congress and signed on October 17, 1978 by (drumroll,
Jimmy Carter. Oops. - T.
Bevan 8:45 am