Saturday, May 10, 2008

Of Truth And Pants

One such narrative is, “Bush lied; people died.” The claim is that “neocons,” including Feith, politicized intelligence to show that Saddam Hussein’s regime had weapons of mass destruction. Not so, as the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Silberman-Robb Commission have concluded already. Every intelligence agency believed Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, and the post-invasion Duelfer report concluded that he maintained the capability to produce them on short notice.
Unfortunately — and here Feith is critical of his ultimate boss, George W. Bush — the administration allowed its critics to frame the issue around the fact that stockpiles of weapons weren’t found. Here we see at work the liberal fallacy, apparent in debates on gun control, that weapons are the problem rather than the people with the capability and will to use them to kill others.

Welcome To O'merica

Naturally, there's already a lapel pin out there for the candidate:

A fine testament to the true worth of a Harvard education.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The Inexplicable Madness

Yehoshua stops just short propounding the idea that Jews are condemned to be born boogeymen, who through some mysterious property, unintentionally and inescapably evoke hatred toward them; a hatred which, more often than not, consumes the hater more than the hated so that even Hitler's destruction -- the anti-semite's destruction -- which in Hitler's case was caused by his own murderous madness somehow becomes also the Jew's fault.

It's a metaphysical idea bordering on absurdity which is saved from total disrepute only by the fact that it might just be true. The contemporary spectacle of Muslim world, blessed with a vast population and wealth, which instead of dedicating itself to science, cultural and economic advancement, is seemingly compelled by mysterious tides to devote itself to the destruction of the Jew; is proof of a kind of inexplicable madness which ironically and unnecessarily may bring catastrophe on Islam itself.

Convinced Of His Invincibility

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Maybe Obama could ask the Czechs how well unconditional talks worked for them during Munich. Neville Chamberlain insisted on holding peace talks to avoid war in Czechoslovakia, which could have defended itself as long as it held the fortifications in the Sudetenland long enough for Britain and France to beat Germany from the rear.
Negotiations with tyrants almost always leads to appeasement, which only postpones war until the tyrant is strong enough to wage it most effectively.
William Shirer noted that the Germans were astounded when Hitler repeatedly bluffed the West during the years from 1935 to 1939, figuring each bluff would be called and Hitler destroyed as a political force. By the time he rolled into Poland unopposed except by the outmatched Poles, who expected actual military assistance from Britain and France, Germans would follow Hitler anywhere, convinced of his invincibility.

Somebody Should Ask Him To Name All 114 U.S. Senators

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IF MCCAIN DID THIS: Marc Ambinder comments, "But if John McCain did this -- if he mistakenly said he'd visited 57 states -- the media would be all up in his grill, accusing him of a senior moment. Just saying...."

On O'Negotiations (Part 23965)

"Trust me, Speaker Pelosi. I promise I'm not building a nuclear plant with the North Koreans."

(Stomping) On Flag Pins

We may now understand why Barack does not wear a flag lapel pin. He's afraid that Bill Ayers will stomp on him.

After 9/11, I thought that Johnson's horrifically-timed op-ed, the July 10, 2001, New York Times piece, "The Declining Terrorist Threat" was so spectacularly wrong he ought to never write again. I take it back. I'm genuinely envious of that line.

Reality Is

I loved Liberal Fascism!
After reading it, I thought of something else that supports what you are contending - East Germany.
If Fascism and Communism were polar opposites, then how could East Germany adopt Communism with such ease? 
I don't know if this is something you've addressed or not, but I think the reality of the East German state supports your contention.

We Don't Have Them And We Promise Not To Have Them Any More

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BAGHDAD — Followers of rebel cleric Muqtada al Sadr agreed late Friday to allow Iraqi security forces to enter all of Baghdad's Sadr City and to arrest anyone found with heavy weapons in a surprising capitulation that seemed likely to be hailed as a major victory for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki.

"It is not the government who pressured the Sadrists into entering this agreement," said Ali al Adeeb, a leading member of the Dawa party. "It is the pressure from the people inside Sadr City and from their own people that will make them act more responsibly."

Like many things in Iraq, the precise effect of the agreement won't be known immediately. Sadr officials long have claimed that their militia has no heavy weaponry, and Sadr has condemned those with such munitions.

We'll see how long this Iranian hudna lasts...

Totten Nails It

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UPDATE: In the comments, some good advice for Obama from Michael Totten:

Obama could easily make this go away: “Hamas will be VERY sorry if I am America’s president. They need to be careful what they wish for.” He doesn’t have to say anything else, but I doubt it occurs to anyone on his staff to go after Hamas instead of McCain. To me, that’s the obvious fix. What could McCain possibly say after that?

Alas, however, Obama's instinct was to strike out at McCain instead.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

On Selling Rope

Over the past 30 years:

Which party blocked the development of new sources of petroleum?-- Democrat
Which party blocked drilling in ANWR?-- Democrat
Which party blocked drilling off the coast of Florida?-- Democrat
Which party blocked drilling off of the east coast?-- Democrat
Which party blocked drilling off of the west coast?-- Democrat
Which party blocked drilling off the Alaskan coast?-- Democrat
Which party blocked building oil refineries?-- Democrat
Which party blocked clean nuclear energy production?-- Democrat
Which party blocked clean coal production?-- Democrat
Democrats like to attack evil American oil companies and block them from drilling off our coasts.
But, it doesn't seem to bother them when China starts drilling for oil in these same areas 50 miles from Key West.
And any bets whose technology China is using to drill with?

Ignoramuses Rule

chief strategist Mark Penn confidently predicted that an early win in California would put her over the top because she would pick up all the state's 370 delegates. It sounded smart, but as every high school civics student now knows, Penn was wrong: Democrats, unlike the Republicans, apportion their delegates according to vote totals, rather than allowing any state to award them winner-take-all. Sitting nearby, veteran Democratic insider Harold M. Ickes, who had helped write those rules, was horrified — and let Penn know it. "How can it possibly be," Ickes asked, "that the much vaunted chief strategist doesn't understand proportional allocation?" And yet the strategy remained the same, with the campaign making its bet on big-state victories.

It's also notable that when embarassing recriminations like this start making their way to the press, it's pretty much the surest sign your campaign is over.

O'blivious To The Enemy

We have all become familiar with Senator Obama's new brand of politics. First, you demand civility from your opponent, then you attack him, distort his record and send out surrogates to question his integrity.
oday, Senator Obama is complaining about comments John McCain made about a senior Hamas advisor stating that Hamas would welcome Senator Obama's election as president. Indeed, on April 13th, senior Hamas political advisor Ahmed Yousef said, 'We don't mind – actually we like Mr. Obama.
The McCain campaign has never suggested that Senator Obama supports Hamas' agenda, but it is more than fair to raise this quote about Senator Obama because it speaks to the policy implications of his judgment.

Just today, the president of Iran, whom Senator Obama wants to meet with unconditionally, called the state of Israel a 'stinking corpse.' Iran is the paymaster and state sponsor of Hamas.
John McCain will instead meet with the champions of human freedom around the world


Abu Ayyub al-Masri, the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq was captured today in the northern city of Mosul according to the Iraqi ministry of defense.
Bill Roggio says "Al Qaeda in Iraq's last major ratline into Syria spans westward from Mosul into Tal Afar and the crossing point at Sinjar. The terror group is waging a brutal campaign to prevent the Iraqi Army and US forces from securing the province."

Because of his broad involvement in al-Qaeda's international operations, al-Masri's capture would be a setback for al-Qaeda not only in Iraq, but to its overall organization. Reuters reports:

If confirmed, the arrest would be another blow for Sunni Islamist al Qaeda in Iraq, which has reeled under a wave of U.S. military operations in the past year. ... Now the American forces have taken him to identify him," Askari said.


We believe the only successful exit strategy from Iraq travels a road through Iran. In general we subscribe to a theory put forth by Stratfor that events will build up towards the brink of war before a peaceful resolution is possible. We don't necessarily believe that is how it has to be, rather we believe that is how our current leadership believes it has to be. Part of that strategy includes the buildup of rhetoric, the shuffling of resources, and the preparation in Iraq for a military action against Iran. We observe these events taking place.
Our observations regarding developments began back in September of last year, as we began to watch how the rotations would come together for 2008. We have discussed 6+2 strategy for carriers before. The carrier strategy which was enabled by the Fleet Response Plan was designed to insure the Navy has 6 aircraft carriers available within 30 days to anywhere in the world, with 2 more available by 90 days.
6+2 is getting very close to reality

The Perfect O'Negotiation Partner

TEHRAN, May 7 -- Several leading Iranian clerics criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday for saying that the last imam of Shiite Islam, a messianic figure who Shiites believe was hidden by God 1,140 years ago, leads modern-day Iran.

"We see his hand directing all the affairs of the country," Ahmadinejad told theological students in the city of Mashad during a speech that appears to have been given last month but was not broadcast until Tuesday. "A movement has started for us to occupy ourselves with our global responsibilities. God willing, Iran will be the axis of the leadership of this movement," Ahmadinejad said.

Several clerics in the Iranian parliament accused Ahmadinejad of implying that Imam Mahdi or Imam Zaman (Imam of the Age), as the Shiite messiah is also called, supports his government.

"If, God forbid, Ahmadinejad means that Imam Zaman supports the government's actions, this is wrong. Certainly Imam Zaman would not accept 20 percent inflation rates,
Holy Twelvers Batman!

Omar Reports

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I think the government in Baghdad is trying to say the following to its Iranian counterpart:

  • The provision of small arms is one thing but the provision of heavy weapons that can cause panic and much more destruction is another.

  • If we can accept that machine guns, RPGs, and mortars can be smuggled into Iraq without the Iranian government’s knowledge, we can’t accept the same claim when it comes to weapons of this magnitude.

  • We know and you know that you’re providing these weapons and we can’t remain silent anymore. At the same time neither of us is going anywhere anytime soon, so we must learn to coexist. You don’t want us to be your enemies and we can’t afford to make you ours at the moment, so knock it off
Baghdad sent a delegation last week to ask Iran to stop the flow of weapons and support to Shia militias. When the delegation returned empty-handed, the government immediately announced through spokesman Ali Dabbagh that it will work to collect and display evidence of this support.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

O'Yearning For Yalta

Maguire comments:
Obama's supporters are too young to know any of this, but Roosevelt led the United States in the war against Hitler; the Allied policy was unconditional surrender, so there was very little for Roosevelt and Hitler to discuss, and in fact, the two did not meet at all (but they did exchange correspondence before the war).

So my guess is that Obama is thinking of the Yalta Conference with Churchill and Stalin as talking to "our enemies," although of course we were still allied with the Soviet Union against Germany and Japan at that point. Beyond that, is the Yalta Conference something Obama and his advisers view as a success worthy of emulation? Puzzling.

And the United States has been talking with Iran right along in any event. It's not for lack of communication that Iran has been conducting its war on the United States.
Obama may not be knowledgeable enough to know he doesn't want to emulate Roosevelt at Yalta.

On The Obliteration Of Logic

The foreign-policy debate in this presidential campaign is as embarrassing as it is frustrating. Just take a look at the timeline of rhetoric that led to Monday's "shot laughed at around the world."

  • August 2007: Obama suggests he'd invade Pakistan.
  • November 2007: Hillary declares "The era of cowboy diplomacy is over."
  • December 2007: Both candidates condemn "Bush saber-rattling" on Iran.
  • April 2008: Hillary vows to "obliterate" Iran if Israel attacked.
As it stands, the combined rhetorical track record already reads with all the consistency of an EKG, even in the above "Cliffs Notes" version.

Logic Bomb: Rather than address what we can do and what is ours (such as our own undeveloped reserves), Hillary would rather pick a fight with OPEC and try to control what is not ours. Such a fight would net zero desired results and most likely result in even tighter export controls by ticked-off OPEC countries, yielding even higher oil prices.

O'Throw It All Away

Zakaria goes on to say that this “This will not be a world defined by the decline of America but rather the rise of everyone else.”  But the only way that sentence makes sense to me is if it means relative American decline.

Here’s the only problem with Zakaria’s thesis:

U.S. share of global economic output (on a purchasing power parity basis) has declined very slightly over the past twenty years – from about 21% to about 20%.  But what has really happened over this period has been the rise of China and the rest of non-Japan Asia at the relative expense of Western Europe and Japan.

What Zakaria misses is that the relative decline of the U.S. is real, but that it already happened.  U.S. share of world GDP in 1945 is estimated to have been about 50%; this more than halved between 1945 and 1980.
We live in the new economy that it has created.  The danger of misdiagnosis of our current situation is that we will fail to understand the sources of our success and unwittingly throw them away.

Who Bought Hillary?

Of course, this is just a fundraising pitch by a campaign whose supporters might otherwise become complacent in near-victory. But you can also consider the large speaking fees that former President Clinton has amassed since leaving office. Look back at who paid Bill, and that's who will now be financing Hillary as the campaign donations dry up. Amanda Carpenter observed this possibility ages ago and repeats it today:

Hillary Clinton has now dipped into the joint checking account she shares with her husband, largely made up of speaking fees earned in foreign countries, to finance her presidential campaign...

Since leaving the White House former President Clinton has earned millions in speaking fees, mostly from foreign countries like the United Arab Emirates, Dubai and the People’s Republic of China.

This would be more interesting if Hillary had a credible chance of becoming the nominee.

The 52nd State (After The Kurds Of Course...)

“After two years of traveling almost exclusively to Western Europe and the Middle East,” Thomas Friedman wrote in 2003, “Poland feels like a geopolitical spa. I visited here for just three days and got two years of anti-American bruises massaged out of me.” I feel the same way now in Kosovo after working for much of the last year in Iraq. (Kosovo feels like a pro-American spa compared even to my home town in the United States.)

American flags are on sale at kiosks everywhere. They fly in front of government buildings. The world's second largest replica of the Statue of Liberty sits atop the five star Hotel Victory.

Clinton is rightly hailed as a liberator, but one resident told me “We are Republicans here in Kosovo.” They want a strong American President who won't back down from commitments.
Accomplished businessman and practicing Muslim Luan Berisha told me that 90 percent of Kosovars support Israel in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

O Today: The Surrender Of Historical Ignorance And Intellectual Midgetry

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I trust the American people to understand that it is not weakness, but wisdom to talk not just to our friends, but to our enemies, like Roosevelt did, and Kennedy did, and Truman did.

Putting aside the “labeling and name-calling”, leaving a war without winning it is, in fact, surrender. How else would anyone describe it?

I’m particularly bemused by the references to FDR and Truman. Both men ended up having to conduct massive wars that outlasted their presidencies, and in FDR’s case in no small measure because Western nations insisted on talk rather than action. While we maintained diplomatic contact with Germany and Japan until Pearl Harbor, FDR did not meet with Hitler and Tojo. And that diplomatic contact didn’t stop war from coming; indeed, it make it much worse than it otherwise would have been, at least in Europe, had the US, UK, and France had taken the appropriate steps to disarm Hitler when he started his Versailles Treaty violations.

Khameini Says Go

There were also reports that Hizbullah was massing gunmen in downtown Beirut.

Hezbollah Terrorizes Beirut--
Heavy Gunfire and use of Rocket Propelled Grenades Reported!

** Hezbollah promises to open the gates of hell on the government!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

One Dead Khatami Coming Up

Woah!... Former Iranian President Khatami says the hardliner regime is exporting terror in the Middle East!

Khatami said the Iranian Republic is using terrorists to "sabotage" the region.
Khatami said that exporting violence to other countries is "treason" against Islam.

The former president of Iran, Mohamad Khatami, accused the hardliner regime of sponsoring terrorists in the Middle East in a recent university speech.
Iran Focus and AFP reported:

Former Iranian president Mohamad Khatami was under fire from hardliners on Monday after comments interpreted as accusing the country's clerical leaders of supporting insurgents in the Middle East.

For And Against

Barack Obama from his stump speech on July 19, 2007:

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn't a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there...

"There's no doubt there are risks of increased bloodshed in Iraq without a continuing U.S. presence there."
Barack Obama from Meet the Press on May 4, 2008:

MR. RUSSERT: The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Ryan Crocker, said that a quick withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq could result in genocide. Would you factor that in? And if that began to emerge as an issue, would you stop the withdrawal?

SEN. OBAMA: Tim, I would--of course I would factor in the possibilities of genocide, and I factored it in when I said that I would begin a phased withdrawal.

Move Along Now

Instapundit reported the news from El Universal:

The information found in the computers of the deceased leader of the rebel Colombian Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC), Raúl Reyes, was not manipulated by Colombian authorities, according to an Interpol's report to be released next May 15, as disclosed by Bogota El Tiempo daily newspaper.
Here is a partial list of what Colombian investigators found on the FARC terror leader's computer:

-- FARC connections with Ecuadorean president Rafael Correa
-- Records of $300 million offerings from Hugo Chavez
-- Thank you notes from Hugo Chavez dating back to 1992
-- Uranium purchasing records
-- Directions on how to make a Dirty Bomb
-- Information that led to the discovery of 60 pounds of uranium
-- Letter to Libya's Moammar Gadhafi asking for cash to buy surface-to-air missiles
-- Meetings with "gringos" about Barack Obama
-- Cuban links to FARC
-- Links to US Democrats
Nothing to see here...

Monday, May 05, 2008


In the just-published issue of National Review, Stanley Kurtz provides a detailed look at Rev. Wright's black liberation theolgy. He concludes that "the only thing worse than quoting Jeremiah Wright out of context is quoting him in context."

Kurtz is mainly interested in Wright's ideology and the closely related theories of his mentor James Cone. He does an excellent job of showing how these ideological underpinnings have led Wright to the conclusions that Obama and his defenders mistakenly dismiss as "sound bites" and "snippets."

Kurtz inevitably considers the question of Obama's decision to remain in Wright's church. He writes: "Nearly every sermon Wright preaches, as well as his now-infamous bulletins and church magazines, is filled with his radicalism, and it's therefore impossible not to conclude that Obama was broadly attracted to Wright's politics."

And She'll Achieve This How?

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Clinton's attacks on oil prices as artificially inflated, Enron-style, keep escalating, and today she appeared to threaten to break up the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

"We’re going to go right at OPEC," she said. "They can no longer be a cartel, a monopoly that get together once every couple of months in some conference room in some plush place in the world, they decide how much oil they’re going to produce and what price they’re going to put it at," she told a crowd at a firehouse in Merrillville, IN.

"That’s not a market. That’s a monopoly," she said, saying she'd use anti-trust law and the World Trade Organization to take on OPEC.

It's a potent message, like the attack on "Wall Street money brokers," with deep roots in American politics. It' It's also very hard to figure out what exactly she means by the threat to break OPEC.

No doubt by threatening them that we'll put even more coal and oil in the U.S. off-limits. Just like her husband did...

Imagine What Even A Little Truth Would Sound Like

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Well, here you are at your college graduation. And I know what you're thinking: "Gimme the sheepskin and get me outta here!" But not so fast. First you have to listen to a commencement speech.

Don't moan. I'm not going to "pass the wisdom of one generation down to the next." I'm a member of the 1960s generation. We didn't have any wisdom.
So now, it's my job to give you advice. But I'm thinking: You're finishing 16 years of education, and you've heard all the conventional good advice you can stand. So, let me offer some relief:

1. Go out and make a bunch of money!
2. Don't be an idealist!
3. Get politically uninvolved!

All politics stink. Even democracy stinks.
Imagine what even a little truth would sound like on today's campaign trail:

"No, I can't fix public education. The problem isn't the teachers unions or a lack of funding for salaries, vouchers or more computer equipment The problem is your kids!"
4. Forget about fairness!

Which Would Be Worse?

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The optics of these picture will not help Barack Obama make his case that Ayers’ radicalism existed when Obama was only eight years old. At the time of this magazine profile, Obama and Ayers served together on the Woods Foundation board of directors. Obama worked for Ayers at the Chicago Annenberg Challenge as the board’s chair in 1996, well documented by Tom Maguire even while it isn’t documented at all by Obama.

The Old Glory Boogie in 2001 will again raise questions about Obama’s judgment in working with America-hating radicals and lunatics. At some point, one has to wonder whether this shows bad judgment or reveals something about Obama’s real views on America and politics — and which would be worse in the White House.

Veggie Tales

Actually, I think the Belmont Club has the best observation on Switzerland's move to "vegetable rights":

But who is really being "empowered" by the Swiss committee's decision? Is it plants? No. It is bureaucrats. The point of vegetable rights isn't to give plants dignity but to transfer yet more individual human freedoms to activists and government officials.

They'll make vegetables of us all yet.

I'm reminded of a Brit joke from the Eighties: Mrs Thatcher and her all-male cabinet walk into a restaurant. The Prime Minister orders a steak, and the oleaginous waiter asks, "And for the vegetables?"

"Oh, they'll have what I'm having."

The "New" O'Daley

Sen. Barack Obama won the endorsement of the Teamsters earlier this year after privately telling the union he supported ending the strict federal oversight imposed to root out corruption, according to officials from the union and the Obama campaign.
Obama holds himself out as a new kind of politician who refuses to play the old games. This story should blow Obama's pretense up several times over.

Maybe Code Pink?

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How will the administration’s critics handle this one, I wonder. Does it go in the “Bush has handed Iraq to Iran” file, like that McClatchy expose last week about the Quds Force, or in the “Bush is exaggerating Iran’s influence as a pretext for war” file? Since it’s based on military sources and was written by Michael Gordon, Judy Miller’s co-author on the Times’s stories about Iraqi WMD before the invasion, I’m guessing the latter.

Militants from the Lebanese group Hezbollah have been training Iraqi militia fighters at a camp near Tehran, according to American interrogation reports that the United States has supplied to the Iraqi government.

“According to their interrogation reports, the militiamen believed that militants from other countries were also being trained at the camp, an impression based on hearing snippets of conversations in other dialects and languages. But the group was kept separate and was not allowed to mingle with others.” Who else is at the camps?