Friday, July 30, 2004

Rich Lowry on Kerry's speech last night.

The most important aspect of U.S. domestic counterterrorism has been the Patriot Act. But Kerry apparently isn't a fan. He said, in a pointed reference to John Ashcroft, that he will "appoint an attorney general who actually upholds the Constitution." Unless this was just a gratuitous smear, Kerry must have been referring to the Ashcroft-supported Patriot Act, and was certainly playing to paranoia about it. But he's strong on fighting terrorism ...

Kerry unleashed this zinger in a speech devoted to optimism. In Boston, Democrats mastered the art of positive negativity. They professed their deep yearning for national unity at the same time as they denounced the president as a reckless liar. But who needs coherence or internal consistency when John Kerry served in Vietnam?

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Mark Steyn excellent as always on the choice in November. Will we take on the real task ahead or will "girlie men" take over?

The senator is a classic geopolitical metrosexual: what matters is how you look to the other metrosexuals. Had President Kerry been in office on 9/11, I’ve no doubt there would have been far more UN resolutions, and joint declarations, and beaming faces announcing great progress at Nato summits, and G8, and EU and Apec. But Saddam would still be in power, and so would the Taleban, and no doubt in the latter case, under an agreement brokered by Kerry special envoy Jimmy Carter, Washington would be bankrolling the regime in return for ‘pledges’ to ‘phase out’ the terrorist training camps. The senator gives no indication that he’s up to the challenges of the age.

But according to Andrew Sullivan, embracing Kerry in the Sunday Times, that’s precisely the appeal of Senator Nuance: ‘His basic message to Americans is: let’s return to normalcy. The radicalism of the past four years needs tempering. We need to consolidate the nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan, before any new adventures against, say, Iran....’

You could make that argument in any war: we need to consolidate nation-building in the Solomon Islands before any new adventures on, say, the beaches of Normandy. But, honestly, the idea that you can take a four-year intermission from the jihad because everyone’s feeling a bit stressed out is delusional. Do Sullivan and the other moulting hawks believe Iran is going to be sporting enough to go along with it? ‘Right-ho, old chap, we’ll see you back here in 2008 for full-scale Armageddon. Enjoy the break.’

Syrian music star sings praise of suicide bombers The story continues. Just because they turned out to be a real band doesn't mean they weren't up to no good.

The Syrian singer of a band that was detained by the FBI's Terrorism Task Force for suspicious activity during a recent flight to Los Angeles has written about the "glorification" of suicide bombers to liberate Palestine.
Singer Nour Mehana's latest album includes the song "Um El Shaheed," or "Mother of a Martyr," said Aluma Dankowitz of the Middle East Media Research Institute.

This is real nice. Look what those damn Jews have made the poor Palestinians do now. I wonder why the violence never ends over there?

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Kerry can't shoot deer or stop terror And to think people make fun of the way Bush speaks. This is incredible.

The other day, [Kerry] attended a glitzy fundraiser at which Whoopi Goldberg did a little riff comparing the Bush in the White House to her own, ah, pudenda.

The senator, in his own anatomical response, said these celebrities represented the "heart and soul of America".

Afterwards, asked about his apparent enthusiasm for the potty-mouthed has-beens, he replied thus: "When I talked about the heart and soul, I'm talking about the artistic expression. I'm talking about sort of the, I mean, I believe in the arts. I think that there's a great expression in it, and there's always this struggle. You know, does life imitate art or art imitate life? Which comes first? It's a little of both.

"I do think we have a responsibility, as leaders, to stand up. I think there were people at that concert we had in New York who stepped over the line. I've said that. They don't speak for me. They speak for themselves. I will stand up and struggle, as others have, to try to get that right balance between violence and sex and things."

Good God, can you imagine listening to four/eight years of this?

Monday, July 26, 2004

A Soldier Responds to Moore A devastating critique of Michael Moore from a soldier with the 1st Armoured Division. He says Moore's movie is apparently having the effect he intended: it's destroying morale. But when you hate America and hope that it loses this war then I guess everything is going according to plan, eh Mike?

We can nitpick forever, but what's changed? Mark Steyn again on Issue #1.

What matters is where we're headed, not where we were. And, in that respect, John Kerry is still looking through the rear window. Not so much because of his remarkably poor choice of advisers -- Joe Wilson (the Politics Of Truth fraud), Max Cleland (with his schoolyard cries of "Liar, liar!") and Sandy Berger (with his pants on fire) -- but because Kerry's prescriptions (the U.N., the French) are so Sept. 10. A holiday from history is one thing. The Democrats are now embarked on a holiday from reality.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

John Lehman, the 9/11 Commission Co-chair comes out with a blast at Richard Clarke. Good for him for telling the truth.

Lehman says that Clarke's original testimony included "a searing indictment of some Clinton officials and Clinton policies." That was the Clarke, evenhanded in his criticisms of both the Bush and Clinton administrations, who Lehman and other Republican commissioners expected to show up at the public hearings. It was a surprise "that he would come out against Bush that way." Republicans were taken aback: "It caught us flat-footed, but not the Democrats."

Clarke's performance poisoned the public hearings, leading to weeks of a partisan slugfest. Lehman says Republican commissioners felt they had to fight back, adding to the partisan atmosphere. "What triggered it was Dick Clarke," says Lehman. "We couldn't sit back and let him get away with what he wanted to get away with." He adds, "We were hijacked by a combination of Viacom and the Kerry campaign in the handling of Clarke's testimony."

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

WMD did pose a threat And this, in the Guardian no less!

Intelligence agencies have to make judgments on the basis of past behaviour, current evidence and future planning. Given all we knew of Saddam by 2003, the conclusion had to be that he still possessed a residual WMD capability and was determined to restore his original capacities - but it was not possible to determine how far he had got. The combination of international terror and WMD poses an existential threat to the world. In Iraq's case, even if the possibility of a non-conventional attack was low, the price to be paid if it did take place was so high that the threat had to be taken very seriously. Saddam may not have been an immediate threat, but he was an inevitable one.

Fahrenheit Zero Wow. Andrew Bolt in the Australian Herald Sun tears the fat man a new one.

Moore ends his film by quoting George Orwell -- "the war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects . . . to keep the very structure of society intact".

Bush's America is the true terrorist, Moore argues, at war with its own people. But to believe that, you must believe every foul smear, every childish deception, in his deeply deceitful movie.

Sadly, though, many smart people do want to believe it. Facts mean nothing -- they just want to hate the country that has fought hardest against tyrants and terrorists, from communists to Islamists.

They will not even wonder what it means that the Hizbollah terrorist group has offered to help distribute this film they so love.

So heaven help America. Heaven help its allies, too, and all who defend freedom.

Rich Lowry on George W. Bush & Election 2004 Lowry nails it on how Bush, no matter what he does, can't win. He'll be damned either way, no matter what he does.

Sandy Berger Probed Over Terror Memos Looks like somebody's going to jail. Or ought to.

Berger and his lawyer said Monday night he knowingly removed the handwritten notes by placing them in his jacket, pants and socks, and also inadvertently took copies of actual classified documents in a leather portfolio.

"I deeply regret the sloppiness involved, but I had no intention of withholding documents from the commission, and to the contrary, to my knowledge, every document requested by the commission from the Clinton administration was produced," Berger said in a statement.

Sloppiness? Is he trying to be funny? He accidently stuffed documents in his socks?

Monday, July 19, 2004

Fascinating piece in the WSJ on how Americans see themselves and the impact that has on the way we live and act in the world.

Because the cowboy melded the aristocratic virtues of honor and indifference to material things with the democratic values of self-reliance, discipline, and independence, this myth appealed deeply to our national character. Freedom imposes burdens--isolation, inequality and anxiety about whether our choices are wise. The cowboy ideal stimulates in us the vigor to attempt difficult new tasks.

When foreigners see us as cowboys, they are not mistaken. As a people, we still exhibit a high degree of courage, independence, aggressiveness, competence, and spirit. Diplomatic Europeans have responded to tyranny over the latest century mostly with accommodation, like the townspeople in "High Noon." Cowboy Americans, on the other hand, have hungered to confront and defeat tyrants, in real life as in legend. Our Western experience--love of freedom, little deference to wealth and status, an idealistic drive for justice, and a willingness to be ferocious toward these ends--continues to drive much of what is best about America.

So can they call us cowboys? You bet. Because we are. Our response ought to be that of the Virginian when he was described as a son of a bitch: "When you call me that, smile!"

One nation under God  Mark Steyn on Why They Hate Us:

Anti-Americanism makes strange bedfellows. The Arab Islamists despise America because it’s all lap-dancing and gay-phone sex; Europe’s radical secularists despise America because it’s all born-again Christians hung up on abortion. They’re both right. The free market enables Hustler to thrive. And the free market in churches enables religion to thrive. In Europe, the established church, whether formal (the Church of England) or informal (as in Catholic Ireland, Italy and Spain), killed religion as surely as state ownership killed the British car industry. When the Episcopal Church degenerates into a bunch of wimpsville self-doubters, Americans go elsewhere. When the Church of England undergoes similar institutional decline, Britons give up on religion entirely.

‘When men cease to believe in God,’ said Chesterton, ‘they do not believe in nothing; they believe in anything!’ The anything most of the Western world’s non-believers believe in is government: instead of a state church, Europe believes in the state as church — the purveyor of cradle-to-grave welfare will provide daycare for your babies and take your aged parents off your hands. The people are happy to have cast off the supposed stultifying oppressiveness of religion for a world in which the state regulates every aspect of life. The French government’s recent headscarf ban — which, in the interests of an ecumenical fig-leaf, is also a ban on yarmulkes and ‘large’ crucifixes — seems the way of the future, an attempt to push all religion to the fringes of life. A couple of years back, a Canadian ‘human rights commission’, in its ruling that a Christian printer had illegally discriminated against a gay group by turning down a printing job for pro-gay literature, said he had the right to his religious beliefs in his own home but he had to check them at the door when he left for work in the morning. Who’s in the closet now?

The 'Bush Lied' folks can't be taken seriously Michael Barone here on Joe Wilson and the crowd that cheered him on. I'm beginning to see some sort of conspiracy here inside the CIA to discredit Bush on the run up to the war. It's falling apart but the mainstream media so far is pretty much ignoring it.

Yale historian John Lewis Gaddis has argued that George W. Bush has transformed American foreign policy, in response to the threat of Islamist terrorism, more than any president since Harry Truman transformed our foreign policy in response to the threat of aggressive communism.

But there is one big difference. In the late 1940s, Truman got bipartisan support from Republicans like Arthur Vandenberg and Thomas Dewey, even at a time when there were bitter differences between the parties on domestic policy, and received generally sympathetic treatment in the press. This time, George W. Bush has encountered determined opposition from most Democrats and the old-line media. They have charged that "BUSH LIED" even when he relied on the same intelligence as they did; they have headlined wild and spurious charges by the likes of Joseph Wilson; they have embraced the wild-eyed propaganda of the likes of Michael Moore.

They have done these things with, at best, reckless disregard of the effect their arguments have had on American strength in the world. Are they entitled to be taken seriously?

Saturday, July 17, 2004

How a serial liar suckered Dems and the media I only hope there are some charges that can be filed on this asshole.

This isn't difficult. In 1999, a senior Iraqi "trade" delegation went to Niger. Uranium accounts for 75 percent of Niger's exports. The rest is goats, cowpeas and onions. So who sends senior trade missions to Niger? Maybe Saddam dispatched his Baathist big shots all the way to the dusty capital of Niamy because he had a sudden yen for goat and onion stew with a side order of black-eyed peas, and Major Wanke, the then-president, had offered him a great three-for-one deal.

But that's not what Joe Wilson found. Major Wanke's prime minister, among others, told Ambassador Wilson that he believed Iraq wanted yellowcake. And Ambassador Wilson told the CIA. And the CIA's report agreed with the British and the Europeans that "Iraq was attempting to procure uranium from Africa."

In his ludicrously vain memoir The Politics Of Truth, Wilson plays up his knowledge of the country. He makes much of his intimacy with Wanke and gives himself the credit for ridding Niger of the Wanke regime. The question then is why a man who knew so much about what was going on chose deliberately to misrepresent it to all his media/ Democrat buddies, not to mention to the American people. For a book called The Politics Of Truth, it's remarkably short of it. On page 2, Wilson says of his trip to Niger: "I had found nothing to substantiate the rumors." But he had.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Victor Davis Hanson on Iraq and World War II We always think of WWII as the "good war" but forget how horrible it really was, and how badly we screwed up at times. That is the nature of war. The key to success is not to make zero mistakes, but to make fewer mistakes than your opponent. Compared to WWII we've done remarkably well.

We should probably have shot the looters who wrecked Iraq and smashed thugs like those in Fallujah last spring, when they were still in their vulnerable chrysalis stages. Iraqis should have been far more prominent in governance and on television almost immediately. Aid was tied up and delayed — as postwar goodwill ebbed away in the heat. All this and more we now know from hindsight, even as we suspect that had we sent 400,000 troops, shot looters, blasted the killers in Fallujah, properly patrolled the borders, and kept the Baathist army intact, the New York Times would now be railing even more vehemently against U.S. overkill, brutality, puppet governments, and security at the expense of social justice.

Jonah Goldberg's Goldberg File on National Review Online A great piece on how, contrary to what Bush says, we aren't safer today, but we will be eventually as a result of what we're doing now.

Nevertheless, the world is a mess, and only a fool would think it wouldn't be after we created more havoc in the Middle East than that region has seen for a generation. One of the main strategic arguments about getting rid of Saddam and fixing Iraq was to set the Middle East on a new course. I'm referring to precisely all of those things the root-causes crowd has bitched and moaned about for decades. Of course, poverty, ignorance, tyranny, sexism, religious fanaticism, and all the rest on the do-gooder bugaboo list do help create terrorists. But in the past, terrorists didn't matter that much. Oceans and the lack of technology prevented terrorists from being more than murderous nuisances. Today, things are more complicated. Terrorists can get their hands on weapons that were once the exclusive provenance of states. States, as a rule, can be intimidated or, shall we say, educated to their self-interests. Terrorists — particularly ones who believe they're going to belly-up to a bar of 72 virgins — cannot be so educated. So do you fix the problem at the source or do you use our tallest buildings, greatest monuments, and most populated cities as bug-zappers for jihadists. I vote: Go to the source.

It's silly to expect us to be safer when there's so much work left to do. And the whole rationale for extending the Bush presidency is that there's work left to be done that John Kerry has no interest in doing. Commanders-in-chief who run on the premise that we shouldn't change horses in midstream don't talk about how we're safer — they talk about the progress we've made and how their opponents will go in the wrong direction. John Kerry says Bush has bad values because of the way he runs the war. He's free to make that argument, though I think it's a silly line of attack. Regardless, I say John Kerry has bad values because he thinks "keeping our alliances strong" is more important than achieving what those alliances were intended for in the first place, which is just a "sophisticated" way of saying he cares more about popularity than principle. Indeed, he says this isn't a war on terror, it's a law-enforcement issue. He says it's more important to be an environment, education, health-care, and jobs president than to be war president. He says it's better to be safer now than for America to be safer for our children. But he thinks it's outrageous that we run up deficits during a war. In other words, he's outraged that our grandkids might be stuck with higher interest rates or fewer entitlements but not that they might have to face a Middle East chock-a-block with nuclear-armed Saddams and Osamas. Those strike me as pretty poor values.

Of course we're not safer in those respects now — the job isn't done yet. I don't know jack about bomb disposal but from every movie I've seen with all that fretting about whether you should first cut the blue wire or the red wire tells me that defusing bombs is usually more difficult and more dangerous in the short term than just letting them tick. That doesn't mean you shouldn't try to defuse them when you can. Safer? That's nice. But I'd rather wait for the all-clear, and we're a long way from that.

Terror in the Skies, Again? - WomensWallStreet Some people have claimed that this is a hoax or urban legend or something like that. I don't know but it is one of the most chilling things I've read in a long time.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

The New Republic Online: Normal Distribution A great piece from Lawrence Kaplan on how there are "Two Americas" like John Edwards says: One is at war, the other isn't.

So here we are again, as if nothing has been remembered and nothing learned. Or maybe not. With an eye to the presidential election--and a Kerry victory--a debate has emerged among Washington foreign policy types. On one side, The Weekly Standard's Robert Kagan and a number of Kerry aides insist that, regardless of who wins the election, continuity will be the order of the day. In this telling, for all his complaints about the Bush team's "arrogant" response to the war on terror and America's bind in Iraq, Kerry won't have much room to maneuver when it comes to these and other issues. Bush, after all, entered office pledging a "humble" foreign policy but quickly discovered that humility doesn't provide an adequate response to the challenges that America faces abroad. On the other side, the Bush team and Kerry himself predict a fundamental break--an impression that Kerry's well-chronicled distaste for democracy promotion and his flat out declaration this week that "I am against the war" in Iraq has only encouraged. Which camp is right? To paraphrase a memorable Trotsky quotation, Americans may not be interested in the dialectic, but the dialectic is definitely interested in them. As much as we might wish for a return to normalcy, the other side gets the final say.

At the Canyon

I know this looks like we're standing in front of a photo or a painting but it's real. I just joined this website called Flickr that posts photos to blogs. Let's see how it does.
Originally uploaded by DFGalvin.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

The Butler Report on Britain's case for war with Iraq Case closed.

Mark Steyn on France, knocks it out of the park as usual. I'm going to have to stop drinking around here. I can make these kinds of arguments when I'm sober.

Just before the Iraq war, there was a spot of bother in Ivory Coast. We can skip the details - President Wossname represents the southern Wotchamacallit tribe and they’re unpopular with natives in the northern province of Hoogivsadam. Something like that. But next thing you know, French troops have locked down the entire joint and forced both parties into a deeply unpopular peace deal that suits the Quai d’Orsay but nobody else. All of this while the UN is hunkered down in a month-long debate on whether to approve Article IV Sub-section 7.3 (d) of Hans Blix’s Baghdad hotel bill. Ivory Coast is nominally a sovereign state. The French have no more right to treat it as a colony than the British have to treat Iraq as a colony. But they do. And they don’t care what you think about it.

In other words, this is the war [against America], this is the real battlefield, not the sands of Mesopotamia or the Hindu Kush. And, on this terrain, Paris figures, Americans always lose. Either they win but get no credit, as in Afghanistan. Or they win a temporary constrained victory to be subverted by subsequent French machinations, as in the first Gulf War. Through it all France is admirably upfront in its unilateralism: It reserves the right to treat French Africa as its colonies, Middle Eastern dictators as its clients, the European Union as a Greater France and the UN as a kind of global condom to prevent the spread of Americanization. All this it does shamelessly and relatively effectively. It’s time the rest of us were so clear-sighted

Claudia Rossett on the Oil for Food scandal. Wow. The fact that this isn't on the front page of every newspaper in the country (let alone internationally) speaks volumes about the state of the news media today.

But bit by bit, the picture comes into sharper focus. More than a year ago, while trolling the U.N. Web site looking for clues as to what in creation was really going on inside the black hole called Oil for Food, I came across a most wondrously cryptic notation. It appeared on the U.N.'s public list of Iraq relief contracts, a list so generic that it was impossible to identify Saddam's business partners, or how much of what, exactly, they were selling, or at what prices. But even in that bland landscape--in which, for instance, the lone word car served to describe $5 million worth of vehicles supplied via two contracts out of the United Arab Emirates--one entry stood out for sheer vagueness: The contractor's country was Russia, and the contract was for "Goods for Resumption of Project."

What goods? What project? Querying the U.N. produced only the answer that such details were secret. The U.N. was protecting the confidentiality of Saddam and his goods-for-resumption-of-project suppliers.

Now, thanks to assorted studies and leaked lists, it is possible with a little cross-referencing to discover that the supplier was a Russian state company, Technopromexport, and the contract was for "mechanical equipment," sold to Iraq for $1,475,261. The question remains: Why should this have been a U.N. secret?

The U.N. to this day has refused to release any more detail to the public, first citing the need to protect the privacy of Saddam and his business partners, then sending out letters in April reminding the overseers of oil sales and relief imports to keep quiet, and now deflecting all inquiries to the Volcker investigation--which doesn't answer questions about Oil for Food and won't have a final report out until at least the end of the year.

Knight Ridder Gets It Wrong These aren't mistakes. This is a deliberate effort to beat Bush by making him appear to have lied by misquoting what the Senate report said. But facts, as always are troublesome things:

The Senate Intelligence Committee language is important for another reason: Documents from the Iraqi Intelligence service do suggest an "established relationship," just not "an established formal relationship." A report in the June 25, 2004, New York Times, was based on an internal Iraqi Intelligence document: When bin Laden left the Sudan in 1996, according to the Iraqi Intelligence document, Iraqi Intelligence began "seeking other channels through which to handle the relationship, in light of [bin Laden's] current location." The report also indicates that bin Laden "had some reservations about being labeled an Iraqi operative" and that "cooperation between the two organizations should be allowed to develop freely through discussion and agreement."

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

I'll spend more time on this later but it's a good synopsis of all the reasons why we needed to go into Iraq when we did. This will come in handy the next time I get attacked at an O'Conner gathering.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Michael Ledeen on the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on National Review Online He boils down the 500-page report to show that I took a beating Saturday for no reason!

Finally, we come to the really big question, and the weird answer of the committee. The big question is this: How could every serious intelligence agency on earth have come to believe there were WMDs in Iraq when (as the current article of faith has it) there were none? Senator Roberts likens it to a global epidemic. The CIA got it wrong and then infected all the others. A worldwide virus, so to speak. The WMD flu, if you will.

I don't buy it. I don't think the French were swayed by the CIA. I don't think the Israelis and the Russians were infected by our views. I think this is like the David Kay theory of WMDs. Remember? He said that Saddam really believed he had some, because all his guys lied to him about it. He didn't actually have WMDs at all, because the Iraqis had failed, and they feared for their lives if Saddam found them out, and so they lied, and he bought the lies.

These are pretty complicated theories, you must admit. What about a simpler approach? Let's say that there were WMDs. Then, in the disgracefully long period between Afghanistan and Iraq, Saddam, knowing he was gonna be overrun, exported some (mostly to Syria and Iran), destroyed some, and hid some.

That's my story, and I'm sticking with it for the time being. I'm sticking with it because I know — as Senator Roberts and the committee staff know, because I told them — that there are very credible reports of WMD sites, but the CIA chooses not to go look at them. Since I told my own story I've learned about others, one of which comes from a very high-ranking former official of the American government. I'm also sticking with it because the Polish government insists that their guys in Iraq found warheads with chemical weapons, even though a CENTCOM press release denies it, and because Zarkawi's killers arrived in Jordan with large quantities of chemical weapons. And because I don't believe the Iraqis would have bought all those funny suits that protect you from chemical and biological weapons unless they had such weapons and expected to use them.

Enough already.

Clifford D. May on Joe Wilson on National Review Online Cliff tears Joe Wilson a new one.

Uganda: Demons Attack Kiboga Pupils Ya gotta love some of the stuff out of Africa.

The WSJ on the Senate Intelligence Committee Iraq report:

The Committee did not find any evidence that Administration officials attempted to coerce, influence or pressure analysts to change their judgments related to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction capabilities."

So reads Conclusion 83 of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on prewar intelligence on Iraq. The Committee likewise found no evidence of pressure to link Iraq to al Qaeda. So it appears that some of the claims about WMD used by the Bush Administration and others to argue for war in Iraq were mistaken because they were based on erroneous information provided by the CIA.

A few apologies would seem to be in order. Allegations of lying or misleading the nation to war are about the most serious charge that can be leveled against a President. But according to this unanimous study, signed by Jay Rockefeller and seven other Democrats, those frequent charges from prominent Democrats and the media are without merit.

Or to put it more directly, if President Bush was "lying" about WMD, then so was Mr. Rockefeller when he relied on CIA evidence to claim in October 2002 that Saddam Hussein's weapons "pose a very real threat to America." Also lying at the time were John Kerry, John Edwards, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and so on. Yet Mr. Rockefeller is still suggesting on the talk shows, based on nothing but inference and innuendo, that there was undue political Bush "pressure" on CIA analysts.

Bush's State of the Union speech redeemed So I guess Joe Wilson won't be getting on Comedy Central any more.

In July last year, I wrote about the Bush Lie Of The Week in this space. The CIA had disowned the Niger story, and I pointed out that these were the same fellows who'd botched the Sudanese aspirin factory business, failed to spot 9/11 coming, etc., etc.

"So," I wrote, "if you're the president and the same intelligence bureaucrats who got all the above wrong say the Brits are way off the mark, there's nothing going on with Saddam and Africa, what do you do? Do you say, 'Hey, even a stopped clock is right twice a day'? Or, given what you've learnt about the state of your humint (human intelligence), is it likely they've got much of a clue about what's going on in French Africa? Isn't this one of those deals where the Brits and the shifty French (Niger's uranium operations are under the supervision of the French Atomic Energy Commission) are more plugged in?"

And so it's proved. The fact is almost every European intelligence service reckoned Saddam was trying to buy uranium in Africa. The only folks who didn't think so were the CIA.

National security shouldn't be a Republican/Democrat thing. But it's become one because, for too many Americans, when it's a choice between Bush and anybody else, they'll take anybody else. So, in ''Fahrenheit 9/11,'' if it's a choice between Bush and Saddam, Michael Moore comes down on the side of the genocidal whacko and shows us lyrical slo-mo shots of kiddies flying kites in a Baathist utopia. In the Afghan war, if it's a choice between Bush and the women-enslaving gay-executing Taliban, Susan Sarandon and Co. side with the Taliban. And in the most exquisite reductio of this now universal rule, if it's a choice between Bush and the CIA, the left sides with the CIA.

There's one for the peace marches: Hey, hey, CIA/How many Bush lies did you expose today?

This isn't an anti-war movement. This is a movement in denial.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Great piece here from the Wall Street Journal on KerryEdwards and the Democrat Party gloom and doom for America campaign. Don't you love the Party of the People running the two richest candidates in history talking about how they're going to look out for the little guy? Who the fuck is this little guy they're always going on about? Talk about an empty message. All we're going to hear about for the next four months is how it's 1932 again and how people are starving to death as they wait in the soup lines for a bowl of watery soup and a crust of bread, wondering if the mill will ever open again so they can buy Tiny Tim a new leg brace for Christmas. I particularly love the first line here:

For many Democrats, the vision of a city sliding down a hill is the continuing reality of America. In the version being tried for this election, economic growth is possible in a globalized world only if the middle class gets shafted. "We're moving backwards"--John Kerry, April 2004.

But the most recent Washington Post-ABC poll finds 64% of Americans optimistic about the economy's next 12 months, and more than half still optimistic about Iraq. Somebody here is on the wrong page. The Kerry-Edwards ethos of never-ending urgency and impending disaster is a weirdly European kind of politics, rooted more in the sadness of inevitable social tragedy than the largely uncontested American idea of individual possibility.

Less is Moore The Sidney Morning Herald, a reliably left-wing paper, in Australia takes Moore apart over the bullshit in F9/11.

This self-serving distortion is a metaphor for the man. It follows a well-worn pattern of convenient distortion in his work. The title of his new film, Fahrenheit 9/11, is a literary allusion to a sci-fi classic, Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury's 1953 novel, still in print, about a future America where state censorship is overpowering and book-burning is routine. The temperature at which paper burns is 451 degrees Fahrenheit (233 degrees Celsius). Moore has sub-titled his film "The Temperature at which Truth Burns". He thus presents himself as the anti-propagandist, the antidote to the lies and distortions spun by the Bush Administration since the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Problem: Even for those who think the Bush Administration has exploited September 11 for political advantage, or believe the decision to invade and occupy Iraq was at best misguided and at worst disastrous, the moral trail laid down by Moore leads to an abundance of evidence that he has become what he despises - another spin doctor.

He may be funny, smart, outrageous, even genuine, but he is also a media practitioner who resorts, routinely and fastidiously, to distortion, omission and gutter innuendo with a viciousness and ideological cartoonishness characteristic of all fundamentalists. Within two weeks of its release in America, all the film's conspiracy theories have either been dismantled or rendered questionable by the American media.

Victor Davis Hanson on Iraq and the War on Terror The choice is pretty clear this election. Kerry better realize soon that the people he's hanging around with don't represent the views of the majority of Americans.

Only belatedly has John Kerry grasped that his shrill supporters are often not just trivial but stark-raving mad. If he doesn't quickly jump into some Levis, shoot off a shotgun, and start hanging out in Ohio, he will lose this election and do so badly.

The war that Mr. Kerry and Mr. Edwards once caricatured as a fiasco and amoral is now, for all its tragedies, emerging in some sort of historical perspective as a long-overdue liberation. At some point, one must choose: Saddam in chains or Saddam in power. And the former does not happen with rhetoric, but only through risk, occasional heartbreak, and the courage of the U.S. military. If Iyad Allawi and his brave government succeed — and they just may — the United States will have done more for world freedom and civilization than the fall of the Berlin Wall — and against far greater odds. Deanism is dead. Moorism is a fatal contagion that will ruin anyone it infects.

Kerry is only now starting to grasp that a year from now Iraq more likely will not be Vietnam, but maybe the most radical development of our time — and that all the Left's harping is becoming more and more irrelevant. Witness his talk of security and his newfound embrace of the post-9/11 effort as a war rather than a DA's indictment. It is not a good idea to plan on winning in November by expecting us to lose now in Iraq.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

LILEKS (James) The Bleat One of the best Lileks bleats in awhile. Here he takes apart a Michael Moore guest editorial that ran in the LA Times on July 4th.

Moore: I think it's time for those of us who love this country — and everything it should stand for — to reclaim our flag from those who would use it to crush rights and freedoms, both here at home and overseas. We need to redefine what it means to be a proud American.

Lileks: Again with the crushed rights. It’s a standard trope, a talisman worn smooth with obsessive rubbing, and people of Moore’s stripe won’t let it go until the Patriot act is rescinded and we can go back to the good old days of petitioning judges for separate wiretaps for a suspected terrorists’s individual cell phones and land lines. Fine. But let’s talk about the rights and freedoms we’ve crushed abroad. Leave aside Western Europe, which is still reeling from the decision by the Bush adminstration to use Warthogs to strafe all those street protests. Two questions:

Afghanistan had more / less freedoms under the Taliban

Iraq had more / less freedoms under Saddam

Whoops. How about that? So what do we now hear from Joe Wilson about how Iraq was an innocent victim of the war monger Bush?

A UK government inquiry into the intelligence used to justify the war in Iraq is expected to conclude that Britain's spies were correct to say that Saddam Hussein's regime sought to buy uranium from Niger.

The inquiry by Lord Butler, which was delivered to the printers on Wednesday and is expected to be released on July 14, has examined the intelligence that underpinned the UK government's claims about the threat from Iraq.

The report will say the claim that Mr Hussein could deploy chemical weapons within 45 minutes, seized on by UK prime minister Tony Blair to bolster the case for war with Iraq, was inadequately supported by the available intelligence, people familiar with its contents say .

But among Lord Butler's other areas of investigation was the issue of whether Iraq sought to buy uranium from Niger. People with knowledge of the report said Lord Butler has concluded that this claim was reasonable and consistent with the intelligence.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Fifty-six Deceits in Fahrenheit 911 I had to link to this one, just for reference sake.

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Baloney, Moore or Less Here's rightwing mouthpiece Richard Cohen (heh) on "F 9/11" in that organ of the Bush Administration, the Washington Post.

The case against Bush need not and should not rest on guilt by association or half-baked conspiracy theories, which collapse at the first double take but reinforce the fervor of those already convinced. The success of Moore's movie, though, suggests this is happening -- a dialogue in which anti-Bush forces talk to themselves and do so in a way that puts off others. I found that happening to me in the run-up to the war, when I spent more time and energy arguing with those who said the war was about oil (no!) or Israel (no!) or something just as silly than I did questioning the stated reasons for invading Iraq -- weapons of mass destruction and Hussein's links to Osama bin Laden. This was stupid of me, but human nature nonetheless.

Some of that old feeling returned while watching Moore's assault on the documentary form. It is so juvenile in its approach, so awful in its journalism, such an inside joke for people who already hate Bush, that I found myself feeling a bit sorry for a president who is depicted mostly as a befuddled dope. I fear how it will play to the undecided.

For them, I recommend "Spider-Man 2."

Andrew Ferguson here with another great take down of "Fahrenheit 9/11."

And having followed Moore's career, I wasn't surprised by his shadings of fact. When he says that ``many studies'' showed Al Gore won the vote in Florida, for example, he neglects to mention that many more, including recounts by the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, say Gore did not.

And I wasn't surprised that when he ridicules Bush for sitting passively in front of a classroom of schoolchildren directly after learning of the attacks, he omits the reaction of the school principal.

``I don't think anyone could have handled it better'' than Bush did, the principal, Gwendolyn Tose-Rigell, told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

And I wasn't surprised that Moore accuses -- if ``accuse'' is a synonym for ``insinuate'' -- Bush of approving the flight of the bin Laden family from the U.S. after Sept. 11. Why, the family's passports weren't even checked, Moore says, even though ``that's what would happen to you or I.''

I wasn't surprised that they don't teach grammar in film school.

Jonah Goldberg: The new N-word I'll have to remember this column the next time someone describes Republicans as "hateful and mean-spirited."