Thursday, October 28, 2004

Us and Them Martin Peretz in the New Republic on Kerry's U.N. fetish.

How would John Kerry have dealt with Saddam? He has told us Saddam needed to be "confronted." But the word itself--which implies that the United States could have overthrown Saddam without using military force--tells us what we need to know. Had the United States and our allies not embarked on this war, the Iraqi mass murderer would still be in power. And, were international sanctions gone, as they soon would have been thanks to Russia and France, he would have been on his way back to having and deploying weapons of mass destruction. And the senator from Massachusetts would not have raised his voice.

Russia tied to Iraq's missing arms Does this really surprise anyone? This is exactly what Ion Pacepa (if I recall that name correctly) said had happened in an article I linked to several months ago. If I can find it I'll post it again.

John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, said in an interview that he believes the Russian troops, working with Iraqi intelligence, "almost certainly" removed the high-explosive material that went missing from the Al-Qaqaa facility, south of Baghdad.

"The Russians brought in, just before the war got started, a whole series of military units," Mr. Shaw said. "Their main job was to shred all evidence of any of the contractual arrangements they had with the Iraqis. The others were transportation units."

Here it is, from the August 21st Washington Times. This also appeared in National Review Online as I recall.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

An interesting take from "Spengler" an Asia Times writer who always has something worth reading. File this under "Give War a Chance, or What's So Bad About A Rush To War?"

The West should be thankful that it has in US President George W Bush a warrior who shoots first and tells the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to ask questions later. Rarely in its long history has the West suffered by going to war too soon. On the contrary: among the wars of Western history, the bloodiest were those that started too late. Why should that be the case? The answer, I believe, is that keeping the peace requires prospective combatants to maintain the balance of power, for example between Athens and Sparta in the 5th century BC, between Catholic and Protestant states in the 17th century AD, and between the Central Powers and the Allies at the turn of the 20th century. Once powers truly are balanced, however, neither side can win, except by a devastating war of attrition. Postponing war therefore creates equally matched opposing blocs who eventually will annihilate each other.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Saddam, the Bomb and Me by Mahdi Obeidi So Saddam may not have had a program up and running but it wouldn't have taken much to do so.

Was Iraq a potential threat to the United States and the world? Threat is always a matter of perception, but our nuclear program could have been reinstituted at the snap of Saddam Hussein's fingers. The sanctions and the lucrative oil-for-food program had served as powerful deterrents, but world events - like Iran's current efforts to step up its nuclear ambitions - might well have changed the situation.

Iraqi scientists had the knowledge and the designs needed to jumpstart the program if necessary. And there is no question that we could have done so very quickly. In the late 1980's, we put together the most efficient covert nuclear program the world has ever seen. In about three years, we gained the ability to enrich uranium and nearly become a nuclear threat; we built an effective centrifuge from scratch, even though we started with no knowledge of centrifuge technology. Had Saddam Hussein ordered it and the world looked the other way, we might have shaved months if not years off our previous efforts.

Sacrificing Israel This all we have to do in order for people the world over to love us once again. This is what lefties mean when they say the "oppose America's foreign policy." If only we'd abandon Israel to the wolves they'd like us a whole lot more.

John Kerry says he wants to "rejoin the community of nations." There is no issue on which the United States more consistently fails the global test of international consensus than Israel. In July, the U.N. General Assembly declared Israel's defensive fence illegal by a vote of 150 to 6. In defending Israel, America stood almost alone.

You want to appease the "international community"? Sacrifice Israel. Gradually, of course, and always under the guise of "peace." Apply relentless pressure on Israel to make concessions to a Palestinian leadership that has proved (at Camp David in 2000) it will never make peace.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Apologize, George W. Bush! Here's a good one on the current apology mania on the Left. That's one of the many things I don't get about our current culture. Where did this need for constant apologies come from? We are supposed to apologize for 9/11, for Iraq and everything else, and to what end? What does it accomplish for a "Nation" to apologize?

Apologize, George W. Bush, although demands for apologies amount to nothing more than a petulant demand for respect -- a respect that, in this case, we have not earned. For all of our whining and nitpicking and breast-beating, we have no better idea of how to resolve the Iraqi situation. John Kerry has no better idea. The French and Germans have no better idea. We dislike your style and we question your motives but -- despite all your shortcomings -- we can do no better. We accuse you of arrogance because you will not listen to us, but we have nothing to say. We accuse you of failing to obtain legitimacy for the war from other countries, but they have none to give. We accuse you of many things, because your vision for Iraq is indirectly a terrible accusation against our own fecklessness and folly.

Apologize, George W. Bush, even though the mistakes are ours.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Saddam bankrolled Palestinian terrorists Why do we have to read about this in The Scotsman, and not in the New York Times?

SADDAM Hussein’s links to terrorism have been proven by documents showing he helped to fund the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The PFLP, whose history of terrorism dates back to the "black September" hijackings of 1970, was personally vetted by Saddam to receive oil vouchers worth £40 million.

The deal has been uncovered by US investigators, trawling millions of pages of documents showing a network of diplomats bribed by Saddam’s regimes, and political parties who qualified for backhanded payments from Baghdad.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Victor Davis Hanson on Election 2004 VDH strikes again.

Mr. Kerry believes that we must return to the pre-9/11 days when terrorism was but a "nuisance." In his mind, that was a nostalgic sort of time when the terrorist mosquito lazily buzzed about a snoring America. And we in somnolent response merely swatted it away with a cruise missile or a few GPS bombs when embassies and barracks were blown up. Keep the tribute of dead Americans low, and the chronic problem was properly analogous to law-enforcement's perpetual policing of gambling and prostitution. Many of us had previously written off just such naïveté, but we never dreamed that our suspicions would be confirmed so explicitly by Kerry himself.

In the now-lost age of unperturbed windsailing and skiing, things were not all that bad before al Qaeda overdid it by knocking down skyscrapers and a corner of the Pentagon — followed by George Bush's commensurate overreaction in Afghanistan and Iraq that brought on all the present messy and really bothersome cargo of IEDs, beheadings, and promises of dirty bombs to come. The Taliban and Saddam were, of course, bad sports. But really, going all the way over there to topple them, implant democracy, and change the status quo of the Middle East? Tsk, tsk, tsk — well, that was a bit much, was it not?

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

An American in London Wow. This is pretty horrifying about anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism in England. The point is it didn't start with Bush.

The paradox is that we have Islamic extremists in our midst in Britain preaching all manner of mayhem and holding ‘festivals’ to celebrate the ‘magnificent nineteen of September 11th.’ In 1998, when I was producing a documentary about the three monotheistic faiths, I filmed with ease at the local church and synagogue. When it came time to film at the mosque, my cameraman, a Libyan, beseeched me to stay at home, as I would be ‘killed’ if I came to the London central mosque on a Friday. He explained that ‘the crazies’ came out in force on the Sabbath and that if they realized I was American there would be an incident that would reverberate as strongly as the killing of Yvonne Fletcher in April, 1984 outside the Libyan Embassy. He begged me to stay away and I did. It was the first time I had ever stayed away from my own production shoot. Throw your minds back, dear reader, to that date: 1998. There was no wall in Israel and no Intifada. Bill Clinton was President and there were no neo-cons to blame for the Gulf’s ills. But event then, the hatred of America and of Jews was already a palpable force in British life.

There are some 260,000 Jews in Britain and more than two million Muslims, but at dinner parties all one hears about is the ‘birthplace of terror, Menachem Begin’s Israel’ and the ‘world’s number one terrorist state, the United States.’ Last November when President Bush visited the United Kingdom and London’s Mayor, Ken Livingstone, boycotted the State Banquet, ordinary folk gathered in Trafalgar Square to burn and stomp on the Stars and Stripes.

Here is what I perceive as the explanation: Europe has always been a seething hotbed of anti-Semitism. England, sadly, has the distinction of being the very first country to expel its Jews and initiate the Blood Libel. The Jews were not allowed back into England until the time of Cromwell and feel to this day that they worship by the grace of the Sovereign. It is impossible to convey to Americans inside the United States, or to American Jews, the open loathing of both groups that dominates daily life outside the United States today. What is so disturbing to me is that I am no longer accepted at face value in my daily encounters. If the media set out some years ago -- even before Bush 43 -- to turn the public against America and Israel, they have done a magnificent job. I have stopped counting the number of unfair accusations hurled at both nations in the course of a day on the airwaves or in the print media. Long ago I stopped wearing a flag pin (how wonderful to be able to wear one as I walk down a Philadelphia street without fearing for my life). Just the other day I had a tongue-lashing from an old acquaintance about the ‘appalling flags the Americans put outside their homes, like Nazis all over again.’

UPDATE: A lot of people are calling bullshit on this story, or at least claiming she exaggerates the situation. I don't know. It could be since she is in theater she runs into a different sort of person who is more likely to be anti-American but most people say they haven't seen what she describes.

Good analysis here on Israel/Palestine and the reasons why the Pals keep walking away from a peace agreement. It's not because they haven't been offered enough.

Perhaps Arafat could be given an ultimatum – but even Malley recognizes that Arafat “sees in every ultimatum a last demand before the next concession.”

Arafat can hardly be blamed for that view. How could anyone have a different one, looking at the extraordinary concessions made by Ehud Barak at Camp David (a state in all of Gaza and more than 90 percent of the West Bank, with a capital in Jerusalem, in exchange for “peace”), which were followed by a Palestinian walkout and a new war, which then led to the Clinton Parameters of December 23, 2000 (with new concessons for the Palestinians), which were conveyed to Arafat as his last chance and then personally rejected by Arafat, in the Oval Office, in his January 2, 2001 meeting with Clinton – which was then followed by Israel's willingness, just three weeks later, to send a team to Taba, Egypt for still another round of negotiations, in the midst of Arafat's war, with still more Israeli concessions.

Arafat's refusals led, each time, to new movements in his direction.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Jonah Goldberg on Kedwards and Iraq He should get plenty of hate mail for this one, but pointing out the truth to Bush haters really pisses them off.

I'm not saying there are no good arguments against the war. I am saying that many of you don't care about the war. If Bill Clinton or Al Gore had conducted this war, you would be weeping joyously about Iraqi children going to school and women registering to vote. If this war had been successful rather than hard, John Kerry would be boasting today about how he supported it — much as he did every time it looked like the polls were moving in that direction. You may have forgotten Kerry's anti-Dean gloating when Saddam was captured, but many of us haven't. He would be saying the lack of WMDs are irrelevant and that Bush's lies were mistakes. And that's the point. I don't care if you hate George W. Bush; it's not like I love the guy. And I don't care if you opposed the war from day one. What disgusts me are those people who say toppling Saddam and fighting the terror war on their turf rather than ours is a mistake, not because these are bad ideas, but merely because your vanity cannot tolerate the notion that George W. Bush is right or that George W. Bush's rightness might cost John Kerry the election.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Saddam and the French Connection So Sen. Kerry, tell us again how we should look up to the French and seek their approval before making any military moves. And why are we in the UN again?

Memos from Iraqi intelligence officials, recovered by American and British inspectors, show the dictator was told as early as May 2002 that France - having been granted oil contracts - would veto any American plans for war.

But the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), which returned its full report last night, said Saddam was telling the truth when he denied on the eve of war that he had any weapons of mass destruction (WMD). He had not built any since 1992.

The ISG, who confirmed last autumn that they had found no WMD, last night presented detailed findings from interviews with Iraqi officials and documents laying out his plans to bribe foreign businessmen and politicians.

Although they found no evidence that Saddam had made any WMD since 1992, they found documents which showed the "guiding theme" of his regime was to be able to start making them again with as short a lead time as possible."

So it's not all one way of the other. The U.S. (and everyone else) was wrong about WMD, but right that Saddam was still a threat, as David Kay and Duelfer have said, and would have had WMD as soon as the French, Russians and Chinese got the sanctions lifted.

Raging Bull Mike Lacey, hardly someone I would call a conservative (and having been on the working side of more than a couple of Phoenix bars from him I'd be more inclined to call him an asshole) takes on the Left and its position on Iraq. Michael Moore gets bashed as hard as Bush does here though. At least he's an equal opportunity basher. And he pretty much repeats the John McCain position on the war. Good for him. It was worth doing, but we sure seem to have fucked it up since.

Looking like the nation's homeliest eagle scout, John Kerry snapped off a salute and announced to his convention, "Reporting for duty." George W. Bush had already embraced "Mission Accomplished" on an aircraft carrier flight deck in his après-combat flight suit. With each of these two nimrods trying to convince me of their warrior stones, I say, "Make mine a double."

Monday, October 04, 2004

The Muslim Brotherhood, Nazis and Al-Qaeda by John Loftus This why I don't understand the Left's approach to confronting Islamism. There is a direct link from them back to the Nazis, but GWB is the real threat? As Bob Baer said in his book Sleeping with the Devil the real source of Islamism is the Muslin Brotherhood, which, unfortunately, we have helped survive in the past.

There are many flavors and branches, but they are all Muslim Brotherhoods. There is one in Israel. The organization you know as “Hammas” is actually a secret chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood. When Israel assassinated Sheik Yassin a month ago, the Muslim Brotherhood published his obituary in a Cairo newspaper in Arabic and revealed that he was actually the secret leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza.

So the Muslim Brotherhood became this poison that spread throughout the Middle East and on 9/11, it began to spread around the world.

Saddam Possessed WMD, Had Extensive Terror Ties This isn't the first time I've seen this on line. I wonder if the MSM will pick it up? Hell, I wonder if the Bush Administration will pick it up?

Iraqi intelligence documents, confiscated by U.S. forces and obtained by, show numerous efforts by Saddam Hussein's regime to work with some of the world's most notorious terror organizations, including al Qaeda, to target Americans. They demonstrate that Saddam's government possessed mustard gas and anthrax, both considered weapons of mass destruction, in the summer of 2000, during the period in which United Nations weapons inspectors were not present in Iraq. And the papers show that Iraq trained dozens of terrorists inside its borders.

The Perfect Storm Victor Davis Hanson here, as usual, the most eloquent voice on what's going on. Here it is in a paragraph.

The Left now lives in a world without facts or particulars and the accompanying baggage of consistency. It is deeply suspicious and yet also envious of those who wield power, and believe there is no absolute and unbiased political, economic, or political criterion by which the United States can claim any exceptionalism or even much merit. So into this gathering storm, blew in a savvy Mullah Omar, Osama bin Laden, and Saddam Hussein, and the result is a gale force meanness and craziness here at home the like of which we have not seen this century.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Kerry's got a strategy: it's summit for everyone Mark Steyn has another great one about the debate.

But none of that matters. If John Kerry is so polished and eloquent and forceful and mellifluous, how come nobody has a clue what his policy on Iraq is? As he made clear on Thursday, Saddam was a growing threat so he had to be disarmed so Kerry voted for war in order to authorise Bush to go to the UN but Bush failed to pass "the global test" so we shouldn't have disarmed Saddam because he wasn't a threat so the war was a mistake so Kerry will bring the troops home by persuading France and Germany to send their troops instead because he's so much better at building alliances so he'll have no trouble talking France and Germany into sending their boys to be the last men to die for Bush's mistake.

Corruption: 3 Nations Reportedly Slowed Probe of Oil Sales And we're supposed to look to these countries and the UN for moral guidance, eh Senator Kerry?

The paper suggests that France, Russia and China blocked inquiries into Iraq's manipulation of the program because their companies "had much to gain from maintaining'' the status quo. "Their businesses made billions of dollars through their involvement with the Hussein regime and O.F.F.P.," the document states, using the initials for the program. No officials of the three governments could be reached for comment.

The paper also accuses the United Nations office charged with overseeing the program of having "pressed" contractors not to rigorously inspect Iraqi oil being sold and the foreign goods being bought. The program office, headed by Benan Sevan, who is also under investigation by a committee appointed by the United Nations, turned a blind eye to corruption charges, the paper says, because it apparently saw oil-for-food "strictly as a humanitarian program."

Friday, October 01, 2004

The New Republic Online: Evil Lesser The reasonable left here, in the form of Martin Peretz. He's no fan of Bush, but he sees the essential issue in this debate.

Kerry suffers no discomfort in having been a yo-yo on Iraq. After all, he has been one for years. In fact, every vote Kerry has cast on Iraq since 1991, when he opposed the first Gulf war, has mirrored a nano-political calculus. He always has a convoluted explanation for the doubters in his camp about why he did this and not that. And it always manages to persuade those in the electorate who are content merely that Kerry is not Bush.

On Iraq, I am with Bush. Yes, I am repelled by how he and his crowd play fast and loose with the facts, by their elevation of their foreign policy reasoning into some kind of catechism. Still, Iraq without Saddam Hussein is like Russia without Josef Stalin: By no means perfect, but a vast improvement. Mahdi Obeidi, the former head of Iraq's nuclear centrifuge program, recently published an op-ed in The New York Times arguing that, were Saddam still in power and had international sanctions expired, as they inevitably would have, Baathist Iraq could easily have plunged back into the atomic game. The world has much to thank the United States for on this count.