Saturday, September 30, 2006

Works and Days: America and its Discontents Victor Davis Hanson goes after Jimma Carter and Ollie Stone. Good stuff.

Such a sad fellow, this Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter, the subject of the last blog, almost immediately was back in the news claiming that the United States was one of the world’s great abusers of civil rights (I wonder how our internecine body count in Plains, Georgia stacks up with that in Rwanda, Kosovo, or Dafur?). He adds that all Presidents—except the current one—have been supporters of human rights.
In his dotage, Carter is proving once again that he is as malicious and mean-spirited a public figure as he is historically ignorant. And for all his sanctimonious Christian veneer, and fly-fishing, ‘aw shucks blue-jeans image, he can’t hide an essentially ungracious and unkind soul.

Does he have any idea of Lincoln and Andrew Johnson suspending habeas corpus and shutting down newspapers, Woodrow Wilson jailing political dissidents, FDR interning American citizens and executing German agents in secret military tribunals? Do we have currently a Nixon’s enemies list? And can Carter point to just one aspect of current American life where civil liberties are materially curtailed, in which an American can’t do what he wants? Getting on a plane without shampoo doesn’t count—or not having your family at the gate when you land either: all thanks to al Qaeda, not George Bush.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Robert Kagan - More Leaks, Please - Regarding the NIE leak to the NYT and Washington Post on how the war has supposedly increased the numbers of terrorists. How do we know this? Is there a list somewhere? Do they have a team roster? And these are the same people who admit that they had no idea what was going on in Iraq before the war? Now we should believe them?

For instance, what specifically does it mean to say that the Iraq war has worsened the "terrorism threat"? Presumably, the NIE's authors would admit that this is speculation rather than a statement of fact, since the facts suggest otherwise. Before the Iraq war, the United States suffered a series of terrorist attacks: the bombing and destruction of two American embassies in East Africa in 1998, the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in 2000, and the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Since the Iraq war started, there have not been any successful terrorist attacks against the United States. That doesn't mean the threat has diminished because of the Iraq war, but it does place the burden of proof on those who argue that it has increased.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Dump the U.N. and move on Bob Robb on the UN and I couldn't agree more. What purpose is served by our participation in this farce that the UN has become?

The United States should withdraw from the Security Council and forgo voting in the General Assembly, indicating that we don't think the United Nations is a place where important things get discussed or decided.

The United States should also indicate, diplomatically, that perhaps everyone would be more comfortable if the United Nations moved its crab sessions somewhere else. Chavez suggested that the United Nations move to Venezuela. It would be mischievously delightful for the United States to indicate that we support his idea.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Enough Apologies Anne Applebaum on the pope's speech and the Muslim insanity it generated.

All of which is simply beside the point, since nothing the pope has ever said comes even close to matching the vitriol, extremism and hatred that pour out of the mouths of radical imams and fanatical clerics every day, all across Europe and the Muslim world, almost none of which ever provokes any Western response at all. And maybe it's time that it should: When Saudi Arabia publishes textbooks commanding good Wahhabi Muslims to "hate" Christians, Jews and non-Wahhabi Muslims, for example, why shouldn't the Vatican, the Southern Baptists, Britain's chief rabbi and the Council on American-Islamic Relations all condemn them -- simultaneously?

Maybe it's a pipe dream: The day when the White House and Greenpeace can issue a joint statement is surely distant indeed. But if stray comments by Western leaders -- not to mention Western films, books, cartoons, traditions and values -- are going to inspire regular violence, I don't feel that it's asking too much for the West to quit saying sorry and unite, occasionally, in its own defense. The fanatics attacking the pope already limit the right to free speech among their own followers. I don't see why we should allow them to limit our right to free speech, too.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

How Bad Is the Senate Intelligence Report? Steven Hayes deconstructs the report and tears the committee a new one.

There is much to quarrel with in the report. But it is worth spending a moment to consider the vast amount of information that was left out of the committee's treatment of Iraq's links to al Qaeda. A few examples:

There is no mention in the report of Abdul Rahman Yasin, an Iraqi who admitted mixing the chemicals for the bomb used in the 1993 World Trade Center attack, cited in the July 2004 Senate report as an al Qaeda operation. The mastermind of that attack, Ramzi Yousef, is the nephew of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Two weeks after the bombing, according a July 2004 report issued by the same Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Yasin fled to Iraq with Iraqi assistance. ABC News reported in 1994 that a Baghdad neighbor of Yasin's told them that he travels freely and "works for the government."

There is no mention of documents recovered in postwar Iraq confirming that the Iraqi regime provided Yasin with housing and funding after his return to Iraq until the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003. Vice President Dick Cheney has discussed these documents in television and radio interviews.

There is no mention of documents unearthed by reporters with the Toronto Star and the London Telegraph. The documents, expense reports from the Iraqi Intelligence Service, contain an exchange of memos between IIS officers about who will pay for a March 1998 trip to Baghdad by a "trusted confidante" of Osama bin Laden. The documents were provided to the U.S. intelligence community. "I have no doubt that what we found is the real thing," wrote Mitch Potter, a reporter for the Toronto Star, and one of the journalists who found the documents in the bombed-out headquarters of the Iraqi Intelligence Service days after the fall of Baghdad. Intelligence and military sources tell THE WEEKLY STANDARD that the documents are corroborated by telephone intercepts from March 1998.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

CONSPIRACY CRANKS The editor of Popular Mechanics talks about their look at the 9/11 conspiracy theories.

Rather than grapple with the huge preponderance of evidence in support of the mainstream view of 9/11, they tend to focus on a handful of small anomalies that they believe cast doubt on the conventional account. These anomalies include the claim that the hole in the Pentagon was too small to have been made by a commercial jet (but just right for a cruise missile); that the Twin Towers were too robustly built to have been destroyed by the jet impacts and fires (so they must have been felled by explosives), and more. If true, these and similar assertions would cast serious doubt on the mainstream account of 9/11.

But they're not true. Popular Mechanics has been fact-checking such claims since late 2004, and recently published a book on the topic. We've pored over transcripts, flight logs and blueprints, and interviewed more than 300 sources - including engineers, aviation experts, military officials, eyewitnesses and members of investigative teams.

In every single case, we found that the very facts used by conspiracy theorists to support their fantasies are mistaken, misunderstood or deliberately falsified.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Popular Mechanics - Debunking The 9/11 Myths - Mar. 2005 Cover Story I thought I had already blogged this. Again, as with the edition they did on Katrina it's good to have it for reference.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Congressional Resolution on Iraq (Passed by House and Senate October 2002) I wonder how many Dems read this before voting for it. It's only a couple pages, but to hear them now you'd think it was all news to them.