Thursday, September 30, 2004

What's the Best Way to Watch "The Debate?"

I decided to attend one of the 44 so-called “Campaign Watches” across the country at my local college. Arriving early, before the debate, so we could get a good seat, I discovered we were relegated to the tables that were so far away from the two tiny screens that I realized I would have been much better off watching from the luxury of my own 20” set – which is what I eventually chose to do after having scarfed down some of the free goodies. Oh well.

The only advantage of staying would have been the “facilitated” discussion after the debate. Yes, I would have enjoyed that. “What did you think of the debate?” “No, what did YOU think of the debate.”

Should I have stayed? Nah.

As We Watch "The Debate" Tonight, Let us Contemplate "Women" and "Enthusiasm"

It seems that Democrat "old pickup lines" are not cutting it any more with women voters. The Seattle Times has an editorial in today's paper which explains how security issues and straight talk are among the things that seem to be winning their attention. But "forget the gender gap. The chasm that yawns the widest this election year is the Enthusiasm Gap," according to an excellent article in today's Washington Post.

"Nearly two in three likely voters who support President Bush -- 65 percent -- said they were "very enthusiastic" about their candidate while 42 percent of Sen. John F. Kerry's supporters express similarly high levels of enthusiasm for their choice, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News Poll.

"That's a 23-point difference in relative excitement." That, my friends, could be the decisive factor.

"The Debate" Part 3

A little debate prepping advice for Senator John Kerry from Today's (September 30, 2004) WSJ Review and Outlook.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

A Must Read -- Part 2: A Relative of a 9-11 Victim Speaks Out in Favor of the Iraq War

Deborah Burlingame is a lifelong Democrat and co-founder of "9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America" ( Her brother, Chic Burlingame, was the pilot of American Airlines flight 77, which was crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. In today's WSJ Commentary page, Ms. Burlingame makes a case for the correctness of making war with Iraq, calling it the Right War, Right Place, Right Time. Don't miss this.

A Must Read: The Connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein

This link will take you an important article by Stephen Hayes of The Weekly Standard. Hayes sights over a dozen factual events tying Saddam Hussein to Al Qaeda. Hayes is a staff writer at The Weekly Standard and author of The Connection: How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein has Endangered America. In this piece, he asks, rightly, "Why is Team Kerry so eager to separate the Iraq war from the broader war on terror? If voters believe that Iraq is an important part of the war on terror, they are more likely to be patient with difficulties there. On the flip side, if Kerry were able to convince voters that the Iraq war was a distraction from the war on terror, he would erode confidence not only in Bush's handling of Iraq but also of the broader war on terror. According to numbers released in yesterday's USA Today/CNN/Gallup poll Kerry needs to do just that. Self-identified likely voters were asked about whether they approve of Bush's handling of the situation in Iraq and the war on terror. Forty-eight of those surveyed approved of Bush's handling of the "situation in Iraq" and 49 percent disapproved. But the numbers spike when likely voters were asked about Bush's handling of the war on terror; 62 percent approve and only 36 percent disapprove.

"So it's not difficult to understand why Kerry's campaign wants to separate Iraq and the war on terror. But to claim that Saddam had "nothing to do with al Qaeda?" That there was no terrorism in Iraq before the war? That Iraq has never been a threat to the United States? These are preposterous statements. They're not debatable, or a matter of interpretation. They are demonstrably false. "

"I Voted for It Before I Voted Against It" Or Was it the Other Way Around?

An observation made by William Kristol of the Weekly Standard: "ON TODAY'S [September 29, 2004] Good Morning America, John Kerry defended his 'I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it,' comment: 'It just was a very inarticulate way of saying something, and I had one of those inarticulate moments late in the evening when I was dead tired in the primaries and I didn't say something very clearly.'

"The problem: According to the March 17 Washington Post, Kerry made the comment at a noontime appearance at Marshall University, two weeks after the Democratic primary contest had ended."

"The Debate" Part 2

If anyone wants to read the sage advice of former Vice President Al Gore to John Kerry as he readies for tomorrow’s debate, you can rummage through his Op-Ed piece in today’s (September 29, 2004) NYT. This is the same Al Gore who clearly lost his debates with Bush four years ago. He lost, not because the media raised expectations for his performance and lowered them for Bush, but rather his hyperbolic behavior and peripatetic style, including his silly assault-like meandering over to Bush’s podium during one of the debates.

In this Op-Ed, he says: “My advice to John Kerry is simple: be prepared for the toughest debates of your career. While George Bush's campaign has made ‘lowering expectations’ into a high art form, the record is clear - he's a skilled debater who uses the format to his advantage. There is no reason to expect any less this time around. And if anyone truly has ‘low expectations’ for an incumbent president, that in itself is an issue.

“But more important than his record as a debater is Mr. Bush's record as a president. And therein lies the true opportunity for John Kerry - because notwithstanding the president's political skills, his performance in office amounts to a catastrophic failure. And the debates represent a time to hold him to account…”

The people saw Gore as phony, and they saw and see Bush as real. He’s not necessarily universally a likeable person, but the key difference is credibility. Will Kerry be credible? Not if he listens to ol’ Al.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Rather Be Retiring

Do you think it's time for Dan Rather to retire? Well you are not alone. In fact, you may be able to help make it happen with the help of like minded folk. Conservative businessman Dan Forrester has established a web site to raise funds for the cause, and to provide an opportunity for people to sign a petition to present to CBS.

But not so fast, Nancy Franklin, in the New Yorker says that Rather may have jumped the gun less due to his biases and more so due to his zeal to beat CNN, Fox News, ABC and NBC: "Rather’s mistake probably had more to do with competitiveness and scoopaholism than with any political bias. That’s the way people in the news business are made." Ah, yes, we know that's why he did it. His competitive spirit. Indeed. I say give the old geezer a gold watch and send him on his way.

"The Debate" Part I

About the debate on Thursday, William Buckley writes in a September 28 editorial in National Review Online, "Richard Reeves, who knows politics the way Webster knew words, has predicted that the debate on Thursday will be 'bloody and dirty, demeaning to all concerned.' On the eve of the encounter the odds have stabilized: Bush is ahead, Kerry is alert to this and is groping for riveting means by which to reannounce himself as an alternative to the incumbent....

"...The President has ultimately to rely on perspectives. David Ignatius of the Washington Post, explicitly influenced by the recent publication in France of a report by an anti-Bush jihad expert, wrote, 'The Taliban regime in Afghanistan has been toppled; the fence-sitting, semi-Islamist regime in Saudi Arabia has taken sides more strongly with the West; Islamists in Sudan and Libya are in retreat; and the plight of the Palestinians has never been more dire. And Baghdad, the traditional seat of the Muslim caliphs, is under foreign occupation. . . . Perhaps it takes an outsider — a Frenchman, even — to help Americans see the war on terrorism in perspective. Saturated in terrorism alerts and images of violence from Iraq, Americans may miss the essential fact that the terrorists are losing.'

"To plant such perspectives is very difficult. In the dark winter of 1941-42, any comfortable thoughts about the attenuating strength of Hirohito and Hitler would have been difficult to swallow. And to counter any attempt at perspective, Mr. Kerry is certain to describe dramatically an American life lost that very day.

"Well, John Kerry is a skillful debater. In his column, Richard Reeves writes, 'Kerry was called the "second-best" debater he handled by the distinguished and revered Yale debate coach, Rollin Osterweis. The best, said Osterweis, was William F. Buckley.'."

Should be a real doozie.

The Bloggers' Hour

Former presidential speech writer, David Frum, on the success of bloggers (like us)...

"This is the bloggers' hour. The blogs have exposed CBS, beaten the New York Times, and made fools of all the professional press critics at the Columbia Journalism School and the Poynter Institute. PowerLineBlog and Little Green Footballs and Instapundit and Hugh Hewitt: They have earned their garlands and their victory lap.

"In the days ahead, there will be more work for them to do. There are still many unanswered questions--along with much arrogant spinning by CBS. But as the bloggers, reinforced by talk radio and the cable-news networks, force the truth to light, a word of caution..."

CBS Attempts to Sidestep Hypocrisy

CBS has dropped a 60 Minutes segment on the [illegitimate] roots of the Iraq War, calling it “inappropriate” at this time. See news item. But why? Was it because CBS was to claim in the nixed segment that the war was caused by the administration's belief in "documents" (which later turned out to be false) that pointed to weapons of mass destruction? Sound familiar? Was CBS really afraid of inappropriateness or of being accused of hypocrisy? James Taranto of the WSJ thinks it is the latter. See his commentary of September 27, 2004 from the WSJ here.

Are we Overcivilized?

Are we overcivilized in dealing with terrorism? John O'Sullivan seems to think so. Here is the ending of an editorial by O'Sullivan from the September 28 Chicago Sun Times Op Ed page,...

“Hostage-taking has been a staple tactic of Mideast terrorists since the airline hijackings of the early 1970s. The IRA employed it on both sides of the Irish border. In Latin America kidnapping was started by Marxist terrorists in the 1970s, but since then it has become a profitable commercial business. A hostage is taken every hour in Latin America. The hostage is often a son or daughter of the rich. And the victims are often brutally tortured either to encourage the payment of a ransom or as punishment if it is not paid on time.

“Yet 40 years ago hostage-taking seemed a concept from the distant past -- something like slavery and piracy that Victorian imperialists had stopped in their old-fashioned self-righteous way. Like hostage-taking, however, piracy and slavery are making a comeback. Piracy flourishes in parts of Southeast Asia, slavery in parts of Africa such as Sudan, and hostage-taking in the Middle East and Latin America.

“In general they advance where terrorism has blazed the way by revealing the impotence of law and government when they are not backed by the self-confident application of lawful force. The post-modern world lacks self-confidence and shrinks from using force. It places its trust in treaties and conventions that it enforces only against those who agree in advance to be bound by them. Thus, in the week that its citizens were pleading for their lives in Iraq, the European Union was mainly concerned to prevent Turkey from making adultery a criminal offense -- a droll illustration of "European values."

“This high-minded timidity permeates modern culture at high and low levels. For instance, a recent thriller about hostage-taking, "Man on Fire," directed by Tony Scott and based on a novel by A.J. Quinnell, received harsh critical reviews precisely because it seemed to approve of revenge and vigilantism.

“Creasy, played by Denzel Washington, is a burnt-out former mercenary who becomes a bodyguard to a young girl in Mexico City. She gradually draws him back from his suicidal despair by her frank affection. When she is kidnapped and apparently murdered, he methodically sets out to find and kill the men responsible -- in very brutal ways. As in the 1970s Charles Bronson movie, "Death Wish," the viewer essentially sympathizes with Creasy. The critics thought this a crudely vicious message on both occasions.

“But as Bacon pointed out: "Revenge is a kind of wild justice." It will inevitably -- and arguably rightly -- become the resort of decent people when law and government fail to deliver justice. Post-modern governments fail in just that way. Humanitarian bodies such as Amnesty International are even worse: They practice a sort of unilateral civil libertarianism that holds governments to account for the smallest infraction of civil liberty but treats terrorism as a natural disaster. Transnational bodies like the U.N. and the EU are worse -- they seek to take the weapons of war and capital punishment from us in our struggles against terrorism, slavery, piracy and hostage-taking and to force us to rely instead on their own paper resolutions and elevated principles.

“All these responses -- from the critical reactions to "Man on Fire" to the E.U.'s prohibition of capital punishment -- are overcivilized. That sounds almost like a compliment, as if it meant more civilized. In fact, to be overcivilized is to be less civilized because genuine civilization includes a robust willingness to enforce its order and truths on anarchy, violence, murder and superstition.

“As long as we remain overcivilized, anarchy, violence, murder and superstition will continue their sinister recovery -- until one day you may think you hear your own mother's voice on the network news.”

Monday, September 27, 2004

Beheading in the Wrong Direction

Michael Ledeen writes in the latest National Review Online,...

“Accustomed as we are to believing that everything in the world has to do with us, we've misunderstood what the recent beheadings are all about. The terrorists are not trying to make us cower. They are not using the beheadings as a technique to drive us out. Insofar as the slaughter of Westerners affects the policies of Coalition members, the same effect could be accomplished by other forms of murder; a government that is prepared to be routed from Iraq will turn tail when its public demands it, regardless of how its citizens have been killed.

“This is not about us — it is about them. The beheading films are recruitment tools. They've been around for a long time, part and parcel of the first generation of "jihad" home movies, circulated mostly in North Africa to excite homicidal fanatics and lure them into the Islamist bands. The main difference between then and now is that their marketing and distribution have improved, thanks to their comrades at al Jazeera and al Arabiya, and the Internet.

“We should have no trouble understanding this and drawing the proper conclusions. A movement that draws its foot soldiers from people who dream of beheading one of us is clearly a barbarous phenomenon, one that puts the lie to the notion that our enemies in this terror war are human beings driven to desperation by misery and injustice. Not at all: The recruiting films are aimed at subhuman homicidal maniacs who revel in bloody brutality….”

You can read the rest of his story here.

Zell is Still Swell

After listening to Georgia Democrat and U.S. Senator Zell Miller’s Keynote address at the Republican National Convention last month, I figured that all the network news the following day would focus on how devastating his message was for Kerry, particularly among the undecideds. Instead we receive a flurry of rationalizations and excuses that Miller was “over the top." It turned out that Bush received a bump of about 11% from the convention, while Kerry experienced very little bounce after his.

Well, apparently some believe that Miller had a positive effect on undecided voters, and I was not alone in my interpretations. What follows a brief analysis from blogger Media Monitor which could be read in full here.

Into My Garden...Beneath a Tree

And into my garden stole
When the night had veil'd the pole;
In the morning glad I see
My foe outstretch'd beneath a tree.

William Blake "The Poison Tree"

One of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear program scientists was Mahdi Obeidi, who has written an excellent Op Ed piece in today’s NYT.

Here’s an excerpt:

“….What was really going in Iraq before the American invasion last year? Iraq's nuclear weapons program was on the threshold of success before the 1991 invasion of Kuwait - there is no doubt in my mind that we could have produced dozens of nuclear weapons within a few years - but was stopped in its tracks by United Nations weapons inspectors after the Persian Gulf war and was never restarted. During the 1990's, the inspectors discovered all of the laboratories, machines and materials we had used in the nuclear program, and all were destroyed or otherwise incapacitated.

“By 1998, when Saddam Hussein evicted the weapons inspectors from Iraq, all that was left was the dangerous knowledge of hundreds of scientists and the blueprints and prototype parts for the centrifuge, which I had buried under a tree in my garden….

“Over the course of the 1990's, most of the scientists from the nuclear program switched to working on civilian projects or in conventional-weapons production, and the idea of building a nuclear bomb became a vague dream from another era.

“So, how could the West have made such a mistaken assessment of the nuclear program before the invasion last year? Even to those of us who knew better, it's fairly easy to see how observers got the wrong impression. First, there was Saddam Hussein's history. He had demonstrated his desire for nuclear weapons since the late 1970's, when Iraqi scientists began making progress on a nuclear reactor. He had used chemical weapons against his own people and against Iran during the 1980's. After the 1991 war, he had tried to hide his programs in weapons of mass destruction for as long as possible (he even kept my identity secret from weapons inspectors until 1995). It would have been hard not to suspect him of trying to develop such weapons again….”

Read the rest here.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

I'd Rather be Blogging

Rather fighting off the bloggers

Posted by Hello

Who Said This?

Who made the following pronouncement on a 1997 Crossfire program?

"We know we can't count on the French. We know we can't count on the Russians. We know that Iraq is a danger to the United States, and we reserve the right to take pre-emptive action whenever we feel it's in our national interest."

[ ] George W. Bush

[ ] William Kristol

[ ] John Kerry

And the correct answer is....

John Kerry

To get the details go here.

Anybody Here Seen my Old Friend Ayad?

From today's WSJ Review and Outlook,...

"Pessimism about Iraq seems to be in fashion, with leaders such as John Kerry and Kofi Annan implying that the world would be better off if Saddam Hussein had never been toppled. So it's been more than a little refreshing to hear the message of hope, resolve and gratitude delivered by Ayad Allawi during his U.S. visit this week....

"Yesterday it was Congress's turn to hear from the interim Iraqi Prime Minister, and he began by thanking them for their "brave vote" in 2002 to authorize American men and women to liberate Iraq: 'Your decision to go to war in Iraq was not an easy one but it was the right one.'

"Mr. Allawi then offered a convincing list of reasons that there is every chance his country will make a successful transition to democracy early next year. True, violence has been rising ahead of the U.S. election this November and the Iraqi poll scheduled for January, and there will be hard fighting ahead. But the Prime Minister pointed out that at this very moment 15 of Iraq's 18 provinces would be calm enough to organize a vote. He noted the recent success of Iraqi forces in re-establishing control of the troublesome Sunni town of Samarra, as well as the Shiite holy city of Najaf. He added a well-deserved jab at our friends in the media, who reported the fighting there but have since 'lost interest and left.' "

To read the rest of "Ayad, Kofi and John," go here.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Peace Train Wreck (Holy Roller!)

Stephen Schwartz, who frequently writes on the topic of Islamic Wahhabism for The Weekly Standard, has written a piece on why the closer you look, the more right it was for the United States to refuse entry to Yusuf Islam (formerly known as the 1970's folk/pop singer Cat Stevens).

He writes: "EARLIER THIS WEEK, I commented that, as Yusuf Islam, the singer Cat Stevens, has held to an extreme Islamic fundamentalist position regarding music. I wrote, 'Wahhabism, the state religion in Saudi Arabia, and the inspirer of al Qaeda, is especially known for its hatred of music. In Wahhabi theology, all music except for drum accompaniment to religious chanting is haram, or forbidden. . . . Yusuf Islam has demonstrated his sympathy for this posture on several occasions. . . '. "

You can follow the thread here.

Zogby Watch

American Muslim voters are overwhelmingly supporting Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry over Republican George W. Bush, according to a new American Muslim Poll conducted by Zogby International for Georgetown University's Muslims in the American Public Square (Project MAPS).By a margin of 76% to 7%, Muslims back the Kerry/Edwards ticket over the incumbent Bush/Cheney ticket. This is a stark reversal of fortunes from the 2000 election for Mr. Bush. The poll consisted of a telephone survey of 1,700 Muslims, and an over sample of 146 face-to-face interviews of African-American Muslims. The margin of error is +/-2.3 percentage points.

"This contrasts sharply with the 2000 election, when Mr. Bush garnered 42% of the Muslim vote versus 31% for Democrat Al Gore," said Dr. Zahid Bukhari, director of Project MAPS. Zogby International and Project MAPS conducted the first American Muslim Poll in November 2001 with a margin of error of +/-2.4%.

Click here for the rest of the press release from Zogby.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Bloggers and Forgers

If you read the magazine version of a recent article by Jonathan Last in the Weekly Standard, you will see, among other things, a picture of a web page where a blogger recreates one of the forged letters that were gobbled up by CBS. He does this on a Windows PC using Microsoft Word. The identicality is stunning. To read the electronic version of the article by Last go here.

Also, in this morning's NYT, William Safire suggests that it is time to find the forger. Finding the forger might put an end to such shenanigans in the future. To read his option editorial go here.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

DAVID BROOKS on Kerry's Crystal Clarity and Jejune Judgment

David Brooks on Kerry's speech at NYU yesterday from today's NYT Option Editorials...

"Yesterday John Kerry came to New York University and did something amazing. He uttered a series of clear, declarative sentences on the subject of Iraq. Many of these sentences directly contradict his past statements on Iraq, but at least you could figure out what he was trying to say.

"First, Kerry argued that Iraq was never a serious threat to the United States, that the war was never justified and that Bush's focus on Iraq was a "profound diversion" from the real enemy, Osama bin Laden.

"Second, Kerry argued that we are losing the war in Iraq. Casualties are mounting, the insurgency is spreading, and daily life is more miserable.

"Third, Kerry argued that in times like this, brave leaders should tell the truth to the American people. Kerry reminded his audience that during Vietnam, he returned home "to offer my own personal voice of dissent," and he's decided to do the same thing now. The parallel is clear: Iraq is the new Vietnam.

"Finally, Kerry declared that it is time to get out, beginning next summer. The message is that if Kerry is elected, the entire momentum of U.S. policy will be toward getting American troops out of Iraq as quickly as possible and shifting responsibility for Iraq onto other countries.


"...Substantively, of course, Kerry's speech is completely irresponsible. In the first place, there is a 99 percent chance that other nations will not contribute enough troops to significantly decrease the U.S. burden in Iraq. In that case, John Kerry has no Iraq policy. The promise to bring some troops home by summer will be exposed as a Disneyesque fantasy.

"More to the point, Kerry is trying to use multilateralism as a gloss for retreat. If "the world" is going to be responsible for defeating Moktada al-Sadr and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, then no one will be responsible for defeating them. The consequences for the people of Iraq and the region will be horrific."

For the in-between, go here.

Appearing to be a "Rather" Partisan, Dirt Trick

From today's WSJ Review and Outlook opinion page:

"The big news in yesterday's mea culpa by CBS News isn't that the network was 'misled' about 'documents whose authenticity is in doubt,' as it was finally forced to concede. The story is the admission that the source Dan Rather trusted with CBS's reputation was none other than Bill Burkett, a noted antagonist of President Bush."

"Journalists--including us--use all manner of sources, of course, and many of them are partisans of one kind or another. But as much as possible we owe readers an indication of where those sources are coming from. And if those sources turn out to be wrong, as they sometimes are, then our obligation is to own up to the error as soon as possible. "

"The problem in this case is that before yesterday CBS never gave its viewers even a hint that its entire controversial story hinged on the word of someone who has made it one of his main goals in life to defeat Mr. Bush...."

Read the rest of the article here.

Monday, September 20, 2004

The Latest Zogby Poll Results,...

The latest Zogby poll indicates that with just 44 days to go before voters cast their ballots, President Bush continues to hold only a slim lead over Senator John Kerry (46%-43%). The telephone poll of 1066 likely voters was conducted from Friday through Sunday (September 17-19, 2004).

Overall results have a margin of sampling error of +/-3.1%.

In the ticket match-up, President Bush and Vice-President Cheney hold a three-point lead over Senators Kerry and Edwards (47%-44%). These results are statically tied with Zogby's previous two polls.

Pollster John Zogby: "While the overall numbers remain unchanged, there are some revealing cross-tabulations. Kerry continues to lead on four of five top issues but some possible worrisome details. Among those who say the economy is the top issue, Kerry now leads only 49% to 43%. He maintains wide leads among those who cite the war in Iraq as top issue (55% to 37%), those who cite health care (56% to 32%), and those who cite education (53% to 36%). But the President has widened his advantage over those who cite the war on terrorism to a 56 point lead -- 75% to 19%. This is still very close but has Kerry stopped the bleeding?

Read the total report from Zogby here.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

For the Record,...

Bush is now polling at 13 percentage points ahead of Kerry, but keep and eye on the Zogby polling data. Zogby predicted the 2000 election more accurately than any of the others. One reason is that Zogby takes into account the traditional Democrat to Republican ratio in his samples. He has Bush ahead by only 2% as of last week, though that should be moving in Bush's direction.

How Israel is fighting and winning their war on terror.

Dan Rather: Primetime Goon

And he gets away with it.

What really raises my ire is that Rather and CBS aren't taking any flak for what they did, which was a blatant use of Rather's own political opinions to sway the general public. I don't believe for a second that he simply "missed" the fact that they were so obviously forged. He's a journalist with way too many years of experience to "overlook" something that blatant. My belief is that he purposely reported them as fact, knowing they were at the very least questionable, thinking he wouldn't get caught. And it's aggravating as all get out that he STILL won't take responsibility for his actions. I watched the report on it (on CBS), and it was all a huge cover-up. All they did was show sound bytes from people claiming that regardless of the documents' validity, the things in them are still true! I'd call that blatant and really unscrupulous bias against the President. Rather should be fired, or at least resign/retire (which he should have done LONG ago to spare us this stupidity). And CBS should issue a formal apology to the President. I am sick of the propaganda machine these network news stations have become for the liberal agenda. If it wasn't obvious before whose pocket they were in, it is now! Stop trying to cover it up and just admit it! And stop ruining people's lives with false reporting that you won't even apologize for or admit was wrong.

The Phenom Annan

James Phillips and Dr. Nile Gardiner at the Heritage Foundation make some rather interesting accusations against UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan:

“United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan described the war with Iraq as an “illegal” violation of the U.N. Charter in a September 16 interview with the BBC, adding that “I hope we do not see another Iraq-type operation for a long time.” [1] Annan’s remarks were immediately condemned by U.S. allies who had supported the liberation of Iraq, including Great Britain, Australia, Poland, Bulgaria, and Japan, and are likely to also draw a strong response from the White House.[2]

"Kofi Annan’s ill-considered jibe undercuts efforts to stabilize postwar Iraq that have been endorsed by the U.N. Security Council. It stigmatizes the embryonic Iraqi government, while strengthening the hand of Iraqi insurgents and foreign terrorists determined to strangle democracy in Iraq and inflict a defeat on the U.S.-led, U.N.-backed security force in the country. It is difficult to understand why Annan would want to undermine the U.N.’s own efforts in Iraq at a time when the international organization faces increasing criticism for its failure to respond effectively to international crises.... "

Here is a printer friendly version of the rest of this article.

Rather Working up a Lather at "See BS"

Bernard Goldstein wrote the following in a recent Wall Street Journal Option Editorial:

"On Feb. 12, 1996, I picked up a phone at CBS News in New York and called Dan Rather, who was in Des Moines covering the Iowa caucuses. It was a call that I--then a CBS correspondent--wasn't anxious to make. I'd written an op-ed for this page about liberal bias in the news that was going to run the next day. I knew I had to give Dan a heads up. "I wrote a piece for the Journal, Dan, and my guess is you won't be ecstatic about it." I hadn't given him any details yet, so he had no idea what the op-ed was about. Dan was gracious; he always was when we spoke. "Bernie," he said, "we were friends yesterday, we're friends today, and we'll be friends tomorrow. So tell me about it."

"I did, and the more I told him the more tense the conversation got...."

Read the rest here:

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Rather Cruel

More from the Wall Street Journal on Dan Rather’s cruel intentions.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

For Whom the Zell Tolls

This is from Monday’s Wall Street Journal’s Opinion Page. Zell Miller has done it again, and I hope he keeps giving it until the election.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Rather Screwed Up

Here is an interesting assessment of the CBS /Dan Rather SNAFU pertaining to the forged documents of George W Bush’s National Guard record in the early 1970’s. Despite this overreaching by liberals like Rather, I think the more they try to focus on this period of the early 1970’s, the more they focus indirectly on John Kerry’s own atrocious position of blaming his fellow veterans for gross and wholesale atrocities in Vietnam at that same time. It ends up being double bite to their left-lumbering derrieres.

Fear and Loathing in Manhattan by ALAN BROMLEY published in WSJ 9/9/2004

NEW YORK--Outside the Sheraton on Seventh Avenue last Wednesday, a protester brandished her feelings on cardboard: "We don't just hate Bush, we hate all of you." She was accompanied by two young men, flush with their first beards, one of whom had a sign that stated, "You have blood on your hands." Republican delegates there were not fazed, even though the night before some had to have police escorts out of Scopa to escape the wrath and intimidation of the protesters.

I, for one, was born into confrontation, growing up in a Jewish-socialist household, where whatever my poor mother served for dinner was secondary to the political rantings of my father, an attorney, activist and speaker before the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

So, naturally, I approached the young woman and asked, "Did you protest Saddam Hussein's killing of 1.5 million people? Are you protesting China's policy of aborting female fetuses?" She threw her sign at me! I took it home.

The night before I attended a private party at the plush Fifth Avenue home of Georgette Mosbacher, a place where I felt less at home than I did on Seventh Avenue. I was glad my wife wasn't there to gaze at the paintings adorning 20-foot ceilings, and rooms that seemed to measure 35 by 25 feet no matter where you strolled. It was filled with media stars, big donors in dark suits and tall, beautiful women.

One very engaging TV show host, describing himself as a Democrat, asked me, "Where does the hatred of President Bush come from? I don't understand it."

"You know," I replied, "I have to confess to recognizing that hatred. I had it for President Clinton. I knew from the moment that he said he 'didn't inhale' that he was a gratuitous, if not compulsive, liar, and from there I questioned his every move. The attempt to take over the health care industry, the IRS audits of so many critics of his that the odds of spotting a platypus in the Central Park reservoir were greater than not being audited if you were an anti-Clinton group; the treatment of Billy Dale in the travel office. I felt he was brutal in his dealings with people, all while espousing equality, so I came to loathe him."

Now, when I witness the hatred spewing from this season's protesters, I realize how difficult it was for my friends to accept my own loathing, no matter how justified I felt. At many parties, my wife had to leave early, just to accompany me out the door after a political debate.

At one dinner, after appetizers and before entrees, our friends Ted and his wife Sharon, said they had "heard enough!" I asked, "enough of politics, or enough of my views?" They replied, almost in unison, "Your views!" They then left the table and went home.

To their credit, the next day they apologized. Now, years later, it's my turn: "Ted and Sharon. I'm sorry for being so strident." Seeing the anger of these protesters, I realize for the first time how toxic I was, even if I was right on the issues.

So what virus of hatred has now infected our young and their idols in Hollywood, the music industry and the liberal media?

It's not really that they oppose ridding the world of Saddam Hussein (President Clinton recognized him as a dangerous malignancy) or fear losing jobs abroad (President Clinton pushed for free trade). It's not "sweetheart deals for Halliburton" (which has lost money for seven straight quarters, and which President Clinton brought into Kosovo) or "oil" (this administration is freeing up oil revenues for the Iraqi people, not for palaces or armaments and weapons of mass destruction).

It's about payback.

I once took a course with my former good friend Eric (we had too many strident political disagreements to remain cordial), one of the pre-eminent sales training professionals in the country, where he exhibited that within any group when someone offering a solution or plan is shot down, that person will retaliate within minutes. So what we have here is retaliation. We conservatives spent at least four years battling, criticizing, impaling and impeaching President Clinton. Earlier, we watched his minions pillory Robert Bork into a verb and try to turn Justice Clarence Thomas into Uncle Tom.

Mr. Clinton was the "poster boy" of Hollywood, strutting, flirting and exercising his power, like the Warner Bros., and taking his rewards in both lust and revenge. Tinsel Town works like that; so does Seventh Avenue, by the way, and those who are close to the glitter wink and pick up the remnants of the game.

And those who sit in judgment of power misused are nowhere, rolling stones, as the song says--they don't wield anything; neither favors nor envy. So, led by the "elite" on the west coast and the media on 43rd Street, (who relish and languish in their own powers as "arbiters of truth") these protesters embrace hate, the hate of revenge.

They march down Broadway carrying their ugly demeanor and vile signs; they heckle and try to intimidate those who try to embrace reason and embrace the optimism that has made America great.

But those who build, create--and who came to New York City to endorse President Bush--need not be afraid of the protesters and their messages of hate and doom. Tomorrow has always been better in the United States of America. And yesterday was a damn good day.

Mr. Bromley lives and writes in New York City.

Three Years On by MARK HELPRIN Published in WSJ 9/10/2004

Three years after September 11, where do we stand?

Out of fear and confusion we have hesitated to name the enemy. We proceed as if we are fighting disparate criminals united by coincidence, rather than the vanguard of militant Islam, united by ideology, sentiment, doctrine, and practice, its partisans drawn from Morocco to the Philippines, Chechnya to the Sudan, a vast swath of the earth that, in regard to the elemental beliefs that fuel jihad, is as homogeneous as Denmark.

Too timid to admit to a clash of civilizations even as it occurs, we failed to declare the war, thus forfeiting clarity of intent and the unambiguous consent of the American people. This was a sure way, as in the Vietnam era, to divide the country and prolong the battle.

We failed not only to prepare for war but to provision for it after it had begun, disallowing a military buildup, much less the wartime transformation of the economy. In the First World War our elected representatives decisively resolved that "to bring the conflict to a successful termination all the resources of the country are hereby pledged by the Congress of the United States." In the Revolutionary War we as a people pledged our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

What is different now of course is that we are combating neither the British Empire nor Imperial Germany, but an opponent who is fundamentally weak militarily, economically, and, in the long run, ideologically. Still, he has by his near mastery of terrorism and asymmetrical warfare necessitated that we mobilize as if we were in fact fighting a great empire. And yet we have not done so, expending not even the average of 5.7% of GDP we devoted to defense in the peacetime years of the period 1940-2000, but, currently, only 3.6%--as if we were not at war, as if the military technological "revolution" could overcome insurgencies or occupy populous countries, as if China's armed forces were not ascending, as if our territory were invulnerable, and as if terrorism, as some used to think and some still do, can simply be managed.

We have followed a confusion of war aims that seem to report after the fact what we have done rather than to direct what we do. We could, by threatening the existence of Middle Eastern regimes, which live to hold power, enforce our insistence that the Arab world eradicate the terrorists within its midst. Instead, we have embarked upon the messianic transformation of an entire region, indeed an entire civilization, in response to our inability to pacify even a single one of its countries. As long as our war aims stray from the disciplined, justifiable, and attainable objective of self-defense, we will be courting failure.

Our strategy has been deeply inadequate especially in light of the fact that we have refused to build up our forces even as our aims have expanded to the point of absurdity. We might have based in northern Saudi Arabia within easy range of the key regimes that succor terrorism, free to coerce their cooperation by putting their survival in question. Our remounted infantry would have been refreshed, reinforced, properly supported, unaffected by insurgency, and ready to strike. The paradigm would have shifted from conquer, occupy, fail, and withdraw--to strike, return, and re-energize. At the same time, we would not have solicited challenges, as we do now, from anyone who sees that although we may be occupying Iraq, Iraq is also occupying us.

We have abstained from mounting an effective civil defense. Only a fraction of a fraction of our wealth would be required to control the borders of and entry to our sovereign territory, and not that much more to discover, produce, and stockpile effective immunizations, antidotes, and treatments in regard to biological and chemical warfare. Thirty years ago the entire country had been immunized against smallpox. Now, no one is, and the attempt to cover a minuscule part of the population failed miserably and was abandoned. Not only does this state of affairs leave us vulnerable to a smallpox epidemic, it stimulates the terrorists to bring one about. So with civil aviation, which, despite the wreckage and tragedy of September 11, is protected in an inefficient, irresponsible, and desultory fashion.

We have watched the division of the country into two ineffective camps, something that is especially apparent in an electoral season. On the one hand is John Kerry, a humorless Boston scold, in appearance the love child of Abraham Lincoln and Bette Midler, who recites slogans that he understands but does not believe. And on the other is the president, proud of his aversion to making an argument for his own case, in appearance a denizen of the Pleistocene, who recites slogans that he believes but does not understand.

At this point the American people, who most of the time are wiser than the experts or politicians who briefly take the helm, may already have decided to reinstall the president despite his shortcomings. If this is so, it is because Sen. Kerry's main motive power has come from those who are foolish enough to exult in the crude and baseless propaganda of a freakish Leni Riefenstahl wannabe (too heavy), and because, in what may have been his campaign's defining moment, Sen. Kerry stated that he learned a long time ago that when under attack you turn your boat toward the enemy. And yet it is clear from his record, his character, and his present policy that this is precisely what he would not do. Nor, though it is exactly what the country should do, is it at all what his most enthusiastic partisans or the base of the Democratic Party would want him to do.

He and they have adopted simultaneously two opposing propositions and embraced two opposing tendencies, which they then present to the electorate as if there is no contradiction. They do not feel acutely, as others do, the dissonance of their positions, because they truly believe in only the less martial of the two.

Although they cannot state why the American, British, Spanish, and Australian invasion of Iraq was any more or less unilateral or multilateral than France, Germany, and Belgium working to derail that invasion, or deny that they admire Britain for standing alone, unilaterally, in 1940, or that the multilateral Axis invasion of Greece was wrong, or that they themselves urge unilateral American action to stop genocide in Africa, they use these words fervently and without logic. They may believe that this is their subtlety, but it is nothing more than confusion and a stylish capitulation to the French, who unfortunately are perfectly willing to capitulate to Islamic terrorism as long as France has purchased its own safety, as of old.

Given the lack of movement in the war and poverty of choice in leadership, Americans looked to a commission. Like the senescent Ottomans we waited and waited as the seasons passed, and were presented neither with swelling armies, well defended borders, nor a string of victories. Although the bravest commissioners of said commission fought to tell us that we are indeed in a clash of civilizations, even they, appointed by their respective parties, did not state the simple unvarnished truth that for 20 years administrations both Republican and Democratic have ignored or misread the evidence concerning terrorism and must be judged negligent and culpable.

The president could have said this, and in doing so clarified the course ahead and won the trust of the people. The commission could have said it simply and directly, but did not. Instead, it offered the labored and nearly impertinent conclusion that the way to prevail in this war is to rearrange the organizational table of the intelligence agencies. Many of its reforms are questionable on their face, most would have merely a neutral effect on the substance of intelligence, and the emphasis is mistaken. Like those who want to fight the war by funding fire departments--knife attacks are not defeated by bandages, and the Battle of Britain was not won by the London Fire Brigades--the commission looked upon one aspect as if it were the essential element, which it is not.

The more good intelligence the better, but because the enemy moves in small groupings he will on occasion, as intelligence is not perfect, elude it. That is why difficult, expensive, inefficient, and general defensive screens are necessary, and why we cannot rely only on pinpoint intelligence even if it is both fashionable and economical. In stressing intelligence, the commission slights elements of equal or greater importance that led to September 11 in the first place. Had the airport screeners been competent, had cockpit doors been reinforced, had the borders been properly controlled, the thousands who were lost that day, and who are loved, would still be alive.

Neither the commission, the president, nor the Democratic nominee has a clear vision of how to fight and defend in this war. Partly this is because so many Americans do not yet feel, as some day they may, the gravity of what we are facing.

Three years on, that is where we stand: our strategy shiftless, reactive, irrelevantly grandiose; our war aims undefined; our preparations insufficient; our civil defense neglected; our polity divided into support for either a hapless and incompetent administration that in a parliamentary system would have been turned out long ago, or an opposition so used to appeasement of America's rivals, critics, and enemies that they cannot even do a credible job of pretending to be resolute.

Mr. Helprin is a novelist, a contributing editor of The Wall Street Journal and a senior fellow at the Claremont Institute.

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