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Conservative commentary served up in bite-sized bits.
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- Clayton Cramer
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Thursday, December 18, 2003
Well, the Christmas season is in full swing (in our home, that is, as opposed to department stores, where snowflake and reindeer decorations mean that Halloween is almost here). What with all the preparations and comings & goings, blogging will be extremely light in the coming days. Got to set those priorities, eh?
So have a Merry Christmas and a great New Year! And keep considering.
JunkYardBlog has a great analysis of what I called the "host of failed predictions" of bad news that the left has continually put forth about the whole war on terror. I blamed their pessimism on putting politics before anything else, and he agrees, although he wonders about some other possible reasons:
Because if they know what they're doing, if they're thinking clearly and still coming up with this nonsense, they're actively doing all they can to undermine the war, and with each step toward victory they become less and less helpful to the cause. To what purpose would they hinder the war? To help fundamentalist Islamicists, even though these same lefties blast nearly all Christians as "fundamentalists?" To bring arrogant America to its knees, to teach her a lesson? Or just to bash President Bush and regain political power? Or all three, to one extent or another?
He goes on to say that the reasons are irrelevant because the result is a "collection of Hanoi Janes, actively and intentionally undermining the war". However, I think their reasons are relevant, because it's those reasons, even more so than the actions that result from them, that we must fight against in this country. Exposing their hypocrisy and their motivations will more quickly bring people to the realization that we don't want to go where they want to take us.
I've added Scott Burgess' The Daily Ablution to my blogroll. (Least I could do; he added mine to his :) ) He told me about it on the 15th, but I've been delinquent about looking at my home E-mail and thus didn't get it set up until today.
I love the title "The Daily Ablution" because as kids my dad would ask us, "Have you performed your morning ablutions?" The first few times it was to get our reaction ("my morning whats"), and later on it just became a family in-joke. (And no, I'm not going to tell you...look it up :) )
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Iraqi Minister Scolds U.N. for Inaction Regarding Hussein
So says the NY Times. Got to applaud the Times this time, as apparently the BBC decided to spike the whole scolding thing. The Times continues,
"Now is not the time to pin blame and point fingers," [UN Secretary General Kofi Annan] told reporters. Saying that Mr. Zebari was "obviously entitled to his opinion," Mr. Annan said that the United Nations had done as much for Iraq as it could under the circumstances and was prepared to do more.
Which, as Instapundit noted, translates to, "Now is not the time to pin blame and point fingers at me."
If you want to do the free registration thing with the Times, you can read the whole thing. Very much worth your time. For those who don't, here's what the Iraqi foreign minister said.
"Settling scores with the United States-led coalition should not be at the cost of helping to bring stability to the Iraqi people," Mr. Zebari said in language unusually scolding for an occupant of the guest seat at the end of the curving Security Council table.
He's used to accepting groveling and platitudes, not the truth.
What liberal media? Tom Perry ("isntapundit") answers that question, with pictures, about CNN's highly selective coverage of recent developments in Iraq (in some cases, their non-coverage). Again, it's not just what's said in news stories themselves, but also what the media chooses to cover or ignore.
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
In the "Seeing What You Want To See" Department, Jeff Fecke at "The Blog of the Moderate Left" took a shot at trying to distill my lefty blog reaction roundup of the Saddam capture into one sentence. Unfortunately, he failed miserably.
Excuse me just a second. Let me load up the web browser. OK, Ctrl-F, "hate", Enter. Hmmm, no, I don't see the word "hate" in my post. In fact, after actually reading it, I would have hoped my points were pretty plain. However, as my post noted, there are still loads of people like "Carrie B" who, on Howard Dean's "Blog for America", wept with sadness over the capture of Saddam Hussein ("I can't believe this. I'm crying here. I feel that we now don't have a chance in this election."), and there are still folks like Mr. Fecke who try to hand-wave away any criticism by misrepresenting what was said. So as a public service to these folks, here are bullet points regarding what I actually said.
I do hope now that my point is clearer. For many on the left, good and evil are just points on the political spectrum. To them, these events can't be good because a Republican is responsible for them. In the same situation, they had no such qualms when a Democrat did the deed. To them, everything is political, and like Mr. Fecke and Carrie B. they can't see good and evil. They can only relate to events based on political affiliation, and thus they think, act, and create policy based on how it will affect themselves, not the country. It's not that they hate America. It's that they care far, far more for their own ideology than they do anything else; more than mass graves, more than UN programs that prop up murders, more than doing the right thing.
They don't "hate America", Mr. Fecke, but they are wrong for America. America is better than that.
UPDATE: ...however, Orson Scott Card does say, "Some of my fellow Democrats are unpatriotic."
Monday, December 15, 2003
The story about the note tying Saddam to Mohammed Atta (he of 9/11 infamy) has almost been missed. The evidence linking the two keeps coming out, but there's one portion of the London Telegraph report that caught my eye.
The second part of the memo, which is headed "Niger Shipment", contains a report about an unspecified shipment - believed to be uranium - that it says has been transported to Iraq via Libya and Syria.
Joseph Wilson, call your office (and your book publisher).
Both Junkyard Blog and Instapundit linked to yesterday's entry. Much thanks, fellas, and welcome new readers!
If anyone considered the capture of Saddam a patently Bad Thing, would it be safe to say that such people are not just enemies of Iraq and America, but of freedom and of the world in general? Consider that as you read this.
Sunday, December 14, 2003
"Ace in the Hole" was Drudge's headline this morning announcing that the Ace of Spaces, Saddam Hussein, was captured yesterday in a village near Tikrit, in a hole in the dirt cellar of a farmhouse. Certainly, this is fantastic news.
Or is it?
Let's see what the lefties have to say. On daily Kos, DHinMI writes,
Capturing Saddam is good news (although not as exciting or important as would be news of capturing the guy Bob Graham called "Osama Bin Forgotten"). But capturing him alive might not have been the best news for the Bush administration.
When a Republican is in the oval office, every silver lining has a cloud. In this case, it's a veritable mother lode of silver, and all DHinMI is a conjured-up thunderstorm. OK, I'll grant getting Hussein isn't as big as getting bin Laden, but I daresay that if it was bin Laden we'd picked up, he'd be saying, "Yeah, well what about Hussein, hmmm?" At least some of the commenters on the dKos site have a bit more perspective. From PSoTD:
I'm not sure Bush could have politically survived killing Saddam without an incredible amount of independently-verified evidence that it was unavoidable. The outrage from both outside and inside the U.S. would have been intense.
It's truly amazing how short DHinMI's memory is. In general, the comments on this post show that lefties are having a tough time dealing with this. Some say it's incredibly good news in general, while some can't bring themselves to say (or perhaps even believe) it. I like this line: "Presumably, it will be used to show the effectiveness of the Bush policies." Correct, sir. Credit where credit is due.
Atrios finds himself in the same thunderstorm.
But, it really doesn't change much. Capturing Saddam isn't going to end the resistance to the US occupation in Iraq. It may improve things slightly, or it could even make it worse, but the net effect will probably be negligible. Saddam was a bad guy, but it isn't clear he's any worse of a guy than some of the folks who are a part of our "Coalition of the Willing," so this pretense of moral clarity, etc... is ridiculous.
No mention of what other country in the Coalition of the Willing has mass graves.
Atrios called his comments "just some unorganized idle thoughts before I've had a cup of coffee". His first commentor said, "Yeah, you should have had the coffee first." Other comments range from calling the capture a good thing (although you have to read down quite a bit to actually find that) all the way to folks suggesting that we are the real enemy. Take down an evil, murderous dictator, and you yourself get called "evil". Cynicism at its worst.
CalPundit can't bring himself to acknowledge how good this is. The best he can bring himself to say is, "At a minimum, there are a lot of people in Iraq who are breathing a sigh of relief that at least he won't be returning, and that's got to help." All he can see is the minimum. His follow-up post later on is in fact his take on the cloud rather than the silver lining. "American is very good but we still want salaries," he quotes an Iraqi from a NY Times article (surprise, surprise). He continues, "But it's also a reminder that good news aside, the real work in Iraq is still a long, hard slog." He puts aside the good news to tell us something that's been common knowledge, hoping it will somehow reflect badly on Bush, but he sounds like he's milking the "long, hard slog" bit far too much.
Commenters to the first entry are following the same pattern they did before the war. Back then it was, "Of course Saddam is a monster, but", which was followed by reasons we should let him build more mass graves & palaces. Today, they're saying, "Of course Saddam's capture is good, but", followed by how bad they think things are going to be in Iraq. One poster in the minority sums these folks' outlooks up quite nicely. Gracho said, "You people have a very 'glass half empty' outlook don't you?" JP agrees. "I agree that this doesn't erase any of the underlying problems with this war by a long shot. But let's talk about the politics tomorrow. In and of itself, what happened today was a very good thing." (Emphasis his.)
Hesiod fares a little better than others, barely. He calls Saddam's capture "an unqualified good, whatever impact it has here." Nice to hear, but that's an odd line in a blog entry titled "BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR" and is followed by qualifications to that good.
But, I want to caution some people. It is hard to predict what impact this will have on the Iraqi insurgency.
His points are all reasonable, but other than one line on the silver lining, he goes searching out all possible clouds that may or may not appear.
The majority of his commenters seem to be in the "half empty" camp as well, and it takes going about 1/3 of the way down the list (when I looked at it) before someone mentions that this capture might be a good thing. Even then, it's a follow-up post to a much longer Bush-bashing post. Gotta get that in first, doncha' know?
TChris of Talk Left sticks pretty much to the facts in his initial entry; a bullet list of facts about the capture and a quote from a NY Times article. He makes a couple of points about Bush probably getting a bump in the polls, and that it remains to be seen whether things will improve as a result. True enough.
However, commenters on the site really are in a state of denial. "No matter what, this war is wrong and cannot be won - no matter how many members of the Deck of Cards are killed or apprehended," says John Mann, first on the list. How open minded of him. Wonder what he thought about the Kosovo situation, where we also went in without UN approval. This is followed by a completely ludicrous statement from one "letharjk" who emotes, "I am glad Saddam has been captured. Now at least we can say we've done some good in Iraq." See my previous remark about mass graves, and the cessation of the reasons for them. However, a few voices of reality make their presence known, starting with a knowledgeable comment by "Poker Player". "I just love it. I can just smell the disappointment in your comments that something went right today."
Some commenters on all boards seem to think Hussein's been hiding here this whole time, and thus don't think he could really have been directing attacks on the Coalition from there. Short attention spans have won out again on the liberal blogs, apparently. Months ago we were hearing intelligence that Hussein was moving every few hours. Even if that wasn't entirely accurate, he certainly has been running around to keep from being caught, and no one seriously believes he's spent months in that hole. How convenient, though, that so many lefties have forgotten this.
This is generally the view of the left, then. Either "This is good news, except there's all this bad news that we're predicting" (never mind their host of previous failed predictions) or "So what?" You gotta wonder what these folks said when Milosevic was captured. Ah, but you see, that was a non-UN-sanctioned war run by a Democrat. Therein lies the whole story. Leftists are showing their true, extreme partisan colors all over the blogosphere.
Friday, December 12, 2003
What's a potential result of global warming? Massive hail?
BARCELONA, Spain - A Spanish-American scientific team is monitoring ice events in the United States this winter following research on a baffling phenomenon first detected here.
Maybe they're coming from Mars. (The iceballs, not the scientists. Well, maybe them, too.)
Another article that the environmentalists need to read, about global warming:
Scientists have suspected in recent years that Mars might be undergoing some sort of global warming. New data points to the possibility it is emerging from an ice age.
I blame Bush for not signing Kyoto.
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
Al Gore, in a honorable show of loyalty and honesty, came out publicly to endorse his former running mate Joe Lieberman for President. Lieberman's stand on many issues is the same as Gore, and, in spite of Lieberman's trailing in the polls behind Howard Dean, Gore said he decided to endorse the candidate on principle. The two men spoke for quite a while on the phone, talking about old times, and how this would be something like a Bush/Cheney v Gore/Lieberman rematch. "I'm happy to report that loyalty and integrity is alive and well in the Democratic Party", Lieberman said to reporters after the phone call. "This simply goes against everything the Republicans have been accusing us of."
Oh I know what you're thinking. This couldn't possibly have happened in the real world. Well, you caught me.
Al Gore, desperate for face time on the evening news, endorsed front-runner Howard Dean for President. How's Joe taking it?
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) responded to his rejection by former vice president Al Gore with a sharp attack on Howard Dean on Tuesday, questioning Gore's judgment and warning that the former Vermont governor would lead the Democratic Party back into the political wilderness.
But what about the issues?
Lieberman, who was Gore's vice presidential running mate in 2000, said he was disappointed that Gore had not notified him before word leaked Monday and was shocked that Gore had decided to back Dean. "I was surprised that Al Gore would endorse a candidate who stands for so many things that Al Gore has not stood for, and has stood against in his life."
Don't these guys get along anymore?
Lieberman offered a curt description of the telephone conversation he and Gore had Tuesday. "It was four or five minutes in length -- and too late," he said.
Don't they keep in touch?
Earlier Tuesday on NBC's "Today" show, Lieberman said he was "caught completely off guard" by the Gore endorsement. "I heard about it from the media," he said.
But doesn't loyalty count for anything?
"I don't have anything to say today about Al Gore's sense of loyalty, I really don't," he said, "and I have no regrets about the loyalty that I had to him when I waited until he decided whether he would run to make my decision because that was the right thing to do."
I'm so glad Al's not the one making decisions as President, more so after this incident.
UPDATE: A "thanks" to Junkyard Blog for noting my (((shamelessly self-promoted))) entry. He notes, "but why is Lieberman so shocked that Gore has gone lefty?", which is a good question.
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
So, how's the cease-fire talks amongst Palestinian terrorist groups coming along?
GAZA (Reuters) - A top official of Islamic group Hamas said Monday the recent lull in Palestinian militant suicide attacks against Israel was just a break between waves.
So this lull is just a breath-catcher. Nothing's really changed. But could it? Do the Palestinians really care about peace?
A day after the collapse of talks among Palestinian factions on a complete cease-fire with Israel -- which Hamas opposed -- Rantissi said Palestinian militants were emboldened by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's domestic woes and U.S. problems in Iraq and Afghanistan.
They're seeing an opportunity for doing more damage--physical as well as political--so they're taking it. They're not interested in peace, they're interested in victory. And that's how Israel should look at it as well if they plan on dealing with terrorism. The Palestinians won't be negotiated into peace, partially due to the (non)leadership of Arafat who, as his previous Prime Minister said, is really running the show.
Monday, December 08, 2003
Anti-war parents of some serving in Iraq have decided to go to Iraq to see what's going on for themselves. It will be interesting to see if they experience the same sort of introduction to reality that Charles M. Brown of "Voices in the Wilderness" did back in May.
First, the credentials:
Lieutenant-Colonel al-Dabbagh is not a man who is easily frightened. Having spied on Saddam's regime for British and American intelligence for more than seven years, the 40-year-old former Iraqi air defence commander lived with the constant fear that he might be caught, tortured and executed.
And now the claim:
When I asked him whether the information in the document relating to the 45-minute issue was 100 per cent accurate, he responded with characteristic Iraqi enthusiasm: "It is 200 per cent accurate!" he exclaimed. "And forget 45 minutes. We could have fired them within half an hour."
The confirmations keep coming in that Saddam did, in fact, have WMDs he intended to use. But why weren't they used?
He believes that the only reason these weapons were not used during Operation Iraqi Freedom last spring is that the bulk of the Iraqi army refused to fight for Saddam.
And where are they now?
Lt Col al-Dabbagh has no idea what became of the weapons because shortly before hostilities commenced he was recalled to Iraq's air defence headquarters in Baghdad, although he believes that most of them were taken away by Saddam's Fedayeen and hidden away.
These and other very interesting revelations can be found on the London Telegraph site. Reader beware, lest your preconceived notions and media bias be challenged.
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
"My wife has made it very clear that -- she has authorized me to say this -- she would rather chop off her right arm than say anything to the press and she will not allow herself to be photographed," [former ambassador Joseph Wilson] declared in October on "Meet the Press."
That was then, when Bush-haters were decrying the outing of a supposed undercover CIA operative Valerie Plame. Wilson kept acting, like this quote, that her identity and even her picture must be kept in strictest confidence lest her safety be compromised. It was this continued secrecy that lent credence to the uproar over her identification.
But this is now:
The January issue [of "Vanity Fair"] features a two-page photo of Wilson and the woman the magazine calls "the most famous female spy in America," a "slim 40-year-old with white-blond hair and a big, bright smile." They are sitting in their Jaguar.
For a situation so allegedly highly-secretive, this is certainly somewhat less than that. Do those "obligations to her employer" apply to all undercover CIA operatives, such that it would be no problem at all to do a photo spread of one of them? I highly doubt that, which would only go to prove that her position is not as covert as Wilson would like us to believe.
So why would Wilson/Plame do something like this?
Wilson, who is pursuing a deal for a book that he says will be about more than just "the outing of my wife," said they have had to make compromises to maintain Plame's privacy.
Ahh, now that explains a lot.
(Oh, and I think I'm going to continue to use the "Bush-haters" label as a matter of course. After all, Hollywood has made it official.)
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
If a bunch of conservatives had gotten together during the 90's and staged a "Hate Clinton" event, it would have been all over CNN. After all, they gave over hour after hour to Friends of Bill who were constantly pointing out how anyone who even slightly disagreed with him "hated" him.
Now comes the Hollywood left to an actual "Hate Bush" event tonight, and as of now CNN.com is mum on the whole thing. Drudge broke it, and the NY Post is reporting on it, but as much as the media focused on alleged Clinton "haters", you'd think they'd spend as much time on folks who actually call themselves "Bush Haters".
That is, of course, if you think the media is fair.
(FYI, the NY Post link is probably good for only a day, 12/2/2003. Afterwards it'll be recycled for use the next day, but they have an archive search.)
Some countries are refusing to pursue terrorists:
NEW YORK — A U.N. monitoring committee complained yesterday that 108 nations have failed to file required reports on their actions in the war against terrorism, such as freezing assets and reporting the names of suspected terrorists.
And what are some of the terrorist groups identified by the committee?
Secessionist or terrorist groups thought to have al Qaeda connections include Jemaah Islamiyah in Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand, and Abu Sayyaf in the Philippines and possibly the Ba'athists in Iraq, the report said.
Emphasis mine, but it ought to be more emphasized by more of the media. And it's time for those who both venerate the UN and insist that there was no Saddam-al Qaeda connection to get their story straight.
(Courtesy of Taranto's Best of the Web.)
Wait a minute! I thought that Showtime's CEO said that "The Reagans" was historically accurate!
During Showtime’s Monday night panel, Controversy: The Reagans, two liberals, Marvin Kalb and Lou Cannon, denounced the inaccurate portrayal of Ronald and Nancy Reagan in the movie switched from CBS to an airing Sunday night on Showtime. In addition, a co-producer of the film contradicted Showtime’s CEO and admitted that the movie was not historically accurate, answering “no” when asked if the movie was “meant to be historically true?”
Imagine my shock. Or not.
...former Washington Post reporter Lou Cannon, who has penned several biographies of Ronald Reagan, rued:
I think it's time for apologies to be issued. Those who correctly called this movie a hit piece on the Reagans have been exonerated, but of course that would be way too much to ask of the Hollywood left. Remember, Showtime CEO Matt Blank said that, "a diligent attempt was made by the filmmakers to have factual sources for every scene in this movie", yet a co-producer of the film says that isn't true. Hold not thy breath waiting for apologies.
Monday, December 01, 2003
The reviews are in, and the miniseries "The Reagans", which wound up being shown as a movie on Showtime, was just as bad, if not far worse, than the leaked script portions made it out to be, in spite of all the huffing and puffing of liberals from Hollywood and elsewhere. Of course, the dissenting voice in this, that the movie was "uncannily convincing and respectful", was the NY Times. No surprise there.
More evidence that Saddam may have only thought he had a nuclear weapons program:
Iraqi scientists never revived their long-dead nuclear bomb program, and in fact lied to Saddam Hussein about how much progress they were making before U.S.-led attacks shut the operation down for good in 1991, Iraqi physicists say.
I talked about this back in May, highlighting a National Review article by Jim Lacey, and later in September, highlighting a TIME magazine article (requires payment to view, as it's more than 2 issues old). The notable thing about all this is that our intelligence may have picked up this same misinformation, and if so can you really say Bush "lied" about it? Not really.
Intellectual honesty among conservatives:
Sean Spicer, spokesman for Rep. Jim Nussle, Iowa Republican and the conservative chairman of the House Budget Committee, said the spending increases appear worse when lumping in the annual late-year "emergency" congressional expenditures that he said are little more than thinly veiled pork projects.
This is in regards to the Medicare bill in particular, but overall spending in general. Some might call this "infighting", but I call it honest debate in a party that doesn't blindly follow the leader.
Here's some more honest debate from Sen. Chuck Hagel, senior senator from Nebraska.
How does Europe see America?
American society is entirely ruled by money. No other value, whether familial, moral, religious, civic, cultural, professional, or ethical has any potency in itself. Everything in America is a commodity, regarded and used exclusively for its material value. A person is judged solely by the worth of his bank account.
An on it goes. Actually, this article entitled "Europe's Anti-American Obsession", written by Jean-Fracois Revel, a Parisian, is a deconstruction of the prejudices and misconceptions that are not only thought by many in Europe but are also fed to them daily by their media. The web page also has an article by Fouad Ajami called "The Falseness of Anti-Americanism", which is also worth a read.