Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Global War on Bush

Has any deadline in the past 100 years been as lacking for drama as the UN's August 31st deadline regarding Iran's nukes? Ahmadinejad kicked Kofi's line in the sand all over the park in a fashion reminescent of a Tommy LaSorda temper tantrum. It certainly looks like the road ahead leads back into international surrender monkey territory.

Mahmoud's been strutting around like Foghorn Leghorn making a spectacle of himself to distract from the real issues in play. It's really too bad Bush didn't oblige him of his debate challenge due to the humor potential, but everyone with a functioning brain stem understood the gig. Well, almost everybody. Remember, the last despot to challenge Bush to a debate was Saddam right before Operation Iraqi Freedom turned his biggest Oil For Food palace into a 3rd ID command post.

Ahmandinejad is a fool, but he's not stupid. His sanctions bluster is clearly designed to drive a wedge between the US and Europe in an effort to water down anything meaty the US and Britain might devise. Saddam tried to do likewise using bribery--Mahmoud is using Bush Derangement Syndrome. Ironically both tinhorns have used oil to leverage the Eurowussies, yet the American left thinks only Bush/Cheney bathe in black gold.

A'jad sees the personal attacks on our political leadership and he'd be truly stupid not to exploit the situation, just like Chavez has tried to do. He knows a dearth of attacks here has led the American people into a false sense of security while the war fatigue about Iraq grows stronger by the day--all of this according to script, by the way. He's established himself as the top commander in the Global War on Bush (GWB), which as we saw today is in full swing.

To his credit, Bush has been out rebuting Mahmoud in his own Texan way, yet he struggles to get any traction. A majority of people now think Iraq has nothing whatsoever to do with the GWoT, when only a few short years ago a majority believed that Saddam was behind 9/11. He's got very little political capital left in the change belt and this is working against us. The hearts and minds of the world are still up for grabs.

All this coupled with Hizballah's survival in Lebanon has allowed Mahmoud to remain arrogantly instransigent. Any meltdown of the UNSC on the sanctions represents the real line in the sand, and if history is any judge, he might have already won.

But obviously the real goal is a flopping of Congress later this year, which would make Bush a super lame duck while spending his remaining two years fending off impeachment inquiries, NSA hearings, and a night-of-the-living-dead MSM out for Bush blood. Meanwhile, the GWB coalition can only hope, since they really have few other options for long-term survival.

Airline industry heading for a train wreck

The recent crash at Lexington coupled with the foiled Bojinka-two plot in England has caused a good number of folks to question whether commercial air travel is really worth it these days.

The headlines are riddled with negative stories about flying, like this rant about handheld GPS units being allowed onboard flights (they might allow the jihadist to open the emergency door and jump out over a major city, I guess?) while TSA officials trifle over contact lens fluid and gel deoderants. We even have a story about an athlete losing her 8000 dollar artificial limb because she couldn't carry it onboard anymore.

Is such stuff just sensationalistic pap designed to sell papers, or do we really have problems? Yes and yes.

It's unlikely a fragile aviation industry already financially strained can sustain this level of nonsense much longer. How long before we hear the calls for a return to government regulation? Is this a good idea?

Not really. Take a look at the regulated part of the system--the FAA. In the Lexington crash the FAA union seems satisfied to let the media make an issue out of the fact the tower controller had only slept two hours before his/her midnight shift after getting off a 6:30am to 2:30pm shift the day prior, as if it were due to draconian measures taken by Bushitler appointees in DC. But guess what? Most of the these schedules are agreed upon by the union.

"Quick turnarounds" aren't always forced by management, often times they are embedded as a fixed part of a controller's work week per union agreement. The thinking goes like this--if the 40 hour week can be condensed by beginning with an evening shift then quick-turning through all the shifts to end your week on a mid shift, that maximizes the weekend. Regulation would do nothing to curb the potential for such zombie-inducing schedules.

Whether re-regulation would improve airline safety is hard to say. Airlines guaranteed a profit on every route they fly would seem less likely to defer maintenance, however when people know there's no incentive to improve nor reason to fear losing their jobs, they don't necessarily go the extra mile.

Bottom line, the public needs to be aware of their choices. While a return to regulation might be a panacea for aviation workers the traveling public would get the shaft. Fares under regulation would rise, and we'd lose the innovation and creativity of airlines like Southwest. Regulation would also further balloon the federal bureaucracy. If you're still wondering if that's good or bad, just use the creation of TSA as a benchmark.

The hard choice might be to relax the restrictions to reasonable levels and let the chips fall where they may. We can't have it both ways and remain within a capitalistic system. If nothing else it would make a statement to the terrorists regards our resiliancy.

update--had time wrong on previous post..sorry -Ed

Bring Saddam to Pendleton

Occasionally when working the evening shift I'll catch part of Michael Savage's radio show on the way home. While not really a fan, some of his emotional riptide issues are worth a listen.

For instance, tonight he was railing against corporations profiting off the war, something that occasionally bothers me as well. There's nothing wrong with making money, in one essense it's why we are fighting this war. And I have no problem with the occasional no-bid contract. But shouldn't we all have some sense of community here--the sense that it's just wrong to profit off the poor grunts burning their butts off in the Baghdad heat and getting shot at by civilians? We need to, because lacking those tenets this war is not worth fighting.

Savage has also taken up the cause of the eight Marines charged with murder at Hamandiya, Iraq. The father of one of the men was on the show and provided a website. From a distance this stinks. It has all the appearances of a kangaroo court designed to take political pressure off the Abu Ghraib and Haditha embarrasments and get back in good graces with the Arab street and leftist war protesters.

But bad things do happen sometimes. Savage is an emotional guy with a golden voice, and he could drum up sympathy for the devil if he tried. My jury is still out, but it wouldn't be surprising to find out these guys have been railroaded.

Coincidentally, CNN has a story on it this evening, saying miltary prosecutors will not seek the DEATH PENALTY for one of the eight. Holy crap. This is a war zone, with insurgents boiling around like roaches. To think they would actually consider the death penalty against American soldiers in a war zone based on testimony from adversaries in that same war zone is unbelievable. Maybe they should bring Saddam to Camp Pendleton to testify against them, too.

Or better yet, give the soldiers time served and let those noose happy hanging judges try Saddam's case.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

San Francisco hit and run-- terrorism?

I fully realize it's stupid to speculate on such things without all the facts, which is probably why some of the big blogs are staying away from this. But some are not. With a name like Omeed Aziz Popal it's hard not to wonder.

If it's the same guy, looks like he went to court in 2005 in Stanislaus County, California for a previous traffic incident, which could provide other motives unrelated to terrorism. The man is still innocent until proven guilty.

Yet there is a tendency to presuppose. In a semi-related story, most Americans now believe we should be profiling. I'm never been real keen on this idea mainly because it defeats what America is all about, but also because it might force the terrorists to work harder to recruit fair-skinned red headed guys like this one. We simply need better screening and intelligence.

MORE 8/29/06

A little more clarity from Hugh Hewitt, including an Afghan link. Mayor Newsome is saying there is no international connection, whatever that means. Time to pull out the ole BS-screen until more is known. Surely the major news media outlets will be all over this soon...

MSM 8/30/06

CNN has hoisted an AP feed on the story. Nothing was mentioned about the Afghanistan connection, and they abbreviated his middle name "Aziz". They are obviously being careful, but not as careful as Fox News, who as of this writing (around 12:45am CDT) wasn't carrying the story at all.

MORE(NING) 8/30/06

The MSM is covering the story but in a somewhat muted fashion, preferring the road rage angle. Maybe the Afghan connection is a coincidence, but The Anchoress has an opinion about their careful hesitation,
Can you imagine, if someone had (God forbid!) driven a car into 14 gay people, how quickly the press would have managed to cover the story?
Well yes, but the analogy is a little off since all the victims weren't Jews or gays. But I agree with her in general. For example, let's say some 'lilly white' guy goes on a rampage through Detroit and is finally stopped near a Mosque in a 'mainly Islamic' neighborhood after running down 14. I think the MSM reaction might have been less muted.


That's what a witness reportedly heard Mr. Popal say after he was detained, yet it seems to have dropped off the map. Hat tip, Right Truth.

"I'M A NUT?" 8/31/06

That's what it looks like. Of course now they can blame it on our evil society, or maybe even Bush.

A clever adversary

The conspiracists are making hay with the WaPo's morning column shining light on the fact bin Laden has never been charged with the 9/11 attacks. Not to worry, he was already on the most wanted posters for other acts.

But ya gotta admit, not tacking the 9/11 job to his rap sheet does seem to heighten the mystery--doors left open, so to speak. Just another in a series of strange happenings in a part of the world that's becoming increasingly difficult to figure out. Just remember, the bottom line is that both Shi'a and Sunni radicals generally want the same fate for the west.

But they tend to obfuscate their mission. Recently the new Zarqawi in Iraq, Adbul Rahman, was quoted as saying the Shi'a Hizballah were "apostates" in the same league as Americans and Zionists, and were nothing but proxies of the corrupt governments in Damascus and Tehran. Yet at the same time we know Saddam's minions have operated out of Syria in support of Abdul Rahman/Zarqawi and their band of Sunni Islamic thugs in Iraq.

As Rummy recently said, these guys are "clever", and he's not just whistling Dixie. Those keeping their eyes open have seen a nearly constant barrage of propaganda eminating from the Middle East, often lapped up by western media outlets who are afraid to challenge the message for fear of losing access to the messenger, or worse, losing their heads to the messenger.

Rummy's brusque declarations ruffled feathers as usual, but his point is valid. Either people believe we're in a global struggle or they don't. Choosing not believe based on the lack of attacks here or because Iraq hasn't become the new Turkey benefits the terrorists and various states who are determined to see us defeated. It's as simple as that.

Our choice is to either side with a form of Pax Americana or join the Pox on Americana crowd. There really is no middle. Sure, we can withdraw from the world, come home and seal up our borders. But we live in a global economy with finite resources, and states like North Korea (who has been working to arm Islamic and Arab despots since the Gulf War), Libya, Iran, Syria, Sudan and others would interpret such a move as victory. Does anyone think they would rest on their laurels?

Monday, August 28, 2006


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One year ago tonight a well-anticipated and powerful storm was bearing down on Louisiana and Mississippi and people were fleeing for their lives. We all saw the horrific human tragedy that followed, and those buses in the parking lots.

Yet nobody predicted the follow-on political storm that veered northeast and began throttling the White House in the days that followed. President Bush is still trying to recover. I'll offer a few anniversary thoughts.

What a difference a year makes. By August 28th 2005 Katrina was the fifth hurricane of the season out of a total of twelve named storms. By comparison, 2006 has seen a total of five named storms, with only one strong enough to be called a weak hurricane.

The lack of caterwauling about this anomaly from the Goreleft set is quite noticeable. These folks normally seize upon any weather extremity to suggest that Republicans are figuratively roasting planet Earth over an SUV-Big Oil campfire. When headlines don't go according to script, the voices fall silent.

Historical comparisons are often useful. The event closely resembling Katrina was hurrican Camille in 1969. The rebuilding process took years, and some of the lessons from that storm were not learned.

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Lastly, among the many weird political quotes uttered during the turmoil, this one stands out to me:
"If one person criticizes our sheriffs, or says one more thing, including the President of the United States, he will hear from me - one more word about it after this show airs and I - I might likely have to punch him - literally," says Landrieu.
Interesting comment coming from someone whose political family had the power to actually do something preventative.

At least she checked her temper--one of her female Congressional colleagues actually did punch someone later in the year. Tough gals, these dems. So full of anger.

Unrest in Baluchistan

Most have never heard of it. Tucked in below Pakistan and Afghanistan, the resources-rich territory was probably included in the goals of the invading Soviet Army in 1979. Yet, it remains a semi-lawless wild west of Asia, boyhood home to WTC-1 bomber Ramzi Yousef and his Uncle Khalid, the architect of WTC-2.

Both also had a hand in designing the original unsuccessful Bojinka airplane plot, which several Pakistanis recently tried to recreate. Now the area is in utter turmoil.

The unrest was triggered by a government crackdown that resulted in the death of a 79 year old insurgent icon named Bugti. The New York Times:
The spokesman, Tariq Aziz, said that soldiers had not known that Mr. Bugti was in the cave when they advanced on it and that he had not been singled out.
It's not the same Tariq Aziz, the one near death and locked up in Iraq--or is it? As of this post the Times had the name hyperlinked to a page listing stories about the bespectacled Iraqi version. Yes, it's just a screw-up, but a tad ironic since many believe the Baluchis backed Hussein against Iran in the 1980s.

The unrest may have interesting political implications for Musharraf, which is surely something the west is watching with great interest.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Lexington Comair crash

Despite the stress and strain of 9/11 and terrorism concerns, U.S. commercial aviation has at least enjoyed a remarkably safe period of operations these past four and a half years.

The crash of a Comair regional jet near Lexington, Kentucky this morning was the worst since the American flight 587 crash in 2001.

Early speculation is almost always risky, sometimes including statements from official sources:
There were no reports of bad weather in the Lexington area. "It was dark at the time of the accident, but it was clear," Brown said.
That depends on what you consider clear. Using simple open source information from the web and a little personal knowledge, we can prove it wasn't 'clear'. Here's the official weather around the time of crash:
KLEX 270954Z 20007KT 8SM FEW090 SCT120 24/19 A3000 RMK AO2 SLP147 T02390194
What that mess means:
Time-- 0954 Greenwich Mean Time, or 5:54 AM EDT.
Sky -- a few scattered clouds at 9,000 and 12,000 feet above ground
Wind-- from the southwest (200 degrees) at 7 knots (8 mph).

Technically not clear. Matter of fact, the subsequent weather report shines more light on the notion it wasn't clear:
KLEX 271054Z 22008KT 8SM FEW047 BKN060 OVC090 23/20 A3002 RMK AO2 RAB12E51 SLP154 P0001 T02330200

Time-- 6:54 AM EDT
Sky -- scattered to broken clouds from 4,700 to 6,000 feet, overcast at 9,000 feet (in other words, cloudy).
Wind-- similar to the past hour, southwest at 9 mph.

The key term in this report was "RAB12E51". This means rain began falling at 12 minutes past the top of the hour, or 6:12 AM EDT, and ended at 6:51 AM EDT. The "P0001" means only 0.01 inches of rain was recorded, just a sprinkle, but certainly not 'clear'.

The plane was cleared for takeoff at 6:05 AM EDT, therefore the first weather report should have been read to the crew by the tower, supposedly staffed 24/7. The plane crash time was 6:19 AM EDT. Keep in mind the "cleared for takeoff" time doesn't mean the plane took off at that time.

Here is a rather crude radar picture from around 6 AM:
It shows a few specks of rainshowers around central Kentucky, nothing too bad, but an indication rain was in the area. This alone doesn't mean weather was a factor in the crash, it just means weather cannot be ruled out.

From looking at the airport diagram above, the 'wrong runway' theory looks plausible, we'll have to see what the NTSB says. The bottom line here is to always be wary of initial statements, even when coming from official sources.


The NTSB just gave a press conference and indicated (without putting themselves too far out on a limb) that flight 5191 took off from the shorter runway, 8-26. That would take weather out of the list of probable causes, and sets up a face-off between what the controller said and what the pilots heard, along with airport functions (runway lights, etc) and pilot rest factors. Lots of lawsuits.


Not one single legal writ will bring one single person back, but it may prevent the same thing from happening again. CNN has unearthed an FAA policy requiring the presense of two controllers in the tower, when there was in fact only one. In perusing the story it's clear the FAA union is prepared to use this to their advantage, and lawyers will soon follow.

But in reality, the pilot-in-command is always responsible for the safe operation of the aircraft. He was cleared on 22, took off on 26 despite noticing there were no lights, and caused the crash. Neither controllers, nor asphalt contractors, nor airport managers were sitting in that cockpit.

POLL 9/7/06

This poll on the Avweb site seems to define the impression of pilots as to fault.

Fox guys freed, but why?

It's great news that Fox reporter Steve Centanni and Olaf Wiig were released unharmed Sunday. As per usual the kidnappers remain free and the official bodies aren't talking as to how or why this was pulled off, leaving things wide open to blogospeculatation.
"We were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint," Centanni later told Fox. "Don't get me wrong here. I have the highest respect for Islam, and I learned a lot of good things about it, but it was something we felt we had to do because they had the guns, and we didn't know what the hell was going on."
Well, there's a ringing endorsement of the prophet.

In many ways their ordeal seems a condensed version of Jill Carroll's. In both events the kidnappers made unrealistic, un-meetable demands then allowed their deadlines to pass without recrimination. After receiving nothing they attempted to force feed Islam on their captives then pass them off as converts.

Such tactics might represent humiliation more than anything else, since their images end up broadcast all over the Arab/Muslim world. "Hey, look at the weak westerners. When it comes to their life they won't stand up for their own religion", etc. Plays well on al-Jazeera.

They don't seem to understand that westerners will say anything to get released, and fellow westerners watching on TV won't believe a word. Our culture is individually-centered, and was perhaps best summed up by Patton's famous quote, "The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.".

Centanni touched on another byproduct of the kidnapping:
I hope that this never scares a single journalist away from coming to Gaza to cover the story because the Palestinian people are very beautiful and kind hearted,"
Except when they're blowing themselves up or forcing conversions at gunpoint. We've already seen reporter intimidation in the north from Hizballah, so perhaps this was an attempt to similarly adjust attitudes in the south.

It's not rocket science. Defeating the IDF requires a victory of perception in the western press. They must convince people that Israel is a disproportionate bully picking on the poor weak, loving, kind Palestinian people. Fox News was one of the few MSM outlets not auto-broadcasting the Hamas/Hizballah propaganda feed, so we'll see if that changes. We'll also see if this affects Centanni's future role in the region. He was the epitome of fair and balanced.

MORE 8.27.06

Lot's of speculation here and here, including the fact that intelligence sources knew who had these guys from the get-go, and that factions of Hizballah might have been involved. Still seems like rank intimidation of the fair and balanced network. For example, why not kidnap Reuters reporters?

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Katrina, meet Ernesto

Although it's too early to accurately speculate on Tropical Storm Ernesto's eventual landfall destination (if any) the timing and forecast track of this storm is bordering on the transmundane. Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Mississippi coast a year ago Tuesday and the president is planning to be there to say a few words and talk to Mayor Nestle, er Nagin.

The Federal Government's response to Katrina is part of a two-pronged democrat strategy for re-taking the House and Senate in the fall. The other prong is of course Iraq. Help is coming from every direction for this plan, from Spike Lee's documentary to a morning column in the WaPo:
For Rep. Patrick T. McHenry (R-N.C.), three images define George W. Bush's presidency: Bush throwing out the first pitch of the 2001 World Series at Yankee Stadium, Bush with a megaphone atop the rubble of the World Trade Center -- and Bush staring out the window as Air Force One traversed the Gulf Coast thousands of feet above the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
The above is not part of the democrat plan, rather it's a reaction thereto. We're liable to see more republican spine punting as November approaches unless something changes the current dynamic.

And that something might be called Ernesto. The Hurricane Center track forecast is indeed very interesting. If it becomes a 'cane and hits any point of land in the United States it might well change that dynamic, especially if all branches of government mobilize quickly, similar to the 2004 Florida storms.

Such a reaction might snatch away the Katrina prong overnight, but on the other hand it might enhance it since dems could say "this is how he should have handled Katrina" with the standard racial overtones thrown in for good measure.

But it certainly would be harder for the dems to continue focusing on Katrina if Ernesto or another storm comes and is handled well. Tracking polls tend to react more to current events. Now, if it were to hit New Orleans, who knows.

Katrina was almost a preternatural event, very much like September 11th. Although both might have been predicted by various experts, they were the type of cataclysmic events nobody really expects to occur, making them almost surprise attacks when they do. Follow-on events will not be seen the same way. Can you blame Max Mayfield for retiring?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Tall people.. they're just better than you

This isn't the first study to suggest tall people have an advantage in life, but it's bound to tick off a few more people. Apparently ole stretch makes more dough because, well, he's just smarter than you are:
"As early as age three -- before schooling has had a chance to play a role -- and throughout childhood, taller children perform significantly better on cognitive tests,"
Makes sense. In politics, Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln were tall. In the modern world money has so corrupted the process that it's hard to say, but William the Slick and Reagan were taller than Nixon and Carter, I believe. Hillary is taller than McCain based on a complicated male to female ratio only tall people would understand. As to Nader, Bradley, and Kerry, they're tall but are apparently suffering from the effects of mind-altering drugs. But Ross Perot is short, and he lost. There ya go.

Hollywood actors are ALL tall in front of the camera thanks to platform shoes or props, but outside the studios they're on their own. Example, Tom Cruise (dumb), and Nicole Kidman (smart).

In sports they're all pretty dumb, but the best paid tend to be taller, so it works. The only place this study might not apply is within the government, where everyone is expected to be equally dumb based on federal law.

Of course, this new revelation brings yet another chance for discrimination suits, meaning another opportunity for the lawyers, so long as they're tall, of course.

Based on the study and commonly held social beliefs, the bottom of the barrel might be a 5 foot 2 inch white male named Randy born to Jewish republican parents in Alabama. If you see him, give him a hug. Or some money, he's probably broke.

Let Bush be Bush

Such was a statement made by one of the Powerline bloggers recently in regards to a recent semi-personal visit they shared with the president and a few others. It was conducted outside range of TV cameras and evidently the bloggers were amazed at how much the prez appeared at ease and in command of the issues.

Everyone is familiar with the Bush we see conducting interviews or press conferences from inside the beltway, where he appears uncomfortable and often mauls the language. This communications gap hasn't served him well, as support for his policies seem to be falling if polls are to be believed (just today Republican Chris Shays joined the anti-war bandwagon).

Most people aren't privy to this 'other Bush' but occasionally we get a brief glimpse. He's visiting Maine this weekend to attend a family wedding, triggering more boos from the lefty blogs. But a president is never fully on vacation, case in point, he took time out from his time off to host a meeting with members of five families who'd lost loved ones in Iraq, Afghanistan and on 9/11.

No surprise, he's been doing this kind of thing for years but out of the limelight, which is a sign of respect for the privacy of the families. Their names are not released by the White House.

In typical fashion the HuffPo blog headlined this story as follows: "Bush To War Widow: “No Point” In Discussing “Pros And Cons Of The War". This in response to one of the family members, a war dissenter and democrat activist, who admitted she came to the meeting to discuss bringing the troops home (even though her husband died in Afghanistan).

They linked to a TPMCafe poster who dug a little deeper on this "truth to power" speaker, whose name is Hildi Hally:
She told me that her husband, Patrick Damon, who's long been active in Democratic politics, had been in Afghanistan as an engineer building roads when he died in June.
Ms. Halley seemingly blamed Bush for killing Mr. Damon and asked him as a Christian to bring all the troops home, not just those in Iraq. When Bush replied by saying we were responding to an attack on 9/11, she began talking about how the US put the Taliban in power, to which Bush gently cut her off.

Good thing the president was above the juvenile antics found here in the blogosphere, since he stopped short of pointing out which adminstration let the Taliban shelter the people who attacked us, and failed to demand she describe how we're supposed to stop these people other than militarily.

But back to HuffPo. They ignored this comment from one of the other attendees, for obvious reasons:
"You see a different side in person from what you see in the TV," he said. "Once I met him in person, I was very impressed by his genuineness and sincerity."
Let's not get carried away, he's a politician. But it makes you wonder why the White House communications office hasn't found a way to let more Americans see this side of Bush.

Permit me to inject some personal input here. My late father was a combat engineer in the National Guard in 1951 and was called to active duty in Korea, a war which has never officially ended and where US troops are still deployed. In my recollection I never heard him cuss the name of Truman or the democrats for getting us into that quagmire, even though he was a staunch republican.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

An offer they couldn't refuse

New York Times writer Hassan Fattah paints an interesting picture from a predominately Sunni village in war-torn southern Lebanon overrun by Hizballah terrorists shortly before hostilities began.

Their actions essentially transformed the residents into unwilling human shields. Notice it also verifies that Hizballah was up-arming well before the kidnapping and murder of the IDF soldiers, no doubt on order from Iran/Syria:
“We kept beseeching them, ‘Stay out! Stay out!’ ” said Zainab Ali Abdullah, 19, who lost her father, brother and several other members of the family in the attack. “They said, ‘We’re all in the same boat together, so deal with it.’ But why should our children die for their cause?”
No unity there. Despite the fact they both hate Israel, they seem to hold just as much for each other. We've been told there is some resentment for operations of this nature coming from the Iranian street. Both sound like exploitable situations.

But it also points out the intensity of rank intimidation coming from these terrorist groups. The MSM laps up pictures of Hizballah "officials" handing out crisp 100 dollar bills or helping people rebuild homes, but they don't show what happens to the people who refuse to play along.
“There is no way for us to stop them,” said Ibrahim, who lost several relatives in the attack and who asked that his last name not be used for fear of retribution. “These are not people you can say no to.”
Al Capone would be impressed.


This morning Glenn Reynolds linked to a column by Reason's Michael Young that deconstructs the notion Hizballah scored a major victory in their recent clash:
Nasrallah would likely obey an Iranian request to attack Israel once again if the Tehran regime deemed that to be necessary. However, Shiites making up Hezbollah's base of support may not be so eager to be turned into cannon fodder for a country thousands of miles away. That's why the party's deterrence capacity has suddenly become very costly.
Despite how the Israelis feel about Olmert one could say the recent war brought some positives, if such a thing can be said about such things.

One, it showed everyone that Hizballah, without question, is an arm of Iran faciliated by Syria. Case closed.

Two, it showed the world how their propaganda spin machine works, either through outright false stories, rearranging scenes for publication or pressuing journalists to doctor photographs.

Three, they didn't gain any territory.

Four, they spent a lot of their ammo.

Five, Iran still faces the nuclear deadline. It's doubtful that any new hostitilies designed to take attention away from that deadline would strike fear into the Israelis or the west, rather it would more adversely impact the Lebanese civilians, turning them further against Hizballah's foreign masters. They will also have to get past a UN force, such as it is.

And six, the west now has a pretty good idea of their overall military capabilities and tactics, and will adjust accordingly.

But ok, Hizballah won.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Centanni kidnapping

"We will give you one chance that will not be repeated - the liberation of Muslims detained in American prisons in exchange for the detainees in our hands," the statement read.

"We give you a deadline of 72 hours starting from today at noon to decide."
This from the Holy Jihad Brigades, most definitely a nom de guerre picked out of the air to hide their affiliation.

The phony sounding name could also suggest it's the work of amatuers, but it's hard to believe the Palestinian groups, Hamas, Abu Mazen, etc wouldn't be aware of them operating within the confines of Gaza.

The Palestinian terror groups have traditionally been Sunni-affiliated but have usually operated in the fashion of 'traditional' terrorists as opposed to the modern fundamentalist versions. If these kidpappers are more in the mold of Abu Nidal than Abu Musab, then the jihadi reference was used to implicate bin Laden. The good news is the traditional terrorists don't usually behead people, but that only represents the barest optimism, doesn't it?

If the Palestinians are telling the truth it might point to more sophisticated operators, such as former or current intelligence agents of a particular state. Especially based on the length of confinement and high profile.

It's always hard to tell, since most of these guys represent an enigma. For example, the recently foiled Bojinka two terror plot featured mainly Sunnis, yet evidently they had staged it for August 22, the Shia holy day, and a day Ahmadinejad had previously warmed everyone about. Were they trying to implicate him with a spectacular attack that would have launched us into a full-scale war on Iran?

Whatever the case, it doesn't look real good for these guys. The demand is obviously not meet-able--there's no way we're giving up guys like Yousef, Padilla, Moussaoui and Reid from American jails along with Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh from the secret sites. Or the entire contents of Gitmo.

Not much else to say except God be with these men and their families. As Jonathan at Crushliberalism reminds us:
For some recent leftist commenters here: these are the savages you think we should be negotiating with, gentlemen!
Indeed. Negotiation only works when both parties are civilized. Right now we need a rescue.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Scapegoat or patriot?

While the news hounds remain consumed with JonBenet Ramsey's faux killer the Scooter Libby trial grinds along quietly in the background. For most that's probably a good thing, but I confess to some mild interest.

The judge in the case, Reggie Walton, earlier ruled in favor of the defense in allowing them access to CIA classified daily briefings provided for VP Cheney during the period in question--summer 2003. The Judge ruled they be condensed into summaries, leaving out specific details. But Libby wanted details to help support his memory loss defense. To that Judge Walton said no:
"The documents and information at issue are extremely sensitive and their disclosure could cause serious if not grave damage to the national security of the United States,".
Sounds like a loss, but maybe not. An inquiring mind might wonder what Libby thought was so powerful it would overshadow a brewing political scandal in which the president had already ordered his staff to "get it out there" to counter the growing story.

Ironically, Judge Walton's ruling seems to lend credence to Libby's claim by proving the information he was seeking was so sensitive it couldn't even be released lest the walls of Jericho topple down. That might explain why his legal team attempted such an unwinnable sounding gambit to begin with.

The biggest news of late was the Times' revelation Tuesday that Richard Armitage had a couple of appointments with Bob Woodward in June of 2003, before Libby officially talked with Miller. It'll be interesting to see if this revelation might make the entire thing go away. Speaking of Miller, she was seen breaking bread with John UN Bolton last week. Just an old friend, probably discussing trees and stuff.

MORE 8/27/06

Newsweek's piece on the new Plame game book has some nuggets, such as this conversation between Armitage and Larry Wilkerson:
"One day," says Powell's former chief of staff Larry Wilkerson, "we were walking into his office and Rich turned to me and said, 'Larry, these guys never heard a bullet go by their ears in anger ... None of them ever served. They're a bunch of jerks'."
It's true Bush, Rove, Cheney, Rummy and Libby never heard bullets go by in anger. But the same could be said for Cheney when he was the Secretary of Defense during the first Gulf War, yet it wasn't a big issue. Weird, since at that time America had not been attacked.

But the weirder thing is why Armitage escaped prosecution in this whole mess. He leaked to Novak and probably to Woodward, yet Fitzgerald had no interest in him. One might almost think a collusion existed between State and Fitzgerald in an effort to 'get' the 'jerks' in the administration.

Osama bin repressed

Kola Boof is in the news again with some new information gleaned from her tryst with Osama:
Terror mastermind Osama bin Laden is so obsessed with singer Whitney Houston he thought about killing her husband, Bobby Brown, it was claimed last night...He said he wanted to give Whitney Houston a mansion that he owned in a suburb of Khartoum.
If Kola Boof's name is not familiar, it should be. A native of Sudan with an Egyptian father, she claims her parents were killed by Arabs, whom she despises, yet has admitted to being a sex slave for both UBL and Hassan al-Turabi. Here's an interview that might provide more perspective.

She's a real piece of work but her root cause as a writer seems to be the plight of black women within Islam, a subject that got Theo Van Gogh killed. She certainly has strong opinions about color, race, and the meaning of the war on terror:
- and it's very sad, because in America, the people don't take the government's warnings seriously and they really should, because terrorism is the new frontier in world warfare. Chemicals and things are eventually going to be used, and because I was raised in a culture that taught me that I should strap on a bomb and blow up innocent people'in the name of Arab imperialist progression and religious superiority - I know better than most Americans that terrorism is real. Americans are very spoiled people and they don't want to hear about it.
I don't know if all her stories are true, but the above seems to be a keen observation.

But whether she's the real deal or not, her topics are hot button. Experts sometimes claim that the more puritanical one is the more sexually repressed they tend to be. That does seem somewhat intuitive. It's also a frequent criticism leveled by the far left against conservative Christians and evangelicals, but that's another debate.

Like any man, bin Laden has a natural attraction to hot women. Just refer to the back cover of Ms. Boof's books for proof. Yet his religion handles those urges by instructing men not to look with lust to the point of keeping the women second class, subservient and wrapped up. Perhaps that partially explains his pathological obsession with killing westerners, to which Ms. Boof might add a few more charges as well, not making her much of a celebrity in her native land.

Following the logic might lead folks to think George W. Bush's biggest cheerleaders in fighting the GWoT Islamofascists would be homosexuals and other sexually liberated peoples not desirous of a world run by the likes of bin Laden or his overly sexist religion. Yet for some reason, that's not the case.

MORE 8/25/06

Who better to offer a perspective on women's rights, or lack thereof, within the Muslim world than a woman? Here, Yasmine Rassam says neither radical Sunni nor Shia fundamentalism offer much hope for middle eastern women, and the United States is the only thing between them and the 7th century. Hello NOW, what say you?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Iraq-- it's about time

Saddam's new trial for the Anfal campaign began today. We're likely in store for more comedic outbursts, hunger strikes and ridiculous demands from Ramsey Clark and company as hundreds of witnesses are scheduled to parade through the court to testify. Revenge of the Kurds, as they say.

There seems to be very little drama in the final outcome of Saddam's trials, but the same cannot be said for the outcome in Iraq itself. The blogs and talk shows were abuzz today with stories about former pro-Iraq war suppporters who are now drifting over to become war critics. Bush is now taking inbound flak from every point of the compass.

Even the president himself admitted the war is 'straining the psyche' of both himself and the American people. But he showed no signs of wavering despite what the wobbly kneed weekend punditry had to say.

Matter of fact, today's press conference (remember when they complained he wasn't doing enough of them?) was a robust defense of his policy towards Iraq. The problem he's always had, pointed out by many, is an informational and communicatative gap between what he says or feels and what the media eventually reports. He is the great miscommunicator.

But in the end perception is everything, and if he can't communicate the words are wasted. To win back the lost he simply must make a better case that Saddam was worth the loss of 2600+ troops despite no WMDs or ties to 9/11. In today's press conference someone asked him about those topics and here's how he replied:
You know, I've heard this theory about everything was just fine until we arrived, and kind of "we're going to stir up the hornet's nest" theory. It just doesn't hold water, as far as I'm concerned. The terrorists attacked us and killed 3,000 of our citizens before we started the freedom agenda in the Middle East.

Q What did Iraq have to do with that?

THE PRESIDENT: What did Iraq have to do with what?

Q The attack on the World Trade Center?

THE PRESIDENT: Nothing, except for it's part of -- and nobody has ever suggested in this administration that Saddam Hussein ordered the attack. Iraq was a -- the lesson of September the 11th is, take threats before they fully materialize, Ken. Nobody has ever suggested that the attacks of September the 11th were ordered by Iraq. I have suggested, however, that resentment and the lack of hope create the breeding grounds for terrorists who are willing to use suiciders to kill to achieve an objective. I have made that case.
What he was trying to say is that Saddam was such a divisive figure in the ME that draining the swamp wasn't possible with him still in the way. He tried to leave the impression that the long-term fix was democracy, with an implication being that Iran was in the sights. Somewhat persuasive, but still not enough to change the press's minds, witness the WaPo's description of that encounter:
Asked whether that would be true if the United States had not invaded Iraq, Bush responded: "Imagine a world in which Saddam Hussein was there, stirring up even more trouble in a part of the world that had so much resentment and so much hatred that people came and killed 3,000 of our citizens."

And although Vice President Cheney repeatedly implied that an Iraqi intelligence agent met with a Sept. 11, 2001, hijacker five months before the attacks long after the story had been discredited, Bush said that "nobody has ever suggested that the attacks of September 11 were ordered by Iraq."
They either missed it completely or aren't buying. It's getting close to the point where a few cats might need to be released from the bag to hold the fort, because short of any heretofore unknown links, and faced with a stubborn and determined enemy, the current casus belli might not survive a political guard-changing this year. The election will be framed as a referrendum on Iraq, just like in Connecticut.

Bush is stubborn, and has said he'll never redeploy on his watch, but the situation could be forced on him if the people speak.

Ironically we've come full circle and time is now on Saddam's side, while it's ticking down fast for Bush, at least politically speaking. There might be a backup plan, and it might already be partially in play, however it's something that can't be elaborated. It has to do with sectarian divides, Shias killing Sunnis and the like--in other words the policy we've had ever since Saddam was busy VX-ing the human waves from Iran. Maybe that's the light at the end of our tunnel, assuming it's not a train.

MORE 8/22/06

The New York Times illustrates the point from an article Tuesday, which heralded that a whopping 51 percent believe Iraq and the GWoT have nothing whatsoever to do with each other. Gloated Harry Reid:
“We took our eye off the real war, the war on terror,” said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, in a conference call with reporters today.
The absurdity of that comment is almost not worth responding to, but why don't we let Bin Laden handle it:
...“Stay steadfast and don’t leave Baghdad, otherwise all the capitals in the region will fall to the crusaders,”...
This was his fifth message of the year, most of them stressing the importance of defending Iraq.


Just had to link to this, since apparently the NYT didn't seem to think it was very important.

MORE 8/23/06

The Power Line guys have a theory on Bush's communication problem.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Might as well blame it on Neptune

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune this morning, SUV exhaust is drowning the tiny pacific island of Malasiga.

Well, it doesn't exactly say that, but it leaves a strong impression:
There is not a power line or factory or air conditioner within a day's walk of this village of 400 people in the southwest Pacific, but these subsistence fishermen are no strangers to the power of industrialization and climate change.
Must be those blasted westerners again.

I don't pretend to know whether the sea is actually rising, or whether any observed rises are natural or man-made. Studies are not conclusive. But this story contains a few yellow flags that are literally begging for illumination. Here's one, from the very first paragraph:
First, their fathers noticed the palm trees that seemed to be inching toward the water's edge and the fire pit that vanished beneath the tides.
Now, it doesn't say when "their fathers" first noticed this phenomenon, but we can safely presume it wasn't the day after Bush 43 took office. Here's another:
Elders first noticed the rising water in 1982. It eroded the sand and bared the rocks beneath
It appears the islanders are saying the sea level rises began over 25 years ago, but there's a problem with that. Atmospheric temperature rises don't seem to correlate. Take a look at the following graph, which marks U.S. temperatures through the 20th century:

Notice the maximum in the 1920s/1930s, followed by a gradual cooling, which has transitioned into our latest warming. Based on this, why would the sea levels be rising in 1982?

Perhaps the answer isn't scientific at all. Later in the Trib's article we find out the islanders are searching for ways to mitigate the rising waters, and they believe they've found a solution within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol:
In international climate talks, PNG and eight other rain forest countries have proposed that nations that reduce deforestation should be eligible to earn and sell "carbon credits."
It's interesting to note that a similar brouhaha has been swirling around the pacific island of Tuvalu for years. Their tribal leaders have similarly demanded recompence from the west for trashing their atoll, yet the evidence is far from clear.

But blaming such things on the deep-pocketed industrialized west is certainly more profitable than blaming them on say Neptune, God of the sea.

AD COUNCIL 8/23/06

You’ve probably seen the global warming commercials on TV featuring the little girl standing in front of the locomotive. The organization that produced those ads, the Environmental Defense Fund, is also running radio ads sanctioned through the Ad Council, one of which I heard this morning. Of course they have a site.

If you visit the site make sure to look at the “myths and facts” section, which categorically blames ALL recent warming on human activities. Notice the phrase “there is no debate among scientists..”. Anytime you see this, be skeptical. There is ALWAYS debate among scientists on literally everything. There may be a consensus, which is different.

Another slightly ironic section is located in a section on impacts. They mention hurricanes and announce, “storms already getting fiercer”. While they do admit there is still debate, they proceed to attempt a link at the active hurricane seasons of 2004-2005 as an anecdotal correlation. Ironically there was nothing about this season getting off to a slow start due to cooler than expected sea surface temperatures. Only a charlatan would use either a lull or surge to prove a long-term trend.

That said, some of the suggestions on the site are not preachy or political and sound rather practical. Environmental activists would do well to remember they'll get more public response by tackling the problem using our capitalistic system, not by trying to defeat capitalism.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Wanted--stiff upper lips

As someone who once worked for an airline this post really hit home with me. But you don't need past airline experience to understand. Fact is, we're never going to completely erase the threat from terrorists. Eventually they'll get us. If this is indeed a global war on terror and we're all involved, then we need to steel ourselves a bit more.

Or, as Tamara so eloquently put it,
Listen to me, folks. Put down the legislation and step back away from it. Let out a cleansing breath. Now, chant along with me:
That's not to say governments should give up and quit trying to secure public transportation. What it does say is that at some point we're going to reach a point of diminishing returns leading to hysteria, seemingly illustrated by this story. As it stands now even foiled bomb plots turn out to be wins for the terrorists, and that's wrong.

It's a hard concept, since most of the world is filled with sane peace-loving folks who can't comprehend the inherent evil resting inside the hollow stinking souls of these hooligans. But defeating them is going to require a certain backbone from us all, or in the least a better attempt to fake one. Our forefathers would approve, I think.

MORE 8/20/06

Here's reaction from someone in the biz:
..Michael O’Leary, chief executive of Ryanair, Europe’s biggest low cost airline, on Friday described as “farcical” and “Keystone Cops-like”. Terrorists “must be rolling around the caves in Pakistan laughing at us”
Some airlines have asked passengers to arrive three hours prior to their flights, probably in response to the anecdotal horror stories we're all hearing about people missing flights due to inordinate delays in long security lines fumbling with toothpaste tubes.

The airlines are simply reacting, but we need to get a handle on how we're going to handle threats without driving this industry out of business. Maybe we should let capitalism decide it--in other words, go back to letting the airlines do their own security. If you want to be absolutely sure, you go with airline A, who will require full body cavity searches prior to boarding. Cheaper fare, go with B, who only makes you take off the shoes. Or C, who equips every passenger with a stun gun.

She just said no (to the INS)

You've probably heard about the illegal alien woman from Mexico holed up in a Chicago church with her US-born son, refusing to be deported.

The woman who is refusing to abide by US law, a Ms. Elvira Arellano (not to be confused with the real Elvira--hey, Halloween is coming), ironically runs a foundation for immigrants called "La Familia Latina Unida". Wonder if it's 'press two for English' there?

She attempts to comfort everyone by saying,
“I’m not a terrorist,”
As if that's the only reason she might get deported. Meanwhile the kooks are already out there making Rosa Parks comparisons and such, but we'll let Jesse and Al take care of them.

Writing these type of posts sometimes produces commenters who'll ask "why are you wingers so opposed to people making a living?" It's not that, folks. Immigrants are free to proceed legally in their pursuit of the American dream. Millions have done so, and her attitude would seem an affront to them as well. What really bothers people is the sheer arrogance, evidenced here by Ms. Arellano's own translated comments:
Ms. Arellano also posted a statement, saying if she is arrested on “holy ground,” she “will know that God wants me to be an example of the hatred and hypocrisy of the current policy of this government.”
Apparently no modern protest is complete without at least a passing offhand slap towards Bush's punch-drunk noggin, even though he's been in favor of an amnesty program all along. Maybe she actually meant Sensenbrenner or Tancredo, but couldn't think of their names. Or pronounce them.

But, it will be intriguing to see if any intrepid MSM reporters ask her to explain her own personal hypocrisy. From what we know she snuck in illegally, was deported, came back and popped out a kid (where's the father?) and is now using the child to block her second deportation, all from the friendly confines of a church. Surely Janet Reno would not approve.

The Times story finished it's attempted canonization of Ms. Arellano by quoting her as saying the church would protect her, yet made no mention of any Biblical passages relating to the matter. For me the one that comes to mind is Jesus telling his flock to "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's."

The ICE folks don't plan to run riot-gear troopers into the church, which is pretty much a no-brainer. That will probably make this story go away, but the entire immigration issue is not likely to follow suit before November--unless we let it.

MORE 8/19/06

Some may point to the old saying, "there by the grace of God go I", which is always something to keep in mind, but it doesn't necessarily pertain to folks who intentionally break the law.

STILL MORE 8/19/06

Somebody is trying to address the problem, but I suspect his bill will go over like a lead balloon.

Friday, August 18, 2006

French resistance

The UNIFIL mission projected for Lebanon looks doomed to fail before it starts. The French, who are supposed to be leading the force and had tentatively suggested as many as 4000 troops back when the bullet and bombs were flying, has now trimmed that figure back quite considerably--to about 400, with 1200 offshore in ships to provide "logistical support". In contrast, Maylasia has pledged 1000.

Why doesn't Chirac just send the French Foreign Legion? Surely they aren't tied up somewhere.

Instapundit also has a feature about more UN corruption to go along with their recent non-existent impact in Lebanon and the Oil for Food scamola.

The question doesn't even seem debatable as to whether the IDF and Hizballah will clash again, it's only a matter of how soon.

OUI. I MEAN, NON. 8/19/06

The Israelis are upset and Bush spent part of his interview gently scolding Chirac, but it's too late. Looks like the French diplomats pulled another fast one, this time on Condi. Meanwhile the countries pledging the most troops seem to be primarily Muslim. As they say, hmm.


Avigdor Hasselkorn thinks so. You can listen to his analysis of the situation here (Quicktime required).

A defeat for defeating threats

The ACLU must have been popping some corks Thursday. Their friendly federal judge up in Deetroit-City struck down the administration's terrorist surveillance program as unconstitutional. One of their spokesmen, probably already drunk on champagne, said,
"another nail in the coffin" of the Bush administration's anti-terrorism strategies. "The judge very clearly points out that this, at its core, is about presidential powers," he said.
Here's how da Judge put it
There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution
Aside from the fact that kind of verbiage sounds like liberal code-talk for saying "Bushitler" it further illustrates that, despite all we've witnessed to date, many still believe the main threat comes from within.

Along with a WaPo story, the newspaper that originated the leak chimed in with a rather well-balanced story, in stark comparison to several wire services who chose to hack off quotes from national security law experts used by the big boys, one of whom had commented on the ruling thusly:
"Regardless of what your position is on the merits of the issue, there's no question that it's a poorly reasoned decision," said Bobby Chesney, a national security law specialist at Wake Forest University who takes a moderate stance on the legal debate over the NSA program.
Al-Reuters even quoted a member of CAIR who called it a great victory for Muslim-Americans, yet failed to mention the above professors.

Of course, the usual dem suspects crooned in with their usual nonsense, hardly worth wasting much time on other than to say the same hypocritical goofs now applauding the judge's strict contructionist interpretation have argued in the past that it should be interpreted as a 'living document' when it comes to gun control.

As for me I've never been overly crazy about this program, mainly because it sets precedent that could come back to bite us with future democrat presidents. However, at the same time I believe there were practical reasons for implementing it, rooted in some of the threats present that are better left unsaid.

So unless you're a complete conspiracist nutbag or a liberal it's fairly evident we remain vulnerable. Contrary to popular belief defeating threats is still the primary job of a president, not having sex on the Presidential Seal. When threats emerge there must be latitude given based on the nature of the threat and confined as much as possible within the boundaries of constitution based on Justice Department legal opinion under a tight circle of Congressional oversight. In a world of Muslim terrorists not afraid to die and perhaps armed with WMDs, the constitution cannot be allowed to become a suicide pact.

Tying a president's hands or forcing him to let national security cats out of the bag or giving terrorists their own bill of rights will not allow him to do the job. Not every threat is suitable for public debate on Hardball. The electorate maintains a method for removing a president whom they feel might be abusing his office, and it's called impeachment. There will be a de facto vote on that come November.

AND... 8/18/06

Writer M.K. Bhadrakumar, an Indian, is warning us that everything might not be as it seems in this whole war on terror thing. His piece, titled "Be skeptical ... be very skeptical", suggests the Bush/Blair cabal are simply using international terrorism to keep their voters in such a state of fear that removing them would be unthinkably dangerous.

This is a viable premise on its face, since we know such a concept would be tempting to many politicians. But the facts don't back it up.

If our Anglo-American cabal were simply using terrorism events for their own benefit that would seem to require a belief in the 9/11 conspiracy, which itself is absurd. Secondly, if recent news items such as Bojinka-two plot or the crazy peacenik on the plane are just examples of spoon-fed pablum to keep the masses in fear, that would seem to require a belief that the events themselves were being created by the politicians, not simply a reaction thereto. That's also irrational.

Of course it's likely some politicization is being accomplished as these events unfold--politicians will be politicians--but that doesn't mean the dangers do not exist. But to think the chain of terror events spanning three presidents were merely CIA or MI6 black ops is a tad unhinged. It's healthy to be skeptical, I am, but why stop there? Both the sensationalistic 24/7 cable media along with established writers or journalists who would think nothing of using doctored photos or pure spin from terrorists should be heartily scrutinized.


And he wasn't happy.

His stubborn contentiousness would seem to suggest two main possibilities. One, that he is indeed Bushitler and started the program to circumvent the constitution and set us on a course to the fourth Reich. Or two, something became known to the president that required immediate action and the FISA courts weren't sufficient, whether it be speed or maintaining security. It's really a nasty set of what-ifs, all else being considered.

But to lighten the mood all you need do is study the democrat response:
Democrats questioned whether the program has been effective, saying the administration has shown no evidence that terrorist plots have been disrupted by its use.
Maybe Reid can list off all the attacks the program hasn't stopped. "Tough and smart". That's the new democrat buzz phrase for the fall. Keep hope alive, guys.

MORE 8/19/06

According to a law expert quoted in the NY Times Judge Taylor's decision is now almost universally rejected. They also quote a former Justice Department official (who believes the program is illegal) as saying the judge's decision was, "made for headlines".

Perhaps the ACLU and friends should have arranged this so a former Reagan-appointed judge would have ruled on it. That would have stopped the current impression that this verdict was nothing more than political revenge from a pack of liberal kangeroos.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My, how things change

Harry Reid appears to be expressing the new Democrat mantra regards terrorism in 2006:
"Five years after 9/11, al-Qaida has morphed into a global franchise operation, terror attacks have increased sharply across the world and the president has shut down the program designed to catch Osama bin Laden," Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada said in a statement following Bush's remarks.
Tell it to Louis Freeh, Harry. Here's what some of his people said about the Clinton policy of the 1990s:
“The drug war was the big thing back then, and terrorism was way on the back burner.” Additionally, also in 1994, a key FBI informant will begin monitoring local radical militants (see October 1996). However, terrorism will remain a low priority for the Phoenix, Arizona, FBI office
Speaking of Arizona, it would still be interesting to find this guy and ask a few questions.

Not to be forgotten, our talk tough-on-terrorism Left Tennessee golden boy showed he can read the talking points, too:
“The president told us that the British attacks are a stark reminder that the nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom,’’ Mr. Ford said, “yet his administration has dismantled the very infrastructure that is responsible for catching those terrorists.”
Near the top of a New York Times article--that's pretty heady stuff for our little 9th District Representative. But the bottom line is this new democrat strategy, "tough but smart", is a can of flim-flam.

Oh, speaking of bin Laden, some of us are still waiting for him to weigh in on the Lebanon affair, of which Zawahiri vowed they wouldn't be silent about. Must have been some trouble with the al-Jazeera recording equipment.

Monday, August 14, 2006

The question of "who won"

The mainstream press seemed to be a little taken aback by Bush's characterization of southern Lebanon being a front in the GWoT and his declaration of victory for the IDF.

Since the war is more likely in a time-out rather than over, declaring victory is a tad premature. But the labeling of this being a front in the GWoT was right on the mark because it fits all the criteria. Hizballah is a terrorist army operating within a soveriegn state, does not follow the Geneva Conventions, and does not wear uniforms while advocating the murder of civilians, and their cause was supported by al Qaeda without the claim being disavowed. Case closed.

As to the winner, Bush sounds more correct than not. Kschizb'allah (trying hard to spell it the way the Israelis pronounce it) has now forced itself to disarm or face international condemnation. Their collection of Syrian and Iranian rockets is now considerably less than it was a month ago, and the entire world is now absolutely positive of their supply chain management. And finally, Israel still occupies southern Lebanon and has opened a buffer between the terrorists and the major cities.

However, if you say it's the public perception that decides such things then Hizballah won this round. The local population now reveres Nasrallah more than ever. But keep in mind Saddam got 100 percent of the vote in his last election, so everything isn't always what it seems with these type things, especially true after all the staged photos that were exposed by bloggers.

The funniest reaction might be from the American left, or at least the few hundred who took an internet poll on Daily Kos, who seem to believe that neither side won, mainly because they can't figure out which horse to back. John Kerry would be so proud.

MORE 8/15/06

Most people seem to disagree with the above, mainly since the soldiers were not returned and Hizballah still exists. But serisouly, did anyone think the IDF was going to completely eradicate them? This was but one battle in a long war. From a PR perspective Israel almost ALWAYS loses anyway.

Notice also that as soon as the settlement was announced HAMAS (or affiliates) quickly got themselves back in the news by kidnapping the Fox reporter. They also have a kidnapped soldier who has not been returned. These problems are not easily solvable.

According to the Jerusalem Post the Israeli public was willing to grin and bear it, meaning continue slogging on to some end, but that would have literally required removing the government in Beirut or worse.

It's interesting that only a few days before this came to an end there were reported to be unusual troop movements along the Syrian border. Since many war decisions are based on perceived deterrents, wonder if such a thing was in play here?

MORE 08/15/06

They say you can tell a lot about a man by the way he handles defeat--and victory. Whether you believe Hizballah scored a victory or was defeated in this latest war, the manner in which they're handling things should tell everyone a lot. We've seen some childish gloating, now this:
Hezbollah indicated it would be willing to pull back its fighters and weapons in exchange for a promise from the Lebanese army not to probe too carefully for underground bunkers and weapons caches, the officials said.
Heck, we wouldn't want the Lebanese army to probe their own bunkers or weapons caches, would we?

I'm still having problems believing anybody is taking any of this seriously. The whole world knows that Hizaballah is the Army of Iran via Syria, and was allowed by the UN to dig all those tunnels and bunkers when they were supposed to be disarming and disbursing after Israel left. Nothing--absolutely nothing--has occurred to make anyone think the situation might be different this time around.

Where have you gone, John Wayne?

At times Fore Left can get down pretty deep on the gloom and doom. This blog was started not only as a vehicle to offer my personal backspin to the daily nonsense, but as a search for the truth. Sometimes the depressing truth can be pretty depressing.

So it's a challenge to find humor in most of this stuff, but it's imperative to try whenever possible. Things could be a lot worse. At the same time, the GWoT is the biggest story of my lifetime and something I find impossible not to blather upon.

Over the weekend two thought-provoking articles struck a chord with me regards this whole depressing thing. One was about standing tall in the face of death, the other about the recent 9/11 movies. You may have read one or both since they were linked at the major sites. I'd like to share my opinions.

For years we've all witnessed how utterly determined these whackjobs are at murdering innocent people in the name of their God, to the point of carrying babies on martyrdom airplane operations, rearranging dead bodies for photo-ops, or diverting earthquake relief money to killers. As a notorious rock and roll poet once said, you can't argue with a sick mind. Such is the case here.

Therefore with no true diplomatic end in sight, at some point we may find ourselves facing down a jihadist prior to our personal day of judgment. As Mr. Crittenden suggests, we must aspire to "die well".

That allusion seems to dovetail into Oliver Stone's World Trade Center film. The flick has received good reviews and it's nice he didn't politicize it, but I have the same problem with the concept Mr. Imm did. These films are seemingly placing the events of 2001 into a distant historical box, as if they couldn't reoccur. They can, and perhaps to an even greater level. Then what, another tribute movie?

Where is Hollywood to remind us why western culture is worth fighting for? Was "Red Dawn" the last effort before political correctness took over, or will we have to settle for "Team America"? There seem to be no more John Waynes.

If my own demise comes at the hands of terrorists, which is admittedly remote, I'd prefer to use another movie for my source of inspiration--"The Alamo". What better way to go than Billy Bob Thornton's portrayal of Tennessean Davy Crockett? Coming from someone who posts here anonymously I've got a ways to go, but one can always set goals.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, superstar

The creepiest new blog might belong to ole "wipe em off the map Mahmoud", as in Ahmadinejad.

Captain Ed hoisted the picture below and challenged folks to caption it, so here ya go. Get a load of the MS Paint craftsmanship on that comment bubble--the fauxtography crowd would surely be proud.

Meanwhile, Mike Wallace's interview of the budding star aired on national TV tonight. Lots of questions, but Mike left out a few. He should have asked whether Saddam had WMDs. He should have inquired on the whereabouts of bin Laden's son. He should have asked whether Iran pulled off the Khobar Towers attack, or if they ever retaliated for Iran Air 655. And he should have asked him about that August 22nd thing. But ok, it was 60 Minutes.

MORE 8/14/06

Gee, if this trend continues ole Mahmoud might be the only blogger left in Iran before too long.

Ramsey Clark's international spin machine

The international ANSWER folks are at it again--this time organizing rallies in support of Lebanon. It's pretty obvious who they were really supporting, so let's not waste a lot of time here.

Ramsey Clark, who is always identified as Jimmy Carter's former Attorney General but rarely for his long affiliation with organized leftist peace groups, spoke at the Washington rally:
Former Attorney General Ramsey Clark [ed- see!]drew cheers from the Washington crowd when he called for President Bush's impeachment.

"We've made more enemies during the presidency of George Bush than in the rest of our history combined," Clark said.
Clark--working hard to free the dictator while advocating impeachment for the president. Apparently he had some time on his hands since Saddam's Anfal (Kurdish) gassing trial doesn't start until August 21st. Surely the innocent Kurdish workers greatly appreciate his assistance. Maybe they can hold a rally.

The speculation is he'll try to put Rumsfeld and Cheney on the hot seat for their previous dabblings during the Bush 41 years in an effort to embarrass Dubya, however speculation runs nil he'll attempt to do likewise with former officials from France and Russia.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Deja Vu all over again

Bojinka part deux is gaining more publicity than the original version, which is a good thing. It gives the bloggers (and perhaps some in the media) a chance to highlight the life and times of one Abdul Basit Karim, aka Ramzi Ahmed Yousef. His influence on our present predicament, along with that of 'uncle' Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, should be fully understood by all.

If you want a compelling read about Yousef consider "The New Jackals" by Simon Reeve. He paints Ramzi more an Islamic James Bond than some religious nut.

As to liquid explosives, Evan Kohlmann from the Counterterrorism Blog had a recent feature on Yousef. Kohlmann is involved in a serious truth-seeking venture about 9/11 (the opposite of Loose Change). Their new website, which he links to from here, has a feature on liquid explosives and includes a copy of a Philippine government document detailing an interrogation of Yousef's Manilla bomb shop accomplice Abdul Hakim Murad.

Murad said Yousef had identified a rich Yemeni businessman as his financier, presumably UBL. He also tied him to the Abu Sayyaf group, in which Ramzi likened to a bunch of local yahoos. He had planned a few attacks in their name to boost their image, providing an insight into his personality. Keep in mind some of the Project Harmony documents link Baghdad with Abu Sayyaf, once again laying down a carpet of circumstantial evidence regarding Saddam's role in all this.

Reeve's section on Bojinka describes Yousef's first seat bomb:
A fraction of a second later, at precisely 11:43a am local time, Ramzi Yousef's tiny device exploded, mutilating the bottom half of Ikegeme's body and nearly tearing him in two. The blast blew a small hole in the floor and severed the aileron cables that controlled the plane's flaps."
This occurred in 1994, therefore Yousef had plenty of time to improve the device, made with liquid nitro using a casio watch as the timer.

Roughly 18 months later an explosion occurred on TWA Flight 800, another 747, and in the same general area of the plane. The FBI later found traces of explosive residue on some seat backs. Knowing what he knew about Bojinka, and knowing that the FAA had done nothing to mitigate for it (checking for liquids and shoes) Clinton was probably sweating bullets about that time. The 1996 presidential election was looming and a terrorist attack would surely have ruined the campaign season and given war hero Bob Dole a boost.

Removing any political motives, the airlines were teetering and a government admitted terrorist attack of that nature could have tanked the economy and forced some type of destablizing military response. Sometimes the public good can outweigh the truth, at least in the short term.

But miniature seat bombs were not the entire story on Yousef. His affiliation with the bombing of the World Trade Center and his odd relationship with uncle Khalid, or for that matter his teamwork with Baghdad-boogeying Abdul Rahman Yasin, has garnered scant little interest from the mainstream press. One might think the perpetrators of two spectauclar attacks and the brainchildren of a failed one the size of Bojinka would warrant a few more 60 Minute excursions to Pakistan, or perhaps Kuwait or Britain. Or this. Inquiring minds and all.

Regardless of Yousef's state affiliations, if indeed he had any, his legacy and importance continue to be widely misunderstood. Perhaps this latest flare up will change that picture, but don't hold your breath.

MORE 8/13/06

Had the new Bojinka gone off as planned many predictable things would have happened. Like 9/11, the FAA would probably have shut down the National Airspace System. With several airlines in bankruptcy and with the current price of jet fuel, that might have been crippling. By itself that suggests an al-Qaeda operation, since their attacks are usually multi-faceted with intended economic side effects.

Think about the restriction of all trans-ocean travel for a moment. Pat Buchanan has, and he opined about them today in a Townhall column, some worth quoting:
Had the plot succeeded, and five, seven or nine planes been blown up over the Atlantic, the initial U.S.-British reaction might have been to rally behind the president and prime minister. But then the questions would have begun.

"Who failed us?" "Who was asleep?" "Who told us we were safe?" "Who said we were winning the War on Terror?" "What are we doing in a civil war in Iraq when Americans are being slaughtered by the thousands over the Atlantic?" Americans would have been battling over these issues until Election Day.
Pat asks for truth, not propaganda, which he says all sides are engaging in here. Good luck. The truth has been doled out in small quantities in the GWoT, probably for a legitimate reason. But it's frustrating, and in the case of Iraq the lack of facts has severely damaged our morale and willingness to fight the fight.

MORE 8/13/06

Both Yousef and KSM had ties to the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi terrorist group in Pakistan, now thought to be involved in the Bojinka part deux plot. This makes some sense, as KSM spent his last free days in Pakistan and could have transferred a lot of their 'work' to others. The KJ guys appear to be fierce Wahabists, just like bin Laden.

What does the above mean regarding any Iraqi tie-ins to Yousef? They both had the Saudi Royals and Shi'a Islam on the hit list, along with the Iranians. Any relationship would have simply been in an exploitation capacity. But as you can see, it's a fairly tangled web.