Monday, April 30, 2007

Second class citizens

The internet and talk radio has been filled with debate for years about how to change the behavior of radical Islamists without rolling tanks all over the Middle East. The left's favorite hammer to smack Bush is his perceived failure to engage in diplomacy. Word is Nancy Pelosi has applied for a visa to enter Iran.

Problem is, part of the problem is the deep-rooted traditional way that women are treated in plain ole everyday Islam. We are seeing the effects now in Iran with women being dragged off screaming because they dare show their hair.

Here's an interview from Bahrain on the subject (it's easy to follow even with subtitles) explaining some of the issues women have living under Islam.



Upon mentioning her being branded a heretic her reply was, "Allah will decide whether I go to paradise, not them." Amen, sister. We await the raised voices and calls to action from the left.

Cannistraro and Tenet

By now you probably know that several members of VIPS (Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity) wrote a letter to Tenet demanding he return the Medal of Freedom. No surprise that among the five were Ray McGovern and Larry Johnson, or as CNN reminds us, Johnson is a former CIA intelligence official and registered Republican who voted for Bush in 2000.. Johnson is perhaps the most quoted ex-CIA employee in history.

Their letter stated the following:
"You betrayed the CIA officers who collected the intelligence that made it clear that Saddam did not pose an imminent threat. You betrayed the analysts who tried to withstand the pressure applied by Cheney and Rumsfeld.
This is part and parcel of the revisionist history game being played by some members of the CIA, which apparently included Valerie Plame through her husband Joe Wilson.

The key word in that letter was "imminent", more on that later.

Another name on the list was Vincent Cannistraro. By the way, this post isn't an effort to demonize the man, only point out some of his stated opinions leading up to this letter. Here's one, from a wide-ranging interview done by Frontline a few years ago:
With terrorism, we have basically arrested all the perpetrators in the bombings of our embassies in East Africa in 1998. But these are secondary parts. They're replaceable tools. The leadership, the sponsorship, is beyond law enforcement. That's the problem with the law enforcement response. It isn't sufficient. It doesn't mean that you shouldn't prosecute people who commit crimes. Killing people and bombing is a crime. Sure. But it's not an effective total response to terrorism itself.
And that's the bottom line with all of this back and forth--we're dealing with opinions, judgment and assessments of analysts.

That's why the 180 on Iraq is so compelling. There is a war between sides to write history and right now the "Saddam was never a threat" side is winning. This 180 largely developed after 9/11 when some analysts realized Bush might actually be serious about finishing off the monster they'd helped create. If we return back in time to 1999 and the now infamous ABC News Sheila MacVicar report (about the possible links between Saddam and bin Laden) notice that Vince Cannistraro was an intergral part of that interview.

This is not to say the debate over Iraq is illegitimate or that Bush didn't cherry pick some of the worst assessments to help his case. That's otherwise known as accepting and acting on the worse-case scenario based on Saddam's past behavior. For years the detractors were satisfied in using the "cherry-picked" rubrick but are now going for the full Monty by suggesting it was conventional wisdom in 2003 that Saddam was no threat. Such a premise leaves the conclusion that Bush lied, and the letter-writers have now included Tenet.

From the above, the key word was imminent. Bush specifically said Iraq was a "gathering" threat, as did Bill Clinton before him. 9/11 created the paradigm that acting on such a threat had become prudent, but this is where the grand canyon was created. Argue with lefties and they'll claim that by mentioning 9/11 and Saddam in the same paragraph Bush was linking the two. Yes, but not as Saddam being the author of the attack, only as someone who had a long history of supporting terrorism. That's why this revisionism is important, because if Saddam can be removed from suspicion of acting in concert with terrorists it removes any conceivable imminent threats sans the bubbling vats of WMDs.

In hindsight perhaps we could have dealt differently with the Butcher but any hindsight discussions should include the following key points. One, the only way he agreed to more UN inspections was under the threat of the 150,000 combat troops massing on his periphery. Had we allowed Blix to declare him "disarmed", which is the possible result of protracted inspections, he would have lobbied the UN to remove the sanctions, something the US would have been hard-pressed to stop. Both Duelfer and Kay speculated what his intentions would have been under such a scenario.

On the other hand, had we not massed forces in 2003 Saddam wouldn't have allowed the inspectors back in, leaving the threat discussed in the MacVicar interview--ie, the passage of WMD technology or materials to terrorists. That's why the Congress voted as they did.

Perhaps maintaining the no-fly zones indefinitely and trying to force the UN to unravel the Oil for Food scandal would have been better, who knows. Nobody can deny we're now trapped between Iraq and a hard place and that our escape options are all fraught with peril.

But the attempt by people like Tenet, Cannistraro, Scheuer and others to re-write the history of the intelligence assessments about Saddam in order to repair reputations, soften legacies or gain political advantages better describes Tenet's parting remark in the book--'you are entitled to your own opinions but not your own set of facts'.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

R.I.P. Josh Hancock

Terrible news from St. Louis. A sad day for Cardinal Nation, bringing back the shock of losing Darryl Kile in 2002.

There are a lot of questions about this accident but it's better to wait for further info before speculating.

I'll spare you a lot of perspective stuff only to say that, yeah, we like to think of our sports heroes as being somehow immune from the travails of life, since for many watching sports itself is an escape from the travails of life. I suppose we need the occasional grounding reminder, but it stinks nevertheless.

5/2/07

Life can throw some nasty curveballs. After watching Cardinal baseball for more than 30 years I've never seen the team go from pinnacle to pit in such a hurry. A good manager is supposed to shepherd a team through troubled times but I wonder if Tony LaRussa's Spring Training DUI incident has left him with no moral authority?

60 Minutes of CYA

Too bad nobody in DC can understand the old saying "what's done is done". In DC what's done is never done, it's just an opportunity to score points and make money. During peacetime it's not big deal--SOP--but during wartime it doesn't mix so well.

Nevertheless, more excerpts are pouring forth from Tenet's book in advance of his appearance tonight on 60 Minutes, with the breathless New York Times leading the way, painting Tenet as no different than a stock writer at Firedoglake or HuffPo. The WaPo also weighed in with another article, yet as Tom Maguire points out, it's disappointing there were no references to Valerie Plame or Joe Wilson. Rather odd, since the book title is "Center of the Storm". Perhaps we'll hear about some tonight. Or not.

At any rate, if you can stand it I'd like to present a few more thoughts on this subject. First things first, the Times article has been figuratively hurled out the window for reasons mentioned above. Instead let's focus on two WaPo stories with the first one focusing on the musings from Tenet (blockquoted):
(Bush) repeatedly stretched available intelligence to build support for the war
That seems a polar opposite to how Woodward described the December 2002 slam dunk meeting. Bush was painted as skeptical while Tenet was waving his arms, the president ending the conversation with an admonition to his staff to NOT stretch the info.
The debate "was not about imminence but about acting before Saddam did."
In hindsight a pretty good question but based on all the available wisdom at the time rather understandable, since Saddam had already "acted" several times with disastrous results.
In their threat briefings for the incoming Bush administration in late 2000, Tenet writes, CIA officials did not even mention Iraq. But Cheney, he says, asked for an Iraq briefing and requested that the outgoing Clinton administration's defense secretary, William S. Cohen, provide information on Iraq for Bush.
That begs the question--why would the former administration have ignored Iraq in their turnover briefings? Why did Cheney have to specifically ask? After all, it was William Cohen who famously held up that bag of sugar to simulate Saddam's anthrax threat. There were repeated bombings and speeches about the threat from Saddam to the point of even accusing him of helping bin Laden make VX gas in Khartoum, later inducing a bombing. Was it all just dog wagging after all?
When he became acting director in December 1996, Tenet writes, he found an agency "in shambles," its budget slashed, its recruiting moribund and its morale "in the basement."
Somehow the Times missed that part.
The program (NSA terrorist surveillance) was Cheney's idea, and the vice president briefed "the leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence committees 12 times prior to its public disclosure" in late 2005
He might think this helps Cheney but it will probably just add more fuel to the impeachment fire. It does suggest the incredible power of the vice president, but we knew that.

Tenet's memoir revisionism is particularly strange since open source information says he sent a memo to Congress in October of 2002 explaining the WMD threat that Bush was building up at the time, most notably during a speech in Cincinnati on October 7. The letter also stipulated the known links to al Qaeda. As we know, only two months later he would tell the president the case was a slam dunk, hardly apt if he thought the case wasn't.

Enter Mike Scheuer, former Tenet underling and head of the bin Laden unit. His pre-60 Minutes WaPo Op Ed basically rips the former DCI a new bunghole (thanks Mick) by saying Tenet should have known what everyone else in the CIA knew--the Iraq war would be a disaster and that Saddam was never involved with AQ:
But Tenet's resignation would have destroyed the neocons' Iraq house of cards by discrediting the only glue holding it together: the intelligence that "proved" Saddam Hussein guilty of pursuing nuclear weapons and working with al-Qaeda.
Problem is, Mr. Scheuer himself was touting the bin Laden connection in his first book, which I've written about here many times and pointed out in detail quite awhile ago by Thomas Joscelyn of the Weekly Standard (also ripped by Scheuer).

Let me summarize--this book is just another CYA parade float. It can only help Mr. Tenet but it does no good in the long run nor does it help us in our present predicament. Terrorists and their state enablers attacked us on 9/11 (and other times) and Saddam was part of the fabric of terror nation. He might not have been involved in 9/11 but it's undeniable that he had possessed WMDs and had used them.

All this quibbling doesn't nullify those basic facts. Leaving him in power would have been risky. Remember, this was a guy who had written novels with allusions to the tumbling twin towers so the revisionist mothballing of his bad influence on the region is pretty stunning. But this is now a bridge never crossed by the warring parties in America.

Finally, Maguire notes that CIA press person Bill Harlow helped write the book. Yet another Plame star pokes up their head up like a meercat, looking around, seeing a clear coast, and filling a bag with book cash! All the while the Bush administration absorbs yet another body blow without so much as a middle finger from Rove in response. Perplexing, unless of course they are all guilty as sin.

LIVE BLOGGING THE SHOW.. SORT OF 4/29/07

Part of the lead in to the show, "who in the Bush administration put the knife in his back.." Off to a good start!

Tenet, "human beings make mistakes". Something nobody can seemingly understand anymore. Then said, "truth matters to us". By the way, he's the most animated guest I've ever seen.

On the Condi Rice "special briefing" pre 9/11...Tenet says he told Rice we needed to open a can on Afghanistan. That's interesting, because there were stories out right after 9/11 that in fact that's what we were planning to do.

Key moment--Tenet getting the passenger lists of the 9/11 flights and seeing the two Kuala Lumpur terrorists he failed to watch list in 2000. Ouch.

I like his attitude, by the way. "It's our turn now, bastards" or something to that effect. "We sat around the campfire and said now we get to torture people!. No, we don't torture people". Pelley (CBS): "c'mon George, waterboarding, etc". Tenet: "listen to me, we do not torture people". Very testy.

MORE

On the prospect of AQ nukes, "intent" is the key (as for me, I'm skeptical they could effectively deliver and am confident they can't produce, but these are the kinds of problems that cause multiple ulcers for those in charge).

IRAQ
Tenet, "war in Iraq is a national tragedy". CBS, "classic Washington fashion, someone decided to leak". Bwwhhahahaha.

Tenet slam dunked Cheney, but so what, he's the human pinata nowadays. He also got a Perle slam in there, too, regards him listing Saddam. Regards that statement he expressed incredulity that Perle would say such a thing, since he knew it was AQ. How did Tenet know what connections those terrorists had that quickly after the event?

He was very adamant about there being no connection between Saddam and ANY attack on America, yet above I linked the memo he sent Congress listing the known connections and the 2002 NIE. There's some disingenuity and showmanship going on here, methinks.
This is the reason Scheuer thinks he should have spoken up at the time, instead he said slam dunk.

Tenet, "Scott, you're doing it again". Ha. "Intelligence is about best judgments".
He defended Colin Powell's UN presentation.

Ah, now it's finally Joe time! Tenet, "she (Plame) is one of my officers". Pelley, 'how much damage', Tenet, animated, "that's not the point!".

As to the slam dunk moment, after seeing Tenet's gesticulations and animation on TV this is easily imaginable. He said nothing to convince me there.

As to who leaked it to Woodward, "I don't know". He called Andy Card and said he believed Saddam had WMDs, but that the White House had thrown him under the bus and were being dishonorable. Trust was broken. But he did accept the Medal of Freedom.

I'm with Scheuer, I like this guy. Not sure he's telling the complete truth on everything, especially Iraq, and he is certainly trying to settle scores and engage in classic DC tactics to salvage his legacy, but his service to the nation shouldn't be overlooked.

However, in the cold hard world his legacy will revolve around not watch-listing the two California terrorists and the slam dunk remark.

MORE 5/29/07

Tenet's reference to Richard Perle is being challenged already. We'll have to see how that impacts Tenet's proclamation that CIA folks always tell the truth.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Saturday night tune time

With a political bent.



Over the top, or legitimate parody? Apparently some are suggesting the Imus treatment on Limbaugh for running it. Considering what's said about the President every day of the week this is pretty tame, but then again, I'm not black. Still, Sharpton's persona literally begs for parodies, besides he's always been the kind who could dish it out AND take it. By the way, Paul Shanklin is from Memphis, if that means anything. (HT Macsmind)

Speaking of Memphis, this is "the home of the blues". That brings to mind a rockin blues song performed by an old English white guy, of course.



Based on the state of things lately, maybe Bush should have been boogie-ing along to this one. The lyrics seem more appropriate.

Ford finally convicted

John Ford, infamous uncle of Senate candidate Harold Ford, Jr., has finally been convicted of something. This time he managed to dodge all but one count.

There are plans for an appeal of course, but he's also under the gun for, "..unrelated charges in Nashville of wire fraud and concealing material facts stemming from his consulting business." Longtime watchers of the Ford family would not be surprised to see him wiggle off the hook yet again.

Regardless of any jail sentence one thing Operation Tennessee Waltz accomplished was to get him out of State Government, at least for awhile. No longer will there be a need for his 100 mph jaunts along Interstate 40 coming home from session, flashing his lights at other drivers or waving his gun at truckers.

Here's some reaction from Memphis citizens.

Friday, April 27, 2007

About that slam dunk

The conventional wisdom says it all--George Tenet convinced a skeptical George Bush that attacking Saddam was warranted because it was a "slam dunk" he had WMDs.

Tenet is out on the book circuit explaining that comment and other misperceptions in his memoirs entitled, "At the Center of the Storm" (cleared by Langley of course).

According to the New York Times the book is a not a complete hit-piece on Bush but surely the parts that are will gain the most interest, ie, the slam dunk comment. Tenet described the leak of that as "the most despicable thing that ever happened" to him. So, how did it happen?

Enter Bob Woodward. Again. He broke the comment in his second Bush book, "Plan of Attack", so one might think the Washington Post coverage of this story might be worth checking out. While comprehensive, it doesn't shine much light on Woodward's complicity. Reporter Dafna Linzer did point out that at various times during the past few years both Tenet and his deputy John McGlaughlin have suffered amnesia about those comments (not hard to imagine) but apparently memories can sometimes improve with the passage of time, a phenomenon we also witnessed in the Libby trial.

So, what exactly did the book say?

It all began on page 247 as Hollywood Bob described a December 2002 Oval Office meeting on "the case" (for war) between Tenet and his deputy John McGlaughlin with Bush, Cheney, Rice and Andy Card. It was in this meeting that the CIA laid out the "hard" intelligence they had on Saddam's evilness.

Before beginning, let's keep clear what the Times quotes Mr. Tenet saying in his book,
“There was never a serious debate that I know of within the administration about the imminence of the Iraqi threat,” Mr. Tenet writes in a devastating judgment that is likely to be debated for many years.
OK, on to Woodward's scribblings. He described John McGlaughlin's briefing to team Bush with flip charts, and when finished he quoted Bush as saying,
"Nice try. I don't think this is quite--it's not something that Joe Public would understand or would gain a lot of confidence from." He then turned to Tenet and said, "I've been told all this intelligence about having WMD and this is the best we've got?"
Then came the famous utterance. Woodward described it this way,
From the end of one of the couches in the Oval Office, Tenet rose up, threw his arms in the air. "It's a slam dunk case!", the DCI said.

Bush pressed, "George, how confident are you?" Tenet, a basketball fan who attended as many home games of his alma mater Georgetown as possible, leaned forward and threw his arms up again. "Don't worry, it's a slam dunk!"
Woodward then mentioned that is was "unusual" for Tenet to be so certain. The famed Watergate reporter ended the section on page 250 with Bush's instructions to Tenet, "make sure no one stretches to make our case".

And that's it. Tenet explains the comment as being in the totality of the entire case against Saddam not just about the WMDs, and he's probably right. But nobody in their right mind would use "slam dunk" to describe the case if they were shaky on the WMD part. This appears to fall under the category of "derriere-coverus maximus".

In retrospect it's doubtful Tenet's comment were the most decisive factor in Bush's decision to attack. Even the left has continually blamed Doug Feith's Office of Special Plans as part of the twisting effect (and part of Dennis Kucinich's articles of impeachment against the Veep) and others have blamed others, who've blamed others. But the slam dunk remark would have to rank pretty high coming from the DCI.

The left wing media will certainly wonder who leaked such a scurrilous thing to Woodward. Once again-- only Bob knows. Will he divulge his source or hold firm like he did with Watergate and the Plame case? For some reason I believe we'll find out soon on this one.

Folks more in the know will probably find Tenet's gesticulations interesting when compared to the previous writings of CIA officials like Michael Scheuer, someone else who was firmly convinced of ties between Saddam and bin Laden until it became unpopular and rather bad for business. Failures tend to do that.

Remember the timeline as well. The slam dunk meeting occurred in December 2002, many months AFTER Joe Wilson's trip to Africa. That should say something about the divisions present at Langley or other more sinister things.

Interesting--after all is said and done Saddam had perhaps the greatest impact on American politics than any other world leader from 1990 onward, and continues to cause gnashing of teeth even in death. He certainly was a threat to politicians and bureaucrats, if nothing else.

RIM SHOT 4/28/07

Here's more on the book from the NY Daily News blog (via Counterterrorism Blog), which suggests there are other double-crosses in the book besides the slam dunk, including Tenet trying to blame the FBI for a few things:
As federal probes have revealed, Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar were tracked by CIA from Malaysia to Thailand and then to Los Angeles in January 2000, as detailed in agency cables the following March.

"Everybody assumed the information was passed to the FBI," a source close to Tenet told The Mouth this week. "There was no conspiracy. We weren’t trying to withhold it."
There are a couple of ways to look at this. If Tenet is correct and there was "no conspiracy", just a misunderstanding, it exonerates Bush on charges that 9/11 was an inside job since this occurred in 2000 on Clinton's watch. If Tenet is lying and it WAS part of a conspiracy that implicates Clinton. See how silly?

This is a rather remarkable article. It goes on to say:
In June 2005, the Justice Department's inspector general found in a report that one of the FBI detailees, identified by the pseudonym "Dwight," not only accessed a March 2000 CIA cable that Alhazmi and Almihdhar had flown to Los Angeles from Bangkok, but he also typed up a report for FBI headquarters. Dwight asked his CIA supervisor to okay the report but the DOJ IG found no evidence that the supervisor ever approved it. (None of the FBI detailees at CIA was ever interviewed by the 9/11 commission, a source said.)
Astounding. Recapping briefly, while most of the media has focused on Tenet's incredulous reaction to the slam dunk comment they have (and probably will continue to) ignore his attemps to blame the FBI for not getting a message they never approved sending.

Hindsight warning--it's still 20/20. But anyone who's ever had dealings with the Federal Government should not be the least bit surprised. And if anyone thinks it's a fixable problem they are stark raving nuts.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A statesman speaks

And Joe Lieberman just might be the only one we've got right now:
Al-Qaeda's strategy for victory in Iraq is clear. It is trying to kill as many innocent people as possible in the hope of reigniting Shiite sectarian violence and terrorizing the Sunnis into submission.

In other words, just as Petraeus and his troops are working to empower and unite Iraqi moderates by establishing basic security, al-Qaeda is trying to divide and conquer with spectacular acts of butchery.

That is why the suggestion that we can fight al-Qaeda but stay out of Iraq's "civil war" is specious, since the very crux of al-Qaeda's strategy in Iraq has been to try to provoke civil war.
He makes a lot of sense in a very non-partisan way. I really hope he doesn't hop over to the Republican side, for two reasons: 1) his core values are liberal and 2) it would diminish his message. He can serve the best right where he is.

Despite the speeches the vote is over and they got the timetables they wanted. It'll be vetoed, but this was about posturing more than anything, especially for the presidential candidates. Note to Mr. Obama, a signature will not end this war. If he believes that he has no business running. Even Hillary would not go that far. At least this week.

But I wanted to key on what Senator John Thune of South Dakota said in response to Reid's "we've lost" comment. He said, paraphrasing, "if we've lost, who won?" Indeed, whenever there's a loser there's a winner. That should be enough to bring ALL parties in America together to solve this thing in the best interests of our long term security and interests. You'd think.

MORE 4/26/07

O'Reilly had an interesting show tonight. He got ridiculously mad at Jane Hall for no apparent reason, then pretty much hinted his position on the Iraq war is now closer to Reid than to Bush. The takeaway for me was his interview with the former Iraqi Ambassador to the US discussing the troops-out vote today. He touched on all the anti-war talking points, most of which focus on our difficulties marshaling "a civil war" (which was started by Zarqawi to get us out) and declared it the wrong battlefield, etc.

The Ambassador gracefully reminded Bill--several times--that the main reason we're there is not to make nice with the Iraqi people but to protect American interests (and those of our allies) in the region. If it were the former I certainly wouldn't have supported it in 2003 or now. This is almost now entirely lost on the population as is the threat from AQ as we wade in a cesspool of politics.

Meanwhile, watching the MSNBC debate recap while typing this and was interested to see a few things pop up. First, Democratic strategist Mandy Grunwald was interviewed by Chris Mathews. No bombshells, it's just odd that the wife of Plame star Matt Cooper has now surfaced. Guess the coast is clear. Additionally, Andrea Mitchell, another Plame figure, called far-left candidate Mike Gravel a "bomb thrower" then called it "refreshing". Guess it just depends on who's throwing the bombs, huh? The Dems are focusing entirely on domestic issues, which is why they want to "end the war".

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Attack dogs and surrender monkeys

As we approach the big political showdown over Iraq war funding the empty rhetoric is heating up. Here's Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
“The president sends out his attack dog often,” said Mr. Reid. “That’s also known as Dick Cheney.
Mr. Reid again, in the same interview:
“I’m not going to get into a name-calling match with somebody who has a 9 percent approval rating,”
Apparently calling someone an 'attack dog' doesn't represent name-calling in Harry's world. Or maybe it's a term of endearment in Las Vegas?

As bad as it pains me to give him any credit whatsoever he's actually correct about the Bush/Cheney relationship. Bush plays the good cop to Cheney's bad cop, which is not an unusual relationship in the business world. I've worked in several organizations where a similar strategy was used between numbers one and two.

Chances are the Veep couldn't care less about his approval rating since this is the end of his political career. In that setting a 9 percent approval rating might be somewhat liberating, freeing him to say just about anything short of "F-off" in getting the message across. Whether it's working or not is another question.

Speaking of good cop, bad cop, Harry Reid might well be part of such a strategy himself. It's a good bet most Democrats agreed with his "the war is lost" statement and have for a long time. However, since quite a few of the top donkeys believe that a higher office one day awaits them they have to be careful, after all, look what happened to John Cary. That doesn't apply to Dennis Kucinich, or as he was called yesterday, Congressman Truther.

But Reid is under no such restrictions since he's now reached his Peter Principle Level. Fire away.

Of course the idiotic thing about this nonsensical rhetorical merry-go-round is that everyone knows Bush will veto a timetable bill; everyone knows the Dems don't have the numbers to override; and everyone knows there aren't enough 'stop the war' types to actually force a Constitutional crisis and funding scramble with soldiers in harm's way. This isn't like Newt shutting down the government in 1994. So, in a world where sound-bites suffice for substance, here we are.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Where is the war?

Yes, the story has been reported to some degree--"Taliban surrounded in Afghanistan", although the blogs have covered it more thoroughly than the mainstreamers. As AJ Strata opined,
Maybe Harry Reid should be calling for surrender in Afghanistan as well, before we have any chance of success. He better hurry though, the window of opportunity to snag defeat from the jaws of success is closing rapidly
The Democrats have given us very little information on how Afghanistan fits in with the withdrawal from Iraq aside from outlawing the term "Global war on Terror", which suggests, well, something. The majority of the media have back-paged it for a long time with some notable exceptions. To be fair, fighting has not been intense and wars there tend to subside in the winter. But that alone can't be the complete explanation.

After all, we still have a hot war in the very heart of al Qaeda country--the place where most liberals agree there should be a war--and yet there seem to be very few if any embedded reporters on the ground. Surely Mr. Murrow is rolling, if not spinning, in his grave.

OK, lacking a formal explanation it's tempting to offer conjecture and since bloggers are experts at this, let's press on! Conjecture one--perhaps there is not enough bad news, ie, roadside bombs, murdered civilians, Haditha-like incidents, Abu Ghraib-type incidents, crumbling infrastructure and power grids, and an undercurrent of Halliburton to overcome the good news, ie, killed enemy and progress made towards bringing freedom for the civilians, which would theoretically undermine terrorism.

Conjecture two--maybe it's because NATO is fighting the good fight in Afghanistan and therefore any coverage might tend to remind people that George W. Bush, of all people, managed to muster enough diplomacy to force the Euros to live up to their NATO commitments. It also kind of shoots that Pax Americana thing in the butt.

Finally, coverage in Afghanistan would remind everyone that we're still at war regardless of whether we end "the war". The Democrats have rather craftily set up the Iraq battle as THE war, shifting focus off the broader war. Now, bear with me for a really wild conjecture! Perhaps this lack of coverage is really a ploy by Rove since if we were only in Afghanistan the press coverage would surely be focused on stuff like this or this:
according to a poll by Opinion Research Corporation released by CNN. 52 per cent of respondents oppose the U.S. conflict in Afghanistan, up four points since September.
After a humiliating withdrawal from Iraq is there any doubt what would happen next?


One more thing, off topic (sort of). On Monday Hot Air and others ran the video of John Kerry being confronted by a couple of twoofers at a book-signing regards Steven Jones and Tower 7. This morning Lorie Byrd linked to an Ace of Spades comment that fried Kerry for by saying he'd "look into it" rather than issuing a flat out, "you're crazy".

Good points, but just because Kerry answered that way doesn't mean he's anything but a calculating politician. He might be somewhat out of touch with what Charlie Sheen's up to nowadays--he looked genuinely taken aback by the questions--but he also knows these people are HIS people and hitting them back would cause blowback on him from the ever-powerful blogs. The response of "I'll look into it" is the oldest blowoff in the book.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Crow, David speak truthiness to power

Sheryl Crow and Laurie David--the global warming sistas--had a run-in with Karl Rove at the White House Correspondents Dinner on Saturday and are now explaining themselves over at the HuffPo (figures):
We asked Mr. Rove if he would consider taking a fresh look at the science of global warming. Much to our dismay, he immediately got combative. And it went downhill from there.
Ah, perception is everything, isn't it.

Let's wait to hear from someone at Rove's table. Dollars to doughnuts the global warming sistas planned their truthiness to power ambush well in advance and proceeded despite pleas at the outset to "set aside politics" for one night.

What are the odds that either or both had applied some liquid courage (if it's Saturday it must be an Absolut screwdriver) before heading over? OK, that's unfair. Everyone knows that intoxicants have absolutely no affect on Bush Derangement Syndrome.

At the bottom of their shocking article is a link to stopglobalwarming.org, which is David's site. Let's explore. First of all, the title is ridiculous by itself. It's akin to creating a site called "stopvolcanicactivity.org" or "stopcosmicrays.org" since we've got about the same chance of "stopping" them as we do global warming or global cooling, unless Rove has developed a dimmer switch for the sun. After all, everyone knows he has a weather machine.

But aside from the misleading name, what about the site? Well, here's an actual sample of the "information" contained therein:
The massive ice sheets in the Arctic are melting at alarming rates. This is causing the oceans to rise. That’s how big these ice sheets are!
Perhaps someone should tell Ms. Rocket Scientist that even if every single square inch of the "Arctic ice sheets" melted there would be not one millimeter increase in sea level. They are floating.

Now, if Greenland or Antarctica melted, yes, but there's no evidence such a thing is happening, and certainly not at an "alarming rate". There's really no point in reading further on that site.

Another GW site with an semi-ridiculous title, fightglobalwarming.com, continues to peddle the disingenuous notion that the overactive 2004/2005 hurricane seasons are evidence of the wrath of Rove. Er, no. There's no consensus whatsoever that hurricanes are affected to such a degree by CO2. Perhaps we need a new site called fightglobalwarmingalarmismbycluelesscelebrities.org.

This isn't to say that humans aren't affecting the climate in some immeasurable way--no doubt we are just by existing. It's simply pointing out that zealots like Crow and David are themselves bullying people in the name of furthering their own self-serving socio-political agendas, which may do nothing to solve a problem we've not been able to precisely measure.

MORE 4/23/07

As we try to suppress the mental images of people using one square of TP (soon to follow if CO2 levels don't drop--"be a man, use your hands") and of Sheryl Crow's fume-spewing buses blasting down the highway let's not forget the green story from just a few days ago. What's that? Don't remember? Yes, it was about Canada possibly dropping out of Kyoto in favor of joining Bush's rival AP6 group.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday ruminations

On Hillary's ability to recall a fake southern accent she never had to begin with:
You know, when I walk into the Oval Office in January of 2009, I'm afraid I'm going to lift up the rug and I'm going to see so much stuff under there."
Need we remind her what her husband reportedly did on the Oval Office seal? It's a good bet she won't find spent prophylactics and cigar butts, that's for sure.

----------------

As I write this there is a show on TLC about grotesquely fat people, like the thousand pound, can't get out the front door, can't even get to the front door kind of fat people. "I'm addicted to food", said one. Well, yeah, aren't we all. I confess to being addicted to water and sleep as well.

----------------

Regarding the notion of a global warming debate between Karl Rove, Laurie David and Sheryl Crow. C'mon. It's like me and a few strangers at a tractor pull debating string theory. But I do like this quote, from an exchange between Crow and Rove:
"You work for me," she told Rove, according to the Post column "The Reliable Source."

"No," was his response. "I work for the American people."
Laurie David is a notorious climate zealot and Al Gore enabler and Crow, well, I like a few of her songs but you have to wonder if the reason Rove went "0 to 100" and became "offended" had anything to do with her new perfume?

----------------

Who the devil cares--or has ever cared--about the president of the World Bank? Until now.

----------------

This wasn't the first time a fatal shooting has occurred at Virginia Tech. It happened five years ago, but turned out a little different, thanks to gun control. By the way, the mental image of Cho coming back to classrooms and shooting people he'd already shot is making me madder and madder.

----------------

Alberto Gonzales just hasn't been impressive. Gonzo may be gonezo soon. He should take a few politicians with him, like Reid, Schumer and Leahy.

----------------

Regards the Dave Gaubatz claim to have found the secret bunkers Saddam used to hide his WMDs, certainly some weird, wild stuff, especially in light of the "devastating" report soon to be released about how Bush fooled the press on Iraq prior to the invasion. The Cap'n has covered the logic as to why such a find couldn't be announced even if true, but it's interesting to note that Gaubatz has removed most of this stuff from his site.

MORE ON GAUBATZ 4/22/07

Interesting also.. nothing on the Iraqslogger site. One might think Eason Jordan could have contacted some of his contacts from his salad days at CNN. Maybe he was too busy focusing on Lara Logan's sensational story about how the surge isn't working.

Nothing on Topix, either. But did you know a roadside bomb went off?

Gaubatz remains in the company of James Clapper, Georges Sada, and a few others who all believe the WMDs were carted off to Syria before the invasion with help from the Rooskies. Reality, or just tall tales and book sales?

Don't know, but it does seem intuitive that if Russia were involved there would be a total press blackout, either Bush-imposed or self-imposed. Heck, we haven't even found Izzat al-Duri, who reportedly carted himself off to Syria as well. Too bad Nancy Pelosi couldn't have made it her mission to find him--she might still be there.

Mon Shari'a mour

From al-Reuters:
Iranian police have launched a crackdown on women's dress before the summer season when soaring temperatures typically tempt many to flout the strict Islamic dress code, witnesses and Iranian state media said on Sunday.

Under Iran's Islamic Sharia law, imposed after the 1979 revolution, women are obliged to cover their hair and wear long, loose-fitting clothes to disguise their figures and protect their modesty. Violators can receive lashes, fines or imprisonment.
Stuff like this. It's nothing new of course, but try as they may some hardliners remain:
Many young women, particularly in wealthier urban areas, shun the traditional head-to-toe black chador, wearing calf-length Capri pants, tight-fitting, thigh-length coats and brightly colored scarves pushed back to expose plenty of hair
What an amazing 21st Century story, eh? Let me say first that I'm not against the Chador or headscarf per se. We have an ever-growing Muslim population here in Memphis, easily noticed by the many women sporting such dress in public. There's a certain elegance to it, actually. For me the issue isn't the clothing it's the notion of them being forced to wear the clothing--or else.

When Jesus walked the earth he talked of the Jewish restrictions on certain foods, reminding folks to look within themselves for salvation, yet 2000 years later al-Qaeda is still focused on food. Recently an Azerbaijan Mullah categorized the virtue of women based on their dress (and they say westerners are hung up on sex--as one of the Gateway commenters said, Jihadi heaven is a brothel!).

All quite silly, but it points out the rather bizarre defense some on the liberal left (especially the feminist liberal left) give the Mullahs whenever Bush utters the slightest condemnation. I don't recall the NOW ladies speaking very loudly about this issue. If they have it's not been carried much by the mainstream media.

Fortunately that's a problem that can be corrected by the chief feminist herself, who has a rather large rhetorical bullhorn at the moment. She's used it before:
One of the keys to help people in the Middle East move in the direction of greater freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights involves the very simple but profound recognition of the humanity and dignity and the capacity of girls and women; or as we used to say way back in the 20th century, "Women's rights are human rights."
She knows (and said in that speech) that pushing for democracy is the key to women gaining their rights, which should say something about our present situation.

MORE 4/24/07


Pass through the Gates of Vienna for more on this potential clothing malfunction, including a teacher's strike, which most likely contributed to the crackdown.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Saturday night tunes

A lesser known blast from the past. "I'll be home on a Monday". Memories for me, good ones. Their live stuff sounds like studio. Still touring, I believe.



Takeaway quote, "I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the man from Memphis".

One more, just for fun...



Everyone sing along with John "bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, Iran..."!

No memorials for losers

This is probably the last article on this story for me but I wanted to weigh in on this one last aspect. Mr. SeeDubya, pinch hitting today at Hot Air, pointed out a tolerance-fest for Cho going on at some lefty blogs and had this to say:
I’m not going to apologize for dubbing this psycho “Psy-Cho”, by the way. He wants to be feared and taken seriously and have his name spoken in hushed tones. I’m not going to give the respect he never tried to earn, and I want anyone who wants to do what he did to know that his legacy will be eternal ridicule and derision.
To me this boils down to how we're going to look at Cho. Are we going to consider him a whackjob who snapped or a calculating loser who, like every Islamic suicide terrorist has decided to trade a pathetic life on earth for something beyond? Some might say the suicide bombers are not as crazy since at least they are promised hot virgin sex in the afterlife but this is more about evil than crazy, in my view.

While SeeDubya feels it necessary to suppress even the faintest hint of remorse for Cho (and I respect that) I do feel at least some. I feel bad he couldn't have risen out of his dark hole. I feel bad nobody around him, say an older, more popular guy (maybe another Korean) wasn't around to at least acknowledge him. Sorrier still that he ended it like he did without finding peace with God.

But I refuse to believe he was incapable of at least partially understanding his situation. His calculated planning defies that notion. Up to his point of departure there was still a chance for redemption by overcoming his problems and becoming one of life's winners. Instead he chose poorly and very selfishly, transferring his choice onto others, rendering him both evil and a loser. Any public tributes to the victims should not be tarnished by his likeness unless it shows him with his head blown off.

It's the same principle with the Flight 93 Memorial in Pennsylvania. While some might feel remorse for the men who took those planes it's abhorrent to memorialize them in public in any way. They might as well erect a plaque for Satan.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The Winkler verdict

It's well past time to comment on this case, but with everything going on it kinda got pushed back. If you haven't paid attention (and for some reason want to now) here's a recap.

The verdict of voluntary manslaughter by 10 women and 2 men is in the books, but from my vantage point it seems a slight miscarriage of justice. Slight because Mrs. Winkler didn't deserve the chair or life in my opinion, but she also didn't deserve to be eligible to leave prison after one year.

The defense put Matthew Winkler on trial, which was no surprise since they had no other choice. They painted him as mean and sexually perverted, darn near responsible for murdering himself. Since dead men can't defend themselves the jury was charged with either believing her story or not. Apparently they bought enough of it to establish the necessary mitigating circumstances to drop murder to manslaughter.

Did the jury make-up (10 women) have any affect on the outcome? Hard to say, but since this is the kind of story that tends to split men and women depending on their experiences with the opposite sex, it's possible. Did the fact Mr. Winkler was a preacher affect anything? Did the societal stereotypes about stuffy, uptight men of the cloth come into play? Does this mean anything? Hard to say. Maybe Mrs. Winkler just got disenchanted with the Christian life. But there were so many other options besides a shotgun, and there's no evidence she feared for her life.

The evidence was that Mrs. Winkler was sneaking around town kiting checks after having fallen for one of those Nigerian scams on the internet. She had plunged their family far into debt without her husband knowing. Who knows if she ever told him the entire truth before pulling the trigger, but his last word to her was "why?".

By their partial nullification this jury sent another crappy message to society (we've seen so many this week) that murder is not really so bad if you can paint the deceased as the villain--like that Earl guy from the Dixie Chicks song.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Focus on failure

A prudent person might push slowly back away from the computer and follow their own advice, but when I saw this story it nearly made me puke, especially coming right on the heels of this week's depressing events:
The war in Iraq "is lost" and a US troop surge is failing to bring peace to the country, the leader of the Democratic majority in the US Congress, Harry Reid, said Thursday.

"I believe ... that this war is lost, and this surge is not accomplishing anything, as is shown by the extreme violence in Iraq this week," Reid told journalists.
Strangely, the nausea was actually due to a sudden realization that Reid might be right. Don't get me wrong, it's not because we're incapable of winning, rather it's because America is not proving itself strong enough to avoid the crushing forces lined up against us winning.

I certainly hope this view is transitory and largely clouded by the events of the week, but I'm not sure.

Most conservatives would suspect Reid has his own selfish reasons for saying such a thing. It's hard to definitively say, since he might strongly believe our losing would be the best thing for America. Perhaps his mindset is that the terrorists and enemies will hate us less if they see us topple their ever despised adversary--our current leader. An olive branch of peace, if you will. Whatever the case Reid is no different than many other liberals who've become so deeply invested in failure they really have no other choice than to root for the other side.

Still, the word "lose" is awfully powerful. To have it spew forth from the mouth of the Majority Leader of the US Senate is scurrilous, especially as he simultaneously threatens to withhold troop funding without a written surrender document.

He knows damn well the effect his rhetoric will have on the enemies of this nation--the same type people the VT nut tried to emulate, if only for just a day. The same people who hope to one day inherit the Middle East when we finally chopper out.

Yeah, maybe the Majority Leader sees it differently, a sort of gift that keeps on giving politically while helping America lose her foreign oil dependence cold turkey. Maybe he thinks it will help to stop global warming. Just get the Haight-Ashbury memorial Department of Peace rolling, confiscate all the guns from the law-abiding citizens and it's all good.

There's no evidence, but wonder if it's just a coincidence the insurgents raised their death tolls in Iraq these past few days? It's not like they would have anything to compete with, right? Our attention and goals must remain squarely focused on failure. Harry would have it no other way.

Maybe I should have backed away from the PC after all.

MORE 4/20/07

This is very much worth the read.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cho's terror tapes

Although not a member of al Qaeda or even an Islamist, Cho certainly borrowed from their playbook. AQ in Iraq likes to send beheading clips to the internet--Cho sent his sickness to NBC in a box.

It's obvious the monotone laundry list of grievances (read from a script, no less), the 'I'm so scary' action poses, and a token reference to Columbine and Jesus Christ show his insanity quite clearly. Matter of fact it's almost cliche--we've seen this before. What continues to bother me is the level of horror and shock I didn't feel over this story from the beginning. It was certainly there, but nowhere near the same level with Columbine, Oklahoma City or 9/11 or other mass murders, and this desensitization to violence is disturbing.

It would be nice if the media could take Cho's terror tapes and try to make linkages to the Islamo-loons murdering innocent people every day in Iraq and Afghanistan since they use the very same tactics. Some will say no, he was just crazy, not the same. But remember, he wasn't crazy enough to be tossed out of a university. And remember, both are sick in the head, both are consumed with evil, both make use out of what they've got to maximize carnage, both plan carefully and make dry runs.

In reality it'll probably be nonstop gun control or whether so and so should be sued or not. But it's ironic, we're having the same arguments about the failure to see the warning signs just like we did in September of 2001. Teachers said about Cho, "I knew immediately who it was" while in 2001 analysts said, "I knew immediately it was bin Laden".

MORE 4/18/07

This event was a tragedy, but like 9/11 it was also an attack by a member of the twisted brigade aligned against civilized humanity. Here's a summary, including more on Ismail Ax. I'm not convinced of his Islamic connection yet, and as Allahpundit says, caution is advised before more information is released.

But who cannot be convinced this is yet another face of terrorism? Notice also that some of the same people who lambasted Bush for not stopping 9/11 are now on the side of the university and medical community for not locking this man up.

So predictable

Huffpo has another beaut of a headline--"10 Out Of 15 Countries Say US Not Trusted To "Act Responsibly"". In other words, "we suck" in nice, neat tabular form. Arianna lifted that headline from her glass half empty soulmates at Think Progress, who share the blame. The survey was taken before the VT shooting, by the way.

For those in the habit of glancing at headlines and the first couple of paragraphs (or sentences) such might reinforce the conventional wisdom that Bush has trashed our worldwide rep. For those who actually read links, surprise, surprise, the headlines are rather misleading:
“This survey shows that despite the negative views of US foreign policy, publics around the world do not want the United States to disengage from international affairs, but rather to participate in a more cooperative and multilateral fashion,” Kull said.
One more:
Despite the widespread belief that the United States should not be the world’s preeminent leader and that it plays the role of world policeman more than it should, countries express mixed views about whether the United States should reduce its military presence around the world.
Read further and you'll find other head-scratchers, which certainly leaves the impression these world polls are really just emotional gripe sessions.

No real surprises here, especially after considering that some of the worst opinions came from Russia, France, South America and some Muslim countries. The positive responses came largely from Eastern Europe, Israel, and Australia. Fact is, nobody likes the Big Cheese--it's cool to hate the boss. There's a lot of animosity, jealousy, and people are sitting on ready to knock us on our butts, including politicians using us as a punching bag to garner votes.

Neither should we be surprised that Think Progress and Huffington Post chose to highlight the negative. It's just more evidence of how some people are heavily invested in failure. At least of the short term variety.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

An issue for the heart

In the end the VT shooter was just another garden variety loner who had flunked his social interaction final. It's a damn shame nobody was able to intervene in his life in some way, but perhaps it's just not possible. Life is unpredictable. Sick and unexplainable crap happens every day and words rarely do it justice, but Michelle offered a few that fit. The blame here goes to nobody but the cowardly Cho.

As the week rolls on the knee jerks will get louder in their calls for government control of our lives. You've probably read about some of them here and especially here, where Charlton Heston was blamed. Bush? Expected. Ben Hur? Wow.

While driving home I caught some of Air America radio to see how they were covering the event. Host Randi Rhodes was suggesting that people should only see their guns when visiting the hunt club. She went on to rail about the "well regulated militia" phrase in the 2nd Amendment while leaving the "right to keep and bear arms" dangling around in the air. To me you can't have one without the other.

These same folks would have no problem stopping a president from fighting the very people who've already proven they want to do exactly what Cho did on a daily basis if left to their own devices. Both Katrina and AQ should be proof enough that Americans need the right to protect themselves, a right guaranteed in the Constitution that we all love.

But obviously the solution is not banning guns. As we saw on 9/11 a couple of Boeing 757s will do just fine if the goal is mass murder. The solution is within the human heart, where the battle between good and evil is a daily struggle. Nothing more.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Iraqi sleeper agent convicted

In a story destined to be totally buried by today's news, a Chicago jury today convicted an Iraqi-American named Sami Khoshaba Latchin for spying on Iraqi dissidents on behalf of Saddam Hussein:
The evidence included testimony from three former Iraqi intelligence officers who said Latchin, a husky former airline employee who has lived quietly for years in a Chicago suburb, was one of them.

Two of the former intelligence officers testified using aliases, saying they were concerned about reprisals from Saddam Hussein sympathizers.
This story has gotten about as much press as this one did, initially pointed out way back when by LASunsett over at Political Yen-Yang. Wonder how many other Iraqi ISI agents were operating in America?

Ah, no need to worry, Iraq was not a threat as we've all been told. Of course, that was before they were a threat, as we were all told.

Blackness in Blacksburg

Horrible. God bless the families and students at this time. I've got college-aged kids myself. Virginia Tech might never get over this, but I hope they do.

The inevitable is coming of course--the whys, hows and who's to blames. Surely the work of a mentally unhinged person but in this day and age the mind does wonder about the terrorism angle. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what "Asian" means, since such a descriptor could denote anyone from a Russian to an Iranian to a Indian to a Japanese person. Actually, I'd be cool never knowing his name so the b@stard is denied his fame.

Regardless of his identity it seems like a sign that today's disturbed people are holding a lot more deep hatred than we might have imagined.

The story has already drifted to gun control of course, which hopefully represents nothing more than an outpouring of the sheer emotion of the moment. But let's not forget--if a student had been carrying a legal concealed weapon on campus and saw this freak gunning down innocent victims his toll might have ended quite a bit lower.

MORE 4/16/07

Olbermann just offhandedly blamed Bush for the massacre since he allowed the assault weapons ban to lapse a couple of years ago--this was right after he reported that the serial numbers had been filed off the handguns used by the shooter. He then lamented the fact the Gonzales hearings had been postponed. Whoops there it is.

SPECULATION 4/16

The official line seems to be the shooter was a Chinese national upset over a domestic situation. OK, I'll buy, since anyone holding that kind of rage would have to have some big time shoulder chips. But if he was indeed responsible for the previous Friday bomb threats "to test the security system" that seems rather calculated and pointless for a crime of passion. If the goal was to kill the cheating girlfriend or her boyfriend why "test the security"? Why not just sneak in there and blow them away? With cops talking about a 'person of interest' there has to be more here than meets the eye.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Da comrade, the good ole days

bsnpubs.com

Those older than about 25 should remember Pravda, the Communist propaganda rag of the Soviet Union that echoed critics of President Reagan back in the day:
“In 1983, I was confined to an eight-by-ten foot prison cell on the border of Siberia. My Soviet jailers gave me the privilege of reading the latest copy of Pravda. Splashed across the front page was a condemnation of President Ronald Reagan for having the temerity to call the Soviet Union an ‘evil empire.’
We tend not to think of Pravda in the same manner today, but really, has anything changed?
In a clear sign of its intent to reign in dissident American media personalities, and their growing influence in American culture, US War Leaders this past week launched an unprecedented attack upon one of their most politically 'connected', and legendary, radio hosts named Don Imus after his threats to release information relating to the September 11, 2001 attacks upon that country.
Why would a Russian state newspaper be propagating stories about Imus and leading the cheers for 9/11 twoofers like Rosie O'Donnell and Charlie Sheen? Is it the good ole days again? Check out this page with stories about Iraq. Here are the titles in case it goes away:

"US may use Iraqi bombings to increase its military presence in the region"

"Iran and Iraq to join forces to resist US actions"

"Iraqi civilians become like dogs in the eyes of US soldiers"

Administration detractors might call this evidence of the horrible damage Bush has done to our worldwide reputation but it's more likely evidence of SSDD. Russia can't be thrilled with having us in their backyard, especially if we become the guest who never leaves. Want a conspiracy? Start with their possible support of the very groups who've been attacking us lately. Nutty? We did the same to them in Afghanistan during the 80s.

Admittedly the examples are paltry but in today's world that's enough even when proven otherwise, so here goes. Remember the car we riddled with bullets on its way out of Baghdad as Coalition troops were swarming into the capital? How about the story of the Russian mole at Centcom, forwarding intelligence and troop movements to Saddam? Or their help in moving the booty to Syria?

There's only one plausible reason a Russian paper would jump on the twoof bandwagon and peddle the wares of O'Donnell and Charlie Sheen, and it ain't circulation. We already know what happens to dissidents over there and besides, Charlie Sheen was in that movie with Nastassja Kinski where the Russians give him a medal. Hollywood might even be involved!

Light humor to some but the bottom line is that by attacking us Bin Laden and his compatriots opened a window to America's dark underbelly of political division, which has become another front in the war. International opportunists have been more than happy to seize on that division for their own gain, but the good thing is they've been exposed. What to do about it seems to be the ever-vexing problem, though.

MEMORIES 4/15/07

You can go here and check out Imus's interviews, including the 3 or 4 with Tim Russert he's done since February referenced as a smoking gun in the Pravda article. I listened, I didn't hear it, but these aren't entire shows.

But there were some other interesting things. In each one he chided Russert about Andrea Mitchell and David Gregory, claiming he still believed they knew about Valerie Plame before the Novak column regardless of Russert's testimony. Who else in the MSM was even coming close to asking these questions?

Imus also brought up the allegation of hypocrisy that Russert had been a champion of reporter shield rights in 2004 by openly supporting NBC's quashing of the Fitzgerald subpoenas yet never told anyone that he'd already spoken to the FBI about the case previously in 2003. Sort of a gulp moment for Tim, who pulled a Cheney and said the case was still ongoing, etc.

So clearly, if there was a conspiracy afoot to remove Imus both sides had plenty of motive!

The twisting of intelligence

Before the conventional wisdom cement dries regarding the lack of any relationship between Saddam and bin Laden let's take one more look at that DoD Inspector General Report about the Office of Special Plans.

As you may recall, the mainstream media and some lefty talkers heralded the report as conclusive evidence that Bush created the OSP as an instrument to twist intelligence for the purposes of justifying the Iraq war.

Without adequate background a casual reader might easily assume what Levin wants them to--that prior to the war both CIA and DIA were vehemently opposed to any notion that Saddam and UBL could possibly work together, not only that, but captured documents after Saddam's regime fell proved it never happened.

Who better to clarify all this but Weekly Standard reporter Thomas Joscelyn:
This is simply revisionist history at its worst..
I don't normally tell people to 'read the whole thing' but strongly suggest doing so if you're still confused as to what the captured docs revealed. You might want to check out this post from the Captain while you're at it. Both point to critical flaws in the no-relationship revisionism, including an example from CIA superstar Michael Scheuer's first book called "Through our Enemies' Eyes"(pointed out right here last month):
In 2004, after fashioning a career as a critic of the Bush administration, Scheuer did an about face. He suddenly claimed that there was no evidence of a relationship. He even decided to re-write history--literally. He revised Through Our Enemies' Eyes to be consistent with his newly formed opinion by claiming he was simply mistaken.
Indeed. And here's exactly what he said regards the revision:
Now, however, I believe that my description and analysis of CBRN and other cooperation between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's Iraq in this section--and elsewhere in this book--is incorrect. My judgment is not based on publicly available information, but rather an extensive review of the classified information pertinent to the subject located in the files of the Central Intelligence Agency.
Part of his revision was to disavow the chemical relationship he thought in existence between Iraq and al Qaeda during the 90s, part of which led to the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant bombing during President Clinton's second term. The attack was supported by CIA field work that suggested VX was being produced there under the tutelage of Iraqi scientists. To this day some still believe the plant was bubbling up nerve gas and point to the fact that America has never formally apologized to the government of Sudan as supporting evidence.

Speaking of evidence, there's none to indicate Mr. Scheuer revised his book for any other reason than to correct what he felt were misguided assessments. However, the fact he accessed top secret files at CIA HQ not publicly available sounds bizarre and brings to mind a few questions. Foremost is whether he was eyeballing new information or did he just misread old stuff? Did higher ranking people at CIA keep him from accessing the correct information at the time, and if so, why? He really didn't say.

But the bottom line is that if such a high-ranking person believed there were links as late as 2002 it seems to water down the consensus presumption. We might say it certainly wasn't nearly as strong as what the WaPo and Levin would have us all believe. Seems the "twisting of intelligence" can take many forms.

MORE 4/15/07

Based on the above link regards Hillary's Iraq War vote problem, I think it's time to hoist this up out of the vault. Surely a candidate could not possibly win the presidency on the back of such flimsily obvious falsehoods? Right?

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The future and Fred

Instapundit has a link to Stephen Hayes' lengthy interview with Fred Thompson for the Weekly Standard, a good read. Allow me to throw a few observations into the stew pot.

Thompson is certainly not a fake southerner and has the vernacular to prove it. Here's how he made his point during a discussion about Bush's decision to go into Iraq:
The next report says somebody's got weapons of mass destruction, you know what're we going to do with that? You know, just because history--a cat won't sit on a hot stove twice, but he won't sit on a cold stove either.
Americans have a history of being drawn to men of humble origins, to wit, Truman, Carter, and Clinton, even if history has not always been kind to them.

Thompson will face some minefields, such as questions on how a hawk such as himself missed military service during the Vietnam era. It might be moot in this election, though, since only Duncan Hunter and John McCain have any real military experience on either side. Strategists might advise him to lay low but Thompson might address the disparity by pointing out that while Democrats will campaign on "ending the war" only the terrorists can truly do that--in other words the Democrats will themselves have to deal with a war whether they think they've ended one or not.

They'll go after him for his support of Scooter Libby (he thinks Libby was railroaded) and conservative Christians may not feel the love for a Cuban cigar-smoking actor who waffled a bit on abortion. But they'd vote for him over Hillary or Obama in a New York minute.

Some friends recently confided they went to high school with "Freddie" over in Lawrenceburg. Naturally I was curious as to how these independent democrats saw the man. Their impression was largely favorable, including fond memories of his many good-natured pranks, his athletic prowess and the time he put a bully in his place. They painted a picture of someone who was favorably remembered. Would they vote for him? "It could happen". Again, these were not kool-aid drinking neocons.

I'm not smart enough to know why he hasn't officially entered the ring yet but my guess is that he's dipping his big toe in several places before diving into such a grueling current, which is fine. That shows wise judgment in and of itself.

Approach to Hong Kong

Aviation enthusiasts have long revered the Kai Tac Airport in Hong Kong as one of the most spectacular approaches in the world, although the scenery is better at St. Maarten (a telephoto lens could make both look quite dangerous).

The Kai Tac approach over the city was dramatic as aircraft had to descend over houses and apartments then make a last minute right hand turn to line up on the final approach. I've personally never been there except through still photos, until now:

video not available

Kai Tac has been replaced with a new and less cramped airport but the pictures live on. (still photos Daryl Chapman and Samuel Lo from airliners.net).

Friday, April 13, 2007

Staying in school the hard way

CNN is running a piece about the brave Baghdad University students who weather bombs to attend school every day. Reporter Kyra Phillips sat in with the class, and her observations are worth comment:
His introduction surprised me: "This is Kyra Phillips with CNN and this is her crew. They do not work for the government, they are independent journalists. Please speak openly and honestly and don't be afraid to share your opinion. "

All I could think about was how sad it is that these Iraqis still don't know who they can trust. Here I was, seeking to hear their voices, seeking truth and debate. I never would have thought they might question our CNN credentials.
Perhaps a bit snarky, but maybe they remember the Saddam era.

Ms. Phillips posed the construct that Americans were beginning to compare Iraq to Vietnam and solicited reaction but the students really wanted to talk about the future:
All the students told me they are trying to believe in a better future. They have thought about what they want to do. Every student grabbed the microphone and with tremendous pride shouted out their dream job -- becoming a professor, Iraqi intelligence officer, a diplomat.
Our impact on Middle Eastern thought will be hard to judge until much time has passed. The conventional wisdom says we're fostering more terrorism, which is certainly true in the short term as the jihadis fight back, but it's an open question as to how Iraq's younger generation will come to view America down the road.

Of course a lot depends on whether we leave or stay. I think the younger crowd might view us more harshly if we leave, especially if things become more chaotic and bloody in the short-term. One of the goals of Operation Iraqi Freedom was to change hearts and minds about America within the bowels of the swamps, since other long-term strategies for decreasing terrorism had been proven to be failures by 9/11.

Just last year MSNBC did a story on Baghdad U and provided this quote:
“We scare the terrorists who do not want progress and development in this country,” the 25-year-old said. “We have had enough suffering.”
They seem to have their heads on their shoulders (for now). Their bravery should be a reminder to us all.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The best Pot and Kettle example ever?

If consistency is to mean anything in the world of discrimination-based firings then Don Imus must go. There's simply no defending what he said, and if Jimmy the Greek, Al Campanis and Rush Limbaugh lost positions due perceived racist comments then Imus' ignorant blubbering was the holy grail by comparison. To me it was a no-brainer, which is why I had not previously posted on it.

However, to have Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton self-appoint as some kind of national arbiters of what constitutes appropriate speech (or fire-able offenses) is so laughingly absurd that it should be placed in some kind of compendium of "pot calling the kettle black" examples. Their hypocrisy will do nothing but embolden Imus and further widen the divide as people line up and take sides.

The black community needs to make it known that these guys don't speak for their entire race on every issue.

By the way, according to Drudge, Sharpton wants some kind of discussion on what's appropriate. I wonder, is the time-worn euphemism used in this post racist when used to describe the Imus flap?

MORE 4/12/07

Reverend Al discusses, uh, aviation?
"This from the beginning ... was never about Don Imus. It was about the misuse of the airways," Sharpton said.

"We cannot afford a precedent established that the airways can be used to commercialize and mainstream sexism and racism."
Er,.. Hmm. Airways?

This whole clownish affair surely has to be part of a government experiment being conducted on the general populace to gage the effects of some unknown gullibility drug they've been spraying on us via chemtrails. What next, Mike Nifong announcing his bid for the presidency? Britney Spears joining the FBI? Or maybe Valerie Plame announcing she's pregnant with Henry Waxman's love child? I blame Rove.

Loose ends

That's what the "forgotten attack" has become--a classic cold case. Macsmind and American Thinker have a link up to this white paper, which explains in some detail about biological weapons and how the anthrax letter attack fits in with known supplies and methods of creating this germ agent by world powers. The authors don't believe AQ was capable of being a producer due to the technical complexity of the bacterium, but could well have been a distributor.

Additionally, carbon dating of the fine-powder, silica-encased aerosolized powder sent to Daschle and Leahy put its creation sometime around 2000. In other words, it was cooked up before Bush could have known he was going to be president, same as the 9/11 attack. We've been told over and over that Bush was talking about nailing Saddam before he got the W keys replaced on White House word processors and indeed, perhaps Saddam saw the election of Bush 41's son as his eventual death knell. Saddam would have taken some action, don't ya think?

Outsourcing the Commander-in-Chief?

A War Czar?
The White House wants to appoint a high-powered czar to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with authority to issue directions to the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies
Maybe I'm old fashioned but it seems like bullet point number one on the presidential position description would be the Commander-in-Chief duty. Bush gives the impression he enjoys this facet of the job but we also know he likes to delegate, but who will oversee an unelected war czar?

Stories like this beg for clarity but brood speculation. Is this a Rove-inspired move to make an end-run around Congress, who recently outlawed the phrase "Global War on Terror"? Perhaps the administration is afraid the Democrats will try to isolate Iraq from Afghanistan to force a redeployment and they want a military voice to plug the gap.

Or will leftists be correct by speculating that Bush is trying to appoint a scapegoat? One of the generals approached for the position seemed to suggest that very idea in his post-interview interview with the WaPo, which turned into a nifty little hit job on Cheney. Oddly enough, his name was Sheehan.

Frankly this sounds pretty weird. There's not a lot of conversation about it around the right-side blogiverse, so if anyone has something short of a partisan screed that explains this please drop a link in the comments.

MORE 4/15/07

Christopher Alleva writing in The American Thinker provides some useful insight into what's going on with the war czar thing:
Using this story, the critics have been quick to observe that, well after all, he's the President this is what he should be doing. But SecDef Gates spoke to this in congressional testimony earlier this year. When commenting on the lack of cooperation he was getting from other agencies, he discussed the question of applying to the entire executive branch the successful the Goldwater-Nichols model that curtailed inter-service rivalry at the Pentagon. Gates testified that one of the main reasons Goldwater-Nichols worked was because the Defense Secretary has overall authority. While the President is Commander in Chief and the constitutional head of government, he is not an "action officer" like the Defense Secretary.
As long as this person only acted as a policy coordinator/facilitator there would seem to be nothing wrong with the concept. As usual, the casual reader (in this case, me) just should not accept articles at face value. Thank heavens for the internet.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Suggestions for Pelosi's trip to Iran

If she goes, that is.

1. Tell Ahmadinejad that al-Sadr is actually a Ba'athist agent and envisions Iran as part of Pan-Arabia.

2. Inform his majesty that Bashar Assad recently called him a "fundamentalist midget tool" and that he's only on Iran's side because he thinks the Americans are leaving.

3. Tell him the Americans aren't leaving.

4. Suggest that she (Pelosi) isn't really a Zionist agent.

5. Inform his highness that the Saudi Royals also believe he's a nut and have a "special cube" designed just for him.

6. Express her girlish infatuation over Gerard Butler due to his performance in "300".

7. Oh, and ask him to return the British sailors' IPod.

Anything else?

Yes, yes, and yes.