Saturday, December 13, 2003


David Brooks takes a swipe at the Gorebot in the last sentence of today's NYT op-ed piece - ouch:

"Sometimes you've got to be slippery to accomplish real good. The Bush administration is thus facing an insincerity crisis. It has become addicted to candor and forthrightness. It needs an immediate back-stabbing infusion.

Perhaps Al Gore could be brought in to offer advice. "

Yes of course, Al is so much more skilled at the art of lying...uhh, I mean, diplomacy.


When is a peace activist not a peace activist? When they support "resistance" movements that are fighting a war. Of course they're only killing Americans (and Spaniards and Japanese and Iraqis) so it's not like that's a big thing.

Davids Medienkritik alerts us (via Instapundit) to this from the German news program "Panorama": "

Commentary: The Patriotic Alliance shows what it does on camera: Terror attacks. With regard to this Patriotic Alliance you are at the right address if you are in favor of killing Americans. The Alliance%u2019s fighters are proud of their attacks.

Leading functionaries of the Patriotic alliance make appearances in Germany completely uninhibited. Together with Saddam Hussein they founded the Baath party now they are organizing attacks.

The members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party are profiting from the Euros donated by the German peace activists - with the knowledge of the Germans.

Jocahim Guilliard: "I think when one supports the resistance I would not tell them who they then work with. So I would support it if the Patriotic Alliance worked together with the Baathists."

Commentary: German leftists are working together with Saddam's partners? Even Iraq's far left has the slightest understanding or tolerance for that.

Rashid Ghwielib: (Communist Party of Iraq) "To be against the occupation does not mean that you can support these criminal attacks, the so-called resistance in Iraq."

Commentary: But such criticism finds no takers with some peace groups.

Peace Activist: "I support the Iraqi resistance even if it is run by people who used to support Saddam Hussein%u2026I have nothing against that."

That's right the Iraqi Communist Party is against the terrorist attacks on Coalition forces but German "peace activists" support the brutal murders with an out in the open fund raising campaign.

And we should listen to the Germans when they give us advice about world affairs, huh?

Friday, December 12, 2003


I guess Dick Cheney must be

"'If there is an overcharge, like we think there is, we expect that money to be repaid,' Bush said, amid charges by Pentagon officials that a Halliburton subsidiary charged 61 million dollars more than it should have for gasoline. "


Uh-oh, HODO (tip to Right-Thinking):

"A stunning new poll shows President Bush would clobber Democratic front-runner Howard Dean by nearly 2-1 in politically potent New Hampshire - even though Dean has a giant lead over Democratic rivals in the state. "

Dean's "I'm mad as hell", yuppie doctor with his blue-blooded nose out of joint act isn't going to translate beyond the anti-war Democrat base. When he gets into the general election campaign he's going to have to stand on the same stage with Bush and explain why he thinks that it's an "interesting theory" that the President of the United States knew about 9/11 "ahead of time". He's going to have to have an answer about that and his comment about southerners with confederate flags. And about what HE would do in Iraq and why he thinks that we'd be better off if Saddam was still in power.

Ohhhh, he's gonna sink like the Titanic and hopefully he'll take Al Gore to the icy bottom with him.


President Bush once again proves that he gets it and doesn't mind
the Axis of Weasels (thanks LGF):

"But Bush was unyielding in defending the policy. 'It's very simple,' Bush told reporters after a Cabinet meeting. 'Our people risked their lives. Friendly coalition folks risked their lives, and therefore the contracting is going to reflect that, and that's what the U.S. taxpayers expect.'

Bush said even a decision by countries such as France and Germany to forgive Iraqi debt would not enable them to compete for the contracts in Iraq. And he was derisive when asked about German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's remark that 'international law must apply here,' saying: 'International law? I better call my lawyer; he didn't bring that up to me.'"

Schoeder wasn't worried so much about Saddam's defiance of one UN resolution after another but when it comes to German business losing a little money he gets his panties all up in a wad. Good.

I've heard the Democrats decrying this position over the past couple of days and I'm sure that they'll go all apoplectic over the lawyer comment. "Is it any wonder that we can't get the rest of the world to cooperate when the President belittles the German Chancellor" they'll say. It's called hardball kiddies and Bush knows how to play it when it benefits America and he doesn't give a rat's ass about how piqued Chiraq and Schroeder get. And lest we forget, there are a hell of a lot of European companies in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Poland, Bulgaria, Britain, etc. that will be able to bid for reconstruction contracts - just not the Germans and French.

Don't you think that Chiraq and Schroeder have been working to undermine Bush's political position in the US? All of their pandering to the anti-war left both here and abroad was designed to weaken his support even after they could no longer stop the invasion. Now it's time that they reap the rewards of their disgusting pro-Saddam lobbying.

Poland and other potential EU countries are struggling to keep France and Germany from dominating the EU through a change in the draft constitution even now - and Bush is applying additional political pressure to faltering economies who have already violated EU debt ceilings.

What Bush is doing is good policy for the United States, hell it's good policy for any company or individual - reward your friends and punish your enemies. Too bad he didn't tell Schroeder that he'd missed "a good opportunity to shut up"!

Wednesday, December 10, 2003


Cornfield Commentary is not sure (Texsanity shares his concern) that the medicare prescription drug bill was such a good idea....but then again, if it pisses Tom Harkin off so much maybe, just maybe, it deserves a little extra consideration:

"You mean seniors will get a voucher from Medicare to join a private plan? OH NO!!!! The world is coming to an end! That sounds like that terrible food stamps program where people are "forced" to redeem their food stamps at a local grocery store. They can't buy their food directly from the government! What an awful concept, requiring those sucking on the government teat to make choices based on the free market."



Surrender monkeys
are upset today:

"'Prime contracts for reconstruction funded by U.S. taxpayer dollars should go to the Iraqi people and those countries who are working with the United States on the difficult task of helping to build a free, democratic and prosperous Iraq,' White House spokesman Scott McClellan said.

He said companies from anti-war countries could compete for contracts being financed by a separate international fund that the White House estimates will be worth $13 billion."

Absolutely sound policy both politically and diplomatically. I don't want any of the tax money that the US government takes out of my wallet to reward French, German and Russian companies whose governments actively worked against US interests in the Middle East (not to mention that many of the same companies profited off of the Oil-for-Food program and sold prohibited items to Saddam during the embargo).

"Critics said the policy could discourage countries from helping to rebuild Iraq and complicate American efforts to restructure Iraq's estimated $125 billion debt, much of it owed to France, Germany, Russia and other nations whose companies are excluded under the Pentagon (news - web sites) directive."

Perhaps I missed the offer from the governments of those countries to contribute major funds to the reconstruction effort or write of the majority of the debt owed by the previous regime? They weren't helping us nearly as much as the should have and this is a small way to punish them for their petulance. Decisions have consequences and you can't expect to work at frustrating US foreign policy while our troops are being killed in Iraq by jihadists and still feed at the trough of American tax money.

This should have been the US position from the beginning. And guess what, if the Iraqis decide that they don't owe all of Saddam's debt they can choose not to pay it (it's not like that is unprecedented) and the Americans and Japanese (the worlds two largest economies) and the British will still offer them loans anyway.

The French had better get ready because it looks like declaring yourself an enemy of the US and fostering rampant anti-Americanism just got a little more expensive.


Josh Marshall thinks:

"Gore's endorsement clearly helps Dean a lot. But it also helps Clark. In fact, I think it sets up a Dean/Clark dynamic in which the odds strongly favor Dean, but in which Clark still has real advantages."

Nothing is going to help Clark. He'll never get over the fact that he was fired as NATO Supreme Commander much less that he weasles around the question when asked - say by Chris Matthews :

MATTHEWS: Did Bill Clinton agree in your policy?
       CLARK: Absolutely.
       MATTHEWS: Why did he relieve you?
       CLARK: First of all, I wasn't relieved.
       MATTHEWS: You weren't?
       CLARK: No. Uh-uh.
       MATTHEWS: You weren't relieved as supreme commander as NATO.
       CLARK: No, I wasn't. No. I was asked to retire three months early.
       MATTHEWS: How is that different?
       CLARK: Because, the way it works...
       MATTHEWS: Weren't you hurt by that?
       Weren't you hurt by the president whose policies you supported against
the opinions of other high-ranking military people that he would
undercut you after you supported him against these other fellows?
       CLARK: But you have to let me answer the first question you asked.
       MATTHEWS: Go for it.
       CLARK: If you relieve someone, you take them out of command. What happened here was, I was asked to retire early and then it was then leaked to The Washington Post in an effort to keep me from talking to Bill Clinton about it. So this was a behind the back power play. Bill Clinton told me himself he had nothing to do with it, And I believe him.
       MATTHEWS: Why do you believe him?
       CLARK: Why do I believe him? Because he's the command-in-chief and he would not have done this this way.

Uhhh...yeah, suuuuuuure Wes. Clinton always told the truth, Scout's honor.

No. Clark get's more exposed with each public appearance. He has absolutely NO chance of securing the Democratic nomination. He won't be the VP choice either. Can you spell L-O-S-E-R?


Jonah Goldberg doesn't think much of Al's latest pronouncement from the mountain:

"In other words, Al Gore not only thinks Howard Dean is more qualified to be president of the United States than Joe Lieberman was or is, he thinks that is especially the case now after 9/11. If you really let that sink in for a second, you can see what an amazingly mercenary and damn close to dishonorable position that is. Moreover, it shows how a vast swath of the Democratic Party really, fundamentally, doesn't care that there's a war on -- except, that is, to the extent it wants to bug out from it."

True enough about the Democratic Party - although I would argue that a "vast swath" of it doesn't acknowledge that a war is going on preferring instead to believe that the war is a fabrication of President Bush and his oil buddies in order to line their pockets. Either way, the Dem party base doesn't take the War on Terrorism seriously and Al Gore, always one to keep a dampened finger in the breeze, is playing to the crowd.

Gore's position almost seems to surprise Goldberg which is strange since Gore put everyone on notice with his vote-for-airtime negotiations over the first Gulf War vote in 1991.

Senator Alan Simpson was witness to Gore's shamelessness:

"As the nation was 'on the verge of sending' young Americans to war, Simpson said, and 'our national credibility was on the line,' he and Dole got a late-night visit from Gore in the Republican Senate Cloakroom the evening before the debate was to begin.

Simpson said Gore came 'right to the point' of his visit: 'How much time will you give me if I support the president?' Gore asked.

'In layman's terms, Gore was asking how much debate time we would be willing to give him to speak on the floor if he voted with us,' Simpson said. "

One thing that you can be sure of is that the Dean endoresment has been calculated by Gore as offering the best chance for a future Gore presidency. I can't see Gore as aspiring to anything less and I don't see him as ever taking a step like this unless he figures that he'll benefit by it personally. And big Al doesn't mind stabbing a loyal (political) friend in the back in the process - hey, Lieberman can't help Al get to be president anymore so screw him.

Goldberg notes that "...it underscores how unserious Al Gore has become on the war on terrorism." My question is when was Al Gore ever serious about it?

Or maybe the better question is - Has Al Gore ever held serious convictions about anything other than becoming president?

Monday, December 08, 2003


Recently a Steven Den Beste commentary on an essay by Wretchard of The Belmont Club entitled "The Three Conjectures" sparked some debate among Clueless readers. The essay in question concerned the possibility of a nuclear attack on an American city and the possible responses by the United States.

One of Den Beste's readers wrote: "Though I often disagree with you, I enjoy your posts?they are thoughtful and provocative. But, sitting in my apartment in Tehran, I can?t help but oscillate between despondency and amusement these days. Do you not see what?s happening to you folks out in the yonder lands? Debating ?final solution? are we? Mass murder in a cool, collected way? Killing over a billion, or is it perhaps just a few hundred million? Nuking a city or two, or is it only just the vicinity of a large metropolitan area? Issuing ultimatums to the world to take sides between mass murderers in ties or those with rags on their heads? Even here where passions run high and surrounded as we are by a bunch of religious bigots, I don?t hear discussions framed quite that way."

But we get ahead of ourselves...Wretchard's "Three Conjectures" are as follows"

1. Terrorism has lowered the nuclear threshold
2. Attaining WMDs will destroy Islam
3. The War on Terror is the "Golden Hour" -- the final chance

I can find little fault with Wretchard's conclusions. To paraphrase he states that radical Islam is intent on destroying America (since conversion of it to Islam is impossible) and that the only reason that it has not done so is that it lacks the means. Further, he postulates that, should the Islamists acquire nuclear potential and use it that "uncontrollable escalation" ending in the destruction of Islam is guaranteed whether America retaliates massively or not.

Although, as Den Beste's reader points out, discussing such grim scenarios on a strictly intellectual basis ignores the moral question (namely: how far can a society go in defending itself before the defeat of its enemies becomes an evil greater than the one it purports to be fighting?), the scenario is one worth discussing if only to enlighten ourselves as to the seriousness of our current situation.

Unlike previous conflicts, America is not at war against a nation but rather an international coalition of like-minded zealots who have discovered how to inflict massive damage without the necessity of maintaining a military establishment of sufficient size to confront the United States directly. This makes retaliation against our enemies considerably more difficult. In a conventional war, if you destroy one of my cities it will result in the like destruction of one or more of your cities (if I have the capability to retaliate).

The concept of mutually assured destruction works as long as the enemy is certain of our ability to retaliate, our willingness to retaliate and the overwhelming devastation of the assumed retaliatory response. It has become evident that bin Laden judged America as lacking the resolve to fight once attacked; he also appears to have misjudged the actual destructive potential of his own attack although the surprise was for him a pleasant one. So the fear of a massive retaliation against his own forces and perhaps Islam in general did not deter bin Laden from attacking us.

However, it is more than just his miscalculation that America could be deterred by potential or actual military casualties that emboldened bin Laden and his followers to attack New York and Washington. Philosophically they value the destruction of the "enemies" of Islam above any life including their own; therefore, the number of Islamic victims of an American retaliatory strike that would be "acceptable" before they are deterred from further attacks is much higher than in the West where the life of each individual is more highly valued (or where religious philosophy does not promote mass murder as a tool for "converting" the "unfaithful"). Further, the decentralization of the organization and it's ability infiltrate the open societies of America and Europe without excessive surveillance allows the terrorist leadership to escape a massive knock-out blow that would be the fate of any nation that engaged in similar activities. One cannot kill the patient in an attempt to destroy the cancer.

Since nuclear retaliation as a deterrent is not useful against the Islamists, Wretchard is correct - the nuclear threshold has been lowered. The use of a nuclear weapon against an Western city would elicit a drastic response but the terrorist network would survive a counterattack in the short-term.

To disagree with the second conjecture one must first conclude that the Islamists would not use WMDs should they acquire them. You might argue this point but the weight of the evidence suggests that the mere fact that American casualties would increase exponentially over previous terrorist attacks would not be an issue. The philosophy that blesses the brainwashing of teenagers to serve as human bombs cannot reasonably be expected to prohibit the murder of, say, 100,000 enemies of "allah" at once. The Palestinian reaction to 9/11 is instructive in this regard - would that reaction have been different if the attack had been more destructive? I doubt it.

If we assume that Islamists will use WMD (and for the purposes of this discussion nuclear weapons) should they attain the capability of repeatable attack then does this necessarily end with the destruction of Islam? What Wretchard and Den Beste both argue is that once that Rubicon is crossed the American response and counter responses by the Islamic terror groups and Middle Eastern countries will inexorably lead to the devastation of Islam. And Wretchard maintains that the destruction will occur whether the American response is nuclear or not - if not, he hypothesizes, the Islamists will continue to use their capability to push other powers in the region (Russia, Israel, Britain, France) until one of them ultimately "pushes the button" or in struggles against other Middle Eastern countries (Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan) or India until the cataclysmic event occurs.

In the medium term, the only avenues for obtaining the capability would be through the old Soviet republics, Pakistan, Iran or North Korea. Of course, before the American invasion of Iraq there was the possibility that, once the sanctions were removed, the Iraqis would continue their nuclear research and join the others in potential threat. It is possible, though unlikely, that Al-Qaida has nuclear weapons now - it is certain that they are attempting to procure and/or produce them.

What if, for example, a ship containing a nuclear device was detonated in a major
U.S. port
such as New York. I am not an expert at such things as the destructiveness of nuclear weapons or disaster response, but it is possible to reasonably speculate about the consequences of such an event (and the possibility of this scenario occurring worries "experts" as noted in the link).

The consequences would reach far beyond the grim reality of tens of thousand s (perhaps more than 100 thousand) dead and terminally ill New Yorkers. The health care system and emergency responders would be overwhelmed. The nerve center of the world's financial markets would go dark.

Without question all vessels headed toward American ports would be ordered to return to their originating ports unless carrying essential supplies (in which case the Coast Guard and Navy would probably inspect them a safe distance off shore). World trade would grind to a halt. Import and travel businesses would be unable to function; commercial airlines would go under. A global depression would not be out of the question as it would take years to improve the security situation to allow pre-attack levels of shipping in US harbors.

Den Beste speculated that the American political response would be to issue an ultimatum to the world demanding 1) that any regimes that have nuclear weapons and cannot, in our opinion be trusted (North Korea, Iran, Pakistan?), must surrender those weapons 2) that all nations fully and completely cooperate with us in apprehending the attackers, preventing future attacks and cut off any aid to terrorist groups and 3) that the consequences of failure to cooperate would result in the annihilation of the offending country. This is where his critic (I believe) accused him of discussing "mass murder in a cool, collected way".

I guarantee you that there were a lot of people in this country that thought World War III had been started on September 11, 2001 and that many of them would have supported an immediate nuclear response had we known for certain the origin of the attacks. As we saw the towers burning and then crashing to the ground those discussions were circulating around TV sets across the nation - I know because I heard a couple of them (and lest you pass it off as some redneck Texans overdosing on testosterone the people involved in the conversation I heard were very well educated). Obviously, that sort of response would have been a mistake in the case of 9/11 - but how much stronger and how much more widespread do you think the sentiment would be if there were to be a nuclear 9/11?

If this scenario were to occur, I believe that the United States would indeed round up nuclear materials from irresponsible governments and essentially call for the unconditional surrender of those states who we know to have been sponsors of terrorists - Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, and Iran among others. Surrender is the only thing you could call it since we would demand that they open up their governments to interrogation from our intelligence and military personnel. The only way we could enforce such an ultimatum would be with the threat of a nuclear response - a devastated US mainland would be hard pressed to gather a significant enough army to fight the all the Islamic nations at once and it is doubtful that the public would accept the casualties when other means would make them unnecessary.

The "War on Terror" therefore is "The Golden Hour" as Wretchard states in the third conjecture. The consequences of being unsuccessful in destroying terrorist networks and their state sponsors would be destruction on a wide scale both in the United States and the Middle East. Islam would be devastated, the United States would take decades to recover and the world economy would be shaken to its foundations.

Discussing such scenarios enables us to understand the urgency of success in the "War on Terror". It also points up the danger in using the deaths of American troops in Iraq as the slimy, moron Dennis "the Menace" Kucinich has recently done (thanks LGF). Attempting to subvert our efforts in Iraq by disseminating lies about the reasons for invading ("Halliburton", etc.) gives ammunition to the allies of our enemies and may actually encourage further attacks by once again underscoring American aversion to casualties regardless of the cause.

This idiotic sniping at Bush is not helpful to the cause of the United States. Criticism of the occupation can be patriotic as long as the intention of the critic is to improve US policy and make the transition to a free, democratic, stable Iraq more rapid; if it is done to score political points it is irresponsible and dangerous. And yes, I do question Dennis Kucinich's patriotism, because based on the content of his campaign, it is obvious that he doesn't have any.

This war is not over by a long shot. We are not guaranteed victory. But as Den Beste to told his Iranian critic - one thing we will not do is give up....that is never, ever going to happen.


Damian Penny calls Chomsky's bullshit (hat tip Andrew Sullivan).:

"Strictly speaking, Chomsky didn't predict a 'silent genocide'. He said it was already happening.

As you can see, he basically pulled 'the slaughter of 3-4 million people' out of his ass, with just a casual reference to a New York Times story which made no such claim. And now, two years later, he's trying to disown his dire predictions and say other people misled him. I call that cowardice."

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