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Senate Republicans appear to be about ready to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq. Just as the nascent Iraqi government starts to get up a head of steam in anticipation of next month’s elections, some “nervous Nellies” who worry about what the New York Times says about them appear to be willing to play the surrender card:

In a sign of increasing unease among Congressional Republicans over the war in Iraq, the Senate is to consider on Tuesday a Republican proposal that calls for Iraqi forces to take the lead next year in securing the nation and for the Bush administration to lay out its strategy for ending the war.

The proposal on the Iraq war, from Senator Bill Frist, the majority leader, and Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, would require the administration to provide extensive new quarterly reports to Congress on subjects like progress in bringing in other countries to help stabilize Iraq. The other appeals related to Iraq are nonbinding and express the position of the Senate.

It isn’t just that this is the absolute worst time for Senate Republicans to turn into jellyfish on the war. It is their pathetic belief that this will somehow shield them from criticism or lessen their association with the War in Iraq in any way. Surely they don’t believe it will have any affect on the White House. In which case, they are directing their concerns toward the Iraqi people and government. In fact, this is the primary reason they are giving for this surrender:

Mr. Warner said the underlying message was, “we really mean business, Iraqis, get on with it.” The senator, an influential party voice on military issues, said he did not interpret the wording of his plan as critical of the administration, describing it as a “forward-looking” approach.

“It is not a question of satisfaction or dissatisfaction,” he said. “This reflects what has to be done.”

Democrats said the plan represented a shift in Republican sentiment on Iraq and was an acknowledgment of growing public unrest with the course of the war and the administration’s frequent call for patience. “I think it signals the fact that the American people are demanding change, and the Republicans see that that’s something that they have to follow,” said Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader.

Well, Frist and Co. walked into that one, didn’t they? When Harry Reid says your on the side of the angels and that “the American people are demanding change” it begs the question: why not just throw in the towel now instead of waiting until next November?

By realizing Democratic talking points on the war, the Republican majority may just have taken an irrevocable step toward becoming the Republican minority.

As for the Iraqi government, here’s my friend AJ at Strata-Sphere:

A democratic and free Iraq does not take orders from doddling old fools in the US Senate. Who is being imperialistic now? And how about playing the Vietnam card.

Only a nitwit believes that the Iraqi government isn’t desperate to get rid of US troops and have their own army take control in fighting the insurgency. I daresay that any Iraqi politician coming out and saying that he likes anything about American troops patrolling his country – not to mention having those troops under American command and living in places where there is no Iraqi sovereignty – will not receive many votes at the polls. The fact is that Iraqi politicians are smarter than most Senators. At least in Iraq, the politicians are bright enough not to hand their opponents an election winning issue. The major political parties are all in support of getting Americans out as fast as possible. Why the “doddering old fools” in the Senate believe otherwise is a mystery.

The Administration will shrug off this nonsense as well it should. But the damage done to Republican Senators will evidence itself next November as I suspect several of their number will not be joining them when the next Congress convenes in January, 2007.


Hugh Hewitt has a similar take:

The proposed Senate resolution is an unmistakable vot-of-no-confidence in the Adminsitration, and the best gift the United States Senate could give Zarqawi and his terrorist ranks. It is almost incomprehensible that Senate Republicans could see this in any other fashion.

By: Rick Moran at 6:21 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (15)

Virtual Fret Noise linked with A comity of errors, choice vs. echo dept.
Small Town Veteran linked with Just Exactly What We DON'T Need
Error Theory linked with Rally the Veto! Stop the GOP surrender!
The Right Nation linked with Tuesday Night Round-Up
The Glittering Eye linked with Iraq and the 90% Rule
Irish Pennants linked with Hugh Hewitt is mad at Senate Republicans
Macmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense linked with Time to take out the Republican Trash!
The Shape of Days linked with Election-year politics isn’t always a bad thing

It appears that Congress is about to finally take the lead and clarify the legal status of detainees who have been languishing at Guantanamo and other sites around the world in a kind of legal limbo that has been both a blot on American jurisprudence and an invitation for criticism from the international community:

A bipartisan group of senators reached a compromise yesterday that would dramatically alter U.S. policy for treating captured terrorist suspects by granting them a final recourse to the federal courts but stripping them of some key legal rights.

The compromise links legislation written by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), which would deny detainees broad access to federal courts, with a new measure authored by Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) that would grant detainees the right to appeal the verdict of a military tribunal to a federal appeals court. The deal will come to a vote today, and the authors say they are confident it will pass.

The measure will not go far enough to appease liberals who want to treat the foreign terrorists like law abiding American citizens. And it will almost certainly trouble some conservatives who wish that the prisoners be thrown into a black hole to rot. But the compromise will solve the bureaucratic tangle that has existed between the Department of Justice and the Department of Defense who, for different reasons, have wished for such clarifying language.

One potential stumbling block is the insistence by both Senators Graham and Levin on linkage between their bill and a bill introduced by Senator John McCain that prohibits torture:

Graham and Levin indicated they would then demand that House and Senate negotiators link their measure with the effort by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to clearly ban torture and abuse of terrorism suspects being held in U.S. facilities.

“McCain’s amendment needs to be part of the overall package, because it deals with standardizing interrogation techniques and will reestablish moral high ground for the United States,” Graham said.

McCain’s bill is almost certainly drawn too broadly as evidenced by opposition voiced by Vice President Cheney who wished to exempt the CIA from its provisions. However, if a way can be found to satisfy the Administration’s legitimate concerns while still standardizing interrogation techniques, a significant victory for the rule of law will have been achieved.

It has been a national disgrace that the detainees have been held these past 3 years with their legal status up in the air. The situation was complicated unnecessarily last year when the courts ruled that detainees had a right to a hearing on their status. The resulting flood of motions – both frivolous and serious – became a nightmare for the Justice Department and DoD who had been asking Congress to clarify what rights the detainees had in this unique legal situation. The fact that both the Administration and the Republican Congress took their own sweet time in addressing the issue only gave our international foes an opening in the propaganda war.

The compromise neatly addresses the concerns of DoD in that intelligence gained from interrogations as well as the way certain information on individual terrorists was obtained either through “National Technical Means” (eavesdropping, spy satellites, etc.) or through informants will not be used in open court by activist lawyers seeking to undermine our intelligence capabilities in the War on Terror. The bill will also give the Justice Department some guidance on how to proceed with the appeals process. And incorporating some form of the McCain bill will standardize the the Army Field Manual techniques for interrogating prisoners thus putting the nation on record that it opposes the kind of interrogations that have led to more than 400 investigations by DoD into accusations of abuse with 230 determinations that have resulted in either reprimands or court martials.

All parties involved – the Administration, and the Departments of Justice and Defense – are taking a wait and see attitude toward the bill:

An administration official briefed on the compromise said yesterday that so far, neither the Justice Department nor the Defense Department nor the White House has seen a complete package to support, although there are elements to back.

Neither Congress nor the administration wants a veto fight. That dynamic is pushing the drive for a deal that will satisfy both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.

If satisfactory language can be found in a compromise on McCain’s bill, the Congress will have made a start toward rectifying a hazy legal situation as well as a stain on America’s honor. There are still issues to resolved including the practice of “rendition” which sends some detainees to countries that practice torture as well as the recent revelations about CIA prisons that are not subject to Congressional oversight. But this bill could become the start of a power sharing arrangement on detainees between the executive and legislative branches of government, something in the interests of the country and the people.


Here’s a fascinating “Tale of Two Cities.” The Captain disagrees with my position on the Senate bill to define detainee rights:

It depends on the manner of the capture of these detainees as to whether they should have access to federal court and how much jurisdiction those courts should be given. Those captured in open battle against American troops, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan, should have none. We do not want to treat battlefield captures as arrests, and have defense attorneys issuing subpoenas to American soldiers for courtroom testimony.

Actually, I think the compromise takes care of the Captain’s concerns. The appeal will come after they have been adjudicated by the military so no courtroom testimony will be forthcoming. Instead, the detainee will have a judge review both his status and sentence – a measure that could protect the innocent as well as American intelligence practices.

Ed also calls it “the best retrieval possible of a bad situation.” I agree although I see it more as a start toward Congressional oversight of the entire detainee situation which is long past due.

By: Rick Moran at 5:27 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (4)


Courtesy of Michelle Malkin, we have a preview of the President’s remarks at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska in which he inches closer to calling out Democrats by name who are accusing him falsely of lying about pre-war Iraq intel:

Reasonable people can disagree about the conduct of the war –­ but it is irresponsible for Democrats to now claim that we misled them and the American people. Leaders in my Administration and members of Congress from both parties looked at the same intelligence on Iraq –­ and reached the conclusion that Saddam Hussein was a threat. Let me give you quotes from three senior Democrats: First, quote, “There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons.” End quote. Here’s another one, quote, “The war against terrorism will not be finished as long as [Saddam Hussein] is in power.” End quote. And here’s the way another Democratic leader summed it up, quote, “Saddam Hussein, in effect, has thumbed his nose at the world community. And I think that the President’s approaching this in the right fashion.”

An excellent tactic. The President is leaving it to the press to put a name with those quotes which still leaves him somewhat above the fray. I daresay Senator Rockefeller is probably spending an uncomfortable evening as he is almost certainly the author of the first quote (as quoted here by the Captain). Rockefeller is also quoted in that article as disavowing his Iraq vote saying he’s “not respsonsible.” This is another vein that the President should be mining; the furious backtracking by Democratic politicians on their votes to go to war.

In fact, the two avenues of attack are interconnected. Apparently, the Democrats are trying to argue that the only reason they voted to go to war was that they were misled and lied to by the President. By knocking the chocks from underneath one argument, their whole rationale for the attack falls apart. The President and Republicans running next year should be able to pose the question: Are the Democrats dummies or liars?

Unfortunately, the new found combativeness on the part of the President probably comes a little too late to do him much good. The most recent poll shows the President’s trustworthiness tanking along with the belief that the war was worth it. So while not changing many minds about the President ((only events on the ground in Iraq could do that) by giving the lie to the Democrats scurrilous charges, it should help Republicans in both 2006 and 2008.

Meanwhile, on a related note, there are two articles you should read that make cogent arguments about the President and the war. John Cole has a superior piece about Jay Rockefeller’s disingenuousness while the Good Doctor Sanity has an outstanding article on Bush Derangement Syndrome (that should drive any moonbats who read it absolutely batty).

By: Rick Moran at 7:41 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (22)

Don Surber linked with GOP Goes After Weathervane Hawks
Sister Toldjah linked with Keep driving these points home, Mr. Prez
Small Town Veteran linked with Bush Continues To Counter-Attack
Flopping Aces linked with Bush Keeps On Attacking
Michelle Malkin linked with BUSH BATTLES BACK, ROUND II

In January, 2004 President Bush outlined his goals for the future of manned space flight. He proposed decommissioning the aging shuttle fleet by 2010 and replacing it by 2014 with a newer, more up to date spacecraft that would be able to not only service the Space Station but also return man to the moon by 2020.

Recently, NASA has fleshed out those proposals with some specifics. And judging by some of the plans, NASA will have a difficult time trying to both meet a budgetary requirement of $104 billion over 12 years as well as bringing the systems on line in the time period specified.

The new manned vehicle system will be, as NASA Administrator Mike Griffin joked, “an Apollo on steroids.” Using the same solid fuel rocket used by the Space Shuttle, the agency will plunk a capsule capable of carrying four astronauts on top and blast it into space. Immediately prior to the liftoff of the crew capsule, NASA will launch another, much larger unmanned rocket carrying fuel, food, and other supplies. This rocket will use both the Shuttle’s huge main engine as well as two solid rocket boosters – the same configuration used to get the Shuttle space-borne. The two ships will rendezvous and dock in low earth orbit and then execute a controlled rocket burn that will blast them toward the moon.

Once in lunar orbit, all four astronauts will descend to the surface leaving an empty crew capsule circling the moon. After a stay of 4-7 days (initially), the crew will ascend to dock with the capsule in lunar orbit and then power back to earth, re-entering the atmosphere using heat shield technology that’s been around since the Mercury program, and end up making a soft landing (on the White House lawn if whoever is President could arrange it, I’m sure.)

There are several interesting aspects to this mission profile that are in its favor. First, we don’t have to invent a lot of stuff. Most of what we will be using is “off the shelf” proven technologies – at least for most of the dangerous aspects of the mission. Since plans call for re-using the capsule up to 10 times, it will have to be made of some pretty durable materials. The solid rocket boosters – redesigned after the Challenger disaster – are reliable and relatively inexpensive. The Shuttle’s main engine will undergo some modifications using some of the technology used on the original moon rocket, the Saturn V. The new configuration will be able to generate up to 6 million pounds of thrust which would be necessary to lift the supplies of food, oxygen, fuel, and the lunar lander into low earth orbit. And while it may seem quaint and old fashioned to use a heat shield, as Griffin pointed out, the physics of the atmosphere hasn’t changed much recently.

The heat shield ablates the tremendous heat that builds up during re-entry by literally falling apart. As the temperatures reach several thousand degrees, the hottest parts of the shield fall off in layers thus keeping the astronauts from burning up. The heat shield will be the only element of the capsule that will need to be replaced for every mission.

Earlier this year, NASA Administrator Griffin proposed an accelerated timetable for the new crew exploration vehicle, moving up the proposed launch of the new system from 2012 to 2010. The first several missions would take place in low earth orbit to test out the system with plans calling for a lunar mission sometime around 2018.

This ambitious timetable is a good goal but would seem to be unrealistic. Every major project undertaken by NASA in the past has taken longer to develop than anticipated and cost more than was originally thought. Why should we think they can suddenly get things right on the new crew exploration vehicle?

Secondly, it is doubtful NASA’s current level of funding will be increased in any meaningful way. This means that in order to achieve the goal of landing on the moon by 2018, NASA will have to devote nearly 2/3 of its budget to a lunar mission. The agency is going to be in hot water with the scientific community who have their own plans for big projects including the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST), a hugely important but ruinously expensive scientific instrument. There are also unmanned missions on the board for landers on Mars as well as another Jupiter mission to explore the strange, icy Jovian moon Europa that may have a liquid ocean underneath miles of ice which could harbor life.

These missions as well as others would have to be stretched out or canceled altogether in order for NASA to get back to the moon without a substantial increase in its budget. And given the size of the budget deficit as well as a general resistance on the part of lawmakers to spend extra money on space extravaganzas, it would seem to be a long shot to achieve the goal of a moon landing even by 2020.

Where does this leave NASA in its desire to get back to the moon much less go on to Mars? Interestingly, elements in the new moon program would have direct application for missions to Mars:

These plans give NASA a huge head start in getting to Mars. We will already have the heavy-lift system needed to get there, as well as a versatile crew capsule and propulsion systems that can make use of Martian resources. A lunar outpost just three days away from Earth will give us needed practice of “living off the land” away from our home planet, before making the longer trek to Mars.

The propulsion systems of the lunar craft will be powered by methane. The reason for that relates to one of the more remarkable exercises in citizen lobbying in the history of the United States.

Dr. Robert Zubrin, an engineer formerly with Lockheed-Martin had been an advocate for more than a decade of the “Mars Direct” proposal. He and a group of like minded enthusiasts pushed the notion that a trip to Mars could be done a lot cheaper if we didn’t have to carry fuel for the return flight 48 million miles. Why not launch a factory to Mars to make the fuel before people even got there?

This is possible because of the chemistry of the Martian atmosphere. By sucking in the Martian “air” which is mostly carbon dioxide (CO2), such a factory equipped with a relatively small amount of hydrogen and using technology that’s more than 100 years old, could turn the carbon dioxide into both water (H2O) and methane (CH4). By saving the weight of lifting off from earth with the 200,000 lbs of fuel it would take to return safely from Mars, an enormous cost savings is achieved – around $1,500 per lb.

Zubrin’s book A Case for Mars was a national best seller. It also contained other ideas including the novel approach of holding a contest (with a $5 billion dollar prize) to see which company could develop a Mars rover.

At first, NASA was dismissive of Zubrin’s ideas. But it must have gradually dawned on the bureaucrats that the plans that they had come up with were both extraordinarily expensive and technologically unfeasible. Zubrin and his fellow Mars enthusiasts almost single handedly changed the corporate culture at NASA to include some elements of their Mars Direct proposals.

This opens the question as to why we should go back to the moon in the first place. Why not go to Mars and then straight on till morning?

The Apollo program to the moon was a massive undertaking. It was the largest construction project in human history, dwarfing the cost in money and manpower of the pyramids, the Panama Canal, the Aswan Dam, and the Pentagon combined. It is estimated that nearly 500,000 human hands were laid on the Saturn V rocket, the Apollo capsule, and the service module prior to liftoff. Nearly 25% of all the hours worked on the project were in the form of unpaid overtime. In today’s dollars, the cost of the moon landing would be over $130 billion. These monies were spent over a 7 year period not the 15 years proposed for spending the $104 billion it would take to get back to the moon by 2020.

But if we are going to spend the money, we may as well do it right. There’s no overwhelming national security reason for going to Mars. Let’s face it; Mars isn’t going anywhere. If we can learn things by living and working on the moon, extracting its natural resources, including probably water in the form of subsurface ice deposits, the hazardous trip to Mars would then make sense. In fact, it may prove less expensive in the long run to actually build a ship to Mars on the moon rather than earth. With 1/6 the gravity of earth, a Mars mission taking off from the moon may prove to be cheaper in the long run.

All of this means a tinkers damn unless NASA can get its act together and build a reliable crew exploration vehicle and make the new booster configurations work. If NASA fails in this regard, then humans are probably going to have to rely on consortium’s of government and industry to do the job that NASA at one time was unparalleled in doing; sending a man to the moon and returning him safely to earth.

By: Rick Moran at 2:16 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (2)

Conservative Cat linked with Carnival of the Vicious, Invading Paleface Bastards #7


Who will wear the “Cluebat of the Week” laurels?

Certainly there has been enough cluelessness exhibited by Republicans this week as a group of Republican Congressmen decided that the American people don’t really care about high gas prices. So they felt perfectly at ease in voting to kill (temporarily we hope) the provision in the budget bill that authorizes drilling for oil in the Arctic – ANWR. Rather than mitigate the high prices by finding more oil – not to mention lessening our dependence on the kleptocracies of the Middle East – these bozos care more about caribou than humans. Of course, drilling in ANWR wouldn’t harm the caribou one iota but that fact seems to have escaped our clueless faux conservatives.

Then there was Harry Reid implying that Vice President Cheney is a traitor. My view on that goes something like “Takes one to know one…” Par for the course.

Pat Robertson got a few votes this week for acting like a Notre Dame cheerleader and trying to “shake down the thunder from the sky” on the people of Dover, Pennsylvania for not being loony enough to let ID be taught in science class. But like Harry Reid, this is par for the course for Robertson. In order for either of those two worthies to receive Cluebat of the Week, they will have to do something more outrageous than that.

Ditto the French who arrested some policeman this week for being mean to rioters who were shooting at them. ‘Nuff said.

We do have a winner this week. Despite overwhelming evidence that the world is round, Mary Mapes continues to insist that it is as flat as the brim of your hat. She also believes that the infamous TANG memos could be real which puts in her the same company as little children who believe in Santa Claus and Democrats who believe putting government on the case solves anything. While we know that since she is a liberal she believes the latter, perhaps someone should ask if she believes the former?

Congratulations, Mary! Let us know if you and O.J. Simpson find out who murdered Nicole, eh?

Lot’s of numbskulls and jaw droppers this week. Start clicking!

Stupidity’s the deliberate cultivation of ignorance.
(William Gaddis)

Hey Bill! I see that you’ve been talking to the “Bush Lied” crowd!

Ferdy the Cat shows why Jacques Chirac is acting like a French poodle in dealing with the riots by Muslims which have now entered their third week. Being a superior life form, Ferdy is disgusted.

Fred Fry gives an impassioned defense of rationalism in the Evolution vs ID debate. He also shows how some Christians can be more than un-Christianlike when dealing with those who disagree with them.

Feisty Republican Whore is back in our little neighborhood, walking the streets in search of the truly clueless. Looks like she’s propositioned Pat Robertson. For Pat, when we talk about a “woody” we are referring to the empty vessel that sits on top of his shoulders.

Miriam bemoans the decline in math skills in the state of Louisiana – especially in the legislature. What do you get when you subtract $500,000 from the State’s budget? The answer is “no savings.” Go figure.

Those playful pachyderms at Elephants in Academia apply their considerable brainpower to a 1st class fisking of Senator Carl Levin.

The GaijinBiker at Riding Sunwas idly wondering what was missing from coverage of the French riots. Turns out it was the “blame Bush” meme. Looks like Biker-son spoke a little too early.

Rachel at the excellent blog Tinkerty Tonk has a real jaw dropper about how a homeowner got into trouble with the envirowhackos on Marthas Vineyard for building a barbecue in an environmentally sensitive area. The reason they built it? For a party honoring environut Robert Kennedy, Jr.

Et Tu Blog has some comments about Dan Rather returning to CBS 60 Minutes broadcast. I’m sure there are several jokes somewhere in there but for the moment, I’ll just let you retrieve your tongue that was probably scraping the floor after you read that.

Iris blog proves conclusively that the French riots are an Intifada and not just girls gone crazy in Paris as the MSM seems to want us to believe.

AJ at The Strata-Sphere has a news flash. There was a study released this week showing that “There is more sex on TV.” Really? Who is more clueless; the people at the Kaiser Family Foundation who actually paid money to discover this earth shattering fact or AP who believed such idiocy was newsworthy?

From the “Omigod” Department, Soccer Dad reveals the total cluelessness of the New York Times when it comes to analyzing the motives of Iran’s “reasonable” President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Of course, the Times believes that liberals are “reasonable” also which just goes to show that one should never drink and try to write commentary at the same time.

Here’s your dose of Carnival satire this week. The Nose on Your Face gives us the rioters in France earning accolades: “ exhausted but proud group of young Muslim participants awoke to discover that they had been named honorary United States sports fans.” And Mr. Right got a hold of an advance copy of a new poll to be conducted regarding President Bush. First question: What is your sex?

a) Male.
b) Female.
c) Transgendered.
d) Hermaphrodite.
e) Eunich.
f) Paid professional.
g) Self-serve only.

Read it all.

Random Yak gives us a brand new gold standard by which to measure cluelessness; The “Yak of the Week.” The inaugural award goes to his local high school principal for conduct becoming a truly clueless adult.

Will Franklin has the skinny on another reason the Republicans might lose the Senate next year; inadequate fund raising by the National Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee (NRSC). While their counterparts in the Republican party have been burying the Democrats in fund raising totals, the NSRC lags behind the Democrats. Thank you Libby Dole.

It Should Be Noted blog has a maddening piece on Forbes magazine publishing a “how to” on how to fight back against blogs. We are the blogs. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.

Kender gives us an in depth analysis of the French model of socialism. Funny how it appears to be the same model as every other socialist state except that no one else has Jacques Chirac ruining their countries.

Below the Beltway takes on the heady task of fisking Charles Krauthammer. Doug proves he knows what he’s talking about while Krauthammer doesn’t.

The Maryhunter believes that “Old Europe” is unraveling before our eyes. Excellent analysis along with the usual pithiness from TMH.

Lovely Pamela wants to “kill the messenger” who brings us news that it was Bush’s fault that Zarqawi and his Band of Merry Beheaders bombed Jordan. Would it help the MSM if they mentioned how gorgeous you are?

Raven has the scoop on PETA’s latest cluelessness. It seems that the moonbats are trying to make the point that “addiction to poultry” will make one susceptible to Bird Flu. You heard me.

Too bad they don’t put Van Helsing in charge of things in France. He’d have those riots stopped in a jiffy. The answer? Why, affirmative action, of course!

Josh Cohen has a piece on how some school systems are teaching them early. I wonder what they call this particular course of study; Moonbat 101?

Jay has “Top Ten Reasons to Stop the ACLU.” I sympathize with his dilemma – how do you whittle the list down to 10?

Adam from Adam’s Blog has some “Random Acts of Coolness.” Um…maybe he sent this to the wrong Carnival?

Pat Curley calls out the left on their charge that the press actually favors President Bush. Pat misunderstood. They were not talking about life in this universe but rather a parallel universe where up is down white is black, and reporters are all conservative Republicans.

Mark Coffey shakes and bakes the most clueless professional athlete around. Terrel Owens is a dick. And the only one who rivals the clueless Mr. Owen is his agent Drew Rosenhaus.

Reidblog has Pat Robertson’s latest sermon. I wonder what God thinks of someone who is always wanting to put lightening bolts in His hand?

Resistance is Futile has some snarky comments about pharmacies on his law school campus selling drug precursors for meth labs. You know the war on drugs is idiocy when sick people are made into criminals for just trying to get better.

Finally, here’s my take on Mary Mapes in Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary.

By: Rick Moran at 11:07 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (21)

albergo lugano linked with albergo lugano
Watcher of Weasels linked with Weekly Roundup of Weekly Roundups
Just Some Poor Schmuck linked with How Do They Keep It So Short?
Random Yak linked with It's Carnival Time!
Multiple Mentality linked with Carnivalized!
Adam's Blog linked with Adam's Random Acts of Coolness #1
Blog Carnival linked with Blog Carnival index: CARNIVAL OF THE CLUELESS #21
Below The Beltway linked with Carnival Sunday
Don Surber linked with Right Wing Nut House hosts Carnival of the Clueless
Decision '08 linked with Weekly Jackass Number Forty-Nine: The Rev. Jesse Jackson
Stop The ACLU linked with Sunday Funnies
CATEGORY: Politics

After months of absorbing the hammer blows of his political enemies regarding pre-war Iraq intel, the Bush Administration abandoned its “rope-a-dope” strategy and came out swinging:

“It is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began,” Bush said as he used a Veterans Day address here to lash out at critics. “These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America’s will.” Democrats retaliated with a barrage of statements accusing the president of skewing the facts, just as they maintain he did in the run-up to the invasion of March 2003.

Although the two sides have long skirmished over the war, the sharp tenor Friday resembled an election-year campaign more than a policy disagreement. In a rare move, Bush in his speech took a direct swipe at last year’s opponent, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), while the White House issued an unusual campaign-style memo attacking Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.). Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman followed with a speech blistering 10 Democrats for “political doublespeak.”

The problem with the “rope-a-dope” strategy – where the boxer hangs on the ropes allowing his opponent to exhaust himself by throwing too many punches – is that it doesn’t work in politics in the media age. The sad fact for the President and, by extension, the United States of America, is that the Big Lie about pre-war Iraq intel has had a huge head start to get established in the public mind. This makes Democratic counterattacks seem reasonable in that by continuing to repeat the lies, they appear to be still on the offensive . As usual, Goldstein opens the wrapper and reveals the nougat center of the candy bar:

Let’s hope this augurs the beginning of a strong and concerted administration pushback against the scurrilous charges being leveled by many of his political opponents. Pointedly, Bush used the term “some Democrats” to label those opponents—a designation that I believe is important, because it signals that the partisan gloves are about to come off, and that Democratic leaders who have been making strong public accusations questioning the honesty and good faith of the administration (I’m looking at you Harry and Howard and Nancy) are about to be forcefully challenged on those claims.

This also gets to the question of credibility. Because the Administration has allowed itself to be used as a punching bag on so many issues – Iraq, Katrina response, Plamegate to name a couple – Bush’s approval ratings have dropped like a stone along with the question of whether or not people both trust and believe him. Right now, it appears that outside of his base Republican support of around 40-45% of the electorate, Bush has overwhelmingly lost the confidence of the 20-25% of centrists. And unless the Administration puts on a full court press over the next 12 months, they may find themselves in real danger of losing control of the Senate in 2006, although the House of Representatives is probably secure.

Losing the Senate would be a disaster for the Republicans. With Harry Reid as Majority Leader, very little of the people’s business would get done. Instead, Democratic committee chairmen would be hauling Administration witnesses before their committees as fake “investigations” would proliferate like moonbats at a Cindy Sheehan campout. Before you could say “No blood for oil,” Haliburton execs would be in the Senatorial dock listening as Democrats asked questions like “How many times a day do you beat your wife?”

Mark Noonan:

It was more than past time that the President called the critics out on their lies – sick and cruel lies; lies which merely encourage the enemy to kill more people, including more American soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. There is not the slightest truth in the anti-war criticism – each and every assertion they have made about pre-war intelligence and the course of the war in Iraq has been false from the start. I am sick and tired of it – and I’m glad that the President is sick and tired of it.

While Mark is correct in his assertion that there is not truth in the left’s criticism of how pre-war Iraq intel was handled, I must part company with Mr. Noonan when he talks about criticism of “the course of the war” in the same breath. Clearly, there is much to criticize and critique regarding the Administration’s plans and actions following the fall of Saddam. If there was a modicum of good faith from the left, their criticisms in this regard may have even been seen as helpful. As it stands, railing against the President for not having enough troops on the ground or for our detention policies, or for how we underestimated the strength of the insurgency rings hollow when coming from people whose intent is not to the improve the situation but to bring down the President.

Along those lines, Tigerhawk has a fascinating post about the proper role of criticism in a time of what he terms a “limited” war:

Assuming, arguendo, that anti-war dissent does give aid and comfort to the enemy (I discuss why this must be so later in the post), are there types of dissent that more efficiently balance the benefit (robust public debate about a topic as momentous as the war) with the costs (the sending of signals that embolden the enemy and demoralize our own soldiers) than other types? If so, are these more efficient methods or arguments of dissent more moral or legitimate than methods or arguments that do little to advance the debate but do relatively more damage to the American war effort? These are the questions that interest me.

I’m not sure the concept of “limited” war is applicable in this case. The war is engaging most of the men and material in our military. It is perhaps “limited” as opposed to “total” war, but nevertheless it is defined this way because the President and the Administration have chosen to define it thusly.

I have on more than one occasion take the President to task for his abject failure in not only defending his policies but also repeating the rationale for going to war in the first place. To get bogged down at this point in defending how the decision to take the United States to war was made is indicative of the problems the Administration has with credibility. Of course, this would have been unnecessary if the Bush team had beaten down these scurrilous charges when they first started to gain traction in the aftermath of the election.

In effect, Bush has tried to fight this war by trying to keep it off the front pages and in the back of the American people’s minds. By not constantly defending his policies and shooting down conspiracy theories, he has allowed the Democrats to maintain the single most important advantage in any political campaign; they have been able to set the agenda for discussion based on their talking points. The question in most people’s minds isn’t did Bush lie but rather how much he lied.

I’m afraid this will make it virtually impossible for the President to make much of a dent in people’s attitude toward how we came to be involved in Iraq. This problem will fester until the last American combat troops leave.

By: Rick Moran at 8:35 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (21)

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A fading, sepia-tinged photograph of a man in an army uniform taken on his wedding day. A square face, not movie star handsome but pleasant to look at, high forehead, hair slicked back in the fashion of the day – a face wreathed in smiles and speaking Gaelic so Irish he looked. The pretty woman in the wedding dress, a flash of impossibly white teeth and shockingly jet black hair holding a bouquet of flowers in large, graceful hands. On her head, a veil worn by her grandmother whose husband was a postmaster in a tiny frontier town in South Dakota. Prairie stock, she. A clear sense of strength from both.

They had to be strong. They had both just navigated safely through the danger shoals of history and tragedy. A depression, a war, world shattering cataclysms that changed the politics and culture of the United States forever. The year 1945 was a year of national triumph. It was also a year of personal fulfillment as millions of ordinary Americans who had put on a uniform and become “citizen soldiers” in order to smash the ideologies of fascism and militarism unshouldered their patriotic burdens and were trying to get on with their interrupted lives.

It’s hard to tell from the picture if the sun was shining. But a special light shone from both their eyes. Clearly, they were in love, the kind of love that so many young lovers aspire to but rarely achieve – a deep, abiding commitment based on mutual respect and caring. And over the next 36 years they would share in the joys, the worries, the sorrows, and the mysteries of raising 10 children to adulthood, a remarkable achievement given that the odds said that their grandparents would not have been so fortunate. Infant mortality and a world without anti-biotics or vaccines against childhood killers like diphtheria or pertussis would have almost certainly taken one or two offspring 100 years ago.

This weekend those ten and their spouses are gathering to dedicate a recently purchased headstone that will forever mark where the mortal remains of Joseph T. Moran and Margaret L. Moran now lie a’rest in peace, their journey ended, the race won. They are coming from all over America; from both coasts, from the east and west, from north and south.

They are coming home.

In 1945, the GI’s who had rolled up the Nazi war machine and defeated the mad ambitions of the Japanese militarists were coming home to a different America than the one they had left just a few short years earlier. This was an America that even more so than today, stood astride the world like a colossus, unchallenged in military might and economic power. And it was a nation that in less than 4 years would, for the first time in the history of civilized man, voluntarily give up those military advantages in order to build something far more permanent and vital; a peaceful world safe for the children that the returning veterans were having in record numbers.

Joe and Margie Lou participated in the post war baby-boom with enthusiasm, having six children in the decade following the surrender of the Japanese aboard the USS Missouri (four more before the Kennedy assassination). Most of the men in our suburban Chicago neighborhood were also veterans and took part with eagerness in the business of baby-making. On our block alone there were families with 4, 6, 7, 9, and 11 children not counting the several “regular” families with only 2 or 3 kids. Summer days were filled with the sounds of squealing, laughing children, a cacophony of growing up noises, of jumping rope and ballgames and the endless babble of little girls and boys engaging in the mysterious, exciting process of becoming people.

It was amazing how lightly these conquerers of Europe and Asia wore their military experience, almost as if their time spent flying airplanes, driving tanks, or slogging through the jungles of Asia or the hedgerows in bocage country in France was a twice told tale, a happenstance of history that barely scraped the surface of their lives. One almost got the impression that these killers of Nazis and Japanese fanatics had to have been someone else, not these mild mannered suburban dads who quietly and without much fuss went about the business of building an America that their children would be happy in.

Joe made his living in the army jumping out of airplanes, an incongruity when one looks at pictures of him later in life and compare it to that picture taken on his wedding day. He was known as “Jumpin’ Joe” at the large corporation where he spent 35 years working to support his large family. And while he never spoke about his military experiences (to this day, I have no idea if he ever fired a shot in anger) the air of authority he exuded was noticed by all. Neighborhood children, while not fearful, were automatically on their best behavior around him – almost as if his presence demanded their attention and respect. When he walked into a roomful of playmates, a hush would descend on the group, a silent tribute to his confident bearing and what the French call a roulement de commande – a commanding presence.

It was this presence that probably represents the greatest gift the military gave him. Millions of young men who grew up in the depression had learned self-reliance. But it was the army that gave the farmer’s son from Minnesota or the mechanics boy from New York city the opportunity to command hundreds, sometimes thousands of men in life and death circumstances. Compared to the Philippines where he had been sent to fight, Joe must have thought being a corporate manager was a piece of cake.

It is also more than likely that the military instilled in him a sense of duty and honor above and beyond what his Irish parents and the Roman Catholic faith had taught him. The duty he had to his family was proven when, despite being accepted at one of the most prestigious writing schools in the country – the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University – he gave up a career in writing to get a job in the corporate world to support his growing family. Sacrifice is the essence of service whether it be to the army, to the country, or to one’s own family and both Joe and Margie Lou would sacrifice much in order to give their children a life free from want or cares.

But this Veterans Day as all ten of Joe and Margie Lou’s creations gather to remember them and laughingly reminisce about growing up in such a large, loud, and wickedly sharp family, I find my thoughts turning to honor. What makes a person honorable?

Surely it is devotion to those you love. And fealty to a set of principals that one follows even at the cost to one’s own comfort and ease. But it must also be the act of taking part selflessly in something larger than oneself, something bigger than the tiny corner of the world most of us inhabit.

I never served in the military. In my youth, such notions were considered “uncool.” Joe and Margie Lou, old fashioned liberals that they were, opposed the Viet Nam war and spent a good number of years worrying about the possibility that one of their precious creations would be drafted to serve in a conflict that both saw as a civil war and an immoral commitment by the United States to prop up a ruthless dictator. But during all those years when they were sweating out changes in the draft laws and the potential yanking of deferments for college students, I never once heard my father speak with bitterness about the military. He railed quite a bit against the stupidity of officers and the waste of men and material he had witnessed, but he never said a word to me that would have led me to believe that he thought the military was an evil institution.

Was it because deep down he knew what military service had done for him? How it had molded him to be a better man after he got out then when he went in? I like to think so. Having so many military friends while living in Washington, D.C. many years ago, I was struck by their sense of honor and duty toward the country and each other. Not that they made a point of wearing these virtues on their sleeves, but rather it was manifested in the way they approached life, as if everything they did mattered and had a purpose. This was Joe Moran. Whether he was showing me how to throw a curveball or teaching me how one goes about making an important, life altering decision (“Draw a line down the middle of a piece of paper and then list the pros on one side and the cons on the other….”), he always seemed to be in charge of his life. Did military service help him discover this kind of inner strength? Again, I like to think so.

This is the kind of strength drawn from honor that makes a difference in the lives of others. And for that, remembering our service men and women for only one day out of the year seems inadequate. For all that they have given us, for not only their sacrifices in battle but the sacrifices made for their families and communities, that special kind of honorable person who has participated in a life outside of their own limited universe should be remembered every day – as my father is remembered by all ten of his legacies.

As we all gather tomorrow, the memories will elicit more than a few tears I’m sure. But it is not for what we have lost that sadness will thicken our view and tighten our throats; it is what we have gained by having an honorable man as a father who taught us all that sharing and sacrifice is something noble to which one should always aspire. So we will share the day and miss both Joe and Margie Lou terribly, taking comfort as always in each others presence.

That is the greatest gift any parent can leave for their children. For at bottom, honor is the recognition that love for others supersedes love of self. And for the Morans, this essential truth will, as always, prove that time and distance are meaningless when memories of dinner tables and lakeshore bonfires, teasing, roughhousing, and quiet rooms, quiet times, and most of all, of a man and a woman in love with each other and their large, boisterous brood are called forth and laid out like a picnic lunch for all to feast upon.

By: Rick Moran at 8:04 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (14)

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There is a certain amount of hyperbole practiced by bloggers that, at times, can be both annoying and a whole hell of a lot of fun. Even a cursory look at many of the articles on this site will show that I am not immune to exaggeration in the cause of either humor or political invective. Of course, our political foes make it very easy to draw them with broad brush strokes that highlight their total cluelessness or hypocrisy thus revealing aspects of both their personalities and ideology that are open to ridicule. But still, even my most rabid broadsides are (usually) based on some kind of truth be it historical in nature or on some kind of recognized, universal truth that has been ignored or trampled upon by the left.

But when it comes to reading articles about the French riots, I must confess to being a little annoyed by the casual way in which writers have connected the radical politics of al Qaeda with the thrill-seeking arsonists and troublemakers who are running wild in the streets of French cities torching cars and buildings while enjoying the media exposure of their grievances against French society. The remarkable fact that to date so few have been killed or injured is I think indicative of both the reluctance of French police to enforce the law but also an attitude on the part of rioters which reveals that whatever their beef with French society, they are not going to engage in wholesale slaughter to try and change it.

As several writers have pointed out, this apparent forbearance on the part of the rioters to restrain themselves from chopping off the heads of their tormentors may be only a temporary phenomenon. France may yet experience a wave of terrorist attacks that country has not seen since the Algerian independence movement of the late ‘50’s and early 1960’s. During that period, various factions would regularly turn the streets of French cities into free fire zones. Even a group of disaffected French army officers got in on the gruesome fun as they opposed the eventual independence of Algeria and loss of French empire, going so far as attempting to kill President De Gaulle.

But that conflict was about national liberation not the killing of westerners in the name of Allah. And if al Qaeda is smart, they’ll send as much assistance as they dare to the radical imams who have jumped into the power vacuum left by France’s surrender. As Ed Morrisey points out, the eventual outcome of these riots may be more autonomy for the so-called “sink estates.” This can only mean trouble for French citizens as radical Islam spreads its message of hate and murder among the more impressionable and uneducated masses of Muslims who make up the bulk of rioters.

What can the French do about it? Not too damn much. One might be tempted to say “Where there’s a will, there’s a way” but the fact is, France has lost the will to defend itself and the western values represented by more than 1000 years of French civilization. Ever since the grandsons of Charlemagne divvied up his kingdom creating what became France and Germany, the French have been something of a self-appointed guardian of what we loosely term “western values.’ While these values have undergone enormous changes over the centuries, France has been at the forefront of redefining both human liberty and the individual’s relationship with the state.

That is, until World War I. Almost exactly a year ago on Veterans Day, I wrote about “The Day France Died:”

In Barbara Tuchman’s book The Guns of August , the author shows how all of the “Great Powers” blundered, stumbled, and through a willful disregard of logic and reason, rushed into a war that needn’t have been. Through a combination of national pride, misunderstanding, and a false sense of inevitability, the war became a gigantic destructive machine, devouring men and material at a pace never before seen in the history of human civilization.

This insanity touched France more than any other country. And it’s impossible to understand the France of today without looking at the France of nearly 100 years ago and understanding how the very idea of the French nation was destroyed in the trenches that, to this day, cut across the French countryside like some gigantic, unhealed scar; a constant reminder of innocence lost and lives destroyed.

World War I killed the idea of French nationalism. The great British poet and essayist Robert Graves in his book Goodbye to all That talked about the “Love Battles” of the war, battles so horrific that only a sublime love could explain how human beings could participate in such extraordinary bloodletting and barbarity:

One such battle was Verdun. Mention Verdun to a Frenchman today and he will relate with pride the manner in which the French army stood its ground against relentless German attacks. “They shall not pass” is as famous a phrase in France as “Remember the Alamo” is in America. Verdun was by far and away the largest battle in human history. In “A Short History of World War One” James Stokesbury points out that, at one time or another during the nearly year long battle, more than three quarters of the French Army fought at Verdun.

And therein lies the story of the death of France. The Chief of the German General Staff, General Von Falkenhayn, swore that “he would bleed France white” at Verdun. He succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. France suffered nearly 2 million casualties in defense of…what? Ten square miles of absolutely useless real estate, battered, bombed, cratered like the surface of the moon with the bodies of over 700,000 French and German soldiers pulverized by repeated and futile bombardments

In the end, the French army mutinied against the butchery. Such behavior explains the conduct of the French soldiery as Hitler’s armies swept out of the Ardennes in May of 1940. Entire armies surrendered without even firing a shot. When the French gave up less than a month later, it was estimated that nearly 75% of the men in its army had never fired their guns in anger at the Germans.

This latest challenge to the French nationalistic idea is being met with similar defeatism and timidity. And there is apparently nothing in the French soul to combat the threat. France is, after all, the birthplace of Deconstructionism, a movement that began as a new way to critique literature but ended up destroying the faith of the European left in western superiority. It should come as no surprise then, that the French are desperately seeking a way to accommodate the rioters rather than engage them on an intellectual level that would integrate them into French society.

The nation that was the home to some of the most articulate defenders of individual liberty has become a tired shadow of its former self. And for those who are saying that the riots are evidence of the death of France, I would say that it simply isn’t possible.

France has been dead for more than 80 years.

By: Rick Moran at 6:53 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (11)

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Perhaps the worst casino game one can play is “Blackjack.” The reason is the odds are so heavily weighted in favor of the house that your chances of winning begin to resemble the chance that Democrats will act like grown ups or that liberals will develop some common sense.

Most problems in trying to win in Blackjack come from getting into a game with idiots who don’t know how to play. These are the people who believe the object of the game is to hit “21.” Hence, they will ask for a card when sitting on 16 or even 17. The problem isn’t just that they lose. The problem is that they screw up the game for the rest of the players.

Be that as it may, I love Blackjack because like roulette (a game with equally excreable odds) you can usually play a while with very little money. Get on a $5 Blackjack table and you can play most of the night with $50 bucks.

Some casinos in Vegas still play by the rule that if you get a true Blackjack – A Jack of Spades and an Ace – your payout is 10:1 instead of the normal 2.5:1. But it is the “One Eyed Jack” – the Jack of Spades – that has a history that fascinates.

The Jack of Spades and Jack of Diamonds are the only face cards drawn in profile, hence the “one eyed” appellation. The Jack of Spades is a favorite wild card in many games including several varieties of poker. It is still considered one of the luckiest of cards with perhaps only the Ace of Spades having more superstition attatched to it.

All this being said, I think that the Jack of Spades is the most attractive card in the deck being much prettier than the King and as pretty as any Queen. While some may see the Jack as effeminate, they are mistaken. All the Jack of Spades needs is a decent hair stylist. Get rid of those curls and he’s the bomb.

Why all this about the Jack of Spades?


You will have my eternal gratitude and undying affection if you cast your vote to make me the Jack of Spades of the blogosphere.

By: Rick Moran at 10:14 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (5)

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CATEGORY: Politics

This article originally appears in The American Thinker.

Suppose you were president of a country that had been hit by a massive terrorist attack that had killed 3,000 of your fellow citizens. Suppose you had come to the inescapable conclusion that not only were the terrorists to be destroyed for the threat they posed to the nation you led, but that other nations who supported the terrorists must also be dealt with. And suppose one of those nations in particular, already shooting at your fighters and bombers, was also known to give financial support to terrorists as well as allowing their territory to be used as a training ground for the murderous religious fanatics who threatened the very existence of the nation you have sworn to preserve and protect.

Now suppose that there were large swaths of the national security community unalterably opposed to your policy. Suppose that many of these unelected bureaucrats believed that their judgment was not only superior to yours, the elected leader, but better than those whom you appointed to oversee the agencies in which they worked. Also suppose that many of them were partisans who wished to undermine your decisions in order to swing an election to your opponent.

This scenario might make a good outline for a political potboiler of a novel. Unfortunately, this is the situation the President found himself in during the lead up to the Iraq war, and even more so afterward, as the 2004 election loomed on the horizon and the large stockpiles WMD that most of the world believed were present in Saddam’s Iraq never materialized.

Aided and abetted by friendly and ideologically sympathetic reporters who eagerly published the cherry-picked analyses given them by current and former intelligence analysts, this faction at the CIA tried their best to discredit their political opponent in the White House by undermining the war effort and embarrassing the elected leader of the United States.

If you were the President, how would you fight back? Do you simply acquiesce and bend a knee to these arrogant apostates in the intelligence community who treat you with contempt and disrespect?

Every president has had to deal at one time or another with this amorphous mass of conceited and corrupt intelligence bureaucrats, who spend almost as much time worrying about the bureaucratic pecking order as they do the security of the nation. If you spend any time at all in Washington studying and writing about national security issues, you know exactly what they are all about. Their self-importance is evidenced by the way they bully subordinates and fawn over superiors. They mask their insecurities with an arrogant bravado more appropriate to a bullfighter than a servant of the people.

So the President and his people discovered early on that there was implacable resistance in the CIA to their plans to invade Iraq to affect regime change. They started to mistrust the intelligence analysis coming from that quarter. In what can only be described as a desperation move, the White House set up an entire operation devoted to disseminating Iraq intel to policy makers independent of the CIA. In effect, they made an end run around a bureaucracy using the office of Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith and his Counterterrorism Evaluation Group (CTEG).

What CTEG found is exactly what the 9/11 Commission found; that there were numerous contacts between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda – something the CIA refused to acknowledge, having so much invested in their conclusion that the supposedly secular Sunnis in Iraq wouldn’t sully their hands by dealing with the radical Shi’ites Sunnis in al Qaeda. This analysis was demonstrated to be even more wrongheaded after the fall of Baghdad, when files from the Iraqi intelligence service revealed even more contacts with al Qaeda than had previously been revealed.

Other prewar analysis coming from the CIA seemed to confirm that Saddam in fact had large stockpiles of WMD. George Tenet famously referred to the case for WMD as “a slam dunk.” So is the Administration guilty of hearing what it wanted to hear and seeing what it wanted to see with regard to pre-war Iraqi intelligence, especially as it related to ties to al Qaeda and WMD?

What critics universally fail to point out is that in the wake of 9/11, the United States could not afford to take the chance that Saddam had WMD. This is such a fundamental tenet of American policy in the post 9/11 world that the argument for or against it reveals the great chasm in American politics and policy. The divide is not between Republicans and Democrats, so much as it is between those who live in a 9/10 world and those who live in a 9/12 world.

For those who live in the comfortable pre-9/11 America, Saddam was in a “box” and was no threat to the US. To those who woke up on 9/12 and saw a different world, Saddam was eventually going to outlast the world community and sanctions would be lifted, at which point he would be free to continue to threaten his neighbors in the region, as well as forge closer ties with the terrorist groups who ached to attack America and murder thousands of citizens.

Suppose you were President and faced with that possibility. Your political opponents would have the luxury of second guessing every move you made. But it is you who have the responsibility for the safety and security of the republic. If you had done nothing, you would have been taken to task for weakness, as was your father when he failed to effect regime change during the first Gulf War. But you, the president, not a sidelines critic, could not afford to do nothing. The downside risk of being wrong was too enormous.

Was the President hearing what he wanted to hear with regard to pre-war intelligence? Or, was he hearing the screams of dying Americans in his sleep, killed in a terrorist attack if he did nothing ? It really is too bad that our politics are so polarized today, because that is a debate that, on its merits, the President wins every time. It will be good to keep in mind that balance of risk during the coming confrontation with Iran over their enrichment of uranium in order to build atomic bombs. No one is going to argue that Iran doesn’t have ties to terrorists, or that they aren’t a threat to both our allies in the region and to us, the Great Satan,. If it comes to it, I wonder if the opposition will talk about “twisting” intelligence in the lead up to any military action we take against the radical mullahs who wish to wipe Israel off the map as appetizer and destroy the United States as the main course.

The momentous decision to take the United States to war was made even more difficult by the recalcitrance and disloyalty of a faction at the CIA, who opposed the Administration on ideological, political and/or policy grounds. They were the ones who “twisted” intelligence to try to affect policy by leaking classified information to reporters.

The announcement that leaks surrounding the classified CIA prisons where the worst of the worst terrorists were being interrogated will now be investigated is good news indeed. Perhaps, some of the unelected bureaucrats who have tried to bring down the President and undermine the war effort will themselves be revealed as the petty, arrogant small minded people that they are.


This is what I get for writing at 2:30 in the morning.

Al Qaeda is of course, an organization of Sunni radicals as both Morgan Collins and Gumshoe point out in the comments. No excuse because I knew that Osama is a Saudi and as Gumshoe points out, a devoted Wahhabi.

I regret the error and am grateful that it was pointed out.

By: Rick Moran at 6:55 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (14)