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CATEGORY: War on Terror

For almost three years, the conventional wisdom regarding Iraq WMD’s prior to our invasion was that Saddam never had them, we knew it, Bush lied, and we invaded anyway because we wanted their oil, or to establish military bases, or because George Bush is a meany, or because the Jews told us to, or…just because America is eeeevil and we like to throw our weight around just to remind the Europeans of that fact every once and while.

I pretty much accepted this CW - well, not all that other stuff but certainly the analysis that Saddam did not have WMD for years prior to our invasion. After all, this was the Duelfer Report’s conclusion (with one important caveat that we’ll get to in a minute) as well as the conclusion of several bi-partisan reports from Congress.

But something always bothered me about this conclusion, a nagging itch at the back of my mind. And that is the overwhelmingly belief by the world’s best intelligence agencies that Saddam did indeed have stockpiles of WMD in the six months leading up to the war. The French, the British, the Germans, The Israeli’s, the United Nations (UNSCOM and IAEA), not to mention the CIA, DIA, and most politicians here in this country.

That’s quite a number of people to be dead wrong about such a huge issue.

And that’s what’s always bothered me. It bothered Charles Duelfer also, the fair minded and thorough former CIA and State Department expert who also took a turn as an inspector for UNSCOM. In his report on WMD, one little noticed caveat that Duelfer mentioned appeared in an addendum to the document:

The CIA’s chief weapons inspector said he cannot rule out the possibility that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction were secretly shipped to Syria before the March 2003 invasion, citing “sufficiently credible” evidence that WMDs may have been moved there.

Inspector Charles Duelfer, who heads the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), made the findings in an addendum to his final report filed last year. He said the search for WMD in Iraq—the main reason President Bush went to war to oust Saddam Hussein—has been exhausted without finding such weapons. Iraq had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in the early 1990s.

But on the question of Syria, Mr. Duelfer did not close the books. “ISG was unable to complete its investigation and is unable to rule out the possibility that WMD was evacuated to Syria before the war,” Mr. Duelfer said in a report posted on the CIA’s Web site Monday night.

This statement dovetails with some information released by a Pentagon Undersecretary John Shaw who said a few days before the election that the Russians were helping to spirit high explosives that had gone missing from a depot at Al-Qaqaa out of Iraq into Syria. Apparently, Putin was attempting to eliminate any evidence that the Russians had violated the sanctions regime by supplying Saddam with illegal weapons.

Then there was a little blurb about a press conference given by Israel’s Ariel Sharon that was shown in December of 2002 where the Prime Minister announced that Iraq WMD was being shipped to Syria’s Bekaa Valley:

Several different intelligence sources raised red flags about suspicious truck convoys from Iraq to Syria in the days, weeks, and months prior to the March 2003 invasion of Iraq.[23]

These concerns first became public when, on December 23, 2002, Ariel Sharon stated on Israeli television, “Chemical and biological weapons which Saddam is endeavoring to conceal have been moved from Iraq to Syria.”[24] About three weeks later, Israel’s foreign minister repeated the accusation.[25] The U.S., British, and Australian governments issued similar statements.

Finally, there was this story about the UN losing track of WMD prior to the war and what satellite imagery showed:

U.N. satellite imagery experts have determined that material that could be used to make biological or chemical weapons and banned long-range missiles has been removed from 109 sites in Iraq, U.N. weapons inspectors said in a report obtained Thursday.

U.N. inspectors have been blocked from returning to Iraq since the U.S.-led war in 2003 so they have been using satellite photos to see what happened to the sites that were subject to U.N. monitoring because their equipment had both civilian and military uses.

In the report to the U.N. Security Council, acting chief weapons inspector Demetrius Perricos said he’s reached no conclusions about who removed the items or where they went. He said it could have been moved elsewhere in Iraq, sold as scrap, melted down or purchased.

Taken individually, these stories mean nothing. But I can’t be the only one who sees something of a pattern here. I think it is safe to assume that somebody was moving Iraq WMD (and the equipment to manufacture it) somewhere prior to the liberation.

And now we have a former Iraqi Air Force General who says that massive amounts of WMD was flown to Syria prior to the invasion.

The information comes to via this story in the New York Sun and features the General – who is selling a book called Saddam’s Secrets – talking about Iraqi passenger jets being used to whisk the WMD out of the country and flown to Syria:

The man who served as the no. 2 official in Saddam Hussein’s air force says Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria before the war by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats were removed.

The Iraqi general, Georges Sada, makes the charges in a new book, “Saddam’s Secrets,” released this week. He detailed the transfers in an interview yesterday with The New York Sun.

“There are weapons of mass destruction gone out from Iraq to Syria, and they must be found and returned to safe hands,” Mr. Sada said. “I am confident they were taken over.”

Mr. Sada’s comments come just more than a month after Israel’s top general during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Moshe Yaalon, told the Sun that Saddam “transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria.”

General Sada is evidently being supported by a Christian humanitarian group out of Oklahoma run by a man named Terry Law. Sada, a Christian, works for the group as director of Iraqi outreach.

General Sada has several problems with this story, not the least of which is that it is secondhand information. He heard about it from two men who say they were pilots on the transports:

The pilots told Mr. Sada that two Iraqi Airways Boeings were converted to cargo planes by removing the seats, Mr. Sada said. Then Special Republican Guard brigades loaded materials onto the planes, he said, including “yellow barrels with skull and crossbones on each barrel.” The pilots said there was also a ground convoy of trucks.

The flights – 56 in total, Mr. Sada said – attracted little notice because they were thought to be civilian flights providing relief from Iraq to Syria, which had suffered a flood after a dam collapse in June of 2002.

While the information is certainly intriguing, it hardly qualifies as “smoking gun” evidence that Syria has the missing WMD.

That said, if the government were aware of Syrian collusion with Iraq to hide their stockpiles of WMD, why wouldn’t they announce it?

First of all, it would be very difficult to prove without revealing “sources and methods” that the CIA would rather remain a secret.

The second reason would be diplomatic. If we accused the Syrians and offered proof, then we would have to do something about it. This would complicate our efforts to effect regime change in Syria that right now are at a very delicate point. The UN is beginning to put more and more pressure on Baby Assad as the investigation into the assassination of Lebanese nationalist Rafiq Hariri continues to implicate high level Syrian intelligence and political figures. Eventually it is thought that the elites in the military and the government will see Assad as the dead weight that he is and get rid of him. After that, all bets are off and the US government may in fact start inquiring about what was transferred from Iraq to Syria prior to the war.

Next week, General Sada will meet with members of the Senate Armed Services committee. It should be interesting to see what might come out of that meeting although, don’t hold your breath for any bombshells. The last thing the White House wants at this point – even though it would permanently blunt some criticism about the war – is to make Syrian complicity in hiding Iraq WMD an issue.


Welcome Powerline readers! Thanks to John for the link and for highlighting this important story.

And the lovely Pamela at Atlas Shrugs is also on the story and says this:

I said it for years, it was the most logical explanation. This story will shape the November elections, and rightly so. I am sure the mainstream media will go out of its way to ignore this story instead it will whine about al qaida’s civil rights being violated in the New York Times manufactured scandal of the week.

Glad to know I’m not the only crazy right winger out there…

See also a great post at the blog Publius Rendevous who makes this prescient observation:

Does it take an enormous stretch of the imagination to see the enactment of this assertion? Are any mental gymnastics needed to piece together that Saddam had all the time he needed to transport or hide the WMDs? In the transparency of their position, the Democrats and liberals failed to give any credence whatsoever to the fact that in a country the size of California, and with the time actually spent galvanizing a coalition, that Saddam had ample time to cover his tracks in whatever solution he chose to implement.

Make sure you hit Macsmind for a surprising answer to the question “Which United States Senator is in big trouble over this news?”


I had totally forgotten about this interview with former UNSCOM inspector and intelligence agent Bill Tierney that appeared in Frontpage Mag who also thought the WMD had been moved to Syria. (HT: Sister Toldjah).


Here’s a shocker sent to me by Doc Gardner at Maggies Farm. Apparently a civilian contractor in Iraq is claiming he found some audio tapes that purport to have Saddam Hussein discussing his WMD with aides as late as 2000.

The tapes will be revealed next month at The Intelligence Summitt which is being put together by John Loftus, a former intelligence agent, Justice Department attorney and frequent analyst on several cable networks.

More grist for the mill…

And reader ROdioso emails me with a link to this WA Times story from last April where the plot to blow up a truck laden with poison gas and other chemicals in Jordan was thwarted at the last minute.

The truck was stopped 75 miles from the Syrian border.

Don’t miss Mark in Mexico’s article on General Sada’s book Saddam’s Secrets. He’s got extensive quotes and background info on the general.

By: Rick Moran at 8:47 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (84)

Damascus Road linked with WMD
BIG DOG'S WEBLOG linked with What About The WMD?
The Staton Jones Report linked with Oh, Those Pesky Pro-War Imbeciles
The Uncooperative Blogger linked with Iraq’s WMD Secreted in Syria, Says Iraqi General
Mike's Noise linked with It's Syria All Over Again!
The Strata-Sphere linked with Fly By 01/27/06
Small Town Veteran linked with Breaking news: Proof Saddam had WMDs
ProCynic linked with More evidence
SoCalPundit linked with Credible Report That Saddam Moved WMD To Syria
Media Lies linked with The story of the day....
Brutally Honest linked with Where are the Iraqi WMD's?
The Pink Flamingo Bar Grill linked with WMD's in Syria? So says two Generals from two different countries, Iraq and Israel...can they both be wrong?
QT Monster's Place linked with Saddam's General Says Iraq's WMD Went to Syria linked with Former Saddam General: WMDs Moved To Syria. Expect Media Silence
Never Yet Melted linked with Eventually, the Truth Comes Out
The Cigar Intelligence Agency linked with Saddam's WMDs in Syria?
Rocket's Brain Trust linked with UPDATE - SADDAM'S WMDs IN SYRIA
The Jawa Report linked with Iraq WMDs Unanswered Questions
A Blog For All linked with On WMD
Conservababes: Right from New Fallujah linked with WMDs in Syria?
Myopic Zeal linked with Saddam’s Secrets - By Georges Sada
Irish Pennants linked with The Deputy Chief of Saddam Hussein's air force
Mark in Mexico linked with Who is Georges Sada and why should we care?
Ace of Spades HQ linked with Hearsay Claim: Saddam's WMDs Secreted To Syria (Bumped For Updates)
Michelle Malkin linked with WHERE DID THE WMD GO?
Sister Toldjah linked with Saddam’s #2 air force official: WMDs were moved to Syria
Macmind - Conservative Commentary and Common Sense linked with Senator Rockefeller - You are in trouble
CATEGORY: Ethics, Government

Anyone who spends much time researching issues on the internet knows full well the difficulty in trying to find non-partisan, objective, and rational discussions that would illuminate rather than obfuscate the facts through which one can make a well-thought out decision about where to take a stand.

And I don’t buy the canard that by delving into both sides of an issue, essential truths are revealed that can assist the interlocutor in finding the means to arrive at a rational position on questions of national import. There isn’t just a chasm between left and right on many issues, there is in fact a universe of difference – alternate realities where the inhabitants live by different physical laws and are governed by different passions, differing worldviews, and conflicting priorities that combine to make it impossible to get to the nub of the matter and uncover the essential factuality that should be driving the debate.

This is especially true on matters pertaining to Presidential power and how it has been exercised under the Administration of George Bush. You can learn virtually nothing by reading sites like this one or those on the other side of this issue simply because the personality and ideology of the President are seen through two prisms where the same facts cast entirely different colors of the rainbow. There is no gray contained in this kind of political spectrum analysis, only darker hues on one side and lighter ones on the other. As such, there is no way to assay the contradictory points of view, an effort that would entail the invention of entirely new colors to describe the reduction of both arguments to a form that would be intellectually useful.

I am not a lawyer. Nor am I a Constitutional expert. I am blessed with no special abilities except my own native intelligence and 52 years of life experience living in a free country where thought isn’t regulated and we are only limited in our search for knowledge by time and circumstance. So when I came to the conclusions contained in this article, I realized a brand new personal verity; humility is truth.

The Dutch priest and humanist Erasmus reached the very same conclusion more than 500 years ago. Admitting you don’t know everything can be a liberating experience as it was for Erasmus who saw the search for knowledge as an excruciating but exciting endeavor. The philosopher lived in extremely turbulent times, not unlike the ones we find ourselves today. He saw the divisions between Lutherans and Romanists which were tearing Europe apart at the time as symptomatic of a sickness of thought and reason that infected the elites and caused them to move the masses to murder and mayhem. “Beware lest clamor be taken for counsel” was an admonition of his that could be plucked from the 14th century and slapped across every computer monitor belonging to those of us who see politics as combat and ideas as weapons.

That said, when examining what powers that the executive branch of the federal government has gathered unto itself under the Bush Administration and whether this concentration of power is dangerous, it becomes necessary to look past the hagiographic rhetoric of the right and venomous bombast of the left in order to arrive at a conclusion that answers the fundamental question any thinking citizen of the United States should be asking; is it necessary to insure the security of the United States that we lose so much of our liberty?

Make no mistake. The Bush Administration, in the name of protecting us from the evil designs of our enemies, has asserted Presidential prerogatives and has at its disposal the technological means to seriously threaten many of the liberties we have taken for granted for more than 200 years.

I hasten to add that this does not mean that those liberties have, in fact, been violated. Only that the potential is there for national security bureaucrats to trample on some of the most cherished rights that have sustained this republic since its founding. Good intentions are not enough. Motives are irrelevant when dealing with the enormous power of the executive branch to violate our privacy, to peer into the most personal and precious aspects of our lives. The fact that corporations are now doing this with an ever growing sense of impunity is extremely troubling but an entirely different issue. When done in the name of national security, the government’s efforts to snoop take on the veneer of oppression if not in strict definition then certainly in spirit. Albert Camus said ” The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.” People who believe themselves to be acting as patriots or in the public good are just as dangerous as those who would use something like the NSA intercept program for nefarious purposes.

Since we will never know all the details of how the intercept program works, it will be impossible for anyone – left or right – to make a definitive determination as to whether or not the program violates the law. Humility is truth. But the question of its constitutionality is a different matter. In that respect, the issue is ambiguous enough that the exercise of authority by the President granted by both tradition and precedent would seem to indicate that George Bush is well within his rights to carry on with such activities. Not being a lawyer, I can only judge such a thing by what I read. And I find the arguments about the program’s constitutionality much more persuasive than those who argue that the President has no such power vouchsafed him by our Basic Law. Looking at history, a President’s power has always been pretty much what he says it is with significant exceptions. For those, the Congress and the Courts exercise their powers to rein in Presidential overreach. This is the essence of the separation of powers doctrine as I understand it and I believe that history bears me out on this.

So despite unanswerable questions about the project’s technical workings, there is a a strong – perhaps overwhelming – case to be made that the NSA intercept program is a lawful exercise of Presidential authority. That said, in order to answer the fundamental question regarding the accumulation of executive power under President Bush, one must look at the totality of actions taken by the Administration in the name of national security. And in this respect, there are very troubling indications that the President has gone too far in trying to secure the nation from a terrorist attack.

I say this not as a civil liberties absolutist but as someone who has been trying to come to grips with what can best be described as this Administration’s single mindedness about security and its impact on both the separation of powers and the personal liberty of individual Americans. I am deeply troubled by what I see as an incrementalist approach to the legitimate questions of our security and freedom. Take a little here, a little there, and before you know it, the executive branch has trespassed into areas that are not their province nor their business.

I am more than willing to trade a little “non essential” liberty for more security. Any rational person would be. What I am not willing to do is support the efforts of this Administration to rationalize the invasions of privacy, the warrantless searches, the indefinite detention of US citizens and legal aliens, the rejection of restrictions on interrogation procedures found in international treaties, and granting the national security state vastly expanded powers to gather domestic intelligence – all in the name of securing the homeland – without more specific approval from the Congress.

I can understand the give and take, the tug of war if you will that occurs between an executive branch that seeks to define its own authority to take action in the name of security and Congress and the Courts who either give their assent or seek to rein in these powers through legislation or judicial decisions.

But the absolute necessity for secrecy like that surrounding the NSA intercept program as well as actions taken by the FBI and DHS to protect us has created a culture that is accountable only to their own good intentions.

And that, from my point of view is totally unacceptable.

Time and again we have seen instances where Congress has either failed to act or has acceded to the Administration’s interpretation of the exercise of executive power without knowing all the facts. We’ve seen it with the prisoner issue and the refusal by Congress to clearly define the rights of those being held as enemy combatants. We have seen American citizens mistakenly picked up in dragnets and held for months at a time with no contact allowed with family or their attorney. There is the case of Cyrus Carr, an American citizen, held in Iraq for almost a year, despite being cleared within a few months of his incarceration. Then there was the anarchist jailed for linking bomb making sites on his webpage. He took a plea deal because he feared the prosecutor would bring him up on terrorism charges which could have added 20 years to his sentence.

These are not isolated incidents. And whether or not you think the people involved deserved what they got is irrelevant; what they deserved were the same protections that you and I enjoy under the Constitution. If you do not believe that, then I pray a day never arrives where your beliefs and politics are placed under similar threat. By limiting freedom for some, we limit it for all. And while I recognize that wide latitude must be given the government – especially in these extremely dangerous times – there simply must be limits. And those limits must be decided by the Congress and the courts.

If this all sounds as if I am of two minds regarding the clash between our liberty and security, you are correct. But in the end, I am taking the position that the Administration has overextended itself and is posing a threat to some of our most cherished freedoms. Perhaps some real good can come out of the examination of the NSA intercept program in Congress if it initiates a serious discussion of the issues that I’ve raised. I am not hopeful given the partisan political climate that surrounds these issues. But even the kind of rank partisanship demonstrated by members can be useful if it reveals some essential truths about what we as a people should be doing to protect ourselves from an enemy that seeks to destroy us.


Michelle Malkin discusses the author who inspired this post – Ben Franklin. Franklin’s admonition about liberty and security (which has been hijacked and distorted by the far left) was given in the spirit of his times. This was a period in American history that featured an almost unreasoning fear that the country would degenerate into an authoritarian monarchy or just as bad, a “mobocracy” where Congress and the President would be beholden to a rampaging citizenry who would trample individual rights.

We must look to our own times for the answers to our questions. Franklin’s Philadelphia was not threatened by nuclear or biological weapons. Nor were Franklin’s conversations in danger of being recorded or his “private space” so necessary to the flourishing of liberty in danger of being intruded upon. And I’m sure Franklin’s definition of what was “essential” about liberty was very much narrower than our own.

That said, Franklin had a point; it’s easy to define security. But what liberties are truly “essential?” Here Hamlet best guides us: “To Thine own self be true.”

By: Rick Moran at 10:50 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (14)

The Dread Pundit Bluto linked with Essential Liberties
Stop The ACLU linked with Essential Liberties

This week’s Carnival features some exceptionally clueless clodhoppers from the worlds of politics, entertainment, crime and punishment, and as always, government bureaucracy. And trying to pick one special numbskull for the coveted title “Cluebat of the Week” was really tough, a task as difficult as that faced by the judges at the Golden Globe nominations who obviously let the pressure get to them as they lost their minds and named Brokeback Mountain Best Dramatic Film.

Not only did the judges make a mistake by not putting the film in the proper category (“Film Least Likely to Excite Straight, Heterosexual Males”) but the poor dears also jumped the shark by naming Ang Lee as Best Director. I hope they gave it to him for his work on The Incredible Hulk which was a true date movie and not for Brokeback which was suitable only if you were going out on a date with with the ghost of Liberace or Paula Abdul. With Liberace’s ghost you get certain advantages like only having to buy one popcorn as well being able to hog all the Jujubes. And of course, if you’re with Paula in a dark place, you probably won’t get a chance to watch much of the movie although there are ancillary benefits there as well…like not watching much of the movie.

The usual suspects are well represented this week what with John Kerry, Jimmy Carter, Ted Kennedy, and the Democratic party featured prominently. And we also feature your odd terrorist, rapist, and other bad guys who have displayed not only a cluelessness about being able to tell the difference between good and evil but also a flair for saying the stupidest things when a microphone is thrust in front of their face. Double your pleasure, double your fun.

But this week’s winner is an American albeit a liberal so we can say he’s evil just to piss them off. Actually, he’s not really evil, but clueless? I report – you decide:

George W. Bush’s delivery of the State of the Union address will take place on Tuesday, January 31, a little more than a week from now. It is my strong belief that every single Democrat present in the House chamber for the speech should, at a predetermined moment, stand up and walk out. No yelling. No heated words. Every Democrat should simply stand silently and leave.

Crazy, I know. Crazy, and possibly the best idea ever put before a body of Democrats since the New Deal.

The above comes to us via the blog Truthout that features more loons per square column inch than can be found in a copy of Palmer’s Guide to North American Water Birds. The author, one William Rivers Pitt, isn’t intentionally trying to destroy the Democratic party but his suggestion, published in one of the left’s most read on line publications, would have that effect. For those of us on the right, all we can do is pray that the clueless dems take the Pitts up on his cuckoo idea and act like two year olds who’ve had their blankee taken away from them. The resulting electoral landslide for Republicans later this year may in fact prove to be the best thing that could happen for the left; they may wake up and put grown ups in charge of their party instead of spoiled little kids like Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean.

Just a thought.

And here are 29 more thoughts on the totally clueless among us. Keep on clickin’!

“Stupidity often saves a man from going mad.”
(Oliver Wendell Holmes)

“Hey Ollie! It’s too bad that bit of advice came too late for Harry Belefonte.


Since I stiffed Kender last week by failing to include his entry, the mad Scotsman gets top billing this week. Here my blogbud takes the left to task for their complaints about not finding WMD in Iraq.

Josh Cohen gives Ford Motor Company what for regarding their credit policies among other things. As if the cluebats don’t have enough problems…

Good to see Van Helsing in the Carnival again! This time, the slayer goes after Jimmy Carter for his weasel words regarding “so-called terrorists.” Understandable since he was a “so-called President.”

Cao has a literate piece about the granddaughter of the Atomic Traitors, the Rosenbergs, suing the NSA for spying. Man…she’s ugly as well as being dumb.

Bill Teach is keeping an eye on the tin foil hat wearing Congressman John Conyers who has reconvened his 3 ring conspiracy circus in the basement of a House office building.

Those pinata pounding pachyderms at Elephants in Academia are going after foreign cluebat Hugo Chavez and his plans for private companies who do business in Venezuela. Must read.

Adam Graham has an interesting look at abortion and how it has impacted the Democratic party.

Our Carnival’s fearless Finn (who resides in Canada) from Sixteen Volts has a great article about the left’s fascination with pseudo scientific pursuits like homeopathy and other “alternative” medicines.

Jay Stephenson has the goods on the judge who gave a teacher/rapist a suspended sentence despite a lot of evidence that pointed to this cluebat doing serious time.

Here’s our Carnival satire section for those who like their politics funny and thought provoking:

Our favorite hippie chick Peace Moonbeam visits Argentina for some cosmetic surgery. I couldn’t stop laughing.

Buckley F. Williams has a hilarious piece on Ray Nagin’s racism.

Bloggoddess Pamela doesn’t need plastic surgery but she hits a home run with this bit about the two cows that I guarantee will have you ROTFLYAO.

Mr. Right has the real story about how sunspots blocked Karl Rove’s mind control ray briefly last week.

“I’ll publish, right or wrong: / Fools are my theme, let satire be my song.” – Lord Byron.

Palmetto Pundit has a Ted Kennedy piece that shows why maybe the Senator from Cuckoo Land should start taking Alzheimer’s medication.

Jimmie K. is feeling sorry for the people of Washington state because they have to put up with one of the most clueless Senators around, Pat Murray.

The lovely Mensa Barbie has some ideas on how to deal with the clueless countries who are hindering us from prosecuting the War on Terror to its fullest.

Tom Bowler has the skinny on the link-up between Kerry and Kos and what it might mean for the Democratic party.

Jack Cluth writes about the poetry lesson given to us by al Qaeda’s #2 Ayman al-Zawahiri. Maybe there is a limerick in their somewhere…

Common Folk Using Common Sense has a jaw dropping piece about Atlanta’s mayor complaining about the disappearing ghetto.

As usual, Don Surber comes through with an uproarious bit of cluelessness on the part of local bureaucrats who this time abused a state program by using a benefit for a different purpose than intended.

DL at TMH Bacon Bits outlines the stare decisis argument on aborton and skewers Michael Kinsey for his ignorance.

Bill Karl has a good analysis of the impact the Alito hearings will have on the Democrats.

Is there anyone more clueless on the planet than President Ahmadinejad of Iran? Orac doesn’t think so and shows us why.

Mark Coffey has “lost his bananas” over Harry Belefonte’s stupidity and comes up with the best comeback I’ve seen in a while to the Bushitler crowd: “the mere fact that people within a state can call it fascist and totalitarian is the best proof that it is no such thing…”

AJ Strata wants an intervention for Democrats who seem to be following the far left off of a cliff.

Fred Fry has some thoughts about the cluelessness of people who constantly say that Islam has been “hijacked.”

XYBA writes about the sad cluelessness of a father for what his son became – American Taliban John Lindh’s father begging for clemency for his traitorous offspring.

How litigious of a society have we become? Wonder Woman highlights parents who evidently can’t say no to their children when it comes to breakfast cereal.

Finally, here’s my piece on Cluebat of the Week William Rivers Pitt’s “Walk out” idea for next week’s SOTU speech.

By: Rick Moran at 3:00 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (20)

Online Automobile Insurance linked with Online Automobile Insurance
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Kenders' Musings linked with What the Liberal Media REALLY Doesn’t Want You to
Libertarian Leanings linked with Carnival of the Clueless
Don Surber linked with Best. Posts. Ever. Tuesday.
Cao's Blog linked with 30th Carnival of the Clueless is UP!
Palmetto Pundit linked with Carnival of the Clueless #30
Religion of Peace? One-Stop Shopping For War on Terror News linked with Americn Taliban's Father Defends Son
TMH's Bacon Bits linked with Kinsley Is Not Infallible on Stare Decisis
A North American Patriot linked with There is never a shortage of stupidity...
Moonbattery linked with Jimmy Carter Praises Hamas "So-Called Terrorists"

Just what kind of an agency is this CTU anyway?

Think about it. For five years running, they’ve been infiltrated by one mole after another until you start to wonder if the bureaucrats who are vetting potential CTU employees weren ‘t somehow in charge of the Katrina disaster as well.

Then there are the interpersonal relationships between the moles and legitimate CTU personnel. Nina and Jack, Curtis and Maryann, and now Chloe and Spencer proves that most of our heroes are completely clueless when it comes to matters of the heart and terrorists. They can’t all be thinking with some other organ than their brain now, can they?

And whoever is head of CTU security should be immediately fired and perhaps prosecuted for negligence. The dummy screener who let the hit man in tonight with a disassembled gun should have been trained to spot that sort of thing. Don’t any of these guys ever get sacked?

CTU is a dysfunctional agency in dire need of reform. Oh well…let’s worry about that tomorrow. We’ve got bigger fish to fry today.


We pick up the story at the airport and the discovery by Curtis of where Mr. Yellowtie snuck off to after escaping from the secure perimeter set up by CTU Tactical. Too late – the terrorists have loaded the leaky cannisters of nerve gas onto a SWAT truck and have already left the airport. We know the nerve gas is leaking because several rats have succumbed to its effects. Curtis calls for a forensics team to investigate.

Evelyn discovers the unconscious First Lady and calls for the Doctor. When the Doc finds nothing wrong with her, Logan assumes – with Cummings urging – that she has relapsed and needs to be recommitted to the mental hospital. Her story about finding the hard copy of her conversation with Palmer is disregarded. Martha’s plight brings to mind Noah who everyone thought was a madman when he warned of God’s wrath about to be let loose upon a sinful world. In fact, Martha’s fate is not dissimilar to most prophets of doom throughout the Old Testament. They were dismissed as crazies much to the detriment of the people who were doing the dismissing. Later, Martha’s attempt to escape makes one wonder who she is going to tell that will believe her.

We discover that the terrorists are trying to move the nerve gas out of the country and that the eventual target of the terrorists is not the United States but Moscow. This brings into focus Cummings treachery as he and the Mystery Man gloat over their success. Could it be that a faction in the United States government is supporting a terrorist strike on Russia in order to fatally weaken the Russian leader who wants to work with the US in fighting terrorism? This plays to some conspiracy scenarios on the far left and right about the government actually working with Osama Bin Laden in order to usher in an era of oppression. Certainly a huge terrorist strike on Russia would cause our own government to crack down on civil liberties even more than they have to this point. I’ll be fascinated to see what the motivation of Cummings and Mystery Man is in helping carry out this attack.

The two traitors realize that Jack Bauer is still a threat to their plans because…well, he’s Jack Bauer, isn’t he? Cummings informs us that he’ll take care of Jack by using his man on the inside at CTU to clear the way for his shooter. Here the writers fell down a bit since so many of us recognized Spencer as the mole from the get go. Why else would he (or anyone else for that matter) play “hide the salami” with Chloe?

Edgar’s conversation with her about “secrets” reinforces that notion:

EDGAR: Why didn’t you tell me Jack was alive?

CHLOE: Oh C’mon, it’s called National Security?

EDGAR: Yeah, what about Spencer? I didn’t even know you two were going out.

CHLOE: Oh gimme a break, okay? When we find the nerve gas and the alert level drops, we’ll have some camamile tea and I’ll tell you all my secrets, OKAY?

It is apparent that Spencer is a patriot who will do anything for his country.

Back at CTU, Audrey is informed by Fat Hobbit Lin that she is going to debrief Diane. Reluctantly, she queries Diane about her “personal relationship” with Jack. Was that my imagination or did I see a look of relief on her face when Diane told her in so many words that she and Jack never made it?

The interrogation is interrupted when Jack shows up at the door to the holding room. Diane sees the looks exchanged between Audrey and Jack and realizes where Jack’s heart lies. This seems to upset her which makes me think that she and Audrey are going to have some words before the day is out.

In the hallway, Jack apologizes for letting Audrey think he was dead. As Audrey tries to tell Jack she still loves him, we find that all the bitterness and hate she showed Bauer last season was just an act! She tells Jack that she “never blamed him for Paul’s’ death” (lie) and that she was never really mad at him (lie #2) and that he “had to make the hard choice” (lie #3). Audrey’s already pointy nose grew considerably during this conversation. But since Jack apparently still has feelings for her, it should be interesting how they try and patch things back together after so much water has gone under the bridge.

Meanwhile, Spencer is in the security room accessing the monitors so that Jack can be tracked from a remote location. Chloe interrupts and gets off the lines of the night:

CHLOE: I was unfairly harsh to you a few minutes ago. I didn’t mean anything.

SPENCER: Apology accepted.

CHLOE: It really wasn’t an apology. It was more of an “observation...” (Spencer walks away in disgust)

CHLOE: (Sotto Voce): Dammit! Why do I do that?

It could be because you have the interpersonal skills of a baboon and the temperament of a female grizzly bear. But we won’t hold it against ya!

Spencer makes his way to the security entrance and unwittingly clears the assassin for entry, who is posing as a mild mannered computer repairman which completely fools the clueless screener who misses the disassembled gun in the shooter’s case. He takes the assassin to the security room and shows him how to access the surveillance cameras so that the shooter can track Jack inside CTU.

Just prior to that, nosy Chloe checks to see what her lover had been doing at the work station in the security room and discovers that he was accessing information above his clearance level. Putting two and two together, she realizes she’s been used and runs to Bill with her information. Spencer is taken before Bill who grills the hapless mole about who he is really working for. Chloe has a nice turn as the aggrieved woman cruelly used by the spy as she almost – but not quite – breaks into tears over the episode. Spencer clams up as the shooter stalks Jack.

Jack is doing a little figurin’ of his own as he and Fat Hobbit Lin discuss the fact that there is probably a traitor in the White House. The fact that Jack has figured out that Palmer was killed because he knew of the plot makes his coming meeting with Nutzo Martha next week (who else is she going to tell that believes her) one to look forward to. Obviously, Jack and Martha are going to work together. And that’s when the call comes from the clinic informing the pair that Tony is conscious and wants to talk. He requests to see Jack first.

The shooter is waiting for him of course. After a short but intense scene of hand to hand combat, Jack sends the hit man to perdition using a pair of scissors. Despite a cracked rib (let’s see if it bothers Jack at all for the rest of the day) when Bauer discovers that Spencer is the mole, he becomes an avenging angel and makes his way to the holding room. After showing the now thoroughly chastened spy the picture of the dead hit man, Spencer blurts out that it was Cummings who was giving him orders.

Jack points out that President Jellyfish is in California and suggests they pay him a visit to let him know about Cummings. Fat Hobbit Lin demurs:

FHL: Cummings is the President’s Chief of Staff and his friend. Without any hard evidence, CTU can’t touch him.
JACK: I’m not CTU. I’ll get Walt Cummings myself.

If I were Cummings, I’d make sure all my affairs were in order…pronto!


The show almost could have passed for family viewing tonight as only two corpses were added to the total. The hit man offs the clinic doctor while Jack’s scissors trumps the shooter’s rock.


SHOW: 27


Bringing the Russians on board will be tricky. Suspicious already, they could see any attack that was planned in the United States as an act of war. Look for a Russian ultimatum: Stop the terrorists or suffer the consequences.

Make sure to stop by The House next week for the best 24 coverage around!

By: Rick Moran at 8:37 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (14)

Below The Beltway linked with This Season On 24
CATEGORY: Moonbats

There are times where I actually feel sorry for the far left in this country. Events have conspired to make them such a political irrelevancy that watching them self destruct day after day is like watching that Star Trek Next Generation episode where the Enterprise crew was caught up in a time loop that had them repeating the same day over and over. Unlike the starship crew however, the left is unable to escape their own loop because in order to do so they would have to practice a minimum amount of introspection regarding where their tactics and rhetoric have gotten them. That way lies madness which makes watching them something akin to watching a NASCAR race at Daytona; you wait with a combination of trepidation and excitement for the inevitable crack-up in turn #3.

Witness this latest jaw dropper from our friends at Truthout, a site that combines the looniness of the Democratic Underground with a comical belief in their own importance to the Democratic party a la Daily Kos. One William Rivers Pitt sends an arch, insulting, and in the end uproariously funny memo to Congressional Democrats asking them to “walk out” during the President’s State of the Union speech next week:

I have a wild and crazy idea.

George W. Bush’s delivery of the State of the Union address will take place on Tuesday, January 31, a little more than a week from now. It is my strong belief that every single Democrat present in the House chamber for the speech should, at a predetermined moment, stand up and walk out. No yelling. No heated words. Every Democrat should simply stand silently and leave.

Crazy, I know. Crazy, and possibly the best idea ever put before a body of Democrats since the New Deal.

Well Bill, aren’t you the “wild and crazy” guy! Now you’ve piqued my interest – please continue:

Understand this, congressional Democrats, and understand it well: you are not dealing merely with a body of political opponents in the GOP. You are dealing with a group of people that want you exterminated politically. The days of walking the halls of the Rayburn Building, sharing a bourbon with a colleague from the other side of the aisle, and hammering out a compromise are as dead as Julius Caesar. Collegiality is out. Mutual respect is out. They want you gone for good. Erased. Destroyed.

Aren’t we the bloodthirsty ones!

For the love of God, you are being compared to Osama bin Laden all over network television because some within your ranks have had the courage to question the war in Iraq. It hasn’t been subtle. Bin Laden, according to the right-wing talking heads, is getting his talking points straight from Howard Dean. These are the out-front spokespeople for the folks running the GOP right now. If you think there is compromise to be had with these people, if you think there is quarter to be given to you, then I have a nice, big red bridge to sell you in San Francisco.

For a minute there, I though Mr. Pitt was going to try and defend the indefensible. But as I’ve been pointing out for several days, the left has decided not to try and defend themselves against the charge that Osama’s taped screed was interchangeable with just about anything found on Michael Moore’s website or in Howard Dean’s speeches. Instead, they simply change the subject by comparing their fantastic conspiracies with legitimate anti-war protests. Despite taking a deconstructionist position that words don’t matter, anyone with half a brain knows the truth of the matter and have judged accordingly. If Mr. Pitt would have come out and said that the left recognizes Osama Bin Laden is mimicking their rhetoric in a shameless attempt to divide Americans and by God, we’re not going to let that terrorist scum do that, I would at least have a little respect for the galoot. Instead, he ignores the obvious by sticking his head in the sand and pretending up is down, black is white, and that God didn’t make little green apples.

You’ve been outflanked, Democrats. Abramoff won’t help you, and the noise machine is preparing to terrorize the American people into such a distracted state that anything you say in the next ten months will be lost amid the howling. The midterms are pretty much a done deal, and your continued marginalization will proceed at speed.

You can stomp your feet and yell at the wall. You can put your head in your hands and weep. You can sit silently and be simply satisfied that your own job-for-life is secure, thanks to your friendly district back home, and be damned to actually doing anything of substance. In other words, you can continue to do what you’ve been doing since this outrageous assault on basic American democracy began.

Hold the phone here. Didn’t Mr. Pitt say that Republicans are out to “destroy” the Democrats? How can we do that if these same Congressmen are “simply satisfied that your own job-for-life is secure, thanks to your friendly district back home.” Pretty hard to destroy someone who can’t be beaten which, according to analysts like Michael Barone includes around 98% of House members, both Republican and Democratic. Now if Pitt is talking about national elections, perhaps if the Democrats didn’t beg to be destroyed every four years by fielding a candidate with the personality of a cocktail table and the brains of a marmoset – not to mention someone who thinks the politics of George McGovern is the magic key to victory at the polls – then perhaps you would find even red state Americans a little more open to your message. As it is, when people think that Democrats would rather watch them being killed than listen in on conversations by people in America who are talking with the killers, they tend not to pay any attention.

Here’s Mr. Pitt’s grand finale to his fantasy SOTU evening:

Walk outside to the steps of the Capitol Building and hold a Counter-State-of-the-Union. Lay out your plans for a better future. Explain how you will reform the system that spawned Mr. Abramoff. Demand answers and explanations about what is happening in Iraq, what is happening over at the National Security Agency, and why this administration believes itself to be completely above the law.

I can even offer a bit of text for your opening statement. “Three years ago during this very speech,” your leading spokesperson can say from those steps, “Mr. Bush told us that Iraq was in possession of 26,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons – which is one million pounds – of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent, 30,000 missiles to deliver the stuff, mobile biological weapons labs, al Qaeda connections, and uranium from Niger for use in a robust nuclear weapons program. He said all this three years ago, during this all-important annual address, and all of it was a lie. The American people deserve an explanation.”

First, in order to outline your party’s plans for a “better future” don’t you think that you should, you know, like have some plans in the first place? A small detail after all. There should be no problem in coming up with a complete party platform in a week.

As for the rest, the fact that the President was quoting from a report written by an organization that you and your friends put so much stock in, the United Nations, seems to have been lost in the excitement of carrying on with your deranged missives against the Bush Administration. And since most people can recognize the difference between a “lie” and being given shoddy intelligence, I’m afraid that part of your little speech will fall flat as well.

I would suggest that Mr. Pitt keep trying to encourage the Democrats to participate in more of these made for TV moments of drama. It appears to be all that your party has outside of an irrational and abiding hatred for the President and his supporters.


Frequent commenter Ken McCracken writes:

Please, please please is there some way we could get them to actually try this?

Such an en masse temper tantrum would be the signal moment of the end of the Democratic party. They would literally be walking out of Congress and into oblivion.

Ken is right, of course. And the fact that Mr. Pitt doesn’t realize this makes him the Cluebat of the Week.

By: Rick Moran at 8:55 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (9)

Pirate's Cove linked with Progressive Mental Afflictions
CATEGORY: Blogging

As I write this, my Sitemeter is about ready to register the 500,000 visitor to this site since February 14, 2005. That’s the day I officially switched over from blogger to this hosted site.

I have also passed another milestone as I have reached 1500 subscribers on my Bloglines feed just yesterday. I still don’t know how that happened and if one of my subscribers could fill me in, I’d appreciate it.

As I recall, my average daily visitor total last February was around 125. A couple of weeks ago, that number passed the 2,000 mark and is continuing to climb. I have a host of people to thank for this milestone beginning with Michelle Malkin who has been a source of encouragement as well as frequent linker. Ditto for Captain Ed Morrissey. And blogbud Jay at Stop the ACLU who started blogging about the same time as I did and has become one of the true movers and shakers in conservative circles. And Hugh Hewitt who has helped promote this site with several links and been a source of encouragement behind the scenes.

Thomas Lifson of The American Thinker has been incredibly generous in offering space on his excellent E-Zine to showcase my writing while being a font of encouragement and support not to mention a great friend. Two other AT regulars Clarice Feldman and Herb Meyer have also been very supportive and frequent emailers offering their keen insights that have helped sharpen my thinking on a number of issues.

The number of bloggers who have helped me along the way is staggering. No list could be complete without mentioning my blogmama Cao of Cao’s Blog who urged me to initially start blogging and then convinced me to get this site hosted with the redesign. Cao, myself, and the group blog we started The Wideawakes have all pretty much grown together. And even though I haven’t had the time lately to put into that group as I would wish, I hope they know I’m still a regular visitor to many of their sites as well as a supporter of the concept of TWA which is that there is strength in numbers and supporting one another against the relentless attacks of our political foes is a satisfying and necessary goal.

Others who have been more than a little helpful include the curmudgeon of the blogosphere John Cole. Here’s hoping the Republican party comes back to where Mr. Cole is rather than taking John to task for not going where the national party is leading at the moment.

I can’t forget the Watcher and The Watcher’s Council. After almost a year I still enjoy participating in the Council’s activities. And the Commissar, And Jeff Goldstein. And on and on.

I know I have many loyal readers who try and keep my feet firmly planted on the ground by whacking me upside the head when I get it wrong. To them also, I say thanks for coming by and I hope you continue to visit.

All of these are people I thank way too infrequently. The half million mark in readership on this site is a good excuse to remember all of you who have helped and to thank you for all you’ve done.

By: Rick Moran at 5:22 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (15)

CATEGORY: Media, Supreme Court

Displaying a contempt for democracy not often seen on the pages of a major American newspaper, the New York Times today is asking the Senate to reject the nomination of Judge Samuel Alito for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court not because he is a bad judge or a bad man but because he is a conservative.

And not just a conservative, but a “radical” conservative – a scurrilous charge that the Times makes no effort to prove or justify. Instead, they fall back on the tired old, cliche- ridden leftist cants that have been used by liberals to soil the good name of conservatives since the days of Barry Goldwater:

If Judge Samuel Alito Jr.’s confirmation hearings lacked drama, apart from his wife’s bizarrely over-covered crying jag, it is because they confirmed the obvious. Judge Alito is exactly the kind of legal thinker President Bush wants on the Supreme Court. He has a radically broad view of the president’s power, and a radically narrow view of Congress’s power. He has long argued that the Constitution does not protect abortion rights. He wants to reduce the rights and liberties of ordinary Americans, and has a history of tilting the scales of justice against the little guy.

As senators prepare to vote on the nomination, they should ask themselves only one question: will replacing Sandra Day O’Connor with Judge Alito be a step forward for the nation, or a step backward? Instead of Justice O’Connor’s pragmatic centrism, which has kept American law on a steady and well-respected path, Judge Alito is likely to bring a movement conservative’s approach to his role and to the Constitution.

To all but the most willfully self deluded, the idea that Judge Alito will ” reduce the rights and liberties of ordinary Americans” and tilt the scales of justice “against the little guy” is a total fiction. The Times must have called upon the individual who writes the horoscope column for the paper in order to come up with that kind of preternatural nonsense. What the Times is really objecting to is not Alito’s temperament or his knowledge of the law – both rational reasons to oppose a judicial nominee – but rather that he would apply the law as it was intended not as he would wish it or because of some blithering twaddle about the mythical “little guy” getting the shaft.

Judge Alito has consistently shown a bias in favor of those in power over those who need the law to protect them. Women, racial minorities, the elderly and workers who come to court seeking justice should expect little sympathy. In the same flat bureaucratic tones he used at the hearings, he is likely to insist that the law can do nothing for them.

Who does the New York Times think represents those “little people” they believe are going to be trod upon by the evil Alito? Are they talking about the lone, heroic “worker” fighting the grasping corporation by asking the court to uphold workers’ rights? Or are they talking about the AFL-CIO who is pretty good at the grasping for power game themselves and who contribute a couple of hundred million dollars in hard and soft money during an election cycle to liberal politicians?

Some little guy.

The certainty with which the Times looks into its crystal ball in order to find Judge Alito wanting is breathtaking. They have “no doubt” that Alito would change “the court’s approach” by advocating the “unitary executive theory” that the Times calls “fringe.” Here’s what the Times means by talking about a unitary executive. It’s from a question posed by Ted Kennedy during Alito’s confirmation hearings:

Our questions in this hearing is: What is your view of the unitary presidency?

You’ve responded in a number of our people, but we were interested in your view and your comments on the Morrison case, which you say is the controlling, but we want to know your view.

And it includes these words: “that could lead to a fairly strong degree of presidential control over the workings of the administrative agencies in the areas of policy-making.”

Now, that would alter and change the balance between the Congress and the president in a very dramatic and significant way, would it not?

It is certainly a novel legal view that “Administrative agencies in the areas of policy making” – i.e., cabinet departments – are under the control of Congress. They are, of course, agencies controlled by the executive branch – unless you are Ted Kennedy or the New York Times. Then they are simply part of the permanent bureaucracy in Washington and as such, a wholly owned subsidiary of the left and the Democratic party. Here’s John Hinderaker:

As we have repeatedly noted, one of the fundamental problems faced by any Republican administration is the entrenched hostility of the federal bureaucracy, which is overwhelmingly Democratic. During President Bush’s five years in office, this hostility has most critically been manifested by the CIA and the State Department, elements of both of which have worked actively to undermine American foreign policy. If the President were able actually to control the federal bureaucracy, as the Constitution contemplates, it would indeed effect a major change in the balance of power in Washington—not, in principle, between Congress and the executive, but between Democrats and their allies in the bureaucracy, and elected Republican Presidents.

The Times also believes it is “likely” that Alito was chosen for “his extremist views on Presidential power.” This also requires a crystal ball to believe. Paul Mirengoff:

The major theme seems to be that Alito will be the tool of a power-hungry, imperial president. The problem is that there’s no evidence of this in his rulings—apparently he hasn’t ruled on any big-ticket questions relating to the president’s war power or the war on terrorism (ironically, John Roberts, with a much shorter judicial tenure, had). Once Alito agrees with Justice O’Connor that war does not provide the president with a blank check, and salutes Justice Jackson’s analysis of the relationship between presidential and congressional power, where do the Dems go?

The answer Mr. Mirengoff is that they just make it up. Since they don’t have a clue about what Alito’s attitude toward the NSA intercept program would be, they believe feigning certitude is enough for the ever dwindling number of subscribers who bother to read what they say about anything.

In the end, the Times reveals its real reason for opposing Alito. They don’t think that national elections should matter:

The real risk for senators lies not in opposing Judge Alito, but in voting for him. If the far right takes over the Supreme Court, American law and life could change dramatically. If that happens, many senators who voted for Judge Alito will no doubt come to regret that they did not insist that Justice O’Connor’s seat be filled with someone who shared her cautious, centrist approach to the law.

Quick! Someone tell the editors at the New York Times that we had an election more than a year ago and that a liberal didn’t win nor did a “centrist.” A conservative won the Presidential election of 2004, one who promised to appoint conservative judges if he were re-elected. He didn’t promise to appoint centrists or women or minorities or anyone the New York Times could remotely approve. President Bush ran on a platform and repeated constantly that if given the opportunity, he would appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court.

This is what sticks in the craw of the Times’ editors. The people of the United States elected George Bush because he is a conservative. And the Times thinks that overarching fact should not matter. It bespeaks a contempt for the very concept of democracy that more and more, the editors of the New York Times are having a hard time in hiding.


Ed Morrissey and I are on the same wavelength this morning:

If ideology is to be considered, then the New York Times has it even more wrong. It asks whether a conservative should replace a centrist on the court. If ideology has suddenly become a qualifier, then one has to look at who nominates the candidate. The President won election twice, and at least during the last election, Supreme Court nominations clearly were a major issue. He has the mandate of the election to pick the ideological bent of the replacements for any opening on the Court; there is no quota system for leftists, centrists, and conservatives, nor have Presidents been particularly apt at guessing which categories their nominees would fill in the long run anyway. Bush’s two elections show that the people want a more conservative court—so as long as the Times considers ideology a basis for selection, then a conservative judge should be the most acceptable as a manifestation of the demand of the people.



Maybe Karl Rove is sending all of us conservatives invisible thought waves so that we all think alike. Those pithy pachyderms from Elephants in Academia also think the Times needs a remedial class in civics:

Furthermore, I wasn’t aware that the confirmation process for a supreme court justice was some sort of popularity contest. Good lord, are these people in high school? The President won his election and the Republican congresspeople who hold the majority in the legislature won their respective elections, and it is indeed up to them to nominate justices and then vote on them. The number of dinner invitations that Judge Alito receives from the editors of the New York Times is an irrelevant indicator of how they should vote.


Also, Patterico links to a Bench Memo takedown of the Times and points out that they misspelled Lincoln Chafee’s name.

What. A. Crew.

By: Rick Moran at 7:19 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (12)

America...F*ck Yeah! linked with One of the Most Frustrating Things About the SCOTUS Nominations…
Don Singleton linked with Judge Alito's Radical Views

Anyone who has read Richard Rhodes Pulitzer Prize winning book The Making of the Atomic Bomb knows the awesome technical problems that had to be overcome by the scientists and engineers who worked on America’s Manhattan Project. And while the Iranian’s clearly have something of a head start in that many of the concepts worked out at Los Alamos have since entered the public domain via leaks and through books like Rhodes, the fact is that there are some aspects to building a bomb that are still closely guarded secrets and require a level of technical expertise not readily found in a third world country like Iran.

There are several ways around the technical problems that are being encountered by Iran as they seek to construct a nuclear weapon. Experts from other nuclear powers like China, Pakistan, and especially North Korea have probably already contributed to Iran’s enrichment program. This has been a given since we uncovered the nuclear bazaar being operated by the “Father of the Pakistani bomb” A.Q. Khan. There is little doubt that Dr. Khan was able to greatly assist the mullahs in the 1990’s with both the knowledge and sources for hardware that the Iranians will need to go nuclear. And perhaps most frighteningly (and blessedly least likely) is that the Iranians have been able to secure a quantity of enriched uranium (U-235) that they have already used to construct several crude nuclear devices.

That nightmare scenario cannot be ruled out but is unlikely due to the extraordinary difficulty in extracting the highly enriched (HE) uranium from what is commonly called yellowcake or Uranium Hexafluoride. The conversion process is technically challenging and very expensive which would make it difficult for all nuclear powers with the possible exception of China and Russia to be marketing the material to the Iranians. Countries like India, Pakistan, and North Korea would not have enough U-235 to spare. Since it takes around 125-150 lbs of HE Uranium to build even the crude “gun design” device that the US dropped on Hiroshima and since in order to get that amount of nearly pure U-235 you need to have several hundred tons of yellowcake to work with, it would be highly unlikely for any secondary nuclear power to sell the mullahs what they need to construct a nuclear device.

If we assume the Iranians have the technical expertise to enrich uranium, how long then do we have before Iran gets the bomb? A National Intelligence Estimate leaked to the Washington Post and New York Times (natch!) last summer indicated that our government believes the Iranians are a decade away from being able to explode a nuclear device. Given the history of the CIA’s prognostication abilities with regards to countries going nuclear, that time frame should not give comfort to anyone with an ounce of common sense. The Israeli’s on the other hand believe that Iran could be nuclear capable by the end of this decade (2009). The difference is significant in that the Mossad probably has better in country sources than the CIA.

So unless the Iranians have hidden much more of their nuclear program than anyone is aware – a difficult concept to entertain given that the movement of nuclear materials is carefully watched – it is likely that we still have 3-5 years before we would be forced to act.

Some of the major technical hurdles that Iranians have to overcome in order to build a bomb are outlined in this excellent article by Dr. Jeffrey Lewis of the blog Arms Control Wonk. Lewis is on the board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and an arms control expert. What impressed me most about this article was his patient explanations of the engineering problems the Iranians have already experienced as well as what lies in store for them as they seek to build the infrastructure necessary to enrich uranium:

David Albright and Corey Hinderstein at the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) released an estimate that breaks down the steps for Iran to make fissile material for a bomb, along with a nifty satellite image (at right) of Iran’s Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) at Natanz.

Most references to Iran being “months” away from a bomb are really statements about how close Iran will be once it completes the FEP—something, as you will soon see, that will take a few years.


So, the real question, however, is how quickly Iran could assemble and operate 1,500 centrifuges in a crash program to make enough HEU for one bomb (say 15-20 kg).

Albright and Hinderstein have created a notional timeline for such a program:

Assemble 1,300-1,600 centrifuges. Assuming Iran starts assembling centrifuges at a rate of 70-
100/month, Iran will have enough centrifuges in 6-9 months.

Combine centrifuges into cascades, install control equipment, building feed and withdrawal systems, and test the Fuel Enrichment Plant. 1 year

Enrich enough HEU for a nuclear weapon. 1 year

Weaponize the HEU. A “few” months.

Total time to the bomb—about three years.

Please note that this would be a “crash” program and that the date 2009 dovetails nicely with the Israeli estimate.

While most experts believe that the Iranians will eventually have 50,000 centrifuges housed in the FEP at Natanz, the best estimate is that they currently only have 1000 – 1500 on hand, hence the long lead time between getting the enrichment plant up and running and converting enough U-235 to build a workable bomb. At full capacity, the plant should be able to enrich enough uranium to make 25-30 bombs a year.

Is this how the CIA calculated that it would take the Iranians a decade to produce a bomb? It would certainly take years to install 50,000 centrifuges and get them synced up so that they would work properly. If this is the case, it is interesting that they left the fact out of their leaks that the Iranians could engage in a crash program in enrichment that would cut the lead time for bomb building almost in half.

That said, as Dr. Lewis points out, even a crash program in enrichment would not guarantee an Iranian bomb in 3 years:

The interesting question is what technical problems the US IC expects Iran to encounter. The thing about a crash program is that things, well, crash.

The engineering tolerances necessary to spin a centrifuge at supersonic speed in order to separate isotopes are extremely difficult to achieve. And each centrifuge must act in concert with the others so that all 1500 machines are working together. Called a “cascade,” Lewis points out that this may be just one of several technical hurdles the Iranians must overcome even in a crash program.

If all this is true, the good news is we have time – time to get serious about working with dissident groups in Iran to affect regime change. Because in the end, no other option seems viable at this point. The fact is that the Iranians could hurt us in retaliation far more than we could hurt them by taking out their nuclear capability. And with not much prospect of European cooperation on meaningful sanctions, the regime change route may be our best bet to thwart the murderous designs of the mullahs.


Dr. Lewis has published Part II of his 3 part series “Iran and the Bomb” which deals with the difficulties in warhead development for Iranian missiles.


Aziz P. at Dean’s World nails it:

The analysis by ArmsControlWonk is thorough and detailed and goes into the specifics of nuclear production – including a very relevant discussion of lead. I urge everyone to read the full post. The bottom line: Iran is at least three years away from the bomb, even with the unrealistic assumption that the engineering is flawless enough to avoid even a single technical problem.

It is deeply troubling that instead of discussing how we might facilitate the birth of a new Iran, we are instead talking about “Hobbesian choices” and hinting darkly at 100 million potential dead in the middle east – by our hands. How noble of us! How monstrous. Preemptive war is one thing; preemptive genocide another.

And as Aziz makes clear in his own post (read the whole thing), it would betray our new found sense of mission to spread democracy in the Middle East if we were to bomb the Iranians with all the misery that would entail for the Iranian people – who would surely rally around the mullahs – as well as expose our own vulnerabilities to Iranian countermeasures.

The point I was trying to make is that we have time. Let’s put it to good use.

See also Demosophists analysis of a piece from Stratfor by George Friedman at the Jawa Report that is well worth your time.

By: Rick Moran at 9:57 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (15)

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CATEGORY: Politics

Watching lefties trying to distance themselves from the taped comments of Osama Bin Laden is like watching a large mouth bass wriggling on the end of a hook; try as they might to attempt escape, they’re caught and they know it.

Witness the desperate outrage at MSNBC’s Chrissy Matthews who, in a moment of clarity on Thursday night blurted out the obvious; that Osama “sounds like an over the top Michael Moore here, if not a Michael Moore…” . The fact that several bloggers have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Osama’s speech could have been taken from the words spoken by several Democratic party luminaries including “war hero” Congressman John Murtha and serial liar and blowhard Moore only makes the spectacle of watching lefties hem and haw and try and change the subject that much more enjoyable.

The actually believe if they scream loud enough and long enough that this will obscure what everyone with even a passing interest in politics knows; that the deadliest enemy of the United States agrees with them and uses their own language and ideas to taunt the United States of America.

I realize that introspection is not a liberal’s long suit. Looking in a mirror and facing facts would require a modicum of humility and a desire to understand the real-world consequences of one’s rhetoric and ideas. From what I’ve read this morning about the Matthews imbroglio, it ain’t happening:

John Aravosis:

Yes, in the eyes of MSNBC, the majority of country, and most of you reading this, have a bit too much in common with a mass murderer who killed 3,000 Americans on September 11. I wonder if MSNBC’s advertisers agree that more than half of their customers are akin to Al Qaeda terrorists? I wonder how fond MSNBC’s advertisers are of sponsoring fag-jokes? A line has been crossed, and enough is enough.

Of course, Mr. Trichinosis fails to note that “a majority of the country” does not believe the war is being fought for Haliburton and Bush cronies nor do Americans believe that the War On Terror is being lost. Only lickspittles like Mr. Halitosis and other progressives like Osama Bin Laden believe such twaddle.

Jamie Wolcott:

Michael Moore didn’t bring down the towers, Howard Dean isn’t responsible for Bin Laden remaining at large, and, unlike the fisking blogger, the overwhelming majority of liberal Manhattanites didn’t lose their nerve and flee the city after 9/11. They, we, stayed put. It’s the cowardly lions who curled up into a fetal ball and remain there today, talking tough and fooling no one but themselves.

Um…No one has said Michael Moore looks like Osama or acts like Osama. What is as plain as the nose on your fleshy, misshapen face is that Michael Moore sounds like Osama, a question you clumsily avoided by throwing up so many smokescreens that if you were a New York City tavern, you would have been closed for disobeying the tobacco nazis.

The flip side, of course, is that Osama’s rhetoric and ideas do not sound like anything anyone on the right has ever said about America or the war. This makes any critique of conservative criticisms by people like Mr. Osteoporosis and Mr. Limpett pretty useless because they refuse to confront the overriding issue; a Howard Dean speech and Osama Bin Laden rant are interchangeable.

For a good laugh, here’s someone who knows all about echoing the enemy’s talking points. He did it during the Viet Nam War and he’s doing it now.

John Kerry:

You’d think the only focus tonight would be on destroying Osama Bin Laden, not comparing him to an American who opposes the war whether you like him or not. You want a real debate that America needs? Here goes: If the administration had done the job right in Tora Bora we might not be having discussions on Hardball about a new Bin Laden tape. How dare Scott McClellan tell America that this Administration puts terrorists out of business when had they put Osama Bin Laden out of business in Afghanistan when our troops wanted to, we wouldn’t have to hear this barbarian’s voice on tape. That’s what we should be talking about in America.

Yes John, you’d like the focus to be on “destroying” Osama Bin Laden – since focusing on you and your ideological compatriot’s rhetoric would reveal that he agrees with just about everything you say. And despite more awkward obfuscations like bringing up Tora Bora (it didn’t work in November of 2004…what makes you think it will work now?) as well as failing to mention the massive damage done to al Qaeda by using tactics that you have consistently opposed shows you either to be a clueless moron or a dishonest lout. Given your past history, I’ll take the latter.

I suggest the RNC take a page out of LBJ’s dirty campaign book and come up with a commercial that has Osama spouting his hate on one side of the screen with liberals on the other side saying basically the same thing. They don’t even have to run it, just release it to the cable outlets. The Democrats will do the rest by making a huge to-do about it which will have the news nets playing it around the clock until most of the country has seen it.

Dirty? I suppose from a certain point of view – the Democrats – it wouldn’t be very nice. But effective? Like LBJ’s “Daisy” commercial which ran only once, people won’t remember that it was dirty politics; they’ll remember what the commercial was all about.

Now that’s what I call Hardball.


Jeff Goldstein decapitates John Kerry:

[W]hat is truly astonishing about this bit of strained outrage Kerry is so desperately trying to muster is that, more that a year after the Senator’s presidential defeat, he still fancies himself capable enough a speaker to pull off rhetorical dodges that are not only obviously insincere and unconvincing to the majority of Americans (and I include intellectually honest Democrats—even those who support Kerry’s Machiaveillian attempts to shift the debate’s focus), but that he actually seems inveterately incapable of recognizing that what he is really managing to do is highlight his party’s transparent attempts to distract from the substantive point— in this case, that Usama bin Laden, in his recent audio tape release, has put together a propaganda piece that, as others have pointed out, is replete with the anti-war talking points the progressive left has spent years now fine-tuninng and market testing. In fact, the onlytruly remarkable thing about the text of bin Laden’s speech was not the message itself—we’ve been hearing it for years now, from Michael Moore or Cindy Sheehan or Sean Penn or Nancy Pelosi—but rather that these talking points, having been translated into Arabic and then back into English, have managed to hold up so perfectly. No small feat, that—and a testament to the rigor of the crafting of the agitprop. Let’s see the geeks at Babelfish pull that shit off.

A lot of thought went into that Bin Laden rant by al Qaeda. And the fact that the left is accusing people of comparing the person Bin Laden to Michael Moore and other anti war protestors is telling. No one is saying Michael Moore is like a terrorist or even that he supports terrorists. We’re saying he and the terrorists sound exactly alike, a caveat the left cannot acknowledge without a huge chasm opening up beneath their feet. There’s zero chance however they will do so because as I point out above, the left is incapable of the kind of introspection necessary to arrive at the self-realization that their rhetoric has serious consequences detrimental to this country’s war effort.

See also Giacomo’s piece on Harry Belefont’s tirade. Mr. Calypso really is a tool.

By: Rick Moran at 12:08 pm | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (17)

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CATEGORY: Politics

It was a time of darkness and turmoil in the Empire.

Emboldened by scandal and a never ending war, the Rebel Alliance threatened the Empire’s hold on several key star systems.

Imperial Governors from across the galaxy met in the old capitol to be feted and stroked by minions of his Majesty, the Emperor. They were anxious lest they lose the privileges and prerogatives vouchsafed them by their dark lord, Darth Vader.

Fearing a revolt (and in an effort to stiffen their spines), the evil Lord reminded the Empire’s apparatchiks of the weaknesses in the Alliance:

At the core, we are dealing with two parties that have fundamentally different views on national security,” Rove said. “Republicans have a post-9/11 worldview and many Democrats have a pre-9/11 worldview. That doesn’t make them unpatriotic—not at all. But it does make them wrong—deeply and profoundly and consistently wrong.”

The Governors put up a brave front, applauding in all the right places but still worried about the outcome of the coming battle.

Meanwhile, the Ewoks protested violently against the intimations of the Evil One that the soft, furry creatures were incapable of fighting a serious war.

“We’ll show that Blue Meany how strong we can be,” they cried.

The Ewok Headman gathered his people in a circle around the fire and issued a call to battle:

“Karl Rove only has a White House job and a security clearance because President Bush has refused to keep his promise to fire anyone involved in revealing the identity of an undercover CIA operative,” Dean said in a statement. Dean added: “The truth is, Karl Rove breached our national security for partisan gain and that is both unpatriotic and wrong.”

Representatives of the Rebel Alliance who were present at the Ewok gathering saw through the Headman’s bluster and were deeply troubled. The Ewoks wanted to fight with spears and rocks while Imperial Storm Troopers had Star Destroyers and Blaster Rifles.

Back at the Imperial Palace, a representative of the Trade Federation, Mehlmik the Magnificent, tried to buck up the flagging spirits of the Governors by hinting that he would be ruthless toward those who would corrupt the Empire:

The issue of ethics was left to Ken Mehlman, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, who in his own tough-worded attacks on Democrats to the committee condemned Republicans implicated in any scandals. Mr. Mehlman, however, sought – as part of what has been a Republican strategy this week – to blame Democrats as well for the investigations now swirling around Congress.

“Public service is a sacred trust – and we cannot allow it to be sullied by anyone, Republican or Democrat,” he said. “As Republican chairman, I am proud of my party and loyal to our members. But if Republicans are guilty of illegal or inappropriate behavior, they should pay the price and suffer the consequences.”

Would the Evil Lord conquer the Ewoks and defeat the Rebel Alliance? His strategy appeared to be simplicity personified:

In a speech that drew several bursts of strong applause, Mr. Rove criticized Democrats for their opposition to tax cuts and for what he called “mean-spirited” attacks on Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., Mr. Bush’s Supreme Court nominee. And he left little doubt that in 2006 – as in both nationwide elections since the Sept. 11 attacks – he was intent on making national security the pre-eminent issue.

As the Governors left the palace, they seem buoyed by Vader’s words as well as a recognition that things were not as bad as they seemed:

RNC members said privately they are particularly concerned about holding on to their party’s long-sought, narrow edge in state legislatures. The GOP now enjoys a majority in 20 state legislatures, compared to 19 for the Democrats, with the remaining 10 split 50-50 between the two parties.

After regional breakfast sessions yesterday morning, the mood of many members improved, with several saying they were buoyed to hear from fellow state chairmen how few congressional seats seem threatened by the Abramoff scandal, at least at this point.

As Vader left for his audience with the Emperor, he was gripped with a sudden feeling of unease. He knew that somewhere out there, Obi Wan Kenobi was waiting for him, hoping he would slip up so that he could run his light saber through his putrid heart and destroy him.

“The force is strong in that one,” Vader muttered.

The Evil One vowed not to let his thoughts about Obi Wan cloud his judgment. He must have all his wits about him if he is to face the Alliance and defeat their designs to overthrow the Empire and bring peace to the galaxy.

By: Rick Moran at 9:15 am | Permalink | Comments & Trackbacks (9)

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