Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘middle east’

Family matters

Posted by Richard on February 16, 2007

Also from Solomonia: Stanley Kurtz has some terribly important information about an essential cultural difference that helps explain Islamic terrorism. It’s a theory that Kurtz began exploring in his review — and rejection — of Dinesh D’Souza’s The Enemy at Home. In fact, you should probably read that review first

You’ll also want to read Root Causes, Kurtz’s review of Bernard Lewis’ book, What Went Wrong? After all that prefatory material, you’re ready for Kurz’s initial essay about Islamic cousin marriage and its consequences:

In this first in a series of essays on Muslim cousin-marriage, I want to begin to make the case that Muslim kinship structure is an unexamined key to the war on terror. While the character of Islam itself is unquestionably one of the critical forces driving our global conflict, the nature of Islamic kinship and social structure is at least as important a factor — although this latter cluster of issues has received relatively little attention in public debate. Understanding the role of Middle Eastern kinship and social structure in driving the war not only throws light on the weaknesses of arguments like D’Souza’s, it may also help us devise a new long-term strategy for victory in the war on terror.

Read the whole thing. Please. As Sol said, it’s tough to excerpt, but it’s incredibly important information. It just blew me away.
 

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Retaliation threatens cease-fire!

Posted by Richard on December 27, 2006

It was just about a month ago that Reuters redefined "cease-fire" to mean, as Tammy Bruce put it, "when Israel stops defending herself." So, for the past 30-odd days, the Paleostinians in Gaza have fired Kassam rockets at Israeli towns at an average of two a day, and the Israelis haven’t responded — and this constituted a successful on-going "cease-fire."

But now, the Israelis have said they’ll target the Kassam rocket launchers with "pinpoint" strikes — and this "threatens" the "cease-fire"! The Paleostinians may be feuding savagely amongst themselves, but they all seem to agree that the "cease-fire" can survive only as long as the Israelis refrain from hitting back:

Palestinians warned Wednesday that Israel’s decision to target Kassam cells in the Gaza Strip will lead to the total collapse of the current cease-fire.

Abu Ahmed, a spokesman for the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, said his group would continue to fire rockets at Israel as long as the cease-fire is not extended to the West Bank.

"Israel is continuing to perpetrate daily massacres against our people in the West Bank," he claimed. "We have the right to respond to these attacks. In the next few days we will increase our rocket attacks on Israel."

Fatah’s armed wing, the Aksa Martyrs Brigades, also threatened to resume terror attacks if Israel launches attacks on Palestinians who fire rockets at Israeli cities. "Israel’s threats will destroy the cease-fire," the group said in a statement issued in Gaza City.

PLO executive committee member Yasser Abed Rabbo, who also serves as an advisor to Abbas, warned that the Israeli decision would lead to the breakdown of the cease-fire. He described the decision to target Kassam launchers as a "breach" of the cease-fire agreement and called on the Israeli government to reconsider its decision.

At LGF, Charles Johnson noticed that the Associated Press has also adopted the Reuters definition of "cease-fire":

In the Bizarro world of the Associated Press, Palestinians can fire rockets into Israel every single day, yet the “truce” is only “derailed” when Israel decides to defend against the attacks: Israel threatens to renew attacks.

JERUSALEM – After weeks of restraint, Israel said Wednesday that it will renew attacks on rocket-launching militants in the Gaza Strip, threatening to derail an already shaky, month-old truce.

Nice phrasing; Israel “threatens to renew attacks.” The Palestinians, on the other hand, can’t “renew” their attacks because they never stopped.

But AP’s reporting is more sinister than Bizarro. Compare the AP story with the quotes of Paleostinian leaders in the JPost article above and it becomes clear that the Associated Press has adopted the Paleostinian talking points.

The next time you read an AP or Reuters news report from the Middle East, just remember that, for all intents and purposes, you’re reading an Islamofascist press release with the language toned down to suit Western sensibilities.
 

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Baker’s blunders

Posted by Richard on December 5, 2006

I’ve made no secret of my dislike for James Baker, Bob Gates, and their pals from the Bush 41 administration — see Baker, Bush, and the loss of vision and It’s not realism, it’s capitulation. In his latest column, Jeff Jacoby cited some of the specific Bush 41 foreign policy blunders in which Baker had a hand as secretary of state (1989-1992):

One such blunder was the administration’s stubborn refusal to support independence for the long-subjugated republics of the Soviet Union, culminating in the president’s notorious "Chicken Kiev" speech of August 1991, when he urged Ukrainians to stay in their Soviet cage. Another was the appeasement of Syrian dictator Hafez Assad during the run-up to the Gulf War in 1990, when Bush and Baker blessed Syria’s brutal occupation of Lebanon in exchange for Assad’s acquiescence in the campaign to roll back the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait.

When Chinese tanks massacred students in Tiananmen Square, Bush expressed more concern for the troops than for their victims: "I don’t think we ought to judge the whole People’s Liberation Army by that terrible incident," he said. When Bosnia was torn apart by violence in 1992, the Bush-Baker reaction was to shrug it off as "a hiccup."

Worst of all was the betrayal of the Iraqi Shi’ites and Kurds who in the spring of 1991 heeded Bush’s call to "take matters into their own hands" and overthrow Saddam Hussein — only to be slaughtered by Saddam’s helicopter gunships and napalm while the Bush administration stood by. Baker blithely announced that the administration was "not in the process now of assisting . . . these groups that are in uprising against the current government." To Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell’s plea that some of the 400,000 US troops in the area put a halt to the massacre, Bush dismissively replied, "Always glad to have his opinion. Glad to hear from him." Then he went fishing in Florida.

If Bush the Elder is remembered for a rather heartless and cynical foreign policy, then much of the credit must go to Baker. And what Baker did for the father, he is now poised to do for the son.

Jacoby went on to argue for adding more troops in Iraq, and he made the best argument for doing so I’ve seen yet. In particular, with the impending Baker report reminding many of us — and doubtless many Iraqis — of the past Baker-Bush betrayal, there’s this (emphasis added):

Sending in significant reinforcements would not only make it possible to kill more of the terrorists, thugs, and assassins who are responsible for Iraq’s chaos. It would also help reassure Iraqis that the Washington is not planning to leave them in the lurch, as it did so ignominiously in 1991. The violence in Iraq is surging precisely because Iraqis fear that the Americans are getting ready to throw in the towel. That is why "they have turned to their own sectarian armed groups for the protection the Bush administration has failed to provide," Robert Kagan and William Kristol write in The Weekly Standard. "That, and not historical inevitability or the alleged failings of the Iraqi people, is what has brought Iraq closer to civil war."

I think that’s about right. I also think he’s on to something regarding why people have become so negative about Iraq: it’s not the casualties or the length of the conflict — "It is *losing* that Americans have no patience for." Of course, three years of relentless media negativity, disinformation, and outright lying have something to do with it, too.
 

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Baker, Bush, and the loss of vision

Posted by Richard on November 23, 2006

Events in Lebanon — and what’s sure to be an ongoing struggle to turn it into Hezbollahland — leave me even more displeased and disgusted by the prospect that our policy decisions regarding the Middle East, Iraq, and the War Against Islamofascism are going to be shaped by James Baker, Bob Gates, and their pals from the Bush 41 administration.

Baker has a history of being anti-Israel, and he sucked up to Syria as Secretary of State. Take a look at Ed Lasky’s American Thinker piece about Baker and Ray Close, an ex-CIA "expert" who’s playing a key role in formulating Baker’s Iraq Study Group recommendations. Close is at least extremely pro-Arabist and anti-Israel, and possibly a raving anti-Semite. And Baker’s not much better, according to Lasky:

The American-Israel alliance once again appears to be in the crosshairs of James Baker. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert may not have the strength to defend the American-Israel relationship. …

Olmert is up against an influential man with a long record of opposing the American-Israel alliance and who has a long record of coddling dictators and close business ties with Arab oil potentates. His track record would not seem to justify the influence he wields. As James Hoagland of the Washington Post put it,

[These are the] “policymakers who failed to anticipate and then opposed the breakup of the Soviet Union; who were not realistic enough to see, much less prevent, the Balkans from plunging into flames; and who coddled dictators from Beijing to Baghdad.”

Baker is true to form if his plan for dealing with Iraq will consist of coddling dictators from Damascus to Teheran. What other cards does Baker have up his sleeves? Has Baker stacked the deck against Israel? Based on the evidence so far, the answers are not very comforting.

G.W.B. appears ready to abandon his vision of advancing freedom and democracy in favor of the Kissingerian realpolitik of his father, his father’s associates, and a long line of pragmatists and accommodationists stretching back at least to the people who said "we can do business with Uncle Joe" Stalin. And the irony is that this long line of "realists" is responsible for a long line of failures, miscalculations, and disasters.

We’re on the verge of dumping Sharansky for Scowcroft, and I think it’s a terrible, terrible mistake.
 

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Thugs and crazies

Posted by Richard on November 22, 2006

There isn’t really any doubt that the thugs of Syria, the crazies of Iran, or both are behind the attempt to topple the Lebanese government via assassinations. Gateway Pundit has a good roundup of what’s happened, with lots of updates and links.

The prospect of civil war in Lebanon — or a quick Hezbollah takeover — follows closely on the heels of rumors that Baker’s Iraq Study Group will recommend making deals with Syria and Iran. Mary Madigan wrote a great analysis of the situation:

Discussions about Middle East politics remind me of a bit from a comic, Pearls Before Swine. One of the characters is a Zebra, who can’t understand why the lions keep eating his fellow Zebras. So, he writes a letter to the lions filled with philosophical questions about peace, understanding and the nature of being, asking why can’t they all get along, why can’t they be friends..

The answer comes back from the lions "we eat Zebras becuz you taste gud."

One of the main reasons why we’ve been so ineffective against the mob politics in Syria, Iran, Hezbollahland, Egypt, Saudi Arabia etc. is the way we allow ourselves to be distracted by their propaganda and by our own desire for peace. We don’t pay enough attention to their goals and their actions.

If we listen to their propaganda, we can tell ourselves that we’re dealing with a group of people who are motivated by religion and philosophy. We’re fighting an ideological war.

If we pay attention to their actions, we realize that we’re dealing with a bunch of gangsters. They’re well-organized gangsters, funded by millions in oil money, but they’re gangsters all the same. They want more money and power (as much as they can get), and they use guns to get them. Some are knuckle draggers and some wear suits and move money, propaganda and religious dogma around.

If the Gottis and Gambinos had wised up to the power of multicuturalism, leftist self-loathing and the multitude of hiding places provided by the skirts of religion, they could have ruled the world.

Reading Madigan’s piece, I was reminded of how Ayn Rand used to speak of the Witch Doctor and Atilla (symbols of faith and force), and how they seemed so different, but were very much alike in their rejection of reason. The Islamofascists — enemies of modernity, the Enlightenment, and Western Civilization — are actually a dangerous fusion of the Witch Doctor and Atilla into one. Crazed thugs, if you will. All the more reason they must be taken seriously and opposed with all our might.
 

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Hanson’s questions

Posted by Richard on November 21, 2006

Victor Davis Hanson’s November 17 column is a must read. He asked the kind of questions and raised the issues that ought to be at the heart of the public debate about Iraq, but that are being largely ignored. Regarding the suggestion that we need more troops in Iraq, Hanson countered that first someone needs to explain exactly how they would help the situation. He doubted that they would unless the rules of engagement were changed — and if those rules were changed, Hanson argued, more troops wouldn’t be needed. He noted that in Vietnam, the U.S. military successfully fought a force well over twice it’s size, and in Iraq:

Even generous estimates of the number of insurgents in Iraq conclude there are about 10,000 active killers — a fraction of just the irregulars in the south of Vietnam alone. Why then, when the numerical disparities are so much more favorable to our cause than during the Vietnam War, are we, rather than our vastly outnumbered enemies, lamenting the paucity of troops? That we have not secured the country may be due to the limitations put on our soldiers rather than their number; and to our preference for conventional rather than counter-insurgency fighting.

Hanson had some tough questions for the proponents of "redeploying" troops, too:

Are Americans ready to accept tens of thousands of refugees into the United States when those reformers who believed we’d stay and protect them are targeted for death? And what would we do if Turkey threatens Kurdistan with invasion once its patron has abandoned it?

And where, in a new region of jihadist ascendancy, are troops to be redeployed to? Other Middle East countries? What Middle Eastern illegitimate autocrat would want to host a retreating and defeated American army, a sort of modern version of Xenophon’s orphaned Ten Thousand? Indeed, the problem would not be redeployment to a nearby host kingdom, but just maintaining Centcom forces where they are now, once the Arab Street smells blood and adjusts to an Islamic victory. If IEDs worked in Iraq, why not also in Kuwait and Qatar?

But perhaps most importantly, Hanson thought we should consider the nature of and reasons for the "unbalanced reporting" of this war. He wondered if it was just the American media’s desire to hurt Republicans and the Europeans’ desire to take the U.S. down a notch, or if there was something deeper:

Or is the bias a more general result of a Western elite so deeply conflicted about its own culture, and so fundamentally unable to define its own civilization, that it either doesn’t care whether it wins, or in fact wishes that the West lose in Iraq?

One can grasp that generic hypocrisy by reviewing all the journalists’ charges leveled against Gulf War I — too much realpolitik; too much pay-as-you-go war thinking; too much Colin Powell and James Baker and not enough Paul Wolfowitz; too much worry about stability and not enough about millions of poor Kurds and Shiites; too much worry about empowering Iran. Then compare those charges to those leveled against Gulf War II — too much naïve idealism; too much expense in lives and treasure; not enough Colin Powell and James Baker and too much Paul Wolfowitz; too little worry about regional stability and too much given to ungovernable Iraqis; and too little thought about empowering Iran.

Whatever the U.S. does, Hanson observed, it’s going to be deemed wrong by the liberal media elites. He had some interesting thoughts about the reasons for that, but it’s something that should be discussed and explored further. As should all the issues and questions Hanson raised.
 

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Jews don’t matter to mainstream media

Posted by Richard on September 21, 2006

There was a rally in New York on Tuesday protesting the Iraq war. About 2,000 people attended. Apparently, nobody of any significance spoke (well, Jesse Jackson). But Reuters, AP, NBC, and other mainstream media organizations all covered the rally. The wire service stories were widely picked up throughout the world. AP and Reuters did mention that at the same time, about 200 Iranian-Americans protested against Ahmadinejad.

On Wednesday, there was another rally in New York. Across the street from the UN headquarters, 35,000 people rallied in support of Israel and to protest the man who wants to "wipe Israel from the map." Speakers included Gov. George Pataki, Nobel laureate Eli Wiesel, Ambassador John Bolton, and Professor Alan Dershowitz. Did you see anything about it on the TV news or in your morning paper? Me neither. Meryl Yourish searched widely for coverage:

Can you find a news source for the rally against Ahmadinejad at the UN yesterday? Correction: Can you find a non-Jewish media source, or a non-blogger source, for the rally?

I can’t. Except for the New York Sun.

I checked AP. Nothing. Reuters. Nada. I checked Google News. Nothing. 1010WINS. Nothing. I checked WABC, NY1, all the New York media sites. Gridlock alerts are the only thing you can find about the march. After all, it’s not newsworthy. The fact that 2,000 people marched a day earlier to protest the Iraq war? Oh, yeah, that made the news.

If you want to read about the rally, it appears that you have to go to the bloggers who were there, or whose readers sent in pictures. Or the Israeli press. Or the Jewish media. But nowhere else can you find any evidence that 35,000 people protested the Iranian president’s message of hate.

I think some in the media ignored this rally for political reasons — calling attention to it might benefit Bush and the Republicans. But I think there’s something else going on as well.

The mainstream media and the left (but I repeat myself) don’t see Jews as victims anymore they way they used to. Jews aren’t excluded from jobs, schools, and clubs anymore. As a group, they tend to be highly educated and successful. The Holocaust was long ago. Israel is a dynamic, vibrant, successful nation whose very existence is a reproach to its dysfunctional neighbors.

The mainstream media and the left love victims, underdogs, failures, fools, and incompetents — anyone who exhibits the highly desirable (to them) characteristics of dependency and dysfunctionality. But they are at best indifferent — and frequently hate-filled, contemptuous, and resentful — toward those who are competent, successful, high-achieving, and independent.

You know how folks on the left are always reminding us that they — the whole world, in fact — were united behind America immediately after 9/11? True, most of them were — but it only lasted until U.S. troops headed for Afghanistan. While smoke was still rising from Lower Manhattan and the nation was still on its knees and dazed, leftists throughout the world were brimming with sympathy. As soon as we got back on our feet and acted with strength and determination against the scum who attacked us, the sympathy began draining away and the criticism and denunciations began.

Most leftists feel the same way about the U.S. and Israel that they feel about rich and successful individuals — they despise them for their virtues.
 

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Religion of peace?

Posted by Richard on September 19, 2006

One thing’s become quite clear in the last few days: large portions of the worldwide Muslim community simply have no sense of irony.

The Pope quoted a 14th-century Byzantine emperor regarding Mohammed’s "command to spread by the sword the faith he preached," suggesting that Islam is not a very peaceful religion. Muslims the world over reacted by rioting, murdering a nun, calling for the Pope to be killed, burning churches, and demanding in outraged tones, "How dare you claim Islam is violent! For that, you must die!"

Events like these clearly call for a careful blend of thoughtful analysis and humor. Fortunately, Dean Barnett provided just the right mix in a post entitled FAQ – Islam Edition! Here are the first three of the twenty questions Barnett tackled:

1) Is Islam a Religion of Peace?

Well, um…No, not really.

2) So all Muslims are violent and bent on war. That’s a hateful and bigoted thing to say. You sicken me. And you’ll never carry Michigan.

That’s not what I said. You asked about Islam – I answered. You then erroneously inferred that I was speaking about all Muslims. I wasn’t. You misunderstood.

3) I don’t understand.

I know you don’t, and it’s not your fault. You’ve been poisoned by the forces of political correctness. You’re the product of a school system that valued sensitivity and self-esteem more than it valued truth and rational inquiry. As a consequence, truths which may be hurtful and disquieting will often flummox you. But you, and the legions of those like you, have to grow up.

Go read the rest. It’s a nice blend of truth and humor — not backslapping, yuck-it-up humor, mind you … it’s more grim than that. But it’s humor nonetheless, amidst some thoughtful observations.
 
UPDATE: Anne Applebaum at WaPo simply nails it:

Clearly, a handful of apologies and some random public debate — should the pope have said X, should the Danish prime minister have done Y — are ineffective and irrelevant: None of the radical clerics accepts Western apologies, and none of their radical followers reads the Western press. Instead, Western politicians, writers, thinkers and speakers should stop apologizing — and start uniting.

By this, I don’t mean that we all need to rush to defend or to analyze this particular sermon; I leave that to experts on Byzantine theology. But we can all unite in our support for freedom of speech — surely the pope is allowed to quote from medieval texts — and of the press. And we can also unite, loudly, in our condemnation of violent, unprovoked attacks on churches, embassies and elderly nuns. By "we" I mean here the White House, the Vatican, the German Greens, the French Foreign Ministry, NATO, Greenpeace, Le Monde and Fox News — Western institutions of the left, the right and everything in between. True, these principles sound pretty elementary — "we’re pro-free speech and anti-gratuitous violence" — but in the days since the pope’s sermon, I don’t feel that I’ve heard them defended in anything like a unanimous chorus. A lot more time has been spent analyzing what the pontiff meant to say, or should have said, or might have said if he had been given better advice.

All of which is simply beside the point, since nothing the pope has ever said comes even close to matching the vitriol, extremism and hatred that pour out of the mouths of radical imams and fanatical clerics every day, all across Europe and the Muslim world, almost none of which ever provokes any Western response at all. And maybe it’s time that it should: When Saudi Arabia publishes textbooks commanding good Wahhabi Muslims to "hate" Christians, Jews and non-Wahhabi Muslims, for example, why shouldn’t the Vatican, the Southern Baptists, Britain’s chief rabbi and the Council on American-Islamic Relations all condemn them — simultaneously?

Indeed, why shouldn’t they? Why haven’t they? Bravo, Anne! Thank you!
 

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Bush in Salt Lake City

Posted by Richard on September 1, 2006

President Bush delivered a pretty good speech to the American Legion’s national convention in Salt Lake City this morning — you can read the whole thing at the White House website. It was the first of a series that — with the fall elections approaching — represent a renewed effort to educate and persuade the American people about the war against the Islamofascists.

The meat of this speech might be called "Bush channels Sharansky." Natan Sharansky’s The Case for Democracy is an outstanding and immensely important book — I highly, highly recommend it. It’s been clear for some time that Sharansky had a profound impact on Bush, and Bush put a pretty good  "executive summary" of the Sharansky thesis into this speech (emphasis added):

In the coming days, I’ll deliver a series of speeches describing the nature of our enemy in the war on terror, the insights we’ve gained about their aims and ambitions, the successes and setbacks we’ve experienced, and our strategy to prevail in this long war. Today, I’ll discuss a critical aspect of this war: the struggle between freedom and terror in the Middle East, including the battle in Iraq, which is the central front in our fight against terrorism.

To understand the struggle unfolding in the Middle East, we need to look at the recent history of the region. For a half- century, America’s primary goal in the Middle East was stability. This was understandable at the time; we were fighting the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and it was important to support Middle Eastern governments that rejected communism. Yet, over the decades, an undercurrent of danger was rising in the Middle East. Much of the region was mired in stagnation and despair. A generation of young people grew up with little hope to improve their lives, and many fell under the sway of radical extremism. The terrorist movement multiplied in strength, and resentment that had simmered for years boiled over into violence across the world.

Extremists in Iran seized American hostages. Hezbollah terrorists murdered American troops at the Marine barracks in Beirut and Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. Terrorists set off a truck bomb at the World Trade Center. Al Qaeda blew up two U.S. embassies in East Africa, and bombed the USS Cole. Then came the nightmare of September the 11, 2001, when 19 hijackers killed nearly 3,000 men, women, and children.

In the space of a single morning, it became clear that the calm we saw in the Middle East was only a mirage. We realized that years of pursuing stability to promote peace had left us with neither. Instead, the lack of freedom in the Middle East made the region an incubator for terrorist movements.

The status quo in the Middle East before September the 11th was dangerous and unacceptable, so we’re pursuing a new strategy. First, we’re using every element of national power to confront al Qaeda, those who take inspiration from them, and other terrorists who use similar tactics. We have ended the days of treating terrorism simply as a law enforcement matter. We will stay on the offense. We will fight the terrorists overseas so we do not have to face them here at home. (Applause.)

Second, we have made it clear to all nations, if you harbor terrorists, you are just as guilty as the terrorists; you’re an enemy of the United States, and you will be held to account. (Applause.) And third, we’ve launched a bold new agenda to defeat the ideology of the enemy by supporting the forces of freedom in the Middle East and beyond.

The freedom agenda is based upon our deepest ideals and our vital interests. Americans believe that every person, of every religion, on every continent, has the right to determine his or her own destiny. We believe that freedom is a gift from an almighty God, beyond any power on Earth to take away. (Applause.) And we also know, by history and by logic, that promoting democracy is the surest way to build security. Democracies don’t attack each other or threaten the peace. Governments accountable to the voters focus on building roads and schools — not weapons of mass destruction. Young people who have a say in their future are less likely to search for meaning in extremism. Citizens who can join a peaceful political party are less likely to join a terrorist organization. Dissidents with the freedom to protest around the clock are less likely to blow themselves up during rush hour. And nations that commit to freedom for their people will not support terrorists — they will join us in defeating them. (Applause.)

So America has committed its influence in the world to advancing freedom and democracy as the great alternatives to repression and radicalism. We will take the side of democratic leaders and reformers across the Middle East. We will support the voices of tolerance and moderation in the Muslim world. We stand with the mothers and fathers in every culture who want to see their children grow up in a caring and peaceful world. And by supporting the cause of freedom in a vital region, we’ll make our children and our grandchildren more secure. (Applause.)

Bush went on to sketch out how things have changed in the Middle East in the past five years, explaining again why Iraq is critical to the advance of freedom and democracy in the region. He argued that things have been tough, but are getting better, that the recent violence has been terrible, but stems from a small minority, not from a widespread civil war. He laid out a case for optimism, but didn’t sugar-coat it. In fact, he failed to cite two facts I think he should have emphasized, because no one will ever hear them from the mainstream media: first, because the Iraqi army is more and more taking the lead, U.S. casualties have fallen steadily, month after month, for the past five or six months; second, the joint American-Iraqi security offensive (which Bush did discuss) has already reduced the August death toll in Baghdad to half what it was in July.

But Bush made it clear that his "exit strategy" for Iraq is the only exit strategy that makes any sense — victory (emphasis added):

Some Americans didn’t support my decision to remove Saddam Hussein; many are frustrated with the level of violence. But we should all agree that the battle for Iraq is now central to the ideological struggle of the 21st century. We will not allow the terrorists to dictate the future of this century — so we will defeat them in Iraq. (Applause.)

We can decide to stop fighting the terrorists in Iraq and other parts of the world, but they will not decide to stop fighting us. General John Abizaid, our top commander in the Middle East region, recently put it this way: "If we leave, they will follow us." And he is right. The security of the civilized world depends on victory in the war on terror, and that depends on victory in Iraq. So the United States of America will not leave until victory is achieved. (Applause.)

Victory in Iraq will be difficult and it will require more sacrifice. The fighting there can be as fierce as it was at Omaha Beach or Guadalcanal. And victory is as important as it was in those earlier battles. Victory in Iraq will result in a democracy that is a friend of America and an ally in the war on terror. Victory in Iraq will be a crushing defeat for our enemies, who have staked so much on the battle there. Victory in Iraq will honor the sacrifice of the brave Americans who have given their lives. And victory in Iraq would be a powerful triumph in the ideological struggle of the 21st century. From Damascus to Tehran, people will look to a democratic Iraq as inspiration that freedom can succeed in the Middle East, and as evidence that the side of freedom is the winning side. This is a pivotal moment for the Middle East. The world is watching — and in Iraq and beyond, the forces of freedom will prevail. (Applause.)

Bush clearly described the choice we face — a dystopian, dangerous Middle East or his (and Sharansky’s) alternative vision:

For all the debate, American policy in the Middle East comes down to a straightforward choice. We can allow the Middle East to continue on its course — on the course it was headed before September the 11th, and a generation from now, our children will face a region dominated by terrorist states and radical dictators armed with nuclear weapons. Or we can stop that from happening, by rallying the world to confront the ideology of hate, and give the people of the Middle East a future of hope. And that is the choice America has made. (Applause.)

We see a day when people across the Middle East have governments that honor their dignity, unleash their creativity, and count their votes. We see a day when leaders across the Middle East reject terror and protect freedom. We see a day when the nations of the Middle East are allies in the cause of peace. The path to that day will be uphill and uneven, but we can be confident of the outcome, because we know that the direction of history leads toward freedom.

The Bush administration has had plenty of short-comings and policy screw-ups, but I’m solidly with Bush on his vision for the Middle East. There’s no reason Reagan’s shining city on a hill can’t have a few minarets, right? 🙂
 

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Is it 1938 again?

Posted by Richard on August 8, 2006

Here is Victor Davis Hanson’s "The Brink of Madness." Read every word. Read it several times. This may be the most important thing you read all year:

When I used to read about the 1930s — the Italian invasion of Abyssinia, the rise of fascism in Italy, Spain, and Germany, the appeasement in France and Britain, the murderous duplicity of the Soviet Union, and the racist Japanese murdering in China — I never could quite figure out why, during those bleak years, Western Europeans and those in the United States did not speak out and condemn the growing madness, if only to defend the millennia-long promise of Western liberalism.

Of course, the trauma of the Great War was all too fresh, and the utopian hopes for the League of Nations were not yet dashed. The Great Depression made the thought of rearmament seem absurd. The connivances of Stalin with Hitler — both satanic, yet sometimes in alliance, sometimes not — could confuse political judgments.

But nevertheless it is still surreal to reread the fantasies of Chamberlain, Daladier, and Pope Pius, or the stump speeches by Charles Lindbergh (“Their [the Jews’] greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government”) or Father Coughlin (“Many people are beginning to wonder whom they should fear most — the Roosevelt-Churchill combination or the Hitler-Mussolini combination.”) — and baffling to consider that such men ever had any influence.

Not any longer.

Our present generation too is on the brink of moral insanity. That has never been more evident than in the last three weeks, as the West has proven utterly unable to distinguish between an attacked democracy that seeks to strike back at terrorist combatants, and terrorist aggressors who seek to kill civilians.

It is now nearly five years since jihadists from the Arab world left a crater in Manhattan and ignited the Pentagon. Apart from the frontline in Iraq, the United States and NATO have troops battling the Islamic fascists in Afghanistan. European police scramble daily to avoid another London or Madrid train bombing. The French, Dutch, and Danish governments are worried that a sizable number of Muslim immigrants inside their countries are not assimilating, and, more worrisome, are starting to demand that their hosts alter their liberal values to accommodate radical Islam. It is apparently not safe for Australians in Bali, and a Jew alone in any Arab nation would have to be discreet — and perhaps now in France or Sweden as well. Canadians’ past opposition to the Iraq war, and their empathy for the Palestinians, earned no reprieve, if we can believe that Islamists were caught plotting to behead their prime minister. Russians have been blown up by Muslim Chechnyans from Moscow to Beslan. India is routinely attacked by Islamic terrorists. An elected Lebanese minister must keep in mind that a Hezbollah or Syrian terrorist — not an Israeli bomb — might kill him if he utters a wrong word. The only mystery here in the United States is which target the jihadists want to destroy first: the Holland Tunnel in New York or the Sears Tower in Chicago.

In nearly all these cases there is a certain sameness: The Koran is quoted as the moral authority of the perpetrators; terrorism is the preferred method of violence; Jews are usually blamed; dozens of rambling complaints are aired, and killers are often considered stateless, at least in the sense that the countries in which they seek shelter or conduct business or find support do not accept culpability for their actions.

Yet the present Western apology to all this is often to deal piecemeal with these perceived Muslim grievances: India, after all, is in Kashmir; Russia is in Chechnya; America is in Iraq, Canada is in Afghanistan; Spain was in Iraq (or rather, still is in Al Andalus); or Israel was in Gaza and Lebanon. Therefore we are to believe that “freedom fighters” commit terror for political purposes of “liberation.” At the most extreme, some think there is absolutely no pattern to global terrorism, and the mere suggestion that there is constitutes “Islamaphobia.”

Here at home, yet another Islamic fanatic conducts an act of al Qaedism in Seattle, and the police worry immediately about the safety of the mosques from which such hatred has in the past often emanated — as if the problem of a Jew being murdered at the Los Angeles airport or a Seattle civic center arises from not protecting mosques, rather than protecting us from what sometimes goes on in mosques.

But then the world is awash with a vicious hatred that we have not seen in our generation: the most lavish film in Turkish history, “Valley of the Wolves,” depicts a Jewish-American harvesting organs at Abu Ghraib in order to sell them; the Palestinian state press regularly denigrates the race and appearance of the American Secretary of State; the U.N. secretary general calls a mistaken Israeli strike on a U.N. post “deliberate,” without a word that his own Blue Helmets have for years watched Hezbollah arm rockets in violation of U.N. resolutions, and Hezbollah’s terrorists routinely hide behind U.N. peacekeepers to ensure impunity while launching missiles.

If you think I exaggerate the bankruptcy of the West or only refer to the serial ravings on the Middle East of Pat Buchanan or Jimmy Carter, consider some of the most recent comments from Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah about Israel: “When the people of this temporary country lose their confidence in their legendary army, the end of this entity will begin [emphasis added].” Then compare Nasrallah’s remarks about the U.S: “To President Bush, Prime Minister Olmert and every other tyrannical aggressor. I want to invite you to do what you want, practice your hostilities. By God, you will not succeed in erasing our memory, our presence or eradicating our strong belief. Your masses will soon waste away, and your days are numbered [emphasis added].”

And finally examine here at home reaction to Hezbollah — which has butchered Americans in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia — from a prominent Democratic Congressman, John Dingell: “I don’t take sides for or against Hezbollah.” And isn’t that the point, after all: the amoral Westerner cannot exercise moral judgment because he no longer has any?

An Arab rights group, between denunciations of Israel and America, is suing its alma mater the United States for not evacuating Arab-Americans quickly enough from Lebanon, despite government warnings of the dangers of going there, and the explicit tactics of Hezbollah, in the manner of Saddam Hussein, of using civilians as human shields in the war it started against Israel.

Demonstrators on behalf of Hezbollah inside the United States — does anyone remember our 241 Marines slaughtered by these cowardly terrorists? — routinely carry placards with the Star of David juxtaposed with Swastikas, as voices praise terrorist killers. Few Arab-American groups these past few days have publicly explained that the sort of violence, tyranny, and lawlessness of the Middle East that drove them to the shores of a compassionate and successful America is best epitomized by the primordial creed of Hezbollah.

There is no need to mention Europe, an entire continent now returning to the cowardice of the 1930s. Its cartoonists are terrified of offending Muslim sensibilities, so they now portray the Jews as Nazis, secure that no offended Israeli terrorist might chop off their heads. The French foreign minister meets with the Iranians to show solidarity with the terrorists who promise to wipe Israel off the map (“In the region there is of course a country such as Iran — a great country, a great people and a great civilization which is respected and which plays a stabilizing role in the region”) — and manages to outdo Chamberlain at Munich. One wonders only whether the prime catalyst for such French debasement is worry over oil, terrorists, nukes, unassimilated Arab minorities at home, or the old Gallic Jew-hatred.

It is now a cliché to rant about the spread of postmodernism, cultural relativism, utopian pacifism, and moral equivalence among the affluent and leisured societies of the West. But we are seeing the insidious wages of such pernicious theories as they filter down from our media, universities, and government — and never more so than in the general public’s nonchalance since Hezbollah attacked Israel.

These past few days the inability of millions of Westerners, both here and in Europe, to condemn fascist terrorists who start wars, spread racial hatred, and despise Western democracies is the real story, not the “quarter-ton” Israeli bombs that inadvertently hit civilians in Lebanon who live among rocket launchers that send missiles into Israeli cities and suburbs.

Yes, perhaps Israel should have hit more quickly, harder, and on the ground; yes, it has run an inept public relations campaign; yes, to these criticisms and more. But what is lost sight of is the central moral issue of our times: a humane democracy mired in an asymmetrical war is trying to protect itself against terrorists from the 7th century, while under the scrutiny of a corrupt world that needs oil, is largely anti-Semitic and deathly afraid of Islamic terrorists, and finds psychic enjoyment in seeing successful Western societies under duress.

In short, if we wish to learn what was going on in Europe in 1938, just look around.

 

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The perverse consequence of peace movements

Posted by Richard on July 21, 2006

Tom Sowell wrote in "Pacifists versus peace":

There was a time when it would have been suicidal to threaten, much less attack, a nation with much stronger military power because one of the dangers to the attacker would be the prospect of being annihilated.

"World opinion," the U.N. and "peace movements" have eliminated that deterrent. An aggressor today knows that if his aggression fails, he will still be protected from the full retaliatory power and fury of those he attacked because there will be hand-wringers demanding a cease fire, negotiations and concessions.

Sowell noted that "peace movements" have thus had catastrophic consequences: they’ve encouraged aggression. Outstanding column — RTWT!
 

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Neighborhood bully

Posted by Richard on July 21, 2006

Courtesy of pro-Israel advocacy group, StandWithUs.com, here’s political analyst Bob Dylan’s description of the Middle East situation in the 1980s — still spot-on, and far more insightful than most talking heads on TV:

The Neighborhood Bully
by Bob Dylan
 
Well, the neighborhood bully, he’s just one man,
His enemies say he’s on their land.
They got him outnumbered about a million to one,
He got no place to escape to, no place to run.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully just lives to survive,
He’s criticized and condemned for being alive.
He’s not supposed to fight back, he’s supposed to have thick skin,
He’s supposed to lay down and die when his door is kicked in.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

The neighborhood bully been driven out of every land,
He’s wandered the earth an exiled man.
Seen his family scattered, his people hounded and torn,
He’s always on trial for just being born.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, he knocked out a lynch mob, he was criticized,
Old women condemned him, said he should apologize.
Then he destroyed a bomb factory, nobody was glad.
The bombs were meant for him.
He was supposed to feel bad.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, the chances are against it and the odds are slim
That he’ll live by the rules that the world makes for him,
‘Cause there’s a noose at his neck and a gun at his back
And a license to kill him is given out to every maniac.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

He got no allies to really speak of.
What he gets he must pay for, he don’t get it out of love.
He buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied
But no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Well, he’s surrounded by pacifists who all want peace,
They pray for it nightly that the bloodshed must cease.
Now, they wouldn’t hurt a fly.
To hurt one they would weep.
They lay and they wait for this bully to fall asleep.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Every empire that’s enslaved him is gone,
Egypt and Rome, even the great Babylon.
He’s made a garden of paradise in the desert sand,
In bed with nobody, under no one’s command.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

Now his holiest books have been trampled upon,
No contract he signed was worth what it was written on.
He took the crumbs of the world and he turned it into wealth,
Took sickness and disease and he turned it into health.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

What’s anybody indebted to him for?
Nothin’, they say.
He just likes to cause war.
Pride and prejudice and superstition indeed,
They wait for this bully like a dog waits to feed.
He’s the neighborhood bully.

What has he done to wear so many scars?
Does he change the course of rivers?
Does he pollute the moon and stars?
Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill,
Running out the clock, time standing still,
Neighborhood bully.

UPDATE: The song is on the album Infidels. If you’re willing to install the Rhapsody player software, you can listen to the song free here. Or you can listen to a one-minute clip at Dylan’s site.
 

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Are we rescuing Hezbollah supporters?

Posted by Richard on July 18, 2006

The U.S. is promising to evacuate 1,000 Americans per day from Lebanon, starting Wednesday, but some people who ought to know are expressing concern about just who it is we’re rescuing. Brigitte Gabriel, whom I wrote about before, grew up as a Lebanese Christian and experienced Islamist persecution and violence first-hand throughout her youth. Now head of American Congress for Truth, she expressed concern that the media coverage is giving us a false picture:

I am speaking with Lebanese Christians in Lebanon and they are all fine. Israel is not bombing them or their towns. Israel is bombing the Shiite radical strong holds. This is what the news is not telling you. Israel bombed the airport, the port and the bridges to Syria because they are used to transport weapons and support to Hezbollah. …

As sad as I feel watching what is happening in Lebanon, it is absolutely necessary to support Israel to kill the cancer that has spread and is killing the Lebanese body. Israel is not targeting civilians. Israel is targeting terrorists. Israel has launched 3000 air strikes on Lebanon since the beginning of the Operation and inflicted only 122 casualties. If Israel’s intention was to kill civilians you would have seen many more civilian deaths than only 122. They are being extremely careful, even dropping flyers and urging civilians to leave before they bomb. These casualties are terrorists and terrorist families and sympathizers.

Please read the below article from Debbie Schlussel. She hits the nail on the head. Not all American-Lebanese there are terrorist sympathizers. There is a minority of Christians vacationing there too. However the majority of the Muslims have connections to Husballah.

The Debbie Schlussel article she referred to argued that we’re about to rescue a lot of Hezbollah supporters. Schlussel, a Michigan attorney, columnist, and talk show host, is an expert on radical Islam and especially knowledgeable about the Islamists in and around Dearborn, MI (she once infiltrated a radical mosque there disguised as a Muslim woman). In this new article, she argued (emphasis in original):

One thing is lost in all the press coverage of the whining Americans who went to Lebanon of their own accord and now want us to pick up the tab to get them out.

THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS IN LEBANON ARE HEZBOLLAH SUPPORTERS.

Most of them are Shiite Muslims, many of whom hold dual U.S. and Lebanese citizenship. Many are anchor babies born here to Muslims in the U.S. illegally. Some are illegal aliens who became citizens through rubber-stamping Citizenship and Immigration Services (and its INS predecessor) coupled with political pressure by spineless politicians.

Of the 25,000 American citizens and green-card holders in Lebanon, at least 7,000 are from Dearborn, Michigan, the heart of Islamic America, and especially Shia Islam. These 7,000 are mostly Shi’ite Muslims who openly and strongly support Hezbollah. Ditto for many of the rest of the 25,000 that are there.

Many of the 7,000 plus Detroiters in Lebanon are active in Dearborn’s Bint Jbeil cultural center (the Lebanese American Heritage Club also features mostly Hezbollah fans). Bint Jbeil is a Hezbollah-dominated city in the South of Lebanon, a frequent destination of Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, who is very at home there. Bint Jbeil is a frequent source of shellings on Northern Israel.


Given this information, and the fact that several Shi’ite Muslim Lebanese U.S. citizens from Dearborn have been indicted and/or convicted of laundering money to Hezbollah, is it a good idea to rush to bring 25,000 such persons back to the U.S. at a time when Hezbollah is at war against our strongest U.S. ally? Does the fact, that Hezbollah numerous times–and especially now–has announced veiled and not-so-veiled intentions to attack Americans on U.S. soil, make the case to quickly bring these terror-sympathizing Americans back to U.S. soil? …

Schlussel seems to be something of a shoot-from-the-hip type, so she may be painting with too broad a brush regarding the 25,000. But her credentials suggest that she knows what she’s talking about regarding the Dearborn Islamic community and its radicalism and support for Hezbollah. Her concerns ought to be taken seriously by our government.

Do the U.S. embassy staff and the American military realize that they may be be about to save some Hezbollah members from their well-deserved fate? That some of the people they’re going to evacuate tomorrow may have been firing rockets at Israel yesterday? That they may be about to transport Hezbollah terror cells into the U.S. at taxpayer expense? Do they have any safeguards or screening mechanisms in place to prevent this?

Just wondering.
 

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The war for public opinion

Posted by Richard on July 18, 2006

Neo-neocon made an important point yesterday about civilian deaths in Lebanon. Yes, Hezbollah has been storing rockets in civilian homes and apartments, and launching them from just outside. But Iran (which calls the shots) and Hezbollah aren’t doing this merely because they’re indifferent to civilian casualties — they’re doing it because they want civilian casualties:

Hezbollah is well aware that if, by taking out the missile launchers, Israel kills Lebanese civilians–which is every bit as much Hezbollah’s goal as the initial killing of Israeli civilians by the rockets themselves–then, as sure as day follows night, this fact will be reported heavily by the Western media (mostly without the all-important background context), flashed around the globe, and widely condemned. Civilians are not only expendable on the part of the terrorists, they are important and vital tools–stage props. …

Read, as they say, the whole thing. Then, in the context of this Hezbollah tactic, consider her earlier post about the danger of "proportionality" in war. Israel — like the U.S. in Iraq — gains nothing by fighting cautiously, half-heartedly, and timidly. The Islamofascists will make sure, via their tactics, that even a cautious and measured response results in sufficient collateral damage for their propaganda purposes. Heck, I suspect that if there weren’t enough collateral damage, they’d secretly create it.
 

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Is Murtha losing it?

Posted by Richard on June 21, 2006

While waiting (in vain) for Blog-City to come back on line last night, I read some transcripts from the Sunday news shows. Tim Russert’s interview of Rep. John Murtha is just unbelievable. I used to think his anti-war rhetoric was political posturing, but now I wonder if it’s something more — something sad. I wonder if Murtha’s mind is beginning to go. He is, after all, 74 years old.

What else would explain how a Marine Corps veteran with a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts could hold up the ignominious U.S. withdrawal from Somalia (see Black Hawk Down) as a good example? What else would explain the semicoherent, disjointed rambling that characterized the entire interview?

Regarding the current state of affairs in Iraq, Murtha said:

It’s worse today than it was six months ago when I spoke out initially. When I spoke out, the garbage wasn’t being collected, oil production below pre-war level—all those things indicated to me we weren’t winning this, and it’s the same today, if not worse. Anbar Province. There’s not one project been done in Anbar Province. Two million people live there. They have no water at all, no oil production, they have no electricity at all in that province where is the heartland of the defense. The first six months we went in there, no—there—not a shot was fired, so it shows you how it’s changed.

It’s getting worse. That’s why I feel so strongly. All of us know how important it is internationally to win this war. We know how important. We import 20 million barrels of oil a day—we use 20 million barrels of oil. We know how important, international community. But we’re doing it all ourself, and there’s no plan that makes sense. We need to have more international cooperation. We need to redeploy our troops, the periphery. What happened with Zarqawi could have been done from the out—it was done from the outside. Our planes went in from the outside. So there’s no reason in the world that they can’t redeploy the troops. They’ve become the targets, they’re caught in the civil war, and I feel very strongly about it.

Asked about Rove’s "cut and run" charge, Murtha said he wanted to "change direction" and cited Beirut and Mogadishu as examples to follow:

Now, let’s, let’s—give me, give you an example. When we went to Beirut, I, I said to President Reagan, “Get out.” Now, the other day we were doing a debate, and they said, “Well, Beirut was a different situation. We cut and run.” We didn’t cut and run. President Reagan made the decision to change direction because he knew he couldn’t win it. Even in Somalia, President Clinton made the decision, “We have to, we have to change direction. Even with tax cuts. When we had a tax cut under Reagan, we then had a tax increase because he had to change direction. We need to change direction. We can’t win a war like this.

Later, he reiterated those examples:

The trouble is it keeps getting worse and they don’t want to admit they made a mistake. You just have—at some point you got to reassess it like Reagan did in, in Beirut, like, like Clinton did in Somalia, you just have to say, “OK, it’s time to change direction.”

Beirut and Mogadishu — bin Laden said it was those two events that convinced him the U.S. was weak and vulnerable. And Murtha wants us to emulate them. Incredible.

Russert asked about the killing of al-Zarqawi, and Murtha said in part:

Well, it was a military accomplishment from outside the country. We, we bombed, we bombed it. The, the information came from the Iraqis to the Iraqis to the U.S., and then we bombed where he was. And it—so it came from the outside.

I’ll tell you, here, here’s the problem we have in, in this kind of a war. First, first of all you’ve got our troops in the green zone. President says, “OK, I’m going in. And it was nice to see a democratic country—a democratic organization in operation.” It’s in the green zone. It’s a fortress. They’re not out in, in the public. They’re—they cannot go outside the—when I first went to Iraq, you could drive any place. As a matter of fact, when I found the 44,000 body armor shortages I was out in the division in the field. When I went to Anbar—but now you can’t go outside the green zone. So, so—the, the government’s inside the green zone. So they’re, they’re where Saddam Hussein was.

Then, then let’s take the prison situation. We, we pass in the House and the Senate a veto-proof legislation that they shouldn’t veto and then the president says, “Well, we’re going to continue the same policy.” Now what does that say? We’re fighting a war of ideals and ideas. It’s no longer a military war. We have won the military war against their, their enemy. We toppled Saddam Hussein. The military’s done everything that they can do. And so it’s time for us to redeploy. And Iraqi—only Iraqis can settle this.

When pressed by Russert about where to "redeploy" our troops, Murtha suggested:

REP. MURTHA: Kuwait’s one that will take us. Qatar, we already have bases in Qatar. So Bahrain. All those countries are willing to take the United States. Now, Saudi Arabia won’t because they wanted us out of there in the first place. So—and we don’t have to be right there. We can go to Okinawa. We, we don’t have—we can redeploy there almost instantly. So that’s not—that’s, that’s a fallacy. That, that’s just a statement to rial up people to support a failed policy wrapped in illusion.

MR. RUSSERT: But it’d be tough to have a timely response from Okinawa.

REP. MURTHA: Well, it—you know, they—when I say Okinawa, I, I’m saying troops in Okinawa. When I say a timely response, you know, our fighters can fly from Okinawa very quickly. And—and—when they don’t know we’re coming. There’s no question about it. And, and where those airplanes won’t—came from I can’t tell you, but, but I’ll tell you one thing, it doesn’t take very long for them to get in with cruise missiles or with, with fighter aircraft or, or attack aircraft, it doesn’t take any time at all. So we, we have done—this one particular operation, to say that that couldn’t have done, done—it was done from the outside, for heaven’s sakes.

Okinawa. 5000 miles from Iraq, through Chinese and Iranian air space. Well over 20 hours round-trip flying time, with multiple refuelings — "it doesn’t take any time at all." That’s just bizarre.

Russert asked what the effect would be on the fall elections if the Dems were successfully portrayed as the "party of cut and run":

Well, I think the public would have to be portrayed as cut-and-run if you talk about the Democrats being portrayed—every place I go, people understand what I’m saying. The public has been away ahead. For instance, when I came to Congress in ‘74, I remember distinctly the public—they said we, we’d only win a few seats, we had a two-to-one majority at that time. We won all five of the special elections that year, we lost—we—when Vice President Ford’s seat—only had it for two years, but we won that seat. Then in, in ‘94, when the public turned against the Congress, we thought we’d lose 18, we lost 52 seats.

So, you know, it, it’s easy to them to try to spin the fact that it’s not going to happen. And I think we do have to have legitimate proposals. I think we have to talk about a lot of things besides the war itself, but the war has such a ramification, such—the debt itself is $8.4 trillion dollars. How we going to pay for this? Obviously, we’re going to have to adjust taxes from the higher level, there’s no question about it if you’re going to—unless you want your children and grandchildren paying for this. So we—a lot of problems we have to face. It’s an individual thing. Some areas it’s not as popular as others, but in the long run, a lot of people have changed their mind. It’s changed dramatically from the way it was today, and I think most—well, two thirds of the Democrats agree with my position now.

Surely, the man’s mind hasn’t always worked like this. I may express low opinions of Congress from time to time, but I don’t think you can serve 32 years there without the ability to express coherent and complete thoughts. I don’t think a rational person, fully in touch with reality, would insist that there’s no power or water in Anbar province, or suggest "redeploying" from Iraq to Okinawa and just dismiss concerns about response time.

I suspect that Murtha is descending into senile dementia, and I think a mental status exam and complete clinical evaluation are in order. My sympathies to the Murtha family. But I hope someone intervenes soon, before he embarrasses himself, the Congress, and this country any further.
 

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