Saturday, September 30, 2006

"It's more sad than anything else" 
"It's more sad than anything else, to see someone with such potential throw it all down the drain because of a sexual addiction."

Representative Mark Foley, on Bill Clinton, 1998

Try this 
after a couple of beers.

"Flat Daddies" popular with military families 
The New York Times is just getting 'round to this.

But "rubber hubbies" have been popular with military wives for decades.

Splash, out


What could be better than Fiddler on the Roof? 
How about Fiddler on the Roof in Japanese!?!?!?!?!

I can't describe how seeing this moved me emotionally.

l'Shanah tova and G'mar tov to all my Jewish friends.

A good year and an easy fast.



Law Prof: Indict the NY Times 
Law professor Henry Mark Holzen, professor emeritus at Brooklyn Law School, lays out the case.

It is an article of faith on the Left and among its fellow travelers that the Bush administration stole two elections, made war on Iraq for venal reasons, tortured hapless foreigners, and conducted illegal surveillance of innocent Americans. A corollary of this mindset is that the press, primarily the Washington Post and The New York Times, has a right, indeed a duty, to print whatever they want about the administration—even if the information compromises national security.

Not true. The press is not exempt from laws that apply to everyone else. The press is not exempt from laws protecting our national security. The New York Times is not exempt from the Espionage Act, as we shall see in a moment.

Overall, it's pretty good. I'm not a lawyer, by any means. But I do have a couple of quibbles:

1.) Professor Holzen makes much of the fact that Congress created the NSA in arguing that the NSA acted constitutionally. This is true. But Congress created all kinds of adjuncts to the executive branch. It is perfectly possible for a bureaucracy created by Congress to act contrary to the intent of Congress. Ask anyone who raises teenagers. It is also perfectly possible for a body created by Congress to act unconstitutionally. The argument is meaningless. Either the NSA's wiretapping passes constitutional muster, or it does not. Whether it was the brainchild of Congress or the Executive branch is not relevant.

At any rate, even if it were an executive branch creation, Congress has been funding it for years - providing its tacet endorsement in so doing.

Professor Holzen overstates his case here.

2.) Professor Holzen understates his case elsewhere. In rightly pointing out that the Ellsberg decision held that the United States did not have sufficient cause to warrant an a priori injunction against publishing in that particular case, he misses an important - indeed, vital - fact that buttresses his case: Justice White's decision stated that he would specifically support an after-the-fact prosecution of the Times under existing secrecy laws.

This is vital because here, the Supreme Court specifically devastates the argument that journalists enjoy special protection from the laws that govern everyone else. It's not the only time the USSC has done that - the notion is about as thoroughly settled as one can be in case law.

Even further, the USSC, courtesy of Justice Byron "Whizzer" White's decision, specifically upholds the constitutionality of the Espionage Act, and validates Uncle Sam's authority to safeguard critical classified information by prosecuting any entities who violate it -- including news outlets.

Splash, out


97 Reasons Democrats are Weak 
Investor's Business Daily has a clever piece.

Jimmy Carter is reason number 4, 7, and 10.

"You do not create terrorism by fighting terrorism." 
Mr. Prez comes out swinging.

''You do not create terrorism by fighting terrorism,'' he told a receptive military audience. ''If that ever becomes the mind-set of the policymakers in Washington, it means we'll go back to the old days of waiting to be attacked -- and then respond.''"

Meanwhile, General Pelosi is accusing Bush of not finishing the fight in Afghanistan.

But, back in June of 2005, Nancy Pelosi said, verbatim: "The war in Afghanistan is over."

Six American servicemen were wounded in Afghanistan that same day. Fighting.

Splash, out


Friday, September 29, 2006

Just how dumb are AP journalists? 
Pretty damn dumb, it seems.

NEW YORK -- Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi photographer who helped the Associated Press win a Pulitzer Prize last year, is now in his sixth month in a U.S. Army prison in Iraq. He doesn't understand why he's there, and neither do his AP colleagues.

Well, I dunnooooooooooo. But I would guess it just miiiiiiiiiight have something to do with getting caught hanging out and shooting the breeze with a local Al Qaeda branch manager.

Oh, and personally testing hot for explosives.


Any other Iraqi or foreign national caught with the same fact pattern would be held. The AP fails utterly to demonstrate otherwise. This intellectual puppy totally ignores the argument.

Hell, we're holding John Walker Lindh for less than what we have Bilal Hussein on.

There is nothing anywhere that says reporters are not subject to the rule of law when they are coconspirators in terror plots or aid and abet terrorists by concealing their whereabouts from lawful authoritoes. Nor are they entitled to any special treatment whatsoever when, by virtue of testing hot for explosive residue while hanging out in the company of known terrorists, transform themselves into combatants.

Sure he's a journo on the side. Most Iraqi insurgents have day jobs, too. What of it?

I've had college professors in my trucks in Iraq who were caught red-handed transporting artillery shells, fuses, and detonators in the trunks of their Opels and Peugots.

I guess AP staffers have to get beaten over the head with a clue bat before they can discern the pile of dog crap we're shoving their face in. But you know, I had a pretty good idea why those guys were held, too.

I'll explain it to an AP reporter, but I'll probably have to talk reeeeeeal slow.

The Army says it thinks Bilal has too many contacts among insurgents. He has taken pictures the Army thinks could have been made only with the connivance of insurgents. So Bilal himself must be one, too, or at least a sympathizer.

This dolt conveniently doesn't bother to note that Bilal tested positive for explosive residue on his person.

Further, nowhere in the article does this AP flack mention that Bilal was caught in the immediate company of a known Al Qaeda leader in a safe house. That's clearly relevant.

But the Associated Press, obviously, doesn't feel you have a right to know.

After more than five months of trying to bring Bilal's case into the daylight, AP is now convinced the Army doesn't care whether Bilal is or isn't an insurgent.

One: This guy's a liar. Two: This guy's an idiot.

He's a liar because after five months, the AP didn't try to bring squat into the light. The AP could have reported that one of their stringers was rounded up at an Al Qaeda safe house any time.

They didn't. They concealed it from you. They lied by omission then, and Tom Curley lies by comission now.

He's an idiot because it is clear that the Army is treating him as a combatant - that is to say, as an insurgent. It's already settled. Curley simply is too dense, or lacks the fund of information possessed by any good E-4 that would clarify for him what a combatant is, and that combatants taken on the field of battle are generally not charged with crimes.

The captors MAY charge them with a crime. But under articles of war are under no obligation whatsoever to do so.

The detention of enemy combatants is not punitive, nor is it intended to be. It's practical, because it gives the captor a realistic alternative to summary execution or mass slaughter.

This much common sense, though, is lacking at the Associated Press.

But Bilal's incarceration delivers a further bonus. He is no longer free to circulate in his native Falluja or in Ramadi, taking photographs that coalition commanders would prefer not to see published.

Hurley slyly implies that the motive for Hussein's detention is censorship. He didn't read the AP's own excellent newswriting manual, though, because Hurley is committing a serious journalistic sin: He is bringing an explosive charge without a shred of evidence.

Instead, he slanders American commanders in Iraq while brazenly completely ignoring the circumstances of Hussein's capture and the damning evidence on his person.

Sigh. I can hear the handwringers commenting already: "But everybody tests positive for explosive residue in Iraq don't they?"

No, they don't dumbass. Just the people who have been personally handling explosives. If EVERYONE tested positive, why would the military bother testing anybody?

Hurley's sloppiness is glaring, his intellectual dishonesty breathtaking to behold.

Consider this extraordinary series of red herrings:

U.S. journalists are severely limited in their ability to move safely, make themselves understood and develop sources in such areas. AP has learned to overcome those limitations, using techniques honed over decades of covering sectarian confrontation and bloodshed in the Middle East.

Irrelevant to Hussein's case. Hussein is either a combatant or not a combatant, or a criminal or not a criminal, based on his own actions as an individual. It makes no difference whatsoever what AP has learned to do to overcome limitations.

It has long been AP practice to hire and train local people in the agency's permanent international bureaus. Many become highly skilled career journalists who remain with the Associated Press for decades. Several are second-generation staffers. Their work has never been more important to the Associated Press and the global audience that relies on our reporting.

Irrelevant. See above.

Without their access and insight into what is happening in their countries and communities, our understanding of the history being made there every day would be shallow and one-dimensional. It would also be far more vulnerable to control and spin by "official" sources.

Irrelevant. See above.

Both official and unofficial parties on every side of a conflict try to discredit or silence news they don't like.

A slander, without basis in fact here. There is no reason to believe that Bilal's oevre of photos in the past is the determining factor in the decision to keep him detained now. The circumstances of his capture and the explosive residue on his person are more than enough evidence to hold him as a combatant, without relying on his past photographs.

Hurley is, ironically, pointing out that others do what he is, in fact doing - trying to discredit or silence news he doesn't like.

This hypocrite, for example, is trying to discredit commanders in Iraq by ascribing bad motives to them - yet without a single item of evidence to muster in support of his accusation.

Further, this hypocrite is acting to silence news he doesn't like, simply by excluding a number of embarrassing bits of news from his report: Not only was Hussein picked up in an Al Qaeda safe house in the company of an Al Qaeda leader -- Not only did Hussein test positive for explosive residue -- no... Hurley also, somehow, omits the fact that Hussein has already had the benefit of two separate independent reviews, and both of them found that there was sufficient reason for him to be detained.

But it doesn't stop there.

Hurley also doesn't bother to note that at least one of his photographs - the picture of a freshly killed Italian hostage and two of his murderers, suggests that Bilal himself is accessory to murder, or at least to its concealment or concealing the identity and whereabouts of the captors.

But Hussein's colleagues don't know why he's being held.

What a bunch of idiots.

That is certainly the case in Iraq, where journalists are routinely harassed, defamed, beaten and kidnapped. At last count, 80 had been killed.

Hurley insults their memory. There is no way on God's Green Earth that brave and good journalists like Mazen Dana and Michael Kelly and Steven Vincent - who all lost their lives in Iraq - should be lumped into the same category with this cretin.

His staff ought to be revolting.

In some ways, some of them are.

Bilal Hussein is part of the latest generation of Associated Press hires in the Middle East. He was a shopkeeper in Falluja, selling mobile phones and computers. Although he had a degree from the Baghdad Institute of Technology, it was the best opportunity available in the fractured Iraqi economy.


AP first hired him as a translator and driver. He proved smart and trustworthy, and was already comfortable with the phones, laptops and cameras that are tools of the journalist's trade. Within months, he was taking professional-quality pictures, including one of insurgents engaged with coalition forces that was part of AP's Pulitzer Prize-winning photography entry last year.

Irrelevant. But notable for it's glaring omission: What of the obvious question, as to how Hussein got the call to photograph the just-murdered Italian hostage together with his killers? Why was he in their midst? Did he take any action whatsoever to report what he had learned?

It seems not.

Bilal has shared the hardships of all Iraqis in disputed areas -- hardships that are worse for journalists, whose job is to get as close as they can to places where guns and bombs are being used. His home has been riddled with gunfire. His family has fled. At least once he had to ditch his camera equipment to run for his life.

Yeah, those things happen when you're a combatant.

He faces what may be greater dangers now. From prison, he has told his attorneys that he fears he is a marked man among the detainees, who now know he is a journalist working for a Western news service.

What? He has attorneys? So he's actually getting more rights than he's entitled to as a POW combatant.

. Meanwhile, agents of the most powerful country on Earth have labeled him an enemy.

"Agents?" I prefer the term "soldiers," moron.

And yes, they've declared him an enemy. That's what happens to losers who hang out with Al Qaeda and who test hot for explosives after being arrrested at an Al Qaeda safehouse.

. They say they have evidence to satisfy themselves, and don't need to prove it to anyone else.

That is true as a matter of settled law, moron. The Commander in Chief is legally entitled to delegate to commanders the authority to detain enemy combatants. Individual cases are not subject to review, judicial or otherwise. There can be an appeal process, but only because the executive branch so directs that one be created.

As the organization that handed Bilal the camera that helped put him where he is today,

Bullshit. Hussein could be in the exact same spot without a camera. He was not arrested for taking pictures. He was arrested because he was hanging around shooting the shit and knocking back a few with Al Freaking Qaeda. And he had explosives residue on him.

Sheesh. How stupid can this man get?

the Associated Press cannot turn its back on him.

The Associated Press had no problem turning its back on its readers, though, and the truth.

The Associated Press also has no problem, apparently, turning its back on the facts of the case.

. We cannot dismiss Bilal's insistence that he is not an insurgent solely on the strength of the unexamined suspicions offered by the U.S. military.

Dissembling fucktard. Bilal was either caught at an Al Qaeda safe house or he was not. He was caught in the company of an Al Qaeda leader or he was not. He tested positive for explosive residue or he was not.

The AP isn't challenging anything here in the article. If they are all true - and the AP does not deny them - then these things are facts, not "suspicions."

And AP does nothing whatsoever to examine them.

It's pretty sad when the CEO of the Associated Press cannot tell the difference between a fact and a suspicion.

If Bilal has done something wrong, the Iraqi courts stand ready to try him.

You don't try combatants as criminals, dumbass. The Geneva Conventions expect you NOT to try the average joe combatant detainee. Why? Because they were smart enough to know that if you tried to do so, the best you would have is a kangaroo court.

Iraqi authorities have asked more than once that he and other Iraqi citizens in prolonged U.S. military custody be turned over to them for due process.

Turn him over to the Iraqis.

This is the most asinine thing of all.

This guy thinks he's advocating for Bilal by arguing that he should leave U.S. custody?

That just takes the cake.

The CEO of Associated Press is, indeed, very stupid.

Just not as dumb as he thinks his readers are.

Splash, out


Zawahiri Calls Bush a Lying Failure in the War on Terror 
It's almost like they want Republicans to lose for some reason.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Qusay and Uday Hussein, and Abu Musab Al Zarqawi could not be reached for comment.

Congressman Foley: Crusader against childhood porn 
Oh, the irony.

Carter: "U.S. has never had a policy of preemptive war" 
Manuel Noriega, Chief Joseph, Patricio Montojo y Pasaron, Baby Doc Duvalier, Maurice Bishop, Ho Chi Minh, Marine Corps veterans of a series of small interventions in the Carribean and Central America duing the 30s, Khair ad Din, Queen Lilioukalani, Kim Sung Il, Benito Mussolini, Slobodan Milosevic, Huk Rebellion, Moammar Khaddafi, Allende, CIA veterans of Iranian invasion of Oman in 1970, Citizens of Beirut, Veterans of the Tanker War, Mohammad Farah Aidid all unavailable for comment.

Bush accuses Dems of offering nothing but criticism and second guessing 
Dems respond with criticism and second guessing

Update: Link fixed.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Conflating us with the Khmer Rouge 
And that's no sh*t.

David Corn has a hysterical column in which he posits the following logic: The Khmer Rouge used waterboarding. We used waterboarding. Therefore we are like the Khmer Rouge.

Hell, he even posts a painting of waterboarding in action, painted by a Khmer victim.

Frankly, Corn is insulting.

First of all - and I've been meaning to post this for some time - There's no way I think waterboarding DOESN'T qualify as a form of torture. For that reason I believe it should be prohibited under the Geneva conventions. Lawful combatants, so long as they remain lawful, should not be subjected to this kind of treatment.

Waterboarding is torture.

On the other hand, I see no reason on the planet why someone like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed should enjoy any such protection. We got information from Mohammed that has broken up terror plots and saved hundreds - perhaps thousands of lives.

Must be nice to be a columnist for The Nation. The Nation allows Corn to live such a sheltered life that he doesn't need to consider tradeoffs. Obviously, Corn is much more concerned about sparing a terrorist, murdering, sociopathic thug two minutes of discomfort and even panic than he is about something so trivial as the lives of hundreds of innocent mothers, fathers, daughters and sons.

Let me think about Benalshibh bawling and sputtering like a bitch for a couple of minutes because someone put a wet rag on his face and see if I feel diminished.

Nope... not feeling it yet.

Nope. Still nothing.


Maybe if I thought about it reeeeeeal hard.

Nope. Nothing.


Doesn't bother me.

Those pangs of guilt are sizzling away like drops of water on a hot iron. It's kind of cool to listen to the hissing noise, though.

Corn is insulting to our servicemen, who do not deserve to be conflated with or compared to the murderers of the Khmer Rouge.

He is insulting to the innocent victims of the Khmer Rouge, who do not deserve to be conflated with terrorist dogs.

He is insulting to his readers, who deserve better than the kind of sloppy logic being served up here. The Khmer Rouge were not evil because they waterboarded. They were evil because they murdered. They waterboarded to further the cause of evil.

They were evil because they killed, mutilated, raped, and disfigured their innocent victims. Not because they caused criminals to panic under a wet rag for 30 seconds.

The Khmer Rouge did it to force confessions as part of their machination of murder.

The United States has done it - successfully - to prevent murder.

If you read the entire Corn peace, you would see that Corn doesn't even throw a bone at the argument. No gray area is even acknowledged. The Khmer Rouge had waterboards. Therefore we should be lumped in with the Khmer Rouge.

This is what passes for logic and reasoning on the left today.

Corn is one of their best thinkers.


Perspective, people.

Splash, out


ABC hits a new low 
UPDATE: ABC Had the scoop all along. I don't know why they didn't go with what they knew all at once, though.

Foley's resignation is appropriate, and I withdraw my slam on ABC News with my apologies.


Funny how this kind of stuff always seems to come out more in election years, after labor day.

I question the timing.

That doesn't mean the tone of the email doesn't rub me the wrong way. But that's all it does. If this is the sum total of the evidence to suggest that Foley is pervy, then ABC should be ashamed of itself.

If it is not, then ABC should be ashamed of itself for not building more of a case.

Either way ABC doesn't come off looking good.

Honestly, when I first clicked on it, I thought it was from The Onion.

Yet another reason to be disappointed in the fourth estate.

Splash, out


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

More guitar blogging 
Dunno who this is, but it's cool.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Another dumb idea 
This one from California:

The California legislature has passed a bill to drastically change the way the president is elected – giving the state’s 55 electoral votes to the winner of the nationwide popular vote, regardless of the results within the state.

This comes courtesy of the same bag of dolts who argued after the 2000 election we should do away with the electoral college.

I've always wanted to ask these people if we should also do away with the Senate?

Splash, out


Bill Clinton 
Digging his rhetorical grave.

Yeah. Let's blame the military, and the CIA and FBI for "failing to certify" that Al Qaeda was responsible for terror attacks.

Put aside the facts that Bin Ladin was identified as a terrorist financier in 1997 by Clinton's own intelligence services, and that Janet Reno's justice department was confident enough in Bin Ladin's evilitude to indict him in 1998.

The CIA and FBI wouldn't "certify."

Obviously, Karl Rove has taken over Clinton's brain from his secret mind control bat cave in West Transylvania and is forcing him to say stupid things.

Not quite as stupid as "Can I ask you about the Clinton Initiative?" but pretty stupid nonetheless.

Besides. I know that smirk. I get it myself when I'm trying to restrain a smile, because I know I've got a great, compelling interview going on.

Also - and good interviewers know this...sources open up more to people who smile than people who don't.

It's not because I think I'm smart. I try to go into every interview with an expert with the assumption that I don't know crap, but I want them to prove stuff.

Only the New York Times 
Could conflate putting a pair of panties on someone's head with rape.

A glimpse of the unhinged left 
Pulled from a comment by Raoul Duke over at Digby, who blogs from the city of my birth, the People's Republic of Santa Monica:

What was the last thing Barbara Olsen saw?

Why, it was her scrawny butt flying through her bleached, ratty hair of course?


Remembering Paul Smith 
SFC Paul Smith won the Medal of Honor, posthumously.

It was his birthday yesterday.

He is remembered here.

He is also demoted to E-5.

"Root Causes," Propaganda, and Rear-View Mirror Driving 
RightWing Nut House on "root causes:"

First of all, identifying “root causes” is all well and good. But short of massive transfers of wealth, overthrowing the despots who are sitting on top of all that oil, and allowing the State of Israel to be destroyed, just what the devil are we supposed to do to assuage this massive rage against us?

Rick Moran is responding to this leaked intelligence report, characterized by the Washington Post and the New York Times as saying that the invasion of Iraq "hurt the fight against terror."

These dopes don't know what the war on terror is. First of all, the U.S. has not declared war on all forms of terrorism, and not all terrorism is created equal. The creation of thousands of rock-throwing yahoos raging impotently in the streets is of little concern to the United States. The Unites States is concerned specifically about "terrorism of global reach."

The U.S. is winning the game on the field, and the Times is saying the concession stands aren't making a profit. Who the heck cares about the concession stands?

According to officials familiar with the document, it describes the situation in Iraq as promoting the spread of radical Islam by providing a focal point, with constant reinforcement of an anti-American message for disaffected Muslims.

Yes, the U.S. invasion of Iraq is a primary recruiting tool for terror organizations. So am I to believe that had the United States not invaded Iraq, terror organizations would have stopped recruiting?


They would think of something else and recruit on that basis. Before Iraq it was US forces stationed on the Arabian peninsula. Before that it was US support of Israel. Or it was US forces in Somalia.

If they weren't using Iraq in their recruiting propaganda they'd STILL be recruiting over Afghanistan. Or they'd fire some rockets at Israel.

The April NIE, titled "Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States," does not offer policy prescriptions.

Wow. Gee. You're really helpful. Thanks. Do you drive your family around by looking in the rear view mirror, too?

The goal of toppling Saddam's regime was not to prevent the formation of two-bit operators elsewhere. The goal of toppling Saddam's regime was to cut off Al Qaeda and other jihadist kooks from an obvious potential source of WMD technology. This goal was achieved. The "worst-case" scenario is SIGNIFICANTLY less probable than it would have been with a friendly Saddam with a reconstituted nuclear program in a position to ply Al Qaeda goons with materiel for a dirty bomb or chemical attack in exchange for a tacit agreement not to target his regime.

The Saudis had no such programs and were themselves targeted by Al Qaeda. Saddam Hussein's regime was far more secular, and yet he was not targeted by Al Qaeda. Any of Saddam's apologists want to explain that to me?

Why did Clinton bomb the factory in Sudan? Was he lying to us then?

The creation of more inept terror cells of limited reach and capability, incapable of coordination without the risk of exposing themselves to capture or killing, is not a huge price to pay compared with a Saddam with a reconstituted WMD program and a shadowy force of Salafists willing to use it against Israel, the U.S., or anyone else.

The elephant in the room - which seems wholly lost on the Post, the Times, and the Intel services, is that the US was attacked on 9/11 without having invaded Iraq. The USS Cole was attacked without us having invaded Iraq. Two African embassies were destroyed, and hundreds murdered, without us having invaded Iraq. The Khobar Towers were destroyed, without us having invaded Iraq. The WTC was attacked in 2003 without us having invaded Iraq (well, except for Desert Storm. But that state of affairs would have existed without Bush II attacking Iraq anyway.)

US Forces in Mogadishu were attacked without us having invaded Iraq.

Chris Stedham was beaten, shot, and thrown dead to the tarmac without us having invaded Iraq.

They bombed a discotheque in Berlin without us having invaded Iraq.

They kill Israelis by the dozen, and Israel didn't invade Iraq.

Nobody on the Achille Lauro invaded Iraq that I can recall. The wheelchair bound Leon Hofstetler, murdered and pushed overboard by people working for a man whom Saddam Hussein had put up and given succor to, didn't invade Iraq.

So these dorks want me to think that us invading Iraq creates more terror than we otherwise would have?

Spare me.

Even if it did, a substantial portion of those people are going to Iraq, where they're getting killed.

The intelligence services should focus less on handwringing stupid rear-view-mirror driving and more on finding terrorist scumbags so they can be captured or killed.

These bastards will recruit no matter what we do. And they will still score local victories, or create them, to put them in their recruiting ads, no matter what we do.

The Times and Post pay no attention to the antiproliferation benefits of taking down Saddam - benefits which paid off in Libya as well - and which were at the heart of the reason to remove him from power.

Now go tap some cell phones, you wankers.

Splash, out

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Arming Predators 
Much is being made now of the video now circulationg in which a Predator UAV had Osama Bin Ladin in its sights - yet the then POTUS Bill Clinton did nothing.

Clinton's defenders will point out that he could not have done anything, because the Predator was unarmed.

This is what happens when we give command authority to lawyers. In a decision illustrative of the difference between the Clinton and Bush II Administrations, the Clinton Administration CHOSE not to arm Predators, even though they were more than capable of carrying a precision guided missile.


Because according to the Clinton Administration's grossly inane reading of the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty that we signed with the USSR - a country that didn't even exist anymore - an unmanned aerial vehicle that carried an antitank missile was considered a cruise missile.

And so the Clinton Administration essentially tucked its penis between its legs before going to bed with the girl.

According to the treaty, the US could not deploy a ground-launched cruise missile with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. So the Clinton Administration Lawyers looked at a UAV, originally designed for surveillance missions, imagined that it might be able to actually shoot what it saw, had a fit of the vapors, and promptly defenestrated one of our best tools in the fight against Al Qaeda.

I'd fire lawyers like that.

In the Clinton Administration, lawyers like that get promoted.

At any rate, the Bush Administration looked at that policy and saw how stupid it was. And so they reversed the Clinton policy, and took the position that no, dumbass, a UAV Plus a Hellfire Antitank Missile does not a "cruise missile" make. And so they promptly hung a Hellfire on the UAV, and successfully test fired the first one at Eglin Air Force Base on 21 February 2001 - less than a month after Bush took office.

That didn't take long, huh?

What a cowboy.

So next time some Clintonite tries to tell you that Clinton could not have killed Bin Ladin that day if he wanted to, remind him or her that it was Clinton's own damn fault. He may have drawn his sword, but deliberately left the blade in the scabbard.

Dollars to donuts that if Bush had waited until after September 11th to arm predators, there'd be Democrats arguing that he's disregarding International Law in doing so.

Splash, out


P.S. Ace has more background on the Clinton Administration's fecklessness with regard to getting Bin Ladin.

And when I say "fecklessness," I mean lacking any feck whatsoever. The complete and total absence of feck.

The Clinton White House was, apparently, a feck-free zone.

The Guns of 88 
A reader sends in this excellent article from The American Thinker on the Tanker Wars - a series of sharp battles he calls "the largest naval engagement since World War II."

(Bigger than the Falklands War?)

Anyway, here's an excerpt:

The ayatollahs’ behavior is not a product of confidence. There’s no way it could be. The Iranians are in worse shape today than in 1988. Their navy has suffered extreme neglect. Its major vessels are twenty-five to fifty years old, its personnel untrained and inexperienced. The army, with “armored” and “mechanized” divisions with more men than vehicles, is scarcely worth mentioning. So the leadership responds out of fear: shouting to overcome their own misgivings, claiming weapons they have no way of developing, and making premature announcements of “joining the nuclear club.”

Agreed. A conventional, direct engagement of any kind with the Iran will be quickly and decisively resolved in our favor. The only card Tehran can play - and they are masters at it, as we saw in the recent festivities in Lebanon - are indirect. They threaten to reactivate Hezbollah. But we cannot count on them not to do that anyway, so it's a false threat. Plus, if Hezbollah attacks Israel again, the kid gloves will truly come off - and any Israeli excesses will be drowned out by the news of Iran's navy, air force, and critical infrastructures getting torn to shreds by a U.S. Navy and Air Force more capable than ever, having processed a number of procedural, intelligence processing, and targeting lessons learned from the Iraq war.

Iran can try to manipulate oil production. But it's a lot harder for them to do so now, when a friendly Iraq won't follow suit. (Don't count on Iraq to surge production, though - Iraq has cranked up to max throughput - one of several reasons the price of oil is falling. (Incidentally, I'm quite confident that the real reason oil prices are falling is because of an expected production slowdown - maybe because China's economy is easing to a more manageable level, reducing demand. But it's so early in the cycle that the slowdown is invisible so far in other economic data. (And looking at employment data is like looking in the rear view mirror)).

Iran can also try to retaliate via terror strikes on the U.S. itself. Well, can we really be so assured that they aren't plotting these attacks already?

And if the threat of terror attacks on the U.S. is really restraining our freedom of action, then how much more so would the threat of terror attacks sponsored by a nuclear Iran?

If Iran's terror threat is credible, that is all the more reason to strike now, when they do not have the capability to mount a commensurate response.

Lastly, Iran can also try to make trouble for us in Iraq. Again, though, I think their capacity to do so is limited - especially if the Mullahs do not survive a conflict with the United States.

We should be taking steps in advance to counter, mitigate, or neutralize these actions. Iran can pack a nasty sting. But we should not be taking counsel of our fears. Iran has far, far more to lose in a confrontation with the U.S. than we do.

All they can do is inconvenience us. All they can do is cause an oil price spike in the short run (bankrupting themselves in the process).

We've survived oil price spikes before. We just did. Further, I would posit that oil price futures already contain a substantial risk premium BECAUSE of the possibility that Iran will become a nuclear power.

If the US is strong now, that risk premium will disappear. It will be, theoretically, replaced by another risk premium. But after Iran is put down, I would argue that oil prices, in the long term, would be lower than they would be with Ahmadenijad and his Merry Band of Mullahs left in power to roil oil and capital markets, threaten shipping in the Persian Gulf, and threaten Kuwait, Oman, Riyadh, and the UAE with nuclear annihilation if they don't get their way.

Much less Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Splash, out


Friday, September 22, 2006

Du bist der Land von Sitzpinkeln!!!!!

LATE LAST YEAR, at the invitation of Nato, and in the company of a small band of globetrotting pundits, I travelled to Afghanistan to witness first-hand the allied operation to reconstruct the benighted country.

After a day of briefings in Kabul, our friendly Nato hosts flew us by military transport to Herat, on the western border with Iran. We were due to spend a day touring a Nato post in the city and then fly back that evening to the capital. But the Danish plane that had taken us developed propeller problems and was grounded. As we cooled our heels outside the airfield , we waited for word of the aircraft that was supposed to come for us: a German C-130.

It soon became clear that the replacement plane was not coming. The reason, it turned out, was that the Germans would not fly in the dark. German aircraft are not permitted by their national rules to undertake night flights.

The Nation on Prospects of War with Iran 
The Nation, which never met a dictator it didn't love since Ronald Reagan took office, is taking a look at the looming confrontation with Iran - a confrontation I regard as inevitable, barring an Allah Ex Machina sort of intervention.

Note that there's already a blurb stating that the article was updated on September 27th, five days from now. Hey, these guys are fast!

As reports circulate of a sharp debate within the White House over possible US military action against Iran and its nuclear enrichment facilities, The Nation has learned that the Bush Administration and the Pentagon have moved up the deployment of a major "strike group" of ships, including the nuclear aircraft carrier Eisenhower as well as a cruiser, destroyer, frigate, submarine escort and supply ship, to head for the Persian Gulf, just off Iran's western coast. This information follows a report in the current issue of Time magazine, both online and in print, that a group of ships capable of mining harbors has received orders to be ready to sail for the Persian Gulf by October 1.

As Time writes in its cover story, "What Would War Look Like?," evidence of the forward deployment of minesweepers and word that the chief of naval operations had asked for a reworking of old plans for mining Iranian harbors "suggest that a much discussed--but until now largely theoretical--prospect has become real: that the U.S. may be preparing for war with Iran."

I would bloody well hope so!!!! You can never start lining up your rooks too early.

But check this out:

First word of the early dispatch of the "Ike Strike" group to the Persian Gulf region came from several angry officers on the ships involved, who contacted antiwar critics like retired Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner and complained that they were being sent to attack Iran without any order from the Congress.

Dang we got some dumb people out there in the fleet. The President doesn't need a congressional authorization to engage in the time-honored practice of gunboat diplomacy. He just needs officers to execute his orders.

Gardiner's notion that it is against US law to attack Iranian nuclear facilities seems like a bit of a stretch to me, although it might be against Iranian law.

If it is illegal for Bush to attack nuclear sites in Iran, it was equally illegal for Clinton to bomb chemical factories in Sudan - a fact that seems to have escaped the editors of The Nation.

Gardiner says that while the United States has the capability to hit those sites with its cruise missiles, "the Iranians have many more options than we do: They can activate Hezbollah; they can organize riots all over the Islamic world, including Pakistan, which could bring down the Musharraf government, putting nuclear weapons into terrorist hands; they can encourage the Shia militias in Iraq to attack US troops; they can blow up oil pipelines and shut the Persian Gulf."

Maybe. But they can't sustain it - especially if they're losing. And if we hit them now, they won't be able to slip these yahoos a few nukes and have their proxies set them off in New York, Los Angeles, and Tel Aviv.

Most of the major oil-producing states in the Middle East have substantial Shiite populations, which has long been a concern of their own Sunni leaders and of Washington policy-makers, given the sometimes close connection of Shiite populations to Iran's religious rulers.

Most of those Shiites are Arabs. There is no love lost between Arab Shiites and Iran. And in the long run, the moderate Arab states don't want Iran to have the bomb any more than they wanted it for Saddam.

Iran can make some trouble. I wouldn't overstate it, though. After all, not even the overthrow of a Sunni Arab leader like Saddam caused excessive instability in the rest of the middle east. Well, it prompted Qaddaffi to abandon his nukes, led to reforms in Egypt, and caused Syria to get kicked out of Lebanon (mostly). If that's instability, more like that, please!

Of course, Gardiner agrees, recent ship movements and other signs of military preparedness could be simply a bluff designed to show toughness in the bargaining with Iran over its nuclear program. But with the Iranian coast reportedly armed to the teeth with Chinese Silkworm antiship missiles, and possibly even more sophisticated Russian antiship weapons, against which the Navy has little reliable defenses, it seems unlikely the Navy would risk high-value assets like aircraft carriers or cruisers with such a tactic. Nor has bluffing been a Bush MO to date.

Damn, this guy's a pussy. Yes, Iran is dangerous. But how about some ideas on how to kick their ass? Hmmmm?

I mean, you can fret all day long about what the enemy MIGHT do to you. But no officer worth his salt is going to let that define the action, when he can concentrate on what we WILL do to the enemy.

Why not force THEM to do the worrying for a change?

At any rate, I don't think we should overstate the significance of bumping up the deployment. I mean, these guys only do six month floats. Well, you're warriors, gents. I know it's been a while since the Navy was involved in a serious fight, but get with the program.

The military isn't all deck ceremonies and commissary priviledges. So you had to leave a month early.


It is possible, though, that Israel has picked a date for a crippling strike of their own, and informed the U.S. In which case, the Secretary of Defense will want to preserve the President's options. It does not neccessarily mean that the US is planning a unilateral strike. But if Iran strikes at US forces in Kuwait in retaliation for an Israeli strike, we're gonna want to be able to put a world of hurt on those bastards.

And no SECDEF is going to want to have to apologize to the President for having a carrier battlegroup weeks out of position.

Splash, out


War on Terror Error 
Something tells me an injustice was done.

Let's make a train that goes 280 miles per hour! 
A marvel of German engineering. What could possibly go wrong?

Abusive Financial Sales to Servicemen and women 
the National Association of Insurance Commissioners applauds the end of contractual plans.

KANSAS CITY, MO (Sept. 21, 2006) – The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is applauding Congress for taking action to target those who financially prey upon American soldiers. The House voted 418-3 earlier today to send S. 418 to President Bush for his signature. Sponsored by Sen. Mike B. Enzi (R-WY), the Senate unanimously passed the same legislation that guarantees stronger consumer protections to military service members and their families on July 19. Geoff Davis (R-KY) sponsored the House companion bill.

“We commend Congress for passing S. 418, the Military Personnel Financial Services Protection Act,” said John Oxendine, Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner. “This legislation ensures that members of the armed forces, who are protecting us, are also protected.”

S. 418 bans periodic payment plans, which are financial products that have all but disappeared from civilian markets because they carry unusually high fees and sales commissions.

Good news for military families.

Splash, out


Chicken Pickin' Summit 
Here's a fun one for all you guitar pickers out there:

Vince Gill, Albert Lee, and Danny Gatton, tearin' it up!

Oh, and don't miss this one from the late great Gatton

Thursday, September 21, 2006

We got Jooooooossssss on the bussssssss!!!!! 
We gotta get these muthaf*ckin' Joooooooos off the muth*fuckin' bus!!!!!

Six youths were arrested by Barnet police this week in connection with a vicious anti-Semitic attack on a 12-year-old girl, that left her unconscious with a fractured eye socket.

The young victim who asked not to be named told the Jewish News yesterday how the incident last month had shattered her confidence and left her suffering from terrifying nightmares.

The police said that four 14-year-old girls, a 10-year-old girl and a boy aged 10, had been arrested and released on bail in connection with the attack, which shocked London’s Jewish community.

The victim, who still wakes up screaming in the middle of the night, said: “I am relieved that something has been done. I feel more safe now and not as worried about my friends.”

The perps, of course, are remarkably free of identifiable ethnic or national origin - as Jew-hating sociopaths always are when they get written up in the media.

I've had it with these people. There's no excuse for violent anti-semitic attacks, and no excuse for what they did to this child.

Well, unless she's always waking up screaming in the middle of the night, for no good reason.

Splash, out


Bar musician's dream 
Hey, asshole! Heckle this!!!

(H/T. thesession.org)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Has waterboarding, sleep deprivation, bellyslapping, etc. saved American lives? 

Hat tip: Ace

Again, the sentient among us already knew that. The knowledge that Khalid Sheikh Muhammad withstood two minutes of waterboarding is not new, nor is the knowledge that he gave up important information.

The canard that coercive interrogation produces poor intelligence was always stupid. It's naive, feel-good pablum. I've written in this space before that it is generally a simple matter to question the subject about things already known to you (which he doesn't know you know) and make him quickly regret any false statements. Then you mix in what you don't know yet in with what you do know, and you can, with crosschecking, get some very good information.

It may be that as a society, as a Republic, we don't want to benefit by telling this cretin that we're threatening his children. I don't think that's an entirely unreasonable position.

The unreasonable position, but the default position among the idiot wing on the left, is to stick their fingers in their ears and deny that any such benefit exists.

That's not responsible decisionmaking. Neither morality nor ethics ever requires willful blindness or deliberate ignorance. Both require a sober, clear-eyed analysis of both the benefits to be gained, in terms of the preservation of hundreds of human lives, and the potential costs (namely, Ramzi Benalshibh bawling like a bitch).

Anyone who thinks that making those decisions while remaining deliberately ignorant of the value of the information is not a serious ethicist.

Was Osama Bin Ladin in Iraq???? 
A blog which is new to me, Fix4RSO, has found a document that appears to place Osama Bin Ladin in Iraq at some point. It also places Iraq in touch with the Taliban.

In the Name of God the Most Merciful the Most Compassionate
Office of the Presidency
Intelligence Service

The Honorable Mr. General Director Manager M5

Subject: Information

Our Afghani source numbered 11002 had provided us with the information on the denotation paper number -1- )

The Afghani Consul Ahmad Dahstani (the information on the denotation paper number (2)) had mentioned in front of him with the followings:

1. Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban Group in Afghanistan were in touch with the Iraqis and that group of the Talibans and Osama Bin Laden had visited Iraq.
2. The United States of America has evidence that the Iraqi government and Osama Bin Laden’s group expressed cooperation among themselves in bombing targets in American.
3. In case Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban were proven to have been involved in carrying out these terrorist operations, it could be possible that the United Stated will attack both Iraq and Afghanistan.
4. The Afghani consul heard about the connection between the Iraqis and the Osama Bin Laden group during his stay in Iran.
5. Upon what has been presented we suggest writing to the Intention Committee with the above information.

Please revise…Your recommendation…With appreciation,

Director, M5/3
15/9/2001 Khalid
Immediately to be
presented to the
Intention Committee President

The date on the memo: September 15th, 2001.

The memo's not a smoking gun of complicity in the 9/11 attacks. But it does tend to corroborate what we already knew: There were all kinds of ties, all kinds of connections, between Bin Ladin and Saddam's regime. Indeed, this memo corroborates the information that we have indicating Zawahiri came to Iraq at the invitation of Ibrahim Izzat Al Douri, in that the contacts between Iraq and the Bin Ladinites were direct and high-level.

I would caveat that with the caution that since the Taliban held power in a nation-state, one would expect a certain amount of communication between Iraq and Afghanistan if they had diplomatic relations with one another.

But there is a difference between rubbing shoulders with a Taliban ambassador in the normal course of one's duties, and entertaining Osama Bin Ladin himself, despite his known terror ties.

I would also characterize the provenance of this information as uncertain, since there is no link to the document itself, and I can't find it using the search function so far.

Nevertheless, it should not come as a surprise to learn that Saddam's hands were filthy.

Splash, out


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Warsaw erecting statue to Ronald Reagan 
Jimmy Carter's gotta love this!!!

According to C-Net 
If I got myself a whopping 65-inch flat-panel TV set, the maximum viewing distance is 16.2 feet.
Who the f***k writes this stuff? Mr. Magoo?

I can see the CounterColumn News Ticker headline now: C-Net welcomes Stevie Wonder to its AudioVisual Advisory Board.

Splash, out


Never give up. 
Never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up.

Monday, September 18, 2006

...and not the good kind.

I've entered the fray at From the Horse's Mouth, where the Demiots are sticking up for Bilal Hussein.

So far, the intellectually dishonest, childish pukes that currently make up the mainstream left have posted that I think it was Ok for Al Qaeda to decapitate Danny Pearl, and that it wasn't Al Qaeda that did it, but Pakistani militants. Oh, and that POWs are entitled to due process (even though the smart one there abandoned that argument.

But then, what can you expect from a guy called "Redleg?"

CNN Cluelessness 
Wow. Unbelieveable. Look at the headline: The Soldier who Led the Marine Squad at Hadithah.

Time Magazine's editors seem to have a problem capitalizing "the Corps," when used as a proper noun to refer to the United States Marine Corps.

How long have we been at war, now, CNN?

Would it kill you to have someone there who knows what a f***ing Marine is?

Splash, out


For all you guitar pickers out there... 
Here's Strength in Numbers. Jerry Douglas on Dobro, Bela Fleck on banjo, Edgar Meyer on bass, and Sam Bush on mandolin. Rare glimpse of Mark O'Connor on guitar. (He doesn't play guitar anymore because of a nasty case of tennis elbow)

Good stuff!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Someone was shot today 
By two Somali "gunmen."

Oh. It was a woman.

Oh. And she worked in a hospital for women and children.

Oh. And she was actually at work when she was shot.

Oh. And the Associated Press couldn't tell if the shooting was directly related to the Pope's comments.

Oh. And she was a nun.

Oh. And the brave gunmen shot her in the back.

Oh. And she was killed.

Oh. And Islam is a peaceful religion.

Ed Koch on The Will to Win 
Ed's one of the few real liberals left.

Why do I recite these historical facts? Because I believe that the U.S. is faltering in the current war against international terrorism, and we are losing our will to prevail. We are losing our fighting spirit as a result of the fighting between Republicans and Democrats on just how to prosecute the war...

The President believes, as do I, that Islamic terrorists pose a mortal threat to this country and the West in general. Since those terrorists have already attacked the U.S. on a number of occasions -- 9-11, the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the attacks on our embassies in Africa, the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen and the army barracks in Saudi Arabia -- and have attacked commuter trains in Madrid, killing 191, and injuring 1,500, and the London subway, killing 52 and injuring 700, isn't it his duty to seek to rally and inform the nation? In attempting to prevent him from speaking out, are these Democratic Party leaders performing a public service? I don't think so.

Read the whole thing.

The New York Times Crouches Down 
...and licks the hand that feeds it.

There is more than enough religious anger in the world. So it is particularly disturbing that Pope Benedict XVI has insulted Muslims, quoting a 14th-century description of Islam as “evil and inhuman.”

In the most provocative part of a speech this week on “faith and reason,” the pontiff recounted a conversation between an “erudite” Byzantine Christian emperor and a “learned” Muslim Persian circa 1391. The pope quoted the emperor saying, “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.”

Muslim leaders the world over have demanded apologies and threatened to recall their ambassadors from the Vatican, warning that the pope’s words dangerously reinforce a false and biased view of Islam. For many Muslims, holy war — jihad — is a spiritual struggle, and not a call to violence. And they denounce its perversion by extremists, who use jihad to justify murder and terrorism.

The New York Times editorial board is run by some truly, willfully ignorant people.

Despite the obligation of any professional journalist to put any subject's remarks and actions in an understandable and appropriate context, no attempt whatsoever is made to do so with regard to Pope Benedict.

Nor does the Times make any attempt to note that the reaction from Muslim leaders all over the world is not limited to recalling their ambassadors from the Vatican. Rather, in response to a percieved slander that Islam was spread by the sword and its followers prone to violence, some Muslim leaders have responded by calling, quite literally, for Pope Benedict to be hunted down and killed by the nearest Muslim.

The Muslim world, predictably, is demonstrating that even the worst possible readings, decontextualized, of the Pope's remarks, are rooted in more than a grain of truth. The Times cannot bring itself to recognize the obvious: If the Pope ever did say that Islam was a religion of violence, then Islam would immediately prove him right.

The irony, somehow, is totally lost on the New York Times. If you read this editorial, you wouldn't know that there has already been a series of church shootings at the hands of Muslims. You wouldn't know that a radical Muslim cleric had already called for the Pope's murder. You wouldn't know that this spat is simply the latest in a long litany of outrages over such trivialities as the publication of a series of cartoons in a Danish newspaper - an event that sparked rioting and deadly violence throughout the Arab world.

But despite these atrocities, despite the murders of filmmakers, despite the rioting over false reports of Koran flushing, despite the honor-killings, despite the practice of disfiguring women by pouring acid on their faces, despite the beheadings, and despite the cold-blooded murder of thousands of innocent civilians - targeted BECAUSE they were innocent - the Pope cannot call into question their ability to reason.

The New York Times is enabling the worst of radical Islamic rhetoric.

And poorly serving its ill-informed readers.

UPDATE: This is precious: It does a disservice to children to call the wild-eyed statements and deranged behavior of the past days childish

The author, Father Raymond de Souza, notes that Pope Benedict was specifically calling for dialogue between the Abrahamic faiths - but now, in light of the past few days, wonders if such a dialogue is even possible.

Splash, out


Saturday, September 16, 2006

How bad is the Senate report on Saddam's ties to terrorism? 
Very bad, says Stephen Hayes.

Indeed, as Stephen Hayes demonstrates, the Senate's report is an example of breathtaking selectivity and willful ignorance of demonstrated fact. A few of Hayes' specific criticisms:

The report, which concludes that Saddam had no ties with Al Qaeda (in direct opposition to the conclusions of the 9/11 commissioners - whose views are routinely ignored in incompetent press coverage of the Senate report) makes NO MENTION of Abdul Rahman Yasin, who conspired with Ramzi Yousef, a nephew of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, to bring down the World Trade Center in 1993. Rahman was eventually captured. Yasin fled to Iraq, where Saddam's government provided him with a job and a house.

The report fails to deal with this inconvenient fact pattern at all.

There is NO MENTION of expense reports from the Iraqi Intelligence Service unearthed by the Toronto Star, which contain an exchange of memos between IIS officers about who will pay for a March 1998 trip to Baghdad by a "trusted confidante" of Osama bin Laden.

There is NO MENTION of documents showing that the Iraqi regime cultivated a relationship with bin Laden's chief deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, throughout the 1990s.

Says Hayes:

Time magazine's Joe Klein, an Iraq War critic who is dubious of a broader Iraq-al Qaeda relationship, noted last week: "Documents indicate that Saddam had long-term, low-level ties with regional terrorist groups--including Ayman al-Zawahiri, dating back to his time with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. There is strong evidence as well that elements of the Special Republican Guard ran terrorist training camps." (One quibble: Is it possible for the leader of Iraq to have "low-level" ties with the leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad?) The 9/11 Commission reported that Zawahiri "had ties of his own to the Iraqis." In June 2003, U.S. News & World Report described what a defense official called a "potentially significant link" between Iraq and al Qaeda that came, at that early date, from a single source. "A captured senior member of the Mukhabarat, Iraq's intelligence service, has told interrogators about meetings between Iraqi intelligence officials and top members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, a group that merged with al Qaeda in the 1990s. The prisoner also described $300,000 in Iraqi transfers to the organization to pay for attacks in Egypt. The transfers were said to have been authorized by Saddam Hussein."

There is NO MENTION of documents conclusively demonstrating that Saddam Hussein was providing cash to Abu Sayyaf, Al Qaeda's branch manager in the Philippines.

Another tantalizing detail:

There is no mention of alleged Iraqi complicity in Abu Sayyaf attacks in October 2002 that claimed the life of U.S. Special Forces soldier Mark Wayne Jackson. One week after that attack, Filipino authorities recovered a cell phone that was to have detonated a bomb placed on the playground of a local elementary school. The cell phone , which belonged to an Abu Sayyaf terrorist, had been used to make calls to Abu Sayyaf leaders. Investigators also discovered that the phone had also been used to call Hisham Hussein, the second secretary of the Iraqi Embassy in Manila, just 17 hours after the attack that took the life of the American soldier. Hussein was ordered out of the Philippines for his associations with terrorist groups, including Abu Sayyaf.

There is NO MENTION of the fact that according to a 1998 indictment of Osama Bin Ladin, the Clinton Administration believed that Bin Ladin had arranged for safe harbor with the government of Iraq, and that he had arranged to work cooperatively with Iraq on the development of WMD.

There is NO MENTION of the numerous Clinton Administration claims that Bin Ladin was working with Saddam on chemical weapons development in Sudan.

There is NO MENTION of signals intelligence connecting Sudanese officials at the al Shifa chemical plant with Emad al Ani, Iraq's chief VX nerve agent expert. There is also NO MENTION that Richard Clarke had concluded that the nerve agent samples recovered from al Shifa in Sudan were the exact same formula as that used in Iraq.

There is NO MENTION of documents recovered establishing that the Saddam Fedayeen had, beginning in 1994, been conducting military training camps for volunteers from all over the Arab world - and had continued to do so at least through January 2003.

There is NO MENTION of Blessed July, an operation ordered by Uday Hussein in which London was specifically targeted for terrorist attacks.

The report concludes that Hussein did not harbor or turn a blind eye toward Zarqawi and his associates. But the report itself concedes that Hussein himself ordered the release of a Zarqawi associate who was himself implicated in the murder of Lawrence Foley.


And those are by no means an exhaustive list of Hayes' criticisms. But the mind-numbing list of outright omissions alone defy credulity. When so much information which in itself, if true, is dispositive, is simply left out, the authors of the report cross the frontier of incompetence into the zone of intellectual dishonesty.

Saddam's hands were filthy with terrorism. Clinton knew it. Cohen knew it. There is no intellectually honest way to avoid that conclusion.

Splash, out


Flashback: November 1994 
I wrote the following essay back in 1994. It first ran in November, 1994, in the Honolulu Advertiser. It was my first published clip as a writer.

An army cannot be run according to rules of etiquette

-- Ts'ao Ts'ao, 155-220 A.D.

During the height of the U.S.-British invasion of Sicily in 1943, Lt. Gen. George S. Patton toured an American Field hospital to personally award Purple Hearts to American wounded soldiers and express his gratitude for their great sacrifice in the cause of freedom.

He came upon a soldier in a hospital bed with no visible wounds. He asked the soldier what was wrong and the soldier replied, "I just can't take it any more."

The general removed his gloves from his belt, slapped the soldier across the face and had him returned to duty.

There was an uproar in the press and in Washington. Pols and pundits clamored to have Patton relieved of his command for the crime of insensitivity. The path of least resistance for his superiors was to simply relieve him, stick him behind a desk, or retire him early and replace him with a lesser man.

America should be thankful they didn't. Patton apologized to every soldier under his command. But he went on to save thousands of American and British lives by slamming his legendary Third Army across France and into Germany faster than anyone had ever imagined was possible.

Patton wasn't much on tact, but he understood that winning wars meant hurting people and breaking things. By driving his men to the limit, the men of Patton's Third Army killed, wounded or took prisoner nearly 1.5 million German troops, at a cost in Americans killed, wounded or missing of less than one-tenth of that number.

* * *

The forced resignation of Adm. Richard Macke, the highest ranking officer in the Pacific region, over an admittedly stupid but off-hand gaffe over the Okinawan rape trial, demonstrates conclusively that the U.S. Armed Services have now reached a point where the guidon of command is awarded not to the best fighters in the officer corps, but to the politest conversationalists.

The slightest trace of boot polish in an officer's mouth can now negate 30 years of accomplishments in readiness, administration, supply, maintenance and even in the crucible of battle itself.

Confirmation hearings for senior military posts rarely center these days on readiness reports, but seem all to often to degenerat to investigations of peripheral issues that have nothing to do with fighting and winning wars.

Adm. Frank Kelso was brought down over the drunken behavior of lieutenants at "Tailhook." Adm. Charles Larsen was raked over the coals for an off-color joke at at a staff meeting. The entire Navy will cease operations this month over the conduct of one drunken petty officer on an airplane. Gen. Carl Mundy, the former commandant of the Marine Corps, had his heels locked together over his 'insensitive' proposal to increase Marine readiness and cost-effectiveness by barring married recruits.

And last year, Adm. Macke was awarded his last post after Adm. Stanley Arthur was forced to withdraw his name from consideration because he had the moral backbone to refuse to award pilot's wings to a woman who had failed flight school, but appealed on the grounds of sexual harrassment.

By doing so, Arthur may have saved an aircraft and a life, but sacrificed his distinguished career on the altar of political correctness.

Increasingly, it seems that promotions in the senior ranks are awarded as if there were some other mission in mind - one having more to do with pleasing the core constituencies of politicians and catering to the equal-opportunity bean counters.

Good combat leaders can seem callous and insensitive and develop a black sense of humor. In the long run, though, we remember officers for their success on the battlefield, not for their sensitivity or tact. We pay them to win, not to charm.

We are losing som of our best officers to the "sensitivity" feeding frenzy, and many more fighters in the less senior ranks are reading the writing on the wall and getting out.

We need to promote the Col. Pattons and Cmdr. Halseys of today. Not sack them.

Or mark my words: We will pay the price in blood.

Two leftists compared 
The Anchoress compares Oriana Fallaci with Rosie O'Donnell

And O'Donnell suffers in the comparison

Where are the clear-headed leftists? Where are the real liberals? Why have they ceded so much ground? Have they all simply abandoned the Democratic, Labor and Green parties? Are there none left to carry on the fight within the leftist community?

Why can Christopher Hitchens and Oriana Fallaci not gain any traction with those people?

Splash, out


Wow. Now warmer ocean temperatures WEAKEN hurricanes??? 
Who knew?

Scientists said this week that weak El Nino conditions had inhibited hurricane development by bringing higher ocean temperatures that increase crosswinds over the Caribbean. The winds can rip storms apart or stop them from forming.

Friday, September 15, 2006

More on torture 
Hmmm...maybe now we know how Chief Wiggles got his nickname!

Here's Mark Bowden commenting on Abu Ghraib:

The Bush Administration has tried to walk a dangerous line in these matters. The President has spoken out against torture, but his equivocations on the terms of the Geneva Convention suggest that he perceives wiggle room between ideal and practice.

Mmmmmkayyyy...so perceiving wiggle room is a bad thing? Ok, I'll buy that as far as it goes. I'm enough of an idealist to be suspicious of 'the end justifies the means' logic.

Ironically, though, elsewhere in the column, Bowden finds an even more wiggle room than the President does:

By all accounts, military and CIA interrogators at the prison were using coercive tactics—sleep deprivation, deception, fear, or drugs—on large numbers of prisoners, and even recruiting prison guards to assist them. I have written in this magazine about the moral imperative for using these methods on uncooperative individuals withholding critical, life-saving information. No doubt there are some imprisoned in Iraq who fall into that category. But such instances are rare.

The only way to prevent interrogators from feeling licensed to abuse is to make them individually responsible for their actions. If I lean on an insurgent leader who knows where surface-to-air missiles are stockpiled, then I can offer the defense of necessity if charges are brought against me. I might be able to persuade the court or tribunal that my ugly choice was justified.

Ok, Mark--you might be able to persuade the court. If you wanted to argue that there actually is wiggle room between theory and practice.

But then, you already did.

Mark has a luxury available to him that the President does not: the luxury of the hypothetical case.

It's very easily for Mark to say that there is a moral imperative to use aggressive interrogation techniques in certain cases--for example, to get vital, life-saving information. Because when Mark says it, it doesn't mean anything. Mark's not having to set policy for thousands of intelligence specialists, interrogators, and military policemen.

The President has only two reasonable choices:

1.) Allow the use of questionable techniques in certain high value cases, either overtly or tacetly--and thereby risk compromising the integrity of the Geneva Conventions, or...

2.) Consistently prohibit any aggressive questioning altogether, and thereby ignore the very moral imperative to save lives that Bowden himself recognizes.

Neither are very palatable. But such is life in the real world, where real people have to navigate between two conflicting and important priorities.

Bowden is trying to have it both ways. One cannot recognize a moral imperative to torture in the reasonable certainty it will save lives, and then criticize a leader for coming to the same conclusion.

Sure, one can say that Bowden is not criticizing the use of torture per se--only that we allowed it to get out of hand.

But I'm not sure even Bowden would be comfortable with that argument.

At any rate, the risk that the use of questionable interrogation techniques would get out of hand is already factored into the decision to allow using them at all. As Mark Bowden states, it is almost inevitable that, having allowed them, some one, somewhere, could be reasonably predicted to cross the line.

If Bowden is aware of this, yet still recognizes his moral imperative to dispense with the kid gloves if it means saving lives, then he has already deemed the risk worth the reward.

The elephant in the room nobody's talking about right now is that this question has an urgent moral context, which I can only illustrate through the flawed lens of hindsight:

Last month, Jordanian authorities announced they had thwarted a massive chemical attack that could have killed 20,000 people.

The information that led to the intelligence breakthrough didn't come to Queen Noor in a dream. Chances are good that it came from the careful exploitation of human intelligence from detainees.

And if it came from detainees, then chances are pretty good Abu Ghraib or Camp Bucca had something to do with it.

If you have three or four Al Qaeda guys all independently yapping about an imminent large scale chemical attack in Jordan, and they're all spilling their guts that Ahmad Muhammad Thamir, Jr. knows the whereabouts of the chemical stores and can put together the missing links, and you have Ahmad, but he's not cooperating, and you don't do what you have to do to convince him to cooperate, can you really say you have taken the moral choice?

And if someone makes the choice to err on the side of saving lives, is it really so noble on our part to criticize Rumsfeld--a man who knows what the tradeoffs are--for not being sufficiently "shocked?"

Knowledge can be a heavy burden. Should we recognize the Bowden moral imperative or not?

One choice leads to the confrontation with a jury. The other choice leads an eternal confrontation with oneself and one's culpability in the deaths of thousands of innocents.

The law, of course, recognizes no legal distinction between forceful interrogation to save the lives of innocents and forceful interrogation out of sadism.

Well, that's a pretty curious law. And it takes a pretty curious moral sense to take a strict constructionist view of things.

Can we really say it's fair to lay these questions on pfc's and sergeants? Can they expect no moral guidance on navigating these moral shoals from the chain of command?

Can we expect them to operate amidst a conspiracy of official silence?

Is this the abortion "gag order" all over again?

Those responsible for Abu Ghraib are being investigated. Some are already being prosecuted. They are being held accountable for their crimes as individuals, as Bowden says they should be. They will face juries, and will have to justify their actions, or fail in the attempt.

The message is clear: we'll prosecute. You'd better be able to justify your decision. It was clear when Lt. Col. West was hauled before the man, and it's clear now.

Which, again, is just what Bowden wanted all along.

Splash, out


More on torture 
If the President does what this reader suggests--consistently prohibit torture under any and all circumstances, and yet recognize the doctrine of neccessity, then he has simply ducked his responsibilities, and ensured that the decision would be made at the lowest level, by the least experienced personnel, for the same reason that abortion rights advocates fear that an outright ban on abortion would result in the rise of 'back-alley butchers.'

Those intelligence officials who take matters into their own hands risk having to explain themselves before a jury. This is no different from a strict ban at all, since defendants will seek refuge under the claim of neccessity anyway, and try to convince a jury of the soundness of their arguments, quite independently from whether the President chooses to recognize the doctrine of neccessity.

What I am trying to get at is that there is a huge difference between dealing with a moral question in the hypothetical, dealing with it in person, and dealing with it as an executive who actually has to set policy within a bureaucracy for other people to follow, and whose every decision has ramifications of precedent for future instances which cannot be forseen.

If the President, privately understanding the moral imperative hides his head in the sand and says 'boys, you're on your own!' then his policy is liable to actually result in more torture or abuse under the discretion of low-level officials under increasingly questionable instances of Bowden's doctrine of neccessity. It's an imperative the President understands, but paradoxically cannot express. Only the defendant will be able to express it.

And meanwhile the people at the bottom of the chain of command, the youngest and least experienced, and the people who actually do have to wrestle with the moral imperative, and weigh the human rights of the prisoner against an unknown probability of an unknown number of deaths, are forced to make these calls on the spot, and are thrown to the prosecutorial wolves because their leadership refused to make the decision?

No--our thinking is not yet adequate to address the question, although Bowden makes some important steps in the right direction.

I'm just not willing to let the senior political leadership duck its own responsibilities both to public safety and to the troops who actually have to do the interrogating.

The whole thing is here:

On legal status of detainees 
I'm resurrecting a few posts I wrote from the summer of 2004, and examining my thinking in light of the current wrangling over how extensively we should codify what constitutes "torture." In hindsight, I think I got it about right back then, and was actually ahead of the debate.

Here's a post from June of 2004:

Alan Dershowitz--the guy who came up with the 'torture warrants' concept--is saying the Geneva Conventions are outdated, and no longer apply to a war against shadowy, stateless terrorist groups who do not wear uniforms, nor fight under a responsible commander. Indeed, he's saying what I think has become self-evident in recent years--that the Geneva Conventions have become a sort of ju-jitsu weapon which terrorists are now using against democracies.

He's arguing that it's time to change the equation.

Here are his specific proposals:

1.) First, democracies must be legally empowered to attack terrorists who hide among civilians, so long as proportional force is employed. Civilians who are killed while being used as human shields by terrorists must be deemed the victims of the terrorists who have chosen to hide among them, rather than those of the democracies who may have fired the fatal shot.

He won't get any help from the Iraq Body Count project, who, as I and others have pointed out, draw zero distinction between Iraqi civilian victims of terrorist action and insurgent combatants and terrorists killed in battle. By extention, I would include every media source who uncritically cites the IBC project as a source. Even if the laws of war are changed to allow offensive action to take out terrorists (and I'm not ready to agree with Dershowitz that the law of land warfare prohibits such action in the first place), there will be ideologically motivated 'think tanks' and centers like IBC compiling data and skewing it to serve their own ends, and they will have useful idiots in the media to help them propogate their message.

Second, a new category of prisoner should be recognized for captured terrorists and those who support them. They are not "prisoners of war," neither are they "ordinary criminals." They are suspected terrorists who operate outside the laws of war, and a new status should be designated for them - a status that affords them certain humanitarian rights, but does not treat them as traditional combatants.

I am not a lawyer. But isn't that pretty much what the US has done by designating certain detainees in the Afghan war as "unlawful combatants?"
US policy in Iraq has not been to draw such a distinction between guerrillas who focus their fight against military targets and terrorists who prey upon civilians. But it's clear that Zarqawi is in a totally different category from someone who launches mortar shells at coalition compounds. The latter may be stupid and misguided, but at least I can respect him.

But I'd put Zarqawi down like a sick animal.

So yes, Dershowitz is right--there is a useful distinction to be made between a guerrilla and a terrorist who makes a policy of randomly slaughtering the innocent. And that distinction ought to be codified.

Third, the law must come to realize that the traditional sharp line between combatants and civilians has been replaced by a continuum of civilian-ness. At the innocent end are those who do not support terrorism in any way. In the middle are those who applaud the terrorism, encourage it, but do not actively facilitate it. At the guilty end are those who help finance it, who make martyrs of the suicide bombers, who help the terrorists hide among them, and who fail to report imminent attacks of which they are aware. The law should recognize this continuum in dealing with those who are complicit, to some degree, in terrorism.

My unit conducted numerous operations against those in the latter category. If we had reliable intelligence from multiple sources that so-and-so was a major financier in the terrorist or insurgent circles, we'd go after him with the same deadly force we'd use to go after a fighter himself.

In practice, the financiers, the purveyors of fake passport papers, and the recruiters were considered legitimate military targets as surely as the fighters themselves, and deadly force was authorized, if neccessary, to bring them down.

This is as it should be, in an intense counterinsurgency fight. I don't recall anyone ever having problems with it in a Law of Land Warfare context--so long as the force used was proportional. We didn't want to level a neighborhood to get a small-time cash runner, obviously.

Would we have been willing to do so to get Saddam himself? Or Osama Bin Laden?

Well, the best thing to do for the neighborhood is to turn them over to us and take the reward money, rather than find out.

Strategic ambiguity is a beautiful thing.

Fourth, the treaties against all forms of torture must begin to recognize differences in degree among varying forms of rough interrogation, ranging from trickery and humiliation, on the one hand, to lethal torture on the other. They must also recognize that any country faced with a ticking-time-bomb terrorist would resort to some forms of interrogation that are today prohibited by the treaty.

The Geneva Conventions are predicated on the assumption that a soldier is a soldier, and that most soldiers really don't know a whole lot, anyway. So there's not much to be gained by harsh interrogation measures. The implicit assumption is that a typical soldier is NOT part of a conspiracy to release chemical weapons in Jordan sufficient to kill tens of thousands of civilians, for example.

This assumption is now demonstrably false. There are people out there who ARE part of just such conspiracies and worse. With a formal distinction made between legal combatants and terrorists, the kid gloves can come off, and maybe we can bust up some more cells.

Alan Dershowitz is on the right track.

(More as I find it in the archives)

Splash, out


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Swishing On To War... 
Check out this picture of former Marine Tim Smith. They didn't know he was gay?

Just LOOK at the guy!

I'm seeing a recruiter's office. And I'm seeing ferns. Lots of them. And chrome and glass furniture.

And I'm seeing the Marine Corps Band:

Young man, there's a place you can go.

Splash, out


Muslims Urged to Gain Media Influence through Media Ownership 
It's Jihad, American style!

From Reuters:

RIYADH (Reuters) - Muslim tycoons should buy stakes in global media outlets to help change anti-Muslim attitudes around the world, ministers from Islamic countries heard at a conference in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

Information ministers and officials meeting under the auspices of the 57-nation Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the world's largest Islamic body, said Islam faced vilification after the September 11 attacks, when 19 Arabs killed nearly 3,000 people in U.S. cities in 2001.

"Muslim investors must invest in the large media institutions of the world, which generally make considerable profits, so that they have the ability to affect their policies via their administrative boards," OIC chief Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu told the gathering in the Saudi city of Jeddah.

"This would benefit in terms of correcting the image of Islam worldwide," he said, calling on Muslim countries to set up more channels in widely-spoken foreign languages.

But why marry the bitch when she puts out so readily for free?

Splash, out


Jeff Jarvis had to leave the WTC site 
In his own words:

I was disgusted that the conspiracy-theory nutjobs were crawling everywhere like the rats they are. But I was even more disturbed at the media leaches crawling around them. I wanted to go up to some of my media colleagues with their pens cocked and ready and tell them to turn around: The story isn’t a few wackos who come because you and your cameras and notebooks are here, you fools! The story is over there, in the hole that still haunts us. The story is about the families and about the heroes and about the memories and about that hole. The story is even about WTC 7, now rising above the void, shining in a sky as bright as that five years ago today. The story is about the crowd of people — more than I’ve seen in recent years — who came to pay their respect. The story is not about these disrespectful loons, who got into shouting matches, drawing more cameras to them.


When I look around and I see that the number of lunatics who believe in the conspiracy theories has reached more than a third of the electorate, I become seriously grieved for this Republic.

That's going to equate to the majority of the Democratic party.

I never thought it would get this bad. It's mass delusion - and it has the potential to seriously undermine American interests and our security.

Indeed, it is already doing so.

The conspiracy theories cannot stand up to examination. The Truthists are cultists. They are the modern equivalent of the Flat Earth Society, or Citizens for Immediate Nuclear War, minus the self-deprecating, tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.

And the news media - a flat out failure and national embarrassment in covering the War on Terror almost from Day One - is to blame.

Politicians and Demogogues will do what they do. There will always be partisans, mudslingers, shoe-pounders, and whackos. You expose one group, another will take their place.

But when the news media is more intent on finding conflict to fuel their ratings - and in trumping it up where none exists - when the news media fails to hold national leaders and mealy-mouthed double-speakers for like Howard Dean, for example, accountable for their trial balloons, for their plausible-denials, and their enabling of a national slander, then they have failed in the raison d'etre for their very existence.

We can't rely on the media to check facts. Why should an outfit like Snopes or Fact-check.org even be neccessary? Why haven't our news professionals long since put them out of business?

And if they cannot put Snopes out of business, what good are they - at least as concerns the national and international stories?

The terrorists cannot compete with us when it comes to technology. They cannot compete with us when it comes to productivity. Our soldiers and Marines have proven that they can close with and destroy any enemy on any battlefield anywhere. Our soldiers are tougher and stronger and better trained than theirs.

But they have, like a virus, found this Great Republic's critical vulnerability - the news media. The fourth estate. And misguided souls on the fringe have been turned to fight a parallel cultural and rhetorical struggle alongside them. Not as allies, to be sure. But as cultural warriors with a common cause willing to undertake a de facto marriage of convenience. Yes, they will deny it. But don't pay attention to what they say when questioned. What what they do ... and watch what side they will consistently take when the interests of the US Attorney General - representing the People of the United States - and the terrorists themselves collide in a courtroom.

Will the ACLU be filing amicus briefs on behalf of the victims of 9/11? Or on behalf of the terrorists?

There will always be whackjobs. They used to be on the fringe - charming little nutcases - cultured on university petri dishes and pinkish coffee houses and Marxist bookstores - who were fun to have around, if only for the comedic value, or to provide a bit of Devil's advocacy at any gathering. It only took one to liven up the party - and I regarded them as among my closest friends.

I still do.

(One of my closest buds still cheers Hezbollah openly - and refers to the British as Nazis. Long, sordid story).

Unfortunately, the cancer - once manageable with standard treatments, but too long uncured - has metasticized into the remainder of the body politic. It now threatens to cripple a vital organ - the Democratic Party.

Maybe it already has.

And it's disheartening to me to see.

I was never pessimistic about Afghanistan or Iraq. We will not lose there.

But we are in danger of losing here - with disastrous results for freedom-seekers everywhere.

Splash, out


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