Main | November 2004 »

10/31/2004

Moore dirty tricks

Michael_moore

Michael Moore—favorite filmmaker of Osama bin Laden—has announced plans to have hundreds of cameras outside the polls in Ohio and Florida on Election Day to watch for attempts to suppress voter turnout:

The director of the anti-Bush documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" announced Saturday that a total of 1,200 professional and nonprofessional cameramen, filmmakers and videographers will bring their cameras to polling places in the two presidential battleground states, especially in minority communities.

"I'm putting those who intend to suppress the vote on notice: Voter intimidation and suppression will not be tolerated," Moore said in a statement.

I don't know about you, but if I saw someone with a video camera outside my polling place, I'd charge voter intimidation by whoever was filming me. I urge voters in Ohio and Florida who encounter Moore's video goon squads to do likewise.

UPDATE: Moore writes in an email to his fans: "I have organized an army of 1,200 professional and amateur filmmakers who will be armed with video cameras throughout the states of Florida and Ohio. At the first sign of criminality, we will dispatch a camera crew to where the vote fraud is taking place and record what is going on. We will put a big public spotlight on any wrongdoing by Republican officials in those two states. They will not get away with this as they did in 2000." Hey Michael, let's hope you don't get away with this blatant attempt at voter intimidation in 2004.

Posted by Rodger on October 31, 2004 at 07:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Shoving match

20040727dnc_heinzkerry_mcnicklepj01_580

Colin McNickle—the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter who was told by would-be First Lady Teresa Heinz Kerry to "shove it" last July—takes deadly aim at his assailant in the Trib's Sunday edition:

Asked what even The New York Times eventually called "a perfectly reasonable question" about what she meant by "un-American," you may recall she told me to "shove it" in Boston. After lecturing the public on civility. She'd thrown out the term "un-American" even before that.

And since, Miss Congeniality 2004 has referred to others as "scumbags" and "idiots." Not hecklers or those showing disrespect, mind you, but those who have questioned either her statements or her husband's policies, and usually in quite scholarly measure.

Mrs. Bush never had a "real job," Mrs. Heinz Kerry said. Ever gracious, Mrs. Bush brushed it off. She should have offered Teresa a brush.

Should John Kerry be elected president, I (and most journalists) can't wait for Terry Kerry's rude, crude and uninformed pronouncements on everything from congressional and world leaders to domestic and foreign policy. A Kerry administration will need a new Cabinet-level post -- the Department of Teresa Damage Control.

What will be the first international incident she causes?

In some cases, this billionheiress's money speaks louder, if not more offensively, than her words. As Ben Johnson notes in the conclusion of "57 Varieties of Radical Causes: Teresa Heinz Kerry's Charitable Giving," her motto might as well be "No radical left behind."

"(S)he has carved a role for herself as both steward of the radical left and inside player in mainstream liberal institutions ... ," Mr. Johnson notes. "The actions of her beneficiaries have often, directly or indirectly, boosted the political fortunes of" John Kerry.

And soon the movers could be installing her, her wealthy bully-leftist pulpit and scores of conflicts of interest in the White House? Yikes.

First ladies are supposed to be assets to their president husbands, not proprietors of the assets that bought their husbands the presidency. They're supposed to complement them, not serve as a distraction or a handicap or an ethics investigation waiting to happen. Did the Kerrys learn nothing from Hillary Clinton and Roslyn Carter? Apparently not.

Should John Kerry prevail on Tuesday, Teresa Heinz Kerry will be a liability—to her husband and to the presidency. I care not one whit about the former; I care deeply about the latter.

With any luck, Heinz Kerry will eventually be just a funny question in the Trivial Pursuit 2010's Edition. It will be interesting to see, however, how her marriage fares once her husband joins Walter Mondale, Michael Dukakis and Al Gore in the club of Democratic has-beens.

Posted by Rodger on October 31, 2004 at 07:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

The undead

Bin_laden_videotape

Mark Steyn, the Frogman and I spent much of the weekend wiping egg off our faces with the appearance of a new video from Osama bin Laden, which aired on Al Jazeera.

Our reports of Osama's death turned out to have been greatly exaggerated.

In our defense I should point out that bin Laden hasn't released a video that shows him speaking directly to the camera since December 2001. (An April 2002 tape featured bin Laden speaking to the attackers of the World Trade Center, but that was later shown to have been made before the Sept. 11 attacks.)

Although bin Laden audiotapes have popped up from time to time (the most recent on April 15, right after the Madrid bombings), there's been no visual confirmation of Osama, and statements from most government officials regarding Osama's continued exstence have been guarded at best.

The tape's reference to the November election and to Kerry suggests it was made at some point after Kerry clinched the nomination last spring, which argues that bin Laden was alive at least as recently as six months ago.

As Belmont Club points out, the latest bin Laden tape is primarily interesting, not for what it says, but for what it doesn't say:

He has stopped talking about the restoration of the Global Caliphate. There is no more mention of the return of Andalusia. There is no more anticipation that Islam will sweep the world. He is no longer boasting that Americans run at the slightest wounds; that they are more cowardly than the Russians. He is not talking about future operations to swathe the world in fire but dwelling on past glories. He is basically saying if you leave us alone we will leave you alone. Though it is couched in his customary orbicular phraseology he is basically asking for time out.

Perhaps the most interesting thing not on the tape is any mention of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or the insurgency in Iraq. Given the recent statements from Zarqawi's Tawhid and Jihad group pledging fealty allegiance to Osama along with the enormous step-up in insurgency aimed at the U.S. elections, the omission is striking. Does Osama perhaps regard al-Zarqawi a competitor for the leadership of the jihad or does he not regard the Iraq insurgency as potent enough to merit a mention? It's hard to say, but I would suspect the former rather than the latter.

Obviously, something (perhaps this or this?) prompted bin Laden to step out of the shadows after almost three years, and my guess is that the U. S. election was only a small contributing factor. I think a less-formal "election" is underway at the moment and Osama wants to remind his fellow jihadists he is still very much the incumbent.

Posted by Rodger on October 31, 2004 at 02:10 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

10/27/2004

Pumpkin blogging

O_great_pumpkin

Okay, I've decided to start a trend of my own. Maybe you'll read about it one day
in The New York Times.

I call it pumpkin blogging. It can even include an element of vitriol, as in the photo above. Ha. Ha. Ha. Look at the silly presidential candidate with the pumpkin. Why the long face, John? Hey, which one's going to be the Jack O'Lantern? Ha. Ha. Ha.

(Kerry's always wearing that same damn barn jacket. Does Teresa own stock in
L. L. Bean or something?)

The photo-op pumpkin will probably be around a lot longer than his prospective presidency. Just five days and five hours to go. (But who's counting?)

I'd rather go carve a pumpkin. Maybe one like this …

Jack_o_lantern

Or, I could combine catblogging and pumpkin blogging, like this …

Cat_in_pumpkin

Just like Martha Stewart. (Though maybe not this Halloween.)

Or like this …

Cat_on_pumpkin

(Okay, that may be somebody's idea of cute but not mine.)

Here's a whole pumpkin family …

Pumpkin_family

(Nope, not the Typofamily. It's the imaginary pumpkinblogging family.)

Pumpkins are fun.

But they don't last forever.

With any luck, neither will Kerry's presidential hopes.

Pumpkinentrails

Say buh-bye, John.

Posted by Rodger on October 27, 2004 at 08:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Imaginary catblogging

Imaginary_cat

The New York Times' "Circuits" section has done a charming piece on catblogging:

In the vitriolic world of political Web logs, two polar extremes are Eschaton (atrios.blogspot.com), a liberal, often anti-Bush site with a passionate following, and Instapundit (www.instapundit.com), where an equally fervent readership goes for hearty praise of the administration.

It would seem unlikely that the two blogs' authors could see eye-to-eye about anything. Yet Eschaton's Duncan Black (known as Atrios) and Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds have both taken part in a growing practice: turning over a blog on Friday to cat photographs.

"It brings people together," said Kevin Drum, who began the cat spotlight last year on his own blog, Calpundit (www.calpundit.com). "Both Atrios and Instapundit have done Friday catblogging. It goes to show you can agree on at least a few things."

Well—though I too have grown weary of the vitriol of this politically-charged
year—I unfortunately have no cat with which to blog. In fact, I don't even particularly like cats. Our neighbor has a cat that's always curled up on the love seat on our front porch, leaving its nasty white and yellow cat hair behind.

I'm certainly not wasting a perfectly good digital image on that animal.

We have three dogs. But you can't exactly catblog with a dog, and "dogblogging" sounds funny to my ear somehow. So I've licensed an imaginary cat from the folks at the Corbis image library. I suppose it was real when the picture was taken. But now it's just a stock cat.

That's not the Typowife, in case you were wondering. The Typowife would never pick up a cat or stare at one adoringly like the woman in the photo.

The Typowife doesn't care for cats either.

So, all in all, I don't see catblogging having that much of a future here at
"This isn't writing, it's typing."

Vitriol is still what we do best.

But I thought I'd give catblogging, you know, the old college try. Corbis has lots more cat photos in their library, and my subscription doesn't run out for a few more weeks yet.

So you might see more cats … and, then again, you might not.

Check back here on Friday. That's Official Catblogging Day in the blogosphere, from what I understand.

I suspect I'm more of a Wednesday catblogger, though. You need something to get you over the hump. A satisfying catblogging session can really help.

Is catblogging truly here to stay? I welcome, as always, your thoughts.

Posted by Rodger on October 27, 2004 at 06:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)

Scary movie

Videotape

Earlier today, Matt Drudge broke a story about a terror warning tape, purportedly from Al Qaeda, which was delivered to ABC News. Now Reuters and NBC are confirming the existence of the tape, though the CIA hasn't so far been able to confirm its authenticity.

The Reuters story doesn't add much to Drudge, though it is impressive for the verbal gymnastics it uses to avoid the words "terror," "terrorist" or "terrorism." Good to know those Reuters people can find time to be politically correct, even in a national security emergency.

Here's NBC's take:

The CIA is unable to authenticate a videotape in which a man claiming to be an al-Qaida terrorist warns of devastating new attacks on the United States, a senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC News on Wednesday.

The existence of the tape was first reported Wednesday afternoon by Internet columnist Matt Drudge, who said it was obtained last weekend in Pakistan by ABC News. Drudge quoted an unidentified “senior ABC News source” as saying the network was “working 24 hours a day trying to authenticate” it.

But the senior intelligence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told NBC News that “we can’t authenticate” the tape, a copy of which ABC gave the CIA on Monday. He would not elaborate, adding, “I think that is where we are going to stand.”

U.S. officials told NBC News that the tape included now-standard militant Islamist rhetoric promising widespread destruction inside the United States. The man cannot be identified, the officials said, because his face is covered by a headdress.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, described analysts’ concern as “low” because it was not clear that the tape was recorded recently and because the man on the tape, who spoke in what appeared to be an American accent, mentioned no details.

“It’s unclear what this tape is — even whether the person on the tape is an American,” one of the officials said.

Drudge reported the man on the tape claimed that the attacks would be in retribution for “electing George Bush, who has made war on Islam by destroying the Taliban and making war on al-Qaida.”

The possibility of an al-Qaida attack in the days before next week’s presidential election has been widely speculated on, but U.S. intelligence officials said last week that they had no specific intelligence indicating there was a plot by al-Qaida to launch a strike designed to sway voting.

Drudge, quoting unidentified sources, said the man on the tape called himself “Assam the American” and spoke in an American accent. He reported that the man warned that the attack would “dwarf” the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York and Washington, which killed almost 3,000 people.

“The streets will run with blood” and “America will mourn in silence,” the man said, because it will be unable to count the number of the dead, according to Drudge.

A U.S. official told NBC News that intelligence analysts were speculating that the man could be Adam Pearlman, 25, also known as Adam Gadahn and Abu Suhayb Al-Amriki, one of seven people mentioned by FBI Director Robert Mueller in May as someone the United States would like to locate.

The FBI said Pearlman, who is originally from California, attended a terrorist training camp and acted in the past as an al-Qaida translator. U.S. officials said Pearlman was not believed to hold any influential position within al-Qaida.

Some points of interest:

1. The tape was delivered to ABC and not to Al Jazeera, which is typically the media outlet of choice for the terror crowd.

2. The individual on the tape isn't one of Al Qaeda's first stringers—bin Laden, Zawahiri or Zarqawi (though I suspect bin Laden's been mouldering in the grave for some time now)—which is a strange way to promote a big fireworks display.

3. The voice on the tape had an American accent, which seems an odd choice, given the range of possible options. Assuming the tape was recorded in Arabic, why not pick a native Arabic speaker? And why not reveal the speaker's face, as other Al Qaeda tapes have done?

4. Why the reference to "electing George Bush" when he hasn't been elected yet? Does Al Qaeda think Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania are going to break for Bush? Do they mean the attack will come if we elect Bush? You'd think these guys could be a little more specific.

5. It seems to me we heard this "streets running with blood" threat a year or so ago, perhaps from Zawahiri?

All of this leads me to suspect that the tape is a hoax, but, after Madrid, it's hard to say that with much conviction.

Right now we can only watch, pray and hope the CIA declares this one a fugazy.

Posted by Rodger on October 27, 2004 at 06:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

10/26/2004

John Kerry, ambassador without portfolio

Daily_world_1_1

John Kerry's assault on this country did not rise fullblown in his mind, like Venus from the Cypriot Sea. It is the crystallization of an assault upon America which has been fostered over the years by an intellectual class given over to self-doubt and self-hatred, driven by a cultural disgust with the uses to which so many people put their freedom. The assault on the military, the many and subtle vibrations of which you feel as keenly as James Baldwin knows the inflections of racism, is an assault on the proposition that what we have, in America, is truly worth defending.

—William F. Buckley, Jr., commencement address at West Point, June 8, 1971

Were John Kerry's Vietnam Veterans Against the War—wittingly or unwittingly—agents of North Vietnam's Communist government? That's the question Thomas Lipscomb, former New York Times reporter and founder of Times Books, poses in an article in Tuesday's New York Sun:

The Communist regime in Hanoi monitored closely and looked favorably upon the activities of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War during the period Senator Kerry served most actively as the group's spokesman and a member of its executive committee, two captured Viet Cong documents suggest.

The documents—one dubbed a "circular" and the other a "directive"—were captured in 1971 and are part of a trove of material from the war currently stored at the Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University at Lubbock. Originally organized by Douglas Pike, a major scholar who is now deceased, the archive contains more than 20 million documents. Many are available online at the Virtual Vietnam Archive and, as the election has heated up, have been the focus of a scramble for insights into Mr. Kerry's anti-war activities. The Circular and the Directive are listed as items numbered 2150901039b and 2150901041 respectively. Their authenticity was confirmed by Stephen Maxner, archivist at the Vietnam Archive.

The two documents provide a glimpse of the favorable way the Viet Cong viewed the activities in which Mr. Kerry was involved. They are from many documents of a kind that were ordinarily sent to a unit called the Captured Document Exploitation Center at the United States Military Assistance Command, Vietnam, which was headquartered in Saigon. Documents like these that were sent to the center were immediately translated into English and processed for battlefield intelligence for targeting or operations as required, or filed.

The CDEC cover sheet of the "Directive" indicates it was "acquired" on May 12, 1971. The cover sheet itself is dated June 30, 1971, and is entitled "VC Efforts to Back Antiwar Demonstrations in the United States." It shows a detailed knowledge of such VVAW activities as the Dewey Canyon demonstration on the Mall in Washington in April 1971, mentioning the "return of their medals." And the Saigon American military intelligence cover sheet dates the information in that document as being assembled in Vietnam only a week after the Washington VVAW demonstration had taken place.

[Click on page images below to enlarge.]

2150901041

21509010412_1

21509010413

21509010414

The CDEC Viet Cong document titled "Circular on Antiwar Movements in the US" notes, "The spontaneous antiwar movements in the US have received assistance and guidance from the friendly (VC/NVN) delegations at the Paris Peace Talks." It also notes that "The seven-point peace proposal (of the SVN Provisional Revolutionary Government) [the Viet Cong proposal advanced by one of its envoys, Madame Binh, operating out of Paris] not only solved problems concerning the release of US prisoners but also motivated the people of all walks of life and even relatives of US pilots detained in NVN to participate in the antiwar movement."

2150901039b

2150901039b2

2150901039b3

2150901039b4

The significance of the documents lies in the way they dovetail with activities of the young Mr. Kerry as he led the VVAW anti-war movement in the spring of 1971.

It was in April that he gave his testimony to the Senate, in which he accused American GIs of having committed war crimes and belittled the idea that there was a Communist threat to America. Mr. Kerry had already had, in June of 1970, a meeting in Paris with enemy diplomats, ostensibly, he has indicated, to get a sense of how American prisoners held in Hanoi might be freed. Two historians believe Mr. Kerry made a second trip to Paris in the summer of 1971 and held further talks with the North Vietnamese. The Kerry campaign has denied this.

FBI surveillance and Mr. Kerry's own statements have established his two visits to Paris to meet with the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong delegations to the Paris Peace Talks as taking place in June of 1970 and August of 1971.

An FBI surveillance report dated November 11, 1971, has also established that Mr. Kerry and Al Hubbard, the executive director of the VVAW who had brought Mr. Kerry into the organization, planned to return to meet with them again in Paris on November 15, 1971.

A November 24, 1971, FBI surveillance report disclosed that Mr. Hubbard had also had meetings on his own with the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong delegations in Paris. It noted that he had reported at a national meeting of the VVAW in Kansas City that the Communist Party of the United States had paid his expenses for the most recent one.

The purpose of these meetings by the two top VVAW members, Messrs. Hubbard and Kerry, has always been assumed to be informational. But the documents in the Texas archive suggest another possibility. On July 23, 1971, The New York Times reported that Mr. Kerry held a demonstration in Washington in support of the "seven-point peace proposal" and, according to the Times, "Mr. Kerry, who is 27 years, introduced wives, parents and sisters of prisoners to plead for support."

The Times's dispatch stated that Mr. Kerry charged "...the latest Vietcong peace offer in Paris, which promises the release of prisoners as American troops are withdrawn, is being ignored by Mr. Nixon..."

The circular in the Texas archive states, "The antiwar movements in the US are trying to find means to cooperate... They are also trying by all means to support the seven-point peace proposal (of the PRG) [Viet Cong] and oppose the distorted interpretation made by the White House, the Pentagon and CIA."

Although its unlikely we'll see any of this reported in The New York Times or on 60 Minutes, the Kerry campaign has good reason to be concerned as more of the revelations of Kerry's radical past and his early meetings with "foreign leaders" come to light. Recently, in fact, both the Times and The Washington Post have been forced to run corrections because of misinformation about these meetings that the Kerry camp put into circulation by way of damage control.

As Joshua Muravchik writes in The Weekly Standard:

Why all the obfuscation from the Kerry camp? Because his activities were not as innocent as he would like them to be remembered. The antiwar movement, broadly speaking, had two wings. To one, the war was a tragedy: America's actions were well-intentioned but misguided. To the other, the war was a crime: America's motives were less worthy of sympathy than those of its enemies. Kerry sometimes sounded as if he were in the former camp, as when he warned against being "the last man to die for a mistake." More often, he was in the latter camp, as when he accused American forces of "crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command," a kind of language he never used about the behavior of Communist forces.

America had gotten so far off track that we needed a "revolution" to recapture our founding principles, Kerry said, while also suggesting that our enemies were more in tune with those principles. Ho Chi Minh, he declared, was "the George Washington of Vietnam" who was trying "to install the same provisions into the government of Vietnam" that appeared in the U.S. Constitution.

This attitude underlay his trips to meet with the Communist delegations in Paris. Although he accused American leaders of lying, he returned from Paris to endorse the Viet Cong's "peace plan" as if the pronouncements of Communist leaders deserved to be taken at face value. The Viet Cong's foreign minister, Madame Binh, had told him, he said, that "if the United States were to set a date for withdrawal, the prisoners of war would be returned." The fact that she said so, he suggested, proved that President Nixon was lying: "I think this negates very clearly the argument of the president that we have to maintain a presence in Vietnam, to use as a negotiating block for the return of those prisoners. The setting of a date will accomplish that."

Today, Kerry and his surrogates make it sound as if his meetings with Communist officials were motivated by concern for American POWs. But this stands history on its head. Disregarding entirely the Geneva convention in their treatment of American prisoners, the Communists used the POWs as hostages, pressing America to capitulate in order to get its men back. Some of the more extreme antiwar leaders collaborated with Hanoi in this extortionate game, leading to deep resentment among most POWs for dishonoring and sabotaging the cause for which they had sacrificed so much.

Vietnam Veterans Against the War, the group Kerry led, was squarely in the radical wing of the antiwar movement, which is the reason for another of Kerry's misrepresentations. VVAW was so extreme that at its November 1971 leadership conference in Kansas City a motion was tabled to resort to terrorism and commence assassinating America's elected officials. Although the motion was voted down after lengthy debate, the very fact that it was given serious consideration shows just how far-out VVAW was. Probably for that reason, Kerry had denied being present at the meeting in Kansas City. Gerald Nicosia, author of a highly sympathetic account of veterans' antiwar activities, reported in the Los Angeles Times earlier this year that "several people at the Kansas City meeting recently said . . . that they had been told by the Kerry campaign not to speak about those events without permission." However, when FBI files released under the Freedom of Information Act placed him at the meeting, Kerry withdrew his earlier denial, admitting he may have been there but saying he had "no personal recollection" of it.

None of these revelations, of course, establishes Kerry as the Alger Hiss of the Vietnam era. But they do demonstrate the difficulty a President Kerry would have trying to establish himself as a credible leader of the world's last remaining superpower.

Indeed, in recent weeks, several of Kerry's much-vaunted "foreign leaders" have voiced skepticism about his prospective leadership in world affairs.

Earlier this month, Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski took Kerry to task for ignoring Poland's role in the coalition in Iraq. "It is sad that a Senator with 20 years of experience," he said, "does not recognize the Polish contribution. This is immoral."

Russian President Vladimir Putin is likewise wary of a Kerry presidency and the damage this might do to the global effort to eradicate terrorism. "The goal of international terrorism," he said last week, "is to prevent the election of President Bush to a second term. If they achieve that goal, then they will of course celebrate it as a victory... over America and, to a certain extent, over the forces of the international antiterrorism coalition."

And Lt. Gen. Augusto Heleno, the Brazilian commander for the U.N. peacekeeping troops in Haiti blames Kerry for inadvertently inspiring "Operation Baghdad," a wave of violence by Aristide supporters who hope U.S. troops would return under President Kerry and reinstate the deposed Haitian dictator. "Statements made by a candidate to the presidency of the United States," says General Heleno, "created false hopes among pro-Aristide supporters. His statements created the expectation that instability and a change in American policy would contribute to Aristide's return.''

Not that Kerry hasn't garnered a few endorsements of his own from overseas. A spokesman for Yasir Arafat has conveyed the unofficial endorsement of the Palestinian Authority: “The president [Arafat] thinks Kerry will be much better for the Palestinian cause and for the establishment of a Palestinian state.” (This should come as no surprise; Kerry's book, The New War, praises Arafat as a "statesman.")

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad—who has alleged that Jews secretly run the world—has also endorsed the senator, as has Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Spain's Socialist prime minister, who was swept into office in the wake of the Madrid train bombings perpetrated by Al Qaeda last March.

And, of course, Kerry's still very much a hero in Communist Vietnam. A photograph of the former VVAW leader is prominently displayed in the Vietnamese Communist War Remnants Museum (formerly known as the "War Crimes Museum") in Ho Chi Minh City. The photograph—showing Kerry being greeted by Comrade Do Muoi, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam—is displayed in a room dedicated to foreign activists who contributed to the glorious Communist victory over America.

The ghosts of Vietnam and antiwar radicalism continue to haunt the Senator who claims he "defended this country as a young man" and will defend it as President. But the world still hasn't entirely forgotten the long-haired Vietnam veteran who asked in 1971: "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

Today Kerry says the Iraq War is also a mistake—but a war he nonetheless intends to win. It's hardly surprising that both America's allies and its enemies are skeptical.

Posted by Rodger on October 26, 2004 at 11:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Never mind

Iraq_munitions

Jim Miklaszewski of NBC News let the air out of The New York Times' "October surprise" yesterday:

NBC News: Miklaszewski: “April 10, 2003, only three weeks into the war, NBC News was embedded with troops from the Army's 101st Airborne as they temporarily take over the Al Qakaa weapons installation south of Baghdad. But these troops never found the nearly 380 tons of some of the most powerful conventional explosives, called HMX and RDX, which is now missing. The U.S. troops did find large stockpiles of more conventional weapons, but no HMX or RDX, so powerful less than a pound brought down Pan Am 103 in 1988, and can be used to trigger a nuclear weapon. In a letter this month, the Iraqi interim government told the International Atomic Energy Agency the high explosives were lost to theft and looting due to lack of security. Critics claim there were simply not enough U.S. troops to guard hundreds of weapons stockpiles, weapons now being used by insurgents and terrorists to wage a guerrilla war in Iraq.” (NBC’s “Nightly News,” 10/25/04)

As Emily Litella would say: Never mind.

CNN, at least, had the decency to run the NBC story the Times won't acknowledge.

Bear in mind that while 380 tons of explosives may sound like a lot, it's a drop in the bucket compared to the estimated two million tons Saddam had stockpiled at the time of the allied invasion. Captain Ed has been all over this story from the get-go, and has done some useful context setting:

So let's keep in mind that when we're talking about 380 tons of ammunition, it represents 0.019% of the estimated amount of explosives and munitions that confronted the US at the beginning of the invasion. As Mike makes clear, it will take years to find, secure, and destroy all of these caches, and the Coalition had to prioritize the sites very quickly on their arrival. Absent any IAEA seals, they did what common sense dictated: the US moved its troops into positions where they could fight the enemy and secure communications.

Most egregiously, the failure to protect less than 0.02% of the total estimated munitions in Iraq has been seized upon by Kerry's campaign as an example of "incompetence".… These hysterical ravings from the Democrats should convince voters that anyone this panicky cannot possibly be trusted with any kind of command authority over our military, let alone guide us in an asymmetrical war with Islamic terrorists and the countries that sponsor them.

Just another Hail Mary pass from the desperate Democratic-media complex that got batted down before it could cross the line of scrimmage.

Posted by Rodger on October 26, 2004 at 09:08 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Inside job?

Inside_job

Iraq the Model suggests that Saturday's murder of 50 Iraqi cadets may have been an inside job:

What happened yesterday is one of the ugliest massacres that targeted Iraqis since the 9th. of April but this one belongs to a category of attacks that is somehow different from the rest because the terrorists didn’t attack a base for the ING, an oil pipeline or any type of fixed targets; a bus or convoy of cars are not easy to locate and identify, especially when the victims are not wearing uniforms and this suggests the occurrence of treason in this attack and this what makes me even more angry.

There are two possible theories to explain how this happened, the first one suggests that there are infiltrators among the ING and/or the IP in that region, which is quiet possible as we heard more than once about officers (among whom were some high ranking officers) being dismissed from service for suspicions regarding their loyalty.

Add to this that the area is considered a stronghold for Wahabi extremists who might have used the information provided by a corrupt officer to carry the attack on the recruits who came from Southern cities.

Another fact that I almost forgot is that during the war, most of the active Ba’ath members and high ranking officers left Baghdad and headed towards either Anbar or Diyala provinces and many of those never came back, settled there and mixed with the population and probably joined the ING and this is one of the reasons why these two provinces became fields for countless anti-Iraqis and anti-coalition activities.

The second theory talks about the possible involvement of the Iranian intelligence in planning for the massacre and this explanation looks reasonable too because this region in Diyala province is close to the borders with Iran which makes it easy for criminal elements to sneak across the borders (just as Mosul and Anbar are close to Syria) and at different times there were reports about arresting intruders coming from Iran in this region or neighboring ones.

Whatever the mechanism of the attack was, the ministries of defense and interior must perform a full review for their staff’s backgrounds out there and the IP and ING must be scanned thoroughly for infiltrators because we can’t afford to see tens of young Iraqis die because of a stupid mistake.

Anyway, it’s not all doom and gloom everywhere and together with the bad news there always come some uplifting good news to tell the terrorists that we are not giving up... never.

An AP story today by Jim Crane helps confirm this hypothesis:

"Subversion of the government and armed forces is the bread and butter of an insurgency," said Bruce Hoffman, a RAND Corp. counterinsurgency expert who advised the U.S.-led occupation authority. ''These people know what they're doing. They're pushing all the levers.''

Interior Ministry spokesman Sabah Kadhim acknowledged Monday that ''undesirable elements'' joined the Iraqi police and National Guard last year.

It's worth noting that Giap's Tet offensive during the Vietnam conflict relied on similar tactics of infiltration, subversion and mass murder. The attack was almost suicidal; more than 10,000 Viet Cong were killed. But the engagement caused Americans to doubt the ability of the U. S. military to succeed against such an apparently relentless enemy.

Posted by Rodger on October 26, 2004 at 01:42 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

10/25/2004

The ultimate Hail Mary

Kerry_pass

John Kerry speaking with Katie Couric on the Today Show:

Couric: Some voters have said, “Hey, the United States hasn’t been attacked since September 11, George Bush must be doing something right, and we're too nervous to vote for a change at this point in time.” You would say to them?

Sen. Kerry: I would say to them that this administration has told you, George Bush and Dick Cheney have said to you, “It is not a matter of if we're going to be attacked—it’s a matter of when.” This administration has neglected homeland security. Do you know that the president … said he doesn’t know if America will ever be safe. Well, I do know that America will be safe under my leadership.

Couric: But can you really, Senator, make the guarantee, in all honesty …

Sen. Kerry: You bet, because we can win.

Couric: … that America will be safe under all circumstances?

Sen. Kerry: Katie, let me say this to you. We won World War II, we won the Cold War—we know we can do it if we put our minds to it.

Every four years, presidential candidates make promises. Occasionally they keep them, most often they don’t. American voters accept this reality as part of the political game, and typically we don't penalize the Presidents we elect for not following through on what they said in the heat of the campaign season. Bill Clinton, for example, handily won a second term in spite of the fact that the health care reform he made a centerpiece of his 1992 campaign never made it out of the starting gate.

Yet this is no ordinary presidential election. And candidate Kerry has now made an extraordinary—and potentially catastrophic—promise. Namely, that there will be no further terrorist attacks on American soil if he is elected President. But what happens when, as seems quite probable (even to Katie Couric), he fails to keep that pledge?

Although America and its allies have made no small progress over the last three years in rolling up Al Qaeda’s network, the threat of a second catastrophic attack on U. S. soil remains as great as it was in the weeks after 9/11—perhaps even greater now that the enemy has had time to reassess our vulnerabilities. To borrow Condi Rice’s memorable formula, we have to be right 100 percent of the time, while the terrorists only have to be right once. In the terror game, defense is an infinitely harder position to play, no matter how many cargo ships you inspect. That's why President Bush was forced to embark on the diplomatically high-risk strategy of taking the war to the terrorists in Afghanistan, Iraq and other, less-visible parts of the globe.

But suppose the man who would require a global test in advance of preemptive war becomes our commander in chief. And suppose a determined enemy finds a way to prove once more that terrorism can be more than a nuisance. What then?

Most Americans rightly didn’t hold President Bush to blame for a scenario few security planners had anticipated prior to 9/11. Since then, the President and his Homeland Security Director have been candid with Americans about the ever-present danger of further attacks, so it’s unlikely they’ll be called to task if what they’ve warned about for three years finally comes to pass. But would the public be so generously minded with a President elected on a pledge to keep them safe from precisely such an attack?

No one can be certain how a President Kerry might respond militarily to another terrorist attack on American soil. What is far more certain is how Americans would feel toward a leader who had garnered their votes on a promise of security: Betrayed.

Betrayed—and angry. Much angrier, I suspect, than the voters who denied the White House to a Democrat for 12 years after Americans were held hostage in Teheran. Such a scenario—of catastrophic political victory followed by catastrophic political defeat—is something to which few in Kerry's party seem to given much consideration.

If their candidate wins on November 2, they'd better start.

Posted by Rodger on October 25, 2004 at 02:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)