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Showing posts from May, 2004
A Saudi Colubine

The attack by four al Qaeda gunmen is similar to the Colubine massacre where men with weapons kill people who do not have them. Is there anyway that four men could take 40 to 50 armed men hostage? The Saudis need to let all employees of key industries carry weapons so that they can defend themselves. When the guy knocks on the door to ask whether the person inside is Muslim or Christian the answer should be a bullet in his face.
The Pakistan "quagmire"

Washington Post:

A bomb blast tore through a Shiite Muslim mosque during evening prayers on Monday night, killing 16 people and wounding at least 30 others, officials said, one day after the assassination of a prominent Sunni cleric in this southern port city.

The attack at the Ali Raza mosque provoked violent clashes between angry mobs and police, who used tear gas to disperse the rioters. The protesters torched vehicles and buildings. Two people were killed and 20 others wounded in the fighting, authorities said.

The powerful explosion was heard for several miles around the mosque, located about a half-mile from where Nizamuddin Shamzai, the Sunni cleric, was gunned down Sunday morning. Body parts and debris rained over the busy evening traffic on the central M.A. Jinnah Road, witnesses said.

These guys are bombing more churches than the Ku Klux Klan. This episode like many others reflects a low functioning level of emotional maturity, as well as mu…
Root cause of Saudi quagmire

Melanie Phillips:

The latest attack in Saudi Arabia shows once again, for those who have eyes to see, that the root grievance behind al Qaeda is not the absence of a Palestinian state, nor the supposedly 'inflammatory' coalition occupation of Iraq, but the presence of 'the infidel' in Saudi Arabia. A statement claiming to be from al Qaeda said:

'We renew our determination to repel the crusader forces and their arrogance, to liberate the land of Muslims, to apply Sharia and cleanse the Arabian peninsula of infidels.'

I do not think they want to stop with the Arabian peninsula. They want to rid the world of infidels and any fidels who do not follow their weird ways.
Pulse management

Victor Davis Hanson:

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...The communis opinio goes something like this: too few troops, too little planning, and dilatory democratic reform led us into the present 'quagmire' — as if our present problems were strategic rather than tactical flaws or a condescending misreading of the Arab Street.

In contrast, I think the military campaign was inspired, the proper number of troops was subject for legitimate debate, and the plans to reconstruct Iraq were more or less sound. After little more than a year, we see greater likelihood of success than failure in this most audacious enterprise. But where we have failed is in managing the pulse of the war and the perception of our advance, success, and victory.

Here our greatest weakness has been the half-measure: the need to consult all the ill-informed in the Middle East rather than a few of sound judgment; the good intention not carried out; the threat to thwart evil reduced to lecture and then whine rather than audaci…
Enviromental wackos not persuading majority of US

Washington Times:

More Americans prefer healthy wallets over protecting the environment, according to a poll by the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy.

Of 1,000 persons polled, 54 percent said that protecting the environment is important, but it is more important to keep the economy growing.

...

The poll also asked who is trusted most "as a source of information about environmental issues," President Bush or Democratic presidential contender Sen. John Kerry.

While 26 percent said they trust Mr. Bush "a lot," only 12 percent said Mr. Kerry. However, 35 percent said they do not trust Mr. Bush "at all," while 24 percent said they do not trust Mr. Kerry "at all."

Mr. Blackwelder called the numbers "astonishing" and credited Mr. Bush's high numbers to creative language.

"You get initiatives that actually weaken the Clear Air Act called 'Clear Skies' and you get initi…
What happened in falluja

Robert Kaplan:

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But none of the above (events in Falluja) matters if it is not competently explained to the American public--for the home front is more critical in a counterinsurgency than in any other kind of war. Yet the meticulous planning process undertaken by the Marines at the tactical level for assaulting Fallujah was not augmented with a similarly meticulous process by the Bush administration at the strategic level for counteracting the easily foreseen media fallout from fighting in civilian areas near Muslim religious sites. The public was never made to feel just how much of a military threat the mosques in Fallujah represented, just how far Marines went to avoid damage to them and to civilians, and just how much those same Marine battalions accomplished after departing Fallujah.

We live in a world of burning visual images: As Marines assaulted Fallujah, the administration should have been holding dramatic slide shows for the public, of the kind that…
10,000 active al Qaeda supporters in UK?

Telegraph:

Downing Street has drawn up secret plans to prevent the spread of extremism among young Muslims after confidential studies found that there are up to 10,000 "active" supporters of al-Qa'eda in Britain.

Reports commissioned by the Government, details of which were leaked to The Sunday Times, found that many young Muslims are recruited from among the poor and jobless, who are regarded by al-Qa'eda chiefs as more susceptible to exploitation.

...

The studies also cite evidence from MI5 that al-Qa'eda is seeking out middle-class recruits in universities. There are also recruitment operations in schools.

If they are active supporters they should be eliminated through jailing or expulsion.
Kerry's neo realism

Tacitus:

I've been reflecting a bit on John Kerry's proclamation that, if elected, he's not going to be much of a pro-democracy President. It's an extraordinary thing for a candidate to say: most at least give lip service to the notion. Even Clinton, as others have pointed out, was liberal, if ultimately insincere, in his denunciation of the "butchers of Beijing" in the '92 campaign. This sort of thing is de rigeur rhetoric, and breaking from it is rather extraordinary.

Two things come to mind.

First, you're shortly going to see a great many Democrats rush to praise Kissingerian, nay, Nixonian realism in foreign policy. In doing so, many -- probably most -- of these same Democrats will make egregious hypocrites of themselves. However, the memory of seeing a mass of them rise up and endorse a lack of core principle in foreign affairs (beyond that, of course, elucidated in Machiavelli) should be a handy rhetorical silencer for at …
Anger with Sadr

US News:

Publicly furious with the occupation, the citizens are also privately blaming Sadr for bringing the fighting to the holiest Shiite city, and they say that they will be grateful when he and his ragtag bandit army leave. "Things were very good two months ago. It was a peaceful town. Then people from outside our city came in [and] the majority of the fighters came from outside of Najaf," said Ali Nasser, 25, while eating a lunch of stewed lamb and rice in the emptied bazaar. "When the Americans first came here, they played soccer and dominoes with us. They were just like our friends. We didn't even see a tank."
Stalingrad analogies from those ignorant of the facts

Bret Stephens:

According to Sidney Blumenthal, a one-time adviser to president Bill Clinton who now writes a column for Britain's Guardian newspaper, President George W. Bush today runs "what is in effect a gulag," stretching "from prisons in Afghanistan to Iraq, from Guantanamo to secret CIA prisons around the world." Blumenthal says "there has been nothing like this system since the fall of the Soviet Union."

In another column, Blumenthal compares the April death toll for American soldiers in Iraq to the Eastern Front in the Second World War. Bush's "splendid little war," he writes, "has entered a Stalingrad-like phase of urban siege and house-to-house combat."

The factual bases for these claims are, first, that the US holds some 10,000 "enemy combatants" prisoner; and second, that 122 US soldiers were killed in action in April.

As I write, I have before me a copy …
Need for a better communication strategy

Jack Kelly:

What really happened in Fallujah was a great deal different from what was portrayed in the news media, said Robert Kaplan of The Atlantic Monthly, the only reporter embedded with the Marine company (Bravo, 1st Battalion of the 5th Regiment) that led the advance into the heart of the city in the pre-dawn darkness of April 6.

The Marines won the battle in the streets, only to lose it in the news accounts, Kaplan said in an op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal May 27.

...

Kaplan blamed the Bush administration for this failure.

"The administration should have been holding dramatic slide shows for the public ... explaining how this or that mosque was being militarily utilized," he said. "And had the administration adequately explained to the public what the Marines were doing after Fallujah, there might have been less disappointment and mystification about quitting the fight there."

"Without a communications st…
The goofy Gore-Kennedy rules

Mark Steyn:

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There is something not just ridiculous but unbecoming about a hyperpower 300 million strong whose elites -- from the deranged former vice president down -- want the outcome of a war, and the fate of a nation, to hinge on one freaky jailhouse; elites who are willing to pay any price, bear any burden, as long as it's pain-free, squeaky clean and over in a week. The sheer silliness dishonors the memory of all those we're supposed to be remembering this Memorial Day.

Playing by Gore-Kennedy rules, the Union would have lost the Civil War, the rebels the Revolutionary War, and the colonists the French and Indian Wars. There would, in other words, be no America. Even in its grief, my part of New Hampshire understood that 141 years ago. We should, too.
Breeding domestic terror

Michele Malkin:

WHILE the media remain fixated on the plight of Muslim prisoners in Iraq, they have largely ignored the danger that radicalized Muslim prisoners pose here at home.

The Justice Department's inspector general this month released a disturbing report that exposed federal prisons as a fertile breeding ground for terrorists. It was a red alert on a bureaucratic failure that jeopardizes not only other inmates and prison employees, but also the country at large. Yet it got next to no notice.

Islamic extremists have infiltrated jails worldwide to lure convicts to their murderous cause. The problem is thought to be much worse in Europe. For example, Richard Reid, the "Shoe Bomber," converted to Islam with the help of an extremist imam in a British prison. In France, thousands of Muslim inmates have been schooled in jihad against "the Western powers and the Jews who manipulate them," as one widely circulated prison pamphlet puts it.…
More Czeck connection clues tie Atta to Iraq

Deroy Murdock:

Did Mohamed Atta meet an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague five months before he slammed a Boeing 767 into World Trade Center? Fresh evidence bolsters the view the attack on America might have had Ba'athist fingerprints.
Edward Jay Epstein, best-selling author of 12 books on politics and history, has followed "the Prague Connection" since its outlines emerged in autumn 2001. Peruse his findings at edwardjayepstein.com.

...

According to his May 26, 2000, Czech visa application — completed in Bonn, Germany — Atta called himself a "Hamburg student." He studied urban planning at Hamburg-Harburg Technical University, where he set up an Islamic club in 1999.
Atta apparently had pressing business in Prague. With his visa pending until May 31, Atta nonetheless flew to Prague International Airport May 30 and remained in its transit lounge about six hours before flying back to Germany. Czech officia…
Some Brits are worried about being hostile to Muslims

The Guardian has a particularly British liberal piece of hysteria over the treatment of Muslims in the UK.

Hostility towards Islam permeates every part of British society and will spark race riots unless urgent action is taken to integrate Muslim youths into society, according to a devastating report.

The Commission on British Muslims and Islamophobia (CBMI), which is chaired by a key government adviser to the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, warns that more and more Muslims feel excluded from society and simmering tensions, especially in northern English towns, are in danger of boiling over.

Members of the commission interviewed scores of British Muslims for their report, which will be published this week and will conclude that Britain is 'institutionally Islamophobic'.

Imagine a similar study focusing on Muslim's phobic reaction to "infidels" in the west. Do they have any concern about their hostility toward us dem…
Molting hawks

Mark Steyn:

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With moulting hawks all around squawking their forlorn chorus of "I'm No Longer Such An Ugly Duckling", it's tempting to join the mass ecdysis. But this is one leopard who won't be changing his spots. Fourteen months ago, there were respectable cases to be made for and against the war. None of the big stories of the past few weeks alters either argument.

The bleats of "Include me out!" from the fairweather warriors isn't a sign of their belated moral integrity but of their fundamental unseriousness. Anyone who votes for the troops to go in should be grown-up enough to know that, when they do, a few of them will kill civilians, bomb schools, abuse prisoners. It happens in every war. These aren't stunning surprises, they're inevitable: it might be a bombed mosque or a hospital, a shattered restaurant or a slaughtered wedding party, but it will certainly be something.

Okay, a freaky West Virginia tramp leading a nake…
The Saudi "Quagmire"

BBC:

Saudi Arabia was thrown into its own war on terror just more than a year ago, when suspected al-Qaeda militants launched triple suicide bombings in the capital Riyadh.

Then, the killing of 35 people in attacks on compounds housing foreigners was seen as a wake up call to the Saudi authorities, who had been accused of going easy on Islamic militants in the hope of avoiding trouble.

Now:

Heavy gunfire has been heard at an oil workers' compound in Saudi Arabia, where security forces have surrounded militants holding about 50 hostages.

The suspected Islamist militants earlier killed about 10 people in the city of Khobar, including foreigners.

It is the latest in a series of attacks on the kingdom's oil industry - the world's largest.

The Saudis have no place to run away to, unless they want to abandon their country to the barbarians of militant Islam. They cannot pick an arbitrary day to withdraw and quit fighting. In reality, the US cannot e…
A key foreign policy difference--importance of democracy to security

John Kerry believes there are other objectives more central to US security than encouraging democracy in the middle east. George Bush believes that the only way we can achieve security is by moving the Islamic world toward democracy.

In many ways, Kerry laid out a foreign-policy agenda that appeared less idealistic about U.S. aims than President Bush or even fellow Democrat former president Bill Clinton. While Kerry said it was important to sell democracy and "market it" around the world, he demurred when questioned about a number of important countries that suppress human rights and freedoms. He said securing all nuclear materials in Russia, integrating China in the world economy, achieving greater controls over Pakistan's nuclear weapons or winning greater cooperation on terrorist financing in Saudi Arabia trumped human rights concerns in those nations.
A barking dog does not stop the caravan

Fred Barnes:

THE DOG BARKS, but the caravan moves on. This Arab saying has been used privately by Bush administration officials to characterize the progress that continues, despite all difficulties, in Iraq. There's some truth to it. The turnover of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government--a measure of sovereignty at least--will take place on June 30. Iraqi police and civil defense forces will continue to grow. Creation of machinery for a nationwide election next January will proceed. So will construction of a network of modern infrastructure in Iraq, perhaps at a quickened pace.

It's true a dog sometimes bites as well as barks, and serious threats to the birth of a new Iraq remain, especially the climate of terror that prevails over much of the country today. But it's considerably harder to imagine defeat in Iraq and the collapse of progress toward democracy than it is to envision victory and the emergence of an Iraq that holds tog…
Why Sadr folded

Strategy Page:

Muqtada al Sadr's willingness to accept a ceasefire, and withdraw his gunmen from the southern Iraqi cities containing Shia shrines, was forced on him by his demoralized followers and very angry residents of those cities. Al Sadr’s armed followers are not suicidal, and as coalition troops relentlessly killed them off over the last week, some began to desert, and few new recruits stepped up. Al Sadr could have kept fighting and risked losing all of his militiamen, or agreed to a ceasefire and tried to salvage as much as he can. His other big problem is with the powerful business families of the holy cities like Najaf and Karbala. For centuries, these families have grown prosperous by providing goods and services for Shia pilgrims, especially from Iran. During Saddam’s rule, the number of Iranian pilgrims fell sharply. But since Saddam was ousted, business has been booming. However, since al Sadr’s bully boys began taking over the government in the shrin…
Field commanders get new hand held weapon

Strategy Page:

The U.S. Army is sending over three hundred new design Commander’s Digital Assistant (CDA) hand held computers to Iraq with platoon leaders and company commanders later this year. The CDA is basically a militarized PDA (Personal Digital Assistant, like the Palm). PDA technology is changing so fast, especially by traditional military procurement standards, that the army expects to have a new version of the CDA every year or so. The 2005 model (shipping out later this year) will have satellite phone capability and be able to download maps, along with instructions overlayed on the maps. The army is taking advantage of cheaper, and more compact, memory available to provide this vital map download feature. It’s now possible to equip a PDA with a gigabyte, or more, of flash (like used in digital cameras) memory.

...

In the last year, PDAs and cell phones have been merging, which is where the new CDA came from. The army needs a combat P…
A few moms short

Steve Chapman:

An organization called the Million Mom March held a rally in Washington on Mother's Day to urge renewal of the 1994 assault weapons ban. If you must know, the turnout was about 997,500 short. But the advocates are not easily discouraged. Afterward, they launched a vehicle called the Big Pink Rig on a "Halt the Assault Tour." The bus will crisscross the nation between now and September, when the ban is scheduled to expire.
The 1994 law was a monument to Bill Clinton's distinctive political genius — which generally involved tiny symbolic changes that pleased particular constituencies without actually having much effect. It prohibited the manufacture, sale or import of 19 different firearms, along with magazines holding more than 10 rounds.

...

The features that flagged these guns as intolerable, such as bayonet mounts and folding stocks, are features that have nothing to do with their killing power. The ban is the moral equivalent …
Marines around Falluja moving to border area

Rowan Scarborough:

The lasting cease-fire in Fallujah has let U.S. Marines pull more forces from around the city and use them in new operations to stop foreign fighters from setting up safe houses in Iraqi villages near the border.
The new mission involves infantry units of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force going town to town to eliminate any safe houses being used by fighters to infiltrate Iraq and kill coalition soldiers and citizens.

...

Sealing the Syrian border is one of the U.S.-led coalition's main missions this spring as it seeks to create a secure environment for Iraq's first free elections next year. Pentagon officials estimate there are several thousand foreign fighters, terrorists and mujahideen in Iraq, many of whom pass through Syria.
Coalition forces have captured or killed guerrillas from virtually every country in the region, including Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Sudan and Somalia.
Officials accuse …
US diplomacy works in Sudan

Nicholas Kristof:

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Sudanese peasants will be naming their sons "George Bush" because he scored a humanitarian victory this week that could be a momentous event around the globe — although almost nobody noticed. It was Bush administration diplomacy that led to an accord to end a 20-year civil war between Sudan's north and south after two million deaths.

If the peace holds, hundreds of thousands of lives will be saved, millions of refugees will return home, and a region of Africa may be revived.

...

The standard threshold for an "emergency" is one death per 10,000 people per day, but people in Kailek are dying at a staggering 41 per 10,000 per day — and for children under 5, the rate is 147 per 10,000 per day. "Children suffering from malnutrition, diarrhea, dehydration and other symptoms of the conditions under which they are being held live in filth, directly exposed to the sun," the report says.

"The team members, al…
The al Qaeda Iraq connection

Sthephen Hayes:

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In late February 2004, Christopher Carney made an astonishing discovery. Carney, a political science professor from Pennsylvania on leave to work at the Pentagon, was poring over a list of officers in Saddam Hussein's much-feared security force, the Fedayeen Saddam. One name stood out: Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed Hikmat Shakir. The name was not spelled exactly as Carney had seen it before, but such discrepancies are common. Having studied the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda for 18 months, he immediately recognized the potential significance of his find. According to a report last
week in the Wall Street Journal, Shakir appears on three different lists of Fedayeen officers.

An Iraqi of that name, Carney knew, had been present at an al Qaeda summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on January 5-8, 2000. U.S. intelligence officials believe this was a chief planning meeting for the September 11 attacks. Shakir had been nominally employed as …
Media conceit and vanity

The prison hazing/abuse story is being driven by the media because of the belief that the US military and the Bush administration would not deal with those responsible for the episode without the media nattering on the subject.

The media rarely mentions that the problems were discovered by the military and they are being dealt with appropriately. There has been zero evidence that the Defense Department or Commanders have done anything to impede an orderly investigation in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

So the obsession of many media outlets gives them an excuse to act like nothing would have been done if they had not published their porno images. Which gets to another reason why they are obsessed with their porno images. They want them to hurt the Bush administration (while acting like they don't care because the story is soooo important). They also want to hurt the war effort, because if the war succeeds then many of them will be…
"Too young to exist"

New Scientist:

An infant planet just a million years old is puzzling astrophysicists - it is simply too young to exist, according to the standard model of planet formation.

Evidence for this precocious planet comes in the form of infrared radiation from the Taurus Molecular Cloud, about 400 light years away, detected by NASA's Spitzer space telescope.

So, does it need to be aborted?
Independent describes rout of Sadr as US retreat

Justin Huggler of the UK's Independent describes a truce proposed by Sadr which removes his militia from control of any Iraqi city as a retreat by the US. He basis this on the US decision to forego for the time being capture of Sadr.

Most people recognize that the party asking for the truce is the one who is losing and in fact Sadr forces were being destroyed by the US forces that engaged them. It is still not clear what a truce means to Sadr and his group of thugs since they are celebrating it by launching mortars at US bases. That suggest that further destruction of his forces is probably in order.
Sadr's truce proposal

Scrappleface parody:

A reported truce proposal from revered Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr calls for U.S.-led Coalition forces to pull out of the embattled holy city of Najaf, postpone a murder trial for Mr. al-Sadr and to build several new mosques because the cleric's militia has "run out of room to store holy weapons."

"Our most holy places are jammed to the rafters with sacred AK-47s, blessed RPG shoulder-launchers and 'Allah's own' improvised explosive devices (IEDs)," according to a letter from Mr. al-Sadr to the Iraqi Governing Council. "With all of these spiritual armaments stacked about, it's difficult for the muezzin to get a clean shot at a HumVee from the window of a minaret...in the name of Allah, the just and merciful."

Don't miss the Bush-Clinton tickey matchup with Kerry-McCain as well as the celebatory mortar fire in honor of the truce.
Public responding to terror threat

CNN:

The FBI has received more than 2,000 tips from the public in the 24 hours after a news conference asking for help in locating seven people Attorney General John Ashcroft called al Qaeda operatives.

This is despite major media outlets like the NY Times and LA Times burying the story, and in some cases even questioning the motives of the Justice Department in announcing the threat. Liberals really need to get a grip on reality and get out of their paranoid state of mind.
Terrorist use Geneva Convention

Alan Dershowitz:

THE GENEVA Conventions are so outdated and are written so broadly that they have become a sword used by terrorists to kill civilians, rather than a shield to protect civilians from terrorists. These international laws have become part of the problem, rather than part of the solution.

Following World War II, in which millions of civilians were killed by armed forces, the international community strengthened the laws designed to distinguish between legitimate military targets and off-limit noncombatants. The line in those days was clear: The military wore uniforms, were part of a nation's organized armed forces, and generally lived in military bases outside of population centers. Noncombatants, on the other hand, wore civilian clothing and lived mostly in areas distant from the battlefields.

The war by terrorists against democracies has changed all this. Terrorists who do not care about the laws of warfare target innocent noncombatants…
US Muslims launch campaign against terrorism

Washington Post:

Amid warnings of another al Qaeda attack on the United States, American Muslims have launched a public relations campaign stressing that they condemn terrorism and should not be blamed for violence committed in the name of Islam.

The loosely coordinated campaign by Muslim organizations includes newspaper advertisements, a petition drive and public commitments to work hand in hand with law enforcement agencies, including a joint effort to begin today with FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.

"We want to debunk the myth that American Muslims are not concerned with securing our homeland," said Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, which will announce a "grass-roots Muslim initiative against terrorism" with Mueller at a Los Angeles mosque. Al-Marayati said the council will work with the FBI to denounce terrorism, control "belligerence" at mosques and improve comm…
Real Global Villians

Telegraph Editorial:

Earlier this week, Irene Khan, Amnesty International's secretary-general, said of America: "Not since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 has there been such a sustained attack on its values and principles."

Erm, what about the Russian gulag, Pol Pot's Cambodia, the Great Leap Forward and mass starvation in China, the Hutu slaughter of Tutsis in Rwanda, Ne Win's Burma, North Korea under the Kims, the Argentinian disappearances, French colonialism in Algeria, Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, Idi Amin's Uganda, Jean-Bedel Bokassa's Central African Republic, Slobodan Milosevic's quest for Greater Serbia. We could go on.
Something is not happening in Iraq

Liberal Dems and their media accomplices have really enjoyed fretting over how much damage the prison hazing photos were doing. Indeed many want to use them as an excuse to cut and run as John Kerry might say. But run from what? The insurgency of Sadr has collapsed under the dual pressure of US forces and Shia clerics. Falluja appears to be passified and there is new momentum on arresting those responsible for the atrocities against the American contractors.

But, what really is not happening is a general uprising or insistance on the US leaving Iraq. The fact that a few al Qaeda types explode themselves or a car or a roadside bomb does not mean that the US has failed or that it was wrong to liberate Iraq. The same group blows up their people in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan almost as often as they do in Iraq where they are concetrating their efforts.

Then June 30 sovereignity date means different things to different people. However for Saddam, it i…
Over the top with AlGore

Barbara Comstock:

Can we get Al Gore on the 2004 ticket? Please? Didn't Bill Clinton tell us he was the greatest vice president in the history of the country? It's not only partisan Republicans who snicker about the new, louder, unhinged Gore. Many Democratic operatives can't keep a straight face or refrain from rolling their eyes as the former vice president tries to roar back onto the political stage.

Al Gore is proving to be the most irrelevant, comically absurd former vice president since Spiro Agnew. This blustering Saturday Night Live caricature is no longer a serious political figure. At a MoveOn.org event yesterday, Gore — in wild-eyed, Howard Dean-like fashion — screamed out the names of most of the Bush-administration defense and national-security leadership (including the Clinton/Gore CIA director) and demanded their resignation in the middle of the war on terror. Columnist Charles Krauthammer observed, "Looks as if Al Gore has gone o…
Al Qaeda bust in South Africa

VOA:

South Africa's national police commissioner says authorities arrested and deported several individuals linked to the global al-Qaida terror network last month. It is the first time the government has documented activity of al-Qaida in South Africa.

National Police Commissioner Jackie Selebi says the arrest of several people linked to al-Qaida in South Africa led to raids and arrests in Jordan, Syria, and Great Britain.

...

It appears South African police are continuing to investigate whatever local connections the alleged al-Qaida operatives made here. Commissioner Selebi said the raids overseas yielded some very interesting evidence.

"In London, the British police found boxes and boxes of South African passports in a home of one of these people, or an associate of one of these people. Which says to me, there must be a link that people are able to acquire these documents," he says.
Gore is a turnoff when he is angry

Byron York:

For the record, Republican officials are denouncing the speech that former vice president Al Gore gave yesterday condemning the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq and the larger war on terror. But privately, GOP strategists say they are "delighted" that Gore, whose speeches include rhetorical extremes and are delivered with vein-popping fury, has apparently taken a high-profile role as a surrogate for the Kerry campaign. Such performances, GOP insiders believe, will eventually alienate all but the most dedicated Democratic base voters.

...

In response, the Republican National Committee released a statement saying Gore had been vice president for eight years in which "Osama bin Laden declared war on the United States five times and terrorists killed U.S. citizens on at least four different occasions." The statement continued: "Al Gore's attacks on the president today demonstrate that he either …
Sen. Flip-Flop flip-flops

Noelle Straub, Boston Herald:

Stung by criticism from key Democrats, Sen. John F. Kerry yesterday reversed course - saying he'll accept his party's nomination at Boston's Democratic National Convention after all.
Kerry had launched a trial balloon Friday, proposing to delay formal acceptance of the Democratic presidential nomination for five weeks after the Boston convention in hopes of blunting President Bush's fund-raising advantage.
``Boston is the place where America's freedom began, and it's where I want the journey to the Democratic nomination to be completed,'' Kerry said in a written statement. ``On Thursday, July 29, with great pride, I will accept my party's nomination for president in the city of Boston.''
Kerry was hoping to use the five weeks to raise and spend freely before accepting the $75 million in public funding for the general election.
Republicans had mocked Kerry for consideri…
Bush now criticized for connecting dots

BBC:

President Bush has come under fire for his handling of the domestic war on terror after a warning of a possible al-Qaeda attack in the US.

Attorney General John Ashcroft said information showed al-Qaeda intended "to hit the United States hard".

On Wednesday Mr Ashcroft named seven people he said were a clear danger.

But Democratic challenger Senator John Kerry questioned Mr Bush's commitment to providing the resources necessary to protect the country.

...

Other critics appeared to doubt the authenticity of the threat, which has not led to the level of the national security alert being raised. It remains at yellow, indicating an "elevated" level of risk two degrees away from the red "severe risk".

These are the same people who thought Bush should have put US aviation on alert because of some memo written in August 2001 that had nothing to do with the 9-11 attacks. Bush critics are becoming totally incoherent.…
Sadrites defeat

Strategy Page:

Muqtada al Sadr's gunmen continued to withdraw from Najaf, as al Sadr tried to make a deal that would get the murder charges against him dropped. A ceasefire agreement has been negotiated with al Sadr, with the help of members of the Iraqi Governing Council. In most of the areas that al Sadrs gunmen took over in April, the gunmen are dead or gone, and the Iraqi government and police are back in control.

Over a hundred of al Sadr's men have been killed by coalition troops in the last few days, with few coalition casualties. This has been demoralizing for the al Sadr gunmen. The American troops are especially scary, with their use of UAVs, snipers and tanks. No matter what the al Sadr men do, the Americans seem to know where they are, and what they are up to. Show yourself, and an American sniper gets you. Try and shoot it out with the Americans, and they tend to hit you with their first shot. Fortify a building, and an American smart bomb hits it, …
Tit for Tet

Ann Coulter:

Abu Ghraib is the new Tet offensive. By lying about the Tet offensive during the Vietnam War, the media managed to persuade Americans we were losing the war, which demoralized the nation and caused us to lose the war. And people say reporters are lazy.

The immediate consequence of the media's lies was a 25 percent drop in support for the war. The long-term consequence for America was 12 years in the desert until Ronald Reagan came in and saved the country.

Now liberals are using their control of the media to persuade the public that we are losing the war in Iraq. Communist dictators may have been ruthless murderers bent on world domination, but they displayed a certain degree of rationality. America may not be able to wait out 12 years of Democrat pusillanimity now that we're dealing with Islamic lunatics who slaughter civilians in suicide missions while chanting "Allah Akbar!"

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We have liberated the Iraqi people from a brutal dictator who …
Saddam linked to 9-11

Opinion Journal:

One thing we've learned about Iraq since the fall of Saddam Hussein is that the former dictator was a diligent record keeper. Coalition forces have found--literally--millions of documents. These papers are still being sorted, translated and absorbed, but they are already turning up new facts about Saddam's links to terrorism.

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One striking bit of new evidence is that the name Ahmed Hikmat Shakir appears on three captured rosters of officers in Saddam Fedayeen, the elite paramilitary group run by Saddam's son Uday and entrusted with doing much of the regime's dirty work. Our government sources, who have seen translations of the documents, say Shakir is listed with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.

This matters because if Shakir was an officer in the Fedayeen, it would establish a direct link between Iraq and the al Qaeda operatives who planned 9/11. Shakir was present at the January 2000 al Qaeda "summit" in Kuala Lumpur, …
Gore goes ga-ga

John Podhoretz:

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Surely, say hosts and callers, it didn't matter all that much who was president on 9/11, because Al Gore would have reacted and acted in exactly the same way. I have usually responded by saying that, yes, I think he might well have responded similarly.

I was wrong. There is no way of knowing how he would have responded, because it is now clear that Al Gore is insane.

I don't mean that his policy ideas are insane, though many of them are. I mean that based on his behavior, conduct, mien and tone over the past two days, there is every reason to believe that Albert Gore Jr., desperately needs help. I think he needs medication, and I think that if he is already on medication, his doctors need to adjust it or change it entirely.

I am not kidding or trying to score a cheap rhetorical shot when I say that watching Gore rant and rave and scream and yell and lose all connection with reality, common sense and even proper comportment at this moment of g…
Palestinian perfidy

Louis Rene Beres:

Israel has just completed an essential defensive operation against terrorists in Rafah. Although televised images of this Gaza operation suggested cruelty and indiscriminate action by Israeli forces, exactly the opposite is true. By deliberately placing young Arab children in the front of large mobs that advanced menacingly upon Israeli soldiers, Palestinian leaders openly committed major violations of the Law of War. There is, in fact, a precise legal term for these violations, a term that applies equally to the Palestinian tactic of routinely inserting scores of gunmen among the lines of children. This codified crime under humanitarian international law is called "perfidy."

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Israel has been blamed for blowing up Palestinian houses. These houses are not ordinary residences. Rather, they are critical exit points for smugglers' tunnels that begin in other houses on the Egyptian side. The tunnels are a primary conduit for the growing …
Kerry's opportunism

Thomas Sowell:

Sen. John Kerry is giving opportunism a bad name. First, there was his call for President Bush to release oil from the strategic petroleum reserve, in response to high gasoline prices. With a war raging in the Middle East, the last thing we need to do is reduce our own petroleum reserves for the sake of an election-year quick fix.

Mr. Kerry knows better. But he has to come up with something that at least gives the appearance of proposing his own policies and agendas, instead of just bashing Mr. Bush.

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It would be a mistake, however, to think John Kerry has no principles or agenda. He just does not have any that he would dare reveal in an election year.

Both a liberal organization and a nonpartisan organization have rated Mr. Kerry's voting record in the Senate as more liberal than that of Ted Kennedy.

It is hard to believe there is much room on the political spectrum to the left of Ted Kennedy. But Mr. Kerry has found it. Now he has to hide …
Defining Kerry

Bill Sammon:

President Bush's political strategists have concluded that the way to battle back from record low job-approval ratings and months of bad news from Iraq is to talk about Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry.

"The more people know about him, the more they find a Kerry presidency troubling," said Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman. "Poll after poll after poll after poll shows that."

Although the press has been focused for weeks on the president's low job-approval ratings, the Bush campaign has taken solace in largely overlooked poll numbers that show Mr. Kerry's support plummeting in several crucial areas.

For example, an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Monday shows that in the past 11 weeks, the percentage of Americans who say Mr. Kerry is "honest and trustworthy" has fallen 11 percentage points. The number saying he is a "strong leader" has dropped nine percentage points, and the number say…
Former Houston resident is al Qaeda suspect

Houston Chronicle:

One day in March last year, Ismat Siddiqui left her grown daughter and grandchildren at her Karachi, Pakistan, home for a routine errand. When she came back a short time later, they had vanished.

They haven't been seen or heard from since.

Now, her youngest daughter, Aafia Siddiqui, 32, a former Houston resident and a neurological sciences expert, is the subject of a worldwide dragnet, wanted by the FBI as a terrorist recruited by al-Qaida to help attack the United States this summer.

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U.S. authorities have not charged her, but believe Aafia Siddiqui is a "fixer," someone who moves money to provide logistical support for terror activities, authorities said. The FBI fears she may have been helping Adnan El Shukrijumah, 27, a Saudi man who Attorney General John Ashcroft said could be a "future facilitator of terrorist acts" for al-Qaida.

The FBI became interested in Aafia Siddiqui after reputed 9/11…
Carter laid the seeds of 9-11

Victor Davis Hanson:

Imagine a different Nov. 4, 1979, in Tehran. Shortly after Iranian terrorists storm the American Embassy and take some 90 American hostages, President Carter announces that Islamic fundamentalism is not a legitimate response to the excess of the shah but a new and dangerous fascism that threatens all that liberal society holds dear. And then he issues an ultimatum to Tehran's leaders: Release the captives or face a devastating military response.

When that demand is not met, instead of freezing Iran's assets, stopping the importation of its oil, or seeking support at the U.N., Mr. Carter orders an immediate blockade of the country, followed by promises to bomb, first, all of its major military assets, and then its main government buildings and residences of its ruling mullocracy. The Ayatollah Khomeini might well have called have called his bluff; we may well have tragically lost the hostages (151 fewer American lives than the Ir…
Al Qaeda's spin machine in the news room

Michael Totten:

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Journalists don't put Al Qaeda's spin on the news because they sympathize with it. No one sits around the copy desk thinking of clever ways to shill for the enemy. It gets in there anyway, partly because of acute feelings of guilt over some Americans' bad behavior in Abu Ghraib but mostly out of sheer laziness. Al Qaeda provides ready-made "news analysis," so why not just stick it in there? It takes more effort to get contrary quotes and, besides, debunking propaganda is "editorializing."

Journalists should ask themselves what is the news value in characterizing a brutal act of terrorism in Al Qaeda's terms in the first place, whether or not it's in quotation marks. Every detail that goes into a news piece is weighed for its relevance and necessity. No rule of journalism requires the inclusion of Al Qaeda propaganda.

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The idea that Al Qaeda murdered Nick Berg in retaliation for an…