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Showing posts from June, 2004
Another al Qaeda leader killed in Saudia Arabia

CNN:

The man believed to be al Qaeda's top ideologue in Saudi Arabia was killed Wednesday in a shootout with Saudi police, Saudi security sources said.

The sources said the man was believed to have spearheaded the effort to build religious justifications for terrorist attacks in the kingdom

...

The incident began Wednesday afternoon when police, following a tip, surrounded a building about four miles (seven kilometers) from central Riyadh in the residential neighborhood of al Quds, the Saudi Press Agency said.
Al Qaeda's strategy book

AFP:

Al-Qaeda reportedly planned to target Spain as the weakest link of the coalition in Iraq to force its troop pullout, according to a document from the terror network.

"We consider that the Spanish government cannot suffer more than two to three strikes before pulling out (of Iraq) under pressure from its own people," said the document obtained Wednesday by AFP from Raido France Internationale's regional office in Beirut.

"If these (Spanish) forces remain after the strikes, the victory of the socialist party would be near-guaranteed and the pullout of Spanish forces from Iraq would be on its agenda," said the document, distributed ahead of the March 11 attacks in Madrid.

...

Made-up of 54 pages in Arabic, the document has been authenticated by western experts of the Islamic radical terror network of Saudi-born fugitive Osama bin Laden.

The document, entitled "the Iraq of Jihad (holy war): hopes and dangers," was prepared …
Funding Hizballah

AP via Jerusalem Post:

Lebanon's Hizbullah terrorist group is systematically siphoning profits from West Africa's multimillion-dollar diamond trade, in part by threatening the Lebanese merchants who long have handled much of the region's diamond business, US diplomats in West Africa charge.

The allegations, supported by independent analysts but denied by some traders, claim more pervasive, organized and coercive Hizbullah profiteering from West Africa's diamond trade than most US officials have previously acknowledged.

"One thing that's incontrovertible is the financing of Hizbullah. It's not even an open secret; there is no secret," Larry Andre, deputy chief of mission for the US Embassy in diamond-rich Sierra Leone, told The Associated Press.

"There's a lot of social pressure and extortionate pressure brought to bear: 'You had better support our cause, or we'll visit your people back home,"' Andre said, citi…
The Saddam al Qaeda connection

MSNBC:

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On Tuesday, NBC's Tom Brokaw spoke with new Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, who still believes that Saddam was connected to al-Qaida.

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Allawi: We know that this is an extension to what has happened in New York. And — the war have been taken out to Iraq by the same terrorists. Saddam was a potential friend and partner and natural ally of terrorism.

Brokaw: Prime minister, I’m surprised that you would make the connection between 9/11 and the war in Iraq. The 9/11 commission in America says there is no evidence of a collaborative relationship between Saddam Hussein and those terrorists of al-Qaida.

Allawi: No. I believe very strongly that Saddam had relations with al-Qaida. And these relations started in Sudan. We know Saddam had relationships with a lot of terrorists and international terrorism. Now, whether he is directly connected to the September — atrocities or not, I can’t — vouch for this. But definitely I know he has conne…
Media misreports on military, again

Blackfive:

The military is not calling back discharged and retired individual soldiers. They are dipping into the Individual Ready Reserve. There is a big difference between calling up IRR soldiers and recalling retired or discharged soldiers.

When you sign a contract to enlist or get a commission, it is generally for EIGHT years. You perform four years of Active Duy, then you have four left in the Reserves or National Guard. The branch of the Reserves and National Guard that does not have soldiers perform monthly or annual training is the Individual Ready Reserve. It's usually where the dead weight is put - where those who don't add value are placed to finish out their obligation. For instance, if you had a work conflict with your Reserve committment, you would be placed in the IRR to finish out your committment. If you were consistently absent from the monthly weekend training, you would get placed in the IRR.

Everyone in the IRR should know…
Destroying the Palestinian fantasy

Strategy Page:

Over 3,000 have died as a result of the Palestinian war (or "Intifada), including 1,065 Israelis. But the Israeli casualties are down 70 percent in the last year. The Palestinians are dealing with the fact that their attempt to force a better peace deal via a massive terror campaign has failed. The Israeli counter-terrorism tactics and security wall have stopped most of the suicide bombing attacks. The Palestinians have not been able to exploit the victim status in the international media to gain useful allies against Israel. The Palestinians have also been hurt by the war on terror, as their terrorist attacks on Israelis do not play well to a global population made nervous by the growing threat of Islamic terrorism. Within the Palestinian community, anger over corruption, poverty (caused largely by the after-effects of the terrorist attacks) and infighting between different terrorist factions, has led to disunity and inability to …
Campaign finance "reform" bites it proponents

Matt Welch:

SIERRA, a glossy magazine published by the Sierra Club, has a Web site called "The Bush Archives" at sierraclub.org/sierra/bush_archive.asp. There you can find links to 62 original articles criticizing George W. Bush’s impact on Mother Nature. Entries include "The Assault on Wild America: Mapping the Bush administration’s damage," from March 2004; "W Watch," a recurring feature since May 2003; and a pre-2000 election package rooting for candidate Dubya and his fellow Republicans to lose. "We could win this time," the editors insisted.

Turns out they could lose much more than they feared. The McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform bill -- which the Sierra Club lobbied for with great enthusiasm -- was finally signed into law in March 2002. That law was upheld by the Supreme Court in its December 2003 ruling McConnell v. FEC, and at press time the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) …
Despicable film by a despicable man

Mark Davis:

Let's get straight to it. Fahrenheit 9/11 is a despicable film, and Michael Moore is a despicable man.

I've spent considerable time decrying the often baseless attacks of today's political discourse, so I have a duty to back that up. Much of my work has already been done spectacularly by others. Writers and Web sites from coast to coast have obliterated such deceptive Moore assertions as:

• President Bush was invalidly elected.

• Key members of Osama bin Laden's family were allowed to escape FBI interrogation on a special flight before anyone else could fly (thanks to Moore hero Richard Clarke for exploding that whopper).

• Baghdad was a peaceful, idyllic garden that was blasted to smithereens by an American attack that wantonly targeted the innocent.

These are the intentional misstatements of fact that elevate Moore to the apex of American political bigotry. He may be fond of deflecting criticism with the "It's ju…
War on terror seriously impairs al Qaeda--9/11 Commission says

Newsmax:

The Sept. 11 Commission has found that the Bush administration's war on terror has severely impaired al Qaida's ability to organize another spectacular attack against the U.S. homeland by capturing or killing the deadly terror group's key leaders, drying up their financial resources and severely limiting their ability to "strategize, plan attacks, and dispatch operatives worldwide."

...

"Since the September 11 attacks and the defeat of the Taliban, as Qaeda's funding has decreased significantly. The arrests or deaths of several important financial facilitators have decreased the amount of money al Qaeda has raised and increased the costs and difficulty of raising and moving that money.

"Some entirely corrupt charities are now out of business, with many of their principals killed or captured, although some charities may still be providing support to al Qaeda.

"Moreover, it app…
Al Qaeda fouls its own nest

Strategy Page:

Iraqi terrorists released a video showing them killing a captive American soldier by shooting him in the head. The terrorists have learned that the beheading routine is counterproductive and even offends many of their own supporters. The terrorists are probably also debating their suicide bombing campaign, which has killed over a hundred Iraqis in the past week. Perhaps the al Qaeda leadership is also pondering their long string of failures over the last decade or so. The fact of the matter is that al Qaeda, and their predecessor, the Moslem Brotherhood in Egypt, have turned Arab populations against them whenever they practiced their terror tactics "at home." Moreover, when al Qaeda was in control of the government, as they were in Afghanistan, they quickly became hated by the average Afghan. Al Qaeda was most popular in Arab countries when it was not operating in any Arab countries, but instead concentrating on attacks on Western tar…
Operational surprise

John Podhoretz:

ONCE again, the Bush administration shows that it's at its best when it's at its boldest. The decision not to stand on rigid ceremony when it came to the inauguration of the sovereign Iraqi government was electrifying because it revealed that the hostage-snatching monsters aren't the only people in Iraq capable of operational surprise.

The conflict inside Iraq is now between a transitional regime committed to the building of democratic institutions and a bunch of monsters who like to cut people's heads off. The choice could hardly be more stark.

It is a bitter irony of the present moment that there will be precious little difference between Iraq's so-called "insurgents" and the anti-American Left when — as is inevitable — they both begin attacking the new government for being an American "puppet regime."

For the terrorists, the only authentic Iraqi government will be one where women are beaten for seeking an e…
Moore paranoia

Michael Moore should be given credit for capitalizing on his own illness. Not many paranoids can turn their delusions into a money making operation.

The Bush + Hitler wackos

No one, from Federal Appellate Judges to former Vice Presidents, who tries to compare President Bush or his supporters to Hitler should be taken serious on anything else they say about the administration. While exaggerating to make a point can be effective argument, the ad Hiterisms are not exaggerating conduct of the Bush administration, they are merely gratatious insults not related to the real world. If the speakers are serious in what they say, they display their total ignorance of the history of the real Nazis. What is really happening here is that liberals have decided to use Nazi as an insult to conservative on a broad rage of issues, forgetting that Nazis were never conservative. The very term Nazi is shorthand for the real name of the party National Socialist, hardly something a conserva…
The parable of the stairs

Lileks:

A minor political note, if you’re interested in such things. The other day a young girl came to the door to solicit my support for her presidential candidate. I asked her why I should vote for this man. She was very nice and earnest, but if you got her off the talking points she was utterly unprepared to argue anything, because she didn’t know what she was talking about. She had bullet points, and she believed that any reasonable person would see the importance of these issues and naturally fall in line. But she could not support any of her assertions. Her final selling point: Kerry would roll back the tax cuts.

Then came the Parable of the Stairs, of course. My tiresome, shopworn, oft-told tale, a piece of unsupportable meaningless anecdotal drivel about how I turned my tax cut into a nice staircase that replaced a crumbling eyesore, hired a few people and injected money far and wide - from the guys who demolished the old stairs, the guys who built the…
Unrealistic expectations

Belmont club:

...

It's hard to say which expectation is more unrealistic: the American hope that Europe will reverse decades of military atrophy or the European idea that America will share command with a Continent that can project only two battalion's worth of troops. Thomas Barnett of the Naval War College in his article The Pentagon's New Map believes that most future terrorist threats will spring from "areas of disconnectness" -- chaotic parts of the Third World, the very places where Europe's forces cannot or refuse to go. Meanwhile, the US has been moving its forces steadily south and east, into Central and SouthWest Asia as well as the Middle East. Perhaps more tellingly, US forces are being restructured from divisional-sized building blocks to independent commands can centered around brigades. The breakup of the old triangular divisions (each division traditionally consists of three brigades) into notional units containing four …
Moore nonsense

Andrew Sullivan:

FAHRENHEIT TEDIUM: Well, I broke down and went to see the Michael Moore movie. I was expecting to be outraged, offended, maddened, etc etc. No one told me I'd be bored. The devices were so tired, the analysis worthy of something by an intern in the Nation online, the sad attempts to blame everything on Bush so strained and over-wrought even the most credulous of conspiracists would have a hard time giving them the time of day. This won the top Cannes prize? Only hatred of America can explain that. The one thing that did interest me was part of Moore's technique. Much of the movie focused on various objects of hatred: Bush, Cheney, Bush pere, et al. The camera lingered for ever on their facial tics, it used off-camera moments where anyone looks awkward and dumb, it moved in with grainy precision in order to help the audience sustain and nurture its hatred. It was like the "1984" hate sessions. Cheap shots would be an inadequate descriptio…
Saudi amnesty getting some results

BBC:

One of Saudi Arabia's most wanted militants has handed himself in under an amnesty offered by the authorities, his family and security sources said.

Othman al-Amri appeared on a list of the kingdom's most wanted militants and has been on the run for two years.
Zarqawi captured?

Reuters:

The U.S. military said on Monday it was checking unconfirmed reports that al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been captured in Iraq.

...

The reports suggested that Zarqawi had been captured near the town of Hilla, south of Baghdad and in the Polish military area of responsibility.

"We are working on that issue," a U.S. military official said.

A Polish spokesman added: "I cannot confirm that information... When the operation is ongoing at the moment I cannot make any comment."

Interesting. Did the Poles find the pole cat?
Dems embrace Moore's intellectual bankruptcy

David Horowitz:

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What is momentous in the Moore phenomenon is that the Democratic Party – or at least its intellectual wing and its activist core – has embraced a piece of Marxist agitprop as its most potent election campaign spot. David Brooks provides readers unfamiliar with the Moore creed with some chillingly precise quotes. According to Moore: “The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not ‘insurgents’ or ‘terrorists’ or ‘The Enemy.’ They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow – and they will win.” In other words, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the beheader of Nicholas Berg, is not America’s enemy, he is an Islamic reincarnation of Ethan Allen or Paul Revere, a harbinger of some new global freedom which can only be achieved by the overthrow of the Great American Satan. This obscene formulation is of course just an excessively vulgar version of the same Marxist fantasy that radicals like Moore were pedd…
Liking Moore says a lot about you

Jonah Goldberg:

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Which brings me to Michael Moore. He has officially become one of those rare figures who simply by his existence illuminates a great deal about politics. I don't need to know very much about you or your ideas to know that if you think Michael Moore is just great, a truth-teller and a much-needed tonic for everything that is wrong in American life, you are not someone to take seriously about anything of political consequence, or you are French. But I repeat myself.

Now that is not to say that if you think Moore is useful or coming from the "right direction" or some such that you aren't a serious person. One liberal friend (a prominent journalist) who went to the premiere noted that while Moore is for the most part a fraud and a hack, he serves the "cause" by pulling the debate back toward the left; he keeps people on their toes; he raises useful issues, etc. After all, Moore was the one who reintroduced the…
Economy squeezes Dems

Donald Lambro:

We're finally seeing growing public realization the American economy is in full recovery — and that President Bush's tax cuts are the reason.

...

The Bush campaign is using the time left to tout the recovery in nonstop TV ads in a bid to push his numbers even higher, but don't just take their word for it. Even the president's severest critics, people who hate his tax cuts, are crowing about the economy's comeback and saying the across-the-board tax-rate reductions are the reason for the yearlong business expansion.
Listen to The Washington Post's ultraliberal economic writer Steven Pearlstein — no Bush fan, but who now credits the president's tax cut policies for the vigorous economic revival:
"On that score, Bush deserves high marks," he wrote recently. "He pushed through a series of tax cuts that, whatever their lousy long-term impacts, provided a significant turbo charge to the Federal Reserve…
Kerry speech blocked by union thugs

NY Times:

Caught in a labor dispute between his hometown mayor and the city's police and firefighters' unions, Senator John Kerry sided Sunday with the unions.

Mr. Kerry had planned to give a speech here on Monday morning to the United States Conference of Mayors.

But members of the city's largest police union, who have been working without a contract for two years, along with the firefighters, who are also in contract talks, have been picketing Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the host of the conference, wherever he goes, and were set to do so Monday at the hotel where Mr. Kerry was scheduled to speak.

So Kerry cannot stand up to the union bosses in his his home town?
Liberal frenzy over torture henders search for terrorist

NY Times:

Confusion about the legal limits of interrogation has begun to slow government efforts to obtain information from suspected terrorists, American intelligence officials said Sunday.

Doubts about whether interrogators can employ coercive methods, the officials said, could create problems at the start of a critical summer period when counterterrorism officials fear that Al Qaeda might attack the United States.

Interrogators are uncertain what rules are in effect and are worried that the legal safeguards that they had believed were in place to protect them from internal sanctions or criminal liability may no longer exist, the officials said.

Some intelligence officials involved in the C.I.A.'s interrogation program have told colleagues that they are bitter because their superiors, in the months after the September 2001 attacks, had assured them that aggressive interrogation techniques were necessary and legal.

Other inte…
Pardon my insensitivity

Jay Bryant:

You'll have to pardon my insensitivity, but I'm just not much concerned about the abuse of the detainees we're holding at Guantanamo Bay.

ABC's Peter Jennings doesn't see it that way, of course. He actually seems to believe the lamentations of the relatives of one Guantanamo detainee who claim he was in Afghanistan only to work with refugees. In fact, no humanitarian aid agency ever heard of him, and the one thing we know for sure is that when the remnants of the Taliban army high-tailed it out of the country he went with them.

So I'm just a little suspect of his do-gooder credentials. Nonetheless, Jennings gave the family tons of face time in his hatchet job "documentary" last night.

Remember, ABC is the network that won't even give its own monthly poll any coverage when it shows Bush ahead of Kerry, but puts it front and center whenever it shows the opposite.

...

To be fair, I have to tell you that at least som…
The empty cradle cannot vote

Larry Eastland, Opinion Journal:

More than 40 million legal abortions have been performed and documented in the 30 years since the U.S. Supreme Court declared abortion legal. The debate remains focused on the legality and morality of abortion. What's largely ignored is a factual analysis of the political consequences of 40 million abortions. Consider:

• There were 12,274,368 in the Voting Age Population of 205,815,000 missing from the 2000 presidential election, because of abortions from 1973-82.

• In this year's election, there will be 18,336,576 in the Voting Age Population missing because of abortions between 1972 and 1986.

• In the 2008 election, 24,408,960 in the Voting Age Population will be missing because of abortions between 1973-90.

These numbers will not change. They are based on individual choices made--aggregated nationally--as long as 30 years ago. Look inside these numbers at where the political impact is felt most. Do Democrats realiz…
Sweeet tea and yellow cake

Financial times:

Illicit sales of uranium from Niger were being negotiated with five states including Iraq at least three years before the US-led invasion, senior European intelligence officials have told the Financial Times.

Intelligence officers learned between 1999 and 2001 that uranium smugglers planned to sell illicitly mined Nigerien uranium ore, or refined ore called yellow cake, to Iran, Libya, China, North Korea and Iraq.

These claims support the assertion made in the British government dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programme in September 2002 that Iraq had sought to buy uranium from an African country, confirmed later as Niger. George W. Bush, US president, referred to the issue in his State of the Union address in January 2003.

The claim that the illicit export of uranium was under discussion was widely dismissed when letters referring to the sales - apparently sent by a Nigerien official to a senior official in Saddam Hussein…
PC hampers intelligence gathering again

UPI via Washington Times:

The CIA has suspended the use of extraordinary interrogation techniques pending a review by Justice Department and other administration lawyers.

The Washington Post reported Sunday the "enhanced interrogation techniques" -- including feigned drowning and refusal of pain medication for injuries -- have been used to elicit intelligence from al-Qaida leaders such as Abu Zubaida and Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

The Post said current and former CIA officers believe the suspension reflects the CIA's fears of being accused of unsanctioned and illegal activities, as it was during the 1970s.

The decision applies to CIA detention facilities, where the agency is interrogating al-Qaida leaders and their supporters, but does not include military prisons, such as at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The Dems attacks on intelligence gathering is the Church committee revisited. Democrats are doing great damage to our ability to get informati…
FDR and MM

Andrew Sullivan:

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "But there is an added technique for weakening a nation at its very roots ... The method is simple. It is first, a dissemination of discord. A group - not too large - a group that may be sectional or racial or political - is encouraged to exploit its prejudices through false slogans and emotional appeals. The aim of those who deliberately egg on these groups is to create confusion of counsel, public indecision, political paralysis and, eventually, a state of panic. Sound national policies come to be viewed with a new and unreasoning skepticism ... As a result of these techniques, armament programs may be dangerously delayed. Singleness of national purpose may be undermined. . . . The unity of the state can be so sapped that its strength is destroyed. All this is no idle dream. It has happened time after time, in nation after nation, during the last two years." - FDR, May 26, 1940. I wonder what Roosevelt would have made of Michael …
Mount Rushless

Mark Steyn:

Is there anything interesting in "My Life" by Bill Clinton? Oh, yes. Page 870.

The Clintons are in New Zealand and finally get to meet "Sir Edmund Hillary, who had explored the South Pole in the 1950s, was the first man to reach the top of Mount Everest and, most important, was the man Chelsea's mother had been named for."

Hmm. Edmund Hillary reached the top of Everest in 1953. Hillary Rodham was born in 1947, when Sir Edmund was an obscure New Zealand beekeeper and an unlikely inspiration for two young parents in the Chicago suburbs. I mentioned this in Britain's Sunday Telegraph eight years ago this very week, after this little story was trotted out the first time, but like so many curious anomalies in the Clinton record, it somehow cruises on indestructibly. By the time Sir Edmund shuffles off this mortal coil, the New York Times headline will read: "Man for Whom President Rodham Named Dies; Climbed Everest in 1947."

&q…
"avarice masquerading as pretty altruism"

George Will:

Some progressives, as liberals now prefer to be known, would rather rid the world of Wal-Mart than of Baathists. The National Trust for Historic Preservation, which is not preserving its reputation for seriousness, has listed Vermont—all of it—among America's most endangered historic places. Why? Because of a threatened "onslaught" of seven more—Vermont has four—Wal-Marts. The other 49 states have 3,044. Texas has the greatest number (317), Hawaii the fewest (six) aside from Vermont.

John Kerry is rarely among the 100 million people who shop at Wal-Mart in a given week; the Heinz-Kerry household is probably not among the 80 percent of American households that shop there at least once a year. But he is among the liberals denouncing Wal-Mart's "disgraceful" and "unconscionable" practices, which according to a huge class-action lawsuit—liberalism rampant—includes sex discrimination.

The N…
More reasons not to respect liberal media

Jack Kelly:

In the Washington Post's story Wednesday about the beheading of South Korean hostage Kim Sun Il, reporters Jackie Spinner and Anthony Faiola assert: "Kim's death appeared almost certain to broaden opposition in South Korea to the country's already unpopular involvement in Iraq."

Spinner and Faiola did not provide any evidence for why they thought the brutal murder was "almost certain to broaden opposition ..." There was a good reason for this. It wasn't true. The Asia Times reported on the same day that "the execution has galvanized the people, pushing many into the deployment camp. Preliminary surveys indicate a more than 20 percent jump in the number of respondents who now support the government's plans [to send 3,000 soldiers to Iraq]."

Spinner and Faiola were too busy spinning to report the facts.

On June 18, Russian President Vladimir Putin disclosed that the Russian intelligence…
Good reason not to respect liberal media

NY Post Editorial:

The White House last week re leased hundreds of documents showing that President Bush in sisted that all prisoners captured in Afghanistan be treated humanely, even if they weren't covered by the Geneva Conventions.

But that's not what much of the national news media chose to report.

Instead, they focused on an August 2002 memorandum from the Justice Department that raised a legal argument supporting aggressive interrogation tactics — despite the fact that the memo was never acted on.

Indeed, its conclusions were contradicted by the president's specific directive six months earlier.

In that document, Bush noted that he believed he had "the authority under the Constitution" to deny Geneva Conventions protection to detainees captured during the campaign that toppled Afghanistan's Taliban regime.

But, he added, "I decline to exercise that authority."

That, of course, dashes Democratic hopes of p…
Larger ideals

Joe Lieberman:

In the flurry of news bombarding us each day of the ups and downs from all fronts in the war on terrorism, it is easy to forget the larger ideals it is all about.

...

We cannot let that happen. A democracy such as ours can only go to war and win with the informed support of the people. The terrorists can never defeat us militarily. But they can divide us and defeat us politically if the American people become disappointed and disengaged because they don't appreciate and support the overriding principles that require military action.
The same, of course, is true for the people of Iraq, our allies in Europe, Asia and throughout the Muslim world. They need to better understand and embrace our purpose and what it means for them.
What we are fighting for in Iraq and around the world is freedom. What we are fighting against is an Islamic terrorist totalitarian movement that represents as dire a threat to individual liberty as the fascist and commun…
Understanding the enemy

Oliver North:

...

These enemies are utterly ruthless, and indescribably brutal. Though the leaders do all they can to avoid death or capture, their "foot soldiers" are not only willing to die for their cause — they want to die. And unlike our adversaries of the past, this enemy is not motivated by goals that inspired armies of old: land, treasure, strategic waterways, or natural resources. Today's enemy is instead goaded by a twisted belief it has a holy mission to advance its religion and drive Western influence — meaning Judeo-Christian values — from any Islamic territory.
The president and his team understand this enemy. Some Democrats, like Sens. Zell Miller of Georgia and Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, do as well. Unfortunately, others who manage to command much more media attention, apparently believe President Bush and his generals are the enemy. And their attacks on the president over these past few weeks have proved Sun Tzu's …
Afghanistan's largest employer?

According to Wired:

...

...Overstock is currently the largest provider of private employment in Afghanistan. According to Mariam Nawabi, commercial attaché for the Afghan Embassy in the United States, Overstock is currently believed to provide employment, directly or indirectly, for about 1,700 people living in Afghanistan.

Prior to Overstock's arrival, Byrne was told that the country's largest employer was a brick factory in the Western city of Herat, which had about 400 workers.

...

In Afghanistan, Kaniskha's network of suppliers consists largely of women who were prevented from working outside their homes under the Taliban regime. These days, many of these women make substantially more money than men.

Read it all.
A different view of Iraq

Amir Taheri:

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Iraq today is no bed of roses, I know. I have just come back from a tour of the country. But I don't recognise the place I have just visited as the war zone depicted by the Arab and western media.

It is true that Saddamite leftovers and their allies have stolen enough money and arms to continue their campaign of terror and disruption for some time yet. But they have no popular following and have failed to develop a coherent national strategy. The Iraqi civil defence corps has gone on the offensive, hunting down terrorists, often with some success. At the same time attacks on the Iraqi police force have dropped 50% in the past month.

There is also good news on the economic front. In the last quarter the dinar, Iraq's currency, has increased by almost 15% against the dollar and the two most traded local currencies, the Kuwaiti dinar and the Iranian rial.

Thanks to rising oil prices, Iraq is earning a record Pounds 41m to Pounds 44m a day. …
The coalition of the wild eyed

The Bush-Cheny team respond to Kerry's "Disgusting" email:

Dear Merv,

On Thursday, the campaign launched a web video titled Kerry's Coalition of the Wild-eyed. The video featured Democrats who support John Kerry making negative and baseless attacks against the President. Interspersed in the video were segments of two ads that appeared on a website sponsored by MoveOn.org - a group campaigning for Kerry - in January.

On Friday night, John Kerry's campaign denounced our use of these ads, and called that use "disgusting."

The Kerry campaign says, "The use of Adolf Hitler by any campaign, politician or party is simply wrong."

We agree. These ads, like much of the hate-filled, angry rhetoric of Kerry's coalition of the Wild-eyed, are disgusting.

Where was John Kerry's disgust when he hired Zack Exley - the man responsible for encouraging the production of these ads as part of a MoveOn contest - to run the Kerr…
Zarqawis strategic failure

Belmont Club:

...

Saddam Hussein, many people now forget was captured using operations research -- the logical analysis of information from all sources. The recent series precision strikes against terrorist safehouses in Fallujah are reminiscent of the Israeli helicopter strike tactic, except that Americans use way bigger bombs. And they are aimed, like the Israeli strikes, at leadership targets. But the Americans have one further weapon: they can wield the wedge of sectarian politics. The killers in the Sunni triangle, now on the payroll of Zarqawi, were saved from extermination in April 2004 by matching Shi'ite unrest in the south. But after the US pulled the wheels from Moqtada al-Sadr's wagon and outmaneuvered the UN's Lakhdar Brahimi's attempts at constituting an Interim Government preferred by Kofi Annan, the strategy of Sunni noncooperation with the Coalition authorities backfired big-time. The new Iraqi government was going to be domina…
Disgusting

Oxblog:

DISGUSTING IS RIGHT. A friend forwards this mass email from the Kerry Campaign. The email comes with the subject line, "Disgusting":

Dear [Name Withheld],

Yesterday, the Bush-Cheney campaign, losing any last sense of decency, placed a disgusting ad called "The Faces of John Kerry's Democratic Party" as the main feature on its website. Bizarrely, and without explanation, the ad places Adolf Hitler among those faces.

The Bush-Cheney campaign must pull this ad off of its website. The use of Adolf Hitler by any campaign, politician or party is simply wrong.

We sent you a fundraising plea earlier this morning. But when this came up, we decided it was important to show you just what we're up against: a presidential campaign that is willing to do or say absolutely anything to win. You're our only line of defense against these underhanded tactics. Please contribute today:

https://contribute.johnkerry.com

If he were a rea…
Zarqawi associate arrested in Minnesota

Fox News:

A Lebanese national with ties to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted terrorist in Iraq, was picked up in Minnesota and charged Friday in a New York court with lying to the FBI about his ties to terrorists, Fox News has learned.

According to a federal complaint obtained by Fox, Mohamad Kamal Elzahabi, attended jihad training camps in Afghanistan in 1988 and ‘89, where he first met Zarqawi — who is believed to be directing the current attacks against U.S. and coalition troops in Iraq.

Officials say that more serious charges, such as material support to terrorism, may follow.

The court papers allege that Elzahabi admitted to personally knowing two of Al Qaeda's most prominent leaders, Abu Zubaida and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, described as the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks.
The Hezballah-al Qaeda connection

Washington Post:

While it found no operational ties between al Qaeda and Iraq, the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has concluded that Osama bin Laden's terrorist network had long-running contacts with Iraq's neighbor and historic foe, Iran.

Al Qaeda, the commission determined, may even have played a "yet unknown role" in aiding Hezbollah militants in the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers complex in Saudi Arabia, an attack the United States has long blamed solely on Hezbollah and its Iranian sponsors.

The notion that bin Laden may have had a hand in the Khobar bombing would mark a rare operational alliance between Sunni and Shiite Muslim groups that have historically been at odds. That possibility, largely overlooked in the furor of new revelations released by the commission last week, comes amid worsening relations between the United States and Iran, which announced on Thursday that it would resume building equipm…
Iraqi clerics condemn bombers

Washington Post:

As the smoke cleared from a chain of deadly attacks in Iraq, the first signs of unease at the level of destruction and bloodshed emerged Friday among influential Iraqis who advocate resistance against the U.S. occupation but are unwilling to mate their struggle with the international jihad advocated by Osama bin Laden.

The objections -- from Shiite and Sunni Muslim leaders who oppose the U.S. role in Iraq, including the rebellious cleric Moqtada Sadr, and even from militia fighters in the embattled city of Fallujah -- centered on the car bombings and guerrilla assaults Thursday in six cities in central and northern Iraq that killed more than 100 Iraqis, many of them police officers.

They arose in part from revulsion at the fact that the victims were overwhelmingly fellow Iraqis, including some patients at a hospital in Mosul near a bombed-out police academy. But they also betrayed Iraqi nationalist concerns that the struggle against U.S. …
Taking on the Times

Andrew McCarthy:

A week ago, the New York Times reported, in a screaming page-one headline, that the 9/11 Commission had found "No Qaeda-Iraq Tie." Today, in a remarkable story that positively oozes with consciousness of guilt, the Times confesses not only that there is documentary evidence of at least one tie but that the Times has had the document in question for several weeks. That is, the Times was well aware of this information at the very time of last week's reporting, during which, on June 17, it declaimed from its editorial perch that the lack of a connection between Saddam Hussein's regime and Osama bin Laden's terror network meant President Bush owed the nation an apology.

Today, the Times concedes that the Defense Intelligence Agency is in possession of a document showing that, in the mid-1990s, the Iraqi Intelligence Service reached out to what the newspaper euphemistically calls "Mr. bin Laden's organization" (more on …
Leftest for bad guys

Victor Davis Hanson:

Right after 9/11, some of us thought it was impossible for leftist critics to undermine a war against fascists who were sexist, fundamentalist, homophobic, racist, ethnocentric, intolerant of diversity, mass murderers of Kurds and Arabs, and who had the blood of 3,000 Americans on their hands. We were dead wrong. In fact, they did just that. Abu Ghraib is on the front pages daily. Stories of thousands of American soldiers in combat against terrorist killers from the Hindu Kush to Fallujah do not merit the D section. Senator Kennedy's two years of insane outbursts should have earned him formal censure rather than a commemoration from the Democratic establishment.

Read it all.
Foreigners imposing Taliban like rules on Faluja

Washington Times:

Residents of Fallujah say foreign insurgents have banned drinking and music, imposed their own courts to enforce strict Islamic law and killed more than a dozen people suspected of collaborating with U.S. forces.
U.S. military officials, who turned the city over to an Iraqi-led "Fallujah Brigade" last month, say they have only anecdotal information about conditions in the city but remain concerned about the influence of fighters loyal to terror chief Abu Musab Zarqawi.
Regular travelers between Baghdad and Fallujah say various groups of mujahideen, or holy warriors, have turned the city 30 miles west of Baghdad into a haven for Islamist radicals.
Foreign fighters from Yemen, Syria and even Pakistan have set up checkpoints in many parts of the city, said Adnan Abdi, a Baghdad businessman who frequently visits Fallujah.

The new government must destroy the insurgents in Faluja. They cannot permit it t…
Document showing cooperative relationship between al Qaeda and Iraq has been possession of NY Times since April

Thom Shanker, NY Times:

Contacts between Iraqi intelligence agents and Osama bin Laden when he was in Sudan in the mid-1990's were part of a broad effort by Baghdad to work with organizations opposing the Saudi ruling family, according to a newly disclosed document obtained by the Americans in Iraq.

American officials described the document as an internal report by the Iraqi intelligence service detailing efforts to seek cooperation with several Saudi opposition groups, including Mr. bin Laden's organization, before Al Qaeda had become a full-fledged terrorist organization. He was based in Sudan from 1992 to 1996, when that country forced him to leave and he took refuge in Afghanistan.

The document states that Iraq agreed to rebroadcast anti-Saudi propaganda, and that a request from Mr. bin Laden to begin joint operations against foreign forces in Saudi Arabia went una…