Showing posts from January, 2004
Dems dumping on Dean R. EMMETT TYRRELL JR.: ... "Looking back on the assault on Mr. Dean before the Iowa caucuses, one is reminded of the old joke that politics really is a blood sport, and by caucus day the blood was everywhere and so were the Clintons' fingerprints. I cannot recall such a concerted assault on a front-runner in any other primary season. Dick Morris was, perhaps, the first to claim that Mr. McAuliffe's agents spread negative research against Mr. Dean. Now we have more evidence. Sources in the Kerry camp and the Edwards camp told my colleague 'The Prowler' at that much of the opposition research that smeared Mr. Dean in Iowa came from the Clark campaign. 'It wasn't just Clark, though,' a Kerry staffer reported, 'We know of at least two different stories that came from people currently on staff with the DNC, who fed the material to reporters." Says an Edwards staffer, 'These are folks who worked for C
Uncivil war at the BBC The Observer/Guardian: "Some of the BBC's biggest names are considering quitting in protest at the attitude of its acting chairman and the greatest-ever threat to their journalistic independence. "The corporation was on the brink of civil war last night as union leaders warned that Greg Dyke's resignation as director-general had split the staff from the governors." The best response would be that they should not let the door hit them on the way out. They demonstrate the attitude that has brought the BBC to its current state of ill repute. They got caught with their bias hanging out and they do not think an apology is owed. That is the arrogance of the Beeb. They seem to think that falsely accusing the government of going to war on a fraudulant premise is no big deal. The sickness of bias runs deep in this organization. It is much in need of a turnover of personnel. Their resignation would be a good start.
Nork intelligence agent discloses hoor of regime The Telegraph: ... "Kwon Hyok, however, had it easy. There was no arduous two-year trek for him through China, Mongolia and Laos, hiding, pretending and bribing the authorities. He was a North Korean intelligence agent stationed in Beijing and was turned by his South Korean counterparts. He was persuaded to defect. Today, the South Korean taxpayer looks after him and, in return, he advises the government in Seoul on how to deal with the new enemy, the North. "The other North Koreans I met living in Seoul were victims of their old regime. I listened to their dreadful experiences of starvation, cannibalism, torture and murder, and wondered how such brutality could exist. ... "Kwon Hyok explained: 'In North Korea political prisoners are those who say or do something against the dead President Kim Il Sung, or his son Kim Jong Il. But they also include a wide network of next of kin.' "Prison
Facts and perspective at the BBC Washington Post: "At the heart of the conflict that led to the British Broadcasting Corp.'s extraordinary public humiliation this week are 20 words ad-libbed on its flagship radio news program at 6:07 a.m. by a bleary-eyed reporter speaking from home after an all-nighter. "Citing an unnamed official, Andrew Gilligan alleged in the May 29 broadcast of the "Today" program that Prime Minister Tony Blair's office had 'sexed up' an intelligence dossier with a claim that Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes. He then added these unscripted remarks: " 'Actually the government probably knew that that 45-minute figure was wrong even before it decided to put it in.' ... "In his resignation statement Friday, Gilligan pointed out that several assertions in the May 29 broadcast have been vindicated: that the 45-minute claim was based on just one source, that it was
Superbowl terror threat BBC: "Three British Airways flights to the US have been halted amid fears al-Qaeda may be targeting them. "Flights BA 223 from London Heathrow to Washington on Sunday and Monday and flight BA 207 to Miami on Sunday were grounded on government advice. "Air France also said it was cancelling two Paris-to-Washington flights."
Palestinains panic over fence Steven den Beste: "As Israel continues to build its security fence along the border of the West Bank, there is rising nervousness approaching panic among the Palestinians and their Arab supporters elsewhere. They hate the idea of the fence, and there's a good reason why. "They do not have the ability to prevent Israel from completing it, which means that the only way to prevent it from being finished is either to offer Israel positive incentives to quit, or to get outsiders to pressure the Israelis to quit. And when it comes to "outsiders", the list of those whose opinions about the wall the Israelis would actually care about only has one entry: the United States. ... "The Palestinian problem has been a tumor in the middle-east for decades, one which corrupt and incompetent leaders of other Arab nations have used to distract their own people. Israel made a convenient enemy and scapegoat. The Arabs even tried se
Saddam's slick bribe well NY Post Editorial: "Longtime rumors that Saddam Hussein bribed key foreign dignitaries - including top French officials - have apparently been confirmed by documents found in Iraq. "The documents, first published last week by the al Mada newspaper in Baghdad, include a list of 270 individuals and organizations from 50 countries, all of whom apparently received vouchers for millions of barrels of oil."
Kerry bites hands that feed him Washington Post: "Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who has made a fight against corporate special interests a centerpiece of his front-running campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, has raised more money from paid lobbyists than any other senator over the past 15 years, federal records show. "Kerry, a 19-year veteran of the Senate who fought and won four expensive political campaigns, has received nearly $640,000 from lobbyists, many representing telecommunications and financial companies with business before his committee, according to Federal Election Commission data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. ... "Because Kerry has made his fight against 'Washington special interests' a new theme of his presidential campaign, campaign rivals and campaign finance watchdogs have accused him of hypocrisy." Since when has hypocracy slowed a Dem attack?
Paks sack nuke daddy Washington Post: "Pakistan sacked top nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan as scientific adviser to the prime minister on Saturday after a probe into the sale of nuclear technology to Iran and Libya, a government official said. ... "Khan's removal is a sensitive issue in Pakistan, where he is revered as the 'father' of the country's and the Islamic world's atomic bomb, seen by many Pakistanis as a vital deterrent to nuclear rival India."
Prewar intelligence consistent over several years Dana Priest, Washington Post: "Congressional and CIA investigations into the prewar intelligence on Iraq's weapons and links to terrorism have found no evidence that CIA analysts colored their judgment because of perceived or actual political pressure from White House officials, according to intelligence officials and congressional officials from both parties. "Richard J. Kerr, a former deputy CIA director who is leading the CIA's review of its prewar Iraq assessment, said an examination of the secret analytical work done by CIA analysts showed that it remained consistent over many years. " 'There was pressure and a lot of debate, and people should have a lot of debate, that's quite legitimate,' Kerr said. 'But the bottom line is, over a period of several years,' the analysts' assessments 'were very consistent. They didn't change their views.' "Kerr's
Paks get tough in tribal areas NY Times: "At the start of the month, Pakistan massed several thousand troops in and around the town of Wana, near the country's mountainous border with Afghanistan. Using a harsh century-old British method, officials handed local tribal elders a list and issued an ultimatum. "If 72 men wanted for sheltering Al Qaeda were not produced, they said, the Pakistani Army would punish the tribe as a group, demolishing houses, withdrawing funds and even detaining tribe members. "Several days later, several thousand tribal elders held a jirga, or council, and agreed to raise a force of their own to find the wanted men. In the last two weeks, the tribes have handed over 42 of them. Tribal members bulldozed and dynamited the homes of eight men who refused to surrender."
Castro tortures Cuba with five hour speech In a lengthy speech Castro managed to slip in that he wants to die with a gun in his hand when the US invades. While there is no indication of such an invasion outside his own paranoia, there are many in Cuba and the US who would welcome his demise. The death of a despot is always a good thing.
UN to name and shame BBC: "The United Nations Security Council has voted unanimously to name and shame countries that fail to report on their efforts to fight global terrorism. "It passed by 15-0 a resolution aimed at strengthening sanctions against al-Qaeda, Taleban and related groups. "Last year, a UN committee said stronger measures might be needed to compel UN member states to help fight terrorism. "It is hoped a threat of being publicly named will encourage governments to enforce sanctions against such groups." The UN can't kick ass, but it can still take names. "More than half of the UN's member states have not submitted reports on what they are doing to limit the activities of these groups through freezing assets, a travel ban, or arms embargoes."
Clinton's military cuts were a mistake The Weekly Standard: "VIRTUALLY SINCE this magazine started eight years ago, we have argued that the American military, and especially the U.S. Army, was too small. We agreed with most defense experts that American troops need new technologies to "transform" their operations and maintain their tactical prowess. But we also took the position that the overall force had to be expanded to handle the many new missions, both combat and post-combat, in which we would find ourselves engaged in the post-Cold War world. "We are happy to report that, after doggedly resisting this argument, the Bush administration, in the person of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, has (more or less) accepted its logic. As the Washington Post reported on January 29, Rumsfeld has approved a 30,000-man increase in the troop strength of the Army. While hardly sufficient, this is a necessary and crucial step toward rebuilding America's arme
Gilligan cashing in on infamy The Scotsman: "ANDREW Gilligan, the reporter whose story about the 'sexed up' Iraq dossier set off the chain of events leading to the death of Dr David Kelly and the ensuing Hutton Inquiry, last night resigned from the BBC. ... "Mr Gilligan is expected to start a lucrative new media career and has been linked to the Spectator, the Mail on Sunday and the Guardian. It is also understood that he is negotiating a deal to write a book. "His departure from the BBC, seen by many as inevitable following the damning report, comes at the end of the most tumultuous week in the corporation?s history."
Al Qaeda's operational difficulties in Iraq Strategy Page: "The US commander in Iraq admitted that a known al Qaeda member, Hassan Gul, was captured along the Iranian border. Gul is known to work for al Qaeda leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who was involved in planning the September 11, 2001 attacks. There has been no official comment on al Qaeda presence in Iraq, other than to admit that the suicide bombing tactics were typical of al Qaeda and that hundreds of foreigners had been captured in Iraq. Because of the careful, and slow, way al Qaeda has to communicate, it's necessary for the coalition to keep quiet about which al Qaeda people they have and, of course, what they know. It's believed that American intelligence forces are trying to get agents into the al Qaeda network. The many al Qaeda captives, and somewhat chaotic situation inside Iraq, provide many opportunities for intelligence agencies." In "Fighting Dirty, The Inside Story of Covert
Paks ad men to Afghan border Strategy Page: "Pakistan has more police and troops along the Afghan border not just to help find al Qaeda and Taliban leaders, but to stop the growing amount of opium and heroin coming into Pakistan. There has long been a drug problem in Pakistan, especially in the cities. Pakistan successfully shut down most of the drug production activity (in its north west) in the 1980s. The drug business moved across the border to Afghanistan. All Pakistanis (even some of the users and producers) agree that the drugs are bad. But there's a lot of money involved, and that keeps the drug gangs, and tribes that support them, in the business. Both the Pustun tribes in the northwest, and the Baluchi tribes in the southwest, are involved in the drug business. Some production has returned to Pakistan, but most of the Pakistani tribes are involved in smuggling and distributing the drugs. Apparently, al Qaeda and the Taliban members are also working in the drug
The Hutton Report The Belmont Club: "...leaving politics aside, the most curious thing about the BBC-Hutton affair was how little sense it made in the traditional calculus of war. There was Andrew Gilligan, charging the most powerful man in Britain with an empty Palm Pilot at the very point on which he was not prepared to yield. 'You, Mr. Prime Minister, made up the entire cassus belli for invading Iraq', he in effect said, without so much as an electron to stand on. "Yet this fecklessness was nothing beside that of Richard Sambrook, who, confronted with every indication that Downing Street intended to fight to the death on this issue, carelessly urged his troops further into enemy lines. Confronted with the most powerful force imaginable in Britain, the BBC's director of news did not even stoop to examine the strength of his defenses. Rather he assumed that the Corporation, as it is called, would prevail as a matter of course. To make the matter certa
Defeating Kerry Andrew Sullivan: "All the signs are that the Republicans plan to disinter the old 'l-word' campaign against Kerry. Liberal, liberal, liberal. To which the best response is: dated, dated, dated. The Finklestein strategy is very tired. Like an ad campaign that has lost its punch, it might backfire badly - making it look as if the Republicans are simply negative and still living in the past. A much smarter move, it seems to me, would be to paint Kerry as simply all over the map. Show not just how liberal he has been - but how conservative he has tried to seem in the past as well. Use his war votes - against the Gulf War in 1991 (but against it in letters to constituents) and for the Saddam War in 2003 (but against the $87 billion to make it work) - to cast doubt on whether he really is decisive enough to be president at a time of war. Make him look weak and vacillating rather than extreme and liberal. That makes the case for Bush's war-leadership i
Saddam needed destruction John Podhoretz: "WHAT if I told you that a ruthless dictator ? a monster who had once used chemical weapons on his own people, had twice attacked and invaded neighboring countries and had sought to assassinate a former president of the United States ? had gone delusional and quite possibly psychotic? "What if I told you that he would ramble on about a new novel he was writing while the world argued about whether his regime should be forcibly removed from the earth? "What if I told you that this same delusional dictator had successfully built long-range missiles and was giving scientists and military officials large amounts of money to make new weapons of mass destruction, presumably for deployment on these same long-range missiles? "What if I told you that while it may appear those same scientists may have made off with the money and not built the weapons, there's no question they had plans in place and could have pr
Kerry thinks terror threat is exaggerated Washington Times: "Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts said during last night's Democratic presidential debate that the threat of terrorism has been exaggerated." Really? All those bodies in New York and Washington exagerated? If he thinks the threat is exagerated then it is logical to assume that he would not fight it very hard.
Predsident opposes Senate bill that would unilaterally disarm in war on terror NY Times: "Attorney General John Ashcroft told reporters that the bill, sponsored by Senate Republicans and Democrats, 'unilaterally disarms America's defenses' against terrorists and that President Bush intended to veto the measure if Congress passed it. "The threat of a veto represents an unusual pre-emptive strike by the administration. The bill has not even come up for a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee. ... "The measure, introduced in October, would restrict the broadened powers that the government was given in the antiterrorism law, approved by Congress weeks after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The bill would limit the government's ability to use roving wiretaps against terrorist suspects, to execute search warrants against suspects without immediately notifying them and to obtain business records from libraries or bookstores in intellige
In a more reasonable environment Mona Charen: "With David Kay's testimony on the fruitless search for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, the time has come for an accounting. "In a more reasonable environment, politicians and opinion-makers would absorb the new facts and make the needed reforms. Reasonable people cannot avoid the conclusion that our intelligence agencies were badly mistaken. "But are the Democrats reasonable? Their preposterous interpretation of events has become mainstream. It goes as follows. No stockpiles of WMDs were found in Iraq therefore: a) George W. Bush knew that there were none to be found and b) took the nation to war on false pretenses. "Let's examine the logic. The Democrats claim that Bush wanted war in spite of the fact that there were no WMDs. Why? To put himself in political jeopardy when this fact was discovered? And if he knew that there were no WMDs, why did he speak about them so often and so for
The real Kay report Charles Krauthammer: "Before the great hunt for scapegoats begins, let's look at what David Kay has actually said about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. "First, and most trumpeted, he did not find 'large stockpiles of newly produced weapons of mass destruction.' He did find, as he reported last October, WMD-related activities, from a very active illegal missile program to research and development ('right up until the end') on weaponizing the deadly poison ricin (the stuff found by London police on terrorists last year). He discovered 'hundreds of cases' of U.N.-prohibited and illegally concealed activities. ... "It was a combination of Iraqi bluff, deceit, and corruption far more bizarre than heretofore suspected. Kay discovered that an increasingly erratic Saddam had taken over personal direction of WMD programs. But because there was no real oversight, the scientists would go to Saddam for money,
Kay testifys to intelligence failures Fox News: "The failure to turn up weapons of mass destruction in Iraq exposed weaknesses in America's intelligence-gathering apparatus, a former top U.S. weapons inspector told U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday. "But the inspector, David Kay, did not underestimate the threat posed by deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and said there was evidence that Iraq was participating in a weapons program that went against U.N. rules. ... "Despite suggestions from Democrats that the White House pressured analysts to construe intelligence to help President Bush' make the case to go to war against Saddam, Kay said he spoke to many analysts who prepared the intelligence and 'not in a single case was the explanation that I was pressured to this.' " The Dems, like their counterparts in the UK are making the mistake of challeging the integrity of the adninistration rather than focusing on the real problem of inacc
More on spring offensive in Afghanistan LA Times: "Determined to capture or kill Osama bin Laden after two years of fruitless searching, U.S. troops are mustering for a spring offensive along Afghanistan's border with Pakistan, Defense Department and other officials said Wednesday. The new operation comes as the Bush administration debates whether to press Pakistan harder to allow the U.S. to take the fight into its territory. "Defense officials said the offensive, first reported by the Chicago Tribune, would resemble military operations launched in spring 2003 and 2002 to capture or kill Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters leaving winter bivouacs. The terrorist leader and some of his top aides are believed to be operating out of Pakistan's Waziristan area or nearby in the mountainous border region between the two nations with the assistance or protection of tribal leaders in areas that are essentially off-limits to Pakistani law enforcement officials."
Dykes take dive for BBC BBC: "Director General Greg Dyke has quit as the BBC's crisis deepens in the wake of Lord Hutton's damning verdict. "Shortly afterwards BBC Acting Chairman Lord Ryder apologised 'unreservedly' for errors in the David Kelly affair. "Mr Dyke's decision to step down follows BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies' resignation on Wednesday, the day the Hutton report was published." Dykes resignation is approriate.He was a part of the anti US, anti Israel group tink that infected the BBC and made it a biased broadcaster while claiming impartiality. The BBC has lost perspective in a feigned neutrality which gives credance to the words of despots terrorist and chareltons while challenging the word of western leaders.
The Dems home of the brave Ann Coulter: ... "Kerry was indisputably brave in Vietnam, and it's kind of cute to see Democrats pretend to admire military service. Physical courage, like chastity, is something liberals usually deride, but are tickled when it accidentally manifests itself in one of their own. One has to stand in awe of Kerry's military service 33 years ago. Of course, that's where it ends, including with Kerry – inasmuch as, upon his return from war in 1970, he promptly began trashing his fellow Vietnam vets by calling them genocidal murderers. "But if Bush can't talk to Kerry about the horrors of war, then Kerry sure as hell can't talk to anyone about the plight of the middle class. Kerry's life experience consists of living off other men's money by marrying their wives and daughters. "For over 30 years, Kerry's primary occupation has been stalking lonely heiresses. Not to get back to his combat experience,
Kerry's "New Soldier" Rick Erickson: "On the cover of "The New Soldier" by John Kerry and Vietnam Veterans Against The War, hippies clad in a mismatch of military uniforms are pictured mocking the legendary image of Marines raising the American flag atop Mount Suribachi in the 1945 battle for Iwo Jima. Today, the Iwo Jima image is a memorial statue that sits above Arlington National Cemetery and honors all Marines killed in action since 1775. It is one of the most recognized and visited sites in our Capitol City. " 'The New Soldier' never made it on the reading list at our military academies. In the cover photo that ridicules the Marine Corps Memorial, one of Kerry's cronies is tugging on our flag, which is hung upside down as the ultimate symbol of sedition and treachery to all veterans who rallied behind our flag in battle.... "Of all the reasons why John F. Kerry will not become President of the United States, the bigg
Waffling windbag war hero Max Boot: "John Kerry has done well so far because he's not Howard Dean: He doesn't have steam coming out of his ears every time he opens his mouth, and he does have national security experience. But now that he's the frontrunner, he will be subjected to the same kind of withering scrutiny that caused Dr. Dean to turn into Mr. Hyde. "Kerry's military record is one of his strongest selling points for Democrats hungry for a credible candidate. Kerry, as he himself never tires of pointing out, is a decorated veteran. But so were Bob Dole and John McCain. Heroism in wartime doesn't necessarily earn you the Oval Office. ... "But a lot of Kerry's speech (to the Council on Foreign Relations) was pure partisan windbaggery. 'The Bush administration,' he claimed, 'has pursued the most arrogant, inept, reckless and ideological foreign policy in modern history.' Really? More inept than Jimmy Carter
The Dems weak bench Donald Lambro: "Something very troubling has been going on in the tumultuous Democratic presidential nomination process that will need fixing sometime in the future. "The biggest part of the problem has to do with the party's fundamental weakness in the kind of candidates the Democrats have available to run. Let's face it, this has from the beginning been a very weak bunch, which is why polls have shown so many Democrats — nearly half at various points in this political process — were undecided or indicated they could change their mind at any time, any many did in Iowa and New Hampshire. "With the exception of Howard Dean, all the other major candidates are members of Congress. No legislator has been elected president in more than 40 years. John F. Kennedy was the last lawmaker to make it to the White House, and then just barely over Vice President Richard Nixon."
Norks trying to sell missil tech to Nigeria Washington Times: "North Korea has offered to sell Nigeria advanced missile technology, the Nigerian government said yesterday, prompting the United States to warn its African ally that it might face sanctions if it strikes a deal with Pyongyang. "Nigerian officials yesterday issued vague and contradictory statements about their intentions and the missile type on offer, although they acknowledged seeking ballistic-missile technology for "peaceful" purposes. "A sale would mark the first time that such technology has been introduced into sub-Saharan Africa, raising the prospect of a costly new arms race among some of the world's poorest and least-stable nations. ... "Another State Department official said that a deal could result in sanctions against both seller and buyer. " 'The United States is committed to using all available measures, including interdictions and
Afghan offensive planned The Pentagon announced a new offensive for Afghanistan that will concentrate on the Border area with Pakistan. Apparently Pakistan is also working witht he US on the offensive. While it is unusual to announce such an offensive, it could be a method of getting bin Laden to move and reveal his location.
We always had to go to war John Keegan: "Opponents of the war waged by America and Britain to bring down Saddam Hussein will be disappointed by the Hutton report. They had hoped that Lord Hutton would endorse the allegation made in Andrew Gilligan's now notorious broadcast that the Government had tampered with the contents of an intelligence report in order to enhance the case for war. ... "Evidence of weapons of mass destruction would not, however, really help. The anti-war party is not so much concerned that Britain was involved in the war as that there was a war at all. Yet there was going to be a war, like it or not. The American government was determined to get rid of Saddam and was even more certain than the British that Saddam had WMD and was a danger to peace. "Unlike the British, moreover, America did not agonise about further legal endorsement of military action, the 'second resolution'' so widely demanded in and out of Parliam
Trouble in Saudi Arabia Strait's Times: "The tiny city of Sakaka in the remote al-Jouf province that borders Iraq may seem an unlikely setting for the beginning of a revolution against the ruling al-Saud family. "But one does not have to spend too long here to realise that this is what is happening. "Al-Jouf has witnessed an extraordinary level of political violence in recent months. "The deputy governor, say local residents, was assassinated. "Also shot down was the police chief, executed by a group of men who forced their way into his home. "Even before these bloody incidents, the region's top Syariah Court judge was shot down as he drove to work early one morning. "Seven men have so far been arrested over the shootings, according to Saudi officials. "They admit that the attacks are linked, and that the seven may have been aided by as many as 40 others. ... "But residents of the provincial capit
Kerry is the Dems Dole Fred Barnes: ... "Kerry is Dole without the wit. Like Dole, he's an establishment figure, an old political horse with little pizzazz. He's not identified with any particular issue or cause. His ideology is basically liberal but flexible, just as Dole's was conservative but pragmatic. Kerry is acceptable across the center-left breadth of the Democratic party, a mirror image of Dole's standing among moderate and conservative Republicans."
Blasted Broadcasting corporation BBC: "Lord Hutton has criticised the BBC as he cleared the government of embellishing its Iraq weapons dossier in his long-awaited report on the death of Dr David Kelly. "The claim in BBC reports that the government 'sexed up' its dossier on Iraq's weapons was "unfounded", he said. "The retired law lord highlighted 'defective' BBC editorial processes over defence correspondent Andrew Gilligan's broadcasts of the claims on the Today programme. ... "Prime Minister Tony Blair said the report showed 'the allegation that I or anybody else lied to the House or deliberately misled the country by falsifying intelligence of weapons of mass destruction it itself the real lie.' " The editorial process failed at the BBC, because journalist and editors were more interested in reinforcing their bias than finding the truth. There was also the bizarre notion that it was somehow
The warlords have a problem Strategy Page: "...Most of the country is still run by warlords, and many of them meet their payroll via drug (opium and heroin) profits. The warlords fear no one, except American military power. They have seen what the Special Forces and smart bombs can do and don't want to be on the receiving end of this. Unlike the Russians, there is no way for the Afghans to deal with the Special Forces and smart bombs. Even during the 1980s, the Russian equivalent of the Special Forces (the Spetsnaz) were unbeatable by the Afghan warriors. But the Russians didn't have the smart bombs. So the warlords are willing to play politics and make the best deals they can. The central Afghan government now has a new constitution and upcoming national elections. So, despite the warlord armies, the huge drug trade (drug crop acreage has doubled in the past year, Afghanistan is the world's largest source of heroin) and Taliban trying to make a comeback, most
Getting it wrong John Podhoretz: "THE story, so far, of the Democratic primary is: Don't believe the hype. "The results last night in New Hampshire represent a humiliating disaster for the mainstream media. The political reporters and editors who have been judging this race for a year have made utter fools of themselves. "Nobody foresaw John Kerry's huge victory in Iowa. It was suggested that Kerry was doing better in the weeks before the caucuses, but no reporter even imagined Kerry might pull 38 percent of the caucus-goers there. The press failed just as miserably in New Hampshire - but this time by overestimating and overrating John Edwards. ... "There was no such thing as the Edwards surge. He ended up somewhere around 12 percent, a spectacularly dismal showing considering that he had scored 32 percent in Iowa only eight days before. "And speaking of spectacularly dismal showings, how about Wesley Clark? The retired general
Kerry "defense" policy Peter Hussey: ... "During the height of the Cold War, Mr. Kerry opposed the entire strategic modernization effort proposed by President Reagan ? the Peacekeeper, B-1 and B-2 bombers, the Trident submarine and D-5 missile ? even though his Democratic colleagues Sam Nunn, Al Gore, Norman Dicks, Sonny Montgomery and Les Aspin, for example, sided with Mr. Reagan. He supported the nuclear freeze, which would have placed U.S. nuclear forces in permanent obsolescence just as the Soviet strategic nuclear forces were becoming most formidable. "Mr. Kerry opposed the deployment of the INF missiles in Europe that Mr. Reagan successfully achieved. The ground-launched cruise missiles and Pershings based in England, Germany, Holland and Italy turned out to be one of the turning points of the Cold War, and hastened the end of the Soviet empire. Mr. Kerry was not only wrong on this critical issue, but opposed the non-strategic modernization
Hizballah and Mexico Terence Jeffery: "Politicians serious about preventing another Sept. 11 should listen to the leader of Hizballah, and then read an indictment unsealed this month in Detroit. ... " 'Kourani was a member, fighter, recruiter and fundraiser for Hizballah,' said the indictment. 'Operating at first from Lebanon and later in the United States, Kourani was a dedicated member of Hizballah who received specialized training in radical Shiite fundamentalism, weaponry, spy craft, and counterintelligence in Lebanon and Iran.' " 'Kourani,' Chadwell added in his statement, 'is charged with conspiring with individuals at the highest levels of the terrorist organization, including one of his brothers who is the Hizballah chief of military security for southern Lebanon.' "Kourani got to America, the prosecutors allege, with the help of a Mexican official. " 'On approximately Feb. 4, 2001, Kourani surr
NATO not up to task in Afghanistan NY Times: "NATO's top commander in Europe voiced frustration on Tuesday that members were not providing enough troops for the reconstruction effort in Afghanistan, which he said was a 'defining moment' for the alliance as it adopted a broader agenda in the world. "In testimony intended to bring members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee up to date on Afghanistan, the commander, Gen. James L. Jones of the United States Marine Corps, said NATO's plans to expand beyond the the capital, Kabul, and the northern area of Kunduz would require more troops than the current 5,500. "He said he expected the number of United States troops in Afghanistan ? 11,000, most of them involved in counterterrorism ? to remain the same. " 'The political will has been stated,' he said. 'The alliance has agreed, the donor countries have been identified, and yet we find ourselves mired in the administrative
The happy populist David Brooks: ... "The speech is built around the theme that has dominated the Democratic campaign this year: that we are a nation divided. You may have looked at the last several election results and concluded that we are a nation split roughly in half. But according to Edwards and the other Democratic candidates, we are actually a nation divided between the top 2 percent, the rich, powerful insiders ? 'those who never have to worry about a thing,' as Edwards puts it ? and the 98 percent, us ordinary folks. "This particular version of the Two Americas theme is sociologically, politically, economically and demographically false, but it is rhetorically quite effective. It means that all these problems that seem intractable are actually solvable if we just take power away from that selfish sliver. Government will begin to work for the people again; all students will have access to first-rate education; regular folks will have a health ca
Clark vibrations Peggy Noonen: "Gen. Clark gives off the vibrations of a man who has no real beliefs save one: Wes Clark should be president. The rest--the actual meaning of his candidacy--he seems to be making up as he goes along. It seems a candidacy void of purpose beyond meeting the candidate's hunger. He is passionately for the war until he announces for the Democratic nomination facing an antiwar base, at which point he becomes passionately antiwar. He thanks God that George Bush and his aides are in the White House, then he says they're the worst leaders ever. Anyone can change his mind; but this is not a change, it's a swerve, and without a convincing rationale. Last week, Brit Hume asked Gen. Clark when it was that he'd 'first noticed' that he--Gen. Clark--was a Democrat. There was laughter, but that was a nice big juicy softball. Gen. Clark flailed and fumbled. Later he blamed Mr. Hume for being a Republican agent."
The Trial Lawyer’s Shtick Rich Lowry: "The wunderkind former trial lawyer with the gorgeously hair-sprayed bangs and soft, winning southern accent combines the synthetic sincerity of Bill Clinton and the condescension of Al Gore. He is the most insulting of all the Democratic presidential candidates, both as a matter of presentation and of substance. "He believes that voters are too thick to realize the affectation behind his lavishly open and caring stump style. 'Now, I'm just asking,' he tells his listeners here. 'Does it make any sense to you — I'm just asking now, I don't know what you think about this — does it make any sense to you for us to be spending Social Security money on tax cuts?' Of course, he wouldn't be asking if he didn't know exactly the answer that his stilted question — one of his favorite stump tactics — will elicit. "Howard Dean believes that voters are angry enough to revolt. John Kerry believes th
Kerry v. Kerry Mackubin Owens: "John Kerry, we know, is running against John Kerry: his own voting record. But there is another record that John Kerry is running against, and this has to do with his very emergence as a Democratic politician: Kerry, the proud Vietnam veteran vs. Kerry, the antiwar activist who accused his fellow Vietnam veterans of the most heinous atrocities imaginable. ... "Kerry began by referring to the Winter Soldiers Investigation in Detroit. Here, he claimed, 'over 150 honorably discharged and many very highly decorated veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia, not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command.' ... "This is quite a bill of particulars to lay at the feet of the U.S. military. He said in essence that his fellow veterans had committed unparalleled war crimes in Vietnam as a matter of course, indeed, that it was
The Ketchup Kid Mark Steyn: "The American media are all excited about a new poll showing that, come the election, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry would beat George W Bush by 49 per cent to 46 per cent. Back in September, they were all excited about a poll showing Gen Wesley Clark would beat Bush by – guess what? – 49 per cent to 46 per cent. Even the lively Vermont governor Howard Dean had a poll putting him within the margin of error against Bush. Yet here we are just a few months later: the Vermonster self-detonated on Iowa caucus night, and Gen Clark will be lucky to hold on to fourth place in today's New Hampshire primary. "I know a lot of folks on both sides of the Atlantic are salivating at the arrogant Texas cowboy's impending demise, but these polls are meaningless for several reasons, the most important of which is that they're measuring a 'known' – Bush – against an 'unknown' – some hitherto obscure figure suddenly proclaimed
The laws of war and the war on terror Lee A. Casey and David B. Rivkin Jr.: ... "The right to detain enemy combatants during wartime is one of the most fundamental aspects of the customary laws of war and represented one of the first great humanitarian advances in the history of armed conflict. Before the right to detain (and corresponding obligation to give quarter) developed, captured enemies were often killed out of hand ? unless they could buy back their lives through ransom. ... "(Alexander) Hamilton noted that '[w]ar, of itself, gives to the parties a mutual right to kill in battle, and to capture the persons and property of each other' and that the Constitution does not require specific congressional authorization for such actions, at least after hostilities have commenced. Indeed, he wrote, '[t]he framers would have blushed at a provision, so repugnant to good sense, so inconsistent with national safety and convenience.' "
Status report of the war on terror Strategy Page: ... "The American efforts in the war on terror has caused much anger in the Moslem world, and many young Moslems have said they would go to war against America. But where are they? And what have they done? They are out there making noise and talking to BBC reporters. But they do nothing of substance. Meanwhile, there is momentous change going through the Arab world. In the wake of the Iraq war, many Arab journalists and opinion leaders noted, openly, that, once more, the Arab media had lied to itself and it's audience. Throughout the three week campaign in Iraq, until the very end, the Arab media was broadcasting lies. Some Arab journalists noted this openly, and the fact that this fantasy mentality was a large part of the reason the Arab world was so far behind the West. Perhaps, the message went, we are the authors of our own misfortune. The new thinking coalesced into organizations like the Arab Thought Foundation
The UN must change David Frum and Richard Pearle: "The United Nations is the tooth fairy of American politics: Few adults believe in it, but it's generally regarded as a harmless story to amuse the children. Since 9/11, however, the UN has ceased to be harmless, and the Democratic presidential candidates' enthusiasm for it has ceased to be amusing. The United Nations has emerged at best as irrelevant to the terrorist threat that most concerns us, and at worst as an obstacle to our winning the war on terrorism. It must be reformed. And if it cannot be reformed, the United States should give serious consideration to withdrawal. "The UN has become an obstacle to our national security because it purports to set legal limits on the United States' ability to defend itself. If these limits ever made sense at all, they do not make sense now. ... "In other words, under UN rules, the U.S. is obliged to let terrorists strike first before retaliating--a
The most harmful endorsement Talon News: "Democrat presidential candidate Wesley Clark continues to defend liberal movie producer Michael Moore and the comments Moore made about President George W. Bush. ... "Interestingly, Clark has seen his support evaporate dramatically in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary race since he defended Moore's comments last Thursday. A Gallup poll released on Saturday showed Clark dropped nine points in only three days following the debate."
Kerry Watch: Andrew Sullivan: "I was mainlining C-SPAN yesterday. The John Kerry event was fascinating it was so awful. I must say I find his Shrum-populism sad and dumb at the same time - the pathetic demonization of drug companies, and the vapid citation of Enron and Worldcom in whatever context he feels like dumping on Bush, to name a couple of examples. The fact that he isn't satisfied with the vast new Medicare entitlement is scary; that he wants essentially to undo solid testing standards in the No Child Left Behind Act is scarier; and that his first act as commander-in-chief would essentially be to return to the U.N. and tell them that America's war on terror is now in their hands is terrifying. He even wants to lower the retirement age for Petessake. All of this is a major reality check for those with disappointments with this president (ahem). Kerry couldn't even say a bad word about Malcolm X (and lapsed wonderfully into French during the post-stump c
Enemies of US to gather in Tehran Amir Taheri: "THE other day at the World Economic Forum's inaugural session at Davos, Switzerland, Iran's President Muhammad Khatami repeatedly nodded his head in approval as forum founder Klaus Schwab called for the eradication of international terrorism. In his own speech, Khatami called for a 'dialogue of civilizations' as an alternative to war and terror. "Meanwhile, militants from some 40 countries spread across the globe were trekking to Tehran for a 10-day 'revolutionary jamboree' in which 'a new strategy to confront the American Great Satan' will be hammered out. "The event starts Feb. 1, to mark the 25th anniversary of the return to Iran from exile of the late Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini, the founder of the 'Islamic Revolution.' It is not clear how many militants will attend, but Iran's official media promise a massive turnout to underline the Islamic Republic's pos
Running against liberal David Broder and Mike Allen: "Ask any of President Bush's Washington strategists to size up the Democratic candidates campaigning for Tuesday's New Hampshire primary and they will say they are delighted at the prospect of running against a liberal tax-raiser who is soft on terrorism. They don't know what his name is, but those Republicans say that they can put him in that box, whoever he turns out to be. One Republican consultant said the basic message of ads on behalf of Bush will be that the Democrat is 'liberal, liberal, liberal.' ... "The campaign strategists there said after creating that general picture of an ideological liberal, they will add specific attacks, such as tying Edwards -- a former trial lawyer who has won multimillion-dollar verdicts -- to the high cost of malpractice insurance, which has caused some obstetricians to stop practicing. RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie first signaled this strategy last fall w
New Dean, old Kerry Mark Steyn: ... "Not even Al Gore, in his bewildering array of alternative identities, managed to be both crazy and comatose in the same week. The former governor seems to have come up with his own variation on the fiscally conservative/socially liberal shtick: vote for Dean — fiscally balanced, emotionally unbalanced. ... "That brings us to the 'Comeback Kerry,' as he styled himself last Monday, though even his missus, Theresa Heinz, could only force a grin at that line. In Iowa, the Ketchup Kid left Mr. Dean lying in a big pool of red sticky stuff, and establishment Dems breathed a sigh of relief. But it's hard to see why. Consciously or otherwise, Democrats seemed to be trying to neutralize the war as an issue — the overwhelming majority is still opposed to it. But in Iowa they just wanted it to go away, so they could get back to talking about their issues — health, education, mandatory bicycling helmets, etc. "
Clark campaign in trouble USA Today: ... "The most recent USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll of likely voters puts the former NATO commander a distant third, with 13% of the vote, in New Hampshire. That's down from 21% a week ago. "Clark's struggle is due in part to his own missteps on issues as basic as abortion and the Iraq war. He also has fumbled routine tasks such as making sure introductions of him aren't embarrassing."
Happy Iraqi pilgrims Yahoo: "Joyful Iraqi pilgrims arriving in Saudi Arabia on Sunday said they would thank God for ending the rule of Saddam Hussein in prayers during haj pilgrimage but other Arabs were thinking of the U.S. occupation. ... " 'I and many people are thankful toward the United States because they were able to release us and we will definitely never forget. I don't think any Muslim can forget this,' he said, standing by Kurdish and Iraqi flags beside the Iraqi pilgrims." Unhappy Dean Yahoo: "Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean said Sunday that the standard of living for Iraqis is a 'whole lot worse' since Saddam Hussein's removal from power in last year's American-led invasion." Well, Howard, at least they are living. Other reports suggestthey are living much better than they did before. Howard gives no source for his pessimistic assessment.
Canadian al Qaeda operative killed in Pakistan BBC: "Pakistan says it has identified a man killed in an army operation late last year as a leading al-Qaeda suspect. "The authorities said the dead man was Abdur Rehman Khadar, who they said was a Canadian national of Egyptian origin. "He was one of eight alleged militants killed during an army operation in October near the Afghan border, in the tribal region of South Waziristan."
The Newsweak push poll The Washington Times: "Sen. John Kerry, riding the wave of popularity from his Iowa caucus win, would now beat President Bush in a head-to-head matchup, according to the latest poll. "Mr. Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat, has left his rivals far behind in both message and standing in the opinion polls as New Hampshire Democrats and independents prepare to vote Tuesday in the Democratic presidential primary. But Mr. Kerry's popularity apparently extends beyond just Democrats. "A Newsweek poll taken Jan. 22-23 of 1,006 registered voters nationwide found Mr. Kerry winning 49 percent support in a head-to-head matchup with Mr. Bush, who garnered 46 percent support. That's a huge shift from just two weeks ago, when the same poll found Mr. Bush garnered 52 percent support to Mr. Kerry's 41 percent."
Friedman's war with ideas Thomas Friedman: "For the past few weeks I've tried to lay out the tactics we in the West can adopt to strengthen the moderates in the Arab-Muslim world to fight the war of ideas against the forces of intolerance within their civilization ? which is where the real war on terrorism will either be won or lost. But if there is one thing I've learned in examining this issue it's this: ideas don't just spread on their own. Ideas spread in a context. So often, since 9/11, people have remarked to me: 'Wow, Islam, that's a really angry religion.' I disagree. I do agree, though, that there are a lot of young Muslims who are angry, because they live in some of the most repressive societies, with the fewest opportunities for women and youth, and with some of the highest unemployment. Bad contexts create an environment where humiliation ? and the anger, bad ideas and violence that flow from it ? are rife. In short, it is imposs
Chicken Little Science in UK Independent: "Global warming will plunge Britain into new ice age 'within decades'" says the headline. "Britain is likely to be plunged into an ice age within our lifetime by global warming, new research suggests. "A study, which is being taken seriously by top government scientists, has uncovered a change 'of remarkable amplitude' in the circulation of the waters of the North Atlantic. "Similar events in pre-history are known to have caused sudden 'flips' of the climate, bringing ice ages to northern Europe within a few decades. The development - described as 'the largest and most dramatic oceanic change ever measured in the era of modern instruments,' by the US Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, which led the research - threatens to turn off the Gulf Stream, which keeps Europe's weather mild." The logic of this analysis in convuluted enough for Al Gore. Perhaps, they s
Kay says some WMD materials move to Syria before the war Con Coughlin, Telegraph: "David Kay, the former head of the coalition's hunt for Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, yesterday claimed that part of Saddam Hussein's secret weapons programme was hidden in Syria. "In an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, Dr Kay, who last week resigned as head of the Iraq Survey Group, said that he had uncovered evidence that unspecified materials had been moved to Syria shortly before last year's war to overthrow Saddam." "We are not talking about a large stockpile of weapons," he said. "But we know from some of the interrogations of former Iraqi officials that a lot of material went to Syria before the war, including some components of Saddam's WMD programme. Precisely what went to Syria, and what has happened to it, is a major issue that needs to be resolved."