Sean's Blog

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Opinion And Current Events

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Dick Morris, Bill Clinton's former advisor, said that Bush won last nights debate easily on both domestic issues and the war in Iraq. But Morris says that it was especially his handling of the war issue that won him this debate:
Bush won even in the domestic-policy part of the debate — a victory that was as unlikely as John Kerry's win in last week's confrontation on foreign issues. By explaining his tax-cut policies and hanging John Edwards' trial-lawyer record around Kerry's neck, he rebutted the Democratic attacks and made his own record visible and showcased it compellingly.

But it was in the opening 38 minutes that focused on Iraq and the War on Terror that Bush won the key points. By coming out aggressively and attacking the bribery in the Oil-for-Food program, he showed the strength and vigor that Americans know is necessary to deal with the terrorist threat.

Bush won this debate by acing the issue of Iraq. He explained the rationale for the war and tied it to protecting homeland security. He defended his deficit by saying he was not willing either to raise taxes or to endanger our troops by underfunding the War on Terror.
The polls that come out in the next few days will show who the American people think won. But then again, maybe I'm trusting the MSM (mainstream media) to conduct fair polls. From all indications the media has been working to get Kerry elected and they may skew their samples as they've done in the past to create a Kerry debate victory.

I didn't watch the debate last night. Again, I was too busy sleeping. But from what I'm reading from National Review's The Corner, Powerline, and Andrew Sullivan it was mostly a draw with a scattering of reader responses who are convinced wholeheartedy that either Kerry or Bush won big.

Frankly, I don't care. I will be voting for Bush on the national security issue alone. The Democrats have been trying to gut the defense and intelligence budgets for over 30 years and I don't trust them to defend us now. I could never align myself with the terror appeasing and anti-American base of the Democratic party. I know that is a small part of the Democratic party, but it is still a sizeable group. They do hold significant enough influence where they may able to jeopardize our national security.

Max Cleland immediately comes to mind. He voted to give unions control over personnel decisions within the new cabinet level Department of Homeland Security and the powerfully vocal anti-war wing of the Democratic party would always agree with that sort of vote. Not that Cleland is anti-American, but he and the anti-war left would naturally align to support a critical decision such as whether unions had the right to refuse employment alignment decisions within the Deptmartment of Homeland Security.

I think that's ridiculous while the various groups within the Democratic party think that is perfectly reasonable.

No, I would never trust the Democrats to defend us and that reason alone is more than enough reason for me to vote for Bush.

I've read more than a few stories about how Afghanistan is booming and this story is typical.

More on Australia's election.

Powerline is reporting that John Howard has already been declared the winner in Australia's vote for Prime Minister. Not only has Howard been reelected, it's being reported that he will actually increase his majority.

Wow! Pre-election polls indicated that the vote was going to be very close, but that doesn't appear to be the case at all. Followers of the campaign were told that polls showed as close a race in Australia as they are here in the U.S., but polling data seems to indicate that it wasn't very close at all.

Could the same thing happen here? The parallels are interesting.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

This is for a chatter at Soapbox. The House, voting 402-2, rejected Rep. Charles Rangel's bill to reinstate the draft.

A leftwinger in Soapbox who goes by the name "Eveningsky" recently insisted, INSISTED, that the U.S. was on the verge of reinstituting the draft.

I'm skeptical as to whether this will make her admit that she was wrong. No doubt the conspiracy du jour will insist that the REAL draft legislation will take place the DAY after Bush is elected.

Good grief.

Another thing the Iraqi Survey Group said in their report was that Saddam did not have WMD's and hadn't had them since 1991. Fine. But for anyone to point to this and say, "Aha. See, Bush lied, people died" is clearly only half the story.

The fact is that every major intelligence agency in the world believed the same thing. Bill Clinton believed he had WMD's. He'd used them against the Iranians and against his own people. Hell, even Saddam's generals weren't sure whether or not Iraq had WMD's.

Also it should be noted that Saddam had every intention of reconstituting his nuclear, chemical and biological programs just as soon as the sanctions were lifted with French diplomatic help:
However, the ISG uncovered millions of pages of documents and, after interviewing scores of captured Iraqis - including Mr Aziz - the report lays out what it says is were plans to end the United Nations sanctions then start to acquire weapons.
The bottom line is that the Democrats trusted Saddam and not President Bush. The ISG report makes it clear that Saddam didn't have WMD's, but he was only biding his time.

The Democrats also placed more trust in France than they did their own country.

Wonder why many people think Democrats hate this country?

I'm sorry, but this report about the Iraqi-French oil bribery is just orgasmic. From The Scotsman:
But the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), which returned its full report last night, said Saddam was telling the truth when he denied on the eve of war that he had any weapons of mass destruction (WMD). He had not built any since 1992.

The ISG, who confirmed last autumn that they had found no WMD, last night presented detailed findings from interviews with Iraqi officials and documents laying out his plans to bribe foreign businessmen and politicians.

Although they found no evidence that Saddam had made any WMD since 1992, they found documents which showed the "guiding theme" of his regime was to be able to start making them again with as short a lead time as possible."

Saddam was convinced that the UN sanctions - which stopped him acquiring weapons - were on the brink of collapse and he bankrolled several foreign activists who were campaigning for their abolition. He personally approved every one.

To keep America at bay, he focusing on Russia, France and China - three of the five UN Security Council members with the power to veto war. Politicians, journalists and diplomats were all given lavish gifts and oil-for-food vouchers.

Tariq Aziz, the former Iraqi deputy prime minister, told the ISG that the "primary motive for French co-operation" was to secure lucrative oil deals when UN sanctions were lifted. Total, the French oil giant, had been promised exploration rights.

Iraqi intelligence officials then "targeted a number of French individuals that Iraq thought had a close relationship to French President Chirac," it said, including two of his "counsellors" and spokesman for his re-election campaign.
I love. There went the centerpiece to John Kerry's campaign strategy.

Saddam Paid Off French Leaders:
Former Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz told the Survey Group that he personally awarded several Frenchmen "substantial" oil allotments.

"According to Aziz, both parties understood that resale of the oil was to be reciprocated through efforts to lift U.N. sanctions or through opposition to American initiatives within the Security Council," the report said.

The report named former French Interior Minister Charles Pascua as getting a voucher for 11 million barrels of oil, and Patrick Maugein, who received a voucher for 13 million barrels of oil. The report said Mr. Maugein, the chief executive officer of the SOCO oil company, was a "conduit" to Mr. Chirac.
Never forget that these are the people that the Democrats want to cede our national security decisions to. Since France opposed the Iraq War then the feeling among the left has been that it was an illegal war. If we had bribed French officials and they agreed to support the war would that have been legal?

Why am I not surprised at this Washington Times report?

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Via Powerline

President Bush gave a speech in Pennsylvania today. I'd like to excerpt a couple of things:
In the past year, the United States of America has added about 1.7 million new jobs. (Applause.) More than Germany, Japan, Great Britain, Canada and France combined. (Applause.) Real tax -- real after-tax income -- that's the money in your pocket to spend on groceries or house payments and rent
-- is up more than 10 percent since I took office. (Applause.) Home ownership is at an all-time high in America. (Applause.) Farm income is up. Small businesses are flourishing. The entrepreneurial spirit is strong in the United States of America. (Applause.)
Later in the speech:
After September the 11th, America had to assess every potential threat in a new light. Our nation awakened to an even greater danger, the prospect that terrorists who killed thousands with hijacked airplanes would kill many more with weapons of mass murder. We had to take a hard look at everyplace where terrorists might get those weapons. And one regime stood
out: the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.

We knew the dictator had a history of using weapons of mass destruction, a long record of aggression and hatred for America. He was listed by Republican and Democrat administrations as a state sponsor of terrorists. There was a risk -- a real risk -- that Saddam Hussein would pass weapons, or materials, or information to terrorist networks. In the world after September the 11th, that was a risk we could not afford to take. (Applause.)

After 12 years of United Nations Security Council resolutions, we gave him a final chance to come clean and listen to the demands of the free world. When he chose defiance and war, our coalition enforced the just demands of the world. And the world is better off with Saddam Hussein sitting in a prison cell. (Applause.)

We've had many victories in the war on terror, and that war goes on. Our nation is safer, but not yet safe. To win this war, we must fight on every front. We'll stay on the offensive against terrorist networks, striking them before they come to America to hurt us. We'll confront governments that support terrorists and could arm them, because they're equally guilty of terrorist murder. (Applause.) And our long-term victory requires confronting the ideology of hate with freedom and hope.
(Applause.)

Our victory requires changing the conditions that produce radicalism and suicide bombers, and finding new democratic allies in a troubled part of the region. America is always more secure when freedom is on the march. And freedom is on the march -- in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere.
(Applause.) There will be good days and there will be bad days in the war on terror, but every day we will show our resolve and we will do our duty. This nation is determined: we will stay in the fight until the fight is won. (Applause.)

My opponent agrees with all this -- except when he doesn't.
(Laughter.) Last week in our debate, he once again came down firmly on every side of the Iraq war. (Laughter.) He stated that Saddam Hussein was a threat and that America had no business removing that threat. Senator Kerry said our soldiers and Marines are not fighting for a mistake -- but also called the liberation of Iraq a "colossal error." He said we need to do more to train Iraqis, but he also said we shouldn't be spending so much money over there. He said he wants to hold a summit meeting, so he can invite other countries to join what he calls "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time." (Laughter and applause.)

He said terrorists are pouring across the Iraqi border, but also said that fighting those terrorists is a diversion from the war on terror.
(Laughter.) You hear all that and you can understand why somebody would make a face. (Laughter and applause.)
Where was this man the other night? His aides say he spent the day with hurricance survivors, but I believe that was a mistake. He should have spent the day resting and preparing for the most important debate of the most important U.S. election in 64 years. I just hope this man shows up at the next debate.

Ouch. Dick Morris, Bill Clinton's former advisor, says that Cheney won the debate decisively:
On the attack, the North Carolina senator to this observer seemed, surprisingly, to be a shallow lightweight, almost transparent in his absence of heft and gravitas. Cheney looked like the authority, the wise one, the arbiter of facts and statistics.

If Edwards acted like a lawyer, Cheney acted like a judge. The Democrat proposed, but the vice president disposed. There was no doubt as to who was in charge.

The highlight of the debate came when Cheney said that he had presided over the Senate as vice president on almost every Tuesday and noted that the first time he met John Edwards was last night.
No. Sullivan's hatred for and opposition to President Bush's reelection has absolutely positively NOTHING to do with Bush's support for the FMA. Who would make such a silly accusation?

The 2004 vice-presidential debates were last night. I didn't watch it. I was more interested in sleep.

The people I read on a daily basis, for the most part, say that Cheney won the debate, but there are exceptions. Andrew Sullivan says John Edwards won big. He describes Cheney as road kill.

Now you'll have to forgive me if I'm skeptical of Sullivan's analysis. This man bashes President Bush everyday and his only criticism of Kerry seems to be how awful Teresa Heinz Kerry is. Sullivan has yet to go into Kerry's senate record nor has he made much of Kerry's ever changing positions on Iraq and Kerry's record vis a vis the war on terror.

The thing that seems to have aroused Sullivan's passions was when Bush came out in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment. Since then Sullivans has been off the leash. His attacks have grown more vicious and more shrill with each passing day. He want's to pretend that he's being fair, but the simple fact is that Bush hasn't done anything right and Kerry's only mistake was to have a bad convention. Otherwise Sullivan can find little or no reason to not support Kerry.

Sullivan could convince me that he was trying to be reasonable if he'd take some time to write at least one article for a major publication on John Kerry's record. Just one. To date everything Sullivan has written has been one bitterly hatefilled anti-Bush screed after another. And he didn't start doing that until Bush announced his support for the FMA. When Bush did that Sullivan broke the chain and has been foaming at the mouth ever since.

Monday, October 04, 2004

I wasn't going to post anything today, but I just read a piece by W. Thomas Smith, Jr. at National Review about "The Big Red One" and I had to share:
On Friday, free-Iraqi forces (totaling 2,000 men) and elements (totaling 3,000) of the U.S. 1st Infantry Division rolled into Samarra, the first of several insurgent strongholds slated for a clean sweep inside the Sunni Triangle. The targeted areas include the cities of Samarra, Ramadi, and Fallujah, as well as the Baghdad slum neighborhoods of Sadr City (largely Shiite) and Haifa Street (dubbed by locals as "Little Fallujah").

Though casualty estimates vary, approximately 125 enemy fighters have been killed in Samarra. Scores have been wounded and captured. Most of the city is now in Coalition hands. Iraqi police are directing traffic, and U.S. forces are mopping up the holdouts.

The offensive was launched as part of an overall effort to shutdown the insurgency in guerilla-controlled areas of the country before nationwide elections in January 2005. Though previously planned, timing of the offensive was retaliatory in the sense that it came on the heels of the terrorist bombings that killed 35 children as they gathered for candy from American troops, last week.
The American Democrats are the best hope the terrorists have.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Jonah Goldberg on Iran:
Tehran, the nation's capital, as well as several other cities have been wracked in recent days with widespread anti-government protests and violent crackdowns by government forces. Buildings have been set ablaze, and exiles are calling for revolution. According to reports on Activistchat.com, a Web site dedicated to freeing Iran from the oppressive rule of the mullahs, numerous protestors have been killed. Ledeen - who has many sources inside Iran and out - reports that the roundups and executions of young men have picked up at a terrific pace. Iran has staged 120 public hangings since March alone, according to the government's own news agency.

The unpopularity of the mullahs, primarily with the younger, Western-oriented generation, is causing panic inside the regime. The appeal of revolutionary theocracy has been bled dry. The Christian Science Monitor reported - some would say "reluctantly reported" - that discontent with the regime and a desire for "change" according to various "polls" equals 90 percent. And we all remember those famous soccer games where Iranian fans chanted "USA! USA!"
The dominoes that represent the current state of Mid East politics is all set to be knocked over. Iraq was the first and it appears that Iran will be next. How soon after that will the Syrian Baathist's fall? The Palestinians are marginalized as never before and it appears likely that democratic change will have to occur in the Palestine Liberation Organization. As the dominoes fall the end result for the world will be astounding. Peace and liberty will finally have a chance to take hold in one of the most troubled regions of the world. And none of it will be thanks to the left. That's why they have to fight to prevent it from happening. They would be marginalized and would lose significant face if they weren't the bringers of peace and prosperity.

IRAQ: Campaign Against Sunni Arab Outlaws Begins:
October 2, 2004: As promised, the government began its campaign to retake control of Sunni Arab towns and cities that had fallen under the control of al Qaeda, criminal gangs and Baath Party gunmen. For the last two days, some 4,000 American and Iraqi troops have surrounded and regained control of Samarra, a Sunni Arab city with 100,000 residents, a hundred kilometers north of Baghdad. So far, about a hundred Iraqis have been killed, some 75 percent of them gunmen who have resisted the Iraqi police and American troops. Iraqi troops quickly seized major mosques in the city, preventing them from being used as fortresses by anti-government forces. At least one kidnap victim was released by advancing troops, and others will probably be found as well. A third of troops involved are Iraqi, and this includes a new Samarra police force, drawn from other parts of Iraq and led by more experienced and reliable commanders.
I made the prediction this would happen, but I noticed that the Strategy Page post begins by saying, "As promised...." Did I read that somewhere? That the government promised to do exactly as I predicted? Perhaps I read it and subliminally made the prediction without remembering that this was in the works anyway. Oh well. Anyway, it's begun.

Via Instapundit.

Chicago Boyz features a very optimistic portrait of Afghanistan. I keep reading reports like this and I'm very encouraged, as a result, that this is Iraq's future too.

Afghanistan is in even worse shape than Iraq. They have few natural resources and a very poorly educated population. They have little arable land, little water and they've suffered one war after another for the past 25 years. The country was indeed in ruins.

The Chicago Boyz piece is an email from Radek Sikorski, "a Polish emigre, a former Afghan guerrilla, an award winning photographer, a foreign correspondent, a political analyst and a former deputy defense minister of Free Poland. He's currently a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute."

He recently visited Afghanistan and sent this email to one of the bloggers at Chicago Boyz. I won't excerpt the piece, but I do want to excerpt was portion that I think says a lot about how we perceive Afghanistan as well as Iraq:
Tens of thousands of people died in this country every month in the 1980s during the war with the Soviet Union and it wasn't news. Hundreds died every month in the 1990s from mines and the civil war and that wasn't really news either. Today, casualties are in the dozens most months, and suddenly it is news, taken by some as evidence of imminent collapse. For the first time in a quarter century, more Afghans are now dying in car accidents than in politically motivated violence--a miracle, even allowing for atrocious Afghan driving.
Reports of deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan are used by the left to help the enemies of freedom and liberty. If Iraq and Afghanistan succeed in establishing a peaceful, secure, and relatively democratic state then that is very bad news for the left. It would mean that the US was right to go into those countries and they have to fight that at all costs. They can't let the US be right because their political viability is at stake. They must be able to say, "See, the US was wrong."

They will say they want freedom and liberty for oppressed peoples, but if that comes via the wealth and power of the US government then they must oppose it at all costs because that would validate the US's capitalistic system.

The left wants socialism to reign as the world's dominant political system and so we are seeing Afghanistan and Iraq being used as proxies to fight that philosophical war.

Instapundit features a Times of London report on the UN scam of Oil For Food:
A LEAKED report has exposed the extent of alleged corruption in the United Nations’ oil-for-food scheme in Iraq, identifying up to 200 individuals and companies that made profits running into hundreds of millions of pounds from it. The report largely implicates France and Russia, whom Saddam Hussein targeted as he sought support on the UN Security Council before the Iraq war. Both countries were influential voices against UN-backed action.
The Democrats want us to defer to France, Russia and Germany, but this whole affair should make it clear that their allegiance can be bought and sold. They sold us out for a few billion dollars.

France, Germany, and Russia would never have voted for us to take out Saddam Hussein. The inspection regime would have went on indefinitely and each time we came close to enforcing UN sanctions Saddam would have simply have paid the French and Russians more money. It would have been a huge game and Saddam would have went on TV, smiling, and playing his games even while he continued to threaten the Middle East and the world with the terror money he was getting illegally from kickbacks from the French and Russians.

How long would you Democrats have allowed this to go on? Well, it sounds like to me that you would have continued these games forever.

Update: I completely missed this New York Times report that also slams France and Russia:
Congressional investigators say that France, Russia and China systematically sabotaged the former United Nations oil-for-food program in Iraq by preventing the United States and Britain from investigating whether Saddam Hussein was diverting billions of dollars.
It just keeps getting worse and worse for the United Nations and their Democratic true believers in the United States.

The French and Russians sold us out for a few billion dollars. They probably would have done it for a lot less too. Does anyone believe France would ever approve of us defending ourselves? Under any circumstances? I don't.