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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Ralph Peters says some brilliant things in his latest column for the New York Post:
Make no mistake: If Iraq's constitution fails to guarantee fundamental human and legal rights to half its population, our mighty efforts will have been in vain. Without women's rights, from family law to education guarantees, Iraqi democracy will be worthless. The extremists will have won.

This is the bellwether issue in the Middle East and beyond. We don't think of ourselves as waging a global struggle for women's rights, but that's the crucial issue of our time. Because the treatment of women is the best possible indicator of the health and potential of a society, economy and state.

No matter how much oil wealth a country enjoys, if half its population isn't free the society will remain stunted and inhumane. States that oppress women never offer a meritocracy to males, either. The denial of basic rights to women goes hand in hand with an anti-democratic social organization based on blood ties, hypocritical Puritanism and crippling economic corruption.

No man is truly free in a society that denies freedom to women.

This is an infernally sensitive issue. No society and no individual male likes to be told how to treat women. Yet no society that oppresses women can compete in the 21st century. Writing off half of a state's human capital guarantees failure in a globalizing world. And failing, humiliated societies produce terrorists.

Iraq's perverted men in religious robes want to drag the chains out of history's dungeons and clamp them back on the women of Iraq. That's a potential development with which we cannot go along. If the draft constitution denies equal rights to women, we should bring our troops home and let the bigots butcher each other. Even if he's killed, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's vision of the world would have triumphed.

Let's see what Iraq's political mandarins produce in the coming days. Let's hope that they can overcome the country's blood-soaked differences. But let's not make excuses for a constitution that enshrines the revived slavery of women.

The civilization of Middle Eastern Islam is sick. Only women whose rights are protected can nurse it back to health.
I'm with Peters on this. If the draft constitution comes out and women's rights aren't enshrined in the document I will immediately begin to call for our withdrawal from Iraq. The failure to give equal rights to women will mean that the Iraqis do not understand how important that is and how it is essential to the viability of their economy. And a failed economy will create unrest, discontent, and eventually civil disorder. The dominoes will begin to fall.

It will not be apparent immediately, but we will be wasting our time and human treasure for a people that are going to regress. It would simply be a matter of time. Let's pray the Iraqi people understand how important this is.

I wonder if my English friend who blamed British involvement in Iraq for the London terror bombing of 7/7 has noticed the Bangladesh bombings.

I said it then and I'll say it again: Iraq was the excuse du jour on 7/7. This time the Islamofascists didn't have that as an excuse, but that didn't stop them from their killing. Muslim extremists want Islam to rule the world and for sharia law to be the law for everyone.

Muslim fanatics are intent on either converting us to Islam or killing us all. That is their stated goal and no amount of appeasing them or isolating yourself is going to make you immune to attacks. It may delay it, but eventually if no one stands up to them they'll get to you.

Remember Bangladesh.

Ann Coulter:
As Maureen Dowd said, it's "inhumane" for Bush not "to understand that the moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute."

I'm not sure what "moral authority" is supposed to mean in that sentence, but if it has anything to do with Cindy Sheehan dictating America's foreign policy, then no, it is not "absolute." It's not even conditional, provisional, fleeting, theoretical or ephemeral.

The logical, intellectual and ethical shortcomings of such a statement are staggering. If one dead son means no one can win an argument with you, how about two dead sons? What if the person arguing with you is a mother who also lost a son in Iraq and she's pro-war? Do we decide the winner with a coin toss? Or do we see if there's a woman out there who lost two children in Iraq and see what she thinks about the war?

Dowd's "absolute" moral authority column demonstrates, once again, what can happen when liberals start tossing around terms they don't understand like "absolute" and "moral." It seems that the inspiration for Dowd's column was also absolute. On the rocks.
Coulter is delightful as always.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Deborah Orin:
PRESIDENT Bill Clinton's team ignored dire warnings that its approach to terrorism was "very dangerous" and could have "deadly results," according to a blistering memo just obtained by The Post.
Then-Manhattan U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White wrote the memo as she pleaded in vain with Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick to tear down the wall between intelligence and prosecutors, a wall that went beyond legal requirements.

Looking back after 9/11, the memo makes for eerie reading — because White's team foresaw, years in advance, that the Clinton-era wall would make it tougher to stop mass murder.

"This is not an area where it is safe or prudent to build unnecessary walls or to compartmentalize our knowledge of any possible players, plans or activities," wrote White, herself a Clinton appointee.

"The single biggest mistake we can make in attempting to combat terrorism is to insulate the criminal side of the house from the intelligence side of the house, unless such insulation is absolutely necessary. Excessive conservatism . . . can have deadly results."

She added: "We must face the reality that the way we are proceeding now is inherently and in actuality very dangerous."

White must have felt like Cassandra, foreseeing dangers that proved all too real while no one at Clinton's Justice Department would listen. Team Clinton put up the "wall" in 1995 and it stayed up until after the 9/11 attacks.
Jamie Gorelick should have been a witness before the 9/11 Commission instead of being a member of the Commission.

Multiculturalism is losing credibility around the world:
Writers in other tolerant countries have been noticing the blowback from multiculturalism. The Dutch novelist Leon de Winter wrote that as traditional Calvinist discipline frayed and Muslim immigrants rejected Dutch tolerance, "the delicate mechanism of Holland's traditional tolerant society gradually lost its balance." In The Age, the Melbourne, Australia, newspaper, Pamela Bone wrote, "Perhaps it is time to say, you are welcome, but this is the way it is here." The Age 's Tony Parkinson quoted the French writer Jean Francois Revel's Cold War comment: "A civilization that feels guilty for everything it is and does will lack the energy and conviction to defend itself." Tolerating intolerance, goodhearted people are beginning to see, does not necessarily produce tolerance in turn.

The conservative Telegraph of London ran a series of articles on extolling Britishness and placed on its website the contributions, positive as well as a few negative, of dozens of citizens. The nonagenarian W.F. Deedes, a journalist since the 1930s, perhaps summed it up best: "The reputation we have in distant lands, I have learned in my travels, is higher than we give ourselves. They admire us for our social stability, our parliamentary and diplomatic experience, for fair play, for tolerance, for a willingness to help lame dogs over stiles, as well as for some of the qualities Shakespeare sang about in his plays." When I was in Britain for the election in May, I was surprised to hear nothing from Tony Blair (or other politicians) about Britain's positive contributions to the world. Now they are being heard.

Multiculturalism is based on the lie that all cultures are morally equal. In practice, that soon degenerates to: All cultures all morally equal, except ours, which is worse. But all cultures are not equal in respecting representative government, guaranteed liberties, and the rule of law. And those things arose not simultaneously and in all cultures but in certain specific times and places--mostly in Britain and America but also in other parts of Europe.
This is yet another reason I could never be a Democrat. That party includes a significant portion of people who simply believe that "all cultures all morally equal, except ours, which is worse." Cindy Sheehan is the latest example of the sort of people who believe that. Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky also spring to mind. These people hate the United States and see western civilization as pure evil that needs to be radically changed. People who agree with Sheehan, Moore, and Chomsky comprise a majority of the Democratic party today. Notice I didn't say that all Democrats feel that way, but a clear majority do and I don't understand how the rest of the Democrats can allow themselves to be aligned with such a despicable crowd.

I suspect that a big part of the reason is that, like Zell Miller, they were born in a time when Democrats loved this country, worshipped God, and rejected leftism. They can't change because, like my parents, they still perceive the Democratic party as being the party of Roosevelt, Truman, and JFK when the fact is that today's Democratic party ideology more closely resembles that of Fidel Castro and Vladmir Lenin.

This is not my parents Democratic party.

The anonymous source, Lt. Col Anthony Shaffer for Representative Curt Weldon's (R-PA) claim that the 9/11 Commission didn't report all they knew about pre-9/11 intelligence has stepped forward:
"I'm told confidently by the person who did move the material over that the 9/11 commission received two briefcase-size containers of documents," Shaffer said in the Fox News report. "I can tell you for a fact that would not be ... one-20th of the information that Able Danger consisted of during the time we spent."

Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., vice chairman of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security committees, has said the Sept. 11 commission did not adequately investigate the claim that four of the hijackers had been identified more than a year before the attacks.
The problem is that the 9/11 Commission didn't mention Able Danger nor the information that military intelligence team had gathered on Mohamed Atta in 2000.

The reason the Commission didn't report the information was because, it appears, that the information they received from Able Danger didn't fit with what they thought to be true. So they just ignored it and didn't include it in their report.

And perhaps another reason they didn't include the Able Danger angle to their official report is because democratic members of the commission may have wanted to protect President Clinton and the number two at the Justice Dept., one Jamie Gorelick, who had drafted an order forbidding the sharing of intelligence between agencies such as the CIA, military intelligence, and the FBI. It's quite complicated, but the bottom line is that before 9/11 the U.S. administration in Washington D.C. wanted to handle terror as a matter for law enforcement and the sharing of information could have caused trouble for the prosecutions. I don't especially blame Bill Clinton because we were all complacent. The level of terror we were facing was of the drip-drip variety. But 9/11 was much different and the investigation into our policies that lead up to that day is critical if we are to fully understand what happened and why.

We do need a Commission to investigate the 9/11 Commission and this time we need to have testimony from Jamie Gorelick. Not a witch hunt, just an accounting of the facts and the reasons we did the things we did.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

And now back to regularly scheduled programming....

I've posted on this very subject before. When Whoopie Goldberg was complaining that we rightwingers were trying to take away her right to free speech by disagreeing with her I argued that what she was really trying to say was that she, as a celebrity and our moral better, was endowed with rights that the rest of us don't have. Goldberg seems to believe, as do many on the left, that she should allowed to speak on any subject she wants, free of criticism. To them that is the meaning of the right to free speech. Oh except when someone says something THEY disagree with. That's when the "shouting down" takes place. The shout down is also free speech that we conservatives aren't endowed with. Can you imagine if a bunch of college republicans shouted down a leftwing speaker? The cries of "jack booted thugs" that would race through the MSM? Yes, college campuses are notorious places where leftwingers practice the art of shouting down opponents and it's perfectly acceptable to the MSM.

Well, another Goldberg, Jonah at National Review revisits the issue of criticism and the right of free speech:
Confusion on this point seems to be a form of paranoia which pops-up on both sides of the ideological spectrum, but it's particularly acute on the left. After 9/11 we heard from all over the place that free speech was under assault because the usual idiots were getting criticized for their usual idiocy. Again, I hate to be such a pain in the butt to Cynthia McKinney, but as I've noted before, it is the quickest route to her brain. When, after 9/11, McKinney behaved like, well, McKinney she was roundly criticized and rightly so. She immediately asserted that her "right to speak" had been questioned. No such thing occurred.

Don't Question the Left!
The great irony is that the people who resort to such "arguments" (they're really just insults) are the ones questioning free-speech rights, because they are suggesting the criticism was inappropriate and, in some vague and stupid way, unconstitutional. Right? That is the upshot of what they're saying. I mean, if you immediately assert that someone has the right to say something as a way to rebut criticism, aren't you implying that such criticism violated their rights — which is, by definition, unconstitutional.
So either they (leftists) are endowed with rights that we don't enjoy or we are breaking the law by denying them the right to speak without criticism.

I was just about to dive into this piece by Jonah Goldberg, but I didn't get past the opening. There's a quote by Dan Savage who was subbing for Andrew Sullivan. Savage says:
Oh, regarding Cindy Sheehan...

I’m all for what she's trying to do. Yes, she appears to be—say it ain't so!—slightly partisan. But since when does being slightly partisan disqualify someone from having an opinion? Rightwing bloggers would have us believe that, unless you’re a Republican (and an R who supports the war, no questions asked), you have no right to speak out about the war.
Savage must be on crack. Slightly partisan! Slightly! And to complain that the rightwing bloggers are trying to silence her because we are responding to her insane comments is simply unbelievable.

Anyone who agrees with Savage on either of those points is an unreasonable person to begin with. NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE is saying that only Republican's have a right to speak on the war. That's utterly ridiculous and Savage should put down the crack pipe and admit the stupidity of that statement. But Savage lost all credibility with me when he opened with the line that Sheehan was "slightly partisan." She ain't slightly anything. She's rabid and highly infectious.

What a ridiculous and unserious person this Dan Savage is and I am not surprised that Andrew Sullivan would give him any credibility. Yet another reason I don't read Sullivan anymore. He has very poor judgement.

Mark Steyn on the Oil-for-Food scandal:
You'd think that by now respect for the UN would be plummeting faster than Benon Sevan's auntie down that lift shaft. After all, these aren't peripheral figures or minor departments. They reach right into the heart of UN policy on two of the critical issues of the day - Iraq and North Korea - or four, if you're one of those Guardian types who's hot for Kyoto and peacekeeping. Most of the Ghanaian diplomatic corps and their progeny seem to have directorships at companies with UN contracts and/or Saddamite oil options. I had no idea being a Ghanaian ambassador's son opened so many doors, and nor did they till Kofi ascended to his present eminence.
The U.N., in it's present form, is a despicable organization.

Mary Katharine Ham: via Powerline.
Imagine a company—a dreaded corporation, for instance—that is taking criticism for some of its business practices on a daily basis from about half its shareholders and customers. Imagine that one employee brings the criticism to public attention. Let’s call him a “whistleblower.” Imagine that employee is then called names and threatened with the loss of his job.

Corporate executives then suggest they are immune to criticism simply by virtue of the fact that they are executives doing hard work. They also claim they are the only ones who can discern the real truth and are, therefore, unassailable. The company then tries to fix the problem by issuing a secret, internal memo without ever addressing the criticism publicly. I’d love for someone to show me a reporter who would buy that, because I’m also trying to get rid of some oceanfront property on Capitol Hill.
Ham's piece is in response to a deluge of anger from MSM types over criticism they received from one of their own. Mark Yost recently wrote a piece about the war coverage and the reporters went nuts. They showed they can dish out criticism, but damn they sure can't take it.

Read the whole thing.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Via Jack Kelly.

Newsweek has a very moving story on the meetings between the families of fallen soldiers and President Bush.

This just pisses me off:
As a deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration, Gorelick wrote the infamous order creating a "wall of separation" that precluded intelligence on terrorists from being shared with law-enforcement agencies — the very "wall" that kept Able Danger from passing along the information it had uncovered on Mohammed Atta.

As The Post's Deborah Orin reported Friday, then-U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White — who headed up key terrorism prosecutions, like the first WTC bombing — blasted Gorelick's order in blistering memos at the time.

But the memos, like the Able Danger information itself, were not included in the Kean Commission's final report.

When Gorelick's order first came to light, and critics demanded she quit the commission and instead appear as a witness under oath, Kean bristled.

"People ought to stay out of our business," Kean huffed.
"People ought to stay out of our business." Why you arrogant prick! You were supposed to be doing the nation's business, not protecting your turf. As someone suggested, we need a commission to investigate the commission.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Via Tim Blair.

The birth of a neocon:
I'm sure that any halfway competent political philosopher could rip the assumptions of modern middle-class left-wingery apart. Why is it right to support a free market in sexual relationships but oppose free-market economics, for instance? But his criticisms would have little impact. It's like a religion: the contradictions are obvious to outsiders but don't disturb the faithful. You believe when you're in its warm embrace. Alas, I'm out. Last week, after 44 years of regular church-going, the bell tolled, the book was closed and the candle was extinguished. I was excommunicated.

The officiating bishop was Peter Wilby, a former editor of the New Statesman and a friend of long-standing, who delivered his anathema in the Guardian. The immediate heresy was a piece I'd written about how difficult the courts made it to deport suspected Islamist terrorists. As I'd campaigned to protect asylum seekers in the past, Wilby used the article as damning evidence of 'a rightwards lurch'. The old bat didn't understand that genuine asylum seekers are the victims of the world's greatest criminals - four million fled Saddam Hussein - not criminals themselves.
This is a must read. Let me paste another bit:
It is presumptuous and oppressive to suggest that other cultures want the liberties we take for granted, their argument runs. So it may be, but believe that and the upshot is that democracy, feminism and human rights become good for whites but not for browns and brown-skinned people who contradict you are the tools of the neo-conservatives.

On the other hand when confronted with a movement of contemporary imperialism - Islamism wants an empire from the Philippines to Gibraltar - and which is tyrannical, homophobic, misogynist, racist and homicidal to boot, they feel it is valid because it is against Western culture.
That last bit is a perfect description of what passes for leftism in America and Europe today. This is not my parents Democratic party.

Mark Steyn on the 9/11 Commission:
Readers may recall that I never cared for the commission. There were too many showboating partisan hacks -- Richard ben Veniste, Bob Kerrey -- who seemed more interested in playing to the rhythms of election season. There was at least one person with an outrageous conflict of interest: Clinton Justice Department honcho Jamie Gorelick, who shouldn't have been on the commission but instead a key witness appearing in front of it. And there were far too many areas where the members appeared to be interested only in facts that supported a predetermined outcome.

Maybe we need a 9/11 Commission Commission to investigate the 9/11 Commission. A body intended to reassure Americans that the lessons of that terrible day had been learned instead engaged in what at best was transparent politicking and collusion in posterior-covering and at worst was something a whole lot darker and more disturbing.
In short, we learned this week that the 9/11 Commission lied to us about information they received and simply failed to do the job they were tasked with. We were also reminded that Jamie Gorelick, number two at Justice during the Clinton administration, should have been a witness before the commission instead of a member of the commission. Can you say "conflict of interest"?

All in all we learned this week that the 9/11 Commission did a miserable job and failed the American people. Why am I not surprised?

I feel bad for the Sheehan family, having lost Casey to the war in Iraq, but enough is enough. Cindy Sheehan is intoxicated by the media limelight and she's become an embarassment.

I was glad when her extended family wrote that email to reporters condemning her recent behavior.

The woman is a media whore. There I said it. Mrs. Sheehan is completely out of control and making a total ass of herself, but she can't stop because she is beginning to think that she's a famous activist whose opinions are respected. I predict her words and actions are going to become ever more bizarre as she realizes that the media is getting tired of her. For instance, Drudge is reporting that Sheehan is saying that if the U.S. will get out of Iraq and Israel will get out of Palestine then terrorism will stop. What a ridiculous thing to say. That's just further proof that the women is either completely unhinged or stupid beyond belief. I suspect both. Pathetically, Cindy Sheehan will have to say more and more outrageous things to maintain the same level of attention she's getting right now. She will have to destroy any credibility she has left to stay in the newspapers.

What most puzzles me is that Democrats think Sheehan's and their own similar behavior are winning strategies. They really think they are onto something. In fact the moonbats at Daily Kos and are demanding that any Democratic politician who wants their support must behave like Cindy Sheehan. Dean Barnett has a piece at The Weekly Standard that explains this new litmus test for Democrats. Leftists think this is how they are going to win elections.