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Thursday, June 30, 2005


Posted at 1:00 PM, Pacific


The news on the Special Forces crash in Afghanistan is confirmed as as bad as it could be.  I will feature a number of milbloggers on today's show, including FroggyRuminations Col. Bay, Smash, Blackfive as well as Mark Steyn, Lileks and, from Baghdad, Michael Yon.


I will also be urging the audience to contribute to the United Warrior Survivor Foundation which is "dedicated to the surviving spouses of Special Operations military personnel killed in the line of duty since 9/11. UWSF offers Survivor Transition Assistance to surviving spouses, along with educational counseling, financial guidance, investment planning, and other programs."  I know the groups' founders and they are superb people with extensive ties to the special operations community, and they do great things with the resources they raise. You can contribute here.


Perhaps some other civilian bloggers could post a link to the Foundation.  The url is easy to remember:


SoldiersAngels can also use as many sponsors as there are out there.


Radioblogger will post the transcripts later this evening.

UPDATE:  The fighting is far from over in that area as a major battle/rescue operation is underway at this hour.


Update:  From the e-mail:

"Hey Hugh.

The grim reality of war hit us in our small office here in Southern

The helicopter crash that took the lives of 17 of our finest took the
life of the boyfriend of one of our co-workers. She knew yesterday that
his team was on that helicopter but it was not until this morning that
we finally learned that he was with his team when the aircraft went

Needless to say, it's been very quiet around here as our thoughts and
prayers are with our friend and we continue our work. Obviously, at
times like this, work seems very unimportant.

I had the opportunity to meet our coworker's boyfriend and, taking a cue
from you, thanked him for his service.

I have found that those I have thanked for their service have always
been very humble and almost reluctant to receive the appreciation from
a fellow American. This man I met and thanked was no different than any
of the others I have met and, for me, will always be a testament of the
selflessness and humble professionalism of those who serve to protect
our country.

This July 4th will have a different meaning for me and although I don't
know how, I'm sure this event will have an effect on me for the rest of
my life.

I will never hesitate now to show nothing less than the most heartfelt
appreciation to the sacrifice of those who serve and their families
because now the true sacrifice of those who die in defense of this
country is now far more than the abstract idea it has always been for
me. Dying in defense of your county is now very tangible and very real.

Thanks as always for you continued fight against those who would seek
to tear our military down.

If you read this on the air, please leave my name off out of respect
for the privacy of the families.

Thank you"

See also QandO MichelleMalkin and A Soldier's Duty.


Update:  Pastor Donald Sensing posts about one of those killed in the crash.

See also the stories of Marine Cpl. Kevin J. Dempsey  and Warrant Officer Keith Mariotti.

UPDATE:  An e-mail from someone who gets it:


Hugh, because of your show I signed up for a soldier last year with Soldiers' Angels. I now have 22 that I email, write cards and letters, and send care packages I have been so humbled by their response in letters and emails to me. They are our Nation's finest and the truest form of America's Heroes.  As a 59 years-old mother of two sons, I have lovingly adopted them in my heart and am very protective of them. I earnestly pray for them each day and night and for their families who are as heroic as their loved ones. I cannot think of a more satisfying cause in my life at this time, than to support and honor "my boys" and their noble service to their country. I will not tolerate any less than our Nation giving it's all for our troops, you are either with our troops or your against them. They are our sons and daughters, who deserve our support and respect. Without brave and selfless young people willing to make such sacrifices over our history, we would be a pathetic country(kind of like our Congress). I urge all who truly love your country to contact the various support organizations like Soldiers' Angels, that gives so much time, effort and love to our troops. You'll get back a hundred fold. Jane C., Eaton, Colorado




Posted at 7:00 AM, Pacific


Reading FroggyRuminations gives a small glimpse into the grief among the special forces communityFrogFriends supports the survivors of special forces killed in the war. This 4rth of July weekend would be an excellent time to contribute to the fund.


Memo to Time sources: When the chips are down, Time will sell you out.


Fascinating Washington Post article on maintaining public support for a war when the war is long and costly.  The Bush White House is drawing on the academic studies of experts who have studied Vietnam, and who believe some unsual things about public opinion in waretime. The relentlessness of the attacks on Bush from the country's left is not mentioned in the article, or the rise of new media's alternative channels of communication.  Nixon used television to rally the Silent Majority, and American resolve on Vietnam was lost only when Nixon's political power was destroyed by Watergate.  Bush's ability to maintain support for the war seems tied to his continued rock solid support among his base, and that support is only strengthened by the relentlessness of the left's attacks coupled with the mindlessness and offensiveness of rhetoric such as Durbin's.

Then there's this paragraph:

"Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.), who has also been highly critical of Bush's handling of the war effort, rushed out a statement after Tuesday night's speech asserting his own confidence in victory. 'I have had differences with the administration over the planning and execution of our postwar policy in Iraq,' he said. 'However, we all are working toward finding a way to succeed in Iraq.'"


The legacy media loves Hagel's Bush-bashing, but Hagel seems to have figured out that the Republican Party thinks very little of it, and that his presidential hopes, already diminished along with John McCain's by grandstanding on judges, have been damaged even further by his willingness to get before the cameras via criticism of the war.


Thanks to RogerLSimon for pointing me to Omar's advice for the U.S. left.


"'As soon as I saw his picture in the paper, I knew that was the bastard,' said retired Army Col. Charles Scott, 73, a former hostage who lives in Jonesboro, Ga."  Great background on Iran's new president.


"Next topic. MSNBC is the River Styx of television talk shows. These kinds of news-based programs were supposed to serve as a farm team for the network leagues, testing the talent of lesser-known commentators and reporters in a looser, more forgiving format. Lately, however, all the synergy is going south, all the way to Hades. Washouts often get a second chance on MSNBC and its sister channel, CNBC, but it is mostly a last chance. Recent fallen stars on CNBC include Tina Brown, John McEnroe and Dennis Miller. Mr. Carlson had to step over the departed Deborah Norville to get his 9 p.m. slot."   Ouch.


Dick Durbin said you should have to join the Army to drive one of these.  GM might want to try a campaign built on the slogan: "Durbin's a jerk. Buy a Hummer for a hero."


Nick Owchar penned a fine obit of Shelby Foote in yesterday's Los Angeles Times. Towards the end, there is this anecdote:


"During a 1991 literary festival in Nashville, Foote encountered one enthusiastic fan as he, Garrett and novelist Fred Chappell stood in the lobby of their hotel.

" A woman rushed up to Shelby and planted a kiss on his cheek. Then she said, 'What was Gettysburg like?' " Garrett recalled. "By that time, Shelby had gotten tired of explaining that he hadn't been there. So he just looked at her and said, 'Madam, it was hell.' "




Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Posted at 4:30 PM, Pacific


Not a "retooling." Not a "redefinition."  A reaffirmation, and a compelling one.


On of the talking points from the left today, parroted by Ronald Brownstein at the Los Angeles Times and Peter Canellos of the Boston Globe and throughout talking head land, is that President Bush's speech last night was a "retooling" of his original arguments for the Iraq invasion, as Brownstein put it, or a "redefinition" of the war to use Canellos' phrase.  This is the MSM-assist to Democratic propaganda that has tried --and so far famously failed-- to persuade the public that the president has a credibility gap with anyone outside the fever swamp.  It fails because the public has a memory,a nd they remember why the president argued we had to invade Iraq.


I posted this early this morning, but do so again so readers don't miss it.  An excellent summary of the very comprehensive argument put forward by the president and his Administration for invading Iraq was penned by now Dean of the Columbia School of Journalism, and then Washington, D.C. correspondent for the New Yorker, Nicholas Lemann, in that magazine's February 17/24, 2003 issue, "After Iraq: The Plan to Remake the Middle East".   Here's what Lemann wrote:


"In his State of the Union address, President Bush offered at least four justifications, none of them overlapping: the cruelty of Saddam against his own people; his flouting of treaties and United Nations Security Council resolutions; the military threat that he poses to his neighbors; and his ties to terrorists in general and to Al Qaeda in particular. In addition, Bush hinted at the possibility that Saddam might attack the United States or enable someone else to do so. There are so many reasons for going to war floating around—at least some of which, taken alone, either are nothing new or do not seem to point to Iraq specifically as the obvious place to wage it—that those inclined to suspect the motives of the Administration have plenty of material with which to argue that it is being disingenuous. So, along with all the stated reasons, there is a brisk secondary traffic in 'real' reasons, which are similarly numerous and do not overlap: the country is going to war because of a desire to control Iraqi oil, or to help Israel, or to avenge Saddam's 1993 assassination attempt on President George H. W. Bush.

Yet another argument for war, which has emerged during the last few months, is that removing Saddam could help bring about a wholesale change for the better in the political, cultural, and economic climate of the Arab Middle East. To give one of many possible examples, Fouad Ajami, an expert on the Arab world who is highly respected inside the Bush Administration, proposes in the current issue of Foreign Affairs that the United States might lead 'a reformist project that seeks to modernize and transform the Arab landscape. Iraq would be the starting point, and beyond Iraq lies an Arab political and economic tradition and a culture whose agonies have been on cruel display.' The Administration's main public proponent of this view is Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, who often speaks about the possibility that war in Iraq could help bring democracy to the Arab Middle East. President Bush appeared to be making the same point in the State of the Union address when he remarked that 'all people have a right to choose their own government, and determine their own destiny—and the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom.'"


That Brownstein, Canellos, et al refuse to acknowledge the set of arguments that --combined-- led Bush to order the invasion is an admission either of their ignorance or their duplicity.


SoCalPundit has collected an enormous number of links on the Saddam-terror connections that Bill Clinton among others has been denying today.



Posted at 3:20 PM, Pacific

In the mailbag:

"I wanted to inform you of an exciting project that I will be working on with
one of my best friends from college, Army Reservist Sgt. Christopher
Missick. Sgt Missick is a milblogger from the 319th Signal Batallion who
has recently returned from Iraq. He kept a blog, known as "A line in the
sand," throughout his time in Iraq.

Sgt. Missick was struck by the extent to which ordinary Americans go above
and beyond to support the troops in Iraq, a frequent topic of your show. 
Missick has decided to write a book, highlighting the stories of those who
supported both him and other troops who are currently stationed around the
world. In particular, Missick will be discussing how technology has
facilitated an increase in communication between the soldiers and the
patriots who support them at home. Toward this end, we will be embarking on
a country wide road trip to interview many of the people who have done so
much to support our troops.

I know you are very busy, but I thought this was a project that might
interest you very much. More information can be found at the following

A line in the sand:

Web of support:

The road trip will begin on July 17 in Carson City with an event that will
collect donations for troops in Iraq. Any support you could give for the
project would be much appreciated.


Kyle Rodgers


Posted at 2:20 PM, Pacific


I will open today's show by reading Peggy Noonan's brilliant essay from this morning: "Conceit of Government."  Read the whole thing.  Teaser:

"And there are the Clintons. There are always the Clintons. The man for whom Barack Obama worked so hard in 1992 showed up with his wife this week to take center stage at Billy Graham's last crusade in New York. Billy Graham is a great man. He bears within him deep reservoirs of sweetness, and the reservoirs often overflow. It was embarrassing to see America's two most famous political grifters plop themselves in the first row dressed in telegenic silk and allow themselves to become the focus of sweet words they knew would come.

Why did they feel it right to inject a partisan political component into a spiritual event? Why take advantage of the good nature and generosity of an old hero? Why, after spending their entire adulthoods in public life, have they not developed or at least learned to imitate simple class?"

The Wide Awake Cafe's Laura Lee Donohoe awards a much-deserved "Golden Hammer" to Noonan for her article.  What a wonderful award. Heritage ought to get Laura Lee's permission to institutionalize the award --a center-right version of the Pulitzers.)


When you have finished with Noonan, drop by RightWingNews to read John Hawkins' excellent interview with Mark Steyn.


Gee, I wonder if a Steyn-Michelle Malkin hosted show on MSNBC would do better than Keith O (that's O as in zerO ratings)? 


And Lileks launches a new screed.  So much great stuff to read, and it is all free. Why are you buying a newspaper again?


Want even more?  Then try Andrew McCarthy's fine bit of evidence production over at NRO onthe Saddam-terror ties. McCarthy will be on the program in hour 2, as will Claudia Rosett, who has another zinger for Kofi.


And RedState has the latest in Supreme Court speculation.  The laugh line, though, is "If Luttig doesn't want it..."  That's like saying "If Hillary doesn't want the Dem nomination in 2008..."  RedState sees a small Garza boomlet forming, but I am thinking that if Justice O'Connor does indeed follow the Chief into retirement, a Luttig-Roberts tandem would be a huge, huge boost to the Court's sagging reputation for coherent legal argument.  Both men have deserved reputations for brilliance.


Posted at 7:00 AM, Pacific


This is the core problem:  A horrific disfigurement of religious belief into a killing frenzy. It was the motivation behind 9/11, Bali, Madrid, and Beslan, and it is the motivation behind the terror is Iraq today.  The only solution --the only solution-- is the creation of societies committed to religious pluralism. It takes a long, long time for such societies to develop, but a beginning has been made in Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan.  The president's speech was an argument about why perseverance is not only necessary but in fact indispensable to survival of the West.  The cut-and-run caucus led by Ted and MoveOn and Howard et al simply refuses to look the evil in its face and deal with it.  Their dodge is to claim that our troops' presence is the cause of the evil.  This laughable argument is at its heart a suicide note.  When Howard Dean declares that the president's speech is about "the darkness of divisiveness, attempting to garner support for his failed policies by pandering to fear," it signals the fundamental irresponsibility of the party he leads. Quite simply, the Democratic Party cannot be trusted with the national security because it absolutely refuses to recognize the peril of Islamist fanaticism.

The American public --at least a sizeable majority of the American public-- understands that threat, which is why the Dems have had their collective head handed to them in 2002 and 2004, and why the same result will occur in 2006.  The reason the media's reputation has in fact fallen off of the floor to even lower depths is because of the refusal to treat the war as a war rather than a political battle. "Growing numbers of people question the news media's patriotism and fairness," Pew's most recent report concluded.  "Perceptions of political bias also have risen over the past two years."   The public understands we are in a war and wonders why the elite media doesn't seem to get that crucial fact.

Read Tom Shales absurd "review" of the president's speech last night from this morning's Washington Post  --Shales implies that the Army audience was hostile to Bush by noting only a "sole supportive interruption" in the speech--  or Ronald Brownstein's ridiculous assertion that Bush used the speech to "retool[] his original argument for the Iraq war."   This is left-wing propaganda, and easily refuted with even a glance at the writings of center-left journalists prior to the war.  Here is an excerpt from the New Yorker's Nicholas Lemann's essay, "After Iraq: The Plan to Remake the Middle East" in the February 17/24 issue on the approach of the Iraq invasion:


"In his State of the Union address, President Bush offered at least four justifications, none of them overlapping: the cruelty of Saddam against his own people; his flouting of treaties and United Nations Security Council resolutions; the military threat that he poses to his neighbors; and his ties to terrorists in general and to Al Qaeda in particular. In addition, Bush hinted at the possibility that Saddam might attack the United States or enable someone else to do so. There are so many reasons for going to war floating around—at least some of which, taken alone, either are nothing new or do not seem to point to Iraq specifically as the obvious place to wage it—that those inclined to suspect the motives of the Administration have plenty of material with which to argue that it is being disingenuous. So, along with all the stated reasons, there is a brisk secondary traffic in 'real' reasons, which are similarly numerous and do not overlap: the country is going to war because of a desire to control Iraqi oil, or to help Israel, or to avenge Saddam's 1993 assassination attempt on President George H. W. Bush.

Yet another argument for war, which has emerged during the last few months, is that removing Saddam could help bring about a wholesale change for the better in the political, cultural, and economic climate of the Arab Middle East. To give one of many possible examples, Fouad Ajami, an expert on the Arab world who is highly respected inside the Bush Administration, proposes in the current issue of Foreign Affairs that the United States might lead 'a reformist project that seeks to modernize and transform the Arab landscape. Iraq would be the starting point, and beyond Iraq lies an Arab political and economic tradition and a culture whose agonies have been on cruel display.' The Administration's main public proponent of this view is Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, who often speaks about the possibility that war in Iraq could help bring democracy to the Arab Middle East. President Bush appeared to be making the same point in the State of the Union address when he remarked that 'all people have a right to choose their own government, and determine their own destiny—and the United States supports their aspirations to live in freedom.'"


The MoveOn/Dean/Clinton/Moore/Kennedy/Brownstein gang wants to revise history in order to make it easier to assault the GOP in 2006.  The reaction from the public will be the same as in 2002 and 2004, I think:  A fundamentally feckless party cannot be allowed near the controls of national security, and a fundamentally deceptive MSM will not be trusted to tell us that that party has the answers.


Read The Belmont Club's reflection on the drive that unites this Bush and Reagan.  The divide in the country between serious people and the folks who will get us killed by their ideological zeal mixed with incompetence grows deeper and deeper.  The good news is that there are a whole lot more folks on the responsible side of the divide than on the Soros/Clinton/Moore side, and they vote.  The president added to their number with a serious speech last night.  He and the vice president and the secretaries of state and defense should do that more often.





Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Posted at 5:30 PM, Pacific


Bush makes his case.


"Some wonder whether Iraq is a central front in the war on terror. Among the terrorists, there is no debate. Hear the words of Osama Bin Laden: "This Third World War is raging" in Iraq. "The whole world is watching this war." He says it will end in "victory and glory or misery and humiliation."



That is the key point in the speech, the key point in the debate, and the president's clarity in making it made it a very successful speech. Over and over again he and his Administration, his supporters and the military must make that point again and again: It is all one war.


The president's emphasis on the training of the new Iraqi Army underscores the strategy of standing down as that new army stands up. Expect the left to brand this the new millennium's version of "Vietnamization."


"We will stay in Iraq as long as we are needed, and not a day longer,"  Bush declared tonight. The Nixon policy of Vietnamization failed because of a too quick exit from Vietnam, and the refusal to back the ARVN when the North broke the peace treaty.

Other key

"The American people do not falter under threat, and we will not allow our future to be determined by car bombers and assassins."

"We will stay in the fight until the fight is won."

"We know that if evil is not confronted it gains in strength and audacity and returns to strike us again."

You can respond to the president's request to show support for the troops and their families via SoldiersAngels or via AmericaSupportsYou.


UPDATE:  Smash liveblogged the speech, and approves.  So did Powerline. More at The Corner. And Glenn's piling up the links as well.


Radioblogger has transcribed my interviews with Austin Bay And Blackfive from earlier today.


Posted at 4:45 PM, Pacific


From the folks who brought you defeat in Vietnam, a call for retreat in the GWOT.

MoveOn PAC has sent an e-mail in anticipation of the president's address. I read it on the air, and many listeners responded by using the website to send letters to their local papers supporting the president, the mission and the troops. Heh.


Dear MoveOn member,

Tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET, President Bush will speak to the nation about the war in Iraq in a televised address. Despite the car bombs and rising attacks, he's expected to offer no new policy—in fact, he's expected to say that we're making progress, that everything is going just fine.

Over the last week, we asked you to vote on whether we should work together in a major campaign to get Democrats and Republicans in Congress on board with a responsible exit plan. As of this morning, hundreds of thousands have voted and the results are clear: more than 83 percent said you were in. Together, we're ready to tell our leaders that it's time to come home.

One good first step is letters to the editor. Bush's speech tonight will be one of the major "tipping point" moments since the war began, and we can help make sure that no one buys his "stay the course" rhetoric. Politicians will be watching the letter-to-the-editor pages closely, and newspapers are likely to print letters on what will be the major story of the week. If we're able to push back hard enough, we can build a drumbeat for a real exit plan.

We've set up an online tool that makes submitting a letter easy. Tonight, you can watch President Bush's speech and then immediately go online and write a letter to the editor by clicking below. (We'll update our suggestion for the best thing to write about 30 minutes after his speech ends.)


You might have noticed that Republicans like Karl Rove, White House Communications Director Dan Bartlett and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld have tried to distract the country from Bush's disastrous Iraq policy by attacking MoveOn by name on TV. Rove was trying to put Democrats and MoveOn on the defensive, painting us as weak on security. But it didn't work—we held strong, and with your help we can make sure that the attack backfires. Lying about MoveOn can't solve Bush's problem—that he has no plan for Iraq.

And there is broad public support for a real plan. Two-thirds of the public say they would support elected leaders who stand up to President Bush and insist on a real plan to get out of Iraq. That makes sense: without an exit plan with a timeline, we'll be stuck in Iraq for years and years, exacerbating the problems there. As General John Abizaid, Commander of the U.S. Southern Command said last week testifying in front of the Senate, "too much of a footprint in the region creates more resistance." But, believe it or not, Bush and Rumsfeld reject the very suggestion of a timeline. Rumsfeld said on Sunday we could be in Iraq another 10 years. But their voices are the only ones being heard right now. That is why we all need to get a well-reasoned argument for an exit strategy with a timeline out there.

Please take just a couple of minutes to write your letter to the editor today.


Today's letters to the editor are just the beginning. We're also starting national television advertising and running an ad in The New York Times that carry this message: "It's time to come home. We went in the wrong way, let's come home the right way." With your help, we'll keep that going and expand the push into the cities where it will make the most difference. More on how to help do that tomorrow.

Public opinion has turned on President Bush's reckless war policy, but most leaders in Washington still aren't speaking out. That's why our work together is so important. Together, we can show the way toward a responsible exit plan and a more peaceful and secure world.

Thank you for all you do,

–Tom, Jennifer, Justin, Micayla and the MoveOn PAC Team
Tuesday, June 28th, 2005

P.S. Here are the points you can make in your letter or when you're talking to friends, family and colleagues.

It's time to start responsibly coming home from Iraq.

Iraq is no closer to stability than it was a year ago. Things keep getting worse every week. More than 1,700 Americans have been killed and more than 12,000 wounded.
The U.S. occupation is fueling a growing insurgency. Our presence is exacerbating the problem. There are tens of thousands of insurgents backed by hundreds of thousands of supporters.
We got into this war based on lies—the wrong way. It's time to get out the right way. The first step is to realize that the Bush policy is out of touch with reality.
We need a real exit plan with a real timeline providing real accountability for our leaders. We need to turn control of the training of Iraqi forces and the rebuilding of Iraq to the international community. And we must renounce permanent military bases in Iraq because that angers the Iraqi people.
Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.


Posted at 3:00 PM, Pacific


Among my guests today in the two hours preceding the president's speech:  Austin Bay, Blackfive and Frank Gaffney.  The bumper music for today's show comes from the CD "Angels Across America," produced to benefit three national charities supporting the troops, including SoldiersAngels, which can still use new volunteers to adopt a soldier/sailor/airman/Marine in Iraq or Afghanistan.

TruthLaidBear has a great aggregator for milblog postings.


Posted at 12:20 PM, Pacific


What is the Christian Right up to?


MarkDRoberts has begun a series of posts on the March 2005 statement of the National Association of Evangelicals, "For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility."  I had simply missed the publication of this document, and the list of endorsements it carried, and so Roberts' notice of the statement and his analysis are both very timely and very useful.  "If you want to understand the 'real agenda' of the Christian right in America,"  writes Roberts "I'd suggest that this document is a great place to start."

I'll add the suggestion that Roberts series is a great guide to the document and the terminology.  I will go and search EvangelicalOutpost, Albert Mohler and John Mark Reynolds to see if these Godbloggers have also posted on the statement.  If a critique of the statement has come from the left, please send me a pointer and I will list it here as well.


Posted at 7:30 AM, Pacific


One of John Kerry's big ideas for Iraq: Arm and deploy the Badr Brigade.  No, really.  He wrote that.


Another of Kerry's bold ideas: "He should also say that the United States will insist that the Iraqis establish a truly inclusive political process and meet the deadlines for finishing the Constitution and holding elections in December."


Why didn't Bush think of that!

Update:  Gregory Djerejian of the Belgravia Dispatch on Kerry's call for the Badr Brigade's deployment:


"What a horrible idea! Pushing the Badr Brigade and pesh merga out front smacks of desparation to provide security, whatever the consequences. Why? Because to integrate such militias into a "National Guard-type force" is likely to heighten the risks of inter-sectarian conflict. (Note also the inconsistency in Kerry's op-ed. He wants an all out "six month wartime footing" train and equip effort. But, apparently without really addressing the seeming contradiction, he more or less acknowledges that truly efficacious 'train and equip' will take more than two years."


Brendan Miniter makes a case that Vietnam Syndrome has broken out among the Democrats.  That makes two of us.


Powerline publishes the lame response of the Minneapolis Star Tribune's editorial page editor to last week's outrageous slander of the American military, wherein the paper's unsigned editorial --written by the always silly Jim Boyd-- called Gitmo a "hellhole."


Betsy's Page directs me to Dana Milbank's strange opening line today: "Spectators packed the Pentagon briefing room yesterday to see Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld fight the insurgents -- mano a mano." The insurgents Milbank refers to are reporters and pollsters.  Betsy: "Dana Milbank equates the media and pollsters with the insurgents in Iraq. Revealing, n'est-ce pas?"

From John McCaslin's Inside the Beltway:

First-class trio
Michael Helfrich is president of Blueforce Development Corp., which develops distributed command-and-control applications for the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security and first-responders.
And when he's not busy with that, he keeps a blog on the Internet.
"As I mentioned in the previous post, I am at the 4th Annual Government Symposium on Information Sharing and Homeland Security in New Orleans," read yesterday's posting. "Quite an apropos trip to be taking, given an opportunity to witness a rare moment on the outbound flight from Boston earlier this morning ...
"I noticed several GIs waiting to board the flight at Logan [International Airport]," he continues. "These folks were surrounded by family members in the departure lounge; hence, it was clear that these guys were headed into harm's way.
"Shortly after the doors were closed on the flight, I noticed a great deal of movement in the first-class cabin. Three men were standing up and collecting their belongings. They headed into coach class, where they offered the GIs their seats up front.
"It was a rare moment. These GIs were enlisted men, all clearly destined to be thrown into the thick of things. Yet, people who had probably paid handsomely for seats in 'first' were happily exchanging places. Save for the two characters sitting next to me, the entire coach cabin erupted in cheers."

GOPBloggers adds to the evidence.  (HT: Conservative Outpost.)


Now, let's be clear on this: The PRC doesn't get to buy Unocal, right?


SquawkBlog reports on Treasury Secretary Snow's studied ambiguity, but wouldn't it be better to just say "No," and be done with it? I understand that Unocal shareholders might lose a couple of bucks a share from a bidding war undone, but encouraging the idea that the PRC has any chance of buying major US resource companies is lousy national security policy even if the bid falls through.


BTW: Oil&GasNews has the background and frequent updates.



Monday, June 27, 2005


Posted at 4:45 PM, Pacific


After all the commentary on Supreme Court decisions of the last two weeks, I have to note that neither the decision in the takings case last week nor the Ten Commandments decisions today were unexpected.  Had any of the three gone the other way, there would have been surprise, but there isn't any among the long time Court watchers. The dismay among some circles in the public stems from a general lack of understanding of the Court's march over the past twenty years, as though Rip Van Winkle had woken up to find the world changed. 

The cases do underscore the stagnation at the Court, as old battles are fought and refought again and again. Only with new blood and new ideas will the logjams break open.  The bottom line is that all 5-4 decisions are hardly anything more than pause points, and not very decisive ones at that.


Posted at 7:20 AM, Pacific


Retirement watch day. Predictions are compiled at   If both the Chief and Justice O'Connor retired, the summer will be full of the soft fury of a democracy, modeling to the new democracies that politics can be both brutal and bloodless. 



Syria replaces Iraq on the Axis of Evil.  In last week's Armed Services Committee hearing, John McCain asked General George Casey whether continued Syrian assistance in or acquiescence with the flow of terrorists and weaponry across Syria and into Iraq might have to be met with operations that crossed the border into Syria. General Casey demurred on the idea of operating inside Syria as that was a political decision, but Chair of the Joint Chiefs General Richard Myers declared that that flow meant dead members of the coalition forces and was thus unacceptable. McCain appeared to concur.


Given Teddy K's quagmire rant of last week, would he support cross-border operations to keep the swamp drained and Americans alive?


One other very interesting exchange followed the Kennedy long burp of Vietnam Syndrome --Senator James Inhofe asked each of the three generals present if any of them agreed with the term quagmire, and each of them firmly rejected the applicability of the term. General Abizaid also took the opportunity to endorse Rumsfeld's leadership against Teddy's tirade. Abizaid's strong performance on Face the Nation yesterday, as well as Rumsfeld's string of appearances, seems to indicate that the Pentagon has figured out it cannot allow the left's propaganda on the home front to go unanswered in the MSM. Good.    The best antidote to Vietnam Syndrome is trustworthy information.


Like Austin Bay's reports from Iraq. Major K, Howdy and Hurl and others deployed in Iraq provide much better assessments than Ted Kennedy's staff, so bookmark them and read them regularly. "Are we winning?" by Howdy, for example, where you read:


"80% of the captured combatants here are foreign. Most are Saudi. Go figure. Most of the 9-11 bombers are Saudi. Fear vice Free Societies like Saudi Arabia breed dissenters and criminals....ultimately making bad neighbors. So, we fight here or on United States soil. See the connection now to 9-11? Why would they come to fight here? Hate brings them, hate brought them on 9-11.

We are not trying to make them like us via concessions and tolerance here. We're just killing those that are trying to do the same. Freedom for the Iraqis is the best antidote for Southwest Asia's future. It will breed more and more human rights for the oppressed here." 


The political consequences of the Democrats' decision to press for a cut-and-run strategy in the face of virulent jihad ism is I think certain disaster next November.  There will be an attempt as the election draws near and progress continues in Iraq to pretend that this early summer outbreak of defeatism was misunderstood, that Pelosi, Kennedy, Durbin, Rangel and Feinstein ("It's his war") were all somehow misquoted.  They haven't been, of course.  The public glimpsed the real intent of the Democratic Party if given the controls of the nation's defenses: Retreat and hope for the best.


Michael Barone, as usual, has it exactly right when he notes that "a party that happily allies itself with the likes of and many of whose leading members have lost the ability to distinguish between opposition to an incumbent administration and rooting for our nation's enemies has got serious problems." But Barone makes a rare misstep when he concludes: "Especially when it is called on again, as it will be sooner or later, to govern."

The Whigs were never called on again, nor the Federalists, and Canada's Conservatives may well have vanished from the front bench as well, like Gladstone's Liberals.

Parties are not always fated to rise again, and the "split"   Michael Barone discusses may have become a chasm, with a significant majority of the Dems on the Soros-Moore-MoveOn-Dean-Kennedy-Pelosi-Reid-Durbin ide of the canyon.  Hillary is going to try and pretend to be on both sides, but that act is already old.  There aren't enough Americans on the left side of that chasm to elect a president. Thank God.

The Dems have flunked the fundamental test of resolve in the face of the terror threat. They have flunked many others, and will flunk the Supreme Court test as well, with yet another filibuster and finally the constitutional option.  "Sooner or later" could very well be "never," if cooler heads and new leadership doesn't emerge soon.



Saturday, June 25, 2005


Posted at 7:10 AM, Pacific


Intention, Causation, Responsibility and Culpability


On May 4, 2000, officials of the U.S. Forest Service started a fire in the Bandelier National Monument. The was was supposed to be a "controlled burn," but the Service miscalculated conditions on the ground and the weather forecast was wrong, and the fire became a runaway disaster, eventually consuming 235 homes and 47,000 acres. The Service did not intend to start the fire, but it surely caused the destruction, and it admitted responsibility. No criminal charges were brought. The United States government paid for the losses not covered by insurance.


If the Forest Service were to initiate another controlled burn in the same spot under the same conditions and with the same weather forecast as it did in 2000, the public would be outraged. Not only would the Service' proclamation of innocent intent be insufficient to quell the anger, but demands for criminal investigation into culpability would surely follow.


Indeed, if any controlled burns get away from the Service for years to come, they will be under immediate suspicion of fecklessness and and best gross negligence. The public assumes they should know better, and the Service will be held to a much higher standard of care for years to come, a standard that will brand them as arsonists in fact if not in intent if any more of their experiments in forest management result in the destruction of private property, especially homes.


The Democratic Party and its liberal/left supporters negligence with regard to southeast Asia in the '70s bought about the deaths of millions and the enduring communist governments of Vietnam and Laos and the desperate circumstances of Cambodia. They did not intend that result.  In his famous testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry predicted of the aftermath of a unilateral withdrawal of American troops that the United States would have "an obligation to offer sanctuary to the perhaps 2,000, 3,000 people who might face, and obviously they would, we understand that, might face political assassination or something else."   His blindness was neither unique nor even notable. They did not see the carnage coming, or the consequence of American retreat from Vietnam as it would manifest itself in Africa, Central America and ultimately in Afghanistan.


Now the same Democratic Party, the same liberal/left, the same John Kerry and Ted Kennedy and some of the same anti-war protestors grown old and respectable are urging that timelines for unilateral withdrawal be set, the words "bug out" and "quagmire" and back, and once again an ally is beginning to feel the full support of the Democratic Party like a knife in the back. The same tactics, the same denunciations, the same theater that cloaked the approach of disaster are in play in D.C. The Democrats want to start a controlled burn.


If they succeed again, the deaths will surely occur far away and by the hundreds of thousands if not millions.


But they will also occur here. The president knows this, as does the vice president, the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State.  What Rumsfeld must have been thinking when Kennedy ranted on about the need for the controlled burn to begin in Bandelier Monument immediately.


What Rumsfeld could not say, Rove did, and good for him. More and more people should say it,  and are saying itSerious people don't have to rely on MSM for repackaged talking points from the left.   There are new voices and new sources, and they know the one key political fact:  The leadership of the Democratic Party is now committed to a strategy of retreat that will inevitably lead to disastrous defeat and the deaths of Americans here at home. They have reverted to type, and the type is naive and dangerous. Their intentions don't matter, and their predictions can't be trusted.  The voters have taken away most of their matches.  In 2006, they should take away the rest.



Friday, June 24, 2005


Posted at 7:30 AM, Pacific


Mrs. Greyhawk blogs on her visit to wounded milblogger Chuck, whose wife relates is soon to be at Walter Reed.  If after reading both posts you wish you could do something for troops recovering from wounds like Chuck, stop by StrikeoutsforTroops and make a donation. To give an assist like a letter or a care package to a soldier, sailor, airman or Marine in the field, drop by SoldiersAngels.


The Senate Democrats' #2 compares the American military to Nazis, Stalinists, and Pol Pot's killer, and the story never gets near to the cover of the Washington Post.  Karl Rove makes a valid assertion about the behavior of liberals, backed by evidence, and the fake outrage of those Senate Democrats makes page 1, but in a story without the pointed reply of George Pataki which happens to pivot on Durbin's slander.  At least the New York Times included a portion of the Pataki quote, which has now vanished from the original Newsday article.


But there is no MSM bias, right?  My World column looks at the Minneapolis Star Tribune's repulsive editorial on Durbin's speech, but that's just the obvious bias against truth at work.  Placement and pitch matter just as much. The contrast between the MSM's smothering of Durbin's slander and his non-apology versus its treatment of the false outrage directed at Rove joins the massive set of examples of MSM bias which, while it will never be corrected, will always be there to explain the collapse of credibility among the elite media.


Just so you don't miss it, here's what Governor Pataki said:


"I think it is a little hypocritical of Senator Clinton to call on me to repudiate a political figure's comments when she never asked Senator Durbin to repudiate his comments. Senator Clinton might think about her propensity to allow outrageous statements from the other side that are far beyond political dialogue --insulting every Republican, comparing our soldiers to Nazis or Soviet gulag guards-- and never protesting when she serves with them."


The evidence to support Rove is here. And don't miss Teddy Kennedy's attack on Donald Rumsfeld and the war.  RogerLSimon brands the Democrats as deeply reactionary, and he's right. Every action taken by the party's leaders in recent months, from obstruction across the board on Social Security, to the blocking of judicial appointments and Bolton, to the Dean and Durbin rhetoric and now to the war against the war are tied together by a bitter hatred of George W. Bush that makes the right's antipathy of Clinton seem like child's play.  The GOP recovered from Clinton-induced derangement, but it is not at all clear that there is anyone in the Democratic Party who wants to recover from its current fevers.


MartiniPundit has great analysis of Rove's speech and its aftermath, as does Stylish Since This Morning, Hoystory, and Let Freedom Ring. But the best analysis comes, as it often has, from Victor Davis Hanson, who writes in part:  "As September 11 faded in our collective memory, Muslim extremists were insidiously but systematically reinvented in our elite presentations as near underprivileged victims, and themselves often adept critics of purported rapacious Western consumerism, oil profiteering, heavy-handed militarism, and spiritual desolation."


2006 will tell quite a story, because though I thought it impossible to have a starker choice than that offered in 2004, the Democrats have indeed upped the ante. While Democrats pat ritual homage to the memory of 9/11, they seem to have lost the concrete knowledge of American vulnerability to more terrorist attacks and the resolution to take the steps necessary to prevent them.


The GOP has only one vulnerability: border security.  I will broadcast an entire show on that subject from San Diego today.




Thursday, June 23, 2005


Posted at 4:30 PM, Pacific


George Pataki, on Hillary's call for a Rove apology: "I think it is a little hypocritical of Senator Clinton to call on me to repudiate a political figure's comments when she never asked Senator Durbin to repudiate his comments. Senator Clinton might think about her propensity to allow outrageous statements from the other side that are far beyond political dialogue --insulting every Republican, comparing our soldiers to Nazis or Soviet gulag guards-- and never protesting when she serves with them."


When the weak horse saddle fits, you have to ride it.


Lileks had a grand screed yesterday.  Don't miss it. Two days ago he had a fine column on Gitmo. 


And Mitt Romney was on the program to discuss his new proposal for Massachusetts' uninsured, Karl Rove, Pataki and Hillary, and Teddy's attack ont he war in the Senate today. Radioblogger will have the transcript as well as the discussion of the SCOTUS decision on takings with Eugene Volokh and Instapundit later tonight.


And John Campbell's Congressional campaign website is up. Send him some support.


Posted at 3:00 PM, Pacific


Wasn't that Michael Moore sitting in the DNC's Presidential Box?  Wasn't that John Kerry on Meet the Press asserting that the war on terror was "primarily" a law enforcement action?


Big-name Democrats have foolishly engaged Karl Rove exactly as he no doubt hoped they would. Ankle-Biting Pundits has it figured out, but the Mehlman statement from the RNC underscores how the rush to condemn Rove for speaking the truth about the Michael Moore/George Soros/ left now obliges those very same people attacking Rove to argue that the evidence produced by Mehlman is either inapplicable or misunderstood. 

The left in this country is defeatist, harshly critical of the American military, and always eager to blame America for creating terrorists as though our actions in defense of ourselves and innocents everywhere are the root cause of terrorism.  With Dick Durbin's and Nancy Pelosi's shameful attacks on the military this week, the gloves are coming off, and the debate about what the Democrats believe will be an excellent one for the entire country to observe.

Mehlman's statement:

 "It’s outrageous that the same Democrats who stood by Dick Durbin’s libeling of our military are now expressing faux outrage over Karl Rove’s statement of historical fact. George Soros, Michael Moore, MoveOn and the hard left were wrong after 9/11, just as it was wrong for Democrat leaders to stand by and remain silent after Dick Durbin made his deplorable comments.”

- RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman

Liberal Third Party Groups Urged Restraint, Blamed America:

Immediately After 9/11, MoveOn.Org Petition Urged “Moderation And Restraint” And Use Of “International Judicial Institutions.”

 • “We, The Undersigned, Citizens And Residents Of The United States Of America … Appeal To The President Of The United States, George W. Bush … And To All Leaders Internationally To Use Moderation And Restraint In Responding To The Recent Terrorist Attacks Against The United States.” (MoveOn.Org Website, “MoveOn Peace,”, Posted 9/13/01, Accessed 6/23/05)

• “We Implore The Powers That Be To Use, Wherever Possible, International Judicial Institutions And International Human Rights Law To Bring To Justice Those Responsible For The Attacks, Rather Than The Instruments Of War, Violence Or Destruction.” (MoveOn.Org Website, “MoveOn Peace,”, Posted 9/13/01, Accessed 6/23/05)

• “[W]e Demand That There Be No Recourse To Nuclear, Chemical Or Biological Weapons, Or Any Weapons Of Indiscriminate Destruction, And Feel That It Is Our Inalienable Human Right To Live In A World Free Of Such Arms.” (MoveOn.Org Website, “MoveOn Peace,”, Posted 9/13/01, Accessed 6/23/05)

Just After 9/11, Liberal Filmmaker Michael Moore Derided “Terror And Bloodshed” Committed By Americans. (David Brooks, Op-Ed, “All Hail Moore,” The New York Times, 6/26/04)

 • Just After 9/11, Moore Blamed America’s “Taxpayer-Funded Terrorism” And Bush Administration For Terrorist Attacks. “We abhor terrorism – unless we’re the ones doing the terrorizing. We paid and trained and armed a group of terrorists in Nicaragua in the 1980s who killed over 30,000 civilians. That was OUR work. You and me.…Let’s mourn, let’s grieve, and when it’s appropriate let’s examine our contribution to the unsafe world we live in.” (Michael Moore Website Archive, “Death, Downtown,” Posted 9/12/01,, Accessed 7/27/04)

• Michael Moore Said U.S. Should Not Have Removed Taliban After 9/11. Moore: “Likewise, to bomb Afghanistan – I mean, I’ve never understood this, Tim.” (CNBC’s “Tim Russert,” 10/19/02)

Liberal Donor George Soros Claimed America Should Have Treated 9/11 Attacks As Crime, Responded With Police Work. “War is a false and misleading metaphor in the context of combating terrorism. Treating the attacks of September 11 as crimes against humanity would have been more appropriate. Crimes require police work, not military action. To protect against terrorism, you need precautionary measures, awareness, and intelligence gathering – all of which ultimately depend on the support of the populations among which terrorists operate. Imagine for a moment that September 11 had been treated as a crime. We would have pursued Bin Laden in Afghanistan, but we would not have invaded Iraq. Nor would we have our military struggling to perform police work in full combat gear and getting killed in the process.” (George Soros, The Bubble Of American Supremacy, 2004, p. 18) 

• Soros Said The Execution Of 9/11 Attacks “Could Not Have Been More Spectacular.” “Admittedly, the terrorist attack was a historic event in its own right. Hijacking fully loaded airplanes and using them as suicide bombs was an audacious idea, and the execution could not have been more spectacular.” (George Soros, The Bubble Of American Supremacy, 2004, p. 2)

• Soros Said War On Terror Had Claimed More Innocent Victims Than 9/11 Attack Itself. “This is a very tough thing to say, but the fact is, that the war on terror as conducted by this administration, has claimed more innocent victims that the original attack itself.” (George Soros, Remarks At Take Back America Conference, Washington, DC, 6/3/04)

Liberal Democrats Urged Restraint, Blamed America:

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH): “‘The Time For Peace Is Now,’ [Kucinich] Declared Optimistically July 11, Two Months To The Day Before Terrorists Hit The Pentagon And The World Trade Center. … Sitting In His Capitol Hill Office Last Week, Near A Window Where He Could See The Smoke Rising From The Pentagon On Sept. 11, Kucinich Insisted He Is More Optimistic Than Ever That People Worldwide Are Ready To Embrace The Cause Of Nonviolence.” (Elizabeth Auster, “Offer The Hand Of Peace,” [Cleveland, OH] Plain Dealer, 9/30/01)

 • Kucinich: “Afghanistan May Be An Incubator Of Terrorism But It Doesn’t Follow That We Bomb Afghanistan …” (Elizabeth Auster, “Offer The Hand Of Peace,” [Cleveland, OH] Plain Dealer, 9/30/01)

Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI): “Only Now Are We Trying To Figure Out What Is Islam. Maybe If There Was A Department Of Peace, They Would Be Able To Say, ‘Uh-Oh, We’ve Got Some Problems With These People,’ … I Truly Believe That If We Had A Department Of Peace, We Would Have Seen [9/11] Coming.” (Ethan Wallison, “War A Challenge For Peace Caucus,” Roll Call, 10/1/01)

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA): “I Am Convinced That Military Action Will Not Prevent Further Acts Of International Terrorism Against The United States.” (Eddy Ramirez, “Calif. Congresswoman Alone In Vote Against War Powers Resolution,” [University Of California-Berkeley] Daily Californian, 9/17/01)

Al Sharpton (D-NY) Said That The Attacks On The World Trade Center Are Evidence That “America Is Beginning To Reap What It Has Sown.” (Adam Nagourney, “Say It Loud,” The New York Times, 12/1/02)

Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) Claimed Osama Bin Laden Could Be Compared To “Revolutionaries That Helped To Cast Off The British Crown.” “‘One could say that Osama bin Laden and these non-nation-state fighters with religious purpose are very similar to those kind of atypical revolutionaries that helped to cast off the British crown,’ Kaptur told an Ohio newspaper, The (Toledo) Blade.” (Malie Rulon, “Lawmaker Compares Osama, U.S. Patriots,” The Associated Press, 3/6/03)

Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) Said The United States Would “Pay Every Single Hour, Ever Single Day” That Bombs Were Dropped In Afghanistan. “‘How much longer does the bombing campaign continue?’ Biden asked during an Oct. 22 speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. ‘We’re going to pay every single hour, every single day it continues.’” (Miles A. Pomper, "Building Anti-Terrorism Coalition Vaults Ahead Of Other Priorities," Congressional Quarterly Weekly, 10/26/01)

 • “The Bombing Campaign, [Biden] Said, Reinforced Existing Stereotypes Of The United States As A ‘High-Tech Bully …’” (Miles A. Pomper, "Building Anti-Terrorism Coalition Vaults Ahead Of Other Priorities," Congressional Quarterly Weekly, 10/26/01)

Gov. Howard Dean (D-VT) Said Osama Bin Laden Not Guilty. Dean: “I Still Have This Old-Fashioned Notion That Even With People Like Osama, Who Is Very Likely To Be Found Guilty, We Should Do Our Best Not To, In Positions Of Executive Power, Not To Prejudge Jury Trials.” (“Dean Not Ready To Pronounce Osama Bin Laden Guilty,” The Associated Press, 12/26/03)

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) To High School Students: “How Would [Muslims] Look At Us Today If We Had Been There Helping Them With Some Of That Rather Than Just Being The People Who Are Going To Bomb In Iraq And Go To Afghanistan? … War Is Expensive Too … Your Generation Ought To Be Thinking About Whether We Should Be Better Neighbors Out In Other Countries So That They Have A Different Vision Of Us.” (Gregg Herrington, “Senator Asks Students To Ponder,” The [Vancouver, WA] Columbian, 12/19/02)

Sen. John Kerry (D-MA): “[W]ar On Terror Is Far Less Of A Military Operation And Far More Of An Intelligence-Gathering, Law-Enforcement Operation.” (The Iowa Brown & Black Coalition Presidential Forum, Des Moines, IA, 1/11/04)

 • Kerry: “[W]hat We’ve Learned Is That The War On Terror Is Much More Of An Intelligence Operation And A Law Enforcement Operation.” (NPR’s “All Things Considered,” 3/19/03)


Posted at 6:55 AM, Pacific


"The Durbin Effect" is my column this morning, on the continuing effort by senior Democrats in Congress to smear the American military.


Don't miss Tunku Varadarajan's account of Oriana Fallaci's indictment for vilification of Islam.


The anti-religious expression zealots at Barry Lynn's shop are going to have to be satisfied with a couple of distorted headlines in the New York Times and the Washington Post, as the panel reviewing Lynn's gang's charges of rampant discrimination against religious minorities at the Air Force Academy found no "overt religious discrimination," on "insensitivity."  The New York Times also noted that "[t]he group found that several incidents widely covered by news organizations were overblown." Barry Lynn lamely announced that the "good news is that the report makes it clear to anyone who reads it that this is a real problem, not some imagined witch hunt."


The opposite is true.  Lynn's headline grabbing accusations were overblown attention-getting and fundraising-assisting devices. But we already knew that.


For a detailed review, see TheRovingTheologian's account.


Glenn points to a couple of posts by David Bernstein and Bill Quick on the question of whether there is a housing bubble.  The housing market is too vast to proclaim the presence or absence of a bubble across its entirety. The key seems to me to be regional population growth and housing supply. One report predicted, for example, that California's "population will increase to 36 million in 2002 and 36.5 million in 2003. At that growth rate, California will reach 54 million residents by 2025; that’s as if the entire population of New York state moved to California."  With that sort of population surge, and a backdrop of dwindling land supplies and difficulty in obtaining permission to build, it is hard to see an long-term pressures on housing prices in the Golden State.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Posted at 5:00 PM, Pacific


Bill Kristol writes that he hears it will be O'Connor stepping down next week, not the Chief, and that the Attorney General will be her replacement.


Doug TenNapel gives Durbin's Lincoln quote its appropriate context.


Congrats to FroggyRuminations.  He must look like his mother because he is cute.


And Godspeed to milblogger Chuck. (HT: MudvilleGazette.)


The New York Times ran a story today that reports on the 33 American deaths in Iraq in May and the 35 so far in June, and to the increasing sophistication of the terrorists' IEDs.  Andrew "God bless Dick Durbin" Sullivan links to the story, and comments:


"I link. You decide. And the obvious corollary to the fact that U.S. forces are getting one hell of a training in fighting urban terror in Iraq is that ... so are the Jihadists in fighting back . It would be a pretty awful historical irony if a war designed to cripple Jihadist terrorism ended up making it leaner, meaner and more lethal. Merely another consequence of too few troops. But, hey, better to risk losing a war than have Rumsfeld admit he was wrong, right?"


Andrew might have wanted to link this story:  "No drawdown in Iraq likely soon, general says," from the Air Force Times. This is a report of the briefing of the top U.S. combat general in Iraq, Lt. Gen Vines. It isn't pollyannaish, but it is specific and focused on the key thing --the move towards a constitution:


“'We’re not at that point yet,' Vines told reporters when asked whether he would recommend U.S. troop cuts soon.

Troop levels are 'conditions-based,' Vines said. 'Currently we know that insurgents will do everything they can do disrupt ratification of a constitution. To them, that’s a terrifying event.'

Iraq’s interim government is drafting a new constitution, scheduled to be ratified by national election in October. If that happens, national elections for a permanent government would take place in December.

'At this point, I would not be prepared to recommend a drawdown prior to the election — certainly not in any significant numbers,' Vines said."


Vines continued:


"Coalition forces appear to be at the correct level to train and work with Iraqi security forces, whose capabilities continue to steadily improve, Vines said.

However, 'a political solution could absolutely change the dynamics,' he said.

'We want to cut down as quickly as conditions permit,' Vines said. 'The reason I think conditions will remain fairly static — keep in mind that those [constitutional] elections are only four months away. I don’t have any reason to believe there’s going to be a significant change in four months absent a political breakthrough.'”


And the medium term outlook:


"Coalition forces appear to be at the correct level to train and work with Iraqi security forces, whose capabilities continue to steadily improve, Vines said.

However, 'a political solution could absolutely change the dynamics,' he said.

'We want to cut down as quickly as conditions permit,' Vines said. 'The reason I think conditions will remain fairly static — keep in mind that those [constitutional] elections are only four months away. I don’t have any reason to believe there’s going to be a significant change in four months absent a political breakthrough.'”


I link. You decide. But the difference between this civilian and Sullivan is that I find it objectionable to refer to the military stationed at Guantanamo Bay as "clowns," as Andrew did when he wrote:


"Torture and abuse haven't made us safer. Sending too few troops to Iraq hasn't made us safer. Israeli interrogators do not kick the Koran or pee on it or throw it to the ground. They learn it word for word. They quote it back to their prisoners. They win their confidence and infiltrate their networks. They gain good intelligence by eschewing the goon-like antics of the Gitmo clowns. Fake menstrual blood? If it weren't so disgusting, it would be risible. But it's true. Remember that, whatever the Tarantos of this world want to deflect the conversation to. It's true. It happened. In the end, reality will count."


Rather than "deflect"  the conversation, I want to make it a real conversation, my producer invited Sullivan via e-mail and calls to his various representatives to spend an hour talking about "torture" and "abuse" and the "clowns at Gitmo" today.  We did not get a response. The invitation remains open.


Note that Sullivan conflates "torture" with "abuse," without specifying which practices he thinks are in which category. Note that he holds up the Israeli intelligence services as model interrogators without a link to their declaration of acceptable interrogation tactics.  It seems that Sullivan also equates "disgusting" with "torture" or abuse."  While all torture is disgusting, not all disgusting things are torture. 


I have yet to see any critic of Guantanamo link to or put forward any set of interrogation guidelines they believe to be appropriate for jihadists who are members of or have access to information on the al Qaeda network.  The United States has some very senior al Qaeda leadership in custody.  What, exactly, do critics of the standing rules of interrogation suggest be the guidelines for questioning these men?


Of course there is the transparent attempt to argue that the critics of Durbin are somehow defending torture, as dishonest a bit of sophistry as is out there. The United States military has always prosecuted and imprisoned and not promoted its members who violate the rules of interrogation.  And to defend the military against charges that they are "clowns" as Sullivan puts it, is not to endorse torture anymore than the military does.

UPDATE:  Andrew Sullivan wrote about his approval of Israeli interrogation techniques today. I received this e-mail from Yoni, a veteran of the Israeli defense services, now living in the U.S. but intending to return to Israel and pursue a political career in the future:


Regarding Andrew Sullivan,torture is not what is happening at Gitmo and
that is not only his mistake but that of the left as a whole.

What is happening at Gitmo is a variation of modern techniques of
interrogation. I can't go into a lot of detail but people are restrained
in certain ways for extended time periods and also not allowed to sleep
and sensory deprivation is standard.

Do Israelis learn the Koran, yes some do, as well as learn Arabic, but we
also read Mien Komf and Protocols of the Elders of Zion and all three
books are equal in spreading hatred of Jews.

It was Sun Tzu who said it so clearly when it come to the issue of
victory or defeat. "If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not
fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the
enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know
neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle."

Israel and the USA have fallen into the last category due to the efforts
of the left in both countries, the good guys no longer know themselves. We
were not divided in WW2 and we won. If Andrew and Irwin were around 60
years ago America would have lost.

Also the majority of people in both countries refuse to know the enemy. If
you read the Koran you will find what it says about Christians and Jews
convert or die. It is the knowledge that comes from seeing the look in
the eyes of a suicide bomber when they punch the button.

Both countries due to the effort of the left will loose, and the whole
false issue of torture is symbolic of the battle of the left to weaken
both countries. The joke on Irwin and Andrew is that they will be murdered
screaming and peeing their pants, while the terrorist they defend cut
their heads off.

The ticking bomb scenario is very real in Israel and could also be the
case in the two theaters of war America is currently involved in.

What is a ticking bomb?

None of the terrorist in Gitmo are ticking bombs. A ticking bomb is a
terrorist attack where terrorist are in the process of murdering people
and the good guys show up and the terrorist goes to ground in a building or a bus with hostages. But in the process you grab a terrorist or two.

The terrorists you now hold are ticking bombs, and any and all force
including force that would result in the death of the terrorist is
justified in an effort to obtain intel on weapons and numbers of
terrorist. The methods used to inflict extreme pain on these terrorist in
order to get them to maybe talk in the shortest time possible are brutal
beyond belief in many cases. Again this is totally justified, under this

Back to Gitmo, I think using fake menstrual blood is stupid. As is peeing
on the Koran, it will only reinforce the idea that you are an infidel and
deserve to be murdered. I would not have the guards wear gloves when
guards touch the Koran as this also gives the Muslims a sense of they are
correct and we acknowledge the truth of the Koran.

I hope this clears it up.



I do not agree with Yoni on his pessimism concerning Islam's ability to adopt to and embrace religious pluralism as a system of government.  Christianity was once also a "convert or die" religion in many parts of the world but came to understand that the protection of religious pluralism was the only path to peace and faithful religious practice. I have interviewed too many American Muslims committed heart and soul to the country, religious pluralism and their own faith to believe otherwise.


Yoni's key point is that the interrogation guidelines have to be situational, depending upon the agreed upon threat that any particular detainee poses.  Americans will always, rightly, be very reluctant to cause discomfort to people in captivity, if the reason for that discomfort is not the urgent need to save lives.

At the same time, sleep deprivation, loud music and temperature extremes were used at Waco.  Surely the left does not believe they are inappropriate against would be terrorists?




Posted at 3:00 PM, Pacific


When did we lose the war?

Earlier today, on Inside Politics, an amazing exchange featuring Robert Novak, host Ed Henry, and Paul Begala:

Novak: I think the American people would love to end this war. They would love to find some way that they could feel that we were leaving as soon as possible, with honor, that we weren't bugging out, we weren't making the world less safe. There's people in the Administration who would like to do that right now, believe me, because I talk to them, but that is not the president's view, and that's not the majority view. I think the trouble with the Democrats is that when they have a meeting and say we are going to get tough on Iraq, and say ok, we're going to fund it but these people have screwed it up, they are not yet to the point of saying we are the people, we will get out now, the Dennis Kucinich plan. We are going to get out immediately. They have not reached that point. They think it is too risky. And so therefore, there is something flat about the whole debate because nobody has viable alternatives.

Ed Henry: You seem to be saying that there are people at the White House who are more nervous than they are letting on publicly.

Novak: There are people in the Administration will say, who think that Iraq is never going to be Iowa, and its , its, and we're going to have to get out, and if the Sunnis and the Shias and the Kurds are having a civil war, we've done the best we could and we have to keep it in their hands. The counter argument to that is well its not just a civil war, it is the center of the terrorist movement in the world, and I think that's a debatable thing, but there are, believe me Ed, there are a lot of people , there are conservatives who think that we should get out by the end of the year.

Begala:  This whole thing has been a disaster for the country, for our country, and the president seems to be disengaged from reality.  The debate in Washington, I think, among those who are observing this, with respect, is the president and his team, are they purposefully misleading us, do they understand what a debacle it is but they are lying, or are they so delusional that they think that we are winning this thing. I have no idea which it is. But I'd like to know, but maybe there are two camps, the reality-based people who understand that we are loosing but they are lying to u and then there's the delusional wing.

Ed Henry: Bo, you have been around Washington for a long time. Do you think people like Chuck Hagel, it is just a pebble in the water, or is there building Republican concern on the Hill?

Novak:  There is building Republican concern on the Hill and in the country. I go out around the country a lot, and I take a very critical position on the prospects there, and I don't get criticism from conservatives, but I don't believe, I don't agree that it is either delusional or reprehensible. You get into this bureaucratic mode of where the military people say, oh boy, we can't leave the Iraqi forces can't cut it, we've got to stay, and its very hard to bite the bullet. If we had pulled out of Vietnam in 1968, which I was violently against, I was a super hawk, if we had pulled out in '68, the situation of the communist tyranny over Vietnam would not be any different than it is today and we would have saved a lot of American lives. But it is very hard to pull that trigger."

The Vietnam Syndrome isn't dead.  It's been sleeping.  And the outbreak underway in D.C. is alarming, because this time a collapse of American will to fight and win a war won't be followed by the massacre of innocents Southeast Asia, but the massacre of Americans inside our own borders.


Posted at 6:45 AM, Pacific

The Durbin Damage and the Pelosi Double-down.

If you missed the transcript of my conversation with Lt. Pete in the post below, read it before continuing. Turns out Lt. Pete is a Princeton grad in addition to being a Gitmo vet.

The Dallas Morning News blasts Durbin and his non-apology, and concludes:

"Hey, we're sorry, too.

We're sorry that anything else Mr. Durbin might say about allegations of torture at Guantánamo Bay simply cannot be believed, thanks to his way-over-the-top screed.

We're sorry that in his haste to score political points against the Bush administration, he chose to squander his credibility by linking U.S. troops to despots who killed millions of innocent people.

We're sorry that at this key moment in the war on terror, when democracy demands a full and open debate on all U.S. policies and tactics, he so devalued his own voice and potential contributions.

We're sorry that Mr. Durbin woke up this morning still the Senate's assistant minority leader – the second-ranked Democrat – and that it apparently hasn't occurred to fellow Democrats that he should step down from the leadership."

But even as Durbin slinks away, Nancy Pelosi steps up to provide copy for Al Jazeera. From her statement yesterday:

"The treatment of detainees is a taint on our country's reputation, especially in the Muslim world, and there are many questions that must be answered. These questions are important because the safety of our country depends on our reputation and how we are viewed, especially in the Muslim world.

"There are many questions that have gone unanswered: What was the atmosphere created that permitted detainee abuse, and why was it tolerated? What was the training and supervision of the troops? Who had this responsibility? What is it that the Republicans are trying to hide? How far up the chain of command does this go? Why is the Secretary of Defense not taking responsibility? This happened on his watch.

"Many of the detainees have been in U.S. custody since October 2001. Why have they been in custody for nearly four years without being charged? Why has so little been done to resolve the status of the detainees?"

Anthony Lewis and the International Herald Tribune pick up the chant and spread it across the globe: The United States is a criminal state:

"No one can seriously doubt now that cruelties and indignities have been inflicted on prisoners at Guantánamo. Nor is there any doubt that worse has happened elsewhere - prisoners beaten to death by American soldiers, untold others held in secret locations by the CIA, others rendered to be tortured by governments such as Uzbekistan's."

The result is predictable.  Lawyers for "innocent" detainees are now proclaiming that their clients have been savagely abused at Gitmo, and these stories thrive in the ground plowed by Durbin, Pelosi, Lewis and others. Here's another one.  There will be many, many more.

If Democrats want to taken seriously as other than a desperate group of out-of-power ideologues willing to trash everything and everyone in an attempt to get some traction with the public that has evaluated their collective fitness for leadership in time of war and ejected them from power, they will begin by defending our defenders, articulating the necessity of long term imprisonment for would be terrorists and the interrogation of those terrorists, drop the absurd and dangerous demand for "due process" for unlawful combatants, and help shoulder the burden of explaining to the world that America is the most humane of all jailers, and rigorous in its prosecution of its representatives who violate the rules of detention.

Commentators on Gitmo should read the various documents put out by the Department of Defense, especially this report, released a year ago today.  The crucial statement:

"It is the policy and practice of the Department of Defense to treat detainees in the War on Terrorism humanely and, to the extent appropriate and consistent with military necessity, in a manner consistent with the principles of the Geneva Convention. 

No procedures approved for use ordered, authorized, permitted, or tolerated torture. Individuals who have abused the trust and confidence placed in them will be held accountable. There are a number of inquiries that are ongoing to look at specific allegations of abuse, and those investigations will run their course."

I believe the DoD, and I believe that the conditions at Gitmo are humane. Those like Durbin and Pelosi who do not have decided to believe the critics and sometimes the enemies of the United States.  I think this choice will and should be a huge factor in future elections.




Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Posted at 4:40 PM, Pacific


A Gitmo veteran's comments.

I interviewed a veteran of Gitmo last hour on the show, and provide his remarks here. I hope you will give his comments as much credibility as you do the e-mail cited by Senator Durbin that prompted him to compare the conduct at Gitmo with the conduct of Nazis, Stalinists, and the Khmer Rouge.

Hugh:  Pete in New York is a veteran of Gitmo. Hello Pete, welcome to the Hugh Hewitt Show.

Pete: Thanks for having me on Hugh.

Hugh: When did you serve in Gitmo?

Pete:  I was there about two months ago, for a year.

Hugh: Thank you for your service.  What say you about Dick Durbin and everything you have been watching over the last month?

Pete: It has been unbelievable to watch it unfold after having spent a year there.  I mean it seems to be a lot of people who don't know a whole lot  about what they are talking about, talking about things that may have happened years and years ago. 2002, 2003. If they could see the professional operation that is being run down there today, I think they would take their words back in a second.

Hugh: Pete, which unit were you with?

Pete: I was with the New Jersey National Guard.

Hugh:  Did you see brutality at Gitmo?

Pete: I didn't see one bit of it.

Hugh:  Are interrogations ongoing at Gitmo?

Pete:  Absolutely. The facility is there to gather intelligence.

Hugh:  Do they use extremes of hot and cold to gather intelligence?

Pete: That I can't speak to directly, but I can tell you it is nothing that any of us would deem to be inhumane, especially compared to what many of our servicemen and women have been put through overseas.

Hugh:  Any violence, in terms of physical brutality of the prisoners you observed?

Pete: Absolutely not. In fact, my men and I spent nine hours on a runway waiting to try and get a detainee to go back home who had refused to do so because he wanted to stay at Guantanamo because he was being treated so well.

Hugh: Food okay for the prisoners at Guantanamo, Pete?

Pete:  I think it is better than what my guys got for a year, to be honest with you.

Hugh: You an officer, Pete?

Pete: Yes I am. Second Lieutenant.

Hugh: Are you proud of the way your men conducted themselves vis-a-vis these prisoners?

Hugh:  Absolutely.  I mean, you've got guys from New jersey who were just, you know, minutes away from the Towers when the fell, who knew family members who died that day.  And the professionalism with which they conducted themselves around men who may have been involved in those attacks was extraordinary.

Hugh: Do you feel they are being slandered by these conversations, the Durbin statements, the Minneapolis Star Tribune?

Pete: Oh, sure. It is something that I have come to expect but thankfully we have men and women who are willing to conduct themselves, you know, the right way on a mission no matter what anyone is saying about them.

Hugh: Tell us about the prisoners at Gitmo. Are these killers, or are they misunderstood religiously observant Muslims?

Pete: I tell you one thing, Hugh. I had a soldier in my platoon who spoke fluent Arabic, and so I'd go up in a tower and he'd interpret for me, and I am telling you, these guys are talking about, you know, how much they hate America and how much they would love to kill somebody if they could get their hands on them. These are not friendly guys, and given the opportunity, as I think someone put it,  to spend the night at it with a few members of the editorial pages of the Star Tribune, I think that maybe they would take their statements back.

VodkaPundit has more on Durbin's non-apology apology.  So does PardonMyEnglish, The Lunch Counter, GOPBloggers, and Technicalities.  The civilians are under whelmed, and I doubt very much if the military feels the slander has been revoked and buried.



Posted at 3:50 PM, Pacific

Dick Durbin's appearance on the floor of the Senate for yet another attempt at clarification included the word "apologize," but it was not an apology.  An e-mail from a midwestern pastor received moments ago:

"As you know I'm a pastor, which means I spend a lot of time talking about repentance and forgiveness. I also listen to people confess and repent.  Maybe I missed it, but I didn't hear Senator Durbin admit he had actually done anything wrong, only that he was sorry 'some were offended.'   Which is another form of his previous statement, that he was sorry he was misunderstood, which is not the same as an admission of guilt, but an admission of unintended consequences.  Again, am I wrong, did I miss something, or is he equivocating with tears this time?"

Newt Gingrich, appearing on the program agrees that the Durbin statement simply does not do what needs to be done. Gingrich, an early proponent of censure, recognizes how reluctant the body will be to undertake such a process and proposes instead a resolution stating that there is no parallel, no legitimate comparison whatsoever, between the conduct of the United States and that of the regimes of Hitler, Stalin, and Pool Pot. That's a superb idea, as Durbin will be forced to vote on the substance of the matter.

Radioblogger is transcribing the Durbin statement as well as the Gingrich interview, and it will be up shortly.

And Mitch Berg has more on the Minneapolis Star Tribune's outrageous attack on the military this morning.


Posted at 3:00 PM, Pacific


Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has called on Dick Durbin to apologize for his remarks  equating interrogation practices at Gitmo with the practices of the barbaric regimes of Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot.  Evidently Daley didn't read the Minneapolis Star Tribune's defense of Durbin's outrageous remarks, or wasn't persuaded by Andrew Sullivan or over-the-cliff bloggers like Kos.  Daley's an old-school Democrat: He supports the military, and according to the AP,  Daley "says its a disgrace to accuse military men and women of such conduct."

Ed Morrisey of CaptainsQuarters is keeping tack of Durbin reactions, and Powerline reprints a powerful letter the editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune from Lt. Colonel Joe Repya about its abhorrent editorial.  Lt. Col. Repya sent his letter from Iraq, where he is presently serving.

We have called the Strib to ask for a guest to defend the editorial on air, and the woman who answered told my producer we should talk to Jim Boyd, as he wrote the piece.  Now, we have been around the issue before about who does and doesn't write editorials, and we know that an unsigned editorial represents the views of the paper, but Boyd's authorship is consistent with his long record of journalistic malpractice.  Boyd dodges his critics, of course, and refuses to defend his screeds, but perhaps he has enough personal honor to appear and answer Colonel Repya's letter.

But don't count on it.

Here is the contact information for the Star Tribune. I really don't see how anyone can subscribe to a paper that attacks our troops, which today's editorial unquestionably does. And if you advertise there, you have to ask yourself what it is you are supporting.

The paper has a right to employ a nutter like Boyd and to print the bile-filled idiocies that come off his keyboard, but it doesn't have a right to your money.

Here's the contact info for the Strib.  To cancel a subscription, call (612) 673-4343 or 1 (800) 775-4344 .


Posted at 1:30 AM, EST


The Minneapolis Star Tribune publishes a howler of an editorial today.  What world do these people live in?  Sayeth the nutters at the Strib: 

"Durbin was spot on in his assessment of Guantanamo. That's why he was so roundly attacked. He told the truth."

He told the truth?  "[Y]ou would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others — that had no concern for human beings." Dick Durbin on Gitmo, JUne 14, 2005.  The Strib says he told the truth.

So, the paper believes the Gitmo = Pol Pot's killing fields, eh?  That air conditioning levels equate with the Holocaust, and a single FBI report with Solzehnitsyn's witness to the millions of lives lost in the Gulag.  What moral ciphers.   Good to remember that in the future as they endorse candidates.

How does any supporter of the United States military subscribe to this paper? Who is willing to advertise in it?

Here's the letter from GOP Senate leadership to Harry Reid regarding Dick Durbin:

"June 20, 2005

The Honorable Harry Reid
Minority Leader
U.S. Senate

Dear Senator Reid:

We call upon you to encourage Senator Richard Durbin, the Senate Democratic Whip, to apologize for and withdraw his remarks made on the floor of the U.S. Senate on June 14 likening the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces and other U.S. Government civilian employees defending America’s freedom to “Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime—Pol Pot or others—that had no concerns for human beings.” Such language and comparisons are inappropriate, unwarranted, disrespectful, and dangerous.

Referring to one person’s characterization of treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Senator Durbin said:

“When you read some of the graphic descriptions of what has occurred here [Guantanamo Bay] — I almost hesitate to put them in the Record, and yet they have to be added to this debate. Let me read to you what one FBI agent saw. And I quote from his report:

‘On a couple of occasions, I entered interview rooms to find a detainee chained hand and foot in a fetal position to the floor, with no chair, food or water. Most times they urinated or defecated on themselves, and had been left there for 18-24 hours or more. On one occasion, the air conditioning had been turned down so far and the temperature was so cold in the room, that the barefooted detainee was shaking with cold . . . . On another occasion, the [air conditioner] had been turned off, making the temperature in the unventilated room well over 100 degrees. The detainee was almost unconscious on the floor, with a pile of hair next to him. He had apparently been literally pulling his hair out throughout the night. On another occasion, not only was the temperature unbearably hot, but extremely loud rap music was being played in the room, and had been since the day before, with the detainee chained hand and foot in the fetal position on the tile floor.’

“If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others — that had no concern for human beings. Sadly, that is not the case. This was the action of Americans in the treatment of their prisoners.” (emphasis added)

Such hyperbolic, insensitive, and inaccurate statements should not be spoken on the Senate floor. As numerous Senators collectively noted on the Senate floor on June 16, such statements:

· Tarnish the U.S. Senate as an institution by making comparisons of U.S. actions taken against the Nation’s enemies and in accordance with U.S. and international law, i.e., the Geneva Conventions, to those of Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, and Pol-Pot, who slaughtered tens of millions of innocent civilians, mostly women and children, for reasons such as racism and political ideology.

· Insult and demoralize the overwhelming majority of U.S. soldiers and civilian employees honorably defending America.

· Exacerbate the terrorist threat against Americans by providing “evidence” of what they claim are reasons for attacking us. (The Arab media were quick to publicize the criticisms.) 

· Are unproven and part of a legal investigation being conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Defense.

· Deny due process legal rights to those alleged of committing abuses (by presuming guilt upon the accused party).

On June 16, Senator John Warner (R-VA), seeking to clarify the “Nazi” reference as well as to obtain a formal apology from him, engaged in floor debate with Senator Durbin and said:

“I go back on my own recollections [of] those three examples the Senator used. I don’t know what interrogation took place. Perhaps if we go into the sinews of history there were some, but what the world recognized from those three examples the Senator used, they were death camps — I repeat, death camps — where, as my colleague from Kentucky very accurately said, millions of people perished. It is doubtful they were ever often asked their names.

“To say that the allegations of a single FBI agent mentioned in an unconfirmed, uncorroborated report give rise to coming to the Senate and raising the allegation that whatever persons of the uniformed military, as referred to in that report — albeit, uncorroborated, unsubstantiated report — are to be equated with those three chapters in world history is just a most grievous misjudgment on the Senator’s part, and one I think is deserving of apologizing to the men and women in uniform.”

Subsequent statements by Senator Durbin indicate only that he was regretful if people misunderstood his remarks. We do not believe his remarks were misunderstood.

In deference to the Senate as an institution for which we serve and to the millions of men and women currently serving this Nation in uniform and civilian dress for which we owe so much in the War on Terrorism, we ask Senator Durbin to issue a formal apology and strike his remarks from the record."

Signed by Senators Frist, McConnell, Santorum, Hutchinson, Kyl and Dole.

Expect Democrats to hang tough with Durbin, who spoke for them, and their silence and continued confidence in their whip make Durbin's assessment their assessment, and one which will be remembered in November, 2006.

Here is the transcript of my interview with Senator Kyl on the subject of Durbin earlier today.

Monday, June 20, 2005


Posted at 5:30 PM, Pacific

Arizona's United States Senator Jon Kyl confirmed on my show a few minutes ago that the GOP leadership in the Senate had sent a letter to Harry Reid with a copy to Dick Durbin demanding that Durbin apologize for his remarks and strike them from the record.  If Durbin refuses, Kyl noted, there are other options. 

Kyl also rejected the arguments by Durbin and his defenders that there are widespread human rights abuses at Gitmo or elsewhere in the world where terrorists are being detained. Kyl rejects the idea that anyone can conclude that "torture" has occurred at Gitmo based on the FBI memo that Durbin read, or that the Geneva Conventions have been violated.  In short, it is utterly absurd and dangerous to argue as Durbin has, or to support his hysterics.

Radioblogger will post a transcript of the Kyl interview later.


Posted at 2:30 PM, Pacific


FroggyRuminations asks whether Durbin embellished the FBI account he read on the floor of the Senate.  The original memos are here.

The Durbin Defense League want to change the subject from what Durbin actually said to wholly different subjects. Durbin said the practices at Gitmo were like the practices at Abu Ghraib which are like the practices at detention centers around the world which are like the practices of Nazis/Stalinist/Pol Pot.  Andrew Sullivan asserts that "it's people like Dick Durbin who prove that some can actually stand up against this stain on American honor and call it what it is. Good for him. Thank God for him," thus buying into the Nazi/Stalinist/Pol Pot comparison, which simply takes them off the field of serious argument.  I have not seen a single critic of Durbin's do other than condemn the Abu Ghraib crimes, but Sullivan attempts to transform critics of Durbin's vast slander into defenders of the Abu Ghraib crimes, which is not only shabby, but transparently the argument of the hysterical.

The Defend Dick Durbin caucus now has a cartoonist.  Understand that the left in this country agrees with the Durbin statements --all of them.  And don't miss Jed Babbin in today's Spectator.


Posted at 1:00 AM, EST with updates


"Breaking the Durbin Code" in the this morning is an effort to make the case for a Senate resolution of censure for Dick Durbin, as well as a single source for all of the relevant Durbin statements from last week.  When all of Durbin's statements on Gitmo, the Nazis/Soviets/Pol Pot and Abu Ghraib are laid end to end, they reveal Durbin's argument very clearly, and very clearly the Senate ought to censure him for making it.

Bill Kristol agrees that censure is appropriate, but in "A Better Idea than Censure" suggests that Durbin's removal from the leadership post he holds for the Democrats would be more likely. I agree that the Democrats would be wise to dismiss Durbin, but it isn't my party and if they wish to be led by fools brimming with anti-American rhetoric, that is their right.  A resolution of censure, though, sets a standard for the Senate which represents all Americans --a standard that says slanders on the United States military and America's conduct in the war on terror, especially those slanders that provide our enemies a huge propaganda victory, will not be tolerated by the body of senators, not just one party.

Scott Johnson, also writing in the Standard today, throws light on Robert Byrd, Durbin's predecessor in the Democratic Party senate leadership. Democrats, it seems, have for a long time been looking the other way when it comes to hypocrisy in their leaders. But as a party, and as senators, they should not look past Durbin's reprehensible arguments.

Blackfive has the contact information for Durbin's many offices. The contact information for other senators is here.


Update at 9:00 AM, Pacific

Joshua Micah Marshall, on Durbin's situation:

"I don't want to overplay the political significance of this. And I'm certainly not going to say the guy is toast. But I think [Durbin's] in real trouble. The conventional wisdom on the news today was that [Durbin] had pretty much put this story to bed with his 'apology' I didn't think that was true. Now it seems clear that it's not true.

But you don't have to have your ear to the ground or be getting tips about long forgotten speeches to know this. Much of the wobbly coverage of this story (and much of the deep unease over this among [liberals]) stems from fact that this obviously wasn't some misstatement or hyperbole or slip of the tongue. It's what the guy believes."

Not really.  It is Joshua on Lott, and the unease he was writing about was among "conservatives," not "liberals."  The same interesting exercise can be run with Andrew Sullivan's postings from mid-December, 2002.  Lott was Majority Leader, Durbin is Minority Whip, but both were/are leaders.  Lott's disqualifying statements came on race, Durbin's on the military.  But everything that was said about Lott then can and should be said about Durbin now, but whereas the GOP disciplined itself and its leadership, there is no indication that the Dems will do the same. The difference is that the GOP did not share Lott's views on Thurmond's 1948 campaign, but Durbin's anti-military instincts define his party.



Sunday, June 19, 2005


Posted at 8:50 AM, Pacific

Mark Steyn on Dick Durbin.  Smash has a key letter to Durbin.  (HT: Greyhawk.)    Blackfive has all the contact info.  Durbin is the subject on every Sunday talk show with John McCain predicting an apology from Durbin this week.  Senator McCain's mild handling of a gross slander on the American military is another step backward in his campaign for the GOP nomination --even though post "judges-deal," his support among GOP primary voters is already low. It is tough to fall off a floor.

Happy Fathers Day to all dads and grandads, but especially to those serving abroad and away from their children. MarkDRoberts has some great thoughts on the day in two posts, the second of which is here. Scroll down for the first.





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