Wednesday, August 31, 2005

What did the commission know, and when did they know it?

It turns out that the highly touted 9/11 Commission took its eye off the ball. More interested in the stories of pathological liars like RC Clark and Joey Wilson and the PC Jersey Chicks, the commission chose to ignore the story of a dozen military men who had a commission shattering story to tell. The men from Able Danger (AD) told pampered, pompous, overpaid, under worked, nit wit commission members and their equally venal staff dopes, “Yeah, we knew about Atta in 2000. We couldn’t pass it on to the FBI because commission member and then Justice Department big shot Jamie Gorelick said we could not gather such open source material on terrorists in the US legally. And if we did happen to stumble upon such information, Ms. Jamie said we couldn’t pass the info onto the FBI.” Why? “Well the Clinton administration was being investigated for Chinese money being funneled into their 1996 campaign – remember the Bob Dole line ‘Where’s the outrage?’ Well it seems that there was some nexus between President Clinton getting campaign money from the Red Chinese and the lifting of trade sanctions which allowed Loral Technologies to sell the ChiComs missile technologies which in turn allowed the ChiComs to hold our west coast at risk from ChiCom nukes. Ms. Jamie’s wall seems to have been erected to frustrate that investigation and had the unintended consequence of protecting Atta and his gang of murderers as well as the former president.”

The commission so full of itself and/or bull excrement ignored the AD men for two reasons. Every “non-partisan” commission, board, panel, committee or working group’s first responsibility is to keep the pressure off of the current political class. Why else would they exist? The political class forms these commissions to study politically hot subjects, Social Security, base closure, 9/11 to name a few that are too hot for pols to state a position on. This is a kin to parents turning over tough parenting decision to a blue ribbon panel of aunts and uncles. “Gee, mother, should we let little Jimmy pierce his tongue, cheek, lip, penis, nipple and eyelid so he’ll blend in at the Saturday night Satan worship concert?” “Oh! Dear he may hate us if we make this decision. Let’s get the blue ribbon panel of Aunt Lucy and Uncle Bill together for this one.” This is the biggest bunch of hooy. We elect pols, mostly weasels, to do a job. When the job gets too tough, the weasels do what weasels do, weasel their way out of tough conditions. The second function of these dopey commissions is to preen before the cameras in an effort to reassert their own importance. Has there ever been a single commission that was capable of going about its business in relative obscurity? The 9/11 commission was more interested in TV ratings during the RC Clark’s teary apology, for being a pretentious, clueless government bureaucrat I suppose, than they were in the fact that AD had uncovered Atta a year before he flew an airplane into the World Trade Center.

Here’s one thing that has gone even more unnoticed by the MSM than the 9/11commission’s disregard for the AD story. Remember John Poindexter? Yeah, Iran Contra fame John Poindexter. In his Iran Contra afterlife, Mr. Poindexter was appointed to head a Pentagon group that was responsible for performing the same type of work as the AD men on a much larger scale. The Libs, Dems and spineless Reps shut Mr. Poindexter’s group down – a typical government response to a group that produces results, shut it down. We can only hope that the adults in this administration moved Mr. Poindexter’s group inside some black program in the Pentagon or CIA.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Camp Cindy: Where have all the children gone?

More chairs than support? Posted by Picasa

UPDATE: Several posts below Lex notes that there are very few wide angle still shots or video camera pans of the crowds at Camp Cindy – AKA Camp Casey named after Ms. Sheehan’s son before it became clear that this whole thing is about Cindy not Casey. I e-mailed Eric Pfeiffer of the National Review On-line who, as fate would have it, was posting on the very subject. The picture above is from Eric. Had I hit the refresh button I could have saved the ether. Here is our e-mail exchange:

I checked out your posts [from Crawford] today. I've wondered what the crowds have been like. There are never any wideangle still shots or video camera pans to give one a feel for the size of the crowd at Camp Cindy. (Let's face it sadly it's not about Casey anymore.) I've suspected that exclusive use of tight well framed shots is an effort to hide the lack of support. Thanks.
Doug Schumick
Stuttgart, Germany

"Doug, thanks for writing in. Guess great minds think alike, check out the post I just put up: Your readership is most appreciated, btw.

Monday, August 29, 2005

The government ought to do something!

As gas prices hit $4 in some places the cry has gone up, from the socialists among us, “The government ought to do something about this!!” The Lib socialists’ solution is for the government to step in and fix gas prices at an unrealistically low price. “That’ll solve everything!” huff the Libs. Besides there is absolutely no reason for Bush’s greedy oil buddies to be making all of that money – right?

Government price fixing never works and is invariably counter productive. Artificially low prices in one area only causes the supply to dry up in that area creating shortages and eventually even higher prices as the supply and demand curve gets further and further out of whack. Look at what price fixing did for California - rolling blackouts and eventually even higher prices. Look what rent control schemes have done in NY, affordable housing is not available. In addition to the price fixing schemes, while jetting from one environmental event to another on private jets that use more fuel create and more pollution in an hour than the average 24 MPG SUV does in a year, Libs call for everything from you walking the 25 miles to work each day to getting your Jimmy Carter cardigan sweater out for winter – anything but getting more oil.

Well, I’ll surprise you all and agree with the Libs that government ought to do something.

  • The first thing the government ought to do is lift the idiotic environmental restraints on oil production off shore and in ANWR. The oil is there. We ought to be doing something to go get it.
  • Next, the government ought to clear the idiotic environmental restrictions on and create incentives for the oil companies to build more refining capability. It has been 25 years since an oil refinery has been built in the United States. If Saudi sold us all the oil we wanted at $25 a barrel, we could not refine any more of it than we are today. This fact in and of itself keeps supply unnecessarily low and prices unnecessarily high. (Note: A legitimate reason for high gas prices is that a mid sized refinery – one that produces 100,000 barrels per day – will cost in excess of $500 million to build. Double that cost for all of the enviro red tape that will have to be overcome.)
  • The government ought to review the requirement for the 17 specific blends of gas being used throughout the United States. Each of these blends causes a reduction in refinery capacity and distribution problems which contribute to higher prices.
  • The government ought to clear the red tape and provide incentives for the production of clean environmentally friendly nuclear power. The French have built 25 nuclear power plants since we finished our last one in the US. If the French, working 30 hour weeks, can manage it, well just about anybody ought to be able to manage it.

So yeah, the government ought to do something. The government ought to be getting out of the way of American entrepreneurs and let them solve the problem. Any attempt by the blowhards in Washington to solve the problem is sure to only exacerbate it.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Ms. Sheehan fills a void

I’ve been trying to stay away from the Cindy Sheehan…what? Story? No, Charlotte’s Web is a story. Saga? No, the Lewis and Clarke expedition was a saga. Legend? No, Sleepy Hollow is a legend. Tragedy? Ahhhh yes, I’ve been trying to stay away from the Cindy Sheehan tragedy - a disastrous event, especially one involving distressing loss or injury to life; a heartbreaking set of circumstances that causes grief and pain. Were that definition to continue with “that ends up making one look like a fool” it’d be prefect for Cindy Sheehan. The first tragedy was the death of Casey Sheehan by every account a true American hero. The on going tragedy is the MSM’s willingness to exploit Ms. Sheehan and her grief irrespective of how whacky it causes her to appear.

I’ve tried desperately to ignore this story. A poor woman wracked with grief is likely to do or say anything. I shook my head at both sides - those who pilloried her and those that lionized her. My thoughts were - just leave this poor woman alone - she cannot be held responsible for what she says. Under duress most of us say dopey things. It seems to me Ms. Sheehan has a clear case of mental duress.

Then I turn on CNN. Rather, I turn on the TV and CNN is on. Over here tired, uninspired, entrenched bureaucrats at Armed Forces Network decide what we watch. They consistently opt for programs that are like them, tired, uninspired, entrenched - like CNN. Anyhow, I turn on the TV there is some CNN blabbermouth saying, “As Cindy Sheehan waded through the throng of supporters blah…blah…blah.” The only problem was that the camera shot caught the CNN blabbermouth in lie. It showed Ms. Sheehan walking through an empty tent. When people finally did gather around her, at her request, they all had cameras or microphones. The “throng of supporters” consisted of media dopes one and all. Ever notice that there are never any wide shots of the crowds around Ms. Sheehan? I assume that the reason is that there are no crowds worth panning around or zooming out for.

Michael Barone had it right when he recently told Fox News Channel's Chris Wallace, “if a World War II era Cindy Sheehan had gone to Hyde Park and Warm Springs and camped out and demanded a meeting with President Roosevelt, [she] would just been thought to have been a person who was the victim of a personal tragedy and who had gone over the bend as a result of it, and they would have mercifully given her no publicity." The point being that they would have ignored the whole thing in deference to the mother’s reputation. Lex has noted on this page before that MSM is obsessed with an America defeat in Iraq. In another time the press would have protected Ms. Sheehan’s dignity by ignoring her. They would not have made a fool of her by calling attention to her.

I remember when my uncle died years and years ago. After the funeral week, I mentioned to my dad that my aunt seemed to be holding up well. As we walked along, he never looked up and noted, “Well she has all of those people there right now. Tonight they will go home and she’ll be in that house all by herself - tonight, tomorrow, next week, next month, who knows how long.” I think Ms. Sheehan is simply filling the void in her heart with media attention. The MSM for their part are happy to oblige. Who is the fair and balanced counter to Ms. Sheehan? They are out there, but they don’t get one-tenth the exposure of Ms. Sheehan. Why?

Power Line nails it

John H. Hinderaker of Power Line fame opines on many of the same themes that have been undertaken on this page lately. It is a compelling argument – but then Mr. Hineraker is a lawyer.

"Some Thoughts on Casualties in Times of War and Peace"

"It is universally acknowledged that public support for the Iraq war is eroding. Some of the polls supporting this claim are faulty because they are based on obviously misleading internal data, but the basic point cannot be denied: many Americans, possibly even a majority, have turned against the war.

"This should hardly be a surprise. On the contrary, how could it be otherwise? News reporting on the war consists almost entirely of itemizing casualties. Headlines say: "Two Marines killed by roadside bomb." Rarely do the accompanying stories--let alone the headlines that are all that most people read--explain where the Marines were going, or why; what strategic objective they and their comrades were pursuing, and how successful they were in achieving it; or how many terrorists were also killed. For Americans who do not seek out alternative news sources like this one, the war in Iraq is little but a succession of American casualties. The wonder is that so many Americans do, nevertheless, support it.

"The sins of the news media in reporting on Iraq are mainly sins of omission. Not only do news outlets generally fail to report the progress that is being made, and often fail to put military operations into any kind of tactical or strategic perspective, they assiduously avoid talking about the overarching strategic reason for our involvement there: the Bush administration's conviction that the only way to solve the problem of Islamic terrorism, long term, is to help liberate the Arab countries so that their peoples' energies will be channelled into the peaceful pursuits of free enterprise and democracy, rather than into bizarre ideologies and terrorism. Partly this omission is due to laziness or incomprehension, but I think it is mostly attributable to the fact that if the media acknowledged that reforming the Arab world, in order to drain the terrorist swamp, has always been the principal purpose of the Iraq war, it would take the sting out of their "No large stockpiles of WMDs!" theme.

"One wonders how past wars could have been fought if news reporting had consisted almost entirely of a recitation of casualties. The D-Day invasion was one of the greatest organizational feats ever achieved by human beings, and one of the most successful. But what if the only news Americans had gotten about the invasion was that 2,500 allied soldiers died that day, with no discussion of whether the invasion was a success or a failure, and no acknowledgement of the huge strategic stakes that were involved? Or what if such news coverage had continued, day by day, through the entire Battle of Normandy, with Americans having no idea whether the battle was being won or lost, but knowing only that 54,000 Allied troops had been killed by the Germans?

"How about the Battle of Midway, one of the most one-sided and strategically significant battles of world history? What if there had been no "triumphalism"--that dreaded word--in the American media's reporting on the battle, and Americans had learned only that 307 Americans died--never mind that the Japanese lost more than ten times that many--without being told the decisive significance of the engagement?

"Or take Iwo Jima, the iconic Marine Corps battle. If Americans knew only that nearly 7,000 Marines lost their lives there, with no context, no strategy, and only sporadic acknowledgement of the heroism that accompanied those thousands of deaths, would the American people have continued the virtually unanimous support for our country, our soldiers and our government that characterized World War II?

"We are conducting an experiment never before seen, as far as I know, in the history of the human race. We are trying to fight a war under the auspices of an establishment that is determined--to put the most charitable face on it--to emphasize American casualties over all other information about the war.

"Sometimes it becomes necessary to state the obvious: being a soldier is a dangerous thing. This is why we honor our service members' courage. For a soldier, sailor or Marine, "courage" isn't an easily-abused abstraction--"it took a lot of courage to vote against the farm bill"--it's a requirement of the job.

"Even in peacetime. The media's breathless tabulation of casualties in Iraq--now, over 1,800 deaths--is generally devoid of context. Here's some context: between 1983 and 1996, 18,006 American military personnel died accidentally in the service of their country. That death rate of 1,286 per year exceeds the rate of combat deaths in Iraq by a ratio of nearly two to one.

"That's right: all through the years when hardly anyone was paying attention, soldiers, sailors and Marines were dying in accidents, training and otherwise, at nearly twice the rate of combat deaths in Iraq from the start of the war in 2003 to the present. Somehow, though, when there was no political hay to be made, I don't recall any great outcry, or gleeful reporting, or erecting of crosses in the President's home town. In fact, I'll offer a free six-pack to the first person who can find evidence that any liberal expressed concern--any concern--about the 18,006 American service members who died accidentally in service of their country from 1983 to 1996.

"The point? Being a soldier is not safe, and never will be. Driving in my car this afternoon, I heard a mainstream media reporter say that around 2,000 service men and women have died in Afghanistan and Iraq "on President Bush's watch." As though the job of the Commander in Chief were to make the jobs of our soldiers safe. They're not safe, and they never will be safe, in peacetime, let alone wartime.

"What is the President's responsibility? To expend our most precious resources only when necessary, in service of the national interest. We would all prefer that our soldiers never be required to fight. Everyone--most of all, every politician--much prefers peace to war. But when our enemies fly airplanes into our skyscrapers; attack the nerve center of our armed forces; bomb our embassies; scheme to blow up our commercial airliners; try to assassinate our former President; do their best to shoot down our military aircraft; murder our citizens; assassinate our diplomats overseas; and attack our naval vessels--well, then, the time has come to fight. And when the time comes to fight, our military personnel are ready. They don't ask to be preserved from all danger. They know their job is dangerous; they knew that when they signed up. They are prepared to face the risk, on our behalf. All they ask is to be allowed to win.It is, I think, a reasonable request. It's the least that we--all Americans, including reporters and editors--can do."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Part III: The war on terror by the halves

If only half of America thinks we are at war and only half of those who do have any idea of what will be required to win the war, only half of that number perceives what is at stake in the war on terror. During WWII America knew exactly what was at stake. Americans could read the news as Axis powers gobbled up nation after nation, territory after territory and after occupation, the misery followed. Americans could read the reports of brutality and repression. The leaders of the Axis didn’t hide their desires to repress and rule the world. Americans understood that our very way of life was at stake. During WWII were some opposition politician, media hack or know nothing celebrity to advocate “pulling out of Europe” or conducting hearings on “why they hate us”, they’d have rightly been run out of town on a rail.

Plainly, what is at stake today in the war on terror is the survival of the United States and Western Civilization. This isn’t Lex talking. It’s the Islamo-Terror-Fascists (ITF). We’re the ones who have sat back fat, dumb and happy since 1803 and tolerated a low level ITF war on civilization. They’re the ones willing to blow us up. We’ve been willing to accept a low level of casualties - only occasionally bringing the ITF to heel – Tripoli twice (Once under Jefferson once under Reagan), Afghanistan and now in Iraq.

For the most part we’ve been willing to tolerate a low level of casualties, 5 in Kuwait - no big deal; 24 in Lebanon - not worth disrupting the markets l; the Achille Lauro – sad, but come on one American and a crippled Jew at that, really; 259 soles on a Pan Am flight - what to do?; blow up the World Trade Center the first time – hey only 6 people were killed what’s the big deal?; blow up our embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – OK 224 people were killed but, they weren’t even Americans; 17 sailors on the USS Cole in Yemen – hey they get paid for it; 3,000 Americans killed on 9/11 – damn, I guess we’d better do something about this.

Idiots, if they’d have killed the exact same 3,000 people over ten years, we’d have put up with it. Bin Laden would still be living large in Afghanistan. Saddam would still be sending $25,000 to Palestinian parents of suicide murderers. John Kerry would probably be President of the United States.

Today, because we see no appreciable change in our way of life, most Americans don’t feel that our nation is at risk to a bunch of terrorists in turbans trapped in the 12th century. If we knew what was at stake, we’d act as if we were at war and pursue this war with more of a national fervor. If we had a full appreciation of what was at stake things would be much different. If politicians understood that the ITFs would not hesitate to gas one of our elementary schools (Beslan), they wouldn’t use the war for political gain. If Dick Durbin had a clue that, given the chance, the ITFs would not hesitate to blindfold him, tie his hands behind his back and pitch off a three story building, there’d be no hand wringing about the conditions under which terrorists are living at Gitmo. If the good citizens of Illinois had any idea that, given the opportunity, ITFs would set off a dirty nuke in Chicago, any politician who dare compare American troops with Nazis, Khmer Rouge, and Soviet thugs would be looking for a new career – before any scheduled election. If Hollywood elites understood that they’d be the first ones beheaded as unclean infidels by ITFs, they be directing their disdain toward the ITFs instead of America’s elected officials. If the MSM knew that, if they failed to convert, they’d be the first to be jailed by the ITFs, they’d cover both sides of the current conflict in Iraq. If a majority of Americans understood that they or any one of their family members would receive no mercy from an ITF living next door or anywhere, they’d not tolerate the PC BS now engaged in by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA aka Thugs/Thousands Standing Around) and other law enforcement agencies.

The only reasonable explanation that these things are occurring under today’s circumstances is that precious few Americas really know what is at stake or the vast majority believes that we’re not vulnerable (Hey! 9-11) or they think that short term political gain is more important than winning the war. What else can explain the politics and mood of the country today?

For Lex the theory of halves explains where we are today:

Only half the country thinks we’re in a real war.

Only half of those who think we’re at war have a realistic idea of what’s required to win the war.

Of the people who think we’re at war and have an idea of what is required to win the war, only half of them have an idea of what’s actually at stake. Hint - it’s a lot more than American prestige. And this is for America. For Europe divide each category by…you guessed it…half.

Different subject: Pat Robertson is an ass. Any plans that the CIA had for Hugo Chaves’ plane to inexplicably crash are now on hold. Way to go Pat.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Part II: The war on terror by the halves

If only half of America thinks we are war, only half of those who do have any idea of what will be required to win the war. During WWII, metrics for victory were easy to identify, if at the same time presenting monumental hurdles to overcome. Allied leadership agreed that the unconditional surrender of the Axis powers was the only acceptable outcome. Every American knew that to achieve the surrender we needed to destroy the Axis armies in order to gain territory to pursue Axis leadership in their homelands. That’s pretty straight forward. Allies island hopped across the Pacific in order to get close enough to bomb the Japanese mainland while maintaining fighter cover. Success in the war was easy to gage if difficult to achieve. Americans could see our forces advancing across the Pacific and across Europe toward a victory. The end was so certain we know the exact day it occurred first with VE day May 8, 1945 followed by VJ day on Aug 15, 1945.

Our current war against Islamo-terror-fascists (ITF) and the states that support them is a little less straight forward. We can easily deal with state sponsors of terrorism like the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam in Iraq. (Look here if you don’t think Saddam was in bed with the terrorists.) The harder task is breaking up the terrorists organizations themselves. This is a task akin to trying to picking up mercury. The metrics for this hidden war are nearly invisible to the public. There are no armies maneuvering across a map. The terrorists have no assets that make for an easy conventional bombing campaign that we’ve come accustomed to watching on cable TV - no capitals, no economy, no industrial base. This is another factor leading a great many Americans to doubt we’re even in a real war.

Another problem that we have is our idea that all of our conflicts will end quickly. Dating back to Granada followed by Gulf War I, Panama, Bosnia and Kosovo, America has been fortunate to achieve our military goals quickly and at an almost miraculously low cost in casualties. We watch it all on TV as our troops storm an enemy under pin point bombing. It has resembled a video game more than war. It also conforms to the new American idea of conflict resolution. Conflicts are resolved in an hour or even half an hour. Shows like 24, the CSI series and others give unrealistic portrayals of our technological capabilities. We don’t and can’t know everything that is happening with our enemies in real time. In Iraq Americans are beginning to think, “Come on the hour’s up or we have spent our last quarter on this game.”

What is required by Americans to win the war on terror?

Accept a long term approach. This war is likely to go on for 15-20 years. Americans must be willing to stay the course for the long term. Pulling out of Iraq today would be a disaster. Iraq is the central front in the war on terror today. We need to stay the course there and kill as many ITFs there as possible. Our enemy knows that our strategic center of gravity is the will of the American people. Everything they do is geared toward wearing down that will. We need to take a rather stoic approach to this struggle. We can’t ride the highs and lows of the conflict sensationalizing either the capture of Saddam or the latest car bombing.

Accept the fact that there will be setbacks. Two posts below Lex notes a couple of military and political blunders. War is like trying to read a Chinese newspaper while tied up in a sack with a bobcat. It is the most difficult of human endeavors. We have to trust our leadership is doing everything in their power to ensure a positive outcome. Mistakes are going to happen. We should expect due diligence not perfection. When mistakes occur steps should be taken immediately to correct them. Only when a pattern or gross negligence is determined should we ask for heads to roll. Once action is taken we shouldn’t continue to engage in self-flagellation.

Accept the fact that there will be casualties. This point ties in with the long term approach and setbacks. We need to stop wringing our hands every time a soldier is killed. Yes every soldier’s death is a tragedy. These are adults that have chosen to defend their country. They are well aware that there are risks involved in what they doing. They enlist and reenlist to serve us. We should honor how they lived, their service and commitment, not wring our hands about how they died. We don’t keep score of how many enemy we have killed but we obsess endlessly with our own losses.

Report both sides of the story from the MSM. Michael Barone, co-editor of the bi-annual Almanac of American Politics, notes how in “World War II, the press almost unanimously wanted us to win the war,” but “today we have many in the press -- not most I think, but some at least -- who do not want us to win this war and think that we don't deserve to win this war." I’d argue that there are far more in the MSM that actually want America to lose than Barone might believe. There is nothing wrong with reporting both sides of the war and actually rooting for the survival of your own country. The MSM to date has acted as useful idiots for the enemy and it’s beginning to have effect.

Hold Damascus and Tehran at risk. There is no doubt that ITF in Iraq are being supported from Syria and Iran. These two governments should be told by John Bolton, arms akimbo in that manner that Libs on the Foreign Relations Committee found so threatening, to secure their borders…or else. While we are at it, we should send the same message to Mexico.

Understand what is at stake. This will be part three tomorrow.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Part I: The war on terror by the halves

After the Japanese launched their attack against Pearl Harbor, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that America was at war. One day after the attack FDR asked for got a declaration of war on Japan. America was united in a struggle for its very survival. Our politicians argued at the margin about strategies but all were in agreement that we were at war and that the war must be won decisively. No politician dare try and take political advantage of the early desperate days of the war where setbacks were many and assurance of success was to be found only in the words of the Commander in Chief.

Our unity permeated every aspect of life. News organization, while reporting the bleak truth about the war, sought out good news as well and emphasized it. Entertainers joined the effort producing upbeat songs, plays and movies about the war effort. Every part of America was mobilized for the war. Blackouts were enforced along America’s coastline. America’s armed forces grew by millions. The nation’s industrial might was converted from manufacturing Fords and Frigidaires to rolling out unprecedented numbers of tanks, ships and aircraft. Rationing of key war materials began almost immediately and continued until the end of the war. On December 8, 1941, America was at war and everyone knew it.

By comparison, four years after 19 jihadists brought down four civilian aircraft into a field and three of our most identifiable landmarks killing more than 3,000, half the nation have no understanding that America remains a nation at war. In contrast to WWII were every citizen was asked to sacrifice for the war effort, Americans today are counter intuitively asked go about living our lives just as we did before the attacks. Our stock market continues to hum along. We continue to rely solely on an all volunteer armed force. There has been no major conversion of our industrial base from producing pleasure goods to producing war goods. There have been no bond drives or special taxes to support the war. There is no rationing.

Our current effort in Iraq is viewed by most Americans as a conflict separate from Afghanistan and the war on terror. Democrats view the war not as a struggle for America’s survival but rather as a political opportunity. Democrats see Iraq as “George Bush’s war” as opposed to part of America’s war on terror. In spite of the fact that President Bush made almost exactly the same arguments for going to war as President Clinton and John Kerry, Dems continue to argue endlessly about why we went into Iraq in the first place rather than how to win now that we’re there. Dem hacks compare Abu Ghraib and Gitmo to Nazi Germany, Pol Pot’s Cambodia and Stalin’s gulag. I suppose they forget that in America’s most unforgivable prison scandal, Dem icon FDR interned Japanese Americans during WWII. For Dems it’s a war only in the sense that it allows them to mobilize an antiwar movement against a Rep president. Dems argue for a draft not because we need one but rather as means to jump start that antiwar effort. For Dems it’s a war only in the sense that it allows them to call for higher taxes to extract some kind of sacrifice, no matter how unwarranted and wrong headed, from the American people. The deficit continues to fall due to President Bush’s tax cuts but according to Dems we need to raise taxes to pay for the “war.” For Dems the war is not America’s struggle against a cruel and evil enemy. The real war is against a cruel and evil Bush administration. For the Dems there is no war on terror – at least not until they regain the White House and get to run it.

Two wholly owned subsidiaries of the DNC, the MSM and Hollywood elites, are quite happy to carry the Dem’s water to the American people on the war in Iraq. The war itself by any standard has been successful. You’d never know it from the MSM. In WWII journalist sought out good news when there was desperate little. Today the MSM ignore the plethora of good news and focuses endlessly on the latest car bomb or kidnapping. They ignore the scores upon scores of heroic events in Iraq and instead focus on a woman deranged by grief in an attempt to rekindle a Vietnam era antiwar movement. Hollywood know nothings mistake pop culture notoriety with having a brain. With the exception of a few country western stars, they march in complete lock step afraid to find a contrary voice lest they be uninvited to the next DNC Bush bashing fund raiser.

With this as a backdrop, life going along pretty much as normal, Dems calling the president and Americans engaged in the war effort Nazis, the MSM and Hollywood’s complicity in Dem activities, it’s little wonder that half of America thinks that we are engaged in some kind of sidebar in Iraq rather than the critical front in the war on terror. As such they search for an exit strategy in Iraq rather than a victory strategy, which ironically is the only suitable exit strategy.

Friday, August 19, 2005

War? What war?

We've been in peril before, but it was obvious Posted by Picasa

While we were waiting for our plane in Ft. Wayne, IN yesterday to return to Germany, I noticed a series of nice display cases. Among them were several WWII aviation displays. These displays included several old newspapers like the one above. A couple of things struck me about the newspapers.

1) The news early on was nearly all bad but the media hunted out the good news. Look at the paper above. Oil refineries at Santa Barbara had been shelled by a Japanese sub. But that little tidbit shares the headline with FDR’s vow of victory. Military lines everywhere were “yielding” but only for a time before taking the offensive. One would be hard pressed to find any such balance in today’s war on terror.

The situation in Iraq is about 180 out from where we were in 1941. By any realistic standard, we have been largely successful in Iraq. Yet you have to dig and dig to find any good news coming out of Iraq. Have mistakes been made – absolutely. But by historic comparison they are inconsequential. There are literally a million examples of military blunders. Here are just a couple:

A) On 20 November, 1943 the Marines started their attack on the lagoon at Tarawa 09:00, later than expected, and found themselves stuck on a reef some 500 yards off shore. The Japanese, hiding in deep shelters during the bombardment, quickly manned their guns when the naval fire was lifted to allow the Marines to move ashore. The Japanese let loose with a murderous fire on the Marines wading ashore across 500 yards of waist deep water. On 23 November the island was secured. Japanese casualties were about 4,690 killed in action. Marines suffered about 1,000 killed in action, and a further 2,200 wounded.

B) In Vietnam we allowed political expediency to trump military necessity. We never mobilized our reserve forces. McNamara’s whiz kids used body counts as a strategic metric for victory. The chief targeting officer was the Commander in Chief himself LBJ who ignored strategic targets (levies, dams, political leadership etc.) in the north to bomb the same bombed out ammo dumps over and over requiring the bombers to use same ingress and egress routes, which made them easy pickings for communist anti-aircraft gunners like Jane Fonda.

These were monumental blunders that cost thousands upon thousands of American casualties. By comparison Iraq has gone remarkably smooth.

2) The second thing that struck me was contrasting America’s war footing in 1941 with our war footing today. In 1941, it was obvious that America was at war. It was obvious what was required to win the war. It was obvious what was at stake. Today, only half the country thinks we are at war. Only half of those who think we are at war, have any idea of what is required to win that war. And only half of those who have an idea of what is required win have an idea of what is at stake. We are a bit long here so Lex’ll look at this theory of halves next week.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Colleges to honor whities

At Scout camp the boys were all divided into tribes. Lex Jr. was member of the Delaware tribe. The tribes had cheers and earned coo for doing well in events. I didn’t know we were scaring these poor lads for the rest of their lives. Lex participated in sports at a small Ohio high school that were known as the Indians. Now the NCCA is going to bar colleges that use American Indians as mascots and logos from using them during post season play.

I’m all for this! Why should the redskins get all of the glory? After all it was the fighting whities that vanquished the restless natives time after time. It was stupid white men that drove the Indians off of their land so that progress could follow. It’s about time the NCAA forced colleges to pay homage to the victors. Florida State University Seminoles will now take the name “Sherman’s Raiders” after William Tecumseh (Odd name isn’t it?) Sherman. Sherman was the great American Civil War General and Indian fighter who coined the phrase, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” This I’m sure this will meet the new NCAA guidelines.

The NCAA is absolutely right on this issue. And, of all the issues facing the NCCA this is THE most important! The bad news is that all of the good animals have already been taken. That leaves these schools that here to fore had looser Indians as mascots with few choices. But it’s about time overweight bald white guys got some glory for all that they’ve done for this great nation. My high school team is considering changing its mascot from an Indian, who never won anything, to a Fighting Honkie. After all, honkies rule the world or at least that part of it where most people would want to live.

Note to the NCAA: We take Indian names because we admire them for their spirit and their sense of community or tribalness which we non-PC white trash morons try to emulate and translate into team spirit. We don’t do it to poke fun them. We do it to honor them. Some are offended by our homage. So be it. Schools ought to be honoring the winners anyway. Who wants to known as the Fighting Carthaginians or Frenchmen? The NCAA and anyone who thinks that this is an issue ought to get a life.

To prove this point the NCAA has only banned the mascots and logos from post season play. Does that make any sense? The NCAA is saying to colleges, “It’s OK to be a racist all year long but when the play offs roll around you’d better clean up your bigoted act.” Hopefully several schools will take the NCAA to court and get them publicly chastised for their foolishness. Doubt it.

NOTE: We’re off to the colonies for 10 days – back on 19 Aug. Cruise the archives.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Truman was right

Something odd is going on in America. Back in a time before underwear was a fashion accessory and people were actually embarrassed if the top of their underwear showed above their trousers, 87% of Americans approved of our use of nuclear weapons on Japan. Today that number is only 47%. For a bit of context, a week or so before we dropped Fat Boy and Little Boy, America had suffered over 20,000 casualties on a dot in the Pacific called Okinawa. Okinawa was instructive because the Okinawans had little loyalty to Japan. Yet the island still cost America 20,000 casualties. If we suffered 20,000 casualties on an island with a population that was hostile to Japan, how would we have faired on the mainland where the population was fanatically loyal to the emperor?

My dad used to be of the opinion that “the bomb” was unnecessary. We could have blockaded the mainland shelled them from the sea and air and brought about an end to the war without the use of nuclear weapons. That may be true but little attention is given to the fact that the fire bombings of Tokyo and Dresden caused more casualties than the nuclear bombs. So what was to be gained by bombing Japan for months on end from the sea and air? The only thing to be gained was more casualties in all probability. Also, while it is clear the Japanese people were quite ready to throw in the towel, the Japanese leadership was far from it and it’s the leadership that calls the shots.

In my modest gun collection I have a “last ditch” Arisika rifle. The Arisika was the Japanese equivalent of our M1 rifle. Most were well made, accurate, reliable and sturdy. The “last ditch” model got its name because it was not well made, accurate, reliable or sturdy. It has all the appearances of the early Arisikas from a distance but on close examination the stock is crude like a high school wood shop project. The rifle has iron fixed sights, which would never do for modern warfare. On mine the front sight is actually slightly bent. The parts catch and have to be forced rather than slide smoothly like on a well made piece. These “last ditch” Arisiakas were made quickly and haphazardly by the 100,000s to arm every man woman and child on the mainland who could tote a weapon. There is little doubt that any invasion of the Japanese mainland would have met stiff resistance and huge US as well as Japanese casualties.

Now, in the white hot light of history, from the comfort of a classroom, the kitchen table or trendy bar, where nothing is at stake the same Americans that call for withdrawal from Iraq because the Marines suffered 21 casualties last week ignore the 20,000 casualties on Okinawa and say they would have been willing to sustain an estimated 7,000 a week for a year or more to invade Japan and avoid the use of nuclear weapons. As Bob Novak might say, bull excement.

Truman made the right choice. If he were running the “war” on terror today, among other things; former employees of Al Jazeera would still be thanking Allah that they were not on duty the day the whole operation was turned into a smoldering ash pit; citizens of Tehran would have three times daily duck and cover drills in preparation for what they think of as the inevitable; Basher Assad’s picture would grace the back of every milk carton in the Middle East and Palestine would be an Israeli suburb.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Tough duty

Few things in life are as difficult as being the one to tell the next of kin that their loved one has died. I know. I’ve performed such duties. It is a crushing experience for the family and for those making the notification, one that would cause even the most carefree, hardened or callous among us to sympathize and empathize. The families always seem to know. An unexpected knock at the door followed by the sight of two or three men in uniform leaves the family with only questions of how, when, where, did he suffer and are his friends OK.

This week 21 such “casualty calls” were being made in Ohio communities from Cleveland to Cincinnati. Families of Marines serving with 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines were desperately trying to contact their loved one and dreading the sight of one of those plain government vehicles that seem to come only in colors of blue or white with black wall tires and no trim what-so-ever. You could pick one of these cars out instantly in a mall parking lot during the Christmas rush. Inside are two or three young men who would gladly trade a combat assignment or just about any other assignment for the one that has fallen on their shoulders.

But what they are about to do is important duty that must be performed with the utmost care and compassion. Few things that they will do in their careers as Marines have the potential to go so wrong in so many ways or be as fulfilling if handled properly. The family will lean on these professionals to get them through the grief, funeral arrangements, insurance payments, shipping of personal property, head and foot markers, escorts, flags, music, questions about the circumstances of the death, etc.

The idea is to be as supportive of the family as possible without being intrusive. It is a difficult balance given the number of questions and amount of work that must be done. The Marines will always send an officer, a senior enlisted man and if possible a Marine of approximately the same rank as the deceased. The initial call will be to make the notification and provide support if desired by the family. The next of kin is not left until a friend or another family member arrives and the notification team is asked by the family to leave.

Casualty assistance duty is tough, challenging, long, hard duty complicated by a rollercoaster of emotion and a myriad of things that can and often will go wrong. It is the best and worst of duty. It’s the best because you get to be of service to the next of kin of a fallen comrade. It’s the worst because at the end, the salute is fired, Taps is played, the flag is folded and another Marine, a husband, a father, a brother, a son, a lover and/or a friend is just gone.

Note: To all who support the troops, a favorite mantra of Libs, The Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation helps the families of fallen Marines. Look them up @

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Hackett: Once a Marine, Sometimes a Marine

When is a win not a win? When Republicans win, that’s when. Al Gore claimed victory in 2000 when he got a majority of the popular vote. Dopey Al forgot about that little understood part of the Constitution referring to the Electoral College. So Al really won, right? Then in 2004 Bush beat the remarkably poor liar John Kerry by three million votes. In Ohio Bush beat the Lying One by over a 100,000 votes. But that was close enough for Democrats to claim victory even though they lost the popular vote this time by more than 3 million. So they lose the popular vote, lose the electoral vote, but for 70,000 Ohio voters the Decepticon would be president is how Democrats spun that loss into a Democrat victory.

Now some Ohio Democrat gets beat by 4% in a special election with a 20 something percent turn out in the safely Republican 2d district and Democrats are taking a victory lap. I’m interested in this race because I’m a Buckeye and because the Democrat candidate was Marine reservist. Democrat Paul Hackett lost the special election on Tuesday to fill a U.S. House seat representing Southwestern Ohio. But Hackett took the occasion of his candidacy to bash the president of the United States. Hackett referred to the president as an “SOB”, “chicken hawk” and “the biggest threat to America.”

The tough talking Marine reserve Public Affairs Officer must have forgotten about article 88 of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice which states:

"Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct."

The tough talking PAO, microphone in one hand, press release in the other, no doubt will hide behind the fact that he wasn’t on active duty when he uttered his contemptuous remarks – sort of like a baby brother that taunts his older siblings then runs like a panicked squirrel to the kitchen to hide behind his mom’s apron when one of them takes the first step toward him.

The Marines have a couple sayings that Hackett just doesn’t measure up to, “Once a Marine, always a Marine” and “Always Faithful.” Hackett is a Marine when it suits his political ambitions but lacks the character to remain faithful to his Marine code if that code gets in the way of a couple of votes or a couple of bucks for his campaign. Hackett is a, “Pull up the ladder I’m aboard,” and a “Cut in front of the troops in the chow line” type of Marine -- me first. I didn’t meet many of those types in 20 years Hackett seems to have all of the traits. The country is better off with him at home in Ohio.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Lex draws a retirement check from the government. As such he is subject to the UCMJ as well. This makes Lex somewhat of a hypocrite in that he regularly lampoons elected officials. I do it because it’s sooo easy. I give myself a pass on this for couple of reasons.

One reason is degree. A child that steals a candy bar and a felon that breaks into a house, beats the occupants and steals the stereo are both breaking the law. It’s a question of degree. Lex is like an otherwise lawful citizen who speeds 10 MPH over the limit to get to work. Hackett is like methed up dope (I can say that because he lost) who runs a cement mixer at 90 MPH across a school playground at recess.

Also, I have no illusions about the reach of this tiny blog. The ten or so people that stumble across it equates to kitchen conversation rather than a political campaign. Last, the things Lex says here are in no way designed to promote himself or provide financial gain. Maybe I’ll stop using the throwaway modifiers like, Teddy, the (fill in your own reference about driving, drinking, swimming). I don’t wish to be hauled before a Courts Martial and asked, “Were you contemptuous toward Sen Kennedy?” To which my only honest reply would have to be, “I hope so.”

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

No really, you can't make this stuff up

Now that John Bolton is safely ensconced at the UN beating up third rate third world thugs in the passageways, the Dems have returned to addressing the issues that really matter to Americans. The DNC is taking on Bush because he is physically fit. No really, you cannot make this stuff up. After the president’s latest check up the DNC released the following:

“Doctors pronounced the President to be in ‘superior’ physical condition, which media reports attributed to his rigorous, six day a week exercise routine. While President Bush has made physical fitness a personal priority, his cuts to education funding have forced schools to roll back physical education classes and his Administration's efforts to undermine Title IX sports programs have threatened thousands of women's college sports programs.”

Let see, the president lets Teddy, no let me drive, Kennedy write an education bill laden with pork and overspending and then the DNC uses the occasion of the president’s outstanding physical condition to bash him on education spending? Does that make any sense to anyone with a brain? The Heritage Foundation notes the following:

Education spending surged by 78 percent, from $34 billion to $58 billion. Nearly all of this growth took place between 2001 and 2003, as the (Teddy, no really, let me drive, Kennedy authored) No Child Left Behind Act was being implemented. Most of the new spending was for aid to K-12 schools (in-cluding special education funding), which jumped from $19 billion to $32 billion. An $8 billion hike in college student financial aid dominated the rest of the spending increase. (See Chart)”

So this is how it goes. The president lets Teddy, I promise I won’t drown you, now let me drive, Kennedy write the education bill which increases spending by a whopping 78%. The president gets a check up. He is pronounced to be in superior physical condition. The Dems then link the president’s superior health to the under funding of an education bill they wrote. Someone has got to explain this to me. Is this how the Dem mind doesn’t work? Bush gets a good check up and Dems attack him on education. Why not health care and the uninsured?Well, while education spending was only going up by 78%, health spending increased by a gargantuan 81%. So I guess in this case a mere 78% increase in education spending was in fact the slow moving target.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Dems cry like orphans who murdered their parents

With not much else to be upset about, Iraq’s constitution is going apace; Judge Roberts appears to be squeaky clean; the economy is humming; Karl Rove didn’t out ol’ what’s her name and Joe Wilson has again been exposed as the liar he is etc, Dems are in high dudgeon over President Bush’s recess appointment of John Bolton to the UN. During the presentation of Bolton at the White House Bush said, "This post is too important to leave vacant any longer, especially during a war and a vital debate about UN reform." He also said Bolton had his complete confidence.

Teddy, I once drowned a girl, Kennedy sobered up long enough to say, "Ahh, It's a ahh devious maneuver that ahh evades the constitutional requirement of ahh Senate consent and ahh only further darkens the cloud over ahh Mr. Bolton's credibility at the ahhh U.N," No, Ted it doesn’t evade the constitutional requirement for Senate consent. The Senate had the opportunity to offer its opinion but when it was clear that the president would get his man, 44 obstructionists decided Senate consent wasn’t necessary a majority of 60 was.

Chris Dodd of Connecticut said "That's not what you want to send up, a person who doesn't have the confidence of the Congress and so many people who've urged that he not be sent up to do that job." So you block a vote on Bolton then complain that he didn’t get a vote. Isn’t that like the Menendez brothers begging for mercy because they are orphans?

George, I’ll cry if I want to, Voinovich whined, "I am truly concerned that a recess appointment will only add to John Bolton's baggage and his lack of credibility with the United Nations." Well Georgie give him an up or down vote. Then go back to Ohio and cry after the Senate votes him in.

John, I was in Cambodia, Kerry tried a new lie, “[Bolton’s recess nomination] only diminishes John Bolton's validity and leverage to secure America's goals at the U.N. John Bolton has been rejected twice by the Senate to serve as our Ambassador to the United Nations.” Well, no, John Boy he has never been rejected. He has never gotten an up or down vote. So lie on dopey one. Tell us one more time about that beret you carry in your brief case Oh Gallant one.

I’m happy John Bolton is at the UN. I only hope he remains true to the reason he’s there – to clean out the rat’s nest. I hope his initial visit with Kofi Annan, when he presents his papers to the Secretary General, goes like this. He walks into Kofi’s office at the UN and says, “Kofi, I’m John Bolton – the President of the United States’ man to clean up this horrendous mess. You are corrupt. This organization is corrupt. The US is funding the lion’s share of this mess so we’re going to start running it. Now, get your stuff out of my office.”

Monday, August 01, 2005

No wonder Libs are affraid of Scouting

We’re back from a great week spent with great young people. Last week I took Lex Jr. to Cub Scout camp. We spent four and half days doing interesting activities and having fun without a single “screen” – that is TV, computer, or gameboy screen. During the four days I figured out why Libs and the MSM have targeted Scouting as a public enemy.

1. Scouts pray openly and earnestly. Every meal begins with a prayer by one of the scouts. Libs cannot stand this aspect of Scouting and would rather have al Qaeda bomb making classes conducted in a public park than a Scout meeting.

2. Scouts advocate the safe handling of weapons. The scouts got to shoot BB guns, bows and arrows, were schooled in the safe handling of knives, and saw a tomahawk demonstration. Libs cannot bear the thought of another generation of American boys being schooled in the safe operation of guns and other manly weapons.

3. Scouts recognize winners. In Scouting competition, Scouts actually came in first, second and third and are recognized for their achievements. Our group got overall second place. Lex Jr. was assigned to tie the Boland knot for our group in the team competition. The Boland knot is very difficult knot to tie for an adult let alone an eight year old. He practiced and practiced but only achieved about 40% success rate. When we arrived at the knot tying station, they wanted two Scouts, one to tie simple square knot and one to tie the Boland. One of the older boys jumped in and tied the easy square knot leaving the mysterious Boland to Lex Jr. The rope was much bigger and heavier than the rope he’d practiced with. His little hands struggled with rope. He started out fine but then lost his way. He wanted to start over but the young man running station said, “Sorry, only one try.” He then showed Lex Jr. the way, let him try until he got it right, but awarded no points for the failed effort. In a world where score is no longer kept, everyone gets a trophy and the least bit of effort is lionized, Lex Jr. was bit upset. The older boys telling him they couldn’t tie it either did little to comfort him. He redeemed himself at the first aid station getting a perfect score and beamed. The idea that everyone is not a “winner” is an anathema Libs. 40 year of affirmative action which confusses equal outcome with equal opportunity is being shattered by Scouting. Why even the idea that the young people are competing probably causes Libs to lose sleep.

4. Scouting teachs self reliance. Boys do for them selves as best they can. The older boys help the younger and the adults step in only when necessary. How can Libs achieve their idea of a government run state with all of these pesky self reliant Scouts running around? The next thing you know Scouts will be saying they know how to spend their money better than the government. By the way, thrift and saving are taught in Scouting.

5. And of course it’s “boy” Scouting. Why, how dare this organization exclude girls. Don’t they know that the counter intuitive motto “our diversity is our strength” applies in every aspect of life!

It was a good week. There are young people out there ready to lead.

UPDATE: Check out what President Bush had to say to the Boy Scouts here.