Friday, November 30, 2007

The Whacked-Winged Paulitician

From the CNN/YouTube GOP Debate Wednesday night:

YouTube question: Good evening, candidates. This is (inaudible) from Arlington, Texas, and this question is for Ron Paul.

I've met a lot of your supporters online, but I've noticed that a good number of them seem to buy into this conspiracy theory regarding the Council of Foreign Relations, and some plan to make a North American union by merging the United States with Canada and Mexico.

These supporters of yours seem to think that you also believe in this theory. So my question to you is: Do you really believe in all this, or are people just putting words in your mouth?

Cooper: Congressman Paul, 90 seconds.

Paul: Well, it all depends on what you mean by "all of this." the CFR exists, the Trilateral Commission exists. And it's a, quote, "conspiracy of ideas." This is an ideological battle. Some people believe in globalism. Others of us believe in national sovereignty.

And there is a move on toward a North American union, just like early on there was a move on for a European Union, and it eventually ended up. So we had NAFTA and moving toward a NAFTA highway. These are real things. It's not somebody made these up. It's not a conspiracy. They don't talk about it, and they might not admit about it, but there's been money spent on it. There was legislation passed in the Texas legislature unanimously to put a halt on it. They're planning on millions of acres taken by eminent domain for an international highway from Mexico to Canada, which is going to make the immigration problem that much worse.

So it's not so much a secretive conspiracy, it's a contest between ideologies, whether we believe in our institutions here, our national sovereignty, our Constitution, or are we going to further move into the direction of international government, more U.N.

You know, this country goes to war under U.N. resolutions. I don't like big government in Washington, so I don't like this trend toward international government. We have a WTO that wants to control our drug industry, our nutritional products. So, I'm against all that.

But it's not so much as a sinister conspiracy. It's just knowledge is out there. If we look for it, you'll realize that our national sovereignty is under threat.

Cooper: Congressman Paul, thank you.


Ok, I know some of my readers are also apprehensive about such things as a "North American Union". I would be too.....if it posed an actual threat in the real world. I'm sorry, but lefties aren't the only ones that fall victim to conspiratorial fear-monger. I think the North American Union is nothing more than a conspiracy for conservatives. There isn't a single politician I can think of who is pushing for an NAU. If you know of one, let me know.

Given how ArPee believes there is cause for concern, is it any wonder that he's attracted 9/11 Truthers and so many other conspiracy nutjobs to rally to his call?

John Hawkins offers some of the best antidote to the conspiracy. I suggest you read my links in this previous post (includes articles by Michael Medved). You might sleep better at night.

Responding to Emily's YouTube question on "three federal programs you would reduce in size in order to decrease..." the size of government, Ron Paul answers:

I would like to change Washington, and we could by cutting three programs, such as the Department of Education -- Ronald Reagan used to talk about that -- Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security is the biggest bureaucracy we ever had.


"Ronald Reagan used to talk about that".....*rolls eyes*

Why is it, that Ron Paul opportunistically likes to drape himself in the mantle of the Founding Fathers and Ronald Reagan, with whom he would be at odds with on the matter of foreign policy?

He also has cited how Nixon was voted into office by Americans because Nixon pledged to bring troops home on grounds of "peace with honor". But Ron Paul shares more with McGovern- the true anti-war candidate- than with Nixon on the Vietnam War; Nixon did not want to abandon our South Vietnamese allies and lose the country to communist rule.

I actually would like to see a push toward the reduction of the size of government, which may even involve the complete elimination of federal programs like the Department of Education and the Department of Agriculture.

Many conservatives have campaigned on promises of smaller government; but to the degree to which we'd like for this to happen, is it a plausible possibility, or a quixotic pie-crust promise? Easily made, easily broken?

And besides, what we can do is we can have a stronger national defense by changing our foreign policy. Our foreign policy is costing us a trillion dollars, and we can spend most of that or a lot of that money home if we would bring our troops home.


As in all things, there is criticism to be made in regards to our foreign policy; but the kind of criticism Ron Paul levels at current U.S. foreign policy, shares much in common with the blame-America criticism of Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky. If Ron Paul thinks American interventionism is not doing more good than harm on behalf of the world (and in particular, on behalf of America) then I suggest he drop Imperial Hubris for a moment, and read the following books:

  • Imperial Grunts and Hog Pilots and Blue Water Grunts, by Robert Kaplan.
Robert Kaplan has been embedding himself with small deployments, throughout the world. And he will stick with a unit for weeks- not just a day- to get to know the soldiers and to earn their trust. What our soldiers are doing in foreign lands benefits America and benefits humanity, around the world.

In an interview with Hugh Hewitt, Robert Kaplan says,
people have this image of the U.S. military going all over the world as a busybody, propping up dictatorships. It’s so false. In fact, the only regimes we prop up through training missions are of certified democracies, certified by Congress, which we have not imposed on them, that they’ve evolved organically on their own as democracies.

Far from being isolationist before World War II and the formation of NATO, America from the very beginning of the Republic intervened in a nearly continual series of civil wars, coups, and hostage rescues. Starting with attacks on the Barbary Coast pirates between 1801 and 1805, the nation has always interfered in other nations' business far from home.

Two generations of college students have been taught that all such "adventurism" is nothing but imperialism and running-dog capitalism--and Boot does not deny that states naturally send in their forces out of national interest rather than mere idealism. But he shows that the majority of the time the Marines intervened to stop the slaughter of civilians, to retaliate against the killing of Americans and destruction of their property, and to prevent chaos from spreading beyond a country's borders. While such incursions often served the local property-owning elites and corrupt grandees, such interventionists as Thomas Jefferson, Chester A. Arthur, and Teddy Roosevelt assumed that order and stable governments were usually preferable to mass uprisings, constant revolution, and mob rule.
Americans, in fact, have always defined their interests broadly to include the defense and promotion of the “universal” principles of liberalism and democracy enunciated in the Declaration of Independence. “The cause of America is the cause of all mankind,” Benjamin Franklin declared at the time of the American revolution, and as William Appleman Williams once commented, Americans believe their nation “has meaning . . . only as it realises natural right and reason throughout the universe”.

This is the real “traditional approach”: the conviction that American power and influence can and should serve the interests of humanity. It is what makes the US, in Bill Clinton’s words, the “indispensable na­tion”, or as Dean Acheson colourfully put it six decades ago, “the locomotive at the head of mankind”. Americans do pursue their selfish interests and ambitions, sometimes brutally, as other nations have throughout history. Nor are they innocent of hypocrisy, masking selfishness behind claims of virtue. But Americans have always had this unique spur to global involvement, an ideological righteousness that inclines them to meddle in the affairs of others, to seek change, to insist on imposing their avowed “universal principles” usually through peaceful pressures but sometimes through war.

This enduring tradition has led Americans into some disasters where they have done more harm than good, and into triumphs where they have done more good than harm. These days, this conviction is strangely called “neo-conservatism”, but there is nothing “neo” and certainly nothing conservative about it. US foreign policy has almost always been a liberal foreign policy. As Mr Will put it, the “messianic impulse” has been “a constant of America’s national character, and a component of American patriotism” from the beginning.

The other constant, however, has been a self-image at odds with this reality. This distorted self-image has its own noble origins, reflecting a perhaps laudable liberal discomfort with power and a sense of guilt at being perceived as a bully, even in a good cause. When things go badly, as in Iraq, the cry goes up in the land for a change. There is a yearning, even among the self-proclaimed realists, for a return to an imagined past innocence, to the mythical “traditional approach”, to a virtuous time that never existed, not even at the glorious birth of the republic.

This is escapism, not realism. True realism would recognise America for what it is, an ambitious, ideological, revolutionary nation with a belief in its own world-transforming powers and a historical record of enough success to sustain that belief.

Coming off of an interview with Robert Kagan, Michael Medved writes,

Ignoring the long record of American involvement in such conflicts in every corner of the globe, those who question our current world-wide role express reverence for a simple-minded (and non existent) tradition of isolationism. They cite George Washington’s words in his celebrated Farewell Address of 1793: “The Great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign Nations, is in extending our commercial relations to have with them as little political connection as possible….’Tis our true policy to steer clear of permanent Alliances, with any portion of the foreign world.” Jefferson also warned against “entangling alliances,” at the same time he negotiated a vast expansion of U.S. territory with France, and pursued the daring and difficult Barbary Wars.

Even Pat Buchanan, the three time Presidential candidate most often identified as a contemporary advocate of “isolationism,” rejects the idea that the nation ever cowered behind its Atlantic and Pacific “water walls.” In his provocative and beautifully written book “A Republic, Not an Empire,” (1999), Buchanan argues: “The idea that America was ever an isolationist nation is a myth, a useful myth to be sure, but nonetheless a malevolent myth that approaches the status of a big lie…. What is derided today as isolationism was the foreign policy under which the Republic grew from thirteen states on the Atlantic into a continent-wide nation that dominated the hemisphere and whose power reached to Peking….To call the foreign policy that produced this result “isolationist” is absurd. Americans were willing to go to war with the greatest powers in Europe, but only for American interests. They had no wish to take sides in European wars in which America had no stake.”
To hammer home how wrong Ron Paul is on foreign policy and a romanticized non-existent isolationist/non-interventionist past, Mike Boyer at Foreign Policy Passport Blog writes,

1. Foreign Policy and the Constitution. Paul is what you might call a Constitutional originalist. He divines his governing philosophy from the Constitution and America's Founders. But his understanding of their vision is profoundly flawed. Paul appears to believe the founders vested absolute authority for foreign-policy making in Congress, not the executive. "Policy is policy," Paul wrote in 2006, "and it must be made by the legislature and not the executive." But there's almost no evidence the founders saw it in such simplistic, absolute terms. Law professor Michael Ramsey, a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, recently noted (pdf) this in very eloquent terms in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy. Reasonable people can agree that Congress has failed its oversight responsibilities with regard to Iraq and the Bush Doctrine. But Paul's thinking here is simply not supported by the weight of historical evidence.

2. "Noninterventionism." This is the word Paul uses to describe his foreign policy, and he insists the term also encapsulates the vision of the Founders. While Paul claims "noninterventionism" is not isolationism, it sure sounds like it is. For instance, he even seeks to dismantle the Bretton Woods system of international cooperation born from the ashes of the Second World War (more on that below). Isolationism by any name, friends, is still isolationism. Sure, such sentiments were rampant in 18th and 19th century America and before WWII. The same sentiments are resurfacing today as a backlash against Iraq. Intelligent people can disagree about the Bush Doctrine's place in history. But let's not make up facts. The post-9/11 period has been filled with literature by such historians as John Lewis Gaddis and Walter Russell Mead debunking the notion that the founders were only concerned with domestic security and never saw an ideological component to America's place in the world.

Hat tip: American Power.

McCain attacking Paul on the isolationist point (yeah, yeah, yeah...he's a "noninterventionist", because he wants to still "do trade" with other nations- do read the link, and then tell me if you really see a distinction between the terms):

McCain: I just want to also say that Congressman Paul, I've heard him now in many debates talk about bringing our troops home, and about the war in Iraq and how it's failed.


And I want to tell you that that kind of isolationism, sir, is what caused World War II. We allowed...


We allowed ...

(Audience booing)

Cooper: Allow him his answer. Allow him his answer, please.

McCain: We allowed -- we allowed Hitler to come to power with that kind of attitude of isolationism and appeasement.

(Audience booing)

And I want to tell you something, sir. I just finished having Thanksgiving with the troops, and their message to you is -- the message of these brave men and women who are serving over there is, "Let us win. Let us...


Cooper: We will -- please. We will get to Iraq...


All right. Let me just remind everyone that these people did take a lot of time to ask these questions, and so we do want direct questions to -- the answers. We will get to Iraq later, but I do have to allow Congressman Paul 30 seconds to respond.

Paul: Absolutely. The real question you have to ask is why do I get the most money from active duty officers and military personnel?


Is he talking about "donors identified as affiliated with the military,"?

Like everything else Ron-con-related, I believe he is spinning the results of this.

As the reporter in the Houston Chronicle says,

“many contributors do not disclose their occupations, making it difficult to determine the total extent of military contributions to any one candidate.” More importantly, the amount of contributions are incredibly small, hardly proving much of anything.

Beth adds in the Outside the Beltway comment section:

Also not understood by the obsessed Paulbots and other assorted antiwar nutters: the fact that "military employees" includes civil service employees of the various services. That means a GS-7 who works at Whatever Air Force Base in BFE, Idaho has their employer listed as "Air Force." For all we know, not one of those people is someone in uniform. I'm sure there are some, but it certainly is not all, nor is it indicative of some big antiwar sentiment in the military. For Paultards and Sullivan to extrapolate that idea from this is laughably absurd.
Furthermore, if one compares the 3rd Quarter statistics of Paul and McCain regarding the contribution amounts of those who do not list their employer, 100 dollars worth was given to Ron Paul's coffers, compared to that of McCain's: 2,244,223.39. Out of all of that money, how much of that could have been donated by active and retired veterans? Or "Affiliates" of the military? We don't know. But it seems clear, by the paltry $100 given by the person(s) not listing employment, that the Ron Paul supporters are overwhelmingly listing their employment when making contributions.

Michael Goldfarb at The Weekly Standard writes,

among all the candidates, the total number of contributors surveyed here numbered less than 1,000--out of an Armed Forces of 2.2 million. And, remember, most of these contributors aren't even active duty.

So yes, Andrew [Sullivan], those tasked with fighting this war do get it, which is why they aren't donating to Paul. The only real report we have on political contributions from active duty military in this election cycle has Paul taking in just over $19,000, and that's only counting donations larger than $200. So, maximum, we're talking about 90 active duty soldiers who we know have actually contributed to Ron Paul's campaign. The rest is pure speculation, and the Chron's tally of $63,440, with its average of $500 per donation, is unlikely to be populated by many of the guys who are "actually fighting this war."

Ron Paul continues...

What John is saying is just totally distorted.

(Protester shouts off-mike)

Paul: He doesn't even understand the difference between non- intervention and isolationism. I'm not an isolationism, (shakes head) em, isolationist. I want to trade with people, talk with people, travel. But I don't want to send troops overseas using force to tell them how to live. We would object to it here and they're going to object to us over there.


In case you did not click onto the Jump Blog link, like I encouraged you to do, I am reprinting the relevant sarcasm:
So, we shouldn’t entangle ourselves in foreign affairs…except of course to trade with them. And travel to them. And have diplomatic relations with them. Which of course would lead to things like trade treaties. Which lead to real treaties. Which lead to military obligations and charges of American Imperialism and makes a target of our trade partners. Which would put us right back where we are. If, that is, the terrorists didn’t just decide to start knocking us off back here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. Which of course they would. Good idea Ron. It’d be much better to fight ‘em right here.

Isolationism= Non-interventionism.

Governor Norquist: President Bush made a commitment when he ran for president in 2000 an 2004 that he would oppose and veto any tax increase that Congress sent him. My question to each of the candidates is: Would you promise to the people watching this right now, that you will oppose and veto any efforts to raise taxes as long as you're president?

Paul: I have never voted for a tax increase; never will. But the tax issue is only one-half of it.

You can easily pledge not to raise taxes, but you have to cut spending.


There's really nothing special about Ron Paul's response here. It's the right answer; basically, the same one all the Republican candidates gave (more or less).

Next YouTube question, and perfect one prescribed to the doctor:

Journey: Hi. My name is Journey. I'm from Texas. And this question is for all (inaudible) pro-life candidates.

In the event that abortion becomes illegal and a woman obtains an abortion anyway, what should she be charged with, and what should her punishment be? What about the doctor who performs the abortion?

Cooper: Congressman Paul, 90 seconds.

Paul: You know, it's not a federal function to determine the penalties for a crime of abortion if it's illegal in a state. It's up to the state, it's up to the juries. And it should be up to discretion because it's not an easy issue to deal with. But the first thing we have to do is get the federal government out of it. We don't need a federal abortion police. That's the last thing that we need.


But for the ...

Cooper: Should a woman be charged with a crime?

Paul: Pardon me?

Cooper: Should a woman be charged with a crime?

Paul: I don't personally think so. I'm an O.B. doctor, and I practiced medicine for 30 years, and I of course never saw one time when a medically necessary abortion had to be done.

But so I think it certainly is a crime. But I also understand the difficulties. I think when you're talking about third trimester deliberate abortion and partial birth abortions, I mean, there has to be a criminal penalty for the person that's committing that crime. But I really think it's the person who commits the crime. And I think that is the abortionist.

Cooper: So you're saying a doctor should be punished.

What sort of punishment should they get?

Paul: Well, I think it's up to the states. I'm not in the state -- I'm not running for governor. And I think it's different, and I don't think it should be all 50 states the same way. So, I don't think that should be up to the president to decide that.

Ron Paul gets a plus on this one.


Buzz Brockway: Hello. My name is Buzz Brockway from Lawrenceville, Georgia. All the talk about the war in Iraq centers around how quickly we can get out. I think that's the wrong question. We need to make a permanent or long-term military commitment to the region.

By staying in Iraq, we provide long-term stability to the region, we provide support for our allies, and we act as a deterrent to the trouble-makers in the region. Which presidential candidate will make a permanent of long-term military commitment to the people of Iraq?

Thank you.

Cooper: Congressman Paul, 30 seconds.

Paul: The best commitment we can make to the Iraqi people is to give them their country back. That's the most important thing that we can do.


Well, that's odd.....I could have sworn we have been doing just that, by first ridding them of a murderous dictator; then helping a budding democracy flourish while helping the Iraqi people drive out the occupiers who have been fomenting chaos and discord.

The Iraqi people have their country; we are there helping. It is in our interests to do so, and in their interest.

Already, part of their country has been taken back.
No thanks to the white flag Americans who would have had us abandon them to al-Qaeda violence and al-Qaeda victory.

In the south, they claim the surge has worked, but the surge really hasn't worked. There's less violence, but al-Sadr has essentially won in the south.

The British are leaving.

Michael Yon responding to purported violence in wake of the British pullout:

Basra is not in chaos. In fact, crime and violence are way down and there has not been a British combat death in over a month. The report below is false.

Ron Paul continues...

The brigade of Al Sadr now is in charge, so they are getting their country back. They're in charge up north -- the Shia -- the people in the north are in charge, as well, and there's no violence up there or nearly as much.

So, let the people have their country back again. Just think of the cleaning up of the mess after we left Vietnam. Vietnam now is a friend of ours -- we trade with them, the president comes here.

What we achieved in peace was unachievable in 20 years of the French and the Americans being in Vietnam.

Peace didn't occur because we pulled out of Vietnam. The South was overrun because the North broke their agreement with us, and Congress failed to back our pledge to protect our South Vietnamese allies, should this happen. Not only did more death and suffering result from our abandonment of responsibilities, but we also lost the honor that Duncan Hunter referred to in a previous GOP debate. That too, seemed to escape Ron Paul's fathoming.

What would the ripple effects of an American retreat, advocated by the Paul Pots, be to Iraq? For America? In Vietnam, our enemies stopped at their shores; with the conflict in Iraq, our enemies, who Lawrence Wright said have been bogged down in Iraq, will not stop until they reach our shores.

So it's time for us to take care of America first.


Does handing al-Qaeda a victory in Iraq, or even the perception of victory "take care of America first"? When Osama bin Laden was able to claim victory at the Lion's Den against Soviet forces, it was a minor inconsequential loss for the Soviets, but a major propaganda win for "jihad" recruitment.

Al-Qaeda enjoyed new life and recruitment prior to the troop surge and Sunni tribe Salvation Fronts, not because of what the U.S. has achieved in Iraq, but because of perceptions and media propaganda about our involvement in Iraq.

Cooper: Senator McCain?

McCain: Well, let me remind you, Congressman, we never lost a battle in Vietnam. It was American public opinion that forced us to lose that conflict.


I think it's important for all Americans to understand the fundamental difference. After we left Vietnam, they didn't want to follow us home. They wanted to build their own workers' paradise. If you read Zarqawi, if you read bin Laden, if you read Zawahiri, read what they say. They want to follow us home. They want Iraq to be a base for Al Qaeda to launch attacks against the United States. Their ultimate destination is not Iraq.

Their ultimate destination is New York City, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Phoenix, Arizona. This is a transcendent challenge of our time.

(Audience booing)

McCain: I believe that we can meet it and we will defeat it.


Cooper: Congressman Paul, I know -- we'll get everyone in on this. Congressman Paul, just wanted to allow you to respond.

Paul: Shortly after the Vietnam War ended, Colonel Tu and Colonel Summers met, and they were talking about this. And our -- and the American colonel said, "You know, we never lost one battle." And Colonel Tu, the Vietnamese says, "Yes, but that's irrelevant."

And it is irrelevant.

The moral lesson of that story is lost on Ron Paul. The point is, militarily, we did not suffer defeat. We suffered defeat at the hands of Walter Cronkite and the media reportage, in public opinion and waning support and understanding of the war; and we suffered defeat by the lack of will to win in Congress. In not fighting it to win, we could only insure a defeat. And this is why Colonel Tu understood that it didn't matter that the North Vietnamese sustained massive casualties and losses. Body count didn't matter to them. But it mattered to us. Military wins and losses were irrelevant, because the real battle was taking place in public opinion polls and back in Washington.

But we have to realize why they want to come here. Wolfowitz even admitted that one of the major reasons that the Al Qaida was organized and energized was because of our military base in Saudi Arabia.

He says, "Oh, now, we can take the base away." He understood why they came here. They come here because we're occupying their country, just as we would object if they occupied our country.

(Audience booing)

We took our military base away, because after OEF, there was no longer any reason to enforce the southern no-fly zone, over Iraq.

Cooper: Well, it's Congressman Tancredo. And we're running short on time. So, please, let's try to get to these.

You have 30 seconds.

Tancredo: I wish that we lived in the world that Ron is describing -- I wish that we lived in a world where we did not have to worry. By simply removing our forces, we would be safe.

Unfortunately, Ron, honest to God, I don't believe that that is the case. We are living in a world where we are threatened. It is radical Islam.


It is -- the ideology, the political and religious ideology of radical Islam is a threat to America, and it would be a threat to America if we never had a single person serving anywhere outside this country.

I disagree with Tancredo when he speaks of bombing Mecca and Medina. But on the point of ideology being the root cause, Tancredo has it absolutely right. Islamists who militantly follow the fundamental tenets of the Koran and Hadith reject modernity and see the very existence of non-Islamic societies as an offense to Allah.

Ron Paul likes to tell us "listen to what they say". Yet, he seems to completely ignore the rhetoric of radical Islam which includes the Shia Islamic militants of Iran who await the coming of the 12th Imam, and the Sunni al-Qaeda master plan which desires to pitch the Islamic world into a "clash of civilizations"; both theologies wish to create an Islamic super-caliphate, and cleanse the world of all things un-Islamic.

Citing "occupation of the Saudi peninsula" as the casus bellum, misses the crux of the problem: radical Islam, which does not need an excuse to commit barbarism and murder, independent of American foreign policy.

Perhaps a good stocking stuffer for Ron Paul would be Lawrence Wright's, The Looming Tower.

Cooper: We're running short on time. I want to get Ron Paul's video in. Let's watch.

(Begin videotape)

Paul: The people are sick and tired of what they're getting, and they want some real changes.

I don't want to run your life. We need less taxation, less regulations, a better economic system.

We were not meant to be an empire; we were meant to be a republic, protecting liberty here at home.

It's up to you to spread this message around this country. This is an American cause, it's a cause of freedom. There's something going on in this country, and it's big. It's really big.

(End videotape)

Cooper: That's part of the Paul campaign.

In a recent LATimes column, At Peace with Pax Americana, regarding American "empire", Jonah Goldberg cites from a book I've long had my eyes on: Colossus, by Niall Ferguson.
Critics of American foreign policy point to the fact that the U.S. does many things that empires once did -- police the seas, deploy militaries abroad, provide a lingua franca and a global currency -- and then rest their case. But noting that X does many of the same things as Y does not mean that X and Y are the same thing. The police provide protection, and so does the Mafia. Orphanages raise children, but they aren't parents. If your wife cleans your home, tell her she's the maid because maids also clean homes. See how well that logic works.

When they speak of the American empire, critics fall back on cartoonish notions, invoking Hollywoodized versions of ancient Rome or mothballed Marxist caricatures of the British Raj. But unlike the Romans or even the British, our garrisons can be ejected without firing a shot. We left the Philippines when asked. We may split from South Korea in the next few years under similar circumstances. Poland wants our military bases; Germany is grumpy about losing them. When Turkey, a U.S. ally and member of NATO, refused to let American troops invade Iraq from its territory, the U.S. government said "fine." We didn't invade Iraq for oil (all we needed to do to buy it was lift the embargo), and we've made it clear that we'll leave Iraq if the Iraqis ask.

The second verse of the anti-imperial lament, sung in unison by liberals and libertarians, goes like this: Expansion of the military-industrial complex leads to contraction of freedom at home. But historically, this is a hard sell. Women got the vote largely thanks to World War I. President Truman, that consummate Cold Warrior, integrated the Army, and the civil rights movement escalated its successes even as we escalated the Cold War and our presence in Vietnam. President Reagan built up the military even as he liberalized the economy.

Sure Naomi Wolfe, Frank Rich and other leftists believe that the imperialistic war on terror has turned America into a police state. But if they were right, they wouldn't be allowed to say that.

Yet somehow we are told by the Paul Reverists that our civil liberties are being eroded by The Patriot Act and NSA wiretaps that are in place to protect American citizens against the next terror attack.
Two compelling new books help explain why our "empire" is different from the Soviet or Roman varieties. Walter Russell Mead's encyclopedic "God and Gold" argues that Anglo-American culture is uniquely well suited toward globalism, military success, capitalism and liberty. Amy Chua's brilliant "Day of Empire" confirms why: Successful "hyperpowers" tend to be more tolerant and inclusive than their competitors. Despite its flaws, Britain was the first truly liberal empire.

America has picked up where the British left off. Whatever sway the U.S. holds over far-flung reaches of the globe is derived from the fact that we have been, and hopefully shall continue to be, the leader of the free world, offering help and guidance, peace and prosperity, where and when we can, as best we can, and asking little in return. If that makes us an empire, so be it. But I think "leader of the free world" is the only label we'll ever need or -- one hopes -- ever want.

Cooper: Let's go to the next question -- it's for Ron Paul.

Mark Strauss: Mark Strauss, Davenport, Iowa.

This question is for Ron Paul.

Mr. Paul, I think we both know that the Republican party is never going to give you the nomination. But I'm hoping that you're crazy like a fox like that and you're using this exposure to propel yourself into an independent run.

My question is for Ron Paul: Mr. Paul, are you going to let America down by not running as an independent?

Thank you.

Paul: Now that's what I call a tough question, because I have no intention of doing this.

I am a Republican. I have won 10 times as a Republican and we're doing quite well. We had 5,000 people show up at a rally in front of the Independence Hall with blacks and Hispanics and a cross-section of this country.

You know that we raised $4.3 million in one day?


Without spending one cent. We didn't even pay an individual to go out and they weren't professional fund-raisers. It came in here -- it was automatic.

We're struggling to figure out how to spend the money. This country is in a revolution. They're sick and tired of what they're getting. And I happen to be lucky enough to be part of it.

Cooper: I'll take that as a no.



Cross-posted at Flopping Aces

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A little bird told me...

So why is it acceptable to name one's child "Muhammed"?

Further Forward

The Petraeus doctrine:
more resources more intelligently applied further forward

An Iraqi family looks through a bus window before leaving for Baghdad from Damascus, Syria, at the bus station of Saydeh Zeinab, near Damascus November 27,2007. Iraqi government organised a free of charge return trip to encourage Iraqis to go back home.
REUTERS/Khaled Al-hariri

Read Bottomline Upfront on the hundreds of thousand who are returning to Iraq.

Amy Proctor has a surge of posts on the positive progress in Iraq:
Economic Growth and Nightlife
U.S. Casualties at the Lowest Since the Start of the Iraq War
Famous Riverside Park in Baghdad Reopens
6,000 Sunnis make pact with U.S. in Iraq

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

CNN Tube

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Anti-"Jihad" Movement Poster Child

To all Islamic hirabists looking for martyrdom by murdering innocents:

One of your 72 virgins has been found:

A handout photo released by the Iraqi Defence Ministry in Baghdad November 27, 2007 shows a suspected insurgent wearing a bride's dress shortly after he was caught with three others in Taji, Iraq. Iraqi soldiers arrested four suspected insurgents, two of them dressed as a bride and groom, during what they said was a fake wedding procession in Taji, 20 km (9 miles) north of Baghdad, the Defence Ministry said. They did not say when the arrests took place.

Still want to continue down that dark path to martyrdom?

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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

*sigh* Good Luck!

Monday, November 26, 2007

"Ha, ha, ha....Happy Holidays!"

Hillary Cardinell, 3, right, chats with Santa Claus inside the Cherry Creek Mall in Denver, Colo.
Matthew Staver - Bloomberg News

What...the hell?!!
Wed Nov 14, 11:04 PM ET

SYDNEY (AFP) - Santas in Australia's largest city have been told not to use Father Christmas's traditional "ho ho ho" greeting because it may be offensive to women, it was reported Thursday.

Sydney's Santa Clauses have instead been instructed to say "ha ha ha" instead, the Daily Telegraph reported.

One disgruntled Santa told the newspaper a recruitment firm warned him not to use "ho ho ho" because it could frighten children and was too close to "ho", a US slang term for prostitute.

Leave Christmas alone!

And quit fabricating offenses!

Also blogging:
Woman Honor Thyself

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Caption This

A university student thrusts flowers at anti-riot police in Valencia, Venezuela, during a rally against the constitutional reforms proposed by Chavez. Venezuelans will decide in a Dec. 2 referendum on several measures designed to allow Chavez to rule indefinitely and increase state control.
Juan Carlos Hernandez - AP

Mike's America lost again this week. The two winners are the two participants:

The Liberal Lie, the Conservative Truth:

"In yet another move by Hugo Chavez to control Venezuala, helmets and riot shield are now being issued as a control for hay fever."


Now for Something Different:

Here, get some of this "tough guy"

Better luck next week, Mike's America!

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Mud-slinging, Right Out of "the Republican Playbook"

U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) sit onstage during the CNN/Nevada Democratic Party debate at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) in Las Vegas, Nevada November 15, 2007. (UNITED STATES)
REUTERS/Steve Marcus

And Maureen Dowd "moderates".

New York Senator Hillary Clinton pulling one out of the Republican Playbook, throws mud at her political presidential rival, Illinois Senator Barack Obama:

Making an economic speech in Knoxville, Iowa, earlier that day, the New York senator had touted her own know-how, saying that “there is one job we can’t afford on-the-job training for — that’s the job of our next president.” Her aides confirmed that she was referring to Obama.

Obama avoids the mud, then slings it right on back:

Pressed to respond, Obama offered a zinger feathered with amused disdain: “My understanding was that she wasn’t Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, so I don’t know exactly what experiences she’s claiming.”

Everybody laughed, including Obama.

Dowd goes on to mock Hillary's "experience".

Back in January, regarding the criticism on Barack's lack of experience, I wrote:

In many ways, he actually has more experience than Hillary Clinton, when you look at his record of campaigning. Hillary may have 6 years to his 2 years serving in the Senate; but his total years of public office is 10 to her 6, as before becoming a Senator, her only experience was being the wife of Bill Clinton. Obama ran twice for state senate, and won both times; he ran for U.S. congress, and lost.
Personally, I think those with experience at governing states have more useful experience than lawmakers. As Ken Taylor writes,
The nation historically views the executive experience of a Governor as a strong qualification to step into the Presidency since each has governed at the helm of a state government.
Furthermore, as far as the electability of sitting Senators goes:

historically this nation does not elect sitting Senators. Why ? The best explanation that I have heard and agree with is that bickering from the Senate floor and maneuvering to pass a bill does not make a leader nor qualify one for the highest office in the land and the most powerful position in the world. Senators are usually professional politicians who have either had no executive experience at all or very little and many have made the office of Senator their career.

Obama "qualifying" his foreign policy experience:

Speaking around Iowa this week, Obama made the point that his exotic upbringing, family in Kenya and years as an outsider allow him to see the world with more understanding, and helped form his judgment about resisting the Iraq war.

“I spent four years living overseas when I was a child living in Southeast Asia,” he said. “If you don’t understand these cultures then it’s very hard for you to make good foreign policy decisions. Foreign policy is all about judgment.”

Lmao! Go get 'im Hillary:

“With all due respect,” she told a crowd in Iowa. “I don’t think living in a foreign country between the ages of 6 and 10 is foreign policy experience.”

And NYTimes columnist Dowd offers the final barb, straight out of the "Republican Playbook":

But is living in the White House between the ages of 45 and 53 foreign policy experience?

Ouch. "Progressive" liberals can be so gosh-darn mean, sometimes.

Read the whole thing. One of the rare times I'd plug a Maureen Dowd column.

Hat tip: The Dennis Prager Show

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Black Friday

From one holiday...

U.S. President George W. Bush talks to troops from Camp David, Maryland on Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2007. Bush phoned members of the Armed Forces, who are stationed overseas, to wish them a happy Thanksgiving. (UNITED STATES)

National Thanksgiving Turkey, during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, November 20, 2007.
REUTERS/Jason Reed

President Bush and children pet "May", the Thanksgiving Turkey, during a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, November 20, 2007.

REUTERS/Jason Reed

President Bush and Pastor Mike Hennigan gather packets of macaroni and cheese for those in need, during his visit to the Central Virginia Foodbank, in Richmond, Virginia, November 19, 2007. Bush travelled to Virginia for events prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.
Reuters/Jason Reed

U.S. air force personnel at Manas air base near Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan celebrate Thanksgiving November 22, 2007.

REUTERS/Vladimir Pirogov

A U.S. soldier takes food during a Thanksgiving meal at Bagram airbase, north of Kabul, November 22, 2007.
REUTERS/Ahmad Masood

Host Kirk Douglas (R) waves next to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa before they serve a Thanksgiving meal outside the Los Angeles Mission in the Skid Row section of Los Angeles, California November 21, 2007.
REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

Two young girls ride on their father's rolling suitcase as they make their way to a flight at Newark's Liberty Intertnational Airport in Newark, New Jersey, November 21, 2007.
REUTERS/Mike Segar

Staff Sgt. Raymond Golden of Charleston, S.C. and headed to Afghanistan sits near a Christmas tree above the atrium at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, one day before the Thanksgiving holiday in Atlanta, Georgia, November 21, 2007.
REUTERS/Tami Chappell

...To the next....

Customers congregate before dawn Friday for the doors to open at Target in Texarkana, Texas. Store management say they saw over 500 customers in the first hour the store opened and a 37-inch High Definition TV for $549 was a huge seller for those who were patiently waiting.
Evan Lewis - AP

Customers pour into Circuit City as the store opens at 5 a.m. on Black Friday in Oakley, Calif. The first customers had been in line for nearly 12 hours.
Carrie Cochran - AP

A man dressed as Santa Claus (C) waves to the crowd as he rides aboard his float through Time's Square during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, November 22, 2007.
REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid

U.S. air force personnel at Manas air base near Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan celebrate Thanksgiving, November 22, 2007.
REUTERS/Vladimir Pirogov

Hillary Cardinell, 3, chats with a man dressed as Santa Claus inside the Cherry Creek Mall in Denver, Colo. Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is the first big shopping day of the holiday season.
Matthew Staver - Bloomberg News

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Winning Hearts and Minds on the Stem Terror Cells Debate?

Did President Bush's defunding of embryonic stem cell research back in 2001 motivate scientists to redouble their efforts on adult stem cells? Does Bush therefore deserve some of the credit for yesterday's dramatic breakthrough in creating stem cells out of adult skin cells?
Well, not according to Kevin Drum. And leave it to the leftwing blogosphere to also find occasion to bash Bush.

But good news, nevertheless.

When we finally win the terror war, I'm sure we'll have won that in spite of President Bush's aggressive approach, as well; after all, the lefty critics have done it to Reagan, refusing to credit the former President with bringing the Cold War to its desirable conclusion.

Now if only we could convince President Bush to spend a little less time hanging around Bono....

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hardball Real Time Countdown with Arab Media

Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn have done us much damage. Certainly, America should understand the sins of its past. To acknowledge and recognize. But America should not wallow in self-hatred and castigate itself from its influence upon the world, which I believe is a largely positive force for good. Call me partisan and patriotic if you'd like.

The Noam Chomskys and Howard Zinns have also been "good" for America. How so? Because they are living proof of the freedoms we enjoy in our country, to express our thoughts, ideas, and opinions.

Mona Charen has an article up, regarding MEMRI and the Arab media:
There are figures within the Muslim world who make the case for democracy, liberalism (small l) and historical accuracy better than we do. Actually, that isn't terribly hard. We are so internally riven, so crippled by political correctness and so guilty about our success that we do not make the case for ourselves very well at all. Besides, those unfamiliar with the level of fantasy and invention in the Arab press are ill equipped to fight the battle where it needs to be engaged.

When Saudi expert on International Law, Mahmoud Mubarak attacks the United States for the sins of its past on Al Jazeera TV (Qatar) one month ago, pointing out American-Indian genocide and a racist past, Egyptian/American writer Magdi Khalil defended the U.S. by pointing out that America "has made mistakes in the past with regard to the blacks and the Indians, but it has paid the price and acknowledged its mistakes. Hundreds of books in America acknowledge what happened to the blacks and the Indians."

Liberal activists and "blame-America-first" Americans have made such a loud din on bashing the United States, that Mubarak has no counter to argue against the fact that Americans already possess a self-awareness of their sins.

Magdi Khalil, on the other hand, an Egyptian/American writer, really seemed to score points when he appeared on Al Jazeera last month to debate Mahmoud Al-Mubarak, a Saudi expert on international law. They began with the resolution Congress passed (over the administration's objections) condemning the Armenian genocide 100 years ago. Mubarak heaped contempt on the United States, asking, "Who if not Congress legislated laws in 1848, permitting the annihilation of the Indians?" and what of "Andrew Jackson, whose portrait is on the $20 bill, considering the killing of Indians a duty, and he even mutilated corpses of Indians?"

The United States, Khalil responded, "has made mistakes in the past with regard to the blacks and the Indians, but it has paid the price and acknowledged its mistakes. Hundreds of books in America acknowledge what happened to the blacks and the Indians." Museums have been erected, he added, telling the stories of these events. Yet, in Turkey, it remains a crime to say that genocide was committed against the Armenians.

When Mubarak cast the usual (for a Saudi) aspersions on the historicity of the Holocaust ("the alleged Holocaust"), Khalil wheeled on him. "The two greatest genocides of the 20th century are the crimes of annihilating the Armenians and the Holocaust. Despite this, not a single Arab or Islamic country acknowledges this or denounces the Turks. Unfortunately, they cast doubt about it and refer to it as 'accusations.' The events of the Holocaust took place 50-60 years ago, yet you deny them. So what do you do with regard to ancient history, most of which has been distorted in Arab and Islamic countries? If you deny the history of 50, 60 or 90 years ago, for which there are still living witnesses, what will you do with ancient history?"

"The discourse coming out of the Arab and Islamic region is a disgrace," Khalil argued. "In Darfur and south Sudan, severe human rights violations occur -- ethnic cleansing, the murder of millions and rape. Yet no one but the West exposes what is happening in south Sudan and Darfur. It is the West that attacked Serbia. It is the West that established the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. It is the West that protects the independence of Kosovo."

At this juncture, the moderator (if you can call him that) was impelled to interrupt. "With regard to Darfur, are you trying to convince the Arab world that the American wolf, as Dr. Al Mubarak has called him, is shedding a tear over what is happening in Darfur? There is oil in Darfur, and they don't care about all the Arabs and Muslims put together."

Khalil responded: "That's all nonsense. That deceiving propaganda is all around you -- oil and all that. Do you know how much was spent on Iraq? Even if America were to take Iraq's oil for the next 200 years, it would not compensate for what it has spent on Iraq. You are used to spreading delusions, lies and deceiving propaganda. Give us one example when you supported human rights in any country?"

After reading Mona Charen's article, I checked out the video. It is worth seeing. Magdi Khalil is my new hero. We need more voices like his out there in the Arab media to counter the anti-American rhetoric and propaganda.


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Chuck for Huck.......WTF?!?

Who's endorsing whom? Chuckabee! Lol.

I'm a fan of neither; mostly ambivalent.

This ad simply kicks ass, though.

Then of course: there's Robert Novak's non-endorsement.

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Al Qaeda pushing up the daisies in Mesopotamia

An Iraqi soldier escorts a detainee in a military camp in Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad, September 19, 2007. REUTERS/Stringer

While y'all are making your stomachs into a cemetery for some unpardoned turkeys, consider the following:

"Iraq has proved to be the graveyard, not just of many al-Qaida operatives, but of the organization's reputation as a defender of Islam,"

To this, we give thanks.

Hat tip: KURU Lounge

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Happy Thanksgiving to My Amen Chorus and Curse You Choir

First off: Happy Thanksgiving to those who serve in our military, and to their families. God bless you all, and thank you for the service and sacrifice on behalf of all of us!!!

U.S. soldiers in Kosovo attend Thanksgiving lunch at the U.S. military base Bondsteel, which is 40 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of Pristina, the capital of the breakaway Serbian province.
Hazir Reka - Reuters

A schoolboy waves at a U.S. army soldier who is on a foot patrol in Baghdad's Dora neighborhood.

Hadi Mizban - AP

And now for some humor:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nothing quite like getting together with Democrat family members around the dinner table and listening to their gobbledegook

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What Happened, Scott?

Outgoing White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan (R) passes behind U.S. President George W. Bush as they arrive to announce that Tony Snow will serve as the new press secretary in the briefing room of the White House in Washington in this April 26, 2006 file photo. McClellan says in an upcoming book that he was misled by President George W. Bush and other high officials into misinforming the press about a CIA leak case that fueled debate about the Iraq war. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque/Files (UNITED STATES)


In an excerpt from his forthcoming book, McClellan recounts the 2003 news
conference in which he told reporters that aides Karl Rove and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were "not involved" in the leak involving operative Valerie Plame.

"There was one problem. It was not true," McClellan writes, according
to a brief excerpt released Monday. "I had unknowingly passed along false
information. And five of the highest-ranking officials in the administration
were involved in my doing so: Rove, Libby, the vice president, the president's
chief of staff and the president himself."

Until the book comes out (due out in April), and we know the excerpt in its full context (think: the Alan Greenspan quote about Iraq being a war for oil), I have nothing to critique.

But do have a question:

So....when's the 60 Minutes interview?

And will George Bush come out with a "tell-all", outing himself on 60 Minutes when he retires? Good grief!

Well, here's an interesting update even as I type:

MSNBC News Services
updated 1 minute ago

White House spokesman Scott McClellan does not believe President Bush lied to
him about the role of White House aides I. Lewis Scooter Libby or Karl Rove in the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity, according to McClellan's publisher.

Peter Osnos, the founder and editor-in-chief of Public Affairs Books, which is publishing McClellan's book in April, tells NBC from his Connecticut home that McCLellan, "Did not intend to suggest Bush lied to him."

Osnos says when McClellan went before the White House press corps in 2003 to publicly exonerate Libby and Rove, the problem was that his statement was not true. Osnos said the president told McClellan what "he thought to be the case." But, he says, McClellan believes, "the president didn't know it was not true."

Osnos says the quotes which appeared on the Public Affairs Books website
were part of the roll out of the book catalogues for the spring printings. And
he says McClellan had not finished the manuscript for the memoir yet and was
working under deadline to have the book completed for the April

Hat tip: Flopping Aces

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oh, you mean there actually is good news?!?

A former Iraqi insurgent and a member of the Sunni Awakening shakes hands with a U.S. soldier while patroling an area in Hor Rajab, southwest of Baghdad. As part of the Sunni Awakening the residents of Hor Rajab pledged to fight Al-Qaeda and take back control of their area.
Ahmad Al-Rubaye - AFP/Getty Images

Neighborhood boys watched a table soccer game in the Haifa Street section of Baghdad. Until recently the area was plagued by sectarian violence.
Photo: Joao Silva for
The New York Times

Artwork by the children is displayed on the wall. Mrs. Aasan and her co-workers have tried to steer the children toward more positive depictions of their lives.
Photo: Joao Silva for The New York Times

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Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

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