Sunday, August 31, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
The Ultimate TrooperGate Post
First off, congratulations to John McCain and his campaign team for revitalizing the GOP by choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate.
MataHarley compiled the ultimate post on TrooperGate. Please pay her a visit at Flopping Aces.
Saturday Morning Cartoons: Our Gang- Education Bored
Sunday, August 24, 2008
WMDs Found! (i.e., Weapons of Media Distortions)
Iraq should be a political winner for Republicans. Not a losing talking point.
The popular, mainstream mantra hawked around media circles to the public, still seems to be that "Bush lied, people died". It's really past time to put that lie to rest. It affects this election cycle, as Democrats still want to tie John "McSame" to a "Bush 3rd term", with the perceived notion that President Bush was wrong, not just on the economy, but on the war decision to invade Iraq, no matter the current end result of victory, thanks to the stimulus package of a 20,000 troop surge. It doesn't matter to anti-Bush Democrats that al-Qaeda (along with the anti-war movement) has lost in Iraq and that the so-called "civil war" fomented by al-Qaeda in Iraq fizzled into the civil war that never was. No matter what the victory may have achieved the world in the long term, the price in blood and treasure wasn't worth it...because it all happened under Bush's watch.
The justification for war was more than about wmd finds; and began long before Bush's watch. Read Douglas Feith's War and Decision. Read Scott Malensek's series of posts covering the Iraqi Perspectives Project and Select Senate Committee on pre-war intell reports. Visit Mark Eichenlaub's Regime of Terror.
More currently, read Randall Hoven's American Thinker piece. Then spread the news around. Why? Because truth matters before the November Election.
So who lied and misled the public? It wasn't VP Dick Cheney. It wasn't President Bush. He only made a few mistakes and some bad decisions. But removing Saddam was the right thing to do; it was selfish self-interest- not moral high ground- which had France, Germany, and Russia stand opposed to the invasion.
Democrats think removing Saddam and his murderous sons from power was the wrong thing to do (since it all happened under Bush's leadership, and not Clinton's). And yet they (rightfully) gave the president their approval, authorizing the use of force, when public opinion polls were on the side of the President. Randall Hoven:
the "legal case" was solid and Iraq was given chance after chance after chance.
- The authorization noted at least 10 UN resolutions, spread out over a decade, to justify the use of US military force.
- The Authorization noted that "the President has authority under the Constitution to take action in order to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States, as Congress recognized in ... Public Law 107-40." [Emphasis added.]
- The Authorization noted Public Law 105-235 (passed under President Clinton) that urged the President "to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations."
Senator Obama was against the Iraq invasion when he wasn't in a position to make the informed decision. Now, he still stands against it, because, politically, the war remains unpopular and based upon lies in the minds of many American voters. The actual justifications put forth by the Administration have been largely distorted and misrepresented by anti-war activists and a complicit media that leans left of center and anti-Bush.
Senator Obama and his Party think being against the invasion of Iraq is a political winner. What needs to happen, is to prove to the American public that the decision to forcefully remove Saddam was the right decision; and one based solidly on what we knew then (12 year history of defiance and violence; understanding that mistakes- i.e., flawed intelligence- are not the same as lies) and what we know today.
The initial 3 week invasion was a success. The succeeding 5 years were a challenge. Proving America not to be a paper tiger and surging on to victory the past year should be a feather in the cap. America has nothing to be ashamed of and everything to be proud of; and the political party that stood firm and responsible to the decision despite the fickle nature of public opinion polls, deserves accolades.
Bush was right. So, too, were Democrats before they were stricken with political amnesia.
Given that...and given the foreign policy challenges of Iran, Russia, China, North Korea, Pakistan, etc., I'll take more of the McSame. I mean...who do you suppose America's enemies dread more? An Obama presidency, or a McCain presidency?
Child Abuse or Champion-Building?
What is the secret to China's success? Well....besides this, there are other cultural-political matters of deep significance:
A coach counts down the time as boys hang on a bar for five minutes as part of a training session at the Gymnastics Hall of the Shanghai University of Sports August 7, 2007.
Is this type of spartan training and coaching chlid abuse or champion-building? Keep in mind, that what you see in the videoclips might appear to be worse than is actually going on; and that this sort of intensive molding and shaping of young athletes is not unique to Chinese culture or communist states.
Also see CNN coverage of elite gymnasts at Parkettes.
On Cheng Fei: Chinese gymnast endured childhood sacrifice
"Our family was poor so we hoped Cheng Fei could in some way change her life," said her mother, Xu Chunxiang. "So we thought maybe being a professional athlete is good for her."
But now that decision is history, and all that remains in the young woman's quest is Olympic gold, and the riches that come with it.
For every gold medal Cheng wins, the state authorities are expected to reward her with more than $150,000 in cash and bonuses, a huge sum in a country where college graduates are fortunate to earn $500 a month. There could also be lucrative marketing deals.
But Chinese athletes are taught that they are competing for national glory, not individual achievement or future riches. And Cheng, puffy-cheeked with a penchant for reading military books, seems unlikely to pursue a career in the limelight.
She rarely grants interviews. Her parents say that in telephone conversations with her, she often responds by saying little more than yes, no and O.K.
And after winning three gold medals at the World Cup in Tianjin, China, in May, dominating a tournament in which the U.S. team did not participate, Cheng pouted at a news conference and declared: "I think I can do better. I wasn't at my best."
Friends say it was a glimpse into the character of a young gymnast who, initially driven by her parents and the state, now pushes herself to the limit.
Cheng's road to Beijing began in central China, here in Hubei Province, a bleak industrial region where her father worked as a shipping clerk and her mother toiled in a tire factory.
She was born in 1988, an only child in a nation with a one-child policy. From the beginning, her parents say, she looked like a boy, so they treated her like one. Her father, a disciplinarian who had studied martial arts, pushed her from an early age, even pressing her to do calisthenics every morning before primary school classes began.
"I trained her like a military soldier," said her father, Cheng Ligao, who now owns a shop in Huangshi. "She followed me step by step and I shouted to her, 'One-two, one-two...."'
Yao Juying, her first coach, recalled a remarkably disciplined and focused child.
"I cannot believe how hard-working she was at that young age," Yao said. "I've been doing this for 24 years, and I've never found a second one like her."
The hardships imposed on athletes in China's national sports system are well-documented. Under pressure to produce athletes of gold-medal caliber, coaches typically force children to endure painful stretching and muscle-building exercises.
"Gymnastics is a really painful thing, especially for pretty young kids; it's torture," said Zhao Hanhua, Cheng's coach at the Wuhan Institute, where Cheng's portrait now hangs on the wall as inspiration to other youngsters. "So we tell the kids, 'This is your lifetime challenge."'
Cheng's coaches say she went through excruciating pain to make her feet turn inward so that she could perform better on the balance beam.
"The training was pretty tough, especially during leg stretching," Cheng's mother recalls. "She cried crazily, like she was dying. Her father and I accompanied her and our hearts almost broke into pieces when she cried that heart-wrenchingly."
At one point, Cheng pleaded with her parents to let her quit and return home. "We asked her to hold on because we had invested so much and lived so bitterly," her mother said.
Chuck is Right
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Text Message This!
Monday, August 18, 2008
Empty Rhetoric from the Empty Suit
Question: "At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?"
Senator "who would be president" Obama's answer: "Whether you are looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity is, you know, above my pay grade."
- Supreme Court Justices: For Chief Justice, $217,400. For Associate Justices: $208,100.
- U.S. President: $400,000
So if elected president, Barack Obama, as leader of the free world, can't make that judgment, because the decision is "beyond his paygrade"; yet 9 Justices who are paid half of what the President of the United States makes, are empowered to make that decision?
Sorry this is such a quick-job post; I took my computer in today, and am doing this by library and work computer. So gotta be quick.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Is the Letter "W", the Calling Sign of "The Dark Knight"?
Gordon: "Because we have to chase him."
Son: "But he didn't do nothing wrong."
Gordon: "Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now.So we'll hunt him, because he can take it. Because he's not the hero.He's a silent guardian, watchful protector.The Dark Knight."
- From the ending to The Dark Knight
Back on July 21st, I wrote the following, after seeing The Dark Knight:
Although the movie isn't political, the line about "it's always darkest before the dawn" struck a chord in me, as I've used the line to describe Iraq. "Things will start to get worse, before it gets better." Same goes for medical treatments- there's that rough moment when surgery puts you through misery and pain in order to heal you.Apparently, I wasn't the only one who drew political parallels to events in the real world. Others have examined the parallels to a greater degree. Dirty Harry's Place brings to attention, the following NYTimes review:
And in the movie when people were finger-pointing their anger at Batman and those who have tried to protect them, rather than laying blame and responsibility squarely on the shoulders of The Joker....well, you all know where I'm heading with that one.
As Dirty Harry's Place writes:
“The Dark Knight,” which will be released on July 18, is jammed with characters, plot and action. It picks up where “Batman Begins” left off, with Mr. Oldman’s police lieutenant, Jim Gordon, warning about the perils of escalation: that Batman’s extreme measures could invite a like response from the criminal element. And sure enough, a deadly new villain, the Joker, emerges to wreak havoc.
In a political context this would politely be called an “unintended consequence.” (Gotham as Baghdad, anyone?) Mr. Nolan doesn’t deny the overtones. “As we looked through the comics, there was this fascinating idea that Batman’s presence in Gotham actually attracts criminals to Gotham, attracts lunacy,” he said. “When you’re dealing with questionable notions like people taking the law into their own hands, you have to really ask, where does that lead? That’s what makes the character so dark, because he expresses a vengeful desire.”
The idea the New York Times wants to co-opt is that fighting crime creates crime and/or fighting terrorists creates terrorists, which is all kinds of intellectually vacant madness.Dirty Harry's Place also notes another article that sees The Joker as a super-terrorist:
In Variety’s mostly positive but less than rave over Dark Knight, this stood out:
Pic shrewdly positions the Joker as the superhero-movie equivalent of a modern terrorist (one of several post-9/11 signifiers), who threatens to target Gotham civilians until Batman reveals his identity. Batman, Gordon and Dent uneasily join forces, but the Joker seems to have the upper hand at every step, even from a jail cell; the city, turning against the hero it once looked to for hope, seems more fractious, vulnerable and dangerous than ever.
DHP also writes in his movie review,
The Dark Knight may well be the most conservative movie since 300. There’s just no arguing that the Joker is al-Qaeda and Batman George W. Bush. In between are the citizens of Gotham who have a choice: They can cave to terror, turn on their protector and blame his aggressive crime fighting for the rise of the Joker, or they can understand that appeasing a criminal status quo in their city doesn’t convince the Joker’s of the world to see the light and enroll at community college.
The film asks one question: Will Gothamites appease the terrorist? All they need do to satisfy the Joker is to turn on Batman, and until they do, the Joker promises wanton murder and destruction. If the people blame the Joker’s reign of terror on Batman’s refusal to appease him, the Joker wins. If the people turn on each other like animals out of fear and panic, the Joker wins. If Batman becomes the Joker to beat the Joker… Well, you get the point.
Skyepuppy brings to my attention, this article by Andrew Bolt's in the Herald Sun (Australia) July 30, 2008:
FINALLY Hollywood makes a film that says President George W Bush was right.Anti-Bush moonbat liberals, of course, consider the very notion of President Bush as more Batman than Joker, to be "tortured logic":
But director Christopher Nolan had to disguise it a little, so journalists wouldn't freak and the film's more fashionable stars wouldn't walk.
So he hides Bush in a cape. He even sticks a mask on him, with pointy ears for some reason.
Sure, when the terrified citizens of Gotham City scream for Bush to come save them, Nolan has them shine a great W in the night sky, but he blurs it so it looks more like a bird.
Or a bat, perhaps.
And he has them call their hero not Mr Bush, of course, or even "Mr President", but . . . Batman.
And what do you know.
Bush may be one of the most despised presidents in American history, but this movie of his struggle is now smashing all box-office records.
Critics weep, audiences swoon - and suddenly the world sees Bush's agonising dilemma and sympathises with what it had been taught so long to despise.
As this superb Batman retelling, The Dark Knight, makes clear, its subject is a weakness that runs instinctively through us - to hate a hero who, in saving us, exposes our fears, prods our weaknesses, calls from us more than we want to give, or can.
And how we resent a hero who must shake our world in order to save it, or brings alive that maxim of George Orwell that so implicates us in our preening piety: "Good people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
Glenn Beck sure said some stupid crap in his lifetime, but the tortured logic he employs here easily makes this one a Top 5 contender. [download file here]“This seems to be a movie that extols some of the conservative viewpoints that we are dealing with terrorists, that you can trust people to make the right decision, that sometimes you have to do things that you don’t want to do, and you have to cross lines that you don’t want to cross, if you’re going to save - if you’re going to save your city, in this case it’s Gotham.
“But Batman goes into another country and with a C130, snatches a guy out, then throws him back here into Gotham. So there’s rendition! At one point, the Morgan Freeman character says to Batman, ‘Wait a minute, hang on…you’re eavesdropping on everyone in Gotham?’ And Batman says, ‘Yes, to stop this terrorist.’ Morgan Freeman says, ‘I can’t be a part of it.’ And yet Morgan Freeman does become a part of it, and they find the Joker. One of the ways they find the Joker is through eavesdropping. I mean the parallels here of what’s going on is to me stunning.”
The Huffington Post and Think Progress also notes a WSJ opinion piece by Andrew Klavan:
Oh, wait a minute. That's not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like . . . a "W."Come November, will America get the hero it deserves? The hero it needs?
There seems to me no question that the Batman film "The Dark Knight," currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.
And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society -- in which people sometimes make the wrong choices -- and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell.
"The Dark Knight," then, is a conservative movie about the war on terror. And like another such film, last year's "300," "The Dark Knight" is making a fortune depicting the values and necessities that the Bush administration cannot seem to articulate for beans.
Conversely, time after time, left-wing films about the war on terror [*ahem*]-- films like "In The Valley of Elah," "Rendition" and "Redacted" -- which preach moral equivalence and advocate surrender, that disrespect the military and their mission, that seem unable to distinguish the difference between America and Islamo-fascism, have bombed more spectacularly than Operation Shock and Awe.
Why is it then that left-wingers feel free to make their films direct and realistic, whereas Hollywood conservatives have to put on a mask in order to speak what they know to be the truth? Why is it, indeed, that the conservative values that power our defense -- values like morality, faith, self-sacrifice and the nobility of fighting for the right -- only appear in fantasy or comic-inspired films like "300," "Lord of the Rings," "Narnia," "Spiderman 3" and now "The Dark Knight"?
The moment filmmakers take on the problem of Islamic terrorism in realistic films, suddenly those values vanish. The good guys become indistinguishable from the bad guys, and we end up denigrating the very heroes who defend us. Why should this be?
Cross-posted at Flopping Aces
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Consumer Rant Wednesday
So, anyway, what is it with all these grocery stores that seem to basically extort you into signing up for one of their stupid rewards cards, just so you can get (what I think) is the actual normal price? I really don't know how the system works, so if anyone can clue me in, I'd be grateful. Am I wrong to be so irked? When did stores start doing this? It wasn't always so.
My feelings are reflected by this shopper in Ohio:
I do not like these "savings cards," mainly for one reason. I've noticed that the stores that use them raised their prices so that the "sale" price with the card is what the regular prices used to be before they started using the cards. So in reality, you are getting the regular price instead of a high price (i.e. some thing that used to cost $5.00 with out the card now cost as much with it and $7.00 with out). Where are the savings at? So what's the point of stores using these cards other than as an excuse to make more money by raising thier prices? -Anonymous in Ohio 5/7/01
Is Anon and myself out of line for feeling so jaded, gypped, and extorted? I don't mind giving out a certain amount of personal information, so that they can better serve their customers; but no on giving out my phone number and address!
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
With Democratic Presidential Candidates Like These...
On ABC's "This Week," Richardson, auditioning to be Barack Obama's running mate, disqualified himself. Clinging to the Obama campaign's talking points like a drunk to a lamppost, Richardson said that this crisis proves the wisdom of Obama's zest for diplomacy and that America should get the U.N. Security Council "to pass a strong resolution getting the Russians to show some restraint." Apparently Richardson was ambassador to the United Nations for 19 months without noticing that Russia has a Security Council veto.
Bill Richardson's political public service credibility should be effectively over.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Finally....some protesters I can agree with
Aug. 11: Protesters take part in a pro-Georgian rally outside Russia's consulate in Thessaloniki, Greece. Russian troops and armor pushed into two separatist regions of Georgia on Monday and Georgian forces shelled the Russian-held capital of South Ossetia as the Caucasus crisis worsened.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Bill Clinton John Edwards Have Done?
President George W. Bush, who played baseball, coached Little League, owned a big league team and watches the Texas Rangers at every opportunity, can't stay away from the U.S. teams at the Beijing Olympic games.
Today, as the busy crowd over at our Olympics blog notes, after an hour's brisk bit of mountain-biking himself, Bush paid another visit to the American athletes, watching the women warm up for softball, regretting the disappearance of that sport from the next Olympics ("It's good for the world to have girls playing softball and these women are going to show young girls how to win") and trying his hand, so to speak, at volleyball.
Bush knuckled off a couple of lobs, but defending gold medalists Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh gave the chief executive some pointers. Then after a good play, in the tradition of female volleyballers, May-Treanor turned, bent over slightly and offered her bikinied rear-end for the 43rd president to slap.
"Mr. President," she said, "want to?"
Want to has nothing to do with it in public life.As the son of a president, a husband of nearly 37 years, the father of two daughters, the subject of some attempted tabloid exposes and a seasoned political veteran, who is not a female athlete but knows that every camera for a half-mile is trained on him, Bush wisely chose instead to brush his hand across the small of May-Treanor's back. (See photo.)
Original photo caption: “U.S. President George W. Bush playfully pats the backside of U.S. Women's Beach Volleyball team player Misty May-Treanor (L) at her invitation while visiting the Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Grounds at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, August 9, 2008. Team mate Kerri Walsh (R) watches.”
Corrected caption, eight minutes later: “ATTENTION EDITORS - CAPTION CLARIFICATION U.S. President George W. Bush playfully pats the back of U.S. Women's Beach Volleyball team player Misty May-Treanor (L) at her invitation while visiting the Chaoyang Park Beach Volleyball Grounds at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, August 9, 2008. Teammate Kerri Walsh (R) watches.”
REUTERS/Larry Downing (CHINA)
Hat tip: Brutally Honest
Saturday, August 09, 2008
Living in the Best of Times, and the Worst of Times
And a 7 year old girl asks Senator Obama why he wants to run for president of the United States of America.
“America is, uh, is no longer, uh, what it could be, what it once was. And I say to myself, 'I don’t want that future for my children.'”"No longer what it could be. What it once was."....?!?!.......sounds like he's endorsing John McCain. He certainly isn't taking us to a previous time in American history, since the country has never swung as hard left as his policies seem to want to take us.
--Barack Obama, 8/7/08, in response to the question of a 7-year old on why he was running for president.
There's an interesting book by Gregg Easterbrook called The Progress Paradox How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse. In it, the author talks about how it is within human nature to romanticize the past and fabricate a belief that somehow, our grandparents had it better; and that today, we are far worse off. Easterbrook points out, in so many significant ways, how the world is a far better place to live in today than it ever was in human history.
I believe some of that is going on here, injected by a steroid shot of BDS political hyperbolic scaremongering that for the last 8 years President Bush has become "the worst president in history"- even though his legacy's history can't possibly be known yet- taking the country down a dark path of misery, imperialistic overreach, ruining the economy and taking from the poor and giving to the rich, gas prices shooting up to levels paid at by so many people in other countries, failure to prevent 9/11, failure in Katrina, failure to stop global warming and ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, Terri Schiavo, causing Americans to be hated around the world,
If I had the time on my hands, I'd go through and point out statistical comparisons and facts that on so many issues, the BDS sufferers have placed personal politics over reality, because it's all happening under Bush's watch.
If these last 8 years have been the worst years in American history due to the leadership of one man, I'd say give me more of the same. Give me more of the McSame over Barack Obama, any year of the decade.
Cross-posted at Flopping Aces
Saturday Morning ABC Schoolhouse Rock- "My Hero, Zero"
Friday, August 08, 2008
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
President Bush Tours South Korea
Bottomline Upfront (who is now stationed in Korea, btw):
As President Bush arrived in Seoul, Korea today, the media predicted that Bush’s visit would be met with “large protests”. The “progressives” and anti-U.S. civic groups thought the turn out opposing Bush would be huge:
“We predict more than 10,000 citizens will participate. We’ll show Korean people’s voice to Bush,”’ one member of the coalition said.
However, 374 conservative groups planned pro-American demonstrations welcoming Bush in Seoul Plaza, just a short distance from the progressive’s rally site.
Turns out, only a couple hundred protesters came out while 15,000 pro-U.S. Koreans came out to welcome Bush into the capital city of Seoul.
Visit Amy Proctor's blog, for video footage from Korean TV news. Amy also notes,
None of the pro-Bush rallies were government sponsored; they were voluntary rallies by Koreans who appreciate Pres. Bush and the United States.
Reuters corrected it’s headline from:
Aug 5: South Korean protesters wearing masks of President Bush and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak perform during a rally against Bush's visit in Seoul. South Koreans are concerned about the importing of U.S. beef and mad cow disease.
Ain't freedom a wonderful thing?
Rather than mad cow disease, those protesters should be worried about the BDS koolaid in their water supply.
Fortunately, Korean war veterans don't suffer from the same BDS malady that their moonbat brethren are afflicted with:
They must share something in common with these heroes:
President Bush greets children after lunch at the presidential Blue House in Seoul, Aug. 6. President Bush is in South Korea on the first leg of his Asian tour.
Mandel Ngan-AFP/Getty Images
Give Peace a Chance
Would the world be a better place today, had the decision to drop the first atomic bomb to bring a war to an end, not been made?
If America abandoned its bombs, would the world live in peace, stability, and prosperity?
Give peace a chance: Support a strong and robust American military. Those who serve in uniform are the peace keepers.
And even though my language may come across as "flippant", I take the gravity of the topic very seriously. The dropping of The Bomb was horrific and I take no pleasure in the destruction and in the many lives lost. But what was the alternative? Prolonged war, more suffering, and more American soldiers not coming home to their families?
Junko Kimura-Getty Images
Alexander Solzhenitsyn, No Hero of the Left
Alexander Solzhenitsyn on the topic of Vietnam:
The most cruel mistake occurred with the failure to understand the Vietnam war. Some people sincerely wanted all wars to stop just as soon as possible; others believed that there should be room for national, or communist, self-determination in Vietnam, or in Cambodia, as we see today with particular clarity. But members of the U.S. anti-war movement wound up being involved in the betrayal of Far Eastern nations, in a genocide and in the suffering today imposed on 30 million people there. Do those convinced pacifists hear the moans coming from there? Do they understand their responsibility today? Or do they prefer not to hear?When will the anti-war movement, which professes to want peace and end suffering, stand up to true dictators and the real terrorists? When will they protest against evil regimes and oppressive totalitarian governments of the world? Why do they find it so much easier to malign the U.S. as the imperialistic aggressor? The suppressor of freedom and civil rights?
Their heroes are not men like Solzhenitsyn. Their heroes are men like Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, Lenin, and Hugo Chavez.
Who is on the side of what's right and good in the world? Honestly....
Why Denying Terrorists POW Status is to Respect the Geneva Conventions
Why is it, that the impression the media leaves me with, is that Hamdan is "just a driver" and a victim of circumstances? Just another tragic pawn and casualty in the illegal and immoral war instigated by the imperialistic, oil-grubbing, human-rights/U.S. Constitution-violating Bush regime?
Well, he's been found guilty of supporting terrorism, but acquitted on charges of conspiracy to commit acts of terror.
Jonathan Mahler writing last Sunday for the NYTimes Magazine:
The men in the dock might very well be war criminals, the argument goes, but what about the policy makers and interrogators who violated their rights under the Geneva Conventions?The perception pushed by so many on the anti-Bush side of the argument, is that the detainees held at Guantanamo deserve protection under the provisions provided by the Geneva Convention; and that subsequently, because the Administration had long argued against classifying enemy combatants captured on the Afghanistan battlefield- al Qaeda and Taliban fighters- as having "prisoner of war" status, protected by the 1949 codification of the laws of war (until July 7, 2006, after a Supreme Court ruling), that Bush & Co somehow do not respect the Geneva Convention. The reality, however, is just the opposite. It's for the same reason that President Reagan decided not to ratify Protocol I, declaring that it, "would undermine humanitarian law and endanger civilians in war."
Douglas Feith, called the Geneva Conventions as "a high-water mark of civilization". He absolutely supports it, even as he denies its provisions to be extended to non-uniformed combatants who endanger civilians by blending in, and being indistinguishable from civilians, putting innocent lives at risk. To grant them the same legal rights as prisoners of war, grants terrorism legitimacy.
From Douglas Feith's War and Decision, pg 163,
It would be "highly dangerous if countries make application of Convention hinge on subjective or moral judgments as to the quality or decency of the enemy's government"- and it would be dangerous, therefore, to claim that the Convention does not apply because the Taliban are "the illegitimate government of a 'failed state.' " Countries typically view their enemies as gangs of criminals. If officials had to certify an enemy as a "legitimate government" to apply the Convention, few countries would ever do so.
"I contended that a "pro-Convention" position, on the other hand, would reinforce U.S. moral arguments in the war on terrorism:
- The essence of the Convention is the distinction between soldiers and civilians (i.e., between combatants and noncombatants).
- Terrorists are reprehensible precisely because they negate that distinction, by purposefully targeting civilians.
- The Convention aims to protect civilians by requiring soldiers to wear uniforms and otherwise distinguish themselves from civilians.
- The Convention creates an incentive system for good behavior. The key incentive is that soldiers who play by the rules get POW status if they are captured.
From Douglas Feith's War and Decision, pg 38:
The Convention gave maximum protection to noncombatants- innocent bystanders- and gave the next level of protection to fighters who obey the laws of war. The least protection was given to fighters who did not obey the rules. In this regard, as in many others, the Geneva Conventions were humane and sensible: The Conventions' drafters in the late 1940s had their priorities right. The Convention created an incentive system to encourage respect for the laws of war and especially to safeguard innocent bystanders. Civilians are endangered when fighters wear civilian clothes, for example, because that makes the fighters indistinguishable from bystanders. So the Conventions provided that captured fighters were entitled to the privileged status of "prisoners of war" only if they met certain conditions, including wearing uniforms and carrying their arms openly. The national liberation groups, whose fighters did not obey those laws, protested that the Geneva Conventions should be amended to entitle their fighters to POW status even if they concealed their status as fighters.Philippe Sands, author of Torture Team: Rumsfeld’s Memo and the Betrayal of American Values, dismisses the relevancy of whether or not terrorists be granted POW status rights:
In his introductory statement at the hearing on July 15, Mr. Feith devoted a great deal of attention to the issue of P.O.W. status under Geneva. This is not a relevant issue: The rules reflected in Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions prohibit inhumane treatment and establish a distinct, minimum standard of protection for all detainees, not just those with P.O.W. status. Specifically, these rules prohibit a number of acts for detainees “at any time and in any place whatsoever,” including “violence to life and person,” “cruel treatment and torture,” and “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.” These protections are not dependent upon the detainee having P.O.W. status and, as the official commentary to Geneva makes clear, the scope of Common Article 3 “must be as wide as possible.” Judgments of the International Court of Justice and international criminal tribunals have long held that the rules reflected in Common Article 3 “constitute a minimum yardstick” for all armed conflicts.Furthermore, Sands argues that Feith does not believe Common Article 3 should apply to Guantanamo detainees.
I have not been able to identify any document that reflects Mr. Feith’s “receptivity” to Common Article 3.Well....obviously, Sands didn't choose fit to shell out pound notes to purchase Feith's War and Decision. Pg 163:
I recommend that our government stress "[h]umane treatment for all detainees," and that al Qaida as well as Taliban personnel should receive the treatment they are entitled to under the Convention- or that they would be entitled to, if the Convention governed our conflict with them.There's more in the book. Anyone, left or right, interested in serious historical scholarship, should pick up Feith's book; even if it's for nothing more than to argue against the policies of the Bush Administration, at least you'll be better informed in sharpening your criticism.
As none of the detainees qualified legally for prisoner-of-war status, I believed that humane treatment was the proper standard for all of them- whether or not they had been captured in a war governed by the Convention. Even if the President were unwilling to conclude that the Convention governed our fight against the Taliban, I recommended that he make the following declaration: Although U.S. officials have not yet resolved the question of whether we are legally required to do so, the United States would give all detainees the status that they would be entitled to under the Convention- in other words, humane treatment.
Cross-posted at Flopping Aces
Previous related FA posts of interest:
Andy McCarthy - Congress Must Act To Fix Boumediene
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Living in Southern California, despite pockets of conservative communities here and there, we bleed primarily blue. Or so it at least seems, on the surface.
It's said by some that America leans conservative. You'd never really know that by following pop culture, including much of the mainstream news, TV programming, and Hollywood.
Liberal activists have always appeared to make the loudest noise, wearing their liberalism on their sleeves, in open hostility to all things conservative (last week, one hippie mobile on the road had a bumpersticker that said "I'm pro-choice and I vote", "Sticking it to the religious right" and a host of other "in your face" type of thumb-in-the-eye stickers plastered to the vehicle like a moving billboard sign). I know I generalize, and it could only be because I live in blue state California; but I think liberals have always been much more vocal and liberated in their views, not shy to make spectacles of themselves in demonstrations. Counter-protestors, such as the Chester County Victory Movement, are the much welcomed exception to the rule.
I have yet to see anyone in Los Angeles sport anti-liberal bumperstickers and t-shirts, though on rare occasions there might be a Bush/Cheney sticker (I've only seen one McCain bumpersticker, though I'm sure that will change as the "normal people" who aren't political 24-7 might show their support for a month or two prior to election); and a little bit more common are pro-troop and military stickers, since those are not statements of political affiliation (although I've yet to see a "semper fi" and "Army Strong" sticker alongside "Code Pink" and "I Support the Troops- Bring Them Home" bumperstickers plastered onto the same moonbatmobile).
I bring this up, because Bookworm has made the following post (excerpt):
As regular readers know, I’ve chosen to keep my political life separate from the day-to-day aspects of my life. I simply can’t (and don’t want to) run the risk of tainting my carpools, my neighborhood barbecues, my kids’ comfort level at school, the camaraderie of the sports teams with which we’re involved, etc., by exposing myself to the obloquy that is routinely heaped on conservatives here — and this is a hostility that increases as elections draw near, of course.
During the 2004 elections, people who were unaware of my political inclinations announced in front of me that “Bush is the worst President ever,” “Republicans are stupid,” “Republicans are evil,” “Bush is stupid,” “Republicans are corrupt,” “Republicans are fascists” and “Bush should be impeached.” Children ran up to me on the sidewalk chanting “Bush is evil, Bush is evil” — so you know what their parents were saying at the dinner table. In this election cycle, one of my children announced after school that she was voting for Barack Obama “since every one is because he’s black.” I quickly scotched that line of reasoning.
This has been my experience as well. People are shocked with an initial reaction of "disappointment" when they find out I'm a pro-Bush, pro-war on terror conservative Republican...and I vote. Eventually, they seem to get over it (but know better than to discuss politics with me).
The day after the 2004 Election results was a good day to be a Republican voter. I smile to this day whenever I see Kerry/Edwards bumperstickers.
Bookworm goes on to discuss how she attended her first meeting with local Marin County Republicans:
I know I should be speaking out when I hear statements such as these, but the sad fact is that I like these people. Barring their monomaniacal animosity towards Bush and the Republicans, they’re otherwise very nice: they’re hard workers, loving parents, good neighbors and helpful and reliable friends. Being the social creature that I am, I don’t want with one word (”Republican”) to turn these friendships upside down and inside out. (I’m not the only one with this problem.) I don’t want to be on the receiving end of some hideous Jekyll to Hyde transformation, so I just keep my mouth shut.
Those people I know who have spoken aloud their new conservative political views have been horrified by the animosity turned against them by formerly friendly neighbors and colleagues. My in-laws who are, like me, 9/11 neocons (down in Los Angeles) have stared open-mouthed at colleagues who use staff meetings to revile Bush and the Republicans — all to the cheers and huzzahs of the other staff members. (Indeed, what they describe sounds remarkably like Orwell’s Two Minutes Hate.) On the occasions when they’ve suggested that maybe, just maybe, Bush isn’t the Antichrist, they’ve found themselves shunned by these same colleagues.
One after another, people stated their names and their City. Everything stopped, though, when a young woman, maybe 25, spoke her name very softly and added that “I’m a secret Republican.” With that single statement, the stories started.I suspect that as November looms ever closer, more and more voters will find themselves rejecting the socialist liberalism of Obama's policies, and shill for McCain. This includes cross-over voters.
One of the attendees, who had been asked to make phone calls on behalf of McCain, said that he spoke to one lady who said, “Don’t call me again. I’m going to vote Republican, but I can’t let anybody know. It’s got to stay a secret.” Another person recalled a party he attended a few months ago. When he mentioned, discretely, that he was a Republican, a young lady sidled up to him and whispered, “I’m conservative too, but don’t let anyone know. I also have two friends here. I’ll point them out to you. They’re also secret conservatives.” Incidentally, I was unable to interview either of the people who told these anecdotes because both were afraid that any more details might give away their identities and harm them professionally. (Clearly, in their lines of work, they need two resumes, one for public consumption and one that is their secret one.)
I have a proposal for all of you reading this who live in hostile Blue territory and feel isolated in your conservative political views. The next time you’re at a party, or chit chatting in a park, or standing in line at a store, if the person to whom you’re talking seems like an intelligent, common-sensical type, throw in a reference to Adam Smith. If your conversational partner jumps on that reference, opining that Smith was a great economic philosopher, you’ve just discovered that you’re not alone.Even if you chose, however, to keep your political affiliations secret — whether because you’re afraid for your job, worried about your friendships, or are just deeply private — please hie yourself to the polls on November 4, 2008, and cast your vote for John McCain. I have a strong suspicion that there’ll be an awful lot of unexpected votes for McCain,
As for remaining in the closet, I suggest to every conservative out there living in a blue state to not be afraid to come out into the light. You don't have to be "rah rah Republican" and clown yourself up like the rightwing answer to Code Pink; but don't be afraid to express your dissent from accepted, popular assumptions: "Bush lied", "Bush is a moron", "FOX News is yellow journalism", etc. I've challenged people, friends and acquaintances, and you'd be surprised at how productive such conversations and confrontations can be. You just have to know how to set the tone and know the temperament of the person you are breaking lances with.
If you care about the future of this country, if you don't want to see it make a sharp left turn in November, then it is in the best interest of every closet conservative out there to become an active participant in recruiting anti-Obama voters by doing what might not come easily: Talking politics. If you find the right stride, friendships to liberals will survive intact. Most of my friends lean left, and some are having doubts about Obama. And I know for certain, that some of their doubts have been influenced by my talking about politics.
Cross-posted at Flopping Aces
The "Johny-Come-Lately" MSM Awakening
McCain isn't backing down from his claim the surge started when he said it did, countering Dem attacks. "McCain said Army Col. Sean MacFarland started carrying out elements of a new counterinsurgency strategy as early as December 2006. At issue are McCain's comments in a Tuesday interview with CBS. The Arizona senator disputed Democrat Barack Obama's contention that a Sunni revolt against al-Qaida combined with the dispatch of thousands more U.S. combat troops to Iraq to produce the improved security situation there. McCain called that a ‘false depiction.’”It is a false depiction. The decision to commit a troop surge didn't simply happen in a vacuum.
Thanks to milblogs, I was aware of the beginnings of the Anbar Salvation Front months in advance of MSM, although my first mention of it as such appears to be in May of 2007 (according to my category labeling). Steve Schippert's article in April of that year always stood out in my mind as well as for his description of Sheikh Sattar, who Eli Lake described as perhaps "the most important man in Iraq".
Schippert brings to attention the following video, put together by "the Godfather of Milblogging", Greyhawk of Mudville Gazette.
Greyhawk, whom I have long referred to as the Godfather of Milblogging, has done a fantastic job of crafting an easily digestible video series for the purpose of contextualizing the rise of Iraqi tribesmen and the Anbar Awakening and the decisive demise of al-Qaeda in Iraq and the forfeiture of their Anbar province epicenter.
He describes the context for the battle of Sufia as follows:
In November, 2006, what would come to be known as the “Awakening Movement” was still growing and still tentative, as two groups (US and local Iraqis) were just discovering whether they could actually work together. In the States, Democrats had just won the congressional elections in part on promises of a “new direction” in Iraq. Nothing whatesoever was certain about the future of that nation or the US presence there.
AQIZ (al Qaeda in Iraq) was not yet defeated in Ramadi (much less all of Anbar) and were determined to impose their will on the citizens there. A promise of “amnesty” for the sheiks who had turned against them had expired at the end of Ramadan, and they were about to make an example of one tribe on the ourtskirts of Ramadi.
As Major Niel Smith (writing in tandem with his commander, Col Sean MacFarland) explains briefly, at the time of the discovery of the attack an American unit (Lieutenant Colonel Charles Ferry’s 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry) was about to deploy on another mission. They turned on a dime and headed for Sufia (this is no easy task - one could spend longer explaining the difficulties to those unfamiliar with the process than it took the Army to overcome them) even as air assets were called in for support.And that’s what caught my eye back in November, 2006 when I said “this is big.” That was based just on the MNF-I press release, the media wouldn’t have recognized this for what it was, and they were quite busy ignoring the greater awakening movement anyway. Those who’ve spent any time in a TOC in Iraq (yeah, that’s a great number, I know…) will grasp this for what it was: Risk with a big cap “R” and HIGHLY “Succesful COIN” in all regards. The payoff was commensurate with that risk; the awakening survived and thrived, the surge helped it spread beyond the confines of Ramadi, and there are thousands of Americans and Iraqis alive today because of the decisions made then and there.
A brief history and timeline of the Sunni Awakening and the Surge:
It should be required viewing by all, and forwarded to all of your contacts. It's a far more comprehensive timeline history than what the media has provided us with.
Also read: The Battle of Sufia
Please take the time to thank Greyhawk, personally.
Hat tip: Steve Schippert
Cross-posted at Flopping Aces
Also, check out the updates to my post below.
Friday, August 01, 2008
Why al-Qaeda Lost the Hearts and Minds of Iraqis
al-Qaeda only knows how to destroy. Not build hospitals, mosques, schools, improving the lives of ordinary Iraqi citizens.
From Bottomline Upfront (don't expect 32 consecutive frontpage NYTimes stories on pro-victory propaganda like these):
Someone show this to Code Pink and bleeding heart anti-war liberals who claim the mantle of championing humanitarian causes.
check this out!. CJ writes:
This is commercial being shown on Iraqi television - you know, the kind of television that was banned under Saddam Hussein. For me, this makes what I and my fellow Soldiers did totally worth it.
"We are Shias and Sunnis
Who gathers us is God and Mohammed
No Sunni No Shia
We have one goal
God bless you all
Who separates us
is not from us"
Check out my cross-post at Flopping Aces for additional information that is worth knowing.
This, btw, is too good not to post here:
I first discovered Buck Sargent and this video 2 years ago, thanks to Hugh Hewitt.
Iraqi children are the future of their country. Let's hope they remember the kindness of U.S. soldiers. The images and the scenes of the children dancing in the video are priceless.
Internet Explorer + Sitemeter= Error
All the more reason to ditch it in favor of other browsers. I agree with this commenter:
On my soap box here. It amazes me that people still use Internet Explorer and Outlook, with the continual threat of viruses getting onto their computers via email and websites. Mozilla offers open source programs for Internet browsing and email. These are free, easy to use, versatile, and virtually invulnerable to viruses and other problems. AND, no problems with site meter! Visit mozilla.org to learn more about Firefox and Thunderbird.
Barack Obam…uh….uh…uh…interruh..uh..pted by conspiratorial hecklers
Senator Obama should have shot these fools down in the same manner that former President Clinton shot down the 9/11 Truthers who disrupted one of his speeches. But then....this is Senator Obama we're talking about here.
It may be political theater, but it's theater I can believe in
This is how the GOP gains back seats in Congress:
House Dems turn out the lights but GOP keeps talking
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the Democrats adjourned the House and turned off the lights and killed the microphones, but Republicans are still on the floor talking gas prices.
Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other GOP leaders opposed the motion to adjourn the House, arguing that Pelosi's refusal to schedule a vote allowing offshore drilling is hurting the American economy. They have refused to leave the floor after the adjournment motion passed at 11:23 a.m. and are busy bashing Pelosi and her fellow Democrats for leaving town for the August recess.
At one point, the lights went off in the House and the microphones were turned off in the chamber, meaning Republicans were talking in the dark. But as Rep. John Shadegg (R-Ariz..) was speaking, the lights went back on, and the microphones were turned on shortly afterward.
But C-SPAN, which has no control over the cameras in the chamber, has stopped broadcasting the House floor, meaning no one is witnessing this except the assembled Republicans, their aides, and one Democrat, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who has now left.
Only about a half-dozen Republicans were on the floor when this began, but the crowd has grown to about 20 now, according to Patrick O'Connor.
"This is the people's House," Rep, Thaddeus McCotter (R-Mich.) said. "This is not Pelosi's politiburo."
Democratic aides were furious at the GOP stunt, and reporters were kicked out of the Speaker's Lobby, the space next to the House floor where they normally interview lawmakers.
"You're not covering this, are you?" complaing one senior Democratic aide. Another called the Republicans "morons" for staying on the floor.
Charles Krauthammer in WaPo: Pelosi: Save the Planet, Let Someone Else Drill
Flopping Aces (MataHarley's post)
Flopping Aces (Curt's post)