Wednesday, November 30, 2005

RNC Chairman Questions Democrats on Iraq

In comments to the Republicans governors meeting in Carlsbad, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman turned up the heat on Slow Joe Biden and Harry Reid over the war.
Mehlman specifically faulted several Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, saying they have been sending mixed messages on Iraq policy. Biden, for example, recently wrote that the U.S. must build sustainable compromises among Iraq's political factions, strengthen the Iraqi government, and speed up reconstruction and the training of local forces. That, Mehlman argued, is consistent with Bush's strategy. Biden is "copying the president's plan" but at the same time criticizing the administration, Mehlman said.
Biden spokesman Norm Kurz said the White House was confused about "who is copying whom." The senator, Kurz said, has long advocated alternative proposals for Iraq now being welcomed within the administration, including during an address by Bush on Wednesday at the Naval Academy. Reid spokeswoman Rebecca Kirszner called Mehlman's comments "an obvious attempt to distract Americans from the fact that the President once again failed to lay out a clear plan for success in Iraq."
Sen. Biden must not have learned his lesson when he was forced to drop out as a presidential candidate because of plagiarism charges. The basic outline of Bush's strategy has been pretty stable since Day 1. That's why I find it impossible for Biden to have thought of this before the President.

As for Reid's comments, they're laughable. What Ms. Kirszner doesn't and won't say is that Reid had issued that same basis statement before the President took to the podium in Annapolis. Reid might have more credibility if he'd make specific arguments to specifics in the President's speech and policy but he can't be bothered, it seems, with that petty of a task.

The Perfect Christmas Present

According to Bill Kristol, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi gave the GOP a great Christmas gift: at least another term as the House majority party.

In Kristol's opinion, he didn't think that the GOP would retain control of the House, Senate and White House for another congressional term. I always thought they would because I've never underestimated the ability of high-ranking Dems to do something incredibly boneheaded. This time, I was proved right and Mr. Kristol, who is one of the best conservative thinkers, was wrong.

In endorsing John Murtha's pullout and retreat plan, Pelosi gave the GOP the gift of casting the Democratic Party as the 'Unserious About the War Party.' It's impossible for the average American to think that Democrats are serious about the war when their responses to the President's strong speech are that of: (a) immediately redeploy (Murtha) or (b) deny that you wanted a timetable for withdrawal (Kerry).

A party that is that bipolar won't be taken seriously and for good reason. People instinctively know that a 'house divided against itself' won't survive long.

Oddly enough, Howard Fineman reached the same conclusion on Congress by a different course. In his article titled Trim and Tiptoe, Mr. Fineman reports of a conversation he had with Grover Norquist. Here's a look at their conversation:
The other day I bumped into the semi-legendary Grover Norquist, the tax lobbyist and conservative activist who is bosom buddies with Karl Rove. Norquist was, not surprisingly, imperturbably optimistic about the GOP’s prospects in ’06. "This year was a perfect storm of factors that hurt us: Katrina, the war, Harriet Miers, gasoline prices," he told me. "The good news for us is that the election is NEXT year."
I think there's a stronger, more compelling reason why 2006 should be another good year for the GOP: We're still involved in a war and people, when they start focusing on the issues, still will think that the Democrats are either unserious or too divided.

It isn't that I want to discount Norquist's reasons. They're the result of solid thinking. It's just that I think there's a method to Mr. Rove's campaign year strategy and that is to put the war front and center all fall long. With the White House having the big bulhorn, it has a way of nationalizing those issues it speaks out the most about.

In the end, I suspect that the image of Jack Murtha, John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi fighting President Bush and Condi Rice for who's in charge of foreign policy isn't a winner for Democrats.

Mad Murtha Disease

John Murtha was just on Hardball and he was talking in circles again. He cited a poll that said 45% of Iraqis think it's ok to kill American soldiers and that 80% of the people want us out of Iraq as proof that his is the only legitimate policy for Iraq. A little later, he said that we needed to get out because we needed to light a fire under the Iraqis, saying that if we don't, Iraqis would let us do their fighting forever.

How he can say that 80% of Iraqis want us out but that they'd let us protect them indefinitely in the same conversation is the epitome of what passes as logic to liberals.

Murtha later said that 14,000 people have mailed or emailed him, saying that his is the only sane policy. I won't say that that isn't possible but if he's telling the truth, then they've got to be 14,000 of the looniest of the Looney Left.

After everything is said and done, I'd trust Slow Joe Biden than I'd trust John Murtha and that's saying something.

UPDATE: MSNBC has finally posted the transcript from the show and here's the relevant passages:

Murtha: But let me tell you something that‘s even more touching. I‘m getting an overwhelming support, 14,000 calls I‘ve received in four or five days, supporting the position that I‘ve got. Now 20 percent are against it, but 80 percent are for it.

Murtha: Eighty percent of the people in Iraq want us out, 45 percent say it‘s justified to kill Americans. They even had an official communicate from the Arab world that said it‘s all right to kill Americans. We have lost the support of the Iraqi people.
MATTHEWS: Well the president said, Mr. Murtha, that he‘s going to stay there until we have a trained Iraqi army that can defend the country that practices democracy and we‘re going to keep training those guys over there until they can do the job. That doesn‘t seem complicated as a goal.
MURTHA: Well, let me tell you why it‘s complicated. He‘s allowing Iraqis to set the timetable. You think they want to do the fighting? They‘re going to let us do the fighting. The Iraqi government is going to let us do the fighting even though they‘ve said they want us out, and that the ones that support the United States don‘t get elected.
So we‘ve got a position where if we won‘t redeploy, as I‘m suggesting, and let the Iraqis change their own destiny, let them handle their own destiny, we‘re going to be there for 100 years. I remember one time in the closed hearing, one of the top generals said, "we‘ll be there for 25 years." I said you saying 25 years? A lot of people think it would take that long.

Folks, think about it this way: Murtha said that: (a) we need to "immediately redeploy"; (b) and that 80% of Iraqis want us out; and (c) "let me tell you why it‘s complicated. He‘s allowing Iraqis to set the timetable. You think they want to do the fighting? They‘re going to let us do the fighting.

I'd suggest that this isn't "complicated" at all. In fact, it's easily simplified. This 80% figure isn't worth the paper it's printed on. The fact is that pictures from the front showing troops playing with Iraqi children are a far more accurate picture of how Iraqis think of us.

Finally, this notion that he's gotten 14,000 calls and they're running 80% in favor of the 'Murtha Retreat and Surrender Option' and his implying that there's this huge groundswell of support for his 'Murtha Retreat and Surrender Option' isn't credible.

What They're Saying, Part II

Here's what Republicans are saying about the President's speech:

House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) released the following statement regarding the War on terror:
"The president today called Iraq the central front in the War on Terror. He urged Americans to remain firm in our effort to defeat the brutal terrorists who would think nothing of killing innocent people. He's right. Even Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, a Democrat, recently returned from Iraq and said, "Progress is visible and practical." Iraq is on the frontline of our effort to protect the American people, and it is only right that we stay on the offensive. I have said many times that none of us wants to see this war fought on American soil, in Chicago or New York or Washington, D.C. or any other American city."
"Unfortunately, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has added a new twist to Democrats' retreat and defeat policy for the War on Terror. Now, it's bait and switch. Just 12 days ago, she was among 403 House members to overwhelmingly reject a proposal for immediate withdrawal in Iraq. Now she is endorsing the Democrat proposal for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq. Today, she told reporters, "I will be supporting the Murtha resolution," which proposes that 'The deployment of United States forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and the forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date.'
Today, after President Bush gave a speech on Iraq, U.S. Senator Joe Biden (D-DE), the top Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement:
"The President rightly says our goal is to train Iraqi security forces to the point where they can act on their own or lead operations and he tells us how many are there now, but he doesn’t give us any idea when more Iraqis will get to that point and what we’re doing to train them more quickly and effectively. Similarly, the Administration's strategy paper is candid about the continuing security challenges, yet there is not a word on what we’re doing to overcome these huge obstacles.
"The real question remains: as our soldiers start to come home, will they leave behind an Iraq on the path to stability or chaos? And are we doing everything we can to preserve our interests? I am still not convinced we are on the right track."
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D. (R-TN) made the following statement today regarding President Bush’s speech:
“Some Democrats have been playing politics with the war in Iraq for partisan political gain. Today we saw real leadership. In his speech the president clearly and concisely laid out a plan for success in Iraq. He also highlighted the steady progress we are making in concert with the Iraqi people."
"By engaging all Iraqi citizens in the democratic process, securing areas now in enemy control and installing new economic infrastructure we are empowering the Iraqi people and allowing for a safe and successful transition to a peaceful, stable and permanent government."
While Sen. Biden's comments weren't completely complimentary towards the President, most of his statement was upbeat and complimentary. Not as optimistic as Sen. Lieberman's op-ed but it's a start. On the other hand both Speaher Hastert and Majority Leader Frist were complimentary towards the President, as you'd expect. I especially liked Hastert's calling out Minority Leader Pelosi for her approving of Rep. Murtha's cut and run policy. Her flip-flopping is astonishing and disgusting in a time of war.

What They're Saying, Part I

The Democratic responses to the President's speech are flowing in. As expected, they're both incoherent and negative to the nth degree. Here's a sampling:

From House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: 'The President Has Dug Us into a Deep Hole in Iraq; It Is Time for Him to Stop Digging'
"The President did not have a plan for victory when he went into his war of choice in Iraq, and he did not have a plan for victory today. The American people expected that the President would do more today than just put a new cover and 35 pages of rhetoric on old sound bites. What the American people wanted from the President today was some evidence that he has heard their concerns. Clearly, the President fails to understand that a new course is needed in Iraq. The President has dug us into a deep hole in Iraq; it is time for him to stop digging.
"We should follow the lead of Congressman John Murtha, who has put forth a plan to make America safer, to make our military stronger, and to make Iraq more stable. That is what the American people and our troops deserve."
From DNC: Dean on Bush's Failed Iraq Policy:
"Today, the President failed to give an honest assessment of what's really happening on the ground in Iraq. Instead he released thirty-five pages of rhetoric and gave a speech full of slogans, but no clear plan. Let's be clear, 'stay the course' is a slogan, not a strategy.
"By failing to address critical factors on the ground, President Bush doesn't seem to care what the facts are, and you can't lead when you don't care what the facts are. It's troubling that with his credibility on the line, in the face of widespread concern from the American people, and a bi-partisan vote of 'no confidence' in the Senate, President Bush still refuses to produce a real strategy for success that includes benchmarks and a process for measuring success.
Tom Matzzie, the Washington director of Political Action on President Bush's speech on Iraq:
"The president's speech on Iraq offered the same failed policy in a new wrapping. The speech and accompanying report are stunts in a spiffy public relations campaign that won't protect America, our troops or help Iraqis. "One key measure: The Bush policy fails because it offers no assurances to Iraqis that U.S. troops won't be there forever."
There you have it, folks. Ms. Pelosi saying that we should adopt the Murtha Retreat and Surrender Option; Howard Dean saying that "the President he released thirty-five pages of rhetoric and gave a speech full of slogans" and that he failed "to address critical factors on the ground" and that "President Bush doesn't seem to care what the facts are" and's Tom Matzzie asserts that "The Bush policy fails because it offers no assurances to Iraqis that U.S. troops won't be there forever."

To Ms. Pelosi: Get a grip. The Murtha Retreat and Surrender Option would be a disaster for Iraq, the Middle East in general and for our security here at home. Also, get some better briefers, like maybe Joe Lieberman, who just returned from Iraq and wrote an upbeat, at times gushing, op-ed about how much improvement he saw since his prior trip in April, 2005.

To Gov. Dean: Sit down and actually read the President's 35 page "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq" before making an incoherent statement full of immature and incorrect information. If anyone's sloganeering, it's you, Sir, and it's showing.

To Mr. Matzzie: The Bush policy doesn't fail because it "offers no assurances to Iraqis that U.S. troops won't be there forever." It would fail if we told the Iraqis, though, if we gave the courageous and patriotic Iraqis a hint that we wouldn't stay there long enough to get enough security forces trained so they can maintain their own security.

Further, I'd suggest that you're the last group I'd want to hear from on military strategy based on MoveOn's ad supposedly showing an American soldier who wouldn't be home for Christmas, only to find out that it's a picture of a British soldier instead.
James Taranto of uses this quote from a captain serving in Iraq "One is in shorts (we don't have shorts as a normal combat uniform), and the others are all clearly wearing British pattern fatigues," the Army captain wrote, noting that people at "don't even know what an American soldier looks like!"
Yet these are the people criticizing the President for his failed policies in Iraq. Give me a break.

Bush's Speech, Dems' Response

This morning, President Bush delivered a speech that focused on winning instead of timetables for troop withdrawals and delivered his most detailed breakdown of who we're fighting while briefly outlining what subjects he'll be addressing in future speeches.

One of the things that President Bush talked about was the "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq." Here's the link for the National Strategy for Victory in Iraq. It's significant because it talks in great detail about all the considerations that will define victory in Iraq.


  • The enemy in Iraq is a combination of rejectionists, Saddamists, and terrorists affiliated with or inspired by Al Qaida. These three groups share a common opposition to the elected Iraqi government and to the presence of Coalition forces, but otherwise have separate and to some extent incompatible goals.
  • Rejectionists are the largest group. They are largely Sunni Arabs who have not embraced the shift from Saddam Hussein's Iraq to a democratically governed state. Not all Sunni Arabs fall into this category. But those that do are against a new Iraq in which they are no longer the privileged elite. Most of these rejectionists opposed the new constitution, but many in their ranks are recognizing that opting out of the democratic process has hurt their interests.
  • We judge that over time many in this group will increasingly support a democratic Iraq provided that the federal government protects minority rights and the legitimate interests of all communities.
  • Saddamists and former regime loyalists harbor dreams of reestablishing a Ba'athist dictatorship and have played a lead role in fomenting wider sentiment against the Iraqi government and the Coalition.
  • We judge that few from this group can be won over to support a democratic Iraq, but that this group can be marginalized to the point where it can and will be defeated by Iraqi forces.
  • Terrorists affiliated with or inspired by Al Qaida make up the smallest enemy group but are the most lethal and pose the most immediate threat because (1) they are responsible for the most dramatic atrocities, which kill the most people and function as a recruiting tool for further terrorism and (2) they espouse the extreme goals of Osama Bin Laden, chaos in Iraq which will allow them to establish a base for toppling Iraq's neighbors and launching attacks outside the region and against the U.S. homeland.
  • The terrorists have identified Iraq as central to their global aspirations. For that reason, terrorists and extremists from all parts of the Middle East and North Africa have found their way to Iraq and made common cause with indigenous religious extremists and former members of Saddam's regime. This group cannot be won over and must be defeated, killed or captured, through sustained counterterrorism operations.
  • There are other elements that threaten the democratic process in Iraq, including criminals and Shi'a religious extremists, but we judge that such elements can be handled by Iraqi forces alone and/or assimilated into the political process in the short term.
In short, the President is giving the Senate the detailed report that they demanded in the Warner amendment and then some.

John Kerry and Jack Reed gave the Democrats' response, with Sen. Kerry at one point saying "No one's talking about cutting and running." Oh really, Senator? Rep. Murtha's proposal sounded utterly defeatist, saying that our military had done all it could and that we couldn't win militarily. Also, I don't imagine that you'd characterize Ted Kennedy's characterizing the President's plan a failure and Iraq "Bush's quagmire" as cutting and running, would you? Further, all the talk amongst Senate Democrats saying that they'd change their votes if they'd "known then what" they "know now" about WMD's couldn't be construed as cutting and running, could they?

I wrote last week that Sens. Biden, Clinton and Obama have talked about not immediate withdrawal but none of them talked about winning. Only yesterday, they started talking about winning and it sounds contrived and forced. Sen. Kerry's claims that he's only interested in winning smacks of pure BS. It's obvious that they're the "Johnny come lately" crowd to winning in Iraq.

Another thing that jumped out at me is that Sens. Kerry's and Reed's speech sounded alot like a "Me, too" to President Bush's vision of winning the war and establishing a democracy.

The President sounded presidential and statesmanlike while Sens. Kerry and Reed sounded petty, ill-informed and tentative.

Michelle Malkin applauds the Bush speech.

UPDATE: Here's a headline from Russ Feingold's website: "Feingold Proposes Timetable for Iraq Withdrawal" and here's Feingold's statement on the President's speech:
"While today’s speech by the President was billed as yet another attempt to lay out a plan for finishing the military mission in Iraq, the only new thing the administration gave the American people was a glossy 35-page pamphlet filled with the same rhetoric we’ve all heard before. Today’s action by the White House isn’t a step forward, it’s a step back. In fact the booklet the administration released to accompany the President’s speech is described as a "…document [that] articulates the broad strategy the President set forth in 2003…" That alone makes it clear that the President seems more dug in than ever to the same old "stay the course" way of thinking. This is not a strategy, and it certainly is not a plan to complete the military mission in Iraq.
I guess this throws a major wrench in Sen. Kerry's claims that "No one's talking about cutting and running."

Then there's this paragraph from Sen. Boxer's statement:

Second, he refuses to acknowledge the fact that our long term presence in Iraq is fueling the very insurgency that the President vows to end.

Perhaps Sen. Kerry can enlighten me on the difference between cutting and running that he says Senate Democrats aren't advocating and Sen. Boxer's belief that the insurgency is growing and America pulling out would take sap the strength of the insurgency.

UPDATE II: Here's how the Washington Times characterized the votes on the Warner Amendment and the Democratic Amendment to the Defense bill:

President Bush said yesterday that it was "a positive step" for the Senate to defeat a Democrat-led effort to establish a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq. "The Senate, in a bipartisan fashion, rejected an amendment that would have taken our troops out of Iraq before the mission was complete," Mr. Bush said during a press conference in Kyoto with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. "To me, that was a positive step by the United States Senate."

The Senate on Tuesday approved 79-19 the Republican amendment calling for regular updates on Iraq, but rejected 58-40 a Democratic amendment demanding a timetable for a U.S. troop pullout.

I guess Sen. Kerry's statement that "No one's talking about cutting and running." is taking quite a beating.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Hastert Wants 'Christmas,' Tree Together

In a move sure to please both traditionalists and Christians, House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert wants the Capital Holiday Tree to be called the Capital Christmas Tree. If that happens, expect the ACLU to file for a TRO to prevent that. Just kidding. Sorta.
If it's a spruce tree adorned with 10,000 lights and 5,000 ornaments displayed on the Capitol grounds in December, it's a Christmas tree and that's what it should be called, says House Speaker Dennis Hastert. Hastert, (R-IL), in a letter to the Architect of the Capitol, recommended that the annual Capitol Holiday Tree, as it has been called the past several years, be renamed the Capitol Christmas Tree. "I strongly urge that we return to this tradition and join the White House, countless other public institutions and millions of American families in celebrating the holiday season with a Christmas tree," Hastert wrote to Architect Alan Hantman.
Speaker Hastert, I couldn't agree more. It's time to stop worrying about the PC way of doing things and just call a Christmas tree a Christmas tree. While this seems like a trivial matter to some, it's a big deal to those of us who are Christians.
  • Excluding Christian symbols at this time of year is offensive to me personally and to Christians nationwide.
  • Excluding Christian symbols this time of year is offensive because we notice an even stronger hostility from the crowd that's always preaching tolerance to us.
  • Excluding Christian symbols this time of year robs us of the right to openly celebrate the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, for whom this day is named.
This is exactly the type of thing that the First Amendment was written to protect. After all, the First Amendment doesn't just prohibit Congress from making a law that sanctions a state-run church. It also prohibits that same Congress, or any branch of government, from making laws, whether by judicial fiat or act of Congress, that prevents the free exercise of religion.

As with anything that's been around a long time, enlightened people will eventually turn what's good and right upside down. That's the case here. Before anyone says anything, please spare me the various Supreme Court rulings over the years that limit what can and can't be displayed in public. Just this summer, a judicial activist voted in the majority to ban a display of the Ten Commandments in Kentucky and in the majority to permit the Ten Commandments to be displayed in front of a Texas courthouse.

Unlike Nancy Pelosi, I don't consider the rulings of the Supreme Court as though they were "spoken from the mouth of God" as she said this summer. Yes, it's the law of the land until we get jurists on SCOTUS who'll interpret the Constitution instead of rewriting it. That's why Christian conservatives and traditionalists make such a big deal of getting strict constructionists on the courts. We're tired of being treated like second class citizens by the judiciary.

It's time for the secularists and ACLU types to recognize Christians as being protected by the First Amendment, too. After all, it wasn't written to protect just secularists.

Say It Ain't So, Joe

I've written about Sen. Biden's op-ed, challenging much of his information based on what Sen. Lieberman said after returning from Iraq. I've now found several articles that discredits Sen. Biden's information. Let's start by comparing Rowan Scarborough's Washington Times article, titled "U.S. Decimating Foreign Fighters" with Biden's op-ed:

From Biden's op-ed:
There is another critical question: As our soldiers redeploy, will our security interests in Iraq remain intact or will we have traded a dictator for chaos?
Then Scarborough's article:
The U.S. is seeing significantly fewer foreign fighters on the battlefields of Iraq, because the coalition has killed or captured scores of terrorists in recent months and is doing a better job of securing the long border with Syria.
It seems like Biden's op-ed isn't based on facts as much as it's based on wondering if worst-case scenarios might happen. Scarborough's article cites specifics that tell us that terrorists will be killed before they get a chance to topple Iraq's government and that the once-porous Iraq-Syria border isn't porous anymore.

You can attribute much of the border security improvement on the dramatic impact of Operation Steel Curtain, under the leadership of Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch.

Here's another way that the military is impacting border security:
Defense sources said the deployment of newly emerging Iraqi brigades along the Syria border and better aerial surveillance has slowed the flow of foreigners. "It appears there has been a downturn, and that is partly due to increased security along the border with Syria," said a U.S. counterintelligence official, who asked not to be named. "Syria was the primary entry point for most of those foreign fighters. Stepped-up efforts to stem the flow is having an impact."
In other words, Biden's fears are based on a pessimistic mindset and his theories than on facts on the ground.
"What we do see indicators of are the numbers of foreign fighters that are showing up in a variety of venues, and we believe those numbers are significantly less, perhaps is less than half as many as they were in the summer," Gen. Vines said. "We see evidence that we're making considerable progress in that regard." A U.S. intelligence official said, "A lot of these people should not be called foreign fighters. They should be called 'foreign ordnances' because they blow themselves up. They don't fight."
Based on this factual information, the situation sounds pretty bleak if you're a terrorist or a "foreign ordnance", as this intelligence officer calls them. Rather than thinking about worst case scenarios, it seems that there's great reason to be optimistic if you're charged with oversight of the war in Iraq, as Sen. Biden is on the Foreign Relations Committee.

From Biden's op-ed:
The third goal is to transfer authority to Iraqi security forces. In September, Gen. George W. Casey Jr. acknowledged that only one Iraqi battalion, fewer than 1,000 troops, can fight without U.S. help. An additional 40 can lead counterinsurgency operations with our support.
Here's the information from Robert Burns' AP article:
Lt. Col. Fred Wellman, a spokesman in Baghdad for the U.S. command that is responsible for the training and equipping of Iraqi security forces, said approximately 130 Iraqi army and special police battalions are fighting the insurgency, of which about 45 are rated as "in the lead," with varying degrees of reliance on U.S. support. The exact numbers are classified as secret, but the 45 figure is about five higher than the number given on Nov. 7 at a briefing by Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, who previously led the training mission. It is about 10 higher than the figure Gen. Petraeus offered at a Pentagon briefing on Oct. 5. An Iraqi battalion usually numbers between 700 and 800 soldiers.
The conclusion that we must make from this comparison is that Sen. Biden's information is woefully faulty or he's just averse to admitting that there's good news coming from Iraq. Based on Mr. Burns' reporting, I can't see a legitimate reason why Sen. Biden would be this openly pessimistic.

In fact, if the American people catch wind of these troop developments, I suspect that there's a good chance their opinion on the war in Iraq will shift dramatically and quickly.

What might explain Sen. Biden's pessimistic view of Iraq is that he's part of the Democratic 'bad news barrage', designed to hit the President when he's down. Sen. Biden should retreat because it should be obvious that he's fighting a losing PR battle because the facts are on President Bush's side on this issue, too.

From Sen. Biden's op-ed:
We also need an effective counterinsurgency strategy. The administration finally understands the need not only to clear territory but also to hold and build on it. We have never had enough U.S. troops to do that. Now there is no choice but to gamble on the Iraqis. We can help by changing the mix of our forces to include more embedded trainers, civil affairs units and Special Forces.
Counterpoint from Rowan Scarborough's article:
U.S. officials always have had a difficult time estimating the number of Zarqawi's terrorists in Iraq, giving ranges of several thousand up to 10,000. The counterterrorism official said current estimates put the number from the "high hundreds" to "somewhere over 1,000. The numbers are not exact," the official said. "Definitely, there has been a downturn."
This is directly related to Operation Steel Curtain's success. Here's another telling bit of information from Scarborough's story:
But there have been signs of disenchantment within the organization. An intercepted letter from a top Zarqawi lieutenant in Mosul complained about a lack of money and experienced terrorists. U.S. military commanders have said that some of those captured say they were misled by recruiters about what America is trying to accomplish in Iraq.
It sounds to me like they're choking off the life support for Zarqawi's fighters. With little money and few experienced terrorists to run on the few missions they can afford to attempt, the situation sounds pretty bleak for the terrorists.

From Biden's op-ed:
Sewage in the streets, unsafe drinking water and a lack of electricity are all too common. With 40 percent unemployment in Iraq, insurgents do not lack for fresh recruits.
Counterpoint from Jenna Bisenius's article:
Experts expect the power cable project, which began in July 2005, to be finished this month once testing is complete. The Project & Contracting Office’s (PCO) Electricity Sector is overseeing the $1.4 million project; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Gulf Regional Division is responsible for project quality control.
During its active phase, the project employed approximately 100 Iraqi workers per day. They performed power cable work by hand, from the digging of the trench and laying of cable to the sidewalk restoration above the cables. This method allowed for employing more Iraqi workers, says the PCO Electricity Sector manager for the project, thereby helping the local economy benefit by more dollars staying in the surrounding community.
While I can't refute Sen. Biden's claims of "sewage in the streets", his claims of unreliable electricity and insurgents having easy pickings for new recruits seem far-fetched and unrealistic. In short, they don't stack up against the facts.

In the end, one can only wonder what Sen. Biden's pessimism is based on. Is he that ignorant of the facts in Iraq? It seems so. Is he pessimistic because he sees things dramatically different than President Bush sees things? Yes, but not because it's justifiable by verifiable facts. In fact, Sen. Biden's pessimism seems to be based on his pessimistic theories at a time when he should be focusing in on the facts from Iraq.

Regardless of the reason why, it's embarrassing that a United States senator would get so many important facts wrong.

UPDATE: Joe Lieberman has written a must-read op-ed for that demolishes Sen. Biden's op-ed.

Monday, November 28, 2005

A Tale of Two Joes

I just finished reading the AP's article on Joe Lieberman's trip to Iraq. What was most striking to me was the difference in Sen. Lieberman's perspective on Iraq and Sen. Biden's. For that reason, I've decided to compare their perspectives in this article. Let's get started with that comparison.

In his Washington Post op-ed, Joe Biden says
"There is a broad consensus on what must be done to preserve our interests. Recently, 79 Democratic and Republican senators told President Bush we need a detailed, public plan for Iraq, with specific goals and a timetable for achieving each one."
In Andrew Miga's AP article, Joe Lieberman is quoted as saying
"The country is now in reach of going from Saddam Hussein to self-government and, I'd add, self-protection," the Connecticut Democrat said in a conference call with reporters. "That would be a remarkable transformation...I saw real progress there."
It seems to me that Biden hasn't acknowledged that real progress, both militarily and politically, is being made. Lieberman, however, is full of praise for the progress being made on the military and political fronts. I'm certain that the American people wouldn't be upset with not getting a specific plan like Sen. Biden is asking for but would be happy knowing that "real progress" is being made in Iraq.

In his op-ed, Sen. Biden says
"Over the next six months, we must forge a sustainable political compromise between Iraqi factions, strengthen the Iraqi government and bolster reconstruction efforts, and accelerate the training of Iraqi forces."
Sen. Lieberman says in the AP article that
"there are signs life is returning to normal, including a profusion of cell phones and satellite TV dishes on rooftops. "About two-thirds of the country is in really pretty good shape," and that "If Iraqi forces continue to gain the confidence the American military sees there now...We will be able to draw down our forces..."
It seems to me that Sen. Lieberman's report on Iraq's current condition is detailed, optimistic and based on facts on the ground while Sen. Biden's comments are more of a recitation of policies based on perception than on actual facts on the ground. Basing one's opinions on perception rather than on facts is shoddy business.

Sen. Biden says
"Second, we must build Iraq's governing capacity and overhaul the reconstruction program. Iraq's ministries are barely functional. Sewage in the streets, unsafe drinking water and a lack of electricity are all too common. With 40 percent unemployment in Iraq, insurgents do not lack for fresh recruits."
Sen. Lieberman says that
"U.S. military officials told him they hope that by next year, two-thirds of Iraq's military will be able to carry the fight to insurgents with limited logistical support from U.S. forces. Lieberman said U.S. commanders had learned from their early mistakes and were successfully pursuing a "clear-hold-build" strategy against rebel forces. He cautioned, however, that "prematurely" pulling out U.S. forces would jeopardize the progress made thus far."
Sen. Biden is painting an awfully gloomy picture, painting Iraq as a total mess and with insurgents having a bumper crop of new recruit. Sen. Lieberman's impressions seem alot more believable because he's relaying the U.S. commanders' actions as successfully pursuing a "clear-hold-build" strategy against rebel forces. If Sen. Lieberman's picture is correct, and I believe it is, then the U.S. commanders' "clear-hold-build" strategy should be thwarting the insurgents rather than aiding them.

In other words, though the words might be grating, it's time for us to "stay the course" and keep following the current policies and practices.

And that's the moral of the story of a "Tale of Two Joes."

UPDATE: I just finished reading some articles from CentCom's most recent newsletter and found this information:
Greatte residents in the northern Baghdad district of Adhamiyah will soon be the recipients of more reliable electricity, due in part to the installation of two and a half miles of underground power cable. The cable will connect two new substations, helping bring power to approximately 2,500 to 3,000 local homes. Experts expect the power cable project, which began in July 2005, to be finished this month once testing is complete.
During its active phase, the project employed approximately 100 Iraqi workers per day. They performed power cable work by hand, from the digging of the trench and laying of cable to the sidewalk restoration above the cables. This method allowed for employing more Iraqi workers, says the PCO Electricity Sector manager for the project, thereby helping the local economy benefit by more dollars staying in the surrounding community. The Electricity Sector is one of four PCO sectors managing reconstruction projects throughout Iraq. The other sectors are Oil, Public Works and Water, and Facilities and Transportation.
This information seems to refute several of Sen. Biden's op-ed points. Here's Biden's characterization of life in Baghdad "Sewage in the streets, unsafe drinking water and a lack of electricity are all too common. With 40 percent unemployment in Iraq, insurgents do not lack for fresh recruits." Within a month, electricity in one of Baghdad's suburbs will be running. That will have been accomplished using Iraqis to digging the cable trenches to the laying of cable to restoring the sidewalk that the power cable is buried under.

The more I've thought about this, the more outraged I am with Sen. Biden's grandstanding. Either he isn't aware of the progress being made under CentCom's leadership or he's willingly misrepresenting the progress to the American people. Neither image is very flattering to Sen. Biden.

Centcom Wants You...

to be better informed on what's happening in their sphere of influence.

Earlier this morning, SPC. Claude Flowers emailed me, thanking me for "acknowledging CENTCOM on [my] blog" and asking me if he could sign me up for their "weekly electronic newsletter and monthly Coalition Bulletin", an offer I immediately accepted.

Here's the full email:
Hi, Gary:

Thanks for acknowledging CENTCOM on your blog (“Murdoch Predicts Gloomy Future for Press”). Is there any way you could add a link to our site? I’m trying to spread the word about it! I’ve attached the CENTCOM logo, should you want to use it with the link. You’re welcome to use any materials you find on our site.

If you’d like me to sign you up for the weekly electronic newsletter and monthly Coalition Bulletin, just ask.

SPC C. Flowers

CENTCOM Public Affairs
It's humbling to know that SPC Flowers is "trying to spread the word about" my site. I strongly recommend that we all sign up for the weekly newsletter and the monthly Bulletin. They sound like the best prevention for Truth Decay.

Winning in Iraq

Ever since John Murtha's tear-filled press conference announcing his proposal for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, Democrats have come out distancing themselves from his statement. The most noteworthy of these Democrats are Hillary, Barack Obama and Slow Joe Biden.

After reading Biden's Washington Post op-ed; after reading Hillary's and Obama's comments, I've noticed a pattern: Distance yourself from Murtha's statement, tell America that we can't leave in such a hurried way AND then not talk about winning the war in Iraq.

It's noteworthy that Obama, Biden and Hillary didn't say a word about winning. They sounded reasonable. No questioning that. But they didn't say a word about how we win in Iraq. They didn't say what the next step is in the GWOT. The silence is deafening.

The reason why this is noteworthy is because it speaks volumes about how unseriously the Pacifist Party takes the GWOT. It speaks volumes about how devoid they are of ideas for protecting our homeland.

Remember what was said during the Democrats talked about the need for more first responders? The implication is that they wouldn't do anything to prevent terrorist attacks but they'd supply all the first responders you'd need to clean up the mess that future terrorists would cause.

Remember John Kerry's NYTimes Magazine interview last fall? In that interview, he said
"We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance," Kerry said. "As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life."
This analogy struck me as remarkable, if only because it seemed to throw down a big orange marker between Kerry's philosophy and the president's. Kerry, a former prosecutor, was suggesting that the war, if one could call it that, was, if not winnable, then at least controllable. If mobsters could be chased into the back rooms of seedy clubs, then so, too, could terrorists be sent scurrying for their lives into remote caves where they wouldn't harm us.
"We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance," Kerry said. That is the epitome of naivete, silliness and unseriousness. At the time, I said that the terrorist threat was never a nuisance; that it was just treated that way by the Clinton administration.

Based on both recent comments and comments made a year ago, Democrats keep saying the things that allow people to not take them seriously on national security.

Pro American Hollywood?

Just when you thought you'd heard it all, a story like this comes along and you realize that you hadn't. Bruce Willis, one of my favorite action movie actors, is appalled at what's being reported on Iraq vs. what he's seen on his trip to Iraq.
"I am baffled to understand why the things I saw happening in Iraq are not being reported," he told MSNBC, the American news channel. He is expected to base the film on the writings of the independent blogger Michael Yon, a former special forces green beret who was embedded with Deuce Four and sent regular dispatches about their heroics. Yon was at the soldiers’ ball with Willis, who got to know him through his internet war reports on "What he is doing is something the American media and maybe the world media isn’t doing," the actor said, "and that’s telling the truth about what’s happening in the war in Iraq."
OUCH!!! I love Mr. Willis' quote that Michael Yon is doing "something the American media and maybe the world media isn’t doing," the actor said, "and that’s telling the truth about what’s happening in the war in Iraq." I also love the fact that they'll be basing this upcoming movie on Michael Yon's reporting. Then we'll know that it's factually accurate, that it's done right.

Another aspect that I love is that Mr. Willis said this on MSNBC, the home of Chris Matthews, who's bought into more anti-American spin, from Slow Joe Biden to John Murtha to John Kerry to Howard Dean in past months. I can't wait for this movie to come out, sell a few hundred million dollars of tickets and disprove the legion of Iraq war myths that the Agenda Media has started and cultivated.
"We faced very heavy fighting for about three months," Kurilla recalled. "Every patrol was making contact with enemy forces. We would hit them where they slept, where they worked and where they ate." Today the picture was very different, he said. "I have watched a city that was in absolute chaos turn into one that has a viable Iraqi security force, which is taking the lead in fighting the terrorists."
In other words, everything's changed dramatically. Kurilla's account doesn't sound like John Murtha's characterization that "It is time for a change in direction," said Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., one of Congress' most hawkish Democrats. "Our military is suffering, the future of our country is at risk. We cannot continue on the present course. It is evident that continued military action in Iraq is not in the best interests of the United States of America, the Iraqi people or the Persian Gulf region." It's obvious that news from Murtha's Iraq is much gloomier than the news from real Iraq.
In May, Yon took a photograph of a soldier from the Deuce Four cradling a little Iraqi girl who had been fatally wounded by a suicide bomber. He sensed that the inhabitants of Mosul were turning against the insurgents. "People began to realize that all the insurgents ever did was break things and kill people," he said. "It started to switch from a firefight to an intelligence war. People started to talk more to us. They would pull us over and give us tips." The Iraqi security forces began to take pride in their work, Yon added: "These guys were getting slaughtered but they continued to volunteer and fight. It’s very dangerous now to be a terrorist in Mosul. They’re still out there but it’s not like it was."
Willis said it would be wrong for Americans to give up on Iraq just as progress is being made. "The Iraqi people want to live in a world where they can move from their homes to the market and not have to fear being killed," he said. "I mean, doesn’t everybody want that?"
Let's hope that, between Yon's reports from the front and Bruce Willis' acting in a movie about what's actually going on in Iraq, the American people get the real story on what's happening in Iraq.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Kerry's Fundraising Furor

Speaker Dennis Hastert has criticized John Kerry's fundraising letter that mischaracterized the Speaker's comments on John Murtha. According to the Washington Times' Stephen Dinan, Kerry accused the Speaker of calling Murtha a coward, something that he didn't do.
In the hours before the Nov. 18 vote, Mr. Kerry's political action committee (PAC) sent an e-mail urging supporters to rally around Rep. John P. Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat, who called for beginning withdrawal from Iraq immediately, and saying, "The speaker of the House who never served, accused Jack Murtha of being a coward." The e-mail also contained a link for contributing to the Massachusetts Democrat's PAC.
Kerry should know better than make this accusation. It wouldn't take much for him to check the congressional record to see if Mr. Hastert insulted Mr. Murtha with those words.

It's also over the top for Kerry to throw in the cheapshot that Hastert "never served" as a way of justifying his cheapshot. As Hastert's spokesman, Ron Bonjean said "One does not have to serve in the military to recognize that the policy of retreat and defeat is the wrong approach."

It's also obvious that Kerry kneew that Hastert hadn't insulted Mr. Murtha that way by the way Jenny Backus, an adviser to Mr. Kerry's PAC, went into full retreat when questioned about it, saying that "national newspapers characterized his attacks on Murtha as calling him a coward."

What better, more irrefutable proof do you need that Hastert didn't insult John Murtha that way than to know that that's what "national newspapers" accused you of insulting a Democrat? It isn't like "national newspapers" wouldn't jump at the chance to make a high profile Republican look bad even if it meant not being accurate.

Cut & Run vs. Cut & Walk

FNC's Jamie Colby just interviewed former South Carolina Democratic Chairman Dick Harpootlian and former Rep. Bob Walker, (R-PA), on Iraq strategy. Harpootlian said that the difference between Dems and Republicans is that "Democrats want to cut and run and Republicans want to cut and walk", implying that neither side cares about winning.

Harpootlian further said that there's a sense that democracy won't take hold in Iraq because they have no sense of what democracy entails.

Harpootlian couldn't be further from the truth on either issue. Iraqis have made great strides in understanding and practicing democracy's principles. That was a worry about 2 years ago, when liberals were asking how the Iraqis would avoid civil war and saying that they've never had democracy so how could they understand its workings.

As the saying goes, that was then, this is now. Iraqis have been running their government, they've held a pair of elections, they've written a Constitution that spells out the functions of the 3 separate branches of government.

The insinuation that Republicans want to abandon the Iraqis while withdrawing troops at a slower pace is insulting and Mr. Harpootlian should be ashamed for saying that. Instead, he's probably happy at the slick sloganeering he pulled off with that one-liner.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Bush Vows to Fight for 'Freedom's Cause'

The AP's Nedra Pickler wrote about this week's Presidential Radio Address. The highlight of the President's address is this paragraph:
In a Thanksgiving weekend radio address to Americans, President Bush mourned the growing number of fallen troops but vowed to keep fighting for the cause they died for. Bush thanked U.S. service members and military families "who are making great sacrifices to advance freedom's cause" in his weekly radio address Saturday.
Undaunted by 'Mother' Sheehan's peace protest, the President chose to focus on the war on global terrorism as a prelude to his upcoming speech in Annapolis this Wednesday. President Bush is on a campaign of reasserting his leadership on the war in Iraq by swatting down the Democrats' unserious policies and by touting the accomplishments that the American military has achieved.

In a scheduled series of speeches, President Bush is expected to highlight the military accomplishments, especially the success of Operation Steel Curtain, where 700 terrorists have been killed thus far and 1500 terrorists have been captured. He's also likely to focus on the writing and ratification of the Iraqi Constitution and the upcoming vote for the first permanent government in that country in decades.

I hope that President Bush will also address the foolishness of John Murtha's unconditional retreat policy proposal by saying that pulling out before winning in Iraq is the equivalent to turning the nation over to the Iraqi security forces before they've been trained.

As part of his explanation on training, President Bush would be wise to state in detail how many Level 1 and Level 2 troops there are. L1's are capable of fighting without American assistance and L2's are capable of fighting and leading battles with some assistance from American forces. Quantifying where we're at will give people a detailed understanding of the amount of progress that's been made. There's nothing better than giving the people understandable statistics in context of our overall goals and mission.

I'd also hope that President Bush takes time during one of these speeches to talk about the political process, especially in terms of talking about increased Sunni participation in the December 15th vote. I'd also hope he'd reference the uprisings against Zarqawi in Jordan after the suicide bombers entered a wedding hall and killed the bride's parents and the groom's father, following that up with Zarqawi's family condemning his terroristic activities.

If the Agenda Media won't get this information out in print, then he might as well seize the day and report it himself. It's my strong opinion that once all this information gets out, public opinion will change dramatically.

I also think that President Bush can regain the upper hand in this argument and put his agenda back on the front burner. As his JA rating improves, the more political capital the President will have. That will work wonders in terms of party discipline. The reason why some GOP 'moderates' have strayed on issues like renewing the Patriot Act, drilling in ANWR and budget cuts is because of his perceived weakness. Once his ratings rebound, these moderates will want to be on the same side as the President.

As you can tell, I'm an optimist but I'm not a blind optimist. I believe President Bush can accomplish all these things because (a) he's advancing the right policies and (b) as President, he's got the biggest bulhorn in the nation. The dynamics change when you're setting the agenda and framing the debates.

You can take that to the bank.

Iraq Sunnis Look to December vote

Reuters' reporter Mariam Karouny is reporting that Iraqi’s Sunni Muslim minority "is doing everything it can to make sure it gets its tactics right. Here's a sampling of Ms. Karouny's reporting:
Sunnis, who formed the backbone of the ruling classes under Saddam and for decades before that, were left with just a handful of seats, 17, in the 275-member parliament. By population, they might have expected to get 50 or more.
This is a powerful incentive for Iraqi Sunnis to turn out with strong numbers and get involved in the political process. Based on their turnout for the ratification of the Constitution, I'm betting that they'll show up in even greater numbers for this election than they did for the Constitution's ratification.
The charter grants the Shiites and Kurds effective autonomy in northern and southern Iraq, where the country's oil wealth lies, leaving Sunnis in the center with no access to petroleum resources.
While it's true that Sunnis don't control access to "petroleum resources", they get an equal per capita share of their revenues. As for "effective autonomy" is a meaningless term because of the provisions in the Constitution that's just been ratified.
Either way, analysts say it probably will not matter. After the results are in, they expect Sunnis lists to unite as one block anyway in an effort to give the community clout. "Sunnis will form alliances later, it doesn't matter if they are on different lists now," said Baghdad University's Habib. “Even though they do not have a united leadership, they are all determined to make up for their absence at the last elections...Before, Shiites and Kurds proved their presence, now it is the Sunnis' turn."
That sounds like democracy is sinking in with the Sunnis, doesn't it?

Biden: Time for An Iraq Timetable

Slow Joe Biden has written an op-ed in Saturday morning's Washington Post advocating establishing a timetable for troop withdrawals and other ideas unworthy of serious consideration. Here's a sampling of his 'proposals':
First, we need to build political consensus, starting with the constitution. Sunnis must accept that they no longer rule Iraq. But unless Shiites and Kurds give them a stake in the new deal, they will continue to resist. We must help produce a constitution that will unite Iraq, not divide it.
Perhaps Sen. Biden hasn't noticed but the Iraqi Constitution that Iraqis ratified Oct. 15th guarantees equal rights for all Iraqis, including freedom of religion and full voting rights for women. Perhaps Sen. Biden hasn't noticed that that sounds alot like our Constitution.

As for "Shiites and Kurds" giving "them a stake in the new deal", Sunnis are submitting lists of candidates for the Dec. 15th elections so that they can wins as many elections as possible. That's the nature of politics and the Iraqis are figuring it out nicely as this process has moved forward.
The third goal is to transfer authority to Iraqi security forces. In September, Gen. George W. Casey Jr. acknowledged that only one Iraqi battalion, fewer than 1,000 troops, can fight without U.S. help. An additional 40 can lead counterinsurgency operations with our support.
Again, Sen. Biden might not have heard of the almost-weekly turning over of another city's security to the Iraqis. If he hasn't, he should demand more authoritative research and more informative briefings from his staff. This would shore up his lack of accurate information on which to make decisions.
We also need an effective counterinsurgency strategy. The administration finally understands the need not only to clear territory but also to hold and build on it. We have never had enough U.S. troops to do that. Now there is no choice but to gamble on the Iraqis. We can help by changing the mix of our forces to include more embedded trainers, civil affairs units and Special Forces.
Again, Sen. Biden is ignoring the impressive and ongoing results of Operation Steel Curtain. He should've been able to read about it in the Washington Post. They even through in a couple great quotes from Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch. My mistake. That didn't make it into the Washington Post. I found that information on reporting powerhouse NewsMax's site. Maybe Slow Joe should talk more often with the military to get accurate weekly updates.
If the administration shows it has a blueprint for protecting our fundamental security interests in Iraq, Americans will support it.
Sen. Biden, Starting next Wednesday, President Bush will be outlining the progress that the Agenda Media hasn't reported on along with laying out the logic behind the course we're already being successful with. No changes in direction. No caving into the Democrats' unserious proposals. Just doing things right with full consultation between the President and his generals. When he's done laying out our strategy, mission and progress, the American people will support his policies. Take that to the bank, Senator.

Learning Vietnam's Lessons, By Melvin Laird

Blogger, and twenty-two year old National Guard Infantryman, Mark Partridge Miner of Boots in Baghdad has posted an article written by Nixon's first Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird about the real lessons of Vietnam. Here are some things that jumped out at me:

Some who should know better have made our current intervention in Iraq the most recent in a string of bogeymen peeking out from under the bed, spawned by the nightmares of Vietnam that still haunt us. The ranks of the misinformed include seasoned politicians, reporters, and even veterans who earned their stripes in Vietnam but who have since used that war as their bully pulpit to mold an isolationist American foreign policy. This camp of doomsayers includes Senator Edward Kennedy, who has called Iraq "George Bush's Vietnam." Those who wallow in such Vietnam angst would have us be not only reticent to help the rest of the world, but ashamed of our ability to do so and doubtful of the value of spreading democracy and of the superiority of freedom itself. They join their voices with those who claim that the current war is "all about oil," as though the loss of that oil were not enough of a global security threat to merit any U.S. military intervention and especially not "another Vietnam."

It's shameful, in my opinion, for Americans everywhere to not lambast Ted Kennedy for his seemingly diatribe about our Iraq policies. I don't say that because he doesn't have a right to protest but because they aren't rooted in the facts in even the tiniest measure. Instead, they're done solely for perceived political gain.

Arguing in behalf of your opinions based on relevant and verifiable facts
is as time-honored a tradition as any in our history. That isn't what Ted Kennedy's doing, though. He's manipulating history's lessons to fit his opinions. As we're seeing now, even his manipulations aren't helping win people over to the Dems' side. Their JA ratings are still in the crapper.

I believed then and still believe today that given enough outside resources, South Vietnam was capable of defending itself, just as I believe Iraq can do the same now. From the Tet offensive in 1968 up to the fall of Saigon in 1975, South Vietnam never lost a major battle. The Tet offensive itself was a victory for South Vietnam and devastated the North Vietnamese army, which lost 289,000 men in 1968 alone. Yet the overriding media portrayal of the Tet offensive and the war thereafter was that of defeat for the United States and the Saigon government. Just so, the overriding media portrayal of the Iraq war is one of failure and futility.

The overriding media portrayal of a devastating South Vietnamese victory was that of defeat. I guess there are verifiable connections between Iraq and Vietnam. In this instance, though, it isn't that Agenda Media is saying that a victory is a defeat. Instead, they're just trying to ignore victories. When Operation Steel curtain's commander, Gen. Lynch tells a gaggle of reporters in Baghdad of the extensive casualties, fatalities and captures, it doesn't get mentioned in the Washington Post's article on how the war is going.

Vietnam gave the United States the reputation for not supporting its allies. The shame of Vietnam is not that we were there in the first place, but that we betrayed our ally in the end. It was Congress that turned its back on the promises of the Paris accord. The president, the secretary of state, and the secretary of defense must share the blame. In the end, they did not stand up for the commitments our nation had made to South Vietnam.

If President Bush had followed Murtha's advice of immediate redeployment, we would've gotten the same black eye that we justifiably received from Vietnam. Again, it's Congress trying to run us out of Iraq. Fortunately, this President won't fall into that trap. He won't betray our Coalition allies and our Iraqi friends.

If Rumsfeld wants something from those who are elected to make decisions for the American people, then he must continue to show more deference to Congress. To do otherwise will endanger public support and the funding stream for the Iraq war and its future requirements. A sour relationship on Capitol Hill could doom the whole effort. The importance of this solidarity between Congress and the administration did not escape Saddam Hussein, nor has it escaped the insurgents. In the days leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, television stations there showed 1975 footage of U.S. embassy support personnel escaping to helicopters from the roof of the U.S. embassy in Saigon. It was Saddam's message to his people that the United States does not keep its commitments and that we are only as good as the word of our current president. We failed to deliver the logistical support to our allies in South Vietnam during the post-Watergate period because of a breakdown of leadership in Washington. The failure of one administration to keep the promises of another had a devastating effect on the North-South negotiations.

If any of you thought that Saddam wouldn't use 1975 as an intimidation tactic, this proves you wrong. He's never fought fair and the truth was never his concern. The images of our pullout only played into Iraqis' opinions of us encouraging them to riot but then not protecting them as they fought for liberation.

As you can see, it's taking time and commitment and unswerving loyalty to win back the Iraqis' trust.

We are making commitments as to the future of Iraq on an almost daily basis. These commitments must be understood now so they can be honored later. Every skirmish on the home front that betrays a lack of solidarity on Iraq gives the insurgents more hope and ultimately endangers the men and women we have sent to Iraq to fight in this war for us. We are now committed to a favorable outcome in Iraq, but it must be understood that this will require long-term assistance or our efforts will be in vain.

I wish we all were committed to a favorable outcome in Iraq but that isn't the case. Many on the Unhinged Left hate America even more than they hate war. Many think of America as evil, especially anytime we use our military to protect ourselves from the real evildoers.

As for the part that "skirmishes that betray a lack of solidarity" fuels the insurgency's hopes, Mr. Laird isn't saying that all disagreements should stop. Instead, that statement must be viewed in the context of us all being committed to winning in Iraq. In other words, disagreements framed in terms of how best to win the war are the arguments that we should be making.

Instead, we're seeing Democrats blasting away at the President, not with the intent of sharpening our Iraq policies, but rather with the intent of simply dragging our Commander-in-Chief down politically. That's unconscienable in a time of war. I believe that's why Democrats won't do well next November.

The American people will tolerate honest dissent but they've never tolerated hatefilled, politically motivated dissent.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Monumental Stupidity

Sorry but I just couldn't help myself on that. The minute I read this AP story, I just had to give this article a sassy title. Anyways, here's the key section to this short article:
"Nobody knew what was going to happen, and we made up Camp Casey as we went along, and it grew and grew and grew," said Sheehan, of Berkeley, CA. "We're here to say that the killing has to stop, that we're not going to justify any more killing on our losses."
If I recall correctly, the anti-war protest contingent wasn't the only thing that "grew and grew and grew" but also the size of the consulting and media contingents. To make this out to being some great groundswell of public outrage of the war is a bit overly melodramatic.
Several Bush supporters also gathered in Crawford on Friday with a sign reading: "The price of freedom is not free." Hundreds were expected to attend a pro-Bush rally Saturday.
Check this out. I commented earlier that 100 peace protesters shared Thanksgiving dinner together. Now we hear that "Hundreds were expected to attend a pro-Bush rally Saturday."

That's some groundswell of support for the anti-war position.

Bush's Crisis

The Washington Post's Dan Balz has written another 'Bush in Crisis type of articles with Iraq as the focus of attention. It seems that he's blaming this 'crisis' on Bush's declining polls and bad news from Iraq.

It's interesting to note, however, that Rasmussen has Bush's JA rating at 46%, only 4 points below the percentage of votes he got a year ago. Of course, Balz is likely relying on the AP-Ipsos polling that vastly oversamples Democrats by 12 points or the Washington Post polls that 'show' Republicans comprise 23.8% of the registered voters. (Nevermind the fact that party registration as of last November was 37% Democrat, 37% Republican.) It isn't a great leap of faith to think that this President's ratings won't be as good if Democrats make up 40% of the sample and only 24% of the sampling group are Republicans.

Here's a key to understanding Balz' analysis:
Only clear evidence of success in Iraq is likely to alleviate widespread unease about the central project of this presidency, public opinion experts and political strategists say.
His most realistic goal may be to manage widespread frustration about the war from growing into a powerful antiwar movement. "I don't think there's any way he could turn this into a big success," said Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Public Attitudes.
Balz doesn't even bother to investigate whether there's progress being made because the TV highlights the terrorists killing Iraqis. If he'd checked into Operation Steel Curtain's success, he might've heard Maj. Gen. Lynch's saying that "It's been very successful" and that "The U.S. military's recent offensive in western Iraq has had a devastating impact on the al-Qaida-backed insurgency, with coalition forces killing over 700 terrorists and capturing 1,500 in the last two months alone."

Anyone want to bet that the American peoples' opinion would've changed had they heard that? If it didn't, would anyone bet that capturing Zarqawi would change public opinion in short order? Here's what Gen. Lynch said on that ""We come close to Zarqawi continuously...At one point in time in the not too distant future, we will capture or kill him."

Would public opinion change if they knew that Zarqawi's relatives took out half page advertisements in the 3 biggest Jordanian newspapers saying that they wouldn't protect him and that they might even kill him? I'm guessing that it would. That's why this information isn't getting reported.

It's very easy to understand when you realize that the Agenda Media's big guns won't report anything that will help President Bush. Things that don't fit into their template are consistently ignored. If I got paid a dollar for each post-reelection article that was negative, whether it's on the war or that Bush is a lame duck (I remember a couple of them coming out in the Washington Post last March) or that the economy would sink him or whatever, I would've earned a year's salary before summer.

As for Mr. Kull's saying "His most realistic goal may be to manage widespread frustration about the war from growing into a powerful antiwar movement", this guy should get in touch with reality. Cindy Sheehan parked out in Crawford for 26 days this past August and got her 15 years of fame in that month. Along came Katrina and it was Cindy Who? Now she's back in Crawford and the wire services said that an entire dozen peace protesters got arrested on Tuesday and that an entire 100 peace protesters had Thanksgiving dinner together.

If, after all of her August coverage, coupled with the Agenda Media's adoration for her, she's only able to get 100 or so peace protesters together, then how on earth can Mr. Kull think that there's any possibility of a "powerful antiwar movement"? This doesn't belong in a newspaper. It belongs in the fiction or fantasy racks at the local book store.

When you note that the 'experts' quoted in this story are tall tale tellers, should it be any wonder why people are dropping the newspapers in droves?


Back on November 17, I read a story from the Orlando Sentinel that "Derrick Wallace, Orange County chapter president" of the NAACP, has registered as a Republican.

In today's Washington Times, I read that the GOP outreach is gaining momentum. Here's what the Times story says:
One current and one recent Florida county director for the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization have switched party designations from Democrat to Republican, showing some of the first signs that the Republican Party's efforts to reach out to blacks are working. Darryl E. Rouson, recent past president of St. Petersburg chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Derrick Wallace, Orange County chapter president, both have registered Republican in the past two months.
Mr. Rouson, a lifelong Democrat, worked on the 1998 re-election campaign of Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, (D-IL), before returning to private practice in 1999 and registering as an independent. He said he made his decision after examining the Democratic Party's recent history in the state. "I saw that the mayor for eight years here in Pinellas County, who was a Democrat, had given only lip service to inner-city economic development," he said. The current Republican mayor, Rick Baker who was re-elected two weeks ago with 90 percent of the black vote, gave immediate attention to development and worked closely with black businessmen, Mr. Rouson said.
Pay special attention to that last paragraph. Democrats don't have an answer for what Mr. Rouson saying that "I saw that the mayor for eight years here in Pinellas County, who was a Democrat, had given only lip service to inner-city economic development," but that the current Republican mayor, Rick Baker who was re-elected two weeks ago with 90 percent of the black vote, gave immediate attention to development and worked closely with black businessmen.

Democrats can't be happy about this news, especially given Mr. Rouson's reason for registering as a Republican. If African Americans start hearing that Republicans helped getting inner-city development projects going after the Democrats ignored them, it seems to me that this could trigger a critical sea-change in African American voting habits.

Rest assured of another thing: If there's even a moderate-sized shift in African American voting habits away from the Democrats, it'll make things difficult for Democrats to win national or statewide elections anytime soon.
"As a people, if 50 percent of the black population was in each party we would be getting a whole lot more than we are getting now, but because we are 85 percent in one party, when Republicans are in power we are a beggar race," he said. "And when the Democrats are in power we are a beggar race, because they take us for granted."
Notice the frustration in the words Mr. Rouson uses. "When Republicans are in power we are a beggar race," and "when the Democrats are in power we are a beggar race, because they take us for granted." The logical thing to do is to start shifting away from the Democratic Party so that neither can ignore you.

Finally, there's this powerful paragraph:
Mr. Wallace's Orange County branch has become the state's largest since he took over in January. The Orlando Sentinel quoted him as saying that changing parties was a "business decision," but he emphasized that he did not mean a move to expand his construction business as critics have charged. "When I say it was a business decision, I don't mean for me. I mean I am a business person and think in a businesslike manner," Mr. Wallace said. "African-Americans have to understand that we have to be more strategic in our approach. We can't afford not to work with people because of their political party," he said.
Mr. Wallace and Mr. Rouson, welcome to the Republican Party. There's always room for men of integrity and ideas in our party.

Murdoch Predicts Gloomy Future for Press

According to the Guardian newspaper, Rupert Murdoch is ruffling the establishment media's feather again, this time forecasting a gloomy future for newspapers with the growth of the internet, saying he doesn't know "anybody under the age of 30 who has ever looked at a classified ad". Here's how it's being received by the establishment press:
At a conference last month, the WPP group chief executive, Sir Martin Sorrell, accused Mr. Murdoch of buying web operations "willy nilly".
Well. What Mr. Sorrell isn't saying is that newspapers' revenues from classified ads is drying up, a 'phenomenon' that bloggers like Hugh Hewitt, who wrote a book titled Blog : Understanding the Information Reformation That's Changing Your World, Glenn Reynolds of InstaPundit and others have been talking about for well over a year.

The reality is that informed young people don't automatically order subscriptions to newspapers like they did a generation ago. There are several reasons for that.

One of the most important reasons for that is because of the scandals that have plagued the formerly mainstream media, especially over this past year. People want information that they see as accurate. That confidence isn't there after Rathergate, Easongate and the Jayson Blair scandal.

Another important reason for the decline in newspaper readership is because people can access the internet, read the wire services for the initial reporting, skip over to a blog for the news analysis articles relating to anything from President Bush's judicial nominees to Jack Murtha's calls for immediate "troop redeployment" to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that the words "under God" are unconstitutional to a soldier's blog from Iraq, reporting on the daily progress being made there.

The best part of this is the near instantaneous nature of the reporting, researching and analyzing of news events. It's quite possible to have digested the reporting of news, along with the analysis of the various news events long before the daily newspapers arrive. Simply put, people don't want to wait to read slanted reporting about an event that they've read about half a day earlier.

Finally, people in general will seek out those reporters and pundits that forward the most compelling and logical explanations of the day's events and the most accurate reporting of the basics of the story. Simply put, bloggers are in the best position to report and analyze the news because (a) they aren't bound by deadlines; (b) they report and analyze on a 24 hour basis; and (c) there's so many internet sites that can be used to verify the initial reporting's accuracy, whether it's going to Centcom's website to verify or invalidate the accuracy about progress in Iraq or to the World Health Organization's website for the latest on the Avian flu or's site to find their research into whether Joe Wilson was truthful about what he found in Niger (He wasn't, according to FactCheck's research.)

In short, people don't have to rely on newspapers because the volume of accurate information on the internet is incredible.

That said, it's important to trust only those bloggers who link to the source of their information and whose opinions aren't just emotional diatribes. The best of bloggers are those that consistently make compelling arguments for their opinions based on verifiable facts and whose opinions are intellectually defensible.

Anything short of that isn't consistently reliable or worthy of daily attention.