If America is ever to triumph in its war against Islamic terrorism, we must get past the idea that we are its root cause. Specifically, we must get past the idea that a suicide bomber is just a peace-loving Muslim who, if we hadn’t set him off, would be growing figs and building sandcastles. Strapping explosives to your torso, marching yourself into a crowded marketplace and blowing yourself up in order to slaughter as many civilians, including women and children, as you can is a profoundly demented act, an act which undoes a dozen or so millennia in the moral evolution of the human species.

Such an act is not triggered by America’s sociopolitical landscape or by its foreign policy. Rather, it is nurtured by an intellectually degenerate culture, sponsored by sleazy kleptocratic regimes and authorized by a once-honorable religious tradition perverted to serve the pipedreams of an apocalyptic death cult.

It’s Muslim civilization, not America, that must change in order for Islamic terrorism to cease.

mark goldblatt -national review online

i think that about sums it up.

tags: ,

hidden in plain sight

i just don’t see how anyone in the media originally missed this part of the excerpt from the National Intelligence Estimate, since it was in the first paragraph. here’s a reading comprehension exercise for them. see if you can figure out what this means, ladies and gentlemen of the press. full text here(pdf).

United States-led counterterrorism efforts have seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qa’ida and disrupted its operations; however, we judge that al-Qa’ida will continue to pose the greatest threat to the Homeland and US interests abroad by a single terrorist organization. We also assess that the global jihadist movement—which includes al- Qa’ida, affiliated and independent terrorist groups, and emerging networks and cells—is spreading and adapting to counterterrorism efforts.

there’s no way that our counterterrorism efforts have been effective. after all, we have been so distracted by the iraq war that we have forgotten about al-Qa’ida. right? if you want to accept the NIE report, then you might want to look at everything it says, including the parts that support the President’s view of the war on terrorism. there is good news and bad news in these Key Judgments which have now been declassified. the analysis that we have seriously damaged the leadership of al-Qa’ida and disrupted its operations is something that the media wants to gloss over. that is a positive thing…and we need to acknowledge any ground that we have gained in this war on terror.

there is still work to be done. as this excerpt points out, jihadists are adapting to our counterterrorism measures. we need to be continually re-assessing strategy and adapting to new enemy tactics. our vigilance in this area should remain constant, no matter which party controls congress or the white house.

it goes on to suggest that “Greater pluralism and more responsive political systems in Muslim majority nations would alleviate some of the grievances jihadists exploit…” what kind of responsive political systems would promote this greater pluralism? democracy could be one of those systems. it doesn’t necessarily have to be of a jeffersonian stripe. any system that allows for individual rights and freedoms would have the desired effect. while i am not completely sold on the democracy project, i don’t see the current alternatives as ones that will allow Muslim countries to achieve this greater pluralism.

Continue reading

why do they hate us?

liberals love to talk about root causes.their pet theory is that there must be a reason why dysfunctional people are the way they are and that it’s never their fault when they do bad things. we must be tolerant and understanding and try to make accommodations for whatever injuries, real or imagined, those people may have suffered. this philosophy creates a society of victims who refuse to take any responsibility for their own life or their own actions.while i don’t deny that life experiences may contribute to bad choices people make, there are still consequences to be faced. this kind of approach may work for your average dysfunctional person, but it’s ineffective in dealing with terrorist scum.

while we are buried in angst over why they hate us, the Islamic extremists are plotting our destruction. those who obsess over the root causes of terrorist hatred are clueless, plain and simple. they believe that if the united states would leave those poor, misguided souls alone, somehow all the terrorists would leave US alone. if you have the opportunity in november to vote against someone with this philosophy, please do it.

there’s no room for negotiation when the people on the other side of the table want to kill you and to kill your allies. how can we possibly give them what they want when what they want is to wipe out entire countries and convert everyone to Islam? it doesn’t matter why they want to wipe out other countries. it doesn’t matter why they want to fly planes into buildings or to blow themselves up. it’s not acceptable or excusable under any circumstances.

we need to stop giving terrorists reasons to question our committment to defeating them. we need to stop making excuses for ruthless killers who behead their hostages with no consideration for what the geneva conventions would have to say about doing that. we also need to ask ourselves why terrorists should get Constitutional protection when they are not citizens of this country, or why the geneva conventions should apply to those who clearly do not follow the rules of engagement.

do we really want to do everything we can to protect this country from another 9/11? it’s easy to look at the actions of senators like john mccain and lindsey graham and most of their democratic colleagues and to have serious doubts about their strategy. the world is watching us. it’s one thing to talk tough. that’s one of our strengths. now our actions have to match our words.

it’s just that simple

mort kondracke nails the big question in the november elections. will it be decided by views on iraq or on the war on terrorism? i believe that the answer will determine which party will be left standing at the end.

Republicans think they gain by calling the Democrats “defeatists” on Iraq and by asserting that Democrats are “weak” on terror because they opposed the NSA wiretap program and had qualms about efforts to track terrorist finances through the international banking system.

Who’s actually gaining in this struggle is hard to tell. Traditionally, Republicans lead Democrats in public trust on fighting terrorism by margins of 25 to 30 points, but recent polls have shown that advantage dropping to single digits.

A Pew poll last week showed that more Americans, 69 percent, are concerned Republicans would get the United States involved in new wars than the 57 percent who are worried that Democrats are weak on fighting terror.

This week, however, a Gallup Poll reported Bush’s overall approval rating rose to 42 percent from 37 percent over the two weeks since the London plot was stifled and, for his handling of terrorism, to 55 percent from 47 percent.

But for handling Iraq, he remained mired at 36 percent. And a CBS/New York Times poll showed Americans, by 51 percent to 32 percent, don’t think Iraq represents a “major part” of the war on terror.

If the election hinges on “terror,” Republicans may win. If it’s “Iraq” and things keep looking grim there, it’s a Democratic advantage. That will frame the argument through November.

that’s the disconnect. americans don’t see iraq as a major part of the war on terror. the bad news for president bush is that he has been unable to sell this connection, since saddam didn’t directly order 9/11 and there’s no concrete evidence that he knew about bin laden’s plans. it is an unwinnable battle trying to explain to the american people why iraq was a legitimate target even if it didn’t have a direct link to 9/11. so i’m not going to make that attempt.

this disconnect actually benefits republicans, since bush’s ratings on the overall war on terror vastly exceed his numbers on the war in iraq. that’s why the way the debate is framed makes a huge difference. of course there are other valid criticisms of the party in power, and we all know what those are, but iraq and the war on terror will still be the primary debate going into this midterm.

the final outcome of the iraq war will determine how aggressive we will be as a country in prosecuting the war on terror, and how future and current bad actors will view the resolve of the united states in dealing with threats to its security. you can argue about whether it was part of the war on terror in the beginning, but it certainly is now. our success or failure in iraq will have major consequences for the rest of the region. can we leave iraq a better place than we found it? what will our enemies say about us when the united states military finally leaves iraq? will they be convinced that we are serious about fighting terrorism? those are questions that we will answer, and the world is watching us.

this should not be a partisan snipe-fest. republicans and democrats alike should be equally committed to giving our government the tools it needs to fight this war on terror effectively and to protect us here at home. we should support candidates who take this view, and reject those who don’t.

tags: , , , ,

lieberman: rummy must go

from face the nation sunday night (8/20): (pdf)

BOB SCHIEFFER: Tell us what you would do right now that is different than what the president is proposing.

Sen. LIEBERMAN: Yeah. I think there’s–three years ago in October on this show you asked me and I said that I believe that it was time for new leadership at the Pentagon. I think it’s still time for new leadership at the Pentagon. With all respect to Don Rumsfeld, who has done a grueling job for six years, we would benefit from new leadership to work with our military in Iraq. We also have to put severe pressure on the Iraqis to contain the sectarian violence that is there and stand up their ministries of defense and interior security. And then we’ve got to get the other Arab countries and hopefully some of the Europeans in with us to help to reconstruct Iraq. There is still hope in Iraq, and so long as there is, we cannot just pick up and, and walk away and leave them to the sure disaster that would follow and that would compromise our security in the war against terrorism.

SCHIEFFER: All right. All right.

JIM VANDEHEI: In five or 10 years, that’s fine?

Sen. LIEBERMAN: I don’t believe it will take five or 10 years.

SCHIEFFER: OK. I’m sorry. We have to let it go there. Thank you very much.

there’s that gutsy lieberman all those crazy republicans adore. i bet they just love that he called for the head of donald rumsfeld. i’m guessing this is not something karl rove told him to say. this is no different from what some of his fellow democrats have been saying, but lieberman is a little late to this bandwagon, even though he may have said something similar to this in the past. he is fighting an uphill battle if he thinks that he can win back those lamont voters with this suggestion. he has already lost them, and there’s nothing he can say to convince them that he is against this war or against anything the bush administration is doing.

i agree with most of what lieberman is suggesting here, although I’m not as optimistic as he is that we can get the europeans to help us with the reconstruction. they seem to view iraq as our mess to clean up, and i don’t know what incentives would change their minds about that. so we are where we are. we do need to re-think our current strategy there, because what we are doing now is not working. if we leave iraq without finishing what we started there, the situation will get worse, not better. that’s the reality.

i hope lieberman is right when he says that he doesn’t think that it will take five or ten years to stabilize iraq. there have been some estimates (one from the atlantic monthly) that paint a more gloomy picture of our progress in iraq and what it will take to complete this mission. unless the american people see significant signs of improvement in iraq, they won’t support five or ten more years there. the american people are unconvinced that we are winning in iraq. unless that changes, it will be difficult to keep our troops there much longer.

tags: , ,

buchanan slams the neocons

The Bush democracy campaign brought stunning electoral gains for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas in Palestine, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Moqtada al-Sadr in Iraq. Our ally Hamid Kharzai is today little more than mayor of Kabul, as the Taliban roam the southeast and coalition casualties reach the highest levels since liberation, five years ago.

North Korea and Iran remain defiant on their nuclear programs. Vladimir Putin is befriending every regime at odds with Bush, from Tehran to Damascus to Caracas. Neocon meddling in The Bear’s backyard has gotten us bit.

Unless we grade foreign policy on the nobility of the intent, which is how the liberals used to defend disasters like Yalta, it is not credible to call Bush’s foreign policy a success. The Lebanon debacle, once U.S. complicity is exposed, is unlikely to win anyone a Nobel.

Bush’s trade policy has left us with annual deficits of $800 billion with the world and $200 billion with Beijing. Once the greatest creditor nation in history, we are now the greatest debtor. U.S. manufacturing has been hollowed out with thousands of plants closed and 3 million industrial jobs vanishing since Bush took office.

As for Bush immigration policy, the nation is in virtual rebellion. Six million aliens have been caught at the Mexican border since he took office. One in 12 had a criminal record. In April-May, millions of Hispanics marched through U.S. cities demanding amnesty and all rights of citizenship for aliens who are breaking the law by even being here. Bush and the Senate are in paralysis, appeasing the lawbreakers by offering amnesties and by opposing House demands that the president seal the border before the invasion brings an end to the America we once knew.

pat buchanan (real clear politics)

it is troubling what has happened in afghanistan with karzai, but that is a result of not completely finishing what we started there, and not as a result of having elections. democracy doesn’t always produce the desired results. it doesn’t automatically make citizens more free simply because they can now cast a vote for the leaders of their choice. there are cultural and societal changes that have to take place before democracy and freedom work in concert with each other. look at the united states for an example. where does our freedom come from? it certainly doesn’t come from the ability to vote, or from our government. freedom is individual. it’s personal. the same theory applies to other countries as well.

worry about iran first. then we can deal with north korea. i wish the president would wake up to the fact that putin is not our friend, and that we need to pay closer attention to what he’s doing.

i’m not going to address buchanan’s comments about trade policy, because i don’t know enough to dispute him on that point. he is dead-on about immigration, and i hope president bush gets the message that we are trying to send. however, i share buchanan’s pessimism about this.

pat buchanan knows where all the problems are. what he doesn’t seem to have is a solution to deal with all of these problems.

tags: , , ,

it’s up to us

in november, we will have an opportunity to vote on the direction of the iraq war. we have a chance to choose between two parties with what (i believe) are two totally different views on the prosecution of the iraq war and on the overall war on terror. while i think that it’s an unfair characterization to paint candidates such as ned lamont and democratic leaders like howard dean as closet sympathizers with al qaeda, it is important to point out that their proposals aren’t necessarily the best way to deal with iraq.

this is the point where our faith in the current course is tested. it’s a legitimate argument to point out that we are struggling in iraq right now. i’m tired of trying to defend the president on his iraq policy, because it seems to go against what we are all seeing on the evening news. i’m sure that many other republicans and especially those in congress have that same inner struggle, especially when their defense of the president may cost them their jobs.

there’s more at stake here than choosing to support the war in iraq or to oppose it. what we will be deciding in november is how aggressively we want to deal with the terrorist threat we face in this country. i can’t say this enough…karl rove didn’t invent this threat just to scare the country into voting for republicans. IT’S REAL. when we go to the polls this november, that’s the question we will have to answer. can the democrats prove that they will use any means available to them to catch the terrorists who want to kill us? whether you agree with everything bush has done, or whether you question the legality of some of those programs, there should be no doubt that he will do whatever he feels is necessary to protect us.

the future of iraq and the direction of the war on terror has now being placed into our hands. it’s up to us to decide what happens next. consider this decision carefully. choose wisely.

“War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself” — John Stuart Mill

Technorati Tags: , ,


the democrats can’t have this both ways. they can talk all they want to about having a strong and smart foreign policy and a better strategy for dealing with terrorism, but their actions don’t suggest that they are serious about implementing one. from opposing common-sense measures like tracking money transfers and bragging about “killing the Patriot Act” to supporting the candidacy of ned lamont, the democrats now controlling the message haven’t found the right one yet. i realize that on some level, the democratic leadership had to support their senate nominee in connecticut. it’s traditional and all that. there’s something else going on with their support of lamont. ned lamont says what the rest of the democrats are afraid to say. it’s a way for the democrats to look more anti-war than they are without making an actual commitment to do what those like ned lamont want to do. this won’t work with the left wing and it doesn’t really work with me.

that’s because the left wing of the democratic party doesn’t believe the war on terror actually exists. they want to harp about the “politics of fear” and so forth. that’s a problem for the democrats if they want to take the battle to the republicans on national security. terrorism is real. it existed before bush. it will exist after bush is gone. you can hate bush all you want to and oppose his iraq policy all you want to, but at some point someone will ask the democrats how they could improve on the current fight against terrorism while taking away some of the very tools used by the brits to stop the recent terror plot in their country. i doubt their answer would reassure voters that they can improve on the record of the bush administration. i am also amazed that many polls rate democrats ahead of republicans on national security when it’s not even clear that the dems have a credible alternative plan on iraq. iraq is a struggle right now, i will admit that, but the democrats can’t figure out how to fix it either.

Continue reading

the battle for iraq

iraqi prime minister maliki addressed a joint session of congress today, and this is part of what he said.

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, our nascent democracy faces numerous challenges and impediments, but our resolve is unbreakable and we will overcome them.

The greatest threat Iraq’s people face is terror: terror inflicted by extremists who value no life and who depend on the fear their wanton murder and destruction creates.

They have poured acid into Iraq’s dictatorial wounds and created many of their own.

Iraq is free, and the terrorists cannot stand this.

They hope to undermine our democratically elected government through the random killing of civilians. They want to destroy Iraq’s future by assassinating our leading scientific, political and community leaders. Above all, they wish to spread fear.

Do not think that this is an Iraqi problem. This terrorist front is a threat to every free country in the world and their citizens. What is at stake is nothing less than our freedom and liberty.

Confronting and dealing with this challenge is the responsibility of every liberal democracy that values its freedom. Iraq is the battle that will determine the war. If, in continued partnership, we have the strength of mind and commitment to defeat the terrorists and their ideology in Iraq, they will never be able to recover.


that’s the bigger issue here. terrorists must not be able to dictate the direction of a country.  that’s what the terrorists are trying to do in iraq. we cannot allow this. terrorism won’t stop after iraq, but we need to deal the islamic extremists as many damaging blows as we can. that’s why we need to support israel and any other country that is actively fighting terrorists. israel is doing its part against terrorism in its current struggle against hezbollah, but it’s a recurring problem for them. we may never see the end to the war against terrorism.  that doesn’t mean that we should ignore the growing threat it poses to each and every one of us.

finish the job

israel’s former PM makes the case against a cease-fire.

The objective of the military campaign currently being waged on Israel’s northern border, as well as any diplomatic effort to bring that campaign to an end, must therefore be to disarm Hezbollah, first and foremost from its missile arsenal. A failure to do so would be a great victory for that terror organization and for its sponsors in Tehran and facilitators in Damascus. It would enable Hezbollah to rebuild its lethal capacity for waging war, continue to threaten the people of Israel and hold hostage the people of Lebanon, and sow the seeds for an even greater conflict in the future. In contrast, disarming Hezbollah would help restore Israel’s deterrence and security, give hope to a peaceful, prosperous and democratic future for Lebanon, and deal a heavy blow to the forces of international terrorism.

the times online has this to say about the israeli / hezbollah throwdown:

The pincer war launched by Hamas and Hezbollah against Israel is also related to domestic politics. In the occupied territories, Hamas needs to marginalise Mahmoud Abbas’s PLO and establish itself as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. In Lebanon, Hezbollah wants to prevent the consolidation of power in the hands of a new pro-American coalition government led by Fouad Siniora, the prime minister, and Walid Jumblatt, the Druze leader….

The strategy is high risk. If the Israelis manage to crush Hamas and destroy Hezbollah’s military machine, Iran’s influence will diminish massively. Defeat could revive an internal Hezbollah debate between those who continue to support a total and exclusive alliance with Iran until the infidel, led by America, is driven out of the Middle East and those who want Hezbollah to distance itself from Tehran and emphasise its Lebanese identity. One reason why Hezbollah has found such little support among Arabs in Egypt and Saudi Arabia this time is the perception that it is fighting Israel on behalf of Iran, a Persian Shi’ite power that has been regarded by the majority of Arab Sunnis as an ancestral enemy.

that’s why we must allow israel to do what it is doing, because it’s about more than some petty regional dispute. you can hate israel all you want to, but there’s a more critical matter to be addressed in this case. wouldn’t you rather have israel exist in its current state than live in a region controlled by unapologetic terrorist thugs? it’s clear that in some parts of the middle east, hatred for israel runs deep. does it run deep enough to surrender control of everything to iran and syria, or their terrorist representatives? i hope not.

Technorati Tags: , , ,