April 2004


So former co-President Hillary Clinton was on Larry King Live the other day. One would expect at least one of the following standard Democratic standards:

  • Bush lied
  • Quagmire
  • Bush is an arrogant cowboy
  • Iraq is Viet Nam
  • The economy is in shambles
  • Republican hate mongers are distorting the record

At least she did not lead with these. But as CNN reports (Hillary Clinton: No regret on Iraq vote):

To the disappointment of some antiwar liberals in her Democratic base, Clinton, the former first lady, voted in favor of the Iraq war resolution in October 2002.

"Obviously, I’ve thought about that a lot in the months since," she said. "No, I don’t regret giving the president authority because at the time it was in the context of weapons of mass destruction, grave threats to the United States, and clearly, Saddam Hussein had been a real problem for the international community for more than a decade."

But she said the Bush administration’s short-circuiting of the U.N. weapons inspection process didn’t permit "the inspectors to finish whatever task they could have accomplished to demonstrate one way or the other what was there."

She also said the failure to plan properly for the post-war period "is the hardest to understand."

Since the invasion of Iraq a year ago, no weapons of mass destruction have been found. The Bush administration has cited evidence that Saddam Hussein’s regime had the capability to produce such weapons.

The lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq contradicts years of intelligence indicating Saddam had such weapons, which also was the conclusion of officials in the Clinton administration.

"The consensus was the same, from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration," she said. "It was the same intelligence belief that our allies and friends around the world shared."

"But I think that in the case of the [Bush] administration, they really believed it. They really thought they were right, but they didn’t let enough sunlight into their thinking process to really have the kind of debate that needs to take place when a serious decision occurs like that."

She conceded that making such decisions is "very tough" for the occupant of the Oval Office.

Come again? So Clinton and Bush came had the same intellegence about the weapons of mass destruction, but Bush actually had the audacity to believe the information and act on it instead of trying to find some excuse for inaction…

This sounds a lot like Kerry saying that he voted to permit the President to use of force in Iraq only because he thought that Bush would not actually carry through with the threat to do so…

WSJ’s James Taranto makes an excellent point: "So the Clintonites and the Bushies both said Saddam Hussein has weapons. The difference is that the latter ‘really believed it.’ The former didn’t really believe it, but they said it anyway. So it turns out it was CLINTON who LIED!!!!"

I believe that the heart of the point was no better made than by Brent Bozell: (Brent Bozell : Bush’s conservative idealism (4/21/2004):)

The front page of the Washington Post carried bad news for the anti-Bush media (redundant, I know). After all their rhetorical shelling of George Bush’s position, and after all the press-conference demands for his apologies and admissions of incompetence, and after all the anguished highlighting of bad news from the Sunni Triangle, the latest ABC-Washington Post poll found that Bush has "significant advantages" over John F. Kerry with the public on dealing with Iraq and the war on terrorism. Kerry’s domestic-issues advantage has also evaporated.

All this has happened as the poll respondents said the war and terrorism have become more important issues in recent weeks. Clearly, the poll results suggest the American people have seen President Bush’s resolve as a war president, have liked his staunch talk in the face of media rudeness, and have concluded that What’s-His-Long-Face from Massachusetts is giving the public a cold plate of political sniping instead of a principled alternative.

But there’s something else the American people may like about Bush, something very American. His press conference was studded with passionate remarks about the spread of human freedom — that liberty is not America’s gift to the world but God’s gift to all mankind. It is not just the thought, but the thought process that the media reject because they cannot recognize it: conservative idealism.

Liberals would like you to think that John F. Kerry is the second coming of John F. Kennedy, when in fact it is Bush whose message is eerily familiar to those who remember J.F.K. stating in his 1961 inaugural address that we would "bear any burden … to ensure the survival and success of liberty."

By contrast, John Kerry thinks the solution in Iraq doesn’t have to include democracy or freedom, but whatever stable dictatorship will allow us to disengage, as he told reporters in Harlem on April 14: "I have always said from day one that the goal here … is a stable Iraq, not whether or not that’s a full democracy. I can’t tell you what it’s going to be, but a stable Iraq. And that stability can take several different forms."

Without scouring Kerry’s record of routine flip-flops, I wouldn’t be too sure that this is what he’s "said from day one," but there is a certain consistency here. In his 1971 book "The New Soldier," Kerry couldn’t find any idealism about spreading democracy in Asia: "We were sent to Vietnam to kill Communism. But we found instead that we were killing women and children." In the book, Kerry stated that those poor benighted Vietnamese "didn’t even know the difference between communism and democracy."

In the 1980s, Senator Kerry tried to crush attempts to build democracy instead of communism in Central America, comparing the Reagan Administration’s attempts to fight the spread of Soviet and Cuban revolution to … Vietnam, of course. Perhaps Kerry thought those non-white Third World peoples must also not know the difference between communism and democracy — except they repeatedly voted for the anti-communists in El Salvador and voted out the Sandinista dictatorship in Nicaragua. And communists continue to lose elections in those countries to this day. Now Kerry & Co. are trying to move Vietnam to the Middle East.

The Bush White House may speak in idealistic tones of spreading the gift of liberty, but what the Kerry camp worships isn’t an idea, but a strategy, a calculated process of internationally negotiated settlements somehow quieting — but not defeating — rogues and killers who recognize no rules and are immune to diplomacy.

It does not matter if that international process negotiates a democracy away. It does not matter if the international process is riddled with corruption, like the disastrous United Nations’ "Oil for Food Program." All that matters is that we’ve been supportive of an international process. The liberal elite will have to forgive the American people for the bad taste in their mouths over all this. As James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal put it precisely: "Why would anyone vote for a Democrat who isn’t even a democrat?"

The media elite are appalled at the conservative idealism that stands in bold contrast to Kerryism. On CBS, "60 Minutes" sage Mike Wallace moaned in agony: "The president of the United States, without a great deal of background in foreign policy, makes up his mind and believes he was sent by somebody to free the people — not just in Iraq, but around the world?" Liberal author Bob Woodward shared Wallace’s horror: "It is far-reaching, and ambitious, and I think will cause many people to tremble."

Perhaps what causes many people to tremble is the idea that the security of the United States and the cause of world freedom will be left in the cynical clutches of John Kerry and the manipulative media elite that shares his reverence for diplomacy over democracy, for process over principle.

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A wonderful article today from Dennis Prager - a must read! (People are beautiful, the world stinks):

If you love goodness and hate evil, this is a tough time to stay sane.

Israel has killed Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the Hamas terror leader, and almost every nation in the world and the nations’ theoretical embodiment, the United Nations, have condemned Israel for doing so.

World leaders and the world organization have said almost nothing about Communist China’s ongoing destruction of one of the world’s oldest civilizations, Tibet. World leaders have said almost nothing about the Arab enslavement and genocide of non-Arab blacks in Sudan. But they convene world conferences to label Israel, one of the most humane and decent democracies on earth, a pariah.

In order to retain my sanity, I ask the reader’s indulgence as I use this column to express personal thoughts.

I have contempt for "the world." I cherish and admire countless individuals, but I have contempt for "the world" and "world opinion." "The world" has never cared about evils inflicted on human beings. The Communist genocides meant nothing to humanity. The Holocaust meant nothing. With almost no exception, the mass atrocities since World War II have likewise absorbed humanity less than the Olympics or the Miss World Contest.

I have contempt for the United Nations. It is one of the great obstacles to goodness and decency on this planet. Its moral record — outside of a few specialized agencies such as the World Health Organization — is almost entirely supportive of evil and condemnatory of good. It is dominated by the most morally backward governments in the world — those from the Arab and Muslim worlds, the Communists during their heyday and African despots. It appointed Libya, a despotic, primitive state, to head its Human Rights Commission, whose members include China, Saudi Arabia and Sudan. Neither the United States nor Israel sits on the Commission.

I regard the European Union with similar revulsion. With little opposition, Europe murdered nearly every Jewish man, woman and child in its midst, and a half-century later provides cover for those in the Middle East who seek to do to the Middle East’s Jews exactly what the Nazis did to the European Jews. For the European Union to condemn Israel’s killing of a Hamas leader, when Hamas’s avowed aim is another Jewish genocide, is so loathsome as to board the incredible. For Germany and France (who, unlike America, have almost never shed blood for the liberty of others) to do everything they can to undermine America’s attempt to liberate Iraq is similarly repugnant.

As for the international news media and journalists, I regard most of them as aides to evil.

This is not new. The 1932 Pulitzer Prize, American journalism’s highest award, was given to Walter Duranty of the New York Times for reporting from the Soviet Union. In his reports, Duranty repeatedly denied Stalin’s forced starvation of Ukrainians that led to the murder of more than 6 million of them. The same "newspaper of record" deliberately toned down reporting on the Nazi annihilation of Jews 10 years later so as not to appear "too Jewish."

The Soviet decimation of Afghanistan was so little reported in the international media — especially radio and television — that when I talked about its scope and horror on my radio show in the 1980s, listeners kept wondering if I was telling the truth — they had never heard anything about it.

In the last years of the Saddam Hussein regime, according to John Burns of the New York Times, major news reporters refused to write stories about Iraqi mass murder and atrocities lest the Saddam regime remove their press credentials. For most journalists, and their newspapers and television stations, it was better to lie for Saddam and have a bureau in Baghdad than to tell the truth but have no Baghdad bureau.

And not one international news organization calls Hamas or any of the other Palestinian terror organizations "terrorists."

I love learning and revere the title of "professor," but with few exceptions, universities, too, merit contempt. The vast majority of professors who take positions on social issues are moral fools. They teach millions of students that America and Israel are villains and that the enemies of those decent societies are merely misunderstood victims who are often justified in their hatred. And they loathe the American Judeo-Christian value system that has made the United States the world’s land of opportunity and beacon of liberty.

In sum, I feel that I am living in a world that is morally sick. Good is called bad, and bad is called "militant," "victimized," "misunderstood" and "the product of hopelessness," but rarely bad. Only those who fight the bad are called bad.

I am kept sane by the knowledge that there are hundreds of millions of individuals who can still tell the difference between good and evil; by the knowledge that there was never a time that humanity was particularly decent; and by a strong belief that a good God governs the universe even though He allows evil many triumphs. And I believe this God will judge Osama bin Laden and Jacques Chirac appropriately.

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Just to follow up my rant from yesterday, I would like to present a great article from Wednesday’s AJC by Shaunti Feldhahn (see, as long as it is not their normal opinion writers, then there can be some good stuff in there!): Shaunti Feldhahn : Bush certain to take heat regardless (4/14/2004):

I’d like those who accuse our president of ignoring pre-Sept. 11 threats to join me on a little tour.

It is early April 2001. After a contentious election, President Bush has been in office just 10 weeks. No 747s have been hijacked. No towers have fallen. But the tech market has been crashing for a year, losing two-thirds of its value and putting hundreds of thousands out of work. The effects of the tumbling economy are beginning to be felt.

The crew of a Navy spy jet is being "detained" in China, and news pundits mercilessly criticize the administration for continuing such broad intelligence-gathering in a post-Cold War world. The spy race, these sages say, alienates our friends and exhausts resources that should instead be boosting the economy. Starting with the stock market. We liked it better when it only went up. You remember those days?

Now let’s move into the fantasy land occupied by the president’s detractors.

In April 2001, Bush calls a news conference. Henceforth, his top priority will be a war on terrorism, an imminent threat. The government will increase global intelligence-gathering, starting with a Patriot Act to increase the FBI’s domestic surveillance powers. The State Department will freeze assets of suspect Islamic charities and the Immigration and Naturalization Service will register and fingerprint visitors from Islamic states.

Most importantly, Bush announces, we will soon invade Afghanistan and overthrow its government, which is beholden to a terrorist network bent on harming us. Any questions?

Consternation! Chaos!

Members of the astonished White House press corps scramble for their phones, and every news outlet fires up its indignation meter. Bush has lost his mind. He thinks he’s back in the Cold War. He’s going to turn the world against us and doom our economy. And what cowboy arrogance to consider a pre-emptive strike against another state!

Even if some terrorist network has taken over, what gives us the right to overthrow the Taliban to address what is, at best, a murky threat? Mr. President, can you prove these claims? No, our intelligence doesn’t reveal a specific plan for attacking us.

No, the Taliban itself is not an imminent threat, but it is harboring this group called al-Qaida. Yes, pre-emption is a new strategy, but our intelligence indicates that al-Qaida is capable of inflicting great harm. No, I can’t share that intelligence. No, as I said, we don’t know what they are planning, but they must be stopped before we find out the hard way.

For the next month, incredulous newscasters and gleeful Democrats analyze the administration’s attempts to explain the unexplainable. The president’s approval ratings plummet.

Now, fast-forward to real life, to the 9/11 commission, and to the many who accuse the Bush administration of negligence for not foreseeing and preventing al-Qaida’s attacks. With responsible hindsight, what becomes obvious is not that our president could have prevented Sept. 11, but that his detractors would have savaged him if he had tried. And almost every national security measure the president is criticized for taking after Sept. 11 is exactly what his detractors fault him for not doing beforehand.

No one gets credit for preventing catastrophes; only criticism. And this Catch-22 crosses the aisle. Many conservatives wrongly disparage President Clinton for somehow not eliminating al-Qaida earlier, ignoring the fact that they would have decried any such attempts.

Our president doesn’t have the luxury of living in hindsight. He is tasked with protecting us, with taking decisive action. And the surest sign that he takes that job seriously is that he is being sniped at from those who are sitting safely on the sidelines.

Before the Atlanta Journal and Constitution merged into one edition there used to at least be some choice in the typical editorial slant you could subscribe to. Now it’s gone. In fact we even got treated the other day to a wonderful essay from Al-Jazzera blaming all of the trouble in the Middle East on Isreal because Palestinian children have been killed. (Of course, they forget to mention that they are killed with regret when seeking out those Palestinian terrorists who have already blown up Isreali military and civilian targets… but never mind - it’s the vicitim who always finds a way to bring it on themself.

More content like Ms. Feldhahn’s would be greatly appreciated.

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Over the last couple weeks I have come to some conclusions:

  1. I am sick of the 9/11 Commission
    It’s been a sickening parade before the commission as any usefulness they might have had quickly disintegrates into a mess. It started with Richard Clarke’s book tour road show and got worse during the Condoleezza Rice’s televised testimony and probably can never now be restored to a useful entity.

    Who’s fault is 9/11? It is not exclusively the fault of Bush, Ashcroft, Rice, Tenet, Clinton, Freeh, Albright, Reno, or anyone else. There is no singular act that would have made an avoidance of 9/11 a certainly. But there were a lot of things, the sum of which produced conditions where 9/11 was possible. Of course we did not do everything possible to prevent the attack. Of course we missed ‘tell-tale’ signs. As Michelle Malkin points out (The liberals who cried ‘didn’t do enough!’): "The Bush-bashers who have relentlessly accused the president and his War on Terror team of acting like jack-booted bigots are now imperiously attacking them for acting like light-footed fumblers."

    9/11 did happen. Wes Clark is the only person foolish enough to say he could keep something like that from happening again. But what caused it to happened?

    • We were not at war. As Louis Freeh stated "We weren’t fighting a real war … neither [the Clinton nor the Bush] administration put their intelligence or law enforcement agencies on a war footing." They were at war with us, but we were not at war with them. We still do not look at the Palestinian extremists blowing up Israeli soldiers and citizens and see the same terror element that has attacked the USA. Different people, same agenda. The elimination of ‘the infidel’.

    • Funding had been slashed by a variety of sources. It should be no secret that Clinton and the Democrats (including Kerry) have hated the CIA and missed few opportunities to try to cut it down. Not that Republicans were great defenders either. As Reagan won the Cold War we lost our way with respect to our intelligence services. Without an easily identifiable common enemy, it becomes difficult to focus. So difficult, that only hindsight can provide the guidance as to what capabilities would be necessary to train in order to meet future threats. Then fund to put those capabilities, both material and people, in place.
    • We did little to nothing in response to previous terrorist attacks emboldening the terrorists. The first World Trade Center bombing, the bombing of the embassies in Africa, the attack on the USS Cole, among others, saw limited scope of response. We appear weak, and are payed back for it. Even today, many (like Sen. Kennedy) worry that acting strongly will provoke resentment and feelings of hatred against America. That’s not entirely wrong. However, it seems fairly strange to blame the victims in this case. When attacked, we should not lie down just because those who attack us are uncomfortable about being called to task for it.
    • Political correctness prevented taking action that would look like racial profiling. The FBI can’t look into Arab students all at flight schools and the Transportation Department still can’t bring itself to screen airline passengers based on nationality or appearance. As Ann Coulter points out (Thank you for choosing United, Mr. bin Laden): "Last week, 9-11 commissioner John Lehman revealed that ‘it was the policy (before 9-11) and I believe remains the policy today to fine airlines if they have more than two young Arab males in secondary questioning because that’s discriminatory.’ Hmmm … Is 19 more than two? Why, yes, I believe it is. So if two Jordanian cab drivers are searched before boarding a flight out of Newark, Osama bin Laden could then board that plane without being questioned. I’m no security expert, but I’m pretty sure this gives terrorists an opening for an attack."
    • Walls were erected between the FBI and CIA and even internally in those organizations. Whether they came about for good reasons or bad, they existed. And this contributed to the overall difficultly in seeing the threats clearly. I don’t know how, even with intense cooperation, that anyone could see all of the elements in the mass of data effectively in the system. I won’t comment on the ridiculous nature of having the author of one of those policies sitting in judgement on the Commission itself other than to say it shows the intent and quality of results we should expect.
    • We squandered opportunities to destroy the source of the crimes because of worry over how to prosecute, who has jurisdiction, etc. Tell me again that Clinton’s unwillingness to take UBL when offered up by Somolia had nothing to do with this. International cooalition building is a wonderful thing when it works, but the real truth is that you can never get everyone to agree on everything. In the end we end up being only reactionary. (Please let John Kerry know this - when you turn the fight on terrorism into a ‘law enforcement’ activity, it means you only can react after the crime is committed. That’s better than nothing, but hardly a strategy that discourages the violence from continuing. You don’t have to worry about a homicide bomber being a repeat offender. What are you going to do, prescribe the death penalty? Then again, there’s probably people out there would would imagine that the government should provide them counciling, job training, and some excuses as to why they were forced into such a lifestyle.)
    • Our immigration policy was (and is still largely) a disgrace. We allowed entry to people on student visas but had no real way to find someone who stopped going to school or overstayed any visa. We issued visas nearly carte blanche from remote offices such as in Saudi Arabia without performing any checks (and subsequently saw the fraud that this caused). There are plenty of people who don’t believe in enforcing immigration laws today (just ask anyone who supports giving drivers licenses or college scholarships to illegal aliens or any mayor or police chief that refuses to enforce the laws that do exist in his or her area).
    • We were not thinking ‘outside the box’ This goes along with the fact that neither public nor government was on a war footing, and did not want to imagine that people would behave in an uncivilized way. Prior to 9/11 the basic concept of existing airport security was to try to foil a hijacking attempt or, to a lesser degree, the bombing of an airliner in flight. Both had been done in the past and threatened the hundreds of people on a plane as well as the overall health of the airline industry. No one imagined using planes as a bomb. I don’t mean that literally, of course. I’m sure that there will exist memos like those produced for the 1996 Summer Olympics security that imagine all sorts of possible threat scenarios. Heck, Tom Clancy even wrote about an airliner used to crash into a Joint Session of Congress killing the President, Congressional Leaders, and Supreme Court. (Is that where UBL got the idea???) But we did not routinely consider the far reaching risk of taking three thousand lives on the ground with a plane.
    • It’s much easier to be a terrorist than a responsible state. The cost of entry to the terrorism business is low. A grenade here. A truckload of explosives there. A few people willing to kill themselves in order to kill others. Being a country that supports the rule of law and freedom for its people is a challenge. So we should not be surprised that it’s difficult to eliminate terrorists. One man in his basement can dream up a terror plot, and there’s no organization to crack, no master plan to unravel. With sufficient resources he will most likely be able to perform his plan within the openness of our free society. We have to accept this risk. Unless we want to live cowered in fear, there will always be the likelihood of another attack on our soil. You can not eliminate the threat completely.

    By the way, George Bush did not have advanced knowledge of the attack and actively refuse to prevent it. This is the same tired old conspiracy stink that people are still trying to pin on FDR for Pearl Harbor sixty years later. Get over it. We laughed when this ridiculous notion was suggested back in 2002, and we should continue to do so today. Neither the Presidential Daily Briefing nor anything else even remotely suggests this to be the case. It’s insulting, ridiculous, and a waste of time. Get over it. If the Democrats want to defeat Bush in the election, do so on some real issues. There’s plenty of ideological differences between the camps to explore rather than focusing on fiction. By the way, UBL still would like to attack us today, and in fact said so in his latest message. What are we doing now to stop it!?!

    We all share some of the responsibility for 9/11. There is plenty of blame to go around. So unless the 9/11 Commission stops trying to either play the blame game or construct the proceedings in order to produce the maximum number of sound bites for the evening news, then I am through trying to pay attention to them. A final appeal. Close the doors and get down to business. Understand the dynamics of events and analyze how we should react, fund, and organize ourselves to meet these threats in the future.

    And make sure to take the steps that are under our control, like tear down governments in states that sponsor terrorism, like Afganistan. Enforce the UN resolutions that the other members are too squeemish to enforce, like was done in Iraq. Cutting off the resources of those in the terror business is one of the few elements that can be helpful.

  2. I am sick of the WMD discussion

    From Sen. Kennedy’s Brooking Institute speech:

    Sadly, this Administration has failed to live up to basic standards of open and candid debate. On issue after issue, they tell the American people one thing and do another. They repeatedly invent "facts" to support their preconceived agenda – facts which Administration officials knew or should have known were not true. This pattern has prevailed since President Bush’s earliest days in office. As a result, this President has now created the largest credibility gap since Richard Nixon. He has broken the basic bond of trust with the American people.

    Everyone in the world, including France, Germany, and John Kerry and Teddy himself, believed that Iraq had WMD.

    • They used them against Iran and on their own people
    • They listed inventories of materials to the UN
    • We found inventories of bological protection equipment
    • Over 12 years from GWI they toyed with the UN Inspection teams, throwing them out of the country, restricting who and where they could work, and generally making them look like fools.

    So where are they? Buried in Iraq? Hidden in Syria and Iran? Did Saddam use up his stocks and bluff is way with the rest of the neighbors in the region and with any dissidents in his own country? Did Saddam’s scientists lie to him about having more? Did he not have stockpiles standing by, but only the capability to produce them quickly upon demand?

    I don’t know. But the point is that all Saddam had to do was let the UN Inspectors in and show what happened and there would have been no invasion based on the UN resolution. If Kerry and Kennedy can sit there with a straight face and contend that they were lied to, data was manipulated, and somehow they were tricked… Well then it was a mighty good trick.

    I don’t hear Kennedy and Kerry questioning what happened with the UN Oil for Food program. Demand a full accounting to determine where the kick-backs and pocket-lining occurred. Demand to know whether France and Russia held off their support because they powerful people were being paid off with UN money. If that were the case, then I could more easily sympathize with their continued rumblings about building a bigger coalition to invade Iraq and enforce the resolutions.

  3. I am sick of defeatists
    The terrible bombings that happened in Spain set off a bad chain of events. I’m not sure that people really meant to send a message of appeasement to the terrorists by electing the socialist leader who vowed to remove Spanish troops. They were grieving. The government eagerly tried to blame internal insurgents and was quickly caught in the lie. Whatever. But the effect was that this has to give terrorists fresh vigor.

    Why do you think the foreign hostages were taken over the last week, and tragically an Italian was killed yesterday? Why do you think the latest UBL audio tape insists that European states will not be harmed if they just walk away from the battle? Will more appease him? Maybe some will, hopefully more will stand strong. While they might see some short term benefits with leaving the fight to someone else, you can not negotiate with the terrorists. They will come back to you again later. Remember that the ultimate goal of the Islamic fanatics is to destroy everyone else. It’s just that they would prefer not to fight their battle on so many fronts at one time just now. Concentrate on one target at a time.

    But guess what? America and Isreal can not hide and walk away from this fight. The fight is being brought to us. We can not hide from it. We can not disappear and have the terrorists leave us alone. "They are at war with us, even through we were not at war with them." Kennedy can say "Iraq is George Bush’s Vietnam, and this country needs a new President." That’s a quick way to dredge up memories of unpleasantness, even though it’s untrue. The memory of Vietnam is etched in the memory of baby boomers and being anti-Vietnam is the heroic hallmark of the aging college students of the 60’s. But as Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto said best:

    A lesson we would draw from Vietnam is that losing a war has costs that go far beyond the immediate defeat. Losing in Vietnam bred an excessive caution in foreign policy that led, among other things, to Jimmy Carter’s impotent response to Iranian terrorism, Ronald Reagan’s withdrawal from Lebanon after the Marine barracks bombing, George Bush’s failure to finish the Gulf War, and Bill Clinton’s retreat in Somalia and desultory pursuit of al Qaeda.

    Sept. 11 was supposed to have changed all that, and it did–but not completely. In October 2002, after the resolution authorizing Iraq’s liberation passed with strong bipartisan support, we proclaimed McGovernite isolationism dead. Obviously we were too optimistic. So this time let’s be hortatory instead of prognosticative: For the good of the country, McGovernite isolationism must die. A decisive victory in the Iraqi "Tet," if it is widely understood as such, will deliver a crushing blow and help to liberate America from Vietnam’s enfeebling legacy.

  4. I am sick of hearing about John Kerry ‘waffling’
    You know, it’s cute that some GOP-leaning cybergeeks have been working to manipulate the Google index for the word ‘waffles’ to point to John Kerry’s website. Of course it was not very original, Left-leaning types had already sent ‘miserable failure’ to the White House site.

    But honestly, I don’t think that John Kerry was against the war in Iraq. I don’t know that he was for it either. I’m not entirely sure that he had a position one way or another. It appears that he takes his positions only based on the public opinion. And the danger in that is that the opinion changes depending on who you talk to and the day you do it. That’s why there are all of the seeming policy shifts. He was for the war when every opinion poll showed an overwhelming favorable response from the American people. He became against the war because that was the rising tide in the Democratic primary race, fueled by the Dean-inspired crowd, that wanted to make an anti-war stance a Democratic cause. Never mind that it it is illogical to try to make an argument that it would be a good thing that Saddam should still be in power in Iraq.

    He is a polictal Zelig. Not that it’s bad in his profession. In order to get elected and stay elected, you need to coax money and votes from lots of people. Being two-faced is an asset - the more multiple personalities the better. Tell people what they want to hear.

    The Republicans have it wrong. They can trot out each and every conflicting statement he makes. They can film commercials with every assine quote like "I actually did vote for the $87 billion, before I voted against it." They can get every transcript of old talk shows and Senate speeches and highlight the inconsistencies. We can talk of nuance. But it does not matter. The spin is on.

    Most Americans doesn’t seem to care. Memories are unfortunately short. They only hear the last voice. So Democrats will blame it on misunderstandings and George Bush and conspiracies and lies from the White House and hate mongers… and after a while, you can’t hear any of the facts above the noise anymore. Kerry shouldn’t get a free pass on this stuff, but I don’t think it will be a deciding factor for voters. They are already in one camp or the other for other reasons- or they just don’t care enough to listen.

This is an important time facing the world today. I know that coincidentally a few people also wish that they had more political power. But we can not compromise on the fight.

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