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October 30, 2004

Karl Rove in cahoots with bin Laden!

Hat tip to Geraghty at the Kerry Spot for this spew from a man who was once the "most trusted man in America" on Larry King Live:

CRONKITE: What we just heard. So now the question is basically right now, how will this affect the election? And I have a feeling that it could tilt the election a bit. In fact, I'm a little inclined to think that Karl Rove, the political manager at the White House, who is a very clever man, he probably set up bin Laden to this thing. The advantage to the Republican side is to get rid of, as a principal subject of the campaigns right now, get rid of the whole problem of the al Qaqaa explosive dump. Right now, that, the last couple of days, has, I think, upset the Republican campaign.

It's wonderful how the Democrats have found such a marvelous scapegoat for their own failures. CBS publishes obvious forgeries? Rove. Bin Laden crawls from his cave to remind us all why the election of Bush is so important? Rove. Forget tinfoil hats, Cronkite is wearing a full tinfoil body suit as he takes his food out of tinfoil plates in a tinfoil house.

As Geraghty puts it, "What on earth do you have to say for the general public to declare, 'That's crazy talk' these days?" If you're a Democrat, apparently the sky's the limit.

October 30, 2004 in Election '04 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

October 27, 2004

Our Oldest Enemy

Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America's Disastrous Relationship with France
John J. Miller and Mark Molesky
Doubleday, ISBN 0385512198

Quick: against which nation did America fight its first post-Revolutionary military conflict?

If you answered France, either you're well-versed on American history, you've read Our Oldest Enemy, or you're a good guesser. The Quasi-War of 1798 is underplayed in American history textbooks, which is a pity, because it's an amusing story and is oh so quintessentially French.

In the aftermath of the Revolution, both France and Britain preyed on American merchant shipping as part of their ongoing conflict with each other. President Washington sent Chief Justice John Jay to Great Britain to ask them to please stop. The resulting Jay Treaty did little to alleviate the problem, granting few concessions to the United States, and was seen by many in this country as a failure.

The French, however, were so incensed that the United States would even talk to their hated enemy that they threw a full-blown Gaulish snit-fit. When Washington's successor John Adams sent a three-man delegation to Paris to negotiate, French foreign minister Talleyrand refused to even meet with them. After forcing the delegation to wait for several weeks, he secretly sent three representatives of his own to tell them his terms. As a precondition to negotiations, America would have to grant France a loan of twelve million dollars, apologize publically, and pay a substantial bribe. On this, they were intractable.

American public opinion had been heavily pro-French. Americans remembered with gratitude French assistance in the Revolution, and furthermore the French had just fought a Revolution of their own, although the Republic thus established would prove to be far, far shorter lived than the American one. This reservoir of good will evaporated virtually instantly when the news of the French demands broke. An ugly anti-French sentiment quickly took its place, and a declaration of war would certainly have been forthcoming had Adams asked for it. Instead, he chose to fight a low-level, undeclared war on the seas.

In this "quasi-war", the infant United States Navy received its baptism by fire, and passed with flying colors. The brand new navy was augmented by the addition of several excellent formerly French prizes, including the frigate L'Insurgente. The USS Constellation, under the able command of Thomas Truxton, fought the far more heavily armed Vengeance to a draw and would have captured her but for suffering too much damage to accept the larger ship's surrender. American sailors successfully raided and spiked cannon in French forts in the Carribean.

After two years of this, the French called it quits and agreed to leave American merchant ships alone. Their arrogance in refusing to negotiate and demanding bribes cost them dearly... a pattern which would be repeated frequently.

In Our Oldest Enemy, Miller and Molesky tell this tale along with myriad others that show conclusively that France is not our ally, has rarely been our ally, and has often been our enemy. And on those rare occasions that France was with us, it was a thorn in our sides more often than not.

Miller and Molesky start their story of French emnity in the colonial period, with the French and Indian Wars. During these wars, the French used their Indian allies as a kind of premodern weapon of mass destruction against the Americans, allowing them to commit atrocities including prisoner slaughter and cannibalism, then threatening defiant American cities that unless they surrendered, the Indians would be unleashed. As it turns out, even surrender didn't save some Americans from suffering the depredations of the Indians.

Apologists for the French in this country often point to their assistance in the Revolutionary War. Miller and Molesky point out that the most valuable French ally, the Marquis de Lafayette, traveled to America against orders and was considered by France a fugitive criminal for a time. When the French did arrive, their blunders cost American lives. It was not until Yorktown that French assistance proved helpful, let alone decisive. And the ink was scarcely dry on the Treaty of Paris ending the American Revolution before the two nations were trading cannonballs on the high seas.

During the Civil War, France's dictator attempted to conquer Mexico and assist the Confederacy. General Grant was convinced that a war against France in Mexico would immediately follow the defeat of Lee, and it might have had not the French retreated. After World War I, French intransigence led to the disastrous Treaty of Versailles, despite clear warnings that it would lead to a second war, and may have contributed to President Wilson's failing health. In the runup to World War II, France ignored its treaty obligations, allowing Hitler to build up his forces, preferring instead to cower behind their ridiculous Maginot Line. After the fall of France, Vichy forces fought and killed Americans attempting to invade North Africa. During the Cold War, De Gaulle never missed an opportunity to criticize his supposed allies while ignoring atrocities committed by the Soviets, eventually pulling French forces out of NATO and implying that French nuclear missiles could be targeted at American cities. When incontrovertible proof arose that the Libyan government had ordered its agents to commit terrorist atrocities, resulting in a bloody bombing in Berlin, France closed its airspace to American pilots on a retaliatory mission, necessitating the longest fighter mission in history to that point. After Iraq invaded Kuwait, France somehow found a way to blame America, and insisted that Iraq itself should not be attacked, prompting a retired French politician to ask what would have happened in World War II had the allies limited themselves to attacking France rather than pushing on into Germany. And during the War on Terror, France has done all it could to thwart the Coalition.

All of this and more is laid out in remarkable detail in Our Oldest Enemy, and convincingly makes the case that French amity is a myth. It has an unfortunate tendency to take cheap shots at the physical appearance of certain French adversaries, which marginally detracts from its main thrust, but the book is otherwise a compelling indictment.

Our Oldest Enemy paints a picture of a country suffering from a national inferiority complex, a once-mighty empire reduced to a third-rate power desperate to preserve the illusion of relevance. To this end, they elevate to demigodhood their temporarily-successful non-French dictator and insist on intruding themselves where they don't belong. Today, many Americans point to French opposition as evidence that our cause is not just. They couldn't be more wrong. French opposition to American goals isn't a novelty, it's the norm, seldom deviated from.

October 27, 2004 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 26, 2004

It could be true, therefore it must be true

I'm noticing a curious parallel between the left's reactions to Rathergate and NYTrogate.

Let's look at the facts. The Iraqi high explosives in question were definitely present at Al-Qaqaa on March 8, 2003, when IAEA inspectors sealed them. They were definitely missing on May 27, 2003, when the Iraq Survey Group did a detailed inspection of the site and did not find them.

They may or may not have been present on April 9th and April 10th, when soldiers of the 101st Airborne visited the site, accompanied by Reuters and NBC embeds on the respective dates. They saw no sign of the explosives, but did not check every one of the bunkers.

Had they gone missing before April 9, their loss could hardly be blamed on the United States, which didn't even reach the site until then. So were they taken after Coalition forces took control of the site?

Well, for that to have happened, an insurgent force of dozens of men with heavy lifting equipment would have had to have reached the site. A convoy of about 40 trucks would have had to be loaded, and would have had to flee along roads clogged with Coalition military and supply convoys, under skies filled with surveillance drones. All of this would have had to have been accomplished without any detection at all.

Occam's Razor certainly makes that seem much less likely than the far simpler explanation: prior to the war, Saddam loyalists moved the explosives to a safer site. But that doesn't matter to the left. Just as it didn't matter to the left that the vast majority of typewriters in the 1970s didn't have proportional spacing, that producing superscripts was a multistep process involving switching typewriter balls, that the few typewriters that did offer proportional spacing were difficult to use, that the secretary who would have typed such a memo denies typing it, that the memo involved terms that were not and are not in common use in the military. It's theoretically possible that an Air National Guard commander who is reputed never to have used a typewriter nevertheless typed a memo on a machine far different from the ones which produced other memos from his office, using unusual terms, therefore, in the eyes of the left, the memos must be genuine.

And, to the left, and to John Kerry who continues to hammer the President with this garbage, it's theoretically possible that the brave men of the 101st Airborne somehow missed an IAEA-sealed bunker, and a stealthy force of dozens of insurgents with 40 trucks made it past the military, spent hours and/or days loading a huge convoy, then escaped without encountering anybody, therefore it must be what happened.

October 26, 2004 in Election '04 | Permalink | Comments (12) | TrackBack

October 25, 2004

Yet another Kerry sports flub

From The Scotsman comes this gem:

SENATOR John Kerry’s efforts to portray himself as "just a regular American guy" suffered a blow this weekend when he comprehensively messed up the scoreline at a game featuring his beloved Boston Red Sox.

Twice on Sunday, the Democrat said he was basking in the glory of Boston’s 10-9 win on Saturday night. The problem was, the Red Sox won 11-9.

"Ten-nine, the Sox did fabulous," Mr Kerry said with a big smile as he ducked into church on Sunday morning in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Inside, the minister asked worshippers to clap "if the Lord has done anything wonderful in your life this week", to which Mr Kerry applauded.

"I had a special reason to clap," Mr Kerry explained. "The Red Sox won 10-9."

Trivial, you say? Simple mistake, you aver? Maybe. And maybe not.

Mr Kerry’s spokesman, David Wade, said the senator got the score wrong because 10-9 was the last update he got during his late-night flight to Florida.

The problem is, the score never was 10-9. The Sox won on a two-run homer, meaning they went from nine runs to 11.

Still pretty trivial. Except the thing is, this guy who constantly castigates the President for "never admitting a mistake" appears incapable of doing the same. He couldn't just say he goofed, he got the score wrong. No, his spokesman has to make up a lie about him getting an old update... an old update that never existed. Not only is John Kerry a big phony, he's a damn dirty liar.

October 25, 2004 in Election '04 | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Kerry flip-flops on reconstruction contracts

John Kerry has repeatedly criticized the Bush administration's policy of limiting Iraq reconstruction contracts to those nations that helped oust the dictator.

Instead of reaching out to allies to get their help in training Iraqi security forces – which should have been our most urgent priority – this administration issued a new order prohibiting countries that were not part of the original coalition from participating in any reconstruction contracts in Iraq.

Is it any wonder that the United States is still paying the overwhelming majority of the reconstruction costs in Iraq?

By treating other countries with contempt, President Bush gave them an excuse to stay on the sidelines instead of shouldering their responsibilities.

--Press release, October 20, 2004

John Kerry and John Edwards believe the President needs to... Give other countries a stake in Iraq's future by encouraging them to help develop Iraq's oil resources and by letting them bid on contracts instead of locking them out of the reconstruction process.

--"Winning the Peace in Iraq"

On the economic front, that means giving [other nations] fair access to the multibillion-dollar reconstruction contracts. It also means letting them be a part of putting Iraq's profitable oil industry back together.

--"A Realistic Path in Iraq", Washington Post

Bush record: Bush administration issues directive barring France, Germany, and Russia from bidding on lucrative contracts for rebuilding Iraq

Kerry calls on Bush to: Give allies fair access to the multibillion-dollar reconstruction contracts

--"Kerry Leads, Bush Follows on Iraq Policy"

So Kerry thinks that the countries that didn't contribute to Iraq's liberation should get a piece of the pie, does he? Well, in a typically clumsy way to placate hurt Polish feelings, Kerry said this today:

On the economic front this will mean granting true and tried friends - like Poland - a share in the multi-billion dollar reconstruction contracts, in a share proportional to Poland's contribution to the Coalition. I assure you that just as Poland was treated as an equal with other members of the Coalition, so she will be an equal partner in the task of rebuilding Iraq.

Well now. If contracts should be awared in a share proportional to a nation's "contribution to the Coalition", does it not follow that France, Russia, and Germany should get bupkus? If, on the other hand, the nations who sat this one out deserve a slice of the pie, isn't it yet another insult to Poland to insinuate that they're only entitled to benefits proportional to their contribution while other nations get contracts without lifting a finger?

Hat tip to Power Line.

October 25, 2004 in Election '04 | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Libertarians for Bush

Who is Dr. John Hospers?

If you're a Libertarian, you can easily answer without following the link. John Hospers was the first Libertarian Presidential candidate. He's also the only Libertarian ever to receive an electoral vote. As might be expected, he was very active in the party, writing its Statement of Principles in 1972 as well as writing the first book on the topic of libertarianism.

And he's for Bush, laying out his reasons in a compelling indictment of the modern Democratic Party.

The election of John Kerry would be, far more than is commonly realized, a catastrophe.
If the election is as close as it was in 2000, libertarian voters may make the difference as to who wins in various critical "Battle Ground" states and therefore the presidency itself. That is the situation in which we find ourselves in 2004. And that is why I believe voting for George W. Bush is the most libertarian thing we can do.

We stand today at an important electoral crossroads for the future of liberty, and as libertarians our first priority is to promote liberty and free markets, which is not necessarily the same as to promote the Libertarian Party.

Read the whole thing.

The Republicans, of course, are not perfect. But the Democrats are a genuine danger to liberty.

October 25, 2004 in Election '04 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 21, 2004

A hero endorses Bush

In response to the Heroes for Bush campaign, I've managed to obtain this full-throated endorsement from a true hero. This man, in his capacity as a detective for the New York City police department, has been responsible for chasing down key leads and finding critical evidence that have cracked literally hundreds of cases, involving felonies such as murder, kidnapping, child molestation, rape, and white-collar crime. Thanks to him, New Yorkers can breathe a little easier, knowing that countless criminals are safely housed on Rikers Island. Without further ado, the endorsement.

New Yorkers, see, we've been around the block a few times. We can smell a bullshit artist coming from a mile away. All those three-card-monte guys, well, we don't see as many of them around since Guiliani cleaned up the city, but when they were thick on the streets, they knew better than to go after the locals. Gawking tourists were the ones they tried to grift. Naw, we can smell it coming. That goes double for New York City cops, and triple for us police detectives. If a man's a phony, we'll spot him. And I've nailed enough perps to know the type.

John Kerry, he's that type. A faker. A sleaze. A con artist. When he's on TV, you can almost smell the bullshit right through the screen. The man will say anything he thinks will score him a few votes. He tells the grannies he'll up their checks. He tells the parents he'll flood the streets with flu vaccine for their kids. If zombies were a special interest, he’d promise them more brains. Anyone he’s talking to, he’s just like them. You a Red Sox fan? Hey, so am I. You live in Ohio? Hey, I love the Buckeyes. You a hunter? Me too. He'd claim to be an abortion doctor if he thought he could get away with it.

President Bush, now, he’s different. I may not always agree with what he says, but I know he means it. When he says something, it’s what he really thinks, not what he thinks his audience wants to hear. He’s a straight shooter. That means something. That’s important.

That’s especially important right now, because when the President says that he’s gonna hunt down and kill the bastards who hit us, I believe it. When Kerry says the same thing, I’m always left to wonder whether he’s just telling me what I want to hear. I wonder how come he talks about building alliances, but never misses a chance to piss off the allies we’ve got. I wonder why he thinks the President should’ve offered France a blank check, when those thieves were skimming billions from Oil for Food. I wonder how he can dance on a tightrope over Iraq, while claiming with a straight face that he’s had only one position. What chutzpah!

I’m a true-blue New York City Democrat. I voted for Clinton, both Bill and his wife. I voted for Al Gore in 2000. Now, like Ed Koch, I’m crossing over to vote Republican. George Bush is the right man in the right place at the right time.

Det. Lenny Briscoe, NYPD

October 21, 2004 in Election '04 | Permalink | Comments (9) | TrackBack

October 20, 2004

Heroes for Bush

The Truth Laid Bear has an interesting idea for a "blogburst." I'll give it a try.

October 20, 2004 in Election '04 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Flip-flop, part CXIII

John Edwards, in the St. Paul Pioneer Press:

"It is so important that we preserve our rural way of life, it's part of who I am, part of what I'll always be,'' said Edwards, a U.S. senator from North Carolina. "And that includes, making sure … that your right, your ability to hunt and fish is protected; making sure that you can go in the national parks and national forests and ride on a snowmobile.

And then there's the "Kerry-Edwards Vision for a Cleaner Cnvironment, a Stronger Economy, & Healthier Communities"

  • Honor the Solitude and Beauty of Wilderness Areas and Our National Parks by Keeping Snowmobiles and Jet Skis Out of Yellowstone and Other Sensitive Areas, and by Honestly Addressing Visitor and Wildlife Needs in Our National Parks

John Kerry will reinstate the Clinton administration’s phase-out of noisy and polluting snowmobiles, which have been overrunning some of our most precious national lands, including Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park. While snowmobiles, jet skis and all terrain vehicles have their place, they do not mix with sensitive wildlife resources and our nation’s most treasured wild places.

It's been said before, and it bears repeating: these guys will say anything to get elected.

Hat tip to The Corner.

October 20, 2004 in Election '04 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 18, 2004

The libertarian case for war, part III

In part one and part two of this epic, I showed that the war in Iraq was both ethical and legal. Now I'll explore the toughest nut to crack from a libertarian perspective: whether this war was in our best interests.

It's a tough nut because it sure cost a lot, in both blood and treasure. Libertarians, of course, don't like spending of any kind. Dyed-in-the-wool libertarians, a group in which I include myself, oppose government spending for education, medical care, and some of the hardcore even oppose government-funded roads. So commentor Fiery Red asks how I could possibly justify the cost of the war.

Well, national defense does happen to be one of the very few things libertarians do believe is within the government's proper authority, and most of 'em even concede that the hated power to tax is justified to provide for the common defense. The war in Iraq is justified, in a libertarian perspective, if it advanced the cause of defending the nation. Did it?

We're fortunate to live in an age where the threat of aggression by a soverign state acting in its capacity as a government is fairly low. No Nazis are attempting to consume Europe, and the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere is a distant memory. What threatens the national security of the United States, and indeed the world, is terrorism. Small groups of dedicated people, generally well-funded, who are willing to sacrifice their lives not to conquer, but to destroy.

How do we fight them? Well, we could (and should) go after individual terrorists and capture or kill them. We could (and should) go after those who provide the funding. But these are stopgaps. They fight the symptom of terrorism, not the disease. To go after the disease itself, we need to take a page from the liberal playbook and look at "root causes."

The Middle East is polluted with despotisms. Despotism, as any libertarian or economist will tell you, is a far less efficient form of government than freer varieties, and the result is poverty and social unrest. Despotic rulers, naturally eager to keep their thrones, need to deflect that unrest lest they suffer its consequences. As history has shown, one of the best ways to deflect social unrest is to enlist the unwilling aid of a scapegoat, and as history has also shown, the Jews are well-accustomed to the role. In this, the Middle Eastern despots have a powerful ally in the radical mullahs. The mullahs preach hatred of Jews, Americans, and Western civilization with the support (tacit or overt) of the despots, and get real power in return. The disaffected youth who are suffering under their oppressive regimes are recruited to fight against those who are portrayed as their real enemies.

And then we kill them.

We can keep on killing them, but it sure would be nice to address the real problem, which is the government structure that leads them down this fatal path.

Now's the time in the argument when those who oppose it ask if I intend to invade every single Arab country and impose democracy at the point of a bayonet. No; to do so would be neither desirable nor necessary, nor even necessarily feasible. You don't need an army to encourage the spread of freedom. You just need some good examples.

Look at Eastern Europe. Liberated from communism with scarcely a shot fired, and why? Because the East Germans and the Polish and the Romanians and the Bulgarians and the others saw Western Europe prosper while they suffered. They correctly judged that the key difference was freedom vs. tyranny, and they wouldn't stand for it. And today, those Eastern Europeans, "New Europe", are among our most loyal supporters.

We had an ethical and legal right to topple Saddam's regime and build a democracy in its place. This provided real national security benefits to the United States and our allies: Saddam was funding suicide bombers, harboring terrorists, and skimming billions from the Oil For Food program for use as bribes to influence the more spineless members of the Security Council. But while these benefits are hardly picayune, the potential benefits go far, far beyond these. A democratic Iraq can serve as a beacon. An example, an object lesson, a demonstration that Arab democracy can work, that Arabs don't have to suffer despots.

What the President seeks is nothing less than the transformation of the entire Middle East into a zone of democracy. It's a very ambitious goal, worthy of the nation that landed a man on the moon and defeated Soviet communism.

Can it be done? I don't know. The signs so far are encouraging, but I don't have enough information to predict success. But the thousands of people working in the administration, the State Department, and the Pentagon have a whole heck of a lot more information than I do. They're smart people, and only the most fervent of Bush-haters would deny their good faith. And they think it can be done. In the absence of compelling evidence to the contrary, I'll accept their expert opinions.

And if we succeed, the supply of terrorists will dry up considerably. Unable to recruit from a pool of the oppressed who have been taught to blame America for their oppression, they'll be stuck with only the most fanatical of extreme believers. Fewer terrorists means fewer terrorist operations, and fewer people for us to kill.

In summary, the war in Iraq was not only in our best interests as a bold effort to fight terrorism at its source, it has the potential to be one of America's worthiest accomplishments in a history of worthy accomplishments.

October 18, 2004 in Election '04 | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack