Monday, December 31, 2007
Quote Of The Day
It's good to see the progressives admit that a half of Bill Kristol outweighs the five liberal commentators at the Gray Lady.Fear the Reaper.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
The President's Christmas Message
During the Christmas season, our thoughts turn to the source of joy and hope born in a humble manger on a holy night more than 2,000 years ago. Each year, Christians everywhere celebrate this single life that changed the world and continues to change hearts today. The simple and inspiring story of the birth of Jesus fills our souls with gratitude for the many blessings in our lives and promises that God's purpose is justice and His plan is peace.
At this special time of year, we give thanks for Christ's message of love and mercy, and we are reminded of our responsibility to serve. America is blessed to have fine citizens who reach out with a compassionate hand to help brothers and sisters in need. We also remember our brave men and women in uniform who have volunteered to defend us in distant lands. Many of those who have answered the call of duty will spend Christmas far from home and separated from family. We honor their sacrifice, ask God to watch over them and their families, and pray for their safe return.
Christmas is a time to rejoice and remember the birth of Jesus Christ. Laura and I pray your Christmas will be blessed with family and fellowship, and we wish you a day of glad tidings.
GEORGE W. BUSH
Monday, December 24, 2007
Attack Of The Neo-Cans
A New Jersey "editorial writer" attacks Frum, Krauthammer and Mark Steyn, Canadian writers who've made it in the American marketplace of ideas, letters and policy, simply for daring to exercise what Americans enjoy as one of their Constitutional rights.
To which of course Canadians have no claim.
I endorse this standard because it therefore follows that Islamofascist terrorist assholes have no more claim to the rights conferred upon Americans by the United States Constitution than do America's neighbouring Canadians, who understand the concept of American sovereignty while harboring no desire whatsoever to slash throats for Allah.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
I am not going to attempt to give President Bush any credit for this but it does seem to fit in very nicely with his vision for the future of the middle east.
Friday, December 21, 2007
I'm Going To Have To Check That
Because a pin is all it takes.
When Good Hillbillies Turn Bad
HILL'S BROTHER A DEADBEAT:
Hillary Rodham Clinton's youngest sibling is a deadbeat dad who owes tens of thousands of dollars in child support to his politically connected ex, The Post has learned.Now this is unfortunate. Bad for the children involved and they should all come together in the spirit of Positive Change. I urge the Billarys to bail this unfortunate couple out of their troubles with a tiny smidgen of all the wealth they keep reminding us they possess.
In a disclosure that could prove embarrassing for his sister, Anthony Rodham has stiffed his former wife, Nicole Boxer, out of $75,000 in child support, as well as $55,000 in alimony, a source close to the case said.
Including interest and various fees and expenses, the presidential candidate's brother now owes Boxer - the daughter of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) - more than $158,000, the source said.
I understand Nicole's Aunt Barbara(D-Latestclintonvictim.) advocates wealth redistribution, so I'm sure she'd be down for some sweet, sweet Clintoneros. On her niece's behalf.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Quote Of The Day
I love that the administration is so technologically advanced that they can't have an accidental fire in the Old Executive Office Building, and yet so technologically feeble that they can only cover their tracks by setting fire to the building like some Nigerian kleptocrat.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Mark Steyn vs Canadian Government-Sanctioned Islamofascism
If I were in Steyn's place, the court would have to compel me to recognize their authority, however they propose to do that. It would have to involve physical force because until then they don't even exist, let alone matter to me.
Free Mark Steyn! [Tom Gross]
America may be “alone,” but Mark Steyn isn’t. He has millions of admirers and supporters around the world.
Canada’s Thought Police
New York Post (editorial)
December 16, 2007
Celebrated author Mark Steyn has been summoned to appear before two Canadian judicial panels on charges linked to his book “America Alone.”
The book, a No. 1 bestseller in Canada, argues that Western nations are succumbing to an Islamist imperialist threat. The fact that charges based on it are proceeding apace proves his point.
Steyn, who won the 2006 Eric Breindel Journalism Award (co-sponsored by The Post and its parent, News Corp), writes for dozens of publications on several continents. After the Canadian general-interest magazine Maclean’s reprinted a chapter from the book, five Muslim law-school students, acting through the auspices of the Canadian Islamic Congress, demanded that the magazine be punished for spreading “hatred and contempt” for Muslims.
The plaintiffs allege that Maclean’s advocated, among other things, the notion that Islamic culture is incompatible with Canada’s liberalized, Western civilization. They insist such a notion is untrue and, in effect, want opinions like that banned from publication.
Two separate panels, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission, have agreed to hear the case. These bodies are empowered to hear and rule on cases of purported “hate speech.” Of course, a ban on opinions – even disagreeable ones – is the very antithesis of the Western tradition of free speech and freedom of the press.
Indeed, this whole process of dragging Steyn and the magazine before two separate human-rights bodies for the “crime” of expressing an opinion is a good illustration of precisely what he was talking about…
Note to idiots: you're next.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
The Pelosi-Reid Congress
Top Ten Reasons to Oppose Democrat Omnibus Bill
Over 11,000 Wasteful Pork Projects, Second Highest Earmark Total in History
Overspends by $24.3 Billion in Gimmicks, Largest Spending Bill in History
Weakens Border Security, Reduces Fencing
Cuts National Security to Pay for Liberal Social Programs
Cuts Abstinence Funding…Increases Planned Parenthood Funding
Cuts Labor Oversight… Increases Funding to Labor Unions
Cuts Funding for U.S. Marshals Service That Enforces Sex Offender Registry
Allows Government to Sue Businesses that Require English in the Workplace
Spends Millions to Help Solve Energy Problems… in NORTH KOREA
Increases Funding for National Endowment for the Arts
Harry Reid: "Either this man is suffering from severe brain damage, or the new vacuum cleaner has arrived."
HT: Rowan Atkinson
My Planet, Right Or Wrong
The idiot left hysterically curses imagined attacks by BushRoveCheney on personal freedoms in Amerikkka. Alas, they're not so worried about the zealotry of Fascist Environmentalists:
Mayer Hillman, senior fellow emeritus at the Policy Studies Institute, says… the problems caused by burning fossil fuels are so serious that governments might have to implement rationing against the will of the people. “When the chips are down I think democracy is a less important goal than is the protection of the planet from the death of life, the end of life on it,” he says. “This has got to be imposed on people whether they like it or not.”Sieg Heil.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Zawahiri Channeling Pelosi
What is striking about the new video, at least as reported so far, is how little Zawahiri apparently has to say. With no successes to boast of, he is reduced to simply denying reality, sort of like Nancy Pelosi. It's too late for al Qaeda to back off; the organization chose to make Iraq the central front in its war on civilization, and it will have to live with the consequences of defeat.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
The Invisible Terror Plot
"more than a dozen military centers, synagogues and other sites in Southern California."
Kill some soldiers, kill some Jews, maybe off a few Wal-Mart shoppers at the mall.
All in the name of Allah.
The Religion of Peace.
Friday, December 14, 2007
ABC News Exclusive: Eyewitness Account of Huge Taliban Defeat
As the only journalist to join NATO forces entering the town, I found it a ghost town abandoned by both the Taliban and its residents at the end of an eight-day coalition operation. The offensive was one of NATO's biggest in the country since Operation Anaconda in 2002.
Embedded with a team of British troops and a detachment/"A–team" of U.S. special forces, I watched the Taliban being pounded these last few days with overwhelming force -- vapor trails circled in the clear blue sky over the Helmand desert as B1 and B52 bombers backed by A10 tank busters, F16s, Apache helicopters and Specter gunships were used to kill hundreds of Taliban fighters.
Faced with a full brigade of NATO forces, a brigade of Afghan government fighters and the defection of a key Taliban commander, the Taliban chose not to flee at first but to fight a desperate battle.
I joined one feint attack of Afghan soldiers last Friday that came under fierce Taliban fire in a village on the outskirts of Musa Qala -- AK47s and heavy machine gun fire opened up on us as we advanced across open ground. The British and Afghans counterattacked backed by U.S. special forces who opened up with 50-caliber fire and by calling three F16 strikes and a B1 bomber strike.
On Sunday, as the 82nd Airborne advanced to take positions north, east and south of the town, I watched the sky being lit with large explosions from heavy ordnance dropped from the air to support the U.S. advance.
U.S. forces believe the Taliban were backed by a large strength of foreign fighters, including those linked to al Qaeda. Soldiers who I accompanied found one dead fighter whose notebook revealed he was from Pakistan.
While hundreds of Taliban are believed to have been killed, two British soldiers and one American soldier lost their lives. All the deaths, however, resulted from vehicles striking mines left not, it is believed, by the Taliban but by Soviet forces in the 1980s.
On Monday, after days of fierce fighting -- more ferocious than NATO commanders had expected -- the Taliban called it quits and fled the town.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I Understand Perfectly
You've heard that one before from Islamists and their idiot apologists: blame the victim. We deserved the 9/11 attack- we're so evil we made the enemy do it. Likewise, it's the girl's fault Daddy had to kill her- she left him no alternative.
"I don't want the public to think that this is really an Islamic issue or an immigrant issue," said Mohammed Elmasry of the Canadian Islamic Congress.
"It is a teenager issue."
The Islamist view of women as worthless chattel had nothing to do with it.
On a completely unrelated note, I don't want the public to think that hunting down Islamofascist terrorist assholes and killing them is really a Christian issue or an invading infidel issue.
It is an Islamofascist terrorist asshole issue.
The Muslim Canadian Congress speaks up.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The Perfect Christmas Gift
Quick, before they run out!
Mohammed Teddy Bear Fever™- catch it!
CAIR To MSM: This Is How You Will Speak Freely
Unindicted co-conspirators CAIR, the front-organization for Islamofascist propaganda in America, has issued instructions to the "professional media" on how to conceal the truth, or "common misperceptions" as CAIR euphemistically calls it, about the Religion of Peace. Robert Spencer takes a look:
In its continuing effort to impede freedom of the press in the United States, the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has issued a new media guide -- available only to “media professionals” -- that purports to “educate the media and disabuse journalists of misinformation” about Islam. The notorious Islamic advocacy group, which has seen several of its officials convicted on various terrorism-related charges, and which was named an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror funding case, asserts that “common misperceptions in the media include the notion that Islam is not compatible with democracy or modern culture, that the Quran teaches violence, that Muslims around the world hate the US, that Islam does not respect women’s rights, and that all Muslims are Arab.”Read it all.
The media guide itself purports to correct other “misperceptions” also, including the idea that Islam doesn’t value religious freedom (which will come as a surprise to Abdul Rahman, the Afghani who was arrested in 2005 for converting from Islam to Christianity) and that Islam was spread by the sword.
Where could such misperceptions have come from? Could the media have gotten the idea that Islam is not compatible with democracy from the Ansar al-Sunnah Army in Iraq, which stated that democracy “is considered apostasy and defies the belief in one God -- Muslims’ doctrine,” because it means “the rule of the people, which means that the people do what they see fit”? Or maybe from Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi, who said in 2006 that the devil uses concepts “such as liberty and democracy to achieve his plans”? Or was it from Usman Badar, president of the Muslim Students Association at the University of New South Wales in Australia, who in April 2006 declared: “Democracy sounds nice enough, (but) not to a Muslim”?
You have to credit Islamofascist propagandists in North America for showing such skill in co-ordinating their attacks on freedom of speech in Canada and the United States.
HT: Hatey McHaterton
Larry O'Donnell, Archetypal Idiot
HH: Would you say the same things about Mohammed as you just said about Joseph Smith?I'm not the only one who notices that Muslims are but one group this fucking bigmouth pissant gives a convenient pass:
LO’D: Oh, well, I’m afraid of what the…that’s where I’m really afraid. I would like to criticize Islam much more than I do publicly, but I’m afraid for my life if I do.
HH: Well, that’s candid.
LO’D: Mormons are the nicest people in the world. They’re not going to ever…
HH: So you can be bigoted towards Mormons, because they’ll just send you a strudel.
LO’D: They’ll never take a shot at me. Those other people, I’m not going to say a word about them.
HH: They’ll send you a strudel. The Mormons will bake you a cake and be nice to you.
LO’D: I agree.
HH: Lawrence O’Donnell, I appreciate your candor.
O'Donnell ranted about the bigotry of the Mormon church towards blacks, saying that Mitt Romney's defense of the "faith of my fathers" means that he endorsed their exclusion of blacks until the church's late-1970s change of heart. O'Donnell apparently missed the point Romney made about his father marching with Martin Luther King for civil rights long before the LDS church changed direction -- but few allow reason to dent their bigotry.By the way, asshole, the world is still waiting for a single refutation of the Swift Boat Veterans' charges against John F'n Kerry.
However, O'Donnell seems silent about another national organization that not only condoned bigotry, it helped write it into law. This organization imposed harsh racial apartheid throughout the South after it took control of state and local communities in the wake of a civil war it helped launch. One of its current Senators served in the Ku Klux Klan as a young man and attempted to filibuster the Civil Rights Act that came before Congress just 15 years before the Mormons changed their practices.
The hell with the Muslims. When will O'Donnell rage against the Democrats?
Monday, December 10, 2007
These folks are making a bogus claim of religious and racial discrimination in order to persecute a writer, thereby launching a lawsuit on frivolous grounds. And what are they complaining about? Why, writers who say that Muslims make bogus claims of religious and racial discrimination, in order to persecute writers, and launch lawsuits on frivolous grounds.
I could go on and rebut specific accusations, but the deeper problem here is that the underlying terms of this complaint obviate freedom of speech as such. It seems to me that you face some interesting choices here, Mark. You can grasp the nettle and hurl back a brilliant reply that unforgettably burns into our brains the menace to freedom embodied in this complaint. No one could do it better than you. Or you can refuse to have dealings with what should properly be considered an illegitimate tribunal. I don’t know which makes more sense, but it seems to me you need to seriously consider both options.
Sunday, December 09, 2007
The Dems were indifferent to the destruction of the CIA interrogation tapes until they decided the time was ripe to exploit it for political gain.
The Dems defamed the Surge until they decided the time was ripe to exploit it for political gain.
The Dem lawyer for NBC who does not support the troops has decided the time is ripe to exploit them in hopes of preventing further political losses.
Arab-Hater Mark Steyn: The First In A Series
Saturday, December 08, 2007
Quote Of The Day
If the Left wants to be free to think again, it must first of all divest itself, in the way it encourages everyone to divest itself from Israel, of its own fascist ideology.
The Right Way
A final word on a mistake to our readers. Here's the summation:
Having reviewed [W. Thomas J. Smith Jr.'s] work, we cannot vouch for the accuracy of his reporting. In general, too much of Smith’s information came from sources who had an incentive to exaggerate the threat Hezbollah poses to Lebanon — and these sources influenced his reporting for the whole of his trip. While we agree that that threat is very real, our readers should have had more information about Smith’s sources so that they could have better evaluated the credibility of the information he was providing.Lopez has handled this affair appropriately right from the beginning, not just accepting but claiming responsiblity for providing insufficient editorial oversight and responding quickly with honest scrutiny of Smith's reporting. Smith has fully co-operated with his editor in that process and acted honorably in deciding to resign. The way is now clear for Lopez to rebuild whatever confidence was lost in NRO (very little, I suspect) and for Smith to do the same for himself.
I apologize to all of our readers. We should have required Smith to clearly source all of his original reporting from Lebanon. Smith let himself become susceptible to spin by those taking him around Lebanon, so his reporting from there should be read with that knowledge. (We are attaching this note to all his Lebanon reporting. [We'll have this done by day's end. — Ed.]) This was an editing failure as much as it was a reporting failure. We let him down, and we let you down, and we’re taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Smith has, on his own, decided that he will no longer write for NRO. We respect his decision.
The Same Goddamn Thing
Sixty six years ago today we were reeling. And facing the awful reality that at that time, an unknown number of us had perished in a calculated, planned attack. One that intended to kill as many as they possibly could. It took weeks to count the dead. More were dying while we counted.
Six years ago we were reeling. We had by now counted the dead.
It's not different. It's the same goddamn thing.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Now the Canadian Islamic Congress has used this very device to attack Mark Steyn, and the extent to which they demand not only punishment for Steyn, but absolute control over the very means by which he will be publicly humiliated, should be alarming to everyone who values the right to freedom of speech. Stanley Kurtz at NRO:
Late yesterday I stumbled across an article about a "human rights complaint" filed by the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) against Maclean’s, Canada’s most widely-read news magazine, for running a "flagrantly Islamophobic" excerpt from Mark Steyn’s book, America Alone. At least two Canadian Human Rights Commissions have agreed to hear these complaints. Only then did I find Steyn’s too-easily-missed late-night post from Wednesday on the controversy.Kurtz is right: this is nothing less than an attack on Western freedoms, and on Western civilization itself. As Steyn himself has remarked on the case,
This is a big deal. The blogosphere has so far largely missed it, but this attack on Mark Steyn is very much our business. There may be an impulse to dismiss this assault on Steyn, on the assumption that it will fail, that Steyn is a big boy and can take care of himself, and that in any case this is crazy Canada, where political correctness rules, rather than the land of the free. That would be a mistake. The Canadian Islamic Congress’s war on Mark Steyn and Maclean’s is an attack on all of us. I’ll say more in a moment about how a Canadian case can reach into America, but let’s first take a look at the goings on up north.
The complaints against MacLean’s for publishing an excerpt from America Alone have been filed by several Canadian law students and by Faisal Joseph, a former crown attorney. Maclean’s published a total of 27 letters over two issues in response to Steyn’s piece–more responses than any Maclean’s cover story received over the past year. Yet when the law student’s demanded a longer response, Maclean’s was willing to consider it. The students then insisted that Maclean’s run a five-page article, written by an author of their choice, with no editing by the magazine. They also demanded that the reply to Steyn be a cover story, with art controlled by them, rather than the magazine. At this point, Editor-in-Chief Kenneth Whyte showed them the door, saying he would rather let Maclean’s go bankrupt than permit someone outside of operations dictate the magazine’s content.
For a judicial body to rule that a book chosen by so many Canadians was beyond the bounds of acceptable discourse in Canada would be a remarkable and unprecedented blow to freedom of speech in a western democracy. So the CIC doesn't like my argument? Fine. Argue against it but don't try to criminalize debate. That's the way they do things in Sudan and Saudi Arabia, not Canada.Critics of Steyn, including idiots who call him an "Arab-hater", will be delighted, but the intellectual laziness inducing that euphoria is the very thing that makes Steyn's critics so dangerous, even to themselves.
I see that the above sentiment is echoed by Steyn himself over at The Corner:
The "progressive" left has grown accustomed to the regulation of speech, thinking it just a useful way of sticking it to Christian fundamentalists, right-wing columnists, and other despised groups. They don’t know they’re riding a tiger that in the end will devour them, too.
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
Happily, President Bush gave the response I expected he would give when asked his opinion of the NIE: he still considers Iran's nukes a threat and nothing has changed in his approach to the problem. Bush does well to wave off this latest NIE because it's far more a policy paper authored by adversaries in the IC than it is anything approaching a believable intelligence report. A close reading of it beyond what it has been predictably given by the usual Bush detractors proves that. First, Commentary Magazine's analysis, beginning with Max Boot:
In short, while Iran’s nuclear-weapons program may have been suspended (the NIE expresses only “moderate confidence that Tehran had not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007”), the “civilian” nuclear program is going forward. What the NIE doesn’t spell out is that it’s fairly easy to convert a civilian nuclear program into a military nuclear weapons program. All you need is the appropriate “scientific, technical, and industrial capacity”—which the NIE says “with high confidence that Iran has”—and some highly-enriched fissile material, which Iran is trying to produce.That doesn't inspire confidence. Norman Podhoretz:
I must confess to suspecting that the intelligence community, having been excoriated for supporting the then universal belief that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, is now bending over backward to counter what has up to now been a similarly universal view (including as is evident from the 2005 NIE, within the intelligence community itself) that Iran is hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons. I also suspect that, having been excoriated as well for minimizing the time it would take Saddam to add nuclear weapons to his arsenal, the intelligence community is now bending over backward to maximize the time it will take Iran to reach the same goal.Now who the fuck cares about Iran's "security, prestige, and goals for regional influence" anyway? Not me, certainly not when they've been screaming at me for years that their "goals for regional influence" include "destroying the Great Satan" and "wiping Israel off the map".
But I entertain an even darker suspicion. It is that the intelligence community, which has for some years now been leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush, is doing it again. This time the purpose is to head off the possibility that the President may order air strikes on the Iranian nuclear installations. As the intelligence community must know, if he were to do so, it would be as a last resort, only after it had become undeniable that neither negotiations nor sanctions could prevent Iran from getting the bomb, and only after being convinced that it was very close to succeeding. How better, then, to stop Bush in his tracks than by telling him and the world that such pressures have already been effective and that keeping them up could well bring about “a halt to Iran’s entire nuclear weapons program”—especially if the negotiations and sanctions were combined with a goodly dose of appeasement or, in the NIE’s own euphemistic formulation, “with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security, prestige, and goals for regional influence in other ways.”
But I digress.
On to Power Line's Paul Mirengoff, who adds to a comprehensive review there of the NIE and its implications:
I assess with moderate to high confidence that the CIA is a joke. Take the claim that Iran halted its nuclear program in 2003 in response to international pressure. How does the CIA know that this is what caused Iran to take this action (assuming it actually did halt the program)? Isn't it far more likely that Iran would have been motivated by fear of U.S. military action? After all, we had just taken out the regimes in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan. I assess with moderate confidence that the CIA (and the intelligence community as a whole) is engaging in politically-motivated speculation, not legitimate intelligence, here.Same here. The CIA and State have been working overtime to undermine the Bush White House since day one, whereas the Israelis, who have Absolute Moral Authority in this matter, (I love that if I do say so myself) what with being targeted for destruction by Islamofascist Iranian madmen and all, have not.
I further assess with high confidence that we should ignore the NIE assessment of Iran's nuclear program (has the CIA ever been correct about the status of a secretive foreign power's weapons program?) and defer to Israeli intelligence.
Here's Opinion Journal on the troubling history of anti-Bush partisanship of the report's main authors:
Thomas Joscelyn has five questions in the Weekly Standard. First, his preamble:
Our own "confidence" is not heightened by the fact that the NIE's main authors include three former State Department officials with previous reputations as "hyper-partisan anti-Bush officials," according to an intelligence source. They are Tom Fingar, formerly of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research; Vann Van Diepen, the National Intelligence Officer for WMD; and Kenneth Brill, the former U.S. Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
For a flavor of their political outlook, former Bush Administration antiproliferation official John Bolton recalls in his recent memoir that then-Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage "described Brill's efforts in Vienna, or lack thereof, as 'bull--.'" Mr. Brill was "retired" from the State Department by Colin Powell before being rehired, over considerable internal and public protest, as head of the National Counter-Proliferation Center by then-National Intelligence Director John Negroponte.
No less odd is the NIE's conclusion that Iran abandoned its nuclear weapons program in 2003 in response to "international pressure." The only serious pressure we can recall from that year was the U.S. invasion of Iraq. At the time, an Iranian opposition group revealed the existence of a covert Iranian nuclear program to mill and enrich uranium and produce heavy water at sites previously unknown to U.S. intelligence. The Bush Administration's response was to punt the issue to the Europeans, who in 2003 were just beginning years of fruitless diplomacy before the matter was turned over to the U.N. Security Council.
The larger worry here is how little we seem to have learned from our previous intelligence failures. Over the course of a decade, our intelligence services badly underestimated Saddam's nuclear ambitions, then overestimated them. Now they have done a 180-degree turn on Iran, and in such a way that will contribute to a complacency that will make it easier for Iran to build a weapon. Our intelligence services are supposed to inform the policies of elected officials, but increasingly their judgments seem to be setting policy. This is dangerous.
In particular, the first sentence of the NIE is drawing the press’s intention: "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program…" But, as they say, the devil is in the details. Given the poor performance of the U.S. Intelligence Community ("IC") in drafting previous NIE’s, we should review the IC’s work with a skeptical eye--no matter what conclusions are drawn. Interestingly, the IC now concedes that it is certain Iran had a nuclear weapons program. But that isn't getting the headlines. And after having read the little that has been made public from this NIE, we are left with substantive questions.Now Joscelyn's questions:
First, what intelligence is this assessment based upon?I have to agree with Michael Ledeen's description of the NIE as "policy advocacy masquerading as serious intelligence.'' The NIE is not serious as an analytical document because it is rather a political propaganda play designed to handcuff Bush in dealing with Iran's nuclear aspirations. To its authors and their acolytes, their dream of defeating Bush trumps all other concerns, even that of protecting their own fellow citizens.
Second, what has changed since 2005?
Third, how did the IC draw its line between a "civilian" nuclear program and a "military" one?
Fourth, how does the IC know that Iran has stopped its clandestine activities with respect to developing nuclear weapons?
Fifth, how does the IC know what motivated Iran’s alleged change in behavior?
There is at least one other interested party who has examined the NIE and found it wanting in credibility: Israel.
The most interesting part of the “Estimate” is of course its political and policy implications, which National Security Adviser Steven Hadley was quick to spell out. In his view, and in that of many political leaders and pundits, if Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program, there is no great urgency to move against the mullahs.
And indeed, those “intelligence professionals” were very happy to take off their analytical caps and gowns and put on their policy wigs: “Although the officials as a rule, respecting the norms of their craft, declined to offer policy prescriptions based on their findings, the most senior official present did cite the finding that the Iranians are susceptible to international pressure and say that such pressure should “continue” as a way to “allow IAEA to have significant visibility into the program.”
This sort of blatant unprofessionalism is as common in today’s Washington as it is unworthy of a serious intel type, and I think it tells us a lot about the document itself. The “Key Findings” published yesterday address the obvious question: why would the Iranians abandon a program that had been in the works ever since the late 1980s?
The IC replies: because the Iranians are rational, and they respond to international pressure. They shut down the program because the pressure was too great. They couldn’t take the risk of even more pain from the international community.
At this point, one really has to wonder why anyone takes these documents seriously. How can anyone in his right mind believe that the mullahs are rational? Has no one told the IC about the cult of the 12th Imam, on which this regime bases its domestic and foreign policies? Does not the constant chant of “Death to America” mean anything? I suppose not, at least not to the deep thinkers who wrote this policy document.
And as for Iran’s delicate sensitivity to international pressure, just a few days ago, the European ‘foreign minister’ Javier Solana was on the verge of tears when he admitted he had been totally unable to get the Iranians to come clean on their uranium enrichment program, even though he had told them that more sanctions were in the works. Yet, according to the IC, this program–neatly described in a footnote to the “Estimate” as “Iran’s declared civil work related to uranium conversion and enrichment—really doesn’t have anything to do with nuclear weapons. But if that is so, why are the Iranians so doggedly hiding it from UN inspectors?
This document will not stand up to serious criticism, but it will undoubtedly have a significant political impact, since it will be taken as confirmation of the view that we should not do anything mean to the mullahs. We should talk to them instead. And that’s just what the Estimate says:
…some combination of threats of intensified international scrutiny and pressures, along with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security, prestige, and goals for regional influence in other ways, might–if perceived by Iran’s leaders as credible–prompt Tehran to extend the current halt to its nuclear weapons program.
Incredibly, the authors of the document claim they can prove all this: “The impact of international pressure is beyond dispute, the officials said, a “cause-and-effect” relationship backed up by an ‘evidentiary trail.’ “
But any good student who has taken Psych 101 will tell you that it’s nigh unto impossible to determine someone else’s intentions, especially when presented by “analysts” who think that Ayatollah Khamenei and President Rafsanjani are as rational as the rest of us. This is demeaning to the Iranian tyrants–for whom their faith is a matter of ultimate significance–and insulting to our leaders, who should expect serious work from the IC instead of this bit of policy advocacy masquerading as serious intelligence.
After all, with friends like the authors of the NIE, who needs enemies?
"The bottom line is that words don't stop missiles, actions do," Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Tuesday evening in response to the US report.
"And there is much that needs to be done regarding the Iranian nuclear program. We need to take action in applying sanctions, in exercising diplomacy and in other venues as well."
Israeli intelligence disputes the report's conclusion, Barak said, and still believes Tehran is still trying to develop a nuclear weapon: ''It's apparently true that in 2003 Iran stopped pursuing its military nuclear program for a time. But in our opinion, since then it has apparently continued that program. There are differences in the assessments of different organizations in the world about this, and only time will tell who is right."
Asked if the new US assessment reduced chances that the US will launch a military strike on Iran, Barak said that was ''possible.''
However, he said, ''We cannot allow ourselves to rest just because of an intelligence report from the other side of the earth, even if it is from our greatest friend.''
Monday, December 03, 2007
CNN's Virtual Reality, Part 2
A caller to Rush Limbaugh's radio show, claiming to have been invited to the CNN/YouTube debate, has essentially accused Anderson Cooper of lying about having no foreknowledge of the "gay general" (NTTATWWT) Keith Kerr's political affiliations. According to the caller, he watched Cooper greet the retired officer as an old friend when Kerr arrived at the pre-debate briefing.
CNN has still not acknowledged, and Rush was the first to point out, that the general had previously appeared on CNN to discuss gays in the military. Now comes the revelation that he was treated like an old pal by Cooper and other CNN staff upon his arrival.
It's utterly unbelievable that CNN, a worldwide television cable, satellite and internet news organization, was not aware of the political leanings of a previous on-air guest who is so obviously familiar with its anchor and his staff, especially as he was invited (expenses paid) to put a loaded question to the candidates and then allowed to moderate his own discussion with them.
It's getting to be a cliche, but imagine the howls of protest were the tables turned and this had been Fox diddling its audience this way.
Jonah Golberg: CNN's Virtual Reality
Just as revealing were the questioners who weren’t revealed to be plants. For the most part they were a motley crew of conservative caricatures. CNN’s typical “ordinary American” (translation: “scary Republican”) was a pale, gaunt, twenty-something white dude who looked like he’d spent the last year working in the sunless bunker he’d constructed out of his mom’s basement. Several of the videos were reminiscent of the sort of thing investigators discover while searching the home of slain white militiamen after a terrorist attack.
One of these young men was, literally, a bible thumper who demanded to know if the GOP candidates were as committed to “every word in this book” as he was. Another questioner took a brief break from the shooting range to ask about gun control. But he made it clear, as he cocked a shotgun thrown to him from off camera, that the candidates answers didn’t much matter because, he implied, they could have his gats when they pried them from his cold dead hands.
Another young man asked from the comfortable sovereignty of his dorm room what the Confederate Flag - which hung conspicuously behind him - meant to the men on the stage. Sadly, the guy who played “Psycho” in the movie Stripes was apparently unavailable to record a video. Still, it would have been nice if at least one of the candidates had seized on one of the numerous opportunities to say, “Lighten up, Francis.”
Goldberg's concluding paragraphs illustrate the lack of scruples that put CNN in the same company as TNR:
But there's a larger and, I think, more interesting point to be made. And it comes from CNN itself. In an official statement CNN pushed back against the critics. "The issues raised [by the] debate were legitimate and relevant no matter who was asking the questions. The vested interests who are challenging the credibility of the questioners are trying to distract voters from the substantive issues they care most about. Americans are tired of that discredited low-road approach." In another statement, they defended their choice of questions from more than 5,000 submissions based upon several journalistic criteria and, with the exception of Gen. Kerr, they stood by their editorial decisions.
Now it takes the kind of chutzpah that usually invites a lightning bolt from above for CNN to not only accuse its critics of taking the "low road approach" but to dare speak as a tribune of the American people, when they failed to even find "ordinary Americans" when it was, literally, their job to do so.
Still, they do have a point, but they may not realize how damning their defense is. First they are saying that these questions are so obvious that it doesn't really matter who is asking them. Fair enough, but doesn't that apply not just to this debate, but to CNN generally? That means the millions of dollars CNN has invested in, say, Anderson Cooper as uniquely talented at asking tough, meaningful or unique questions has been money wasted on a lie. Any pretty face can ask the questions handed to them by their producer. So why not just have Cameron Diaz ask the questions? Who needs puffed up journalists to read cue cards?
But CNN's also saying that their producers were still the ultimate arbiters of which questions got asked. With 5,000 submissions they could cherry-pick whatever questions they wanted. All that stuff about "you deciding," "ordinary Americans," and tearing down the gates was little more than show business. The "ordinary Americans" were simply props for the agenda of the same old people who always get to decide what counts as news and what doesn't. You people who thought otherwise are just a bunch of saps.
And, sadly, CNN is right on both counts.
Captain Ed Morrissey:
Every publication eventually makes a big enough error to warrant a retraction and an apology. Even here at CapQ, I've had to do it a few times, and believe me, it never feels good. One has to resist the urge to rationalize mistakes and spin enough to avoid admitting error. Just as with customer service, where I often described my management position as "professional apologizer", editors have to bite the bullet and admit error to maintain organizational credibility.Boiled down, the contrast between NRO and TNR in these matters speaks volumes about character. On the one hand, honesty, humility, responsibility and honor; on the other, embarrassing dishonesty, rank obtuseness, a victim mentality and blind servitude to The Narrative.
Kathryn Jean Lopez did so here. Notice that she did not blame the critics for pointing out the error or assume that the criticism was motivated by some sort of conspiracy. She didn't, in essence, blame the customer for a faulty product. She took quick action to investigate, found obvious shortcomings, and issued an apology and a detailed accounting of the problem.
Had Franklin Foer done that when the story fell apart at TNR, he could have not just saved the magazine from a credibility collapse, he could have enhanced its standing. Instead of acting professionally, he assumed the Nixonian posture that anyone questioning TNR's product must automatically be an enemy against whom all defenses were necessary. Instead, even in an apology, he couldn't help blaming the customers for a shoddy product.
Incidentally, I share Michelle's analysis of the failure at The Tank. It was poor work, and it has been highlighted as such. NRO's response has been appropriate and substantial.
The Company Herself Keeps
And so it seems that if it weren't for her serial rapist husband, convicted criminals and Chinese bagmen, Hillary might not have any fundraisers at all.
The Venezuela "Referendum"
Here's a thought experiment: imagine that George Bush offered a proposal to allow himself an unlimited number of terms; to take Presidential control over the Federal Reserve; to create new states (Central California, Upstate New York, Western Pennsylvania) governed by appointees of President Bush; and to allow himself to expand his Presidential powers by declaring an "emergency." Do you suppose the BBC would call those proposals "reforms"? No, I don't think so either.Looks as if Venezuelans don't think so either. Whatever will Danny and Kevin and Harry and Sean say?
Question for idiots: How's that whole "Bush is violating my freedoms" thing working for ya these days? 'Cause if it's all still weighing on you, you can always redeploy into Hugo Chavez's freedom-loving arms.
Sweet, fluffy Chavez freedom.
Broad Spectrum Of Parisian Society Attacks, Maims Authorities
Via the London Sunday Times:
In retrospect, it was not a good idea to have left his pistol at home. Called to the scene of a traffic accident in the Paris suburbs last Sunday, Jean-François Illy, a regional police chief, came face to face with a mob of immigrant youths armed with baseball bats, iron bars and shotguns. What happened next has sickened the nation. As Illy tried to reassure the gang that there would be an investigation into the deaths of two teenagers whose motorbike had just collided with a police car, he heard a voice shouting: “Somebody must pay for this. Some pigs must die tonight!” The 43-year-old commissaire realised it was time to leave, but that was not possible: they set his car ablaze. He stood as the mob closed in on him, parrying the first few baseball bat blows with his arms. An iron bar in the face knocked him down. “I tried to roll myself into a ball on the ground,” said Illy from his hospital bed. He was breathing with difficulty because several of his ribs had been broken and one had punctured his lung. His bruised and bloodied face signalled a worrying new level of barbarity in the mainly Muslim banlieues, where organised gangs of rioters used guns against police in a two-day rampage of looting and burning last week. Not far from where Illy was lying was a policeman who lost his right eye after being hit by pellets from a shotgun. Another policeman displayed a hole the size of a 10p coin in his shoulder where a bullet had passed through his body armour. Altogether 130 policemen were injured, dozens by shotgun pellets and shells packed with nails that were fired from a homemade bazooka. It prompted talk of urban “guerrilla warfare” being waged on French streets against the forces of law and order.Who will defend France before it completely succumbs to Muslim violence?
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Steyn On Offense
More from Steyn on the machinations of the other, in which he introduces a couple of devoted dhimmi "professors" on the Islamist-apologist payroll.
I see that a Canadian Muslim group is using Canadian hate-speech law to attempt to silence Steyn. Meanwhile, Michael Savage is countersueing CAIR in a similar dustup.
All with the ridiculous but devastatingly illustrative Gillian Gibbons story playing in the background. Note to Islam: It's civilization, stupid.