Let’s Roll
By Dan | September 11, 2008 - 12:42 pm - Posted in 9/11, Foreign Affairs, Stars & Stripes

Seven years ago this morning, America was awakened from its complacency by 19 little men on four planes armed with little more than small knives and a determination to kill innocent people. Through the heroism of a small band of heroes, only three of those planes met their targets. The names Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham, and Tom Burnett do not play nearly the role in everyday life that they should.

In the past seven years, the world has become a very different place. America no long plays victim on the world stage. Nor should it. The wave of sympathy and compassion that embraced us seven years ago is gone. We have spent that capital, along with our blood and treasure, making the world a safer place. Since the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq there have been no attacks on U.S. soil, and only two terrorist attacks in Europe. We have taken the fight to our enemies and the results are clear.

Thousands more men and women have given their lives willingly to save those they don’t know. In the words of the dearly departed Tony Snow, “love can propel a man to run into a burning building to save a complete stranger; but a man motivated by hate cannot save even himself.” Because of the sacrifice of brave men and women, Americans, Brits, French, Spaniards, Poles, and not least of them, Iraqis, the Middle East now has an exemplar of democracy and a secular levee against the tide of Islamic fascism. Young American GI’s have once again reshaped the face of the world for the better.

The United States and its allies will continue their struggle against Islamic fascism. It is a long fight against a determined enemy. The alternative for us is not a fragile peace, but certain death. As the threat of attacks at home fades, however, so do the raw emotions of that day. The sinking fear has been replaced with a clear sense of awareness, but recessed in our minds; behind our families and work; behind worries about taxes, health care and bailing out failed bureaucracies.

Terror may never completely die, but it is on the run. It hides in remote regions in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It shouts impotently from the safety of cassette tapes and grainy videos. It squanders its youth and rage in clean, quiet cells in Cuba. It dies futily alone in the streets of Iraqi villages and the rugged trails of Afghanistan. As the allies who liberated the world from European fascism and soviet communism, we have a duty to see terrorism find its place on the ashheap of history. Let’s Roll.

The Wright Frame of Mind
By Dan | April 28, 2008 - 11:25 am - Posted in 9/11, Foreign Affairs, Liberals, Op Ed, Politics & Policy

Answering questions today at a press club breakfast, Jeremiah Wright was asked about his “chicken’s coming home to roost” comment. The fact that his response was not met with derisive laughter is telling of the media’s abdication of its charge: “Have you heard the whole sermon? No? The whole sermon?” he responded. When the reporter shook her head, he said, “That nullifies that question.”

I beg your pardon? No, it’s still a valid question. You don’t need to read Origin of Species to have questions on evolution. (Or, to reinforce Goodwin’s law, you don’t need to read Mein Kampf to raise an objection to the Final Solution.) Reverend Wright made a comment (he claims he got the idea from former U.S. Ambassador Edward Peck) that some find objectionable. The fact that they have not taken the time to listen to all thirty-five minutes of the sermon does not mean we cannot ask questions.

The argument goes that we haven’t heard the whole sermon, only the 2 minute sound bite, therefore, we should not judge Reverend Wright based on that alone. Fair enough, so I have heard the entire “chickens coming home to roost” sermon. I have to tell you, that didn’t change my view of how offensive it was. The fact that Reverend Wright spoke at length about how America brought 9/11 on itself does not excuse the more provocative sound bite. It is that idea that is offensive. Is Bill Moyers and the rest of the media that blind? Can they not see that the idea that America deserved to be attacked is, in itself offensive? Do they think we are offended on behalf of poultry farmers?

Of course, Reverend Wright has grown accustomed to not having to answer difficult questions. I spent an hour this weekend watching Bill Moyer’s perform a nasal colonoscopy on Reverend Jeremiah Wright. I don’t watch Bill Moyers regularly, but I find it hard to imagine how someone can call themselves a journalist without ever asking a serious question. You have one of the most controversial people in America on your program and you don’t ask a single question clarifying his viewpoint?

For those unwilling to stomach the entire sermon, Reverend Wright equates the fall of Jerusalem at the hands of the Edomites to the fall of the Twin Towers and the pentagon (money and military). The sermon revolves around Psalm 137 and how the first 6 verses show reverence for Jerusalem, but then the Psalm goes on to ask revenge on the Edomites. Reverend Wright is arguing against American retribution for the attacks of 9/11. He clearly feels that America will go too far in seeking revenge against those who perpetrated the attacks. Violence begets violence.

Midway through the sermon, Reverend Wright switches tracks and calls out a “faith footnote.” It is in this footnote that Wright draws the moral equivalence between America’s past transgressions and 9/11. (He later goes on, at the 30:00 mark, to argue that money appropriated for rebuilding New York should be used for free healthcare, education, the poor and AIDS research.) This is exactly what we thought you said. This is not different and no less despicable than Jerry Falwell’s comments that 9/11 was brought on by moral decay. In the minds of many Americans, this is what is controversial. It is not that we assume you are unAmerican, it is that we know, from your words, that you blame America for 9/11. That, alone, is enough.

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Iraqi Revolution
By Dan | April 11, 2008 - 1:21 pm - Posted in 9/11, Foreign Affairs, Liberals, Media & Marketing, Politics & Policy, Stars & Stripes

Liberals in the media and in Congress have made many ill-rationed arguments against the war in Iraq. Among them is the contention that our presence in Iraq foments anti-Americanism and breeds more terrorists than it destroys. Not true says, of all sources, the New York Times: “After almost five years of war, many young people in Iraq, exhausted by constant firsthand exposure to the violence of religious extremism, say they have grown disillusioned with religious leaders and skeptical of the faith that they preach.”

Let that sink in for a minute. Not only do young Iraqi’s not want to join al Qaeda in Iraq (that’s the group’s own name, mind you) or any other militant Islamic terrorist group, they blame the clerics for the violence in Iraq.

The article goes on to frame the debate in terms of religious participation rather than what is, in my view, a rejection not of Islam, but of Wahabiism. The article does not report the kind of pro-American flag-waving gratitude you might expect to see from a liberated people, but we are talking about the New York Times reportage. They have rules about displaying American flags when they are not on fire.

The article does, however, expose as untrue one of the primary arguments liberals have for “getting us out of Iraq now.” If young Iraqis are turning away from violent Islam, we are decreasing the popularity of al Qaeda and Islamofascism, not increasing it. Yes, it is true that there is violence in Iraq, and it is true that our military personnel are still at risk, but as this blog has often noted that it took us almost four years of combat in Iraq to lose as many Americans as we did in one day of terror in America. Where is the acknowledgment that our efforts in Iraq are reaping rewards?

We are creating a democracy in a part of the world that has never seen one. We are attracting and killing foreign terrorists by the thousands. We are preventing attacks on American civilians by focusing the battle in Iraq. And, to top it all off, we are exposing Muslims to the realities of Wahabism and they are clearly rejecting it.

Where, exactly is the downside?

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Obama To Defend Another Religious Speaker
By Dan | March 20, 2008 - 9:43 am - Posted in 9/11, Foreign Affairs, Liberals, Media & Marketing, Politics & Policy

Barack Obama, fresh on the heels of his well-received speech on race, has spoken out again today in Pennsylvania. Mr. Obama, in prepared remarks, addressed another religious leader, whose Anti-Catholic and Anti-American rhetoric has shocked many. “I vigorously disagree with the Muslim Cleric, Osama bin Laden, and his remarks involving Western democracy and theology,” said the madrasah-educated Senator from Illinois. “But I can no more disown him than I can my white Uncle Jedediah who still lives in Hawaii. Uncle Jeb, not unlike Mr. bin Laden, is a raving lunatic and racist, who once said the Japanese should be damned to the fires of Hell.” Barack Obama’s aging uncle, Jeb Dunham, a Pearl Harbor survivor who lives in Honolulu, could not be reached for comment.

Senator Obama continued, “I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Mr. bin Laden that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I’m sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.”

“Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals,” continued the freshman Senator, “there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough….Like other predominantly Muslim churches across the world, Wahabism embodies the Muslim community in its entirety – the arms dealer and the suicide bomber mother, the model student and the former capitalist. Like other Muslim churches, Wahabism services may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the Muslim experience in the world.”

Several news outlets were quick to call this second address “worthy of [President] Lincoln.” George Stephanopoulos said Obama’s refusal to renounce this highly controversial man was, “in many ways an act of honor.” And on CNN, Campbell Brown called the speech “striking” and “daring,” asserting that Obama had, quote, “walked the listener through a remarkable exploration of religion from both sides of the beheading divide, from both sides of himself.”

The Fear Card
By Dan | March 7, 2008 - 7:10 pm - Posted in 9/11, Business Section, Clinton, Foreign Affairs, Liberals, Op Ed, Politics & Policy

There’s an interesting argument developing on the Left.  Having Hillary’s Attack Machine up against the Audacity of Hope Machine has been very enlightening for some Democrats. First, Hillary supporters are now seeing first hand what it’s like to be called racist, simply because you don’t vote for a candidate who is Black.  Of course, there may still be some people who won’t vote for a Black person only because they’re Black, but the syllogism falls apart when you say if you don’t vote for Obama, you must be racist. It’s also telling that Obama’s supporters cannot image why anyone would want to vote for anyone other Obama, even Hillary. There’s nothing scarier than the devout who accept a leader without questioning or comparing alternatives.

Obama’s supporters are also finding out what it’s like to suffer violent personal attacks in response to policy arguments. Welcome to our world, folks. The funny thing is that, somewhere, Ken Starr is wondering “What the hell? All I did was ask about their finances, too.

The real interesting development, however, is the growing “fear mongering” complaints. Obama’s supporters are complaining about Hillary’s 3 a.m. ad, which questioned Obama’s ability to deal with a crisis. Of course, the unspoken threat is terrorism.  Obama’s supporters are also, ironically, complaining about Hillary scaring people with losing their jobs.  (Look for Hillary’s camp to make similar complaints about Obama’s NAFTA rhetoric.)

The interesting thing is that Democrats are finally realizing that the “Republican tactic” of reminding people that it’s a dangerous world out there is just as “unfair” when you play to people’s fears about their jobs as when you remind them of the ever present threat of terrorism. Personally, I have never thought that this argument is unfair at all. If you’re running for President of the United States, you should be able to allay people’s fear of the unknown. You should be able to defend your policies and convince the people who elect you that you are capable of keeping them safe.

The argument is slightly less valid, however, when you play to people’s fears of losing their job. The president has direct control over the military and the national security assets that keep us safe. No one is infallible, and attacks will happen. The question is, what will you do to keep us safe? The president has no direct effect on jobs, however. (Of course, some Democrats are still hoping for a worker’s paradise where the government is the only game in town.) The president can advocate tax cuts, can suggest legal reforms and some regulations, but the president doesn’t close the factory. Claiming that electing the old so-and-so will cost you your job is more inflammatory than claiming he or she won’t keep you safe.

Of course, accepting responsibility for your actions is not one of the Left’s strong suits.

Barack to the Future: Obama Pledges Research Funds for Flux Capacitor
By Dan | March 1, 2008 - 11:53 am - Posted in 9/11, Best Of, Edukashun, Foreign Affairs, Politics & Policy, Science, Stars & Stripes, Today in History

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama has made his name by promising “change” and to “look forward” on controversial issues like healthcare, Iraq and the economy. Specifically on the global war on terror in Iraq, Senator Obama has criticized Senator McCain’s plan for continuing the surge in Iraq as being “stuck in the past.”  Senator Obama’s plan would be to withdraw all troops, undoing the entire war, and only return if al Qaeda were found in Iraq.  Senator Obama has also noted that he would never have gone to war with Iraq. Critics have claimed that this is not a solution of the current situation, but merely bemoaning the current facts.

Today, Senator Obama clarified the inconsistency. “This campaign has been about change. Changing the way we work in Washington. Changing the way we think as a nation and changing the way the world sees us. Today, I pledge, that as President, I would change the past to bring us a brighter tomorrow.” Senator Obama’s “Change the Past” program includes $4 Trillion for research into a “flux capacitor” and $100,000 for a 1981 DMC-12 De Lorean. “With this technology, which will be built here in America by companies that hire only union workers and pay at least 60% of worker’s healthcare costs, we can change yesterday for a better tomorrow!”

Former Vice President Al Gore has raised issues about the plan, saying that he is “concerned about the carbon footprint of a 1.21 gigaWatt device.”

Senator Obama’s Change the Past platform would also:

  • Unelect president Bush;
  • Destroy the internal combustion machine (regardless of cost) before it begins its long history of polluting the environment;
  • Prevent himself and his wife from going to law school and making all that money; and
  • Ensure Reagan loses/lost to Obama’s personal inspiration, Jimmy Carter.
Hillary: Zero Terror Attacks Not Good Enough
By Dan | October 23, 2007 - 1:52 pm - Posted in 9/11, Clinton, Legal, Politics & Policy

Hillary Clinton (D-Your State Here) has admitted that, if elected president, she would “return” some executive authority to Congress.  “I firmly believe that the Democrats in Congress are far better equipped to deal with matters of national security and defense than any president, including myself.” 

Many Republicans were quick to agree.  “I absolutely think that there is no one less qualified to handle these matters than Hillary Rodham Clinton,” noted one Republican leader, Arthur A. Kneeleft.

Mrs. Clinton again condemned the Bush/Cheney administration for their “overly zealous” war on terror.  “It has been over 6 years since America has been directly attacked by al Qaeda.  Surely we can lessen our resolve and let down our defenses now,” she told the Guardian newspaper of London.  “What’s the worse that could happen,” she asks.

Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic senator from Illinois Arkansas Mississippi New Orleans Hades Cubs Mets Yankees Mets RabbitSeason DuckSeason WhatWillGetMeElected?New York noted that “America can handle a few more terrorist attacks, especially if my appearance as a peacenik, civil-rightsy type will get me elected president.”

Mrs. Clinton also told the Guardian that she believes, contrary to 220 years of settled Constitutional law, that the Constitution does not allow the president to exercise such broad powers.  “Though that Constitution-thingy clearly allows Congress to ban firearms and prohibits states from enacting laws regarding medical procdures,” she added.

“Intelligence” Shake Up Following Another SNAFU
By Dan | October 9, 2007 - 12:45 pm - Posted in 9/11, Adoptions, Edukashun, Foreign Affairs, Government, Legal, Politics & Policy, Stars & Stripes

The Bush Administration today announced another shake up of the U.S. “intelligence” community following an embarrassing leak that tipped of al Qaeda to U.S. surveillance capabilities.  “It is obvious that the Central Intelligence Agency and the broader intelligence community has its own agenda and cannot control its personnel,” noted President Bush at a White House press conference earlier today.  “The CIA, and the other 15 intelligence gathering agencies that gather information on the global war on terror, will be disbanded and reorganized, effective immediately.”

The President has proposed a “bi-partisan” intelligence gathering community that, in place of the Central Intelligence Agency, would create a “Right Intelligence Agency” and a “Left Intelligence Agency.”  The RIA would be responsible for tracking terrorists, providing actionable intelligence to military and other assets and predicting and preventing future attacks.  The Left Intelligence Agency will be responsible for leaking sensitive material to the press, undermining U.S. interests and attacking the RIA.   House and Senate Democrats are already considering an appropriations bill that would provide the LIA with an annual budget of $500 billion and the RIA with $20 and bus fare home.

Separately, the ACLU has announced it is investigating charges related to the press leak.  “We are concerned,” notes ACLU spokeshippie Summer Gnottat-Albright “that al Qaeda’s privacy was violated in this instance.  The government has no right to spy on people, regardless of their intentions.”

Hillary Clarifies Torture Position
By Dan | September 28, 2007 - 6:44 am - Posted in 9/11, Clinton, Foreign Affairs, Politics & Policy, Stars & Stripes

Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton further clarified her stance on torture today.  Mrs. Clinton, who last October endorsed the use of torture in “ticking timebomb” situation, yesterday contradicted herself and her husband at a Democratic debate by saying torture “cannot be American policy, period.” 

Her recent statement received wide applause from the left-leaning audience, until Tim Russert pointed out that she had expressly endorsed torture not less than a year ago.  Today, Mrs. Clinton clarified her policy, saying “My administration would support torture in narrow, limited circumstances.”  The “narrow, limited circumstances” include “when supporting torture is necessary to appear hawkish on terrorism, garner votes or otherwise rise in the polls.”  Mrs. Clinton added that she would “never, ever, support torture in front of a Democratic audience.” 

As for a Clinton presidency (God help us) actually torturing a terrorist in order to save thousands or even millions of lives, Mrs. Clinton was a bit more circumspect.  “As in my husband’s administration, I would maintain a level of plausible deniability, so that I could take credit if things went well, but avoid blame in the event of negative public reaction.”

The Next Attack
By Dan | July 17, 2007 - 11:51 am - Posted in 9/11, Foreign Affairs, Op Ed

One of the recurring issues in military history is that governments and defense departments are always caught fighting the last war.  In World War II, the French Maginot Line failed because it was designed to stop an attack by infantry on horseback.  Tanks, trucks and airplanes were not part of the equation.  In Vietnam, we fought World War II with a an enemy that was fighting with new guerilla tactics.  In Iraq, we’re fighting against guerilla tactics while our enemy uses our own laws and taboos against us.

This weekend, Michael Chertoff, head of Homeland Security, said he had “a gut feeling” that new terror attacks would strike U.S. soil this summer.  I don’t know whether I want him to be being honest or being coy about actual intelligence.  If it really is just a gut feeling, then why the hell are we paying him and the intelligence community?  I could have told you that myself.  If it is actual intelligence and he’s just being coy, well, that means there is a terror attack coming our way.  In either case, if there is a terrorist attack on U.S. soil after Congress has had 3 investigations per day over the past two years (mostly about who fired some attorneys and why) and port and airport security has remained as lax as ever while al Qaeda grows stronger than it was on September 10, 2001…well, God help the U.S. government, because I won’t.

The federal government’s primary purpose is to protect us from our enemies.  If they fail to do that, they have lost their legitimacy. 

I’ve been thinking about the next attack.  I don’t want to give them a leg up here, but if al Qaeda really wants to destroy America, the next attack is predictable.  They will hijack 4 more airplanes and fly them into high-value targets in the U.S.  Biological, chemical and nuclear weapons are all too difficult to import.  But how many reporters or government agents have been able to slip through security?  Watchlists are a joke and without “racial profiling,” “John Q. Smith” can’t be stopped at the checkin counter.  Can you imagine the absolute horror and terror at the realization that our government, after 6 years, still cannot protect us from a bunch of psychopaths with boxcutters?