Sunday, December 31, 2006

Honoring Gerald Ford

Vice President Dick Cheney's Remarks at the State Funeral of Former President Gerald R. Ford

The United States Capitol Rotunda:

Nothing was left unsaid, and at the end of his days, Gerald Ford knew how much he meant to us and to his country. He was given length of years, and many times in his company we paid our tributes and said our thanks. We were proud to call him our leader, grateful to know him as a man. We told him these things, and there is comfort in knowing that. Still, it is an ending. And what is left now is to say goodbye.

He first stood under this dome at the age of 17, on a high school tour in the Hoover years. In his congressional career, he passed through this Rotunda so many times -- never once imagining all the honors that life would bring. He was an unassuming man, our 38th President, and few have ever risen so high with so little guile or calculation. Even in the three decades since he left this city, he was not the sort to ponder his legacy, to brood over his place in history. And so in these days of remembrance, as Gerald R. Ford, goes to his rest, it is for us to take the measure of the man.

Military officers guard the casket of former US President Gerald Ford at St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Palm Desert, California, 29 December 2006. Ford died at age 93 at his home in nearby Rancho Mirage on 26 December 2006. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images

It's hard to imagine that this most loyal of men began life as an abandoned child, facing the world alone with his mother. He was devoted to her always, and also to the fine man who came into their lives and gave the little boy a name he would carry into history. Gerald and Dorothy Ford expected good things of their son. As it turned out, there would be great things, too -- in a journey of 93 years that would fill them with loving pride.

Jerry Ford was always a striver -- never working an angle, just working. He was a believer in the saying that in life you make your own luck. That's how the Boy Scout became an Eagle Scout; and the football center, a college all-star; and the sailor in war, a lieutenant commander. That's how the student who waited tables and washed dishes earned a law degree, and how the young lawyer became a member of the United States Congress, class of 1948. The achievements added up all his life, yet he was known to boast only about one. I heard it once or twice myself -- he said he was never luckier than when he stepped out of Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids with a beautiful girl named Betty as his bride.


The hearse carrying the casket of former President Gerald R. Ford pauses at the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Saturday evening, Dec. 30, 2006, in tribute to President Ford’s service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, prior to the State Funeral ceremony at the U.S. Capitol. White House photo by Kimberlee Hewitt
Fifty-eight years ago, almost to the day, the new member from Michigan's fifth district moved into his office in the Cannon Building, and said his first hello to the congressman next door, John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts. They belonged to a generation that came early to great duties, and took up responsibilities readily, and shared a confidence in their country and its purposes in the world.

In that 81st Congress were four future Presidents, and others who wished for that destiny. For his part, Mr. Ford of Michigan aspired only to be Speaker of the House, and by general agreement he would have made a fine one. Good judgment, fair dealing, and the manners of a gentleman go a long way around here, and these were the mark of Jerry Ford for a quarter century in the House. It was a Democrat, the late Martha Griffiths, who said, "I never knew him to make a dishonest statement nor a statement part-true and part-false, and I never heard him utter an unkind word."

Military pallbearers carry the casket of former President Gerald R. Ford up the East Steps of the U.S. Capitol, Saturday evening, Dec. 30, 2006 in Washington, D.C., to the State Funeral ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda. White House photo by Shealah Craighead

Sometimes in our political affairs, kindness and candor are only more prized for their scarcity. And sometimes even the most careful designs of men cannot improve upon history's accident. This was the case in the 62nd year of Gerald Ford's life, a bitter season in the life of our country.

It was a time of false words and ill will. There was great malice, and great hurt, and a taste for more. And it all began to pass away on a Friday in August, when Gerald Ford laid his hand on the Bible and swore to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. He said, "You have not elected me as your President by your ballot, and so I ask you to confirm me as your President with your prayers."
Former President Gerald R. Ford lies in repose in front of the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol before proceeding to the Rotunda for the State Funeral ceremony, Saturday, December 30, 2006. Former President Ford served in the House of Representatives for 24 years. White House photo by David Bohrer

What followed was a presidency lasting 895 days, and filled with testing and trial enough for a much longer stay. Even then, amid troubles not of his own making, President Ford proved as worthy of that office as any who had ever come before. He was modest and manful; there was confidence and courage in his bearing. In judgment, he was sober and serious, unafraid of decisions, calm and steady by nature, always the still point in the turning wheel. He assumed power without assuming airs; he knew how to treat people. He answered courtesy with courtesy; he answered discourtesy with courtesy.

This President's hardest decision was also among his first. And in September of 1974, Gerald Ford was almost alone in understanding that there can be no healing without pardon. The consensus holds that this decision cost him an election. That is very likely so. The criticism was fierce. But President Ford had larger concerns at heart. And it is far from the worst fate that a man should be remembered for his capacity to forgive.
Former first lady Betty Ford kneels at the casket of her husband, former President Gerald R. Ford, in the U.S. Capitol rotunda during the State Funeral ceremony, Saturday, December 30, 2006. Accompanying Mrs. Ford are her children, from left, John G. Ford, Susan Ford Bales, Michael Ford and Steven Ford. White House photo by David Bohrer

In politics it can take a generation or more for a matter to settle, for tempers to cool. The distance of time has clarified many things about President Gerald Ford. And now death has done its part to reveal this man and the President for what he was.

He was not just a cheerful and pleasant man -- although these virtues are rare enough at the commanding heights. He was not just a nice guy, the next-door neighbor whose luck landed him in the White House. It was this man, Gerald R. Ford, who led our republic safely through a crisis that could have turned to catastrophe. We will never know what further unravelings, what greater malevolence might have come in that time of furies turned loose and hearts turned cold. But we do know this: America was spared the worst. And this was the doing of an American President. For all the grief that never came, for all the wounds that were never inflicted, the people of the United States will forever stand in debt to the good man and faithful servant we mourn tonight.

A US flag is draped on the casket of former US President Gerald R. Ford, as it lies in state in the Rotunda of the US Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., MANNIE GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images
Thinking on all this, we are only more acutely aware of a time in our lives and of its end. And we can be certain that Gerald Ford would now ask only that we remember his wife. Betty, the President was not a hard man to read, and to his friends nothing was more obvious than the source of his great happiness. It was you. And all the good that you shared, Betty, all the good that you did together, has not gone away. All of that is forever.

There is a time to every purpose under Heaven. In the years of Gerald Rudolph Ford, it was a time to heal. There is also, in life, a time to part, when those who are dear to us must go their way. And so for now, Mr. President -- farewell. We will always be thankful for your good life. In Almighty God, we place our confidence. And to Him we confirm you, with our love and with our prayers.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Unabridged Video of the Last Minutes of Saddam's Execution

Saddam at the end of his rope!


Let's hope the poison he unleashed on Iraq and the world goes to hell with him.

A Victory for Justice

The death of Saddam Hussein is a victory for justice. The end came at a former military intelligence headquarters in Baghdad's Shiite neighborhood of Kazimiyah, the site of so many unspeakable gruesome murders against Iraqis who never had the benefit of a fair judicial process.

President Bush summed it up:


STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

Today, Saddam Hussein was executed after receiving a fair trial -- the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime.

Fair trials were unimaginable under Saddam Hussein's tyrannical rule. It is a testament to the Iraqi people's resolve to move forward after decades of oppression that, despite his terrible crimes against his own people, Saddam Hussein received a fair trial. This would not have been possible without the Iraqi people's determination to create a society governed by the rule of law. ...
A Moment in History

Click to enlarge.Click to enlarge.Click to enlarge.Click to enlarge.

Is that tight enough for you Saddam?Click to enlarge.


Contrast the above with how the Italian people dealt with the dictator Mussolini and his mistress near the end of World War II (photo right).



Iraqis Celebrate

Iraqis in much of Iraq and in places as distant as the large Iraqi community in Dearborn Michigan were elated with the news that the monster is dead.


A Victory for Justice and Iraq
An Iraqi flashes the victory-sign as he rides through the Shiite-majority Baghdad suburb Sadr City during celebrations of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein's execution early this morning 30 December 2006.


Click to enlarge. No Connection between Saddam and Osama?

Many Iraqis jubilant over the demise of the monster celebrated by burning his image. They hauled out old photos, old money and in this case, a page from a pre-invasion magazine which had Saddam pictured (right) next to arch-terrorist Osama bin Laden.


Click to enlarge.
U.S. Iraqis Celebrate

The large Iraqi community in Dearborn, Michigan was a scene of celebration for Iraqis living in the United States. Many of these were victims of Saddam's regime and forced to leave their homes and flee to freedom in the U.S.

We're reminded of the thanks to President Bush Click to enlarge.offered by Michigan resident Betty Dawisha waving her purple-stained finger after she voted in the Iraqi election (video download here):

"Anybody who doesn't appreciate what America has done and PRESIDENT BUSH, let them go to hell."


Saddam's Victims in Kuwait Also mark his passing. A Kuwaiti follows former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's execution on TV in Kuwait Click to enlarge.City 30 December 2006. Kuwaitis welcomed the hanging of Saddam Hussein today, remembering with bitterness the Iraqi dictator and "enemy of the Islamic nation" who invaded their Gulf state 16 years earlier. Iraqi forces, acting on Saddam's orders, invaded the oil-rich Gulf emirate in August 1990 and occupied it for seven months before they were expelled by a US-led international coalition.

Despot Lovers Despondent
Click to enlarge.
Few events provide such clear insight into the nature of those who steadfastly oppose U.S. led efforts to foster a more peaceful world.

"By their fruits you will know them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Just so, every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. [Matthew 7 16-17]
Click to enlarge.
It's pretty clear there is a lot of rotten trees bearing bad fruit in the world. No better illustration could be found than Communists in India protesting the death of Saddam. No doubt they haven't been this worked up since Stalin died.

At right, Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI (M)) leader Brinda Karat addresses activists of various Indian leftist organisations during a protest near the American Centre in New Delhi, 30 December 2006, against the execution of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussain.

Communists and radical Muslims alike were outraged by Saddam's execution. Here, an Indian Muslim shouts anti-US slogans while holding a placard during a protest in Mumbai, 30 December 2006. No doubt taking the slogans from a Moveon.org rally, Indian Muslims comparing Bush to Hitler while worshipping the monster shows quite well the extent to which evil has been successful in poisoning the minds of many throughout the world.


Similar attitudes were on display in Pakistan where protestors carried signs (see right) Click to enlarge.claiming that Saddam is a "Hero of Islam" and President Bush is the "Kileers of Saddam + Muslims."

One wonders if these people are aware that Saddam killed Muslims by the hundreds of thousands?


Or perhaps the protestors don't count Kuwaitis, Iranians and Shiites as real Muslims.

A Warped View of Human Rights
Click to enlarge.
Using a tunnel vision perspective, the editorial license of the photograph at right is appropriate. Protestors representing The Human Rights Council of Pakistan carry a banner demanding: "RESPECT HUMAN RIGHTS, DO NOT HANG SADDAM HUSSAIN."

Again, we wonder whose rights these people represent?
Click to enlarge.
Certainly, Shiite Iraqi man Ghirayer Ali might take a different view. He's shown at right, kissing the skull of his son, Rahim, as his remains are unearthed at a former government cemetery for those who 'disappeared' during Saddam Hussein's regime and which opened to Iraqi citizens after Hussein was overthrown by the U.S.

Where were all the human rights activists when this crime against humanity was occurring?

Click to enlarge.
Finally, it's an older photo of Muther Sheehan. But we imagine she's also distraught at the execution of Saddam. After all, she claimed that there is nothing worth fighting for and defended the savagery of Saddam.

The View from Iraq the Model

Celebrating Justice...
Saddam drew his path to hell long time ago…he chose this fate the day he chose cruelty and oppression as a way to deal with his people. He built his reign with blood and terror and vowed to make death the fate of anyone who dared say no to him.

Saddam lost his humanity the day he committed his first crime, so the one I saw walking to the rope this morning was no man to me.

It was him who rejected humanity to become the monster that the weak feared and prayed to see him dead for years to be safe from his crimes.

Outside Iraq people will divide over his hanging, just like they divided over his life and rule but here in Iraq most of us feel that today justice has been served. Those who mourn him are a few and are still living in the past that has no future in Iraq.

To those who didn’t like justice I say that his death means life to many.
Executing the dictator renews the hopes of not only Iraqis but also of other oppressed peoples in the world in having a better future where they enjoy freedom. It's time for other tyrants to learn from this lesson and realize that a similar fate is on the way if they refuse to change.

Yes, it was the people though their elected government who put Saddam on trial and who says otherwise should go back and learn about how Saddam humiliated, murdered and tortured Iraqis and plundered their fortunes in his stupid adventures.
He deserved to die—our people are still suffering from his crimes till this moment, maybe not in person anymore but through the murderous terrorist machine he built and expanded over years; his orphans are still murdering our people in cold blood trying to deny us the right to build a model of life away from the culture of death the dictator created. ...

Marie's Two Cents has more on this historic event.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Saddam Executed!

The Monster is Dead!

At approximately 6 A.M. Baghdad time (10 P.M. EST) Saddam Hussein was executed for crimes against humanity.

The death sentence was handed down by an Iraqi court on 5 November after a year-long trial over the 1982 killings of 148 Shias in the town of Dujail.

Crimes against humanity is an almost sterile phrase. It's important to remember that behind these monstrously evil acts were human victims and the survivors like little Jafar (pictured right). Jafar holds a memorial of photos of his grandfather and uncles murdered by Saddam. He'll grow up never to have the joy of knowing them.

The atrocity at Dujail is just one of the crimes perpetrated by the man some called the "Arab Stalin." Saddam's butchery created millions of Jafars throughout Iraq. Think of all the Jafars created in the Kurdish areas after Saddam butchered over 180,000 and used chemical weapons against the people of Halabja.




halabja

Father and child gassed in Halabja


The mass graves of Iraq continue to bear silent witness to the evil which Saddam unleashed on not just the Kurds, but the Shias as well. These graves litter the country with the foul stench of death and horror. In the photo at right Hekeema Nagiy cries as she searches for the bodies of her two missing sons at Hila. (more photo documentation here.)

Saddam killed men, women, children and infants. At the mass graves in Hatra children were found murdered execution style with a bullet to the back of the head. The withered remains of one small 3 or 4 year old boy was found still clutching a little red ball.

And while the reports of panty raid "torture" made headlines around the world for months, let's not forget that much worse inflicted on prisoners in Saddam's jails before they were dumped into the mass graves. Here's the account of an atrocity that was all too common:
"This is when they brought out his wife, who was five months pregnant. One of the guards said that if he refused to talk he would get 12 guards to rape his wife until she lost the baby. Amer said nothing. So they did. We were forced to watch. Whenever one of us cast down his eyes, they would beat us."

"Amer's wife didn't lose the baby. So the guard took a knife, cut her belly open and took the baby out with his hands. The woman and child died minutes later. Then the guard used the same knife to cut Amer's throat."

The catalog of Saddam's crimes is extensive. He will go down in history as one of the arch fiends of the 20th Century. A man who embodied evil. Thank God for President Bush and the brave men and women of our Armed Forces who put an end to his reign of terror.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Gerald R. Ford, 1913-2006

GRFordEn

The following notice was posted on the Ford Presidential Library web site:


Gerald R. Ford's signature

July 14, 1913 - December 26, 2006

Mrs. Betty Ford issued the following
statement from her home in Rancho Mirage, California:

"My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald R. Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather, has passed away at 93 years of age. His was a life filled with love of God, his family, and his country."

Funeral details for the 38th President of the United States will be provided by the Joint Force Headquarters-National Capitol Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington Public Affairs Office to both the public and the media as they become available. Any media requests are to be directed to the U.S. Army Military District Public Affairs Office at (202) 685-4644. For information and press releases, visit the Gerald R. Ford Memorial site at www.GeraldFordMemorial.com

President Ford's family requests that contributions be made to the Gerald R. Ford Foundation Memorial Fund. This request includes donations in lieu of flowers. Information about the memorial contributions and the way you can send a message of condolence to the Ford family can be found at www.GeraldFordMemorial.com

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum are offering extended hours for those who wish to express their sympathy to the Ford family, including signing a condolence book.

In Ann Arbor, the Library lobby will be open 9:00 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, and 1:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, for approximately 7 days beginning December 28, 2006. The Library’s research room will be closed during this period.

In Grand Rapids, the Museum lobby will be open 24 hours/day until further notice beginning December 27, 2006. The Museum’s other areas, including all exhibit galleries and the gift store, will be closed during this period.

Gerald Ford: The Un-Elected President

President Ford is unique in American history as he is the only man to hold that office who was neither elected to it, or the Vice Presidency. He was appointed Vice President after the resignation of Spiro Agnew and became President upon the resignation of President Richard Nixon in the wake of the Watergate Scandal.

On August 9, 1974 Gerald Ford took the Oath of Office at the White House, then delivered the following brief remarks. The audio is choked with the emotion of this difficult time and serves as a time capsule view into the spirit of the nation at that time:



mp3 audio here.

"I am acutely aware that you have not elected me as your President by your ballots, and so I ask you to confirm me as your President with your prayers. And I hope that such prayers will also be the first of many. If you have not chosen me by secret ballot, neither have I gained office by any secret promises. I have not campaigned either for the Presidency or the Vice Presidency. I have not subscribed to any partisan platform. I am indebted to no man, and only to one woman -- my dear wife -- as I begin this very difficult job."

A4256-04

Ford meets with Chief of Staff Don Rumsfeld and Deputy Chief of Staff Dick Cheney in the Oval Office. April 28, 1975.
Ford Presidential Libary collection.

A Mike's America Personal Memory

I was too young to remember Congressman Gerry Ford who was the representative for Grand Rapids Michigan, where I lived at a very early age. But later, during the 1976 Presidential campaign I was present when President Ford visited Anderson Arena at Bowling Green State University in Ohio (where 8 years later I welcomed President Reagan).

It was a nerve-racking campaign. Nutcases like Squeaky Fromme (no doubt part of the diversity and tolerance crowd) had twice attempted to assasinate Ford. At the conclusion of his remarks a flashbulb exploded. The Secret Service grabbed him and hustled him out of there double time.

In the minds of many, Ford and his running mate Bob Dole ran a rather lackluster campaign. But Ford's wife Betty was for the first time a major asset in a presidential campaign. Somewhere I have a button proclaiming "Betty's Husband for President." Mrs. Ford was the model for modern American First Ladies. Her public struggle with breast cancer and admission of a problem with alcohol did much to remove the stigma previously applied to women suffering those afflictions.

Later, I wrote my senior Politics and Government thesis analyzing the impact of President Ford's pardon of Richard Nixon on Ford's defeat in the 1976 presidential election. It's clear from the electoral data that the pardon caused just enough voters in key states to cast their ballot for Jimmy Carter. One wonders how they feel about that decision now?

Gerald Ford will be remembered as a man who came along when we needed him most. His presidency served as a vital transition between the difficult Nixon years and paved the way eventually for the election of President Reagan.

After leaving office, President Ford was a model ex-President. Follwing traditions that only seem to be observed by Republican holders of the highest office, he always conducted himself with the grace and civility that should be the norm for all holders of that office.

He was a good man!

Also posted at the Wide Awakes

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

New Year's Blogger Party!

New Year's eve is just days away. It's that time of year when we look back at the year that was before we leap to the year ahead.

Soon, I'll go back through the Mike's America archives this past year and dig out stories that made a difference or raised issues which we will focus on in the year ahead.

It's also an opportunity to look back at some of the big stories of the year and place them in the context of time and fuller understanding. There may be unanswered questions, such as "who sat on Mark Foley's emails?" and "what was the involvement of the pages?"

Funny how the lamestream media with it's basic obligation to answer the who, what, where, when, why and how never seems to get the full story.

Bloggers invited to send links to their own best of 2006

This is an open invite to my online friends to link back to this comments section with favorite posts from your own blog this past year. I'll put up a selection on a new post before New Year's Day.

Sorry moonbats, you're not invited :)~

Muslim Congressman: Muslims can help teach America about justice and equal protection.

Here's a link to what the first Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison, told a Muslim crowd in Dearborn Michigan. Too bad the Detroit Free Press won't print a full transcript of the remarks made by Ellison and others at this event. The truth must of course be witheld from the American people.

I have just one question: How are Muslims going to teach Americans about justice and equal protection when their fellow Islamists around the world are burning churches, beheading Christians, slaugherting Buddhists and threatening the Jews with extermination? And what about the many Muslim countries that forbid the open worship of any faith other than Islam?

Ever tried to take a Bible into Saudi Arabia? Oh, but we must handle the Koran with gloves on mustn't we?

UPDATE: Always on Watch does a superb job covering American Muslim issues. See her latest post on Ellison and the ideological foundations of the groups he addressed at the meeting reported above. She links to an article in the Daily Standard describing the Muslim American Society (MAS) and it's role as a front group for the radical Muslim Brotherhood.

The Minnesota chapter of MAS (notice how Minnesota keeps popping up: first Taxi Drivers imposing Sharia Law on passengers, then the Flying Imams and now Ellison elected to Congress) defines active membership in the organization as those who will:
(1) Continue building the correct unified comprehension of Islam as outlined in the Message of the Teachings by Imam Al-Banna. . . .
(9) Make the member fulfill his duties as outlined in the Message of the Teachings by Imam Al-Banna.

Al-Banna, an Egyptian, is the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood whose motto is:
"Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur'an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope."

You'll notice that none of these Muslim groups repudiate such statements. If you ask them about it, they will attempt to change the subject, probably start spouting off about Israel or the evils of the U.S. at Guantanamo.

Saddam Hussein 30 (?) Days to Judgement Day

It's often the case that the day after Christmas you get the gift you want the most.
Let's get it over with already!

Iraq court says Saddam should hang in 30 days
By Mariam Karouny
Reuters
Washington Post
Tuesday, December 26, 2006

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - An Iraqi appeals court on Tuesday upheld Saddam Hussein's death sentence for crimes against humanity and said he should hang within 30 days.

"The appeal court has approved the death sentence. They (the government) has the right to choose the date starting from tomorrow up to 30 days. After 30 days it will be an obligation to implement the sentence," the head of the Iraqi High Tribunal, Aref Abdul-Razzaq al-Shahin, told a news conference.

Saddam, 69, was sentenced to death on November 5 for crimes against humanity over the killings of 148 Shi'ites from the town of Dujail after he escaped assassination there in 1982.
...
"Amnesty International is very disappointed about this decision," a spokeswoman for the human rights organization said.

"We are against the death penalty as a matter of principle but particularly in this case because it comes after a flawed trial."

Saddam's chief defense counsel Khalil al-Dulaimi told Reuters from Amman: "If they dare implement the sentence it will be a catastrophe for the region and will only deepen the sectarian infighting."
Isn't it funny how Amnesty International ends up on the same side of the issue as Saddam's lawyers? Did Amnesty International EVER do anything to help the poor Iraqis who were victims of Saddam's genocide?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas
from Mike's America

While you gather this holiday with friends and family, remember also those who continue to serve the cause of freedom far from home. Gazing at the Flag has some wonderful photos of how our troops in Iraq get into the holiday spirit. Santa's Sleigh, an unmanned aerial vehicle, being pulled by troops wearing deer antlers is a must see.

A beautiful piano rendition of "Silent Night" should be playing in the background. If your browser does not support that feature, please click here to play the audio.

Al Queda Terrorist Zawahiri Tells Democrats November Election Victory was Due to Al Queda!

Mike's America readers probably noticed that Al Queda did not issue videos or warn of attacks prior to the November 2006 elections which might have helped Republicans? Well it wasn't a coincidence.

Now Al Queda claims credit for the Democrat's win. How long will it be before they demand House Speaker Designate Pelosi appoint Al Queda to some Congressional post?

Al Qaeda Sends a Message to Democrats
ABC News
December 22, 2006

Al Qaeda has sent a message to leaders of the Democratic party that credit for the defeat of congressional Republicans belongs to the terrorists.

In a portion of the tape from al Qaeda No. 2 man, Ayman al Zawahri, made available only today, Zawahri says he has two messages for American Democrats.

"The first is that you aren't the ones who won the midterm elections, nor are the Republicans the ones who lost. Rather, the Mujahideen -- the Muslim Ummah's vanguard in Afghanistan and Iraq -- are the ones who won, and the American forces and their Crusader allies are the ones who lost," Zawahri said, according to a full transcript obtained by ABC News.

"And if you don't refrain from the foolish American policy of backing Israel, occupying the lands of Islam and stealing the treasures of the Muslims, then await the same fate," he said.
We warned during the fall campaign that a victory for Democrats was a victory for Al Queda. Remember this cartoon:

gm061026

Speaker Pelosi: You're friends are calling in their favors! What are you going to do?

Rape Charges Against Duke LaCrosse Players Dropped

Charges for kidnapping and sexual offense still stand.

Here's the inital news report.

Unbelieavable! Prosecutor Nifong (A DEMOCRAT) stirred up all kinds of racial and class prejudice with a case that was transparently false. The damage done to the lives of those accused as well as the racial tensions in the larger community of Chapel Hill North Carolina is a crime that should be punished.

Not only should the remaining charges be dropped, but action taken against this prosecutor. At the least he should be disbarred. He should go to prison!

But when do we EVER hold Democrats responsible for gross misconduct and race-baiting?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Al Queda Demands Negotiations with U.S.

Well who didn't see this coming?

Poor Al Queda. They must have felt left out by the Iraq Surrender Group report recommending that the U.S. negotiate with Iran and Syria. So the latest video statement by #2 mass murderer Ayman al-Zawahri shouldn't surprise anyone.
Leader Hints U.S. Should Talk to al-Qaida
By MAGGIE MICHAEL
Forbes/AP
12.20.06

The deputy leader of al-Qaida, Ayman al-Zawahri, told the United States on Wednesday that it was negotiating with the wrong people in Iraq, strongly implying in a video broadcast on Al-Jazeera that Washington should be talking to his terror group.

"I want to tell the Republicans and the Democrats together ... you are trying to negotiate with some parties to secure your withdrawal, but these parities won't find you an exit (from Iraq) and your attempts will yield nothing but failure," al-Zawahri said on the tape, sections of which were aired in successive news bulletins.

"It seems that you will go through a painful journey of failed negotiations until you will be forced to return to negotiate with the real powers," he said, without identifying these powers.
Now, the question is will Democrats race to the microphones to push the latest surrender to Al Queda line in the same way they have endorsed the suggestions by the Iraq Surrender Group?

Heck, if they recommend negotiation with the other members of the Axis of Evil, why not negotiate with Al Queda?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Iraq Surrender Group Contrast in History

This video is making the rounds. Really worth viewing, and very entertaining:

Thanks CIR.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

WE Honor Donald Rumsfeld, Mike's America "Man of the Year"

Considering the desperate silliness of Time Magazine's "Person of the Year" we find it more appropriate to honor a true American leader. Donald Rumsfeld, a visionary and voice which we shall surely miss in the difficult years ahead.

rummy2

Donald Rumsfeld laid down the burden of Secretary of Defense this weekend after a 19 gun salute and full military sendoff at the Pentagon. The President of the United States and the Vice President were both in attendance. It was a rare moment of tribute and honor for a man who has borne so much of the burden these last six years.

In President Bush's remarks he touched on the extraordinary accomplishments of this great man:

President's Remarks

The Pentagon
December 15, 2006

  • Under Secretary Rumsfeld's leadership, U.S. and coalition forces launched one of the most innovative military campaigns in the history of modern warfare, sending Special Operations forces into Afghanistan to link up with anti-Taliban fighters, to ride with them on horseback, and to launch a stunning assault against the enemy. In Operation Enduring Freedom we combined the most advanced laser-guided weapons with one of the oldest tools in the military arsenal -- a man with a weapon on a horse.
  • In 2003, on my orders, Secretary Rumsfeld led the planning and execution of another historic military campaign, Operation Iraqi Freedom. In this operation, coalition forces drove Saddam Hussein from power in 21 days. And in the years that followed, Don Rumsfeld helped see the Iraqi people through the resumption of sovereignty, two elections, a referendum to approve the most progressive constitution in the Middle East, and the seating of a newly elected government.
  • On his watch, the United States military helped the Iraqi people establish a constitutional democracy in the heart of the Middle East, a watershed event in the story of freedom.
  • As he met the challenges of fighting a new and unfamiliar war, Don Rumsfeld kept his eyes on the horizon and on the threats that still await us as this new century unfolds.
  • He developed a new defense strategy and a new command structure for our nation's armed forces, with a new northern command to protect the homeland.
  • He launched the most significant transformation of the Army in a generation. He led my administration's efforts to transform the NATO Alliance, with a new NATO response force ready to deploy quickly anywhere in the world.
  • He helped launch the Proliferation Security Initiative, an unprecedented coalition of more than 80 nations working together to stop shipments of weapons of mass destruction on land, at sea and in the air.
  • He undertook the most sweeping transformation of America's global defense posture since the start of the Cold War, repositioning our forces so they can surge quickly to deal with unexpected threats, and setting the stage for our global military presence for the next 50 years.
  • He took ballistic missile defense from theory to reality. And because of his leadership, America now has an initial capability to track a ballistic missile headed for our country and destroy it before it harms our people.
  • Most importantly, he worked to establish a culture in the Pentagon that rewards innovation and intelligent risk taking, and encourages our military and civilian leaders to challenge established ways of thinking.
  • The record of Don Rumsfeld's tenure is clear. There ...has been more profound change at the Department of Defense over the past six years than at any time since the Department's creation in the late 1940s. (Applause.)
And these changes were not easy, but because of Don Rumsfeld's determination and leadership, America has the best equipped, the best trained, and most experienced armed forces in the history of the world. All in all, not bad for a fellow who calls himself a "broken-down ex-Navy pilot." This man knows how to lead, and he did, and the country is better off for it. (Applause.)

In every decision Don Rumsfeld made over the past six years, he always put the troops first, and the troops in the field knew it. A few years ago, the editors at Time Magazine came to his Pentagon office, and Don correctly suspected they were thinking of naming him "Person of the Year." Without hesitation, Don Rumsfeld told them, don't give it to me. Give it to our men and women in uniform -- and that's exactly what Time Magazine did. (Applause.)

Don Rumsfeld's selfless leadership earned him the admiration of our soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines. And we saw how they feel about him this week when he paid a farewell visit to our troops in Iraq.
Vice President Cheney, who worked under Donald Rumsfeld in an earlier time described him in his own remarks, as the "toughest boss he ever had." Before introducing President Bush, the Vice President summed up the feelings of many in the military and we civilians when he said "I believe the record speaks for itself: Don Rumsfeld is the finest Secretary of Defense this nation has ever had."

This nation faces a critical deficit of foresight, leadership and vision. These are all qualities which Donald Rumsfeld provided in ample measure. In his speech, which closed this ceremony, he gave us another taste of that vision:


Remarks of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld
The Pentagon
White House Transcript
December 15, 2006

...Today I'll break with convention one more time, and instead of the traditional farewell remarks on past achievements, I will focus squarely on the future. I say this with the perspective of one, as the President indicated, who's had the opportunity to lead this Department in two different eras, in two different world conflicts, for two different Presidents -- and, yes, it's true, in two different centuries.

When I last departed this post in 1977, I left cautioning that weakness is provocative, that weakness inevitably entices aggressors into acts that they would otherwise avoid. Then, our country was engaged in a long struggle -- a struggle of uncertain duration against, what seemed at the time, as an ascendant ideology, and clearly an expanding empire.

Few would have believed that 15 years later, the Soviet Union would cease to exist, or that the dissidents then trapped behind the Iron Curtain would lead people out of the dustbin of history and into the family of free nations, which they did. That history did not happen by accident. And it most assuredly was not made by people sitting safely on the sidelines. It occurred only because America and our allies withstood the tough times, the bitter disagreements, and they stayed at the task with conviction that our security was linked to the defense and the advance of human freedom.

This is what history asks of us today. And as I leave the Pentagon for the second -- and I suspect the odds are, the last time -- (laughter) -- I do feel a sense of urgency about the very real challenges ahead. As the President noted seven years ago, he said, we're living in an era of barbarism emboldened by technology. We live a time when our enemies mix an extremist ideology with modern weaponry, and they have the ability to kill thousands, indeed even hundreds of thousands of our people in a single, swift, deadly stroke. We forget that at our peril.

A number of us came here in 2001 with that mission and mandate to prepare this defense establishment to protect the American people from the unconventional and the irregular threats. That mission was given powerful impetus that bright September morning when that mighty building just a few yards away shook, burned, and smoked -- and 125 members of our Pentagon team did not come home.

The attacks of September 11th awakened Americans to the global extremist movement; a movement with networks in nations all around the world, even our own; a movement with tens of thousands of adherents who believe it is their calling to kill Americans and other free people. Ours is a world of unstable dictators, weapon proliferators and rogue regimes. And each of these enemies seeks out our vulnerabilities. And as free people, we have vulnerabilities.

Ours is also a world of many friends and allies -- but sadly, realistically, friends and allies with declining defense investment and declining capabilities -- and I would add, as a result, with increasing vulnerabilities -- all of which requires that the United States of America invest more.

Today, it should be clear that not only is weakness provocative, but the perception of weakness on our part can be provocative, as well. A conclusion by our enemies that the United States lacks the will or the resolve to carry out missions that demand sacrifice and demand patience is every bit as dangerous as an imbalance of conventional military power.

This is a time of great consequence. Our task is to make the right decisions today so that future generations will not have to make much harder decisions tomorrow. It may well be comforting to some to consider graceful exits from the agonies and, indeed, the ugliness of combat. But the enemy thinks differently.

Under the President's leadership, this country made a decision to confront the extremist ideology of hatred that spawned a worldwide movement, and to take the fight to the enemy. The alternative was inaction and defense, a pattern that history has shown only emboldens the enemy.

Our country has taken on a bracing and difficult task -- but let there be no doubt, it is neither hopeless, nor without purpose. Leadership is not about doing what's easy. It's about doing what's right, even when it's hard -- especially when it's hard. President Lincoln once said, "Determine the thing that can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way to do it."

That remains true today. We're in what will be a long struggle. It's new, it's complex, and even after five years, it's still somewhat unfamiliar. That we have been successful -- I would add, fortunate -- to have suffered not one single attack here at home since September 11, 2001, has contributed to a misperception in some quarters that the threat is gone. It is not.

As I leave, I do feel urgency, but I also feel optimism. I know that the American people can summon the same grit that helped our founders forge from a wilderness a new frontier. I know it because I've seen it over my own lifetime. It's the same steel that sent our fathers and grandfathers across oceans to defend free nations from tyrants; that same grit that gave the Americans to endure 40 years of a Cold War under the specter of nuclear annihilation.

So it is with confidence that I say that America's enemies should not confuse the American people's distaste of war, which is real, and which is understandable, with a reluctance to defend our way of life. Enemy after enemy in our history have made that mistake to their regret.

To those in uniform here and abroad who proudly serve, always remember that America's example is a message of hope for hundreds of millions of people all across the globe. America is not what's wrong with this world. Ours is a message that was heard and fought for in places like Berlin, Prague, Riga, Tokyo, Seoul, San Salvador, Vilnius and Warsaw. And that message is even now being whispered in the coffeehouses and the streets of Damascus and Tehran and Pyongyang. The great sweep of human history is for freedom. And America is on freedom's side.

As I end my time here, some ask, what will I remember. Well, I will remember all those courageous folks that I have met deployed in the field; those in the military hospitals that we visited; and I will remember the fallen, and I will particularly remember their families from whom I have drawn inspiration. And I will remember how fortunate I have been to know you, to work with you, to have been inspired by your courage, and by your love of country. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

God bless you. (Applause.)

END 2:16 P.M. EST

A transcript of a speech is one thing. It will be analyzed by both friend and foe alike as well as the students of history. But one thing it misses is the emotion of the man, well really, of the men and women who shared this moment. As the Secretary concluded his remarks, he turned to this wartime leader, the Commander in Chief and was escorted by him from the platform.

Another great moment in history has passed before us.

rummy3

Goodbye Mr. Secretary, And THANK YOU!

Time's Person of the Year: YOU!

In a desperate bid for circulation, Time Magazine, the once vaunted news magazine, has announced that this year's "person of the year" (it used to be "man of the year") will be anyone creating or using online web content.
Perhaps if they put my photo on the cover I'd buy a few copies. But what's the point of sending this around when most people you send it to would also qualify?

I suppose we could send it around to the diehards who refuse to read or use the internet, but they could care less about Time Magazine.

Also, I don't think this dubious honor should apply to all those know-it-all lefty moonbats who spend enormous amounts of time nitpicking on our blogs and yet seem to find no time to create their own. You know who you are.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

We are NOT Losing in Iraq

When Secretary of Defense designate Robert Gates told Senators at his confirmation hearing that "we are not winning in Iraq" It topped weeks of defeatist talk which begun in the aftermath of the Democrat's narrow election victory on November 7th.

Here at Mike's America, we warned voters that Democrats would surrender in Iraq and the war on terror as quick as you could say "Patriot Act." But even I was astonished at how quickly defeatism became the "consensus" view.

Ann Coulter noticed it too, and has another excellent article: "How did we go from winning the war in Iraq to losing overnight? Was this decided by the same committee that changed "Peking" to "Beijing"? ...These new linguistic conventions — like going from "winning" to "losing" in Iraq — simply spread like an invisible bacterial invasion."

Then of course we had the wonderful Iraq Surrender Group report which basically said we could do nothing but beg our enemies in Iran and Syria for help. Lotta good that will do.

As an Iraq war veteran, (which according to the Chicken Hawk fallacy places his opinion with absolute moral authority above Democrats who haven't served) T.F. Boggs at Bored Soldier put his thought's this way:

What we should and should not do: An Authoritative Voice
T.F. Boggs
December 07, 2006

We cannot appease our enemies and we cannot continue to cut and run when the going gets tough. As it stands in the world right now our enemies view America as a country full of queasy people who are inclined to cut and run when things take a turn for the worse. Just as the Tet Offensive was the victory that led to our failure in Vietnam our victories in Iraq now are leading to our failure in the Middle East. How many more times must we fight to fail? I feel like all of my efforts (30 months of deployment time) and the efforts of all my brothers in arms are all for naught. I thought old people were supposed to be more patient than a 24 year old but apparently I have more patience for our victory to unfold in Iraq than 99.9 percent of Americans. Iraq isn’t fast food-you can’t have what you want and have it now. To completely change a country for the first time in it’s entire history takes time, and when I say time I don’t mean 4 years.

Comparing Victory in World War II with Victory in Iraq

Deafeatists have pointed out that we have been in Iraq now longer than we were at war in World War II. It's true that 1367 days have past since the start of hostilities in Iraq began. And U.S. action in World War II spanned 1347 days.

Of course simplistic reasoning such as this ignores that World War II actually began more than two years earlier when Britain declared war on Germany in September 1939. It also ignores that long after Italy, Germany and Japan surrendered, the defeated nations, as well as those liberated by the victorious allies remained in various stages of political upheavel for decades.
LifePostGraphica
Communist insurrections replaced Allied/Axis fighting in countries like Greece and China. This same pattern was repeated in 1950 in Korea.

The governments of both liberated and conquered nations went through incredible turmoil. France, which was split by guilt over collaboration of the Vichy government with Germany and the Free French under General DeGaulle was a powderkeg as were other European nations.

Huge parts of Poland and the entire Baltic States were swallowed whole by the Soviet Union.

We're reminded of the the famous cover of Life Magazine from January 7, 1946. It showed Winston Churchill painting after being relieved from office by the ungrateful British public shortly after Victory in Europe Day in 1945. The accompanying article suggested that "Americans are Losing the Victory."

Kind of sounds familiar doesn't it.

Beginning with the Marshall Plan in 1947, and the founding of NATO in 1949 It too more than 40 years of painful and difficult political/military/diplomatic and economic effort to fully free the nation's of Eastern Europe and remove the threat of Soviet communism.

By historical comparison, Iraq is on a fast track. And we can either finish the job to the best of our abilities or surrender with the full knowledge that it will be only the beginning of a dangerous withdrawal of U.S. power around the world.

Anyone else ready for a revote on the 2006 Congressional Election?

Friday, December 15, 2006

62nd Anniversary of the "Battle of the Bulge"

If you ask many Americans today what the "Battle of the Bulge" is, they will probably mouthe something about the fight against obesity. Aside from total ignorance, it's most likely proof of how successful we have been in preserving the peace by staying strong and somewhat united.

The "Battle of the Bulge" was of course a pivotal, bloody and painful moment in our history and key to the liberation of France and V I C T O R Y over Nazi Germany in World War II.

On the 60th Anniversary of this great battle, I offered the following post, which I repeat today:

As regrettable as is the death of any single soldier in Iraq, the 60th anniversary puts those sad, but relatively few, numbers in some perspective. War is a nasty business, but consider the alternative. The Nazis never attacked the United States prior to our declaration of war against them. But anyone who ever visited a German Concentration Camp knows why that war was necessary. I suggest those who still oppose the war in Iraq visit Halabja, the site of Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons attack against the Kurds

At dawn 60 years ago - The Washington Times: Commentary - December 16, 2004: " Before it was over, the Battle of the Bulge would involve three German armies, the equivalent of 29 divisions; three American armies, or 31 divisions; and three British divisions augmented by Belgian, Canadian and French troops.
More than a million men would be drawn into the battle. The Germans would lose an estimated 100,000 irreplaceable troops, counting their killed, wounded and captured; the Americans would suffer some 80,000 casualties, including 19,000 killed , that's a rate of 500 a day, and 23,554 captured."

And in case you still think U.S. treatment of terrorists at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo is the equivalent of Nazi evil, here's a photo I took at the first German concentration camp at Dachau:

They weren't baking bread in those ovens.

Christmas Carol Puzzle

Note: While you are here checking out the puzzle below, make sure to visit the main page at Mike's America.

I was at my Public Library today and the woman behind the counter had a copy of this old puzzle. Each of the images are clues to a particular Christmas Carol. Before I knew it, we had completed half the puzzle but had to ask other patrons for help on one or two. Our Reference Librarian was also stumped.

It's an old puzzle, but a fun one for this time of year. Go ahead and print it out if you wish. If you get stumped, leave a comment and perhaps another reader will offer you a clue. The answers are here.

xmasgame

For those of you who prefer crossword puzzles, here's one based on Charles Dicken's "A Christmas Carol."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Your Vote Needed for Flopping Aces Weblog Award

Curt at Flopping Aces is in a tough fight for first place of the Weblog 2006 Awards for mid-size blogs. You may vote and revote every 24 hours. Click here to vote.

Polling closes on December 15, so hurry up:

Click here to vote.
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Click here to vote.

Democrat Senator Johnson (SD) Suffers Stroke (?) Undergoes Emergency Surgery

The news that South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson, age 59, (D) fell ill suddenly in the Capitol on Wednesday sent a cold shiver through Democrats in the Senate. Should Johnson be incapacitated by a stroke the Republican Governor of South Dakota would likely name a Republican to take his place. The Senate would then be tied 50-50 with Vice President Dick Cheney casting the tie breaking vote for control.

While we wish the Senator a speedy and full recovery, the episode does highlight how tenuous the Democrat's hold on the Senate is.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Moderate Muslim Organization Defies CAIR Victim-mongering

You may have heard the news that the Council of Arab Islamic Radicals (CAIR) is encouraging Muslims traveling on American air carriers to report any abuse of their rights in the wake of the "airport profiling" of the Flying Imams who recently did everything they could to attract attention and provoke an incident.

The Washington Times reporting on how this episode is being used by CAIR as a political tool to cow U.S. air carriers into being subservient to Muslims also points to the statements of the chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AFID).

For those of us looking for more moderate Muslim voices, AFID looks like a good place to start.

AFID is based in Phoenix, AZ, also the destination of the Flying Imams. And it's leader, M. Zuhdi Jasser, a Phoenix physician and chairman of the group doesn't mince words. Here's some of what he had to say:
From a Muslim outlook, imams have missed the point on flight behavior
by M. Zuhdi Jasser
Arizona Republic
Dec. 11, 2006

The first thing one must understand about this whole hullabaloo with the Muslim imams taken off a Phoenix-bound plane in Minneapolis is that it most definitely was not about the right to prayer or freedom of worship.

And much as the imams and their handlers may try, it is certainly not about victimization.

But because the case of the six imams (five from the Valley) and US Airways Flight 300 has taken on a life of its own, it would be helpful to look and see what lessons can be gleaned from this story.

All of us as Americans have endured the incremental inconveniences of air travel since 9/11. From 3-ounce fluid limits to random searches, those of us with the first name Mohammed can also attest to humbling profiling. Most of us are quite willing to endure all this because we know the inherent dangers of flying in the world today.

There is little argument that American airport concourses have become clinics of anxiety-laden travelers who have become vigilant in spotting anything out of the ordinary. This vigilance and anxiety is even more acutely felt by U.S. Transportation Security Administration agents and airline crews. They will never be rewarded for a safe flight. But they will be globally vilified for one lax call that leads to tragedy.

Into this highly charged environment comes this incident of the imams returning from their conference. To ignore the larger context is to virtually live in an airtight bubble.

The preponderance of evidence points to some troubling coincidences during flight preparation, regardless of where we stand on this issue. The distribution of their seats, while in fact random, raised concern. Changing seats after boarding, rather than before, raised concern. Conversations in Arabic after boarding raised concern. Seatbelt extenders raised concern. However, no passengers refused to board after seeing and hearing the imams pray aloud at the gate. Taken individually, each of the reported actions could be something any of us would do. However, in totality, although unfortunate in retrospect, it remains hard to fault a cautious crew who must act with little information to ensure a safe flight.

But let us look at the response of the imams since the incident.

They rushed toward the media never looking back. They have taken their story of victimization to every soft media they could find. They then stoked the same tired Muslim flames of victimization through their own political pulpits in mosques around the Valley.

Organizations like CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations) and the Muslim American Society also immediately jumped on board, even before the imams' flight reached Phoenix the next day, and began whipping up the drums of victimization. Their handlers flew in from across the country staging rallies and pray-ins so they could teach the American people about this supposed tragedy of injustice.

As a devout Muslim, I have watched this painfully protracted saga unravel, fearing what comes next. The media, especially print media, have bent over backward to hear minorities' fears. Yet public opinion has not seemed to budge in favor of the imams. The lesson here lies in why. It has to do with credibility.

We are all creatures of passion. This fiasco has stirred the passionate cry of victimization from the Muslim activist community and imam community. But where were the news conferences, the rallies to protest the endless litany of atrocities performed by people who act supposedly in my religion's name? Where are the denunciations, not against terrorism in the abstract, but clear denunciations of al-Qaida or Hamas, of Wahhabism or militant Islamism, of Darfurian genocide or misogyny and honor killings, to name a few? There is no cry, there is no rage. At best, there is the most tepid of disclaimers. In short, there is no passion. But for victimization, always.

Only when Americans see that animating passion will they believe that we Muslims are totally against the fascists that have hijacked our religion. There is only so much bandwidth in the American culture to focus upon Islam and Muslims. If we fill it with our shouts of victimization, then the real problems from within and outside our faith community will never be heard.

Though this was not about prayer, let us look at the prayer itself: certainly a central part of our faith both alone and in congregation. The Quran teaches Muslims that God did not make our faith to be too difficult. Thus, during travel, many of us pray alone in silence when we cannot find a private place or where public display is not appropriate.
...
Because these imams and their handlers just don't get it, it's time we Muslims found leadership and organizations that do.

Our predicament is unique, fragile and precarious. We Muslims are a relatively new minority in a nation that gives us freedoms that no other Muslim nation would allow.

Whether we acknowledge it or not, a radical subset of our faith community is seeking to destroy the basis for this liberty.

Either we predominantly direct our passions against these radicals or Americans will not count us as allies in this consuming struggle.
Thank you Dr. Jasser. And I hope you have a good security service. You know how tolerant of diverse viewpoints radical Muslims are.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

War Crimes and Ignorance

The following two posts are interrelated. See if you find the common thread.

Earlier this month, The American Israeli Patriot pointed to a NY Treason story describing Hezbollah's war crimes in Lebanon. As usual, I found the NY Treason's take on the story a bit lacking. This week's op-ed in Opinion Journal was much more to the point:
Whose War Crimes?
Evidence from Lebanon about how terrorists use civilians.
Opinion Journal
Monday, December 11, 2006

A few scenes from modern warfare:

Mohammad Abd al-Hamid Srour moved missiles across southern Lebanon under cover of a white flag. Hussein Ali Mahmoud Suleiman used the porch of a private home to fire rockets. Maher Hassan Mahmoud Kourani dressed in civilian clothes, hid his Kalashnikov in a tote bag and stored anti-aircraft missiles in the back of a green unmarked Volvo. The three men, all members of Hezbollah, were captured by Israel during last summer's war.

Now their videotaped interviews form part of a remarkable report by retired Lieutenant Colonel Reuven Erlich of Israel's Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. Relying heavily on captured Hezbollah documents, onsite and aerial photography and other first-hand evidence, the report shows how the Shiite group put innocent civilians at risk by deliberately deploying its forces in cities, towns and often private homes.

Kenneth Roth, the executive director of Human Rights Watch, has accused Israel's military of "indiscriminate warfare" and "a disturbing disregard for the lives of Lebanese civilians." Mr. Erlich demolishes that claim, and in the process shows the asymmetric strategy of Islamist radicals.

The most persuasive evidence here is photographic, so we urge readers to access the report itself on the Web site of the American Jewish Congress (ajcongress.org). Hezbollah's headquarters in Aita al-Shaab, for instance, sits in the heart of the village. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's office and home are in a densely built neighborhood of Beirut. In the town of Qana--site of an Israeli bombing on July 30 that killed 28 and that Hezbollah's apologists were quick to label a "massacre"--an arms warehouse can be seen adjacent to a mosque. There are photographs of rockets in the back seats of cars, missile launchers adjacent to farm houses, storage bunkers hidden beneath homes. There is also a trove of before-and-after photography demonstrating the precision of most Israeli bombing.

The report also shows how the use of civilian cover was explicitly part of Hezbollah's strategy. "[The organization's operatives] live in their houses, in their schools, in their churches, in their fields, in their farms and in their factories," said Mr. Nasrallah in a TV interview on May 27, several weeks before the war. "You can't destroy them in the same way you would destroy an army."

Exactly what Mr. Nasrallah means is illustrated in the testimonials of the captured fighters. Asked why Hezbollah would risk the destruction of civilian areas by firing from them, Mr. Suleiman replied that while in theory private homes belonged to "the residents of the village . . . in essence they belong to Hezbollah."

Perhaps that's true; if so, then Human Rights Watch has no grounds to accuse Israel of atrocities when Mr. Nasrallah has effectively declared everyone and everything in southern Lebanon to be his fief. Our sense, however, is that not all southern Lebanese were delighted to have their livelihoods appropriated for Hezbollah's political purposes, even if they were too intimidated to register a protest. Either way, it is Hezbollah, not Israel, that is guilty of war crimes here.

Beyond the war in Lebanon, these images suggest how Islamists seek to use the restraint of Western powers against them. They shoot at our civilians from the safety of their own civilian enclaves that they know we are reluctant to attack. Then if by chance their civilians are killed, they call in CNN and al-Jazeera cameras and wait for the likes of Mr. Roth to denounce America or Israel for war crimes.
None of this means the U.S. shouldn't continue to fight with discrimination and avoid civilian casualties. But it means our political leadership needs to speak as candidly as Israelis now are speaking about this enemy strategy, so the American people can understand and be steeled against this new civilian battleground.

If you would like to read the report, and view the video evidence and photographs, the full report is here. The first video interview with the Hezbollah soldier, who signed up at 13 years old, was trained in Iran and had full permission of the owners to use their homes to launch attacks against Israel sums it up.

And now, months later, the UN has a larger force back in Lebanon which just sits and watches as Hezbollah rearms and gets ready to launch further attacks when the time comes. Despite Security Council resolutions, there is no pressure on Hezbollah to obey, or to return the kidnapped Israeli soldiers which triggered the war last July.

But what do you bet that the next time Hezbollah provokes a conflict with Israel, the moralizers in the U.N. will ignore the evidence of Hezbollah's war crimes and continuing rearming and provocation. Once again, they will leap to their feet to condemn Israel.

Sadly, this ignorance and false moralizing is not limited to the U.N. Follow me now to the next post.

This is the House Democrat in Charge of "Intelligence?"

When you read the above post, it's clear that many people do not understand the nature of the enemy we face. But you would think that our political leaders with years of experience and direct responsibility for these matters would be better informed.

Not so:
Democrats’ New Intelligence Chairman Needs a Crash Course on al Qaeda
By Jeff Stein, CQ National Security Editor
Congressional Quarterly
Dec. 8, 2006

Forty years ago, Sgt. Silvestre Reyes was a helicopter crew chief flying dangerous combat missions in South Vietnam from the top of a soaring rocky outcrop near the sea called Marble Mountain.

After the war, it turned out that the communist Viet Cong had tunneled into the hill and built a combat hospital right beneath the skids of Reyes’ UH-1 Huey gunship.

Now the five-term Texas Democrat, 62, is facing similar unpleasant surprises about the enemy, this time as the incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

That’s because, like a number of his colleagues and top counterterrorism officials that I’ve interviewed over the past several months, Reyes can’t answer some fundamental questions about the powerful forces arrayed against us in the Middle East.

It begs the question, of course: How can the Intelligence Committee do effective oversight of U.S. spy agencies when its leaders don’t know basics about the battlefield?
...
Reyes stumbled when I asked him a simple question about al Qaeda at the end of a 40-minute interview in his office last week. Members of the Intelligence Committee, mind you, are paid $165,200 a year to know more than basic facts about our foes in the Middle East.

We warmed up with a long discussion about intelligence issues and Iraq. And then we veered into terrorism’s major players.

To me, it’s like asking about Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland: Who’s on what side?

The dialogue went like this:

Al Qaeda is what, I asked, Sunni or Shia?

“Al Qaeda, they have both,” Reyes said. “You’re talking about predominately?”

“Sure,” I said, not knowing what else to say.

“Predominantly — probably Shiite,” he ventured.

He couldn’t have been more wrong.

Al Qaeda is profoundly Sunni. If a Shiite showed up at an al Qaeda club house, they’d slice off his head and use it for a soccer ball.

That’s because the extremist Sunnis who make up a l Qaeda consider all Shiites to be heretics.

Al Qaeda’s Sunni roots account for its very existence. Osama bin Laden and his followers believe the Saudi Royal family besmirched the true faith through their corruption and alliance with the United States, particularly allowing U.S. troops on Saudi soil.

It’s been five years since these Muslim extremists flew hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center.

Is it too much to ask that our intelligence overseers know who they are?

Civil War
And Hezbollah? I asked him. What are they?

“Hezbollah. Uh, Hezbollah...”

He laughed again, shifting in his seat.

“Why do you ask me these questions at five o’clock? Can I answer in Spanish? Do you speak Spanish?”

“Poquito,” I said—a little.

“Poquito?! “ He laughed again.

“Go ahead,” I said, talk to me about Sunnis and Shia in Spanish.

Reyes: “Well, I, uh....”

I apologized for putting him “on the spot a little.” But I reminded him that the people who have killed thousands of Americans on U.S. soil and in the Middle East have been front page news for a long time now.

It’s been 23 years since a Hezbollah suicide bomber killed over 200 U.S. military personnel in Beirut, mostly Marines.

Hezbollah, a creature of Iran, is close to taking over in Lebanon. Reports say they are helping train Iraqi Shiites to kill Sunnis in the spiralling civil war.

“Yeah,” Reyes said, rightly observing, “but . . . it’s not like the Hatfields and the McCoys. It’s a heck of a lot more complex.

And I agree with you — we ought to expend some effort into understanding them. But speaking only for myself, it’s hard to keep things in perspective and in the categories.”
Well there you have it! Mike's America readers know more about Al Queda and Hezbollah than does the incoming Chairman of the House Intell Committee. Oh, but he CAN speak Spanish! That will come in handy when he's talking to the Arabs.

At the beginning of the year, Mike's America praised Jane Harman, whose seniority on the Intell panel should have guaranteed her rise to Chairman. But Nancy Pelosi, who called Harman to the woodshed for being too reasonable, couldn't stand the thought of a woman who attracts attention and is clearly more intelligent than she in such an important position.

Is it any wonder that so many Americans remain ignorant about the enemy? We have "experts" in Congress who have less of a clue than readers of this blog.

Remembering Jeane Kirkpatrick

Here's a short video clip remembering a great American. The comments of Ambassador Bolton are moving:


Monday, December 11, 2006

Greatest SecDef in 50 Years Retires Soon

In a surprise visit troops in Iraq on December 9, 2006 (more photos here)outgoing Secretary of Defense stops to pose with troops assigned to Al Asad Air Base (DOD photo by by Cherie A. Thurlby.)

PROGRAM ALERT: Sean Hannity has exclusive behind the scenes report of SECDEF trip Monday on Fox News

Sunday, December 10, 2006

'Tis the Season of Giving

For most of us anyway.

This has been around for a while, but now might be the best time to review:
"Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism"
A Review by Frank Brieaddy, R.N.S.

Syracuse University professor Arthur C. Brooks is about to become the darling of the religious right in America -- and it's making him nervous.

The child of academics, raised in a liberal household and educated in the liberal arts, Brooks has written a book that concludes religious conservatives donate far more money than secular liberals to all sorts of charitable activities, irrespective of income.

In the book, he cites extensive data analysis to demonstrate that values advocated by conservatives -- from church attendance and two-parent families to the Protestant work ethic and a distaste for government-funded social services -- make conservatives more generous than liberals.

The book, titled "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism" (Basic Books, $26), is due for release Nov. 24.

When it comes to helping the needy, Brooks writes: "For too long, liberals have been claiming they are the most virtuous members of American society. Although they usually give less to charity, they have nevertheless lambasted conservatives for their callousness in the face of social injustice."

For the record, Brooks, 42, has been registered in the past as a Democrat, then a Republican, but now lists himself as independent, explaining, "I have no comfortable political home."
...
Repeatedly he cites and disputes a line from a Ralph Nader speech to the NAACP in 2000: "A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity."
Thank you Ralph Nader for capturing the liberal/socialist/Democrat position so succinctly. In Ralph's perfect world, the Federal Government, with tax dollars would be the first and only source where people turn for help.

Never mind that Ralph and company have been among the most vocal critics of the Federal Government's ability to respond to disasters like Hurricane Katrina, or the social ills which despite massive government and financial intervention continue to plague certain elements of our society. Dare we ask where their exit strategy is from the quagmire of inner city racial and social upheaval?

The liberal answer always seems to be for more government. But what about the people we are trying to help? Anyone with experience in government will tell you that the process of housing and directing a federal bureaucracy chews up the largest share of taxpayer funds. Little is left to "trickle down" to those who need it most.

Of course when it comes to charity we could always follow the example of liberals like Hillary Clinton and Al Gore who practice the dictum: "charity begins at home." Hillary Clinton set that example when she donated Bill and Chelsea's used underwear and claimed it as a tax deduction. Frankly, $1 for a pair of Bill's underpants seems like an underbid considering the value of Monica's blue dress.

Let's not forget that Al Gore responded to Hillary's generosity with a stupendous $353 charitable donation in 1997.

Perhaps now we know why the liberals are so determined to blot out December 25th as a celebration of CHRISTmas. They prefer to give, and force the rest of us to do the same, on April 15th -- TAX DAY!

Friday, December 08, 2006

In Memoriam: Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, 1926-2006

You probably have to be over 40 to remember Jeane Kirkpatrick, who died this week at the age of 80. Her's was a towering intellect whose gifts were central in creating the foundation for the successful foreign policy of President Reagan. (Wikipedia bio here). She was another Democrat, like Reagan, who realized that the once great political party had abandoned it's historical legacy.

She spoke to the Republican National Convention in 1984 and coined the phrases "Blame America First" and "San Francisco Democrats." Here's a portion of her remarks:


Address by the Honorable Jeane Kirkpatrick
1984 Republican National Convention
Dallas Texas
August 20, 1984

...A recent article in The New York Times noted that "the foreign policy line that emerged from the Democratic National Convention in San Francisco is a distinct shift from the policies of such [Democratic] presidents as Harry S Truman, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson."

I agree.

I shall speak tonight of foreign affairs even though the other party's convention barely touched the subject.

When the San Francisco Democrats treat foreign affairs as an afterthought, as they did, they behaved less like a dove or a hawk than like an ostrich - convinced it would shut out the world by hiding its head in the sand.

Today, foreign policy is central to the security, to the freedom, to the prosperity, even to the survival of the United States.

And our strength, for which we make many sacrifices, is essential to the independence and freedom of our allies and our friends.
...
Blame America First

They said that saving Grenada from terror and totalitarianism was the wrong thing to do - they didn't blame Cuba or the communists for threatening American students and murdering Grenadians - they blamed the United States instead.

But then, somehow, they always blame America first.

When our Marines, sent to Lebanon on a multinational peacekeeping mission with the consent of the United States Congress, were murdered in their sleep, the "blame America first crowd" didn't blame the terrorists who murdered the Marines, they blamed the United States.

But then, they always blame America first.

When the Soviet Union walked out of arms control negotiations, and refused even to discuss the issues, the San Francisco Democrats didn't blame Soviet intransigence. They blamed the United States.

But then, they always blame America first.

When Marxist dictators shoot their way to power in Central America, the San Francisco Democrats don't blame the guerrillas and their Soviet allies, they blame United States policies of 100 years ago.

But then, they always blame America first.

The American people know better.

Some things never change.

Jeane Kirkpatrick was the original "neocon." As U.S. Ambassador at the United Nations she took the diplomatic fight to the enemy over Soviet encroachment in Central America and history showed her viewpoint to be correct. But it was also that strong stand against communism that made her a target for the left.

I never had the opportunity to meet her while I was at Columbia University in New York. She had been scheduled to address Barnard College, which is affiliated with Columbia and Kirkpatrick's alma mater. But the lovers of diverse viewpoints (from approved socialist sources only) denied her that right to speak and my right to listen.

08cnd_kirkpatrick_650

Her performance at the United Nations was a breath of fresh air and served to spark democracy movements which brought millions to freedom from the Philippines to Central America and ultimately Eastern Europe. Like John Bolton, she would never be confirmed in that post today.

After her service with the Reagan Administration she returned to the American Enterprise Institute which offers the following:

In Memoriam: Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, 1926-2006

AEI senior fellow Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, who joined the Institute in 1978, died yesterday. As a young political scientist at Georgetown University, Kirkpatrick wrote the first major study of the role of women in modern politics, Political Woman, which was published in 1974. Her work on the McGovern-Fraser Commission, which was formed in the aftermath of the Democratic Party's tumultuous 1968 convention and changed the way party delegates were chosen, led to Dismantling the Parties: Reflections on Party Reform and Party Decomposition, which AEI published in 1978. Yet it was an essay written for Commentary magazine in 1979, "Dictatorships and Double Standards" (later expanded into a full-length book), that launched her into the political limelight. In the article, Kirkpatrick chronicled the failures of the Carter administration's foreign policy and argued for a clearer understanding of the American national interest. Her essay matched Ronald Reagan's instincts and convictions, and when he became president, he appointed her to represent the United States at the United Nations. Ambassador Kirkpatrick was a member of the president's cabinet and the National Security Council. The United States has lost a great patriot and champion of freedom, and AEI mourns our beloved colleague.

[More on Ambassador Kirkpatrick's work . . . ]

Ambassador Kirkpatrick ranks among the other great lions of the 20th Century. She dared to see a vision of a better world and worked tirelessly to make a difference, not just enforce the status quo, but to bring light, hope and freedom to the world. She will be missed.

Also posted at the Wide Awakes.
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