Wednesday, January 18, 2006

It's not the wiretapping, stupid

A wonderful column from Max Boot over at the Left Angeles Times. Throws every accusation about President Bush on its face, just as it should be. There have been corrupt presidents in our history, and his column talks about who they were and what they did. Hint: President G.W. Bush ain't on the list! The beauty of this column is that Max Boot isn't even right of center, he's a LIBERAL!!!

The link is here.

Blogomeister Fool (Ursula K.)


The wiretaps shouldn't bug us

I CAN CERTAINLY understand the uproar over President Bush's flagrant abuses of civil liberties. This is America. What right does that fascist in the White House have to imprison Michael Moore, wiretap Nancy Pelosi and blackmail Howard Dean?

Wait. You mean he hasn't done those things? All he's done is intercept communications between terrorists abroad and their contacts in the U.S. without a court order? Talk about defining impeachable offenses downward.

If you want to see real abuses of civil liberties, read Geoffrey R. Stone's 2004 book "Perilous Times: Free Speech in Wartime from the Sedition Act of 1798 to the War on Terrorism." It tells how John Adams jailed a congressman for criticizing his "continual grasp for power." How Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus and had the army arrest up to 38,000 civilians suspected of undermining the Union cause. How Woodrow Wilson imprisoned Socialist Party leader Eugene Debs for opposing U.S. entry into World War I. And how Franklin D. Roosevelt consigned 120,000 Japanese Americans to detention camps.

You can also read about how presidents from FDR to Richard Nixon used the FBI to spy on, and occasionally blackmail and harass, their political opponents. The Senate's Church Committee in 1976 blew the whistle on decades of misconduct, including FBI investigations of such nefarious characters as Eleanor Roosevelt, William O. Douglas, Barry Goldwater and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

All you have to do is recite this litany of excess to realize the absurdity of the cries of impeachment coming from the loonier precincts of the left. Muttering about "slippery slopes" isn't enough to convince most people that fascism is descending. If the president's critics want that part of the nation that doesn't read the Nation to believe that he's a threat to our freedom, they'd better do more than turn up the level of vituperation. They'd better find some real victims — the Eugene Debses and Martin Luther Kings of the war on terror.

Civil libertarians thought they were in luck when a college student in Massachusetts claimed that two FBI agents had shown up to interview him after he had requested a copy of Mao Tse-tung's Little Red Book. Ted Kennedy cited this incident to warn of the Patriot Act's "chilling effect on free speech and academic freedom." Relax, Senator. Free speech is safe. The student lied.

The anti-Bush brigade hasn't had any luck in turning up actual instances of abuse, despite no end of effort. The ACLU compiled a list of supposed victims of the Patriot Act. After examining each case, however, Sen. Dianne Feinstein — no friend of the administration — said "it does not appear that these charges rose to the level of 'abuse.' "

Which isn't to say there haven't been some mistakes in the war on terror. Khaled Masri, a naturalized German citizen born in Lebanon, was snatched by U.S. agents in Macedonia and interrogated about his suspected terrorist links. When no such connection was uncovered, he was released five months later, complaining of mistreatment. Or there's Oregon lawyer Brandon Mayfield, a Muslim convert who was arrested and held for a couple of weeks because his fingerprints seemed to match those found at the Madrid bombing.

Doubtless other innocent people have been detained or had their communications intercepted. No system is perfect. But there isn't a scintilla of evidence that these were anything but well-intentioned mistakes committed by conscientious public servants intent on stopping the next terrorist atrocity.

And although the government has occasionally blundered, it has also used its enhanced post-9/11 powers to keep us safe. The National Security Agency's warrantless wiretaps, which have generated so much controversy, helped catch, among others, a naturalized American citizen named Iyman Faris who pleaded guilty to being part of an Al Qaeda plot to bring down the Brooklyn Bridge.

No wonder polls show that most people continue to support Bush's handling of the war on terrorism. As long as federal surveillance remains targeted on the country's enemies, not on the president's, the public will continue to yawn at hyperbolic criticisms of the commander in chief.

The Chappaquiddick Cheater gets PUNK'D!

I found this article at Professor Bainbridge. It's a lovely piece from The Economist concerning the Alito hearings and the bloviating Ted Kennedy. Definitely a worthy read.

Also, the economy continues to grow. The Bureau of Economic Analysis says so here. Guess having President Bush taking care of things ain't so bad!!

Blogomeister Fool (Ursula K.)

More FISA/NSA items of note

Hugh Hewitt also has an interesting column on Newsweek's Jonathan Alter. Sounds like some left-establishment news weenies just can't tolerate the truth.

Powerline has the transcript of Larry King's interview with Alberto Gonzales here.


Blogomeister Fool (Ursula K.)

Presidential Power

To those who believe that President Bush is nothing more than a salivating powermonger, I say, "Look at history!" There are many presidents in our nation's past with such thoughts of absolute authority; President Bush pisses people off because he gets the job done. He has yet to be convicted of a single scandal (that's conviction in a court of law, not public opinion).

For results regarding current polling statistics, go here and click on the poll gallery link.

I have compiled quite a bit of information concerning Presidential Power. My hat's off to Hugh Hewitt, who's done an exhaustive search and produced some incredible results. Here are some links and quotes:

The MSM and The Authority of the President to Conduct Surveillance on Foreign Powers Communicating With Their American Agents.

by Hugh Hewitt

In from the Cold enjoyed my interview with Jonathan Alter, and is shocked by Alter's lack of basic knoweldge on the subject of the NSA program.

The kicker is that Alter is one of the better informed of the MSM journalists reporting and commenting on the NSA controversy.

The crucial case law and statutes aren't difficult stuff, though it takes time to assemble the materials and go through them. Powerline's John Hinderaker has done just that and posted it all here for the benefit of old media's lazy and blinkered reporters and commentators. Not that they will read it, of course, but it does mae it pretty hard for any reporter to claim ignorance of the basic case law connected to the controversy.

UPDATE: The Department of Justice has also laid out the relevant authorities. (HT: The Corner and Instapundit.)

Note that bloggers on the right are in a hurry to bring relevant authority to the attention of the audience. Why can't the MSM --who are paid to do this-- at least pretend to do its job.

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Presidential Power and the Surveillance of Foreign Powers Conspiring with United States Citizens

by Hugh Hewitt

Overlooked in most of the commentary on the New York Times article is the simple, undeniable fact that the president has the power to conduct warrantless surveillance of foreign powers conspiring to kill Americans or attack the government. The Fourth Amendment, which prohibits "unreasonable" searches and seizures has not been interpreted by the Supreme Court to restrict this inherent presidential power. The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (an introduction from a critic of the Act is here) cannot be read as a limit on a constitutional authority even if the Act purported to so limit that authority.


"Further, the instant case requires no judgment on the scope of the President's surveillance power with respect to the activities of foreign powers, within or without this country."


That is from the 1972 decision in United States v. United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan et al, (407 U.S. 297) which is where the debate over the president's executive order ought to begin and end. The FISA statute can have no impact on a constitutional authority, any more than an Act of Congress could diminish the First Amendment protection provided newspapers. Statutes cannot add to or detract from constitutional authority. (They can influence the Supreme Court's interpretation of the president's authority, as discussed by Justice Jackson in his famous opinion in the Steel Seizure Cases.) The 1972 decision contains a colloquy from the Senate floor between Senators Hart, Holland, and McClellan on that illustrates the correct understanding of this crucial principle:


"Mr. HOLLAND. . . . The section [2511 (3)] from which the Senator [Hart] has read does not affirmatively give any power. . . . We are not affirmatively conferring any power upon the President. We are simply saying that nothing herein shall limit such power as the President has under the Constitution. . . . We certainly do not grant him a thing.

"There is nothing affirmative in this statement.

"Mr. McCLELLAN. Mr. President, we make it understood that we are not trying to take anything away from him.

"Mr. HOLLAND. The Senator is correct.

"Mr. HART. Mr. President, there is no intention here to expand by this language a constitutional power. Clearly we could not do so.

"Mr. McCLELLAN. Even though intended, we could not do so.

"Mr. HART. . . . However, we are agreed that this language should not be regarded as intending to grant any authority, including authority to put a bug on, that the President does not have now.

"In addition, Mr. President, as I think our exchange makes clear, nothing in section 2511 (3) even attempts to define the limits of the President's national security power under present law, which I have always found extremely vague . . . . Section 2511 (3) merely says that if the President has such a power, then its exercise is in no way affected by title III."[Footnote 7] (Emphasis supplied.)


The first question is the scope of the president's authority to order warrantless surveillance on participants in plots involving foreign powers against the United States. The president and his legal authorities have concluded that he does have that authority, even if the plot involves some American citizens. Apparently Congressional critics of the action do not believe it. There is no definitive Supreme Court precedent on the question, and the Congress cannot define the answer even if it wished to. (Examine every commentary on the issue to see if this candid admission is made. If not, then the writer is not being honest about the central issue in the debate, or is ill-informed.)

If Hillary wants to run in 2008 on the pledge that she will not conduct warrantless surveillance of foreign powers plotting against the United States when those plots involve an American citizen, she has that right. If the Senate Democrats, already committed to blinding American intelligence in the GWOT by allowing the Patriot Act to lapse, want to make the issue of warrantless surveillance of foreign powers plotting against the United States when those plots involve American citizens, I think every GOP candidate ought to gladly take up that challenge.

I am reproducing Justice Jackson's concurrence in the extended entry for the convenience of the reader, as well as the opinion from the 1972 decision. At the conclusion of that Justice Jackson's opinion, he wrote a summary applicable to the current assertion of presidential authority:

The executive action we have here originates in the individual will of the President and represents an exercise of authority without law. No one, perhaps not even the President, knows the limits of the power he may seek to exert in this instance and the parties affected cannot learn the limit of their rights.

Continue reading "Presidential Power and the Surveillance of Foreign Powers Conspiring with United States Citizens".


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Presidential Power, Part II

by Hugh Hewitt

Senator Russ Feingold displays either his lack of basic knowledge about the Constitution or his willingness to pose for the cameras, or his hypocrisy, or all of the above:


"There's two ways you can do this kind of wiretapping under our law. One is through the criminal code, Title III; the other is through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That's it. That's the only way you can do it. You can't make up a law and deriving it from the Afghanistan resolution."


Questions for Feingold:

Does the Constitution give the president any powers?

What are they?

Do they include the power to stop imminent attacks on the United States?

Does the Congress have to approve the president's action to prevent imminent attacks?

Does the power to stop imminent attacks also include the power to learn of imminent attacks?

Etc. Etc.

Feingold wants to be president, btw. As does Hillary. What's Hillary think of the inherent powers of the presidency?

Here is Feingold on September 14, 2001:


Like any legislation, this resolution is not perfect. I have some concern that readers may misinterpret the preamble language that the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism as a new grant of power; rather it is merely a statement that the President has existing constitutional powers. I am gratified that in the body of this resolution, it does not contain a broad grant of powers, but is appropriately limited to those entities involved in the attacks that occurred on September 11. And I am particularly gratified that this resolution explicitly abides by and invokes the War Powers Resolution.


So Feingold of December of 2005 is dismissive of Feingold of September, 2001? What a fraud.


In 1999, the ACLU argued that President Clinton's actions concerning Kosovo violated the Constitution. Other scholars took the position that the Constitution gave Clinton all the authority he needed to embark upon the campaign in Kosovo. Here's an abstract of a John Woo article on that debate. Whatever one believes about Kosovo, no one can seriously argue that the power to send Americans into combat is less significant than the power to conduct surveillance on Americans who are plotting to attack the U.S.


The powers of the president concerning war and as Commander-in-Chief do not change upon the Democrat leaving and the Republican entering office.


Too bad almost none of the big name television anchors know a whit about the Constitution or the particulars of this debate. If they did, they could ask Russ Feingold, Chuck Schumer and the rest of the Ahab Democrats some very telling questions.


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Presidential Power, Part III

by Hugh Hewitt

The collapse of the Democratic Party's credibility on issues of national security is accelerating, and none of the senior leadership appears to be aware of how they presenting themselves and their party to the party. They are asserting that the president does not have the authority to conduct warrantless surveillance of Americans in this country communicating with Al Qaeda operatives abroad. They are also asserting that they would rather the Patriot Act lapse than accept the compromise supported by majorities in both chambers and the president.

Russ Feingold and Carl Levin are leading the braying, and I hope they will propose an amendment of some sort specifying their position on the warrantless surveillance and that the House will take up a similar proposal. It is vitally important that the record be crystal clear about the left's view of presidential power.

The Senate Democrats could even propose a Constituional Amendment outlining their absurd view. The American people need extended exposure to the fecklessness of the Democrats when it comes to national security. The party has become so deeply infected by Michael Moore/Howard Dean/Nancy Pelosi defeatism that it has truly lost any sense of where the American public stands on the issue of defending the country against devastating terrorist attacks.

"We will not tolerate a president who believes that he is the sole decision-maker when it comes to the policies that this country should have in the war against terror and the policies we should have to protect the rights of completely innocent Americans," Feingold thundered today. He should back up his shrill histrionics with legilsative proposals. They will be defeated, because his view of the Constitution is an extreme one, and one which will never muster even close to majoritarian support in the Congress, much less enough to override a certain presidential veto, or the onerous process of actually amending the Constitution to reflect his self-destructive understanding of presidential power.

But he should try. If he is other than a poser, he will.

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Presidential Power, Part IV

by Hugh Hewitt

I yield the balance of my time to Orin Kerr, whose must-read analysis begins:


Was the secret NSA surveillance program legal? Was it constitutional? Did it violate federal statutory law? It turns out these are hard questions, but I wanted to try my best to answer them. My answer is pretty tentative, but here it goes: Although it hinges somewhat on technical details we don't know, it seems that the program was probably constitutional but probably violated the federal law known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. My answer is extra-cautious for two reasons. First, there is some wiggle room in FISA, depending on technical details we don't know of how the surveillance was done. Second, there is at least a colorable argument -- if, I think in the end, an unpersuasive one -- that the surveillance was authorized by the Authorization to Use Miltary Force as construed in the Hamdi opinion.


When you have finished with Professor Kerr's legal analysis, click over to John McIntyre's political analysis at RealClearPolitics.com, a key portion of which reads:

First, the Democrats still do not grasp that foreign affairs and national security issues are their vulnerabilities, not their strengths. All of the drumbeat about Iraq, spying, and torture that the left thinks is so damaging to the White House are actually positives for the President and Republicans. Apparently, Democrats still have not fully grasped that the public has profound and long-standing concerns about their ability to defend the nation. As long as national security related issues are front page news, the Democrats are operating at a structural political disadvantage. Perhaps the intensity of their left wing base and the overwhelmingly liberal press corps produces a disorientation among Democratic politicians and prevents a more realistic analysis of where the country’s true pulse lies on these issues.

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Presidential Power, Part V

by Hugh Hewitt

The president and the attorney general have cited the Authorization for Use of Military Force, 115 Stat. 224, passed in the immediate aftermath of the attacks of 9/11, as providing additional authority for the NSA surveillance of Americans in contact with al Qaeda operating abroad. Carl Levin and Russ Feingold, falling over each other to display constitutional ignorance, say they cannot find anything in the AUMF to support such an assertion.


First, Senator Feingold forgets his own statement from September 14, 2001:


Like any legislation, this resolution is not perfect. I have some concern that readers may misinterpret the preamble language that the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism as a new grant of power; rather it is merely a statement that the President has existing constitutional powers. I am gratified that in the body of this resolution, it does not contain a broad grant of powers, but is appropriately limited to those entities involved in the attacks that occurred on September 11.


Much more important than Feingold's admission against interest, though, is the SCOTUS opinion in Hamdi, which displays the sort of analysis of AUMF that appears to be part of the Administration's reasoning on this point:

There is no bar to this Nation's holding one of its own citizens as an enemy combatant. In Quirin, one of the detainees, Haupt, alleged that he was a naturalized United States citizen. 317 U. S., at 20. We held that "[c]itizens who associate themselves with the military arm of the enemy government, and with its aid, guidance and direction enter this country bent on hostile acts, are enemy belligerents within the meaning of ... the law of war." Id., at 37-38. While Haupt was tried for violations of the law of war, nothing in Quirin suggests that his citizenship would have precluded his mere detention for the duration of the relevant hostilities. See id., at 30-31. See also Lieber Code, ¶ ;153, Instructions for the Government of Armies of the United States in the Field, Gen. Order No. 100 (1863), reprinted in 2 Lieber, Miscellaneous Writings, p. 273 (contemplating, in code binding the Union Army during the Civil War, that "captured rebels" would be treated "as prisoners of war"). Nor can we see any reason for drawing such a line here. A citizen, no less than an alien, can be "part of or supporting forces hostile to the United States or coalition partners" and "engaged in an armed conflict against the United States," Brief for Respondents 3; such a citizen, if released, would pose the same threat of returning to the front during the ongoing conflict.

In light of these principles, it is of no moment that the AUMF does not use specific language of detention. Because detention to prevent a combatant's return to the battlefield is a fundamental incident of waging war, in permitting the use of "necessary and appropriate force," Congress has clearly and unmistakably authorized detention in the narrow circumstances considered here.


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Presidential Power, Part VI

by Hugh Hewitt

Today's Wall Street Journal ediorial, "Thank You for Wiretapping," scolds South Carolina's Lindsey Graham for not doing his homework before appearing on the Sunday shows. It is a legitimate criticism, but one that should be applied as well to scores of MSM scribblers and talkers who simply refuse to ask any of the Defeatocrats calling for investigations and branding the program as illegal about either the Keith case or In Re: Sealed Case. From the Journal's editorial:

The allegation of Presidential law-breaking rests solely on the fact that Mr. Bush authorized wiretaps without first getting the approval of the court established under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. But no Administration then or since has ever conceded that that Act trumped a President's power to make exceptions to FISA if national security required it. FISA established a process by which certain wiretaps in the context of the Cold War could be approved, not a limit on what wiretaps could ever be allowed.

The courts have been explicit on this point, most recently in In Re: Sealed Case, the 2002 opinion by the special panel of appellate judges established to hear FISA appeals. In its per curiam opinion, the court noted that in a previous FISA case (U.S. v. Truong), a federal "court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue [our emphasis], held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information." And further that, "We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power."

Here is the link to the opinion in In re Sealed Case.


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Presidential Power, Part VII

by Hugh Hewitt

University of Chicago Law School Professor Cass Sunstein backs up the Adminsitration's claim athat the AUMF buttresses the inherent power of the president in a time of war to conduct surveillance of foreign powers communicating with their agents in America who are American citizens.


And Powerline has a series of important posts as well.


See also New Sisyphus.



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The Department of Justice Points and Authorities

Powerline: "On the Legality of the NSA Electronic Intercept Program"


Some light reading...so sit back, light the candle, and expand your brain!

Blogomeister Fool

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Islam is NOT the Answer

Wonderful commentary, and true to the core...Found this on The Rant (the RIGHT WING version, in case you don't know..)

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Islam Is (Not) the Answer
War on Terror/Lt. Col. Michael Burkert, US Army (ret.)
December 17, 2005 - During the four years my wife and I lived in the Middle East, we constantly saw bumper stickers, graffiti and even posted billboards that proudly proclaimed in both English and Arabic, “ISLAM IS THE ANSWER.” Although it was commonly understood that the ruling Al-Sabah family in Kuwait was a little edgy about this slogan, they nonetheless allowed its display out of deference to the tiny Emirate’s hardcore Islamists.

Essentially, Islamists view the world in two lights. The first, being lands controlled by Islam, (Dar Al-Islam) and second, lands to be conquered by Islam, (Dar Al-Harb, or Land of the Sword). Islam is in a constant state of war with all “Infidels,” and all nations that are not part of Dar Al-Islam, or Land of Submission.

Make no mistake about it; Islam is not a religion of love and peace. It’s not a religion of tolerance and understanding. When controlled by Islamists, such as the Taliban in Afghanistan, or the Islamic Guard in Iran, Saudi Wahhabism or Egypt’s Islamic Brotherhood, it’s a very intolerable, rigid religion. Liberalism, in the image of Teddy Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore, or that crazy woman who turned left on her war hero son’s grave, is non-existent in Islam.

Islam means submission, and submission is determined by the Imam, Mullah, Mufti, Ayatollah or other “holy man” who happens to be in charge. There is no equivalent of a Pope, Metropolitan or other benevolent figure found in nominal Christian religions. There is a hierarchy of Muslim clerics, however there is no comparison between Islam and nominal Christianity.

An Islamic “holy man” has the authority to issue a Fatwah, which can be a death warrant directed at a perceived enemy of Islam. Many of you will remember when the Ayatollah Khomeini, Islamic dictator of Iran, issued a Fatwah for the death of Salman Rushdi. Rushdi was the author of “Satanic Verses,” literature according to the Ayatollah, “offended Islam.” That death warrant is still in effect, and since Khomeini is dead, it can’t be cancelled.

President Bush and other high-level government officials continue to emphatically state that, “The United States is not at war with Islam.” How naïve that statement is. Believe me, Islam is at war with us! It’s incredible that after nearly four years following the Al-Qaeda attacks on our nation, the we as a nation, can’t figure out who the enemy really is.

I work for some of the greatest military minds the United States has ever produced. Men who can plan for and win, any conventional battle imagined. Yet even they, have yet to understand what this war is all about. I do believe that many understand the reality of the situation, however, “political correctness,” so much a part of today’s military, precludes our great military thinkers from stating the obvious. We have the Clinton Administration for the leftist-leaning politicization of our military, which continues to be a problem today.

Our Transportation Security Agency or TSA, a national security apparatus at airports continues to strip search 75-year-old grandmothers, 80-year old war heroes, such as General Joe Foss, (TSA was going to seize his Medal of Honor claiming it was a throwing star) while allowing young Middle Eastern men to pass unencumbered. They don’t get it either!

But then we are still afraid of “offending” our enemies by profiling them, and giving them special attention. The fear of irking some third world goatherd is ever on our national minds.

Islam has always been at war with the non-Islamic world. It’s the very essence and nature of the faith. Muslims are taught of the ultimate triumph of Islam over all others. To even think otherwise is to deny the religion. Islam has been at war with us since it was conjured-up by Mohammed and his gang, in the seventh century.

Today, at our Embassies in the Middle East, there are over 70,000 pending applications for Visas to enter the United States. This number grows everyday. Most of the Visa requests will be granted, and most of the Arab Muslims who travel to the United States will end up remaining in our country well beyond the granted stay.

Many will attend flight schools. A year after 911, Saddam Hussein’s stepson was arrested in Miami, with false documents. His intention was to attend a flight school. Many will receive other training and education that can be used against us. Many will have children born during their sojourn, and will thus have a claim to remain in the United States permanently. Many will simply remain, blend into the Middle Eastern community, until it’s their turn to act, “for Allah.”

I could quote a litany of verses from the Koran, the Haddith and other so-called “holy literature” which clearly illustrates that Islamics intends to conquer the world under the sword of Islam. The intent is to convert every man, woman and child to Islam, or to kill them…all! To the Islamists, it doesn’t matter. Allah, is a “happy camper,” regardless. The conquered will either submit or die; it’s as simple as that.

The 9/11 attacks are estimated to have caused over $20 billion in direct losses to our nation. How many more attacks can the United States sustain, and keep our economy intact? The Islamic enemy knows this quite well. He knows that he can bide his time, and strike when we least expect it, and cause not only thousands of deaths of innocents, but also an enormous cost to our economy.

Ultimately, while we as a nation continue to pretend that Islam is not our enemy, future attacks will serve to solidify Islamic resolve, and weaken ours. The Islamic enemy in Iraq KNOWS that all he has to do is to continue to wear down American resolve by continuing the Intifada. Our enemy knows that the partisan press in the USA keeps a running score of our combat deaths, as if they were keeping score at a ballgame.

We still have years of this war ahead of us, and it’s going to get worse than most of us want to imagine. We may finish the job in Iraq and return complete control over to the Iraqis, but we are not done in the Middle East. Not by a long shot.

The same methods that defeated the United States in Vietnam are being used to defeat us in the fight against terrorism. Islam can’t beat the United States on the battlefield, in the skies, or at sea. The Islamists know that they can never defeat the United States in an open military confrontation.

However, the Islamic enemy knows that our national WILL, can be beaten. History has already revealed that fact. The enemy sees our nation as a morally corrupt and abominable land. He sees useful idiots like that old liberal socialist fool from the Johnson Administration who’s defending Saddam Hussein and spewing forth anti-American propaganda on international media outlets, at EVERY OPPORTUNITY. Most of the liberals who spew forth anti-American and anti-Bush sewage are national embarrassments to us, who serve overseas! That includes the Hollywood twits, as well as the liberal political morons our nation is sadly, overburdened with.

The Islamic enemy sees our national morality in the sewer. He sees our leaders like Hillary Clinton appeal to gays and lesbians by declaring that “We are fighting for our values, and that includes ending discrimination against gays and lesbians once and for all." You have no idea how much fuel a speech such as that pours on the fire of Islam!

When Hillary made that speech a few years back it was worth 10,000 new Jihadists to Osama bin Laden and his ilk. That one speech, which was disseminated widely throughout the Islamic world proved the very point that Osama bin Laden, was trying to make to his constituency. To the Islamist, the United States is the Great Satan! One only need watch American television or see an American movie, or listen to a political “leader” and this point is obvious.

Clearly, ISLAM is NOT the Answer. Yet sadly there are those in our nation who believe that it is. Many foolish, naïve and duped Academics blame the United States for the ills of the world, and particularly the Bush Administration. Everything from so-called global warming to famine in Trashcanistan are woes brought about by America. You would have thought that eight years of Bill Clinton would have settled and solved all of the world’s problems.

No doubt the future liberal-socialist president of our country will be able to pick up where old Bill left off, and move forward to make the world a safe place through spewing forth liberalism, political correctness and other leftist dribble! What is it they love to say, oh yeah, “If only we’d give peace a chance?” I really like that one.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Strength & Constancy---An Editorial

This is a very succinct and intelligent piece I found on the Ashbrook Center website.

Strength and Constancy:
It’s a Strategy

Editorial
National Review Online
December 2005

by: Mackubin T. Owens


In conjunction with President George W. Bush’s public-diplomacy offensive to regain domestic support for the war effort, the National Security Council has now published a document entitled "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq." While the usual suspects have denounced it as more of the same, the fact is that it is a sound effort to outline what is necessary to achieve our goals in Iraq.

Properly understood, strategy refers to a plan for applying scarce means to achieve the nation’s goals. Without a strategic framework for setting priorities and guiding the development and employment of the instruments of national power, it is difficult to evaluate proposed actions to ensure the nation’s security and prosperity. Strategy making and implementation are dynamic processes, changing as the factors that influence the strategy change. Potential mismatches between ends and means create risks. If the risks resulting from an ends-means mismatch cannot be managed, ends must be reevaluated and scaled back, means must be increased, or the strategy must be adjusted.

In general, strategy serves three purposes. First, strategy relates ends, the goals of policy (interests and objectives) to the limited resources available to achieve them against an adversary who actively opposes the achievement of the ends.

Second, strategy contributes to the clarification of the ends of policy by helping establish priorities in light of constrained resources. Without establishing priorities among competing ends, all interests and all threats will appear equal. In the absence of strategy, planners will find themselves in the situation described by Frederick the Great: “He who attempts to defend too much defends nothing.” Finally, strategy conceptualizes resources as means in support of policy. Resources are not means until strategy provides some understanding of how they will be organized and employed.

Strategy can be envisioned as the answers to a series of interrelated questions:

  • What conditions do we wish to prevail in the area of interest to us?
  • What steps do we need to take in order to achieve those conditions, i.e., what plan of action is most likely to bring about the desired conditions?
  • What combination of the instruments of power best supports the chosen strategic alternative?
  • What are the opportunity costs and risks associated with the preferred strategic alternative?
If we apply these various criteria to the Bush Iraq strategy, it comes out looking pretty good.

The Successes Continue

The document clearly describes victory as the desired outcome for Iraq. This would seem self-evident but the document recognizes that the goal will be achieved in stages. In the short term, success is defined as “making steady progress in fighting terrorists, meeting political milestones, building democratic institutions, and standing up security forces.” By this measurement, our enterprise in Iraq has been successful.

Success in the “medium term” will be achieved when Iraq has a fully constitutional government in place, has taken the lead in the war against the terrorists and is providing its own security, and is on its way to achieving its economic potential. The elections in two weeks will constitute an important milestone in achieving victory in the medium term.

Final victory in Iraq will have been achieved when the country “is peaceful, united, stable, and secure, well integrated into the international community, and a full partner in the global war on terrorism.” This is a big order and much has to happen to reach this goal—but the report makes clear what we aim to do.

"Victory in Iraq" points out that success in Iraq is a vital U.S. interest. “Iraq is the central front in the global war on terror. Failure in Iraq will embolden terrorists and expand their reach; success in Iraq will deal them a decisive and crippling blow.” But U.S. interests extend beyond Iraq to the greater Middle East as a whole.

All too often, strategies do a fine job of describing the goal but don’t address the plan to achieve the goals. But this is the essence of strategy: How do we apply scarce resources in the most effective way to bring about our desired end? If the president’s Iraq strategy left this out, it would be a serious omission. But this is not the case. The document lays out three interconnected tracks that describe the “how” of the U.S. approach in Iraq. These tracks incorporate “eight pillars,” or strategic objectives:

  • Defeat the Terrorists and Neutralize the Insurgency
  • Transition Iraq to Security Self-Reliance
  • Help Iraqis Form a National Compact for Democratic Government
  • Help Iraq Build Government Capacity and Provide Essential Services
  • Help Iraq Strengthen its Economy
  • Help Iraq Strengthen the Rule of Law and Promote Civil Rights
  • Increase International Support for Iraq
  • Strengthen Public Understanding of Coalition Efforts and Public Isolation of the Insurgents

As sophisticated observers are always quick to point out, insurgencies are never won by military means alone. There must be a political track leading to a stable government. To bring about this outcome, the document calls for isolating the real enemy elements by driving a wedge between them and those who can be won over to the political process. The second component of the political track is to engage those outside the political process by inviting them to participate in the governing process if they are willing to turn away from violence Finally, the political track calls for building stable, pluralistic, and effective national institutions capable of protecting the interests of all Iraqis, enabling Iraq to be fully integrated into the international community.

But while military means are not sufficient to defeat an insurgency, they are nonetheless necessary. The security track focuses on defeating the terrorists while building up Iraqi forces. The security track also has three components: taking offensive action to clear areas of enemy control, killing and capturing enemy fighters and denying them safe-haven; holding areas that have been wrested from enemy control and using Iraqi security forces to extend the writ of the Iraqi government; and most critically, building up these security forces and improving “the capacity of local institutions to deliver services, advance the rule of law, and nurture civil society.”

The final track of the strategy is economic. The elements of this track are to help the Iraqi government: restore Iraq’s infrastructure enabling it to meet increasing demand and the needs of a growing economy; reform an Iraqi economy to make it self-sustaining; and build the capacity of “Iraqi institutions to maintain infrastructure, rejoin the international economic community, and improve the general welfare of all Iraqis.”

This is a clear strategic roadmap, which establishes the desired outcome and outlines the steps necessary to achieve it. All the elements are mutually reinforcing. And the document includes an appendix that provides clear metrics for evaluating progress.

Perhaps most important, the strategy is flexible and adaptable, recognizing that our enemy in Iraq is sophisticated. War is, after all, still a struggle between two active wills, each trying to achieve its goals by subduing the other. It recognizes that although we have achieved most of our short-term and many of or medium-term goals, the kind of victory that means a favorable peace will take time. The strategy cannot be linked to a predetermined schedule. It depends on conditions on the ground. “No war has ever been won on a timetable and neither will this one. But lack of a timetable does not mean our posture in Iraq (both military and civilian) will remain static over time. As conditions change, our posture will change.”

The document makes clear the risks of failure. If the United States does not prevail in Iraq, it “would become a safe haven from which terrorists could plan attacks against America, American interests abroad, and our allies.” In addition, “Middle East reformers would never again fully trust American assurances of support for democracy and human rights in the region.” The resulting “tribal and sectarian chaos would have major consequences for American security and interests in the region.” Accordingly, says the document, losing is not an option.

But the risks associated with following the administration’s strategic roadmap are real as well. The specter of civil war is always present, as well as the possibility that the terrorists will reemerge once the United States leaves: “Defeating the multi-headed enemy in Iraq—and ensuring that it cannot threaten Iraq’s democratic gains once we leave—requires persistent effort across many fronts.”

No Viable Alternatives

The reaction of the Democrats to "Victory in Iraq" has been predictable and is reminiscent of the response to Ronald Reagan’s first "National Security Strategy" when it was published in 1987. All during his presidency, Reagan’s critics constantly accused him of having no strategy except to spend more money on defense. They were blind to the fact that the main objective of Reagan’s strategy was to exploit the Soviet “center of gravity,” the weakness of communist economic organization.

Reagan’s "National Security Strategy" merely placed on paper what astute observers could ascertain on the basis of actions alone: that a critical element of Reagan’s grand strategy was “to force the Soviet Union to bear the brunt of its domestic economic shortcomings in order to discourage excessive Soviet military expenditures and global adventurism.” It did so by exploiting the economic mismatch between the U.S. and the Soviet Union: While the U.S. was spending a maximum of 6.3 percent of a large and growing gross domestic product (GDP) on defense, the Soviets were spending a considerably larger portion of a much smaller GDP on security. The fact was that the United States could afford an arms race; the Soviet Union could not.

Bush’s critics are as wrong today as Reagan’s were two decades ago. Long before this document was published, the Coalition was pursuing the three-track strategy described in "Victory in Iraq." The process began a year ago with the capture of Fallujah. Since then, Coalition forces have concentrated on interdicting the “ratlines” that permitted the insurgents to infiltrate into the heart of Iraq from the Syrian border. As Iraqi forces have improved, Coalition forces have not only been able to clear key regions, killing and capturing terrorists during the operations, but to apply force simultaneously, making it difficult for the enemy fighters to slip away to other locations. And because there are more Iraqi units able to pull their weight, Coalition forces are increasingly able to hold territory that the enemy once controlled.

Progress has not been constant, of course, because plans rarely work out the way they are supposed to. I hope readers will forgive me for once more reminding them of the observation by Helmuth von Moltke, chief of the Prussian general staff during the wars of German unification, that “no plan of operation extends with any certainty beyond the first contact with the main hostile force. Only the layman thinks that he can see in the course of the campaign the consequent execution of the original idea with all the details thought out in advance and adhered to until the very end.”

His observations apply in spades to Iraq. The commander, wrote Moltke, must keep his objective in mind, “undisturbed by the vicissitudes of events. But the path on which he hopes to reach it can never be firmly established in advance. Throughout the campaign he must make a series of decisions on the basis of situations that cannot be foreseen. The successive acts of war are thus not premeditated designs, but on the contrary are spontaneous acts guided by military measures. Everything depends on penetrating the uncertainty of veiled situations to evaluate the facts, to clarify the unknown, to make decisions rapidly, and then to carry them out with strength and constancy.” In my estimation, the Bush administration and the commanders on the ground have done a reasonably good job of keeping the objective of the war in mind while “[evaluating] the facts, [clarifying] the unknown, [making] decisions rapidly, and then… [carrying] them out with strength and constancy.” This is what has permitted the Coalition to wrest the initiative from the insurgents over the last year.

By all means, if the president’s critics have a better strategy, let them present it. Of course, the dominant Copperhead faction of the Democratic Party has nothing to offer but the demand that we pull out. Meanwhile, those with presidential aspirations try to have it both ways, criticizing the president’s approach but trying to appear serious about national security by not taking the Murtha-Pelosi road. But they don’t provide much of an alternative either—let’s call it “Copperhead lite.” For instance John Kerry calls for reducing U.S. forces in Iraq. But cutting U.S. combat power in Iraq would permit the enemy to recover the initiative that the Coalition seized last year in Fallujah. In fact, neither the Copperhead nor Copperhead lite plans for Iraq constitute serious strategic alternatives to the president’s strategy. They would serve only to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Mackubin T. Owens is an Adjunct Fellow at the Ashbrook Center and an associate dean of academics and a professor of national-security affairs at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I. He is writing a history of U.S. civil-military relations.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Thank a Soldier Week

I encourage everyone to visit Townhall's website and send a letter of thanks to our soldiers and airmen during the holidays. I have been in a foreign country during the holidays, serving in the US Air Force, and while I had it 'easy' (I served in England, a Christian, English-speaking country), I was still separated by thousands of miles from my family and childhood friends.

Take five minutes to write a note of gratitude to our men and women in the Armed Forces. They fight the good fight for those of us back home.

UK

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Beware: Yahell hosts terrorist websites

Just another reason not to use Yahoo for anything: Yahoo hosting terrorist websites.

Even worse, their privacy agreement is a joke. Check this out..

Yahoo is now using something called "Web Beacons" to track Yahoo Group users around the net and see what you're doing and where you are going, much in the way that cookies are used.

Yahoo is recording every website and every group you visit. Take a look at their updated privacy statement: http://privacy.yahoo.com/privacy.

About half-way down the page, in the section on cookies, you will see a link that says web beacons. Click on the phrase web beacons. That will bring you to a paragraph entitled "Outside the Yahoo Network." In this section you'll see a little "click here to opt out" link that will let you "opt-out" of their new method of snooping. Once you have clicked that link, you are exempted. Notice the "Success" message on the top of the next page. Be careful because on that page there is a "Cancel Opt-out" button that, if clicked, will *undo* the opt-out.

Ursula


Sunday, November 27, 2005


This is me on the B-17 "Fuddy Duddy" during an 85 minute flight from Denver to North Platte. Posted by Picasa

An introduction

Hello fellow cyberspace and blogosphere inhabitants!

You have just embarked on A Fool's Errand...a journey with no end, but infused with many distractions. While on this journey, you might find yourself reading about various events and incidents, most of which concern the matter of war and political correctness...other times the message may include controversial discussions and contemplations.

In any case, I do hope you enjoy the visit, and please let me know what you think of the site.

Cheers !

Ursula