Thursday, September 28, 2006

Liars, in context

Much ado in the media and among liberal pols about part of the National Intelligence Estimate leaked earlier this week that says the war in Iraq has actually increased terrorist recruiting.

Problem is, they only provided part of the statement, in essence lying by stripping the statement of context and completeness. George Bush trumped them by declassifying a more complete text (although not all of it, as that would have revealed the undercover sources).

The whole statement they refer to reads: The Iraq conflict has become the "cause celebre" for jihadists, breeding a deep resentment of U.S. involvement in the Muslim world and cultivating supporters for the global jihadist movement. Should jihadists leaving Iraq perceive themselves, and be perceived, to have failed we judge fewer fighters will be inspired to carry on the fight.

So basically it says engaging jihadists makes them madder, but defeating them will reduce the threat.

As White House Spokesman Tony Snow pointed out yesterday, the same could have been said about WWII -- by entering the conflict, the U.S. substantially widened the war but also hastened its favorable conclusion.

The report also says, among other things:

-- The spread of democracy in Muslim nations will reduce the threat of terrorism;

-- The loss of key leaders al-Zarqawi, al-Zawahiri, and (dare to dream) Usama Bin Laden, will fracture the terrorist movement

-- The strict Sharia law caliphate espoused by Bin Laden and his terrorists is largely unpopular among the majority of Muslims.

So, essentially, the Bush policy of engaging the terrorists and the states that sponsor them and promoting democracy in the Middle East is the right course. And bailing out of Iraq would be a disaster.

Hmm, I wonder why the leakers didn't leak those parts...

Interesting what happens when you read the whole text and don't just pick out the parts you like.

The statement clearly outlines ongoing risks associated with the war on terror, but does not categorically conclude the all is lost and the president is wrong.

But don't take my word for it -- read it for yourself.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Losing your head over opera

The Times of London reporting that an opera has been cancelled in Germany because of fears it will offend Muslims.

In the opera, Mozart’s Idomeneo, the King of Crete of displays the severed heads of Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed and Poseidon, and declares "the gods are dead."

The decision has unleashed a storm of controversy about free expression in German, but one viewpoint has been missing from the discussion.

Apparently, it's okay to offend Christians, Buddhists and...uh...whatever it is you call people who worship Poseidon.

But not Muslims.

Nice. Neat!

Monday, September 18, 2006

All Apologies

Muslim extremists threatening continuing violence against the West and non-Muslims alike over the Pope for comments he made last week about Islam and violence last week.

You know, some people just have no sense of irony.

Even moderate Muslims continuing to ask for a "better" apology.

Yeah, we'll get right on that.

As soon as they apologize for 9/11.

And the USS Cole attack.

And the African embassy bombings.

And the Khobar Towers bombing.

And the Marine Barracks truckbombing in Beirut.

And the Iranian hostage crisis.

That would be a good start.

Just once, I'd like to see these so-called moderates express outrage at the way extremists have hijacked their faith, instead of whinging and whining about how picked-on they are.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The path to 11/6

I caught a little bit of ABC's "The Path To 9/11" last night, and now I understand why former members of Clinton administration and other Democrats are so pissed about it.

It generally portrays CIA Director George Tenet and National Secrurity Advisor Sandy Berger as hapless bureaucrats, who when faced with the opportunity to capture Osama Bin Laden were more concerned with who'd get the blame if things went wrong than they were with doing what was right.

I won't speak to the accuracy of the miniseries -- it is, after all, network television and a work of fiction, so I wasn't expecting much in the first place.

But it does remind us all of some central facts about 9/11 -- specifically, that the plot to attack the World Trade Center and the Pentagon wasn't born within President Bush's first eight months in office.

In fact, the threat of Bin Laden and Al Qaeda was well known throughout the Clinton presidency, and his government fumbled multiple opportunities to intercept and stop them.

It's an issue that I believe will shadow the Democrats throughout the fall election season, and may put a serious dent in their plans to take control of the House of Representatives.

Many Democratic candidates are critical of the current administration's record in the war on terror, notably the invasion of Iraq.

But when pressed for what they would do, they default one of three answers:

-- Retreat from Iraq, which no serious person thinks is workable;
-- Stay the course, which is essentially the current administration's policy;
-- Hommina-hommina-hommina...

While the Democrats seek to tap the "deep anger" they allege many Americans feel about the war, they face one major problem -- virtually no one thinks they can do a better job than the Republicans in keeping us safe.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Last of the Wilson Myths Dies

Hard to find much discussion of it in the media, but it finally looks like the last of former Ambassador Joe Wilson's fabrications and distortions has died.

First, he purported in a New York Times op-ed that he found no evidence that Saddam Hussein had attempted to buy uranium in Niger.

Except he had already told the CIA exactly the contrary.

Then he denied that his wife picked him for the CIA-sponsored survey trip to Niger to investigate that claim.

Except that she had.

Then he claimed that pro-war senior White House officials -- most notably VP Dick Cheney -- had outted his undercover wife to punish him.

Except that it turns a White House rival of Cheney and Co. who opposed them on the war accidentally let it slip to reporter Robert Novak over cocktails.

Notes the Washington Post in an editorial: Nevertheless, it now appears that the person most responsible for the end of Ms. Plame's CIA career is Mr. Wilson. Mr. Wilson chose to go public with an explosive charge, claiming -- falsely, as it turned out -- that he had debunked reports of Iraqi uranium-shopping in Niger and that his report had circulated to senior administration officials. He ought to have expected that both those officials and journalists such as Mr. Novak would ask why a retired ambassador would have been sent on such a mission and that the answer would point to his wife. He diverted responsibility from himself and his false charges by claiming that President Bush's closest aides had engaged in an illegal conspiracy. It's unfortunate that so many people took him seriously.

A shame indeed. But then, I'd expect that people like Mr. Wilson know no shame.

Let's hope that this new revelation will return Mr. Wilson to the obscurity and anonymity he so richly deserves.