Friday, 5 May 2006
THE FAT LADY IS WARMING UP FOR AL QAEDA IN IRAQ
By Jack Kelly
Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the al Qaeda chieftain in Iraq (or maybe not, see below) is changing tactics, says London's Sunday Times (4/30).
Mr. Zarqawi "is attempting to set up his own mini-army and move away from individual suicide attacks to a more organized resistance movement," writes Michael Smith.
Col. John Gronski of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard indicated Monday (5/1) why the change in tactics isn't such a good idea. Col. Gronski is commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the Pennsylvania Guard's 28th Infantry Division, stationed in Ar Ramadi.
Iraqi troops supported by Col. Gronski's soldiers killed more than 100 insurgents in a battle last week, Col. Gronski told CNN. Two Iraqi soldiers died in the battle. No Americans were killed.
The battle started when Coalition forces noticed insurgents removing weapons from a train station in the southeastern part of the city. Col. Gronski slammed them with an air strike, and then the Iraqi troops moved in.
"The Iraqi army is conducting aggressive operations here based on human intelligence from the people of Ramadi themselves," Col. Gronski said.
A 50 to 1 exchange ratio against you is not a good thing for a guerrilla force.
Most guerrilla wars are not successful. In those that have been successful, guerrillas attacked their enemy's weaknesses, not his strength.
Al Qaeda's change in tactics abandons their strengths, and plays into ours. The most effective insurgent weapon against American troops has been the roadside bomb, or IED. They're hard to detect, only small numbers of insurgents are required to place them, and ambushes can be triggered from relative safety.
The most effective insurgent weapon against the Iraqi army and police has been the suicide bomber. The suicide bomber has also been the principal means by which al Qaeda has tried to stir up sectarian conflict, and its chief propaganda weapon.
By massing for conventional guerrilla attacks, insurgents are easier to detect, and become lucrative targets for Coalition firepower. The Ramadi battle was especially lopsided. But every firefight with U.S. troops -- and almost every firefight with Iraqi soldiers -- has ended badly for the insurgents.
So why the change in tactics? It could be that Mr. Zarqawi is an idiot. The manner in which he has alienated former allies among Iraq's Sunnis suggests so. And the recent video of him fumbling with his machine gun seems convincing.
But the Sunday Times' Mr. Smith said he has run out of options:
"Faced with a shortage of foreign fighters willing to undertake suicide missions, Zarqawi wants to turn his group into a more traditional force mounting coordinated guerrilla raids on coalition targets," said Mr. Smith, who attributed his information to unnamed "U.S. intelligence sources."
Only a relative handful of zealots are required to keep the suicide bombs exploding, and the people who blow themselves up needn't have much military skill. If al Qaeda in Iraq is running short of these, it is in desperate straits.
It's important to remember that though al Qaeda (thanks to the suicide bombers) has been responsible for most of the bloodshed in Iraq, it accounts for only a small proportion of the total number of insurgents. Most are ex-Baathists still holding a torch for Saddam Hussein.
But those among the Iraqi insurgents who think they can quit the fight without fear of prosecution by the government, or persecution by Shias and Kurds out for revenge, are exploring means to do so. Iraqi president Jalal Talabani said Monday his security adviser has met with representatives of seven armed groups and is optimistic they will lay down their arms.
Meanwhile, "red on red" violence is increasing. Sunni tribes once supportive of the insurgency have formed the "Anbar Revenge Brigades" to hunt down al Qaeda operatives in the province.
The Anbar Revenge Brigades were formed in response to the assassination of tribal leaders by al Qaeda in a futile effort to keep Sunnis from cooperating with the government.
That this heavy-handed intimidation of erstwhile allies has backfired is indicated by the al Qaeda announcement April 2 that "the Iraqi resistance's high command asked Zarqawi to give up his political role...because of several mistakes he made."
Retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey, who served as President Clinton's drug czar and has been sharply critical of the Bush administration's conduct of the war, recently returned from a trip to Iraq.
He concluded: "The foreign jihadist fighters have been defeated as a strategic and operational threat to creation of an Iraqi government."
When you get this assessment from a Clintonian general, well, this opera ain't over, but the fat lady is warming up.
Posted by heavyhandedpolitics
at 6:31 PM CDT
Friday, 23 December 2005
Iraqi Woman Voter
Click here to see video of Iraqi woman voter and her words of wisdom.
Posted by heavyhandedpolitics
at 7:04 PM CST
Court Issues Troubling Decision In Dover Intelligent Design Case
From The Thomas More Law Center
ANN ARBOR, MI
— Today the district court judge issued a lengthy opinion in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case, holding that the School District violated the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution by reading to students of a ninth-grade biology class a short, one-minute statement that mentions “intelligent design” twice. Pursuant to this statement, the book Of Pandas and People, which addresses intelligent design arguments, was placed in the school district library for students to voluntarily review, along with other books that are critical of intelligent design. This statement was read in a class in which Darwin’s theory of evolution was taught pursuant to the Pennsylvania academic standards and pursuant to its standing in the scientific community. Moreover, the primary and only required text for this class, Biology by Prentice Hall, fully and! comprehensively covers the theory of evolution, and it was co-authored by one of the experts who testified for the Plaintiffs. According to the judge’s opinion, this “policy” violates the Establishment Clause, which states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.”
Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel for the Law Center, commented, “What is clear from this decision is that our present Establishment Clause jurisprudence, as several Supreme Court justices have noted, is in hopeless disarray and in need of substantial revision. In his opinion the judge bemoaned that the school district ‘deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.’ In this respect, he was correct. This case should have never made it into a federal courthouse. The Founders of this country would be astonished at the thought that this simple curriculum change ‘established religion’ in violation of the Constitution that they drafted.”
Several Supreme Court justices have openly criticized the way in which this body of constitutional law has developed. For example, Justice Thomas stated in his concurring opinion in the pledge of allegiance case, “Our jurisprudential confusion has led to results that can only be described as silly.” In Edwards v. Aguillard, a case relied upon by the district court in which the Supreme Court held that it was unconstitutional to teach creationism alongside evolution, Justice Scalia criticized the Court’s “embarrassing Establishment Clause jurisprudence.” In a school prayer case, then Justice Rehnquist noted, “It is impossible to build sound constitutional doctrine upon a mistaken understanding of constitutional history, but unfortunately the Establishment Clause has been expressly freighted with Jefferson’s misleading metaphor for nearly 40 years.” Justice Rehnquist is referring to the metaphor of the wall of separation between church and state.
Thompson continued, “The district court’s decision today continues along this path of applying a fundamentally flawed jurisprudence. Unfortunately, until the Supreme Court adopts a more coherent and historically sound jurisprudence, school districts like Dover will be at risk of costly lawsuits by the ACLU for adopting such modest curriculum changes such as the one at issue.”
Posted by heavyhandedpolitics
at 5:34 PM CST
Thursday, 22 December 2005
Sunday, 18 December 2005
THE BEST COMMERCIAL
Click the link to see one great commercial.
Posted by heavyhandedpolitics
at 7:45 PM CST
Updated: Sunday, 18 December 2005 8:17 PM CST
Friday, 18 November 2005
Bicultural Europe is doomed
By Mark Steyn
November 15, 2005
Three years ago -December 2002 - I was asked to take part in a symposium on Europe and began with the observation: "I find it easier to be optimistic about the futures of Iraq and Pakistan than, say, Holland or Denmark."
At the time, this was taken as confirmation of my descent into insanity. I can't see why. Compare, for example, the Iraqi and the European constitutions: which would you say reflected a shrewder grasp of the realities on the ground?
Or take last week's attacks in Jordan by a quartet of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's finest suicide bombers. The day after the carnage, Jordanians took to the streets in their thousands to shout "Death to Zarqawi!" and "Burn in hell, Zarqawi!" King Abdullah denounced terrorism as "sick" and called for a "global fight" against it. "These people are insane," he said of the husband-and-wife couple dispatched to blow up a wedding reception.
For purposes of comparison, consider the Madrid bombing from March last year. The day after that, Spaniards also took to the streets, for their feebly tasteful vigil. Instead of righteous anger, they were "united in sorrow" - i.e. enervated in passivity. Instead of wishing death on the perpetrators, the preferred slogan was "Basta!" - "Enough!" - which was directed less at the killers than at Aznar and Bush. Instead of a leader who calls for a "global fight", they elected a government pledged to withdraw from any meaningful role in the global fight.
My point in that symposium was a simple one: whatever their problems, most Islamic countries have the advantage of beginning any evolution into free states from the starting point of relative societal cohesion. By contrast, most European nations face the trickier task of trying to hold on to their freedom at a time of increasing societal incoherence.
True, America and Australia grew the institutions of their democracy with relatively homogeneous populations, and then evolved into successful "multicultural" societies. But that's not what's happening in Europe right now. If you want to know what a multicultural society looks like, read the names of America's dead on September 11: Arestegui, Bolourchi, Carstanjen, Droz, Elseth, Foti, Gronlund, Hannafin, Iskyan, Kuge, Laychak, Mojica, Nguyen, Ong, Pappalardo, Quigley, Retic, Shuyin, Tarrou, Vamsikrishna, Warchola, Yuguang, Zarba. Black, white, Hispanic, Arab, Indian, Chinese - in a word, American.
Whether or not one believes in "celebrating diversity", that's a lot of diversity to celebrate. But the Continent isn't multicultural so much as bicultural. There are ageing native populations, and young Muslim populations, and that's it: "two solitudes", as they say in my beloved Quebec. If there's three, four or more cultures, you can all hold hands and sing We are the World. But if there's just two - you and the other - that's generally more fractious. Bicultural societies are among the least stable in the world, especially once it's no longer quite clear who is the majority and who is the minority - a situation that much of Europe is fast approaching, as you can see by visiting any French, Austrian, Belgian or Dutch maternity ward.
Take Fiji - not a comparison France would be flattered by, though until 1987 the Fijians enjoyed a century of peaceful stable constitutional evolution the French were never able to muster. At any rate, Fiji comprises native Fijians and ethnic Indians brought in as indentured workers by the British. If memory serves, 46.2 per cent are Fijians and 48.6 per cent are Indo-Fijians; 50-50, give or take, with no intermarrying. In 1987, the first Indian-majority government came to power. A month later, Col Sitiveni Rabuka staged the first of his two coups, resulting in the Queen's removal as head of state and Fiji being expelled from the Commonwealth.
Is it that difficult to sketch a similar situation for France? Even in relatively peaceful bicultural societies, politics becomes tribal: loyalists vs nationalists in Northern Ireland, separatists vs federalists in Quebec. Picture a French election circa 2020, 2025: the Islamic Republican Coalition wins the most seats in the National Assembly. The Chiraquiste crowd give a fatalistic shrug and Mr de Villepin starts including crowd-pleasing suras from the Koran at his poetry recitals. But would Mr Le Pen or (by then) his daughter take it so well? Or would the temptation to be France's Col Rabuka prove too much?
And the Fijian scenario - a succession of bloodless coups - is the optimistic one. After all, the differences between Fijian natives and Indians are as nothing compared with those between the French and les beurs. I love the way those naysayers predicting doom and gloom in Baghdad scoff that Iraq's a totally artificial entity and that, without some Saddamite strongman, Kurds, Sunnis and Shias can't co-exist in the same state. Oh, really? If Iraq's an entirely artificial entity, what do you call a state split between gay drugged-up red-light whatever's-your-bag Dutchmen and anti-gay anti-whoring anti-everything-you-dig Muslims? If Kurdistan doesn't belong in Iraq, does Pornostan belong in the Islamic Republic of Holland?
In a democratic age, you can't buck demography - except through civil war. The Yugoslavs figured that out. In the 30 years before the meltdown, Bosnian Serbs had declined from 43 per cent to 31 per cent of the population, while Bosnian Muslims had increased from 26 per cent to 44 per cent.
So Europe's present biculturalism makes disaster a certainty. One way to avoid it would be to go genuinely multicultural, to broaden the Continent's sources of immigration beyond the Muslim world. But a talented ambitious Chinese or Indian or Chilean has zero reason to emigrate to France, unless he is consumed by a perverse fantasy of living in a segregated society that artificially constrains his economic opportunities yet imposes confiscatory taxation on him in order to support an ancien regime of indolent geriatrics.
France faces tough choices and, unlike Baghdad, in Paris you can't even talk about them honestly. As Jean-Claude Dassier, director-general of the French news station LCI, told a broadcasters' conference in Amsterdam, he has been playing down the riots on the following grounds: "Politics in France is heading to the Right and I don't want Right-wing politicians back in second or even first place because we showed burning cars on television."
Oh, well. You can understand why the Quai d'Orsay is relaxed about Iran becoming the second Muslim nuclear power. As things stand, France is on course to be the third. You heard it here first. You probably won't hear it on Mr Dassier's station at all.FAIR USE NOTICE: The above may be copyrighted material, and the use of it on Heavy Handed Politics may not have been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available on a non-profit basis for educational and discussion purposes only. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 USC ? 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
Posted by heavyhandedpolitics
at 12:59 PM CST
Updated: Friday, 18 November 2005 1:16 PM CST
Thursday, 17 November 2005
Judge Reinhardt and the Goofy 9th Circuit Court
9th Circuit Judge Sets Standard for Liberal Activism
By Jeff Johnson
CNSNews.com Senior Staff Writer
November 17, 2005
(CNSNews.com) - The "right to privacy," which liberals maintain is implied in the U.S. Constitution and which was used by the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize abortion in 1973, apparently mattered little to Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month when he ruled on a case involving parental rights.
On Nov. 2, Reinhardt wrote the Ninth Circuit Court's decision declaring that the "right to privacy" did not apply to parents who wanted to prevent public school officials in Palmdale, Calif., from giving their elementary school age children a sexually explicit survey. The ruling is but one of many that Reinhardt's critics say qualifies him as one of the most liberal and activist judges in the nation.
It also provided more ammunition for the many conservatives who want to see the Ninth Circuit Court, which currently has jurisdiction over nine Western states, plus Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, split up.
"Parents have a right to inform their children when and as they wish on the subject of sex," Reinhardt wrote in Fields v. Palmdale School District. "They have no constitutional right, however, to prevent a public school from providing its students with whatever information it wishes to provide, sexual or otherwise, when and as the school determines that it is appropriate to do so."
'The poster boy for judicial irresponsibility'
Reinhardt, a former Democratic National Committee member and labor lawyer, has been labeled by media critics "the poster boy for judicial irresponsibility," "one of the premier judicial activists on a court notorious for its judicial activism" and "the nation's most provocatively liberal judge." Seven decisions that Reinhardt either wrote or supported in were unanimously overruled by the U.S. Supreme Court in a single year.
Among his better known decisions, Reinhardt:
* ... agreed that the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance was unconstitutional;
* ... found a "right to die" in the Constitution;
* ... overturned Alaska's sex offender registry law because a registrant would suffer the "ostracism that would accompany his being publicly labeled a sex offender;"
* ... ruled that the Second Amendment, which states in part "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," does not recognize a right of individual citizens to own guns, but of state governments to arm "militias."
Critics say those decisions, and hundreds of others like them, come from Reinhardt's foundational belief that "liberal" equals "good."
"How can you tell a judge is a liberal?" Reinhardt asked law students during a speech at Georgetown University. "Liberal judges believe in a generous or expansive interpretation of the Bill of Rights. We believe that the meaning of the Constitution was not frozen in 1789; that, as society develops and evolves, its understanding of constitutional principles also grows.
"We believe that the Founding Fathers used broad general principles to describe our rights," Reinhardt continued, "because they were determined not to enact a narrow, rigid code that would bind and limit all future generations."
In Balint Vazsonyi's book, "America's Thirty Years War," the concert pianist and senior fellow of the Potomac Foundation analyzed what he called Reinhardt's "incompatibility with the American model.
"The 'law' is what his political agenda calls for," Vazsonyi wrote.
"The Founding Fathers didn't use broad general principles. They wrote a Constitution of laws. In the first ten amendments, they specified rights," Vazsonyi continued. Judge Reinhardt's description of rights "reveals either that he has not the slightest idea of what rights are, or that he has taken it upon himself to redefine the concept of rights as well as the U.S. Constitution."
Reinhardt is not shy either about trying to influence other judges. In 1994, he urged then-Supreme Court nominee Stephen Breyer to "do justice, not just administer law," if confirmed. Regarding the Constitution, Reinhardt wrote to Breyer that he should "Carry on the work of the court's great progressive thinkers.
"It was progressive justices with a view of the Constitution as a living, breathing document who gave full measure to that instrument," Reinhardt wrote, "not the legal technocrats, not those whose view of the Constitution was frozen as of 1789.
"When lawyers and judges adhere too rigidly to legal rules," according to Reinhardt, "they lose sight of the broader purposes for which those rules were created: to do justice."
Reinhardt's conservative Ninth Circuit colleague, Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain, holds a more literal view of the nation's premier legal document.
"If the text of the Constitution does not preclude the government's action, the judge must uphold it," O'Scannlain wrote in an essay about government property seizures, published on the website open-spaces.com. "He must do so even if the government's action is patently unfair or plainly inappropriate, for determining that something is 'unfair' or 'inappropriate' without an independent standard for fairness or appropriateness requires an exercise of sheer will. And the power to direct government action pursuant to one's own will is the power that a judge lacks."
When O'Scannlain wrote a scathing dissent of the Ninth Circuit's Pledge of Allegiance decision, Reinhardt's view appeared to at least temporarily change when he lectured his colleague about the necessity of "strict adherence to established constitutional principles."
Criticizing Supreme Court justices and a president
In a 1996 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Reinhardt described the conservative members of the high court as "narrow-minded" and "compassionless technocrats." Reinhardt argued that it is the court's majority, not he, whose interpretation of the Constitution is often wrong.
"I follow the law the way it used to be," he claimed, "before the Supreme Court began rolling back a lot of people's rights."
Reinhardt also told the American Bar Association Journal in 1997 that he swore an oath "to uphold the Constitution as I see it," not as he believed the Supreme Court would ultimately rule.
"If they want to cut back on constitutional rights that's their prerogative, but I'm not going to help them do it," he concluded.
In 1995, the New York Times quoted Eleanor "Eldie" Acheson, then in charge of judicial nominations for President Bill Clinton, as saying that the White House hoped to shift the focus away from the philosophy of judicial nominees and toward their legal qualifications. Reinhardt wrote Acheson a three-page, single-spaced rebuke.
"A lesson that too many people seem to forget when they get to Washington is that there has to be a reason for them to be in office," Reinhardt argued. "Are you really seriously saying that you have no interest in which philosophy your appointees have as long as they are otherwise qualified?
"Is there no limit," Reinhardt continued, "to the panic and spinelessness these days?"
Chapman University constitutional law professor John Eastman told Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly about the graduation speech Reinhardt gave there in 2001.
"Well, he basically accused anybody who didn't agree with his positions of being not fit to be a member of the bar or a lawyer or violating their oath of office," Eastman recalled. "And on a range of issues, from racial quotas to religion in schools, on the whole list, if you didn't agree with him, then you weren't a proper lawyer, and you ought to just get out of the business."
Eastman was a clerk at the Supreme Court during the 1990s when the justices overturned 28 out of the 29 Ninth Circuit cases they heard in just one session.
Earlier this year, Reinhardt handed conservatives more evidence to accuse him of trying to legislate from the bench. Reinhardt criticized the government's use of the Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations law (RICO) as being "stretched both in scope and meaning far beyond that which Congress originally intended.
"In my view, it is well past the time for our lawmakers to take another look at RICO," Reinhardt wrote, "and (to) consider amending the statute so as to limit it to its original purpose."
Reinhardt shows no signs of slowing down in either his willingness to promote his liberal viewpoint or his alleged encroachment on legislative powers. When reporters ask him about being, arguably, the most overturned federal appeals judge in history, Reinhardt routinely smiles as he notes that the Supreme Court reviews only a handful of the decisions he hands down each year. "They can't catch them all," he says.
Posted by heavyhandedpolitics
at 5:12 PM CST
Lies of the Left
Sens. Ted Kennedy, Harry Reid and Dick Durbin have accused President George Bush of lying about Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction, insisting he "lied us into war." They are even floating the suggestion that he be impeached.
Here are their accusations:
"The Bush administration misrepresented and distorted the intelligence to justify a war that America should never have fought." --Ted Kennedy
"We all know the Vice President's office was the nerve center of an operation designed to sell the war and discredit those who challenged it. ... The manipulation of intelligence to sell the war in Iraq...the Vice President is behind that." --Harry Reid
"I seconded the motion Sen. Harry Reid made last week. Republicans in Congress have refused, despite repeated promises, to investigate the Bush administration's misuse of pre-war intelligence, so Senate Democrats are standing up and demanding the truth." -- Dick Durbin, who recently compared U.S. troops to the Nazis and Pol Pot.
Naturally, the Democrat's media lemmings are reporting these charges as de facto truth, but there is considerable evidence that these Demo-gogues and their colleagues believed Iraq had WMD long before
President George Bush came to Washington. Here is a small sample of that evidence from the Clinton years
Bill Clinton: "If Saddam rejects peace, and we have to use force, our purpose is clear: We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program."
Madeleine Albright, Clinton Secretary of State: "We must stop Saddam from ever again jeopardizing the stability and the security of his neighbors with weapons of mass destruction."
Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Advisor and Classified Document Thief: "[Saddam will] use those weapons of mass destruction again as he has ten times since 1983."
Harry Reid: "The problem is not nuclear testing; it is nuclear weapons. ... The number of Third World countries with nuclear capabilities seems to grow daily. Saddam Hussein's near success with developing a nuclear weapon should be an eye-opener for us all."
Dick Durbin: "One of the most compelling threats we in this country face today is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Threat assessments regularly warn us of the possibility that...Iraq...may acquire or develop nuclear weapons."
John Kerry: "If you don't believe...Saddam Hussein is a threat with nuclear weapons, then you shouldn't vote for me."
John Edwards: "Serving on the Intelligence Committee and seeing day after day, week after week, briefings on Saddam's weapons of mass destruction and his plans on using those weapons, he cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons, it's just that simple. The whole world changes if Saddam ever has nuclear weapons."
Nancy Pelosi: "Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology, which is a threat to countries in the region, and he has made a mockery of the weapons-inspection process."
Sens. Levin, Lieberman, Lautenberg, Dodd, Kerrey, Feinstein, Mikulski, Daschle, Breaux, Johnson, Inouye, Landrieu, Ford and Kerry in a letter to Bill Clinton: "We urge you, after consulting with Congress and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions, including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq's refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs."
After President Bush was sworn into office in 2001, his administration was handed eight years worth of intelligence analysis and policy positions from the Clinton years -- you know, the years of appeasement when Saddam was tolerated, when opportunities to take out Osama bin Ladin were ignored, as was the presence of an al-Qa'ida terrorist cell in the U.S. -- which reared its head on 9/11.
In the weeks prior to the invasion of Iraq, Democrats, who had access to the same intelligence used by the Bush administration (much of which was compiled under the Clinton administration), were clear about the threat of Iraq's WMD capability.
Ted Kennedy: "We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction."
John Kerry: "I will be voting to give the president of the U.S. the authority to use force if necessary to disarm Saddam because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security. ... Without question we need to disarm Saddam Hussein."
Hillary Clinton: "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock. His missile-delivery capability, his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists including al-Qa'ida members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons."
Carl Levin: "We begin with a common belief that Saddam Hussein...is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them."
Al Gore: "We know that he has stored nuclear supplies, secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country."
Bob Graham: "We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has and has had for a number of years a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction."
For the record: Here's a partial list of what didn't make it out of Iraq before the OIF invasion: 1.77 metric tons of enriched uranium, 1,700 gallons of chemical-weapon agents, chemical warheads containing the nerve agent cyclosarin, radioactive materials in powdered form designed for dispersal over population centers, artillery projectiles loaded with binary chemical agents, etc. Assuming Irag had no WMD because only small caches were recovered after Operation Iraqi Freedom began is perilously flawed logic. That, in no way, affirms what he spirited out through Iran and Syria before OIF.
Posted by heavyhandedpolitics
at 10:15 AM CST
Sunday, 13 November 2005
THE WAR FOR THE FREE WORLD
Written by Frank Gaffney and Alex Alexiev
Friday, 11 November 2005
Not too long ago, the conventional wisdom was that Europe would emerge as a unified and mighty economic and political superpower. We were told it would engage in earnest, if friendly, competition with the United States, but that -- thanks to its substantially larger population and productive capacity -- the European Union (EU) would inevitably displace America on the world stage.
It took less than a fortnight of rioting in France, and now in several other countries of what Donald Rumsfeld has called "Old Europe," to lay bare the preposterousness of this prospect. Even before Islamists took to the streets of Paris' suburbs, the EU was a house of cards waiting to be toppled or burned down.
As usual, underlying conditions are clearer with hindsight. It is now unmistakable that Europe faces a "perfect storm" of socioeconomic, demographic, military and Islamist challenges.
As a result, the EU is poised in the coming decades to become, at best, a strife-ridden, second-rate power, unwilling or unable to help defend the Free World. Alternatively, it may simply cease as an entity or perhaps even as part of the Free World.
On the socioeconomic front, Europeans of all political persuasions have long shared a belief in the virtues of the "social market economy." By this, they meant a modified capitalist system, characterized by considerable state intervention and the fabled "social safety net." It was an arrangement intended to guarantee economic growth and prosperity, on the basis of harmonious labor relations, social cohesion and economic solidarity between the classes.
Today, however, the European project is in shambles. Somewhere along the way, its social market model lost steam and became counterproductive to economic growth. Current statistics indicate that by the mid-1990s, Europe had already begun falling behind the United States, as measured both by gross domestic product and productivity growth.
The future looks even bleaker. Structural problems are likely to limit EU growth to 1.5% at most by 2015 and even less thereafter. All this points to a sobering conclusion few in Europe are willing to admit: The vaunted social market is at the end of the line in the information and globalization age.
More importantly, Europe is just entering a demographic maelstrom that will severely limit its chances for reform. The native European population is expected to contract by between 100 million and 150 million -- a loss of one-third -- by 2050.
There are only two possible solutions that could theoretically prevent the projected demographic crisis: (1) increasing the birthrate or (2) increasing immigration. The first is virtually impossible in the short- to medium-term and unlikely in the longer term. So immigration would seem the solution of choice.
In fact, though virtually all EU governments try to discourage it, there is significant legal and illegal immigration -- estimated at more than 2 million yearly. This, indeed, is the main reason Europe's population has not yet started declining.
Unfortunately, as events in France demonstrate, the sort of immigration Europe has had actually worsens matters. For one thing, it puts additional burdens on the social welfare system rather than contributing to its solvency.
For another, such immigration has created an even greater political challenge: the extensive and ongoing radicalization of the burgeoning Moslem population throughout Europe. In the last half-century, Western Europe's Moslem population has exploded from less than 250,000 to between 15 million and 20 million. Though this remains only a small percentage of the EU's total inhabitants, the Moslem subset is both rapidly growing and has become progressively radicalized.
Today, an intolerant and violent extremist political ideology known as Islamofacism has taken hold throughout Moslem communities in France and much of Western Europe. Moreover, this fast-spreading strain is on its way to becoming the dominant face of Islam in the EU.
It is profoundly anti-Western, supported directly or indirectly by Saudi sources, and marked by wholesale rejection of such fundamental European values as democracy, secularism, separation of church and state, human rights and modernity.
It is high time for European officials and the rest of us to understand that Islam in Europe is about sedition, not religion, and needs to be treated as such.
Extremists preaching violence and jihad against their fellow citizens should be thrown in jail. Radical organizations, subversive "charities," and hate-preaching mosques should be closed.
The United States must contemplate a future in which Europe is no longer the reliable ally, philosophical soulmate and fellow pillar of Western civilization it has been for the last two centuries. At worst, some regions or countries of an Islamicized Europe could become an adversary in the longer term.
The United States should continue to offer friendship and assistance to Europeans who share our vision of freedom, individual responsibility and opportunity. In particular, a closer relationship with the United Kingdom and the Eastern European countries would include political, economic and military ties, as well as policy coordination.
From such initiatives may come a new trans-Atlantic alliance of surpassing importance in the conflict now breaking out in Europe itself: the War for the Free World.
Posted by heavyhandedpolitics
at 8:24 AM CST
Monday, 7 November 2005
The French Conflagration
By JAMES TARANTO
A week and a half of "urban unrest" in France has claimed its first fatality, the Associated Press reports from Paris:
Rioting by French youths spread to 300 towns overnight, and a 61-year-old man hurt in the violence died of his wounds, the first fatality in 11 days of unrest that has shocked the country, police said Monday. . . .
On Sunday night, vandals burned more than 1,400 vehicles, and clashes around the country left 36 police injured, setting a new high for overnight arson and violence since rioting started last month, national police chief Michel Gaudin told a news conference.
The AP adds that "apparent copycat attacks" have taken place outside France, "with five cars torched outside Brussels' main train station." Earlier, Belgian blogger Paul Belien described the European elite's passivity in the face of barbarism:
Here are today's headlines in Belgium's (only) Sunday newspaper De Zondag. Page One: "No Sign of Revolt in Belgium Yet." Page Five: "Violence Moves Towards Belgium." It almost sounds like a weather forecast, anticipating the onslaught of a hurricane that is inevitably coming.
What is happening in France has been brewing in Old Europe for years. The BBC speaks of "youths" venting their "anger." The BBC is wrong. It is not anger that is driving the insurgents to take it out on the secularised welfare states of Old Europe. It is hatred. Hatred caused not by injustice suffered, but stemming from a sense of superiority. The "youths" do not blame the French, they despise them. . . .
Unlike their fathers, who came to France from Muslim countries, accepting that, whilst remaining Muslims themselves, they had come to live in a non-Muslim country, the rioters see France as their country. They were born here. This land is their land. And since they are Muslims, this land, or at least a part of it, is Muslim as well.
A somewhat different view comes from Stephen Schwartz in the New York Post:
France has special problems with its immigrant population. Unlike Britain (where radicals dominate Islam) or Spain, the Netherlands and Denmark (where small groups of Saudi-financed Islamists operate), France faces a predicament that has more to do with Arab and African nationality and race than with faith.
France is not an upwardly mobile society when it comes to immigrants. It doesn't reward education or entrepreneurship by encouraging fair integration of Arabs or black Africans. . . .
Assimilation in France means something very different from assimilation in America. Those who permanently pledge their allegiance to France must pay a much higher price: surrender of one's own identity, and full acceptance of "Frenchness"--meaning exclusive use of the French language, radical secularism, and, typically, abandonment of most attachments to the immigrant's former home.
"We don't have the American dream here," 45-year-old Mohammed Rezzoug tells the Washington Post. "We don't even have the French dream here." The Post attributes the "rage" of "French youth" to a "fight for recognition." But other news stories bolster Belien's point about the distinctively Islamic nature of the insurgency. From Reuters:
Ahmed Hamidi, a white-bearded Moroccan electrician long resident in France, had no patience with politicians in Paris, which lies hardly an hour away but seems like another planet.
"All the politicians care about are laws for homosexuals and all those immoral things," he fumed. "They are against headscarves, against beards and against the mosques.
And from the Boston Globe:
Mahmoud Khabou, 20, the jobless son of Algerian immigrants, knows little of the world beyond the concrete housing projects that rise in bleak rows barely an hour's subway ride from the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, and other grand monuments of Paris.
But he knows who his heroes are. ''Osama bin Laden and Rodney King," he said, referring to the Al Qaeda leader and the African-American whose videotaped beating by Los Angeles police in 1991 spawned massive racial riots.
''One because he gives pride back to the Muslims," the young man asserted as he and a trio of friends stood near the charred ruins of a carpet shop. ''The other because he was just a poor man, a 'nobody man' of color, but he caused a great city to burn."
Mark Steyn sums up the geopolitical significance of it all:
The notion that Texas neocon arrogance was responsible for frosting up trans-Atlantic relations was always preposterous, even for someone as complacent and blinkered as John Kerry. If you had millions of seething unassimilated Muslim youths in lawless suburbs ringing every major city, would you be so eager to send your troops into an Arab country fighting alongside the Americans? For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have lost that battle. Unlike America's Europhiles, France's Arab street correctly identified Chirac's opposition to the Iraq war for what it was: a sign of weakness.
Steyn adds: "French cynics like the prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, have spent the last two years scoffing at the Bush Doctrine: Why, everyone knows Islam and democracy are incompatible. If so, that's less a problem for Iraq or Afghanistan than for France and Belgium."
We do not believe that Islam and democracy are incompatible. It seems likely that if France had a freer economy and a more supple sense of national identity (as does a certain hyperpuissance of our acquaintance), it would be better able to assimilate its Muslim immigrants and their children. Many Americans no doubt are tempted by schadenfreude, but a better response would be gratitude that we don't have to deal with an alienated domestic population that is to some extent aligned with global jihad. All we have to do is straighten out Iraq.
Posted by heavyhandedpolitics
at 6:08 PM CST
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