Monthly Archives: March 2007

The West Never Gets It

What would Churchill do?

Not run to the League of Nations, says an Investor’s Business Daily editorial:

Britain’s response to Iran suggests the British lion now keeps its teeth in a jar. Would Winston Churchill have responded to the kidnapping of British sailors by running to the League of Nations?

Time was, the HMS Cornwall or any other British warship would have simply blown the Iranian motorboats that seized 15 British sailors out of the water. But these are the days when Western leaders run to the United Nations seeking meaningless resolutions of condemnation.

The problem with the West is we never get it. We never grasp the fact that appeasement, conciliation and endless negotiation do not work and that the only time documents achieve peace is when the words at the top read “unconditional surrender.”

It’s been 28 years since our embassy hostages were paraded on Iranian TV, and it was that weakness on our part that had tragic consequences for decades to come, culminating in the attacks of 9/11. This time it’s British sailors, and every enemy from Osama in his cave to Ahmadinejad in his bunker is taking notes.

Maybe it’s fitting that the British sailors were kidnapped almost literally under the guns of the Cornwall. If so ordered, the frigate could have blown the Iranian Revolutionary Guard flotilla out of the water.

For Iran: Cruise Missiles Galore

Here’s Newt Gingrich, interviewed by Hugh Hewitt, on how to deal with Iran:

I think there are two very simple steps that should be taken. The first is to use a covert operation or a special forces operation to knock out the only gasoline producing refinery in Iran. There’s only one. And the second is to simply intercede by naval force, and block any tankers from bringing gasoline to Iran… I would right now say to them privately, within the next week, your refinery will no longer work. And within the following week, there will be no tankers arriving. Now if you would like to avoid being humiliated publicly, we recommend you calmly and quietly give them back now. But frankly, if you’d prefer to show the planet that you’re tiny and we’re not, we’re prepared to simply cut off your economy, and allow you to go back to walking and using oxen to pull carts, because you will have no gasoline left.

And similarly, retired Air Force General Thomas McInerney writes, in the Wall Street Journal, of our options:

…. One of which is to enact drastic economic sanctions that, oddly, would involve forcing a gasoline crisis in Iran. Tehran is kept afloat on oil revenues, but it has done so at the expense of its oil industry. While it exports large quantities of crude oil, Iran imports 40% of its domestically consumed gasoline, and each gallon at the pump is heavily subsidized. Shutting off or even restricting the supply of gasoline flowing into the country would put the regime in a crunch and drive up public discontent without creating a corresponding humanitarian crisis.

We could also apply minimal military pressure without straining our relations with our allies. To date Iran is responsible for killing more than 200 American soldiers and wounding over 635 through the introduction of what the U.S. military calls Explosively Formed Penetrators. These EFPs are shaped charges specifically designed to pierce the hulls of our armored vehicles and are much deadlier than what al Qaeda and run-of-the-mill insurgents could have come up with on their own in Iraq. Enough is enough. We could develop a tit-for-tat strategy for each EFP that is detonated in Iraq that could target nuclear support facilities or Iranian leadership or other targets calculated to put heat on the regime without endangering civilians.

…The U.S. can also assemble a large-scale force capable of an air offensive. This would serve a similar role to Reagan’s military buildup, forcing the Soviets into an arms race that they ultimately couldn’t maintain. The immediate strike force could be composed of some 75 stealth attack aircraft — B2s, F117s and the F22s — and some 250 nonstealth F15s, F16s, B52s, B1s and three carrier battle groups. These carrier battle groups are composed of over 120 F18s and cruise missiles galore. We also have over 750 UAVs for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance in Iraq today. There is more than enough to support a campaign aimed at demonstrating to the Iranian regime that with 48 hours we could hit its nuclear development facilities, command and control facilities, integrated air defenses, Air Force and Navy units and the Shahab 3 missiles using over 2,500 aim points.

We don’t need to drop leaflets from the air spelling it out for the regime in Tehran that, if we were to carry out an air campaign, it would probably unleash a new Iranian revolution. But the leadership in Iran has to first come to understand that we neither fear a Hezbollah uprising over such a strike — as Hezbollah is already carrying out terrorist attacks, we’d welcome an open fight on our terms — nor would we need the main-line coalition ground forces we used in Iraq. Instead, we could simply use the Afghan model of precision airpower supporting covert and indigenous forces.

… What Iran must come to realize — and we must now decide for ourselves — is that we are in this confrontation to win it.

The Human Wrongs Council

A view the U.N. Human Rights Council is not interested in hearing.

Breathtaking Audacity

I feel so much better after my weekly dose of Ann Coulter.

An excerpt:

…Democrats have the breathtaking audacity to claim that Bush’s replacing his own political appointees is “politicizing prosecutions.”

They say this as Sandy Berger walks free after stealing and destroying top-secret national security documents — but Lewis “Scooter” Libby faces decades in prison for not outing a covert agent. (Let’s hope he’s learned his lesson!)

They say this as Rep. William “The Refrigerator” Jefferson sits on the Homeland Security Committee while waiting for the $100,000 found in his freezer to thaw — but Tom DeLay remains under an indictment by some hick prosecutor in Texas for an alleged accounting violation.

They say this as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid draws interest on the sale of a property he sold in a complicated land swindle — but American hero Randy “Duke” Cunningham rots in prison.

They say this while Sen. Chuck Schumer pays no price whatsoever for his Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee having illegally obtained a copy of Republican Lt. Gov. Michael Steele’s credit report, for which one employee, Lauren Weiner, pleaded guilty, but served no prison time.

They say this while Sen. Teddy Kennedy is still at large (and getting larger).

Ask George Stephanopoulos

George Stephanopoulis reports on the U.S. Attorney firings for ABC without disclosing his role in the Clinton administration’s attorney purge.

From an op-ed piece by Mark Lasswell:

..Mr. Stephanopoulos might be able to help viewers understand why the firing of eight U.S. attorneys in the Bush administration has been by far the biggest television-news story lately, and yet when dozens of federal prosecutors were fired during the Clinton administration, it was barely noticed by network newscasts. According to the Tyndall Report, which tracks this sort of thing, during the week of March 12-16, the three network evening newscasts spent a total of 45 minutes on the prosecutors story, with the war in Iraq placing second at 16 minutes. “World News with Charles Gibson” logged 13 of those 45 minutes on the prosecutors.

By contrast, in 1993, Attorney General Janet Reno’s wholesale firing of U.S. attorneys appointed by George H.W. Bush was a non-story on the ABC evening news — literally a non-story, according to records kept by the Vanderbilt University Television News Archive, as in zero coverage. CBS also skipped it; NBC gave it 20 seconds.

At the risk of putting a damper on all the fun, here’s a primer on the sort of White House experience that ABC’s chief Washington correspondent could draw on to enlighten viewers.

First of all, misleading messages from a hapless attorney general can be corrected: Janet Reno had only been on the job for a matter of days when she announced the blanket dismissal of U.S. attorneys in March 1993, and she bungled the job, letting word get out that prosecutors involved in significant investigations would be allowed to complete them. As was noted at the time, this would have meant that an ongoing investigation of the powerful House Democrat and vital Clinton ally, Dan Rostenkowski, by the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Jay Stephens, would continue uninterrupted.

The White House, or rather Mr. Stephanopoulos, quickly torpedoed that idea. In a press briefing, he announced that among the prosecutors whose resignations had been demanded, “there are at least some people who are in the middle of trials right now who will not be replaced.” Trials, he specified, not investigations. “Interestingly,” a Hartford Courant editorial noted back then, “Miss Reno didn’t explain the impending dismissals. The president’s personal spokesman, George Stephanopoulos, did the fast talking.”

Lesson number two: When the White House comes under suspicion of politicizing the process of replacing federal prosecutors, don’t deny it. In 1993, when a reporter asked Mr. Stephanopoulos about the origins of Ms. Reno’s decision to jettison all the U.S. attorneys, the exchange went like this:

Mr. Stephanopoulos: I assume she was in discussions with the White House Counsel, but it is her decision.

Q: Can you tell us whether the White House Counsel may have suggested the idea?

Mr. Stephanopoulos: I don’t know if he specifically suggested it, but I am certain that he was consulted.

Q: Would it be fair then to say that after consultations with the White House she decided to do this?

Mr. Stephanopoulos: It would be fair to say that she consulted with the White House before making the announcement.

Q: And the White House approved.

Q: The decision or the announcement?

Mr. Stephanopoulos: The White House did not disagree.

Q: I want to thank you for your persistence — (Laughter).

Finally, keep an eye on the aftermath: Jay Stephens put his U.S. attorney job behind him and was soon hired by the Resolution Trust Corp., an independent regulatory agency, to investigate claims stemming from the collapse of Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan. For those who have filed away their memories of the Clintons’ Arkansas years, Madison Guaranty was connected to the Rose Law Firm, Hillary Clinton’s former employer, and the firm would be an area of interest for any investigator.

Then, in February 1994, according to the Dallas Morning News, the RTC got an irate conference call from Harold Ickes, the White House deputy chief of staff, and George Stephanopoulos, by then President Clinton’s senior advisor, to protest the hiring. Amid reports that they tried to have Mr. Stephens fired — it would have been his second pink slip in less than a year — the White House issued a statement that Mr. Ickes and Mr. Stephanopoulos had “no recollection” of making such a request.

Mr. Stephanopoulos long ago changed jobs, too, but plenty of members of Congress remain right where they were in 1993. And that may be the only lesson we need regarding the nature of the fired-prosecutors “scandal”: Then as now, Democrats control both houses, but in 2007 they have a Republican administration to make miserable.

The Fruits of Fitzgerald

A Wall Street Journal editorial holds forth on the fruits of the Fitzgerald prosecution: when it comes down to testifying under oath about who said what to whom and when, you’re better off just taking “the Fifth.”

As Tom Maguire writes:

Monica Goodling, an aide to embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, has taken the Fifth rather than testify before Senator Leahy’s Judiciary Committee in its probe into the firing of eight US attorneys.

… let me just pass on my guess as to where Leahy is headed.

His goal is to gather testimony from a number of Administration officials in order to create a case of perjury. Is there any serious prospect that he will uncover a plot to fire specific US Attorneys in order to obstruct their investigations of corrupt Republicans? Of course not.

However, somewhere in the morass of testimony will be conflicting stories. In Washington today, as Libby discovered, …Republicans don’t have poor memories – they lie, or at least that is what aggressive prosecutors and compliant juries believe.

So Leahy’s goal is to take some conflicting testimony and have his committee refer a case to the Department of Justice for possible perjury.

Common sense (or more vocally, Chuck Schumer) will then demand the appointment of a Special Counsel, since the DoJ cannot credibly investigate itself.

And the new Special Counsel, Fitzgerald II, will put everyone in the White House under oath and indict the people with the least plausible stories, plus Karl Rove (basically, for being Rove).

Well, that is Leahy’s plan as I see it; we await developments. The beauty part of this plan is that, unlike the Plame investigation, there is no reason to think that reporters will be subpoenaed. Consequently, the usual suspects in the press will be reliable cheerleaders throughout the process.

Useful Idiots at the New York Times

It’s really big of the New York Times to admit in an “editors’ note” to the latest in a series of ideologically-driven, credulous blunders. Below is their latest mea culpa and a good reason why you should never automatically believe what you read in the Times especially, but not exclusively, when it comes to charges of “sexual abuse”:

The cover article in The Times Magazine on March 18 reported on women who served in Iraq, the sexual abuse that some of them endured and the struggle for all of them to reclaim their prewar lives. One of the servicewomen, Amorita Randall, a former naval construction worker, told The Times that she was in combat in Iraq in 2004 and that in one incident an explosive device blew up a Humvee she was riding in, killing the driver and leaving her with a brain injury. She also said she was raped twice while she was in the Navy.

On March 6, three days before the article went to press, a Times researcher contacted the Navy to confirm Ms. Randall’s account. There was preliminary back and forth but no detailed reply until hours before the deadline. At that time, a Navy spokesman confirmed to the researcher that Ms. Randall had won a Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal with Marine Corps insignia, which was designated for those who served in a combat area, including Iraq, or in direct support of troops deployed in one. But the spokesman said there was no report of the Humvee incident or a record of Ms. Randall’s having suffered an injury in Iraq. The spokesman also said that Ms. Randall’s commander, who served in Iraq, remembered her but said that her unit was never involved in combat while it was in Iraq. Both of these statements from the Navy were included in the article. The article also reported that the Navy had no record of a sexual-assault report involving Ms. Randall.

After The Times researcher spoke with the Navy, the reporter called Ms. Randall to ask about the discrepancies. She stood by her account.

On March 12, three days after the article had gone to press, the Navy called The Times to say that it had found that Ms. Randall had never received imminent-danger pay or a combat-zone tax exemption, indicating that she was never in Iraq. Only part of her unit was sent there; Ms. Randall served with another part of it in Guam. The Navy also said that Ms. Randall was given the medal with the insignia because of a clerical error.

Based on the information that came to light after the article was printed, it is now clear that Ms. Randall did not serve in Iraq, but may have become convinced she did. Since the article appeared, Ms. Randall herself has questioned another member of her unit, who told Ms. Randall that she was not deployed to Iraq. If The Times had learned these facts before publication, it would not have included Ms. Randall in the article. [All emphasis mine]

Like the useful idiots on the Duke University faculty, the Times cannot resist a woman who cries rape.

Power Line has more.

Creeping Sharia

Creeping sharia in Minnesota from Katherine Kersten and in Britain and Canada by Mark Steyn.

Consequences for Conspiracy Theorists?

While District Attorney Nifong and the president of Duke may be punished for their roles in the Duke rape fraud, will the lynch mob of Duke “professors” be held accountable?

John Podhoretz thinks not:

… some of the most disgraceful actors in this case will go unpunished.

I’m referring to a huge cohort of the professors at the top-flight university attended by the three unjustly accused men.

Some 88 of them – more than 10 percent of the entire Duke professoriat – engaged in a shocking rush to judgment in the weeks following the party where the accuser falsely alleged she had been raped.

They signed an ad declaring they were “turning up the volume at a moment when some of the most vulnerable among us are being asked to quiet down.”

Their shameful conduct helped create the lynch-mob atmosphere that tempted and seduced DA Nifong to believe he could ride an indictment of the three young men to political victory in the Democratic primary that took place only weeks after he charged them.

It is not too much to say that many of the adults at Duke, who should be stewards for their students, actually wanted the false rape story to be true because it fulfilled their ideological predilections.

Since the academic work of those who organized the ad centers around the notion that the white male power structure subjugates and violates all those who are neither white nor male, the case was actually a dream come true for them.

After all, a poor African-American woman said a gang of white boys – a gang whose number changed each time she told her cock-and-bull story – had raped her only a few yards from the Duke campus.

…So here the accusation of a race-and-sex crime falls right into their laps.

Ah! At last! Proof!

Here it was: Real-world support for their absurdly airy conspiracy theories.

So what if the tale made no sense, that anyone with eyes to see could perceive almost from Day One that it was a preposterous invention?

So what if the lives of young men in their charge were at stake? It was time to “turn up the volume” – not to save countless African-American women from rape, but rather to justify their own ideas.

There will be consequences for the unseemly conduct at Duke. The university’s president, Richard Brodhead, may not survive his own rush to judgment. His conduct may lead the school’s board of trustees to look for a successor who won’t destroy reputations at the drop of a hat to satisfy the desires of the politically correct.

But for those 88 professors – what consequences will they experience?

Consequences? Don’t make me laugh.

The tenured ones will continue to enjoy their aristocratic installment in Durham. The untenured will be supported in their efforts to find similar perches elsewhere by the rest of the Gang of 88, because that’s how academic politics works.

How about even the loss of even a single night of sleep?

Oh, no. Not these folks. They’re fighting the white patriarchy. They’re on the side of the dispossessed and oppressed. They’re giving voice to the voiceless. They’re giving hope to the hopeless.

They’re fools at best and monsters at worst – and neither fools nor monsters are much troubled by attacks of conscience.

Our Best Hope

Dean of Middle East experts Bernard Lewis, in a speech, gives a clear and succinct history of Islamic relations with the West and then observes:

…We have seen in our own day the extraordinary spectacle of a pope apologizing to the Muslims for the Crusades. I would not wish to defend the behavior of the Crusaders, which was in many respects atrocious. But let us have a little sense of proportion. We are now expected to believe that the Crusades were an unwarranted act of aggression against a peaceful Muslim world. Hardly. The first papal call for a crusade occurred in 846 C.E., when an Arab expedition from Sicily sailed up the Tiber and sacked St. Peter’s Rome. A synod in France issued an appeal to Christian sovereigns to rally against “the enemies of Christ,” and the Pope, Leo IV, offered a heavenly reward to those who died fighting the Muslims. A century and a half and many battles later, in 1096, the Crusaders actually arrived in the Middle East. The Crusades were a late, limited, and unsuccessful imitation of the jihad–an attempt to recover by holy war what had been lost by holy war. It failed, and it was not followed up.

Here is another more recent example of multiculturalism. On October 8, 2002–I insist on giving the date because you may want to look it up–the then French prime minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin, who I am told is a staunch Roman Catholic, was making a speech in the French National Assembly and talking about the situation in Iraq. Speaking of Saddam Hussein, he remarked that one of Saddam Hussein’s heroes was his compatriot Saladin, who came from the same Iraqi town of Tikrit. In case the members of the Assembly were not aware of Saladin’s identity, M. Raffarin explained to them that it was he who was able “to defeat the Crusaders and liberate Jerusalem.” Yes. When a French prime minister describes Saladin’s capture of Jerusalem from the largely French Crusaders as an act of liberation, this would seem to indicate a rather extreme case of realignment of loyalties.

I was told this, and I didn’t believe it. So I checked it in the parliamentary record. When M. Raffarin used the word “liberate,” a member–the name was not given–called out, “Libérer?” He just went straight on. That was the only interruption, and as far as I was aware there was no comment afterwards.

The Islamic radicals have even been able to find some allies in Europe. In describing them I shall have to use the terms left and right, terms which are becoming increasingly misleading. The seating arrangements in the first French National Assembly after the revolution are not the laws of nature, but we have become accustomed to using them. They are difficult when applied to the West nowadays. They are utter nonsense when applied to different brands of Islam. But as I say, they are what people use, so let us put it this way.

They have a left-wing appeal to the anti-U.S. elements in Europe, for whom they have so-to-speak replaced the Soviets. They have a right-wing appeal to the anti-Jewish elements in Europe, replacing the Axis. They have been able to win considerable support under both headings. For some in Europe, their hatreds apparently outweigh their loyalties.

There is an interesting exception to that in Germany, where the Muslims are mostly Turkish. There they have often tended to equate themselves with the Jews, to see themselves as having succeeded the Jews as the victims of German racism and persecution. I remember a meeting in Berlin convened to discuss the new Muslim minorities in Europe. In the evening I was asked by a Muslim group of Turks to join them and hear what they had to say about it, which was very interesting. The phrase which sticks most vividly in my mind from one of them was, “In a thousand years they (the Germans) were unable to accept 400,000 Jews. What hope is there that they will accept two million Turks?” They used this very skillfully in playing on German feelings of guilt in order to inhibit any effective German measures to protect German identity, which I would say like others in Europe is becoming endangered.

…Where do we stand now? Is it third time lucky? It is not impossible. They have certain clear advantages. They have fervor and conviction, which in most Western countries are either weak or lacking. They are self-assured of the rightness of their cause, whereas we spend most of our time in self-denigration and self-abasement. They have loyalty and discipline, and perhaps most important of all, they have demography, the combination of natural increase and migration producing major population changes, which could lead within the foreseeable future to significant majorities in at least some European cities or even countries.

But we also have some advantages, the most important of which are knowledge and freedom. The appeal of genuine modern knowledge in a society which, in the more distant past, had a long record of scientific and scholarly achievement is obvious. They are keenly and painfully aware of their relative backwardness and welcome the opportunity to rectify it.

Less obvious but also powerful is the appeal of freedom. In the past, in the Islamic world the word freedom was not used in a political sense. Freedom was a legal concept. You were free if you were not a slave. The institution of slavery existed. Free meant not slave. Unlike the West, they did not use freedom and slavery as a metaphor for good and bad government, as we have done for a long time in the Western world. The terms they used to denote good and bad government are justice and injustice. A good government is a just government, one in which the Holy Law, including its limitations on sovereign authority, is strictly enforced. The Islamic tradition, in theory and, until the onset of modernization, to a large degree in practice, emphatically rejects despotic and arbitrary government. Living under justice is the nearest approach to what we would call freedom.

But the idea of freedom in its Western interpretation is making headway. It is becoming more and more understood, more and more appreciated and more and more desired. It is perhaps in the long run our best hope, perhaps even our only hope, of surviving this developing struggle.