Monthly Archives: November 2009

He's Already Done That

Fouad Ajami exposes the failure of Barry’s Middle East policy of American penance.

An excerpt:

…There is little Mr. Obama can do about [Arab] disenchantment [with him]. Mr. Obama has himself to blame for the disarray of his foreign policy. American arms had won a decent outcome in Iraq, but Mr. Obama would not claim it—it was his predecessor’s war. Vigilance had kept the American homeland safe from terrorist attacks for seven long years under his predecessors, but he could never grant Bush policies the honor and credit they deserved. He had declared Afghanistan a war of necessity, but he seems to have his eye on the road out even as he is set to announce a troop increase in an address to be delivered tomorrow.

…He can’t journey to Turkey to tell its Islamist leaders and political class that a decade of anti-American scapegoating is all forgiven and was the product of American policies—he has already done that. He can’t journey to Cairo to tell the fabled “Arab street” that the Iraq war was a wasted war of choice, and that America earned the malice that came its way from Arab lands—he has already done that as well. He can’t tell Muslims that America is not at war with Islam—he, like his predecessor, has said that time and again.

…Steeped in an overarching idea of American guilt, Mr. Obama and his lieutenants offered nothing less than a doctrine, and a policy, of American penance. No one told Mr. Obama that the Islamic world, where American power is engaged and so dangerously exposed, it is considered bad form, nay a great moral lapse, to speak ill of one’s own tribe when in the midst, and in the lands, of others.

The crowd may have applauded the cavalier way the new steward of American power referred to his predecessor, but in the privacy of their own language they doubtless wondered about his character and his fidelity. “My brother and I against my cousin, my cousin and I against the stranger,” goes one of the Arab world’s most honored maxims. The stranger who came into their midst and spoke badly of his own was destined to become an object of suspicion.

Mr. Obama could not make up his mind: He was at one with “the people” and with the rulers who held them in subjugation. The people of Iran who took to the streets this past summer were betrayed by this hapless diplomacy—Mr. Obama was out to “engage” the terrible rulers that millions of Iranians were determined to be rid of…

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Climategate: The Silence of Iago

David Warren on “Climategate”:

A computer hacker in England has done the world a service by making available a huge quantity of evidence for the way in which “human-induced global warming” claims have been advanced over the years.

By releasing into the Internet about a thousand internal e-mails from the servers of the Climate Research Unit in the University of East Anglia — in some respects the international clearing house for climate change “science” — he has (or they have) put observers in a position to see that claims of conspiracy and fraud were not unreasonable.

More generally, we have been given the materials with which to obtain an insight into how all modern science works when vast amounts of public funding is at stake and when the vested interests associated with various “progressive” causes require a particular scientific result.

… as we glean from the hacked documents, supporters of the hypothesis have been able to reverse the onus of proof. In the last resort, their argument comes down to: We say the planet is warming. And anyone who says the contrary must “prove the negative” beyond the faintest shadow of a doubt. And we will be their judges.

Nigel Lawson (a.k.a. Baron Lawson of Blaby), the former British chancellor of the exchequer, who is among prominent persons demanding a full and open public inquiry, summarized the content of the e-mails in this way:

“Astonishingly, what appears, at least at first blush, to have emerged is that (a) the scientists have been manipulating the raw temperature figures to show a relentlessly rising global warming trend; (b) they have consistently refused outsiders access to the raw data; (c) the scientists have been trying to avoid freedom of information requests; and (d) they have been discussing ways to prevent papers by dissenting scientists being published in learned journals.”

…It is amusing to see mainstream media sources such as the New York Times, which thinks nothing of publishing purloined government documents that will endanger the lives of U.S. soldiers in the field, and compromise vital intelligence operations, suddenly become all jowly and uptight about publishing the e-mails in question because they were “illegally obtained.”

Other media — which have played a leading part for years in giving credibility to “global warming” claims — are now maintaining the silence of Iago on the revelations. We will see how long this can be sustained.

Of Muslims and Sarah: Unacceptable To Complain

Reuel Marc Gerecht on how the FBI’s fear of offending Muslims is making us vulnerable to terrorists:

…It shouldn’t require the U.S. to have a French-style, internal-security service to neutralize the likes of Maj. Hasan. He combines all of the factors—especially his public ruminations about American villainy in the Middle East and his overriding sense of Muslim fraternity—that should have had him under surveillance by counterintelligence units. Add the outrageous fact that he was in email correspondence with Anwar al-Awlaqi, a pro-al Qaeda imam well-known to American intelligence, and it is hard not to conclude that the FBI is still incapable of counterterrorism against an Islamic target.

For the FBI, religion remains a much too sensitive subject, much more so than the threatening ideologies of yesteryear. Imagine if Maj. Hasan had been an officer during the Cold War, regularly expressing his sympathy for the Soviet Union and American criminality against the working man. Imagine him writing to a KGB front organization espousing socialist solidarity. The major would have been surrounded by counterintelligence officers.

And D. L. Flynn in a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal reveals the illogical argument used against Sarah Palin:

..What is… striking in [columnist Thomas] Frank’s opinion is that, with all the whining and vindictive instances that he [ascribes to her], never once does he say that Sarah Palin’s statements in her book “Going Rogue” are false. He only says that it is unacceptable to complain. This leaves the assumption that, in Washington politics, it is acceptable to damage another’s character because that person can never complain since complaining about it would be unacceptable proof of whining and vindictiveness and show evidence of a poor character…

We Know You're Black. Now Try Being President.

Mark Steyn on the Obama amateur hour:

My radio pal Hugh Hewitt said to me on the air the other day that Barack Obama “doesn’t know how to be president.” It was a low but effective crack, and I didn’t pay it much heed. But, after musing on it over the past week or so, it seems to me frighteningly literally true. I don’t just mean social lapses like his latest cringe-making bow, this time to Their Imperial Majesties The Emperor and Empress of Japan – though that in itself is deeply weird: After the world superbower’s previous nose-to-toe prostration before the Saudi king, one assumed there’d be someone in the White House to point out tactfully that the citizen-executives of the American republic don’t bow to foreign monarchs. Along with his choreographic gaucherie goes his peculiar belief that all of human history is just a bit of colorful back story in the Barack Obama biopic – or as he put it in his video address on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall:

“Few would have foreseen on that day that a united Germany would be led by a woman from Brandenburg or that their American ally would be led by a man of African descent.” In this Nov. 14, 2009, photo U.S. President Barack Obama bows as he is greeted by Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko, not pictured, upon arrival at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. Obama’s awkward encounter with Akihito – bows are not meant to accompany physical contact – is not even the first time the president, a Democrat in office less than a year, has been criticized for his greeting of a foreign leader: Critics accused him of genuflecting to Saudi King Abdullah at a G-20 summit earlier this year.

Tear down that wall …so they can get a better look at me!!! Is there no-one in the White House grown-up enough to say, “Er, Mr. President, that’s really the kind of line you get someone else to say about you”? And maybe somebody could have pointed out that Nov. 9, 1989, isn’t about him but about millions of nobodies whose names are unknown, who lead dreary lives doing unglamorous jobs and going home to drab accommodations, but who, at a critical moment in history, decided they were no longer going to live in a prison state. They’re no big deal, they’re never going to land a photoshoot for Vanity Fair. But it’s their day, not yours. It’s not the narcissism, so much as the crassly parochial nature of it.

…Some years ago, when Ellen DeGeneres came out as a lesbian and ensuing episodes of her sitcom grew somewhat overly preoccupied with the subject, Elton John remarked: “OK, we know you’re gay. Now try being funny.” I wonder if Sir Elton might be prevailed upon to try a similar pitch at the next all-star White House gala: OK, we know you’re black. Now try being president. But a few days later, Obama dropped in on U.S. troops at Osan Air Base in South Korea for the latest episode of The Barack Obama Show (With Full Supporting Chorus). “You guys make a pretty good photo op,” he told them.

Hmm. Do I detect a belated rationale for the Afghan campaign?

You Call Yourself A Black Man?

An editorial in today’s Wall Street Journal questions whether the political left is really interested in our becoming a post-racial society:

When Alabama Congressman Artur Davis voted against the health-care bill that passed the House earlier this month, he probably expected some grief from fellow Democrats. But he couldn’t have anticipated being accused of selling out his race.

Mr. Davis was the only black Member to oppose the legislation, and his vote earned him a rebuke from Jesse Jackson at a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation reception Wednesday night. “We even have blacks voting against the health-care bill,” said Mr. Jackson. “You can’t vote against health care and call yourself a black man.”

…Liberals insist that America still isn’t “post-racial,” notwithstanding the election of President Obama. But when a politician’s skin color is gratuitously invoked in a debate about whether the government should have more control of health care, you have to wonder if the political left has any serious interest in a color-blind society. Former President Jimmy Carter suggests that whites who oppose the President’s policies are racists; Mr. Jackson says blacks who oppose them are betraying their race…

The very last thing the political left wants with a black man in the White House is a color-blind society. As we get closer to election day next year and in 2012 and if the Democrats and Barry are in trouble, we can expect to hear how a vote against Barry and the Democrats is a vote to return to our racist past; therefore, anyone who votes Republican is, by definition, racist.

Why would the political left want to give up such a powerful weapon?

Is Israel Worse Than Sarah?

He’s British and probably the world’s foremost gay activist for gay marriage. He also has an obsessive hatred of Sarah Palin and Israel. Andrew Sullivan speaks:

…Since Obama took office, the White House has for the first time in many, many years actually tried seriously to get Israel to stop engaging in daily provocation of the people they will one day have to make peace with by stopping settlement construction. The Israeli government, contemptuous of the new administration, has given the US the finger again.

Today, in an even more brazen act of anti-American defiance, we read this:

“The cornerstone-laying ceremony at Nof Zion took place a day after the Israeli authorities moved ahead with plans for the expansion of Gilo, a Jewish residential district in south Jerusalem also on land captured in the 1967 war. The plans for 900 more housing units drew a sharp rebuke from the White House.”

The contempt for the US president and contempt for the Palestinians is revealed in this Goldblog email:

“Gilo is so much a part of the Israeli consensus that even a Meretz member of the Jerusalem City Council told Army Radio this morning that it is integral part of Jerusalem and that Israel has every right to build there.”

The criterion here is not what America might think, or the Palestinians might think, but just where the Israeli consensus is. That’s all that matters – even to American commentators. And all this is designed, of course, to prevent any future two-state solution.

Those who say they are for a two-state solution also somehow always find a reason why, in this case, the US should bow to Israel again. Take my colleague Jeffrey Goldberg who – surprise! – writes this:

“It doesn’t matter, then, if the Israelis build 900 housing units in Gilo or 900 skyscrapers: Gilo will be kept by Israel in exchange for a one-to-one land swap with Palestine. All “settlements” are not created equal: Better for the Obama Administration to talk tough to Israel about the settlements ringing Nablus, for instance, because these are communities whose existence makes it impossible to create a contiguous, viable Palestinian state.”

But why should we tolerate any such settlements? Why should we continue to enable the Israelis’ persistent desire to seize more Palestinian land, evict more Palestinian families, and create yet more facts on the ground that make any final deal more and more outside our reach? The settlements are a constant humiliation for the Palestinians, they inflame Arab opinion, and these actions have been designed in part to humiliate Obama and show the Arab world who really dictates the boundaries of US foreign policy in the Middle East. It isn’t the president of the United States.

Things are bad enough with Obama, whose humiliation at the hands of a thrilled Netanyahu is not unnoticed across Europe and the Middle East. But imagine – just imagine – if John McCain had been elected, had fallen ill, and we had his beloved Sarah Palin in the White House. Right now.

Palin Obsessive-Compulsion Disorder

David Harsanyi on the Obama-media’s obsessive-compulsive hatred of Sarah Palin:

…believe it or not, one can (as I do) admire Palin’s charisma and roots, appreciate her dissent on the policy experiments brainy folks in Washington are cooking up and, at the same time, believe she has no business running for president in 2012.

In fact, all you haters out there motivate me to root for her.

There’s nothing wrong, for instance, with The Associated Press’ assigning a crack team of investigative journalists to sift through every word of Palin’s book, “Going Rogue,” for inaccuracies. You only wish similarly methodical muckraking were applied to President Barack Obama’s two self-aggrandizing tomes — or even the health care or cap-and-trade bills, for that matter.

The widely read blogger and purveyor of all truth, Andrew Sullivan, was impelled to blog 17 times on the subject of Palin on the same day Americans learned that the Obama administration had awarded $6.7 billion in stimulus money to nonexistent congressional districts — which did not merit a single mention. To see what is in front of one’s nose demands a constant struggle, I guess….

See You In New York

Will the “KSM” trial in New York City showcase our magnificent criminal justice system as Barry and his supporters claim? Were the preceding terrorist trials in civilian courts a fabulous display of the genius of our criminal justice system or a dismal travesty?

Bret Stephens examines the Moussaoui case:

…Moussaoui was arrested in August 2001, and indicted that December. It would take until May 2006 before a jury would sentence him to life in prison, a single juror having spared him a death sentence. Assuming a similar time frame for the KSM trials, that means we can expect verdicts in 2015. That’s a long time to keep lower Manhattan in a perpetual state of red alert.

Yet the Moussaoui trial wasn’t merely interminable. It was also incompetent. Moussaoui did everything he could to turn it into a circus, at various times entering contradictory pleas on the view, as he put it, that “you’re allowed to lie for jihad.” Lawyers for the government were repeatedly accused of malfeasance, leading Judge Leonie Brinkema to observe at one point that “I have never seen such an egregious violation of a rule on witnesses.” The judge herself came close to dismissing the entire case, even as the Fourth Circuit had to step in to reverse one of her rulings…

And he reveals a painful, politically-incorrect truth about the New York City jury pool:

…No small number of potential New York City jurors would find KSM a more credible witness than any number of Bush administration officials—think Alberto Gonzales or Dick Cheney—who might be called to the stand…

William McGurn looks at the first World Trade Center trial:

…Andrew McCarthy has a unique perspective on the move to criminal trials. As an assistant U.S. attorney in 1993, he successfully prosecuted Omar Abdel Rahman (the “blind sheikh”) for the first bombing of the World Trade Center. Even though the cases were somewhat different—that plot was conceived, plotted and carried out on U.S. soil—Mr. McCarthy says the experience persuaded him that federal trials are a bad way of handling terror.

“At first, I was of the mind that a criminal prosecution would uphold all our high-falutin’ rhetoric about the constitution and majesty of the law,” says Mr. McCarthy. “But when you get down to the nitty gritty of a trial, you see one huge problem: The criminal justice system imposes limits on the government and gives the defendant all sorts of access to information, because we’d rather have the government lose than unfairly convict a man. You can’t take that position with an enemy who is at war with you and trying to bring that government down.”…

Ronald Cass wonders whether Holder and his advisers will be held accountable (as liberals want Bush’s advisers to be held accountable for their Iraq War decisions) if his decision backfires.

Consolation Gift

Why would Barry, er Attorney General Holder, decide to bring the mastermind of 9/11 to New York for a criminal trial, a decision guaranteed to infuriate everyone but the far, far left? As one who considers Barry to be a cynical demagogue, I will try to give you the answer.

Barry has striven to do whatever Bush would not do, but it has been hard going. He would like to fully embrace his campaign rhetoric that Bush made us less safe by aggressively prosecuting the war on terror which, Barry claimed, only created more terrorists. But he’s been afraid to do this for fear that Bush’s policies are, in fact, the reason that there had been no terrorist act in America between the time of 9/11 and Fort Hood. Thus Barry has had to keep the despicable Patriot Act and the NSA wiretaps for fear that getting rid of them would result in a terrorist attack which would in turn disastrously expose the Democratic Party’s Achilles heel- weakness on national security.

Thus the far left “base” is not happy. They are also not happy that Barry may be forced to send more troops to Afghanistan, where we are in a war that he proclaimed to be one of necessity rather than choice.

Also, despite huge Democratic Congressional majorities, Barry probably will not be able to deliver what he promised his base on medical reform: a European-style national medical system. Also today, Politico reports that the administration will drop the global warming legislation, aka cap and trade, in order to concentrate on the deficit, another decision guaranteed to make the left go berserk.

So a New York criminal trial for “KSM” with all of the risks and horrifying possibilities that it entails is Barry’s consolation gift to the loony left.

Here’s his calculation: while New Yorkers may get upset about having “KSM” in their midst (and making their city an even more attractive target for attack, not to mention that a judge may throw out the case because of “waterboarding”), they are unlikely to be so upset that they would vote for a Republican.

The Speech He Should Have Made

Richard Fernandez tells us what Barry should have said at Fort Hood:

…First of all, I would like to apologize, as Commander in Chief and on behalf of the entire chain of command, for failing to protect the men who were shot here some days ago. The specific shortcomings which allowed the shooter the opportunity to commit this crime will determined and rectified forthwith. That is the least I can do for those who died.

You men and women of the Armed Forces are expected to risk your lives in the service of our country; to overcome your fears, to bear up against hardship and risk your life and limb to protect the nation you serve. No one will accept the excuse ‘I was afraid’ from a soldier, though God knows there will be times when fear will be the natural thing for a man to feel. But in return the senior military and political leadership owe you its own kind of courage. Perhaps not the physical bravery expected of you, but courage nonetheless. The courage never to call you to arms unless national interest absolutely demand it; the fortitude to support you unswervingly until your mission — the mission we gave you — is completed. We owe you that. The leadership owes you the best equipment, the finest intelligence and the most competent leadership. But above all we owe you our loyalty and the assurance that everyone placed above you and alongside you wearing the uniform of the United States is someone you could trust implicitly with your life. Because there would be times when you would have to.

And in that duty we have failed.

For reasons which brook no excuse, whether from lack of competence or the absence of professional courage, we have allowed a traitor to gain a position of trust in your midst. We gave him high rank. We gave him the prerogatives and honors due to a member of the medical profession and an officer in the Armed Forces. And he used that position to kill the men we are remembering today. We who demand of you the courage to routinely risk your lives in the service of our nation did not ourselves have fortitude to expel a man from the service who by rights should have been gone because we feared criticism. We feared being accused of bigotry. We feared being accused of persecuting a religion. We feared the bad publicity that would come from recognizing the danger signals which have all too tragically culminated in this. It was out of fear that we forbore and men died…

Read Army Major Shawn Keller’s response to the massacre.