Why I’m OK with McCain’s mistake

March 18, 2008

John McCain made a mistake today (although by the time you read this, it will have been yesterday).  While in Amman, Jordan, McCain claimed that the Iranian regime was taking al Qaeda operatives for training.  He said it was “common knowledge and has been reported in the media that al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran, that’s well known. And it’s unfortunate” (Weekly Standard Blog).  He quickly corrected himself.  Tom Jocelyn at WS tries to claim it wasn’t a mistake, but it was – and more to the point, even in error, McCain reveals why he is the best choice for the White House.

Consider this: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama insist that neither Saddam Hussein nor the Iranian mullahcracy had (and in Tehran’s case, has) any ties to al Qaeda or its affiliates.  That is a far more glaring and dangerous mistake, and one that is not only easily exposed (here’s Saddam’s ties, and here’s Iran’s).

McCain, by contrast, made and corrected a mistake on the nature of Tehran’s ties to al Qaeda (Tehran arms and funds al Q, but we have no evidence of actual training in Iran – yet).  That’s a lot better than not recognizing that Tehran and al Qaeda work together.  Fact is, John McCain’s mistakes are far better than those of his opponents.


More on Saddam Hussein’s ties to al Qaeda

March 18, 2008

With the Bush Administration’s ridiculous silence on the captured documents from the Saddam Hussein regime, it is up to us in the blogosphere to spread the word: Saddam’s ties to terrorists ran long and deep, and yes, that included al Qaeda.  Of course, the average American wouldn’t know this from MSM, which has already misreported the inital reports on these documents, the National Intelligence, Estimate on Iran, and heaven knows what else.  Still facts are stubborn things, and these documents reveal the facts for all to see.

In the early 1990s, Saddam asked his minions to list the “friendly elements” that he could use to hunt down Americans.  His foreign intelligence chief responded thusly (Weekly Standard Blog):

In reference to your memo Top Secret Personal and Very Urgent 425/K dated 18 Jan 1993. Below are the groups with whom our agency has relations, and who have elements dispersed on the Arab land and have the expertise to carry out the aforementioned mission.

Among the eleven organizations listed were the one of the building blocks of al Qaeda – Egyptian Islamic Jihad (Ayman al-Zawahiri’s group, allied with bin Laden since the 1990s and an official part of al Qaeda since 2002) - and Jamiat-e-Ulema Islam, which spawned the Taliban.

These were the forces to whom Saddam looked when he wanted to kill Americans.  No ties to terror or al Qaeda?  That isn’t funny anymore.


Obama’s speech: old wine in a new bottle

March 18, 2008

Drudge managed to get a hold of an advance copy of Barack Obama’s speech today.  No doubt it will inspire millions of  Americans and relieve millions more.  It has soaring rhetoric and artful turns of phrase.

What it doesn’t have – despite what are sure to be the claims of the Obama camp in particular and Democrats in general - is anything new.

Obama’s speech reminds us of one of the two fundamental facts about race and the American political system – that this nation has suffered under a racial divide in politics since at least 1865.  This is not news to many people (although my choice of date may be challenged, and not entirely without merit).

However, there is one more fundamental fact: the American left and center-left have been arguing that big government can unite all poor Americans and heal the racial divide since 1866.  This one is not so well-known.  Most Americans know far less about history than they should, and even in Dixie, where both history and race-relations are given far more sensitivity, the period between 1865 and 1953 seems to have been forgotten.  Still, Obama’s speech, platform, and policy prescriptions are themselves as old as Jim Crow.

Radical Republicans used it, in part, during Reconstruction (and somewhat after it).  FDR practically built the southern wing of his political coalition on it, as did Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter.  The fact that Carter had a harder time than Johnson in Dixie reveals that, in fact, big government doesn’t accomplish this.

To see why, take a look at the crux of Obama’s argument:

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many.

For starters, Obama asks African-Americans, other minorities, and poor whites not to end their feelings of hatred and resentment, but to point them in another direction - towards an “acceptable” villain.  Thus, Obama is just as divisive as his would-be critics, but since the division is one of class rather than race, it sounds (to some) to be unifying and healing.  It’s not.

Moreover, it takes class and blithely assumes that they are as immutable as race.  Are poor Americans destined to be poor forever?  Obama seems to think so.  Are Americans currently wealthy today guaranteed to keep their fortune?  Are their heirs?  Again, for Obama, these are certainties.  In the American economy, however, none of these things are certain.

Finally, Obama’s vision of America approaching perfection, because that vision is firmly planted to America’s left, ignores several things.  Here are just a few.

  • No mention of removing government barriers to entrepreneurship, so men and women of all races and creeds can start a business, create jobs, and provide goods and services to their communities
  • No mention of creating an economic climate where those who have succeeded are rewarded and thus have the incentive to invest in America and advance her forward
  • No mention of mobilizing Americans of all creeds and races to win the war and defeat our enemies.  In fact, war is only mentioned twice, and both times it is considered simply a scourge to be ended, not a struggle that must be won

Obama’s silence on these matters is deafening.  In fact, the last one goes to the point that forced Obama to make this speech in the first place: Reverend Jeremiah Wright.  Obama goes to great length to try and explain Wright’s anger at America’s failings.  Unfortunately, Obama does not explain, because he cannot explain, Wright’s fierce anti-Americanism on international matters.

Many would assume the latter can simply sprout from the former, but that is hardly necessary.  Thousands of African-Americans who suffered under discrimination in America still chose to fight for the Union in the Civil War.  Afterwards, hundreds of thousands more served in our military despite suffering discrimination.  For decades, leading members of the African American community – Roy Wilkins and George Schuyler, among others – were determined anti-Communists who knew full well that whatever white Americans thought about their skin color, America’s enemies saw only their nationality and hated them for it.

Now, Barack Obama is still a departure from other African-American Democratic politicians.  His belief in American exceptionalism remains – he repeated it here in this speech.  However, it is now clear that it is rooted in a left-wing vision of America that does not exist and that must not exist.

In short, this speech did not reveal a new agenda or a fresh vision for America; instead, it revealed how Marxism (yes, that’s what this was) has adapted to the 21st Century.  This was an old platform in new rhetoric – and nothing more.

OTHER REACTIONS: J.R. at Bearing Drift and Leslie Carbone also weigh in (this list will likely lengthen as the day goes on).


Is Taiwan paying attention to Tibet?

March 18, 2008

From one perspective, the Communist crackdown on Tibet couldn’t come at a better time.  The Olympics is still five months away – more than enough time, sadly, for people to forget what has happened this month.  Furthermore, this could take a lot of steam out of the reaction to the 50th anniversary of the bloody March 1959 crackdown.  From another angle, however, it couldn’t have come at a worse time, because Taiwan will elect a new President on Saturday.

Up until last week, it was fairly certain who the President would be – former Taipei Mayor Ma Ying-jeou.  Ma is the nominee of the Kuomintang (Nationalist – KMT for short) party; the party which under Chiang Kai-Shek ran all of China, then retreated to Taiwan in 1949 and ruled until losing power in the election of 2000.

Older readers might remember the KMT as the leading anti-Communist force in East Asia, but that was a long time ago.  During the 1990′s, under President Lee Teng-hui, Taiwan transitioned to a democracy, and the Taiwanese people became more confident in themselves, their elected government (Lee stood for election in 1996 and won overwhelmingly), and their right to be treated as an independent nation.

Meanwhile, Communist China, sensing an opportunity in the increasingly homesick leadership of the KMT, began making overtures toward winning them over.  The “one country, two systems” model for Hong Kong (which looked a lot better before it was implemented than it does eleven years on) was touted as a possible future for Taiwan – and many in the KMT started abandoning anti-Communism and supported reunification even under Communist rule.

Lee, however, did not, which set off a factional split in the KMT that allowed the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to win in 2000 under Chen Shui-bian.  The split within the KMT was so bad that Lee quit the party and formed his own (the Taiwan Solidarity Union), which endorsed Chen for re-election (he won).  Now, however, after eight years, Taiwanese voters seemed to be tired of the DPP, while the KMT nominated Ma – who has taken care to adopt anti-Communist rhetoric his entire career.

The DPP nominee (former Premier Frank Hsieh) had been unable to gain any traction, even as Ma proposed a “peace treaty” with the Communists.  All the signs pointed to a KMT blowout – until Tibet started bleeding.

How worried was Ma?  He uttered these words when asked about the possibility of the Communists doing the same to Taiwan: “Taiwan is not Tibet … we are a sovereign country” (CNS News).  To KMT supporters, those words are the sine qua non of political incorrectness.  To top it off, Ma even talked about boycotting the Olympics this morning (Agence France Presse).

Will it be enough?  It’s hard to say.  As I mentioned earlier, these aren’t Ma’s first anti-Communist statements.  The concern was always whether or not the rest of the KMT would push him towards “reconciliation” – and that concern won’t go away no matter what Ma says.  Still, if Ma wins, he will not be able to run away from his anti-Communist rhetoric without suffering horrendous political consequences, if Taiwan still has the opportunity to deliver them.

Why do I say that?  Three years ago an inside CCP source leaked that the Communist regime intends to conquer Taiwan by no later than 2012.  This timeline is not dependent on Taiwanese policy, but rather the Communists’ schedule for neutralizing dissidents.  Of course, the Communists have repeatedly tired to cover their true face with their “peaceful rise” nonsense – nonsense has been literally shot away in Tibet.

What Tibet has revealed is the true nature of the Communist regime, which Taiwan’s voters should not take lightly.  I would humbly submit (since I’m American and not Taiwanese, it can be nothing but humbly), that the island democracy cannot risk Ma succumbing to the Communist-sympathizing elements of the KMT.  It is far better to stick with the true anti-Communist coalition (DPP-TSU), and elect Frank Hsieh - which as Tibet continues to bleed – might just happen now.


McCain leads by six points

March 17, 2008

It doesn’t matter which Democrat is the nominee, according to Rasmussen.  The numbers are the same: 48-42.

Granted, we’re eight months out, and anything can happen.  Still, how many Americans would have believed that the Republican nominee would be the favorite at any point in 2008?

Meanwhile, the GOP has clawed back to within four point of the Dems on the Congressional generic ballot (the deficit was double digits three months ago – Rasmussen).

We’re in for a wild ride.


Planned Parenthood staffer: “Excited” about killing minority children

March 17, 2008

At first, I was content to just link to Leslie Carbone’s fascinating post about the deeply troubling reaction of a Planned Parentood staffer to a would-be donor determined to send his money to aborting pre-born African American children.  It’s bad enough as it is.

Then it hit me – my tax dollars (and yours) are paying for this, courtesy of Bill Howell.

Nice job, schmucko.


A quick – and necessary – history primer

March 17, 2008

Senator Charles Schumer of New York – perhaps looking to divert attention from his home state right now – likened President Bush to Herbert Hoover over the weekend.

No President likes to get the Great Depression President label slapped on him, but as Larry Kudlow notes in NRO‘s Corner, it doesn’t make any sense either:

Senator Schumer is calling Bush “Herbert Hoover.” But Hoover signed protectionist Smoot-Hawley, just as Hillary and Obama are today trying to break up NAFTA. Hoover signed a huge tax increase, just as Hill-Bama are preaching. The Dems are emulating Hoover. Bush is trying to stop it.

Kudlow does think Bush needs to buck up the dollar (and I agree).  Outside of that, however, Bush is head and shoulders above the Democrats who would replace him.  If only he were as tough on spending as John McCain.


John Derbyshire on the Communist Olympiad

March 17, 2008

From NRO - The Corner:

The International Olympic Committee deserves some kind of award for gross and sensational stupidity, giving the Summer Games to the ChiComs. This is going to be a major fiasco. Big enough to bring down the whole commie regime? I doubt it, but we can dream.

Indeed we can.

Cross-posted to the China e-Lobby


Perhaps Spank That Donkey didn’t notice that the Cold War ended

March 16, 2008

Spank That Donkey is paying more attention to Bob Marshall these days, and thus keeping my busy.  STD’s newest objection to Marshall’s candidacy is his policy to move troops currently deployed in Germany to the border with Mexico.

STD raises two objections; the first is with pulling the troops out of Germany:

The bases we maintain in Germany are vital for our strategy of ‘Forward Defense’ that was utilized to win the Cold War, and keep the peace in Europe.  Stripping those bases of personnel is foolhardy, as those bases, and our personnel were attacked by Left Wing Terrorist Cells during the Cold War.  Furthermore, those bases have played a vital role in the War on Terror, and specifically for staging the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Now, if we were still fighting the Cold War, STD would have a point.  However, the Cold War ended more than sixteen years ago.  More to the point, Germany is no longer a front-line state in the NATO alliance.  Those honors, if you will, go to Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria.

At present, we already have deals in place to station troops in Romania and Bulgaria (Stars and Stripes), which will not only do more for Forward Defense than any one stationed in Germany, but it will also be a better staging area for any future deployments to Central Asia and the Middle East.  Meanwhile, we are planning to modernize Poland’s military (Times of India).  While Germany is certainly an important ally, a military presence there is simply not as vital today as it was during the Cold War.

The border is another story, not that STD has noticed:

The Southern Border of the USA can be secured with fencing and border patrols, it’s complete overkill to place M-1 Tanks and AH-1 Attack Helicopters on our southern border just to deter illegal immigration. 

Perhaps STD has’t been paying attention, but we’re not talking about a wave of random would-be workers.  The Border Patrol faces drug smugglers and people smugglers, both of which have the means and the opportunity to kill.

Allow me to direct you to the opening four paragraphs of Jerry Seper’s Washington Times piece on the subject from last November (titled “Lawmen Under Siege”):

Alien and drug smugglers along the U.S.-Mexico border have spawned a rise in violence against federal, state and local law-enforcement authorities, who say they are outmanned and outgunned.

They’ve got weapons, high-tech radios, computers, cell phones, Global Positioning Systems, spotters and can react faster than we are able to,” said Shawn P. Moran, a 10-year U.S. Border Patrol veteran who serves as vice president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 1613 in San Diego.

“And they have no hesitancy to attack the agents on the line, with anything from assault rifles and improvised Molotov cocktails to rocks, concrete slabs and bottles,” he said. “There are so many agent ‘rockings’ that few are even reported anymore. If we wrote them all up, that’s all we would be doing.”

Assaults against Border Patrol agents have more than doubled over the past two years, many by Mexico-based alien and drug gangs more inclined than ever to use violence as a means of ensuring success in the smuggling of people and contraband.

Up against all of that, I’d hardly consider the M1 tanks and AH1 helicopters “overkill.”

Besides, while STD may not pay much attention to the border, al-Qaeda has (Seper again):

A top al Qaeda lieutenant has met with leaders of a violent Salvadoran criminal gang with roots in Mexico and the United States — including a stronghold in the Washington area — in an effort by the terrorist network to seek help infiltrating the U.S.-Mexico border, law enforcement authorities said.

Adnan G. El Shukrijumah, a key al Qaeda cell leader for whom the U.S. government has offered a $5 million reward, was spotted in July in Honduras meeting with leaders of El Salvador’s notorious Mara Salvatrucha gang, which immigration officials said has smuggled hundreds of Central and South Americans — mostly gang members — into the United States.

“Mara Salvatrucha” is also known as MS-13, one of the most violent criminal gangs in America.  If STD hasn’t heard of them, he needs to get out more.

The fact is, we face a far greater threat on that border than we do in Germany right now – especially since Germany hasn’t been a front-line state in nearly a decade (Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic joined the alliance in 1999).  If Gilmore has a viewpoint even remotely as myopic as STD does, then Marshall towers above him on the security issue.


Kudos to Doug Mataconis!

March 16, 2008

The Below the Beltway blogger hits the nail on the head regarding the Communist Olympiad (emphasis added):

Apparently, continued Chinese repression in Tibet is no big deal for the International Olympic Committee:

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (AP) – International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge poured cold water Saturday on calls for a boycott of the Summer Games in Beijing over China’s crackdown in Tibet, saying it would only hurt athletes.

“We believe that the boycott doesn’t solve anything,” Rogge told reporters on this Caribbean island. “On the contrary, it is penalizing innocent athletes and it is stopping the organization from something that definitely is worthwhile organizing.”

Demonstrations against Chinese rule in Tibet on Friday—the most violent riots there in nearly two decades—left at least 30 protesters dead, according to a Tibetan exile group. China ordered tourists out of Tibet’s capital and troops patrolled the streets on Saturday.

On a six-day tour of the Caribbean, Rogge expressed condolences for the victims and said he hopes calm will be restored immediately. He declined to say whether the committee would change its stance if violence continues or more people are killed.

“The International Olympic Committee has consistently resisted calls for a boycott of the Olympic games,” Rogge said. He declined to comment further on Tibet during a brief news conference.

IOC Vice President Thomas Bach said the committee will speak with China about human rights and condemned the crackdown, saying “every use of violence is a step backwards.

That’s what happens when you award the Olympics to a Communist dictatorship.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Cross-posted to the China e-Lobby


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