Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Fun with John and John

The Kerry/Edwards campaign is producing wonderful blog-fodder this week. Take, for instance, the issue of Senator Kerry's complexion taking on an unusual hue on Monday. If you haven't seen any pictures, suffice it to say that his face is that peculiar tan-in-a-bottle orange. Hugh Hewitt calls it "Oompa-LoompaGate" and polled his listeners for their theories on why Kerry changed colors. One classic:
[...] it is just nature's pumpkin cycle:
Blooms and grows in July.
Turns Orange in September.
Carved up in October.

Thrown out in November.

Over at Powerline, Deacon wonders "How hard can it be to tie John Kerry in knots over Iraq if even Diane Sawyer can do it?"

Senator Kerry is fond of the phrase "secret plan" when alleging dastardly designs by the Bush Administration for its second term. NRO's Kerry Spot gives a run-down. The latest "secret plan" is supposed to be to the detriment of Wisconsin dairy farmers. (Hat tip Hugh Hewitt).

[One of those "secret plans" is about reinstating the draft, a canard that CBS news ran with last night, basing its story on the urban legend circulating via email. Little Green Footballs is on the case, along with Powerline, Captain's Quarters, Hugh Hewitt, and Betsy's Page.]

John Edwards visited New Jersey yesterday, but apparently it didn't go as well as organizers had hoped since Senator Edwards arrived more than two hours late. Steve Kornacki at reports (via Kerry Spot):
Democrats have grudgingly admitted they’re not happy with the [poll] numbers, but insisted that New Jersey, which favored Al Gore by sixteen points in 2000, would return to its Democratic tendencies after it was exposed to Kerry’s message.

Problem is they had a chance, through Edwards, to get their message out today. In the back of the ballroom was a platform for members of the media. Plenty of New Jersey newspaper reporters were present, as were NJN and News 12. They were joined by the big boys of the broadcast media -- crews from all of the New York network television affiliates, who, together, represent the dominant source of information for two-thirds of the state’s residents.

The New York television reporters were set-up to do live-shots on the early evening newscasts -- 5:00, 5:30, and 6:00 -- which, under the original event schedule, would have included clips from Edwards's speech, along with the image of hundreds of cheering, flag-waving Democrats urging him on.

Edwards's visit still received coverage on the late-night newscasts and it will feature prominently in the newspapers on Wednesday, but staged media events are all about maximizing exposure. In that department, the event seemed like a blown opportunity.

“Tell me about it,” grumbled one frustrated Democratic operative shortly before Edwards arrived. “His only visit to New Jersey and this is what they do.”

Hugh Hewitt comments, "Senator Lightweight had to campaign in New Jersey yesterday --35 days before an election. That was surely in the Kerry plan coming out of the convention." According to the statistics at RealClearPolitics, Al Gore carried New Jersey by 15.9% in 2000. The latest polls indicate Bush and Kerry are nearly tied.

Kerry speaks at Temple University

Senator Kerry gave a speech at Temple University last Friday, which continued the foreign policy themes from his speech at NYU. Jim Geraghty at NRO's "Kerry Spot" did an in-depth analysis and opines:

Stylistically, Kerry's speech outlining his plans to fight terrorism Friday at Temple University was among the best of his campaign. He was forceful, he was passionate, and he hit Bush hard before a fired-up crowd.

But a close reading reveals that Kerry's attacks were less substantive than they appeared. They were a string of logical fallacies, half-truths, and smart-sounding criticisms followed by generic, vague pledges to do better.

Sounds like my take on the NYU speech. Go read Geraghty's whole article.

"Spreading the Peace"

Bill O'Reilly interviewed President Bush recently, and ran the interview in three segments this week. Fox News has the transcripts up on their web site (part 1, part 2, part 3). I think the President is in good shape going into the debate tomorrow night. Some bits I liked from tonight's segment:
BILL O'REILLY, HOST: One of the big propaganda things against you is the classroom in Florida after 9/11 when Andrew Card (search) came in and whispered in your ear.

BUSH: Yeah.

O’REILLY: Let’s clear this up once and for all. What were you thinking?

BUSH: I was thinking America was under attack, I was collecting my thoughts, and I wasn’t about to panic a bunch of kids. And the program was winding down, I waited for the end of the program, I excused myself and I went to action. And what the American people will judge me on is whether or not I handled that crisis, in a way that lets them know that, that I’ll lead in this war on terror, that's what they need to look at, and I think they are looking at it that way.


O’REILLY: This time I want to ask you, why do you think some people get upset when you mention your faith vis-à-vis your job?

BUSH: I really mention my faith vis-à-vis my life, and I don't know. -- I don't know why people get upset with that. People, -- I’m asked a question, -- what does faith mean to me, it means strength and calm in the face of the storm. I mean, I do rely on prayer, and I am empowered by the fact, I’m empowered by the fact that people pray for me. -- I’m sustained by that, not empowered -- I’m sustained by that, is a better word. I don't know why people object to somebody who is, -- when asked -- says religion’s important.

O’REILLY: Is it important in your decision-making?

BUSH: It’s an important part of my life. I don't see how you can divorce religion and how you live your life. I mean -- I, they're -- if faith is an important part of your life it’s ingrained in your soul, and ingrained in your being. And I make decisions based upon what’s best for this country. And I pray for wisdom, I pray for strength, I pray for others who are in harm’s way. I pray for the soldiers, I pray for their families. And I make decisions -- I make decisions about earthly matters, I make decisions about how to get out of recession, or how to improve education, or how to spread the peace-- and that's what I believe we’re doing is spreading the peace.

I know that last line will be ridiculed by many, but I still like it. We aren't waging war for the sake of riches, or territory, or popularity, but to eradicate the jihadists and leave a legacy of freedom and democracy in our wake--just as we did for Japan and western Europe after WWII.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Quick takes

Hugh Hewitt often broadcasts all or parts of major speeches on his radio show. Tonight he started with Senator Kennedy's speech at George Washington University yesterday. From what I heard, the speech sounded like a rehash of Senator Kerry's talking points from the NYU speech.

For those of us who prefer optimism in our candidates, Hugh also broadcast segments of Bill O'Reilly's interview (part 1 of 3) with President Bush. On his website, Hugh comments on the O'Reilly interview:

President Bush's interview with Bill O'Reilly tonight was a great exchange. O'Reilly asked pointed questions --tough questions. The president answered them with confidence and conviction.

This contrasts with Kerry who has not sat for an extended interview, or even a short interview, on camera with a journalist since August 1. Kerry cannot do so because he cannot answerer the questions without colliding with himself. So its Letterman, Dr. Phil and Jon Stewart. Some Commander-in-Chief, who won't even risk a meeting with Bill O'Reilly.

Bill asked questions about Iraq, the "Mission Accomplished" fly-on to the USS Abraham Lincoln, and illegal immigration over the Mexican border, among other topics. It's so refreshing to have a politician who has a consistent message. Even if you don't agree with the President, he leaves you with a good understanding of where he stands on issues. Bill O'Reilly's commentary on the interview is here.

Is Iraq really a quagmire? Yes and no. Arthur Chrenkoff is back with his 11th roundup of good news from Iraq. (The update is also online at He comments,
There are two Iraqs at the moment, both equally real and consequential. The Iraq of never-ending strife--the insurgency, terrorism, crime and all-too-slow reconstruction makes for interesting news stories and exciting footage. The Iraq of steady recovery, returning normalcy and a dash of hope rarely does.

Over at Real Clear Politics, editor Tom Bevan discusses Senator Kerry's 1997 speech in which he argued for pre-emptive action against Saddam Hussein. It was a good idea then, so why not after 9/11/2001?

Some bad news for Senator Kerry: according to an article in the Financial Times, neither France nor Germany expect to be sending troops to Iraq, regardless of who wins the election. Quelle suprise.

In my mailbag, I got an invitation to exchange links with Conservative Eyes, which is authored by Art Green. Go take a look at what a 17-year-old pundit is thinking about these days.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Sunday Digest

Captain's Quarters has a series of important posts about Syria protecting Iraqi nuclear scientists by sending them to Iran, Iran's new missile, and the latent Iraq nuclear weapons program. This why CQ is one of my daily must-reads.

Mark Steyn is insightful as ever in his column today for the Chicago Sun-Times. He's not the only one noticing how rude Senator Kerry can be toward our allies that he, the great internationalist, would have to work with should he be elected President. PowerLine has further comments, and also links to William Kristol's piece in The Weekly Standard. Also see OpinionJournal, Wall Street Journal (via OpinionJournal), Chrenkoff, Instapundit, Polipundit (here too), Betsy's Page, PowerLine, Hugh Hewitt, Ann Althouse, BlogsforBush, and me.

Meanwhile, FootballFansforTruth has a few issues with Senator Kerry pretending to be a sports fan.

Mark Noonan picks up on a story about the upcoming elections in Afghanistan over at Oxblog.

Arthur Chrenkoff checks out what's hot at his favorite blogs.

John Fund has written a new book "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy". Matt Margolis at BlogsforBush reviews it, National Review Online and RealClearPolitics have excerpts, and Larry Elder has related commentary.

There's an old urban legend circulating via email again to the effect that legislation has been introduced into both houses of Congress to reinstitute the Selective Service Draft (true) and that the Bush administration is in favor (false). The legislation, HR 163 and S 89, was introduced by Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Senator Hollings (D-SC), respectively, in January 2003 and has never gotten out of committee. Although the urban legend is at least a year old (see Snopes), the Kerry campaign has picked up on it recently. Coincidence? Betsy Newmark doesn't think so (here and here).

Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld spoke before the Senate Armed Service Committee in a hearing on Thursday:

It is important to note that rearranging our global posture is only part of our considerably broader set of undertakings. What we are doing is changing mindsets and perspectives.

Essential to this is transforming our military into a more agile, more efficient force that is ready and able to combat the asymmetric challenges of this new and uncertain time.

This is a sizable undertaking. It is said that Abraham Lincoln once equated reorganizing the Army with “bailing out the Potomac River with a teaspoon.” He was expressing the truth that change is not easy.

Hugh Hewitt also interviewed Paul Wolfowitz on his radio show this past Thursday about the major force realignment DoD is proposing. This realignment is a result of the Quadrennial Defense Review in 2001.

Thomas Lifson has a light look at some of the conspiracy theories circulating these days. Finish drinking your coffee before reading so you don't have to clean a mess off your monitor later.

President Bush held Air Force One on the ground in Maine so he could greet troops headed for Iraq when their plane stopped to refuel. PowerLine, Captain's Quarters, and BlogsforBush have the story.

Michael Moore is anti-Bush, to say the least, but this letter he posted on his website shows that he's not a fan of John Kerry either!

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Kerry's "Foreign Policy"

Last Monday, Senator Kerry gave a "major foreign policy" speech at New York University. The full text of the speech is here.

I spent hours crawling through the speech, cross-checking data and analyzing what he said in all those simple declarative sentences. I'm more convinced than ever that I don't want John Kerry elected President in November.

Dick Morris sums up the problem neatly:

Part of Kerry's vulnerability on the Iraq issue is because he is really not proposing anything new to deal with the war. His four-part "plan" — which centers on urging our allies and the U.N. to do more and calls for strong efforts to provide jobs to Iraqis (the John Edwards message, sent abroad) and to train Iraqi police and troops — just mirrors what Bush is already doing.

That is, it is only in retrospect — in criticizing past actions — that Kerry really differs from Bush. He is proposing no real alternative for action in the future.

Since elections are about the future and history books about the past, Bush can fairly ask Kerry what he would do differently. When the Democrat ticks off his agenda, Bush can reply with his statistics saying (in effect), Been there, done that.

John Kerry has zigged when he should have zagged. He has chosen to fight over terror and Iraq when he should have stayed on domestic issues. He has tacked left when he should have stayed in the center on foreign issues and attacked on matters closer to home.

Kerry has defined himself as a liberal — and will pay for it with his defeat.

The speech itself starts off well enough, waving the flag, and echoing past speeches by President Bush! Some key paragraphs (emphasis added):

This election is about choices. The most important choices a President makes are about protecting America… at home and around the world. A president’s first obligation is to make America safer, stronger and truer to our ideals.

Only a few blocks from here, three years ago, the events of September 11 reminded every American of that obligation. That day brought to our shores the defining struggle of our times: the struggle between freedom and radical fundamentalism. And it made clear that our most important task is to fight… and to win… the war on terrorism. ...

In fighting the war on terrorism, my principles are straight forward. The terrorists are beyond reason. We must destroy them. As president, I will do whatever it takes, as long as it takes, to defeat our enemies.

To win, America must be strong. And America must be smart. The greatest threat we face is the possibility Al Qaeda or other terrorists will get their hands on a nuclear weapon.

To prevent that from happening, we must call on the totality of America’s strength. Strong alliances, to help us stop the world’s most lethal weapons from falling into the most dangerous hands. A powerful military, transformed to meet the new threats of terrorism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction. And all of America’s power – our diplomacy, our intelligence system, our economic power, the appeal of our values – each of which is critical to making America more secure and preventing a new generation of terrorists from emerging.
That line about "all of America's power" caught my eye, because it parallels this line from President Bush's speech before Congress on 9/20/01:
Americans are asking: How will we fight and win this war? We will direct every resource at our command -- every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence, and every necessary weapon of war -- to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network.
Kerry hits the non-proliferation theme later, claiming that the Adminstration has been sitting on its hands on the matter. What, multi-national diplomacy and working with the International Atomic Energy Agency (a U.N. effort) doesn't count? He really seems to be hoping that his audience never watches the President's speeches on C-SPAN and/or has a really short memory.

Compare these lines from the President's 2002 State of the Union address (emphasis added):
Today, the gravest danger in the war on terror, the gravest danger facing America and the world, is outlaw regimes that seek and possess nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. These regimes could use such weapons for blackmail, terror, and mass murder. They could also give or sell those weapons to terrorist allies, who would use them without the least hesitation. ...

Our nation and the world must learn the lessons of the Korean Peninsula and not allow an even greater threat to rise up in Iraq. A brutal dictator, with a history of reckless aggression, with ties to terrorism, with great potential wealth, will not be permitted to dominate a vital region and threaten the United States. (Applause.)

Twelve years ago, Saddam Hussein faced the prospect of being the last casualty in a war he had started and lost. To spare himself, he agreed to disarm of all weapons of mass destruction. For the next 12 years, he systematically violated that agreement. He pursued chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons, even while inspectors were in his country. Nothing to date has restrained him from his pursuit of these weapons -- not economic sanctions, not isolation from the civilized world, not even cruise missile strikes on his military facilities."
And these from his 2003 speech before the U.N. General Assembly:

A second challenge we must confront together is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Outlaw regimes that possess nuclear, chemical and biological weapons -- and the means to deliver them -- would be able to use blackmail and create chaos in entire regions. These weapons could be used by terrorists to bring sudden disaster and suffering on a scale we can scarcely imagine. The deadly combination of outlaw regimes and terror networks and weapons of mass murder is a peril that cannot be ignored or wished away. If such a danger is allowed to fully materialize, all words, all protests, will come too late. Nations of the world must have the wisdom and the will to stop grave threats before they arrive.

One crucial step is to secure the most dangerous materials at their source. For more than a decade, the United States has worked with Russia and other states of the former Soviet Union to dismantle, destroy, or secure weapons and dangerous materials left over from another era. Last year in Canada, the G8 nations agreed to provide up to $20 billion -- half of it from the United States -- to fight this proliferation risk over the next 10 years. Since then, six additional countries have joined the effort. More are needed, and I urge other nations to help us meet this danger.

We're also improving our capability to interdict lethal materials in transit. Through our Proliferation Security Initiative, 11 nations are preparing to search planes and ships, trains and trucks carrying suspect cargo, and to seize weapons or missile shipments that raise proliferation concerns. These nations have agreed on a set of interdiction principles, consistent with legal -- current legal authorities. And we're working to expand the Proliferation Security Initiative to other countries. We're determined to keep the world's most destructive weapons away from all our shores, and out of the hands of our common enemies.

Because proliferators will use any route or channel that is open to them, we need the broadest possible cooperation to stop them. Today, I ask the U.N. Security Council to adopt a new anti-proliferation resolution. This resolution should call on all members of the U.N. to criminalize the proliferation of weapons -- weapons of mass destruction, to enact strict export controls consistent with international standards, and to secure any and all sensitive materials within their own borders. The United States stands ready to help any nation draft these new laws, and to assist in their enforcement.

Other themes in Senator Kerry's speech include:

- "Iraq was a profound diversion from that war and the battle against our greatest enemy, Osama bin Laden and the terrorists. Invading Iraq has created a crisis of historic proportions and, if we do not change course, there is the prospect of a war with no end in sight. "

- "The first and most fundamental mistake was the President’s failure to tell the truth to the American people."

- "Our credibility in the world has plummeted."

- "This President’s failure to tell the truth to us before the war has been exceeded by fundamental errors of judgment during and after the war."

- "We need to turn the page and make a fresh start in Iraq."

And his summation of his 4-point "plan" for Iraq:

If the President would move in this direction … if he would bring in more help from other countries to provide resources and forces … train the Iraqis to provide their own security …develop a reconstruction plan that brings real benefits to the Iraqi people … and take the steps necessary to hold credible elections next year … we could begin to withdraw U.S. forces starting next summer and realistically aim to bring all our troops home within the next four years.

This is what has to be done. This is what I would do as President today. But we cannot afford to wait until January. President Bush owes it to the American people to tell the truth and put Iraq on the right track. Even more, he owes it to our troops and their families, whose sacrifice is a testament to the best of America.

The principles that should guide American policy in Iraq now and in the future are clear: We must make Iraq the world’s responsibility, because the world has a stake in the outcome and others should share the burden. We must effectively train Iraqis, because they should be responsible for their own security. We must move forward with reconstruction, because that’s essential to stop the spread of terror. And we must help Iraqis achieve a viable government, because it’s up to them to run their own country. That’s the right way to get the job done and bring our troops home.

This last line can be interpreted as exactly what the Bush administration has said it wishes for too. For example, Secretary Rumsfeld said recently, "We -- the United States of America does not put forces into a country to leave them there; we put them in there to help that country get on its feet and then leave."

But a lot of people hear or read that last line and say, "Kerry will cut and run, just like he wanted us to do in Vietnam, and with disastrous results for the South Vietnamese people." And yes, the Senator did invoke Vietnam, although this time he invoked his anti-war activities that so upset the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth:
It is never easy to discuss what has gone wrong while our troops are in constant danger. But it’s essential if we want to correct our course and do what’s right for our troops instead of repeating the same mistakes over and over again.

I know this dilemma first-hand. After serving in war, I returned home to offer my own personal voice of dissent. I did so because I believed strongly that we owed it those risking their lives to speak truth to power. We still do.
Overall, it's a very odd speech, echoing the President while proclaiming that Senator Kerry would do everything differently and chart a new course. There are lots of questionable statistics bandied about, loaded language (e.g. "admitted" vs. "said"), and half-truths. He talks about keeping the troops safe and America safe. I have news for this CINC wanna-be: We don't have troops to keep them safe. We have troops to keep us safe.

Senator Kerry states that Iraq is a diversion from the war on terror, but we need to stay there long enough to get it back on its feet so it won't be a haven for terrorists.

Fine. He's entitled to that opinion. He has the right "to speak truth to power".

And I'm entitled to say: Vote for Bush!

Update [9/23/04 6:50 pm EDT] The editors of the Chicago Tribune also noticed ambiguity in Senator Kerry's speech (link via NRO Kerry Spot):
Kerry gave little definition to the change of course he represents. He did, though, say: "We could begin to withdraw U.S. forces starting next summer and realistically aim to bring all our troops home within the next four years."

That's the kind of specificity that different listeners hear in different ways. Appreciative Americans might fairly conclude that Kerry wants to bring our boys and girls home. Other groups — nervous Iraqi citizens awaiting democracy, the vicious insurgents who plague them, and the coalition forces serving alongside U.S. troops — might fairly conclude that the Democrat who would be president is primarily interested in getting the heck out of Iraq ASAP.

Bush, too, says he wants to bring the troops home. But he is — as he has been for three years — steadfastly committed to defeating terrorists, challenging the governments that give them succor, and projecting democracy as broadly as possible in the Middle East as a step toward defanging Islamic fundamentalist terrorism.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

The Vision Thing

As I wrote yesterday, I was blown away by the vision President Bush outlined in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly. It elaborated on ideas and themes the President has kept before the country in his State of the Union addresses (2002, 2003, and 2004), previous speeches before the U.N. (2002 and 2003), and even his address before the Joint Session of Congress on September 20, 2001. As Dr. Condoleeza Rice put it recently (emphasis added),

In its comprehensive report, the 9/11 Commission called for the United States to develop a long-range strategy to engage in a struggle of ideas to defeat Islamic terrorism. The report says that we must have a "strategy that is political, as much as it is military," and that "long-term success demands the use of all elements of national power: diplomacy, intelligence, covert action, law enforcement, economic policy, foreign aid, public policy, and homeland defense."

President Bush and the members of his administration could not agree more. Since the beginning of the war on terror, the President has recognized that the war on terror is as much as conflict of visions as a conflict of arms. One terrorist put it succinctly. He said, "You love life, we love death." True victory will come not merely when the terrorists are defeated by force, but when the ideology of death and hatred is overcome by the appeal of life and hope, and when lies are replaced by truth.

This has been the President's clear message and consistent practice. In his very first State of the Union speech, he said, "America will take the side of brave men and women who advocate values around the world, including the Islamic world, because we have a greater objective than eliminating threats and containing resentment. We seek a just and peaceful world beyond the war on terror."

Some people don't get the "vision thing", however. In a press conference yesterday, Senator Kerry said, "[T]he president needs to live in the world of reality, not in a world of fantasy spin." Mr. Kerry is hardly unique in this opinion. On September 10, Mark Helprin wrote an Op-Ed for the Wall Street Journal in which he complained about Bush's grand vision (e.g. the RNC speech) ignoring the daily reality of fighting terrorism:
[W]e have embarked upon the messianic transformation of an entire region, indeed an entire civilization, in response to our inability to pacify even a single one of its countries. As long as our war aims stray from the disciplined, justifiable, and attainable objective of self-defense, we will be courting failure.
The critics overlook a fundamental rule of psychology. Fear is a terrific short-term motivator, but it's lousy long-term because you keep focusing on that which you wish to avoid and never plan where you ought to be going.

For long-term course change, you need to have something to aspire to, principles and dreams that guide your daily decisions and actions. As the Cheshire Cat told Alice, if you don't know where you want to get to, "Then it doesn't matter which way you go."

I've dealt with self-proclaimed "realists", who have a tendency to imagine the worst possible scenario, proclaim it most likely, and then act accordingly. They forget that there are a range of possibilities, and that we can make choices that will make our preferred future reality more likely. They think that their dreams are unrealistic, hence out of reach, and therefore don't even begin to try. Why bother?

We could just sit back and let the terrorists win, wiping civilization off the face of the earth. That, however, is a future world I would not want to live in. I'm an optimist, just like President Bush. I believe that we can create a" just and peaceful world beyond the war on terror". The reality is that it will take a lot of work. It will take years.

But it's a future worth fighting for.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Thoughts on Bush's UN speech

When I read President Bush's speech to the UN General Assembly given this morning, my first reaction was WOW! It was so sweeping, uplifting, and yes, visionary, that it leaves Senator Kerry's speech yesterday at NYU in the dust.

Every nation that wants peace will share the benefits of a freer world. And every nation that seeks peace has an obligation to help build that world. Eventually, there is no safe isolation from terror networks, or failed states that shelter them, or outlaw regimes, or weapons of mass destruction. Eventually, there is no safety in looking away, seeking the quiet life by ignoring the struggles and oppression of others.

In this young century, our world needs a new definition of security. Our security is not merely found in spheres of influence, or some balance of power. The security of our world is found in the advancing rights of mankind.

These rights are advancing across the world -- and across the world, the enemies of human rights are responding with violence. Terrorists and their allies believe the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the American Bill of Rights, and every charter of liberty ever written, are lies, to be burned and destroyed and forgotten. They believe that dictators should control every mind and tongue in the Middle East and beyond. They believe that suicide and torture and murder are fully justified to serve any goal they declare. And they act on their beliefs.

In the last year alone, terrorists have attacked police stations, and banks, and commuter trains, and synagogues -- and a school filled with children. This month in Beslan we saw, once again, how the terrorists measure their success -- in the death of the innocent, and in the pain of grieving families. Svetlana Dzebisov was held hostage, along with her son and her nephew -- her nephew did not survive. She recently visited the cemetery, and saw what she called the "little graves." She said, "I understand that there is evil in the world. But what have these little creatures done?"

Members of the United Nations, the Russian children did nothing to deserve such awful suffering, and fright, and death. The people of Madrid and Jerusalem and Istanbul and Baghdad have done nothing to deserve sudden and random murder. These acts violate the standards of justice in all cultures, and the principles of all religions. All civilized nations are in this struggle together, and all must fight the murderers.

We're determined to destroy terror networks wherever they operate, and the United States is grateful to every nation that is helping to seize terrorist assets, track down their operatives, and disrupt their plans. We're determined to end the state sponsorship of terror -- and my nation is grateful to all that participated in the liberation of Afghanistan. We're determined to prevent proliferation, and to enforce the demands of the world -- and my nation is grateful to the soldiers of many nations who have helped to deliver the Iraqi people from an outlaw dictator.

Defending our ideals is vital, but it is not enough. Our broader mission as U.N. members is to apply these ideals to the great issues of our time. Our wider goal is to promote hope and progress as the alternatives to hatred and violence. Our great purpose is to build a better world beyond the war on terror.

Yesterday, Senator Kerry complained in his speech that the President didn't have a plan or strategy for Iraq. Hasn't he been listening at all the last three years? Here's part of what President Bush said at the UN two years ago:
The United States has no quarrel with the Iraqi people; they've suffered too long in silent captivity. Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause, and a great strategic goal. The people of Iraq deserve it; the security of all nations requires it. Free societies do not intimidate through cruelty and conquest, and open societies do not threaten the world with mass murder. The United States supports political and economic liberty in a unified Iraq.

We can harbor no illusions -- and that's important today to remember. Saddam Hussein attacked Iran in 1980 and Kuwait in 1990. He's fired ballistic missiles at Iran and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Israel. His regime once ordered the killing of every person between the ages of 15 and 70 in certain Kurdish villages in northern Iraq. He has gassed many Iranians, and 40 Iraqi villages.

My nation will work with the U.N. Security Council to meet our common challenge. If Iraq's regime defies us again, the world must move deliberately, decisively to hold Iraq to account. We will work with the U.N. Security Council for the necessary resolutions. But the purposes of the United States should not be doubted. The Security Council resolutions will be enforced -- the just demands of peace and security will be met -- or action will be unavoidable. And a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power.

Events can turn in one of two ways: If we fail to act in the face of danger, the people of Iraq will continue to live in brutal submission. The regime will have new power to bully and dominate and conquer its neighbors, condemning the Middle East to more years of bloodshed and fear. The regime will remain unstable -- the region will remain unstable, with little hope of freedom, and isolated from the progress of our times. With every step the Iraqi regime takes toward gaining and deploying the most terrible weapons, our own options to confront that regime will narrow. And if an emboldened regime were to supply these weapons to terrorist allies, then the attacks of September the 11th would be a prelude to far greater horrors.

If we meet our responsibilities, if we overcome this danger, we can arrive at a very different future. The people of Iraq can shake off their captivity. They can one day join a democratic Afghanistan and a democratic Palestine, inspiring reforms throughout the Muslim world. These nations can show by their example that honest government, and respect for women, and the great Islamic tradition of learning can triumph in the Middle East and beyond. And we will show that the promise of the United Nations can be fulfilled in our time.

The President's themes are not newly-minted for this campaign cycle. This President thinks boldly and takes action to promote liberty, democracy, and human dignity. While the tactics may change as the situation warrants, his strategy remains constant to build a better world.

P.S. I got to speak my piece about the President's speech on Hugh Hewitt's radio show tonight! And that hour hasn't even been broadcast in my local market yet.

The Facts on the Ground in Iraq

Hugh Hewitt received an email yesterday from a USMC Major stationed in Baghdad, and posts the message in full. An excerpt:

The US media is abuzz today with the news of an intelligence report that is very negative about the prospects for Iraq's future. CNN's website says, "[The] National Intelligence Estimate was sent to the White House in July with a classified warning predicting the best case for Iraq was 'tenuous stability' and the worst case was civil war." That report, along with the car bombings and kidnappings in Baghdad in the past couple days are being portrayed in the media as more proof of absolute chaos and the intransigence of the insurgency.

From where I sit, at the Operational Headquarters in Baghdad, that just isn't the case. Let's lay out some background, first about the "National Intelligence Estimate." The most glaring issue with its relevance is the fact that it was delivered to the White House in July . That means that the information that was used to derive the intelligence was gathered in the Spring - in the immediate aftermath of the April battle for Fallujah, and other events. The report doesn't cover what has happened in July or August, let alone September.

The naysayers will point to the recent battles in Najaf and draw parallels between that and what happened in Fallujah in April. They aren't even close. The bad guys did us a HUGE favor by gathering together in one place and trying to make a stand. It allowed us to focus on them and defeat them. Make no mistake, Al Sadr's troops were thoroughly smashed. The estimated enemy killed in action is huge. Before the battles, the residents of the city were afraid to walk the streets. Al Sadr's enforcers would seize people and bring them to his Islamic court where sentence was passed for religious or other violations. Long before the battles people were looking for their lost loved ones who had been taken to "court" and never seen again. Now Najafians can and do walk their streets in safety. Commerce has returned and the city is being rebuilt. Iraqi security forces and US troops are welcomed and smiled upon. That city was liberated again. It was not like Fallujah - the bad guys lost and are in hiding or dead.

You may not have even heard about the city of Samarra. Two weeks ago, that Sunni Triangle city was a "No-go" area for US troops. But guess what? The locals got sick of living in fear from the insurgents and foreign fighters that were there and let them know they weren't welcome. They stopped hosting them in their houses and the mayor of the town brokered a deal with the US commander to return Iraqi government sovereignty to the city without a fight. The people saw what was on the horizon and decided they didn't want their city looking like Fallujah in April or Najaf in August.

This is interesting in light of Senator Kerry's foreign policy speech yesterday at NYU, where he relies on press reports(!) of that same dated intelligence estimate to attack President Bush as a liar.

In June, the President declared, “The Iraqi people have their country back.” Just last week, he told us: “This country is headed toward democracy… Freedom is on the march.”

But the administration’s own official intelligence estimate, given to the President last July, tells a very different story.

According to press reports, the intelligence estimate totally contradicts what the President is saying to the American people.

So do the facts on the ground.

Why would someone who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and whose running mate is currently on the Select Committee on Intelligence need to rely on press reports? And then there's this tidbit from Viking Pundit:
Where was Kerry?

In a gambit devoid of all sense of irony, John Kerry has decided to criticize President Bush on the war in Iraq. Forget about Kerry’s contradictory positions on Iraq, or his otherworldly statements on Meet the Press. Put aside the sheer chutzpah of this desperate tactic to (now) take a focus group-tested position on this critical issue. Remember this: John Kerry was once a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee – a group uniquely positioned to review sensitive information and act as a balance to the Executive branch.

From 1993 to 2001, John Kerry missed 76% of all the scheduled meetings of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

John Kerry failed to perform his most basic duties as a Senator, but now he wants to be President. Like I said: sheer chutzpah.
Just amazing, Senator.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Latest from Mark Steyn

While I'm on the subject of international bloggers, Mark Steyn's latest column for the Sunday Telegraph is here (Hat tip He takes on the Chicken-Littles in the US and Britain who are wringing their hands about the situation in Iraq:

Then there are the naysayers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who, as we now know, were claiming before the war that nothing could be done, nothing would go right, patently absurd to think Iraq can ever be a democracy, old boy. Topple Saddam, install his replacement, and pretty soon Iraq would be reverting to type. "Military coup could succeed coup until an autocratic Sunni dictator emerged who protected Sunni interests. With time he could acquire WMD."

I have no problem with that. If the best-case scenario is that Iraq winds up as agreeable as my beloved New Hampshire, the worst case was laid out by yours truly in this space three years ago, on September 27, 2001, when I acknowledged that a post-Saddam Iraq might wind up merely with "a thug who's marginally less bloody.

But a new thug is still better than letting the old thug stick around to cock snooks at you. If Saddam had been toppled, the nutter du jour would have come to power in the shadow of the cautionary tale of his predecessor".

That's still the bottom line. It is the stability of the Middle East - the stability of the Ba'athists, Ayatollahs, Sauds, the Arafats and Mubaraks - that has enabled it to export its toxins. At a bare minimum, we need a kind of Sam Goldwyn Doctrine: I'm sick of the old dictators-for-life. Bring me some new dictators-for-life.

But in Iraq we are already way beyond that. After the predictions of hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths and a mass refugee crisis and a humanitarian catastrophe and wall-to-wall cholera and dysentery all failed to pan out, the naysayers fell back on predictions of imminent civil war. But the civil war's as mythical as the universal dysentery.

Mark is also a weekly guest (Wednesdays at 3PM Pacific) on Hugh Hewitt's radio show, and lots of fun to listen to.

Today, Hugh links to Mark's column, and then follows with thoughts about Rathergate and an excerpt from his interview with Chuck Colson about Watergate recounted in Searching for God in America. Bottom line:
Great apologetics with practical advice for those connected tot he (sic) fraud: Come clean early. You get the best deal.

Go read the whole thing.

New Slogans for Kerry

Just about every blog seems to be linking to this list of silly slogans to help the Kerry campaign hone its message (scroll down to "PAGING DARREN STEVENS"). (Hat tip Best of the Web.)

My favorite is his last entry:

Some Look at Things As They Are And Say, 'Why?' Others Look at Things As They Are Not And Say, 'Why Not?', And I Suppose A Few Might Look at Things As They Are Not, And Say 'Why?', and Vice-Versa, and So Forth, And One Might Be Tempted To Look at These People Looking at Things And Ask 'Who?' But This Would Not Be Constructive, Because The Important Thing To Realize Is That Some People Like To Look At Things, And This Is Precisely My Point

Thomas Lifson also comments and excerpts from the list at The American Thinker.

I'm still laughing!

Around the World in 80 Milliseconds

One of the neat things about the World-Wide Web is that it's just as easy to link to news and opinion from the other side of the globe as from across town.

A couple of Aussie bloggers I've come across are Arthur Chrenkoff and Tim Blair.

Arthur Chrenkoff gets published quasi-regularly by The Wall Street Journal's free site, for he does biweekly recaps of the good news coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Last week's effort is here.

Tim Blair has been keeping tabs on Rathgate developments, and neatly summarizes the latest dish here.

Both are indignant about John Kerry's sister visiting Australia and bashing the Aussie government's support of the US in the war on terror. Gee, you hadn't heard about that bit of nuanced diplomacy? And during the run-up to elections in Australia?

Here's Tim Blair:


Remember when Greens senator Bob Brown demanded that George W. Bush stop interfering in Australian politics? Let’s see what Bob has to say about this:

John Kerry's campaign has warned Australians that the Howard Government's support for the US in Iraq has made them a bigger target for international terrorists.

Diana Kerry, younger sister of the Democrat presidential candidate, told The Weekend Australian that the Bali bombing and the recent attack on the Australian embassy in Jakarta clearly showed the danger to Australians had increased.

"Australia has kept faith with the US and we are endangering the Australians now by this wanton disregard for international law and multilateral channels," she said, referring to the invasion of Iraq.

By the way, the Bali bombing took place before the invasion of Iraq. Intriguing message Kerry is sending; is this her way of (as John Kerry promised in his convention speech) restoring "America's respect and leadership -- so we don't have to go it alone in the world”? As Brown might say, were he capable of consistency: "Pull your head in, hideous replicant sister!"

And the take from Arthur Chrenkoff:

Kerry's sister carries water for the Australian Labor Party

John Kerry's sister is spreading mayhem overseas. Diana Kerry, the chairwoman of Americans Overseas for Kerry, in now on the offensive in Australia: "There are more than 100,000 eligible American voters in Australia, and the Kerry campaign is interested in every vote." I bet it is.
"With her hair turning silver grey, her strong face and tall frame, there is no doubting the lineage of John Kerry's sister. But unlike her brother, the presidential candidate, Diana Kerry is no politician. The 57-year-old drama teacher tends to say exactly what she thinks."
And what she says echoes precisely the cynical scare campaign run by the Labor Opposition leader Mark Latham. This is how the Australian press reports on Diana Kerry's message to America's staunch ally:
"John Kerry's campaign has warned Australians that the Howard Government's support for the US in Iraq has made them a bigger target for international terrorists.

"Diana Kerry, younger sister of the Democrat presidential candidate, told The Weekend Australian that the Bali bombing and the recent attack on the Australian embassy in Jakarta clearly showed the danger to Australians had increased.

" 'Australia has kept faith with the US and we are endangering the Australians now by this wanton disregard for international law and multilateral channels,' she said, referring to the invasion of Iraq.

"Asked if she believed the terrorist threat to Australians was now greater because of the support for Republican George W. Bush, Ms Kerry said: 'The most recent attack was on the Australian embassy in Jakarta -- I would have to say that'."
As bloggerTigerHawk (who brought the story to my attention - thanks, mate!) comments:
"Now, you can't hold John responsible for the random prattle of his sibling... But, we most certainly can hold Senator Kerry responsible for the fact that his dearest Diana is in charge of Overseas for Kerry. She has apparent -- if not actual -- authority to speak for the Kerry campaign overseas, and has exploited that status to encourage Australia to abandon the United States."

I suggest you follow the links and read their complete blogs. I've added them to my links on the right. Enjoy!

Update (9/19/04 9:28 pm): I forgot to mention that stateside, Captain Ed also blasts Kerry for the Australian manuever:

Does John Kerry care more about grabbing power than he does about the United States? It certainly appears that way. Who gave the order for Diana Kerry to interfere with the Australian election? Who told her to act in a manner that is calculated to undermine the American-Australian partnership on the terror war? Frankly, not only should this disqualify him for the presidency, it should disqualify anyone involved in his campaign from ever holding public office. Those who condone this interference in a wartime alliance must be punished at the polls, and their party as a whole should be blocked from any power whatsoever until they atone for their actions.

This effort makes clear that John Kerry does not understand, or care, about the dangers facing the US and the democracies in the 21st century. His personal ambitions trump national security -- a disgusting and craven quality that will repulse Americans in November. It appears to be the only consistent theme in Kerry's public life, from his fraudulent 1971 Senate testimony all the way to his serial vacillations on the war on terror during this campaign.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Does Kerry Really Need This Much Advice?

Lately, the Kerry campaign has been piling on consultants and strategists (but don't use the term "shake-up") in a vain attempt to focus their message--although I haven't figured out what, exactly, that message is supposed to be, other than that Kerry, who by the way served in Vietnam, is not Bush. This development is leading to much head-shaking and satire. "must-reads" today included this gem from David Brooks' Op-Ed column in the NYT (registration required). A sample:

And so it came to pass there are no swing voters left, because they've all been hired by campaign Kerry. They form a great and mighty leviathan, dedicated to the proposition that John Kerry should believe in something. The flow chart is as clear as can be. Sasso reports to Lockhart, Devine, Sosnick, Cutter and Cahill, while Cutter reports to Devine, Mellman, McCurry, Shrum and herself - except on weekends, when Devine reports to Mellman and Sosnick and Cahill reports to McCurry and Sasso. Lockhart handles strategic response, McCurry daily response, Cutter tactical response and Cahill metaresponse.

Betsy Newmark has this to say after reading a story from The Washington Post about all the new advisors in Kamp Kerry:
Yup, leadership by committee. That's the ticket. But, apparently Kerry thrives on chaos and conflicting advice. I guess it reflects accurately the chaos and conflict within his own mind. But it doesn't demonstrate the type of leadership we need at any time, especially when we're at war. I prefer the guy with the MBA who knows how to run things.

I totally agree with Betsy. Watching the mis-management of the Kerry campaign gives me zero confidence in the competence level of a Kerry administration. The Concord Monitor Online opines that how well a campaign is run can be a proxy for how well an administration will run:

Candidates often comport themselves on the presidential-campaign trail in a way in which they can suggest they would be presidential in the White House.

The twist in 2004 is that the Republicans are using the way Kerry is campaigning -making him look like a nattering nabob of nuancing - to paint a picture of how he might approach problems in the Oval Office. In short: flounder from Boston.

A prime example occurred midweek. Right there in the heart of enemy territory - the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, at once the most literate, most conservative and most indispensable page in American newspapers today - there appeared a piece titled "My Economic Policy," by John Kerry himself. Read it and you can see why the editors of the Journal must have been delighted to publish it. The piece had more hedges than an English garden.

If you're a glutton for good analysis, Captain Ed at Captain's Quarters dissects Kerry's essay. He concludes:

In the end, Kerry's economic plan consists of nothing but warmed-over populism, a few bones tossed to the middle class while tightening central control on our economy, an approach which we have learned over the past century does not work. And Kerry's essay begs one last, overriding question: if Kerry thinks all of this will help America, why didn't he do anything about it as Senator?

The lack of leadership on Mr. Kerry's part is hurting his campaign. Dick Morris writes in The New York Post:

Kerry's basic problem is that he has no overview of how he's going to win. His consultants and staff confuse a pile of ammunition with a strategy.

Their basic idea is to hit Bush with everything and anything they can find. But throwing negatives at a sitting president is like punching a pillow. It feels good and keeps the base happy — but it doesn't help to win the election. By the time a man has served four years as president, negatives that pre-existed his tenure are largely irrelevant.

The voters are noticing the lack of substance. The NYT (registration required) provides this tidbit about their latest NYT/CBS poll (hat tip to BlogsforBush):

In one particularly troublesome sign for Mr. Kerry, a majority of voters said he was spending too much time attacking Mr. Bush and talking about the past, rather than explaining what he would do as president. (Emp. added) In contrast, half of the registered voters said Mr. Bush had offered a clear vision of what he wanted to do in a second term.

That finding, combined with an rising unfavorable view of Mr. Kerry, underlines the complicated challenge the senator confronts as he tries to attack Mr. Bush without alienating voters put off by negative campaigning.


Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Is NJ going for Bush?

Hot off the press, er, screen at KerrySpot:

So, how much is all this media focus on Dan Rather hurting the Bush in the presidential race?

Well, SurveyUSA has Bush head of Kerry, 49 to 45.

In New Jersey.

Is this possible? Well, according to Dales, Quinnipiac had Kerry by ten back on Aug. 23.

But Rassmussen had Kerry by 4 among 400 likely voters in Sept. 3. Rutgers/Eagleton had Kerry by two on Sept. 2. And Strategic Vision, a Republican pollster, had Kerry by three on September 12.

It will take another poll or two to confirm that Bush is ahead. But this last bunch of polls suggests its time to take New Jersey out of the “safe Kerry” pile and into the “toss up” pile.


The Pajama Game

You may have noticed that suddenly there are a lot of in-jokes in blogs about pajamas being the attire of choice when blogging. John Fund explains:

A watershed media moment occurred Friday on Fox News Channel, when Jonathan Klein, a former executive vice president of CBS News who oversaw "60 Minutes," debated Stephen Hayes, a writer for The Weekly Standard, on the documents CBS used to raise questions about George W. Bush's Vietnam-era National Guard service.

Mr. Klein dismissed the bloggers who are raising questions about the authenticity of the memos: "You couldn't have a starker contrast between the multiple layers of check and balances [at '60 Minutes'] and a guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing."

He will regret that snide disparagement of the bloggers, many of whom are skilled lawyers or have backgrounds in military intelligence or typeface design. A growing number of design and document experts say they are certain or almost certain the memos on which CBS relied are forgeries.

Stephen Hayes' article in the Sept 20 issue of The Weekly Standard is "Rather Biased". It recaps the developing story and the bloggers' central role.

Why Rathergate Matters

Some people wonder why blogdom is obsessed with the CBS memos when Bush's Texas Air National Guard service 30+ years ago is irrelevant for most voters today. Besides, this is an old calumny, that surfaced in the 2000 election, again this year in February, and in July when the White House released newly discovered National Guard documents.

It has everything to do with abuse of the public trust by CBS in today's election cycle, aiding and abetting a crass effort to discredit the President.

During the Republican National Convention, I watched PBS' coverage hosted by Jim Lehrer (I don't take cable). One commentator made the point that a major purpose of the conventions is to promote their points of view, their world-views, and this year the difference in world-view between the two parties is profound. A voter tends to pick the party and candidate that most matches his view of reality.

If CBS is guilty of "sexing-up" a story to help smear the President, then one has to question how distorted is the world-view presented to the voting public by main-stream media (MSM). Conservatives can easily point to the treatment of the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth versus, say, Kitty Kelly.

The Today show (as of last week) had scheduled Ms. Kelly for three segments this week while giving the SwiftVets zero air time since their story broke big-time in August. MSM likes to poke holes in the reputations of the SwiftVets, while down-playing the fact that the Kerry campaign has had to retract a number of inaccuracies as a result of the SwiftVets expose, (e.g. the Christmas-in-Cambodia fairy tales which were at odds even with his official bio) and admit that Kerry's first purple heart might have been due to an accidental self-inflicted injury.

Fortunately for many, the blogosphere, talk radio and cable news outlets like Fox News, are providing a different POV than TV broadcast news, NY Times, Boston Globe, and LA Times.

I've been scanning blogs and news sites for the past few days. You'd expect, of course, that Bush supporters generally agree that the CBS memos are bad forgeries. Many anti-Bush proponents support the thesis that since the White House has had no official statement on the matter, then the memos must be real; plus they must be true because we all know Bush lies, and lied about his guard service. (Which, coincidentally, is the theme of the new DNC ad campaign "Fortunate Son" that uses clips from the 60 Minutes II show. Hmmmmmmmm.) For example, see the LA Times editorial this morning that ends with the following comment (hat tip to PowerLine):

CBS' real error was trying to prove a point that didn't really need to be proved. It doesn't take documents for anyone to realize that Bush pulled strings to get into the National Guard. And, during the Vietnam draft, nobody went into the National Guard out of passion to defend his country. It also doesn't take new documents to establish that Bush shirked even his National Guard duties when he moved to Alabama and then to Harvard Business School.

CBS may have managed to place Bush's Vietnam-era service off-limits as a campaign issue, after weeks when John F. Kerry's impressive record has been under savage attack. Bush gave a smirky speech Monday to the National Guard Assn., waxing on about the patriotic sacrifices of the Guard's men and women over the years.

Emphasis added. Go read PowerLine's whole piece.

I don't blame the White House for not officially commenting on memos that ostensibly came from Lt Col Killian's private files. How could the WH possibly assert their authenticity? (The WH passed out copies of the memos that CBS faxed to them as a courtesy to the WH press corps.) Commenting one way or the other is a Catch-22 situation: denying the memos would prompt the opposition to claim "cover-up", while confirming the memos would prompt cries of "See, Bush lied!".

Today's take from the NY Times is that even if they are fabrications, they are authentic in meaning. (Can you spell "hearsay evidence"?) James Taranto rips this argument:

All the News That's Fake but Accurate
Today's New York Times has an update on the scandal over Dan Rather's use of fraudulent documents in last week's hit piece on President Bush. Oddly, the Times piece lacks a byline, but it has what may be the greatest headline ever: "Memos on Bush Are Fake but Accurate, Typist Says."

Fake but accurate! If this is the New York Times' new standard of journalism, does it apply to all stories, or only the ones that seek to make President Bush look bad?

Tonight, CBS said they stand by their report, because they wouldn't have used the memos if they weren't authentic. (Hat tip to Drudge Report):

Statement by the President of CBS News, Andrew Heyward:

'We established to our satisfaction that the memos were accurate or we would not have put them on television. There was a great deal of coroborating [sic] evidence from people in a position to know. Having said that, given all the questions about them, we believe we should redouble our efforts to answer those questions, so that's what we are doing'...
They were "accurate"? Even though they are blatant attempts at forgery? Great shades of the NY Times!

Yesterday, Hugh Hewitt called for Congressional investigations. He's concerned that "a network is party to a fraud committed with the obvious intent of influencing an election. Where are the hearings? This is very serious stuff, and the rise of technology capable of influencing elections is a worry on many minds. (See John Fund's new book Stealing Elections.) It doesn't do much good for Congress to arrive to conduct an autopsy. It should act before the fraud spreads."

He invited his old friend Congressman Chris Cox to be on his radio show, and afterwards Cox sent a letter to the chairman of the relevant subcommittee. It reads in part:

"Dear Chairman Upton:

This is a request that you commence a Subcommittee investigation into the continued use by CBS News of apparently forged documents concerning the service record of President George W. Bush intended to unfairly damage his reputation and influence the outcome of the 2004 presidential election.

In February 2001, the Energy & Commerce Committee held hearings calling the television networks to account for irresponsibly (and inaccurately) calling the outcome of the presidential election in Florida before the polls had closed. At those hearings, CBS News vowed that the competitive drive to get the story first would be subordinated to 'making sure we are correct,' given that the stakes --the outcome of the presidential election-- were so high....

Despite the growing abundance of the evidence that CBS News has aided and abetted fraud, the network has declined to reveal the source of the disputed documents. USA Today possesses the same documents, obtained independently from a person representing them to be authentic, and likewise is refusing to disclose his identity.

Given the shortness of time between now and the election which the apparent fraud is meant to influence, and the even shorter time before Congress is scheduled to adjourn, I strongly urge that the Subcommittee move with all deliberate speed to uncover the facts.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter within the Subcommittee's jurisdiction.

Christopher Cox
U.S. Representative"

Hugh has lots more at

Meanwhile, BeldarBlog has a strong indictment of CBS and Dan Rather:

On Thursday, September 9th, I wrote a post entitled, "Burden now on CBS to authenticate its documents lest it become a co-conspirator in fraud."

In hindsight, I was clearly wrong.

I gave CBS News and Dan Rather the benefit of the doubt — the presumption that they did not know the Killian memos were forgeries when they ran their hit piece on "60 Minutes II" on the previous evening. I argued that because of the doubts immediately raised about the authenticity of the memos, CBS ran the risk of becoming a co-conspirator in the fraud perpetrated by whoever forged them.

But Dan Rather and CBS News had become co-conspirators by the time of their broadcast. ABC News has revealed that two of the experts whom CBS News consulted before running the broadcast — Emily Will from North Carolina and Linda James of Plano, Texas — could not and would not authenticate the fraudulent Killian memos, and expressly told CBS that.

Patterico seconds the motion for Dan Rather's dismissal. This story is not going away quietly.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Thank-you Gordon Bloyer

Gordon Bloyer authored an article entitled "Bush Guard Service, the True Story".

I questioned his quotations from, which don't appear on their site. I posted an email I received from Aerospaceweb that disavowed any knowledge of the following quote in the article:

The folks at aerospaceweb concluded.........

While Bush did not see combat in Vietnam, it is also obvious he was not seeking a way to avoid the risk of being sent to Vietnam. At the time he was training to be an F102 pilot, ANG units and that aircraft type were based in Vietnam.
Mr. Bloyer sent me an email admitting he had mis-edited the piece and told me where to find the original. That last paragraph actually came from Judicious Asininity:

While Bush did not see combat in Vietnam, it is also obvious he was not seeking a way to avoid the risk of being sent to Vietnam. At the time he was training to be an F102 pilot, ANG units and that aircraft type were based in Vietnam. Thanks to Balloon Juice for the link. Send it on to all your Democrat friends repeating Democrat talking points about Bush being AWOL.

I appreciate Mr. Bloyer's willingness to answer my question and admit a mistake. He has higher standards than some major news organizations!

Again, I'd like to point out that if you try to follow a link to the original article at, it's no longer available.

Update (10:45 pm 9/12/04): I sent Mr. Bloyer a follow-up email, and asked him if he was going to post a correction anywhere. This is what he wrote:

Sure you can post it. It is not possible to change it now. It has been riding a bullet around the internet. The article was hit over 2900 times, just on the freeper site. It has been posted on so many websites, I can't keep up with it.

This is the site the quote came from........

Thanks for your interest.

Gordon Bloyer
At least it's documented here, just in time for the next onslaught of allegations about President Bush's military service.

Added "Blogs for Bush" Blogroll

I've updated my blog template to include the mini-BlogsforBush blogroll of their 25 most active bloggers. The entire Blogs for Bush blogroll is over 1000 strong!

And while I was at it, I added links for RealClearPolitics, Captain's Quarters, and Power Line.

Happy browsing.

Forgery recaps & summaries

More useful posts:

RealClearPolitics Main page links to key news and commentary daily.

RealClearPolitics commentary post from yesterday with summary of sites and their contributions to the story.

Captain's Quarters has a summary post, as well as a moving 9/11 piece above it.

The Kerry Spot on National Review Online MELTDOWN ROUNDUP [09/11 11:57 AM], today's summary here.

Instapundit's entire output today is worthwhile to bring you up to date. His first summary is here.

Basically, keep reading and following links.

I'm wondering who the forgery's intended victim was. Was it really the President? Or was it a plant to expose main-stream media's (MSM) pro-Kerry bias? If the latter, CBS News did not cover itself in glory. And the NY Times and Boston Globe are getting sullied as well.

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit posted this yesterday:

UPDATE: James Lileks:

Blogs haven’t toppled old media. The foundations of Old Media were rotten already. The new media came along at the right time. Put it this way: you’ve see films of old buildings detonated by precision demolitionists. First you see the puffs of smoke – then the building just hangs there for a second, even though every column that held it up has been severed. We’ve been living in that second for years, waiting for the next frame. Well, here it is. Roll tape. Down she goes. And when the dust settles we will be right back where we were 100 years ago, with dozens of fiercely competitive media outlets throwing elbows to earn your pennies.

And that will be an improvement. It might not be an improvement over the media that some media folks claim we've had in recent decades, but it will be an improvement over the media that we've actually had.

Well said! Similar sentiments are voiced by Jay Currie at TechCentralStation in "Blogs vs. 60 Minutes"

One day. That was all it took for the ranks of citizen journalists to swarm and then thoroughly discredit a story which ran in the New York Times, the Boston Globe and on a network news magazine. [...]

From the perspective of the establishment media, this, too, is a disaster. CBS will have to explain: where did the documents come from? What were the bona fides of the source? Who was the source? Which expert looked at the documents? How closely?

Those are the starter questions. The more basic question is how could a rabble of bloggers, in one day, provide hard core proof of forgery when major news organizations took those documents at face value? Most fundamental of all, why did the New York Times, the Boston Globe and CBS allow themselves to be used for such a transparent attempt to slander President Bush? Out in the blogosphere there are a swarm of people rooting for the answers.

Morning Reads

All links via News Forum Home Page and her wonderful readers.

Mark Steyn in the Chicago Sun-Times, "CBS falls for Kerry campaign's fake memo"

The tragedy for Rather, Oliphant, Krugman and Co. is that even if the memos were authentic nobody would care. Their boy Kerry had a crummy August not because he didn't hammer Bush for being AWOL in the Spanish-American War but because the senator's AWOL in the present war. Big Media are trashing their own reputations in service to a man who can never win.

After the 2002 election, I wrote, ''Remind me never to complain about 'liberal media bias' again. Right now, liberal media bias is conspiring to assist the Democrats to sleepwalk over the cliff.''

The media and the Democrats sustain each other's make-believe land. Dan Rather tells his staff, ''Kerry's told me there's nothing to this Swiftvet thing.'' Kerry tells his, ''Rather's assured me this Swiftvet story's going nowhere.''

George W. Bush ought to wake up every morning and thank the Lord the media aren't on his side.

Fred Barnes in The Weekly Standard, "The Luck of the President"

To the surprise of many, Bush has actually honed an effective economic message with interesting specifics, numbers, and comparisons. For instance, did you know that the 1.7 million jobs added in the past year in the United States "is more than [the jobs created in] Germany, Japan, Great Britain, Canada, and France combined?" Bush noted this in Colmar, Pennsylvania, last week. He also addressed the "subchapter S" issue: Under this section of the tax code, 90 percent of small business owners pay at the income tax rate, not the corporate rate. And since "70 percent of new jobs in America are created by small businesses," Kerry's plan to raise taxes on the two top brackets would be a tax on "job creators," Bush said. "It doesn't make sense."

By contrast, Kerry is tongue-tied. He won't talk to national reporters covering his campaign for fear of being asked about his claim of spending Christmas Eve 1968 in Cambodia. Nor will he sit down for questioning by columnists or commentators knowledgeable about foreign policy because he's bound to contradict his earlier statements. And not since Jimmy Carter in 1980 has a Democratic nominee been more unpopular with his base voters.

Donald Lambro in Human Events Online "Confusion Is Kerry Campaign's Only Constant"

It's difficult to recall a presidential candidate who has changed course on a major national security issue as many times as Kerry has done over the past two years.

Kerry's flip-flops, as well as his unending concentration on his Vietnam experiences and Iraq, have long been an under-the-radar concern within the party's leadership. Now many Democrats, especially at the state level, are voicing their criticism publicly. [...]

"He has to refocus the debate on domestic issues," adds Harold Ickes, former deputy chief of staff to the Clinton White House. "Kerry can't ignore the commander in chief stuff, but that's not where the election is going to be won or lost."

Kerry seemed to be taking this advice as he headed into the Labor Day weekend, but then he lurched back into the Iraq war debate in a renewed bid to re-energize his party's antiwar base, just as Bush's top strategists hoped he would.

Two months from now, that decision may be seen as the worst mistake of his turbulent campaign.

James S. Robbins in National Review Online, "Remember 9/11?"

The terrorists had a much different conflict in mind. Three years after 9/11 the US was supposed to be mired in a deadly stalemate in Afghanistan, feeding men and materiel into a fruitless effort to defeat the cunning terrorists and their heroic Taliban allies. We were supposed to be losing that war in the same way the Soviet Union lost when it fought in the Afghan mountains, draining our economy and demonstrating that our Superpower status was illusory. Terror attacks would continue inside the United States, and a growing antiwar movement would be agitating for peace. The Muslim masses were supposed to be rising in the streets against heretical regimes, other terrorist groups and even conventional armies in the Mideast were to be declaring fealty to bin Laden by now. The rest of the world would be too frightened or disengaged to be involved, they would watch from the sidelines lest they found themselves under siege; and for their weakness they soon would be. Yes, all of this was in the plan, the outline bin Laden published in 1996, his roadmap to uniting the Muslim Ummah and being recognized as the Mahdi. But it didn't happen. The follow-on attacks were thwarted. The world united. The Coalition acted. The Taliban were overthrown, bin Laden put on the run, most of his cronies killed or captured. The Muslim masses did not rise up. One sometimes hears reasonably intelligent people say that al Qaeda is more dangerous now than they were before 9/11, but they cannot seem to pull off even small-scale domestic attacks, let alone another "Holy Tuesday."

Friday, September 10, 2004

The New Pamphleteers

Among other things, the blogosphere is inherently democratic, in the original sense of every citizen having a direct voice in the polis. I consider blogging to be a direct descendent of the proud political tradition of pamphleteering. Think Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Paine, who wrote and sold opinion pieces in the forms of pamphlets in the 18th century. If Franklin or Paine were alive today, I'm sure they would both be avid bloggers.

While I was trolling for appropriate hyperlinks, I rediscovered this quote from Thomas Paine:

"These are the times that try men's souls: The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it Now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict the more glorius the triumph."
Thomas Paine, The Crisis -- December 1776

An appropriate sentiment as we commemorate Patriot's Day tomorrow.