Monday, October 25, 2004

Quick Takes

As I wandered through the blogosphere today, I found these nuggets. Enjoy!

Mark Steyn is already tiring of the US election:
Maybe I'm getting old. I've been covering politics for 53 years, and that's just since John Kerry's convention speech. I'm sick of this election, even before the Democratic Party's chad-diviners have managed to extend it to mid-December. These are serious times and the senator is not a serious man. And so we have a campaign that has a sharper position on Mary Cheney's lesbianism and the deficiencies of Laura Bush's curriculum vitae than on the central question of the age.
Today's whole column is a fun read at Opinion Journal Best of the Web.

Football Fans for Truth chronicles John Kerry's sports-related tall tales. For a story for you Red Sox fans, see "Just 30 Yards Away?".

Froggy Ruminations posts an eloquent essay, "Kerry is Unacceptable to Veterans":
These actions by John Kerry paint a disturbing picture for any US Citizen, but for a veteran or servicemember the level of revulsion sparked by this man cannot be measured with existing technology. No heroic act in his past could ever make up for the patterns of betrayal that litter the public life of this candidate. There could hardly be a man chosen by the Democratic party that personified more clearly the antithesis of what a Commander in Chief should be in the opinion of those who would serve under him.
Also check out his excellent character analysis of the Kerry archetype, known in Navy SEAL circles as a Blue Falcon: "a version of the military acronym BF which stands for Buddy F*&%er. That is what (sic) someone who behaves in a manner which elevates his personal needs or desires above those of the unit to which he belongs. i.e. John Kerry."

Belmont Club compares Saddam's tactical retreat with MacArthur's on Bataan. He notes that:
One indication of the unfavorable trend faced by enemy forces face (sic) was the rapid transformation in US operations. It is interesting to compare Marine preparations to assault Fallujah in April 2004 with those apparently under way today, just months later. The Marine methods of April would have been instantly familiar to any military historian: hammer and anvil, seizure of key terrain; feint and attack. Today, many of the military objectives in the developing siege of the terrorist stronghold are abstract. They consist of developing a network of informers in the city; of setting up a functioning wireless network; of getting close enough for smaller US units to deploy their line-of-sight controlled UAV and UGV units to create a seamless operational and tactical environment to wage "swarm" warfare; of getting artillery and mortar units close enough to play hopscotch over everything the network decides to engage. To the traditional methods of warfare the Americans were adding a whole new plane which only they could inhabit.
Noemie Emery, writing in NRO, says President Bush has nothing to apologize for:
Bush picked his course, as James Pinkerton has written in Newsday, and now he clings to it, "come hell or high blood." This is a killer phrase, and it does yield its frisson, but as a line of attack, there is one problem with it: That is how people win wars. The ability to plough on undeterred in the face of brute horror is the trait that made a hero and victor of Ulysses S. Grant after the failures of many more nuanced and flexible generals; that made a saint and a hero of Abraham Lincoln; and that led Roosevelt to victory in the Second World War.

According to critics, one thing for which Bush ought to apologize is the number of Americans killed in Iraq, now more than l,000 in over a year and a half. Regarding this number, four things should be said. First, it is well below the minimal projection of casualties made before the invasion. Second, it is still only about one third the number of Americans killed in two and a half hours on a September morning three years ago. Third, in a six-week period in 1863, Grant lost 60,000 American soldiers. Fourth, in a training exercise days before D-Day, British and American forces lost nearly as many forces as have already died in Iraq to mistakes and confusion. Churchill and Roosevelt did not apologize, nor did their generals. Nobody stateside complained.

For some more perspective on the casualty levels in Iraq, check out the latest FBI stats. The grimmest is that were 16,203 slayings reported in 2003 in the United States. (Hat tip Drudge Report.)

And finally, The Spoons Experience says, "Don't forget to keep an eye on, Brian Scott's new blog keeping an eye on stories involving voter fraud, voter intimidation, election litigation, and all the other crap that makes us want to crawl into bed, go to sleep, and not wake up until about December 1 or so, when they finally figure out who won."

Go read Arthur Chrenkoff!

Arthur Chrenkoff has several excellent posts today:
  • "Good News From Iraq", Part 13. (Also at Opinion Journal)
    There are two Iraqs.

    The one we more often get to see and read about is a dangerous place, full of exploding cars, kidnapped foreigners and deadly ambushes. The reconstruction is proceeding at a snail's pace, frustration boils over and tensions - political, ethnic, religious - crackle in the air like static electricity before a storm.

    The other Iraq is a once prosperous and promising country of twenty-four million people, slowly recovering from physical and moral devastation of totalitarian rule. It's a country whose people are slowly beginning to stand on their own feet, grasp the opportunities undreamed of only two years ago, and dream of catching up on three decades of lost time.
  • S11 Republicans
    One of the very interesting consequences of S11 and the Bush presidency seems to be the increasing polarisation of the electorate. While the passion - and hatred - among the Democrat base, as well as the international left broadly speaking, is getting more strident every day, on the other hand many previously "soft" conservatives have strengthened their ideological stance, and many moderates and even leftists have been forced to rethink their previous commitments, often becoming what is now known as "S11 Republicans".
  • Kerry's "Coalition of the Bribed" gets bribed by Kerry
    Remember when John Kerry described the Coalition of the Willing in Iraq as not a "genuine coalition" but "some trumped-up, so-called coalition of the bribed, the coerced, the bought and the extorted"?

    If you do, you might be surprised to learn that Kerry's policy to attract back more allies and get them to share the burden in Iraq is to bribe and buy them even more.
  • Guest blogger: Rebuilding Afghanistan, Part 1
    Today, the first of three parts of a report by Rob, Regional Director of Central Asian Free Exchange (CAFE), who has spent the last three years making the difference on the ground in Afghanistan. His is an invaluable first-hand, sleeves rolled-up, account of the work being done to transform one of the poorest and most unfortunate countries in Asia.

News Flash — Kerry Lied!

To be charitable, he embellished the truth. Again.

Remember Mr. "I will never mislead the American people"? Well, this time Joel Mowbray at the Washington Times caught him in a fish-story he's told more than twice:
At the second presidential debate earlier this month, Mr. Kerry said he was more attuned to international concerns on Iraq than President Bush, citing his meeting with the entire Security Council.

"This president hasn't listened. I went to meet with the members of the Security Council in the week before we voted. I went to New York. I talked to all of them, to find out how serious they were about really holding Saddam Hussein accountable," Mr. Kerry said of the Iraqi dictator.

Speaking before the Council on Foreign Relations in New York in December 2003, Mr. Kerry explained that he understood the "real readiness" of the United Nations to "take this seriously" because he met "with the entire Security Council, and we spent a couple of hours talking about what they saw as the path to a united front in order to be able to deal with Saddam Hussein."

But of the five ambassadors on the Security Council in 2002 who were reached directly for comment, four said they had never met Mr. Kerry. The four also said that no one who worked for their countries' U.N. missions had met with Mr. Kerry either.
Apparently, Senator Kerry met with some, but hardly all 15, of the 2002 U.N. Security Council ambassadors or legations. Senator von Münchhausen rides again.

Capt. Ed weighs in:
We have a presidential candidate who has repeatedly accused George Bush of lying to the American public on the thinnest of evidence, and yet Kerry felt no compunction about telling this lie directly to the cameras during a presidential debate. Kerry spent the past week accusing Bush of using scare tactics to get re-elected, and yet Kerry has spent the past several weeks spreading the lies that Bush has secret plans to start a military draft and to steal the pensions of senior citizens. Kerry and his allies have made wild accusations about Bush's military record but have squealed like schoolgirls every time people ask him to sign a Form 180 to release his own complete military file.

Yes, it reveals nothing that we haven't seen before, but in this case the lie is particularly egregious in that he's using it to undermine our foreign policy and diplomacy in a time of war. It's another indication that nothing, not our security or the lives of our troops, comes before his own overwhelming ambitions to seize power and live out the life of his boyhood idol, John Kennedy. And the fact that he's established a firm pattern of deceit and self-aggrandizement shouldn't be treated with a round of indifference; it should be heralded to the American electorate so that they can see Kerry for the prevaricating narcissist that he so clearly is. [Ed. emphasis mine]
Lots more at Red State (where Joel Mowbray is blogging and answering comments), Michelle Malkin, Hugh Hewitt, Polipundit, Roger L. Simon, INDC Journal (with even more links), and The Truth Laid Bear here and here.

The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

Oh, no! Senator Kerry reads the NY Times (registration required) and blasts President Bush for "letting" 380 tons of explosives disappear. Yet it's unclear if the cache was intact even before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003. The presumption is that they were looted at some point:

By late 2003, diplomats said, arms agency experts had obtained commercial satellite photos of Al Qaqaa showing that two of roughly 10 bunkers that contained HMX appeared to have been leveled by titanic blasts, apparently during the war. They presumed some of the HMX had exploded, but that is unclear.

Other HMX bunkers were untouched. Some were damaged but not devastated. I.A.E.A. experts say they assume that just before the invasion the Iraqis followed their standard practice of moving crucial explosives out of buildings, so they would not be tempting targets. If so, the experts say, the Iraqi must have broken seals from the arms agency on bunker doors and moved most of the HMX to nearby fields, where it would have been lightly camouflaged - and ripe for looting.

Ergo, it's highly probable that when the Marines found no I.A.E.A seals in the facility, they kept on moving to other high-priority sites. [Update 10/26 05:50 am. Also see CNN story.]

It's perhaps worthwhile to dig into the NY Times article to find out why this information has come to light. Well, the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A) asked for it:

Early this month, Dr. ElBaradei put public pressure on the interim Iraqi government to start the process of accounting for nuclear-related materials still ostensibly under I.A.E.A. supervision, including the Qaqaa stockpile.

"Iraq is obliged," he wrote to the president of the Security Council on Oct. 1, "to declare semiannually changes that have occurred or are foreseen."

The agency, Dr. ElBaradei added pointedly, "has received no such notifications or declarations from any state since the agency's inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq in March 2003."

Two weeks ago, on Oct. 10, Dr. Mohammed J. Abbas of the Iraqi Ministry of Science and Technology wrote a letter to the I.A.E.A. to say the Qaqaa stockpile had been lost. He added that his ministry had judged that an "urgent updating of the registered materials is required."

A chart in his letter listed 341.7 metric tons, about 377 American tons, of HMX, RDX and PETN as missing.

Yes, that's a lot of bang. It's also a very small fraction of what's already been discovered and destroyed. Captain Ed does an excellent job of providing context:
So let's keep in mind that when we're talking about 380 tons of ammunition, it represents 0.019% of the estimated amount of explosives and munitions that confronted the US at the beginning of the invasion. As Mike* makes clear, it will take years to find, secure, and destroy all of these caches, and the Coalition had to prioritize the sites very quickly on their arrival. Absent any IAEA seals, they did what common sense dictated: the US moved its troops into positions where they could fight the enemy and secure communications.

Most egregiously, the failure to protect less than 0.02% of the total estimated munitions in Iraq has been seized upon by Kerry's campaign as an example of "incompetence":

Reacting to the IAEA announcement on Monday, Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry said the "incredible incompetence of this president and this administration has put our troops at risk and put this country at greater risk than we ought to be."

These hysterical ravings from the Democrats should convince voters that anyone this panicky cannot possibly be trusted with any kind of command authority over our military, let alone guide us in an asymmetrical war with Islamic terrorists and the countries that sponsor them.

*Mike is the author of a series of pictorial emails explaining to his kids "Why We Fight". Part III covers his work with the discovery and disposal of cached ordnance, and Capt. Ed quotes from it in his post today.

And this is today's email from Ken Mehlman, Campaign Manager for Bush-Cheney '04:
Subject: John Kerry's Attacks: Ripped from the Headlines!
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 2004 14:11:45 -0400
From: Campaign Manager Ken Mehlman
To: Kate Adell

Dear Kate,

Kerry's campaign is becoming desperate.

Everyday brings a new charge against the President and every charge is pulled right from the headlines of the New York Times. If you want to know how John Kerry will attack the President in the afternoon, just read the Times in the morning.

John Kerry will say anything he believes will help him politically, and today he is grasping at headlines to obscure his record of weakness and indecision in the War on Terror. These are the tactics of a candidate who has no message for the future and no positive record to run on.

The entire country of Iraq was a weapons stockpile. So far, 243,000 tons of weapons and explosives have been secured and destroyed. In addition, 163,000 tons of weapons and explosives have been secured and are awaiting destruction. All the Monday morning-quarterbacking and armchair-generaling in the world by John Kerry won't make up for the fact that he does not have a vision, a strategy or a plan to fight and win the War on Terror. [Ed. Underlined in original.]

Saddam Hussein's government stored weapons in mosques, schools, hospitals and countless other locations throughout Iraq. Yet, John Kerry showed today that he still cannot decide whether Saddam Hussein was a threat or not. He claims the weapons our troops have secured and destroyed were not a threat, but any other weapons were.

You should prepare for more baseless attacks torn from the headlines in the coming days by John Kerry. You should also expect more desperate flailing by his campaign as more polls show President Bush on his way to re-election.

John Kerry is attempting to distract voters from the clear choice they face between President Bush's strong leadership to protect America and John Kerry's weak record of proposing reckless cuts to our defense and intelligence budgets.

They will not succeed.


Ken Mehlman
For a self-proclaimed realist, who has sworn that "you will always get the truth from me, in good times and in bad times. And I will never mislead the American people," Senator Kerry has a remarkable facility to be selective in his use of "facts".

[Update 10/26 05:50 am] Michelle Malkin digs into misleading "Kerryisms" about 95% uninspected cargo, his UN chats, and Senator Lugar's implied support of Kerry's positions.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Remembering Vietnam

None of the Vietnam veterans I work with will be voting for Senator Kerry to be our next President. And a lot of that stems from his 1971 testimony before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, which in turn cited the so-called Winter Soldier Investigation. So with all the noise about the film "Stolen Honor" and Sinclair Broadcasting, I thought I'd compile some background reading for you.

The documentary "Stolen Honor" can be watched on the web, although I'll warn you that it's 42 minutes long. (It's free of charge for a limited time). Here's the director's plot summary from
In the mid 1960's thousands of young American men left their families, homes and jobs and went to fight for their country in Southeast Asia. Many of them never returned. Others were shot down and captured behind enemy lines. They were forced to suffer years of brutal treatment at the hands of the Communist captors. In the opinions of this political affiliation, their horrifying days of darkness, starvation and torture were made worse by the actions of a young American Officer named John Kerry.
Bowing to political pressure, Sinclair Broadcasting did not show the documentary. Readers at have some choice comments about what was broadcast instead. A Wall Street Journal editorial provides more background and wonders about long-term consequences for freedom of the press:
Sinclair bent under enormous political pressure, but notably a kind we haven't seen wielded before to silence the media. We aren't referring to the raft of Democratic complaints filed with official agencies. There's nothing unusual there. A call for an advertising boycott came next -- again, not pleasant, but not unheard of in this business.

The next step was something new: A double team by trial lawyers and government officials threatening shareholder suits. [...]

Now that this trial lawyer-government precedent has been set, who's to stop it if it next turns, as eventually it will, on the New York Times, or CBS? ... If the standard now is that stirring controversy is a fraud against shareholders because it may cost ad revenue, a lot more media owners than Sinclair are going to become political targets.

In the Weekly Standard, author Joshua Muravchik penned "Never Apologize, Never Explain," in which he discusses the smokescreen the Kerry camp has used in "explaining" the 1970-71 visits to Paris and the 1971 Senate testimony.
When the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth unveiled the fourth in their series of television ads--this one accusing Kerry of having "secretly met with the enemy" in Paris--both papers went into full debunking mode. The Post ran 600 words under the headline: "Ad Says Kerry 'Secretly' Met With Enemy; But He Told Congress of It." The story explained that the Swifties were "referring to a meeting Kerry had in early 1971 with leaders of the communist delegation that was negotiating with U.S. representatives at the Paris peace talks. The meeting, however, was not a secret. Kerry . . . mentioned it in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in April of that year."

The next morning the Post ran a correction. The previous day's story, it noted, "incorrectly said that John F. Kerry met with a Vietnamese communist delegation in Paris in 1971. The meeting was in 1970." The correction did not acknowledge, however, that this apparently minor error invalidated the entire point of the Post's impeachment of the Swifties' ad. Kerry's visit to Paris took place in or around May 1970, eleven months before his Foreign Relations Committee testimony. In other words, his meeting with the Communists (while he was still a reserve officer in the U.S. Navy) appears to have been kept secret for nearly a year.

Other resources:

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Thursday picks

Michelle Malkin says "Rosie the Riveter has given way to Sally the Sniveler.":
But Rosie is gone. And in her place, we have Hysterical Women for Kerry. They are self-absorbed celebrities who support banning all guns (except the ones their bodyguards use to protect them and their children). They are teachers' union bigwigs who support keeping all children hostage in public schools (except their own sons and daughters who have access to the best private institutions). They are sanctimonious environmentalists who oppose ostentatious energy consumption (except for their air-conditioned Malibu mansions and Gulfstream jets and custom Escalades.)

They are antiwar activists who claim to love the troops (except when they're apologizing to the terrorists trying to kill our men and women in uniform). They are peace activists who balk at your son bringing in his "Star Wars" light saber for the kindergarten Halloween parade (but who have no problem serving as human shields for torture-loving dictators). They are ultrafeminists who purport to speak for all women (but not the unborn ones or the abstinent teenage ones or the minority conservative ones or the newly enfranchised ones in Afghanistan).

She has more comments about her column here. Michelle also comments on Senator Kerry's Ohio hunting trip yesterday in her post, "YOU CAN'T FOOL A SPORTSMAN". (I'll also add her to my blog list on the right this evening.)

Over at Opinion Journal, Claudia Rosett has the latest installment on the Oil-For-Food scandal at the UN. (For more on the topic see my Columbus Day Digest.)

Don't miss the Wall Street Journal editorial, "Desperate Kerry tries to scare seniors" about Social Security:
At his party's convention in Boston, Mr. Kerry pledged, "As President, I will not privatize Social Security." OK, fine. But as President, what would he do to prevent a fiscal catastrophe? Isn't this part of a President's job description?

He certainly hasn't left himself much room for leadership. His campaign Web site says: "As president, John Kerry will not raise Social Security taxes, raise the retirement age, cut benefits for people that rely on Social Security or privatize Social Security." These promises simply can't all be kept. There is a choice to be made.

Mr. Bush is at least proposing one way to address the problem that is open to public scrutiny and debate. Senator Kerry refuses to choose, assures us that with "minor changes" it will all work out somehow, and demonizes his opponent for having a plan. These are the scare tactics of a desperate candidate, and we hope the Bush campaign doesn't let him get away with it.

In The American Thinker, Herbert E. Meyer writes "The Lessons of 9-11":
What we learned on September 11 is this: We are now living in a world in which a small number of people can kill a large number of people very quickly. They can hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings, spread anthrax spores through the mail, pour botulism into a city’s water supply, detonate a “dirty” backpack filled with radioactive waste in a shopping mall, or even get their hands on a nuclear device and set it off in one of our cities. And so the lesson of 9-11 couldn’t be more clear: our tolerance for political horseplay must drop, to just a small fraction above zero.

Now you see why going after al Queda and other terrorist groups is necessary, but not sufficient. As long as there are states willing to play footsie with the terrorists by giving them sanctuary, selling them arms, laundering their money, providing false passports, or helping them to shift people and equipment around the world – and as long as there are states whose own policies and actions threaten mass murder – civilization cannot be safe.

Also at The American Thinker, Edward L. Daley has some sarcastic commentary about Kerry's Nov 3 strategy:
Since it's apparent that we, the American people, are no longer capable of running our own elections, who better to do it for us than bus-loads of left-wing legal eagles and Kyoto-supporting foreign bureaucrats? A practicable answer to that question escapes me, as I'm sure it does all of you who are reading this now. [...]

Why, it's almost as if these cantankerous cretins think that America is a nation which values the opinions of wholly ordinary people as highly as it does those of Harvard educated law practitioners!

I mean, have you ever...?

James K. Glassman writes a thoughtful piece for TechCentral Station about Who, or What, Grants Us Our Rights?:
Kerry believes that the United States government, through the Constitution, "affords" rights to Americans. My dictionary defines "afford," in this context as "give, grant, confer." In other words, we fortunate, benighted Americans have a country, a government that grants us rights.

That's an utterly inaccurate reading of the great documents of the founding of this nation. Our government does not grant us any rights at all. On the contrary, Americans start off with rights, and it is we who grant the government certain limited powers to protect those rights.

Where do our rights come from if they don't come from government? They come from God -- which may be why John Kerry doesn't get it.

Lorie Byrd at Polipundit posts "A Brilliant Retort To The Arm Chair Generals":
It is an old military maxim that blunders can be forgiven, but a lack of boldness cannot. There will always be blunders. The simple becomes difficult in war. Take for example the following question: what is 2+2 equal too? An easy question right? Now imagine I gave you 15 such questions and you had 2 seconds to answer them. Most likely you would answer some and leave the rest. Looking at those questions you missed in isolation I might say, “What kind of blathering idiot are you? You can’t even answer simple questions like 2+2=4″. That is why Armchair Generals are so annoying. They look at one thing in isolation with all the time in the world to think about it and say confidently “the answers obvious". But when you are out in the fight everything looks different. Nothing is ever seen in isolation. You never have enough time. You never know more than 1/10 what you need to know. There will always be blunders.

But the job has to get done anyway. And to get this kind of job done boldness is essential. A leader who never blunders, but who doesn’t take the fight to the enemy is worthless. A leader who sets about to win - win ugly if needs be - is priceless.

You can read the whole thing at Andrew Sullivan’s site.

And finally, Little Green Footballs reports that "Retired General Tommy Franks is still taking the fight to the enemy, with an op-ed in the New York Times pointing out John Kerry’s lies about Afghanistan: War of Words." A sample:
Contrary to Senator Kerry, President Bush never “took his eye off the ball” when it came to Osama bin Laden. The war on terrorism has a global focus. It cannot be divided into separate and unrelated wars, one in Afghanistan and another in Iraq. Both are part of the same effort to capture and kill terrorists before they are able to strike America again, potentially with weapons of mass destruction. Terrorist cells are operating in some 60 countries, and the United States, in coordination with dozens of allies, is waging this war on many fronts.

Ashley's Story

Lots of blogs are linking to Ashley's Story, and for good reason.

It's a very powerful, very moving, and positive ad. Pass it on to everyone you know.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Election Shenanigans 2

Recent headlines [Updated at 10/20 11:45 pm, 10/21 8:30 pm]:

Jim Geraghty at NRO Kerry Spot has some choice comments on that Kerry story:
Notice nowhere in this story is there any suggestion that Kerry's plan would be affected by actual election results.

Of course, let's observe that the Democrats' sue-our-way-into-the-White-House strategy needs a couple of events to occur in order to win.

They need:

A) The electoral college total to be close.
B) They need at least one state that could alter the electoral college total to be close.
C) They need that state to have a plausible Election Day controversy.
D) They need that Election Day controversy to disallow a large pile of disputed ballots.
E) They need a legal case to argue that those disputed ballots to be allowed.
F) They need those disputed ballots to be enough to put Kerry over the top.

Not even Al Gore got F.

But it all starts with point A. If Team Bush can boost turnout so that Bush wins by several states' worth of electoral votes, the Kerry legal effort for five simultaneous recounts could look pretty silly. I think the Democrats overestimate public patience for another Florida controversy.

Mark Noonan writes:
If nothing else convinces you to get out and vote on November 2nd, then this should - remember, if it ain't close, they can't cheat. Its unfair, but we of the GOP cannot win narrowly - we have to win big or not win at all. And as for you sensible Democrats out there, its time to vote Republican not because you like Republicans, but because you like our democratic Republic. The Democratic Party, perhaps blindly but at any case in reality, is set to completely undermine American democracy - if the Democrats succeed in an effort to lawsuit their way to victory, then democracy in America is dead; the only thing which will matter is who can game the, which corrupt set of politicians are willing to bare-nuckle their way into power.

Blogs for Bush also has an archive of "Voter Fraud Alert" posts.

Bill Hobbs has been compiling accounts of voter registration irregularities in Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, New Mexico, and Tennessee, among others. He asks, "If you spot a news story about suspected voter fraud in your part of the country, please send me the link and a brief summary to"

Over at, the RNC researchers have put together a long list of fraud stories too. (I just wish they had hyperlinked to the originals.)

John Fund wonders "Will 'provisional ballots' be the new chads?"

I have more info in my original post, "Election Shenanigans".

I repeat: It looks like it's gonna be ugly... so do your part and VOTE, even if your state is "solidly" for either candidate.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Tim Meets the President

My colleague Tim was one of the fortunate few invited to attend President Bush's speech in Marlton, NJ (aka Evesham Township). Tim retired from the US Navy about a year ago, a 20-year Chief Petty Officer (E-7). He graciously gave me a half-hour interview this afternoon. Here's the transcript.

Kate: This was an invitation-only event to see the President...

Tim: That's correct.

K: So how did you get an invitation?

T: Being a member of an American Legion club, I was invited on Friday night--I got a phone call due to the fact that there are very very few retired Navy people in this post. They wanted a retired Marine, a retired Air Force, a retired Army, and a retired Navy to go. And they were given these invitations. I don't know how that came about I was invited through my American Legion post.

K: That's cool. So, what did that mean for your weekend?

T: It was really neat, actually. I knew that he was coming on Monday--they still didn't know on Friday what time, so I actually went on the Internet to look up his itinerary because you can find it, but it just said New Jersey, then Florida later in the day. So I really didn't know what time it was gonna be on Monday. I called the post and they said do this, and that, and that; meet us here and we'll take you there because of the traffic, and because of this, and the security.

The weekend was cool, because I called my Mom and Dad who are die-hard Democrats, and it's like, "Guess where I'm going on Monday!" Well, they're from Minnesota, and that's, you know, Walter Mondale, Hubert Humphrey, all them bone-heads.

K: What would almost be moderate Democrats now, as opposed to...

T: Well, actually my father is leaning towards Bush more than my mother, but he is...he's got more of an open mind. Anyway, so I called them and told them I was going. It was neat! My wife, my wife was like, "ah, okay." She likes she does. She didn't 18 months ago, two years ago, and partly for purely personal reasons. I was in the military: I spent 18.5 months over in Iraq and Afghanistan, so I wasn't at home. So she was not anti-Bush, but she was wondering why it was that this one ship or this one group is over there so much, and whatever. But that was a passing phase and she's over it. She's good to go.

K: Especially considering the alternative?

T: Yes, exactly.

K: Okay. So tell me about Monday.

T: Monday, I got to work and I was pretty pumped up. So I was telling everybody, "Yeah, I'm going to see the President!"

I saw Bill Clinton when he was on (USS) Eisenhower, I don't even remember what year it was, but I was down in Norfolk on (USS) Cape St. George, and we had to go, it was one of those mandatory fun things. So we had to go over to the Eisenhower and listen to Bill Clinton talk about, uh, I don't even know what he was talking about, to be honest with you--defense or something-- something he didn't know nothing about. That's the first time I'd ever been in the same room with the President of the United States. It was a pretty awesome experience, even though you don't have to like the guy but you still have to respect him as your Commander in Chief, or whatever. He had a hell of a handshake, I remember that.

K: Oh, you got to shake hands with him.

T: Yes. So, but that was the first time. And that was in a, I guess, a neutral setting. I mean, it wasn't 1200 Republicans or 1200 Democrats...

K: It wasn't a campaign stop.

T: Right, it wasn't a campaign stop at all; it was in a whole different environment.

So then Monday, about 1100, I left and went down to the post. We got all ready and we drove down to where he was, down in Marlton, to the Rec Center down there. Lots of traffic. Lots of security, which is good, obviously. And we waited to get into the building, and into the room; we had to go through the scanners and all that stuff. So we get in there, probably about ten after one. He was supposed to start at 1:15, but, just like any other political thing, okay, you had to have all the New Jersey--the GOP, the president from NJ, the Marlton Chamber of Commerce, and the whatever, you know. Who knows, right? So we listened to all them people talk.

And then they introduced the President of the United States. It was really interesting, because it was was like a rally. There was a lot of electricity in that air, man. It was just really cool. So he came out, and of course, everybody clapped. And he started giving his speech. He's just--I like George Bush a lot, and I believe in his policies, but it's sometimes very hard to listen to him speak because he stammers--and it's not his fault. You understand what he's trying to say, and it's really cool.

And he--the one thing I can tell you that I took out of there more than anything that you can't see on TV, you can see it on TV but you can't feel it, and that's the passion that this man has for his beliefs. And he seems dumbfounded by how his opponent, how Kerry can say some of the crap he says and believe it! Because it's just ridiculous. But you could feel, I mean, he's totally totally committed to this, and in everything. And it was just, it was really neat to see the Man up there, and he speaks from the heart. He's very passionate about what he says and how he says it. And it may not come out the way sometimes, you know--we all know that, but it, it was phenomenal. It was phenomenal!

And you know how sometimes you hear where there's people back there holding up signs "Clap," "Cheer," whatever? There was none of that stuff. People clapped and cheered or whatever whenever they wanted to. There's several times he was going like this [hand motion] telling people to be quiet, because what he said made sense.

K: He had to shush the crowd.

T: Yeah, I mean, it's not staged, it's not predetermined when people clap and cheer and say "Kerry sucks" and all that stuff that was going on.


T: Yeah, booing, that kind of stuff. And it was the end, then he went around, and met everybody. You know I shook his hand. It was cool. I mean, there was only like 1000 people; there's almost half as many media people--CNN was there, all the Philly news stations, MSNBC, everybody was covering it. So, I would say there was probably about 1000 people, you know, and then 500 reporters--not that reporters aren't people, but you know what I'm saying. And the bright lights, and all the cameras and stuff--they had to make room for all the cameras, and the media, and et cetera, et cetera. Yeah, there was half as many reporters and journalists as there were people.

K: So how does the President's handshake compare to that of Bill Clinton?

T: Oh, it's the same! ... His presence, though, you know, is--the difference between Clinton and him? Clinton was a big guy, he was a big guy. And you expected him to have a hearty handshake. But Bush, is not nearly as built, as big, but still has a hell of a handshake! It's nice. 'Cause when I was sitting with the other guys, standing with the other guys, and we said, you know, "Hey, we're veterans, and we appreciate what you're doing" and he just shook his head and said "Thanks." And away he went. So it was cool.

We do appreciate what he's doing. I don't know what anyone else would think, but ... He got done and shook hands; I think he must've shaken almost everybody's hands because he just kept going around and stuff.

K: That's nice.

T: It was nice. And away he goes. So that was it. And we went back to the American Legion, had a couple of beers, talked about what we saw, and what we heard, and that was it. So, it was very exciting. I was pretty pumped up!

K: Good! What did you take away from it in terms of ideas or concepts, key thoughts?

T: I guess it was a little different, because being in New Jersey, one of the main things he discussed was--since there were so many people who got killed in 9/11 that his main focus was talking about the bill he just signed yesterday, about checking containers coming in--all the stuff that Kerry says we need to do has already been--obviously it takes more than two weeks for a bill to go through Congress and get signed. Obviously, he's had this stuff on the table for a long time.

K: It's the 2005 [Homeland Security] appropriations bill, I believe.

T: Right, so it's still been on the table a long time. He talked a lot about that. He talked about the war. He talked about the fire departments and the police departments and appropriations for those guys, to bolster them. And what I took away from it is the same thing that I've been hearing from him for a while. And it's the stuff you want to hear, and the good stuff. His whole thing was "a Safe America." That's it.

The major thing I took away from him and that speech, is when he started talking about in 1991, when Kuwait was invaded, he--his father, obviously was the President--but in that year, the UN, and about 75-80 countries, in a coalition, all said, we need to go kick him out of Kuwait. George Bush said even, even with all that going on, John Kerry still voted against sending troops into Kuwait to get rid of Saddam Hussein. And he said, he talks about his global test--how much more of a global test can there be when there are 85-90 nations all saying, and the UN, all supporting this, saying let's go do this, and the man still says, "No. No."

I didn't know that. I took that away. And I said, you know what, is this rhetoric? I went and looked; 'cause you can look up their records...

K: Which is much easier nowadays even than it was four years ago.

T: So, you know, it's like, he voted nay. He didn't vote to send our troops to kick them people out of Kuwait with the passing of the "global test". So what the hell's his global test? That's what I took away from that whole speech; that more than anything. If I was on the waver(?), if I was undecided, that to me would tell me right now that we're in trouble if he becomes President of the United States, we're in trouble. We had 90 nations say yes, let's go kick Saddam out, and he still, as a Senator, said no--one of very few that said no.

So what is his test? What has to happen in order for him to keep us safe? And it's not a scare tactic. It's reality now. It's not scary. And that's another thing I got out of it: he's (Bush) is not scaring people, he's telling people the truth. And people have already forgot about our two twin towers crashing down to the ground four years ago--three years ago. How do you forget something like that? And that's why we're doing what we're doing. And he keeps telling people that. It would be a crushing, crushing defeat to the terrorists when Iraq becomes a free nation.

Kerry doesn't see it that way, he just doesn't see it. He's not in touch. Kerry keeps saying how Bush isn't in touch with the people--I think he is, he's in touch with the people that need to feel safe in their homes--it's pathetic.

The funny thing is too, this has nothing to do with the speech, but when I got home, I turned on the news obviously, because I wanted to see if I could see myself on TV. I didn't. But watching [on the CNN ticker], this tells you something about our country now, and the way we are perceived: The President of Russia, Putin, put out a statement that said, basically he said that the terrorists are gonna win if George Bush isn't elected in November. The terrorists are gonna win, and all the things that we've done up to this point to stop terrorism is gonna go right down the toilet. That's basically what it said in a nutshell. And I said, now isn't that amazing, and how far have we come when the Russian President, or the Premier of Russia, is endorsing one of our people. Now, that tells me that they know what's going on. World leaders also know what's going on and they have no love, they cannot believe that this man's (Kerry's) even in the running.

K: Well, Yasser Arafat came out and endorsed Kerry.

T: What a shock. Wow. There you go, ya think? I just think that that's an interesting point of view... that Putin thinks that everything we've worked for would be lost if Bush is not re-elected this year. And I have to agree with him.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Why I'll Vote for George W. Bush

Hugh Hewitt's challenge: "In 250 words or less, why vote for Bush and what's wrong with Kerry?"

Bush is a proven leader, willing to reject failed policies and try new approaches, whether it's in dealing with Al Qaeda, education, Social Security, or ecology.

Kerry can't brag on his own Senate record.

Bush is a CINC who is deeply respected by the troops and their families.

Kerry will never live down his anti-war activism.

Bush is a pragmatic diplomat, who forges coalitions for different endeavors according to the needs of each situation, whether it's the six-party talks with North Korea, or working through the UN to deal with Sudan and Iran.

Kerry claims diplomacy is imperative in sharing the burden of the war in Iraq, while disparaging the efforts and sincerity of the 30+ allies already there with us.

Bush is a man of vision and a man of faith, who thinks boldly and takes action to promote liberty, democracy, and human dignity around the world.

Kerry is a pessimistic "realist" who lacks a coherent vision beyond "killing all the terrorists" and raising taxes to pay for an ever-larger and more-intrusive government.

I do not trust John Kerry to be anything other than a poll-driven politician, craving international acclaim, who will never act forcefully because the conditions will never be perfect.

I trust George W. Bush to execute faithfully his Oath of Office, acting decisively when necessary to protect and preserve this country.

[Update 10/19/04 05:50 am.] Welcome Hugh Hewitt readers! Really, I do my own typing. Here are some other posts you might enjoy:

Monday reads

Some articles from the last week or so that you might find interesting.

Hugh Hewitt is running a week-long virtual seminar:
Vox Blogoli IV: Why vote for Bush, and what's wrong with Kerry?

Captain's Quarters
- "Explaining Why We Fight To Our Children" part I, part II, part III

Power Line
- An army brat's case against John Kerry
- Kerry's Blunder
- Jimmy Carter: Still Selling Out America

American Thinker
- John Kerry: Sophist for the 21st Century

Washington Times "Inside the Beltway 10/15/04"
- A President's Prayer (Google cache version)

Arthur Chrenkoff
- Good news from Afghanistan, Part 5
- Bin Laden in Baghdad - the story that won't go away... thanks to Saddam's lawyer
- Spinning soldiers

TCS: Tech Central Station
- Thinker in Chief
- Kerry's Contempt
- The Liberal Case for Bush

RealClear Politics
- Commentary 10/18/04
- RCP Electoral Count

New ad campaigns
- "They Served" - Swift Vets and POW's
- Club for Growth
- "World View" - Bush/Cheney'04

I also recommend the October issue of Field & Stream, which has interviews with both George W. Bush and John F. Kerry. If nothing else, you'll learn why President Bush surprised people during the debates with his firm grasp of environmental issues.

Pres. Bush Speaks in New Jersey

The President visited Evesham Township (aka Marlton) this afternoon. From what I heard of the speech on the radio, the audience was in fine fettle! It was a very strong, well-crafted speech. He visited familiar themes, and sharply contrasted his record since 9/11/01 against Senator Kerry's 20-year voting record. He also spoke about the "2005 Homeland Security Appropriations Act" which he signed into law this morning:

Winning the war on terror requires more than tough-sounding words repeated in the election season. America needs clear, moral purpose and leaders who will not waver, especially in the tough times. (Applause.) And winning the war on terror requires a strategy for victory. Unlike my opponent, I understand the struggle America faces and I have a strategy to win. (Applause.)

Our first duty in the war on terror is to protect the homeland. This morning at the White House, I signed a strong law that will make our nation more secure. With the 2005 Homeland Security Appropriations Act, we are providing essential funding for Coast Guard patrols and port security, for the Federal Air Marshal program, and for technology that will defend aircraft against missiles. We're adding new resources to patrol our borders and to verify the identity of foreign visitors to America. We need to know who's coming in and out of our country.

The new law includes vital money for first responders, and for better security of chemical facilities and nuclear plants and water treatment plants and bridges and subways and tunnels. All these measures show the unwavering commitment of our government. We will do everything in our power to protect the American people. (Applause.)

The law I signed today is part of a broad effort to defend America against new dangers. After September the 11th we created the Department of Homeland Security to make sure our government agencies are working together. We're transforming the FBI into an agency whose primary focus is stopping terrorism. Through Project BioShield, we are developing new vaccines and treatments against biological attacks. We've trained more than a half million first responders across America.

The White House transcript is here. [Update 8:30 pm] Hugh Hewitt replayed clips from the speech on his show this evening, and this speech struck me as one that is better heard than read. To that end, here are some more highlights:
We are now 15 days away from a critical election. Many important domestic issues are at stake. I have a positive, hopeful agenda for job creation, broader health coverage and better public education. Yet all the progress we hope to make depends on the security of our nation. (Applause.) America is in the middle of a global war on terror, a struggle unlike any we have ever known before. We face an enemy that is determined to kill the innocent and make our country into a battlefield. In the war on terror, there is no place for confusion and no substitute for victory. (Applause.) For the sake of our future and our freedom, we will fight this war with every asset of our national power, and we will prevail. (Applause.) [...]

In a free and open society, it is impossible to protect against every threat. So, second, we must pursue a comprehensive strategy against terror. The best way to prevent attacks is to stay on the offense against the enemy overseas. (Applause.) We are waging a global campaign from the mountains of Central Asia to the deserts of the Middle East, and from the Horn of Africa to the Philippines. (Applause.) These efforts are paying off. Since September the 11th, 2001, more than three-quarters of al Qaeda's key members and associates have been brought to justice. (Applause.) The rest of them know we're coming after them. (Applause.)

After September the 11th, we set a new direction for American policy and enforced a doctrine that is clear to all: If you support or harbor terrorists, you're equally guilty of terrorist murder. (Applause.) We've destroyed the terror camps that train thousands of killers in Afghanistan. We removed the Taliban from power. We have persuaded governments in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to recognize the enemy and join the fight. We ended the regime of Saddam Hussein, which sponsored terror. (Applause.) Iraq's new government under Prime Minister Allawi is hunting down terrorists in Iraq.

We sent a message to Libya, which has now given up weapons of mass destruction programs and handed nuclear materials and equipment over to the United States. (Applause.) We have acted, through diplomacy and force, to shrink the area where the terrorists can operate freely, and that strategy has the terrorists on the run. (Applause.)

The Courier-Post breaking story is here. (It may go stale quickly, since it's an evolving story.)

The President also talked with reporters aboard Air Force One enroute to New Jersey.

At least one of my colleagues was invited to see the President today, so I hope to get some comments tomorrow that I can post.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

President Bush to visit NJ on Monday

I would love the opportunity to hear Dubya in person again (the last time was at an Oxnard, CA, whistle-stop in August 2000), but his Monday appearance in NJ is an invitation-only affair. The Courier-Post has a nice piece about one of the chosen few who will greet President Bush when Air Force One lands at a local airbase.

The Kerry Campaign insists, meanwhile, that it won't fall for the "ploy" to try to get them to spend money in NJ. That must make average NJ Democrats really excited to be taken for granted as mere moneybags.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

Insomnia Cures

I don't know about you, but I found this week's political soap operas relatively boring. Of course, the Presidential Debate on Wednesday dominated the news-, er, blog-cycle, along with much tea-leaf reading as various polls reported in. I watched a few minutes of the debate, and then switched over to the NY-Boston baseball game, which was much more entertaining. (My condolences to my brother-in-law on Boston losing again tonight.)

If you need soporifics, check out these items:

Hugh Hewitt's weekend symposium asks the question, "How deep a hole have John Kerry, Mary Beth Cahill and the Edwards dug for themselves? How lasting the damage?" The topic is in reference to Kerry's tactless remark during the debate about VP Cheney's daughter and the post-debate spin from his campaign. As I write this, there are more than 200 entries. Bill Kristol has a good take on the issue, and you should read the whole piece:
WAS JOHN KERRY born a shameless and ruthless opportunist, or did he choose to become one? In a way, who cares? Who knows how John Kerry became who he is? What is clear is that he is, as Dick Cheney put it, "a man who will do and say anything to get elected." And what is equally clear is that he shouldn't be elected president of the United States.

Leave aside the cheap, cold, calculating cynicism--and cruelty--in Kerry's appropriation of the alleged opinions of an opposing candidate's family member to try to embarrass his opponent. Leave aside the view Kerry and his campaign must have of millions of religious Americans if they think this particular McCarthyite moment will work. Leave aside their fear of having an honest debate about a legitimate public policy issue--same-sex marriage, the role of liberal judges in advancing it, and the proper response of the elected representatives of the American people. Leave aside the fact that Kerry's alleged opposition to same-sex marriage is manifestly dishonest and cowardly.

Leave it all aside. How stupid does John Kerry think the American people are?
Hugh also links to a post at Powerline, where John Hinderaker "Hindrocket" has an interesting character sketch of Mary Cheney from an encounter four years ago.

And in the "he'll say anything" vein, Senator Kerry has again brought up the specter of the draft being reinstated (link via News flash, Senator, IT WON'T HAPPEN! Powerline notes how the Kerry camp is backtracking furiously.

The various opinion polls have had each camp spinning furiously. As you might expect, the Kerry campaign crowed about the post-debate tracking polls that showed he "won" the debate. The latest Newsweek poll has Bush up by 6 over Kerry, although the internals indicate that it over-polled Republicans compared to earlier samples. Check out RealClear Politics for links to more polling than you need to make your eyes glaze over.

Jim Geraghty at NRO Kerry Spot argues that the real key to reading the polls is to watch where the candidates and their surrogates are campaigning (with follow-up here):

If the Kerry camp is so wildly confident that they’re keeping all of the important Gore states, why are they having Kerry and Edwards spend so much time in Blue States?

That's an inordinate amount of time to spend in states that are supposed to already be in the Democratic column. Note also that two of the non-debate-site red states on that list are New Hampshire and Nevada, and neither one alone is enough to put Kerry over the top.

Would a Bush supporter prefer the President to be up more? Certainly. But look at the amount of time he and Cheney are spending in New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New Jersey - all blue states where he's on the offense. Right now the Bushies are defending five states, really - Ohio, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire and Colorado. And obviously, neither New Hampshire or Nevada alone would put Kerry over 271, assuming he holds all the Gore states.

Right now, Kerry and Edwards are putting enormous time - a resource where he can't just raise more - into defending blue states. This could change. But for now, Kerry’s playing defense, while Bush plays offense.


[Updated at 10/17/04 01:48 AM to add Powerline link on draft story. It's time for me to take my own insominia cure!]

Monday, October 11, 2004

When terrorism is a public nuisance

On page 6 of the on-line version of Kerry's Undeclared War, Matt Bai writes:

But when you listen carefully to what Bush and Kerry say, it becomes clear that the differences between them are more profound than the matter of who can be more effective in achieving the same ends. Bush casts the war on terror as a vast struggle that is likely to go on indefinitely, or at least as long as radical Islam commands fealty in regions of the world. In a rare moment of either candor or carelessness, or perhaps both, Bush told Matt Lauer on the ''Today'' show in August that he didn't think the United States could actually triumph in the war on terror in the foreseeable future. ''I don't think you can win it,'' he said -- a statement that he and his aides tried to disown but that had the ring of sincerity to it. He and other members of his administration have said that Americans should expect to be attacked again, and that the constant shadow of danger that hangs over major cities like New York and Washington is the cost of freedom. In his rhetoric, Bush suggests that terrorism for this generation of Americans is and should be an overwhelming and frightening reality.

When I asked Kerry what it would take for Americans to feel safe again, he displayed a much less apocalyptic worldview. ''We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they're a nuisance,'' Kerry said. ''As a former law-enforcement person, I know we're never going to end prostitution. We're never going to end illegal gambling. But we're going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn't on the rise. It isn't threatening people's lives every day, and fundamentally, it's something that you continue to fight, but it's not threatening the fabric of your life.'' [Emphasis added]

I'm already at a point where the jihadists are not the focus of my life, thank you. However, Kerry's vision of "terrorists as acceptable criminal nuisance" is not the kind of film-noir future I want to live in. For one thing, it would coarsen our society, tolerating behavior akin to that of the KKK, lynch mobs, and the Timothy McVeighs of the world.

Mr. Giuliani said it well:
The idea that you can have an acceptable level of terrorism is frightening. How do you explain that to the people who are beheaded or the innocent people that are killed, that we’re going to tolerate a certain acceptable [level] of terrorism, and that acceptable level will exist and then we’ll stop thinking about it?
I don't want to live as they do in Israel, wondering where the next atrocity will be while still mourning the victims of the last blast. That's not acceptable to the people in Bali, Saudi Arabia, Madrid, Pakistan, India, Beslan, Taba, Ras Shitan, or Baghdad either.

I agree with President Bush that the war against the jihadists may take decades. Yet the President is working to build a better world along the way, because he has a vision of leaving a legacy of freedom and democracy in our wake, of "spreading the peace".

Rudy Rocks!

Rudy Giuliani has a thought or three about the NY Times Magazine interview with John Kerry. Here is the full text of Rudy Giuliani's comments during a Bush-Cheney '04 conference call today. (Hat tip Powerline.)
ARLINGTON, VA - Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani delivered the following remarks in a Bush-Cheney '04 conference call today:

"For some time, and including when I spoke at the Republican Convention, I’ve wondered exactly what John Kerry’s approach would be to terrorism and I’ve wondered whether he had the conviction, the determination, and the focus, and the correct worldview to conduct a successful war against terrorism. And his quotations in the New York Times yesterday make it clear that he lacks that kind of committed view of the world. In fact, his comments are kind of extraordinary, particularly since he thinks we used to before September 11 live in a relatively safe world. He says we have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance.

"I’m wondering exactly when Senator Kerry thought they were just a nuisance. Maybe when they attacked the USS Cole? Or when they attacked the World Trade Center in 1993? Or when they slaughtered the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972? Or killed Leon Klinghoffer by throwing him overboard? Or the innumerable number of terrorist acts that they committed in the 70s, the 80s and the 90s, leading up to September 11?

"This is so different from the President’s view and my own, which is in those days, when we were fooling ourselves about the danger of terrorism, we were actually in the greatest danger. When you don’t confront correctly and view realistically the danger that you face, that’s when you’re at the greatest risk. When you at least realize the danger and you begin to confront it, then you begin to become safer. And for him to say that in the good old days – I’m assuming he means the 90s and the 80s and the 70s -- they were just a nuisance, this really begins to explain a lot of his inconsistent positions on how to deal with it because he’s not defining it correctly.

"As a former law enforcement person, he says ‘I know we’re never going to end prostitution. We’re never going to end illegal gambling. But we’re going to reduce it.’ This is not illegal gambling; this isn’t prostitution. Having been a former law enforcement person for a lot longer than John Kerry ever was, I don’t understand his confusion. Even when he says ‘organized crime to a level where it isn’t not on the rise,’ it was not the goal of the Justice Department to just reduce organized crime. It was the goal of the Justice Department to eliminate organized crime. Was there some acceptable level of organized crime: two families, instead of five, or they can control one union but not the other?

"The idea that you can have an acceptable level of terrorism is frightening. How do you explain that to the people who are beheaded or the innocent people that are killed, that we’re going to tolerate a certain acceptable [level] of terrorism, and that acceptable level will exist and then we’ll stop thinking about it? This is an extraordinary statement. I think it is not a statement that in any way is ancillary. I think this is the core of John Kerry’s thinking. This does create some consistency in his thinking.

"It is consistent with his views on Vietnam: that we should have left and abandoned Vietnam. It is consistent with his view of Nicaragua and the Sandinistas. It is consistent with his view of opposing Ronald Reagan at every step of the way in the arms buildup that was necessary to destroy communism. It is consistent with his view of not supporting the Persian Gulf War, which was another extraordinary step. Whatever John Kerry’s global test is, the Persian Gulf War certainly would pass anyone’s global test. If it were up to John Kerry, Saddam Hussein would not only still be in power, but he’d still be controlling Kuwait.

"Finally, what he did after the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, where I guess at that point terrorism was still just a nuisance. He must have thought that because that’s why he proposed seriously reducing our intelligence budget, when you would think someone who was really sensitive to the problem of terrorism would have done just the opposite. I think that rather than being some aberrational comment, it is the core of the John Kerry philosophy: that terrorism is no different than domestic law enforcement problems, and that the best we’re ever going to be able to do is reduce it, so why not follow the more European approach of compromising with it the way Europeans did in the 70s and the 80s and the 90s?

"This is so totally different than what I think was the major advance that President Bush made – significant advance that he made in the Bush Doctrine on September 20, 2001, when he said we’re going to face up to terrorism and we’re going to do everything we can to defeat it, completely. There’s no reason why we have to tolerate global terrorism, just like there’s no reason to tolerate organized crime.

"So I think this is a seminal issue, this is one that explains or ties together a lot of things that we’ve talked about. Even this notion that the Kerry campaign was so upset that the Vice President and others were saying that he doesn’t understand the threat of terrorism; that he thinks it’s just a law enforcement action. It turns out the Vice President was right. He does and maybe this is a difference, maybe this is an honest difference that we really should debate straight out. He thinks that the threat is not as great as at least the President does, and I do, and the Vice President does."

VP Cheney visits NJ

Vice-President Cheney spoke at a campaign rally in Medford, NJ, this morning. Some highlights:

We face an enemy today every bit as intent on destroying us as were the Axis powers in World War II. This is not an enemy we can reason with or negotiate with or appease. This is, to put it simply, an enemy that we must destroy. And with George Bush as Commander-in-Chief, that is exactly what we will do. (Applause.)

Under President Bush's leadership, we are confronting the terrorists with our military, so we do not have to fight them with armies of firefighters, police and medical personnel on the streets of our own cities.

Since the attacks of September 11th, President Bush has led a clear, steady, and consistent effort to protect the American people. We are going after the terrorists wherever they train and hide. We are confronting regimes that sponsor terrorists or give them safe haven. And in the broader Middle East, we're aiding the rise of democracy, because free nations will not become breeding grounds for terror.

We're making progress. We have ended the Taliban regime. And Saddam Hussein is in jail. (Applause.) We have broken up terror cells around the world, and captured or killed thousands of al Qaeda terrorists. We're training security forces in both Afghanistan and Iraq and rebuilding schools and hospitals to improve lives. And we are helping the people of Afghanistan and Iraq to build representative governments. Afghanistan, where almost half of the 10 million registered voters are women, held its first democratic election in history yesterday. (Applause.) Iraq will have free elections in January. (Applause.)

President Bush does not deal in empty threats and half-way measures, and his determination has sent a very clear message. Just five days after Saddam was captured, the government of Libya agreed to abandon its nuclear weapons program and turn the materials over to the United States. (Applause.) Today, the centrifuges, the plans for nuclear weapons, and the uranium that once were hidden in Libya are locked up and stored away, never again to be a danger to anyone. [...]

My friends, the differences between the President and his opponent are as sharp as they can possibly be, and the consequences for the country are enormous. On vital matters of national security, Senator Kerry offers a record of weakness and a strategy of retreat. President Bush offers a record of steady purpose and resolute action, and a strategy for victory. Senator Kerry is a tax-and-spend liberal; President Bush is a compassionate conservative. Senator Kerry wants to empower government; President Bush will use government to empower people. (Applause.) John Kerry seems to think that all the wisdom is found in Washington, D.C.; George Bush trusts the wisdom of the American people. (Applause.)

On issue after issue, President Bush has a clear vision for the future of our nation. America has come to know him, and I have come to admire him very much. I watch him at work every day. He's a person of loyalty and kindness, a man who speaks plainly and means what he says. I have seen him face some of the hardest decisions that can come to the occupant of the Oval Office -? and make those decisions with the wisdom and humility Americans expect in their President.

Under President Bush's leadership, we will use America's great power to serve great purposes, to protect our homeland by turning back and defeating the forces of terror, and to spread hope and freedom around the world. Here at home, we will continue building a prosperity that reaches every corner of the land so that every child in America has a chance to learn, to succeed, and to rise in the world. (Applause.)

Geoff Mulvihill's AP story notes the political dynamics:
Cheney repeated many of the criticisms of Kerry that he has used in campaign speeches and at the Republican National Convention in New York City. This time, though, the vice president was speaking in a state that hasn't voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988 - when it backed Bush's father - and that Democrat Al Gore won handily in 2000.

With polls showing Kerry with a single-digit advantage in New Jersey, Republicans have campaigned as if the Garden State and its 15 electoral votes are up for grabs, dispatching first lady Laura Bush and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to press for support.

Joined by his wife, Cheney told supporters inside a high school gymnasium, "As Election Day draws nearer, one thing that's been very clear in this state is New Jersey's moving toward a Bush-Cheney victory."

Polls have shown Bush's handling of the war on terror has boosted his standing in the state, which lost 674 residents when terrorists struck the World Trade Center Towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

John Murphy, a Morris County Republican campaigning for the 2005 gubernatorial nomination, said he was excited about the possibility that his vote could make a difference Nov. 2. "Until September, we were happy to write checks for the president," Murphy said.

Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards campaigned in the state last Thursday, his second visit in 10 days.

The southern portion of the state is saturated with Bush and Kerry ads airing on Philadelphia stations because Pennsylvania is a first-tier battleground state.

Outside Monday's event, some 200 protesters gathered, including one who acknowledged the GOP strength in the state.

"It's a little disturbing that a strong Democratic enclave like New Jersey was so easily influenced by the Republican convention," said Ann Barzda, a volunteer field director for the Kerry campaign in Burlington County.
On a related note, Blogs for Bush passes the word that...
Four years ago, you may never have guessed it, but New Jersey is now in play this election. Kerry's lead is only by a few points in New Jersey.

Security Moms 4 Bush, Women In Support of the President (WISP), Democrats 4 Bush and Vets4Bush, have joined their efforts to help swing New Jersey to President Bush by hosting a rally in Cedar Grove, New Jersey on October 16th, 2004. [...]

Time and Location
1:30 pm ~ October 16, 2004
VFW Post 6255
970 Pompton Ave
Cedar Grove, NJ 07009 - (Near Montclair, NJ)
RSVP is required for admittance.

ATTENTION: There are rallies all over America on October 16th you can go to as well.

Besides New Jersey, there are rallies planned for Northern Virginia, North Carolina/South Carolina Border, California, Connecticut, New York - Staten Island.

Go Team!

Columbus Day Digest

Positive developments:Iraq WMD report and UN Oil-For-Food scandal:
  • Duelfer report (also known as Iraq Study Group, CIA report, etc.)
  • Duelfer's testimony before Congress (also see INDC Journal)
  • Claudia Rosett's latest at NRO Saddam’s Sugar Daddy
    CIA chief weapons inspector Charles Duelfer may not have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but he sure found information enough to blow the lid off the simmering scandal of the United Nations Oil-for-Food program. As it turns out, Oil-for-Food pretty much was Saddam Hussein's weapons program.
  • The Duelfer report's case for war in Iraq, by Michael Barone
    "Intelligence is an inexact business. It deals with things that cannot be known for sure. In this case, it dealt with something that even an ideal intelligence agency could not determine for certain. Our intelligence agencies and those of other countries that concluded that Saddam had WMDs turned out to have erred, but they erred on the proper side, on the side of pessimism, as they had to—because the man had a record of developing WMDs and using them. And he had a record, we now know thanks to Charles Duelfer, of maintaining the capability of using WMDs again. The world and the United States are safer with Saddam in prison."
  • The Report That Nails Saddam, by David Brooks
    Duelfer makes clear on the very first page of his report that it is a story. It is a mistake and a distortion, he writes, to pick out a single frame of the movie and isolate it from the rest of the tale.

    But that is exactly what has happened. I have never in my life seen a government report so distorted by partisan passions. The fact that Saddam had no W.M.D. in 2001 has been amply reported, but it's been isolated from the more important and complicated fact of Saddam's nature and intent.

    But we know where things were headed. Sanctions would have been lifted. Saddam, rich, triumphant and unbalanced, would have reconstituted his W.M.D. Perhaps he would have joined a nuclear arms race with Iran. Perhaps he would have left it all to his pathological heir Qusay.

    We can argue about what would have been the best way to depose Saddam, but this report makes it crystal clear that this insatiable tyrant needed to be deposed. He was the menace, and, as the world dithered, he was winning his struggle. He was on the verge of greatness. We would all now be living in his nightmare."
  • Casus belli
    John B. Dwyer is a military historian. Today he puts the Duelfer Report and Paul Bremer's statements in their historic context, and reminds us why the US really invaded Iraq.
  • United Nations: Oil-for-Food Fiasco?
  • Publishes Iraqi Intelligence Docs
  • Captain's Quarters
  • BlogsforBush
  • Powerline
  • Instapundit

Reaction to NY Times Magazine profile of Senator Kerry, Kerry's Undeclared War:
Media bias watch:And last, a couple of Orson Scott Card essays: