Thursday, October 26, 2006

T-12 Days and Counting: Why We Fight

Why does anyone fight for a cause? Generally, it's because the person believes the world would be a better place if the cause prevailed. The fight may be overt or covert, involving force of arms or force of ideas, and may benefit few or many.

Yesterday when I got home from work, I was greeted by this headline at

same rights as heterosexuals

This represents a classic fight of ideas. Married couples have a whole bunch of ancilliary rights under state laws, many of which devolve from the fact that marriage is, among other things, an economic contract. Rather than fight state by state, statute by statute, to amend the laws to include other sorts of consensual living arrangements, gays and lesbians figured out that if they could have their partnerships labeled "marriage", then the rest of the subsidiary rights under law would automatically pertain too. It seemed much simpler to broaden the definition of marriage than to keep fighting the step-by-step legislative battles. So they took to the courts.

The art of politics is all about finding solutions to problems that are amenable to the majority of participants. This applies in any organization that depends on buy-in from its members in order to continue to function, whether it's a book club or a government. Hugh Hewitt complains that the NJ Supreme Court decision, like the decisions in Vermont and Massachusetts, subverts the political process by demanding that the legislators craft law to support the court's reading of the state constitution.

A similar argument is made against Roe v. Wade, that the US Supreme Court decreed a "right" and stopped the political solution-finding in each state dead in their tracks. The result has been acrimony and litmus tests for politicians and appointed officials for more than 30 years.

Last week in Philadelphia during the event, a woman asked how to convince someone who's pro-choice to vote for Senator Santorum, who is pro-life. Dennis Prager answered that politics is a hierarchy of values: "We will never have a party we totally agree with, so we have to compromise."

Do the Democrats, or the Republicans, or the Greens, or Libertarians better match your values and priorities? If you agree with a party on nine of ten issues, why would you vote against them for the sake of that one issue?

These are times when you may need to re-evaluate your values hierarchy. Which is more important, making President Bush a lame duck for the next two years (Nancy Pelosi's stated aim), or pressing the war against Islamic fascism?

Perhaps this soldier's email to Kathryn Jean Lopez, comparing the Cold War to the current war, can provide some perspective:
Sure there are differences between that conflict and this one and of course there are people who would love to tell me just how dissimilar the two conflicts really are, how you cannot really compare the two, etc., etc. But, I have seen firsthand the depths of evil to which the Muslim extremists can go and I can assure you that as a threat they are every bit as dangerous as the Communists were. or any enemy we have ever faced, for that matter. More important, as the president has said, they are patient and they are determined. They will not relent until they achieve their aims. I'm afraid we are in for another long, protracted ideological struggle. I really believe we will win this one, too, as long as we stay united. We have to. Our children and our grandchildren are depending on us.

What are you willing to fight for? Vote accordingly!

For more ammunition, read the transcript to President Bush's press conference yesterday. Also Thomas Sowell, and Dr. Sanity, and Hugh Hewitt, and the Anchoress.

For news on the military war, see DefendAmerica and Central Command (CENTCOM), plus Milblogging, Mudville Gazette, and Black Five.

Related posts:

Monday, October 23, 2006

T-15 Days and Counting: The Propaganda War

The public's perception of how things are going in Iraq is shaped by what news and information makes it through the filters and biases of reporters, editors, and publishers. The bias problem is not unique to North American media either: BBC executives have actually admitted its leftist leanings. (H/T NRO Corner)

The revelation that CNN is a willing partner in broadcasting the enemy's propaganda should shock us, but it is just one more point of evidence that much of the main stream media is biased against the traditional liberal values that have made American freedoms the envy of the world.

Recently, President Bush made the point about the propaganda war that's being waged against us:

Stephanopoulos asked whether the president agreed with the opinion of columnist Tom Friedman, who wrote in The New York Times today that the situation in Iraq may be equivalent to the Tet offensive in Vietnam almost 40 years ago.

"He could be right," the president said, before adding, "There's certainly a stepped-up level of violence, and we're heading into an election." (ed. - emphasis added)

"George, my gut tells me that they have all along been trying to inflict enough damage that we'd leave," Bush said. "And the leaders of al Qaeda have made that very clear. Look, here's how I view it. First of all, al Qaeda is still very active in Iraq. They are dangerous. They are lethal. They are trying to not only kill American troops, but they're trying to foment sectarian violence. They believe that if they can create enough chaos, the American people will grow sick and tired of the Iraqi effort and will cause government to withdraw." (ed. - emphasis added)

Tigerhawk provides the historical background:
At the time the media perceived and promoted the Tet offensive as a great victory for the enemy. In an age when the network anchors deployed truly awesome power, Walter Cronkite destroyed Lyndon Johnson's chances for re-election when he editorialized that we were "mired in stalement". President Johnson declared "If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America," and withdrew from the 1968 presidential campaign.

Tet, however, was not a military disaster for the United States. Quite to the contrary, history has revealed that the Tet offensive was in fact a crushing defeat for the Viet Cong, and effectively required that the Communists conquer the South by invasion from the North, rather than by civil insurgency. The Viet Cong were only able to turn a military disaster into strategic victory by persuading the American media that the United States was mired in stalement. With the domestic political support for the war fading fast, the United States decided to withdraw from Indochina, even though it would take Nixon and Kissinger another four years to accomplish it.
Victor Davis Hanson argues that we're doing better in Iraq in particular, and the larger war against Islamic fascism, than most media outlets admit:
The odd thing is that, for all the gloom and furor, and real blunders, nevertheless, by the historical standards of most wars, we have done well enough to win in Iraq, and still have a good shot of doing the impossible in seeing this government survive. More importantly still, worldwide we are beating the Islamic fundamentalists and their autocratic supporters. Iranian-style theocracy has not spread. For all the talk of losing Afghanistan, the Taliban are still dispersed or in hiding — so is al Qaeda. Europe is galvanizing against Islamism in a way unimaginable just three years ago. The world is finally focusing on Iran. Hezbollah did not win the last war, but lost both prestige and billions of dollars in infrastructure, despite a lackluster effort by Israel. Elections have embarrassed a Hamas that, the global community sees, destroys most of what it touches and now must publicly confess that it will never recognize Israel. Countries like Libya are turning, and Syria is more isolated. If we keep the pressure up in Iraq and Afghanistan and work with our allies, Islamism and its facilitators will be proven bankrupt.
But victory won't happen if Americans believe the negative spin and vote the Democrats into power in Congress in two weeks.

Milblogger Greyhawk at Mudville Gazette puts the challenge succinctly:
But like it or not, Mr and Mrs Average American are involved in a propaganda war, the only battle of the war on terror currently being fought on U.S. soil - and those who choose not to be victims of that battle may wonder what the appropriate response should be. Perhaps just this - bear in mind the stated goal: "to throw fear into the American people's hearts", divide and conquer, weaken resolve, and defeat America. Be aware of the plan to reach that goal, and recognize it for what it is when next you see it in action, as you undoubtedly will. (And while you're at it, spread the word...)
Greyhawk has lots more commentary on the propaganda war:
Update: Also check out the President's radio address (H/T Mudville Gazette):

Another reason for the recent increase in attacks is that the terrorists are trying to influence public opinion here in the United States. They have a sophisticated propaganda strategy. They know they cannot defeat us in the battle, so they conduct high-profile attacks, hoping that the images of violence will demoralize our country and force us to retreat. They carry video cameras and film their atrocities, and broadcast them on the Internet. They e-mail images and video clips to Middle Eastern cable networks like al-Jazeera, and instruct their followers to send the same material to American journalists, authors, and opinion leaders. They operate websites, where they post messages for their followers and readers across the world.

In one recent message, the Global Islamic Media Front -- a group that often posts al Qaeda propaganda on websites -- said their goal is to, "carry out a media war that is parallel to the military war." This is the same strategy the terrorists launched in Afghanistan following 9/11. In a letter to the Taliban leader Mullah Omar, Osama bin Laden wrote that al Qaeda intended to wage "a media campaign, to create a wedge between the American people and their government."

The terrorists are trying to divide America and break our will, and we must not allow them to succeed. So America will stand with the democratic government of Iraq. We will help Prime Minister Maliki build a free nation that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself. And we will help Iraq become a strong democracy that is a strong ally in the war on terror.

For more positive news about the war efforts, check out

Friday, October 20, 2006

T-18 Days and Counting: "Great Americans"

A colleague sent me the paper below, entitled "Great Americans," written by his grandson Peter Floyd, and gave me his permission to post it here. His grandson's class at his USAF technical school was given an assignment to write a paper about why they joined the military. Peter's paper was one of two that were chosen to be read during the graduation exercises. After you read it, I am sure you will understand why it was chosen.


When your grandfather is a retired chief master sergeant, your dad is a Sgm your mom a Staff Sergeant in the Army, both of you older brothers are Corporals in the Marine Corps, and all of your Aunts and Uncles are a part of the military. It's very clear what they want you to do with your life. Join the military. As a 17 year old kid who was just about to graduate High School there was only one thing to do Rebel.

I was determined not to follow that line. I wanted to go to college and have fun and just be a normal teenage college student that has to beg his parents for money. Little did I know that a new awaking and new determination that would open my eyes? But it wasn't my own strengths and determination NO it was my middle brother Lcpl Brian Floyd.

15 days before my High School graduation my brother was very severely injured from an I.E.D explosion in FALLUJAH , IRAQ. His hands and head where impaled by shrapnel from what was his HUMMV. He was immediately transferred to Bethesda Medical Hospital. Seeing what was done to him, how bad he was my whole world fell apart. When you grow up as an Army Brat your family is all you really ever have. I wondered how someone could do this to my own brother. They have no idea of the pain they put my family threw. It only reinforced my thoughts that the military just wasn't for me.

I left my brother's side to attend my graduate High School only to come back to find him up and walking down the hall way on his own. It was so amazing to see that because, one week before they didn't know if he was going to live or not; and then to see him walk, I swear in that moment I saw god in him. I knew he would be ok

Two months later he got to come home. Still on I V. and without a STRUCTURED Forehead he was in need OF A FRIEND. I put my dreams of College on hold to be the one to stay with him. Being with him 24/7 we talked just like old times and relied on one another. One night we were up real late and he was talking about how miserable he was. I asked him well does your head hurt what you need. He said, "I need my team". And my team needs me back over there". I said, what are you crazy; you just got hurt and you're not going to get out. He said, Peter I raised my hand up and swore that I was willing to give up my life for this country. I'm still alive so im going to keep on fighting until I can't anymore. What we talked about that night struck me threw the heart like a knife. It made me think maybe there is something more to the military than what I see. If my brother almost lost his life and he is willing to get back up and do it all over again than either he took one too hard to the head, or he has experienced on of the most amazing events of his life.

Seeing him get his purple heart was amazing I was so proud of him. And I realized then that I wanted him look at me the same way I look at him. I didn't want him to see his little baby brother. I wanted him to see the fighter and the Warrior in me. He was one of the first people to return to full active duty after suffering a serious brain injury. He reached his goal by returning to his team and going back to Iraq Sep 5 2006. Looking back on our conversation a year ago I completely understand why he didn't quit. He didn't do it just for himself he did it for those he left behind. Instead of having sympathy for what happened to him I have a fear of not knowing what his limits are. So what inspired me to join the air force? It was the determination of another during his struggle that changed my life and I'M proud to call him my brother and my teammate.

Peter Floyd
U.S. Air Force

Related story and pictures from Marine Corps News:

It’s all in the family for Jacksonville Purple Heart recipient

Nov. 22, 2005; Submitted on: 11/22/2005 10:02:18 AM ; Story ID#: 2005112210218

By Cpl. Mike Escobar, 2nd Marine Division

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (Nov. 22, 2005) -- Whether wounded on the battlefield or resting in a military hospital back home, injured Marines have always relied on the support of their fellow service members and loved ones to motivate them on the often rough road to recovery.

Nineteen-year-old Lance Cpl. Brian Floyd received more than a few words of encouragement from his family, but a unique understanding of the trials he faced as a wounded combat veteran of the Global War on Terrorism in Iraq.

“It’s a family tradition to serve our country, no matter what branch of the military we do it in,” said the infantryman with 1st Combined Anti-Armor Team, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, explaining how every member of his family is or has been a member of the nation’s armed forces. “We’ve always supported one another, and it feels great to have them by my side when things like this happen.”

The Jacksonville, N.C. native referred specifically to the encouragement his loved ones have given him throughout the past six months, a period of time marked by numerous surgeries and physical therapy sessions.

Floyd, a 2004 graduate of Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville, N.C., was wounded in action on May 1 near Fallujah, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle.

“I’d been manning the gun turret at the time,” he explained. “The armor shield right in front of the gun broke (during the blast), and a shard of metal slipped underneath my Kevlar (helmet). I ended up taking shrapnel to the head and in my left hand. I got knocked out, and the next thing I remember was waking up at (the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.)”

From that time on, Floyd said his family was there to lend him a helping hand.

His father, Army Sgt. Maj. Willie Floyd (retired), pinned the Purple Heart Medal onto his son’s chest here Nov. 16.

“I’m so proud of Brian’s dedication to duty, and also extremely grateful to his corpsmen and command for taking care of him,” Sgt. Maj. Floyd said after the ceremony. “They did what they had to do to get him off the battlefield that day, and they’ve given us back that fighting spirit that Brian possesses.”

Also present at the ceremony were Lance Cpl. Floyd’s mother, Army Staff Sgt. Georgette Floyd; two brothers, Lance Cpl. Willie Floyd and Peter Floyd; and two of his aunts, Army Sergeants First Class Elizabeth German and Ta’Juanna Denmark. They had traveled from bases in Fayetteville and Fort Benning, Ga., to see their wounded Marine presented his medal.

“After what he (Brian) has been through these past few months, I’m the one who looks up to him now,” said Floyd’s older brother Willie, who is also based here and serves as a machine gunner with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment.

Currently, Floyd resides at Camp Lejeune’s Wounded Warrior Barracks while he receives what he said will be his last surgery. He said he eagerly waits to return to full duty to once more fight alongside his brothers in 1st Battalion, 6th Marines, and that he never lost his passion for the Marines.

“I’ve wanted to be a Marine since I was 12 years old,” Floyd stated. “I’m hoping to do 20 years in the Corps, and maybe even more, because there’s nothing else for me to do in this world.”

Photos included with story:

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Lance Cpl. Brian Floyd, fourth from the left, poses for a group photo alongside several of his relatives and his friend, Petty Officer 3rd Class Micah Selcer, far right, after being presented his Purple Heart Medal here Nov 16. The 19-year-old infantryman with 1st Combined Anti-Armor Team, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment and Jacksonville, N.C. native said every member of his family serves, has served or is waiting to serve in the nation's armed forces. Photo by: Cpl. Mike Escobar

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Lance Cpl. Brian Floyd, an infantryman with 1st Combined Anti-Armor Team, Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, is presented his Purple Heart Medal here Nov 16 by his father, retired Army Sgt. Maj. Willie Floyd. The 19-year-old Jacksonville, N.C. native was awarded this medal for injuries sustained after a roadside bomb detonated near his vehicle while he and his teammates had been conducting security and stability operations outside Fallujah, Iraq in May. Photo by: Cpl. Mike Escobar

Thursday, October 19, 2006

T-19 Days and Counting: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

A number (pardon the pun) of recent stories would seem to be bad news for the Republicans:
Study: War blamed for 655,000 Iraqi deaths (

War has wiped out about 655,000 Iraqis or more than 500 people a day since the U.S.-led invasion, a new study reports.

Violence including gunfire and bombs caused the majority of deaths but thousands of people died from worsening health and environmental conditions directly related to the conflict that began in 2003, U.S. and Iraqi public health researchers said.

"Since March 2003, an additional 2.5 percent of Iraq's population have died above what would have occurred without conflict," according to the survey of Iraqi households, titled "The Human Cost of the War in Iraq."
Poll Signals More Republican Woes ( (H/T Real Clear Politics)

A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll illustrates the political toll Republicans are paying for rising discontent over the Iraq war, as well as a spate of scandals including the disclosure that Republican House leaders knew of inappropriate emails to House pages from Florida Rep. Mark Foley, who resigned late last month. Voters' approval of Congress has fallen to 16% from 20% since early September, while their disapproval has risen to 75% from 65%.
Warm winds of change hit the Antarctic (

[...] The stronger winds cause warming mostly in the summer. Warming on the Antarctic Peninsula has actually been most intense in winter, but in summer a large part of the extra heat goes into melting ice. This has dramatic consequences.
Percolating meltwater enlarges crevasses and leads ultimately to the disintegration of floating ice shelves.

The largest and most prominent such event happened in March 2002 when the Larsen ice shelf, with an area of 3,250 square kilometres, collapsed. Overall, more than 13,500 square kilometres, an area larger than Jamaica, of floating ice shelves have broken up in the past 30 years. This is expected to speed the flow of inland ice to the coast, accelerating global sea level rise.

The 2002 event can now be pinned down to a specific change in climate, which is in turn linked to human-induced global warming, the authors say. Some argue that this is the first single event proved to have been caused by manmade climate change. "It's close to being evidence," says Ted Scambos, lead scientist of the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
What's wrong with these stories? The authors make inferences about causality that may or may not be valid. My mother, who studied statistics in the 30's at Columbia University, liked to relate a tale told by one of her professors to illustrate the difference between correlation and causality.

It seems that a certain researcher had found that older women were more likely to walk with their toes pointed outwards than younger women. He concluded that women's feet turned more outward as they aged. A later researcher took another look at that study, did some anthropological digging, and concluded that age had nothing to do with it: older women were more likely to have been taught as young girls to walk with their toes pointing out. The correlation was solid, but what caused the condition was open to debate.

Some counter-arguments for the stories above:
655,000 War Dead? A bogus study on Iraq casualties. (

After doing survey research in Iraq for nearly two years, I was surprised to read that a study by a group from Johns Hopkins University claims that 655,000 Iraqis have died as a result of the war. Don't get me wrong, there have been far too many deaths in Iraq by anyone's measure; some of them have been friends of mine. But the Johns Hopkins tally is wildly at odds with any numbers I have seen in that country. Survey results frequently have a margin of error of plus or minus 3% or 5%--not 1200%.
An email to Hugh Hewitt (a followup to Hugh's earlier post):

Thank you so much for bringing attention on the all the faulty polling being done. You are not crazy, you are absolutely, 100% spot-on on this. I have worked my entire adult life, 25 years, processing market research and public opinion surveys. I know enough about surveys to be able to construct one that shows people prefer Pepsi over Coke, 60%-40%, or vice versa, and you would have no idea how I got either result even if I gave you the internals and methodology. You don’t have to take it on faith that there is a media conspiracy to misrepresent polling, they admit it in their own poll results. I have yet to see a general population poll that did not show adults 2%-4% more liberal than registered voters and registered voters 2%-4% more liberal than likely voters, and yet the media has no qualms about citing adults or registered voters when they want to give the Dems an added boost. Likewise, most 7 day tracking studies show a liberal 2%-4% bias when collecting over the weekend, yet the weekend seems to be the favorite time to poll. But the most important flaw is the one you have been talking about, the fact that every poll seems to over sample Democrats by 5%-10% consistently.
Climate of Fear (

To understand the misconceptions perpetuated about climate science and the climate of intimidation, one needs to grasp some of the complex underlying scientific issues. First, let's start where there is agreement. The public, press and policy makers have been repeatedly told that three claims have widespread scientific support: Global temperature has risen about a degree since the late 19th century; levels of CO2 in the atmosphere have increased by about 30% over the same period; and CO2 should contribute to future warming. These claims are true. However, what the public fails to grasp is that the claims neither constitute support for alarm nor establish man's responsibility for the small amount of warming that has occurred. In fact, those who make the most outlandish claims of alarm are actually demonstrating skepticism of the very science they say supports them. It isn't just that the alarmists are trumpeting model results that we know must be wrong. It is that they are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn't happen even if the models were right as justifying costly policies to try to prevent global warming.
Advertising copywriters know that having "factual" numbers in their stories lend credibility; most people lack the technical or scientific knowledge to know how to refute them, or recognize when they've been manipulated. Furthermore, people remember the bold headlines on page one, but not the corrections buried inside in tiny print. So it's an uphill battle to counter the erroneous perceptions people get from the mainstream media.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

T-20 Days and Counting: Naming the Enemy

Last night, Dennis Prager talked about the Orwellian world we live in, where liberals can slander Christians with impunity, decrying the coming theocracy, but conservatives aren't allowed to use the term "Islamic fascists" because it's not politically correct! Dennis noted that critics willfully misconstrue English grammar to imply that the term impugns all Muslims. Not so: "Islamic" modifies the word "fascists" to describe a particular sort of fascist. During WWII, people understood that "Italian fascist" applied to a particular sort of fascist, but did not apply to all Italians.

Osama bin Laden* and Iranian President Ahmadinajad are both fascists, for they have both stated publically that they are striving to bring about an Islamic theocracy, one that would make the Taliban look like pikers. Historian Victor Davis Hanson explains:

Make no apologies for the use of “Islamic fascism.” It is the perfect nomenclature for the agenda of radical Islam, for a variety of historical and scholarly reasons. That such usage also causes extreme embarrassment to both the Islamists themselves and their leftist “anti-fascist” appeasers in the West is just too bad.

First, the general idea of “fascism” — the creation of a centralized authoritarian state to enforce blanket obedience to a reactionary, all-encompassing ideology — fits well the aims of contemporary Islamism that openly demands implementation of sharia law and the return to a Pan-Islamic and theocratic caliphate.

Senator Rick Santorum is likewise adamant that "words have meaning," and that we must be more precise in our terminology. Calling the enemy cowards, or militants, or insurgents, or describing our battle as the "Global War on Terror," has led many Americans to be in denial about the threat: Complaints that the Administration is really creating a climate of fear for political purposes continue to be aired.

The irony is that many liberals consider themselves to be part of the "reality-based community," but their "reality" doesn't match the world that I and many others perceive. Dr. Sanity provides a diagnosis:

Denial can make otherwise intelligent individuals/groups/nations behave in a stupid or clueless manner, because they are too threatened by the Truth and are unable to process what is perfectly apparent to everyone. People who live in this Wonderful World go through their daily lives secure in the knowledge that their self-image is protected against any information, feelings, or awareness that might make them have to change their view of the world. Nothing--and I mean NOTHING--not facts, not observable behavior; not the use of reason or logic; or their own senses will make an individual in denial reevaluate that world view. All events will simply be reinterpreted to fit into the belief system of that world--no matter how ridiculous, how distorted, or how psychotic that reinterpretation appears to others. Consistency, common sense, reality, and objective truth are unimportant and are easily discarded--as long as the world view remains intact.
It is an uncomfortable truth that there are radical Muslims who don't want to share the planet with infidels at all. They've been probing the West's defenses and psyche for decades. The Army maintains a Timeline of Terror that starts in the 1960's. This is not a dark fantasy of the Bush Administration!
"This is not simply a fight against terror - terror is a tactic. This is not simply a fight against Al Qaeda, its affiliates and adherents - they are foot soldiers. This is not simply a fight to bring democracy to the Middle East - that is a strategic objective. This is a fight for the very ideas at the foundation of our society, the way of life those ideas enable, and the freedoms we enjoy."

-R.L. Brownlee, Acting Secretary of the Army
-General Peter J. Schoomaker, Chief of Staff, United States Army
How do we break through people's defense mechanisms so we can engage in thoughtful debate about the best way to win the war for Western Civilization? We thought that the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, were a wake up call. Plus the attacks in London, Madrid, Bali, Egypt, Mumbai, and elsewhere around the world since. But their shock value fades ever more quickly, and people return to their habitual world-views.

I don't know the answer. I wish I did.

* H/T to In The Bullpen for the timeline of OBL's pronouncements.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

T-21 Days and Counting: Rick Santorum

That's how much time is left until the general election on November 7th.

Tonight, Senator Rick Santorum spoke at a townhall meeting in Philadelphia. The event was sponsored by WNTP (990 AM) and the Philadelphia Federation of Young Republicans. Featured guests were talk show hosts Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager.

The crowd was hushed as Senator Santorum came to the end of his speech, and then burst into loud applause and gave him a standing ovation. Let me share my notes from his speech and Q&A:
  • The country needs people who can stand up in difficult times and confront the issues and the American public.
  • "Greatest danger facing America is Islamic Fascism." Important that we know who the enemy is. Americans are wavering on the war because we don't understand the enemy.
  • Words matter. "War on terror" brings images of men hiding in caves — so Americans think, How could we lose to them? President Bush kept referring to the enemy as cowards for a time after 9/11, but that's a misrepresentation. "These people people are not cowards; misguided, sick, but not cowards." We don't call them what they are, so we don't understand them.
  • Enemy's favorite movie is watching the two Fox news reporters submitting to Islam. They see us as evil, corrupt, not willing to die for anything, weak materialists.
  • Iran is where the action is, our principle threat right now. We've already dealt with two major enemies: the Taliban and Al Qaeda (which are radical Sunnis), and Iraq which under Saddam Hussein was being opportunistic in aiding terrorists. Iran and the radical Shiites are now the third problem.
  • Iranian President Ahmadinajad is our threat and our opportunity. Rick sees parallel with 1930's and Europe's approach to Hitler: they didn't take him at his word, and assumed he was someone they could negotiate with. Same story now with Ahmadinajad, who has designs far beyond running his little corner of the world. He's more dangerous than Hitler because he's also a religious zealot who sees his duty as to bring the end times, when Islam wins its final battle over the infidels and the 12th Imam returns. He's dangerous because he has resources (oil, for example) and ability to aquire nuclear weapons thanks to the A.Q. Khan network and N. Korean scientists.
  • We're dealing with a man/country/movement that wants to change the world. We sit by and play political games, and do nothing.
  • This year's Senate races will determine the course of our national security policy for years to come. If the Democrats take power, they will say, We can negotiate with him. We will delay and delay, and then wonder why Iran has nukes.
  • If Iran gets nuclear weapons, the world will no longer be the same. That day is sooner than we've thought, given N. Korea's test last week.
  • Rick thinks that our intel in the Middle East is deplorable. Exiles tell him that there is strong pro-U.S. sentiment in Iran among the people. He thinks we lost credibility after the Administration's decision to work with the Europeans and negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program at behest of State Department.
  • Touted his work to pass the Iran Freedom and Support Act (S.333), saying the Administration finally realized that some policy on Iran was better than none. He feels we need to foster peaceful revolution from within Iran — soon. If not, have to consider other options, including military.
  • "On matters of principle, people deserve your best."
  • "Don't let Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi fool you into thinking that under their leadership the country would become more conservative!" I.e., get out and vote Republican; don't be cowed into staying home on election day.
  • National security, American culture, and economy would be at risk under Democratic leadership.
  • Our war efforts have had three major components. First, going after the enemy in their lairs and destroying them. Second, stepping up intelligence efforts and stopping plots before they hatch (several hundred stopped so far around the world). Third, "fortress America" — which is the Dem's first priority and exactly backwards — beefing up government to keep us safe, spending billions of dollars but not the best way to defend America.
  • US has been on offense since 9/11 and Rick wants us to stay on offense!
  • Q. about putting an end to gun violence. Rick said it was a multi-dimensional problem, requiring a number of approaches, such as tougher enforcement, intervention programs for juvenile offenders, and programs from community- and faith-based organizations. Violence comes from neighborhoods where common denominators are lots of violence, broken homes, and absentee dads. Need to promote marriage, reconnect fathers with kids. Liberals say that we can't moralize or judge people's families. Problem is that children get hurt by that ideology. Need to build healthier families and communities.

Dennis Prager preceded Senator Santorum, speaking for thirty minutes to a rapt audience.
  • Dennis is here in Philadelphia because of Rick Santorum, not being paid to appear. "This is a race worthy of your money, time, and effort."
  • We are in a battle for the soul of America. Ironic that many Republicans don't understand that, while many Democrats do.
  • Liberals are foolish, but not bad, often mean well. To liberals, essence is about feeling good (rather than actually doing good).
  • "American Trinity" is his way of describing our distinctive value system, and it's found on every US coin: In God We Trust, E Pluribus Unum, and Liberty. Uniquely American, what it's all about in the final analysis.
    • In God We Trust means we're grounded in a moral framework with Judeo-Christian values. Unlike the Europeans, our American forebears were grounded in "Judeo", although there's no such thing as Judeo-Christian theology. Talking values here, not theology. US is not a secular country, but does have a secular government.
    • E Pluribus Unum, "out of many, one". Liberals endorse multi-culturalism, which is the antithesis of E Pluribus Unum, "un-American". Multi-culturalism means every culture is equally "celebratable", which is demonstrably false. Americans have always made culturable judgements, keeping that which is good.
    • US has only culture that has put together religious society with liberty, understanding that God wants us to be free. Deeply religious people asserting that libery is at center of God's command.
  • Question that matters is, who is dominant in a society? Most Germans were peace-loving before WWII, but the Nazis were the ones in power.
  • Enemy understands that US is greatest threat to Islamist vision of world-wide caliphate under sharia.
  • Rick Santorum is up against an opponent who is just there to try and unseat him. Dennis is here to help him fight the good fight.
Hugh broadcast his first two hours from the next room (so of course, we missed his show!), and then joined us at 8 pm, after Rick Santorum's speech. He was introduced by Dennis Prager.
  • Pennsylvania Republicans have saved Union before (with Lincoln nomination), and can save Senate this time.
  • Many Democratic candidates are empty suits. Wrong and clueless, many incurious about issues. This is a crucial moment in the history of the Republic, but Democrats are fielding light-weights.
  • Related story of Mother Teresa receiving Medal of Freedom at Rose Garden, and when invited to speak, said "Mr. President, I need more money!" Moral: ask for what you need. Rick Santorum needs your time, money, and energy if he is to win in November.
  • Had Scott Rassmussen on his show this evening, who is a prominent pollster. Hugh talked to him about the models pollsters use to predict turnout. Lesson is that turnout models are garbage-in, garbage-out, so polls aren't all that accurate. Best indicator of what's really going on is to see where the parties are spending their money. Dems know that Rick Santorum has come from behind to win 3 of 4 times on election day, so they're spending lots to defeat him.
  • Rick is an unusual politician because he will answer questions that are asked, and respond with a well thought-out and articulate position. He has a coherent world-view. It's always necessary to understand what we stand for.
  • Need truth-tellers, and Rick Santorum is one.
The evening was fun, and I enjoyed getting to meet Dennis for the first time, and Hugh for the second time.

Local campaigns I'm supporting: Jim Saxton for Congress and Tom Kean for U.S. Senate.

[Update 10/18 1046] Welcome Hugh Hewitt readers!

And for those people who haven't read his take on last night's events it's here.