Red White & Blue Hens

College students in Delaware who think right is right, and left is wrong. We study hard, party hard, and play hardball.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Experiences from Iraq 2

Apparently everything is slowing down in the area. My brother's unit isn't really busy, which I can only assume is a very good thing for the medical profession. I'm guessing work will start to pick up with the upcoming "Operation Lightning." Matt (my brother) said that he's been enjoying some video games and fitness center while on crew rest (nothing to do).

The other day he experienced his first "camel spider." I had never heard of them, but apparently they're large spiders that latch onto the underside of a camel, hence the name. I'm rather glad I've never heard of them nor experienced them. At night his unit is able to sit on the roof top of their hospital and watch the fighters and UAVs (Predators, Global Hawk) take off from the flight line. He's sent some pretty cool pictures of F-16s landing.

Because of the varying hours of work and down time, Matt's sleep schedule is constantly rotating. He said that the other morning he woke up to an earth shattering explosion right outside of his bunk. Apparently, the UXO (Unexploded Ordinance) site, where they dispose of malfunctioning explosives and mortars found, is right outside of where he's staying. He instantly lept under the bed and changed into full kevlar, luckily it was just UXO. If it had been real it would have been followed by an alarm.

I'm sure I'll hear more from him soon and get some more pictures, however, I'm hoping he stays as bored as possible. That means less wounded marines and American soldiers. Below is the most recent shot he sent me, hes on the right hand side.

Matt's Crew
F-16 Landing

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Some interesting statistics

This pulled section from an MSNBC article shows how serious our military has taken reports of prisoner abuse. Don't let people tell you that we are the minders of a "gulag" (Amnesty International) or that our military hasn't held people accountable:

"The four-star general said the U.S. military had detained more than 68,000 people since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and investigated 325 complaints of mistreatment. Investigations have found 100 cases of prisoner mistreatment and 100 people have been punished, Myers said."

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Memorial Day

It's pretty bad when the last two posts on a Republican blog are from a Democratic blog, but good writing overrides partisanship:

Memorial Day takes on a special meaning whenever the United States has soldiers actively engaged overseas. It moves beyond the honored remembrance of those living and dead who gave so much in the past so that this country could become and remain a beacon of freedom in the world, beyond abstract but deserved rhetoric of valor and heroism, to a very concrete notion of sacrifice. As we gather with our families and friends for barbeques and trips to the beach this weekend, we should all take a few moments to remember those, our friends, relatives, neighbors, coworkers, who cannot be with us on this holiday. It is also proper to reflect on those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and who’s families will never again have their presence at a barbeque, to recall those who, as Abraham Lincoln said, “gave their lives that [this] nation might live.”

No matter how one feels about this and other wars, these men and women, all, are heroes. They have risked or given their lives for this country, for its ideals and principles, and for all of us who enjoy the privileges of being American citizens. Though individuals may commit atrocities in the fog of war, though leaders may wonder astray from what we feel is the proper course, that in no way demeans the noble sacrifice of our soldiers or the honor and respect they deserve.
-Mike Mckain

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Blog In Review

Mike McKain does a great job of summing up this semester of blogging:
As the year winds down, I thought I would take a moment to thank all of the blog contributors, Democrat, Republican and otherwise, who have used these forums to advance the political dialogue on campus. When we created our blog, we had no idea the Republicans would follow suit so quickly or that both sites would take off in the way that they did. We now receive comments from students and professionals from across the country, all bringing their own unique perspectives and experiences to the table.

I think, through these blogs, that we have found that when the dialogue is open and civil, we can find areas of agreement or, at times, simply agree to disagree while respecting the ideological viewpoints of the other group or individual. We can only hope that the public dialogue will follow suit and migrate away from the bitterness that plagues the mainstream debates of today.

What we do is important. Though we are, in the end, just college students, many with the same experiences, who engage in the same activities, listen to the same music, and watch the same shows, the blogs have provided an outlet for our political passions. We have progressed interest and the dialogue on campus, hopefully while raising awareness of the critical issues that face the nation today.

I encourage everyone, Republican and Democrat alike, to remain active on the blogs throughout the summer and into next year. At the very least, I will continue posting on this site, and hopefully others will join me. And yes, sorry my Republican friends, I will continue to plague your site as well.

I hope everyone has a great summer...happy blogging!

Hezbollah Is a Problem

Looks like Hezbollah is not a legit political movement:
Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah Wednesday acknowledged for first time that his Lebanese guerrilla group has more than 12,000 rockets and that all of northern Israel is within reach.

"All of the north of occupied Palestine, its settlements, airports, seaports, fields, factories and farms is under the feet and hands of the Islamic resistance," Nasrallah said.

Nasrallah also said that Hezbollah, under mounting international pressure to disarm, would fight anyone who tried to take away its weapons.

Also:
[H]e added that Hizbollah, backed by Syria and Iran, would only use its weapons in defense of Lebanon.

I wonder what Hezbollah's definition of defense is. Does it come with or without suidicide bombers? Or how about on the side?

Al-Qaeda in Iraq under Saddam

Here is a recent entry from the very respectable IraqtheModel blog:
Unfortunately the links provided only go to Arabic newspapers, but look for MEMRI to translate the Dar al hayat article soon:

According to Dar al hayat, Allawi said that Al-Qaida #2 man Ayman Al-Zawahiri visited Baghdad in September 1999 using a false name.
Allawi believes that Zawahiri was here to attend the "Islamic Peoples' 9th conference" which was arranged by Saddam's deputy Izzat Al-Douri.

By the way, Izzat was in charge of the "faith campaign" that Saddam launched to introduce "Islamic faith" to the Ba'ath party. This campaign was obviously aiming at approximating the secular Ba'ath with the radical Wahabi groups.

The paper says that Allawi's informationt is based on intelligence reports he was able to have access to when he was the PM of Iraq.

This statement came when the paper asked Allawi to comment on what the Jordanian king said last week that "Iraqi authorities rejected a request from Jordan to hand over Zarqawi back in 2001 as we had evidence indicating his presence in Iraq at that time".

Allawi added "the conference which was attended by 150 people from 50 countries was-in its public form-a cover for secret simultaneous meetings among leaders and members of jihadis groups" and he continues to say "Zawahiri came and left after a while, while Zarqawi remained in Iraq and started organizing new cells in cooperation with the Ansar Al-Islam group".

Here's the full report (in Arabic)

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Experiences from Iraq 1

I recently spoke with my brother, who just last week deployed to a northern location in Iraq with the Delaware Air National Guard. I thought that this would be the perfect forum to share his experiences. His field within the Air National Guard is Aeromed/Medivac. On a daily basis, he'll be flying critically wounded soldiers and Iraqis from Iraq to various military installations for further treatment. Picture an ambulance in the sky.

He was quick to point out in our most recent telephone conversation, that the area is nothing like what we hear about on the news. The media may highlight all the negatives, as I'm sure we are all aware of, but in reality there is so much positive in the region. The average temperature on a cool day is 109 degrees, and he stated that the sun makes the environment extremely bright. His analogy was having your pupils dilated and then immediately going skiing.

At his location, they have the new Star Wars episode for the troops when they get some down time, and full phone use at night. They're treating them very well, and my brother said that the food is first class, since its contracted out to the civilian side. I'll be e-mailing him frequently and getting as many pictures from his as I can. Unfortunately, there are only certain things he can take pictures of, confidentiality in the military is crazy sometimes for all those who don't know. I'll be sure to post whatever images I receive here and to keep this blog updated, so we all can realize the good that is happening over there in spite of our tainted news sources.

The war becomes extremely real when you have a relative or friend there. Regardless of your personal views on the U.S. involvement in that region, what's important is that our military is there and they deserve all of our support.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Awesome Post at SavetheGOP

This post at SavetheGOP is a must read for all "Progressives" and "Liberals." It's also a great post for any CR to check out and see just how right we are on the issues of today.

[EDIT: Link Fixed. Ryan]

Leftists Relive Their Glory Days

Leftists at Harvard are wiping the dust off our Abu Ghraib memories and--brace yourself--running a university-funded theatre production of it. I can't believe I just typed that sentence, more than that, I can't believe it's actually true. Is this really what it has come to? I understand why our enemies would like to keep Abu Ghraib at the forefront of every day life--as if moral transgressions by a few miscreants in a military of over 1 million accurately represent a country or its military--but Harvard students?

The Harvard newspaper reads:

"...the play does what neither the leaked photos, the media reports, nor the military trial have been able to do - namely, to apply invented but plausible identities to the anonymous Iraqi torture victims whose naked bodies have become all-too-familiar over the past year.
In key scenes, the prisoners talk about their past lives, how and why they were captured, and how their consciousness has been changed by the treatment they have received. In some respects, these are the most moving and revelatory scenes in the play because they remind us that these unfortunate individuals have families, friends, careers, personal histories, and, above all, human feelings."


Naturally, the not-surprising sympathetic attitude the article takes towards the play and the prisoners simply has no place for airing the true stories of why those prisoners found themselves in prison. The true story might "unfortunately" tell a story about a prisoner working with fellow terrorists to blow up innocent Iraqis at a recruiting station, or one of an insurgent getting caught setting up a roadside bomb where he would patiently wait to kill American soldiers. That just wouldn't make for good theatre. Why have anything resembling the truth when you can lie through your teeth and turn those prisoners into the most innocent little angels? Much better way to promote anti-Americanism abroad and at home. In the words of the writer himself, Curran Singh wanted the play to be "a serious piece. A call to action." Scary.



Andi does a great job articulating his thoughts on the play here.

Video from inside North Korea

Read this article in the LaTimes. It is very interesting. Then watch a video from inside the country showing protest posters denouncing the government in a city near the border with China.

An interesting quote

From the Federalist Patriot, the conservative journal of record:

THE LAST WORD

"Huge chunks of the American population have been body-snatched by zomboid creatures from Canada, or possibly -- shudder -- Europe. That's the only conclusion one can draw from the latest monumental study from the Pew Center for the People and the Press. OK, it's not the only conclusion you can draw, but it's the one I'm going to draw. ... According to the Pew Center, the less you like to fly the American flag, the more likely it is you are Democrat. The more you think hard work and personal initiative aren't the ticket to the good life, the more likely you are to be a Democrat. The more you believe the United Nations is a better steward of international relations, while America is a negative actor on the world stage, the more likely you are to be a Democrat. The more you believe that the government is there to help, the more likely it is you are Democrat. The less seriously you take religion, the more likely you are to be a Democrat. Flip all of these values around and the more likely it is you are a Republican -- or that you vote that way. ... So what does all of this have to do with body-snatching Europhiles? Well, basically, everything. The ideas, assumptions and prejudices held by the statistically typical Democrat voter, according to the Pew study, are quite simply, European. Europeans believe in a strong social welfare state, for rich and poor alike. Europeans are cynical. They look askance -- these days -- on patriotic sentiment (hence the rush to form a new European nation). The church pews of Europe would make a great hideout for bank robbers since they're always empty. The United Nations is, in the typical European's worldview, the last best hope for mankind. From the death penalty to gay marriage, the more similar you are to a typical European in your political and social outlook, the more likely you are to be a Democrat." --Jonah Goldberg

I haven't looked at the Pew Study, but frankly, I am not suprised with the correlations he points out

A good story

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Last Week

Well this is the last week of school at UD. Good luck to all of our UD readers on finals this week.

I will keep blogging both here at at my blog, Jokers to the Right, over the summer.

Friday, May 20, 2005

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Help End the Obstruction of Justice in the Senate May 19, 2005
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Dear Friend,

Right now, the US Senate Democrats, including Senators Biden and Carper are obstructing justice by blocking a simple up-or-down vote on President Bush's highly qualified judicial nominees.

Now, I'm asking for your help conducting a grassroots petition drive. The petition is simple, ask Senators Biden and Carper to give President's Bush's judicial nominees a fair up-or-down vote.

Click Here to view and print the petition.

Will you please help protect our Judicial system from political gamesmanship of Senators Biden and Carper and their Democratic allies by collecting signatures on this petition?

After all, it was Joe Biden himself who said, "everyone who is nominated is entitled to have a shot, to have a hearing and to have a shot to be heard on the floor and have a vote on the floor." (Congressional Record, 3/19/97)

Let's remind Joe Biden of his forgotten principles by collecting signatures on this petition.

Some ideas to complete these petitions include spending time at local grocery stores or shopping center, festivals, and friend-to-friend contacts. The finished petitions should be returned to State Headquarters in Wilmington by mail (3301 Lancaster Ave., Wilmington, DE 19805) or fax (302-651-0270) as soon as possible.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication to our party.

Sincerely,

Dave


Executive Director
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
email: dcrossan@delawaregop.com
phone: 302-651-0260, ext. 3
web: http://www.delawaregop.com
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Big-time Bigotry

I read this article and found it impressive. My favorite paragraph includes:

"The essence of bigotry is denying other people the same rights you have. For generations, it was racial bigotry which provoked filibusters to prevent the Senate from voting on bills to extend civil rights to blacks. But bigotry is bigotry, whether it is racial bigotry, religious bigotry or political bigotry."

Here's the link. http://www.townhall.com/columnists/thomassowell/ts20050520.shtml

Enjoy.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Ceder Revolution

An individual from Lebanon discusses how Bush policy relates to their recent revolution.

Apparently Sen. Frist is Darth Vader

Yeah, they actually do hate our freedoms

It has become almost unacceptable while discussing the war on terror to say, "they fight us because they hate our way of life." In a recent political science class I was in, one brave soul raised this argument, and was then bombarded with laughs, snickers and eye rolling. The odd thing is, there has been nothing proving this wrong, and many things proving it right. Sure, citing our involvement in the Middle East, or our support for Israel has some merit (though we have since pulled almost all personnel out of Saudi Arabia and darn it, we haven't even received a thank you note). There are many policies that Americans don’t like other countries practicing either, but I don’t know of any American suicide bombers. The Salafist movement that makes up the most extreme of these evil people want a global caliphate to emerge, where no one has the right to practice any religion other than Wahabi Islam, where people do not have the right to speak freely, where the press may only print what the Islamic Sheiks and Scholars say is God's word, and where women have absolutely no rights. Those are some of the rights we enjoy as Americans, and the terrorists we are fighting want to take them away. Looks to me like they hate us because of the freedoms we have granted our citizens.
The fact is, there are some extreme people in the Muslim world that have used their insane view of the world to pervert a great religion, and have convinced a lot of their fellow citizens to follow them. Please read the following quote, then tell me what you think:

a snippet from a sermon delivered by Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris, which ran last weekend on the Palestinian Authority's official TV station: (hat tip: David Brooks, and MEMRI)

"The day will come when we will rule America. The day will come when we will rule Britain and the entire world - except for the Jews. The Jews will not enjoy a life of tranquility under our rule because they are treacherous by nature, as they have been throughout history. The day will come when everything will be relieved of the Jews - even the stones and trees which were harmed by them. Listen to the Prophet Muhammad, who tells you about the evil end that awaits Jews. The stones and trees will want the Muslims to finish off every Jew."

Also, regarding the current situation in Iraq, with the drastic increase in suicide car bombings targeting civilians and new Iraqi security forces:

Quotes from intercepted letter (I have the whole thing if you want to see it, email me at spence@udel.edu) from Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi to Usama bin-Laden, detailing his goal to spark a civil/sectarian war:

"I come back and again say that the only solution is for us to strike the religious, military, and other cadres among the Shi`a with blow after blow until they bend to the Sunnis. Someone may say that, in this matter, we are being hasty and rash and leading the [Islamic] nation into a battle for which it is not ready, [a battle] that will be revolting and in which blood will be spilled. This is exactly what we want, since right and wrong no longer have any place in our current situation. The Shi`a have destroyed all those balances. God’s religion is more precious than lives and souls. "

"The solution that we see, and God the Exalted knows better, is for us to drag the Shi`a into the battle because this is the only way to prolong the fighting between us and the infidels."

This recent violence is primarily the cause of one evil man and his gang of criminals and foreign martyrs. The insurgency is becoming more and more al-qaeda/foreigner driven, and less and less disaffected Iraqi Sunnis fighting for a return of the Baathists. While this violence is horrible and has resulted in much death, it should be looked upon from a wider angle, which shows the changing face of the insurgency, and the resulting decrease in the lack of support for that insurgency. With the third alternative of a return to Baathist rule is losing steam day by day there are only two left. Giving the new Iraqi government and political process a chance; or continual death and destruction driven by foreign extremists. I have my money on Ibrahim and Jalal’s team.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Kickball - A different perspective

As alluded to in the previous entry, the UD College Republicans enjoyed jovial game of kickball. It is worth noting that Mr. Jeff Mapson graced the UD CRs with his presence at the final meeting after having been MIA the past 8 weeks. Interestingly, it was not to discuss policy, conservative ideas, or even his upcoming internship program, but Jeff showed up to play kick ball and eat.

As the game progressed, it was clear that it was going to be a good one. For instance, the one time Kristin Murray was out, it was not because of the astute play of the opposition, rather it was because Rose and Jeff blocked her path to victory. That is why we needed a "do-over". In a team that was carried by Steve Spence and hampered by Jeff's inability to pitch, it is little wonder that the team resulted to cheating in this instance. Also, with the loss of the wonderful DFCR Executive Director, the Randall-Murray team recruited Michael Stacey, the DFCR Treasurer. He had served as pitcher for both teams up until this point.

Although Randall-Murray were defeated in Kickball, their prominence has been demonstrated in a much finer sport--flip cup. Mapson and Co, will no doubt realize that they have yet to vindicate themselves from such a lackluster performance after the DCFR State Convention. What will be the new competition? Peace Out!

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Fun-filled close of Semester at UD

The College Republicans at the University of Delaware came together to bid each other good luck for finals, to wish each other well in summer internships and jobs, and also to have some good old athletic competition in the form of Kickball.

Easton Randall, the current executive director at the University of Delaware and Kristin Murray, the Co-chair of the Delaware Federation of College Republicans headed up the first energetic team while Steve Spence, the current vice president at the University of Delaware Chapter and former chairman and current chairman emeritus of the DFCR led the second team of inspiring CR's.

All in all in was a very formidable game of kickball that would decide the winners of a semester-long competition. To date Randall's teams and Spence's teams had drawn to a 1-1 tie and this was going to be the game to decide the victors of the semester. As the teams warmed up you could smell the competition in the air as both teams got ready for a close match up with only one coming out victorious.

Randall and Murray's team jumped out to an early 9-1 lead really on the back of Easton Randall who at that point had homered twice, and a solid defense. That 8 run lead however would soon wither away. As Spence and Mapson's team would consistently chip away at their lead. The turning point, as agreed by many, was the moment between innings when Randall got his team together and produced a woefully sad "victory chant." Mapson responded by inducing three pop-ups to retire the side with no runs.

Fast forwarding to the Top of the 9th inning, light was starting to fade and the score was 18-16 in favor of Randall and Murray. As Spence's team got up to bat both Ryan Silberstein and Steve Spence hit incredibly long balls that were spectacularly caught by the defense. With 2 runs out in the top of the 9th, their last chance and down by 2 runs, Megan Burgess came to the plate with hope fading and many people expecting an easy-out. Megan however PROVED THEM WRONG, singling safely. Her single was followed by 2 more spectacular infield singles by Rose Overbey, the DFCR secretary, and Mike Selss bringing Jeff Mapson to the plate.

The pitch by Mike Stacey was incredibly bouncey, and the second pitch wasn't seen due to lack of light. The third pitch however was just right as Mapson kicked the ball deep and to right field over Murray's head clearing the bases in a THREE RUN triple! Silberstein then redeemed himself with a single and Spence homered to bring in yet another run. All in all the side would be retired with team Spence-Mapson in the lead for the first time all game with an awe-inspiring 6-run 2-out rally in the top of the ninth inning. Team Randall-Murray scored 2 runs in the bottom half of the inning but it just wasn't enough as the final score of 22-20 was shouted in jubilation by the victors. What a game!

More Highlights of the Game
  • On occasion, Mike Selss charged the mound to argue calls made by then-pitcher Mike Stacey. In stunning MLB-form he tossed his hat, pointed to the plate and kicked grass.
  • Kristin Murray was TWICE out at the plate on throws by Mapson that were deemed too-close-to-call leading team Randall to complain and ask for a "do-over."
  • Mapson's diving almost-catch.
  • Steve Spence and Easton Randall's powerful bases-clearing home runs
  • Mike Selss falling on his back
  • Kristen Murray's tag to a sliding Jeff Mapson at first base
  • Easton's failed attempt to catch a pop-up as he stumbled backwards arms-flailing and completely falling on his back
Also, word is it that both Murray and Randall, due to their deafening loss, must wear signs that state "I lost an incredible game of kickball to an inspiring team led by Steve Spence and Jeff Mapson."

CR in the News: College Republicans learn about conservative values

College Republicans learn about conservative values

I was very disappointed in Megan Lehman's May 8 Community View column about the College Republicans organization. The College Republicans at the University of Delaware is one of the most respected political groups on campus. It provides a voice to individuals who believe in conservative values.

It also educates members about issues locally and nationally. We participate in many activities on campus, including panel discussions, meetings with elected representatives from Delaware, and community service.

College Republicans are conducting a fund-raiser to buy essential supplies such as toothpaste and soap for U.S. soldiers overseas.

The organization is the youth of the party. Their energy and enthusiasm inspires state and nationally elected representatives. Lehman needs to rethink her words, because College Republicans are leaders here at the University of Delaware and throughout the nation.

Italo Carrieri-Russo, President, College Republicans, Newark

Well this settles it...

Could you actually flush a book down the toilet? No.
Here's the proof.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

This College Republican is optimistic about the party

One of our state officers, Audrey Dandoy, recently had a letter published in The News Journal.
Here is her letter (and I think all of us here at RW&BH would agree with her):
As an active College Republican at the University of Delaware who donated a huge amount of time to Delaware Republican campaigns last fall, I experienced Republican values firsthand during the campaign -- a vastly different picture from that presented in the recent Community View column, "A College Republican confesses."

President Bush's record during his first term is honorable. Bush did not ignore critical issues, but rather faced them head-on despite strong opposition. He cut taxes across the board to help stimulate the economy. He created a prescription drug benefit plan, and put money into promising fuel cell research while searching for ways to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Bush made one of the hardest decisions a president has to make, taking us to war in order to protect the American people and prevent another attack like that on Sept. 11, 2001.

Republicans in Congress do not like budget deficits any more than I do. But while Democrats in Congress are blocking healthy debate, it will be tough to get rid of decades' worth of ineffective programs and restore fiscal discipline.

Republicans are a party of optimists whose primary interest is in bettering our country. We are not afraid to stand on our principles.

Our party's beliefs are far from uniform. The Republican Party embraces people from all walks of life who have a wide range of opinions. I am proud of the diversity of the Delaware Republican Party and the open debate it creates.

Audrey Dandoy, Executive director, College Republicans, Newark

Friday, May 13, 2005

News Blurbs 5/13

No one told Vicente Fox that good fences make good neighbors.

God wins in court.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Kerry: Sore Loser

You all need to watch this ad. (Windows Media Player req.)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Problem With the Word "al-Qaeda"

"Iraq never attacked us...it was al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. Why are we in Iraq?"
How many times have we heard this? This argument has been made relentlessly by liberals in even the most moderate of circles.

I have noticed something disturbing since September 11th: the American public's focus on al-Qaeda. Don't get me wrong, I understand very well that al-Qaeda as an organization is a huge threat to our national security, but al-Qaeda is not a country that attacked us like Japan was in 1941. We are so used to fighting conventional wars against sovereign nations that we are failing to make the necessary adjustments needed to fight this 21st century War on Terror. Not long after the attacks, news networks latched onto the pictures and footage of Osama bin Laden, and the word al-Qaeda to personify terrorism and to provide us with a picture of "the enemy". I believe that President Bush and his administration wisely tried to quickly head this growing misperception off by declaring that state-sponsors of terrorism as well as states that harbor terrorists are just as guilty as terrorists themselves. Unfortunately, they have failed. The American people have this focus on al-Qaeda that will make it increasingly difficult to explain geopolitical moves needed to be made to win this War on Terror. We can already witness this difficulty manifesting with the opposition to the War in Iraq. Liberals are demanding links to 9-11 and if they don’t get it they are boycotting the war. In other words, a threat doesn’t exist until it has already hit us once by their logic. Also by their logic, Enduring Freedom was Ok because al Qaeda was in Afghanistan and they attacked us, but "Saddam never attacked us". I visited a website (linked from moveon.org) that presented a long list of Bush administration "misleading" quotes that were used to justify action against Iraq. When I came to these two quotes and their subsequent explanations in plain text, I knew what the topic of my first blog would be.

May 1, 2003 "The liberation of Iraq is a crucial advance in the campaign against terror. We've removed an ally of al Qaeda, and cut off a source of terrorist funding. And this much is certain: No terrorist network will gain weapons of mass destruction from the Iraqi regime, because the regime is no more." - President George W. Bush.The Statement was misleading because it suggested that Iraq was linked to al Qaeda. In fact, the U.S. intelligence community had conflicting evidence on this issue and was divided regarding whether there was an operational relationship.May 1, 2003 "The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on September the 11, 2001 -- and still goes on. That terrible morning, 19 evil men -- the shock troops of a hateful ideology -- gave America and the civilized world a glimpse of their ambitions. They imagined, in the words of one terrorist, that September the 11th would be the 'beginning of the end of America.' By seeking to turn our cities into killing fields, terrorists and their allies believed that they could destroy this nation's resolve, and force our retreat from the world. They have failed." - President George W. Bush. The Statement was misleading because by referencing the September 11 attacks in conjunction with discussion of the war on terror in Iraq, it left the impression that Iraq was connected to September 11. In fact, President Bush himself in September 2003 acknowledged that "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved with September the 11th."

I have listened to my share of debate over America's actions in the War on Terror, and one mistake that I hear made all the time by conservative and liberals alike is the general overconfidence when discussing terror groups. The fact of the matter is, as a non-Islamic country that is basically in the dark when it comes to Islamic fundamentalist ideology, we like to make assumptions about the behavior patterns of Islamic extremists. We all try desperately to figure out who al-Qaeda is "freinds" with, who al-Qaeda is "enemies" with and where al-Qaeda gets its "followers". I am going to clear things up for everyone who is unsure about al-Qaeda and Iraq and these questions. Who knows and who cares?

Saddam Hussein was a PROUD supporter of international terrorism. He had terrorist training camps in his country (which he had an iron grip on so nobody can say that he couldn't oust them if he wanted to), provided huge sums of money to the families of suicide bombers, and encouraged the second intifada. Saddam, although a staunch secularist, made it clear that he would embrace Islamic fundamentalism any time it became beneficial to his survival. We should not fool ourselves into thinking that these outlaw regimes won't deal with terrorist organizations under the table because of feuds between the figureheads (such as is pointed to between bin Laden and Saddam's supposed hatred of each other).

NO, 9-11 was NOT orchestrated by Saddam Hussein. Nor was he even a part of it. Saddam, I would even argue, has no blame for 9-11 at all. So why are we in Iraq? In fact, if Saddam never dealt with al-Qaeda, why did we oust him? BECAUSE we are not fighting a war of retribution for 9-11 victims. This war is about preventing another, more destructive terrorist attack. It is not about simply bringing terrorists to justice. It is about preventing terrorism in the first place. There can be no doubt that Saddam encouraged, funded, and even helped to train terrorists. We simply could not allow a country with a such rich oil reserves as the had, an irrational dictator with a life long dream of being the modern day Saladin, a weapons program shaped by 14 years of learning how to avoid detection, and a wealth of ties to anti-Western terrorist organizations to stay in power. Not after 9-11. Not after we have seen, and thankfully Americans have seen, the dangers of waiting for threats to gather on distant shores and then strike here in the homeland for us to retaliate. Pre-emption is the only answer. What would Americans have thought about Bush if he had launched a pre-emptive war on the Taliban and al-Qaeda in August 2001 or before. Liberals would have screamed bloody murder. The world would have screamed bloody murder. Better yet, to those Republicans who think that Clinton did not do enough to prevent 9-11: what would American have said if Clinton wanted to launch a pre-emptive attack? The problem is that being a democracy which has learned well from Vietnam, we know that we cannot fight a war and win if the people don’t support it. Therefore, a 9-11 was necessary to show Americans what will happen if we don’t act pre-emptively. I would like to submit a worry that I have had, being from NYC, that has driven my beliefs about foreign policy. After watching The Sum of All Fears, I pondered what would America do if a mushroom cloud appeared over my city tomorrow morning, and nobody claimed responsibility nor was the uranium traceable as it was in the movie. Who would we attack?

Hopefully, we will take AT LEAST the obvious steps to prevent this from ever happening. One of those steps was removing the Iraqi regime, but as obvious a necessary step as that was, look at how difficult it was to convince the people! The next step will be much more difficult. Not because of our limited power or ability, which is limitLESS when the people stand united, but simply because of the 250 million geopoliticians we have running this country, all wanting to make the decisions and nobody wanting to trust the government. My hope is that it will not take another 9-11 to show the American people that pre-emption is the only solution to a threat like international terrrorism. A terrorist is not a terrorist until he has commited the act, and then it is too late.

Skidfest Made Fools of Us All

"Know what we should do? We should start a fund for the killer of those two 10-year-old girls and make sure he has some good books to read."

After reading The Review this morning, I completely regret my overconsumption of alcohol on Saturday--something I don't state lightly. The "charitable" event known as SKidfest apparently selected Books Through Bars as the charity to donate its proceedings to. The mission statement of Books Through Bars should make any sane individual weary:

"We believe a society of social and economic inequality leads to a cycle of crime and incarceration. We work to reverse the dehumanizing effects excessive punishment inflicts upon individuals, families and communities. Books Through Bars sends quality reading material to prisoners and encourages creative dialogue on the criminal justice system, thereby educating those living inside and outside of prison walls."

To paraphrase: criminals aren't at fault for their actions, society is. Punishment for crime is as egregious and dehumanizing as crime itself. The road to justice in this world consists of parents meeting their daughter's rapist not with scorn, but with a dozen donuts, tea and lots of warm hugs. And by giving Hemingway to rapists/child molestors/murderers/drug dealers we'll live in a rainbow-colored world hand-in-hand with each other. Or not.

While I'm not denying the possible rehabilitative effect of good literature, it's an absolute horror that while the university copes with the recent murder of a fellow student, the $5,000 raised through SKidfest will help out Lindsey Bonistall's murderer instead of going to a fund rewarding information given about the suspect, or to create a memorial in her name.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Red/Blue Refugees?

I wrote a post over at my blog that got a little out of hand on political polarization, but well worth reading to both our conservative and liberal readers, I think. Well, at least if you are into that kinda thing.

Progress in Iraq

Check out the progress that has been made in Iraq.

Another golden social security quote

Walter Mondale, former Democratice Senator from Minnesota, Vice President of the United States and candidate for President in 1984:

On January 17, 1975, he stated on the floor of the Senate: "It seems to me that a not-so-subtle difference, a profound difference, between 66 2/3 percent and a simple majority could be the difference between an active, responsible U.S. Senate and one which is dominated by a small minority." Mondale accordingly advocated the right of a Senate majority to change the filibuster rule: "May a majority of the members of the Senate of the 94th Congress change the rules of the Senate, uninhibited by the past rules of the Senate? I firmly believe that the majority has such a right--as the U.S. Constitution, the precedents of this body, the inherent nature of our constitutional system, and the rulings of two previous vice presidents make clear."

From the Weekly Standard http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/005/595lagoz.asp

Why do so many of my classmates think America sucks?

You know, I never thought I would say this, but I may start agreeing with Ann Coulter's assertion that .."liberals hate America." As a guy who prides himself on being open minded to my lefty friends, they really pissed me off today. In my International Society and American Power class, taught by Prof. Green, we had a debate on whether or not American Power was in decline. Instead of sticking with the substantive arguments of other countries closing the economic and social gaps, the panel advocating the decline postition started ranting on about how shitty a country we are. In fact, during the discussion I heard the decline panel refer to America as "your country." Those four panelists are all born-in-America citizens. I thought that was kinda wierd. The panel of four smart (I am not being sarcastic) women, two of whom are the only people I have heard say that communism is great, got off topic quickly and started saying some of the following:(and I am paraphraising as best I can, since i didnt write any of these down when class was going on)
"We just go and blow people up that disagree with us."
"America is only about making money...our foreign aid doesnt help people...its just a capitalist tool"
"We need to leave people alone"
followed by... "We need to go and help people everywhere get out of poverty" and "we need to give more foreign aid"
"Terrorism will always be around, there is no end."
and lastly.....drum roll...
"America was founded on terrorism"

So pretty much, America can't do anything right
I dont understand that. Why do these people hate trying to be the best, or most powerful, or leader, or fixer of problems. Sure there are things we screw up, we are all human by the way. But we have saved the precious "heaven on earth" social democracies of Europe twice from total anihallation. We helped create democracies around the world, open our markets to everyone and rarely ask for the same in return so that others can grow. Sure, we benefit in the long run, but isnt it ok to ask others for something in return when you help them. Isn't that what friends are for? America gives the largest amount of foreign aid in the world, pays for a lot of the UN, started and finances a large part of the World Bank and IMF, and is leading a charge to give debt relief to the world's poorest, and most highly indebted countries. (which I might add is opposed by the "people first" social democracies of Western Europe)
Just because we are challenged by people who hate us, and want us to die, doesnt mean we automatically give up. "Terrorism will always be around, there is no end." Bullshit. Terrorism hasn't been around forever. Assymetrical warfare yes, but killing innocent people by blowing up cars in front of schools, no. You cant reason with those already committed to that kind of evil, you have to kill them. That's where the 101st Airborne, the US Marine Corps, Air Force f-15's and Navy Seals come in. The others in that society who are tempted to support them, or atleast not oppose them, have to be given another choice. While being sensitive to culture and soverignty is very important, that tactic hasnt worked in some regions of the world. The tactical response to 9/11 was Afghanistan, the strategic choice was to end a regime of tyranny in Iraq, and start something new. Ask the Iraqis, Afghanis, Lebanese, Egyptians, and Palestinians how they feel about their chance to give democracy a try. Oooh infact some one did:

Walid Jumballat, top Lebanese Druze politician, on Iraq; before election in Iraq, in regards to a missle attack on the Rashid Hotel in Baghdad when Wolfowitz was staying there: "We hope that next time the rockets will be more accurate and effective in getting rid of this virus, and his like, who wreak corruption in the Arab land of Iraq and in Palestine," Jumblatt said.
Last Dec. 16, Andrew Sullivan quoted Jumblatt as saying, “We are all happy when U.S. soldiers are killed [in Iraq] week in and week out. The killing of U.S. soldiers in Iraq is legitimate and obligatory.”

After the election and signs of progress: "It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it." From David Ignatius' column in the Washington Post, Wednesday, February 23, 2005

I couldn't have said it better myself

Sunday, May 08, 2005

IRAQ: Changing the Rules of the Blame Game

From StrategyPage:

The Sunni Arab media in the Middle East has gotten tired of blaming the United States for everything that doesn't work in Iraq. More and more stories blame Iraq's Sunni Arabs for the terrorism, corruption and tyranny in Iraq, and other parts of the Middle East. This is part of a trend, the growing popularity of Arabs taking responsibility for their actions. This is a radical concept in Middle Eastern politics. For several generations, all problems could be blamed on other forces. The list of the blameworthy was long; the United States, the West, Colonialism, Infidels (non Moslems, especially Jews), Capitalism, the CIA, Israel, Democracy and many others too absurd to mention. Giving up this crutch is not popular in the Middle East. Oil wealth has made it possible to sustain, for decades, the belief of all these conspiracies to keep the Arab people down and powerless. But the invasion of Iraq, and the overthrow of Saddam, forced Arabs to confront their long support for a tyrannical butcher like Saddam. Here was a dictator who knew how to play the blame game, and position himself as an Arab "hero." Saddam's supporters turned to terrorism to restore themselves to power. Two years of killing Iraqis has shamed an increasing number of Arabs into admitting that this is an Arab problem, not the fault of the United States (who, in the most popular delusion, should have waved a magic wand and made all problems in Iraq disappear.) Even the Sunni Arab media are in awe of the Iraqi Shia and Kurds, for not slaughtering large numbers of Sunni Arabs in response to the terrorism, or simply as revenge for centuries of torment at the hands of Sunni Arabs.
This is also why morale in al Qaeda is low.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Social Security Hypocrisy

A great column from David Brooks:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/08/opinion/08brooks.html
To our conservative readers, this will help when arguing for change in social security. To our liberal readers, this is why you guys have lost ground in national politics, please come up with some ideas and then tell the country! Please stop your blind opposition of all Bush policy and come up with better ones.

Social Insecurity

Democrats complain about the Bush plan making Social Security insecure, but you are not legally entitled to any benefits anyway.
From the CATO Institute:
Social Security is a payroll tax on the one hand and a set of transfers from the government on the other. The two are connected in the way David Blaine levitates: He doesn't; they aren't; it's illusion.

Despite the fact that your payroll taxes are called "federal insurance contributions," they are nothing like insurance policy premiums because there is no policy, no contract, and no legal claim benefits. Your payroll taxes are nothing special, just taxes. They're spent right away on checks to current retirees and items in the general budget, like the war in Iraq and subsidies for mohair producers.

The money that comes out of your paycheck buys you nothing, not even a right to retirement benefits. That's the upshot of the 1960 Flemming v. Nestor (search) Supreme Court decision. Whether you're going to receive a Social Security check from the government at all depends entirely on the good grace of folks like Tom Delay and Ted Kennedy. Social Security provides no "guarantees." Every serious plan to make Social Security solvent involves higher taxes, smaller benefits, or both. You may feel that you've earned a right to Social Security benefits by paying all those taxes all those years, but all you've really got is a feeling, because the right, legally speaking, ain't there. Social Security is not secure.
Personal retirement accounts, however, would give each worker genuine property rights to his or her retirement savings. The money that goes into a PRA goes straight from your paycheck into an account that you own. It's not a promise; it's property. Instead of paying taxes for missiles and mohair, you get a tax cut that allows you to save and invest for your own retirement. And because what you save is yours by right, you can, unlike Social Security, pass it on to your loved ones when you die. With PRAs, you literally own the source of your retirement security, and it cannot be held hostage, whittled down, or bargained away by future Congresses
.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Minority leader Reid thinks kissing is bad

I guess democrats think big wet kisses are bad, or atleast un-ethical. Maybe they should call for an ethic investigation then say no when the committe says ok.....sorry, a little Tom Delay reference there, read on...
Once again, thank you opinionjournal.com (Best of the Web)
The Oral Minority
A reader called our attention to a pair of strangely similar quotes from Democratic senators. On March 5, North Dakota's Byron Dorgan said of President Bush's Social Security ideas, ''This is a big wet kiss to Wall Street." Then, last Thursday, Nevada's Harry Reid, the minority leader, said of Majority Leader Bill Frist's filibuster compromise, "It's a big wet kiss to the far right."

We found several other examples of liberals referring to their opponents' actions as "wet kisses":

" 'South Park Conservatives: The Revolt Against Liberal Media Bias,' by Brian C. Anderson of the conservative think tank the Manhattan Institute [available at the OpinionJournal bookstore], gives a wet kiss to one of the funniest and most foul-mouthed series on television."--Frank Rich, New York Times


"Ron Reagan, the president's son, on a talk show wondered why [Florida's state Rep. Dennis] Baxley was giving a big wet kiss to the National Rifle Association with the 'use of force' bill."--Tallahassee Democrat


"A sloppy wet kiss to the credit card industry."--Loren Steffy, Houston Chronicle, on the bankruptcy-reform law

Naturally, we wondered if American liberals have an oral fixation. About.com describes the Freudian "oral stage," which normally lasts from birth to age 1 1/2: "Because the child's personality is controlled by the id and therefore demands immediate gratification, responsive nurturing is key. Both insufficient and forceful feeding can result in fixation in this stage."

Here are the symptoms of oral fixation:

Smoking
Constant chewing on gum, pens, pencils, etc.
Nail biting
Overeating
Drinking
Sarcasm ("the biting personality") and verbal hostility
Seems to us we may be on to something here, though as we're sure Bill Clinton would hasten to point out, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.