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Archive for September, 2007

September 30th 2007

Biden’s Bid To Divide Iraq Doesn’t Divide Iraqis

Joe Biden has differentiated himself from other candidates with his position, Iraqi sovereignty be damned, that the country should be partitioned into Shi’a, Sunni and Kurdish zones — and he managed to get a sense of the Senate resolution last week supporting the position.

One catch, though: His idea certainly doesn’t divide the Iraqis: They hate the idea. Not that it bothers Joe, who has shown his gift of gab is not matched with a gift for listening.

Watching America
provides us an inside at the response to Biden in Baghdad by translating an article from the Iraqi newspaper Sotal Iraq, Iraqis Sound Off on Joe Biden’s Plan. By party, we learn:

  • Iraqi National Party chief Mithal al-Alusi [a secular nationalist alliance made up of Sunnis and Shiites led by former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi] criticized several Iraqi politicians without naming them, for helping Biden formulate his program.

  • Saleh al-Mutlaq, the President of the Iraqi Front for National Dialogue [a non-sectarian coalition that wants to end the presence of foreign troops and to rebuild Iraqi government institutions] asked the United Nations and Arab League to denounce Biden’s program, describing it as a pathway to a civil war in Iraq.
  • The Iraq Accord Front [originally a coalition of three Sunni parties that have supported participation in the political process] renewed its rejection of any draft resolution that seeks to divide Iraq along sectarian lines, and Accord Front deputy Omar Abdul Satar Al-Karbuli reiterated that the coalition has grave reservations about establishing what he described as “federalized sectarian regions.”

    Iraqi Accord Front MP said, “The partioning of the country on the basis of ethnic or sectarian divisions is completely unacceptable, since it would terminate the modern state of Iraq.”

  • Member of Parliament Hamid Rashid Mualla of the United Iraqi Alliance [a broad-based coalition of over 20 groups, dominated by the two major Shiite parties] was a bit more diplomatic. While he emphasized the right of the Iraqi people to choose a system that suits them, he said in an interview with Radio Sawa that, “the amendment passed by the U.S. Senate is fairly open-ended, and would give Iraqis a vast opportunity to choose the kind of federalism they want.”

Biden called the vote, “a major repudiation of President Bush’s failed policy in Iraq,” seemingly ignoring the fact that his own approach has been certified as pre-failed by the Iraqi leadership.

Not listening (of course), Biden said after the vote on Wednesday,

This may be President Bush’s war. But it is America’s future. Together, we have to get this right. Today, we are one step closer to doing just that.

Biden has a funny definition of “together,” doesn’t he? He talks about “America” and “we,” but has left the Iraqis entirely out of the picture.

The Dems, for all their talk of this being Bush’s war, don’t want any troublesome meddling in their work to make it their defeat.

Updpate: In a highly unusual move, the U.S. Embassy in Iraq issued a statement condemning Biden’s resolution:

“Our goal in Iraq remains the same: a united, democratic, federal Iraq that can govern, defend, and sustain itself,” the unsigned statement said.

“Iraq’s leaders must and will take the lead in determining how to achieve these national aspirations. … attempts to partition or divide Iraq by intimidation, force or other means into three separate states would produce extraordinary suffering and bloodshed,” it said. (AP)

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September 30th 2007

Debating Debates

Last week, amidst much negative fanfare, the major GOP candidates found better things to do than attend a debate on issue of interest to black voters. It turns out that was just the tip of the iceberg.

Candidates Skirt Women’s Issues Debate

Only John Edwards has signed on so far for Rosie O’Donnell’s schedule presidential debate, to be held next Tuesday on the Lifetime cable network.

“Donald Trump is sponsoring a fundraiser and hair styling tips session for me, so I regret that I can’t be there,” Rudy Giuliani explained.

A source on Hillary Clinton’s staff who requested anonymity because he was not authorized to say anything not 100% positive to the media about Sen. Clinton, said Clinton is aware of the invitation and is considering her options.

Meanwhile, in Key West and San Francisco, things aren’t going well at all for the first national bicoastal presidential debate on issues of concern to transgendered voters.

When Politics Don’t Embrace Change:
Candidates Dodge Transgender Debate

“This is just so typical,” pouted Suzy Sillycon huskily as the San Francisco transgender activist scanned her email inbox.

Sillycon is lamenting the dearth of accepted invitations to the planned bicoastal debate on issues of concern to transgender voters. Thus far, only Hillary Clinton has accepted an invitation and appears likely to be debating herself.

Well, she’ll find herself in a familiar position at least. Finally, in Tuscaloosa, it appears that presidential candidates are not the best friends of dogs.

No Candidates Barking Up Dog Rights Tree

Dog rights activist Rex K. Niner finds himself muzzled in his efforts to increase national attention on issues of concern to dogs and dog owners.

“Every day, Bush is lifting his leg on dogs’ God-given rights,” Niner said. “If the candidates think they can continue to ignore these issues and win by pandering to the cat vote, we’ll show ‘em what ‘sic’ means.”

Really, what’s a candidate to do? For a long time, presidential debates — especially before the primaries — have not been a useful tool for voters, as over-prepared candidates ignore questions and bridge blithely to the question they’d rather answer. All they are good for is catching a candidate in a shameful moment or, all too rarely, showing one candidate to be head and shoulders over another.

Despite this, the media’s hunger for content is driving us to more debates earlier in the process. If a candidate opts out, does it mean that he doesn’t care about the issue du jour, or is it merely recognition that the media’s whims and wills should not be the driving force in campaigns of this importance?

I’d like to give a hat-tip to frequent commenter Gregory, who posted this comment on my post about the top four GOP candidates dodging the recent debate on black issues:

The goal right now is to win the Republican Party nomination and this event really does not help that. Not many Republican primary voters there. Plus the press is just looking for statements that can be labeled racist or at the very least “show a lack of understanding”. You make excellent points but what next, a gay issues debate, a hispanic issues debate, womens issues debate. Dividing people by class is what liberals do. Give them a little credit for refusing to pander.

Credit due and given.

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September 29th 2007

Reporter-God Sy Hersh’s Dixie Chick Moment

Seymour Hersh, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist-icon has had a bit of a DCM — a Dixie Chicks Moment — in an interview with a German publication. In doing so, he inadvertently reveals that he is amazingly, deeply confused and disturbed, bedazzlingly transcending normal human capacity for illogical thinking.

Before we get to his DCM, let’s start a bit more gently, with two excerpts from Hersh just a couple paragraphs apart in his interview with Spiegel:

You have to ask yourself what interest we had 40 years ago for going to war in Vietnam. You’d think that in this country with so many smart people, that we can’t possibly do the same dumb thing again. I have this theory in life that there is no learning. There is no learning curve. Everything is tabula rasa. Everybody has to discover things for themselves.

[...]

There are two very clear options [for the U.S. in Iraq]: Option A) Get everybody out by midnight tonight. Option B) Get everybody out by midnight tomorrow. The fuel that keeps the war going is us.

Everything to the left is tabula rasa. Everybody on the left, including Sy Hersh, has no learning curve. He saw the expansion of totalitarianism through South Asia, destroying Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Burma, after we abandoned Vietnam. It didn’t register. He knows millions died because of this totalitarian tsunami, but he has forgotten the lesson that is there to be learned.

In other words, he didn’t see the looming threat of Communist Totalitarianism in Southeast Asia then, just as he doesn’t see the looming threat of Islamist Totalitarianism globally now. No, he tells us, the fuel that keeps the war going is not the very real threat of global jihad; it’s merely George W. Bush’s evangelical jingoism.

We’ll make one more stop before we get to the really outrageous statement. (You may be surprised I’ll be able to trump this one.)

… the Surge was a con game of putting additional troops in there. We’ve basically Balkanized the place, building walls and walling off Sunnis from Shiites. And in Anbar Province, where there has been success, all of the Shiites are gone. They’ve simply split.

Three sentences, three abysmally flawed and distorted statements.

I’ve heard the surge called a lot of things, but a con game? Con games by definition don’t work, yet the surge is working. And who exactly is Hersh calling a con man? Bush, of course. But also Petraeus and his staff. This is MoveOn.org stuff.

Yes, we have built a wall or two in Iraq, but Hersh is caught in the classic leftist trap of ignoring of the obvious: Iraq was far more Balkanized under Saddam Hussein’s reign, where Sunnis ruled all and all others suffered genocide or near-genocide.

And all the Shi’ites have fled Anbar? At this point, the reporters (Charles Hawley and David Gordon Smith) simply should have turned off the microphone and excused themselves. After all, why give an idiot the time of day?

The population of Anbar is, and has been for some time, 95 percent Sunni. I’d say the ethnic cleansing that went on there during the Saddam’s reign of Sunni terror had already pretty efficiently purged that stretch of desert of Shi’a. Now, with cooperative efforts against Sunni terrorists in Anbar, things are more safe for Shi’a there, not less safe.

But Hersh has just been winding up for his pitch until this point. Here comes the DCM:

The Surge means basically that, in some way, the president has accepted ethnic cleansing, whether he’s talking about it or not. When he first announced the Surge in January, he described it as a way to bring the parties together. He’s not saying that any more. I think he now understands that ethnic cleansing is what is going to happen. You’re going to have a Kurdistan. You’re going to have a Sunni area that we’re going to have to support forever. And you’re going to have the Shiites in the South.

While ethnic cleansing can include mere expulsion, the common understanding of the word is that it involves wholesale killing and vicious intimidation of an ethnic minority in order to achieve ethnic homogeneity. The term came into existence in the Bosnian/Croatian war, where genocidal massacres occurred in the name of ethnic cleansing.

The Left can call Bush stupid all they want and it’s fine with me because all it does is make them look prejudiced and foolish; but for Hersh to say that our president is no different than a Slobodan Milošević is a slam of a different and far more troubling nature.

All you have to do is look at the language of ethnic cleansing to see how rabidly over the line Hersh is. Here’s how the UN resolution defining the practice puts it:

Deploring the grave situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the serious
deterioration of the living conditions of the people there, especially the Muslim and Croat populations, arising from the aggression against the territory of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which constitutes a threat to international peace and security,

Alarmed by the prospect of further escalation of the fighting in the region,

Expressing grave alarm at continuing reports of widespread violations of international humanitarian law occurring within the territory of the former Yugoslavia and especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including reports of mass forcibile expulsion and deportation of civilians, imprisonment and abuse of civilians in detention centres and deliberate attacks on non-combatants, hospitals and ambulances, impeding the delivery of food and medical supplies to the civilian population, as well as wanton devastation and destruction of property,

Ask yourself: Is this what has been happening in Iraq since the surge? The “widespread violations of international humanitarian law” have downturned sharply because the perpetrators — Islamofascists, not Bush — are being killed off.

“Mass forcible expulsions?” There have been none.

“Imprisonment and abuse of civilians?” Under Hussein, a lot. Perpetrated by al Qaeda, for sure, and awful. While the U.S. surge forces and their Iraqi allies imprison many who deserve to be imprisoned, they are not into the abuse and abusive imprisonment of civilians.

“Deliberate attacks on non-combatants?” This is too easy. Here’s the answer, courtesy of A Second Hand Conjecture (h/t Gateway Pundit):

Hersh, as he did in reporting Mai Lai 40 years ago and Abu Ghraib earlier in this war, continues the liberal MSM tradition of not letting mere facts get in the way of Grand Prejudices. And because he does, media outlets like Spiegel treat him like a god, not a dangerous buffoon, when they interview him.

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September 28th 2007

It’s A Wonder She Could Find Her Fork

Trudy Rubin, foreign affairs columnist with the Philadelphia Enquirer, accepted the invitation offered on cream colored stock with flowing calligraphy. Yes, she would sit down at the same table as Mah – I’m in the - moud – for dinner patter Ahmadinejad (rhymes with “They’re so easy to dupe, which makes me glad”). Not only that, she apparently commited to not upchucking all over the table (‘lit by chandeliers, and set with plates of oriental salads and vases of roses’) while trying to consume food in his presence.

Rubin is no Bollinger, her column clearly shows. Her insults are tepid and barely heart-felt:

This is a man of overweening self-confidence who believes his own rhetoric. He badly misunderstands the American system, but is certain that he gets it. He prefaces every meeting with a long religious prologue calling for justice, peace and friendship, yet his words increase tensions.

“Increase tensions?” Like something you can take a Bayer for?

Rubin did not leave the dinner overwhelmed by the fact that she had just spent three hours with a very dangerous and irrational man in mad pursuit of nuclear weapons so he can carry out his recurring threats against Israel. No, instead:

The overwhelming sense I had from the dinner was of opportunities being squandered to improve U.S.-Iranian relations.

Rubin hasn’t grasped the fact that U.S.-Iranian relations can’t improve as long as the East Coast liberal media elite can sit down and extend civility to a man who is doing all he can to kill our troops in Iraq. But her entire column, which purportedly covered the entire dinner conversation, came and went with but one scant reference to Iraq — and that was more of her “overwhelming sense,” not her “overwhelming disgust:”

One was left with the impression that there is slim chance on Iran’s side for actions to reduce tensions, including cooperation on Afghanistan or Iraq.

Again, the tepidness. She is merely left with an impression; how Leftist. Never wanting to appear to not be inclusive, never wanting to judge the morality of others, she is merely left with an impression, as if a flaming hot brand of anti-Semitic, anti-American hatred was pushed up against her skin, and left only a faint impression. What would it take to actually make her feel something strongly?

Oh, I know the answer. Looking at a photo of Bush. The cover of her anti-Bush tome makes that clear.

Finally, she concludes:

Frustrating he is, because his rhetoric inflames tensions and gives ammo to politicians who want military action. But Hitler he is not.

I wish you could have heard the tired, repulsed sigh that just came out of me as I pasted that into my post. He’s frustrating because his rhetoric inflames tensions? Not because he kills our soldiers, strips freedoms from his people, quashes opposition, executes homosexuals and wants to wipe Israel off the face of the earth?

He’s frustrating because his rhetoric makes military action more likely? Not his actions? This woman lives on a parallel planet where reality is what is talked about so insightfully among the intellectuals, not our planet where blood gets spilled, dissidents get tortured, and fanatics try to push entire nations either off the planet if they’re Jewish or back a few centuries if they’re Islamic.

The only reason she excuses Ahmadinejad from being Hitler is because, she says, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has the real power, not the imp in the bad suit. So, then, would Heinrich Himmler be perfectly acceptable as “not a Hitler” to Rubin?

After all this, we are left with the most interest element of all regarding My Dinner With Mahmoud: Someone put together and carefully vetted this invitation list. Someone worked diligently to make sure that no one would be invited who would leap across the table and wring the little @#$%!’s neck.

That someone, I’ll bet you a dollar to a donut, is an American working for a lobbying firm in Washington DC who is perfectly content to aid and abet the enemy — not just the enemy of America, but the enemy of freedom, free speech, political discussions and religious rights.

I think I’d actually be more inclined to wring that @#$%!’s neck than Ahmadinejad’s.

Hat-tip: RCP

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September 28th 2007

From Far Away, A Proud Papa

My friend Jim forwarded this picture to me in a collection of pictures of the troops. It stood out as particularly poignant — first, because the young father is so far away from his wife and his new baby, but also because we are so blessed that we have the technology that he could almost be there.

Now, he will have a memory of his baby’s first breaths, not just a memory that he wasn’t there for this wonderful occasion.

The message that accompanied the photos concluded with,

The only thing harder than being a soldier …
… is loving one.

But it was made a little easier for this soldier’s wife, knowing that her husband there with her, at least in a small way.

Remember today and every day to pray for the troops, and their families.

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September 28th 2007

A Shameful Night For The GOP

Imagine, if you will, that Fox had organized a debate for Dems on national security issues at a suitable military venue — one of the academies or a large base somewhere — and Clinton, Obama and Edwards all decided not to show.

Unthinkable, right? It would set back the Dems even further on their weak spot of national security and would create an MSM/blogosphere/voter whirlwind.

Then why on earth did Giuliani, McCain, Thompson and Romney decide not to show at the All-American Presidential Forum on PBS, where the topic was a GOP weak spot — race and matters of concern to black (and Latino) voters?

How hard is this topic?

No, the answer isn’t that we weren’t racists in 1860 or 1960 — who cares? We all know the GOP had a strategy to take the South from the Dems, and that included embracing a certain number of good ol’ boys who don’t appeal much to blacks. So get off that wagon.

Our message is simple: We don’t see things in black and white, whereas the Dem party more and more defines the world in that way.

We support opportunity, independence, the chance to excel and the chance to hold on to more of your earnings when you do.

The Dems support affirmative action, government programs and high taxes.

We will not get the votes of blacks who want the false advantage of affirmative action, or those that are dependent on government programs and the high taxes that support them.

Big deal. It’s a big tent, not a universal tent. Our candidates should be in all communities with those messages, and especially the black community — not because we see it as black, not white, but because we see it as a community we have to go to if we’re going to win it over.

Mike Huckabee gets that. He carried a strong majority of blacks when he ran for governor in Arkansas. Asked why, he simply says, “Because I never thought I couldn’t get their vote.”

To him, they were simply voters with minds that would be made up one way or the other, and he went to them that way: voters, not black voters.

In Iowa, one of the king-makers is Des Moines Register political columnist David Yepsin. He skewers the GOP foursome today:

That sent a hostile signal about the Republican Party to the nation’s black and Latino communities.

For a party already in minority status in much of the country, it defies political logic to just brush off these constituencies.

Yepsin saw Huckabee as the winner of the mini-debate, saying:

Mike Huckabee seemed to stand out. As a former governor of Arkansas, he seemed quite familiar with the issues facing minority voters and his answers sounded calm, informed and presidential.

I’ll tell you what: Every day that goes by, I like Mike Huckabee a bit more.

hat-tip: RCP

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September 28th 2007

Watcher’s Winners

There was a perfect symmetry at the Watcher of Weasel‘s gathering of great blog-writing this week, as we sojourned back to the 30′s with both the Watcher’s Council winner and the non-Council winner.

Bookworm took top honors among the Council members with her Cosmic Ironies, the difficult tale of her ancestry, and how it was torn asunder by Hitler and the Nazis. To find the cosmic irony, you’ll just have to read the piece — it’s quite something!

Rafael Medoff’s post on History News Network, Columbia “Invites Hitler to Campus” — As It did in 1933 took top honors among non-council members. This is history as it should be, illuminating and relevant — with a good bit of “I didn’t know that!” tossed in.

Back to the Council, Big Lizards was once again excellent this week, coming in second. (It wouldn’t be a week without BL up there somewhere!) His post The Human Touch finds a less obvious – and better — solution to immigrants from terror-sponsoring states.

I was happy to see my post, Gates’ Iraq Agenda Short on Democracy, coming in third against such exceptional competition.

Second place on the Non-Council side went to Dr. Sanity’s Islam and Marxism: A Marriage Made in Allah’s Socialist Paradise. It’s frightening to think that Islam could gain broad appeal among the angry and the disaffected — I’d rather have Lenin back!

Also of note was third-place-winning The Next Iranian Revolution by Michael Totten. It’s long, but valuable, because it really details the various revolutionary groups and the prospects for revolution in Iran. I posted on it earlier here.

You can find all the winners at Watcher of Weasels.

Thanks again, WoW, for ringmastering this circus.

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September 27th 2007

Quote Of The Day Edition: Well Duh Edition

“Perhaps al-Qaeda members have now come to Basra.” — Col. Abdul Kareem el-Zaydee

Col. el-Zaydee is none too happy about the recent Basra bombing bout, including one incident that killed several of his new recruits.

Adeel Thaher Ali, a lawyer living in the city, has an idea what’s up:

He said that security in Basra had deteriorated since 500 British troops pulled out of Basra Palace and back to the airport as part of an ultimate goal to hand control of security to the Iraqi authorities, possibly by the end of the year.

“Many things changed . . . the withdrawal of the troops has given the terrorists a chance to attack the people,” Mr Ali, 50, said. “I want them to think again and try to help the security forces to protect Basra,” he said. (Times of London)

Let me see if I have this right. The stabilizing force in Basra pulled back due to political opposition back home … and the terrorists took advantage of the situation … and everyday Iraqis who just might believe there’s a chance for Democracy in that sick land died.

How enlightening! Gosh! I wonder if the Dems in DC have heard about this yet …

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September 27th 2007

Despots Of The World, Unite!

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September 27th 2007

Bad Timing For Burma’s Junta

Do Burmese Buddhist monks know that world leaders converge on New York in late September for the General Assembly?

Possibly, possibly …

Since all the highest leaders of the ten-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are in New York for the General Assembly this week, it proved much easier for them to get together to discuss the latest attrocities — five dead yesterday, eight today — perpetrated upon their people by the commie-leaning megalomaniacs in Rangoon.

So, was it just higher fuel prices that got the monks and the people fired up … or did they opportunely take advantage of General Assembly’s sidebar dynamics to ratchet up the pressure on the wretched generals? Whatever, this is what the got:

The foreign ministers, who met on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly session, said in a statement issued after the meeting that they were “appalled to receive reports of automatic weapons being used and demanded that the Myanmar government immediately desist from the use of violence against demonstrators.”

“They expressed their revulsion to Myanmar Foreign Minister Nyan Win over reports that the demonstrations in Myanmar are being suppressed by violent force and that there has been a number of fatalities,” the statement said.

They called on Myanmar to “exercise utmost restraint and seek a political solution” and “resume its efforts at national reconciliation with all parties concerned, and work towards a peaceful transition to democracy,” the statement said. (Breitbart/AP)

In news related to the whole idea that foreign leaders are in the states, we learn:

  • President Bush called China’s foreign minister Yang Jiechi into the oval office when Yang was visiting the National Security Advisor and reminded him that with the Olympics coming up, China might want to take reign in its puppets in Burma.

  • Condoleezza Rice rallied the Association of South East Asian Nations in New York at a hastily called meeting which reportedly ended when Rice got a bit undiplomatically confrontational with the Burmese delegation.

Yesterday, China blocked a Security Council move to condemn the Burmese junta for its actions, but today a Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman said Beijing is “extremely concerned about the situation.” That’s quite a toughening of the ol’ rhetoric — made possible in part by the escalating violence, but also by the escalating dialog facilitated by the timing of this latest cry for freedom.

Smart monks, I’d say.

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