Monday, November 27, 2006

Is Iraq Failing? Is the Bush Doctrine Dead?

From The Bush Doctrine: An Exchange An Exchange With Norman Podhoretz in Commentary Magazine December 2006

The campaign to defeat the Bush Doctrine is doing brilliantly in the United States, but here, as summarized by the exiled Iranian commentator Amir Taheri, is a vividly concrete account of how miserably this campaign is failing in Iraq:

They kill teachers and children, but schools stay open. They kill doctors and
patients, but hospitals still function. They kill civil servants, but the
ministries are crawling back into operation. They kidnap and murder foreign
businessmen, but more keep coming. They massacre volunteers for the new army and police, but the lines of those wishing to join grow longer. They blow up
pipelines and kill oil workers, but oil still flows. They kill judges and
lawyers, but Iraq’s new courts keep on working. They machine-gun buses carrying
foreign pilgrims, but the pilgrims come back in growing numbers. They kill
newspaper boys, but newspapers still get delivered every day.

Nibras Kazimi, an Iraqi writer now living in the United States, provides a similar description of how things stand in his native land, and concludes:

It is these simple acts of courage—to keep going amidst all the threats of
terror—which were on display during the elections, but they keep happening daily even when the cameras stop rolling.

Furthermore, Kazimi writes:

It is easy for journalists to ride the “Iraq is failing” wave and churn out the
safe stories that tell us that all is bad. It is much harder for them to make
sense of why so many Iraqi policemen and soldiers are fighting back when
attacked rather than dropping their weapons and cowering for safety. Something is changing in Iraq, and it is happening despite the serial bungling of Mr. Maliki’s government or the incessant predictions of an American withdrawal. It is happening because more and more Iraqis understand what is at stake should those murderous insurgents win.

See Something Is Changing by Nibras Kazimi Novemeber 6, 2006

Monday, November 20, 2006

History of Withdrawal from Vietnam

History of Vietnam Withdrawal
■January 1973 Vietnam Peace Accords
■March 1973 US combat troops leave Vietnam
■March 1975 Congress ends military aid to South Vietnam
■April 1975 North Vietnamese final offensive
Deaths after war: 850,000 people

Some remember the US withdrawal from Vietnam blissfully. Let’s recap the facts:

Despite the signing of the1973 Vietnam Peace Accords with the last US combat troops leaving Vietnam on March 29, 1973, Democratic liberals abandoned our allies in Vietnam failing to fulfill our obligations.

It was two years later, in 1975, the Democrats in Congress,
“resisted President Gerald Ford’s January request for additional military aid to
South Vietnam and Cambodia. This appropriation would have provided the
beleaguered Cambodian and South Vietnamese militaries with ammunition, spare
parts, and tactical weapons needed to continue their own defense. Despite
the fact that the 1973 Paris Peace Accords called specifically for ‘unlimited
military replacement aid’ for South Vietnam, by March the House Democratic
Caucus voted overwhelmingly, 189-49, against any additional military assistance
to Vietnam or Cambodia.”
(By Virginia’s Senator-Elect James Webb former Navy Secretary)

There were significant human rights abuses in Vietnam after the fall of Saigon:
“A number of human rights abuses against South Vietnamese soldiers and civilians
occurred in the period following South Vietnam's unconditional surrender to the
forces of North Vietnam on April 30, 1975.
The North Vietnamese rounded up
former Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) soldiers, members of the former
government, citizens that had held jobs connected to the United States
government, and religious civilians that did not pledge loyalty to the state.
They were sent to reeducation camps located throughout Vietnam that were
designated by the communist government in Hànội. Various estimates have been
given for the many thousands of deaths which occurred in those camps, as well as
the number of "boat people" who died attempting to escape the communist
government of Vietnam. A common figure quoted for the number perished is
approximately 850,000 people.”

We abandoned our allies not to the Vietnam insurgency, but to a large conventional North Vietnamese army that invaded South Vietnam in violation of the Peace Accords. If we now “Bring the troops home from Iraq”, those Iraqis who have worked with us to foster democracy will be tortured and killed. We have enough blood on our hands; let’s not abandon another ally.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Why Hillary Failed at Health Care

According to Economist Brad DeLong June 7, 2003
Hat tip Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal Best of the Web

“My two cents' worth--and I think it is the two cents' worth of everybody who
worked for the Clinton Administration health care reform effort of 1993-1994--is
that Hillary Rodham Clinton needs to be kept very far away from the White House
for the rest of her life. Heading up health-care reform was the only major
administrative job she has ever tried to do. And she was a complete flop at it.
She had neither the grasp of policy substance, the managerial skills, nor the
political smarts to do the job she was then given. And she wasn't smart enough
to realize that she was in over her head and had to get out of the Health Care
Czar role quickly.

So when senior members of the economic team said that key
senators like Daniel Patrick Moynihan would have this-and-that objection, she
told them they were disloyal. When junior members of the economic team told her
that the Congressional Budget Office would say such-and-such, she told them
(wrongly) that her conversations with CBO head Robert Reischauer had already
fixed that. When long-time senior hill staffers told her that she was making a
dreadful mistake by fighting with rather than reaching out to John Breaux and
Jim Cooper, she told them that they did not understand the wave of popular
political support the bill would generate. And when substantive objections were
raised to the plan by analysts calculating the moral hazard and adverse
selection pressures it would put on the nation's health-care system...

Hillary Rodham Clinton has already flopped as a senior administrative
official in the executive branch--the equivalent of an Undersecretary. Perhaps
she will make a good senator. But there is no reason to think that she would be
anything but an abysmal president.”

Monday, November 13, 2006

McGovern US to Blame for Terrorists

From Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal Best of the Web November 10, 2006

By George, Let's Lose Another War!"
George McGovern, the former senator and Democratic presidential candidate, said
Thursday that he will meet with more than 60 members of Congress next week to
recommend a strategy to remove U.S. troops from Iraq by June," the Associated
Press reports from Lincoln, Neb.

Well, let's not make too much of this. It turns out that the group with which McGovern is meeting is "the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a 62-member group led by Reps. Lynn Woolsey and Barbara Lee." Rep. Lee was the only member of Congress to vote against authorizing military action against al Qaeda in 2001.

Still, 62 Democrats are enough to make up slightly over one-fourth of the new congressional majority, and it's mildly unsettling to consider that such a significant faction would agree with nonsense such as this:
McGovern told the audience Thursday that the Iraq and Vietnam wars were equally "foolish " and that the current threat of terrorism developed because--not before--the United States went into Iraq.
McGovern must have a really short memory. For his information, here's a timeline:

Dec. 29, 1992: Al Qaeda bombs a hotel in Aden, Yemen, and attempts to bomb a second one, unsuccessfully targeting U.S. Marines staying there.

Feb. 26, 1993: Al Qaeda bombs World Trade Center, killing six adults and an unborn child.

Feb. 22, 1998: Osama bin Laden issues a fatwa declaring war on the U.S.

Aug. 7, 1998: Al Qaeda bombs U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing more than 220.

Oct. 12, 2000: Al Qaeda attacks USS Cole in Aden, killing 17 sailors.

Sept. 11, 2001: Al Qaeda attacks World Trade Center and Pentagon with hijacked planes, killing some 3,000 people, mostly civilians.

December 2002: George McGovern, in an essay for Harper's, blames America for terrorism.

March 20, 2003: Operation Iraqi Freedom begins.

So not only does the terrorist threat long predate the liberation of Iraq, but so does McGovern's claim that America is to blame for it. Hard to believe the people of Massachusetts actually voted for this guy.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Democracy Needs Losers to Congratulate Winners

Democracy functions best when those who get the most votes are wished well by those who have lost. Those who have lost cannot be asked to violate their beliefs and principles, but they should genuinely respect the voters and allow the new majority an opportunity to enact their agenda.

I supported Verna Rollinger for the Laguna Beach City Council, and the newspapers reported that she was defeated by Kelly Boyd by a 178 vote margin with Boyd getting 4,142 votes.

At midday on Sunday, the Registrar of Voters shows the vote 4,896 for Boyd and 4,763 for Rollinger a margin of only 133 votes. I was so much looking forward to Verna being an outstanding Council Member and am torn by what we her supporters could have done to pick up an additional 134 votes.

Maybe the Registrar has more ballots to count, but if Kelly Boyd ends up with more votes, the voters have spoken, and I certainly wish him the best hoping he does a superb job serving Laguna Beach.

In the US Congress, the Democrats now have the majority. The voters have elected George W. Bush as President and now the Democrats as the majority in both houses of Congress. Hopefully, they will work together for the good of our country.

Vote Count as of midday Sunday, November 12, 2006:

CITY OF LAGUNA BEACH Member, City Council
Number To Vote For: 3 Completed Precincts: 26 of 26
Vote Count

Number To Vote For: 3 Completed Precincts: 36 of 36
Vote Count

Are There Any Kennedy Democrats Left

Read John F. Kennedy’s January 20, 1961 Inaugural Address

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge—and more.

To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do—for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.

To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom—and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required—not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The American People are Extraordinarily Generous

I was chatting with a liberal friend of mine who stated that charitable giving was way down in the United States. Something about greedy people wanting and buying bigger and bigger houses for themselves.

I googled “United States charitable giving” and found this press release from Giving USA Foundation Charitable Giving Rises 6 Percent to More than $260 Billion in 2005
It includes:
■ “Americans gave total contributions of $260.28 billion for 2005, growth of 6.1 percent (2.7 percent adjusted for inflation).”

■ “Relief contributions are estimated to be roughly 3 percent of the total. An additional $253 billion in gifts supported more than 1.4 million charities including religious congregations, schools, clinics, arts groups, food banks, and more.”

■ “Giving USA reports giving from four sources of contributions—individual (living) donors; bequests by deceased individuals; foundations; and corporations.”

■“Individual giving is always the largest single source of donations. It rose by 6.4 percent. (2.9 percent adjusted for inflation) to an estimated $199.07 billion. It accounts for 76.5 percent of all estimated giving in 2005.”

See Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal article Sweet Charity, The American people are extraordinarily generous
“Americans give to private charities because they recognize that these initiatives work best.”

Is WaterBoarding Torture?

Fox News reporter Steve Harrigan undergoes waterboarding see and video at

The United States constitution (Eighth Amendment) “nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted” forbids torture.

See Prior Post:
Words Have Meaning - What's Torture?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Senator John Kerry Statements

From Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal Best of the Web
“I sincerely regret that my words were misinterpreted to wrongly imply anything negative about those in uniform, and I personally apologize to any service member, family member, or American who was offended.”

"I am convinced a volunteer army would be an army of the poor and the black and the brown," Kerry wrote. "We must not repeat the travesty of the inequities present during Vietnam. I also fear having a professional army that views the perpetuation of war crimes as simply 'doing its job.'"Equally as important, a volunteer army with our present constitutional crisis takes accountability away from the president and put the people further from control over military activities," he wrote.

“They [US troops in Vietnam] had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the country side of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.”

Majority of Americans Want to Send More Troops to Iraq

See Wall Street Journal Opinion Journal and interesting poll numbers included in Dan Henniger WONDER LAND November 3, 2006 column. These are from the New York Times/CBS News Oct. 27-31, 2006 poll:

■ 55% favor sending more troops to Iraq
■ 51% say the U.S. "will have lost" if it pulls out now
■ 62% think the U.S. will have to remain in Iraq beyond two years
■ 59% say neither side is winning
■ 52%, think the U.S. is likely to succeed

Vote Nov 7th Iseman, Rollinger, Jenkins, & O'Hare

Vote for Toni Iseman & Verna Rollinger for City Council

Vote for Betsy Jenkins & Theresa O’Hare for School Board