Thursday, September 30, 2004

Ignored facts on WMD

The world's most implacable foe of the Iraq war, French President Jacques Chirac, actually did believe Saddam possessed WMD. If he had evidence that Saddam was disarmed, wouldn't he have used that evidence to stop us from going to war? Of course he would have. So would German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. So would Russian President Vladimir Putin. But Putin, who opposed the war, actually thought that Saddam was preparing to stage terrorist attacks on the United States. As he said last month: "After the events of 9/11, and up to the military operation in Iraq, Russian special services and Russian intelligence several times received . . . information that official organs of Saddam's regime were preparing terrorist acts on the territory of the United States and beyond its borders, at U.S. military and civilian locations."

Stephen Wright Observations

All I ask is a chance to prove money can't make me happy.

Show me a man with both feet firmly on the ground, and I'll show you
a man who can't get his pants off.

One nice thing about egotists... they don't talk about other people.

It's not an optical illusion. It just looks like one.

Words from Tony Blair on Iraq

The evidence about Saddam having actual biological and chemical weapons, as opposed to the capability to develop them, has turned out to be wrong.
I acknowledge that and accept it.
I simply point out, such evidence was agreed by the whole international community, not least because Saddam had used such weapons against his own people and neighboring countries.
And the problem is I can apologize for the information that turned out to be wrong, but I can't, sincerely at least, apologize for removing Saddam. The world is a better place with Saddam in prison not in power.
But at the heart of this, is a belief that the basic judgment I have made since September 11th, including on Iraq, is wrong, that by our actions we have made matters worse not better. . . .
Do I know I'm right?
Judgements aren't the same as facts. Instinct is not science. I'm like any other human being as fallible and as capable of being wrong.
I only know what I believe.
There are two views of what is happening in the world today.
One view is that there are isolated individuals, extremists, engaged in essentially isolated acts of terrorism. That what is happening is not qualitatively different from the terrorism we have always lived with.
If you believe this, we carry on the same path as before 11 September. We try not to provoke them and hope in time they will wither.
The other view is that this is a wholly new phenomenon, worldwide global terrorism based on a perversion of the true, peaceful, and honorable faith of Islam; that its roots are not superficial but deep, in the madrassahs of Pakistan, in the extreme forms of Wahhabi doctrine in Saudi Arabia, in the former training camps of al Qaeda in Afghanistan; in the cauldron of Chechnya; in parts of the politics of most countries of the Middle East and many in Asia; in the extremist minority that now in every European city preach hatred of the West and our way of life.
If you take this view, you believe September 11th changed the world; that Bali, Beslan, Madrid, and scores of other atrocities that never make the news are part of the same threat, and the only path to take is to confront this terrorism, remove it root and branch, and at all costs stop them acquiring the weapons to kill on a massive scale because these terrorists would not hesitate to use them.
Likewise, take the first view, then when you see the terror brought to Iraq you say: here, we told you; look what you have stirred up; now stop provoking them.
But if you take the second view, you don't believe the terrorists are in Iraq to liberate it.
They're not protesting about the rights of women--what, the same people who stopped Afghan girls going to school, made women wear the Burka and beat them in the streets of Kabul, who now assassinate women just for daring to register to vote in Afghanistan's first ever democratic ballot, though 4 million have done so?
They are not provoked by our actions; but by our existence.
They are in Iraq for the very reason we should be.
They have chosen this battleground because they know success for us in Iraq is not success for America or Britain or even Iraq itself but for the values and way of life that democracy represents.
They know that.
That's why they are there.
That is why we should be there and whatever disagreements we have had, should unite in our determination to stand by the Iraqi people until the job is done.
And, of course, at first the consequence is more fighting.
But Iraq was not a safe country before March 2003.
Few had heard of the Taleban before September 11th 2001.
Afghanistan was not a nation at peace. . . .
It's simply that I believe democracy there means security here; and that if I don't care and act on this terrorist threat, then the day will come when all our good work on the issues that decide people's lives will be undone because the stability on which our economy, in an era of globaliaation, depends, will vanish. . . .
Military action will be futile unless we address the conditions in which this terrorism breeds and the causes it preys upon.
That is why it is worth staying the course to bring democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan, because then people the world over will see that this is not and has never been some new war of religion; but the oldest struggle humankind knows, between liberty or oppression, tolerance or hate; between government by terror or by the rule of law. . . .
I have changed as a leader.
I have come to realise that caring in politics isn't really about "caring." It's about doing what you think is right and sticking to it.

This makes sense to me.

"All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership."
-- John Kenneth Galbraith

"Emphasis mine."

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

War on Terrorism

We have a lot of problems in this day and age and the one which seems to be toward the top in the U.S. is generally referred to as a "war on terrorism". Both of our presidential candidates want us to conclude they could best execute this war. It has recently occurred to me that this is an unfortunate and calculated misnomer. Terrorism is not an object but is in fact a tactic. We do not have a war on this tactic. For example, the separatist in Spain (the ETA) practice terrorism and we are in no way at war with them. Other groups with specific non-U.S targets could be mentioned. The U.S. may not be in favor of these activities, but we are not at war against these terrorists. We are at war with radical Islamists who target the U.S. and its citizens. All of these are Muslims and our politicians are loathe to admit that. Political correctness run amok, I feel. It seems to me that if we had a more honest daily admission that we were at war with radical Muslims, the moderate Muslims might express more outrage toward the activities of their murderous bretheren. I think it is necessary to correctly identify your enemy if you are at war.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

This is pretty funny

Just wondering

Can someone explain why anyone cares whether a no-talent bimbo like Brittany Spears is or is not married on any particular day?

Government Books and Cooking Thereof

I read in the WSJ this morning that in fact the federal government under Clinton in the years 1998,1999,2000, and 2001 ran up a "surplus" of $558.5 billion which one would assume resulted in a reduction of the national debt by that amount. In fact, the national debt rose by $1.312 TRILLION in that period. This, according to the article, was the result of creative bookkeeping which produced the "surplus". Maybe Bush could make the current deficit disappear like Johnson did in 1968. He was criticized for budget deficits and simply moved the Social Security trust funds which were in surplus to the on-budget category. Presto! No more deficit. Better yet, he should maybe get control of his Republican legislators who are worse spenders than the dems ever were.

Monday, September 27, 2004

International Relations Kerry Style

The Art Of Losing Friends
By Charles KrauthammerFriday, September 24, 2004; Page A25
Of all our allies in the world, which is the only one to have joined the United States in the foxhole in every war in the past 100 years? Not Britain, not Canada, certainly not France. The answer is Australia.
Australia does not share only a community of values with the United States. It understands that its safety rests ultimately on a stable international structure that, in turn, rests not on parchment treaties but on the power and credibility of the United States. Which is why Australia is with us today in both Afghanistan and Iraq.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard has taken great risks and much political heat for his support of America. There is a national election in Australia on Oct. 9, and the race is neck and neck between Howard and Labor Party leader Mark Latham. Latham has pledged to withdraw from Iraq.
This is a critical election not only for Australia but also for the United States. Think of the effect on America, its front-line soldiers and its coalition partners if one of its closest allies turns tail and runs.
The terrorists are well aware of this potential effect. Everyone knows about the train bombings in Madrid that succeeded in bringing down a pro-American government and led to Spain's precipitous withdrawal from Iraq. But few here noticed that this month's car bombing in Jakarta, Indonesia, was designed to have precisely the same effect.
Where was the bomb set off? At the Australian Embassy. When was it set off? Just weeks before the Australian election and just three days before the only televised debate between Howard and Latham.
The terrorists' objective is to intimidate all countries allied with America. Make them bleed and tell them this is the price they pay for being a U.S. ally. The implication is obvious: Abandon America and buy your safety.
That is what the terrorists are saying. Why is the Kerry campaign saying the same thing? "John Kerry's campaign has warned Australians that the Howard Government's support for the US in Iraq has made them a bigger target for international terrorists." So reports the Weekend Australian (Sept. 18).
Americans Overseas for Kerry is the Kerry operation for winning the crucial votes of Americans living abroad (remember the Florida recount?), including more than 100,000 who live in Australia. Its leader was interviewed Sept. 16 by The Australian's Washington correspondent, Roy Eccleston. Asked if she believed the terrorist threat to Australians was now greater because of the support for President Bush, she replied: "I would have to say that," noting that "[t]he most recent attack was on the Australian embassy in Jakarta."
She said this of her country (and of the war that Australia is helping us with in Iraq): "[W]e are endangering the Australians now by this wanton disregard for international law and multilateral channels." Mark Latham could not have said it better. Nor could Jemaah Islamiah, the al Qaeda affiliate that killed nine people in the Jakarta bombing.
This Kerry spokesman, undermining a key ally on the eve of a critical election, is no rogue political operative. She is the head of Americans Overseas for Kerry -- Diana Kerry, sister to John.
She is, of course, merely echoing her brother, who, at a time when allies have shown great political courage in facing down both terrorists and domestic opposition for their assistance to the United States in Iraq, calls these allies the "coalition of the coerced and the bribed."
This snide and reckless put-down more than undermines our best friends abroad. It demonstrates the cynicism of Kerry's promise to broaden our coalition in Iraq. If this is how Kerry repays America's closest allies -- ridiculing the likes of Tony Blair and John Howard -- who does he think is going to step up tomorrow to be America's friend?
The only thing that distinguishes Kerry's Iraq proposals from Bush's is his promise to deploy his unique, near-mystical ability to bring in new allies to fight and pay for the war in Iraq -- to "make Iraq the world's responsibility" and get others to "share the burden," as he said this week at New York University.
Yet even Richard Holbrooke, a top Kerry foreign policy adviser, admits that the president of France is not going to call up President Kerry and say, "How many divisions should I send to Iraq?"
Nor will anyone else. Kerry abuses America's closest friends while courting those, like Germany and France, that have deliberately undermined America before, during and after the war. What lessons are leaders abroad to draw from this when President Kerry asks them -- pretty please in his most mellifluous French -- to put themselves on the line for the United States?

Serious Blogs

If you haven't discovered Instapundit yet, I recommend it herewith. I go there several times a day to find out what the looney left is doing.

Gotta Start Somewhere

Who cares what you think about something? That is a good question many of you will ask. If I thought about the answer very long, I probably wouldn't publish a blog. However, I decided that very few human beings will ever read these postings anyway, so I will plow ahead. My initial idea was to have a place where my family can see pictures of possible interest and if so inclined can follow links to sites and articles that I find interesting. If you somehow find my personal observations and opinions lacking in some way, I have included a way for you to counter with comments of your own.

Bob and I like to take a picture of every fish we catch. This picture brings us to the question of "Does size matter?" Bob's grin suggests it does.
Posted by Hello

Practice swings always perfect.
Posted by Hello

Personal Unsecured Loan