Friday, March 30, 2007


Honest to a Fault

I listened to recent commentary over at National Public Radio (NPR), in which one of the “anchors” was discussing with a correspondent the replacement of 8 Federal Prosecutors by the Bush Administration. As all of mainstream media is doing with this story, the NPR apparatchiks were conflating politics with policy. I know they share the same Latin root, and many observers view them as one and the same, but they differ.

“Playing politics at US Department of Justice (DOJ),” scream the headlines. Democratic party leaders and their highest officials intone over the grave implications of politics playing a role in Federal law enforcement. They know they’ve ginned up quite the teapot tempest. Their left-leaning and overwhelmingly Democrat media co-conspirators thrill with new controversies to replace the fading Anna Nicole Smith non-news, which itself displaced media “romancing the stones” of Plameology. (Ironic that most of the leading “scandals of the day” have high levels of artificiality somewhere in the story. Politics in Government. Non-secret “covert” CIA employee. Anna Nicole Smith, anything having to do with her, at all.)

The process of firing the Prosecutors was clumsy and unprofessional, and the official reaction to the media frenzy, even more inept if possible. That shouldn’t obscure the underlying fact that these specific Prosecutors did not accept or follow legitimate Federal law enforcement and prosecutorial priorities and policies. They may well have been “straight arrows,” excellent attorneys, and tenacious prosecutors, but in some measure or another, resisted or proved inadequate for the rightful assertion of Presidential power through Executive Branch processes and functions.

The President has every right to insist that his political appointees reflect his and his party’s priorities for law enforcement. If he wants Federal Prosecutors to prosecute drug dealers to the maximum extent of Federal Law, he orders them to do so. If the DOJ calls for an aggressive enforcement of Federal immigration law, I would want the Administration to insist that Federal law enforcement officials do just that.

As the Democrats are fond of saying, “elections have consequences.” In the case of the Prosecutor dismissals, the specific election involved is not the mid-terms in 2006, but rather the last Presidential election in 2004. Democrats may wish to focus on the former, but Federal Prosecutors serve at the pleasure of the winner of the latter.

Anyone who thinks this is anything other than political gamesmanship is either ignorant of the actual mechanics of modern Executive Government, or partisans intent on remaining “in the game” (and often both). The rest of America yawns, though at times, feel strangely compelled to watch the fun, as they have been with every new bizarre turn in the Anna Nicole drama. That doesn’t mean America thinks any of it is really important.

My first, unsettled reaction to all this, was outrage at the hypocrisy, anger over the slanted reporting, and fury about myopia in the face of contrary evidence and the lack of historical context. This reveals me as a poor sap stuck on facts and truth, rather than the “inner accuracy” of each play of the day. I can imagine a Liberal Arts professor standing over me, tossing his wiry gray ponytail behind his back, muttering wisdom such as “What is truth? What is reality? We can only know our own experiences. We can know, only as our experience is filtered through personal prejudices.”

Woah. No time for flashbacks.

I am certain that the architects of the current faux controversy, Senators Schumer and Specter, believe this is nothing more than the game of the week, with no greater significance of any other Congressional dog and pony show or posturing. But as long as these and other political players see some personal or party advantage to keep it going, they will.

But in all of it, I notice an important distinction amongst the competitors, or more precisely between the character of the parties and regions they represent.

If you look at the evolution of the political landscape – think red and think blue – I think it might be in part geographical, even anthropological. Democrats overwhelmingly rule in big, heavily populated Metropolitan areas. Even within overall liberal or Democrat controlled states, they concentrate their power in big cities, Republicans hold sway in the countryside, flyover states, rural communities, suburbs, the great big everywhere else.

I love New York City and Boston, and I’ve enjoyed other major Metropolitan areas, the hustle and bustle, the energy, the noise, and even the smells of the big city. I love just as much the quieter towns of our American Heritage, towns like Binghamton, Lititz, Gettysburg, Battle Creek, Marietta, Pittsfield, and Warrensburg.

I think about the cultural differences between these two types of places. I don’t think it any accident that one trends Bluer than Blue, the other trends Red. (Look, if you go so far as to check the places I’ve listed and find blue where red should be, good on you. However, this is anecdotal reflection, and as such, more important to be “accurate” than factual. Heh.)

Look at the kind of politicians that thrive in these two different kinds of places, and consider the cultures which produce them.

Here’s who comes to my mind. Alphonse D’Amato, Tip O’Neal, Ted Kennedy, Chuck Schumer, Rudy Guliani, Richard Daley, Dan Rostenkowski. Okay, many of these guys are party bosses, and that may reflect another dynamic altogether, but my point remains: men and women who are successful in big city politics tend to be brash, loud, aggressive, combative, and live lives bigger than life, where “public” just about crowds out any semblance of “private.” They may get slammed by The NY Post or Boston Herald, but they get lots of free publicity, and their political base eats it up.

I remember when we spent a year in Atlanta. We grew very close to our Southern friends. It didn’t take too long, but we must have heard that incredulous, long drawn out Georgia “Neyuh Yohk” about a thousand times. It always meant, “You don’t act like you’re from New York City.” Friends called us their favorite Yankees, but even they took to introducing us as “not like any Yankee you ever met,” or “They’re from New York, the state, not the city.”

To fall in love with New York (the city) you need to appreciate the New Yorker who makes it what it is, or you wouldn’t love the place, you’d avoid it. (Which our Georgia friends intend to do.)

Thinking of politicians who fit the personas of the Midwest and West, the rural, the upstate, and the quiet town square, proves much more difficult. I can scratch out a few, but they’re as different and diverse as the Big City politicos are of a pattern. Maybe it’s just a limitation of my experience, or reflective of my prejudices, but if I start naming Gerald Ford, Sam Rayburn, George Romney, Bob Dole, you’re talking about near-perfect antitheses to the political Metrosexual stereotypes who proliferate today.

Sure, the comparison gets shaky when you start considering the outliers, interlopers, or pretenders, like faux Texans, or New Yorker Carpetbaggers, or Fulbright scholars who exploit false hick-town personas, or families of wealth and prestige who can buy their offspring Congressional districts or Senate seats. These may be the exceptions which prove the rule. (They can be larger than life, to be sure, just like any caricature.)

But geography and political culture only explains just so much of the difference. Political legacy and tradition plays an even bigger role.

Democrats since forever, but especially since the reign of Clinton, play the game of politics much more skillfully than Republicans. Much has been made of election shenanigans that helped ensure the election of John F. Kennedy in 1960. Less remarked on was the extent of political payback in 1961, as Democrats transitioned to Presidential power after 8 years on the outs.

More visible was the transition between Administrations as Clinton took over after 12 years of a Republican Executive Branch. I recall that a lot of Republican and Conservative outrage as the Clintons found ever more creative and accretive ways of expanding political control and influence within the tentacles of Government

The Nixon and Ford Administrations get a much tougher rap, as Republicans always will, in contrast to the legendary 3 years of Camelot, a mythology that thrives in the distinct absence of historical context, accuracy, or other political realities. Likewise the hapless Administrations of Bush 41 and 43, compared to the slick professionalism of the born-to-politic Clintonites.

I think the Democrats practice to make imperfect. They are the party of the charming scoundrel, the bountiful beggar, and the happy rogue. The skip their way through indiscretions, and if Senator Schumer is any example, have no capacity for irony or self-awareness. How else can he immerse himself in the same conflicts of interest that he faults across the aisle, leading Senate investigations while retaining Party leadership roles?

Republicans seemingly invite intense scrutiny in all matters ethical and moral, while Democrats have to break really serious laws before they are called to account. Called to account, but never made to pay the bill. Democrats can always be forgiven and politically reborn, even after felony convictions. But not so Republicans.

Republicans bring their troubles upon themselves. I’m nominally a Republican, though more Conservative (even Libertarian), but I have admit it almost seems as if Republicans are driven by an inner need to admit or expose sins of commission that Democrats keep omitted. Not that Republicans can really keep anything undercover in Washington; political secrets are no easier to keep under wraps than run of the mill grave threat to national security state secrets.

A longtime Democrat at the top of his game in a big Blue State organization will know every legal and illegal way to buy, sell, and wield political influence for maximum personal gain. If caught in illegal acts, he or she will find a way to blame others, explain ulterior motives (honorably on their part, treacherous and evil for their enemies), or construct some convoluted justification for why he can’t really be held accountable.

The Red State Republican will know all the same methods of wielding influence for profit. In contrast to the Blue Stater, the Republican will try to avoid obviously illegal acts, unless he thinks they will go unnoticed. He will actively work to pass legislation that may allow him to cut corners like the Democrat, but legally. He too, will enrich himself through public service, but will more likely move towards consultancy and lobbying firms to do so. If caught, the Republican will more likely take responsibility, suffer the consequences, resign or otherwise make public restitution or apology. If caught up in the middle of an exercise of political chicanery, he or she is more likely to blow the whistle on the entire enterprise. Overall, the Republican will demonstrate far less guile. I think it’s because they know they’re no good at it, compared to Democrats.

Note that I don’t find one particularly more or less worthy of respect or admiration than the other; I just note the predominant differences.

Of course, there’s one factor that both parties share to a great degree. Corruption, naked self-interest, nepotism, and party benefaction are endemic to both parties, however much the partisans tug back and forth on the mantles of righteousness of financial purity.

Neither vices nor virtues are the exclusive domain of either party. All can and do fall victim to hypocrisy, as Newt Gingrich, Senator Feingold, and several televangelists can attest.

And do you know something? As long as whoever is in charge, truly and effectively acts to protect the United States, preserve our Republic, honor our heritage, support (in practical ways, beyond rhetoric) our military, and support our true friends and allies (democracies all, else they are no true friend), I don’t care what party they represent.

It’s just that, only one party at the moment, even remotely meets the requirements described above.


Unserious Strategy

Charles Krauthammer points out the illogic of Democrat statements about “the real war on terror” in the Washington Post.

Krauthammer rightly observes that the stated basis for various Democratic posturing is both illogical, and wrong: that somehow Iraq distracts the US or keeps us from going after the “more important” war in Afghanistan. As Krauthammer notes, the US spends “more on defense every year than the rest of the world combined.”

The President’s war opponents have always vested the person of George W. Bush as the embodiment of the war effort, as if “Bush can’t fight two wars in two different places at one time.” They prattle on thus, as if it somehow takes the undiluted, complete attention of every soldier in the Army and every bureaucrat in Government, to fight two relatively small scale and mid-to-lower intensity conflicts at the same time. The world’s a simple place indeed to them. Or rather, the world’s complex, but they’re too simple to confront it.

That’s easily dismissed by Krauthammer as the lesser proof that Democrats are unserious. Democratic pronouncements on Afghanistan reveal that Democrats consider Afghanistan of greater strategic importance than Iraq, on the wrongheaded basis of their own consciences, rather than national interest, according to Krauthammer:

The Democratic insistence on the primacy of Afghanistan makes no strategic sense. Instead, it reflects a sensibility. They would rather support the Afghan war because its origins are cleaner, the casus belli clearer, the moral texture of the enterprise more comfortable. Afghanistan is a war of righteous revenge and restitution, law enforcement on the grandest of scales.

He’s right, of course.

The Democrats make no strategic sense because they refuse to think strategically -- from a military perspective, from solid knowledge-base in international politics, or for that matter, from a sound historical perspective. Their leading lights are militarily ignorant – they must turn to military novices (or ne’er do wells) such as Kerry and Murtha, or dally temporarily on the other side of the aisle with the unpredictable McCain.

Foremost Democrats show a remarkable ignorance of foreign affairs and global politics. They excel at schmoozing with foreign luminaries on the cocktail circuit, or in high-ego, high altitude settings like Davos or Aspen, and mistake that for actual international relations. (Well, I suppose they are, of a sort, if you think that the comings and goings and hobnobbings of the elite, top .1% of Global Intelligentsia should matter at all to the great unwashed rest of us.)

And of course, they misread the history of the 20th and emerging 21st centuries with almost humorous incomprehension. They thought bringing the US Military home from Vietnam “acknowledged a failed war” and ended an imperialist impulse, rather than surrendering in the face of military victory after long struggle, and then de-funding an ally, leaving it vulnerable to naked aggression, and decades long oppression for the region. They count themselves the real heroes, those who spit and marched and consorted with our enemies, rather than those they spit upon, who fought, who died, who languished, brutalized, in enemy prison camps. (Where, incidentally, they practiced real torture, rather than some milquetoast sensory deprivation.)

Global free market capitalism (ala Morton Friedman) has arguably saved more people and improved more lives than all of the world’s Political “isms” combined, and yet. For Democrats, as with the social democratic brethren the world over, Capitalism caused far more harm than all the Communists, Socialists, and other central planning tyrants all put together.

(They haven’t quite made their mind up about National Socialism and Fascism. As much as they like using some form of those words as preferred insult, they still find resonance in the old anti-Semitism that lies at the root of animosity towards the mini-American oppressor, Israel. They also show a marked proclivity towards the same kinds of extreme conspiracy mongering at the heart of both radical Islamic and Nazi theologies.)

I’ve ranted on off a single rift of the Krauthammer piece, which is surely worth a read the whole thing. So do.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


A Message from the Troops

Powerline forwards a timely message from the troops, courtesy of Morning in America producer Seth Leibsohn.

Gunnery Sgt. Stephen F. Krueger, Platoon Sergeant for the 3rd Recon Bn, US Marines, sent a powerful message to Speaker Pelosi. Pity she didn’t take his message to heart before bribing her fellow Congressmen and women to pass their Timetable for Defeat in the US House of Representatives, matched by an equally surrender-filled bill in the Senate.

From SGT Krueger:

How can you even think of pushing forward legislation to set a withdrawal date for US forces from Iraq? Do you know how much you embolden the insurgency here in Iraq? YOU ARE JEAPARDIZING THE LIVES OF US SERVICEMEN AND WOMEN WITH YOUR ACTIONS. You and your fellow Democrats are causing the Al Qaeda supported insurgency to use more catastrophic attacks against us and Iraqi forces. You will see more SVBIED's with chlorine gas, more VBIED's against civilians and security forces every time you and other Democrats open your mouths. You will have to live with yourself and try to sleep at night knowing all the defeatist propaganda you have spewed forth is nothing more than ammunition for Islamic extremist groups around the world and more US deaths. The unsuspecting people who support you know nothing of what goes on over here; you fill their heads with nonsense and talk of pullout to appease them. The only thing that will happen is the establishment of an extremist Islamic state where sharia law is the law of the land and no one is safe.

Sunni Moslems here are coming to our side and joining forces with the government to defeat Al Qaeda(AQI) here in Iraq, but they need our help and they need us to stay. I have spent the last 7 months(3rd tour) in Iraq. I have watched Iraqi citizens pick up weapons and form militias in areas to join forces with Iraqi police/Army. Common citizens who fight and die because we are standing next to them. Not cutting and running or talking of withdrawal. This started after the surge forces the President sent here arrived. We have lost Marines also and it hurts more than you will ever know but we have made a commitment to these people. And I for one will not abandon them and I have of a platoon of Marines who feel the same.

SGT Krueger’s not some observer, or chicken hawk, or peddler of patronage, or purveyor of pork. He knows the price of freedom, he knows who’s paying the most, and he knows who stands in the way:

Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines lives are at stake. We know the risks and we face them daily. Don't make our mission more difficult.

I couldn’t say it any better. So I second SGT Krueger, and ask:

Responsible Democrats and Republicans: Can you place the National Interest ahead of the interests of your party? Can you think first of Nation, rather than your own selfish ambitions?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Events in Iran

I am without time to blog, and note events in Iran with great concern. I would expect any regular readers here to have seen much excellent commentary already, but in case you haven’t read these, here are some excerpts of the best.
Stanley Kurtz
The fly in the ointment for Iran might have less to do with an increasingly timid West than with a Sunni-Shiite split. Once the Iranians have a bomb, America’s willingness to protect Sunni states under its nuclear or conventional umbrella will come into doubt. That will prompt Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and maybe even some of the other Gulf States to get bombs of their own. Theoretically, that could lead to a Mexican stand-off and stability. But in the early years of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, the probability of a regional war will be high. And with nuclear bombs bouncing around several Muslim states (many with similar signatures because of a common origin in, say, Pakistani technology) the dangers of some rogue faction handing off a bomb to terrorists for use against the U.S. and/or Israel will greatly increase. And with the U.S. and the West in general retreat in the face of a nuclearized Middle East, all the states in the region will be more vulnerable to Islamist takeovers.

Editors at National Review
The Iranian regime is as unscrupulous as any in the world today. It is busy undermining the reconstitution of Iraq, arming and financing gunmen of its choice to kill and maim whoever happens to be in the way. International officials and experts suspect that the urgency and duplicity surrounding its nuclear program mean that its end product will be a nuclear weapon — in which case Iran can expect to be not merely a regional power, but an Islamic rival of and alternative to the West.
Until now, the cost to Iran for its policy of vowing death to the West has been negligible. Encouraged by so slack a response, the regime flagrantly disregards the requirements of morality and international law. A time may be drawing closer when it will experience the test of strength that it so heedlessly wishes on others.

Michael Ledeen
The Iranians have two basic reasons to take hostages. One is to break our will and drive us out of the region; the other is to trade their prey for their comrades now in our grip, of whom there is a significant number (several hundred Iranian intelligence and military officers have been captured in Iraq in recent months, according to good U.S. government sources). Why now? Because now is when they succeeded in doing it; they’ve been trying all along.
It would be nice if someone in a position of power noted that the Iranians have committed an act of war on a NATO country, and that the other members of the alliance can be obliged to join in common action against the aggressor if the relevant terms of the treaty are invoked, as they should be. That should be the first move, showing the Iranians that the West is united and determined to act. It should be accompanied by the appearance of some vessels from what is left of Her Majesty’s Navy, buttressing our own warships and — shhhh! — the French carrier now in the area. If we have actionable intelligence from the recent wave of defectors/prisoners, we should step up the campaign against Iranian officials and agents in Iraq. And we should undertake the legitimate self-defense to which we are entitled, by moving against the terrorist training camps, and the improvised explosive device assembly lines and manufacturing sites inside the Islamic Republic.Above all, we should, at long last, proclaim this regime unworthy of respect and call for its downfall.Enough already.

Victor Davis Hanson
One of the more brilliantly bad things Iran has done is to remind the Europeans—the British, French, and Germans particularly—that their military assets are not assets when used far from home in solitary fashion. Instead because they are faux "military assets"—with their small size, number, and rules of engagement—they become liabilities that at any time could prompt a political crisis.

In the future, we should expect the following: greater demands from the European public to distance itself from the US (e.g. the fault for this crisis is our arrest of Iranians in Iraq, our failure to talk to Ahmadinejad, our war in Iraq, fill in the blanks) while at the same time greater demands from European admirals and generals only to venture out from their ports while in convoy with American ships or under cover of American air power.
Take it to the bank. We will join Iran in a state of War in which they’ve labored for a long time. For us, it may be sooner, it may be later, but it will be. As Trotsky said, “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.”


Thursday, March 22, 2007


Gaseous Religion

Jan Lopatka of Reuters reported on comments by Czech President Vaclav Klaus, in which he equated the “religion” of Global Warming alarmism with the ideology of communism. Somehow I don’t see these comments getting wider airplay in American mainstream media (MSM), not with all the gushing over the Prophet Gore (or the Goracle, ala the wags at National Review). (An aside: when do we get to call Gore an old gas-bag?)

Of course, President Klaus’ comments are framed in the context of describing Klaus as a “right-wing president,” although I appreciate him also described as a “free-market champion.” (Another aside, doesn’t the application of the latter necessitate the label of the former, for MSM like Reuters?)

'Communism has been replaced by the threat of an ambitious environmentalism,' Klaus wrote in response to questions from the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Why is the House Energy and Commerce Committee sending the Czech President questions on potential policy response to climate change? Or did Klaus take the initiative at sharing his insight with US Representatives?

However his testimonial arrived, it proves timely. In various suggested frameworks for global control of CO2 emissions, such as those imagined by Al Gore, Klaus sees the familiar model upon which such dreams are based: old style communist central planning. Worse, he sees clearly the potential for severe economic harm such fantasies pose for the developing world:

Klaus said poor nations would also be hurt by efforts to impose limits and standards on emissions of gases believed to cause global warming.

'They will not be able to absorb new technological standards required by the anti-greenhouse religion, their products will have difficulty accessing the developed markets, and as a result the gap between them and the developed world will widen,' he wrote.

'This ideology preaches earth and nature and under the slogans of their protection – similarly to the old Marxists – wants to replace the free and spontaneous evolution of mankind by a sort of central, now global, planning of the whole world,' he added.

For Klaus, there’s an essential bottom line for these policy deliberations:

'No government action can stop the world and nature from changing. Therefore, I disagree with plans such as the Kyoto Protocol or similar initiatives, which set arbitrary targets requiring enormous costs without realistic prospects for the success of these measures,' he said.

Just like old style Communism and Socialism (and current style, judging by China and Cuba) couldn’t legislate or control human nature, so too attempts to “policy fix” perceived “dangerous” variations in even more complex natural systems and processes will fail as well. And at enormous cost, even if followed in a modest and half-hearted way. Those, whose political philosophies make them sympathetic and susceptible to the former, make them all the more vulnerable to the pseudoscience of current hysterics.

(Via Memeorandum)


The 2007 Military Blog Conference

The MILBLOGGERS are at it again. I’ll let Blackfive do the honors of the introduction:

If you are a military blogger or reader of military blogs or a vet or person interested in the military, the 2007 Military Blog Conference in Washington, DC is something you won't want to miss.

On May 4th, all types of military bloggers will descend upon our unsuspecting capital to discuss military blogging issues (military censorship, media relations, homefront and family, caring for the wounded, etc.) and current events.

A lot of milbloggers will be there.  Some will not be able to attend because they will be someplace dangerous.

Pre-registration for the 2007 MilBlog Conference is now open. Registration is $40 per person. The fee covers the cocktail reception on May 4 and the conference/luncheon on May 5.

The first 100 seats are reserved for pre-registrants and are available on a first come/first served basis. Pre-registration will run from March 9 - March 16 and is open only to members of the military community (active-duty, Guard, Reserves, Veterans and family members). Registration will open to the general public on March 17. Seating is limited to 275 people, so be sure to register early.

Click here to register.

Andi of Welcome to Andi’s World has done the heavy lifting of organizing this year’s Conference, as she did in 2006, and she’s done her usual terrific job. She had some help from sponsors and Soldiers' Angels, as well as a planning committee that included John, John, JP and some other guy I won’t mention.

Here’s Andi’s latest update on the Panels:

This year, we'll feature four panels. We're squeezing a lot in but hey, we only do this once a year so we want to make the most of it. Below is a list of panels and confirmed panelists as of today. As confirmations come in, we'll update the site.

From the Front. Moderated by Matt (Blackfive). 8:30 - 10:15

This panel will feature milbloggers who have blogged from Iraq and Afghanistan. True Boots on the Ground.

Confirmed panelists: Bill Roggio, Sgt. Hook, Bill Ardolino

All  in the Family. Moderated by Andi. 10:30 - 11:45

This panel will feature those left behind, mothers and spouses of service members. The Hidden Heroes.

Confirmed panelists:  Sarah, Some Soldier's Mom, ArmyWifeToddlerMom, Becky Davis

Potluck. Moderated by Donovan. 1:00 - 2:30.

This panel will feature an eclectic mix of milbloggers and will focus on a wide range of topics associated with milblogging and the Global War on Terror.

Confirmed panelists: LTC P, Murdoc, Noah Shachtman, Eagle1, Neptunus Lex, Captain Anthony Deiss of CENTCOM

Wounded Warriors, Healers and Angels. Moderated by Chuck Z. 2:45 - 4:30

This panel will focus on our wounded warriors, medics and the organizations which swing into action to help our wounded heroes and their families.

Confirmed panelists: Patti Patton-Bader, Doc in the Box, Mary Ann Phillips, Sandra Edens

On-line chat moderator for all panels: Greyhawk

Tentative Agenda for the 2007 MilBlog Conference

Friday, May 4, 2007: Cocktail Reception (8:00 - 11:00)

Milbloggies will be presented

Saturday, May 5, 2007: Conference (8:00 - 5:00)

8:00-8:30                 Opening Remarks   
8:30-10:15                From the Front   
10:15-10:30              Break
10:30-11:45             All in the Family
11:45-1:00               Lunch 
1:00-2:30                Potluck    
2:30-2:45                 Break    
2:45-4:30                Wounded Warriors, Healers and Angels
4:30                          Closing Remarks

The Venue for the 2007 MilBlog Conference will be The Westin Arlington Gateway. Our cocktail reception Friday, May 4 (8:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.) will take place at the hotel, as will the conference on Saturday, May 5 (8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.).

The Westin Arlington Gateway is only a couple of blocks from the Ballston Metro Station and only a few miles from Washington DC. If you're flying into Reagan National Airport, you can easily hop on the Metro and take it directly to the hotel.

We have reserved a block of 50 rooms -- 25 singles and 25 doubles -- at a room rate of $139 per night (plus hotel taxes). The rooms are first-come/first-served. Once the 50 rooms have been filled, attendees will still be able to book rooms at the $139 rate on a space available basis.

Click here to make your reservations. If you receive a "sold out" error message when trying to make reservations, please call the hotel directly (703.537.4253) and speak with Ms. Allyson Themel. Our room rate will be good until April 10.

Please note that the start time for the conference on Saturday has now shifted from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m..

Don't miss the 2007 MilBlog Conference. Details here:

Online Registration

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


Suffer the Children

Here’s a thought experiment.

Terrorists use children as cover to execute attacks, killing children in the process. They also try to employ improvised chemical weapons against civilian opponents who won't support their terror aims.

Two starkly different reactions:

1. We cannot judge them morally, for we are at fault. Our enemies must be so frustrated, so desperate, so aggrieved, they can find no other way to fight back. We should retreat and make reparations for the harm we have caused.

2. Our enemies are brutal, frustrated in their aims, and desperate. Oblivious to human rights (or human life) while with absolute power, they show the same hatred and thuggish lust for revenge without. Until we completely vanquish them, which we must, we can expect more of the same.

I know which way I respond. Expect to see these two reactions play out in the days ahead on the political stage.

Jay Nordlinger, writing Impromptu at National Review Online, observes similarly in the context of Palestinian abettors of racial hatred in children:
About three years ago — maybe four — I sort of gave up commenting on a certain outrage in the Arab world: the indoctrination of little children in a death cult. How many times can you say, “It’s terrible, it’s terrible”? But every now and then, it’s worth reminding ourselves of this outrage.So, have a quick look at this transcript from MEMRI (the Middle East Research Institute). Two children of a suicide bomber — one who was sadly successful — are being interviewed on Al-Aqsa TV, the Hamas channel. Here we go:
Interviewer: What did mama do?Dhoha: She committed martyrdom.Interviewer: She killed Jews, right? How many did she kill, Muhammad?Muhammad: Huh?Interviewer: How many Jews did mama kill?Muhammad: This many . . .Interviewer: How many is that? Muhammad: Five. Interviewer: Do you love mama? Do you miss mama? Where is mama, Muhammad?Muhammad: In Paradise.
And so on, and so on. Read the rest, if you have the stomach. I’ve read a million, and they are all alike. One never becomes completely inured, however. And we must remember that this is the mentality the Israelis are up against, and it is the mentality we are all up against.If a society can do this to children — what can’t it do?
Precisely so.

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Monday, March 19, 2007


Peace Democrats

Copperheads. No better historical allusion describes them, the “opposition” to our efforts in Iraq.

Mackubin Thomas Owens, writing at National Review Online, compares current anti-war Democrats with the “Peace Democrats” faced by Abraham Lincoln during the civil war. Owens source is an intriguing and very timely history, Copperheads: The Rise an Fall of Lincoln’s Opponents in the North, by Jennifer Weber, and explains:

The historical record aside, what struck me the most were the similarities between the rhetoric and actions of the Copperheads a century and a half ago and Democratic opponents of the Iraq war today.

I gave an interview today to the local Fox affiliate, answering questions about the war, how it’s going, did I support our efforts, what do I think of vigils and other anti-war demonstrations staged to mark the war’s 4 year anniversary. Regular readers here or those who have seen me in earlier media appearances will know how I responded. It remains to be seen how much of my comments make it on-air.

I keep coming back to this great line by the MILBLOGGER JD Johannes:

Support the troops. Let them win.

Here’s what Owens said about Civil War Veteran’s reaction to the Peace Democrats of their day:

It is certain that the Union soldiers tired of hearing from the Copperheads that the Rebels could not be defeated. They surely tired of being described by the Copperheads as instruments of a tyrannical administration trampling the legitimate rights of the Southern states. The soldiers seemed to understand fairly quickly that the Copperheads preferred Lincoln’s failure to the country’s success. They also recognized that the Copperheads offered no viable alternative to Lincoln’s policy except to stop the war. Does any of this sound familiar?

Yes, it does. What Owens says next sounds even more familiar:

Today, Democratic opponents of the Iraq war echo the rhetoric of the Copperheads. As Lincoln was a bloodthirsty tyrant, trampling the rights of Southerners and Northerners alike, President Bush is the world’s worst terrorist, comparable to Hitler.
These words of the La Crosse Democrat responding to Lincoln’s re-nomination could just as easily have been written about Bush:  “May God Almighty forbid that we are to have two terms of the rottenest, most stinking, ruin working smallpox ever conceived by fiends or mortals…” The recent lament of left-wing bloggers that Vice President Dick Cheney was not killed in a suicide bombing attempt in Pakistan echoes the incendiary language of Copperhead editorialist Brick Pomeroy who hoped that if Lincoln were re-elected, “some bold hand will pierce his heart with dagger point for the public good.” 

Owens remarks on the eternal complaint of the soldier, and notes that soldiers will always see the failures and inadequacies of their leaders. But the “Peace Democrats” of today, like their Copperhead brethren of old, gravely mistake such criticisms as support for their political maneuvers and manipulations to confront, confound, or hamper the war effort. As Owens also observes:

Union soldiers could support the goals of the war and criticize the incompetence of their leaders in the same breath. But today’s soldiers, like their Union counterparts a century and a half ago, are tired of hearing that everything is the fault of their own government from people who invoke Gitmo and Abu Ghraib but rarely censure the enemy, and who certainly offer no constructive alternative to the current course of action.

Support our troops. Let them win.

By the way, I will also appear Tuesday 20 March, 6:50 am EST, for a live on-air interview for the Daybreak program on the same Fox affiliate. Tune in, or check it out online later tomorrow morning!

Friday, March 16, 2007


Some Guy at the CIA

The Corner, predictably, live-blogs Valerie Plame testifying before Congress

This from John Podhoretz:

This is what Valerie Plame Wilson just said about her husband's trip: "I did not recommend him, I did not suggest him, I did not have the authority." An officer serving under her was upset to have received an inquiry from the vice president's office about yellowcake from Niger and evidently, while she was comforting that junior officer, some guy walked by her office and suggested her husband should go to Niger to check it out.

She said she was ambivalent about the idea because she didn't want to have to put her 2 year-old twins to bed by herself at night. Still, she and the guy who had just happened to walk by then went to her supervisor.

Supervisor: Well, when you go home this evening, would you ask your husband to come in.

Then her supervisor asked her to write an e-mail about the idea. She did so. That e-mail, she said, was the basis for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence claim that she had been responsible for sending her husband to Niger for the CIA.

In other words, she didn't recommend him or suggest him. Rather, it was a guy who walked by. 

Some other guy, who knew my husband was ideally suited to play “super-sleuth” for a CIA junket, he was the one who made the suggestion. Which Plame, apparently in total apathy and ambivalence, only entirely facilitated from original conception, through gestation, on to full term delivery with Wilson taking the trip.

More silliness noted here, here, and here.

This last, noting that the actual leaker of Plame’s identity and status, goes unmentioned in the zeal of Senate inquisitors getting to the bottom of how the Evil President and Vice President betrayed loyal Plame and gravely threatened National Security.

Dear Lord, would that Senate Democrats could invest even a small fraction of such zeal for investigating and fighting real threats to National Security.

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Thursday, March 15, 2007


Double Down on Iraq

Tom Maguire, guest-blogging at Instapundit, links to a the New York Times interview with Senator Hillary Clinton, in which she suggests that up to 75,000 US troops may remain in Iraq beyond 2008 under her plan for Iraq.

Two stunning paragraphs open the Times report:

WASHINGTON, March 14 — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton foresees a “remaining military as well as political mission” in Iraq, and says that if elected president, she would keep a reduced military force there to fight Al Qaeda, deter Iranian aggression, protect the Kurds and possibly support the Iraqi military.

In a half-hour interview on Tuesday in her Senate office, Mrs. Clinton said the scaled-down American military force that she would maintain would stay off the streets in Baghdad and would no longer try to protect Iraqis from sectarian violence — even if it descended into ethnic cleansing.

Maguire notes some initial reactions:

Ahh! Let's hear thunder from the left - Matt Stoller of MyDD says "Wow... This is a very dangerous roadmap for the Democrats.

The Agonist tells us that "Democrats will now have a clear choice between a pro-war candidate and candidates who are clearly for ending the war.

For lightning from the right, Captain Ed Morrissey describes Hillary's willingness to have US troops stand back during a genocide as "abysmal, cynical, and completely self-serving"...

Maguire himself notes this passage form the Times article:

Mrs. Clinton has said she would vote for a proposed Democratic resolution on Iraq now being debated on the floor of the Senate, which sets a goal of withdrawing combat forces by March 31, 2008. Asked if her plan was consistent with the resolution, Mrs. Clinton and her advisers said it was, noting that the resolution also called for “a limited number” of troops to stay in Iraq to protect the American Embassy and other personnel, train and equip Iraqi forces, and conduct “targeted counterterrorism operations.”

(Senator Barack Obama, a rival of Mrs. Clinton, has said that if elected president, he might keep a small number of troops in Iraq.)

You have to give Hillary Clinton, or at least whatever trusted advisors are responsible, credit for nerve. I hesitate to commend her further, given her record, but the new reports on her plan for Iraq are just short of stunning to the degree she charges rightward of her left-leaning political base.

I think somebody at Hillary Central has decided that she needs to put one awfully noticeable stake in the ground. She’s decided that the situation in Iraq will remain a critical national security issue, no matter who gets elected in 2008. And she’s said it just about as plainly as she can, and will take a tremendous beating from her base. She’s already getting assailed by conservative, pro-war bloggers such as Ed Morrissey.

Sen. Clinton must have calculated that she’s taken as much damage as she will for her pro-war votes and positions thus far, and however the surge goes, there’s no more left side downside than she’s already suffered. Either that, or she’s decided Iraq is looking better after all. Or, now that Democrats control Congress, at least one key Democrat has decided that the party will be finally willing to get behind our troops in Iraq. (The “we’ll never support the war until we can run it our way” philosophy.)

How that squares with actual Democrat bills in both houses of Congress is anybody’s guess. But Sen. Clinton has decided that Iraq stays in the mix beyond 2008.

She may call 75,000 troops limited all she wants, but I’m sure Sen. Obama’s idea of limited and Sen. Clinton’s are orders of magnitude apart.

From a practical standpoint, it is entirely possible that Coalition forces could effectively continue ongoing peacekeeping, security, and counterterrorism operations that have been the bulk of our operations in Iraq since 2004, with 75,000 troops. This assumes, of course, either that Iraqi Security Forces will successfully secure Baghdad and other hot spots, or that US forces will, as Sen. Clinton foresees, “no longer protect Iraqis from sectarian violence.”

Either way, Hillary Clinton just doubled down on her political stake in the war in Iraq.

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We’re Not Losing

Austin Bay does what Bay does best in a morale-building essay up at TCS Daily. It’s really a shame that those who need to read it most – Congressional Democrats -- have already bought their tickets and exited Surrender Station.

I can’t summarize it any better than Bay’s opening:
The chattering class nostrum that Free Iraq and its coalition allies have "lost the Iraq war" is so blatantly wrong it would be a source of laughter were human life and hope-inspiring liberty not at such terrible risk.
Democrats and their media allies don’t even try to consider any alternative view than that they fixed on long ago as a matter of political faith: we lost in Iraq.

As a soldier who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) III, I know first hand that in many important respects, we “won” the war in Iraq in 2003. Consider that the military victory. In other important respects, we “won” the war in Iraq in 2005, when we laid the groundwork for three successful Iraqi elections, the last leading to the first democratically elected government in the history of the Middle East.

This amid a long suffering history of decline, brutalization, and the degradation of ancient civilizations. This decline affected us dramatically on 9/11, and continues to affect us in important ways, not least the epic and multigenerational battles we confront. According to Bay:
The decline did two things that directly affect the War on Terror (which Rudy Giuliani more correctly calls The Terrorists' War Against Us). The decline undermined Islamist utopian notions of theological supremacy. That millennialist disappointment seeds the long list of "grievances" infesting al-Qaida's propaganda.

The far greater consequence (and truly grievous wrong) was arresting Middle Eastern populations. Arrest is the right word. The Middle East was trapped in the terrible yin-yang of tyrant and terrorist, the choice of one or the other -- which is no choice, for both mean oppression and death.
Bay’s written before, and notes again, that the civilized world is in a “’fight for the future’ with terrorists and tyrants.” Bay suggests the irony:
The terrorists and tyrants understand. It's a shame America's chatterers don't.
That’s the most frustrating part of opposition to this war, where opponents seem completely oblivious to the very real threat posed by our enemies around the world, those running states, and others running criminal terror enterprises (and some, running both). It’s one thing to disagree on response, on policy, it’s quite another to look evil right in the face and say, “nothing to see here, let’s move along.”

Even worse, whether out of cynicism, ignorance, or naked political ambition, these same opponents have done an excellent job wearing down the American people, helping them see only blood and loss and ignoring gain. Sapping their will, increasing their frustration, and exhausting their patience, when now is when we most need it. Bay concludes:
The Iraqi people are earning their victory and their liberty. The price for both is inevitably paid in blood, sweat and toil. At this point in history, they need American patience.
(Via National Review)

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Politics and Justice

Potential Presidential Candidate Fred Thompson steps into the spotlight with radio commentary on the firings of Federal Prosecutors, text up at National Review Online.

Thompson notes the media frenzy, and concludes this:
There was nothing wrong with firing eight U.S. attorneys. Of course the Department of Justice was inept in the way they did it, trying to conceal things that didn’t need to be concealed but the U.S. attorneys, like innumerable other public officials serve at the pleasure of the president. He fired eight of his own appointees apparently because they we not aggressive enough in pursuing voting fraud cases. In 1993 Attorney General Janet Reno rode into town and fired every U.S. attorney in the country but one-all Republican appointees.
Pretty straightforward, from a straightforward man.

Thompson, eh? Worth consideration. Presumably he'd be more likely to be the strong variety of President he seems to think we need.

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Hypocrisy at the Times

If the New York Times were to write an editorial, the premise of which is the cynical politicization of judicial appointments, you might think that the Newspaper of Record might want to compare or contrast the Bush Administration to other (recent) Administrations. Say to the Clinton Administration, which started out its tenure at the Department of Justice with the appointment of future felon Webster Hubbell and the mass firings of all 93 Federal Attorneys, several of which were engaged in investigations of Democrat wrong-doing, and specifically, possible Clinton wrong-doing.

Instead, breathlessly, the Times reports that the Bush Administration considered replacing all Federal Attorneys, rather than the 8 they replaced:

Harriet Miers, the White House counsel whom Mr. Bush tried to elevate to the Supreme Court, originally wanted to replace all 93 attorneys with Republican appointees.

The Bush Administration opted against the much more expansive personnel changes, quite unlike the Clintonites, who gave all US Atttorneys 10 days to vacate their offices, to be replaced by loyal Democrats.

You might think the Times would try to present their readers with context, or perspective.

You’d be wrong. But really, is this about the height of mainstream media bias, to say nothing of hypocrisy?

C’mon, would you really think they might try to find some objective basis for their opinions? The only sense of the word objective the editors at the Times comprehend, are those associated with their partisan leanings, as in a political objective. In this case, the goal is to injure the Bush Administration in any way possible. If it helps to make the rather ironic case that Bush 43 is more political than Clinton 42 (or a hoped for Clinton 44), all the better, objective-wise.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007


Willing Accomplices

Debra Burlingame writes a startling and anger-provoking column in the Opinion Journal.

Burlingame peals away layers of artifice and subterfuge in revealing how stunningly successful has been a legal and public relations campaign to confront US terrorist detentions at Guantanamo.

And who are the architects of this campaign? One high priced and highly compensated law firm Shearman and Sterling, funded in large part by the Kuwaiti Government. Contrary to the media image of pro bono attorneys bravely defending innocent victims of Government counter-terrorism excess, these lawyers representing Gitmo detainees are in it for the fees, as lawyers and lobbyists:

It turns out that Shearman & Sterling, a 1,000-lawyer firm with offices in 19 cities all over the world, has substantial business dealings on six continents. Indeed, Shearman's client care for Middle Eastern matters has established a new industry standard: The firm's Abu Dhabi office states that it has pioneered the concept of "Shariah-compliant" financing. In Kuwait, the firm has represented the government on a wide variety of matters involving billions of dollars worth of assets. So the party underwriting the litigation on behalf of the Kuwaiti 12--from which all of the detainees have benefited--is one of Shearman & Sterling's most lucrative OPEC accounts.

Shearman & Sterling did far more than just write legal briefs and shuttle down to Gitmo to conduct interviews about alleged torture for the BBC. In addition to its legal services, the firm registered as an agent of a foreign principal under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938 (FARA) as well as the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (LDA) to press the Kuwaiti detainees' cause on Capitol Hill. Shearman reported $749,980 in lobbying fees under FARA for one six-month period in 2005 and another $200,000 under the LDA over a one-year period between 2005 and 2006. Those are the precise time periods when Congress was engaged in intense debates over the Detainee Treatment Act and the Military Commissions Act, legislation which Shearman & Sterling and its Kuwaiti paymasters hoped would pave the way for shutting down Guantanamo permanently and setting their clients free.

You could speculate about what those lobbying dollars were meant to influence. You could guess it might have something to do with the media hysteria that erupted over Guantanamo. You could prepare a chronology of statements on Gitmo by opposition members of Congress, and match it against these lobbying efforts. Or, to save time, you can just read Burlingame’s account for an eye opener. She’s done a great job tying up and making coherent whole of an outrageous tale of outright fabrication, media manipulation, and grossly unethical behavior on the part of sworn officers of the court.

For example, Burlingame recounts that the Shearman and Sterling attorney, Tom Wilner, immediately hired public relations pro Richard Levick to remake the public perceptions of Gitmo detainees:

In numerous published articles and interviews, Mr. Levick has laid out the essence of the entire Kuwaiti PR campaign. The strategy sought to accomplish two things: put a sympathetic "human face" on the detainees and convince the public that it had a stake in their plight. In other words, the militant Islamists who traveled to Afghanistan to become a part of al Qaeda's jihad on America had to be reinvented as innocent charity workers swept up in the war after 9/11. The committed Islamist who admitted firing an AK-47 in a Taliban training camp became a "teacher on vacation" who went to Afghanistan in 2001 "to help refugees." The member of an Islamist street gang who opened three al-Wafa offices with Suliman Abu Ghaith (Osama Bin Laden's chief spokesman) to raise al Qaeda funds became a charity worker whose eight children were left destitute in his absence. All 12 Kuwaitis became the innocent victims of "bounty hunters."

A Montreal-based marketing firm was hired to create the families' full-service Web site which fed propaganda--unsourced, unrebutted and uninvestigated by the media--aimed at the media all over the world. Creating what Mr. Levick calls a "war of pictures," the site is replete with images meant to appeal to Americans: smiling Kuwaiti families wearing T-shirts and baseball caps, cute children passing out yellow ribbons.

After the Rasul decision, the PR momentum picked up speed and the Supreme Court became, in Mr. Levick's words, their "main weapon," a "cudgel" that forced more attention in what he calls the traditional "liberal" press. Dozens of op-eds by Mr. Wilner and the family group leader (described as a U.S.-trained former Kuwaiti Air Force pilot who cherishes the memory of drinking Coca Cola) were aimed at the public and Congress.

Mr. Levick maintains that a year and a half after they began the campaign, their PR outreach produced literally thousands of news placements and that, eventually, a majority of the top 100 newspapers were editorializing on the detainees' behalf. Convinced that judges can be influenced by aggressive PR campaigns, Mr. Levick points to rulings in the detainee cases which openly cite news stories that resulted from his team's media outreach.

The Kuwaiti 12 case is a primer on the anatomy of a guerilla PR offensive, packaged and sold to the public as a fight for the "rule of law" and "America's core principles." Begin with flimsy information, generate stories that are spun from uncorroborated double or triple hearsay uttered by interested parties that are hard to confirm from halfway around the world. Feed the phonied-up stories to friendly media who write credulous reports and emotional human interest features, post them on a Web site where they will then be read and used as sources by other lazy (or busy) media from all over the world. In short, create one giant echo chamber.

We’ve seen highly effective PR campaigns like this before, most recently executed by Hezbollah and friends of Hezbollah in Lebanon. And when I say, of this kind, I decidedly mean of the dishonest, untruthful, and calculatingly manipulative variety.

Once upon a time Human Rights organizations such as Amnesty International (AI) and Human Right Watch could be counted on to focus their efforts on actual and gross violations of International Law, or even simple human decency. I even remember contributing to AI, and proudly displaying a decal on my car, when AI was fighting to save the lives of Jewish and other dissidents in the old USSR, or reporting on paramilitary regime or radical communist death squads in South and Central America. They were even handed, and sought to alert the world to obvious and odious abuses.

Somewhere along the way, these lonely voices must have found themselves among those who may have shouted the same slogans, but clearly in hindsight had other motivations and intents. Maybe too, it was an as-portrayed mutual loathing of their political opponents that convinced these formerly well-intended do-gooders to conclude the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Maybe they just got old and tired and overrun with poorly educated Liberal Arts majors who view all of history through the discolored lenses of multiculturalism and diversity pablum theologies. Whatever the case, they served well the interests of S&S’s Kuwaiti clients.

It should surprise only legal neophytes that the legal profession a long time ago dispensed with what they must view as quaint taboos against knowingly perpetrating falsehood and fraud in the exercise of their profession. It might surprise more than a few to know there are those who would do so, in defending known terrorists against those risking their very lives trying to fight against them. And yet, this immoral and unethical behavior on the part of some members of the legal profession is taken for granted by world class terror organizations. They advise their followers to make every effort to gain the support of such as these, in turning the very foundations, principles, and tools of our democracies against us, as has been well documented in Al Qaeda training manuals and intercepted communiqués. They well know they have willing and knowing accomplices in the West.

Why should we care? Aren’t those captured on the non-traditional battlespaces of the Terror Wars entitled to a little due process, beyond that afforded with precise efficiency by the military forces that apprehend them? Burlingame has the answer:

Everything Mr. Levick did was in partnership with Tom Wilner and the law firm of Sherman & Sterling. It was their joint litigation-PR plan, with the Guantanamo lawsuits helping the PR messaging and the PR messaging helping the lawsuits. All of this may be legal, but it is hardly ethical.

Shearman & Sterling lawyers aren't hucksters crassly promoting a cheap product; they are sworn officers of the court volunteering to represent alien enemy combatants in a time of war, interjecting themselves in cases that affect how American soldiers on the battlefield do their job. It is one thing to take these cases in order to achieve the proper balance between due process concerns and unprecedented national security issues. It is another to hire PR and marketing consultants to create image makeovers for suspected al Qaeda financiers, foot soldiers, weapons trainers and bomb makers, all of which is financed by millions of dollars from a foreign country enmeshed in the anti-American, anti-Israel elements of Middle East politics.

Read the whole thing. Lord knows, you won’t read it anywhere else in the mainstream media (MSM).

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Don't Vote

Take the Test.

I did, and I’m pleased to see I am qualified not only to vote, but make a career in politics:


You scored 350 out of 350 possible points, or 100.00%

Not only should you vote, you should consider a career in politics.


(Via The Corner)


How About Dropping the Other Shoe?

Today, Bill Bennett has further observations on Libby over at NRO.  Bennett sees what should now be an imperative for prosecuting disclosure of classified intelligence information gravely damaging to US National Security:

One simple observation about the Libby trial and the celebrations by the media, the Left, and the Joe Wilsons:  Now that we have established that no rock and no expense will be left unturned and unspent, that no reporter involved will be left unsubpoenaed for leaking or even purportedly leaking a classified agent's name, when we have some suspicion that a person who works at the CIA might be covert (but turns out not to be): Can we please begin the investigation and subpoenaing of journalists—also known as witnesses to a crime—for leaking classified national-security information in a time of war?!


—I'm not making a partisan point, I'm making a serious point about serious breaches of law and public endangerment; I'm not talking about disgruntled spouses with political differences with the president, I'm talking about the disclosure of the most serious war-time planning and procedures to keep our country safe.  I'm talking about disclosing the secret detention facilities of high-value terrorists, I'm talking about the disclosure of terrorist surveillance programs, I'm talking about the disclosure of the Treasury Department's SWIFT program that tracked terrorist financing—all of which are now caput because insiders leaked to the press and the press willingly published these classified secrets—-NONE of the programs that were leaked were illegal, all of them were of great value, all of them are over or changed as a result of the disclosure. 


—Can we please start a serious investigation of those, and by all means subpoena the witnesses, that is to say the reporters.  If you can do it to nail bit players in a seemingly innocent disclosure of Valerie Plame's name where her husband started the process, then you can certainly do it over serious anti-terrorism programs that were of the highest level of classification.


—As for the import of Libby's conviction and Joe Wilson's allegations?  I can't do better than Mark Steyn who wrote yesterday here on The Corner:  "an anti-war deputy secretary of an anti-war department leaking to an anti-war reporter the name of an anti-war analyst who got her anti-war husband a job with an anti-war agency is supposedly an elaborate “conspiracy” by Cheney, Rove and the other warmongers. Looked at more prosaically, it’s a freak intersection of bad personnel decisions, which is one of the worst features of this presidency. So many of the Bush administration’s wounds come from its willingness to keep the wrong people in key positions: Tenet should not have been retained at the CIA, Armitage should not have been at State."

Between Bennett and Mark Steyn, they’ve pretty much said what needs to be said. But don’t count on seeing any Democrat enthusiasm to take on real felonious and damaging disclosures of classified information, only those which can in some way punish their political opponents.

One heck of a way to protect National Security, it should be a Democrat slogan:

“We’ll do everything we can to keep America safe, as long as it gives us a chance to hurt our political opponents. If we manage to inconvenience some actual terrorists along the way, that’s just frosting on our Vengeance Cake!”

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