…America is a country of Muslims, Jews, Christians, non-believers - regardless of your faith, people all have certain common hopes and common dreams.
And my job is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives. My job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy.
And so you will I think see our administration be very clear in distinguishing between organizations like al Qaeda - that espouse violence, espouse terror and act on it - and people who may disagree with my administration and certain actions, or may have a particular viewpoint in terms of how their countries should develop. We can have legitimate disagreements but still be respectful. I cannot respect terrorist organizations that would kill innocent civilians and we will hunt them down.
No, it’s not [true that I am an enemy of Islam]. I’ve heard that, and it just shows [sic] to show a couple of things: One, that the radicals have done a good job of propagandizing. In other words, they’ve spread the word that this really isn’t peaceful people versus radical people or terrorists; this is really about the America not liking Islam.
Well, first of all, I believe in an almighty God, and I believe that all the world, whether they be Muslim, Christian, or any other religion, prays to the same God. That’s what I believe. I believe that Islam is a great religion that preaches peace. And I believe people who murder the innocent to achieve political objectives aren’t religious people, whether they be a Christian who does that - we had a person blow up our - blow up a federal building in Oklahoma City who professed to be a Christian, but that’s not a Christian act to kill innocent people.
We are having an Iftar dinner tonight - I say, “we” - it’s my wife and I. This is the seventh one in the seven years I’ve been the President. It gives me a chance to say “Ramadan Mubarak.” The reason I do this is I want people to understand about my country. In other words, I hope this message gets out of America. I want people to understand that one of the great freedoms in America is the right for people to worship any way they see fit. If you’re a Muslim, an agnostic, a Christian, a Jew, a Hindu, you’re equally American.
This past year has been one of the most eventful years I can remember in the recent past. Continuing a now 3-year tradition, this is the first of three posts that comprise “2008 Year in Review - The Good, the Bad, and the Ridiculous.” I post them in reverse order, so that they make sense when reading them in the archives.
So, let’s look at that the things that went beyond bad (AKA ridiculous) this past year…
Sarah Palin’s Treatment
In August, John McCain announced his running mate - a virtually unknown Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin. However, she was not unknown to those of us in conservative circles (even if we thought her name was pronounced PAL-inn instead of PAY-lin). In fact, I still credit Cassy Fiano with being prescient on this - she posted about her way back on June 23rd. We knew her story, her accomplishments, and her attitude. Although this was her first national campaign, she already had a nearly 20-year career in governmental leadership. With the opposing party running someone with 120-some-odd days in a legislative office, one would think that she would be dealt with on her merits.
But, as we all know, that’s not how it went down. From day 1, she was called inexperienced. Remember this press release from the Obama campaign, released the day her selection was announced?
Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency. Governor Palin shares John McCain’s commitment to overturning Roe v. Wade, the agenda of Big Oil and continuing George Bush’s failed economic policies - that’s not the change we need, it’s just more of the same.
And, it didn’t stop there. The women who get attention from the media, AKA radical feminists, piled on, calling her everything but a woman. I’m not lumping the Saturday Night Live satires in with this; they spoof everyone, and they invited both McCain and Palin to be on the show (and they both did a great job). Her experience was ridiculed, her wardrobe maligned, her children jeered - and the list at this point is charitable. Rumors swirled that Gov. Palin’s special-needs child was actually borne by one of her daughters, fathered by her husband; and the rumor of her daughter Bristol’s pregnancy, while proved true, was played to make her look like a backwards hillbilly redneck. It was all truly despicable, which is why it leads this year’s list.
Don’t Taze Bail Me Out, Bro!
Government interference in the private sector came to a head this year in a bad, bad way. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, entities that helped provide “sub-prime” mortgages (a euphemism for “loans people can’t really afford”), were providing these loans the same way they were in the late 1990’s, at the crest of the Internet wave. I remember a scare after 9/11, when the housing market really went south - but, we didn’t learn from that. Banks continued making loans they had no business making, to people who had no business seeking out such loans to begin with, for real estate that, contrary to the view of some in this country, is not an entitlement.
The bubble burst! (surprise, surprise) With the downturn in the economy (which even Bill Clinton understood - “It’s a crisis of confidence”), banks were having to foreclose on these loans to get their money, and people were being evicted from their homes (technically “the bank’s houses” at that point). I’m not completely heartless - losing a home stinks; but, the true heartlessness was letting them get it in the first place. Politicians demagogued the issue - how many times did you hear “Owning a home is the American dream!” - and people bought it, literally. With lots of foreclosures and slow sales, this snowballed from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to Lehman Brothers and AIG, and soon we heard about impending financial collapse.
Fast-forward to November - the “big three” auto makers say “Hey, we need a bail-out too!” The CEO for GM actually apologized for their making crappy cars (in a manner of speaking). The cause in this case is related in mind-set to the mortgage problem - an entitlement mentality. The United Auto Workers union had strong-armed these companies into providing compensation packages for their employees that, given their sales and profits, were unsustainable. The UAW refused to match packages that are successful for Toyota, Hyundai, and other manufacturers outside of Detroit, and Congress refused to give them money (quite possibly the best thing this current Congress has done). The Bush Administration has opened up money design for financial loans for these companies - we’ll have to see how that pans out into 2009; GM and Chrysler took it, Ford did not.
The biggest problem with all this is something I’ve been saying for years, which was only confirmed when I took my Microeconomics class last year. Government interference in free markets only causes problems. Oppressive regulations suppress innovation, and incentives create bubbles that cannot be sustained. So, in my opinion, the best way out of this is to let the bubble burst, clean up the mess, learn these important lessons, and move on. These packages, whether you call them “stimulus” packages or “bail-outs,” what they really are is rewarding irresponsible behavior, by taking money from those who have been more responsible.
The 2008 Olympics
No, I’m not talking about Michael Phelps’ ridiculous diplay of athleticism. :) This is more for China and its show. The opening ceremony was certainly impressive, to the point of being creepy. Fake fireworks? Isn’t this the land known for it’s fireworks? Just because communist countries get Olympic games doesn’t mean that I have to like it - I remember the USSR games in 1980. But, to watch the coverage of these games, you wouldn’t know about China…
…except for their women’s gymnastics team. Although the IOC eventually determined that all of their team members were 16 years old, I’m not buying it. However, I’m glad they tried it - it brought their “reality is what we say it is” style of heavy-handed government to the attention of many, many people.
Burma Refuses Aid after Cyclone
In the spring, a horrible cyclone hit Burma (AKA Myanmar), a nation in southwest Asia. Aid workers and aid began to pour in from all over the world, only to be rebuffed by the militaristic governmental dictatorship. Visas were held up or denied for many aid workers, and the government refused to allow aid to go directly to the people; rather, it mandated that all aid be given directly to the government, for it to distribute.
This is absolutely ridiculous. Even when nearly half a million (yes, that’s 500,000) of its citizens have lost their lives, the government continues to keep a stranglehold on this country. By not allowing aid into the country, the after-effects of disease brought on by contaminated water only added to the death toll. Even today, the country is still stiff-arming offers for aid, insisting that things are back to normal. I’d rather live through 100 Obama presidencies than live one day under a government like that!
What did you think was ridiculous in 2008? (Just a note - I’ll have the 2008 election in the “bad” entry…)
Lost amid the race vs. gender war that is the Democrat primary season and the focus on the next administration is the pure genius in the current administration. Sure, they say Bush is still the mindless dolt that somehow managed to outsmart them twice; and yes, he’s certainly given them enough anguished English ammunition to come up with quite a rotation for their “Bushism of the Day” quote machines. However, Bush has flashes of political genius, and one of them cam during his speech to the Knesset, the Israeli governing body, celebrating 60 years of Israeli independence. (The below quote is found about half-way down the page.)
Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: “Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.” We have an obligation to call this what it is - the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.
There are no names in this. Really, it could apply to a host of people who call for diplomacy even once diplomacy has failed, or those who call for diplomacy with terrorist organizations or terrorist-supporting nations. However, as Jeff Foxworthy once said, “There’s no sense confessing to something she don’t know about yet.” (This is in response to an upset wife - do you start saying “sorry” for everything she might be mad about, or do you simply ask “What’s wrong?”)
Being all sophisticated and everything, the Democrats must not be aware of this technique, and through their responses showed us that President Bush struck a nerve. Barack Obama (D-IL) was livid, blaming the current administration for strengthening Iran. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that such words were “beneath the dignity of the office of the president.” Joe Biden (D-DE) threw the BS flag (literally), and Harry Reid (D-NV) said that Bush should explain the “inconsistency between his administration’s actions and his words today.”
So, basically, here’s how it went down:
Bush: "Appeasers are dangerous." Obama, Pelosi, Biden, and Reid (in unison): “No we’re not!”
I know, the day after I post that I won’t be here, I find this (strong language warning) over at Rachel Lucas’s blog. This was simply too funny to not reblog.
This is a scene from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, the faux-news show on Comedy Central. They took a patronizing look at the protesters in Berkeley, California, who are trying to shut down the Marine recruiting center. My favorite exchange comes starting at 3:12…
Code Pink Feather Boa’d Protester (CPFBP) - It is our responsibility, as the public, to shut this station down, to shut this recruiting station down. Another Code Pink Protester - Code Pink stands for free speech. CPFBP - It’s very important to protect free speech, and so we clearly have the right to be here. Rob Riggle, Reporter - If only there was an organization that was sworn to defend that free speech! CPFBP - Wouldn’t that be great? Rob - That would be outstanding, right?
Up to this point, I have not commented on the current “immigration reform bill” that is being pushed in Congress. I am quite disappointed that our President is pushing this - I would much rather see him attacking Social Security with the vigor with which he has now seemed to find. One of the problems I’ve had with the Republican leadership, and this President in particular, is that they are not using the resources at their disposal to educate the electorate. They assume that the nation is “split down the middle,” and they respond to the chest-pounding from the left with chest-pounding on the right, without explaining facts or educating the American people.
I can’t imagine any Americans wanting this to become a part of our culture. However, none of the current legislation does anything to discuss assimilation. Rather than encourage learning English, we are actually [translating government documents][dox] into all kinds of languages! How much money are we wasting on that? Gov. Schwarzenegger (R-CA) took some heat for suggesting that Mexican immigrants turn off Spanish-language television stations and watch English-language stations instead. (Of course, he isn’t an immigrant who decided to learn English… Oh wait - he is!)
But something I saw today just takes the cake. It’s a report by the Center for New Community entitled “Indecent Proposals: Top 10 Most Offensive Quotes.” (I only link to it so you know I’m not making this up; also, it has footnotes where the source of each quote is found. I don’t want to reproduce those here.) The entire mindset of this article is wrong - most of the people they quote do not hold “anti-immigrant” views, just “anti-illegal immigrant” views. It would be like saying that a British entertainer who talks about “lighting up a fag” is anti-gay. (In Britain, “fag” is a slang term for a cigarette.) But I digress… Suffice it to say, I’m not going to address the “anti-immigrant” label every time they apply it.
This is like shooting fish in a barrel…
“This nation desperately needs informed, reasoned debate on this issue,” said Rev. David Ostendorf, executive director of the Center for New Community. “The anti-immigrant groups and their supporters are clearly not interested in helping our nation move forward - all anyone has to do is turn on the radio to hear that these groups’ values do not represent the values shared by the vast majority of Americans.”
Turn on the radio? Isn’t it talk radio that is completely responsible for the death of the first incarnation of the immigration reform bill? These folks are not the brightest bulbs in the pack, that’s for certain.
WARNING: Graphic, offensive and otherwise inappropriate language follows:
Strangely enough, regular readers will know that I don’t post graphic or inappropriate language, but I will be able to quote these in their entirety. It may be offensive to liberals, but in my exhaustive search through the Constitution, I haven’t been able to find a right against being offended. On we go…
\1. “We need the National Guard to clean out all our cities and round them up…They have no problem slitting your throat and taking your money or selling drugs to your kids or raping your daughters, and they are evil people.”
- Chris Simcox, co-founder of the Minuteman Project and president of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. As quoted in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report magazine, Summer 2005.
It may be difficult to hear, and even more difficult to accept, but the links above address these very issues. Not all illegal immigrants do these things - but, deporting all illegal aliens would eliminate these as well, and then, maybe the law-abiding would-be immigrants could, you know, obey the law and emigrate legally.
\2. “Mexican men have a reputation for leering and worse at little girls, which shouldn’t surprise us, since sex with children is socially acceptable in Mexico.”
- Brenda Walker, California anti-immigrant leader and publisher. From VDARE.com article titled “Top Ten Reasons Why the US Should Not Marry Mexico,” January 1, 2007.
Again, addressed above, by someone who grew up there.
\3. “My message to them is, not in two weeks, not in two months, not in two years, never! We must be clear that we will not surrender America and we will not turn the United States over to the invaders from south of the border.”
- Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA), at the March for America, Washington, DC, June 18, 2007.
I’m guessing the “offensive” part of this is the “invaders” term. What else would you call a large-scale illegal incursion into a foreign country? La Raza is an organization dedicated to reclaiming the land “stolen” from Mexico (land gained through the Spanish-American War). Nothing offensive here - just the facts.
\4. “I don’t care if Mexicans pile up against that fence… just run a couple of taco trucks up and down the line…”
- Neal Boortz, anti-immigrant talk radio host on WSB-AM in Atlanta on June 18, 2007.
How is this offensive? Is this any different from the people who set up water stations in the desert so the illegal aliens don’t die on the journey? And, tacos! Food that Mexicans are used to! I’m so offended - not.
\5. “Terrorists are also walking in unopposed; our southwestern border is littered with Arabic papers and Islamic prayer rugs.”
- Jim Gilchrist, founder of Minutemen Project. From a press release announcing the forthcoming publication of a new book co-authored with Jerome R. Corsi, February 2006.
I don’t know why this is offensive to these folks - terrorist bombs don’t discriminate between legal and illegal status. In fact, this is one of the facts that motivates those who want the border closed. In this day and age, having an open door into this country, with sympathetic liberals aiding those coming across the border, and the Mexican government publishing comic books detailing how to sneak into this country - terrorists see an easy way into the country. They can just be part of the invasion!
\6. “The brown toxic cloud strangling Los Angeles never lifts and grows thicker with every immigrant added. One can’t help appreciate the streets of Paris will soon become the streets of LA. However, Paris’ streets erupted while LA’s shall sink into a Third World quagmire much like Bombay or Calcutta, India. When you import that much crime, illiteracy, multiple languages and disease - Americans pick up stakes and move away.”
- Frosty Wooldridge, anti-immigrant author and activist. Summarizing an address by a KABC-AM talk radio host to the Federation for American Immigration Reform director’s meeting, Fall 2005.
How is this any different than what happened with the inner cities back in the 60’s and 70’s? Undesirable element in, everyone who can gets out. Rather than an offensive ant-immigrant statement, this looks to me like insightful analysis.
\7. “What we’ll do is randomly pick one night every week where we will kill whoever crosses the border…step over there and you die. You get to decide whether it’s your lucky night or not. I think that would be more fun.”
- Brian James, anti-immigrant talk radio host with KFYI-AM in Phoenix. Suggesting a solution to the immigration problem in Arizona while filling in for the regular host, March 2006.
The death penalty is a little harsh - but this is an understandable reaction, borne of frustration over our governments lack of ability or desire to control the border itself.
\8. “Shoot him.”
- Phil Valentine, anti-immigration talk radio host, WWTN in Nashville. Advising Border Patrol agents to shoot undocumented immigrants during an anti-immigrant rally in Franklin, Tennessee, April 27, 2006.
Brevity is the soul of wit. But, we know from history that if Border Patrol agents shoot someone, even if that person shot at them first, they get thrown in the slammer.
\9. “;We’ve got to make it in this country so (immigrants) can’t exist here…We’ve got to rattle their teeth and put their feet to the fire!”
- Terry Anderson, anti-immigrant talk radio host with KRLA in Los Angeles. Speaking at a “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” anti-immigrant rally organized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, April 22, 2007.
This one is just poor. Notice the “(immigrants)” in the quote - that means they substituted that word for what was actually said (more than likely “they”). Again, we’re not against immigrants - just do it right. Don’t try to jump line. If you love this country, why would you make your first act here violating our laws? Or is it just appealing since we don’t actually enforce our laws?
\10. “Our enemies are bloodied and beaten. We cannot relent. Our boot is on their throat and we must have the willingness to crush their ‘throat’ so that we can put our enemy down for good. The sovereignty of our nation and the future of our culture and civilization is at stake. The United States is a beacon of salvation unto the rest of the world. Our freedoms, our culture is mans salvation. If we perish, man perishes.”
- Joseph Turner, Save Our State (S.O.S), now a staff member with the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Message sent to Save Our State supporters on October 7, 2006.
Well, they may have actually found one that’s “out there.” However, the “sovereignty of our nation and the future of our culture and civilization is at stake” part is tough to argue. The illegal immigrants, as a whole, are interested in nothing here but our money, and how far it goes in their home country. They care nothing for our culture, our laws, our traditions, or our history.
Unless I’ve missed something, these “Indecent Proposals” would actually make pretty good legislation.
Today, we discuss an article published in Stars and Stripes entitled “Air Force: Shift in funds may affect payroll”. Let me preface this by saying that, although this may appear to be a fisking, it’s not - I’m simply using this as a launching pad for saying things that have needed to be said for a long time. With that in mind, look at the selective quotes below…
The Air Force said Wednesday that it might not be able to pay its airmen in the coming months if the Pentagon is forced to shift some $800 million to the Army to fund the war in Iraq.
The Army announced this week that it will slow spending and prioritize repairs to equipment as it waits for Congress to review emergency funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, the Pentagon has asked Congress for the OK to shift $1.6 billion in funds meant for the Navy and Air Force to pay the Army’s operating expenses, according to an Army news release.
“The Air Force believes this is a prudent measure and expects that the funds will be restored quickly so that military payroll will not be disrupted,” Araujo said in an e-mail response to Stars and Stripes.
“Bottom line: we need the bill to be passed quickly to avoid any further impacts to readiness,” she wrote.
Think about what that says for just a minute. The Army is so strapped for cash that they’re considering dipping into the Air Force’s payroll to fund their equipment repairs. Why in the world would they be doing that? The clue is in the first sentence of the second quote. They are waiting on Congress to pass the emergency funding bill.
I have about had it with this new Congress. They are the most power-hungry group of people I have ever seen. The President requested this legislation February 5th. February 5th! If continuing stalemate on April 24th and beyond is considered “emergency,” let us all pray that neither Harry Reid nor Nancy Pelosi ever become the fire chief in your town.
And speaking of Reid and Pelosi, let’s take a look at the so-called “leadership” of this new Congress. Over on the Senate side, they’re led by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV). While some, through their tough, dogged leadership, may think it positive to have the nickname “Dirty Harry,” Sen. Reid has earned his moniker. Though you wouldn’t know it from the nightly news, he earned over $1M from a land sale that was, to put it as nicely as possible, legally dubious. This past week, he made the statement that the war in Iraq was not just unwinnable, it was already lost. (Though he clarified what he meant by saying that the military portion was won long ago, I have to agree with James Taranto of OpinionJournal.com (fourth article, entitled “The Old Green Lady”)…
Haven’t we been hearing for years that President Bush was an arrogant fool for appearing on a ship with a banner saying “Mission Accomplished”?
But we can’t leave the House of Representatives out, now can we? Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is the current Speaker of the House. For those of you not up on your Constitution, this means that if President Bush and Vice President Cheney were to meet their demise, she would be the President. (I’ll pause while the shuddering stops…) Speaker Pelosi decided that, rather than leave international diplomacy to the Executive branch, where it should be, she would rather take it upon herself to begin visiting foreign heads of state. Of course, this trip started with Syria - a state sponsor of terrorism with whom we are currently already working. I swear, sometimes I think that Democrats have never met a terrorist they didn’t like; either that, or they so hate President Bush that they’re falling into the “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” mentality. Either way, it’s dangerous for our nation. And, when the House recently enacted a minimum wage increase, American Samoa was exempted. Why was that? Seems StarKist tuna, a subsidiary of San Francisco-based Del Monte, employs nearly 75% of the island’s workforce. Rep. Pelosi’s district includes San Francisco. And the Democrats have the nerve to say the Republicans have a “culture of corruption”?!?!?
This is the same problem that is now plaguing the emergency funding bill, flailing nearly three months after it was requested. Congress has passed a bill - but it was so loaded with pork that neither Jews nor Muslims would come within a mile of it! “Bringing home the bacon” has always been an art form in Washington, D. C.; but to stock up on the backs of the troops on the ground is beyond reprehensible. Coming back to the article that started this, the situation is so bad that the Army is considering borrowing from its sister services. But, pork is not the only thing holding up this bill.
The Bush administration has requested an additional $100 billion in war funding, but the request has stalled as Congress tied those funds to a deadline for withdrawing troops from Iraq. President Bush has vowed to veto such a bill, leaving the Army with little funds to carry out its mission in Iraq.
The timetable! Not only does this Congress want to usurp foreign policy and diplomacy, they want to usurp the Commander-in-Chief duties as well! I applaud any vetoes of the bill that contain these treasons, un-Constitutional provisions, and I hope that all the blame for the funding delay falls squarely on the shoulders of those responsible - the power-hungry, overreaching Democrats in Congress.
But hey - if we miss a paycheck, we can just tighten our belts, right? Here are some of the money-saving initiatives the Army is considering…
Among the belt-tightening measures being considered by the Army are a freeze on new civilian hiring from outside the Army and laying off temporary employees, the statement said.
According to the Army statement, beginning in mid-April, the Army will slow the purchase of repair parts and other supplies, relying instead on existing inventory to keep equipment operational. Priority will be given to repair and refurbishment of immediately needed war-fighting equipment, while training and other nonmission critical equipment repair will be deferred, officials said.
In addition, the purchase of day-to-day supplies with government charge cards will be restricted, nonessential travel will be postponed or canceled, and shipment of equipment and supplies will be restricted or deferred altogether, unless needed immediately for war efforts, the statement said.
Well, that doesn’t sound too bad, right? “Nonmission critical,” “nonessential” things will be canceled, while “immediate needs” will be addressed. But in the lingo of the military, the things that are being foregone are not “nonessential.” Many things that are considered non-essential are essential when viewed long-term. What the Army is saying is that they’re basically going to let everything slip, things go unfixed, and soldiers go untrained so that they can afford the immediate need. This is not sustainable - and, the Army went on to say (emphasis mine)…
…even with these spending restrictions and the possible shift of $1.6 billion from the Air Force and Navy, funds are sufficient to keep operations running only until the end of June.
So, we’ve dropped all the replenishment and taken the Air Force’s and Navy’s payroll money, and we’ve only bought 2 months. This is absolutely despicable. Congress needs to get off its collective duff and get the military the money it needs.
I’ll close with this. In this country, we have always disagreed about when, where, and to what extent our military should get involved. Prior to Vietnam, though, the side that didn’t get their way shut up and supported the troops and their mission, through to its completion. In Vietnam, this changed; and our government’s failure to prosecute treason back then is one reason the Democrats are so bold today. Whether they actually want America to fail, or they just want President Bush to fail so badly that they don’t care if he takes America down with him, they have now invested themselves in our defeat. If this isn’t treason, I don’t know what is.
Several things are converging at once, and I believe they’re related. Tuesday was a busy day, so I’ll explain each, and then how they could be.
First, the hard-working 101st Congress started their 4-day work-week, after taking Monday off for the BCS championship game. (They should have taken Tuesday off instead of Monday, so they could sleep in Tuesday morning after the late finish.) This is the now Democrat-controlled House and Senate - the legislative body we’ll have to deal with for the next two years.
Second, we have Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), on the heels of his joint letter with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) expressing opposition to increasing troop levels, announced that there will be a symbolic resolution voted on in the Senate next week opposing any escalation in the war in Iraq. (This is in the 4th paragraph under the heading “Dems considering options”.) That link also has a full story on the bill that Senator Edward “Ted” Kennedy (D-MA) introduced to require Congressional approval for any troop increases in Iraq. This bill is a clear usurpation of executive power, and will not pass muster - however, its introduction and the accompanying rhetoric sends a message. (Mr. Kennedy also gave a speech at the National Press Club in which he was highly critical of the President and his Iraq policy. While I would love to give his speech the proper fisking it deserves (and may if I have the time), I’ll quote one of the more egregious portions here…)
But I do not retreat from the view that Iraq is George Bush’s Vietnam. At the critical moment in the war on terrorism, the administration turned away from pursuing Osama bin Laden and made the catastrophic choice instead that has bogged down America in an endless quagmire in Iraq.
Our misguided resort to war has created much more and much more intense anti-American feeling than Osama bin Laden ever dreamed of. And the sooner we reverse that distressing trend, the better.
I am convinced that John Kerry could have worked with the international community to end that war and bring our troops home with honor.
Third, the first open fighting of the year broke out in Baghdad, where Iraqi forces went after an insurgent stronghold after the insurgents killed over 100 people. The Iraqi forces called for US backup, and together they prevailed, but not after 10-hour firefight.
Are these three things related? If they are, there are two different ways that it could be. The most likely, and the way I believe these are related, is that the militant element in Iraq is emboldened by this new leadership. They hear the rhetoric from our newly-elected leaders, and they sense that the will of the American people may be waning. They feel that if they step up their attacks, and engage in open hostilities, that they will help those in this country who want us to pull out. We’ve known for a long time that terrorists prefer Democrats - remember Osama bin Laden’s tape before the 2004 elections, threatening states that voted for President Bush? If this is what this turns out to be, I pray that we have the will to fight off this renewed zeal on the part of the terrorists.
Another option is that the Congressional Democrats are using the fighting in Iraq as a political issue. (Of course, the media goes right along with them - look at the first paragraph of this story about Sen. Tim Johnson’s emergency brain surgery.) The worse the war goes, the better the Democrats look. I think that a lot of them are not realizing what this means. The Democrats have positioned themselves on the wrong side of this issue. If America loses the war, they win - their prognostications of doom and gloom will have been proved to be true, and they can give the rest of us a big “I told you so.” However, if America wins, they lose - and they will only be madder, and more resentful; they will never admit that our nation did the right thing by going into Iraq. Of course, in a way, they’ve already gotten a small victory; at the beginning, I never would have used the term “if America wins,” it would have been “when America wins.”
Where is the truth? Are these related at all? If they’re not directly related, then they are at least mutually beneficial - which should be enough for any of us that love truth and freedom (and don’&t want the blood of our brothers in arms to have been spilt in vain) to know what side we should be on. Contrary to what Congress seems to think, the American people do not elect and seat 435 "Commander-in-Chief"s every two years - we elect one every four years. For the next two years, there is one Commander in Chief, with a new Secretary of Defense. If the Democrats have ideas for how to win the war, then let them work together with the administration so that we will prevail. If all they have is grandstanding, naysaying, and threats of treasonous proportions, then they need to sit down and shut up.
Why would a patriotic American position themselves so that they are only validated if America loses? The short answer - they wouldn’t.
Here’s part 2 of the 3-part series “2006 Year in Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ridiculous.” While part 1 dealt with items that are bad on a ridiculous level, there is nothing humorous about these happenings during 2006.
I covered this in depth with my post “Why the Republicans Lost” earlier in the year. Now, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are going to be in control of the legislative branch. While our nation can survive, this does signal the end of many meaningful reforms. Immigration enforcement, strict-constructionist judicial nominees, and meaningful energy reforms are all distant memories. In their place we’ll get amnesty for illegal aliens, judicial activists, and economy-crushing minimum wage increases.
The majority of Americans don’t seem to understand that the latter is a ploy by union workers, who want raises but are contractually tied to a level above minimum wage. When it goes up, their pay goes up. However, businesses only have money as they collect it from their customers - increased payroll expense will only drive prices higher, at which point the buying power of the new minimum wage is about the same as the buying power of the old. Higher minimum wage levels also reduce the number of entry-level jobs held by students and retirees - I’m really surprised that the same party who panders to seniors and says that everything they want to do is “for the children” is in favor of such a move.
The Supreme Court decision in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld established that military tribunals could not be used to try detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. This ruling, in effect, gave unlawful combatants official status, and required that they be given access to our justice system. President Bush asked Congress to clarify rules for detainee treatment, leading to what some have dubbed the “Terrorist Bill of Rights.” During debate on this and other bills throughout the year, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and others were adamant about adding “no torture” language into bills. Techniques such as water-boarding (where a person feels like they’re drowning, but they really aren’t), which had been used to extract intelligence that prevented attacks, were now no longer allowed.
This is a trend that I hope and pray does not continue into 2007. We Americans are gracious to our enemies, sometimes to a fault. But, there comes a point when we need to realize that they are our enemies. When they take up arms against us, when they align themselves with organizations that have, as their stated goals, the destruction of our nation - if we capture you, expect to be made to talk.
Eight Marines have been charged with murder and other charges relating to an incident in the Iraqi town of Haditha. These men were part of a patrol in this city, when their patrol was attacked with an IED (improvised explosive device). After the IED went off, they were also receiving hostile fire from both sides of the street. As their training taught them, they laid down suppressive fire to remove the casualties that they had taken, then launched a counter-offensive to kill the insurgents that had inflicted this attack on them.
Once the shooting had stopped, some of the Iraqis in that town began complaining about the counter-offensive, saying that the people who had been killed were innocent civilians who had nothing to do with the attack. These stories were often contradictory, but that didn’t matter to the folks here who never miss a chance to broadcast bad news. The link above is very lengthy (and the other information it links are also lengthy), but it is a detailed analysis as to what happened that day, and how it is being prosecuted. Even an embedded CNN reporter does not believe these allegations.
This is disgraceful, and I hope that the court-martial comes out in favor of these dedicated Marines. “War is hell” isn’t just a quip - it’s reality.
With current concerns over terrorism, and nukes that Russia can’t find, two nations hostile to the United States declared their nuclear capabilities this year. North Korea has been testing missiles (although these tests were, by all accounts, an abject failure) and nuclear warheads. Iran claims that their nuclear capability is only to be used for power. Why do I not trust Iran? Let me count the ways… They are the primary supplier of personnel and weapons for the insurgency in Iraq. They teamed up with Syria to support Hezbollah in their attacks on Israel earlier this year. They hosted a holocaust denial conference. And that was all this year!
All nations have a right to defend themselves. However, when these nations have proved themselves hostile to us and friendly to our enemies, we must demand that they pursue their defense using conventional weapons.
That is certainly not all of the bad things that happened this year, but I believe they are some that will have the most enduring impression on our world and our nation. Next up - the good!