Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Democrats in a Quagmire

CNN has an interesting article on their website entitled Democrats struggle with next step on Iraq. After passing a non-binding resolution in the House, and working the following weekend in the Senate without passing the resolution, the Democrats seem to be a little confused on how to proceed.

This week, Rep Jack Murtha of Pennsylvania began discussing legislation he would like to use to prevent any reinforcements from going to Iraq. He has said he will tie readiness requirements to funding bills for troop deployments. At face value this might not be a bad idea. Murtha would put requirements on how much training, equipment, and time away from Iraq any particular unit needed before it could be deployed to Iraq. Murtha has said the limits he has sent are unachievable, and would prevent any troops from being deployed to Iraq. Murtha’s message would be loud and clear: Troops, you are on your own.

However, the Democratic leaders in both the House and Senate are unsure how they want to proceed. Speaker Pelosi has been non-committal on Murtha’s proposal, but is quoted in the AP article as saying, “Let me be very clear: Congress will fund our troops.” Senate Majority Leader Reid wishes to table the discussion on Iraq entirely. He plans on taking up debate on the 9/11 commission. Discussing when the Senate might pick up the debate on Iraq, Reid said, “Iraq is going to be there – it’s just a question of when we get back to it.” The article also quotes him as saying it would be days and not weeks before the Senate came back to the issue. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) stated that he understood there were some that thought the Senate should continue the debate on Iraq. However, both Durbin and Reid think they can implement all of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations quickly. Because of the emotional nature of some of the recommendations, and the fact that they haven’t been implemented yet, it might take some time before the Senate could agree on what recommendations to implement.

The article illustrates that the Democratic leadership is confused and unsure when it comes to the Iraq debate. The Senate is moving on to other things. Pelosi and Reid seem to be on different pages on what to do next. All of this illustrates one point: The Founding Fathers were right to give power to carry out a war to the Commander in Chief and not to the Congress. If the Congress can’t even make up its collective minds on how to proceed with the debate, how are they possibly going to manage a war requiring quick decisions? Reid and Pelosi may want to direct how we proceed in Iraq, but the Constitution says only Bush gets to make that decision. I think the way Congress has acted over the last few weeks illustrates why the Constitution decided one person could make decisions quicker than a collection of hundreds.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

What if we win?

Could the President’s new path forward be working? There are some early signs of success, but it is still too early to tell. There have been some significant clashes between US forces and insurgents, militia leaders have fled or gone underground, and the Iraqi government is saying that there has been a decline in the number of dead bodies the police forces are finding each day. At the same time, the terrorist are now using their own form of a dirty bomb.

I think whether you believe in the surge or not, most people hope and pray it works. Americans want success in Iraq. Americans don’t like to loose. Based on the comments from many Democrats, I wonder if the Democratic Party wants success, or is hoping for a defeat. The Democrats have announced they are going to try to prevent reinforcements from going to Iraq; and they are going to try to prevent the President from doing what he thinks he needs to do to win. To me, that doesn’t sound like the Democrats want a victory in Iraq. They either want defeat, or at best, just want us to leave. Which brings the question, what happens to those Democrats and Republicans who are against the war right now, and against the President’s new path, if we do win?

Most Democrats and a few Republicans seem to be betting their political career on a failed war in Iraq. I believe these elected officials are doing everything in their power (knowingly or not) to bring about the same end to this war that Vietnam suffered from. The US didn’t loose in Vietnam, we gave up. In Iraq, we can win, but we will have to stay with it, probably into the next presidency.

If the President’s policy works, then those Democrats like Murtha, Reid, and Pelosi who are doing everything they can to try and bleed our forces dry will be in a tough spot. In an interview this week, Vice President Cheney pointed out we have had successes in Iraq. We have removed Saddam from power. We have had elections in Iraq. There is a constitution written in Iraq. Saddam had his day in court, and was executed. If we are able to defeat the terrorist and insurgents now battling us in Iraq, and leave Iraq with the democratically elected government able to handle its own affairs, then we will have done something incredible in Iraq. The Democrats (and some Republicans) will be on the record saying there is no way for the surge to work. They will be on the record saying we should run away from Iraq. Will that affect their re-election chances? Will it affect the chances of a Democratic Nominee winning the White House in 2008 or even in 2012?

Friday, February 23, 2007

A World Without America

This is from a British website that is trying to remind the world of the great things America has done. Enjoy:

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Book Review: Because They Hate

I have seen many reports and specials on the Middle East that feature commentary by Brigitte Gabriel. When I heard about her book Because They Hate, I wanted to read it for two reasons. First, I have always been impressed with her knowledge of the Middle East and her understanding of militant Islam. Second, I wanted to hear the story of someone who grew up in the Middle East and I was curious how that might affect her thoughts on what is happening in the Middle East today.

Because they Hate is an incredible account of a Christian growing up in Lebanon. She describes her life before Militant Islamic Fanatics came to her country and started killing Christians in the mid 1970’s. The first attack on her city destroyed her home and almost killed her. She describes how her family was able to survive the constant attacks by Muslims and some of the ordeals her family survived.

One of the tactics Mrs. Gabriel describes was designed to kill Jews in Israel and Christians in Lebanon. The Muslims would set up weapons in a Christian area, fire at Israel and leave. Once their rockets hit Israel, Israel would return fire, hitting the Christian area. She also described what life was like hiding from snipers, and trying to dodge bombs while hoping the Americans would come to their rescue. When a UN peace force was later placed in Lebanon to secure peace, she didn’t feel there was any difference from before the UN force arrived.

Mrs. Gabriel would survive the war in Lebanon and go on to anchor a prominent news show in the Middle East. She details how that changed her life. She was given access to news stories from around the world, without any Arabic spin put on the stories. She would compare the information she was given with what was being reported throughout the Middle East. Sometimes the difference was like night and day.

Because They Hate is also a warning to the United States and the West. Mrs. Gabriel warns that terrorist and Islamic religious authorities say they want to destroy our country and they will succeed if we don’t start taking them seriously and act accordingly. She argues that many Islamic Scholars are teaching hate towards Israel and the United States. Some of this teaching is even occurring on our campuses here in the United States.

As cliché as it may sound, I think all Americans need to read this book. This is an account of a woman who has seen first hand the terrible face of Islamic fundamentalist. Her native country was destroyed by the same people who would like to attack us. She wrote this book as a warning to the United States. She is now an American citizen and doesn’t want the same fate to happen to our country as it did to her native country.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Was Islam involved in the Utah shootings?

As authorities, the media, and family members search for a reason for the brutal murders at a mall on Monday, Robert Spencer points out a fact I haven’t heard covered anywhere else. Sulejmen Talovic killed five people and wounded four in a Salt Lake City mall before police shot and killed him. The new piece of information is that Sulejmen was also a Bosnian Muslim.

We may never know what caused Sulejmen to do what he did. However, if we can understand what led to it, maybe we can prevent it from happening again. Does it matter that he was Muslim? Maybe it does, maybe it doesn’t. However, Robert Spencer reminds us of a few things that have happened recently in the United States:

Ismail Yassin Mohamed stole a car in Minneapolis and, after he rammed the car into other cars, he stole a van and continued to hit random cars. Reportedly he said, “Allah made me do it.”

Ommed Aziz Popal killed one and injured fourteen during a drive through San Francisco in August of 2006. He targeted people in crosswalks and sidewalks. He initially identified himself as a terrorist.

Naveed Afzal Haq killed one and injured five more in July of 2006 at a Jewish Center in Seattle. Before he started shooting people, he said, “I’m a Muslim American; I’m angry at Israel.”

Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar drove an SUV onto the University of North Carolina campus trying to kill people but instead injured nine. At a court appearance he said he was, “thankful for the opportunity to spread the will of Allah.”

From what I have seen, the authorities are not labeling these as terrorist incidents. However, all five incidents involved Muslims killing or trying to kill people here in the United States. In some of the cases, these people even invoked Allah. Does it matter that these people were Muslim or is it a freak coincidence? The authorities should be looking into the Muslim connection. What was being taught at the Mosque where these individuals were attending before they started their rampages? These incidents alone don’t mean that Islam is involved, but we would be foolish to dismiss the connection out of some sort of political correctness fear.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Congress helping our Enemies?

As the Democrats continue to push the definition of “treason”, al-Zawahiri released a video tape message proving what critics of the Democrat Party have been saying. Republicans, General Petraeus, and many others, have said that passing a resolution condemning the Presidents new way forward would do nothing to change our Presidents policy but would give hope to our enemies. I wrote a few weeks ago about the dangers of this discussion. Now we are starting to see the results of just the discussion.

Under questing by the Senate, General Petraeus said that a move to condemn the President would give hope and support to our enemies. Just the continue talk of this debate is giving Al-Queda more ammunition, and is hurting our allies. Quoting CNN: “Calling the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan, allied with the United States, ‘traitors,’ al-Zawahiri warned that the United States ‘is about to depart and abandon them, just as it abandoned their like in Vietnam.”

Giving our enemies “aid and comfort” is treason. Democrats and Republicans in Congress need to realize that their words are being reported in the Middle East. Our enemies our praying to Allah for an end to the Iraqi War similar to the end of the Vietnam War. We didn’t loose in Vietnam, we beat ourselves. Iran, Syria, Al-Queda, Hezbollah and many others are eager to see an American Helicopter pulling off a crowded embassy in Baghdad. Our allies in Iraq and Afghanistan are wondering if that will be the last images they see as the armies of our enemies sweep in and take control.

The Democrats in Congress and the Republicans helping them are acting like children. Congress is rushing to condemn a plan that hasn’t fully been implemented yet. Some would argue we are already seeing some results of this plan. Muqtada Al-Sadr has reportedly fled the country. Today, US troops went house to house in Baghdad grapping insurgents and weapons as they went. The Statesman of both parties must come forward and end this debate before it provides more help to our enemies. We are in a war for the existence of America. Those who would vote for a “non-binding resolution” need to take a step back and realize the damage they have already caused.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Its time for the US to tell Iran how we feel.

The United States has found explosives, rocket propelled grenades, high-tech rifles, and personnel supplied to the Iraqi insurgents by Iran. Iran has had an active roll in killing American service men and women. A report from the European Union today says it believes the only thing preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon is technical limits. The EU now believes that economic sanctions and diplomacy will not prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Iran has been at war with the United States since the early 1980’s. Hezbollah was founded by Iran. Iran continues to direct the “Party of God” today and provide it with support and funding.

Iran through Hezbollah has been responsible for some of the worst terrorist attacks against the United State. Before September 11, 2001, Hezbollah had killed more Americans than any other terrorist group. Perhaps one of the worst Hezbollah attacks was at the Marine Barracks in Beirut in October of 1983. 241 American Military were killed in the attack. Our forces were part of a peace-keeping force during that attack.

What would Iran or Hezbollah do with a nuclear weapon? Is there anyone who doubts they would try to use it? If the EU believes diplomacy will no longer work, then there is very little chance of Iran negotiating with the “Great Satan”.

This leaves us with the question, “What should we do about Iran?” There are very few people out there who would argue for a land invasion of Iran. Realistically, I feel we must strengthen the boarders with Iran. It is also time to consider air strikes on Iranian locations. I have seen reports that a third carrier group is en route that theatre. This should give us plenty of Air power to keep Iran busy and out of Iraq.

Iran must be made to feel that their best interest lies in staying out of Iraq. Iranian officials may enjoy seeing the debate between different political groups within the United States. Iran needs to understand that if they want to provide weapons, training, and men to our enemies, then they will be treated as our enemies.


After posting this I saw a story on Fox News saying that the Iraqi borders with Iran and with Syria are going to be closed for 72 hours. Curfews are going to be extended as well. I think this is a good step in the right direction, I truly believe this looks like a new strategy in Iraq.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Did the Holocaust cause Global Warming?

The “scientific debate” surrounding Global Warming has reared its ugly head again this week. The worst of the debate appeared in The Boston Globe yesterday. In an article entitled “No change in political climate”, Mrs. Ellen Goodman says people who question the science behind mankind’s role in global warming are the same as those who deny the Holocaust happened. Mrs. Goodman states, “Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.”

Mrs. Goodman would have us believe that those who question whether or not Global Warming is a product of our own practices are on a par with a brutal regime that killed around 5.1 million Jews. I cannot overstate the viscous brutality of the Nazi’s that tried to wipe out an entire race of people. I have a friend whose Grandfather survived the holocaust. Listening to his Grandfather speak of the family members he lost is something that cannot be put into words. Those who question the Holocaust do so for political reasons, typically with the agenda of wanting to continue the destruction of the Jewish people.

Mrs. Goodman irresponsibly compares the Nazi’s with individuals, politicians, and scientist who question the science behind manmade global warming. Scientist have questioned the work of their peers for as long as there have been scientist. It is part of the process. In the case of manmade global warming, there is science that refutes the global warming position.

Regardless of your position on the debate, this kind of rhetoric doesn’t help the process, and insults those who have been a victim of one of the worst human tragedies in our history.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Book Review : American Islam

American Islam by Paul M. Barrett is the story of Muslims in America before and after September 11, 2001. The book follows the lives of seven different individuals and how their lives are affected by Islam and the United States.

Mr. Barrett’s book is divided into eight chapters. Each of the individuals he follows gets their own chapter. They come from a diverse spectrum as one can tell from reading the Chapter Titles: The Publisher, The Scholar, The Iman, The Feminist, The Mystics, The Webmaster, and The Activist. His last chapter presents his conclusions from the book, and to some degree, outlines a way forward for Islam in America.

Each of the stories contained in American Islam are very well written. Some of the individuals I agreed with, some I didn’t. Regardless, I found myself caught up in the story of each of the Muslim’s in this book. The only exception is the chapter entitled The Webmaster. This chapter chronicles Sami Omar al-Hussayen who was tried under the Patriot Act. Mr. Barrett does a good job of presenting a balanced view of each of these people, again with the exception of al-Hussayen. This one chapter I found to be frustrating as it jumps around, and doesn’t seem to have any real flow to it. This doesn’t help the overall feel of the book because this is the longest chapter of the book and it is towards the end.

Of all the individuals, I found The Feminist the most interesting. This is the story of a Muslim woman in West Virginia who is fighting for equal rights for women within Islam. I was truly fascinated by her story and the trials she and her family have gone through in order to get where they are today. Ms. Asra Nomani has been able to make giant leaps at her local Mosque. It remains to be seen how the rest of the Muslim Society within America will respond to her desire for change.

I was very disappointed by the Conclusions section of Mr. Barrett’s book. According to Mr. Barrett, if Islam is to become more moderate in America, there are things that the American Government and Israel will need to do and sacrifice. Are there actions Muslims should take within Islam, like Ms Nomani? Are there organizations, actions, and sects that are trying to perverse and corrupt Islam that should be condemned? Are there Muslim groups within the US that should be condemned, and groups that should be protected? Mr. Barrett doesn’t talk about those issues.

In order for our Country to continue to survive, these questions need to be answered. Our government must protect all its citizens, regardless of faith. Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others are all the target of those who would kill in the name of Islam. Mr. Barrett’s book gave me a greater understanding of the diversity of Islam within our country. But there are tough questions that many Muslims must answer. After reading American Islam, I was left with the impression that many Muslims and Mr. Barrett aren’t ready to address those questions.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Senate Needs to Put-Up or Shut-Up

This week the Senate continued to waste time discussing non-binding resolutions in a hope that the President would change his mind about Iraq. President Bush knows that he doesn’t have the backing of Congress and he is aware the war in Iraq is unpopular. However, many of the same Senators that want to pass a non-binding resolution were wishing “God’s Speed” to General Petraeus after confirming him unanimously a week ago. Now they don’t want the General to have the tools he told them he needed to win the war.

Months ago these Senators were telling the President, “Stay the course is not an option!” The President changed his cabinet, changed commanders in Iraq, is sending more troops to Iraq, and is providing economic and political answers for problems in the Middle East. That isn’t “stay the course”. However, because the President’s last name is Bush, the Senate wants him to abandon Iraq. They want our troops to leave. If our troops leave, the United States will be forced to face a military loss and will have to question its standing as the world’s lone superpower.

If the Senate truly believes the President is doing the wrong thing, the only constitutional power they have is budgetary. They can basically “de-fund” the troops. This would definitely bring a close to the Iraq war, though probably not an end most Americans would want. There would be catastrophic consequences, but if the Senate believes this is the way to go, then they should do the job they were elected to do.

If this is a political stunt, then the Senate is simply giving ammunition to our enemy. Al-Queda and other terrorist organizations have shown time and time again they pay close attention to our news and politics. They have also shown they know how to use the internet as a weapon. A resolution telling the President he doesn’t have the support of the country will play over and over and over in the Middle East. It will also appear on numerous jihad websites within minute of the Senate passing it.

The Senate needs to make an important decision: Are they willing to risk the future of the country in order to make a President look bad? If they are, then they can pursue the non-binding resolution and tell the troops they are on their own. If they aren’t, then they need to put this behind them and get on with doing the jobs they were elected to do.