Monday, July 30, 2007

Gingrich and the New York Times

Chris Wallace (Fox News Sunday): Why do you think that some Democrats want to start pulling out troops even before General Petraeus gets a chance to issue his progress report in September?

Newt Gingrich: The left wing of the Democratic Party is deeply opposed to American victory and deeply committed to American Defeat.

In 1975, when there were no Americans left in Vietnam, the left wing of the Democratic Party killed the government of South Vietnam, cut off all of its funding, cut off all of its ammunition, and sent a signal to the world that the United States had abandoned its allies.

What I would say to any Democrat who wants America to leave is quite simple. Millions of Iraqis have sided with the United States. They are known in their neighborhoods. They are known in their cities. If we abandon them, they are going to be massacred.

How can you, in good conscience, walk away from these decent people and leave them behind to a fate which we've seen, for example, in Afghanistan, where the Taliban recently was machine-gunning girls as they walked to school because the Taliban is determined to stop women from getting educated?

We are faced with evil opponents. Those opponents need to be defeated. And if General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker come back in September and say, "We actually can win this thing," I want to understand the rationale that says, "No, we don't want to let America win. Let's legislate defeat for the United States."

--Parital transcript from Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace on July 29, 2007

Viewed from Iraq, where we spent eight days meeting with American and Iraqi military and civilian personnel, the political debate in Washington is surreal. The Bush administration has over four years lost essentially all credibility. Yet now the administration's critics, in part as a result, seem unaware of the significant changes taking place.

Here is the most important thing Americans need to understand: We are finally getting somewhere in Iraq, at least in military terms.

--Excerpt from A War We Just Might Win from the New York Times, July 30, 2007

[Emphasis mine]

The New York Times and Newt are agreeing on at least one point, we are making significant progress in Iraq. For an icon of the conservative movement, and a bastion of the liberal left to agree either means there is a coming apocalypse, or we should sit up and take note. Where McCain was laughed at for saying he could stroll through parts of Baghdad without body armor a few weeks ago, the New York Times now makes the same claim. Could it be that the United States is winning in Iraq?

The New York Times tempered their enthusiasm, with this cautious note,"… there is enough good happening on the battlefields of Iraq today that Congress should plan on sustaining the effort at least into 2008." But it is still optimism. Optimism seems to be something many of the Democrats in Congress and the Senate seem to lack. And consider what it means that a liberal newspaper is discussing the surge working in Iraq.

Newt is correct in describing the bloodbath that will happen if we leave Iraq. I have written on this site before about the dire consequences of pulling out of Iraq. There is no military force on the planet that can defeat the United States Military. Our enemies know that they can only win by turning public opinion in the United States against our military, by turning us against ourselves. The Democrats seem to have fallen for this tactic. However, if the New York Times can change its opinion, then it is time for Reid, Obama, Clinton, and the rest to reexamine their stance on the war. Will they be puppets to the ultra left wing of their party, or will they put aside their partisan differences and do what's right for the country.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Help Protect John Doe

The House and Senate Conference Committee on Homeland Security has been debating an amendment that should enjoy support from both the right and left. The amendment has been called the “John Doe” measure because it is designed to protect people when they report suspicious activity from being sued. The post 9/11 mantra of “If you see something, say something,” should be protected and encouraged.

This measure came about in response to the six “flying imams” who were taken off a Northwest Airlines flight last year. I wrote at the time that the actions of these imams were suspicious, and may have been done simply to get a reaction. After protesting in front of Northwest and after calling the passengers on the flight racist, the imams decided to attempt to sue the unknown passengers that reported them. I have said all along that I felt this was a planned attempt to weaken security at airports and to make passengers question whether they should say something about suspicious activities. Remember, these imams were causing a disturbance on the plane; they weren’t simply sitting in their seats and minding their own business.

After the imams announced plans to file suit, lawmakers quickly passed measures in both the House and the Senate to protect people who report suspicious activity. However, Democrats in the House and Senate Committee tried to block this measure from part of a new homeland security bill. Senator Pat Leahy spoke against it for some time on the floor. Luckily, concerned members of both chambers have been able to keep the measure in the bill thus far. However, these same Democrats are now talking about limiting the number of amendments to this bill so they can target the John Doe measure for removal.

Today, Fox News reported that TSA officials have issued an alert to be on the lookout for terrorist attempting a dry run with explosive components. The TSA sites increased seizures of improvised components as one of the reasons to issue the alert. One example given was of a device that was seized in San Diego. The device consisted of a checked bag with two ice packs wrapped in duct tape. The gel had been removed from the packs and replaced with clay.

It would appear the terrorist mean what they say when the promise to attack us on U.S. soil again. Why would any elected official, Democrat or Republican, want to put our citizens at risk by not protecting them? Shouldn’t concerned citizens be protected when they are making a good faith effort to alert law enforcement and protect themselves and others? Why would we allow lawsuits that may make people cautious about reporting suspicious behavior? I simply can’t see any reason someone in our government would be against this measure.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Feminism vs. Muslim Women?

I have often wondered why some of the most vocal critics of America’s involvement in Iraq are some of those who would have the most to loose under Sharia law. Where would the ACLU,, and assorted gay rights groups be if they were forced to live under Sharia Law. I don’t understand why some of these groups don’t make a common cause with those fighting for the same rights in Iraq and the Middle East.

For example, under Muslim law, women have very few rights. While most citizens in the Middle East have very little influence over their government, many women are in even worse shape. How often have we seen articles in the news about honor killings? How many female genital mutilations are performed in the Middle East without the consent of the girl being exposed to this barbaric practice? How many girls are sentenced to prison because they were raped?

I recently read an article in the Weekly Standard from May of 2007 by Christina Hoff Sommers that ask some of these same questions. She asks why there aren’t more demonstrations here in the United States to help women in Muslim countries. Ms. Sommers points out, “[d]uring the 1980’s, there were massive demonstrations on American campuses against racial apartheid in South Africa. There is no remotely comparable movement on today’s campuses against the gender apartheid prevalent in large parts of the world.” Ms. Sommers argues that while the, “…condition of Muslim women may be the most pressing women’s issue of our age...” too many feminist groups today are focused on attacking the United States and not on examining the condition of women outside of the U.S.

I did a random sampling of feminist groups in the United States to see if Ms. Sommers was being fair in her characterization of these groups. Very few of the websites I visited talked at all about women outside the United States. In a domestic violence study on the Center for the Advancement of Women, the group mentions talking to what it considers a diverse group: non-minority, African-American, Asian, Latina, adult and teenage women. Since the study does bring up religion, I was surprised there was no mention of Muslim women.

A more prominent group, The National Organization for Women (NOW), list as their top priorities: Abortion Rights / Reproductive Issues, Violence against Women, Constitutional Equality, Promoting Diversity / Ending Racism, Lesbian Rights, and Economic Justice. “Global Feminism” appears as bullet point five under “Other Important Issues”. You will be happy to know that at number four in this same category is “Fighting the Right”. Under “Global Feminism” the most recent article is dated October of 2006. I did a quick search on Google for “honor killings” and found articles on CNN, The Christian Science Monitor, and other sources much more recent than that.

However, not being active in any of these organizations, maybe I was missing something. Going back to the homepage for NOW, I looked to see what the most pressing issues facing today’s women are. The first article was “Breaking News: Cleavage on Display”. This insightful bit of reporting was referring to Hilary Clinton’s “brazen step” to wear a low neckline. Here is the link to the story if you think I am making this up. And this was the headline as of the writing of this article.

There are feminist movements active in the Middle East. Occasionally American feminist will try to help these movements only to be attacked by organizations such as NOW. In her article, Ms. Sommers points out that these movements are gaining some momentum, and that they don’t like what they see in their American counterparts. A 1998 book quoted in the article said that some Iraqi women’s advocates don’t like what they see as trying to divide men from women, and separating women from their family.

In her article, Mrs. Sommers points out, “A reviewer of Irshad Manji’s manifesto celebrating Islamic feminism aptly remarked, ‘This could be Osama bin Laden’s worst nightmare.’ Ipso facto, it should be our fondest dream.” American Feminist should take a step back from the political parties and look at their own ideals. If women’s issues, and especially all women’s issues, are what their organizations are about, how can they not support an effort to provide women in the Middle East with a stable democracy to live in? Are feminist in these groups so against the Republican party and George Bush that they would want the women of the Middle East to live in conditions they would never, ever, dream of here in the U.S.?

To drive the point home, the cover of The Weekly Standard with Ms. Sommers article shows three women who are coverd except for their face and their hands. The center woman has some hair showing on the top of her head. The caption for this cover is "Government agents in Tehran warn a woman about her clothing and hair during a crackdown to enforce the regime's dress code, April 22, 2007." Is this really the environment that NOW wants women living in?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

What Happens if We Leave Iraq?

There is a growing political argument to leave Iraq. Some Republicans have jumped ship to ask the President for a new course. The Senate exercised more political theatrics last night by staying up all night to debate calling for a withdrawal from Iraq. In the end, the bill failed. I think we have all seen a lot of debate on whether or not we should be in Iraq. But what would happen if we left?

As the war in Iraq has been fought, many have drawn comparisons with the U.S. war in Vietnam. At the end of the Vietnam War, the U.S. Military was winning on the ground. However, the political war was being lost. Much like then, our enemies in Iraq know that while they can’t beat our military, they can use our media to defeat our political will. There have been 3,600 military deaths in Iraq to date. For a “bloody civil war” that is a relatively low body count. The deaths in Iraq are nothing compared to what happened in Vietnam.

At the end of Vietnam, when our politicians voted to cut off all funding to our allies, there was an incredible blood bath. The North Vietnamese swept into South Vietnam and brutally killed and tortured untold numbers. The Khmer Rouge killed an estimated 2 million people in Cambodia. This was done in the name of giving the people of that region peace. Is this the peace we want for Iraq?

I think we should all take a step back and try to imagine a world where the President has given in to the demands of the Democratic Party and pulled out of Iraq. If we were to leave, Al-Queda and Iran would quickly carve up the pieces of Iraq they wanted like a Thanksgiving feast. Turkey would probably move in to grab the Kurdish area of Iraq. Iraqis would try to resist all of this. There would be violence in Iraq unlike anything we have seen there to date. Very likely, this violence would spread into the surrounding areas as well.

And in case you’re thinking, “That is tragic, but at least American soldiers won’t be trapped there anymore.” They wouldn’t be in Iraq, but they would still be in Afghanistan. What would that suddenly look like? Our enemies would draw their own comparisons. If they look back at our history, at Vietnam, at Beirut, at Somalia, and now at Iraq, what lesson would they learn? They would quickly learn that Osama bin Laden is right; if you hit the United States hard enough, it will walk away. If they study their history, what do you think they would do in Afghanistan? And how long before those same politicians who are now saying that we need to focus on Afghanistan decide that the death toll in Afghanistan is now too much?

People can argue on what the best course of action is in Iraq. Do we ignore the short term political gain for a possible long term gain with a stable Iraq? Do we stand by an ally and help to repair our image or do we live up to the “Paper Tiger” label? Do we decide that our military doesn’t know what it’s doing and 3,600 deaths is simply too many in war? And exactly what should we tell our allies that are now going to suffer violence we can only begin to imagine?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Visit Me at Textual Relations!

I have a post up at a site I just found called Textual Relations. This one is on some of the information coming out of Iraq. Drop by and let me know what you think. Also, let me know what you think of the site. I am always interested in what my readers think of the other sites I write for. If you like it, leave a comment, it might submit more stuff for them.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Global Cooling: A case study in Liberal Debate

A few weeks ago I posted a blog entry on a study by Canadian Geologist Dr. R. Timothy Patterson. In his study, Dr. Patterson used cores from Western Canadian fjords to argue that the sun is a primary driver behind Global Climate change on Earth. Dr. Patterson stated, "[o]ur finding of a direct correlation between variations in the brightness of the sun and earthly climate indicators (called "proxies") is not unique. Hundreds of other studies, using proxies from tree rings in Russia's Kola Peninsula to water levels of the Nile, show exactly the same thing: The sun appears to drive climate change." The purpose of my reviewing Dr. Patterson's work was not to convince my readers that "global cooling" was imminent. My intent was to highlight the work of a respected scientist who disagrees with the theory of "man-made global warming".

I believe man doesn't know enough about how the planet works, or how we affect the planet, to know if we are causing global warming. I have stated I believe there needs to be more research in the field. If individuals wish to change their lifestyle based on a belief in global warming, then good for them. Legislating how we are to live based on a knee jerk reaction to unproven science is dangerous and can have far reaching and unintended consequences.

My call for more study and debate has been met with the typical liberal hysterics. The first negative response to my article was to attack the character and reputation of Dr. Patterson. That was quickly followed by the always nefarious insinuation that he got, "…money from the oil and gas industry." While the critic (who was unwilling to identify himself) quickly stated that this money didn't mean he is on the take, it was, "…interesting."

Finally, a critic posted a response saying that Dr. Patterson had been, "definitively proven wrong". This very high sounding claim was made from a Reuters review of an opposing scientific study. This new study argued that the sun could not alone account for the temperature changes from the last two decades. Since my critic had posted a link to this article, I read it for myself to see what they had to say about Dr. Patterson. I found that there were a few conditions put into the study that I didn't understand. For example, the study has apparently taken out sunspot data. Dr. Patterson's study seemed to include sunspot data. The study also stated that there was, "…little doubt that solar variability has influenced the Earth's climate in the past and may well have been a factor in the first half of the century, but… researchers said it could not explain recent warming." This seemed contradictory to me. How can the sun not be a cause in global warming, and still have been a factor in the first half of the century? This new study seemed to focus in on temperature changes since 1980. Instead of a 1 degree over 100 year change, we are now focusing in on a 0.4 degree change over 20 years. The researchers seem to argue that a portion of that 0.4 degree is accounted for by the sun, but the remainder is due to man. The article does not state what percent that may or may not be. I posed these questions to my readers.

The response from my anonymous critic was not any sort of response to the science, but a quick post attacking me and my statements. While I wouldn't expect to change an opinion based on one study, my critics have insulted me for not doing that. Would someone who believes in man-made global warming change their minds after reading one argument against the position?

My criticism on the "man-made global warming" debate is that many who support this view don't like to discuss the facts. They wish to present a study or two, or even fall back on the bastion of truth that is the United Nations, then insult anyone who disagrees with them. They will attack a dissenter's character, ideals, and even question their funding before they will begin to discuss the facts. I invite everyone to read my original post and the subsequent comments. Look at who presents facts, and debates the issues, and who simply attacks and calls everyone else names.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Evil we face in Iraq

Rush Limbaugh and Bill Bennett have both talked about a story from Michael Yon's blog over the last couple of days. On Mr. Yon's blog, he lists a few other news sources that have run with the story. I was unable to find any of the big named media groups (except Fox News) on his list. This story needs to be reported and repeated until every American can repeat it word for word. Here is the part everyone is talking about:

The official reported that on a couple of occasions in Baqubah, al Qaeda invited to lunch families they wanted to convert to their way of thinking. In each instance, the family had a boy, he said, who was about 11 years old. As LT David Wallach interpreted the man's words, I saw Wallach go blank and silent. He stopped interpreting for a moment. I asked Wallach, "What did he say?" Wallach said that at these luncheons, the families were sat down to eat. And then their boy was brought in with his mouth stuffed. The boy had been baked. Al Qaeda served the boy to his family.

We are currently engaged in a war with enemies who are as evil as anything we have ever faced. Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and Hamas are all cut from the same cloth that made the Nazis and S. S. of World War II. Adolf Hitler and Osama bin Laden are kindred spirits cut from the same cloth. Democrats and some Republicans have been playing at being at war. It is time for America to realize exactly what it is up against.

This morning the New York Daily News ran an editorial by Senator Robert Byrd and Senator Hillary Clinton. The editorial is a great example of 9/10 thinking. I think it says a lot about a Presidential Candidate when she writes and editorial demanding we withdrawal from Iraq when there are atrocities like the one above being committed by our enemies. It says a lot about Mrs. Clinton that she would write an op-ed piece and share the byline with a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Mrs. Clinton and every Presidential candidate should proclaim that the United States will not allow this type of evil to attack Democracies.

This morning, after repeating the story of these families, Bill Bennett said that we must stay in Iraq even if we lose ten times as many soldiers as we have lost. I agree. We must commit this country to winning Iraq as if our own continuation depended on it. Democracies must protect other Democracies. As Dr. Bennett said, we cannot allow people like this to occupy the same planet as we do. Democracies must also protect mankind from the kind of evil that would commit this evil against another person. If the full plight of the Jewish people had been known during WW II, no one would have argued to withdraw from the War. How can we as sane people discuss withdrawing from this one, knowing what Al-Queda is likely to do when we leave?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Why we should stay in Iraq

For the past few weeks, the news from Iraq has taken a back seat. The papers have been taken with covering Paris Hilton, Scooter Libby, and the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill. Now that those stories seem to have played out, the press and many politicians are back on the attack with Iraq. Unfortunately, they are on the wrong side.

The United States is actively involved in a war that should be easy to support. We have liberated a country from an evil tyrant. We are fighting terrorist who would like any opportunity to kill us. We are fighting a proxy war against Iran. In case you have spent too much time following Paris Hilton, Iran is the country doing everything in it’s power to get a nuclear weapon to use against either a) Israel, b) Europe, c) the United States, or d) any and all of the above.

When boiled down to its basics, there really should be very little reason to oppose the war in Iraq. However, some have lost focus on why we are there, while others believe we have no right to be there. This second group doesn’t care what happens in Iraq. They want us out and they want us out now. For more information on this group, do a Google search for “Sheehan threatens Pelosi”.

The real dirty secret is that the plan we are executing in Iraq is starting to work. We still have a long way to go. In the words of David Kilcullen, “…this is the end of the beginning: we are now starting to put things onto a viable long-term footing.” Mr. Kilcullen would know. According to The Weekly Standard, he is a former Australian officer and an expert on counterinsurgency warfare. He is also finishing a tour of duty in Iraq. All of this puts him in a much better position to characterize what is happening in Iraq than many on the hill. Kilcullen also points out that we are now trying to clear “human terrain” and not physical terrain. The effort is now focused on marginalizing Al-Queda and extremist militias.

Natan Sharansky writes today, “People of goodwill can certainly disagree over how to handle Iraq, but human rights should be a part of any responsible calculus.” We have promised our help to an ally in Iraq. To withdraw now after relatively minor losses would be a terrible thing to do. Mr. Sharansky argues that if we leave now, we should be prepared for a much larger blood bath in both Iraq and the surrounding area. If we leave now, we should expect Iran to become the dominant force in the Middle East. Staying in Iraq, even for a long time, is in our best national interests and is the right thing to do.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Book Review: Epicenter

A co-worker recently gave me a copy of Epicenter by Joel Rosenberg to read. The co-worker reads my site from time to time and thought I might be interested in the book. He was dead on the money. Epicenter is a little under 300 pages, and it is a page turner.

I wasn’t familiar with Joel Rosenberg before reading this book. He has gotten a lot of attention because of his fictional books. His books The Last Jihad, The Last Days, The Ezekiel Option, and the Copper Scroll follow a fictional war between the United States and Islamic fundamentalist. The thing that has sparked a lot of interest is that these books seem to predict many of the major things that have happened in our real world before they happen. For example, in The Last Jihad, Mr. Rosenberg describes a suicide attack by terrorist against the United States using an airplane. He wrote this before September 11th. Other similarities his books seem to have predicted have included a U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Death of Yasser Arafat, Iran’s nuclear threat to Israel, and a Democratic and pro-west Iraqi government. Mr. Rosenberg points out that not everything he discusses in his books comes true. However, enough of them have come true that he has done interviews on CNN, MSNBC, CBN, the New York Times, and U.S. News and World Report.

Mr. Rosenberg is often asked where he has gained the knowledge to predict the events in his book. He believes world events must be looked at through the lens of politics and economics, but also the third lens of scripture. He and others are convinced that the biblical events in Ezekiel Chapters 38 and 39 are fast approaching. Ezekiel predicts an apocalyptic war called the war of Gog and Magog. Mr. Rosenberg argues that this is a coming war with Russia and Iran against Israel. Mr. Rosenberg wrote his books as if those events are coming true before our eyes. He has lived in the Middle East, and studied in Israel. In researching for his book Epicenter, he met with a list of prominent figures in the Middle East such as Benjamin Netanyahu and Natan Sharansky.

Mr. Rosenberg states that he wrote this book not to, “…persuade anyone of what is coming.” Instead, he lays out why he wrote the events in his fictional book and how he interprets Ezekiel. He leaves it up to the reader to decide if his arguments are accurate. He includes ten predictions he expects we will see in the coming years. He lays out his arguments in a way that is easy to understand and very hard to argue with. He includes the entire text of Ezekiel 38 and 39 for readers to see for themselves what is written there.

If you are interested in the Middle East or biblical prophesies, I would strongly encourage you to read Epicenter. As I read the book, I was struck by how many headlines from today’s papers seem to fit with the predictions of Epicenter.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy July 4th

Happy Independence Day to everyone out there. I hope your family and friends are safe today if they are traveling. Take some time to remember our soldiers, both at home and overseas, who have protected our nation since before July 4th, 1776.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Political Friends turns 100

With my last post on Iran, Political Friends reached 100 posts. I wanted to take a moment and thank everyone who reads the articles I post on here. I also wanted to say a special thank you for those of you who regularly comment on here. Keep checking back, I hope to have another successful 100.