Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Reporting on the reporters

We shouldn't be surprised about another instance of poor reporting, this time from the Associated Press.

The QandO blog looks at a speech by Donald Rumsfeld to the American Legion, particularly how AP writer Robert Burns "interpreted" it. You must look at their work to get the full effect.

As they conclude: "And you wonder how myths and memes get started?"

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Enemy Within

This is a little old but worthwhile. Michael Barone, in his weekly column, wrote an excellent piece on "our covert enemies." They are those within our society that despise Western ideals and espouse moral relativism. His conclusion:

We have always had our covert enemies, but their numbers were few until the 1960s. But then the elite young men who declined to serve in the military during the Vietnam War set out to write a narrative in which they, rather than those who obeyed the call to duty, were the heroes. They have propagated their ideas through the universities, the schools and mainstream media to the point that they are the default assumptions of millions. Our covert enemies don't want the Islamo-fascists to win. But in some corner of their hearts, they would like us to lose.

In his blog he mentioned some criticism of the piece. I think his conclusions are completely valid.

Friday, August 25, 2006


Many of you might have heard reports of the IDF deliberately targeting Red Cross ambulances in Lebanon. The image to the left was highly circulated and reported on throughout the world.

The apparent bulls-eye shot of the Israeli missile was enough to propel this into a huge story world-wide.

Fortunately, such a tale is likely untrue.

Zombie has done extensive research examining photographs of the ambulance in question and combing over statements from those allegedly involved.

Most compelling to me are the facts that at the spot where the supposed missile pierced the ambulance roof, there just happens to be air vents of the exact same diameter on other ambulances. In addition, the bullet/shrapnel holes are entirely rusted. While the case isn't exactly closed, it makes the claims that the ambulance was bombed entirely implausible.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Consider the future

Abortion is such an ugly topic. The act itself is ugly, and the feelings is provokes are no less so. I don't want to get into those. I just wanted to bring your attention to an excellent article written in today's Opinion Journal by Julia Gorin of

It is not a plea to pro-life militancy. It is a gentle urging to consider what might be, to review the real impact that a choice may have many years hence.

I hope you will read it, print it, forward it. It is a worthy effort.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


Info on Mexican politics at Spanish Phrase of the Day.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Term Limits

I have been a proponent of term limits for a long time. I feel it was the intention of our forefathers that Congress would be composed of citizen legislators, rather than the professional sort we are subjected to today. The entrenchment of incumbents in Congress leads to greater influence by special interest groups, as well as the morass that passes for legislation these days. The complexity of Congress' workings is nothing more than a barrier to entry, and it poses no benefit to the nation.

Voters like term limits. As a matter of principle, they like to know that the powerful people won't be powerful forever. They would like to know that the power of the purse is held by people more in tune with their ideas. Greater turnover in Congress would seem to provide such a fresh perspective. Unfortunately, term limits for the United States Congress will only come as part of a Consitutional amendment, and it seems highly unlikely that our self-interested representatives will become involved with that. Voters must be content to focus on states and municipalities, and they have been.

In today's Opinion Journal, John Fund writes about the fight over term limits. Take a look, and see if you don't agree with me.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Neocon is not a bad word

Over a year ago I received a copy of an article by Norman Podhoretx, former editor of the journal Commentary and ardent supporter of the Bush Doctrine. A shortened version was published on Opinion Journal (still a lengthy piece). It is as good an articulation of the doctrine as anything else I've read.

I bring it up because the WSJ did a nice piece on Podhoretz, and if you are going to understand why he so ardently supportive of the War on Terror, you need to understand a little bit more about him. It is a worthy piece. Some of my favorite parts:

On the urgency of World War IV:

Does the president understand? Grant that there are no easy answers: Hasn't the administration, on the more intractable questions of Syria and Iran, shown by and large the same weakening of resolve? Mr. Podhoretz winces. The question seems to set his teeth on edge. "There are people who ask George Bush to do everything at once," he declares, "instead of picking his shots and moving at a politically viable pace. It's nice as an intellectual exercise, but what is the point of demanding things that no democratic political leader, not even George Bush, could conceivably do at this time? To my mind it's a kind of right-wing utopianism."

On the difficulties in Iraq:

Mr. Podhoretz attributes the troubles of reconstruction as much to our own irresolution as to what he calls "the recalcitrance and obduracy of the region." "The only reason in my opinion that we're having as much trouble as we're having in Iraq is that we're not getting intelligence. You cannot fight a revanchist insurgency and certainly not one that uses terrorist tactics without good intelligence . . . and you can only get that kind of intelligence by squeezing it out of prisoners. That's all there is to it."
Both domestic opposition and the international community, unhappily, are "defining torture down. The things they're calling 'torture' now have never been and have no business being considered torture." He keeps on: "It is an effort to disarm us that's succeeding to a frightening extent. No, it's worse than that. They're trying to make it impossible to fight terrorism. . . . Every weapon that's been developed to protect us from terrorism, and the Iraqis from internal terrorism, is under assault."

He doesn't mince words or apologize, and he understands the difference between formulating a larger world view and policymaking. Podhoretz voice has been among the most consistent and thoughtful supporters of the war against Islamofascism. An archive search on Opinion Journal yields pages of hits. It doesn't take long to see why.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Lessons From Iwo

I know I mentioned it before but I think everyone should read the book Flags of our Fathers.

You've always heard that history repeats itself, or at least it has familiar ripples, and I think we have much to learn from WWII. In particular, as the Marines started taking island after island in the Pacific from the Japanese, the Emperor was faced with a few choices. His military commanders advised him that they would ultimately fail in defending the islands including the great island of Japan. The Emperor and his commanders concluded that perhaps their only hope was to force the US to realize that the cost in taking the islands would be so great that they would ultimately engage in some type of negotiations.

The Japanese realized that while militarily they would be doomed, their one real chance of success lied with the American people and its resolve to see it through. So the Japanese decided to dig in on the Pacific islands, building huge underground caves and cities, and ordering their soldiers to fight until the death with no option of surrender.

If the Japanese could inflict huge losses of life on the American forces, then the public back home might grow too uneasy with the casualties and pressure the Administration to negotiate with Japan.

History proved that while the Marines suffered much to advance just a few yards on every island they took, the American public was resolute.

In much the same way, the terrorists and insurgents of Iraq and accross the globe realize that militarily they are doomed to failure. Despite dressing as normal citizens and hiding behind women and children, they realize that they are just prolonging their inevitable failure. Their only hope, like the Japanese in WWII, is to try to weaken American resolve by making it as painful as possible. A large part of this includes using the Media as a tool in its hands. The Media was all to willing as the word "quagmire" came up just days after the invasion of Iraq.

It remains to be seen whether the American public has the same fortitude as that of the "Greatest Generation."

Friday, August 11, 2006

Responses to terrorism arrests

I was listening to Michael Savage on the way home yesterday and a Muslim called in and said that he thought the British police were framing the 21 muslims that got arrested, and that they were innocent. Savage's response was stupid and rude, but even worse, he missed the best response. "Do you have any evidence to support this belief? What are the facts that have led you to believe this?" The guy would rather believe that police in several different countries were all out to get these few people, than that someone from his "community" (Islam) were actually guilty. I think its very similar to the way the black community often comes out in support of other blacks arrested by the police. It seems like the facts of the case don't matter, since the police are percieved to be racist and to be capable of altering the evidence.

This blaming others approach does two things. It gives the communities a impenetrable defense againt reason, since any fact against their fellows are obviously faked. And it adds to the perception among those on the outside that these communities are more interested in defending their own than in riding society of criminals,

Also, there's CAIR, the council on american islamic relations or something like that. Yesterday president Bush made the mistake of mentioning that the terrorists are supportive of a dictatorial islamic regime, or in his (and other's) words, that they are Islamofacists. CAIRs response (in part):

"You have on many occasions said Islam is a 'religion of peace.' Today you equated the religion of peace with the ugliness of fascism.
"The use of ill-defined hot button terms such as 'Islamic fascists,' 'militant jihadism,' 'Islamic radicalism,' or 'totalitarian Islamic empire,' harms our nation's image and interests worldwide, particularly in the Islamic world. It feeds the perception that the war on terror is actually a war on Islam. . .
"American Muslims stand ready to serve as a bridge of understanding to the Islamic world. We can best fulfill that role by offering advice that can help prevent misperceptions and misunderstandings between different nations and cultures."

Here's a good response to CAIRs response:
You complain about George W. Bush's use of a perfectly legitimate term you don't like on the day news of a massive terror plot breaks, so I get e-mails like this one (and I have an inbox full of them this evening/morning):
There's no difference between CAIR and "Islamic Fascists." NONE! CAIR totally sympathizes with and embraces them. It's time to let go of the myths of "moderate muslims" or "moderate Arabs." They don't exist. There's no difference between Sunnis, Shia, Shiites or whatever. They ALL want to kill us.
I cannot help but think that if anyone is fueling anti-Muslim bigotry right about
now, it is a group like CAIR who is doing it by raising the wrong fears and condemning the wrong people. George Bush, Rick Santorum, etc. help Muslims by defining our enemy as Islamofascists. You ought to take that ball and roll with it, moderate Muslims (you're out there, I've met you, I know it) — you need to make clear terrorists do not speak for you and your religion and groups who only serve to confuse things and stoke anger by misdirected outrage don't represent you. I don't speak Arabic and read the Koran so I can't do it. You who do, you might want to speak louder — we could all use your voice.

I agree with the "take that ball and role with it." By purporting that calling someone an islamic fascist is the same as calling all muslims fascists, CAIR either shows their failure to master English, or their true agenda in defending all muslims, wether fascists or not.
There are muslim fascists, who are willing and eager to kill infidels to further the goal of the caliphate. There are moderate muslims who are willing to live and let live (literally). CAIR would do well to point out and highlight the distinction, not to cover it up.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

More Gore the Energy ...

I have been longing for an article like this, about our dear friend Al Gore, doomsayer extraordinaire. Could it be that he is not the ecophile he purports to be?

Al Gore owns oil stocks, receives royalties from an allegedly polluting zinc mine, and has failed to take advantage of eco-friendly energy near his D.C.-area home. I don't find any of these things personally offensive. I do think they demonstrate a clear example of hypocrisy. There is also this notion of buying "renewable energy credits" to live a carbon-neutral lifestyle. This concept has long bothered me, as it doesn't make a great deal of sense.

Read the article for more details.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Media Distortions- Then and Now

To those who watched closely the media debacle that was the Dan Rather/CBS national guard story, and who are currently following the whole Reuters doctored photos fiasco, I think it is too easy to simply assume that such errors are only creatures of modern day journalism.

I recently read the book Flags of our Fathers, which discusses in depth the lives of the six young soldiers who raised the flag on Mt. Suribachi on Iwo Jima. The photo taken at that precise moment is the most reproduced image of all time. In reading it I realized that the press was willfully ignorant to push a story/narrative that would present a false view of the facts. Contrary to press reports, the act of carrying and raising the flag on Mt. Suribachi was an anti-climatic event which was done without any enemy shots being fired. The bulk of the deaths occurred as the Marines tried to take the rest of the island. Despite these facts, the press intentionally added headlines and captions to paint an image that the flagraisers had to fight their way up the mountain and raised the flag in the midst of a hail of bullets and mortars.

In a very real sense, these journalists where attempting to paint a positive, inspiring picture of the war in the Pacific. While their intentions were good, their actions were not.

Fast forward fifty years and we face a press which is just as willing to distort the facts to fit a particular narrative, only the narrative is staunchly anti-American. While the journalists of yersteryear were perhaps too eager to praise allied efforts and lambast the enemy, modern day journalists are all to willing to second guess America and Israel, and give the benefit of the doubt to any other foreign nation or entity.

I'm not alone

Michael Barone highlights the results of an interesting poll conducted for the Los Angeles Times. Its result, significantly higher support for Israel from Republicans than Democrats, is interesting. One part of his analysis:

American Jews, of course, continue to vote overwhelmingly Democratic--only 25 percent for George W. Bush in 2004. But not all American Jews care deeply about Israel, and not all Americans who care deeply about Israel are Jews--not even most of them, I think. Orthodox Jews are more pro-Israel surely than Reform and secular Jews, and they are more likely to vote Republican. But evangelical Christians, who vote heavily Republican, are much more likely than average to be pro-Israel. It seems that support for Israel is highly correlated with having strong religious and moral beliefs, while opposition to or strong criticism of Israel is correlated with moral relativism. If you don't think one moral values system is necessarily better than any other, then you're not likely to care much about Israel.

I like his assessment. Read the rest.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Why I Support Israel

Various versions of this cartoon have been circulating for years. The recent war between Israel and Hizbullah remind me why it exists.

I don't know how any fair-minded person can object to the Israeli's use of force as a protective measure. The death of civilians is tragic, but it is a tragedy constructed by the Islamic terrorists that use civilians as shields.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Telling it Straight

This is a gutsy ad produced by a man running for Congress in North Carolina. He's a conservative who is uncomfortable with the way many Republicans are governing. It is a straight-shooting ad and worth a look.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Cuba merece la libertad

Sorry for the long absence. Family travel and work have kept me busy.

I just posted on the Cuba situation over at Spanish Phrase of the Day.