Category ►►► Heroes of the Revolution
September 28, 2009
No, the Other Cheney Daughter
Very nice profile of Liz Cheney -- no, not that Cheney daughter; the older one -- in the New York Times. Not a single snarky comment, and they take her conservatism (or as some would have it, her neoconservatism) completely seriously:
Like her father, Ms. Cheney speaks in understated, almost academic cadences, head veering down into her notes. She also shares his willingness to pummel President Obama in stark, disdainful tones, not so much criticizing as taunting him.
“Mr. President, in a ticking time-bomb scenario, with American lives at stake,” she said, “are you really unwilling to subject a terrorist to enhanced interrogation to get information that would prevent an attack?”
By speech’s end, the crowd was standing, and the former vice president’s daughter was being mobbed for photos and hounded to run for office.
Liz Cheney is “a red state rock star,” declared Rebecca Wales, one of the organizers of this event, the “Smart Girls Summit.”
Maybe the Times, it is a changin'? (Nah; but occasionally, just for a change.)
March 23, 2008
Two Sundays ago I started watching a series so good, so compelling, so necessary, that if I didn’t already have HBO I would be forced to buy it just to watch this series.
The series is John Adams, and no, it’s not about the beer -- That’s Samuel Adams, anyway. But it is about his cousin, America’s second president, and one of the few people in history about whom it can be said that if he had not lived the United States might not have been born.
The series is in seven parts, and the first two parts were shown on Sunday. Don’t worry, HBO will show them again endlessly. If you want to see this series, you will be able to see it. And I urge you to do so.
It is based on David McCullough’s remarkable book of the same name, for which he won a Pulitzer in 2002. McCullough is probably our greatest living historian. He has certainly done more to popularize history than many historians, and he is particularly great at bringing alive the era of the birth of our nation, a time that many of us are rediscovering to our great delight and profit.
The series stars Paul Giamatti, one of America’s most talented actors, as Adams, and Laura Linney, equally talented, as his devoted wife, partner and confidant, Abigail Adams. It brings to life a Founding Father who, unlike Washington, wasn’t a god, who, unlike Jefferson, wasn’t a stone sphinx, and unlike Benjamin Franklin, wasn’t a walking book of aphorisms. He was completely lovable, completely irascible, and for a time, completely indispensable. We owe our freedom to him. Watch the series.
June 11, 2007
Shades of the Cuban Missile Crisis
In January this year, terrorists pretending to be American troops got through Iraqi security in the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center (Karbala JCC), managing to kill one US soldier and kidnap four. All four soldiers' bodies were eventually recovered; there was no sign of torture or post-mortem mutilation, which ruled out al-Qaeda.
The sophisticated nature of the operation clearly implied that perpatrators were Iranian Qods Force; but it seemed odd that they would kidnap soldiers from the center and then kill them, instead of either keeping them for interrogation and to try to trade for the al-Qods members we're holding -- or else just killing them outright at the Karbala JCC without attempting a difficult kidnapping.
But when Iranian forces directly kidnapped British sailors, all became clear: The first attempt was indeed intended to take American prisoners... but the Americans fought back; and the Iranians -- unable to transport them -- finally had to kill them. The Brits were a second-best choice; but they were more willing to give Iran the propaganda coup it so desperately wanted. And most important, the British sailors could be counted upon not to fight for their freedom, as Americans always do.
To paraphrase the Lord of the Rings, open war was upon us, whether we risk it or no.
Now, according to Bill Rogio, satellite imagery has discovered a mockup of the Karbala JCC inside Iran... conclusively proving that the murderous assault upon American soldiers was planned and carefully executed by the Revolutionary Guards and Qods Force and with full knowledge and approval of the ruling mullahs (reparagraphed for easier reading):
The January 20 attack the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center by the Iranian backed Qazali Network, which resulted in the kidnapping and murder of five U.S. soldiers, has long been known to be a Iranian planned and sponsored strike.
While Iran has insulated itself with its cutouts in the Qazali Network, Multinational Forces Iraq has captured members of the network as well as found documentation which proved Iran's complicity in the attack.
And now it has satellite imagery as well. Aviation Week and Space Technology reported in the June 4 edition that Iran build a mockup of the Karbala Provincial Joint Coordination Center inside its borders, which was used to train the attackers. The "training center" was discovered by a U.S. spy satellite surveying Iran.
The Qazali Network exists -- existed -- within Iraq; a part of a larger, Iranian-controlled Iraqi network, Qazali was set up to receive money, arms, and training from Qods Force. But we have broken it since the Karbala JCC attack:
On May 19, Coalition forces killed Azhar al-Dulaimi during a raid in Baghdad's Sadr City. Dullaimi was described as the "mastermind" and "tactical commander" of the Karbala attack. In March, U.S. forces captured Qais Qazali, the network's leader, his brother Laith Qazali, and several other members.
Multinational Forces Iraq has been heavily targeting the Qazali Network's "secret terror cells" as well as those of the Sheibani Network. Coalition and Iraqi forces killed 26 members of this network and captured 71 since April 27, 2007. Three more members of the "secret cell" were captured and another killed today.
The Sheibani Network the overarching organization that receives support, weapons, advice and targeting from Iran's Qods Force. Senior members of the Qazali and Sheibani Networks are members of Iran's Qods Force.
We don't know for sure, of course; but it seems likely that these satellite pictures were part of the evidence that persuaded Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT, 75%D) to call for the Pentagon to draft plans to attack Iran:
"I think we've got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq," the Connecticut independent said during an appearance on CBS' "Face the Nation." "And to me, that would include a strike over the border into Iran, where we have good evidence that they have a base at which they are training these people coming back into Iraq to kill our soldiers."
There is no question but that Lieberman is right about one thing: We are currently in a hot war with Iran -- and we are fighting back hard against Iranian proxy forces in Iraq. The only question is whether we should expand the fight into Iran itself, giving the mullahs a taste of the whip themselves in their home turf.
Other Democrats still don't get it; they live in a perpetual September 10th world. But Lieberman has the right idea, and I wish we had him on our side:
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who is running for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, said sanctions are the most effective tool against the Iranian regime.
"I would talk to them, but I would build an international coalition that would promote and push economic sanctions on them," he said during an appearance on CNN's "Late Edition." "Sanctions would work on Iran. They are susceptible to disinvestment policy. They are susceptible to cuts, economic sanctions in commodities."
Mr. Lieberman said he would leave any such strategy to military generals, but that it could be accomplished through an air campaign. He said failure to stand up to Iranian aggression would further weaken the U.S. position in Iraq and raise the likelihood of acts of domestic terrorism.
"We cannot let them get away with it," he said. "If we do, they'll take that as a sign of weakness on our part, and we will pay for it in Iraq and throughout the region and ultimately right here at home."
There is nothing wrong with economic sanctions and "disinvestment policy"... as an economic attack concommitent to a physical (air) attack.
Regardless of the risk -- such escalation would enrage the Iranians and might even serve to drive the Persian people closer to their mullah masters; Hezbollah could strike inside the United States; Iran could launch a massive attack against Israel -- we cannot sit idly by and allow a sovereign nation to attack the United States without directly retaliating.
So we support the rest of Lieberman's call as well... once again, we're forced to say, go, Joe!
April 26, 2007
I've been reading the speech that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT, 75%D) gave on the Senate floor, passionately arguing against the surrender bill that the fatuous Democratic majority in Senate and House have just passed (Power Line has the complete transcript). And I came across this passage that quite literally made my mouth fall open.
It's so obvious once Lieberman points it out... but I must confess, I never realized it until I read Lieberman saying it. You will be as stunned as I, I predict (all emphasis added):
In his speech Monday, the Majority Leader described the several steps that this new strategy for Iraq would entail. Its first step, he said, is to "transition the U.S. mission away from policing a civil war -- to training and equipping Iraqi security forces, protecting U.S. forces, and conducting targeted counter-terror operations...."
There is another irony here as well. For most of the past four years, under Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, the United States did not try to establish basic security in Iraq. Rather than deploying enough troops necessary to protect the Iraqi people, the focus of our military has been on training and equipping Iraqi forces, protecting our own forces, and conducting targeted sweeps and raids -- in other words, the very same missions proposed by the proponents of the legislation before us.
That strategy failed -- and we know why it failed. It failed because we didn't have enough troops to ensure security, which in turn created an opening for Al Qaeda and its allies to exploit. They stepped into this security vacuum and, through horrific violence, created a climate of fear and insecurity in which political and economic progress became impossible.
For years, many members of Congress recognized this. We talked about this. We called for more troops, and a new strategy, and -- for that matter -- a new secretary of defense. And yet, now, just as President Bush has come around -- just as he has recognized the mistakes his administration has made, and the need to focus on basic security in Iraq, and to install a new secretary of defense and a new commander in Iraq -- now his critics in Congress have changed their minds and decided that the old, failed strategy wasn't so bad after all.
What is going on here? What has changed so that the strategy that we criticized and rejected in 2006 suddenly makes sense in 2007?
Uh... yeah. What?
What has changed, of course, is that President George W. Bush has changed! He was finally persuaded that we could not win a "war of attrition" (to use a term that might resonate with older readers); it failed under Gen. William Westmoreland, and it was failing under Gens. George Casey and John Abizaid. Rather, Bush was finally convinced by Fred Kagan, Gen. Jack Keane, and Gen. David Petraeus that we needed a true counterinsurgency strategy, one that focused on restoring basic security to Iraq area by area... that is, turning red to pink and pink to white.
And -- like a weathercock with its arrow reversed -- the Democrats in Congress instantly and automatically point the opposite direction from the prevailing winds from the White House.
When Bush supported the war of attrition, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Caesar's Palace, 95%) and Squeaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Haight-Ashbury, 95%) were totally opposed to it, pointing out that such wars had never worked. But when Bush comes around and finally admits the point, rejecting a war of atttition... then Reid and Pelosi embrace it with both arms and one leg!
I'm not entirely comfortable with the United States Congress turning into Monty Python's "argument clinic." (Perhaps the president should publicly denounce NAMBLA, just to see what happens.)
How long can Joe Lieberman continue the farce of caucusing with the Democrats, while they shamefully reject their duty to fight the war against a vicious, expansionist, theocratic ideology -- which Lieberman himself considers the greatest issue facing America today? At some point, doesn't something break?
Bear in mind, there is nothing that Lieberman can do to make Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY, 84%) the majority leader of the Senate. As Scott Keyes notes at Political Insider, by the nature of the organizational vote that began the 110th Congress last January, the Democrats will control both the committee assignments and the Senate agenda until the 111th Congress convenes on January, 2009. (Hat tip to lefty blogger Hilzoy.)
So how did it flip when Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-VT, 90%D) jumped? Let Keyes explains:
What's the difference between now and 2001? A small but important distinction. When the 107th Congress was convened on January 3, 2001, Al Gore was still the Vice President and would be for another two-and-a-half weeks. Therefore, because of the Senate's 50-50 tie, Democrats had nominal control of the chamber when the organizing resolution came to a vote. With Dick Cheney soon to come in, however, Democrats allowed Republicans to control the Senate in return for a provision on the organizing resolution that allowed for a reorganization of the chamber if any member should switch parties, which Jeffords did five months later. There was no such clause in the current Senate's organizing resolution.
That provision never existed in any previous Congress, and it does not exist in the current organizing resolution for the 110th. Alas, Lieberman can jump all he wants, but Reid will remain majority leader at least until noon, January 3rd, 2009. Still, Joe Lieberman is a man of principle; and I believe that if he jumped ship, it would send shock waves through the moderate Democratic community.
As Lieberman has already proven, he has a personal rapport with voters that extends far beyond his identification as a Democrat: When the Democrats ran nutroots nominee Ned Lamont against Lieberman in Connecticut, independent Lieberman crushed Democrat Lamont 50% to 40% -- or by 11%, if you consider only the two viable candidates and ignore distant Republican Alan Schlesinger.
I believe that most of Lieberman's personal constituency, not just in his state but in the country as a whole, would follow him to the Republican Party. Even without being on the ticket, just as a campaigner, he might very well be able to throw some close Senate races in 2008 to the Republicans... and possibly some close states in the presidential vote, as well. He cannot stop the Democrats from running amok for the next twenty months, but he might be able to threaten their majority so seriously, he forces them to serious-up about the war.
Go, Joe! Go across the aisle; you will find more kindred spirits than you may imagine.
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