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Thursday, July 28, 2005

George W. Bush - A Man of His Word

George W. Bush made a campaign promise that as President he would nominate strict constructionists for judicial positions. When the first Supreme Court vacancy opened, many on the right, myself included, were apprehensive. There was a great deal of pressure on the President to capitulate to the left and nominate a more moderate candidate.

In John Roberts, it seems as though the President has been true to those who have twice voted him into office. While it's difficult to know for certain what kind of judge a person will be until he or she has been on the bench for several years, it's difficult not to be enthusiastic about Judge Roberts.

History will tell what kind of judge he turns out to be; however, we do not need history to judge President Bush. He has shown, once again, that he is a man of his word.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

"Bush Lied" - A Mindless Rant

I'm amazed that I even feel a need to write this article. However, I still hear the worn-out "Bush lied" refrain being carelessly repeated time and time again.

These words are often uttered from the lips of the unread and largely uneducated who have heard others make the "Bush lied" claim and who have few thoughts of their own. Therefore, like the small child just learning to express himself, they simply repeat what they have heard. It's difficult to get too upset with these people; they don't know any better.

What is more maddening, however, is to hear an apparently otherwise well-educated, well-read, highly informed liberal making the "Bush lied" claim. Perhaps these people are not as informed as they want others to believe they are. Perhaps they are informed but have not looked at the information in a rational way and, therefore, still believe the "Bush lied" nonsense. Finally, perhaps they are informed, have looked at the information rationally, know that the "Bush lied" claim in absurd, but don't care. Their liberal bias will not let the facts get in the way of a good partisan myth.

For those in any group but the last, who want to be honest about whether or not Bush lied, the following paragraphs will provide some information to consider. For those in the last group, the following paragraphs will still provide some information to consider, but if your commitment to denigrate the President continues to be greater than your commitment to the truth, it won't make any difference.

The President is not the only person with access to intelligence information. Senators and other high-ranking officials have access to the same information, and nearly all who had access to this information prior to the March 20, 2003 beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom came to the same conclusion as the President: that Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD's).

Former Vice President Al Gore, giving a September 23, 2002 speech before the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco said, "We know that he (Saddam Hussein) has stored away secret supplies of biological weapons and chemical weapons throughout his country."

Just three days later on September 26, 2002, former U.S. Army general Wesley Clark, who would later run as a Democratic candidate for president, testified before the Committee On Armed Services at the U.S. House Of Representatives. Clark stated in his testimony that "There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat... Yes, he has chemical and biological weapons."

Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV), in an October 3, 2002 speech on the Senate floor stated, "The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October of 1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retained some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capability. Intelligence reports also indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons..."

The next day, October 4, 2002, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) stated on the floor of the Senate, "There is no doubt that Saddam Hussein's regime is a serious danger, that he is a tyrant, and that his pursuit of lethal weapons of mass destruction cannot be tolerated. He must be disarmed."

Delivering a Foreign Relations member Senate floor speech on October 9, 2002, Senator John Kerry (D-MA), the future Democratic Party presidential nominee, clearly stated his belief in the existence of Iraqi WMD's. "In 1991, the world collectively made a judgment that this man should not have weapons of mass destruction. And we are here today in the year 2002 with an un-inspected four-year interval during which time we know through intelligence he not only has kept them, but he continues to grow them..."

On October 10, 2002, the future Democratic Party vice-presidential nominee John Edwards declared in a Senate floor statement, "We know that he has chemical and biological weapons. He has already used them against his neighbors and his own people, and is trying to build more. We know that he is doing everything he can to build nuclear weapons, and we know that each day he gets closer to achieving that goal."

On the same day that Edwards made that statement, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) also made a speech on the Senate floor in which she stated, "In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program."

Even Jacques Chirac, the French President who opposed the United States' efforts in Iraq, acknowledged the existence of Iraqi WMD's. Global Policy Forum published an October 16, 2002 interview with L'Orient-Le Jour, in which Chirac stated, "Today, a number of evidences may lead to think that, over the past four years, in the absence of international inspectors, this country has continued armament programs." (Interview with French President Jacques Chirac)

These are just a few of the many dozens of statements from high ranking officials, made just a few months prior to the start of the Iraq war, indicating their belief that Saddam Hussein was in possession of chemical and biological weapons and was in the process of developing nuclear weapons.

We could say that all of these people lied about Saddam's WMD's, just like the President did. To believe that, we would have to believe the following:

1. The President is a purely evil man. He knew that Iraq had no WMD's, but claimed otherwise just to start a war for personal reasons, knowing full well that thousands of people would be killed, including innocent men, women, and children.

2. The President is stupid. When starting his war, he never thought about the fact that when no WMD's were found to exist, he would be highly and widely criticized.

3. The others mentioned above are also evil. They knew that Iraq had no WMD's, but claimed otherwise to help insure that the President would, indeed, go to war so that they could all claim afterward that the President lied. While plotting this elaborate scheme, they, too, were aware that thousands would die, including innocent men, women, and children; but like the President, they didn't care.

4. The others mentioned above think the American people are stupid. They thought that when no WMD's were found, the American people would forget about the fact that they, in addition to the President, had proclaimed the existence of Iraqi WMD's.

It seems to me to be quite a stretch to believe that President Bush, or the others quoted above, lied.

So if they didn't lie, they were mistaken, right? Well, maybe. Maybe they were all mistaken. Maybe U.S. intelligence was mistaken. Maybe foreign intelligence was mistaken. Then again, maybe not. Maybe they were all correct.

What do we really know? We know that at one time Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. He used them against Iran; he used them against his own population. We know that in October of 1998, Iraq issued a ban on U.N. inspections, and more than 230 U.N. personnel were withdrawn from Iraq. We know that after Iraq agreed to resume cooperation, some of the inspectors returned briefly, but in December they were once again, this time permanently, withdrawn after Iraq once again failed to cooperate. What we do not know is what happened in regard to Iraq's WMD's between December of 1998 and March of 2003.

To believe that President Bush (and all others who made the same claims as the President) were mistaken about what happened during that interval would require a stretch of the imagination as great as the stretch required to believe that they all lied. To believe they were all mistaken, we would have to believe

1. In October, 1998, Iraq was free or nearly free of WMD's, but Saddam Hussein decided to cease cooperation with U.N. weapons inspectors just to make the world think that he still had his arsenal.

2. During the four-year interval from 1999 to 2003, Saddam secretly destroyed all of his remaining WMD's and refrained from building new ones, but continued to deny U.N. inspections.

3. When U.N. Security Council Resolution 1441 gave Saddam a "final opportunity" to avoid war by fully disclosing "all of its nuclear, chemical, biological and missile programs" and by fully cooperating with U.N. inspectors, he chose instead to continue to dissemble, even though he had nothing to hide.

In short, we would have to believe that Iraq was WMD free after 1998, but Saddam Hussein managed to fool the world into believing that he still had them by refusing to allow monitoring and verification, thereby choosing to risk losing his absolute power, riches, and luxury by challenging the most powerful military in the history of the world.

All of that is possible, but it doesn't seem likely. The debate for the past two years has been primarily focused on whether "Bush lied" or whether he and everyone else were mistaken. Neither argument makes sense. A much better question to ask would be "What happened to Iraq's WMD's?"

One possibility is that they are still hidden in the country. In July of 2003, U.S. forces found over 30 Iraqi aircraft, including several Soviet-built MiG-25s, buried in the sand west of Baghdad. If Saddam can bury 30 plus fighter jets under 10 feet of sand, he would certainly be able to bury any other kind of weapon, including chemical and biological.

Efraim Halevy, who is a former chief of the Israeli foreign intelligence agency Mossad, has recently stated, "I would not rule out the possibility that they (Iraqi WMD's) might be found in the future. Iraq is a vast country, and only several months ago, a full squadron of aircraft was discovered buried in the sand. I do not believe that Saddam Hussein risked the fall of his regime and his own capture just out of false pride." (US may still find WMDs in Iraq: ex-Mossad chief)

A second possible explanation for what happened to Iraq's WMD's is that they were shipped out of the country to a neighboring terrorist state. Syria comes to mind. Is there any evidence to indicate that this possibility is more than just wild speculation? You bet.

According to The Washington Times, Iraq Survey Group, a 1,400-member team organized by the Pentagon and CIA, has information from Iraqi sources indicating that "Saddam Hussein periodically removed guards on the Syrian border and replaced them with his own intelligence agents who supervised the movement of banned materials between the two countries..." (Scarborough)

In the same article, retired Lt. Gen. James R. Clapper Jr., who heads The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the U.S. intelligence agency that analyzes satellite imagery, is quoted as stating, "There is no question that there was a lot of traffic, increase in traffic up to the immediate onset of combat and certainly during Iraqi Freedom."

While this is not proof that WMD's were shipped across the border in the days before the start of the war, when evidence of satellite imagery is examined in light of the afore mentioned information from the Iraqi sources, there is certainly cause for a reasonable suspicion that Iraqi WMD's have found their way to Syria.

Further indication that Iraqi WMD's may have been shipped to Syria came in the form of an April, 2004 planned al Qaeda chemical weapon attack in Jordon. Five trucks originating from Syria and containing 20 tons of chemical weapons were intercepted in Jordon, just 75 miles from the Syrian boarder. Had the attack been successful, up to 80,000 people could have died from the resulting cloud of poison gas.

In a May 6, 2004 interview with Larry Elder, terrorism expert John Loftus stated, "There's a lot of reason to think (the source of the chemicals) might be Iraq. We captured Iraqi members of al Qaeda, who've been trained in Iraq, planned for the mission in Iraq, and now they're in Jordan with nerve gas. That's not the kind of thing you buy in a grocery store. You have to have obtained it from someplace."

Elder then asked, "They couldn't have obtained it from Syria?"

Loftus replied, "Syria does have the ability to produce certain kinds of nerve gasses, but in small quantities. The large stockpiles were known to be in Iraq." (Elder)

So how can we explain the fact that stockpiles of WMD's have not been found in Iraq since the toppling of Baghdad? Perhaps they are still there and will eventually be found. Perhaps they were shipped out of the country just prior to the start of the war. It could be that a combination of these two explanations is true; some of the WMD's were shipped across the border, while some are still hidden in Iraq.

It seems less logical to believe that the President, numerous high-ranking government officials from both parties, U.S. intelligence, and foreign intelligence were all mistaken.

The least logical and least likely answer is that all of these people lied. Yet the left continues to start with this premise, conveniently ignores all statements but those of the President, and senselessly concludes that "Bush lied."


"Interview with French President Jacques Chirac." Global Policy Forum. 26 Jul. 2005

"US may still find WMDs in Iraq: ex-Mossad chief." The Hindu. 10 May. 2005. 26 Jul. 2005

Scarborough, Rowan. "Saddam agents on Syria border helped move banned materials." The Washington Times. 16 August 2004. THE WASHINGTON TIMES. 26 Jul. 2005

Elder, Larry. "The curious lack of curiosity about WMD." 6 May. 2004. 26 Jul. 2005

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Who's Changing the Bar?

In the White House Daily Briefing yesterday (July 18, 2005), Terry Hunt of the Associated Press accused President Bush of raising the bar for the criteria for firing anyone in his administration who leaked classified information. Hunt asked White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan the following question:

"Scott, the President seemed to raise the bar and add a qualifier today when discussing whether or not anybody would be dismissed for -- in the leak of a CIA officer's name, in which he said that he would -- if someone is found to have committed a crime, they would no longer work in this administration. That's never been part of the standard before, why is that added now?" (Transcript: White House Daily Briefing, July 18)

After Mr. McClellan reiterated what the President said by stating, "If someone commits a crime, they're not going to be working any longer in this administration," Hunt asked a follow-up question:

"But you have said, though, that anyone involved in this would no longer be in this administration, you didn't say anybody who committed a crime. You had said, in September 2003, anyone involved in this would no longer be in the administration."

When McClellan stated that they had already been through these issues, Hunt interrupted by stating once again, "But we haven't talked about a crime."

Democratic leaders also began to immediately accuse the President of changing his story. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said, "This is about the credibility of the president of the United States. He said he would fire anyone who was involved in leaking this sensitive information. Now, he's changing his tune."

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi stated, "The Bush White House's arrogant stonewalling and ever- changing statements are unacceptable."

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said, "Faced with a question about whether or not he will keep his promise to fire those involved in leaking the identity of an undercover CIA agent while we are at war, President Bush backed away from his initial pledge and lowered the ethics bar."

This misinformation can be traced all the way back to September 30, 2003. On that date, CBS News, as well as other major news agencies, reported that when asked about a possible leak from the White House, President Bush said, "If somebody did leak classified information, I'd like to know it, and we'll take the appropriate action."

It has been commonly reported since then that the President said that he would fire anyone in his administration who leaked classified information. But what did the President really say?

In a September 30, 2003 statement to reporters in Chicago, President Bush made the following statement:

"If there is a leak out of my administration, I want to know who it is. And if the person has violated law, the person will be taken care of."

Notice the words "if the person has violated law." Those words have almost never been reported by the mainstream media. The words "violated law" mean "committed a crime."

At a June 10, 2004 Press Conference, the President was asked, "Do you still stand by what you said several months ago, a suggestion that it might be difficult to identify anybody who leaked the agent's name? And, and, do you stand by your pledge to fire anyone found to have done so?"

The President answered, "Yes. And that's up to the U.S. Attorney to find the facts."

Notice that the question referred to what the President had " said several months ago." Also remember that in the statement referred to, the President had specifically said, "if the person has violated law."

This leads to the President's statement on Monday that Terry Hunt was referring to in his question for Scott McClellan. On Monday, the President was asked, "Do you still intend to fire anyone found to be involved in the CIA leak case?"

The President responded, "If someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration." Notice that this response is almost identical to the response that he gave on September 30, 2003.

The President has been absolutely consistent with his statements on this issue. It is the mainstream press and the Democratic leadership that have been changing the bar.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Liberals Should Focus on Real Enemy

As we all know, the war on terror is an extremely difficult war that will likely last many years. It's a war that must be fought on many fronts. It will involve the military as well as law enforcement and intelligence agencies. It will require the hunting down and elimination of terrorists and the defeat of regimes that support them. In the long term, it will require the establishment of free states which educate their children to understand that there are more worthy goals in life than to strap on a bomb and blow yourself up. Yes, this war is difficult and complicated.

Making all of this even more difficult is the obsession Democrat party leaders seem to have with criticizing the Bush administration at every opportunity. They are so eager to attack the President that it seems to be of no concern to them that they are emboldening the enemy with many of their statements.

In a September, 2003 interview with The Associated Press, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-Mass) called the war in Iraq "a fraud" and said that it was "made up in Texas" for political gain. He even went as far as to accuse the President of using American tax dollars to bribe foreign leaders to send troops to Iraq.

In May of 2004, speaking on the floor of the U.S. Senate and referencing the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, Kennedy stated, "Shamefully, we now learn that Saddam's torture chambers reopened under new management: U.S. management."

Kennedy's reckless comments are completely devoid of any foundation or evidence. Never-the-less, Al-Jazeera, the Arab news network, has been all too eager to post Kennedy's comments on its website for the entire Arab world to see. On January 17, 2005, Al-Jazeera quotes Kennedy outlining a whole litany of mistakes that he believes the Bush administration has made in Iraq. Along with this article is a picture of a military dog under control of a U.S. soldier. The dog is snarling at an Arab prisoner in an orange jump suit, on his knees with his hands cuffed behind his back. The caption under the picture reads as follows:

"The Abu Ghraib scandal is among
the US blunders, Kennedy said."

The terrorists don't need to distribute their own propaganda to motivate their fighters and indoctrinate their children. They can simply use the words of a U.S. Senator!

Unfortunately, it doesn't end with Kennedy. By now, most are aware of the words of Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL). Also speaking on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Durbin compared American treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay to the actions of Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, and Pol Pot. Durbin's words were also printed by Al-Jazeera, and in all probability have been used against U.S. soldiers.

When they're not busy making blatantly anti-American and arguably treasonous public statement such as those I've just mentioned, many liberal lawmakers and much of the mainstream media are focusing their energy on discrediting the President and his administration through childish personal attacks, fabricated misinformation, and purposeful obstruction.

In May of this year, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), in speaking about President Bush, told a group of high school students, "I think this guy is a loser."

Earlier this month, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) compared the President to Alfred E. Newman, the freckle-faced character in Mad magazine, saying, "I sometimes feel that Alfred E. Newman is in charge in Washington."

Most Americans are by now aware of CBS's election year attempt to discredit Bush's National Guard service by reporting information from documents that turned out to be forged. The current left-wing attempt to discredit the President and his administration is based on allegations that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove leaked to the press the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame. The mainstream media has widely reported that Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer of New York, John Kerry of Massachusetts, Nancy Pelosi of California, and a host of other Democrats have demanded Rove's resignation or firing. What the media has not been reporting, however, is that first, it's highly questionable whether or not Rove ever leaked Plame's identity at all, and second, Plame had not served in a covert capacity abroad or in a post involving foreign counterintelligence for more than five years; therefore, even if Rove did leak her name, absolutely no law was broken! Unfortunately, the truth is of little importance to the radical left who seem intent only on bringing down this President and regaining power.

Finally, consider the left's pure obstruction of nearly every one of the President's initiatives. The President announces his plan for social security reform. The Democrats' response: No. The President nominates John Bolton to be the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. The Democrats' response: No. There is an opening on the U.S. Supreme Court for a new justice, and before the President has even had a chance to nominate anyone for the position, Senate Judiciary Committee member Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is quoted as stating, “We are contemplating how we are going to go to war over this.”

Imagine what could be accomplished if Senator Schumer and his liberal friends would unite with Republicans and go to war against the terrorists instead of against the President. The war would still be a difficult one, but at least we would all be fighting the real enemy.

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