Saturday, October 30, 2004

Cherie Blair: Guardian Reader?

Cherie Blair, wife of the PM, vented frustration before a crowd of Harvard law students.

She complained about Camp X-ray, about US sodomy laws, and complained our legal code was "a grandfather clock".

"A Downing Street spokesman said: "These were not political opinions but, as an international human rights lawyer, she was expressing a view about the use of the Supreme Court in the American judicial system."

Oi doofus: complaining about our constitutional system IS a political opinion.

What is it about our election that has the Brits coming out of the woodwork? If we want British input, Frau Blair, we'd ask your husband, m'kay? Or Iggy Pop. Or Ginger Spice.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Questions for Bear Flag Lawyers

At what point under McCain-Feingold does dirty politics transcend illegality into actual criminality?

At what point would a political campaign and other entities, conspiring and colluding in criminal political expression, become racketeering operations under RICO?

Who would have standing to file a civil suit against such a racketeering operation? Could an opposing campaign or major political party file such a suit, claiming punitive damages equal to ten times the actual damages?

Since the Supreme Court insists that political speech can be a crime, it's time we started targeting organized political crime...

Monday, October 25, 2004

Look For This In the NYT Letters Column

Mr Editor:

For many years I have felt I could trust your paper absolutely. For myself and many Americans, the New York Times has been more reliable than our own living memory of events, and your precision, cogent analysis, and objectivity have made your paper a welcome member of my household.

Based upon that reputation, when I read your article regarding the missing explosives in Iraq, I did not hesitate to exploit this information to my advantage. Let me discreetly say that communications and public relations are at the core of my profession and I felt confident in your reporting as the bedrock of an aggressive initiative against my chief competitor.

Imagine my chagrin and horror when I learnt that your lengthy article was nothing more than regurgitated calumnies against my competitor. Instead of supporting my professional initiative, your incompetence has rendered me more pathetic and undistinguished than the Stapler Guy in Office Space.

You have failed the test of Paper-Of-Record. Not only will I cancel my subscription, but I may employ my legal team of several thousand attorneys to seek damages from you, notwithstanding your recent endorsement of my professional partnership.

Ardenment,
Le candidat fran├žais

Sunday, October 24, 2004

22 Softballs

Bob Woodward spent some months talking with top Bush Administration officials. As a result of those interviews, Woodward wrote two books.

Woodward wanted to have an interview with John Kerry to discuss his reactions to the Bush war machine. This weekend a frustrated Woodward published twenty-two questions for Senator Kerry, since the promised interview never materialized.

It is interesting that if Kerry had accepted the interview, the likely result would have been a story that totally ignored Woodward's actual questions. The Washington Post does not publish transcripts of its inteviews; it offers summaries, paraphrases and a few direct quotes. By simply quoting Kerry about what Bush had done wrong, Kerry would have appeared a more focused, more knowledgeable executive who had a clear idea of how a war operation should be conducted.

Because Woodward is publishing his questions, unanswered, Woodward makes plain both his bias, and the format by which an opposition candidate can be steered into offering a precise critique of an Administration, for publication by a supportive media outlet.

Each of Woodward's questions is preceded by an anecdote of the Bush Administration. Then Woodward asks one or more leading questions:

7. In July 2002, President Bush secretly ordered that some $700 million be spent on 30 major construction and other projects to prepare for war. Congress was not involved or informed.

Questions: How would you seek a relationship with the leaders of Congress so that they would be informed of such secret work? Should congressional leaders have an idea where you are heading? What should be the overall role of Congress in preparing for war?


...9. On Nov. 8, 2002, the U.N. Security Council unanimously (15 to 0) passed Resolution 1441 on new weapons inspections in Iraq. Powell thought it was a critical victory, putting the United States on the road to diplomatic success.

Questions: What did this mean, now that Saddam seemed isolated and friendless in the world? Was strategic victory -- getting Saddam out of power -- possible through diplomacy or by continuing diplomacy and weapons inspections?


...22. Asked in December 2003 how history would judge his Iraq war, Bush suggested that history was far off. "We won't know. We'll all be dead," he said.

Questions: How do you judge his Iraq war? What do you think history's verdict is likely to be?


I don't think there's any question that Editor Woodward tried to pass a list of biased, leading, softball questions to the candidate his paper is endorsing.

The question is, how regularly does he try this stunt?

Friday, October 22, 2004

Bring It On

I can't really remember four years back, if the pre-election week was this silly.

We're bombing Fallujah, Mt St. Helens is steaming, but every night it's what Kerry said today, what Bush said about it, what Kerry said about what Bush said, what the pundit thought about what Kerry said, about what Bush said, about what Kerry said about what Bush said, what the public thought about it all, what the pundits think of what the public thinks.

And now I'm blogging what I think. Darn Cardinals, eliminating my only distraction...

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Parlez for yourself, Senator

"Vous etes de Haiti? D'accord, je vais aider les Haitiens."

With these two simple sentences, Senator Kerry demonstrates he isn't quite ready for prime-time.

Where to start? "Are you Haitian?" As Frank Gaffney said on the Hugh Hewitt show, the proper translation of this sentence is "I want your vote, legal or not."

"I agree"...to what? With whom? The problem with Haiti is a tripartite civil war--the backers of the military junta that bounced Aristide the first time, the backers of the new President, and the backers of the exiled Aristide. Since this is Florida we could add a fourth faction, those who don't want anything to do with the other three and came to the US to escape their violence. With which faction is Senator Kerry in sympathy? They've got conflicting demands, which side is to lay down their machetes and accepts defeat?

"I will help the Haitians" Apart from the confusion as to the policy goals, this personal commitment in a foriegn language is deceptively more specific and personal than his English comment, "We must do more". John Kerry must be the only statesman who is more direct in French than in English.

I can't think of a candidate making such foriegn policy pledges in a foriegn language literally over the heads of the American voter.
President Kennedy is famous for saying "Ich bin eine Berliner", but he was President, he was in Berlin, and the phrase dramatized his commitments to the people of Berlin in English.

This week the head of the UN mission in Haiti said that he felt the peacekeeping process had been hampered by Kerry's off-the-cuff remarks during the primaries about sending troops to shore up Aristide.

If Senator Kerry's remarks in the national language of Haiti further raise expectations of the opposition party in Haiti, it would be because they believed the literal meaning of his personal promise, instead of accepting his pledges as worthless campaign bonhommerie. How sad, and how unpresidential.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Hugh Hewitt: Why Bush? Why Not Kerry?

21st-century terrorism takes full advantage of rapid global commerce and communications, the separate jurisdictions of nations, and the diplomatic fiction that dictatorships such as Afghanistan are equal in privilege and dignity to the United States of America.

President Bush has met this new threat by closing the terrorists’ access to international commerce and communications, calling on all nations to pursue terrorists within their own borders, and confronting those that refuse to exert their sovereign power against terrorism.

For Senator Kerry and too many others, this direct and effective response to terrorism disqualifies President Bush from holding office. It fails to conform to a flawed diplomatic process the terrorists have learned to exploit. President Kerry would work with other nations to fight terrorism, to the degree that they are cooperative. He would fail to the degree that other nations such as Iran refuse to cooperate. We would buy that failure with our blood.

As the President said today:
Yet, even the Gulf War coalition in 1991 did not pass Senator Kerry's global test. Even with the United Nations' approval, he voted against removing Saddam Hussein from Kuwait. If that vast, U.N.-supported operation did not pass his test, nothing ever could. Senator Kerry's global test is nothing more than an excuse to constrain the actions of our own country in a dangerous world.

We have a clear choice between a President who wants to secure the broadest victory and a Senator who wants to negotiate the best withdrawal.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

So Who's For Sale, Mr. Annan?

Kofi Annan wants to be heard again about a central theme of the US election.
"I cannot say the world is safer when you consider the violence around us, when you look around you and see the terrorist attacks around the world and you see what is going on in Iraq," Annan told the ITV network.

Annan also wants you to know that Iraq is ready for elections in January, and he's ready to condemn it:
"If that sort of judgment or any decision which is made which we think detracts from the credibility and viability of the elections, we will be duty bound to say so," he said.

And in what should have led the story, the Secretary-General said that Iraq's bribes to France, China, and Russia are irrelevant to their policies, because they're not like some UN member-states he could mention:
"I don't think the Russian or the French or the Chinese government would allow itself to be bought..." Annan said.
"I think it's inconceivable. These are very serious and important governments. You are not dealing with banana republics."

It's been reported that Annan is seeking another term as Secretary-General. I think he can write off votes of banana-exporting countries. Or, narrow it down by naming those corruptible two-bit states he's referring to...

Saturday, October 16, 2004

I Don't See It Myself

Maybe because I don't have any children, but I don't feel outraged about the Kerry campaign trying to portray Mary Cheney as outcast by her family because of her orientation.

It's a lie, and a pointless lie, and a tasteless lie, but I don't feel that upset over it.

If Kerry never mentioned Mary Cheney, he'd still be the candidate of Saddam "not necessarily" out of power, nuclear fuel for Iran, terrorism back to a "nuisance", six-month pullout, "not a serious coalition", Mr. Secret Plan, Super-Senator committee-builder.

None of which violates 200-year-old rules of power politics, but any of which could get Mary Cheney and a lot of other Americans killed. Including me and you. That's what I get mad about.

And it seems unfair to give the liberals an easy out: Of course Kerry lost, he targeted Cheney's daughter. Any left-wing loon could win the White House, as long as he doesn't spotlight the lesbians or moan into the microphone or act wooden when discussing his wife's rape. Labels don't matter...

Still, in an election decided by people who have seen President Bush govern for four years and still can't make up their minds about him, if sanity prevails because you don't have to lock up your daughters around President Bush, then so be it.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Cookie Recipes Are So 20th Century

Heinz Kerry ended with what she called “a highly effective” remedy for arthritis that drew laughter and some skepticism from the audience.

“You get some gin and get some white raisins — and only white raisins — and soak them in the gin for two weeks,” she said. “Then eat nine of the raisins a day.”

Despite the laughter, Dr. Steven Phillips, director of Geriatric Medicine at the University of Nevada quickly supported the prescription.

Phillips, on stage with Heinz Kerry as part of the panel, said sulfur and sulfides found in grapes are increased by the alcohol and could perhaps alleviate joint pain.

Dr. Michael Gerber, a noted homeopathic doctor in Reno, also said the formula has merit.

“It makes sense,” said Gerber from his office. “People go to hot springs to soak in the water and that water is very high in sulfur. So Mrs. Kerry’s remedy is pretty plausible.”

Dolores Jackson of Reno, a Kerry supporter who attended the rally, took the raisin and gin remedy seriously.

“There are really other remedies where we don’t have to use so many drugs,” Jackson said. “I really believe in alternative medicine.”


I'd like to propose a medical study of pain relief for arthritis.
One group would be given white raisins soaked in gin for two weeks, the other would be given the nectar of the juniper berry straight up. Let's see who gets the most relief.

It's one thing to steep fresh plants in alcohol and strain off the fluid. You're preserving the fluids of the plants.
But taking dried plants, and steeping them in alcohol, and then eating the plants, is a means for taking alcohol in solid form.
And why a homeopath and a doctor would say otherwise is beyond me.

Wasn't there a passage in Kurt Vonnegut's Welcome to the Monkeyhouse where he describes gin as a psychotic aphrodisiac?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Done Roaming

Back to Riverside for the time being.

I will miss tonight's debate for a softball game. Just as well. I expect Kerry to stare at the camera and lie, lie, lie.
He will fudge his support for buying abortions with tax dollars and Edward's pledge to restore mobility to paraplegics.
It won't be enough.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Hugh Hewitt's New Symposium Question

"What do Kerry's answers to today's press inquiries tell us about Kerry's worldview and character?"

Q. "If you are elected, given Paul Bremer's remarks, and deteriorating conditions as you have judged them, would you be prepared to commit more troops."

A. "I will do what the generals believe we need to do without having any chilling effect, as the president put in place by firing General Shinseki, and I'll have to wait until January 20th.

I don’t think you’re smart enough to know the General retired on schedule. I don’t think you’ll dare call me on it. Damned if I know what I’d do as Commander-in-Chief, it’s not a job I’m interested in. I want to be Super-Senator, and you can’t expect me to speak for the subcommittee called the Joint Chiefs of Staff before they report to my Executive Committee sometime after January 20th. When they report I’ll demand they solve it for me and adopt their conclusions—in their entirety!—as my own.

I don't know what I am going to find on January 20th, the way the president is going. If the president just does more of the same every day, and it continues to deteriorate, I may be handed Lebanon, figuratively speaking.
That whole Governing Council-Interim Government probably just exists on paper. Same thing with the tens of thousands of Iraqi Army and National Guard that swore allegiance to the Basic Law. It’s all smoke and mirrors, man. What you have there is a country ready to come apart at the hinges, like Lebanon in the 1980s. Now I can see some of you wondering how that could happen when no faction in Lebanon had 200,000 foreign and local troops. Well, that just shows why you’re down there listening to me, and not vice versa. And, if it gets too tough, I’d just have to quit, you know? I’d “work harder than I ever have in my life” and then Jan. 23rd I’d let you know it wasn’t worth trying.

Now, I just don't know. I can't tell you. What I'll tell you is, I have a plan.
A secret pl—whoops.

I have laid out my plan to America, and I know that my plan has a better chance of working.
Although bear in mind if a two-star general opposes my plan I’m free to abandon it, or I may abandon it in any case if I feel the situation has deteriorated too much by January 20th. I’ll certainly keep a tape of this interview handy if it slips your mind.

And in the next days I am going to say more about exactly how we are going to do what has been available to this Administration that it has chosen not to do.
With the important caveat that nothing I say prior to January 20th is binding on me subsequent to my inauguration, or binding on the brass that swore to obey me as Commander-in-Chief.
And because the Super-Senator can't let foriegn policy eclipse domestic concerns, I will get in my Hindsight Express and visit pregnant teenagers to talk about abstinence, visit an AA meeting to talk about moderation, and visit a state prison to talk about integrity.


But I will make certain that our troops are protected.
As Patton said, you don’t win by dying for your country, you win by pulling out and letting some other poor bastard die for his. Or something like that.


I will hunt down and kill the terrorists,
Unless they disperse into 60 countries, a clearly unmanageable number…

and I will make sure that we are successful,by defining success as narrowly as necessary, when I’m ready to define it.

and I know exactly what I am going to do and how to do it."So neener-neener.

Q. Duelfer also said that Saddam fully intended to resume his weapons of mass destruction program because he felt that the sanctions were just going to fritter away.

A. But we wouldn't let them just fritter away. That's the point. Folks! If You've got a guy who's dangerous, you've got a guy you suspect is going to do something, you don't lift the sanctions, that's the fruits of good diplomacy. This Administration...I beg your pardon?

Don’t you SEE? We could use our permanent veto to sink all the Franco-Sino-Russian resolutions to lift sanctions! That’s diplomacy! That’s working with allies, not going it alone!


Q. You just said [Bush] fictionalized him [Saddam] as an enemy. Now you just said he's dangerous?

A. No. What I said. I said it all the time. Consistently I have said Saddam Hussein presented a threat. I voted for the authorization, because he presented a threat.

Nor do I mean a threat of WMD or of terrorism, because that’s all a vast-right-wing-conspiracy. What sort of threat exactly, I won’t be able to say until after I get my bottom firmly in the Oval Office. And because I saw a real threat where the President saw only a chance to lie to the American people, I voted to authorize his illegal war.


There are all kinds of threats in the world, ladies and gentlemen. Al Qaeda is in 60 countries. Are we invading all 60 countries? 35 to 40 countries had the same --more-- capability of creating weapons, nuclear weapons, at the time the president invaded Iraq than Iraq did. Are we invading all 35 to 40 of them?
And would we? Hell no! I never said ‘with us or with the terrorists’. There’s a bag limit for the War on Terror…, say 1 out of 60…maybe 1 ½… I’ll know for sure by January 21st if you elect me.

Did we invade Russia?
I beg your pardon? 1919? Shove it.

Did we invade China?
I beg your pardon? 1900? Shove it.

The point is that there are all kinds of options available to a president to deal with threats and I consistently laid out to the president how to deal with Saddam Hussein, who was a threat.
I even wrote an op-ed in the New York Times. I said to him, go to the UN with a plan of regime change, and if they won’t have any part of it, carry it out unilaterally. So clearly I wanted him to spend a few years in the UN first.

If I'd been president, I'd have wanted the same threat of force. But as I have said a hundred times if not a thousand iin this campaign, there was a right way to use that authority and a wrong way.
That’s part of being Super-Senator I’ll do better. I will go to Congress and open a permanent dialogue, instead of demanding one-syllable responses and then rushing off to ‘execute’.

The president did it the wrong way. He rushed to war without a plan to win the peace, against my warnings and other people's warnings. And now we have the mess we have today.
Now you take me. I have a plan to win the peace. But if my generals warn me to throw it away, then it’s a dead letter! That’s leadership!

It is completely consistent that you can see him as a threat and deal with him realistically just as we saw the Soviet Union and China and others as threats and have dealt with them in other ways.
I beg your pardon? Do I consider the People’s Republic of China a threat on the level of the USSR, and do I expect it to fragment into 25 separate democratic governments? Shove it.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Best Moment of Cheney's Win

From the transcript:

IFILL: New question to you, Senator Edwards, but I don't want to let go of the global test question first, because...

EDWARDS: Sure.

IFILL: ... I want people to understand exactly what it is, as you said, that Senator Kerry did say.

He said, "You've got to do" — you know, he was asked about preemptive action at the last debate — he said, "You've got to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons." What is a global test if it's not a global veto?

EDWARDS: Well, let me say, first, he said in the same segment — I don't remember precisely where it was connected with what you just read — but he said, point blank, "We will never give anyone a veto over the security of the United States of America."


Can't remember? It was immediately following in the same two-minute answer!

LEHRER: New question. Two minutes, Senator Kerry.

What is your position on the whole concept of preemptive war?

KERRY: The president always has the right, and always has had the right, for preemptive strike. That was a great doctrine throughout the Cold War. And it was always one of the things we argued about with respect to arms control.

No president, though all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America.

But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons.

Though, you can't really blame Sen. Edwards for not listening to Kerry either...

I hope Gwen Ifil didn't damage her career tonight. A good job.

Monday, October 04, 2004

Dems Court the Illegal Alien Vote

Senator Kerry:

"But I can do a better job of protecting America's security because the test that I was talking about was a test of legitimacy, not just in the globe, but elsewhere."

A fluke? It's in line with this quote from the head of a Democratic powerhouse:

"My vision is to make the most diverse state on earth, and we have people from every planet on earth in this state."

They walk among us...

Seriously, is this victory? Dr. Monkeystein at Infinite Monkeys says Bush was the 1995 Chargers getting trounced by the "fucking San Francisco 49ers". Can't argue that loyalty to God, country, and fair play puts us against both Kerry and the 49ers, but I don't recall Steve Young had to hold a press conference to explain himself.

More of the Same

In 1943, if Republicans had argued that nobody had ever won a war through amphibious operations, they'd have been right.

If they'd complained that resources devoted to amphibious operations could be spent on more proven methods of warfare, they'd have been right.

If they'd pointed out that no amphibious operation was strategically decisive and merely permitted further operations against Japan, they'd have been right.

If they'd alleged that the Pentagon and the Roosevelt administration had no real experience in amphibious warfare on such a scale, and that Americans died as a result of their mistakes, they'd have been right.

But if they'd charged that this risky, unproven, expensive and bloody method of war was no way to defeat Japan, they'd have been wrong.

Because as messy and wasteful and slow as island-hopping was, it was effective. The Japanese could not stop making their best efforts to keep us far from their Home waters and skies. They had to fight on Tarawa in the hope that we'd be halted, or delayed, at Tarawa. And Saipan. And Kwalajein. And Iwo Jima. And Okinawa. Because to avoid taking casualties all over the Pacific would be to take worse casualties in Japan.

Iraq is not the Pacific. But a strategy can be accurately criticised yet still be worthy, if that strategy seriously and steadily weakens the enemy's capability to fight.

As for the argument that we're being ruined by Iraq because we're overextended, T. E. Lawrence noted that "full strength" was a quartermaster's fetish which no competent commander permitted to affect battlefield deployments. He knew something of war in Arab countries.

I Belatedly Answer the Questions Three

I missed out on the Volokh Conspiracy blogosphere challenge, but I’ll go ahead and offer my responses here.

First, assuming that you were in favor of the invasion of Iraq at the time of the invasion, do you believe today that the invasion of Iraq was a good idea? Why/why not?

Yes. We eliminated Saddam Hussein and his Baathist regime. They will no longer influence the Middle East, the world oil market or the UN Security Council. There can be no dispute about those items.
Regarding WMD, regardless of the arguments about what the Administration knew or should have known or believed or should have believed, it is indisputable that Saddam had attempted to restore his WMD in 1995 in spite of ongoing inspections, and despite sanctions, refused to demonstrate full compliance and disarmament in the manner of Ghaddafi’s Libya.
Regarding terrorism, prior to 9/11 Saddam’s secret service met with Al-Qaeda to discuss common operations—depending on which intelligence services you believe, as late as 2000. Subsequent to 9/11, Saddam refused to cooperate with the US to eliminate the Al-Zarqawi cell that masterminded operations against Americans in the Middle East from inside Iraq.
We have eliminated a multi-billion dollar organization with diplomatic cover in every capital in the world who refused to cooperate with sanctions or the War on Terror.

Second, what reaction do you have to the not-very-upbeat news coming of Iraq these days, such as the stories I link to above?

My reaction? Thhbbpptt!
It’s been no secret that the press has been waiting to declare defeat in Iraq. They tried it back in April. We saw the articles in the media journals asking who’d be the brave soul to repeat Walter Cronkite’s Tet meltdown. And we saw the articles leading up to the 1,000th death ‘milestone’—some ‘reporters’ jumped the gun with the 1000th Coalition death, and others combined 997 dead troops and 3 construction workers. So now the story is: When will the Administration acknowledge our defeat in Iraq?

They figure: we couldn’t have won in Vietnam, and we missed that story because we thought a pro-US government meant something, winning every battle meant something, standing for peace and quiet and capitalism meant something, that containing the resistance meant something, that the lack of widespread support for the enemy meant something. But in fact, this was all meaningless, the silent and indestructible enemy marched to inevitable victory under our very noses. So they figure.

So in 2004 Iraq, a pro-US government means nothing, winning every battle means nothing, standing for an absence of car bombing and for economic growth means nothing, containing the resistance means nothing, the lack of widespread support for the enemy means nothing. And they are left with no meaningful signs of progress, and they report we can’t win in Iraq.

The fact that, in Iraq as in Vietnam, they send reporters to cover this foreign war who were covering extreme weather in Iowa last week and will cover race relations in Chicago next week, and have to hire local yokels to fill in the story outline handed down by New York, totally escapes them.

Show me an Arabic-speaking journalist who is as devoted to the Baghdad beat as the Washington press corps is to the Capitol, and I’ll take their opinions with some confidence. But Thomas Friedman on Iraq?

And finally, a lot of the media confuses war with peace-keeping. We’re not in Iraq to prevent all violence. We’re in Iraq to perpetrate violence against the armed opposition. A day in which 125 insurgents are blown away is a good day, a day of progress. But I get the idea that if 600 yahoos charged our Marines with sharp sticks, the headlines would read: Marines attacked in Iraq; 600 killed.

Third, what specific criteria do you recommend that we should use over the coming months and years to measure whether the Iraq invasion has been a success?

Long-term:
The presence of a democratic government that follows the Basic Law.
The presence of US counter-terrorist teams in Iraq cooperating with the Iraqi government.
The absence of genocide, sectarian or ethnic partition, Islamist dictatorships, or indifference to terrorism.

Short-term:
Elections as scheduled.
Iraqi troops trained and deployed in increasing numbers as scheduled.
Continued destruction of partisan and sectarian militias.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Ghazi of the Political Jihad

The Big Three Mouths circled the wagons this week in defense of Dan Rather.

Brokaw blasted what he called an attempt to "demonize" CBS and Rather on the Internet, where complaints about the report first surfaced. He said the criticism "goes well beyond any factual information."


Hmm, why does that sound familiar?

"I don't think you ever judge a man by only one event in his career," said Jennings, anchor on ABC.

Too bad Nixon didn’t live to hear that one.

"What I think is highly inappropriate is what going on across the Internet, a kind of political jihad ... that is quite outrageous," the NBC anchor said at a panel on which all three men spoke.

Why? Because we present a story with a clear villain, quote him selectively, bring in third-parties to refute his statements, and publish without offering a rebuttal? 60 Minutes has been doing that every week for a quarter-century!

It’s really simple, guys. Rather tried to label a man as a wartime deserter and cheat. He did so with lousy evidence and incompetent verifcation. His assistant called on the man’s competitors to pass on some damaging information.

On top of that, when the first complaints came in, Rather went on air and ‘bet his brown eyes’. He told us the story was great, that it came from an “unimpeachable source” which he himself would impeach with a single interview, and offered anonymous expert testimony that dirt was gold dust.

Now, if the target of this biased botch in bad faith had been a used car salesman or a school principal, the outrage would be limited to friends and family. But Rather tried to smear a sitting President in an election year, which outrages roughly half of America.

Don’t like it? Then get it right next time.

A Test of Sincerity

Iran has rejected the Kerry/Edwards proposal to abandon their own production of nuclear fuel in return for Western imports. Iran realized that the supply would be conditional on the uses Iran made of the fuel.

If the Senators are doing more than floating trial balloons to appear constructive, they will abandon their proposal and come up with a new approach to the problem of Iranian nuclear capability.

On the other hand, if they persist in touting a DOA deal, then we will know they lack both a policy and an appreciation of the deadly seriousness of the problem.

A Test of Sincerity

Iran has rejected the Kerry/Edwards proposal to abandon their own production of nuclear fuel in return for Western imports. Iran realized that the supply would be conditional on the uses Iran made of the fuel.

If the Senators are doing more than floating trial balloons to appear constructive, they will abandon their proposal and come up with a new approach to the problem of Iranian nuclear capability.

On the other hand, if they persist in touting a DOA deal, then we will know they lack both a policy and an appreciation of the deadly seriousness of the problem.

A Test of Sincerity

Iran has rejected the Kerry/Edwards proposal to abandon their own production of nuclear fuel in return for Western imports. Iran realized that the supply would be conditional on the uses Iran made of the fuel.

If the Senators are doing more than floating trial balloons to appear constructive, they will abandon their proposal and come up with a new approach to the problem of Iranian nuclear capability.

On the other hand, if they persist in touting a DOA deal, then we will know they lack both a policy and an appreciation of the deadly seriousness of the problem.
The Big Three Mouths circled the wagons this week in defense of Dan Rather.

Brokaw blasted what he called an attempt to "demonize" CBS and Rather on the Internet, where complaints about the report first surfaced. He said the criticism "goes well beyond any factual information."


Hmm, why does that sound familiar?

"I don't think you ever judge a man by only one event in his career," said Jennings, anchor on ABC.

Too bad Nixon didn’t live to hear that one.

"What I think is highly inappropriate is what going on across the Internet, a kind of political jihad ... that is quite outrageous," the NBC anchor said at a panel on which all three men spoke.

Why? Because we present a story with a clear villain, quote him selectively, bring in third parties to contradict those quotes, and publish without offering a rebuttal? 60 Minutes has been doing that every week for a quarter-century!

It’s really simple, guys. Rather tried to label a man as a wartime deserter and cheat. He did so with lousy reporting. His assistant called on the man’s competitor’s to pass on some information from the story.

On top of that, when the first complaints came in, Rather went on air and ‘bet his brown eyes’. He told us the story was great, that it came from an “unimpeachable source” which he himself would impeach with a single interview, and offered anonymous expert testimony that dirt was gold dust.

Now, if the target of this biased botch in bad faith had been a used car salesman or a school principal, the outrage would be limited to friends and family. But Rather tried to smear a sitting President in an election year, which outrages roughly half of America.

Don’t like it, then get it right next time.

Ghazi of the Political Jihad

The Big Three Mouths circled the wagons this week in defense of Dan Rather.

Brokaw blasted what he called an attempt to "demonize" CBS and Rather on the Internet, where complaints about the report first surfaced. He said the criticism "goes well beyond any factual information."


Hmm, why does that sound familiar?

"I don't think you ever judge a man by only one event in his career," said Jennings, anchor on ABC.


Too bad Nixon didn’t live to hear that one.

"What I think is highly inappropriate is what going on across the Internet, a kind of political jihad ... that is quite outrageous," the NBC anchor said at a panel on which all three men spoke.


Why? Because we present a story with a clear villain, quote him selectively, bring in third parties to contradict those quotes, and publish without offering a rebuttal? 60 Minutes has been doing that every week for a quarter-century!

It’s really simple, guys. Rather tried to label a man as a wartime deserter and cheat. He did so with lousy reporting. His assistant called on the man’s competitor’s to pass on some information from the story.

On top of that, when the first complaints came in, Rather went on air and ‘bet his brown eyes’. He told us the story was great, that it came from an “unimpeachable source” which he himself would impeach with a single interview, and offered anonymous expert testimony that dirt was gold dust.

Now, if the target of this biased botch in bad faith had been a used car salesman or a school principal, the outrage would be limited to friends and family. But Rather tried to smear a sitting President in an election year, which outrages roughly half of America.

Don’t like it, then get it right next time.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Suprise: Kerry 'Misled' on BunkerBusters

Hugh Hewitt wants bloggers’ opinions as to whether Kerry made a mistake in denouncing the nuclear bunker buster project.

Here’s what Kerry said about the project:
And part of that leadership is sending the right message to places like North Korea.
Right now the president is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to research bunker-busting nuclear weapons. The United States is pursuing a new set of nuclear weapons. It doesn't make sense.
You talk about mixed messages. We're telling other people, "You can't have nuclear weapons," but we're pursuing a new nuclear weapon that we might even contemplate using.
Not this president. I'm going to shut that program down, and we're going to make it clear to the world we're serious about containing nuclear proliferation.

I think there are several things wrong with Kerry’s statement.
For one thing, we’re not committed to a strict policy of nuclear deterrence. First-use is an option, and a defensible one, if that extreme is the only possible way to secure destruction of a rogue state’s WMD arsenal.

And do we really want the State Department to have a veto over the Pentagon design teams? “You can’t build weapons specifically targeting their strengths, it sends a hostile message!”

And while the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty has been weakened by the growing number of states entering the nuclear club, the existence of the formal treaty is a powerful resource for American diplomacy. Kerry simply ignores it, and cynically assumes that if we build up we grant anybody and everybody the right to build up. Once again, John Kerry would give the enemy the gift of US surrender to their desires, a prize they could not secure through their own efforts.

But these objections pale against the fundamental flaw in Kerry’s statement: there are no efforts to research a new set of nuclear weapons. We’re examining our existing arsenal to see if it can be altered for deep penetration missions. And the answer appears to be negative.

In 1997 the Clinton Pentagon announced a modification of the B61 nuclear bomb, the B61-11. This slim weapon is designed to bury itself in 20 feet of soil before exploding, which would channel much of the explosive energy of the warhead into the ground. There would be radioactive earth thrown into the air, causing surface devastation and fallout, but to a lesser degree than with a surface burst.

However, the B61-11 cannot penetrate rock or destroy bunkers deeply buried in granite. To explore new modifications of other existing nuclear weapons, the Bush Administration launched the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator program. This is apparently the program to which Senator Kerry was referring.

Here’s what Globalsecurity.org says about the problems of bunker-busting:

Destroying a target buried 1,000 feet into rock would require a nuclear weapon with the yield of 100 kilotons. That is 10 times the size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Even the effects of a small bomb would be dramatic. A 1-kiloton nuclear weapon detonated 20 to 50 feet underground would dig a crater the size of Ground Zero in New York and eject 1 million cubic feet of radioactive debris into the air. Detonating a similar weapon on the surface of a city would kill a quarter of a million people and injure hundreds of thousands more.
Nuclear weapons cannot be engineered to penetrate deeply enough to prevent fallout. Based on technical analysis at the Nevada Test Site, a weapon with a 10-kiloton yield must be buried deeper than 850 feet to prevent spewing of radioactive debris. Yet a weapon dropped from a plane at 40,000 feet will penetrate less than 100 feet of loose dirt and less than 30 feet of rock. Ultimately, the depth of penetration is limited by the strength of the missile casing. The deepest our current earth penetrators can burrow is 20 feet of dry earth. Casing made of even the strongest material cannot withstand the physical forces of burrowing through 100 feet of granite, much less 850 feet.

Right now we can’t throw anything deeper than 100 feet, at best. The Pentagon is trying to figure out what sort of warhead could be detonated at a depth of 100 ft for the best result. The article continues:

By direction of the Nuclear Weapons Council, and in response to an Air Force requirement, the initial focus of the Advanced Concepts Program will be the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, for which $15.5 million was requested in FY 2003 as part of the Directed Stockpile Research and Development activity. The three-year RNEP Feasibility Study will assess the feasibility of modifying one of two candidate nuclear weapons currently in the stockpile to provide enhanced penetration capability into hard rock geologies and develop out-year costs for the subsequent production phases, if a decision is made by the Nuclear Weapons Council to proceed. This work complies with existing legislation, including section 3136 of the FY 1994 National Defense Authorization Act. The FY 2003 budget contains no other funds for Phase 6.X advanced concept study activities. The Congress authorized the budget request of $15 million for the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator, but prohibited expenditure of these funds until the Secretary of Defense submits a report setting forth: 1) the military requirements for the RNEP; 2) the nuclear weapons employment policy for the RNEP; 3) the detailed categories or types of targets that the RNEP is designed to hold at risk; and 4) an assessment of the ability of conventional weapons to address the same types of categories of targets that the RNEP is designed to hold at risk.
The FY2004 budget request for the Advanced Concepts program ($21m) included $15 million allocated to the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator. This program will examine whether or not two existing warheads in the stockpile -- the B61 and the B83 -- can be sufficiently hardened through case modifications and other work to allow the weapons to survive penetration into various geologies, with high reliability, before detonating.

So the President could truthfully say:
“Senator Kerry is wrong. We’re not researching a new set of nuclear weapons. We’re continuing the work done by the Clinton Administration to see if our existing nuclear arsenal is good for anything but destroying entire cities. Congress and I want an answer. It may be ‘no’. In which case I will turn to other avenues, such as direct-energy weapons, to deny our enemies a safe haven within the bowels of the earth. Senator Kerry worries about the message we send to rogue nations. It is clear: there is no hole deep enough to hide in.”

That would challenge Kerry to explain why Clinton approved a nuclear bunker-buster; debate whether direct-energy weapons are an acceptable alternative to nukes; and offer his own concept for destruction of deep bunkers. It would probably elicit the usual dodge: after Kerry becomes Super-Senator he will convoke an international committee to solve the problem. The more often he uses that dodge, the better for Bush.