This is the backup site for PERRY ON POLITICS. You may click on the link to find the latest analysis of the American political scene.
Common Sense Opinion on Today's Events
This is the backup site for PERRY ON POLITICS. You may click on the link to find the latest analysis of the American political scene.
The new site has been launched and is ready for complete access at www.perryonpolitics.com. We are currently transferring over the archives but the remainder of the site is ready.
The New York Times reports:
On his first full day off, though, Mr. Kerry awoke determined to hit the slopes of Mount Baldy.
The image-conscious candidate and his aides prevailed upon reporters and photographers to let him have a first run down the mountain solo, except for two agents and Marvin Nicholson, his omnipresent right-hand man.
His next trip down, a reporter and a camera crew were allowed to follow along on skis — just in time to see Mr. Kerry taken out by one of the Secret Service men, who had inadvertently moved into his path, sending him into the snow.
When asked about the mishap a moment later, he said sharply, "I don't fall down," then used an expletive to describe the agent who "knocked me over."
A reader sent me this link to a new t-shirt, pretty funny stuff.
As you are aware, this website is moving to www.perryonpolitics.com. The final touches are being wrapped up and the site will be fully functional by Monday morning. You can look for the new site over the weekend as it will be launched as soon as it is complete.
Thanks again for your support and kind words of encouragement.
According to the New York Post:
Sen. John Kerry, acting more like a lordly man of leisure than presidential timber as he casually snowboards near his wife's stunning $5 million Idaho hideaway. The Massachusetts Democrat sought respite from the relentless pounding being delivered this week by Team Bush as he began a five-day break at the magnificent spread in Ketchum.
Le Chateau Kerry is no ordinary cabin in the woods, having been built from imported stone and timber from a 15th-century English barn, which was flown over with a master carpenter to reconstruct it.
Nestled among huge birch trees and spruces and commanding sweeping mountain views, its 7,749-square-foot interior contains seven bedrooms, six bathrooms and a screening room where the Kerrys can enjoy the latest Hollywood hits.
And just outside the front door is a crystal-clear stream that boasts some of the finest trout fishing in the state.
The annual property tax on the Kerry digs is $30,000, but they certainly can afford it. They own several luxury homes in the United States worth a total of around $25 million.
Marrying Heinz has certainly been good for the Massachusetts pol's living standards. He once was considered one of the poorest senators in America before marrying into money.
A Nation at War
By Timothy Perry
March 19, 2004
America was attacked a little over two and a half years ago. Never before was such an attack perpetrated on this great nation. With a resiliency that makes this country unique, we have bounced back from despair and have regained our daily composure. While the fear and anxiety has left our consciousness, one fact still remains. We are still a nation at war.
Years have passed and military successes have lulled our great nation into a state of confidence. The emotions that we all experienced on the morning of 9/11 have all but left our memories. Candidate Kerry needs this to be the case in order to make a case for his campaign, and he is trying his best to make sure that the national debate has nothing to do with the war.
The war on terror is not just another issue to consider this November; it is the single most important hurdle facing this nation. There are many domestic issues challenging this country on a daily basis. And these items are important. However, none of these issues matter if the war on terror is not successful.
For example, look at the employment issue. Kerry claims that the 5.6 percent unemployment rate is unacceptable and that he can fix it. Why he hasn’t acted before this is a topic for another day. However, does anyone really believe that the job situation facing us will not improve?
Reports indicate that up to 3 million new jobs could be created across America within the next year. If another attack were to happen, this will never come to fruition.
The economy and jobs outlook cannot be strong without a confidence that the war on terror is being properly executed and seen as successful.
We will always have our setbacks, and casualties of war are always painful. But without the constant application of pressure against our enemies, our great nation will never truly be safe again.
While our country was in a recession in 2001, the attacks in September caused the economy to come to a halt and panic spread among business owners and investors. They stopped hiring in the uncertainty of the moment. Investment worries caused deep concern on Wall Street. Only now are things returning to normal. However, it is crucial to remember that the normalcy we now feel is fragile.
What is going to happen if we are hit again in the homeland? Businesses will freeze hiring and the unemployment rate will rise again. Jobs in America directly relate to the war on terror. Success is paramount. The same can be said of the other issues that Kerry is raising. Imagine what would happen to any domestic issue if the terrorists strike again, but on an even grander scale. Any ideological debate would become secondary to another attack.
Only when there is stability and confidence can the issues be dealt with properly. Without the success of this war, there is no real security or stability. President Bush is not using fear to make his case; he is simply preparing the public with the reality of the situation.
We cannot allow the memories of 9/11 to fade and become trivial. Our fellow Americans died that day at the hands of evil people who do not discriminate between young and old, civilian or military targets. The only thing they care about is fatality and the terror that the act instills.
The war began long before George W. Bush entered office, and it will continue past his final days in office. Terrorists declared war on America back in the 1990’s, President Clinton responded without meaningful action. President Bush responded without hesitation when struck. It was his actions that caused the fall of the Taliban, the liberation of Afghanistan and the fall of the Hussein regime in Iraq.
Many argue that President Bush’s actions have caused the world to become a more dangerous place. It has always been dangerous, but the American public was never as aware of the situation as they are now. We lived our lives oblivious to the threat, but 9/11 brought down the curtain of illusion. There is no going back from here.
So the question facing the voters this November is who best can deal with the threats facing America. Is President Bush the only person who can help us win the war on terror? Not at all. Can John Kerry carry on and lead us to victory?
I would like to say that any candidate could do what President Bush has been able to do. The reality is that Kerry has given no indication that the war on terror would be an integral part of his routine as president. At every turn he has changed the subject away from the threats facing us. He rarely mentions the war on terror past the point of blaming President Bush for his pre-emptive actions and WMD.
While Kerry wants to cause doubts about the president regarding the WMD issue, he is quoted as declaring their existence. However, we must remember that the war on terror goes well beyond Baghdad. Kerry has indicated that he considers the war a law enforcement issue, the same policy of the Clinton Administration. This policy failed under Clinton and led to the tragedy that would forever change the face of America.
As Americans we must demand that the war be the number one priority. Our freedoms and democracy depend on a successful fight. We will always have problems to deal with domestically, but without victory against terrorism no issue is safe. Any future attack will cause domestic issues to again become problematic.
With the power and strength that our successes will bring, all things are possible. Our country will thrive and prosper only when our security needs are met. It is a difficult time we live in. Leaders must be strong and unbending in the face of adversity. While there are arguments you can make against President Bush, his actions were consistent and he did not flinch at the moment of truth.
While you may agree or disagree with the president, has there ever been a president you’ve agreed with on every issue? I have yet to see one. This president has made mistakes, but he has waged his presidency on the war on terror. He knows that the issue of terrorism is the biggest problem our democracy will face.
Until the terrorists are defeated, we must ask ourselves who they would prefer be in the White House. Do they want the war brought to them, or would they prefer for the war to be fought within the parameters of a law enforcement drill? This is not a question that can be overlooked.
America is still at war; we must never forget this. Remember that feeling you had when you first watched those planes hitting the World Trade Centers. This is one American that never wants to experience that feeling again. The lessons of 9/11 must always be remembered.
The web designers are wrapping up the final details on www.PERRYONPOLITICS.com and it should be up very soon. I will post a note to this site to let everyone know when it is complete.
According to CNN:
Pakistani forces have surrounded what may be a "high-value" al Qaeda target in Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan, President Pervez Musharraf told CNN.
"We feel that there may be a high-value target," Musharraf told CNN. "I can't say who."
The Associated Press and Reuters reported that officials believe the surrounded figure is Osama bin Laden's deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri. The AP attributed its report to three anonymous Pakistani officials.
Columnist and lightning rod Ann Coulter makes a great point in her latest column. She writes:
The New York Times called the Spanish election "an exercise in healthy democracy." And an ATM withdrawal with a gun to your head is a "routine banking transaction." Instead of vowing to fight the people who killed their fellow citizens, the Spanish decided to vote with al-Qaida on the war. A murdering terrorist organization said, "Jump!" and an entire country answered, "How high?"
"I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it" - John Kerry 3/17/2004
People upset with the French over the war can take solace in the fact that there is at least one Frenchmen willing to help. According to this Associated Press report:
A French artist allegedly traumatized by last week's Spain bombings was convicted of trying to run over a pedestrian he mistook for Osama bin Laden and ordered to pay the man $615.
The victim, a man in his 30s, was able to run from the oncoming car, which crashed along the side of a street. "If it was (bin Laden), we would have won $5 million," Mendel said, referring to a reward. The Madrid train bombings, which killed 201 people, increasingly appear to have been orchestrated by Islamic extremists with links to bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network.
The Bush administration is showing that it is serious about this election. Entering into the political season running is important for any candidate. With the early indication that the heavy hitters will be out and defending the administration, it looks like they are not afraid to scrap with the Kerry campaign. Vice President Cheney spoke recently, a few highlights:
Cheney rejected Kerry's criticism that the U.S.-led 34-nation coalition on Iraq -- which lacked some major traditional allies who refused to go along with the war -- was merely "window-dressing" and a "coalition of the coerced and the bribed."
He said Kerry speaks "as if only those who openly oppose America's objectives have a chance of earning his respect."
Cheney said some of Kerry's Senate votes were rife with "inconsistencies and changing rationales." He said Kerry voted against weapons used in Iraq such as the Tomahawk cruise missile, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and Apache helicopter.
"Whatever the explanation, whatever the nuances he might fault us for neglecting, it is not an impressive record for someone who aspires to be commander in chief in this time of testing for our country," Cheney said.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
The $100 billion Iraqi Oil for Food program was by far the largest relief operation in the history of the United Nations. By extension, it's rapidly becoming the U.N.'s largest-ever scandal.
After months of stonewalling, Secretary General Kofi Annan conceded Tuesday that the program was worthy of an internal investigation. It's a step forward, but it's not nearly enough for an organization that so far has shown it can't be trusted to police itself. That's why the April hearings by Henry Hyde's House Committee on International Relations will be so important. Oil for Food is a legitimate U.S. concern, for reasons that go well beyond the fact that U.S. taxpayers foot about a quarter of the U.N.'s bills.
A mountain of evidence has now accumulated to suggest the Iraqi people suffered from shortages of quality food and medicine not because international sanctions were too strict, but because lax or corrupt oversight at U.N. headquarters in New York allowed Saddam Hussein to exploit the system for his own purposes.
Andrew Sullivan hits a home run with his fisking of the events in Spain. In regards to the critics, he responds:
How on earth did President Bush "squander" the alleged sympathy of many in Western Europe after September 11? All he did was to respond, at first in Afghanistan, a war opposed by many in the Guardian's pages, and thereafter in Iraq. For both wars, he secured bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress, and until the very last minute, support from the U.N. Security Council and dozens of allies. Large majorities of Americans--across party lines--supported and still support both wars. To equate this president's attempt to tackle the gravest threat to international security with a Soviet general is pure moral animus, an obscene conflation of the threat of totalitarianism and the democratic response to it. The personalization of this war on terror was, in fact, fomented largely by the far-left in the United States and by the soft-left in Europe, who smeared, caricatured, and defamed the president of the United States to a degree almost unprecedented in recent history. Just look at the Guardian's resident cartoonist, Steve Bell, a man who draws President Bush routinely as an ape. He was far kinder to Saddam Hussein.
"It is pure fiction that this pro-American sentiment was either squandered after Sept. 11 or lost under the Bush Administration. It never existed. Envy for America, resentment of our power, hatred of our success has been a staple for decades, but most particularly since victory in the cold war left us the only superpower.
Bill Clinton was the most accommodating, sensitive, multilateralist President one can imagine, and yet we know that al-Qaeda began the planning for Sept. 11 precisely during his presidency. Clinton made humility his vocation, apologizing variously for African slavery, for internment of Japanese Americans, for not saving Rwanda. He even decided that Britain should return the Elgin Marbles to Greece. A lot of good that did us. Bin Laden issued his Declaration of War on America in 1996--at the height of the Clinton Administration's hyperapologetic, good-citizen internationalism.
The world apparently likes the U.S. when it is on its knees. From that the Democrats deduce a foreign policy - remain on our knees, humble and supplicant, and enjoy the applause and "support" of the world.
This is not just degrading. It is a fool's bargain--3,000 dead for a day's worth of nice words and a few empty U.N. resolutions. The Democrats would forfeit American freedom of action and initiative in order to get back - what? Another nice French editorial? To be retracted as soon as the U.S. stops playing victim?
Sympathy is fine. But if we "squander" it when we go to war to avenge our dead and prevent the next crop of dead, then to hell with sympathy. The fact is that the world hates us for our wealth, our success, our power. They hate us into incoherence. The Europeans, Ajami astutely observes, disdain us for our excessive religiosity (manifest, they imagine, by evolution being expelled from schools while prayer is ushered back in)--while the Arab world despises us as purveyors of secularism. We cannot win for losing. We are widely reviled as enemies of Islam, yet in the 1990s we engaged three times in combat - in the Persian Gulf and in the Balkans - to rescue Kuwait, Bosnia and Kosovo, Muslim peoples all. And in the last two cases, there was nothing in it for the U.S.; it was humanitarianism and good international citizenship of the highest order.
The search for logic in anti-Americanism is fruitless. It is in the air the world breathes. Its roots are envy and self-loathing - by peoples who, yearning for modernity but having failed at it, find their one satisfaction in despising modernity's great exemplar.
On Sept. 11, they gave it a rest for a day. Big deal."
"The community of nations may see more and more of the very kind of threat Iraq poses now: a rogue state with weapons of mass destruction, ready to use them or provide them to terrorists. If we fail to respond today, Saddam and all those who would follow in his footsteps will be emboldened tomorrow." -- Bill Clinton 1998
"We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seeking and developing weapons of mass destruction." -- Ted Kennedy, September 27, 2002
For those out there who claim that there is no bias in the way the media reports, here is a report for you. This site posted the results of a NY Times/CBS poll showing that the president had a lead over Kerry. Let's take a quick look at how CBS reported their findings:
When a CBS News poll found John Kerry leading George W. Bush by 48 to 43 percent amongst registered voters, Dan Rather reported it on the February 16 CBS Evening News, and when another CBS News poll two weeks ago put Kerry up by a mere one point over Bush, by 47 to 46 percent with registered voters, the February 28 CBS Evening News highlighted the finding. But on Monday, while the CBSNews.com home page, for much of the afternoon and into the evening featured the results of a new CBS News/New York Times poll, with a headline which declared, “Bush Moves Ahead of Kerry,” the CBS Evening News didn’t utter a word about the new numbers which put Bush up over Kerry by 46 to 43 percent with registered voters.
Two weeks ago, the CBS Evening News emphasized how Bush’s approval rating had fallen below 50 percent, but the new poll found his approval rating back above 50 percent -- but that too went unmentioned Monday night.
The March 15 CBS Evening News, however, had time for full stories on a small anti-war protest outside the White House by family members of those in the military and how the Bush administration supposedly gagged an official from telling the true cost of the Medicare prescription drug entitlement program. “Families of some of the American casualties of the war reached out to President Bush today,” Dan Rather reported, “asking him to bring U.S. troops home.” Rather soon introduced another story: “In an election year battle over the new Medicare prescription drug benefit, the Bush administration is now being accused of trying to sell the program to the public in a very misleading way. And CBS’s John Roberts also has new details tonight of allegations that the administration deliberately misled Congress to get the kind of Medicare overhaul the President wanted.”
Like every other institution, the Washington and political press corps operate with a good number of biases and predilections.
They include, but are not limited to, a near-universal shared sense that liberal political positions on social issues like gun control, homosexuality, abortion, and religion are the default, while more conservative positions are "conservative positions."
They include a belief that government is a mechanism to solve the nation's problems; that more taxes on corporations and the wealthy are good ways to cut the deficit and raise money for social spending and don't have a negative affect on economic growth; and that emotional examples of suffering (provided by unions or consumer groups) are good ways to illustrate economic statistic stories.
More systematically, the press believes that fluid narratives in coverage are better than static storylines; that new things are more interesting than old things; that close races are preferable to loose ones; and that incumbents are destined for dethroning, somehow.
The press, by and large, does not accept President Bush's justifications for the Iraq war -- in any of its WMD, imminent threat, or evil-doer formulations. It does not understand how educated, sensible people could possibly be wary of multilateral institutions or friendly, sophisticated European allies.
It does not accept the proposition that the Bush tax cuts helped the economy by stimulating summer spending.
It remains fixated on the unemployment rate.
It believes President Bush is "walking a fine line" with regards to the gay marriage issue, choosing between "tolerance" and his "right-wing base."
It still has a hard time understanding how, despite the drumbeat of conservative grass-top complaints about overspending and deficits, President Bush's base remains extremely and loyally devoted to him -- and it looks for every opportunity to find cracks in that base.
Of course, the swirling Joe Wilson and National Guard stories play right to the press's scandal bias -- not to mention the bias towards process stories (grand juries produce ENDLESS process!).
The worldview of the dominant media can be seen in every frame of video and every print word choice that is currently being produced about the presidential race.
Then there is this report from Lisa Meyers at MSNBC, where she writes:
NBC News has obtained, exclusively, extraordinary secret video, shot by the U.S. government. It illustrates an enormous opportunity the Clinton administration had to kill or capture bin Laden. Critics call it a missed opportunity.
In the fall of 2000, in Afghanistan, unmanned, unarmed spy planes called Predators flew over known al-Qaida training camps. The pictures that were transmitted live to CIA headquarters show al-Qaida terrorists firing at targets, conducting military drills and then scattering on cue through the desert.
Another clue: The video was shot at Tarnak Farm, the walled compound where bin Laden is known to live. The layout of the buildings in the Predator video perfectly matches secret U.S. intelligence photos and diagrams of Tarnak Farm obtained by NBC.
The tape proves the Clinton administration was aggressively tracking al-Qaida a year before 9/11. But that also raises one enormous question: If the U.S. government had bin Laden and the camps in its sights in real time, why was no action taken against them?
A Democratic member of the 9/11 commission says there was a larger issue: The Clinton administration treated bin Laden as a law enforcement problem.
One Clinton Cabinet official said, looking back, the military should have been more involved, “We did a lot, but we did not see the gathering storm that was out there.”
According to this Associated Press report:
Former Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean said Tuesday that President Bush's decision to send troops to Iraq appears to have contributed to the bombing deaths of 201 in Spain.
"That was what they said in the tape," Dean said. "They made that connection, I'm simply repeating it."
The New York Times shares the results from a new poll:
The candidacy of Ralph Nader looms as a potentially lethal threat to Democratic hopes of regaining the White House: With Mr. Nader in the race, Mr. Bush leads Mr. Kerry by 46 percent to 38 percent, with Mr. Nader drawing 7 percent of the votes. In a sign of the polarized electorate Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry are facing, three-quarters of supporters of each candidate asserted they would not change their mind before the election.
The nationwide telephone poll of 1,206 adults, including 984 registered voters, was taken from last Wednesday through Sunday. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.
Mark Steyn has written a great piece on the events in Spain and what they mean. Highlights:
At the end of last week, American friends kept saying to me: "3/11 is Europe's 9/11. They get it now." I expressed scepticism. And I very much doubt whether March 11 will be a day that will live in infamy. Rather, March 14 seems likely to be the date bequeathed to posterity, in the way we remember those grim markers on the road to conflagration through the 1930s, the tactical surrenders that made disaster inevitable. All those umbrellas in the rain at Friday's marches proved to be pretty pictures for the cameras, nothing more. The rain in Spain falls mainly on the slain. In the three days between the slaughter and the vote, it was widely reported that the atrocity had been designed to influence the election. In allowing it to do so, the Spanish knowingly made Sunday a victory for appeasement and dishonoured their own dead.
And, if it works in Spain, why not in Australia, Britain, Italy, Poland? In his 1996 "Declaration of War Against the Americans", Bin Laden cited Washington's feebleness in the face of the 1992 Aden hotel bombings and the Black Hawk Down business in Somalia in 1993: "You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew," he wrote. "The extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear." To the jihadis' way of thinking, on Thursday, the Spaniards were disgraced by Allah; on Sunday, they withdrew. The extent of their impotence and weaknesses is very clear.
As the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday:
"The value of U.S. exports of legal work, computer programming, telecommunications, banking, engineering, management consulting and other private services jumped to $131.01 billion in 2003, up $8.42 billion from the previous year, the Commerce Department reported Friday."
Economist Thomas Sowell makes a great point on outsourcing:
Back during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when unemployment in the United States hit a high of 25 percent, one of the many foolish things the government did was create international trade restrictions designed to save American jobs. Other countries around the world created similar restrictions to save their own workers' jobs.
Net result: world trade in 1933 was one-third of what it had been in 1929, making everybody poorer and therefore less able to create jobs. Many economists have blamed these restrictions for making the depression worse and longer lasting.
The government can always save 10,000 jobs -- at a cost of 50,000 other jobs. If the jobs that are saved are in one industry, represented by vocal spokesmen, and the 50,000 lost jobs are spread thinly across the country in two's and three's here and there, then this is a good deal for the politician who becomes a hero to those 10,000 voters whose jobs he saved.
Ironically, those politicians who complain most loudly about the outsourcing of jobs often advocate the outsourcing of the job of making foreign policy and safeguarding American national security to the United Nations or to our allies in Europe.
A majority of Iraqis believe life is better now than it was under Saddam Hussein, according to a poll released on Tuesday.
A total of 2,500 Iraqis were quizzed for a group of international broadcasting organizations including the BBC in a poll to mark the first anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion.
Some 57 percent said that life was better now than under Saddam, against 19 percent who said it was worse and 23 percent who said it was about the same.
Iraqi people appeared optimistic about the future, with 71 percent saying they expected things to be better in a years time, six percent predicting it will be worse and nine percent the same.
Overall, 70 percent said that life was good now, compared with 29 percent who said it was bad.
John Kerry has taken heat over his "foreign leader" claim. The New York Times is reporting that the actual quote has been revised:
Patrick Healy, the Boston Globe reporter who covered the fund-raiser, had quoted Mr. Kerry as saying: "I've met foreign leaders who can't go out and say this publicly, but, boy, they look at you and say, `You have got to win this; you have got to beat this guy; we need a new policy.' Things like that."
Mr. Kerry said on Sunday that he had used the word "heard," not "met," prompting Mr. Healy to revisit the recording. On Monday, he sent out a corrected transcript, clarifying that the quotation actually began, "I've met more leaders who can't go out and say it all publicly."
The agreement between Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., means only a simple majority is needed to pass the Unborn Victims of Violence Act
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins called the bill "one of the many pro-life pieces of legislation that cross the abortion divide in this country."
"Regardless of whether they are pro-life or pro-abortion, 80 percent of Americans believe that crimes against a pregnant woman should count two victims," he said.
However, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry opposes it, regarding the bill as a threat to abortion rights.
"The law cannot simultaneously provide that a fetus is a human being and protect the right of the mother to terminate her pregnancy," Kerry says.
President Bush has said he will sign it.
The Associated Press reports:
A Durant woman is arrested after she allegedly called the wrong number and set up a drug deal with her former probation officer.
Patricia Kay Michel was charged with unlawful delivery of a controlled drug Friday after a phone conversation ended with police showing up at her home.
Probation and Parole Officer Doug Canant says Michel called him Thursday looking for a man named David. Canant says he played along with Michel, who soon started asking about drugs.
When police arrived, Michel allegedly brought two Xanax pills out of the house and gave them to a drug agent.
Just a quick reminder that we are moving to WWW.PERRYONPOLITICS.COM and will be up and running this week. The site is coming along well and I have been told that we are very close to completion. I will post a note once it is ready.
Check out this exchange between John Kerry and John Sununu on Crossfire in 1997:
"Well, John, you're correct that this resolution is less than we would have liked," said Kerry. "I don't think anybody can deny that we would have liked it to have threatened force and we would have liked it to carry the term 'serious consequences will flow.' On the other hand, the coalition is together. I mean the fact is there is a unanimous statement by the Security Council and the United Nations that there has to be immediate, unrestricted, unconditional access to the sites. That's very strong language. And it also references the underlying resolution on which the use of force is based. So clearly the allies may not like it, and I think that's our great concern – where's the backbone of Russia, where's the backbone of France, where are they in expressing their condemnation of such clearly illegal activity? But in a sense, they're now climbing into a box and they will have enormous difficulty not following up on this if there is not compliance by Iraq."
"There's absolutely no statement that they have made or that they will make that will prevent the United States of America and this president or any president from acting in what they believe are the best interests of our country," said Kerry. "And obviously it's disappointing. It was disappointing a month ago not to have the French and the Russians understanding that they shouldn't give any signals of weakening on the sanctions and I think those signals would have helped bring about this crisis because they permitted Saddam Hussein to interpret that maybe the moment was right for him to make this challenge."
Kerry said it was clear the U.S. did not need allies nor the U.N. to force its will on Iraq.
"The administration is leading." said Kerry. "The administration is making it clear that they don't believe that they even need the U.N. Security Council to sign off on a material breach because the finding of material breach was made by Mr. (Richard) Butler. So furthermore, I think the United States has always reserved the right and will reserve the right to act in its best interests. And clearly it is not just our best interests, it is in the best interests of the world to make it clear to Saddam Hussein that he's not going to get away with a breach of the '91 agreement that he's got to live up to, which is allowing inspections and dismantling his weapons and allowing us to know that he has dismantled his weapons. That's the price he pays for invading Kuwait and starting a war."
Kerry blamed France's objections to force against Iraq on monetary interests.
"The fact is that over a period of time France and Russia have indicated a monetary interest," he said. "They on their own have indicated the desire to do business. That's what's driving this. I mean, as (The New York Times') Tom Friedman said in a great article the other day, France Inc. wants to do business with oil and they are moving in the exact sort of opposite direction on their own from the very cause of the initial conflict, which was oil."
With the terrorists winning the election in Spain over the weekend, there now comes more news about their actions. Reuters reports:
Police in Pakistan defused a huge car bomb found outside the U.S. consulate in Karachi on Monday, two days before Secretary of State Colin Powell visits the country.
A suicide car bombing outside the same consulate killed 12 Pakistanis and wounded 45 in June 2002. That attack was the work of Islamic militants opposed to Pakistani cooperation in the U.S.-led war on terror.
One ill conceived idea, they should have known better.
World Net Daily is reporting a disturbing image on a islamic website. The Capitol in flames. For anyone who thinks that the war is over, please re-think your view. The game is still on, and it is one that we must win.
Could this be another scandal in the making? According to The Hill, we have a few delinquent patrons to the restaurants. They report:
A report issued by the General Accounting Office this week revealed that the Senate restaurants lost $678,000 in fiscal 2003.
Although the report shows that senators, former senators and other officials who are allowed to run a tab failed to pay a total of $189,545 by the due date, Irby said that member accounts do not have a significant impact on the restaurants’ debt.
Republican Senator Kyl from Arizona explains to the Council on Foreign Operations the policy of regime change in Iraq among other things. A few highlights:
The policy to remove Saddam Hussein was not left over from the first Bush administration, but, rather, unfinished business from the Clinton administration. Upon entering office in January of 2001, President Bush inherited from the Clinton administration a policy of regime change. That policy was based upon the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act (P.L. 105-338), which stated, "It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime." This policy was unanimously approved by the Senate and strongly supported by the Clinton administration.
Not two months after he signed the Iraq Liberation Act into law, President Clinton delivered an address to the nation explaining his decision to order air strikes against Iraqi military targets. He discussed the potential long-term threat posed by Saddam Hussein, stating,
"The hard fact is that so long as Saddam Hussein remains in power, he threatens the well- being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world. The best way to end that threat once and for all is with the new Iraqi government, a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people. ". . . Heavy as they are, the costs of inaction must be weighed against the price of inaction. If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors; he will make war on his own people. And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them." (Emphasis added)
The words, again, of President Clinton. It is hard to think of any Bush administration words more forceful, unqualified or expressive of the grave and growing danger posed by the Iraqi regime. Yet, I've heard no criticism of Clinton administration misuse of intelligence.
Victor Davis Hanson from National Review takes on the myths of the Iraqi war in his latest column. A few highlights:
"No Blood for Oil" (never mind the people who drove upscale gas-guzzlers to the rallies at which they chanted such slogans) was supposed to respond to one of two possibilities: American oil companies were either simply going to steal the Iraqi fields, or indirectly prime the pumps to such an extent that the world would be awash with petroleum and the price for profligate Western consumers would crash.
The truth is, as usual, far more simple. The United States never did intend to steal or manipulate the oil market — not necessarily because we are always above such chicanery, but because it is nearly impossible in a fungible market under constant global scrutiny, and suicidal in the Byzantine politics of the Middle East.
But what about WMDs? Wasn't that a Bush fable? Forget that most — from Bill Clinton to John Kerry — believed that they were there, and that all the evidence about Saddam's arsenal is not yet in.
The truth is that almost everybody in the world believes that the war had something to do with WMDs and nothing to do with Halliburton — except Western leftists. By going into Iraq we probably will find more dangerous weapons in Libya than were stockpiled in Baghdad. The president argued that we must depose Saddam Hussein to prevent scary weapons from being used by rogue regimes. He did so, and suddenly Dr. Khan, Khaddafi, and even a few mullahs seemed to wish to come clean.
No wonder, when asked for specific follow-ups about his general criticisms of the Iraqi war in a recent Time magazine interview, a resolute Kerry variously prevaricated, "I didn't say that," "I can't tell you," "It's possible," "It's not a certainty," "If I had known," "No, I think you can still — wait, no. You can't — that's not a fair question and I'll tell you why," — employing the entire idiom and vocabulary of those who are angry about Bush's removal of Saddam, but neither know quite why nor what they would do differently.
Under pressure from Secretary of State Colin Powell to disclose his list of "secret supporters", Reuters reports the Kerry response:
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, under pressure to say which foreign leaders were rooting for him to beat President Bush, refused on Sunday to reveal any names.
"No leader would obviously share a conversation if I started listing them," Kerry told reporters after Secretary of State Colin Powell suggested he name some names or stop implying foreign leaders were encouraging him to beat Bush.
A 96 year old woman was busted for running a crack cocaine operation out of her home. Not something you see everyday!
Making the rounds this Sunday morning, Colin Powell made a challenge to candidate Kerry:
"I don't know what foreign leaders Senator Kerry is talking about. It's an easy charge, an easy assertion to make. But if he feels it is that important an assertion to make, he ought to list some names," Powell said. "If he can't list names, then perhaps he should find something else to talk about."
Powell also dismissed Kerry's recent suggestion that the secretary of state has been undercut by hawks in the Bush administration, saying again that Kerry should substantiate the claim.
Columnist Mark Steyn nails it today when he writes:
Sen. Kerry thinks the Bush administration are ''crooked'' and ''lying.'' The Bush ''lie'' boils down to this: The president believes there's a war on. The Dems think 9/11 is like the 1998 ice storm or a Florida hurricane -- just one of those things. And they think Bush is ''lying'' by insisting on playing it as a war.
As it happens, the only big political ''lie'' in recent days came from Kerry, who told a meeting in Florida, ''I've met foreign leaders who can't go out and say this publicly, but boy, they look at you and say, 'You've got to win this, you've got to beat this guy.' '' The senator has spent most of the last year in Iowa and New Hampshire, which, for all their charms, are not where one goes to rub shoulders with ''foreign leaders.'' Jacques Chirac could have driven over the Granite State border from Quebec's Eastern Townships, where he was vacationing last summer. But he didn't. Kerry does not appear to have ''looked at'' any foreign leaders since he began his campaign.
And, if he had, he'd find them far less well-disposed to him than he imagines. Last Thursday, March 11, 2-1/2 years to the day after Sept. 11, nearly 200 people were murdered by terrorists in Spain. Like Britain, Australia and Poland, Spain is a member of what John Kerry calls Bush's ''fraudulent coalition.''
You can disagree with the administration on this war. I have. A few days after 9/11, I called for resignations from the agencies that failed on that day -- FAA, FBI, CIA, INS. Didn't happen. Still hasn't happened. It should. A couple of weeks after 9/11, I called for a total upheaval of America's relationship with Saudi Arabia. Didn't happen then. There are a few subtle hints that things are changing, but far too slowly. Anyone who took the war seriously can certainly find fault with the administration.
But not if you stand there like a 5-year-old boy and never get beyond pointing your fingers and sticking your tongue out: ''Ooh, Bush lied. And Ashcroft's a big bully. And Cheney's stealing it all for his oil buddies. And you shouldn't mention the war in your campaign ads, because it's not fair. Nyaa-nyaa!''
Two hundred people died in Madrid because of a war Democrats refuse to admit exists. But, hey, you never know: Maybe the guy who did it will be a third cousin twice removed of Karl Rove.