Archive for July, 2006
The IDF assessed on Monday that Hezbollahâ€™s rocket launching capability was significantly compromised by the fighting that took place in the past three weeks. It was estimated that, while the organization still has hundreds of rockets with a sufficient range to reach Afula and Haifa, there were only a number of launchers remaining with launching capability. The Hizbullah still had several Zilzal rockets left that could reach central Israel, Army Radio reported.
If this report is accurate, and I believe it is, then we might be closer to a ceasefire than previously imagined because Hezbollah’s offensive capacity will have been dramatically decreased, which was the purpose behind Israel’s not accepting the ceasefire in the first place. There’s more good news in the JPost article, too:
In the course of the fighting, the IDF asserted that it had killed some 200 Hizbullah operatives. Though most of the names were not released, one of the more prominent targets hit was Jihad Atiya, who was said to be responsible for the killing and kidnapping of IDF soldiers Benny Avraham, Adi Avitan and Omar Sueid in 2000. Meanwhile, it was released for publication that an IAF UAV bombed a truck that was said to have been importing weapons from Syria, through the Masnaa border crossing, into Lebanon. The driver of the truck was wounded, as well as four additional Lebanese customs workers.
Killing “200 Hizbullah operatives” shrinks the Arab Street, which is always a positive thing.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
All we’ve heard from human rights organizations for months (years really) is how prisoners have been mistreated in Gitmo. This AP article utterly demolishes that nonsense. The article is a long read but it’s must reading.
The prisoners held at GuantÃ¡namo Bay during the war on terror have attacked their military guards hundreds of times, turning broken toilet parts, utensils, radios and even a bloody lizard tail into makeshift weapons, Pentagon reports say. Incident reports reviewed by The Associated Press indicate Military Police guards are routinely head-butted, spat upon and doused by “cocktails” of feces, urine, vomit and sperm collected in meal cups by the prisoners.
They’ve been repeatedly grabbed, punched or assaulted by prisoners who reach through the small “bean holes” used to deliver food and blankets through cell doors, the reports say. Serious assaults requiring medical attention, however, are rare, the reports indicate. The detainee “reached under the face mask of an IRF (Initial Reaction Force) team member’s helmet and scratched his face, attempting to gouge his eyes,” states a May 27, 2005, report on an effort to remove a recalcitrant prisoner from his cell. “The IRF team member received scratches to his face and eye socket area,” the report said.
It’s time that we told these ‘human rights organizations’ to take a hike, that they aren’t taken seriously anymore. The International Red Cross, Amnesty International and the ACLU painted a picture of the prisoners being innocent victims of the U.S. military’s band of heathens. Now we know that the opposite is true. It isn’t our soldiers who are the heathens. It’s the terrorists being held there.
Based on this article, I wouldn’t have a problem with prisoners captured on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq being kept right there so they don’t attack our guards here. We should ignore the cries from the American Left that Gitmo should be closed, too. After hearing how these people attack guards, can there be any doubt but that they’re terrorists who should never see the light of day?
Cross-posted at California Conservative
That’s essentially the conclusion Ben Stein reached in this article in the American Prowler, a must read if ever there was one. I’d add that it’s a world with too many fools.
Here’s why Mr. Stein knows we’re in trouble:
- Because the Hezbollah, as has been well reported, launches missiles at purely civilian targets in Israel as a matter of course, and no one in Europe or in the American left says “boo” about it. It’s considered the Hezbollah’s “right” to kill Israelis and when they do, they boast about it and promise to do more;
- Because it’s been also well documented that the Hezbollah hides behind civilian targets and adjacent to civilian dwellings in Lebanon to fire its rockets at Israel, and when Israel fires back and mistakenly hits a home with civilians, the world of “intellectuals” and “thinkers” blames Israel and calls Israel bloodthirsty;
- Because when the Israelis kill civilians, they apologize, but when the terrorists kill civilians, they brag, and the beautiful people scream at Eretz Israel and excuse the terrorists;
- Because if you substitute “America” for “Israel” and the “terrorists in Iraq” for the Hezbollah, you get what’s happening in Iraq;
- Because it is impossible to beat a terrorist movement without using terror tactics, and we as a people of compassion and restraint, both in Israel and the U.S., will not use terror tactics even when survival is at stake, and this means we will not survive.
Just earlier, I talked about how the Democrats signed a letter to the president that essentially, if not officially, categorized them as A Party Committed to Losing. Stein’s article essentially just adds insult to injury on the subject.
It’s insulting that they haven’t said boo about Hezbollah’s using U.N. buildings as shields for their attacks. It’s insulting that Democrats don’t decry the targetting of innocent Israelis. It’s insulting that Democrats only criticism in all this is against our President for missing an opportunity.
Mark my words on this: This will contribute heavily to Democrats’ electoral demise this November. The Right Blogosphere will remind people again and again of Democrats’ faint-heartedness on terrorism. People don’t like how the war on terror is going but people won’t vote, in numbers large enough anyway, for a party whose official stance is to not fight.
It is very much as if, after Pearl Harbor, after the bombing of London, we said, “We will fight the Japanese and the Nazis, but we will only use humane means, and we will show total restraint and will never kill civilians. And we will search our souls and agonize about every move.”
Democrats were quick to decry President Bush’s ‘unilaterally’ taking us to war. Funny but they don’t mind unilaterally surrendering in the fight against Islamic terrorists whose goal is to kill innocents of any nation that stands in their way. If that’s the America you want to live in, vote Democrat or stay home in a protest vote against Republicans.
With their silence against Hezbollah, Democrats have caused FDR, JFK and Truman to start turning over in their graves.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
I didn’t think I’d live to see this but it’s now official: Democrats are the ‘Party Committed to Losing‘. In a letter to President Bush, the Democrats’ leadership wrote:
In the interests of American national security, our troops, and our taxpayers, the open-ended commitment in Iraq that you have embraced cannot and should not be sustained.
TRANSLATION: We’re quitting. We don’t have the steadfastness for unconditionally supporting democracy. We don’t have the steadfastness to unconditionally support our friends around the world.
This is proof of yet another wing of the Democratic Party, a wing we didn’t know existed. This wing might be called the ‘Quitter Wing’ of the Democratic Party. Here’s a look at the letter:
We believe that a phased redeployment of U.S. forces from Iraq should begin before the end of 2006. U.S. forces in Iraq should transition to a more limited mission focused on counterterrorism, training and logistical support of Iraqi security forces, and force protection of U.S. personnel.
Additionally, every effort should be made to urge the Iraqis to take the steps necessary to achieve a broad-based and sustainable political settlement, including amending the constitution to achieve a fair sharing of power and resources. It is also essential to disarm the militias and ensure forces loyal to the national government. Finally, an international conference should be convened to persuade other governments to be more involved, and to secure the resources necessary to finance Iraq’s reconstruction and rebuild its economy.
Mr. President, simply staying the course in Iraq is not working. We need to take a new direction. We believe these recommendations comprise an effective alternative to the current open-ended commitment which is not producing the progress in Iraq we would all like to see. Thank you for your careful consideration of these suggestions.
Harry Reid, Senate Democratic Leader
Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic Leader
Dick Durbin, Senate Assistant Democratic Leader
Steny Hoyer, House Minority Whip
Carl Levin, Ranking Member, Senate Armed Services Committee
Ike Skelton, Ranking Member, House Armed Services Committee
Joe Biden, Ranking Member, Senate Foreign Relations Committee
Tom Lantos, Ranking Member, House International Relations Committee
Jay Rockefeller, Vice Chairman, Senate Intelligence Committee
Jane Harman, Ranking Member, House Intelligence Committee
Daniel Inouye, Ranking Member, Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee
John Murtha, Ranking Member, House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee
The only person on that list that used to have serious foreign policy credentials is Jane Harman but she’s changed her ‘perspective’ substantially because Pelosi threatened her with not chairing the House Foreign Relations Committee if Democrats regain control of Congress. (Not that they’ll retake the House but it’s the only lever Pelosi has.)
I’m surprised that I haven’t heard much whining from the media elites after Karl Rove took a jab at them in a recent speech. Frankly, I would’ve thought that the media would’ve gone into a full-fledged tizzy over these comments:
“Some argue political professionals are ruining American politics, trapping candidates in daily competition for the news cycle instead of long-term strategic thinking in the best interest of the country.â€ But Rove turned that criticism on journalists. “It’s odd to me that most of these critics are journalists and columnists,” he said. “Perhaps they don’t like sharing the field of play. Perhaps they want to draw attention away from the corrosive role their coverage has played focusing attention on process and not substance.“
If there’s anything that most Washington political reporters focus on, it’s the horse race aspect of campaigns. The truth of the matter is, that’s why people are flocking to blogs and conservative talk radio for their daily dose of serious policy conversation.
“There are some in politics who hold that voters are dumb, ill informed and easily misled, that voters can be manipulated by a clever ad or a smart line,” said Rove, who is credited with President Bush’s victories in the 2000 and 2004 elections. “I’ve seen this cynicism over the years from political professionals and journalists. American people are not policy wonks, but they have great instincts and try to do the right thing.“
Rove is the master of his domain, the best political consultant I’ve ever seen. When Rove talks openly about politics, people of all political persuasions listen attentively. Dick Morris, hardly a conservative, talks glowingly of Rove’s strategies and tactics.
Recently, Karl Rove sat down with several Minnesota bloggers & talked about politics. Here’s the most fascinating observation of what he said:
Of late, many pundits have claimed that Rove wants to win elections by pandering to a narrow political slice of the spectrum. He counters this by noting that Bush received many more votes in 2004 than he did in 2000, even by percentage. People win elections, Rove said, by broadening their appeal, not by narrowing it.
The myth is out there but it isn’t reality. The truth is that Republicans control the House, Senate & White House because they have broad appeal into almost all groups in America. Most of this is rightly attributed to the policies they advocate. That’s why Pat Moynihan said that the Republican Party was the party of ideas in 1978. It was true then & it’s more true now.
Proving that militant Muslims don’t care if you’re the wimpiest appeaser or the most fierce hawk, terrorists “stormed the main U.N. compound in Gaza City” during an anti-Israel protest.
Palestinian protesters stormed the main U.N. compound in Gaza City on Sunday during a demonstration against Israel’s bombing of southern Lebanon that killed around 60 civilians, witnesses and U.N. staff said. Hundreds of members of the Islamic Jihad militant group, some throwing stones and others firing assault rifles, attacked the compound at the end of a rally, witnesses said. At least five people were wounded, police said.
U.N. staff were inside the compound at the time, but managed to escape after U.N. guards let off tear gas canisters. A U.N. official said the compound, which includes scores of buildings, was ransacked and eight vehicles damaged.
I wish I could be surprised at this behavior but I’m not. The notion that Palestinian Muslims practice the so-called “religion of peace” is utter nonsense. It’s bad enough that a throng of people show up to protest Israel for defending herself against a terrorist attack. It’s even worse when these protesters get worked into such a rage that they attack the U.N. compound in Gaza. It’s impossible to think of a rationalization for attacking the U.N. compound, much less a legitimate reason for it.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice should pull a Kissinger, Brzezinski said, and “stay in the region” until the fighting stops. To that end, Brzezinski offered five practical suggestions for how the Bush Administration might quell the violence.
1. Recreate viability for the Palestinians by working with Hamas.
2. Talk to the Syrians, with or through the French.
3. Talk to the Lebanese government, so they don’t just appear as victims screaming for help.
4. Talk to Hezbollah through Syria.
5. Negotiate the sequential release of prisoners between Israel and Hezbollah.
Zbigniew Brzezinski is architect of one of the biggest foreign policy failures in presidential history. That anyone would take him seriously tells you everything that you need to know about the Democratic appeasement crowd otherwise known as the Daily Kos/Democratic Underground/MoveOn.org wing of the Democratic Party.
To say that Lynn Swann got off to a slow start would be kind. All things considered, though, I like a strong closer, which is what I expect Swann to be because of what I read in this article.
It’s Monday morning and Reform One, the Lynn Swann for Governor campaign bus, is refueled (with environmentally friendly biodiesel) and ready for a day trip. And somewhere between discussing urban violence in South Philly and awarding ribbons to 4-H members at the Lebanon Area Fair, you understand why Gov. Rendell should still be a bit nervous about reelection.
‘Fast Eddie’ Rendell can only dream of being that comfortable in front of future farmers. What’s likely more troublesome is that, while he can’t touch Swann on country turf’, Swann can do plenty of damage in what might be called the ‘Rendell Zone’ of South Philly.
Most important, if the bus tour is any indication, this is a campaign that may finally have its act together, partly on issues and fund-raising, but even more so on voter outreach and organization.
It made a good impression on Theresa Rhodes of Norristown, who attended Swann’s lunch-hour stop at the borough’s Senior Adult Activity Center on George Street. Swann was following Jim Matthews, his running mate and the Montgomery County commissioner. Matthews had been talking to the several dozen people in attendance before Reform One arrived. Swann took the mike and immediately offered to answer questions. When the hands went up, he waded among the questioners seated at tables. “I’m going to come over just like Oprah,” he said, adding jokingly, “but I’m not here to make your dreams come true.”
Frankly, I think that Swann will win this race if he can prove himself sufficiently knowledgeable on the issues. He’s already showing considerable prowess at connecting with people, which isn’t something that evcery politician has. Hillary Clinton leaps to mind. The GOP, with Ken Mehlman leading the way, has been outreach oriented since 2003 really. Swann is simply following the GOP manual in terms of winning over new voters.
Another thing that will benefit Swann, Santorum and I believe Diana Irey is the GOP GOTV operation. The most impressive state GOTV operation was in Ohio, to the point where they were ‘farming’ people out to other states for GOTV operations. If they’re doing that well in Ohio again this year, I’d expect a bunch of these volunteers to be farmed out to Pennsylvania.
The first question was about restoring funds for seniors. Would he promise more? No. He didn’t want to mislead anyone, promise one thing here and another at the next stop.
“The state doesn’t have an unlimited amount of money,” he told the woman. “In fact, when the state has more, you have less because of higher taxes.” But he would commit to a “fiscally responsible plan” that would ensure the state didn’t have to divert seniors’ lottery proceeds to other programs. Rhodes, who is black and a Democrat, said afterward: “With that good speech, people who normally vote Democratic might vote for him. He seemed honest, true to his nature.”
Ed Rendell must be getting nervous after that last quote. If Swann is winning over Democrats, that’s also a sign that Rendell’s support isn’t as steadfast as Bush’s was in 2004. If Swann is winning over people that voted for Rendell in 2002, then that’s telling me that Rendell hasn’t closed the deal with people, which isn’t what an incumbent wants to think about.
Republican Lynn Swann is bringing in a heavy-hitting New York political strategist to bolster his sagging gubernatorial candidacy. Walter Breakell begins work tomorrow in Pittsburgh as the campaign chief of staff.
Turnout will be important in this race. Fitting Zaborney, who is supposedly one of the best at GOTV operations, into that role is a big plus for Swann and the entire GOP ticket.
At the end of the day, I still pick Swann to beat Rendell in one of the tightest races in the country.
In the most upbeat news I’ve read all weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has announce that Israel isn’t ready for a ceasefire…yet:
“I think it needs to be clear that Israel is not in a hurry to have a cease-fire before we reach a situation in which we can say that we achieved the central goals that we set down for ourselves,” Olmert said before Israel’s weekly Cabinet meeting. “This requires a ripening of the diplomatic process and a specific agreement regarding the formation of the force that will operate from the areas from which Israel was threatened in this period.”
Israeli officials have said they want to crush the Hezbollah guerrilla group that controls southern Lebanon or at least push it away from the border, which then would be patrolled by a sizable international peacekeeping force.
I hope that Olmert orders the IDF to annihilate Hezbollah’s terrorists and their supporters. In fact, I wish Israel wouldn’t have ‘half-stepped’ their military campaign. I wish they would’ve taken the opportunity to annihilate Hezbollah terrorists right from the start.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
Anyone thinking that the State Department is Israel’s friend is kidding themselves. Here’s proof positive:
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is abruptly breaking off her diplomatic mission in the Mideast and returning to Washington after Israel’s deadly attack on a Lebanese village, a U.S. official said Sunday. Rice, who planned to head back to the United States on Monday morning, had hoped to leave the region after concrete progress on ending the fighting between Israel and the Hezbollah militia in southern Lebanon. But her work was hampered severely by Israel’s missile strike early Sunday that killed more than 50 people, including many children.
The coward that wouldn’t let the AP reporter mention them by name should be ashamed of himself/herself. This official completely ignores the fact that Sheik Nasrallah has promised more missile attacks on Israel:
Nasrallah also dismissed a new diplomatic effort by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to bring about cease-fire, saying the United States wants fighting to continue. His statement came as Rice arrived in the Mideast to visit Israel; a possible Lebanon stop has not been announced.
“The bombardment of Afula and its military base is the beginning…, Nasrallah said. “Many cities in the center (of Israel) will be targeted in the ‘beyond Haifa’ stage if the savage aggression continues on our country, people and villages.”
The notion that a State Department official would hint that it’s Israel’s fault that the ceasefire talks failed is appalling. That this official didn’t bother to take Nasrallah’s threats into account is, in my opinion, proof that the State Department needs a major shakeup ASAP. It’s also appalling that this cowardly unnamed official wouldn’t mention Nasrallah’s dismissal of another round of diplomacy. Based on that statement alone, it’s obvious that Nasrallah thinks they’re winning.
This official obviously isn’t interested even in being neutral in the matter. What the State Department should be doing is criticizing Hezbollah’s deploying near UN outposts.
Just last week, Maj. Hess-von Kruedener wrote an e-mail about his experiences after nine months in the area, words Maj.-Gen. MacKenzie said are an obvious allusion to Hezbollah tactics.
“What I can tell you is this,” he wrote in an e-mail to CTV dated July 18. “We have on a daily basis had numerous occasions where our position has come under direct or indirect fire from both (Israeli) artillery and aerial bombing. “The closest artillery has landed within 2 meters (sic) of our position and the closest 1000 lb aerial bomb has landed 100 meters (sic) from our patrol base. This has not been deliberate targeting, but rather due to tactical necessity.”
Those words, particularly the last sentence, are not-so-veiled language indicating Israeli strikes were aimed at Hezbollah targets near the post, said Maj.-Gen. MacKenzie. “What that means is, in plain English, ‘We’ve got Hezbollah fighters running around in our positions, taking our positions here and then using us for shields and then engaging the IDF,” he said. That would mean Hezbollah was purposely setting up near the UN post, he added.
Why isn’t Kofi Annan speaking out against Hezbollah’s endangering of UN ‘peacekeepers’? (As I’ve mentioned before, the cynic’s nickname for UN peacekeepers is speed bumps.) You’d think that anyone who’d deliberately put UN personnel in harm’s way would get a major tongue-lashing from the UN. Based on what we’ve seen, it didn’t even raise their blood pressure a point.
Based on all the conditions on the ground, why would Dr. Rice attempt to negotiate a ceasefire? Frankly, I’m thankful that she isn’t doing that. Let Israel kill more terrorists. Let Israel kill alot more terrorists.
Cross-posted at California Conservative
From time to time, I check out various liberal websites, sometimes for a chuckle, sometimes just to shake my head at their political analysis. This week, I found something that shows their political analysis skills are woefully lacking:
Another Week in the Life of the GOP
By Ian Christy
Posted on Fri Jul 28th, 2006
Our quote of the week offers more proof that Republicans are hopelessly out of touch:
“Not too many people work at minimum wage anymore. I don’t think it gets you anywhere politically.” — Barry Bennett, chief of staff for Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) on raising the minimum wage. [Columbus Dispatch, 7/28/06]
The sad thing is that Christy thinks that raising the minimum wage is an issue that enough people think so passionately about that they’ll abandon the GOP in sufficient numbers to elect Democrats. He couldn’t be more wrong. The people that think of the minimum wage with such passion are already Democrats. That issue is what’s best described as a turnout issue, something that increases turnout of your base.
As Karl Rove says, the key to winning elections and increasing the size of the majority is in increasing the size of your base, which is what he’s worked towards daily since the day after the first inauguration. The evidence proves that Mr. Rove is the best at that task in the world. He’s about to prove it again this fall.
While Democrats are convinced that firing up the lunatic base will win them control of Congress, Ken Mehlman’s been holding outreach meetings with African Americans and Hispanics. Our own Mark Kennedy is following fast in his footsteps. That’s why he won this endorsement, a first for a Republican:
Reports indicate that the Hmong soccer tourney this weekend was both good and bad for the 2 major Senate candidates.
Mark Kennedy stole the show. He was welcomed with open arms by the Hmong leadership. He was given a glowing introduction, and by all accounts, won support from most if not all of the crowd, which was evident by the Kennedy tent being overwhelmed with people snagging up sports schedules and stickers. He even received the support of General Vang Pao, which bodes extremely well for Kennedy picking up huge support from the entire Hmong community in Minnesota.
But Klobuchar must have simply expected show up, and be given their support with out earning it. Maybe she took them for granted. But what she failed to realize is that Kennedy has been paying special attention to several immigrant communities. He spends countless hours visiting with them, listening, and addressing their concerns. Klobuchar seemed to expect to be handed the support from the Hmong community, simply for the fact she shared the same party affiliation as Senator Wellstone. The thought of having to get out and earn their support must never have crossed her mind.
This is just more proof that Republicans are paying alot more attention to minority voting blocs than ever before. That, plus a superior stand on the most important issues of the day, are what will win the day again for the GOP.
Cross-posted at California Conservative