Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Deja vu all over again: 1998 and WMD

Greyhawk at the Mudville Gazette has a detailed and damning timeline. Many of the "Bush lied" crowd were on the bandwagon in '98. Liars all, we are to presume. Highminded and responsible apolitical critics now, we must believe. Not.

Sen. Joe Lieberman's statement: "Our troops must stay"

"America can't abandon 27 million Iraqis to 10,000 terrorists." Read the whole thing at the WSJ Opinion Journal.

One money quote (among many):
After a Thanksgiving meal with a great group of Marines at Camp Fallujah in western Iraq, I asked their commander whether the morale of his troops had been hurt by the growing public dissent in America over the war in Iraq. His answer was insightful, instructive and inspirational: "I would guess that if the opposition and division at home go on a lot longer and get a lot deeper it might have some effect, but, Senator, my Marines are motivated by their devotion to each other and the cause, not by political debates."
Note how much play this is getting in the MSM (mainstream media). Is it front page NYT or WaPo? No. Why? Isn't Lieberman, a former presidential candidate, just as important a Democratic voice as Rep. John Murtha? No. Why? Because the script is always antiwar.

It's ironic that the antiwar left in America is focused on how the war started 2 1/2 years ago -- not how it has succeeded with elections in Iraq under a new constitution just over two weeks away. It seems attacking Bush (not terrorists) and the midterm elections in 2006 are more politically important to the war critics.

Friday, November 25, 2005

JFK on the burden of liberty

In his 20 January 1961 inaugural address, Kennedy said:
The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

This much we pledge—and more.
Don't hear Democrats embracing this rhetoric today. Instead, the party is resolutely antiwar (no war is worth it, no sacrifice is worth it). Time will tell if the birth of democracy in Iraq begins to turn the tide in the Middle East and fulfills the promise of these noble sentiments.

Victor Davis Hanson on Dem's "loyal opposition" quandary

In NRO, Hanson points out the gulf between rhetoric and the reality on the ground. Money quote:
For now Democrats stammer, sputter, and go the Bush shoulda / coulda route — not quite ready to take the McGovern sharp turn, forever waiting on polls and events on the ground in Iraq, always unsure whether peace and democracy will come before the 2,500th American fatality.

Yet as they hedge — on television praising Congressmen Murtha who advocates withdrawal, but making sure they vote overwhelmingly on the record to reject his advice — they should consider some critical questions.

First, are the metrics of this war in the terrorists’ or our favor? Are the Iraqi security forces growing or shrinking? Are elections postponed or on schedule? Are Europe, Jordan, Lebanon, and others more or less sympathetic to a war against Islamic terrorism in Iraq? Are bin Laden, Zawahiri, and Zarqawi more or less popular or secure after we removed Saddam? Is al Qaeda in a strengthened or weakened position? Is the Arab world more or less receptive to democracy in the Gulf, Egypt, Lebanon, and the West Bank? And is the United States more or less vulnerable to a terrorist attack as we go into our fifth year since September 11?

I ask those questions in all sincerity since the conventional wisdom — compared to the true wisdom and compassion of those valiantly fighting the terrorists under the most impossible of conditions — is that we are losing in Iraq, our enemies are emboldened, and the Arab world has turned against us. But if we forget the banality of New York Times columnists, the admonitions of NPR experts, and the daily rants of a Barbara Boxer, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, or Al Gore, more sober and street-smart Democrats are in fact not so sure of these answers.

So these wiser ones wait and hedge their wagers. They give full rein to the usefully idiotic and irresponsible in their midst, but make no move yet to undo what thousands of brave American soldiers have accomplished in Iraq.

What exactly is that? Despite acrimony at home, the politics of two national elections and a third on the horizon, and the slander of war crimes and incompetence, those on the battlefield of Iraq have almost pulled off the unthinkable — the restructuring of the politics of the Middle East in less than three years.

And for now that is still a strong hand to bet against.
Read the whole thing.

Thanksgiving 2005

The men decided to give the women the day off (sort of).

As soon as it was agreed that the men would be in charge, we immediately decided to go to Magleby's for their Thanksgiving buffet. Our dining party included my parents, sister Mindy and kids Molly and Gabe, sister Emily and Mark and kids Rachel and Lizzie, Rob and wife Rachel and new baby Hyrum, Cindy, Jed, Kelly, David, and Caroline, Cindy's brother Greg and wife Gerry and kids Casey, Davis, and Gage.

Unique items: there was French toast, and fish (after all, it is "Magleby's Grill and Oyster Bar"). The sweet potatoes were like dessert (like apple pie). The turkey and roast beef were both moist and tasty. The gravy and cranberry sauce were first class. Compliments to Doc. (And no dishes to clean up!)

We came home and had bludge time ("bludge"= to be lazy, idle, inactive; evade work or responsibilities) (football and movies on the jerry-rigged big screen TV [the office's computer projector which would otherwise be idle...]). Lots of snacks: bread chips and hummus, taco chips and salsa, doritos, spinach dip, and rounds of soda. Afterwards, pie (apple, chocolate cream, banana cream, peach, pecan, buttermilk, and, of course, pumpkin).

Before we did the rounds of "what I'm thankful for", Nanny & Bapa, Rachel, Mindy, and I sat in the living room with our Apple laptops (4 PowerBooks and 1 iBook) and got each other up and running on iChat. I also activated some widgets on Mindy's new machine, and put Widget TV on Rachel's. Rachel, Nanny, and I exchanged a few songs. We sang the traditional "Love at Home" and wound down to bedtime.

Wonderful restful day. I'm thankful for family and the abundant blessings in our lives.

Monday, November 21, 2005

To be avenged . . .

I very much regret BYU's 41-34 gridiron defeat this past Saturday afternoon, inflicted by its arch-rival, the Mother of Abominations. But fear not; revenge will be had, perhaps at this time next year.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

House votes 403-3 against immediate Iraq withdrawal

Politics is an interesting business. Commentary about Dems' antiwar policy here.

Why, as Glenn Reynolds says, is the storyline always antiwar?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

U.S. Rep. John Murtha's statement calling for U.S. pullout from Iraq

Here's the entire statement.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Excerpts from President's Veteran's Day Speech

. . . Iraqis are making inspiring progress toward building a democracy. Last month, millions of Iraqis turned out to vote, and they approved a new constitution that guarantees fundamental freedoms and lays the foundation for lasting democracy. Many more Sunnis participated in this vote than in January's historic elections, and the level of violence was lower.

Now, Iraqis are gearing up for December 15th elections, when they will go to the polls to choose a government under the new constitution. The new government will serve a four-year term, and it will represent all Iraqis. Even those who voted against the constitution are now organizing and preparing for the December elections. Multiple Sunni Arab parties have submitted a list of candidates, and several prominent Sunni politicians are running on other slates. With two successful elections completed, and a third coming up next month, the Iraqi people are proving their determination to build a democracy united against extremism and violence. (Applause.)

The work ahead involves great risk for Iraqis and for American and coalition forces. We've lost some of our nation's finest men and women in this war on terror. Each of these men and women left grieving families and left loved ones at home. Each of these patriots left a legacy that will allow generations of fellow Americans to enjoy the blessings of liberty. Each loss of life is heartbreaking. And the best way to honor the sacrifice of our fallen troops is to complete the mission and to lay the foundation of peace for generations to come. (Applause.)

The terrorists are as brutal an enemy as we've ever faced, unconstrained by any notion of our common humanity or by the rules of warfare. No one should underestimate the difficulties ahead, nor should they overlook the advantages we bring to this fight.

Some observers look at the job ahead and adopt a self-defeating pessimism. It is not justified. With every random bombing, with every funeral of a child, it becomes more clear that the extremists are not patriots or resistance fighters -- they're murderers at war with the Iraqi people themselves.

In contrast, the elected leaders of Iraq are proving to be strong and steadfast. By any standard or precedent of history, Iraq has made incredible political progress -- from tyranny, to liberation, to national elections, to the ratification of a constitution -- in the space of two-and-a-half years. (Applause.)

I have said, as Iraqis stand up, Americans will stand down. And with our help, the Iraqi military is gaining new capabilities and new confidence with each passing month. At the time of our Fallujah operations a year ago, there were only a few Iraqi army battalions in combat. Today, there are nearly 90 Iraqi army battalions fighting the terrorists alongside our forces. (Applause.) General David Petraeus says, "Iraqis are in the fight. They're fighting and dying for their country, and they're fighting increasingly well." This progress is not easy, but it is steady. And no fair-minded person should ignore, deny, or dismiss the achievements of the Iraqi people. (Applause.)

And our debate at home must also be fair-minded. One of the hallmarks of a free society and what makes our country strong is that our political leaders can discuss their differences openly, even in times of war. When I made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein from power, Congress approved it with strong bipartisan support. I also recognize that some of our fellow citizens and elected officials didn't support the liberation of Iraq. And that is their right, and I respect it. As President and Commander-in-Chief, I accept the responsibilities, and the criticisms, and the consequences that come with such a solemn decision.

While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. (Applause.) Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs.

They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction. And many of these critics supported my opponent during the last election, who explained his position to support the resolution in the Congress this way: "When I vote to give the President of the United States the authority to use force, if necessary, to disarm Saddam Hussein, it is because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a threat, and a grave threat, to our security." That's why more than a hundred Democrats in the House and the Senate -- who had access to the same intelligence -- voted to support removing Saddam Hussein from power. (Applause.)

The stakes in the global war on terror are too high, and the national interest is too important, for politicians to throw out false charges. (Applause.) These baseless attacks send the wrong signal to our troops and to an enemy that is questioning America's will. As our troops fight a ruthless enemy determined to destroy our way of life, they deserve to know that their elected leaders who voted to send them to war continue to stand behind them. (Applause.) Our troops deserve to know that this support will remain firm when the going gets tough. (Applause.) And our troops deserve to know that whatever our differences in Washington, our will is strong, our nation is united, and we will settle for nothing less than victory. (Applause.)

(Read the whole thing here).

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Hypocrisy of the "Bush lied, people died" crowd

Jonah Goldberg has it pegged at NRO.