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Showing posts from 2004
Adding votes in King County Washington

Stefan Sharkansky via Power Line:

There is a new wrinkle in the Washington gubernatorial election, and it happens to bear directly on the question of how important bloggers are or can be. The Seattle Times reports that Democrat Christine Gregoire was officially certified the winner of the election yesterday. But the Times also reports that a serious problem has arisen in King County, the Democratic bastion that gave Gregoire her margin of "victory": The latest questions about King County came after the elections office released on Wednesday a list of all registered voters in the county, broken down by those who voted and those who didn't. The Republican Party, among other groups, had requested the information as part of its investigation of voting irregularities. Conservative blogger Stefan Sharkansky pointed out the discrepancy Wednesday, and by yesterday it was Topic A among Rossi backers and Republican Party officials.Party Chairma…
President Bush is not the issue

John Podhoretz:

THE political and ideological exploitation of perhaps the worst natural disaster in all our lifetimes is almost beyond belief — were it not for the fact that nothing these days is beyond belief. Even as tears spring into the most hard-hearted person's eyes at both the unimaginable scope of the tragedy and at the wrenching individual stories of loss, opinion leaders just can't help themselves. They are using this cataclysm as little more than cheap debate fodder about the nature and character of the United States, its president and its citizens. Don't misunderstand. It is fine and proper to have a debate and discussion about the degree of generosity the United States could, should and must show in the wake of this literally earth-shaking event. But at this moment, the United States is not the issue. The foreign-aid budget of the United States is not the issue. Our government should not be the focal point …
Snipers hit with Hellfire and damnation

Inside the Ring:

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Gen. John P. Jumper, the Air Force chief of staff, said recently that Predator unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being used effectively in Iraq to kill insurgent snipers and other terrorists.
Dozens of Predator drones armed with Hellfire anti-tank missiles were used against snipers in Fallujah during recent fighting, Gen. Jumper told reporters at a breakfast earlier this month.
"We used a lot of the Hellfire missile capability off of our Predator UAVs to take out individual small targets like snipers and the like that were found by the ground forces," he said.
"It's not a thing where I get a daily report on the weird episode of firing Hellfire off a Predator, no. It's routine."
Gen. Jumper said he could not say whether the deadly missile shots had forced insurgents to change tactics. "But if I were one of the guys that were the targets of some of the events I saw, I …
E. J. economics

E.J. Dionne:

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• Class matters. Bush and the Republicans condemn "class warfare" -- and then play the class card with a vengeance. Bush has pushed through policies that, by any impartial reckoning, have transferred massive amounts of money to the wealthiest people in our country. Yet it is conservatives, Bush supporters, who trash the "elites," especially when it comes to culture. Class warfare is evil -- unless a conservative is playing the class card.
The only people who get wealthy by taking money from the poor are pimps and dope dealers. Dionne cannot cite one example where Bush are the Repulicans "transferred massive amounts of money to the wealthiest." What he is really talking about is the tax cuts which according to liberals transferred wealth to the rich, because it let them keep more of their own money. However, in E.J. world it was not really their money. It was already the governments money which he wanted to spend on his liber…
Liberals exploiting the dead for political purposes again

Peggy Noonan:

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Not everyone distinguished himself. What to say of those who've latched on to the tragedy to promote their political agendas, from the U.N. official who raced to call the U.S. "stingy," to the global-warming crowd, to administration critics who jumped at the chance to call the president insensitive because he was vacationing in Texas and didn't voice his sympathy quickly enough? Such people are slyly asserting their own, higher sensitivity and getting credit for it, which is odd because what they're actually doing is using dead people to make cheap points.

Manufacturing votes in King County Washington, until Dems get enough

Greg Pierce:

A majority of voters in Washington state doubt that the final recount in the governor's race was accurate, according to a poll.
Democrat Christine Gregoire topped Republican Dino Rossi in the hand recount after trailing in the first recount, done by machine, and in the count on election night.
The survey by Strategic Vision, LLC, a Republican polling firm, found that 54 percent of voters do not believe the recount that certified Mrs. Gregoire as the victor reflects the actual election results.
Thirty-seven percent believed the final recount was accurate, with 9 percent undecided.
Forty-three percent thought Mr. Rossi actually won the election; 41 percent said that Mrs. Gregoire actually won the election; and 16 percent were undecided.
Only 41 percent of those polled believes that the King County results are legitimate; with 53 percent believing that they are not legitimate; …
Stingy?

Wesley Pruden:

The Stinge-O-Meter, which the United Nations uses to measure the generosity of its members, is busted. The needle is spinning wildly, out of control.
Jan Egeland, the chief bureaucrat in charge of the U.N. emergency relief, such as it is, gave the Stinge-O-Meter a mighty spin in the wake of the Asian tsunami and read the miserable verdict: The United States and the nations of the West are "stingy."
Mr. Egeland, a Norwegian who throws up at the idea that anyone should spend his own money without bureaucratic guidance, says the trouble is rooted in the fact that Americans are not taxed enough. Americans would love to pay more taxes if only they could. Collecting more swag and turning more of it over to the United Nations would enable Kofi Annan to invite a few hundred more bureaucrats, maybe even thousands, to join the easy ride through Manhattan. Isn't that what we all want?

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The New York Times and The Washington Post, always on the …
One of the reasons Islam is losing respect

Washington Times:

The radical Ansar al-Sunnah Army and two other terrorist groups issued a statement yesterday, warning Iraqis not to vote in the Jan. 30 election because democracy is un-Islamic.
"Democracy is a Greek word meaning the rule of the people, which means that the people do what they see fit," the groups said in a warning. "This concept is considered apostasy and defies the belief in one God — Muslims' doctrine."
Democracy leads to passing un-Islamic laws, such as permitting homosexual "marriage," if the majority agrees, the terrorists said.

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Ansar al-Sunnah earlier posted a manifesto on its Web site saying democracy amounts to idolizing human beings. Yesterday's joint statement reiterated the threat that "anyone who accepts to take part in this dirty farce will not be safe."
A message this week from Osama bin Laden, the terrorist mastermind and a spiritual leader for millions of Mus…
Blogs confuse mainstream media

Belmont Club:

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Because the blogs are poorly understood, they have are often regarded with a mixture of fear and contempt by the members of the regular press. An extreme form of reaction was exhibited by Mr. Nick Coleman of the Star Tribune (registration required).

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What gives is Mr. Coleman is confused. Bloggers are the most heterogenous and diverse group possible. The Daily Kos and Juan Cole would hardly fit Mr. Coleman's description of the conservative hack. It is hard to see the bloggers in Iran, Iraq and China as business-suited Ivy League lawyers with an axe to grind in US local politics. But Mr. Coleman can be forgiven for seizing upon instances of the blogosphere as its archetypes while failing to characterize the phenomenon as a whole. The blogosphere is a specific manifestation -- and by no means the only one -- of the networks made possible by the Internet which can be imperfectly compared to the emerging nervous system of a growing org…
Time not on side of insurgents in Iraq

James Robbins:

A truism among those who study insurgencies is that time is on the insurgents’ side, and that they do not have to win so much as avoid losing. They prevail by waiting the enemy out. However, this truism is not always true. Time is not necessarily on the side of the insurgents if they are not gaining public support, are not able to continue operations, and are best by internal feuds and effective external pressure. Also, such movements are not always content to simply outlast the enemy. In Iraq, for example, the insurgents are seeking not to wait Coalition forces out but to drive them out. They are not awaiting the absence of defeat, they are pursuing victory. This is not a protracted, decades-long strategy; they want us out of there ASAP.

The insurgents look to the past for models, chiefly Mogadishu 1993 and Beirut 1983. In both cases U.S. forces facing technologically inferior Muslim adversaries were dealt crippling blows — not to …
Exporting Democracy

Max Boot:

One of the most inspiring events of 2004 happened on the last weekend of the year: the election of pro-Western democrat Viktor Yushchenko, who had to overcome everything from poisoning to voter fraud in order to claim the presidency of Ukraine. The triumph of the Orange Revolution should dispel the quaint notion still prevalent in many Western universities and foreign ministries that democracy is a luxury good suitable only for rich countries with a tradition of liberalism stretching back centuries. Ukraine fits no one's criteria of a promising democracy: Its per capita income of $5,400 a year is lower than Algeria's or Turkmenistan's; it has a history of despotism and corruption and a short history of independence. The only less-likely democracy is Afghanistan. Yet Ukraine, like Afghanistan, held free elections this year. Apparently no one bothered to tell the people of these countries that they weren't ready for freedom.

These revolutions…
More liberal hate speech in 2004

Jeff Jacoby:

AS IT DOES every year, the empty folder I labeled "Liberal Hate Speech" in January had grown to a thick sheaf of clippings by December. 2004 wasn't even a week old when two videos explicitly comparing George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler appeared on the website of the liberal group MoveOn. They were entries in a contest soliciting "really creative ads" that would help voters "understand the truth about George Bush."

So began another year in which liberals engaged in, and mostly got away with, grotesque slanders and slurs about conservatives -- the kind of poisonous rhetoric that should be beyond the pale in a decent society. Once again, too many on the left -- not crackpots from the fringe, but mainstream players and pundits -- chose to demonize conservatives as monsters rather than debate their ideas on the merits. As in years past, Republicans were almost routinely associated with Nazi Germany. Former Vice Pres…
International Court confirms its irrelevance

Eric Posner:

IN its final decision of the year, the International Court of Justice in The Hague decided that it had no jurisdiction to determine whether Serbia and Montenegro had a valid legal claim against NATO countries that participated in the intervention in Kosovo in 1999. While few people outside of Belgrade probably paid much attention, it the decision was symbolically very important: it demonstrated just how incapable the court is of resolving disputes, and what little hope the new International Criminal Court has to do much better. First, there is no doubt that, in strictly legal terms, NATO's intervention violated international standards. What was unclear was whether the court had jurisdiction to act against it. In this, the court was in an unenviable position: if it had held against the NATO states, they would surely have ignored the judgment. By holding in favor of these states, the court showed its irrelevance.The decision…
Human brain grew rapidly

RONALD KOTULAK:

The first study of genes that build and operate the brain shows that humans underwent a unique period of rapid brain expansion that endowed them with a special form of intelligence not shared by any other animal, according to University of Chicago researchers. The colossal leap forward grew the human brain to three or four times the size of that of a chimpanzee — man's closest genetic relative — when body sizes are equalized. That pushed human intelligence over the threshold of basic instincts and into an unparalleled realm of cognition, self-awareness and consciousness."We tend to think of our species as categorically different, being on top of the food chain," said University of Chicago geneticist Bruce Lahn."There is some justification for that."
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Genetic mutations that enhanced intelligence amid the pressure to survive were quickly passed on to future generations. Those not possessing the new genes eventually die…
Why al Qaeda has not been able to mount an attack in US

Houston Chronicle Editorial:

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With the nation so vulnerable, Americans cannot help but wonder why al-Qaida members have not mounted another attack in the United States after 9/11. One reason is that Osama bin Laden and other leaders hiding in Afghanistan or Pakistan must focus on their own survival. The U.S. war on terror has killed or captured many al-Qaida members capable of global operations. Another is that the war in Iraq acts as a magnet for anti-American fanatics, drawing fighters from throughout the Arab world.The latest tape recording believed to come from Osama bin Laden focuses on the struggle in Iraq and urges Iraqis not to vote in the election scheduled for Jan. 30. U.S. intelligence analysts, the Associated Press reported, say bin Laden is moving away from direct calls for violence and toward political arguments aimed at fragmenting Western alliances and building support for al-Qaida. It could be that the arch-terr…
Tidal wave death toll up to 114,000

AP via Houston Chronicle:

The death toll in 12 nations from the tsunami disaster has lept to more than 114,000 after Indonesia dramatically increased its count of the dead. Tens of thousands of residents, meanwhile, fled coasts in India, Sri Lanka and Thailand after warnings of possible new tsunamis today, and pilots in Indonesia dropped food to cliff-rimmed villages yet to be visited by outsiders four days after the disaster. India issued a tsunami warning at midday following aftershocks in the Indian Ocean region, prompting tens of thousands to flee the southeastern coast. Hours later, no waves had arrived and the warning appeared to have been false. Surveys of the swath of tropical Asia struck by Sunday's 9.0 earthquake and tsunamis were gaining ground, with relief workers still uncovering scenes of flattened villages and survivors living on coconuts.
Another futile attack by the bad guys

NY Times:

United States troops and warplanes killed at least 25 insurgents who used car bombs and rocket-propelled grenades to try to overrun an American combat outpost in Mosul on Wednesday afternoon, the American military said. It was the fiercest fighting the restive northern city has seen in weeks. Fifteen American soldiers were wounded, military officials said.
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The attack began about 3:45 p.m., when insurgents armed with a car bomb tried to blow down the concrete barriers of the combat outpost, which is manned by a small force of soldiers. An armored military vehicle then sped to the outpost. The armored vehicle "found itself pretty much in the middle" of a improvised car and roadside bombs that had been set up to attack any American vehicles coming to the aid of the outpost, said Lt. Col. Paul Hastings, a military spokesman in Mosul, using military acronyms for improvised roadside bombs and car bombs. The armored vehicle, he…
The Dem's politics of thwarting democracy

Terrence Jeffrey:

If the process for confirming federal judges in the next session of Congress is anything like the last, the Democratic Party should change its name to the Undemocratic Party. Many of the American left's chief policy aims over the past 40 years -- including legalized abortion on demand, race-based admissions for state-run colleges, and driving God and prayer out of American public life -- were advanced not at the ballot box or in legislatures, but by unelected federal judges who enacted the liberal agenda by fiat from the bench. There was a simple reason for this: The American people had too much good sense to give the liberal agenda majority nationwide support. To win, liberals had to cheat the democratic system. To do that, they had to make sure the referees were on their side. It did not matter if a large majority of voters in a state backed a conservative initiative, or if a supermajority of the U.S. Congress enac…
Controlling weapons does not make us safer

John Lott:

THIS month the National Academy of Sciences issued a 328-page report on gun-control laws. The big news is that the academy's panel couldn't identify any benefits of decades-long effort to reduce crime and injury by restricting gun ownership. The only conclusion it could draw was: Let's study the question some more (presumably, until we find the results we want). The academy, however, should believe its own findings. Based on 253 journal articles, 99 books, 43 government publications, a survey that covered 80 different gun-control measures and some of its own empirical work, the panel couldn't identify a single gun-control regulation that reduced violent crime, suicide or accidents. From the assault-weapons ban to the Brady Act to one-gun-a-month restrictions to gun locks, nothing worked. The study was not the work of gun-control opponents: The panel was set up during the Clinton administration, and all but on…
Osama's fear of democracy

Ralph Peters:

MONDAY'S message from Osama bin Laden told us what he fears: a vote. Condemning any Iraqi who goes to the polls as an infidel, the terror master hopes to derail the elections. He knows that every ballot cast is a defeat. Anyone who dismisses the importance of the upcoming Iraqi elections need only listen to Monsieur bin Laden's urgent plea for a boycott. Osama praised the atrocities of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a hands-on executioner, and welcomed his collaboration in efforts to block the balloting. Islamic terrorists distrust the common people. They dread the strength of those who might think for themselves. Convinced that men and women must be governed fiercely from above, the terrorists are the gory religious incarnation of thousands of years of tyranny. Their god is a savage dictator in the clouds. Osama and Zarqawi share an understanding of their weakness. Given a choice, few men and women prefer to be oppressed. Elec…
Osama's campaign

Tony Blankley:

Osama bin Laden is getting positively chatty these days. He has released his third video in as many months — this time calling for Iraqis to boycott next month's elections. This shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Having elected himself to his current lofty position as arbiter of all things on the planet, it would have been remarkable if he thought any more elections were necessary.
Although, to be fair to him (not that he deserves fairness), in his previous video the week before our election he did warn American voters in the red states that they would pay a terrible price if they voted for George Bush. While he didn't explicitly endorse John Kerry (presumably, even he couldn't figure out what Mr. Kerry's position was on anything,) his negative advertisement against President Bush might reasonably have been seen as participation in a democratic election.
But overall, I think we can put bin Laden down as viewing electio…
Purge at CIA continues

NY Times:

The head of the Central Intelligence Agency's analytical branch is being forced to step down, former intelligence officials say, opening a major new chapter in a shakeup under Porter J. Goss, the agency's chief. The official, Jami Miscik, the agency's deputy director for intelligence, told her subordinates on Tuesday afternoon of her plan to step down on Feb. 4. A former intelligence official said that Ms. Miscik was told before Christmas that Mr. Goss wanted to make a change and that "the decision to depart was not hers."
Ms. Miscik has headed analysis at the agency since 2002, a period in which prewar assessments of Iraq and its illicit weapons, which drew heavily on C.I.A. analysis, proved to be mistaken. Even before taking charge of the C.I.A., Mr. Goss, who was a congressman, and his closest associates had been openly critical of the directorate of intelligence, saying it suffered from poor leadership and was devoting too muc…
Trouble in the Nork paradise

The Independent:

North Korea's Kim Jong Il has purged some of his closest relatives, accusing them of trying to seize power, reports in Beijing and Seoul said.The purge began some months ago when Kim Jong Il put his brother-in-law, Chang Song-taek, under house arrest along with 80 other officials and their family members. Many have reportedly been sent to North Korea's Gulag in the largest purge in a decade.Some diplomats believe the power struggles may be connected the pace and scope of economic reforms. Kim Jong Il is reportedly preparing to announce new changes to the political and economic system in late February when the country celebrates his birthday.Kim Jong Il took over from his father 10 years ago and managed to hold on to power as the economy collapsed and an estimated three million perished from hunger and disease.The regime is being supported largely with aid from China and South Korea as Kim has tried to trade his nuclear weapons progr…
A real kick in the tail

Story of a Marine and two news anchors.
Latest estimate of tidal wave deaths nearing 60,000

I have not tried to run a death ticker on this event but the mounting numbers are hard to ignor.
with the mounting numbers will come the liberals' attempts to exploit the tradgedy to push their enviromental wacko agenda and launch attacks against President Bush. They are totally shameless.
Beating the scandal mongers

Brenden Miniter:

George W. Bush is now facing the legacy of Richard M. Nixon. Only two other presidents have won re-election since Tricky Dick resigned in disgrace amid the Watergate scandal in 1974 and both of them--Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton--found their second terms mired in scandal. So what will be Mr. Bush's fate two years on? Will he be well on his way to reforming Social Security and the tax code? Or will scandal consume his presidency too? The answer rests in the origins of the curse of the second term. Lackluster second terms pre-date Nixon, of course. George Washington's first term was pivotal, but his second is most remembered only for his farewell address. James Madison's second term saw the British burn the White House. But what changed with Nixon's resignation is that journalists realized they could bring down a sitting president. It doesn't matter now whether the corruption (and any bureaucracy as large as the federal go…
Troops believe in their mission

John Podhoretz:

IT will surely be difficult for many people of good will to reconcile the awfulness of the daily news coming out of Iraq — deaths of and injuries to American soldiers and committed Iraqis who want nothing more than to bring freedom and democracy to a forlorn and battered country — with the astonishing new poll released by the Military Times yesterday. That poll of 1,423 active members of the military indicates that the armed forces of the United States are passionate supporters of the Coalition's efforts in Iraq. Support for the war inside the military stands at 60 percent, 25 percent higher than the latest Gallup measurement of the American people as a whole. When it comes to President Bush's handling of the war effort, the results are even more lopsided. Only 42 percent of Americans approve, according to ABC News. In the military, Bush garners 63 percent support. In other words, support for Bush's Iraq policy is an astou…
Chirac's Grand Triangle

Frank Gaffney:

During the recent presidential campaign, Sen. John Kerry assailed President Bush for alienating key U.S. allies, evidence he maintained of the incumbent's lack of foreign policy acumen and an arena in which the challenger insisted he could "do better." Implicit in this critique was the belief that such allies — notably, the French — were anxious to be our friends, if they were not mistreated by America's leader.
In fact, it is increasingly clear the French government under President Jacques Chirac is bent on policies antithetical to U.S. interests. They are not simply anti-Bush, they are anti-American and anti-Atlaniticist. The latest example is Mr. Chirac's determination to have French and other European weapons manufacturers arm Communist China as part of what he has called "a necessary rebalancing of the 'grand triangle' formed by America, Europe and Asia."

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Seen against this backdrop, Mr. …
More on the bin Laden tape

Osama's latest tape tells Iraqis that voting will make them an infidel. This seems pathetically desperate. It also sets him up for a big time rejection of his "ideas." Now every vote cast, no matter who it is for, will be considered a vote against bin Laden.

Bin Laden further compounds his problems by embracing the monotheist head chopper, Zarqawi, who is responsible for killing more Iraqis than anyone since Saddam. Bin Laden is asking Iraqis to follow another murderous tyrant. That is unlikely to be a winning ticket.
Bin Laden refutes liberals and Dems who said he was not involved in Iraq

AP via NY Times:

An audiotape message said to be made by the terrorist leader Osama bin Laden called for Muslims to boycott elections there next month and endorsed the Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi as Mr. bin Laden's deputy in Iraq. The tape, broadcast Monday by the Arab news network Al Jazeera, condemned the American-backed Iraqi elections for a constitutional assembly, scheduled for Jan. 30, saying, "In the balance of Islam, this constitution is infidel and therefore everyone who participates in this election will be considered infidels." The voice on the tape also described Mr. Zarqawi as the "emir," or prince, of Al Qaeda in Iraq and said Muslims there should "listen to him." The man speaking on the tape referred to an October statement in which Mr. Zarqawi declared allegiance to Mr. bin Laden, calling the declaration "a great step on the path of unifying all t…
Euros unrealistic approach to Israel and the US

Captain's Quarters:

Today's Washington Post reports on the state of US-European relations through the prism of Europe's primary foreign-policy priority, settlement of the Palestinian question. Glenn Kessler writes that Europeans have a threshold of "cooperation" that they expect Bush to meet before dealing with him that closely resembles Democrat ideas of "bipartisanship" -- and promises to be just as successful:President Bush and his top aides have repeatedly said they want to improve relations with European allies in Bush's second term, beginning with a presidential visit in February. Bush has also said he believes the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat has provided a new opportunity to pursue peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Yet those twin goals will be continually tested and at times may conflict in the coming year, administration and European officials say. Few issues separate the Bus…
The origons of the antiwar pukes

David Horowitz:

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The leftward slide of the Democratic Party, which has made it an uncertain trumpet in matters of war and peace, may be said to have begun with the McGovern presidential campaign of 1972, whose slogan was “American come home,” as though America was the problem and not the aggression of the Communist bloc. The McGovern campaign drew in the rank and file of the anti-Vietnam left much as the anti-Cold War Henry Wallace Progressive Party campaign of 1948 and the Howard Dean anti-Iraq campaign of 2004. McGovern himself was a veteran of the Wallace campaign and, virtually all the leaders of the anti-Iraq movement, including most of the Democratic Party leaders who supported it are veterans of the anti-Vietnam campaign.I have lived this history as both spectator and actor. My parents were Communists, and my first political march was a Communist Party May Day parade in 1948 supporting the presidential campaign of Henry Wallace and the Progress…
Kofi decides to help in Iraq

Robert Novak:

Sen. Norm Coleman bit his lip and kept silent when the State Department expressed confidence in United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan. The Bush administration seemed to be repudiating the freshman Republican senator from Minnesota, who had called for Annan's resignation. But Coleman was well aware that his investigation of UN corruption is trumped for now by a transcendent issue. When Annan made a hurried trip to Washington Dec. 16, his non-cooperation with the Jan. 30 election in Iraq was manifest. His attitude changed markedly after Secretary of State Colin Powell declared: "We have confidence in the secretary-general." With that, Annan began to provide the UN's desperately needed help on the elections. That looks like a big-time deal in the best interests of the United States. Nothing is more important to President Bush than the Iraqi election, dwarfing even full exposure of the UN's oil-for-food scandal in Iraq,…
Reactionary liberalism

Michael Barone:

Once upon a time, liberals were the folks who wanted to change society. They thought existing institutions were unjust and that individuals needed protection against the workings of the market. They looked forward to a society that would be different. To a considerable extent, 20th century liberals achieved many of their goals. Racial segregation was abolished. An economic safety net was constructed. Government issued regulations were set up to protect the environment. Few Americans want to undo these changes. But they may want others. Looking back on election year 2004, I am struck by how many of the constituencies supporting Democratic candidates oppose, rather than seek, change -- how they are motivated not by ideas about how to change the future, but by something like nostalgia for the past. Take black Americans, the most heavily Democratic constituency -- 88 percent to 11 percent for John Kerry in the 2004 NEP exit poll. Blacks have been vo…
The left's phobic reaction to Christians

Greg Pierce:

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"According to this way of thinking, which has become commonplace in academia, evangelicals and jihadists are essentially the same. They both oppose homosexuality (as if opposing gay marriage were the same thing as stoning homosexuals to death). They are both 'anti-women' (with opposition to abortion as the moral equivalent of the utter subjugation of women in Muslim countries).
"They are both opposed to modern science (meaning skepticism about evolution and revulsion at embryonic stem-cell research is the same as Muslim primitivism). Fundamentalists of both sides are violent, murderous and oppressive (with the war against terrorism as the moral equivalent of terrorism itself.)
"The line of thinking considers President Bush to be no different from Osama bin Laden, Christian conservatives to be just as scary as Muslim conservatives, and America as perhaps soon resembling Afghanistan under the …
Managing risks in a war zone

Anthony Cordesman:

AMERICANS cannot see a tragedy like last week's attack on a military mess tent in Mosul, Iraq, without wondering how it could ever have occurred - and how it can be prevented from ever happening again. Like the furor over improved armor for trucks and Humvees, the attack rouses the instinct to make force protection the immediate priority for United States forces in Iraq. No American wants Americans soldiers to be vulnerable.

These instincts, however, are wrong. The United States can win in Iraq only through offensive action. It cannot afford to make every American base a fortress, or to disperse scarce manpower and other military resources in force-protection missions. United States forces have to be mobile and able to redeploy where the threat is - even though such redeployments often mean moving forces to vulnerable areas. If the Pentagon concentrates on protecting troops in the short run, the war will last longer and total casualtie…
More on the tidal wave

The Guardian:

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More than 12,600 people were killed and millions more displaced in eight countries by a wall of water unleashed by the biggest earthquake for 40 years, which began 25 miles under the seabed off the Indonesian island of Sumatra, and measured 8.9 on the Richter scale. Travelling at speeds of up to 300mph, the waves engulfed packed coastal resorts in Thailand, swamped fishing villages along the Indian coast, and smashed coastal resorts in Sri Lanka. Snorkellers were dragged across coral, sunbathers were swept off their beaches, divers trapped in caves, fishermen swept out to sea, and homes, hotels and cars across the Indian Ocean were swept away in a tide of debris-strewn water. With thousands missing and communications destroyed in parts of Indonesia, governments warned that the death toll was certain to rise. Tremors from the quake, the fifth largest in 100 years, were measured in Britain and people were killed as far away as Kenya and Somalia, 2,…
A floating account of the tidal wave in Sri Lanka

Roland Buerke, BBC:

I'm in a town called Unawatuna, which is on the south coast of Sri Lanka. We didn't feel the earthquake here so there was no warning at all. Then at about 1000 this morning our time a huge wave suddenly hit the beach. We were still in bed in a ground floor room right on the beachfront when we suddenly heard some shouts from outside.
Then the water started coming under the door. Within a few seconds it was touching the window. We very quickly scrambled to get out as the windows started to cave in and glass shattered everywhere. We swam out of the room neck deep in water, forcing our way through the tables and chairs in the restaurant and up into a tree. But within about 30 seconds that tree collapsed as well and we were thrust back into the water where we had to try and keep our heads above the water line.
We were swept along for a few hundred metres, trying to dodge the motorcycles, refrigerators, cars an…
Tidal wave toll now at 12,3oo

The Independent:

There was no warning. As the sun began to climb into a cloudless sky, the people of Banda Aceh were going about their lives in this city on the north-western tip of Sumatra, Indonesia. It was early morning when the first gigantic wall of water hit. Those that heard the rumble of water rang the radio stations in panic. They had lived all their lives in the area, but they knew this earthquake was a bad one. "The ground was shaking for a long time," said Yayan Zamzani. "It must be the strongest earthquake in the past 15 years," he said. But it was worse. Much worse. The people of Banda Aceh found themselves directly in the path of a massive tsunami, a vast sea wave caused by an earthquake underneath the ocean. Within moments they were fighting for their lives as the vast torrent of water surged through their homes. Many died instantly, others were swept out to sea. The quake, six miles beneath the seabed, was one of the …
Iran's Islamic "paradise"

LA Times:

Their cheeks were bitten by the threat of snow, but the sisters didn't have anywhere else to go. They'd coated their faces with makeup and painted their eyelashes until they looked too heavy to blink, gaudy faces to offset drab denims and black coats. This afternoon, their spirits hung as low as the brooding clouds over the mountains.

"This country is very dirty," said Mansureh, a pale 23-year-old who answers telephones at a law firm because she wasn't accepted to a university. "Nobody likes the regime, especially the youth. There are so many restrictions, we can't do anything."

It was Friday afternoon, time for prayers in the Islamic Republic, but the sisters and hundreds of other young Iranians trekked into the mountains on the outskirts of Tehran instead. Droves of twentysomethings flooded the rocky paths as if they were headed somewhere in particular — a concert or a rally. But there was nothing a…
Soviets nearly won in Afghanistan

Mark Kramer:

Twenty-five years ago, on Christmas Eve, Soviet troops marched into Afghanistan with the aim of restoring order in a few months. Nine years later they withdrew amid continued violence. In their wake, civil war erupted and the Taliban rose to power, providing a haven to Al Qaeda.

Critics of the U.S. military effort in Iraq often cite the Soviet experience in Afghanistan as evidence that using foreign troops to put down an insurgency is bound to fail. But that "lesson" is misleading because it depends on a depiction of the Soviet-Afghan war that is downright inaccurate.

When Soviet forces invaded Afghanistan, they initially failed to protect their logistical and communications lines. But Soviet commanders quickly corrected these mistakes and brought in better troops, including helicopter pilots trained for mountain warfare. From mid-1980 on, the Afghan guerrillas never seized any major Soviet facilities or prevented major troop de…