Monday, January 31, 2005

Proof of God's Existence on TV!: JFK on "Meet The Press"

No... not that JFK (now that would be irrefutable proof!), the other one. The junior Senator from Massachusetts, who recently lost the presidential election. If you've ever doubted in a Higher Power, doubt no more. Kerry's appearance on yesterday's "Meet The Press" (30 Jan 2005) was proof positive that Someone is looking out for America. How else can we attribute the re-election of George Bush over John Kerry except to thank a Higher Power?

I'm not a big Tim Russert fan, but give the man his due. Russert did a pretty good job of skewering the once-and-perhaps-future presidential aspirant, handing Kerry just enough rope to hang his nuanced self. Check out this flip-flop:

MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe that Iraq is less a terrorist threat to the United States now than it was two years ago?
SEN. KERRY: No, it's more. And, in fact, I believe the world is less safe today than it was two and a half years ago. [...]

The very next question:

MR. RUSSERT: Is the United States safer with the newly elected Iraqi government than we would have been with Saddam Hussein?
SEN. KERRY: Sure. And I'm glad Saddam Hussein is gone, and I've said that a hundred times.

Huh? We're less safe... and safer? Is that not another Kerry classic, along the lines of "I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it."?

To Russert's credit, he was just warming up on the Kerry-skewering. After questioning Kerry about his evaluation of why he lost the election (Kerry blamed it on 9/11 and that people didn't want to "shift horses in midstream"), Russert zeroed in on what many (including myself) consider the real reason Kerry lost the election; the devastating SwiftVets attack on Kerry's character which exposed his true persona to the electorate:
MR. RUSSERT: You cast yourself as a potential commander in chief during the campaign, particularly at the convention, "I am John Kerry reporting for duty." [Russert pulls out a copy of "Unfit for Command" from under the desk and holds it up] What affect do you believe this book, "Unfit for Command," and the Swift Boat Veterans had on your candidacy?
SEN. KERRY: Well, that's for others to judge, Tim. I don't know. I mean, obviously I could have and should have responded faster and more forcefully, I think, to that. But lies and smears were proven in the front pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal. My crew, others, all spoke to those lies and will continue to. But, you know, there's a new communication structure in America. And I think we could have done a better job of addressing it obviously. But that wasn't--you know, what decided this race in the end was really 9/11. And, you know, I am not going to worry about the past. I am going to go forward to the future.
I'm glad that Kerry acknowledged the role of blogs in getting this story out, despite the concerted effort of the MSM to stifle it, but that's not the most damning part of his reply. Russert has just gotten Kerry to commit, on television, to his version of events as opposed to the SwiftVets. Now for the lunge:

MR. RUSSERT: See if you could clear up one issue that I think has been left over from the campaign. And that is Steve Gardner, who was a foregunner on your PCF-44 boat, cut a commercial for the Swift Boat Veterans and made a very specific charge. Let me just show that and you can come back and talk about it a little bit.
(Videotape, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ad):
MR. STEVE GARDNER: John Kerry claims that he spent Christmas in 1968 in Cambodia, and that is categorically a lie. Not in December, not in January, we were never in Cambodia on a secret mission ever.
(End videotape)
MR. RUSSERT: Now, the New York Daily News editorial wrote an editorial, and it said this. "As for Kerry, he might ask why the Swifties' attacks have been effective. The answer is his propensity to exaggerate. ... It's looking more likely that he exaggerated, if not worse, when he claimed through the years that he was in Cambodia on Christmas Eve '68. He said the memory was `seared' into him, but it's now clear Kerry was elsewhere, at least at that time. He has yet to explain. Until he does, the Swifties will have a powerful weapon in their arsenal." And they refer, Senator, to a speech on the floor in which you said that you were there, that the president of the United States was saying you were not there, that there were troops in Cambodia. You have the memory seared in you. In a letter to the Boston Herald, you remember spending Christmas Eve '68 five miles across the Cambodian border. You told The Washington Post you have a lucky hat given to you by a CIA guy "as we went in for a special mission to Cambodia." Were you in Cambodia Christmas Eve, 1968?
Great setup, and great question! Kerry's response is so pathetic that it is almost painful to watch:
SEN. KERRY: We were right on the border, Tim. What I explained to people and I told this any number of times, did I go into Cambodia on a mission? Yes, I did go into Cambodia on a mission. Was it on that night? No, it was not on that night. [In other words, Kerry lied!] But we were right on the Cambodian border that night. [No you weren't. Official records place you fifty miles from Cambodia on Christmas 1968.] We were ambushed there, as a matter of fact. And that is a matter of record, and we went into the rec-- you know, it's part of the Navy records. It's been documented by the other guys who were on my boat. And Steve Gardner, frankly, doesn't know where we were. It wasn't his job, and, you know, he wasn't involved in that. But we did go five miles into Cambodia. It was on another day. I jumbled the two together, but we were five miles into Cambodia. We went up on a mission with CIA agents--I believe they were CIA agents--CIA Special Ops guys. I
even have some photographs of it, and I can document it. And it has been documented.
MR. RUSSERT: You'll release those photographs?
SEN. KERRY: I think they were shown. I gave them to the campaign, but...
MR. RUSSERT: And you have a hat that the CIA agent gave you?
SEN. KERRY: I still have the hat that he gave me, and I hope the guy would come out of the woodwork and say, "I'm the guy who went up with John Kerry. We delivered weapons to the Khmer Rouge on the coastline of Cambodia." [I bet you do!] We went out of Ha Tien, which is right in Vietnam. We went north up into the border. And I have some photographs of that, and that's what we did. So, you know, the two were jumbled together, but we were on the Cambodian border on Christmas Eve, absolutely.
MR. RUSSERT: Nixon was president-elect, not president, at that particular time. He wasn't sworn in until...
SEN. KERRY: In 1968, he wasn't sworn in yet.
MR. RUSSERT: But he was president-elect, not president.
SEN. KERRY: That's correct.
Let's see... Kerry's stammering response to being caught in an obvious lie is to lie some more! As others have pointed out, the Khmer Rouge were the bad guys, Communists, who were fighting the Cambodian regime which we backed at the time! Why on earth would we be supplying weapons to the group that was allied with the North Vietnamese and against the legitimate government of Cambodia? Russert has skillfully extracted a confession from Kerry; no, Kerry was not in Cambodia on Christmas 1968, and it was wrong to blame Nixon for this.

Finally, Russert gets Kerry to openly agree to something he has fought all along; the release of his military records from the government:
MR. RUSSERT: Many people who've been criticizing you have said: Senator, if you would just do one thing and that is sign Form 180, which would allow historians and journalists complete access to all your military records. Thus far, you have gotten the records, released them through your campaign. They say you should not be the filter. Sign Form 180 and let the historians...
SEN. KERRY: I'd be happy to put the records out. We put all the records out that I had been sent by the military. Then at the last moment, they sent some more stuff, which had some things that weren't even relevant to the record. So when we get--I'm going to sit down with them and make sure that they are clear and I am clear as to what is in the record and what isn't in the record and we'll put it out. I have no problem with that.
MR. RUSSERT: Would you sign Form 180?
SEN. KERRY: But everything, Tim...
MR. RUSSERT: Would you sign Form 180?
SEN. KERRY: Yes, I will.
Russert should have gotten Kerry to commit to a date, i.e., "immediately." Wonder what the odds are on seeing a signed Form 180 from Kerry before 2008? BTW, for those wondering why Kerry's military records are still of intense interest to many, note that many in the know believe Kerry received a less-than-honorable discharge from the military due to his anti-war activities while still in the Navy, a discharge that was upgraded by the Carter administration. Why does this matter?
MR. RUSSERT: Jerome Corsi, the co-author of this book, says he's moving to Massachusetts and will run against you for the U.S. Senate in 2008.
SEN. KERRY: Well, that's terrific. I'm not thinking about 2008 right now, but he can do whatever he wants.
I think it's safe to draw a few conclusions:

• Kerry is seriously considering another run for president in 2008
• Kerry doesn't have a chance in hell of winning re-election to the Senate, much less the presidency

If the man were anywhere near as smart as he thinks he is, he'd retire from the Senate and enjoy his wife's money in his golden years.

Note: More on Kerry and the SwiftVets here and in my August 2004 archives.

Update: Check out other takes on the Kerry appearance by Michelle Malkin, and Powerline.

Update II: Ed at Captain's Quarters catches Kerry on another flip-flop (dare I say lie?), this time on the release of his military records.

Update III: This story still won't go away... check out Powerline's latest article on the subject.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Exit Strategy

I'm not normally a link collector, but I just had to post a link to Iowahawk's guest commentary by none other than Ted Kennedy, distinguished Democratic Senator, Friend of Women Everywhere (especially in Palm Beach and Chappaquidick), et cetera, et cetera.

Read it and laugh... and read it and weep.

BTW, I talk more about Ted and his astounding ignorance/mendacity/take your choice concerning Vietnam and Iraq in another article on the blog, here.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

What Really Happened in Vietnam: Learning the Lesson of History So We Don't Have to Repeat It

"Iraq is Bush's Vietnam!" claims Ted Kennedy, and he has claimed it on several occasions over the past couple of years as if his unique insight into world affairs, foreign policy, and American history is a courageous example of speaking truth to power. But what is the truth?

The "lesson of Vietnam" according to conventional wisdom goes something like this: the US is basically unable to successfully use its military to intervene overseas (and should not even try) because we will invariably pick the wrong side to support in any conflict due to our greedy and immoral national persona, use our military clumsily and ineffectively therefore strengthening our enemies and alienating our friends by the haphazard killing of innocents, and inevitably will be forced to retreat with our collective tails between our legs, leaving the other side victorious and ourselves even more impotent. And besides, violence never solves anything! This is the view of "what happened in Vietnam" that is shared by folks like Senator Kennedy, International ANSWER, and most of those who comprise the liberal base of the Democratic Party.

What really happened in Vietnam? Why did we go, how did we do, and how was it possible that the strongest nation in the history of the world (even at that time) was defeated by a Third World country with no economy to speak of, no industrial base to speak of, and no military to speak of? The long answer would make for a good book (or several). It would include background on the Cold War, US realpolitik strategy, the theory of containment, etc., and an understanding of these topics is important to understanding why the US decided to militarily intervene in Vietnam. However, I only have time and room for the short version.

The US first committed large-scale forces in South Vietnam after the Turner Joy incident, an inconclusive naval gun battle between two US destroyers and some North Vietnamese armed patrol boats. LBJ got the Tonkin Gulf Resolution thru Congress authorizing "all necessary measures" to repel attacks against US forces, and "all steps necessary" for the defense of US allies in Southeast Asia... a veritable "blank check" for presidential direction of military involvement in Vietnam. Shortly thereafter, US ground forces were committed in large numbers.

Originally the US military fought outside the major population areas and generally performed extremely well against NVA and VC forces. The Battle of Ia Drang, popularized in the movie "We Were Soldiers", was the first large-scale fight between US and North Vietnamese forces and although US casualties were heavy (almost 100 killed, more than a hundred wounded) the NVA lost almost 2,000 soldiers during the three-day battle... and who knows how many more due to the B-52 strike on their base camp area immediately following it.

One of the myths of Vietnam was that the US was fighting a largely-indegenous insurgency (the Viet Cong, or "Vietnamese Communists", AKA "VC" or "Charlie" from the radio-alphabetic "Victor Charlie") when in fact the Vietnam War was not an insurgency but instead a very-well propagandized attack by North Vietnam on its neighbor to the south. The US built up its ground forces over the next few years until 500,000 US military personnel were on the ground in Vietnam. Despite tough fighting the US military was successfully eradicating the enemy, at a higher cost in US casualties due to overly-restrictive rules of engagement. The North Vietnamese leadership recognized that it couldn't defeat the US in a stand-up fight and so guerrilla warfare became more prevalent. The use of ambushes, booby-traps (we call 'em IEDs or Improvised Explosive Devices today), hit-and-run tactics, and choosing to fight in populated areas in an attempt to neutralize superior American air and artillery firepower became the favored tactics.

Simultaneously with the US ground war in South Vietnam, the US Air Force and US Navy embarked on Operation Rolling Thunder, a limited strategic campaign designed to gradually escalate against the North Vietnamese until they "blinked" according to a US Air Force memorandum at the time. In that memo, US Air Force Undersecretary Townsend Hoopes, stated:
We believe the enemy can be forced to be 'reasonable', i.e. to compromise or even capitulate, because we assume he wants to avoid pain, death, and material destruction. We assume that if these are inflicted on him with increasing severity, then at some point in the process he will want to stop the suffering.

Therein lies the mistake of Vietnam in a nutshell: assuming that your enemy has the same values, goals, and motivations that you do. In formulating the strategy behind Operation Rolling Thunder, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara relied on the concept of graduated pressure. Unfortunately for America, McNamara's preoccupation with the idea of treating war as a business situation despite evidence to the contrary doomed our efforts in Vietnam to failure. The North Vietnamese weren't intimidated by pain, death, and material destruction, and only cared about it as it affected their ability to pursue their strategic goal of conquering the South. What the North Vietnamese leadership truly cared about winning, something they had already devoted a decade to, and they were willing to pay any price in order to win if victory was possible.

Operation Rolling Thunder went on in fits and starts, with bombing halts called unilaterally by the Johnson administration as a way of signalling the North Vietnamese "Hey, that hurt didn't it? Come and talk to us now." Instead of productive talking, the North Vietnamese argued over the size of the negotiation table (literally!) and used the relative safety provided by the bombing halts to rearm, rebuild, and re-equip... while targeting restrictions prevented air strikes against North Vietnamese airfields, stockpiled SAMs on levees, and not-yet-complete SAM sites. Hundreds of US pilots were captured or killed due to restrictive rules of engagements, and who knows how many thousands of US casualties occurred in South Vietnam because our air power was arbitarily prevented from being used on logistics in the North by McNamara and his "Whiz Kids".

I can't emphasize strongly enough how the horrors of Vietnam and the tragedies of Southeast Asia that occurred after the war are largely the responsibility of LBJ's moral cowardice and McNamara's egotistical stubbornness that led to the fatally flawed strategy of graduated pressure.

Despite the abject mishandling of our military and the stubborn pursuit of a failing strategy that was criminal in its spending of American lives for no military purpose, the culmination of a couple of years' battle casualties and damage from millions of tons of bombs was having a deleterious effect on North Vietnam's ability to wage war to the point where the leadership became desperate, not unlike the Germans in the Fall of 1944; they were beaten but not defeated. Like the Germans the North Vietnamese decided to husband their resources and launch a devastating series of attacks throughout South Vietnam during the upcoming Tet (Vietnamese New Year) ceasefire. And, like the Germans, they bet all of their military chips on this one shot.

On January 30, 1968, the Tet Offensive started with a series of attacks against US and South Vietnamese forces. Due to poor planning the offensive was poorly coordinated, and the attacks were largely quashed. There were widely-publicized assault by NVA/VC forces including the siege at the US embassy in Saigon, but the NVA and VC forces were defeated and wiped out in almost every case. The North Vietnamese forces were able to conquer the city of Hue and hold it for almost a month, massacring thousands of civilians, until they were defeated and destroyed by the US Marine counterattack, losing 7,500 NVA and VC troops in this one battle. The largest battle of the Tet Offensive was fought at the US Marine base at Khe Sanh, where although US military casualties were in the hundreds, contemporary NVA losses were estimated at 8,000... and post-war information has indicated the NVA lost almost 25,000 soldiers at Khe Sanh.

US Marines in Hue, from Stars & Strips/John Olson via USMC/Combat Helicopter Association

The US and South Vietnam militarily won the Tet Offensive by any objective measure; 3,900 dead (1,000 American) to between 35,000 and 60,000 NVA and VC killed, another 60,000 NVA wounded, 6,000 prisoners taken, and complete control of the battlefield. The initial North Vietnam leadership response to the crushing defeat was to seriously consider a peace negotiation with the US and South Vietnamese. So what changed their minds? The news media and it's flawed reporting of the events.

Sensationalized reporting of the initial attacks by the media fueld the impression that the Tet Offensive was a victory for the North Vietnamese instead of a defeat. Ignoring, and in many cases, denying, the successes of the US and South Vietnamese military, the majority of the press corps reported their perceptions of the battles rather than the facts. The anti-war movement in the US seized upon the reports as proof that the US couldn't win in Vietnam, their rationale being that we couldn't be winning if the North Vietnamese were capable of launching something as widespread as the Tet Offensive. Then, as now, the anti-war movement claimed that the government was lying. More important, the mainstream American public was shocked by the size of the battles and the US casualty figures. LBJ had lied to the American public, not about whether or not we were winning (we were), but about the scope of the war and the extent of US involvement.

The US political fallout from the Tet Offensive ended LBJ's presidential career. With it, support for our presence in Vietnam also ended, and Richard Nixon campaigned and won election on the promise to get the US out of Vietnam. The North Vietnamese were also encouraged that victory was possible, not by militarily defeating the US (which they recognized was impossible) but by killing enough US troops to get the US to withdraw. Accordingly, their strategy changed from taking and holding territory to increasing US casualties regardless of the cost to North Vietnamese forces in order to increase the pressure on Nixon to withdraw. After four years of continued US military success and the drawdown of US troops, Nixon finally got the North Vietnamese to the table by the simple expedient of authorizing unrestricted strategic bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong during Operation Linebacker II in December of 1972. What if this had been done in March 1965?

The North Vietnamese attacked the South in the 1972 Easter Offensive, but underestimated the quality of the outnumbered South Vietnamese forces and their effectiveness when supplied and supported by US air power, resulting in yet another stunning defeat that set the North Vietnamese back for three years. In the interim, Democrats in the US Senate led by none other than our scholar Senator Ted Kennedy managed to gut the legislation that was part of our support for South Vietnam we agreed to at the Paris Peace Accords, and so when the North Vietnamese again invaded in 1975 there was no US airpower to oppose them, no US logistical support to resupply outnumbered South Vietnamese troops facing Soviet- and Chinese-equipped North Vietnamese troops, and no outcry from the United Nations about the violation of international law by the North Vietnamese. After a valiant fight, the ARVN was overwhelmed and defeated, leading to mass imprisonments in re-education camps, hundreds of thousands of executions, and indirectly to the horrific hell of the Cambodian killing fields as totalitarian forces overwhelmed democratic governments in Laos and Cambodia.

This has been a rather long post (more like a Thirty Minute Thought), so let me close with the true lesson of Vietnam and some important corollaries.

The Lesson of Vietnam: Don't fight a war unless you're going to fight to win... but if you do fight, then fight with overwhelming force to destroy your enemy's will to fight as quickly as possible.

First Corollary: A US president must have the moral courage to withstand the fierce personal and political attacks he will receive from his political adversaries, and fight any military action the US is involved in as if 100% of the population is behind him, otherwise he is doomed to military failure and political defeat.

Second Corollary: Wars are won by destroying the enemy's will to resist, so regardless of the disparity in military forces the winner is the one who is left standing on the battlefield.

Read Ted Kennedy's comments again, and also those of President Bush. Then ask yourself which one by his words and deeds demonstrates an understanding the Lesson of Vietnam, and which one is engaging in the same behavior that caused our defeat in Vietnam.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

The Case For Violence

I'm a big fan of violence. Not in the movies, mind you, but in real life and only when called for. I don't understand those who decry every use of violence with the tired old cliche of "Violence never solves anything." Do these people read history books? When it comes to deciding disagreements, violence solves everything.

Don't believe me? Ask the Carthagenians, the Moors, the Mongols, Native Americans, Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, etc. Violence may not solve things in the way the losers prefer (or the winners prefer, for that matter) but things definitely are solved. I think history argues that the problem with using violence to solve disagreements is not violence per se, but that too often half-measures are used. The losers aren't convinced they lost, problems crop back up, and the winners have to go and kill lots more people and break lots more things... which wouldn't have to be done if they'd only gone in right the first time.

I ran across this website while perusing information on PalmOS programming (don't ask me how I got there). The author seems to be a good fellow and he's a good writer, yet he gets it all wrong here... not just on why we went to war in Iraq but on the usefuless of war in general. He writes:

But all those excuses, boiled down, equal only this: Oil from the Middle East powers our free market economy, and Iraq sits on the world’s second-largest known supply. Saddam Hussein’s resistance of the western world threatened our financial security. His rumored weapons programs and ties to terrorist groups gave us all the evidence we needed to justify a pre-emptive strike.
Uhhh... that's fine except it all doesn't come down to this. We didn't invade Iraq because of oil. We invaded Iraq because after 9/11 (and before, really, but as a nation we were unwilling to face facts) we could not afford to let an amoral dictator with billions of petro-dollars, the resources of a nation-state, and the willingness to develop WMDs and pass them to terrorists have the freedom and ability to do just that.

If it was all about the oil, we'd have our troops securing the oilfields and pipelines while the rest of Iraq stewed in its juices. Or, we would have just reached an accomodation with Saddam: kill as many Iraqis, Kuwaitis, and Iranians as you want as long as the price of oil stays below $15 a barrel.

But violence can never defeat violence. And Christians who support the idea of a "just war" may not be serving the same God that Jesus called his Father.
Fortunately, violence can, and has, defeated violence. In fact, violence in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. Violence is a tool, and like any other tool the morality of violence is determined by the purpose of its use. Was it immoral to use violence to defeat Adolf Hitler and the Nazis? Even the Bible states that there is a purpose for violence. In Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, the Bible notes that "To everything there is a season... a time to kill and a time to heal...." The Iraq War was a time to kill, just as our efforts to rebuild Iraq and establish a democracy despite attacks by terrorists are done during a time to heal.

The problem with condemning all violence is that you end up throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Yes, it is obviously right to condemn the violence of, say, a rapist, just as it is obviously wrong to condemn the violence of the police officer... or victim... who uses violence to defeat the rapist. To believe otherwise is to morally equate the status of rapist with that of victim, or policeman... the sinner is no worse than the one protecting from sin. In other words, equating the acts of a sinner with the acts of a non-sinner. And that obviously flies in the face of everything that Christians believe.

Bismark said that war is diplomacy by other means. It's obvious to any thinking person that when two nation-states disagree about something strongly enough to fight over it, the goal is not war, the goal is to force the enemy to submit to your will. In such a case, if war is warranted by the seriousness of the disagreement (it must be serious enough to represent an existential threat in order for war to be justified), then it well behooves the combatants to use force strongly and swiftly and sufficiently to quickly decide the issue. Further, it is both strategically unsound and immoral to use insufficient force when force is called for. Think of the Vietnam War here; 57,000 American dead, one million South Vietnamese dead, two million North Vietnamese dead, millions more wounded, the US failed to accomplish its strategic goal of keeping Southeast Asia out of totalitarian control resulting in several million more deaths in Vietnam and Cambodia after the war... and it all could have been prevented if LBJ had possessed the courage to invade North Vietnam and capture Hanoi. Or better yet, if Truman had had the courage to support Ho Chi Minh and tell the French Non! when they insisted on keeping Vietnam as a colony after WWII in an attempt to salvage French pride.

I'll end this with a question: what caused pacifism to become more important than confronting evil in mainstream European and American Christian belief? In my opinion, the short answer is the carnage of World War I. I'll elaborate on this in a future post.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Email of the Day??!! Thanks!

It's not every day that I get an “Email of the Day” up on Andrew Sullivan's blog... so excuse the shameless self-promotion!

(The email was in response to Andrew’s response to a comment made by a Navy pilot, over the latter’s preference for flying aid missions over combat missions.)

Every Vote Counts... Unless It's Not For Us

So the Democrats have thrown a stumbling block in the confirmation of President Bush's re-election in Congress today, on the grounds that they are “protect[ing] the integrity of the true will of the people.” This is the same reasoning given by Democrats in North Carolina who are getting a do-over on the race for their state's Agriculture Commissioner.

How then, do we explain the shattering stillness of any Democrat-supported cry for a new election in the Washington state governor's race, where Democrat Christine Gregoire picked up a lead of just 130 votes in the third (hand) recount when the results from King County (Seattle and suburbs) were finally tabulated? Stefan Sharkansky and the other bloggers at SoundPolitics.Com have done a fantastic job documenting the, er, irregularities that occurred in the November 2, 2004 election in Washington... like the fact that convicted felons cast votes (here and here), hundreds of provisional votes were improperly counted without verification that the voter was eligible and registered to vote, a large number of military absentee voters (who tend to overwhelmingly vote Republican) didn't receive their absentee ballots until after the election, and dead people voted (here and here and here). The Democrats, of course, think that everything is just peachy. And why not? The Democratic candidate is finally in the lead (after three recounts! Time to stop counting!).

What does it all add up to? Turns out that, in King County alone (Seattle and suburbs, and heavily Democratic), there are several thousand more votes than there are voters who showed up or returned absentee ballots... and almost 8,500 extra votes statewide! Where did the extra votes come from? Why didn't they show up in the two mechanical recounts, only to surface in the hand recount (the one most open to vote fraud)? Why are there more votes than people who cast votes on November 2?

If the Democrats can get excited enough over 300-some odd measly votes that don't put a dent in an 118,000-vote lead in Ohio to throw a monkey wrench in the Electoral College confirmation process, if they can demand (and get) a re-vote because of one malfunctioning voting machine that may or may not have made a difference in North Carolina, why aren't they getting worked up over numerous verified accounts of vote fraud and errors, and a discrepancy between the number of votes cast and the number of voters who cast them that is almost two orders of magnitude greater than the winner's margin of victory?

Because... if a Democrat wins an election then there can't be any fraud, just the will of the people don't you know. If a Republican wins, well, then we know it just had to be stolen. After all, what right-thinking person would vote for a Republican?


Tuesday, January 04, 2005

America Is Great Because We Are Good!

Images courtesy US Navy

The biggest guy on the block always seems to be the butt of the neighborhood jokes, and it is no different with the United States of America. The UN's Jan Egeland (whose organization receives more than 40% of its funding from the US) has chided America for being "stingy" while liberals like Clare Short complain that the US is not only botching matters but has the unmitigated gall to think that it can actually handle a highly complex activity such as disaster relief without the leadership of the UN. Well, based upon the news coming out of the region, I'm sure that hundreds of thousands of starving and injured Indonesians, Thais, and (soon) Sri Lankans will be thankful that George Bush spent more time organizing with several other countries like India and Australia, and planning and implementing an effective relief effort that is actually in the region delivering food, water, and medical help, and less time calling for consultation, biting his lip, and seeking approval from the United Nations.

Diplomad has some very good information on what really is happening in South Asia, and which countries and organizations are having an impact on this historic disaster. Hint: it's not the countries and organizations that are doing the most grandstanding. France, the EU, and the UN are doing a lot of gesticulating, to no avail. The UN, whose disaster management experience has been gained at places like Rwanda, Darfur, Kosovo, and of course the Oil-For-Food program (that starved ordinary Iraqis, enriched Saddam, and lined the pockets of UN syncophants and bureaucrats) has been extremely busy... coordinating things like adjacent suites at 5-start hotels with 24-hour room service and color-matching the various jumpsuits that UN contract employees will be wearing to prevent clashes with other contributors' uniforms. Read their postings over the past couple of weeks to get an idea of the hypocrisy, incompetence, and arrogance which seems to be the only tangible product the UN is capable of bringing to disaster relief.

I am so proud of my country and the US military! No other country in the history of the world can do, and does, so much to help others. No other military in the history of the world has the skills and the capability to project power as quickly and effectively and benificently. Need some drinking water? Here's 200,000+ gallons a day... indefinitely (until our SeaBees and Army Corps of Engineers come in and rebuild your infrastructure... to US standards). Thousands of injured people lying around without medical assistance in devastated hospitals? We'll treat them and get them on their way back to health. "No better friend, no worse enemy."

Unfortunately, some people, like Andrew Sullivan don't get it; everyone in the military would far rather save lives than fight wars. The risk isn't much less. Sure, no one's shooting at you, but flying aircraft off ships over miles of ocean and jungle is a dangerous business and it is almost a certainty that Americans will die during this mission.

Osama bin Laden can talk about the Great Satan, the French can complain and moan about us, the EU can claim to be a "counterweight", and China can call itself the leading western Pacific economic and military power... but those suffering from the tsunami are eating food in boxes labeled "USA", drinking water from US ships, being treated by US medical personnel with US medicines, and watching US construction equipment operated by US citizens fix their infrastructure.

Note to the UN, the EU, and all of the rest of you US-bashers out there: actions speak louder than words. And, to the people calling for the cancellation of the inauguration so that the funds can be used for tsunami disaster relief... get Kerry and the Clintons to send their millions from their campaign warchests to tsunami victims, and then come see us.