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Sunday, October 31, 2004

Do Arabs Hate Christianity, or Liberal-socialism?

Response to a reader’s question.

Responding to Faith Without Fealty?, a reader wrote:

“As I read this, an idea occurred to me that might be worthwhile giving some thought to:

Is the hate in the Arab world toward the West really towards Christianity or the social-liberal establishments that claim to be Christian?”
Posted by JG ?on? 10/23 ?

Knowing nothing more about opinion in the “Arab street” than what we all see on TV and read on the internet and in the print media, I can only speculate about the question posed.  So I asked my long-time friend Peter Juge for his reactions.  Peter spent many years in Africa and the Middle East as a State Department foreign service officer and as a Mobil Oil officer in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia.

Peter’s reply was:

“All I know, Tom, is it is more than just Christianity. It is toward the whole package that the West represents today - our entire liberal life style including all our indulgences, lack of morals, women’s rights, even our casual dress. The West is very frightening to them not because of Christianity but the appeal of the former.

Somehow, they don’t really understand how, Westernization has sliped stealthliy into Saudi Arabia, and the rest of the Arab world; but it surely has - MacDonalds, KFC, Booze, Raunchy Videos, that titilate but offend. It is very much like the events that took place “back when” in our Bible Belt. But there “sufistication” so-to-speak won; that was the national norm and it prevailed.

The BIG difference in the Arab world is - the fundamentalist Muslims control education. From grade school through high school, it is the mullahs who are in charge. And who keep youth on the path of righteousness. There is one hell of a turmoil going on within people in the Arab world trying to deal with this. The current explosion is not surprising.

And wait, just wait, until, when, and I think it is when rather than if, Arab women en masse deceide they have had enough of the mullahs. I have no way of knowing what that will produce, but somehow I just don’t think it will necessarily be the boon for us we may think it is. Just have a look at whom the West is throwing up as role models for them.”

That suggests antipathy more to the liberal-socialist establishment that claim to be Christian, because it’s that half of our population who measure social progress by the degrees to which hedonistic license crowds out old ideals of personal morality.  I know nothing specific about the religious laws of Islam that prescribe personal conduct, but it’s probable that the life of personal responsibility preached by Christianity is more congruent with Islam than the licentiousness of which Manhattan and Hollywood liberals are champions.

On the other hand, socialistic collectivism is more compatible with Islam than is Judeo-Christian individualism, which pushes moral responsibility onto each person.  Islam views the Koran as the literal and exact word of Allah, which governs political and religious conduct within a single framework.  It is therefore more in synch with socialism. which decapitates civilization by destroying all spiritual religious content and rolls everything under the regulatory scrutiny of intellectual councils.

From a longer-range historical perspective, however, it appears that nothing other than Islam is compatible with Islam.  For a thousand years after Mohammed’s Hegira in 622 AD, there never was a decade when the militant forces of Islam weren’t conquering and pillaging Christian cities in the Eastern and Western Roman Empires.  For perspective on that I recommend Bernard Lewis’s short tome, “What Went Wrong? The Clash Between Islam and Modernity in the Middle East.”

Osama Bin Ladin and other Islamic radicals, as well as American and European liberals, use the Crusades as a justification for terrorist attacks on the West.  Hypocrisy is too weak a word to characterize that assertion.  Muslims had been slaughtering Christian males and selling Christian women and children into slavery for roughly 700 years before the first Crusade.  Western Europe for 700 years lived in mortal terror of Islamic military conquest.  In short, Islam is a thousand times more guilty of aggression and crime than the Christian Western world.

We are, therefore, not dealing with a rational situation in confronting Islamic terrorism.  Unlike the situation in normal international disputes, we are not called upon to craft a reasonable diplomatic solution to disputes over territory or natural resources.  We are dealing with people who have only one objective: to kill us and obliterate every trace of Western civilization.

For that insurmountable reason, liberal-socialists’ faith in collective security via international agreements negotiated in the UN is bound to fail, just as every other aspect of liberal-socialism has failed since 1789.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Is Senator Kerry an LBJ Clone?

Didn’t we learn in the Vietnam War that it’s disastrous for a President to micro-manage day-to-day conduct of the battlefield?

Senator Kerry has frequently castigated President Bush for failing to do specific things in the Iraq campaign. 

The latest example is his blast that the President failed to prevent the looting of 380 tons of extremely powerful explosives, which in the Senator’s description sound like WMD.  That not unintentional image is suggested by news accounts that describe the missing explosives as capable of triggering a nuclear bomb.

No evidence proves that the explosives went missing during the time of occupation of Iraq by coalition forces.  In fact, as NBCNEWS reported after the story broke, its embedded news crew accompanied U. S. troops when they moved in to secure the Al-Qaqaa weapons facility on April 10, 2003 , one day after the liberation of Iraq.  No one saw the IAEA tags that had been used to secure the weapons bunkers in which the 380 missing tons of explosives had last been seen, before the start of the war.

This point has been exhaustively reported in internet blogs and some mainstream media.  It has, however, been ignored or buried by the New York Times, which published the original charge as a page-one story.

The more interesting point is that Senator Kerry evidently expects whoever is President and commander-in-chief to call every shot, make every decision on the battle field. 

He can’t have it both ways.  If the President is to be charged with massive failure, then it must be the President who issues every order to the troops in the field.

If not, then Senator Kerry’s charge is a criticism of our military forces in the field and their leaders.

In all of America’s wars before Vietnam, Presidents were responsible for establishing war aims, appointing senior military officers, signing-off on military grand strategy, and directing mobilization on the home front.  But no president before LBJ demanded that battlefield commanders get daily permission for proposed actions. 

Lincoln, for example, suffered through a string of Union generals who “had the slows” before he finally found in General Grant a commander who would fight relentlessly to bring the Civil War to an end.  But Lincoln wisely never tried to issue specific battle orders.  The same could be said for Presidents Woodrow Wilson in World War I and Franklin Roosevelt in World War II.

LBJ, in contrast, arrogated the right to approve daily battle plans based partly on his assessment of their impact on political sentiment here in the United States and elsewhere in the world.  American servicemen in the field were sometimes not permitted to take offensive or defensive actions that field commanders recommended, because LBJ countermanded them.

LBJ’s “sensitivity” to public opinion is exactly the mindset that Senator Kerry exhibits at every turn when denouncing the war in Iraq.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

No Child Left in the Dark

My article titled No Child Left in the Dark has just been published on, which is one of the recommended links on this website (see the Links tab above).

Posted by Thomas E. Brewton on 10/23 at 02:11 PM
Education • (0) Comments
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Friday, October 22, 2004

Religious Values

Senator Kerry’s values are socialistic, materialistic inputs favoring special interest groups.

In a Washington Times article dated October 22, 2004, and headlined Bush, Kerry turn to religion in final week, reporter Julia Duin writes:

“Both presidential candidates, one a Roman Catholic and the other an evangelical Protestant, are conversant about their faith, with each man making religious pitches down the stretch. ....

“Mr. Kerry has sketched out his values on the Democratic National Committee’s new Web site, , which debuted Oct. 7.

????It touts a “Kerry/Bush values comparison chart” comparing the senator’s ideas on the environment, the war in Iraq, health care, the minimum wage, prescription drugs and other issues unfavorably with those of Mr. Bush.

????Under the “work with dignity” category, the Web site used the biblical parable of the Good Samaritan to compare the president to one of the men who walked by a robbed and beaten man.
????“For four years, George W. Bush may have talked about compassion, but he’s walked right by,” the site quotes Mr. Kerry saying. “He’s seen people in need, but he’s crossed over to the other side of the road.”

????Mr. Kerry would raise the minimum wage and keep U.S. companies from exporting jobs overseas, the site said. “

As stated in Faith Without Fealty?, Senator Kerry is no more than a nominal Catholic, because he rejects basic tenets of Christianity.

The sorts of things Senator Kerry lists as his values all have to do with Marxian, materialistic inputs.  All of them are politically-correct, social-justice issues espoused by various liberal special-interest groups.

Let’s stipulate that some of his values are good.  But his state-planning approach to implementing them is in direct opposition to that of spiritual religions in the Judeo-Christian tradition, which is the essence of Western civilization and the values and traditions upon which the United States was founded.

Our founding values all start and end with a focus on the individual and his responsibility to live a life of love and service to his family, his community, and his nation.  That spirit of love led Western nations over the centuries to care for the poor and the needy and to improve the standard of living for everyone.  That spirit produced the thousands of volunteer community-service organizations that still exist, but with only a shadow of their influence before the advent of socialism here under the Roosevelt New Deal in 1933.

The Judeo-Christian focus on individuality is the opposite of Senator Kerry’s liberal-socialist belief that morality is determined by an intellectual elite who have a presumed right to impose their social-justice ideas upon people, whom they view only as social and economic classes constituting the masses.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Faith Without Fealty?

True faith is loyalty, or fealty, to truth.  Liberalism is loyalty to a secular religious faith that history has demonstrated repeatedly and irrefutably to be false.

Washington Post columnist E. J. Dionne Jr. has an opinion piece in the Post’s edition for Tuesday, October 19, 2004; Page A23, with the nicely alliterative title “Faith Without Fealty.”  The subhead is “It’s Time to Free Religion From Party Politics”

The opening paragraphs of the article read:

“God is NOT a Republican . . . or a Democrat.”

“That’s the bracing message of a bumper sticker for sale by Sojourners, a progressive Christian magazine. It is turning out to be one of the central themes of the 2004 presidential campaign.

“Voters are not being presented with a choice between faith-based politics and no faith at all. Instead, President Bush and Sen. John Kerry are offering two very different interpretations of what it means for a politician to be religious and, in their cases, Christians.”

The last line above is, to put it politely, a misrepresentation. 

John Kerry is at best a nominal Catholic.  As a worshipper at the altar of secular socialism, he contravenes one of the most fundamental tenets of the Jewish and Christian spiritual faiths, respect for the sanctity of human life.  Like Pontius Pilate, he stands aside and washes his hands when confronted with the legalized murder of babies for nothing more, in the vast majority of cases, than the convenience of men and women who find the birth of a child to be an interference with sexual promiscuity.

As his “not my table” stand on partial-birth abortion reveals, by embracing the secular and materialistic principles of the religion of socialism, he commits himself to the doctrine that there is no such thing as right or wrong, no such thing as moral truth. 

Probably the largest number of people who consider themselves to be liberals are the fellow-travelers who subscribe to the avowed aims of socialism, but are ignorant of the core of socialism and its methods of reaching its aims.  For a detailed discussion of that point, see Who Are the Liberal-Socialists? and What is Liberalism?.

Christians and socialists say that they want many of the same things: general prosperity and well-being for everyone, stability, harmony, and peace.  But their ways of bringing them about are polar opposites.  In the long sweep of history, Western civilization’s Judeo-Christian heritage has achieved these objectives to a greater degree than anywhere else at any time.  Liberalism, beginning with the French Revolution in 1789, is a history of failure and mass slaughter in which millions of humans have been sacrificed to a secular and materialistic intellectual concept, from the Soviet Union, to National Socialist Germany, to Mao’s China, and Castro’s Cuba.

The great commandments for religious Jews and Christians alike are, “Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord; And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength; this is the first commandment.

“And the second is this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

It will be observed that these commandments are addressed to each individual, as an individual, not as a member of a special interest group.  And they place upon each individual the personal responsibility to develop his own moral conscience and to deal with other individuals in a spirit of love and help.

Liberalism, in stark contrast, disavows God and all spiritual religion as ignorance and superstition.  MSNBC senior political analyst Lawrence O’Donnell described Christians and religious Jews as simple-minded (see Liberals Sneer at Spiritual Religion and Prayer).  President Clinton’s Labor Secretary Robert Reich wrote, “The true battle will be between modern civilization and anti-modernist; between those who believe in the primacy of the individual and those who believe that human beings owe their allegiance and identity to a higher authority ... between those who believe in science, reason and logic, and those who believe that truth is revealed through Scripture and religious dogma. Terrorism will disrupt and destroy lives. But terrorism itself is not the greatest danger we face.” (see Liberals Hate Christianity).

Secretary Reich’s identification of liberal-socialism with “the primacy of the individual” illustrates the confusion in public understanding and explains why perfectly decent people support liberalism, albeit out of ignorance.  In common with most liberals, Secretary Reich presumes that the aims of socialist intellectuals are necessarily what is in the best interests of individuals.  It’s a milder version of the soviet Union’s “dictatorship of the proletariat” in which the will of the secretariat of the Communist party is defined as the will of the people.  Here, it is the “nanny state,” in which liberals presume that only they are smart enough to determine what is good for you and that they are therefore entitled to run the government, structuring it to compel you do do what they think is good for you.  From this come political-correctness and academic speech-and-behavior-codes, as well as the refusal to appoint Christians and religious Jews to Federal judgeships.

“Individuals” in the NewSpeak, Big Brother lexicon of liberalism means individual hedonistic license, coupled with collective regulation of all assets and economic and political behavior.  In our Judeo-Christian heritage, individualism means expecting each person, as an individual, to assume personal responsibility for loving his neighbor as himself and structuring laws and customs that support that faith.

Secretary Reich and Senator Kerry are reading from the same page.  Senator Kerry is not a Christian; he is an idolator of socialism.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Now You Know Why

Guest Opinion by Don Bendell.

The following opinion piece is by Don Bendell, who served as an officer in four Special Forces Groups, including a tour on a green beret A-team (Dak Pek) in Vietnam in 1968-1969, and was in the Top Secret Phoenix Program.  Mr. Bendell is a top-selling author of 21 books, with over 1,500,000 copies of his books in print worldwide. His pro-Bush/anti-Kerry editorials have been widely published and he has been interviewed on FOX NEWS LIVE and on many radio talk shows.

For his other opinion pieces, go to his website at


If you are an American of any political party, nothing will make you see the color red like this next paragraph will!

A member of the US Army Reserves, a twenty-five year old first lieutenant assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division serving in Iraq, a recipient of the Silver Star and Purple Heart, recently traveled to Tehran, Iran, where he met with senior Al Queda officials close to Usama bin Laden and several extremist Iranian mullahs to try to negotiate a peaceful end to the War in Iraq with no authorization from our government. The terrorist leaders met for two days of intense discussions with the junior officer. Yesterday, the young lieutenant returned to Washington, DC to meet with a congressional select committee, where he plans to propose the Al Queda’s list of demands for the United States incorporated into his own personal proposed peace plan, and this will be followed by a press conference. The soldier also plans to testify for the congressional committee and expound about American soldiers committing horrendous daily atrocities in Iraq against civilians and terrorists alike, with the full knowledge and sanction of the entire US military chain of command.

Can you imagine the harm this will do to our efforts against terrorism? Are you as infuriated, outraged, and beyond upset as I am? Then do something about it! But first, my fellow Americans, just chill: The lieutenant is fictional. The story is not; I just retold John Kerry’s Vietnam story with a modern-day setting. Now, you know more clearly why so many of us Vietnam veterans are so passionately against the election of John F. Kerry for President, and why the Vietnam War does indeed matter in this election. For those who loudly proclaim that there was a My Lai and other atrocities, I reply but there are also Crips and Bloods in our society. For every large group of good guys in our society, we have a rapist, a murderer, a torturer, but that does not mean that MOST men are that way. Unlike Hollywood’s portrayals and John Kerry’s myths, most generals and admirals are actually men of honor who want to preserve American’s lives, not rush young men into war. 288 of them and 53 Vietnam Medal of Honor recipients support George W. Bush’s re-election, by the way. That is also why Swift Boat Veterans and POW ‘s for the Truth should be heeded and respected . Our greatest proponents of peace are the true warriors who have been there. We have seen the hell. We have lived the hell. But most of us lived through it with our honor, dignity, and sense of being an American soldier, sailor, airman, or marine intact: We have always been the good guys; that is, until Kerry, Fonda, wannabe-Woodward’s and Bernstein’s, and their ilk came along. Then we Vietnam veterans became the disenfranchised, zombie-like, robotic killers, cast under the spell of our evil government-controlled mind machine. But now, somehow we are normal people, albeit with some very rough memories, who are active in your church, PTA, local businesses, government, factories, and professional offices.

John Kerry is out to use anti-war rhetoric to hurt our soldiers again. John Kerry has used a war to his advantage and he is doing it again. John Kerry has left a trail of deeply wounded Vietnam Veterans and he wants to turn the United States against our soldiers again. The process has already started. If you are an undecided voter or a democrat, please listen to me. You cannot, you must not, I implore you, please do not screw our veterans and active duty military again with apathy like it was done to Vietnam vets before! John Kerry opened the deep scabbed-over wounds that so very many of our number suffered from. We are now blood-letting those wounds, and the re-election of George W. Bush can be the very antiseptic we need, so those wounds can properly heal over this time. We Vietnam veterans can finally have some closure, or you can elect Kerry, and many of us will go deeper into that quiet painful place again. That deep bottomless pit of hurt and betrayal. Many did not care then. Will you now? We all walked around fairly normal but sometimes with that blank faraway look in our eyes. If you are a wife of one of us, you know what I mean by that look. But now, there is hope, and some of us even have a spring in our limping steps, but our proper healing is totally in your hands, and the potential emotional wounding of our children serving in Iraq and Afghanistan is also in your hands. Will you let them come home being told they served in the “wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time?” We must stay the course with President Bush. We absolutely must.

John Kerry’s low-class invasion into the dignity and privacy of the Cheney family in the third debate showed you a glimpse at the darkness of his true character that many of us already knew. His running mate’s equally inappropriate remark in the Vice-Presidential debate showed us Kerry also has an evil “Mini-Me” to parrot the mannerisms of his dark side. But to most of us Vietnam veterans, John Kerry is quite simply Benedict Arnold, and now mounting evidence as reported in the NEW YORK SUN, October 13 article shows he may well have received a less than honorable discharge, which was later reversed by a “board of officers” at Jimmy Carter’s direction. In fact, as your President, John Kerry would be a copper-toned Jimmy Carter without the religious convictions.

4 out of 5 active duty military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan strongly support George W. Bush. Their very lives are on the line day in and day out. What do you suppose your vote putting Kerry into office will do to their morale? If 4 out of 5 don’t like him, how can he possibly lead them? Or do you really care as long as you think your health care cost is going to actually come down?

John Kerry has put the ultimate “Me” into Presidential politics. Isn’t it about time we get back to “We,” as in “We, the People?”

In his time off, Kerry likes to windsurf in the Hamptons. President Bush puts on old jeans and fixes fence and cuts firewood on his ranch. Who do you really want protecting us and leading our brave troops, Windsurfer Dude or the American cowboy?

Monday, October 18, 2004

Political Correctness and the Downfall of Democracy

Response to another reader’s email.

A reader wrote:

“Barbara Jordan, on her deathbed, supposedly said, “Political correctness will be the downfall of democracy in the United States.”
Please confirm or discredit.”

My answer is that I don’t know whether, in fact, Congresswoman Jordan actually said that on her deathbed, but I agree with the statement.  Political correctness stands for liberalism, and liberalism is a certain path toward steadily declining economic productivity and political despotism. 

Liberalism and its doctrinal tool of political correctness mean that more and more political power is removed from state and local governments and collectivized in the Federal government, and more and more aspects of individuals’ private thought and conduct are made subject to Federal regulation in conformity with political correctness.

Something must also be said about the meaning of the word democracy. 

In the Federalist Papers, the most authoritative and influential group of articles in the 1787-89 campaign to secure ratification of the Constitution, James Madison noted that, while the ultimate authority for government power is the will of the people, experience had taught statesmen the need for auxiliary precautions.  The authors of the Constitution were at pains to say that it did not create a classical democracy of the sort in which every citizen votes directly on every important issue.  Such governments had always deteriorated into tyrannies, because demagogues always promised special benefits to their followers in exchange for grants of additional political powers.

That is precisely the process that began slowly to unfold in the United States in the early 20th century, as one Constitutional safeguard after another was removed.  What we now call democracy is coming to resemble the unstable and volatile political process of democracy in classical Athens that led to its defeat and devastation in the Peloponnesian War with Sparta.

In 1787, recent colonial experience under English rule had impressed upon the writers of the Constitution the necessity to create checks and balances that would prevent any special interest group, no matter how politically powerful, from overriding the fundamental, natural-law rights of individuals to life, liberty, and private property.

The federal republic created by the Constitution was based on the common belief that the powers of government come from the will of the people.  But, under the Constitution, the will of the people was to be expressed by individuals voting in each state to select their delegates to the House of Representatives in Congress and to select representatives in their state legislatures. 

In turn, their representatives in each state legislature were to select two United States Senators from each state and to select delegates to the College of Electors who would select a President and Vice President of the United States every four years. 

The President and Vice President were not to be selected by direct popular vote for two reasons: first, the state legislatures were to be the focal point of local political power in order to bulwark them against Federal power, and, second, delegates to the Electoral College selected by their state legislatures were more likely than the average citizen in the street to be knowledgeable about national issues and to have a better knowledge about the personalities and capacities of potential Presidents and Vice Presidents.

The states, through their legislatures, were to retain a large swath of political power to act as an offset to any pretensions in the Federal government toward monarchy and the exercise of arbitrary power over individuals.

During the 20th century, the structure of checks and balances in our Constitution was eroded under the corrupting influence of socialism, known in the United States as liberalism.  Paradoxically, liberals speak of democracy and helping the little guy.  Their brand of democracy, however, aims to help the little guy, pigeon-holed into social classes, by collectivizing and enlarging political power at the level of the all-powerful National State. 

Political correctness, in this process, is what Congresswoman Barbara Jordan may have had in mind.

Among the many postings on this website, two deal specifically with that idea:

Equality vs Liberty


Armageddon Tomorrow

Lawrence Auster ( View From the Right ) states it with stark accuracy:

?The confrontation with Islam shows the absolute limits of liberalism.? Liberalism says we?re all alike and it seeks to reconstruct society on that basis.? But Islam shows definitively that we?re not all alike.? So liberalism is now being challenged as it never has before.? As I?ve been saying since 9/11, we?re in the apocalypse of liberalism:? either liberalism dies, and the West has a chance to live, or liberalism does not die, and the West dies too, and then liberalism will die with it.?

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Round Three: Realism in American Foreign Policy

My critic’s next round of reactions to Round Two: Realism in American Foreign Policy.

My critic responded to the statement “... even the highly partisan 9/11 Commission, whose report confirms that there were connections between Saddam and Al Queda, though no direct link to the 9/11 suicide bombings.?”

READER:  The ‘connections’ are somebody may?have met somebody sometime.  No hint of cooperation. The US State department has a greater ‘connection’ to al-Qaeda on that basis; they?facilitated the hijackers’ visas and let them?in?with incomplete?applications. The ‘connections’ are exactly like Michael Moore’s Saudi/Bush connections, just guilt by association because somebody talked to somebody.

MY ANSWER:  The 9/11 Commission Report (From “Overview of the Enemy,”? Staff Statement no. 15 ) says:

“Bin Ladin also explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan, despite his opposition to Hussein’s secular regime. Bin Ladin had in fact at one time sponsored anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Sudanese, to protect their own ties with Iraq, reportedly persuaded Bin Ladin to cease this support and arranged for contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting Bin Ladin in 1994. Bin Ladin is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded. There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after Bin Ladin had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship . Two senior Bin Ladin associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between al Qaeda and Iraq. We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States.”

The New York Times proclaimed that this paragraph?“sharply contradicted one of President Bush’s central justifications for the Iraq war.” 

Disputing these charges by the New York Times, Lee Hamilton, Democratic Co-Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, said:? “I’ve looked at these statements quite carefully from the administration—they are not claiming that there was a collaborative relationship between Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, with regard to the attacks on the United States.? Now all must understand that when you begin to use words like relationship, and ties, and connections and contacts, everybody has a little different view of what those words mean. But if you look at the core statements that we made in the staff statement I don?t think that there?s a difference of opinion with regard to those [the administration’s] statements.”

Responding to the statement: “As to whether there was “no immediate danger to us or to the oil supply,” that is no more than arm-chair, Monday-morning quarterbacking.? It’s easy to sit back now and to say that we should have been clairvoyant.”? 

READER:  Hmmh, I heard most knowledgeable observers say that war was a choice, not a necessity. Of course?the politicians who?said that were?branded?appeasers, or whatnot. I’ve heard almost everybody including Bush and Kerry?say we needed a plan,?an exit strategy,?and that after Baghdad falls,?comes the hard part.

MY ANSWER:  As to whether the war “was a choice,” Lee Hamilton (co-chair of the 9/11 Commission; see above) wrote in an article published by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, following the President’s State of the Union address in January, 2003:

“The consequences of war can never be foreseen. All of us want a war in Iraq to be swift and bloodless, and want the aftermath to go smoothly. Addressing these challenges is not an argument against war; it is a matter of preparing ourselves and our allies for the risks of war and its aftermath, while acknowledging the immensity of the task.”

Senator Kerry and the Hero of Chappaquiddick now say that the Iraq invasion was a disaster and that the administration had no “plan to win the peace.”  They made no such predictions before the invasion.  In fact, the post-war concerns voiced by prominent liberals, before the war, were limited to what former Congressman Hamilton had to say in the same article:

“The Iraq occupied by victorious American troops may be beset with a humanitarian crisis. We should be prepared for a massive refugee problem, with hundreds of thousands of displaced Iraqis and serious food and water shortages. If Saddam Hussein sets fire to Iraq?s oil fields as he did in Kuwait, an environmental catastrophe will further complicate our efforts. The immediate challenges will thus be severe: American forces will have to secure Iraq?s weapons of mass destruction, manage Iraqi oil fields, prevent an ethnically and religiously divided Iraq from falling into internal conflict, and provide huge amounts of humanitarian aid.

The long-term task of stabilizing and reconstructing Iraq will take more than a mere two years of American involvement ? as the administration has testified; it will require a sustained program of aid and occupation.”

The administration, in fact, was well prepared for all of those contingencies and either prevented them or dealt with them effectively in the weeks after Saddam’s fall. 

It is true that, with the Presidential election coming up, Democrats staked out “I told you so” hedges after the January, 2003, State of the Union message.  These, however, had nothing to do with “plans to win the peace.”  They reflected simply the old liberal faith in oft-failed collective security through the League of Nations and the UN and the corresponding dogma that our foreign policy must meet the test of “world opinion.”

In the left-wing liberal Washington Post, a report by Dan Balz on Wednesday, January 29, 2003, the day after the State of the Union address; Page A01, summed up the reactions of leading Democrats:

“Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) said Bush still must make a “more compelling case” before committing the country to war.

“Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), a Democratic presidential candidate, said Bush has practiced “blustering unilateralism” in his war on terrorism and that instead of holding Hussein accountable has “too often ignored opportunities to unify the world against this brutal dictator.”

[Note this early application of the “global test” and Kerry’s internationalist position that American troops can be committed to action only with the approval of the UN, the only point of consistency in his view of Iraq]

“Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said he would introduce a resolution requiring Bush “to come back to Congress and present convincing evidence of an imminent threat before we sent troops to war in Iraq.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) dismissed Kennedy’s call, saying the Massachusetts senator had had “ample time” during last fall’s debate to get what he needed.

[The President, of course, never said that Iraq was an imminent threat.  In the State of the Union address, he said, “Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent.  Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike?  If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late.  Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.”]

“And Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.), another presidential candidate who has been hawkish on Iraq, said, “The president began to make an effective case tonight in a way that he hasn’t done before.”

“To those who have urged him to spend more time rallying other countries, Bush said, “We will consult, but let there be no misunderstanding: If Saddam Hussein does not fully disarm, for the safety of our people and for the peace of the world, we will lead a coalition to disarm him.” ”

READER:  If you look at the ‘axis of evil’, Iraq was the weakest of the three.  We went after Iraq and are now tied down there, the terrorists are getting stronger and we’re more at risk. Meanwhile Iran, North Korea, and everyone else says, yikes, I’d better get nuclear before they come after me. The disaster on the ground shows the insurmountable common-sense failure of the invasion.

I don’t think it’s a left/right issue,?just common sense.  Everyone saw the risks and we drove over the cliff.

MY ANSWER:  The second part of the reader’s critique implies that Iran and North Korea had no nuclear weapons program before the Iraq invasion, but started such programs in response to the invasion.  That is not correct.

The United States-North Korea nuclear pact was signed on October 21, 1994, by North Korea and the Clinton administration.  North Korea was required to dismantle its nuclear weapons program in return for economic aid from the United States, Japan, and South Korea.  In October, 2002, North Korea admitted to having violated the pact. 

That nuclear pact, of course, is the sort of foreign policy preferred by Senator Kerry, because it gets strong support from “world opinion” and the “community of nations.”  It’s always easier to sweep problems under the rug, as Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright did, and blindly trust that the enemy has been “contained.”

Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.  In June 2003, the administration announced significant evidence that Iran was violating its treaty obligations.  Prodded by the United States, IAEA chief Mohammed El Baradei accused Tehran of failing to give notice of certain nuclear material and activities and of hampering IAEA inspectors’ access to its nuclear program.  Since then, Iran has told the world that it is well along on a nuclear weapons development program that began many years ago during the Clinton administration.  When Senator Kerry proposed the standard liberal package of economic bribes for promises to be good, Iranian officials told him to mind his own business; they did not need or want what he proposed to give them.

With regard to the critique that “disaster on the ground shows the insurmountable common-sense failure of the invasion,” disaster is a subjective interpretation.  For those who expected a bed of roses after Saddam’s fall, it has been a disaster.

The administration never made such predictions.  To repeat a pre-invasion quotation from 9/11 Commission co-chair Lee Hamilton, “The long-term task of stabilizing and reconstructing Iraq will take more than a mere two years of American involvement ? as the administration has testified; it will require a sustained program of aid and occupation.”

I had written: “Had Senator Kerry been President, our “friends” in France would have got the sanctions lifted within months, and Saddam would by now actually have WMD.”

READER:  Last time I checked, the US still had a veto in the Security Council.?Probability sanctions would have been lifted: zero. 

MY ANSWER:  It is clear from the UN blood-money-for-oil scandal that France was being bribed by Saddam to block UN approval of American military action and to get the sanctions lifted.  In addition to Paul Volcker’s investigation and the Congressional inquires, the Duelfer report details massive documentation from Saddam’s archives supporting that allegation.

My critic is making a very large assumption that had Kerry been President, he would not willingly have agreed to France’s initiatives to terminate sanctions.  The Senator repeatedly has stated that French and German approval of our foreign policy is essential, and he has said that French opposition to invasion of Iraq was the correct view. Iraq, he says, was “the wrong war, at the wrong time, and at the wrong place.” 

For a quintessential liberal like Senator Kerry, every instinct would lead him to value international agreement over any unilateral concerns that the United States might have. Like Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 1939, he would be happy with paper guarantees of “peace in our time.”

READER:  The Duelfer report says: Weapons, none. Weapons-related program activities, none. But there were ‘notions’ of restarting programs after sanctions were lifted.

Bush says on that basis he would still have gone to war.?So the bar he’s setting is no longer an ‘imminent threat’, or a ‘grave and gathering threat’, but just ‘retaining notions’ of programs in the future. That’s a ridiculously low bar, it means we can do whatever we want whenever we want. The constantly shifting rationale, to?the latest preposterous one,?is a symptom of?the insurmountable failure to?morally justify?the invasion

MY ANSWER:  To contend that there was no basis for deposing Saddam Hussein, because no WMD have been found, is very weak reed to lean on.  Liberals’ denial of moral justification for invading Iraq amounts to saying that we and the world would be better off today with Saddam Hussein still in power.

Theories of “just war” originated with St. Augustine in the last centuries before the collapse of the Western Roman Empire.  He maintained that a legitimate ruler of a political state has the right to declare and wage war, because it is the ruler’s duty to protect his subjects.  Maintaining peace and stability for his subjects was the only legitimate reason for war.

Augustine’s views were modified in the 1200s by St. Thomas Aquinas.  Aquinas agreed that the sovereign could legitimately wage war, provided that the war had just cause and rightful intention.  A just cause is defending the ruler’s subjects against external enemies.  Rightful intention is furthering some good or avoiding an evil.

Such standards, of course, are open to subjective interpretation.  But our deposing Saddam Hussein easily meets these criteria. 

The fully developed, modern theories of just war appeared in the 16th and 17th centuries, during the terrible religious wars in Europe between Protestant and Roman Catholic principalities.  Those theories retained the ideas of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas and modified them by categorizing wars into aggressive and defensive actions.  A defensive war requires no moral justification, but an aggressive war has to meet Aquinas’s conditions of just cause and rightful intention, plus two more conditions: an aggressive war is to be undertaken only as a last resort, and non-combatants are to be spared to the maximum extent possible.

Again, our deposing Saddam meets these tests. 

There was just cause in responding to overt assaults on the peace and rights of other nations.  And there was rightful intention to do good by deposing a murderous tyrant, to bring personal liberties to Iraq’s citizens, and to shore up the chances of peace and stability in the Middle East by denying Iraq’s strategic geoplitical location to terrorists of all stripes.

With regard to just cause, Saddam openly proclaimed his intention to dominate other Middle Eastern countries by amassing overwhelming military strength.  He fought Iran for eight years, albeit unsuccessfully, to get control of their oil reserves; he invaded Kuwait for the same purpose; and he was providing financial support to Palestinian terrorists to destroy Israel.  UN weapons inspectors, after Desert Storm, found stockpiles of poison gasses, biological weapons, and a nuclear weapons development program.  We knew before invading Iraq in 2003 that Saddam had contravened the accepted conventions of warfare, both by slaughtering tens of thousands of his own citizens, and by doing so in some cases with proscribed poison gasses.  Additionally, following Desert Storm, Saddam attempted to assassinate former President George H. W. Bush, which caused President Clinton to declare a state of war and to unleash direct missile attacks on Iraq.

With regard to the condition that war be only a last resort, we and other members of the UN demanded for a dozen years that Saddam meet disarmament conditions imposed after Desert Storm.  Saddam’s reaction was to bar UN weapons inspectors from their task and to refuse to cooperate with them.

As a last-chance measure, the United States worked through the UN Security Council to pass a final resolution that threatened aggressive action if Saddam failed to provide proof that he had destroyed all WMD and dismantled his nuclear weapons program. 

The UN dispatched Hans Blix’s team of inspectors to verify that Saddam Hussein was, as he claimed, in compliance with Security Council sanctions.  Blix’s mission turned into a charade in which inspectors were barred from some locations and permitted to inspect only according to Saddam’s schedule.  No interviews with Iraqui scientists were permitted. 

Liberals in Congress and the media presented an inverted image of the mission to the public.  Everyone kept reporting that Blix’s mission was to try to find WMD.  In fact, he had been sent to Iraq to assess whatever evidence Saddam might provide to document his destruction of WMD.  Over the ensuing months, the public was told by liberals that inspections should continue indefinitely so that Blix could “complete his job of finding WMD.”

There was one very big thing wrong with this liberal projection: finding WMD was never Blix’s job.  He was supposed to verify Saddam’s “proof” that all WMD had been destroyed.

Saddam gave Blix’s inspectors no proof that he had destroyed WMD.  There was no explanation for the whereabouts of huge stockpiles of biological and chemical weapons found just after Desert Storm.  Nor was there any documentation supporting Saddam’s claim to have dismantled his nuclear weapons program.

But the inspectors did find that Saddam had been actively importing sophisticated conventional weaponry barred under UN resolutions, right up to the time of Blix’s inspections, with the connivance of UN officials, France, Russia, China, and other nations in the blood-money-for-oil scam.  Inspectors also discovered that he had developed and deployed long range rockets in direct violation of UN sanctions.  Those rockets were capable of delivering devastating blows, conventional or nuclear, to Israel.

Liberals’ contention that there was no threat to justify invading Iraq is therefore baseless nonsense.  All of the conditions of “just war” theory were met many times over.

What then do liberals mean when they declare that invading Iraq had no moral justification?

The answer is to be found in Senator Kerry’s “global test.”

Under socialism, the existence of independent and timeless moral standards is explicitly denied.  For liberals, the only factors in play are the secular and materialistic forces of the political state.  People are no more than what the structure of the political state makes them.  And that structure is determined by the scientistic theories of liberal intellectuals, who alone “understand” what is good for you and wish to structure government in ways that compel you to behave, for your own good, as they decide.

How is this structured behavior to be imposed, short of a totalitarian police state?  The answer is through propaganda in the media and education and its influence on public opinion.  The only “moral” standard is what public opinion at the moment will allow. 

If public opinion has turned against Israel and looks upon Arab terrorists as “freedom fighters,” as is now the case in Continental Europe, then the only morality is to support terrorists and oppose Israel.  If public opinion in the streets of Europe, for that reason, opposes our preemptive attack against Saddam, then it is “immoral.” 

The effect of this is that United States’s foreign policy potentially becomes brainless, the captive of European propagandists.  No matter what we do, or why we do it, liberals will oppose independent U. S. action.  Only the “global test” can legitimize American foreign policy.

Given Saddam’s long-proclaimed intentions of controlling the Middle East and his vast military build-up in conventional weapons alone; given the knowledge that Chinese, North Korean, and Pakistanian sources were secretly selling WMD technology and long-range rocketry to countries like Iraq, to say piously that Iraq posed no threat to the United States is myopic. 

Given Saddam’s history of attempting to seize Iranian and Kuwaiti oil fields, and his control of the huge oil reserves in Iraq, it is naive in the extreme not to take steps to prevent him from blackmailing the free world by withholding oil and manipulating the price, either on his own, or in concert with Al Queda.

There is a difference of opinion within the 9/11 Commission about the degree of cooperation between Al Queda and Iraq.  But no one disputes Saddam’s direct financial and military connection with terrorism. 

To say that Iraq’s all but certain attacks on Israel would not have affected vital American interests is, at best, ill-informed.  Unless we were prepared, under a President Kerry, to abandon our treaty obligations toward Israel and follow the dictates of anti-Semitic and pro-Arab European public opinion, the United States would inevitably have been drawn into a war spanning the entire Middle East.  But such a war would have been at a time and place of Saddam’s choosing, when his armaments were greater and had been fully deployed.

It’s hard to disagree with the position stated in an Associated Press article dated October 7, 2004: “Faced with a harshly critical new report, President Bush conceded today that Iraq didn’t possess the stockpiles of banned weapons his administration warned of before the invasion last year, but insisted that “we were right to take action” against Saddam Hussein.  “America is safer today with Saddam Hussein in prison,” Mr. Bush said.”

Friday, October 15, 2004

Liberals Sneer at Spiritual Religion and Prayer

MSNBC’s senior political analyst says that religious Jews and Christians are simple-minded.

On the most recent edition of the cable TV program “Scarborough Country,” Patrick Buchanan was sitting in for Joe Scarborough.  He asked his guests for their reactions to a question posed by moderator Bob Schieffer in the third campaign debate:

“Mr. President, let’s go to a new question.

You were asked before the invasion—or after the invasion of Iraq if you had checked with your dad. And I believe—I don’t remember the quote exactly, but I believe you said you had checked with a higher authority. I would like to ask you, what part does your faith play on your policy decisions?”

PRESIDENT BUSH: “First, my faith plays a lot—a big part in my life. And that’s—when I was answering that question, what I was really saying to the person was that I pray a lot, and I do. And my faith is a very—it’s very personal. I pray for strength, I pray for wisdom, I pray for our troops in harm’s way, I pray for my family, I pray for my little girls.

“But I’m mindful in a free society that people can worship if they want to, or not.

“You’re equally an American if you choose to worship an Almighty and if you choose not to. If you’re a Christian, Jew or Muslim, you’re equally an American. That’s the great thing about America, is the right to worship the way you see fit.

“Prayer and religion sustain me. I receive calmness in the storms of the presidency. I love the fact that people pray for me and my family all around the country. Somebody asked me one time, “Well, how do you know?” I said, “I just feel it.”

“Religion is an important part. I never want to impose my religion on anybody else. But when I make decisions, I stand on principle, and the principles are derived from who I am. I believe we ought to love our neighbor like we love ourself. That’s manifested in public policy through the Faith-based Initiative, where we’ve unleased the armies of compassion to help heal people who hurt.

“I believe that God wants everybody to be free. That’s what I believe. And that’s one of—part of my foreign policy. In Afghanistan, I believe that the freedom there is a gift from the Almighty. And I can’t tell you how encouraged I am to see freedom on the march. And so my principles that I make decisions on are a part of me and religion is a part of me.”

Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC Senior Political Analyst, ridiculed President Bush’s answer.  Unfortunately, a transcript of the program is not yet available for an exact quote, but O’Donnell’s reply was that only simple-minded people would think that God speaks to them.  Only simple-minded people would think that prayer should have any role in American foreign policy.

This is just another example of the secular and materialistic religious views that characterize liberalism.  For more in this same vein, see Update: Liberals Hate Christianity and Liberals Hate Christianity.

Mr. O’Donnell is ridiculing tougher foes than he knows.  The following is recorded in the website The Mystical George Washington.

“I was riding with Mr. Potts near to the Valley Forge where the army lay during the war of ye Revolution, when Mr. Potts said, ‘Do you see that woods & that plain? There laid the army of Washington. It was a most distressing time of ye war, and all were for giving up the Ship but that great and good man. In that woods (pointing to a close in view) I heard a plaintive sound as of a man at prayer. I tied my horse to a sapling & went quietly into the woods. To my astonishment I saw the great George Washington on his knees alone, with his sword on one side and his cocked hat on the other. He was at Prayer to the God of the Armies, beseeching to interpose with his Divine aid, as it was ye Crisis & the cause of the country, of humanity & of the world. Such a prayer I never heard from the lips of man. I left him alone praying. I went home & told my wife. We never thought a man could be a soldier & a Christian, but if there is one in the world, it is Washington. We thought it was the cause of God & America could prevail.”

Source: Eyewitness testimony of Isaac Potts, a Valley Forge resident who shared the following story with the Rev. Nathaniel Randolph Snowden (1770-1851), who then recorded it in his “Diary and Remembrances.”

Additional Thoughts About “Paying Off the National Debt”

A couple of additional points should be made regarding yesterday’s posting on The Debates: a Twice-Repeated Lie.

In the 2000 election campaign, one of Al Gore’s pledges, repeated ad nauseum, was that he would save Social Security by “putting it in a lock box.”  The Treasury statistics linked in yesterday’s posting show that to be a flat lie, given the Federal government’s heavy reliance on Social Security funds for purposes other than benefit checks to Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries.  President Clinton’s administration, of which Vice President Gore obviously was a member, had been systematically raiding the Social Security accounts to pay current government expenses. 

When Enron did this, it was called cooking the books by using off-balance-sheet financing to deceive lenders and stock market investors.  When corporate executives engage in such practices, they are rightly condemned for heinous crime.  When liberals do it, “mainstream” media call them champions of the people.

Posted by Thomas E. Brewton on 10/15 at 07:20 PM
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