Thursday, January 25, 2007

Senatorial Shame

It was never about oversight. It was never about listening to the Generals. All that talk about how Congress needed to act as a check to Bush’s Iraq policies and that he ignored the commanders was just political blather.

The Senate Foreign Relations committee voted near-unanimously in approving General Petraeus as head of the Iraq operations. He was very clear in his support for Bush’s plan of sending 20,000 additional troops; that the resolutions under consideration to the contrary would harm troop efforts and emboldened the enemy. In other words, more were likely to die if either the Biden or Warner resolutions were past. Here was the Senate’s true chance at providing Iraq oversight by rejecting the General that was fore-square in Bush’s tactical corner.

The Senators voted in favor of Petraeus.

Then they ignored everything he told them.

They voted 12-9 in favor a resolution stating everything that Petraeus warned against, a sense of the Senate bill that deeply criticized the Bush plan; a bill that would demonstrate that America was not behind the troops, that they did not, in reality, support them; a bill that would encourage the terrorists and insurgents that they just need to wait a little more, kill a little more, and the Great Satan would cower away from Iraq after suffering a little bloody nose.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Democrats against the Constitution

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D. Nevada) recently made the following comment:

"The president does not have the authority to launch military action in Iran without first seeking Congressional authorization"

That will come as quite a surprise to Bill Clinton who launched cruise missiles at Iraq and went into the Bosnian conflict, both without such authorization. Same with Ronald Reagan and his bombing foray into Libya.

In this era of non-education, it’s understandable if the average man-on-the-street thinks that Mr. Reid has a point. But Congressmen are supposed to know better. Either Mr. Reid is glaringly ignorant for a man in his position or he’s simply trying to rally Americans against the President with bogus civics. Either way it’s scary.

Monday, January 22, 2007

It ain't beanbag

Victor David Hanson is one of the more unusual commentators on the Iraq war simply because he puts events in the context of history, something most commentators and Senators never do (aside from vague references to Vietnam). Since our public schools haven’t been offering basic history education in decades, the American public isn’t in a position to measure anything the MSM dishes out. Let’s say 3000 casualties are enough to make us cut and run from this key terrorist/insurgent engagement. It took 50,000 dead before we left Vietnam. We would lose 3000 in just a few short weeks during WWII, 300 in one battle alone over a single hill in Africa. We have become an irrationally impatient people.

So given the ‘we can only lose’ rhetoric of Senators Kennedy and Hagel and the defeatist caucus they represent, is there any reason the insurgents and terrorists shouldn’t think they only need to wait us out? In the end, their kind of verbiage only serves to get more people killed, and heap ‘moral superiority’ on the practitioners of barbaric tactics whose only ethical commandment is ‘win at any cost.'

It is against this back-drop that VDH makes some pertinent observations:

"…in a war of counter-insurgency the political solution must be contemporaneous with military operations that destroy and humiliate the insurgents…[only then] do the vast majority of indifferent citizens not only see greater prosperity and security by allying with the new government, but also nothing but death and destruction should they join the terrorists and militias."

Throw in his observations from earlier times and further understanding is to be gained…

"…it is often forgotten that from April to July 2003 there was relative postbellum security in Iraq, well before the elections and while the occupation was desperately trying to restore services and utilities.

Why? There was still the fear and respect for the lethality of the U.S. military that had taken out Saddam in three weeks and might do the same to any who tried to restart the war."

Iraq must be won, and that will only happen with the aggressive use of force. More important than increasing the numbers of soldiers is the change in the rules of engagement.

Read his whole thesis here.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

The Envelope, Please...

Quote of the week: “It was nice of President Bush to mention the Iraq Study Group. Hardly anyone else does these days.” Paul Mirengoff, Power Line. that was last week. Let's try again...

Quote of the week (take two): “So what's the likely result of the surge? That’s one important matter that you never hear discussed by the administration’s critics…The typical war critic understands the tactics involved here about as well as my Cairn terrier understands how an internal combustion engine works.” - Dean Barnett

The Failed Revolution

The change in legislative make-up will certainly alter how the issues are discussed. The following headline appeared on the front page of the Sunday STRIB; “Birth control spending takes spotlight from abortion politics.” The lead paragraph reads as follows:

Every day at the Family Tree Clinic in St. Paul, Peg LaBore sees women making tough choices. A woman lying on a table waiting for a Pap smear that she needs to get birth control will hear a doctor say she should really have a Chlamydia test, too. And how about getting an HPV vaccine to ward off cancer?

On the spot, she'll have to choose between her reproductive health and what she can pay. "And if they can't afford it, they let it go," said LaBore, clinic director.

What this means is expectation of much greater funding for publicly funded women’s clinics. But let’s cut through the euphemisms. ‘Family Planning’ is another word for abortion. Reproductive health, in the article’s context, is ‘sexual activity.’

What it comes down to is taxpayer subsidized orgasms.

That may sound blunt, even vulgar, but that’s what it amounts to. Every concern addressed in the article is rooted in sexual activity; “rising rates of unintended pregnancies, abortions, and sexually transmitted disease...”

So ‘making whoopie’ is going to cost the taxpayers a lot of money. The article states that “about half of all high school seniors are sexually active.” This raises a key question that someone should ask, but probably won’t, at least not in public; how much will be spent on clinics and ‘family planning’ for the other half that are not sexually active? Meditating on the answer could provide enlightenment.

Now let’s take it a step further with a thought based on that old John Lennon song; imagine all sexual activity occurred within the state of marriage. What would be the incidence of unwanted pregnancies and STDs requiring public assistance?

Yes, the root of the problem gets back to the old issue of ‘standards’ and ‘values,’ the kind that long ago became looked at as oppressive, old fashioned, or unrealistic; “Nice girls need it too” and all that. Self-discipline used to mean more than ‘safe sex,’ but that concept was tossed aside with claims of ‘it’s not your business’ and ‘it doesn’t hurt anyone.’ Everyone knew those were hollow arguments, but those who championed the ‘free love’ cause will not likely now choose to recognize the obvious miscalculation, much less voice their error.

And the damage isn’t just to physical health, budgets and income levels. It is starting to be recognized that personal damage can be done through casual sex. Dr. Grossman is a practicing psychologist who has documented the damage done by our sexualized culture, especially to women, in her book ‘Unprotected.’ Her experience and evidence shows that teaching our youth about proper use of sexuality is as important as teaching them about eating the right foods, exercise, and avoiding smoking and drugs.

The ‘enlightened class’ will not only poo-poo the idea, but be quick to point out failed examples of such things as abstinence programs, and that ‘kids are gonna do it’ no matter what you say. Yet with any curriculum, not all are created equal. As my math teacher spouse will tell you, there are some pretty unsuccessful math courses out there. But the existence of failed methods doesn’t mean we stop teaching math.

And if kids ‘doing it’ are an unavoidable certainty, why are only half of Minnesota seniors sexually active? It was far less when I was in high school. So let’s stop pretending that this is some sort of ‘irresistible force’ that can’t be controlled.

The sexual revolution has failed. It has mired us in poverty, broken homes, broken people, and broken health care facilities. With so many invested in the revolution for so long, a turn-about will probably take longer than a generation. But if we’re going to pursue real sexual health, it needs to be done.

But don’t hold your breath for this year’s legislature.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Chosen Template

The front page of yesterday’s B section in the Star Tribune had this little item headlined “Soldiers bring petition campaign against war in Iraq to Capitol Hill:”

President Bush's plan to send additional troops to Iraq faces public opposition from a slice of the American population that rarely speaks out: the military rank and file.

A group of service members came to Capitol Hill on Tuesday armed with signatures from more than 1,000 military personnel who oppose the war.

This tends to leave the impression that the only soldiers with something to say are those who are in opposition to the Iraqi conflict. But to be accurate, the only soldiers that the STRIB and the MSM choose to report on are those opposed to the war. I’ve heard and read a number them speak their minds in the pages of magazines, their own blogs, and on radio. This evening I happened to be listening to Hugh Hewitt conversing with a soldier who called named Chris. The exchange was definitely one of pride in service, belief in the mission and confidence in victory:

HH: When you hear people talk about withdrawing and let the chips fall, does that strike you…

Chris: It infuriates me.

HH: Tell me why.

Chris: Because just as in America, Iraq has their bad seeds, their bad eggs, whatever you want to call them. But it’s a minority. It’s a very small percentage, but just like anywhere else, that very small percentage makes the most noise, and therefore, they’re the most noticeable. Most of the Iraqi people that I’ve dealt with would give you the shirt off their back if you ask for it, not even needed it, not wanted it. If you just ask for it, it’s yours. You show interest in something of theirs, it’s yours. They’re very giving, they’re very kind, they’re very smart, and they just, just like us, they want a chance. I’m biased, because I have spent one heck of a lot of time with the Iraqi people. And by and large, they are one heck of a good group of people.

HH: Warrant Officer Chris, we’ve got about a minute left. Can we win there?

Chris: We can, but it’s going to take some resolve, and we know…like I said from the beginning, we know it’s a dangerous job, but we accept it. There’s going to be deaths. We know that. Everyone in the military, just about, knows someone that’s been killed over there. But it’s a volunteer army. We can do it, we can…it won’t be easy, it won’t be quick. But with support from the American people, we can do it.

Read the whole conversation (unless, like the STRIB, you’re not serious about knowing what’s going on over there).

Tony Snow had it right when he said that these handful of soldiers would get more press than tens of thousands who come home with pride in their service and belief in the mission. Those soldiers rarely achieve the same level of prominence in the MSM because the MSM is no longer about news, but presenting a predetermined viewpoint. If the MSM truly thinks that all the speaking out is on one side of the issue, it can only be the result of taking great pains to exercise this particular self delusion.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The Pawlenty Macarena; one step forward…

It’s been a wash week at best for Governor Tim Pawlenty. He bolstered his electoral credentials by asking for tax cuts in his State of the State address. State policy smart. But this was undercut by his announcement that he’s going to be the national co-chair of John McCain's campaign for President. National electorally tone-deaf.

McCain’s ‘Straight Talk Express’ jumped the tracks (and the shark) long ago. By hopping on board post-derailment, Pawlenty is acting like he’s on the same path.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Go, Slow Joe!

Senator Joe Biden announced on Meet the Press that the hanging of Saddam Hussein was "Abu Ghraib all over again" because a guard taunted the convicted mass murderer as the noose was being fitted. No doubt there will be hearings in the new Democrat Congress on the torture he experienced just prior to the final drop. This may be followed by legislation prohibiting the even more ‘degrading’ trash talk on the gridiron field.

Senator Biden has also announced his candidacy for the Democrat Presidential nomination. It’s good to have him back.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

"I am not a plagurist..." turn a phrase from Richard Nixon. I don't even play one on TV!

But no sooner had I posted the previous entry than I want trolling KvM, something I haven't done for some time, only to find that they covered the same topic using the same title!

Of course they did a much better job, and their entry is more recent. They also cover and link to a story on some of the other taxes tax increases the DFL is proposing (the gas tax increase target is 10 cents a gallon).

My favorite part is that after listing all the DFL proposed higher taxes and business-killing mandates, the story indicates that Senate Majority Leader Terry Clark of St. Cloud believes that "...the measures would allow Minnesota long-term growth and prosperity."

Haven't the Democrats yet learned that you can't tax your way to prosperity? Sorry...silly question...

Well, THAT didn’t take long…

The Minnesota Democrats (DFL) very quickly substantiated my earlier fears over the highway constitutional amendment that passed during the recent election. I was pretty convinced that it would provide an excuse for raising general taxes down the road.

Instead of waiting, the DFL wants to raise taxes immediately…on gas…to finance transportation projects!

Wait a minute…I thought we were promised that this new constitutional amendment dedicating all gas taxes to transportation issues would solve the funding problem! Apparently not, and it’s also no surprise that this is just one of the DFL’s proposed tax hikes. Another would raise the state sales tax 3/8 of 1% to fund “outdoors and the arts” (no word if outdoor art would be allowed to double-dip…). It looks like a hike in the vehicle registration tax will be coming up as well.

This is just the start of a far-reaching agenda that includes a constitutional amendment establishing affordable health care as a 'right.'

At the moment 2008 is not looking like a good year, nationally, for the GOP. But here in Minnesota, if the DFL keeps behaving like this, it could be a different story.

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