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24 March 2006 | PatriotPost.US | Patriot No. 06-12
"America united with a handful of troops, or without a single soldier, exhibits a more forbidding posture to foreign ambition than America disunited, with a hundred thousand veterans ready for combat." —James Madison
TOP OF THE FOLD
OIF—Just the facts, please...
Last Friday, the Bush administration released its second National Security Strategy, an outline of U.S. national interests and what we will do to secure them. The NSS serves as the primary guidance for the conduct of all U.S. government agencies in regard to those interests.
Topping the list of critical national interests is the protection of our homeland from terrorist attack, and a reiteration of the Bush Doctrine of Pre-emption, making clear that the U.S. "will, if necessary, act pre-emptively in exercising our inherent right of self-defense."
Also of note within the 2006 NSS is the following bold assertion: "The advance of freedom and human dignity through democracy is the long-term solution to the transnational terrorism of today."
That brings us to the third anniversary of the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
That brings us to the third anniversary of the launch of Operation Iraqi Freedom, the primary front in the Long War against Islamic terrorists.
Operation Iraqi Freedom is much more than a bid to keep conflicts with terrorists on their turf.
OIF, like Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, is much more than a bid to keep conflicts with terrorists on their turf. It is a determined effort to establish a functional democracy in the heart of a region critical to U.S. interests—a region ruled by secular and theocratic tyrants who have become state sponsors of the Islamic terror alliance, which declared war on the U.S. and our Allies.
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The first round fired against the U.S. homeland in this war was not 11 September 2001.
No sooner had we relaxed our national defense posture as Cold War tensions between the U.S. and Soviet Bloc adversaries subsided than our homeland was attacked by a second-tier adversary, radical Islamists.
On 26 February 1993, a terrorist cell headed by al-Qa'ida operative Ramzi Ahmed Yousef (who entered the U.S. on an Iraqi passport) bombed Tower One of the World Trade Center in an effort to topple it into Tower Two and murder up to 30,000 occupants of those buildings. Fortunately, due to Ramzi's lack of engineering knowledge about where to park the truck bomb, Tower One withstood the blast.
In 1995, after Ramzi's capture, he was being flown to New York for prosecution. As the transport helicopter passed the WTC towers, an FBI agent removed Ramzi's mask so he could see that the towers were still standing. Ramzi commented gravely, "We are not done yet." Indeed, Ramzi's computer, seized in the Philippines before his arrest in Pakistan, detailed a plan to hijack commercial aircraft and use them as flying bombs against U.S. targets—which his cadre succeeded in doing on 9/11.
Clinton administration did not make domestic terrorist threat deterrence a priority.
For eight long years after the first WTC bombing, the Clinton administration refused to take the domestic terrorist threat seriously enough to make deterrence a priority. Eight months into George Bush's first term, it became resoundingly clear that a small terrorist cell armed with nothing more than box cutters could, in a matter of minutes, kill thousands of Americans and cause in excess of $250 billion in damages to the U.S. economy.
The 9/11 attack demonstrated that not only are there Islamist factions intent on the wholesale slaughter of Americans on U.S. soil, but that those factions won't hesitate to use the most destructive means at hand. In other words, they will certainly detonate nuclear or radiological devices in U.S. urban centers, given the accessibility to such weapons and an operational capability to deploy them.
President Bush's 2002 NSS recognized this threat, and his 2006 NSS reaffirmed that the best method to deter asymmetric nuclear attacks is to pre-empt them through short-term tactical operations combined with long-term strategic operations. The short-term operations consist of military interdictions in Iraq, Afghanistan and around the world, to kill terrorists and disrupt their operations. The long-term operations consist of both military and civil actions designed to democratize the Middle East's political and economic culture so that it no longer serves as a breeding ground for our terrorist adversaries.
Though tactical and strategic operations in Iraq come at great cost, they are critical to our security.
Clearly, then, while the tactical and strategic operations in Iraq come at great cost, they are absolutely necessary. Indeed, they are the best, if not only, method for preventing an asymmetric nuclear attack on our homeland. However, some national-security analysts now consider such an attack "inevitable" because deterrence operations are a decade late.
Despite enormous progress in our tactical and strategic operations to seed democracy in a region that has known only tyranny for its entire history, the Democrats and their Leftmedia have politicized these operations for one stupefyingly inane purpose: To undermine support for the Bush administration, and thus, Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections.
This week, the Democrat National Committee released its anti-OIF talking points, the now-familiar pack of lies they've been disseminating for three years. In addition, they encouraged their nationwide cadre of peacenik Sheehanites to propagate these lies in letters to local media outlets.
"President Bush has utterly failed in his responsibility as Commander-in-Chief," reads the DNC memo. "He sent our troops to war without... no [sic] plan for success." You know the routine—the Demos insist that Bush lied about Iraq's WMD, all while hoping nobody remembers what Demos said about Iraq's WMD. Their implication is that President Bush sent our military men and women into harm's way because he doesn't care about them or their families, and now he wants to spy on American citizens back home.
To suggest that such political folly is dangerous would be to understate the matter. To suggest that it is nothing short of treason is more accurate, and those media outlets who would willfully propagate such partisan rubbish are equally culpable. Idiocy of this sort undermines not only the safety of American military personnel abroad, but also that of our civilians here at home.
Our colleague James Phillips, Research Fellow in Middle Eastern Studies at the Heritage Foundation, has summarily dismantled the Democrat leadership's politically-motivated criticism of OIF. His detailed analysis, "The Myths About Iraq" is not only a well-researched treatise, it is required reading for anyone interested in the truth about OIF. (Philips's report does not include just-declassified evidence from Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte establishing additional links between Iraq and al-Qa'ida prior to 9/11.)
It is critical we know the truth about OIF, and essential we know the enemy.
It is not only critical that we know the truth about OIF, but essential that we also know "the enemy." Unlike enemies past, this one is not defined by geographic borders, but by ideology alone. Consequently, the Bush administration, in its effort to avoid casting all Muslims in the al-Qa'ida mold, has not clearly defined the enemy in terms that most Americans can grasp.
Perhaps the best way to encapsulate this enemy is to label it "Jihadistan," a borderless "nation" of Islamic Jihadis (holly warriors), constituting al-Qa'ida and other Islamic terrorist groups around the world. A borderless nation? Indeed. The "Islamic World" of the Quran recognizes no political borders. Though orthodox Muslims (those who subscribe to the teachings of the "pre-Medina" Quran) do not support acts of terrorism or mass murder, some radical sects within Islam subscribe to the "post-Mecca" (revisionist) Quran. It is this latter group of death-worshipping sects that calls for jihad (holy war) against all "the enemies of Allah" (all non-Muslims).
These Jihadis are characterized by the toxic Wahhabism of al-Qa'ida's Osama bin Laden and his heretical ilk—those who would remake the Muslim world in their own image of twisted hate and deathly obsession. In the words of bin Laden himself: "We love death. The U.S. loves life. That is the big difference between us." Al-Qa'ida seeks to disable the U.S. economy using any means at their disposal and thus undermine our political, military and cultural support for liberty around the world. Bin Laden's plan, "American Hiroshima," outlines an attack on the U.S. with multiple nukes. (Here we might suggest that a Doctrine of Indiscriminate and Exponential Retribution would encourage all good Muslims to seek out and destroy the al-Qa'ida in their midst.)
Perhaps fewer than five percent of all Muslims subscribe to the Islamist notion that non-adherents are infidels. To put this in perspective, though, if just one percent of Muslims worldwide have joined the brotherhood of Jihadistan, then there are ten times more Jihadis than uniformed American combat personnel in our combined military service branches.
Democratization of Iraq is critical to containing and defeating Jihadistan.
To be sure, Jihadistan is a formidable enemy, but it is not insuperable. Success in Iraq is our most critical strategic objective if we are to contain and defeat Jihadistan. Once again, as noted by the current NSS, "The advance of freedom and human dignity through democracy is the long-term solution to the transnational terrorism of today."
Iraq won't be lost on the ground. Of its 26 million citizens, 80 percent are pro-democracy Shi'a Muslims or Kurds, and only a small fraction of the remaining 20 percent of Sunnis are aiding the insurgency. As we've said before, the President's supplemental National Strategy For Victory In Iraq articulates a winning strategy.
Nevertheless, Iraq can be lost here at home. And if it is lost, it will be at the inducement of our latter-day Eugene McCarthys, Walter Cronkites and Jane Fondas—Kennedy, Kerry and Clinton—who continue to hack away at our national will through the court of public opinion. Clearly, the Democrats and their Leftmedia trucklings hold a great deal of sway over American public opinion. They are, in this respect, a most effective public relations machine for al-Qa'ida. During the past week alone, the Leftmedia's "death of a thousand cuts" campaign has featured Iraqi reconstruction malfeasance and incompetence, dire pronouncements of civil war and car bombings galore—all in support of the Demos' unseemly midterm political strategy.
On the 19 March anniversary of OIF, President Bush highlighted successful operations in the northern Iraqi town of Tal Afar, al-Qa'ida's strongest outpost. Of course, The New York Times and The Washington Post responded with stories refuting the success in Tal Afar. However, the best account we've authenticated has never appeared in either the Times or Post.
Here, then, is an excerpt from a letter written by the mayor of Tal Afar, Najim Abdullah al-Jubouri, to Gen. George Casey, Commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq, in January: "Our city was overrun by heartless terrorists, Zarqawi and his followers, who unloaded their bloodthirsty and voracious action of evil on this city for several months by indiscriminately killing men, women and children. Tal Afar was a human slaughterhouse. Simple services were not possible, causing the people to suffer, till the day you dispatched your troops, who were our lion-hearted saviors. Your troops came to rescue Tal Afar led by our heroes, whom Tal Afar will never forget. After the major operation, your wonderful soldiers started nursing the wounds of this city by rebuilding the damaged lives and buildings with great compassion and speed. These soldiers have done more than their original mission required of them... God bless this brave [3rd Armored Cavalry] Regiment; God bless the families who dedicated these brave men and women. From the bottom of our hearts we thank the families. They have given us something we will never forget... Let America, their families and the world be proud of their sacrifice for humanity and life."
One of our military readers in Iraq, a Marine officer, wrote us in disbelief of the Democrats' efforts to politicize OIF. His comments aptly sum up the whole debate. "I work with Mayor Najim. He gets it. The vast majority of the Iraqi people get it. Almost all of us in uniform over here get it, as do our families back home. If the Democrats don't stop the nonsense and get it now, I can assure you, al-Qa'ida will give it to all of us later."
Exclusive Official Military Insignia Items!
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: The greatest affirmation of the critical significance and success of OIF comes in the form of daily e-mail accounts to The Patriot Post from uniformed Patriots on the ground in Iraq. Few of those accounts are reprinted for security reasons, but OIF veterans, and their family and friends, have other outlets to voice their opinions about Iraq. One such outlet, Vets for Freedom, was just launched by former Marine Lieutenant Wade Zirkle, who spent the last year recovering from injuries received after his unit was attacked. (Six of Wade's fellow Marines were killed in that attack.) We also encourage our readers to visit other sites dedicated to the truth about OIF, like The Patriot's "To Support and Defend... So Help Me God". You can also help by supporting Operation Shield of Strength and inviting your family and friends to sign an Open Letter in Support of America's Armed Forces.
Quote of the week...
"After the fall of Saddam Hussein, the terrorists made Iraq the central front in the war on terror. More fighting and sacrifice will be required to achieve this victory, and for some, the temptation to retreat and abandon our commitments is strong. Yet there is no peace, there's no honor, and there's no security in retreat. So America will not abandon Iraq to the terrorists who want to attack us again. We will finish the mission. By defeating the terrorists in Iraq, we will bring greater security to our own country. And when victory is achieved, our troops will return home with the honor they have earned." —President George W. Bush
"Violent extremists plan and design their headline-grabbing attacks using every means of communication to intimidate and break the collective will of free people. [The most crucial battles in OIF are being fought in] newsrooms in places like New York and London and Cairo." —Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
"What should Democrats do? They ought to stand up and say the tools we're using to protect the American people shouldn't be used. They ought to take their message to the people—and say 'Vote for me, I promise we're not going to have a terrorist-surveillance program'." —President Bush, calling the Democrats' bluff on their disingenuous anti-surveillance complaints
The BIG lie...
"It is clearer than ever that Iraq was a war that we never should have fought. The administration has been dangerously incompetent and its Iraq policy is not worthy of the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. President Bush continues to see the war through the same rose-colored glasses he's always used. He assures the American people we are winning while the lives of our troops hang so perilously on the precipice of a new disaster." —Sen. Teddy Kennedy, D-Ceitful
Dick Cheney responded to the above prevarication with typical flair: "I would not listen to Ted Kennedy for guidance and leadership on how we ought to manage national security... Senator Kennedy's approach is pack [up] and go home and retreat behind the ocean and assume we can be safe. It was learned on 9/11 that in fact what's going on 10,000 miles away in a place like Afghanistan has a direct impact on the United States when we lost 3,000 people. We know now that the biggest threat of all that we face is not just another 9/11 but a 9/11 where the terrorists have a nuclear weapon."
This week's "Alpha Jackass" award:
"To me, [saying the next President will determine when U.S. troops exit Iraq] shows how dangerously incompetent [President Bush] is. 'Stay the course, mission accomplished, bring 'em on' —the American people are sick of that. We need to change course in Iraq... I think the President burying his head in the sand is not going to do the trick." —Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Searchlight), poster boy for Democrat pantywaists
This week's "Braying Jackass" award:
"[T]his is President Bush's war. When he went into the war...he went against the advice of his father and the whole administration. He went against the advice of many of his military commanders. He went in...with inadequate force for the transition to peace and then he had no exit strategy, so it's their war." —Fightin' John Murtha, who voted for the war before turning against it
News from the Swamp...
On the Hill, congressional Republicans seem to have lost their way when it comes to establishing and executing a common agenda. The small-government philosophy that has been traditionally embraced by the GOP seems to have been thrown overboard on the voyage away from fiscal responsibility, as many seem more preoccupied with defending pork-barrel waste. For instance, this past week, appropriators of both parties complained that transparency in earmarks runs contrary to the Constitution. Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, the Founders were quite clear on their disdain for earmarks, believing that such wanton spending would lead directly to favoritism, factionalism, corruption and all the other wonderful things that we see today in the Swamp.
A few weeks back, we noted our support for the Republican Study Committee's simple and direct agenda for getting not only the GOP but the entire country back on track. It included making the Bush tax cuts permanent and cutting spending on entitlement programs, as well as focusing on a strong homeland defense and national-security policy. These are the reasons Republicans were elected in the first place, and they should return to these time-honored principles.
In the House, representatives are on their way to beating the "do-nothing" Congress of 1948 for the fewest number of days they've spent in session. After a week off for St. Patrick's Day, the current pace is only 97 days, compared to 108 in 1948. In light of rampant spending, we'd be glad for them to take the rest of the year off.
In the Senate, Jim DeMint proposed a reserve fund that would have protected the rapidly dwindling Social Security surplus from being spent on other federal programs. Seeing that its cash cow was being threatened by a principled colleague, the Senate voted against the proposal 53-46, with eight Republicans erring on the side of "spend now, pay later." The move had the merit of reviving the moribund Social Security debate and is sure to make it a campaign issue for November that both Republicans and Democrats are looking forward to having.
The Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution in a pocket-sized booklet! Educate the public with this handy version of our founding documents! (Bulk pricing available)
The Senate also approved the $2.8-trillion budget by at 51-49 margin, with five Republicans rejecting the mammoth spending package and Louisiana's Mary Landrieu as the sole Democrat to support the measure. This came on the heels of the Senate's 52-48 vote to raise the debt ceiling to $9 trillion and is unlikely to lead to any kind of fiscal restraint that conservative Republicans were hoping for. If anything, it will lead to more calls by Democrats to raise taxes so that they can continue the current spending spree. Here, Congress would do well to remember the sage advice of Ronald Reagan: "We don't have deficits because people are taxed too little. We have deficits because big government spends too much."
Democrats' optimism about retaking Congress this year is fed by the misfortunes of others: The "quagmire" in Iraq, the Abramoff corruption scandal and other Bush administration missteps. Yet, members of the Jackass Party aren't even pulling the same cart—they don't have a plan. Party leaders have postponed the release of their overarching strategy several times since November because a consensus cannot be reached on just what should be done. The basic decision lies between focusing on negative attacks against the President and Republicans or stressing their own ideas and values (but we repeat ourselves). While these major details will not be addressed until later this election season, the Democrats are heartened by the overall lead they hold against Republicans in biased polls. Our advice would be to soak it up now, because they've been in the lead before, and it never lasted when it counted.
In other news from the political front
Speaking of elections, the Republican National Committee has five times as much cash on hand as the DNC, and that has Demos hoppin' mad at Howlin' Howard Dean. With only $6 million in the coffers, it looks as if the Mad Doctor's mouth has turned off many donors who helped keep the DNC flush in the past. (Where's that America-hating billionaire dolt George Soros when the Demos need him?)
Senate Democrats, however, have little to worry about for the moment, having raised more campaign funds than their Republican counterparts last year. New York's Chuck Schumer, head of the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee, oversaw a $44 million pull in 2005, compared to $35 million raised by Elizabeth Dole's National Republican Senatorial Committee. Two key draws for the Demo Senate purse are Schumer himself and his New York colleague, Hillary Clinton. She hauled in $6 million in the last three months of the year alone and has a war chest of some $17 million—far more than she'll need to spend against her dramatically under-funded opponents, former Yonkers mayor John Spencer and Reaganite Kathleen Troia McFarland. Hmm... what might she use the rest for?
On the National Security front...
We must offer no concessions to Iran.
Talks may soon commence between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States of America, the first direct government-to-government talks since 1979. According to all involved, the only topic will be the situation in Iraq, not Iran's nuclear program or any other subject. We are highly skeptical that any good can come of these talks, whereas a great deal of harm may result. While it is important that the United States not be accused of refusing to meet officially with Iran, our negotiators must make it crystal clear to the Iranians that we have full knowledge of their support to the Iraqi insurgency—the specialized explosive methods, the RPG-7s, the MANPADs, the money, the Revolutionary Guard and Ministry of Intelligence and Security operatives, the training—and that as long as that support continues, we will hold Iran to account for its actions.
Most important, we must concede NOTHING to Iran by way of a quid pro quo for its cessation of support to the insurgency. If Iran follows the North Korean negotiating model, the first item on its wish list will be a U.S. pledge of non-aggression. That must be a complete non-starter for our negotiators, no matter what Iran offers in exchange. Iran has most of the leverage in these talks, as it can dial up or down insurgent support any time it chooses. Still, the United States must not give anything away to Iran in return for a promised reduction of support for the insurgency. Keep your eye on this one, fellow Patriots.
From the warfront with Jihadistan...
The trial of Zacarias Moussaoui continues this week with revealing testimony from FBI agent Harry Samit. Samit interrogated Moussaoui prior to the 9/11 attacks and testified that he issued more than 70 warnings to superiors, including an 18 August 2001 warning of Moussaoui's intent to hijack a plane "for the purpose of seizing control of the aircraft." A few days later, he learned of Moussaoui's connection to Osama bin Laden. His warnings continued until 10 September 2001. Samit accused his supervisors of "criminal negligence" in ignoring his warnings, adding that they hoped to "run out the clock" and deport Moussaoui rather than prosecute him.
Samit is a prosecution witness who had earlier backed the government's case that "alarm bells" would have been raised had Moussaoui not lied to investigators. Defense cross-examination revealed that Samit did, in fact, repeatedly raise alarms. Along with Samit's seeming reversal, further revelations of prosecutorial misconduct (coaching witnesses) lead us to wonder whether we're getting the whole story. When the dust settles, however, the sad truth will be that the bureaucracy President Bush inherited from the Clinton administration was entirely inept and unprepared for the threats that materialized on September 11th.
On the Homeland Security front...
While Washington politicos worked to scare the public regarding the Dubai Ports World deal, a real security concern still lurks just below the surface—that of organized crime. Last year the Justice Department filed suit against the 65,000-member International Longshoremen's Association under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, charging that the union was a "vehicle for organized crime." The suit charges that "for decades the waterfront has been the setting for corruption and violence stemming from organized crime's influence over labor unions operating there, including the ILA and its affiliated locals, as well as port-related businesses." Two crime families—the Gambinos and the Genoveses—have been involved in the port business since the 1950s, allowing all sorts of drug dealing and cargo theft. Will their patriotism now keep them from allowing terrorists in with WMD?
From the "Department of Military Readiness"...
Army Gen. John Abizaid, head of Central Command and overseer of U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, has said he will stay on the job for at least one more year at the request of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Abizaid has done a fine job leading our military while working to help Iraqis take more of their own security responsibilities. The General also understands the reality of a long engagement: "People who think that...institutions of a country like Iraq that was run by Saddam Hussein for 30 years were going to be fixed quickly or easily just were never correct, and it's clear that it takes a lot of time."
Justice David Souter's home is safe from eminent domain—for now.
From the Supremes, Justice David Souter's Weare, New Hampshire, home is safe from his own recent eminent-domain ruling, for now. Patriot readers will remember that Logan Darrow Clements, a Los Angeles businessman, came up with the idea of seizing Souter's property by eminent domain to build the "Lost Liberty Hotel." Residents of the town of Weare voted to ask local officials not to seize Souter's property, but instead to recommend that the state legislature pass a law forbidding Kelo-style property seizures. As sorry as we are to see this valiant effort fail, we cheer the effective laws being put into place all around the nation to avoid what happened in New London, Connecticut—and that's a success story.
From the Left...
Lauren Weiner, a researcher for the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee chaired by Sen. Chuck Schumer, will plead guilty to a federal charge of obtaining Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele's credit-card report illegally. Steele is running for the U.S. Senate, and obviously Miss Weiner (and probably her superiors) hoped to find useful campaign ammunition. She will likely receive nothing more than a slap on the wrist—150 hours of community service with no jail time. Schumer and the rest of the DSCC, meanwhile, are tripping over themselves in an effort to distance themselves from this fiasco.
From the Leftmedia...
The New York Times was nailed TWICE this week for shabby reporting, as the paper continued its steady descent toward tabloid status. In the latest example of The Times' obsessive Abu Ghraib coverage, Hassan Fattah "reported" in an article titled "Symbol of Abu Ghraib Seeks to Spare Others His Nightmare" on the infamous photo in which a prisoner was hooded and standing on a box attached to wires. The man in the photo, according to Fattah (and, to be fair, PBS, among other news outlets), was supposedly Ali Shalal Qaissi, but The Times soon found itself running a correction to the article—Qaissi was not the man in the photo. Oops.
These great items testify that truth is freedom!
On 8 March, the gullible partisans at The Times profiled Donna Fenton, a Hurricane Katrina victim from Biloxi, Mississippi, who was experiencing trouble getting federal aid. The correction stated, "Yesterday, the New York police arrested Ms. Fenton, charging her with several counts of welfare fraud and grand larceny. Prosecutors in Brooklyn say she was not a Katrina victim, never lived in Biloxi and had improperly received thousands of dollars in government aid." Oops again. All the news that's fit to... oh, never mind.
From the Clintonistas...
Hillary Clinton still maintains that she "didn't know" about husband Bill's involvement with Dubai in the lead-up to the now-defunct ports deal. However, Bill accepted nearly $1 million from the UAE for strategic advice, getting $300,000 per speech. The crown prince of the UAE has donated to the Clinton Library, and Clinton is a "senior advisor" to Yucaipa, an American company that formed a partnership with Dubai Investment Group—a deal that could make millions for the Clintons. All of this led former Clinton advisor Dick Morris to ask, "Do Bill and Hillary Clinton ever speak to each other, or do they just attend funerals, fundraisers and Billy Graham crusades together for photo-ops?" Good question.
This week's "Braying Jenny" award:
Rep. James Sensenbrenner's new immigration bill would make illegally entering the U.S. a felony—it ups the ante, so to speak. Among other provisions, federal funding would be cut for cities such as San Francisco that have sanctuary laws. It passed the House and is being debated in the Senate, drawing opposition from '08 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who said, "It is certainly not in keeping with my understanding of the Scriptures. This bill would literally criminalize the Good Samaritan and probably even Jesus himself." Remind us not to consult Reverend Hillary on Scriptural questions!
Regarding the redistribution of your income...
Tax refunds for the last two years have been bigger than ever, and that means it's costing you money—billions of dollars, as a matter of fact. Taxpayers overpaid by 29 percent in both 2003 and 2004, with total refunds having topped $200 billion. The average refund for 2005, without all numbers in, of course, is more than $2,400—up four percent from 2004. Many Americans intentionally over-withhold on their W-4s, thinking they're doing well to get a big refund. In essence, though, they're just giving the government an interest-free loan. This amounts to some $10 billion a year, or about $100 per tax return, thank you very much. Ellen Katz, editor of the Tax Savings Report newsletter, notes, "Taxes are so complicated people are just happy to come out ahead on April 15 rather than behind." Unfortunately, these folks aren't coming out "ahead" at all.
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From the "Peacenik" File...
U.S. and British troops conducted a rescue operation this week for three hostages from the Christian Peacemaker Teams that were captured in November. Canadians James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden and Briton Norman Kember were rescued just two weeks after their fellow "peacemaker," American Tom Fox, had been tortured, murdered and thrown on a Baghdad garbage dump.
The three men and their families are glad for their freedom, yet as of this writing, no "thank you" to their rescuers has been offered by the three men, their families or CPT. They refer only to the "release" of the men, as if it were the benevolence of the terrorists and not the bravery of the troops. A CPT statement went even further and blamed the troops for the kidnapping: "We believe that the illegal occupation of Iraq by Multinational Forces is the root cause of the insecurity which led to this kidnapping and so much pain and suffering in Iraq."
The three Christian Peacemakers made it home with their heads, but left their minds behind.
We are aghast, though not surprised, to see that these "peacemakers" got out with their heads but apparently left their minds behind.
From the "Non Compos Mentis" File...
Hollywonk Charlie Sheen's brain was possessed by an alien being (or substance) last week, as evidenced by his observation about what "really" happened on 9/11: "We're not the conspiracy theorists on this particular issue, but It seems to me like 19 amateurs with box cutters taking over four commercial airliners and hitting 75 percent of their targets, that feels like a conspiracy theory. It raises a lot of questions. It feels like, from the people I talk to in and around my circles, it seems like the worm is turning. I saw the south tower hit live...it just didn't look any commercial jetliner I've flown on any time in my life and then when the buildings came down later on that day I said to my brother, 'Call me insane, but did it sorta look like those buildings came down in a controlled demolition?"'
Sorry Charlie, you, and your circle of worm-turners are insane.
From the "Village Academic Curriculum" File...
In 2001, David Horowitz wrote a legislative proposal called the "Academic Bill of Rights" (ABOR) that "recognizes that political partisanship by professors in the classroom is an abuse of students' academic freedom...and that a learning environment hostile to conservatives is unacceptable." For this, he has been labeled a "radical conservative" by a group called Free Exchange on Campus. FEOC is a leftist legion of teacher unions, the ACLU, the Center for American Progress and Planned Parenthood that seeks to "protect the free exchange of ideas on campus" —which means they should be lining right up in support of Horowitz's proposal, right? Not a chance. They have so far managed to prevent any state from adopting the ABOR, though Colorado and Ohio have adopted similar measures. So much for the free exchange of ideas.
Around the nation...
From the states, Democrats are gearing up to regain the majority of governorships in this election cycle. Judging by the numbers, they might just do it. Republicans currently hold a 28-22 advantage in governorships, but of 36 gubernatorial elections this year, they must defend 22 states while the Demos have to defend only 14. There are many toss-ups, to be sure, and California's Arnold Schwarzenegger faces an uphill battle for re-election, while New York's retiring George Pataki leaves a crowded field of Republicans to square off against the heavily favored Democrat Eliot Spitzer. Along with Massachusetts, these undeniably liberal states will be key to the Demos' gubernatorial aspirations come November.
Family and faith matters...
Liberating Afghanistan has required the lives of about 300 U.S. servicemen, another 800 casualties and more than $70 billion since October, 2001. Yet there is still a long way to go. Afghani Abdul Rahman converted to Christianity 16 years ago and spent nine of those years in Germany for fear of the Taliban. In 2002, he returned to his native land, only to find he was not yet free. Conversion from Islam is still punishable by death—and Rahman is now on trial for his life in Kabul. Facing intense international pressure, including an appeal by the Bush administration, the Afghanis insist the law is a just part of Shariah and will remain in effect. Prosecutor Abdul Wasi said, "We are Muslims, and becoming a Christian is against our laws. He must get the death penalty."
"I am not an infidel or a fugitive. I am a Christian." —Abdul Rahman
Seeking a way to deflect international outrage, prosecutor Sarinwal Zamari announced this week that Rahman may be declared mentally unfit to stand trial. Many Muslims, however, have declared they "will not be fooled" and if the government releases Rahman, the people will kill him. For his part, in a brief statement, Rahman said, "I am not an infidel or a fugitive. I am a Christian. If they want to sentence me to death, I accept that." That doesn't sound mentally unfit—it sounds exactly like a persecuted Christian should sound.
On the frontiers of junk science...
A new study from the Journal of Research into Personality "reveals" that insecure and whiny children grow up to be conservatives, while confident, self-reliant kids grew up to be liberals. They based the finding on 20 years of tracking 95 kids from Berkeley, California, the Left-field of liberal politics (Kerry 90 percent). Right off the bat, as Jonah Goldberg notes, political affiliation has far more to do with parents than personality, and the "whiny conservatives" probably had whiny parents. "f I lived in Berkeley," he added, "I might be whiny, too." Here we would offer our own observation: All children are liberals. Parents have to teach them right from wrong, how to provide for themselves, how to tell the truth, how to be productive citizens, and the like. Only then do some of them grow up to be conservatives.
Around the world...
The United Nations, a self-described human-rights organization whose mission is to "solve problems that challenge humanity," has plenty of internal challenges of its own. Among them, the UN Staff Union, a body representing more than 5,000 employees at its New York-based headquarters, issued a "no confidence" vote last week against Secretary General Kofi Annan's proposal to reorganize the United Nations' management structure, a reform that includes outsourcing some UN jobs and discontinuing permanent appointments.
Despite a Union statement that some of the reforms are a "fundamental attack against the international civil service," UN civilian staff reportedly expressed very strong support for the overhaul, likely because it would raise their combined pay and benefits to the tune of $280 million per year. Unfortunately for the Union, the UN General Assembly has the last word on whether the reforms will be implemented.
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Across the pond, the French intend to challenge CNN and the BBC with a news network called CII. The network is set to launch in December, transmitting initially to Europe, Africa and the Middle East. French taxpayers are footing the bill for CII's $88-million annual budget, and they expect certain things for their euro. One expectation is that the network will not become merely a cheap knock-off. So much for that idea—most of CII's output will be in English, with only four hours a day in French. This after President Jacques Chirac promised in 2002 a "CNN a la francaise" that would "spread the values of France and its global vision throughout the world." Needless to say, many francophones are not at all pleased. Frankly, we in our humble shop aren't pleased, either; we'd much prefer that our mother tongue not be defiled by such vulgar Vichy values. But cheese-eating surrender monkeys take heart—at least your broadcasts won't be in German!
Lex et Libertas—Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus, et Fidelis! Mark Alexander, Publisher, for the editors and staff. (Please pray for our Patriot Armed Forces standing in harm's way around the world, and for their families, especially those of our fallen Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen, who have died in defense of American liberty while prosecuting the war with Jihadistan.)
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