Tuesday, March 30, 2004


What up with this? Tom Friedman, the New York Times foreign relations columnist writes today:

"I want to wake up and read that Dick Cheney has apologized to the U.N. and all our allies for being wrong about W.M.D. in Iraq..."

I'm sure Mr. Friedman realizes that everyone, including the French, Russians, Germans AND the U.N. thought he had stockpiles of WMD's. Why then write this? What do we have to apologize for? Liberating 24 million Iraqis?

Actually, the only mistake was the use of one word - "stockpiles". Everyone knows he had them. Everyone knows he used them. Everyone knows he had the capability to rapidly manufacture them. Everyone even thought he had "stockpiles"...even Saddam.

The Clarke Affair

From Tim Russert's interview with Dick Clarke on "Meet the Press" Sunday:

Russert: But Saddam is gone, and that's a good thing?

Clarke: Saddam gone is a good thing. If Fidel were gone, it would be a good thing. If Kim Il Sung were gone, it would be a good thing.

Leaving aside the fact that Kim Il Sung died a decade ago, I wish Mr. Russert's next question was "What is your point?"

I've had several people offer this same line of thinking to me regarding the liberation of Iraq. "Saddam was bad, but if we start disposing bad dictators where do we start?"

The answer to that question is so staggeringly simple that it alludes people. The answer is "we decide".

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

No Other Choice

While attending a dinner party last weekend, one of the guests, who was aware of my politics, brought up the War on Terror, or as he put it "the war". When I offered my usual dinner party one liner of "we had no other choice", he politely asked me to explain further, folded his arms and leaned back against the wall. He admitted he was a leftist and was proud to add that he was born and raised in Santa Cruz. It appeared as though he didn't have the foggiest idea how I could defend such a statement by the peculiar look he gave me. However, I appreciated his friendly and open body language and recognized he really was interested in what I had to say.

Here's my reply (in the movie version):

We had no choice but to go into Iraq. It was not a choice between "war" and "peace". It was a choice between "war" and "annihilation". We live in a free and pluralistic society. There is simply no way to play defense with terrorists and keep our freedoms and our lives. Terrorist protect no population and hold no territory. There is no negotiating even if there was someone to negotiate with. With whom do we sign a peace treaty? The only option is to defeat them. All of history tells us, peace only comes with victory.

Radical fundamentalists have made their intentions clear - they desire nothing less than total world domination in the name of Islam and are willing to indiscriminately kill as many people as they possibly can to further that goal. In many ways they are worse than Nazis. They have the potential to use the type of weapons where a single member could do more damage than an entire division of the SS. They also live amongst us, taking advantage of our freedoms to organize and plan the next attack. Also, Nazis had the unfortunate trait of wanting to live.

With the Soviet Union we had used "containment" and "deterrence". Do I really need to explain why these options are unavailable?

The ONLY way we can fight terrorists is with the preemptive use of force on our current enemies and try and do something to bring change to the entire region that breeds radical fundamentalism. To do that we had to remove Saddam and his billions of petro-dollars that were being used to fund, train and harbor terrorist. We had to attempt to take this, the most powerful and repressive regime in this region and create a democracy in its place.

Don't take my word for it. In a letter that coalition forces intercepted in January, one of the most notorious of these terrorists, Abu Musab al Zarqawi, wrote to his al Qaeda associates in Afghanistan that democracy in Iraq brings the prospect of "suffocation" for the terrorists, the prospect of Iraqis fighting in their own defense. When the army and police are "linked to the inhabitants of this area by kinship, blood and honor," Zarqawi asks, "how can we fight their cousins and their sons and under what pretext after the Americans pull back? . . . Democracy is coming, and there will be no excuse thereafter."

There were other reasons as well. We could not take the chance of Saddam assisting al Qaeda in destroying their mutual enemy. Wounded and with their host country Afghanistan gone, al Qaeda would have been actively seeking new sponsors.

To those who claim that we are only creating more hatred and more terrorists, I ask; As we were marching on Berlin, where Germans throwing on Nazi uniforms or discarding them? Here too, the "Muslim Street" did not "rise up" after the fall of the Taliban. The "Muslim Street" did not rise up after the fall of Saddam. The "Muslim Street" did rise up after 9/11 when we were bleeding.

Osama said we would crumble like a "paper tiger". Had we not responded with force that perception would have convinced many more in the region which side to take.

Finally, consider who the Middle East now blames for their troubles. Poverty? The Jews. Disease? The Jews. Humiliation? The Jews. When the power goes out? The Jews. The visceral and genocidal hatred emanating from the region toward the Jewish people is only matched by the Nazis. When people in the region have some say in the day to day decisions made by their leaders they will begin to look for and debate solutions to those problems not blame others.

We had to do it now.

One only has to look at the worldwide political costs associated with the liberation of Iraq, even with 9/11 and our troops already in Afghanistan, to realize that if we didn't do it now, it couldn't be done. At least, not until after the next 9/11. The charges that Bush and company hatched up this plot in Crawford prior to the election is as un-serious as those who make it. This president wasn't even elected with a majority of the popular vote and yet somehow he was going to politically pull this off? The man had no political capital.

I think that charge, that Bush had planned this war prior to 9/11 is most revealing of those who despise him. They can't stand that he has pulled this off. He was only able to because of 3,000 dead Americans in New York and Washington. Its not 9/11 that angers them, nor the liberation of Iraq. It is this president's popularity and leadership that drives them mad. Leadership that realized we had no choice. The kind of leadership that history may record as great. We should pray to be so lucky.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Bush Lied...

Tomorrow there are scheduled "anti-war" demonstrations in various places around the country commemorating the year anniversary of the beginning of the war to liberate Iraq.

I use the quotes around "anti-war' because the groups organizing these demonstrations aren't "anti-war" or even "pro-peace", they simply want the U.S. to fail.

No doubt there will be plenty of speeches and placards declaring "Bush Lied" about the weapons of mass destruction. People who say "Bush Lied" have an agenda and that agenda does not include the truth.

Other than the inconvenient fact that the previous administration believed Saddam had huge stockpiles of WMD's, every intelligence agency on earth believed that Saddam had huge stockpiles of WMD's, the U.N. cataloged his huge stockpiles and Saddam used WMD's on his own people....other than all of that - Saddam himself and all of his generals believed he had WMD's!

Thus, if U.S. intelligence devised a lie detector that was 100% effective and secretly plugged Saddam and his generals to this machine before the war, we would still have concluded Saddam had huge stockpiles of WMD's.

Was this an intelligence failure? Yes. What exactly should we do about this now? Put Saddam back in power? The protests tomorrow are advertised as a rally to "bring the troops home now". Anybody want to guess what would happen then? Civil war.

If it wasn't obvious before it is now - the protesters don't love Iraqis, nor do they love peace. They hate America.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Should Anyone Have Any Reason...

"This isn't about the sanctity of marriage. Its about the sanctity of the law".

The Passionate Centrist

I've tried to convey the point that the issue before us is not "gay marriage". The issue is should the citizens of this society have a say in this matter. So far, the courts have answered "no". In discussing the dangers of the courts usurping power beyond their authority, I keep hearing the comparison to the civil rights movement of the 50's and 60's.

Thirty-eight states legislators, in addition to the U.S. Congress have enacted laws defending traditional marriage. The Defense of Marriage Act, signed by President Clinton was passed by a vote of 342-67 in the House and 85-14 in the senate. In California Prop. 22 passed overwhelmingly with 61% of the vote through "direct democracy", the initiative process, which allows the voters to enact legislation and bypass legislators. This was all done methodically and within the legal framework and in direct response to the growing threat to traditional marriage from the courts. All to no avail.

"But, what about the courts role in the civil rights movement"? A very good question.

While most honest people can list many ways that gay rights and civil rights for minorities are not analogous, the role of the courts is not one of those reasons usually cited.

The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, "The Bill of Rights", were granted by the framers at the founding of our country. The remaining amendments were all passed democratically by prescribed methods after extensive debate. They were not mandated by the courts. Thus, they all had tremendous public support or else they could not have passed 2/3rds of Congress and 3/4ths of the state's legislators. The civil rights movement had huge support among the population outside one region. Support was so overwhelming that obstruction from the Southern states was overcome and the constitution was changed via democratically prescribed methods. (side note; the South was almost exclusively Democratic and more Republicans than Democrats voted for the 1963 Civil Rights Act). It is important to note that both congress and the state legislators are elected bodies directly accountable to the people.

The Constitution was amended no less than three times in order to bar discrimination on the basis of race - once to end slavery, once to provide equal protection and once to guarantee the right to vote. Now we are to believe the original text authorizes judges alone to redefine marriage?

The Civil Rights Movement was accomplished by the people through their elected representatives and the courts.

Now compare the campaign to protect traditional marriage and the Civil Rights Movement to the "top-down" campaign to recognize gay marriage.

These judges are unelected and appointed for life. There is no check or balance on their power. Defenders of traditional marriage can elect all the representatives and pass all the laws they want, but if courts separate themselves from the law and the obvious meaning of the constitution, the people are powerless. Therefore, opponents of homosexual marriage have no other alternative than to seek a constitutional amendment. No other choice. Trusting the Supreme Court to rule that the congressional act of DOMA does not violate the full faith and credit clause of the constitution is wishful thinking.

As an aside, let me point out that proponents of gay marriage have suddenly become "states rights" advocates. This is in contradiction to their entire political history. Such claims are insincere. Do they really believe homosexual marriage is a "fundamental human right" in Massachusetts and not Alabama?

Nationally, gay marriage has weak support. However, that support is disproportionately represented in the courts and , needless to say, the media. Shouldn't support from the people and their elected representatives trump judges and reporters?

Close Call

"President Clinton was often known as the first black president. I wouldn't be upset if I could earn the right to be the second," he told the American Urban Radio Network.

John Kerry on the American Urban Radio Network, March 2, 2004

...this is our first black President. Blacker than any actual black person who could ever be elected in our children's lifetime. After all, Clinton displays almost every trope of blackness: single-parent household, born poor, working-class, saxophone-playing, McDonald's-and-junk-food-loving boy from Arkansas.., his unpoliced sexuality became the focus of the persecution...

Toni Morrison in the New Yorker, October 1998

Which one of these traits would Toni Morrison attribute to John Kerry?