January 31, 2006

2006 State of the Union

As Prepared For Delivery

Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, Members of Congress, Members of the Supreme Court and diplomatic corps, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:

Today our Nation lost a beloved, graceful, courageous woman who called America to its founding ideals and carried on a noble dream. Tonight we are comforted by the hope of a glad reunion with the husband who was taken from her so long ago, and we are grateful for the good life of Coretta Scott King.

Each time I am invited to this rostrum, I am humbled by the privilege, and mindful of the history we have seen together. We have gathered under this Capitol dome in moments of national mourning and national achievement. We have served America through one of the most consequential periods of our history and it has been my honor to serve with you.

In a system of two parties, two chambers, and two elected branches, there will always be differences and debate. But even tough debates can be conducted in a civil tone, and our differences cannot be allowed to harden into anger. To confront the great issues before us, we must act in a spirit of good will and respect for one another and I will do my part. Tonight the state of our Union is strong and together we will make it stronger.

In this decisive year, you and I will make choices that determine both the future and the character of our country. We will choose to act confidently in pursuing the enemies of freedom or retreat from our duties in the hope of an easier life. We will choose to build our prosperity by leading the world economy or shut ourselves off from trade and opportunity. In a complex and challenging time, the road of isolationism and protectionism may seem broad and inviting yet it ends in danger and decline. The only way to protect our people the only way to secure the peace the only way to control our destiny is by our leadership so the United States of America will continue to lead.

Abroad, our Nation is committed to an historic, long-term goal we seek the end of tyranny in our world. Some dismiss that goal as misguided idealism. In reality, the future security of America depends on it. On September 11th, 2001, we found that problems originating in a failed and oppressive state seven thousand miles away could bring murder and destruction to our country. Dictatorships shelter terrorists, feed resentment and radicalism, and seek weapons of mass destruction. Democracies replace resentment with hope, respect the rights of their citizens and their neighbors, and join the fight against terror. Every step toward freedom in the world makes our country safer, and so we will act boldly in freedoms cause.

Far from being a hopeless dream, the advance of freedom is the great story of our time. In 1945, there were about two dozen lonely democracies on Earth. Today, there are 122. And we are writing a new chapter in the story of self-government with women lining up to vote in Afghanistan and millions of Iraqis marking their liberty with purple ink and men and women from Lebanon to Egypt debating the rights of individuals and the necessity of freedom. At the start of 2006, more than half the people of our world live in democratic nations. And we do not forget the other half in places like Syria, Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Iran because the demands of justice, and the peace of this world, require their freedom as well.

No one can deny the success of freedom, but some men rage and fight against it. And one of the main sources of reaction and opposition is radical Islam the perversion by a few of a noble faith into an ideology of terror and death. Terrorists like bin Laden are serious about mass murder and all of us must take their declared intentions seriously. They seekto impose a heartless system of totalitarian control throughout the Middle East, andarm themselves with weapons of mass murder. Theiraim is to seize power in Iraq,and useit as asafe haven to launch attacks against America and the world. Lacking the military strength to challenge us directly, the terrorists have chosen the weapon of fear. When they murder children at a school in Beslan or blow up commuters in London or behead a bound captive the terrorists hope these horrors will break our will, allowing the violent to inherit the Earth. But they have miscalculated: We love our freedom, and we will fight to keep it.

In a time of testing, we cannot find security by abandoning our commitments and retreating within our borders. If we were to leave these vicious attackers alone, they would not leave us alone. They would simply move the battlefield to our own shores. There is no peace in retreat. And there is no honor in retreat. By allowing radical Islam to work its will by leaving an assaulted world to fend for itself we would signal to all that we no longer believe in our own ideals, or even in our own courage. But our enemies and our friends can be certain: The United States will not retreat from the world, and we will never surrender to evil.

America rejects the false comfort of isolationism. We are the Nation that saved liberty in Europe, and liberated death camps, and helped raise up democracies, and faced down an evil empire. Once again, we accept the call of history to deliver the oppressed, and move this world toward peace.

We remain on the offensive against terror networks. We have killed or captured many of their leaders and for the others, their day will come.

We remain on the offensive in Afghanistan where a fine president and national assembly are fighting terror while building the institutions of a new democracy.

And we are on the offensive in Iraq, with a clear plan for victory. First, we are helping Iraqis build an inclusive government, so that old resentments will be eased, and the insurgency marginalized. Second, we are continuing reconstruction efforts, and helping the Iraqi government to fight corruption and build a modern economy, so all Iraqis can experience the benefits of freedom. Third, we are striking terrorist targets while we train Iraqi forces that are increasingly capable of defeating the enemy. Iraqis are showing their courage every day, and we are proud to be their allies in the cause of freedom.

Our work in Iraq is difficult, because our enemy is brutal. But that brutality has not stopped the dramatic progress of a new democracy. In less than three years, that nation has gone from dictatorship, to liberation, to sovereignty, to a constitution, to national elections. At the same time, our coalition has been relentless in shutting off terrorist infiltration, clearing out insurgent strongholds, and turning over territory to Iraqi security forces. I am confident in our plan for victory I am confident in the will of the Iraqi people I am confident in the skill and spirit of our military. Fellow citizens, we are in this fight to win, and we are winning.

The road of victory is the road that will take our troops home. As we make progress on the ground, and Iraqi forces increasingly take the lead, we should be able to further decrease our troop levels but those decisions will be made by our military commanders, not by politicians in Washington, D.C.

Our coalition has learned from experience in Iraq. We have adjusted our military tactics and changed our approach to reconstruction. Along the way, we have benefited from responsible criticism and counsel offered by Members of Congress of both parties. In the coming year, I will continue to reach out and seek your good advice.

Yet there is a difference between responsible criticism that aims for success, and defeatism that refuses to acknowledge anything but failure. Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy.

With so much in the balance, those of us in public office have a duty to speak with candor. A sudden withdrawal of our forces from Iraq would abandon our Iraqi allies to death and prison put men like bin Laden and Zarqawi in charge of a strategic country and show that a pledge from America means little. Members of Congress: however we feel about the decisions and debates of the past, our Nation has only one option: We must keep our word, defeat our enemies, and stand behind the American military in its vital mission.

Our men and women in uniform are making sacrifices and showing a sense of duty stronger than all fear. They know what it is like to fight house to house in a maze of streets to wear heavy gear in the desert heat to see a comrade killed by a roadside bomb. And those who know the costs also know the stakes. Marine Staff Sergeant Dan Clay was killed last month fighting the enemy in Fallujah. He left behind a letter to his family, but his words could just as well be addressed to every American. Here is what Dan wrote: I know what honor is. It has been an honor to protect and serve all of you. I faced death with the secure knowledge that you would not have to. Never falter! Dont hesitate to honor and support those of us who have the honor of protecting that which is worth protecting.

Staff Sergeant Dan Clays wife, Lisa, and his mom and dad, Sara Jo and Bud, are with us this evening. Our Nation is grateful to the fallen, who live in the memory of our country. We are grateful to all who volunteer to wear our Nations uniform and as we honor our brave troops, let us never forget the sacrifices of Americas military families.

Our offensive against terror involves more than military action. Ultimately, the only way to defeat the terrorists is to defeat their dark vision of hatred and fear by offering the hopeful alternative of political freedom and peaceful change. So the United States of America supports democratic reform across the broader Middle East. Elections are vital but they are only the beginning. Raising up a democracy requires the rule of law, protection of minorities, and strong, accountable institutions that last longer than a single vote. The great people of Egypt have voted in a multi-party presidential election and now their government should open paths of peaceful opposition that will reduce the appeal of radicalism. The Palestinian people have voted in elections now the leaders of Hamas must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism, and work for lasting peace. Saudi Arabia has taken the first steps of reform now it can offer its people a better future by pressing forward with those efforts. Democracies in the Middle East will not look like our own, because they will reflect the traditions of their own citizens. Yet liberty is the future of every nation in the Middle East, because liberty is the right and hope of all humanity.

The same is true of Iran, a nation now held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people. The regime in that country sponsors terrorists in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon and that must come to an end. The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons. America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats. And tonight, let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our Nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran.

To overcome dangers in our world, we must also take the offensive by encouraging economic progress, fighting disease, and spreading hope in hopeless lands. Isolationism would not only tie our hands in fighting enemies, it would keep us from helping our friends in desperate need. We show compassion abroad because Americans believe in the God-given dignity and worth of a villager with HIV/AIDS, or an infant with malaria, or a refugee fleeing genocide, or a young girl sold into slavery. We also show compassion abroad because regions overwhelmed by poverty, corruption, and despair are sources of terrorism, organized crime, human trafficking, and the drug trade.

In recent years, you and I have taken unprecedented action to fight AIDS and malaria, expand the education of girls, and reward developing nations that are moving forward with economic and political reform. For people everywhere, the United States is a partner for a better life. Short-changing these efforts would increase the suffering and chaos of our world, undercut our long-term security, and dull the conscience of our country. I urge Members of Congress to serve the interests of America by showing the compassion of America.

Our country must also remain on the offensive against terrorism here at home. The enemy has not lost the desire or capability to attack us. Fortunately, this Nation has superb professionals in law enforcement, intelligence, the military, and homeland security. These men and women are dedicating their lives to protecting us all, and they deserve our support and our thanks. They also deserve the same tools they already use to fight drug trafficking and organized crime so I ask you to reauthorize the Patriot Act.

It is said that prior to the attacks of September 11th, our government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy. We now know that two of the hijackers in the United States placed telephone calls to al-Qaida operatives overseas. But we did not know about their plans until it was too late. So to prevent another attack based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al-Qaida operatives and affiliates to and from America. Previous presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have and Federal courts have approved the use of that authority. Appropriate Members of Congress have been kept informed. This terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with al-Qaida, we want to know about it because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.

In all these areas from the disruption of terror networks, to victory in Iraq, to the spread of freedom and hope in troubled regions we need the support of friends and allies. To draw that support, we must always be clear in our principles and willing to act. The only alternative to American leadership is a dramatically more dangerous and anxious world. Yet we also choose to lead because it is a privilege to serve the values that gave us birth. American leaders from Roosevelt to Truman to Kennedy to Reagan rejected isolation and retreat, because they knew that America is always more secure when freedom is on the march. Our own generation is in a long war against a determined enemy a war that will be fought by Presidents of both parties, who will need steady bipartisan support from the Congress. And tonight I ask for yours. Together, let us protect our country, support the men and women who defend us, and lead this world toward freedom.

Here at home, America also has a great opportunity: We will build the prosperity of our country by strengthening our economic leadership in the world.

Our economy is healthy, and vigorous, and growing faster than other major industrialized nations. In the last two-and-a-half years, America has created 4.6 million new jobs more than Japan and the European Union combined. Even in the face of higher energy prices and natural disasters, the American people have turned in an economic performance that is the envy of the world.

The American economy is pre-eminent but we cannot afford to be complacent. In a dynamic world economy, we are seeing new competitors like China and India. This creates uncertainty, which makes it easier to feed peoples fears. And so we are seeing some old temptations return. Protectionists want to escape competition, pretending that we can keep our high standard of living while walling off our economy. Others say that the government needs to take a larger role in directing the economy, centralizing more power in Washington and increasing taxes. We hear claims that immigrants are somehow bad for the economy even though this economy could not function without them. All these are forms of economic retreat, and they lead in the same direction toward a stagnant and second-rate economy.

Tonight I will set out a better path an agenda for a Nation that competes with confidence an agenda that will raise standards of living and generate new jobs. Americans should not fear our economic future, because we intend to shape it.

Keeping America competitive begins with keeping our economy growing. And our economy grows when Americans have more of their own money to spend, save, and invest. In the last five years, the tax relief you passed has left 880 billion dollars in the hands of American workers, investors, small businesses, and families and they have used it to help produce more than four years of uninterrupted economic growth. Yet the tax relief is set to expire in the next few years. If we do nothing, American families will face a massive tax increase they do not expect and will not welcome.

Because America needs more than a temporary expansion, we need more than temporary tax relief. I urge the Congress to act responsibly, and make the tax cuts permanent.

Keeping America competitive requires us to be good stewards of tax dollars. Every year of my presidency, we have reduced the growth of non-security discretionary spending and last year you passed bills that cut this spending. This year my budget will cut it again, and reduce or eliminate more than 140 programs that are performing poorly or not fulfilling essential priorities. By passing these reforms, we will save the American taxpayer another 14 billion dollars next year and stay on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009. I am pleased that Members of Congress are working on earmark reform because the Federal budget has too many special interest projects. And we can tackle this problem together, if you pass the line-item veto.

We must also confront the larger challenge of mandatory spending, or entitlements. This year, the first of about 78 million Baby Boomers turn 60, including two of my Dads favorite people me, and President Bill Clinton. This milestone is more than a personal crisis it is a national challenge. The retirement of the Baby Boom generation will put unprecedented strains on the Federal government. By 2030, spending for Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid alone will be almost 60 percent of the entire Federal budget. And that will present future Congresses with impossible choices staggering tax increases, immense deficits, or deep cuts in every category of spending.

Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security, yet the rising cost of entitlements is a problem that is not going away and with every year we fail to act, the situation gets worse. So tonight, I ask you to join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of Baby Boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This commission should include Members of Congress of both parties, and offer bipartisan answers. We need to put aside partisan politics, work together, and get this problem solved.

Keeping America competitive requires us to open more markets for all that Americans make and grow. One out of every five factory jobs in America is related to global trade, and we want people everywhere to buy American. With open markets and a level playing field, no one can out-produce or out-compete the American worker.

Keeping America competitive requires an immigration system that upholds our laws, reflects our values, and serves the interests of our economy. Our Nation needs orderly and secure borders. To meet this goal, we must have stronger immigration enforcement and border protection. And we must have a rational, humane guest worker program that rejects amnesty allows temporary jobs for people who seek them legally and reduces smuggling and crime at the border.

Keeping America competitive requires affordable health care. Our government has a responsibility to help provide health care for the poor and the elderly, and we are meeting that responsibility. For all Americans, we must confront the rising cost of care strengthen the doctor-patient relationship and help people afford the insurance coverage they need. We will make wider use of electronic records and other health information technology, to help control costs and reduce dangerous medical errors. We will strengthen Health Savings Accounts by making sure individuals and small business employees can buy insurance with the same advantages that people working for big businesses now get. We will do more to make this coverage portable, so workers can switch jobs without having to worry about losing their health insurance. And because lawsuits are driving many good doctors out of practice leaving women in nearly 1,500 American counties without a single OB-GYN I ask the Congress to pass medical liability reform this year.

Keeping America competitive requires affordable energy. Here we have a serious problem: America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world.

The best way to break this addiction is through technology. Since 2001, we have spent nearly 10 billion dollars to develop cleaner, cheaper, more reliable alternative energy sources and we are on the threshold of incredible advances. So tonight, I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative a 22-percent increase in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy, to push for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants; revolutionary solar and wind technologies; and clean, safe nuclear energy.

We must also change how we power our automobiles. We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars, and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen. We will also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips, stalks, or switch grass. Our goal is to make this new kind of ethanol practical and competitive within six years. Breakthroughs on this and other new technologies will help us reach another great goal: to replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025. By applying the talent and technology of America, this country can dramatically improve our environment move beyond a petroleum-based economy and make our dependence on Middle Eastern oil a thing of the past.

And to keep America competitive, one commitment is necessary above all: We must continue to lead the world in human talent and creativity. Our greatest advantage in the world has always been our educated, hard-working, ambitious people and we are going to keep that edge. Tonight I announce the American Competitiveness Initiative, to encourage innovation throughout our economy, and to give our Nations children a firm grounding in math and science.

First: I propose to double the Federal commitment to the most critical basic research programs in the physical sciences over the next ten years. This funding will support the work of Americas most creative minds as they explore promising areas such as nanotechnology, supercomputing, and alternative energy sources.

Second: I propose to make permanent the research and development tax credit, to encourage bolder private-sector investment in technology. With more research in both the public and private sectors, we will improve our quality of life and ensure that America will lead the world in opportunity and innovation for decades to come.

Third: We need to encourage children to take more math and science, and make sure those courses are rigorous enough to compete with other nations. We have made a good start in the early grades with the No Child Left Behind Act, which is raising standards and lifting test scores across our country. Tonight I propose to train 70,000 high school teachers, to lead advanced-placement courses in math and science bring 30,000 math and science professionals to teach in classrooms and give early help to students who struggle with math, so they have a better chance at good, high-wage jobs. If we ensure that Americas children succeed in life, they will ensure that America succeeds in the world.

Preparing our Nation to compete in the world is a goal that all of us can share. I urge you to support the American Competitiveness Initiative and together we will show the world what the American people can achieve.

America is a great force for freedom and prosperity. Yet our greatness is not measured in power or luxuries, but by who we are and how we treat one another. So we strive to be a compassionate, decent, hopeful society.

In recent years, America has become a more hopeful Nation. Violent crime rates have fallen to their lowest levels since the 1970s. Welfare cases have dropped by more than half over the past decade. Drug use among youth is down 19 percent since 2001. There are fewer abortions in America than at any point in the last three decades, and the number of children born to teenage mothers has been falling for a dozen years in a row.

These gains are evidence of a quiet transformation a revolution of conscience, in which a rising generation is finding that a life of personal responsibility is a life of fulfillment. Government has played a role. Wise policies such as welfare reform, drug education, and support for abstinence and adoption have made a difference in the character of our country. And everyone here tonight, Democrat and Republican, has a right to be proud of this record.

Yet many Americans, especially parents, still have deep concerns about the direction of our culture, and the health of our most basic institutions. They are concerned about unethical conduct by public officials, and discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage. And they worry about children in our society who need direction and love and about fellow citizens still displaced by natural disaster and about suffering caused by treatable disease.

As we look at these challenges, we must never give in to the belief that America is in decline, or that our culture is doomed to unravel. The American people know better than that. We have proven the pessimists wrong before and we will do it again.

A hopeful society depends on courts that deliver equal justice under law. The Supreme Court now has two superb new members, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito. I thank the Senate for confirming both of them. And I will continue to nominate men and women who understand that judges must be servants of the law, and not legislate from the bench. Today marks the official retirement of a very special American. For 24 years of faithful service to our Nation, the United States is grateful to Justice Sandra Day OConnor.

A hopeful society has institutions of science and medicine that do not cut ethical corners, and that recognize the matchless value of every life. Tonight I ask you to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research human cloning in all its forms creating or implanting embryos for experiments creating human-animal hybrids and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos. Human life is a gift from our Creator and that gift should never be discarded, devalued, or put up for sale.

A hopeful society expects elected officials to uphold the public trust. Honorable people in both parties are working on reforms to strengthen the ethical standards of Washington and I support your efforts. Each of us has made a pledge to be worthy of public responsibility and that is a pledge we must never forget, never dismiss, and never betray.

As we renew the promise of our institutions, let us also show the character of America in our compassion and care for one another.

A hopeful society gives special attention to children who lack direction and love. Through the Helping Americas Youth Initiative, we are encouraging caring adults to get involved in the life of a child and this good work is led by our First Lady, Laura Bush. This year we will add resources to encourage young people to stay in school so more of Americas youth can raise their sights and achieve their dreams.

A hopeful society comes to the aid of fellow citizens in times of suffering and emergency and stays at it until they are back on their feet. So far the Federal government has committed 85 billion dollars to the people of the Gulf Coast and New Orleans. We are removing debris, repairing highways, and building stronger levees. We are providing business loans and housing assistance. Yet as we meet these immediate needs, we must also address deeper challenges that existed before the storm arrived. In New Orleans and in other places, many of our fellow citizens have felt excluded from the promise of our country. The answer is not only temporary relief, but schools that teach every child and job skills that bring upward mobility and more opportunities to own a home and start a business. As we recover from a disaster, let us also work for the day when all Americans are protected by justice, equal in hope, and rich in opportunity.

A hopeful society acts boldly to fight diseases like HIV/AIDS, which can be prevented, and treated, and defeated. More than a million Americans live with HIV, and half of all AIDS cases occur among African-Americans. I ask Congress to reform and reauthorize the Ryan White Act and provide new funding to states, so we end the waiting lists for AIDS medicine in America. We will also lead a nationwide effort, working closely with African-American churches and faith-based groups, to deliver rapid HIV tests to millions, end the stigma of AIDS, and come closer to the day when there are no new infections in America.

Fellow citizens, we have been called to leadership in a period of consequence. We have entered a great ideological conflict we did nothing to invite. We see great changes in science and commerce that will influence all our lives. And sometimes it can seem that history is turning in a wide arc, toward an unknown shore.

Yet the destination of history is determined by human action, and every great movement of history comes to a point of choosing. Lincoln could have accepted peace at the cost of disunity and continued slavery. Martin Luther King could have stopped at Birmingham or at Selma, and achieved only half a victory over segregation. The United States could have accepted the permanent division of Europe, and been complicit in the oppression of others. Today, having come far in our own historical journey, we must decide: Will we turn back, or finish well?

Before history is written down in books, it is written in courage. Like Americans before us, we will show that courage and we will finish well. We will lead freedoms advance. We will compete and excel in the global economy. We will renew the defining moral commitments of this land. And so we move forward optimistic about our country, faithful to its cause, and confident of victories to come.

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless America.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Blind Men

General Michael Hayden, the former Director of the National Security Agency, spoke at the National Press Club on January 23, 2006. Read these few short paragraphs about the NSA program created by President Bush's still-unseen executive order (bold below is mine):

The purpose of all this is not to collect reams of intelligence, but to detect and prevent attacks. The intelligence community has neither the time, the resources nor the legal authority to read communications that aren't likely to protect us, and NSA has no interest in doing so. These are communications that we have reason to believe are al Qaeda communications, a judgment made by American intelligence professionals, not folks like me or political appointees, a judgment made by the American intelligence professionals most trained to understand al Qaeda tactics, al Qaeda communications and al Qaeda aims.

Their work is actively overseen by the most intense oversight regime in the history of the National Security Agency. The agency's conduct of this program is thoroughly reviewed by the NSA's general counsel and inspector general. The program has also been reviewed by the Department of Justice for compliance with the president's authorization. Oversight also includes an aggressive training program to ensure that all activities are consistent with the letter and the intent of the authorization and with the preservation of civil liberties.

Let me talk for a few minutes also about what this program is not. It is not a driftnet over Dearborn or Lackawanna or Freemont grabbing conversations that we then sort out by these alleged keyword searches or data-mining tools or other devices that so-called experts keep talking about.

This is targeted and focused. This is not about intercepting conversations between people in the United States. This is hot pursuit of communications entering or leaving America involving someone we believe is associated with al Qaeda.

You know that story about the blind men and the elephant?

The media and the blogosphere are grasping at things, swearing that from what they can feel, they have the snake in hand. But they haven't really touched a snake, have they? They just touched just something that they assume is a snake, and have proclaimed out loudly that it is a snake, and we have laws against having snakes.

Well, the NSA story is a new animal in the zoo and I've touched ... something, part of it, far away from where everyone else is standing and yelling. I can only sense a fraction of it, but I've touched just enough to think I've got something different on my hands that what anyone else has touched so far, and a zookeeper I've come in contact with has provided a vague confirmation of, "yeah, that's something different, all right."

I don't know what I've got. But I know it is something quite different than a snake, and I know just enough to know that the people grasping at snakes are wrong about what they are touching, and that laws against snakes do not apply.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:39 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 30, 2006

Because You Wouldn't Want to See Her Cry...

Vote Cindy For Senate

Blog food for years...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:49 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Moonbats on Parade

It's only Monday, and Tom Elia is declaring this Foreign Whacko/Domestic Moonbat Week. Based upon the evidence presented, I'd have to agree.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Zawahiri Filibuster Fails

"Butcher of Washington, you are not only defeated and a liar, but also a failure. You are a curse on your own nation and you have brought and will bring them only catastrophes and tragedies," he said, referring to Bush. "Bush, do you know where I am? I am among the Muslim masses." Via Fox News.


Dr. Zawahiri, it seems those same "Muslim masses" think so much of you, that instead of rallying around your cause, they've left you hopping from cave to cave in what most citizens of the world would deem a wasteland. You are guarded not by the best and brightest Islam has to offer, but by illiterate brainwashed children and opium smugglers, living in a part of the world no civilized person wants.

Enjoy your "victory."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Alito Filbuster Fails

Via Fox News (no link yet) "It's over."

Pour over-excited Teddy an extra couple of bottles, because the sure-to-fail filibuster of Judge Alito just did precisely that. It failed.

Barring a miracle, he will be Justice Alito by this time tomorrow evening.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:36 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 29, 2006


Do you want to fully understand why many people no longer trust the infotainment industry? Examine just this small sample from the Feb. 6, 2006 issue of Newsweek, in an article called Palace Revolt (emphasis mine):

Counsel to the vice president is, in most administrations, worth less than the proverbial bucket of warm spit, but under Prime Minister Cheney, it became a vital power center, especially after 9/11.

This is what passes for reporting today for Newsweek, and is not the only example of Democratic Underground-quality commentary in this group effort from Daniel Klaidman, Stuart Taylor Jr. and Evan Thomas.

There is one bright side, however. Unlike another shoddily-sourced, politically-driven Newsweek article, it does not appear anyone will immediately die as a result.

This time.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:54 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

ABC's Woodruff, Vogt Injured By IED

ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff and cameraman were both seriously injured today in Iraq as the result of an IED detonated in an ambush. AP, via ABC News:

Woodruff and cameraman Doug Vogt were hit by an improvised explosive device near Taji, Iraq, and were in serious condition at a U.S. military hospital, ABC News President David Westin said.

The two were embedded with the 4th Infantry Division and traveling with an Iraqi Army unit.

The U.S. military headquarters in Baghdad confirmed that the ABC News team was involved in an attack but declined to provide further details to The Associated Press. An official military statement was expected to be issued later Sunday.

Reuters has more details about both men.

Woodruff, 44, is from Michigan and joined ABC in 1996. He has reported from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, from Italy for the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI and from Yugoslavia during the conflict in Kosovo. He had also covered the Justice Department in Washington.

Vogt, 46, is Canadian and lives in Aix-en-Provence in France. He is an Emmy award-winning cameraman and filmed the aftermath of the Asian tsunami from Sri Lanka.

Neither AP nor Reuters mentions any possible casualties among the Iraqi or American soldiers traveling with Woodruff and Vogt. Whether this is typical media myopia or the result of the military not releasing casualty data remains to be seen.

I sincerely hope both Woodruff and Vogt have a full recovery, but I find that I care more about the Iraqi and American soldiers fighting for the future this fledgling democracy.

American soldiers experience war in Iraq months at a time. Iraqi soldiers and police are there facing danger on a daily basis, with no respite but victory or death. A reporter looking to get "street cred" in a quick in-and-out 24-72 hour junket without really bothering to learn what is really going on the way, say, Ernie Pyle or Kevin Sites, or Michael Yon has, just doesn't touch me the same way.

I wish them both a speedy and full recovery all the same.

1-31 Update: My point proven:

"The point that is currently being made (is that) that press folks are more important than mere military folks," a senior military officer told UPI Tuesday.

Not to me, gentlemen.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:29 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

January 28, 2006

Big Bang Theory

Carnival of Cordite .45 is up and well worth reading, especially this little gem from Hell in a Handbasket.

It seems that the U.S. military has tired of the anemic stopping power of the 9mm FMJ cartridge chambered by the current issue Beretta M9, and is looking to return to the .45.ACP with the JCP (Joint Combat Pistol) program.

The new gun has to be of modern design (sorry, 1911 fans), with a minimum 8 round magazine as standard, while also having the capability to seat a 10-15 round extended magazine. The gun also has to have rails incorporated in the design (to attach equipment such as small flashlights or electronic sights). Strategy Page has more information, and Global Security has the details.

While James at HiaH seems to think Sig Sauer has this contract sewn up, probably with some sort of P220 variant, I think the field is far more open than he might expect.

For example, Heckler & Koch has current working relationship with U.S. Special Operations Command and uses their excellent Mark 23 for elite units right now, and their smaller USP platform would also seem to be a top contender.

The Ruger P-Series of semi-autos has developed an excellent reputation for rugged reliability among law enforcement and civilian shooters, and a P345 variant could also be what the doctor ordered.

Smith & Wesson has new autoloader on the market called the M & P (Military and Police) chambered commercially for in 40S&W, 9mm and 357Sig, that is a platform that should be able to be built to house the .45 ACP, and otherwise seems to meet the JCP general requirements.

I'm also very impressed with Springfield Armory's XD 45, a variant of the striker-fired XD family of pistols.

For both the Smith & Wesson and Springfield Armory pistols, my only concern with whether or not the companies had prototypes developed in time to submit for this contract bid.

The Glock 21 is reportedly not in the running because of licensing issues.

Regardless of which design wins, it is nice to see that our soldier will once again be armed with a pistol cartridge that actually provides decent stopping power.

Now if the military will only get rid of the outdated M4/M16 in 5.56mm NATO in favor of a rugged, reliable modern rifle (bullpup, anyone?) firing a cartridge designed for killing something larger than a groundhog...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:12 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

January 27, 2006

Prances with Wolves

As a fake scholar, fake artist, and fake Indian, I always though the story of Ward Churchill would be hard to beat.

Timothy P. "Nasdijj" Barrus, an Opie-looking wannabe Navajo who killed off two imaginary children on his way to a national magazine award that he parlayed into three nonfiction books about people who never existed, before he got into writing gay porn while living as the father of a suburban white kid while at some point faking involvement as a soldier in the Vietnam war, takes the cake:

After the Esquire piece, Nasdijj published "The Blood Runs Like a River Through My Dreams" in 2000, followed by "The Boy and His Dog Are Sleeping" -- which won a PEN award -- and "Geronimo's Bones." He wrote that he was the son of an alcoholic Navajo mother and a white cowboy father who raped and beat him. He said he grew up in migrant labor camps.

His former brother-in-law, Stephen Cheetham of Lansing, said Barrus had no such life. Cheetham said he hadn't seen Barrus since the 1970s, but over the years his two children told him what they heard of Barrus from their mother.

"I had heard that he was writing stories under different names," Cheetham said Thursday. "Something about how he claimed to be a Vietnam veteran at one point, claimed to be a Native American Indian at another point.

"His parents were a very middle-class, working, typical American family. He was never involved in Vietnam, he was never a Native American Indian, his parents weren't Native Americans -- there wasn't anything like that in his past."

It gets weirder:

In the 1980s, Barrus gained attention in some gay circles as a writer of pornography; other gay writers didn't think his work sounded authentic.

"I had some serious doubts about how gay he ever was," said Lars Eighner, a writer of gay literature who had mainstream success with his books. "It's a house of mirrors when you deal with him."

Barrus' third novel was about gay soldiers in Vietnam, but taken as a fictionalized memoir. Eighner said his gay literary friends didn't believe Barrus was ever in Vietnam.

I think he called that book Victor Charlie In My Chocolate Factory.

In a shocking related story, militant gay liberal activist John Aravosis of Americablog was discovered to be none other than David Hasselhoff.

Rusty is having fun with this story as well.

Update: Read Navahoax in the LA Weekly which broke this story and also has a link to "Nasdijj's" blog.

And Phin's got a song...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:26 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

The Freedom to be Offended

Per haps if they didn't act like cattle – Holocaust-denying, occasionally explosive cattle - then an "Annual Stampede Report" wouldn't be necessary:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations asked for an apology from KFI-AM 640 host Bill Handel, who allegedly made fun of the deaths the same day they happened during a segment he called the "Annual Stampede Report."

A spokeswoman for KFI, which is owned by Clear Channel Communications, did not immediately return a message left Thursday. Handel's producer, Michelle Kube, also did not return calls for comment. Handel had left work for the day and attempts to reach him were unsuccessful.

At least 363 pilgrims were killed and hundreds injured in a stampede Jan. 12 in Mecca, where thousands of people were rushing to carry out a symbolic ritual of stoning the devil.

According to the civil liberties group, Handel imitated the people screaming and then joked that the Muslims at the pilgrimage should use a helicopter to monitor pilgrimage traffic, as is done in Los Angeles with the freeways.

CAIR, which has alleged ties to Hezbollah, Hamas, and the ACLU, needs to develop a sense of humor. If they can't, I'm sure Michael Jackson has room of them in his abaya in Bahrain. (If you click the link, Michael is the woman on the left side of the picture).

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:31 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Flights of Insanity, Leaving From Gate 3

Oddly, enough, they only want flights to New York, Washington. DC., and Shanksville, PA.

Silly Mullahs.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:11 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 26, 2006

Escape and Evade

I received this via email today.

Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has already started her 2008 presidential campaign by aligning herself with the military and pretending to be tough on terror. Fortunately, the ultra-liberal Hillary has yet to brainwash all of the voting public in to believing that her symbolism is really substance. Many have never forgotten that when she was co-president for eight years she was quoted as saying: " I loathe the military."

It was captioned:

The picture shows that this soldier has been thru Survival School and learned his lessons well. He's giving the sign of "coercion" with his left hand. These hand signs are taught in survival school to be used by POW's as a method of posing messages back to our intelligence services who may view the photo or video. This guy was obviously being coerced into shaking hands with Hillary Clinton. It's ironic how little she knew that he would so inform us about the photo---perhaps because she's never understood our military to begin with.

By the way, save yourself the trouble of searching for photos of Senator Clinton with John McCain. I already checked.

(h/t Old Soldier)

Update: Am I the last person to see this? Well, while we're sorta on the subject. (h/t Phin)

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:52 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

That "Magic Hat" Must Be On A Little Tight...

This is simply too bizarre:

Kerry, in Davos, Switzerland, to attend the World Economic Forum, was marshaling support in phone calls during the day, he told CNN.

Kerry said he told a group of Democratic senators Wednesday, and urged that they join him. Kerry said he has the support of fellow Massachusetts Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Some senior Democrats told CNN they are worried that the move could backfire.

The junior senator from Massachusetts appears to have inhaled some sort of hallucinogic mold off the brim of his magic hat. Is he really so tone deaf as to think this is a good idea?

As Jay at Stop the ACLU said:

Many redstate democrats have already demonstrated that they think Alito is deserving not only of a vote, but a yes vote. Obviously Kerry didn't like the way the things were headed, and decided to be the big dog to crash the party. It is possible that the nuclear option may just have to be invoked after all.

I can't see how filibustering an obviously qualified candidate for the court can help the Democrats in any way. The best they can hope for from the general public at large is ambivilence, while possibly scoring points with these folks at best. This is a draw-or-lose situation for Democrats that will only play to the furthest fringe, while potentially costing them votes in the middle.

Update: Let them try. A successful filibuster is now very likely impossible. Michelle Malkin has the roundup.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:57 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Happy Phiniversary

Fellow blogger, blog designsmith and real-life brother (have pity on him) Phin is celebrating his first blogiversary today.

Go harrass 'em.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Challenge For Defarge

"Obviously, I support tracking down terrorists," Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., said in a speech Wednesday. "I think that's our obligation. But I think it can be done in a lawful way." --Hillary Rodham Clinton

If leading Democrats such as Hillary Clinton truly feel that the executive branch does not currently have the authority to intercept communications between suspected terrorists overseas and their contacts in America, they should do something about it more concrete than merely muttering empty partisan rhetoric.

I challenge the Queen of Triangles—or any other Democrat, for that matter—to put forward a bill in the Senate to specifically ban the warrantless intercepts conducted as a result of the President's executive order. Alternately, she should in short order present another bill authorizing "a lawful way" of tracking down the terrorists targeted by Bush's executive order that does not offend liberal sensibilities.

The Senator should put it to a vote for the historical record, if what she says is truly what she feels.

Quite frankly, I don't think she's capable of that level of leadership.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:17 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

January 25, 2006

Did Hayden Discredit Tice?

A lot of folks have been dwelling on General Michael V. Hayden's address to the National Press Club on Monday, chasing what I believe to be a red herring, and some chasing that elusive fish with great vigor.

To me, this was a far more interesting exchange:

QUESTION: Yes, Wayne Madsen, syndicated columnist. General, how do you explain the fact that there were several rare spectacles of whistleblowers coming forward at NSA, especially after 9/11, something that hasn't really happened in the past, who have complained about violations of FISA and United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18, which implements the law at the agency?

GEN. HAYDEN: I talked to the NSA staff on Friday. The NSA inspector general reports to me, as of last Friday, from the inception of this program through last Friday night, not a single employee of the National Security Agency has addressed a concern about this program to the NSA IG. I should also add that no member of the NSA workforce who has been asked to be included in this program has responded to that request with anything except enthusiasm. I don't know what you're talking about.

This response from Hayden seems to confirm two things.

1. By not reporting any concerns to the NSA inspector general, any of the NSA whistleblowers claimed by New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau committed felonies. This is nothing new to most. But as Hayden's response indicates that those most directly knowledgeable about this covert program believe deeply in its success, these claims of multiple streams of insider information inside a highly compartmentalized program seem quite suspect.

One might question just how many sources Risen and Lichtblau actually had, and whether or not these sources had direct access to this program as they claim.

2. Hayden's phrasing ("has been" being current tense) also leads me to believe that all people directly acquainted with this particular program are still involved with the program.

The one named NSA whistleblower, Russell Tice, is not currently part of the NSA, after being dismissed for psychological concerns and security violations.

Taken together, it would seem that the head of the NSA is strongly suggesting, though indirectly, that Russell Tice was never part of this program. That would indeed cast strong doubts about the credibilty of his already suspect claims, as he is a discharged, disgruntled employee.

Bill Burkett, anyone?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:30 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 24, 2006

No Patriot

I can't wait to see what Chris Matthews will say about this:

I DON'T SUPPORT our troops. This is a particularly difficult opinion to have, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to put bumper stickers on his car. Supporting the troops is a position that even Calvin is unwilling to urinate on.

I'm sure I'd like the troops. They seem gutsy, young and up for anything. If you're wandering into a recruiter's office and signing up for eight years of unknown danger, I want to hang with you in Vegas.

And I've got no problem with other people — the ones who were for the Iraq war — supporting the troops. If you think invading Iraq was a good idea, then by all means, support away. Load up on those patriotic magnets and bracelets and other trinkets the Chinese are making money off of.

But I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. It's as if the one lesson they took away from Vietnam wasn't to avoid foreign conflicts with no pressing national interest but to remember to throw a parade afterward.

I don't think I need to comment on this, other than to say it will be interesting to see which liberals defend Klein's exposure of the dirty little secret so many of them carry in their hearts.

Coward. Traitor. Liberal.

But I repeat myself...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:58 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Pushing Elephants: Part 1

I'm not real happy with the Republican Party right now, and would like to see not just a reform, but a restructuring, with a revised GOP platform for upcoming elections. I'll present a single broad topic at a time, and present some ideas. Please discuss in the comments.


  • A complete, multi-layer physical wall stretching the length of the United States border with Mexico, manned by an expanded, adequately staffed, armed and trained Border Patrol. It should go without saying, but a stronger physical border makes illegal immigration more problematic to those that would enter illegally.
  • A decrease in foreign aid and revocation of Most Favored Nation trading status to countries that encourage illegal immigration. Make it financially unpleasant for nations that allow their citizens to illegally enter our country.
  • A National ID minimum threshold. This would force states to apply more stringent requirements to obtain official identification. Hiring anyone without a valid, complying ID would be against he law, and any employer violating these standards will face increased civil and criminal penalties, up to and including the forfeiture of assets for repeat offenders.
  • A punitive 20% tax on overseas wire transfers by those without a valid, complying ID.
  • A robust, interrelated immigration computer system that can track legal immigrants and revoke ID status and residency without compliance, making it impossible for illegal immigrants or visa violators to find or keep jobs or lodging.
  • Targeted immigration to help American business, particularly in technology and engineering fields.
  • Targeted education visas for students from emerging allied democracies.
  • Repeal the practice of automatically awarding citizenship to babies (so-called "anchor babies") born in this country, unless both parents are already U.S. citizens.

The United States of America is a wonderful country that I firmly believe is the greatest nation on Earth, and I can certainly understand many reasons why people from other countries would want to come here. But America's resources, while vast, are finite. We are under no obligation to support other nations nor their citizens, and we have a duty to protect the lives and rights of our own citizens.

Towards that end, we must be able to control our borders and know who is in our country. Illegal immigration must be stopped, illegal immigrants deported, and those that would provide illegals with employment and shelter should pay a high price for their flouting of this nation's laws.

At the same time, legal immigration must be practical to satisfy the needs of American business and to expose Americans to other cultures, while exposing other cultures to the benefits we have to offer as well.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:12 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 23, 2006

Next Event: the 200-Meter Splatter

Now that Steven Speilberg's moral-equivilence disaster Munich has once more ripped open the wound of Islamofascist terrorists slaughtering Israeli Olympic athletes in 1972, this is not a brilliant idea:

IRAN put a human shield of 1000 athletes around a key nuclear plant yesterday after Israel indicated it could launch strikes to stop the Islamic state building nuclear weapons.

While Israel would not necessarily target Iranian athletes, a couple of Iranian welterweight wrestlers aren't exactly what one would consider an effective deterrent to Israeli airpower.

Luckily for the athletes, the precision GBU-28s carried by Israeli F-15I strike fighters are ground-penetrating bunker busters, and aren't likely to cause many above ground casualties... though I wouldn't want to be the man on the ground to test that theory.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:20 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Operation Iraqi Children

Go. Now.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:43 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The "Plantation" Goes Up In Flames

Shelby Steele, author of A Dream Deferred: The Second Betrayal of Black Freedom in America, eviscerates Hillary Clinton's pandering MLK Day "plantation" speech in today's WSJ OpinionJournal.

An excerpt:

Mrs. Clinton came to Al Sharpton's MLK celebration looking for an easy harvest of black votes. And she knew the drill--white liberals and Dems whistle for the black vote by pandering to the black sense of grievance. Once positioned as the white champions of this grievance, they actually turn black resentment into white liberal power. Today, Democrats cannot be competitive without this alchemy. So Mrs. Clinton's real insult to blacks--one far uglier than her plantation metaphor--is to value them only for their sense of grievance. Mrs. Clinton's husband was a master of this alchemy, and his presidency also illustrated its greatest advantage. Once black grievance is morphed into liberal power, it need never be honored. President Clinton notoriously felt black pain, won the black vote, and then rewarded blacks with the cold shower of welfare reform. And here, now, is Mrs. Clinton sidling up to the trough of black grievance, eyes wide in expectation, but also a tad contemptuous. It is hard to fully respect one's suckers.


Steele continues:

Precisely because Republicans cannot easily pander to black grievance, they have no need to value blacks only for their sense of grievance. Unlike Democrats, they can celebrate what is positive and constructive in minority life without losing power. The dilemma for Democrats, liberals and the civil rights establishment is that they become redundant and lose power the instant blacks move beyond grievance and begin to succeed by dint of their own hard work. So they persecute such blacks, attack their credibility as blacks, just as they pander to blacks who define their political relationship to America through grievance. Republicans are generally freer of the political bigotry by which the left either panders to or persecutes black Americans.

No one on the current political scene better embodies this Republican advantage than the current secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice.

I've been working toward this idea in past posts and comments, pushing the idea that one party cannot address the needs of all people in an ethnic group, because people within any ethnic group have different economic and social realities. Race does not equal party affiliation, or at least it shouldn't.

I don't know if it is properly a disagreement with Steele, but I'd say that while Secretary Rice might be the most visible example of black conservativism, others are as well or better equipped to handle electoral office.

Ohio gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell has more experience as an elected politician, and simply lacks the national stage that Rice currently occupies. If he wins in Ohio (where he is currently ahead according to Zogby), the small government champion Blackwell may be in a position to think about a 2008 run at the GOP nomination for the Presidency, precisely because unlike other GOP hopefuls, Blackwell has a solid reputation as a true fiscal conservative. If you can find any other Republican candidates with his fiscal track record, please feel free to correct me.

Blackwell's small government leanings and his history of broad, cross-party appeal in Ohio should translate well across the country, and Rice's obvious foreign policy experience would balance the ticket. I for one would like to contemplate a Blackwell/Rice run for the GOP in '08.

Quite frankly, I don't see a Democratic ticket that could hope to compete.

Others blogging this topic:
Dr. Sanity
Austin Bay
Kobayashi Maru

Update: Jeff Goldstein over at Protein Wisdom riffs along nicely. Check it out.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:13 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

UPI Reporters Still Undergunned

You would hope that the UPI's Pentagon correspondent would have enough gun savvy not to make this boneheaded statement:

Next month a new high-explosive munition will be fired in Singapore and then tested again by the U.S. Army, heralding what may be a sea change in weaponry: a gun that can fire 240,000 rounds per minute.

That's compared to 60 rounds per minute in a standard military machine gun.

I hate to tell Pamela Hess, but by 1876 Gatling guns could fire 400-1,200 rounds/minute, and modern electrically-driven Gatlings can fire 4,000-6,000 rounds per minute. Every single gun I own (none of them machine guns) is capable of more than 60 rounds per minute. Poor knowledge, or poor editing? You make the call.

In addition, Metal Storm, the company fielding this "new" technology, had been around with weapons that can fire a million rounds a minute since 2003, and they put the 40mm launcher on Dragonfly UAVs in 2004. Has UPI discovered UAVs yet, or are they still working with those Sopwith Camel prototypes?

Way to be on top of things, UPI.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:22 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

January 22, 2006

On Troll Droppings

I am not a huge fan of trolls.

Trolls, of course, are a web denizen that pops up from time to time to post provocative, but not usually insightful or enlightening, comments to a message board or blog post.

Some trolls can actually be useful in that they can be manipulated to prove a point, often without them knowing how they are being used. But in general, trolls are pests, and they exist to annoy.

For the past months I've allowed several trolls to remain posting in the comments of Confederate Yankee, but as time goes on, I've noticed that while one or two in particular are useful for illustrative purposes, others exist to merely disagree and annoy.

These trolls do not engage in substantive debate, and refuses to justify arguments with either sourcing or logic. As of tonight, I'm going to start banning trolls on a case-by-case basis.

Those that serve a purpose will remain, those that don't... well, you won't see them anymore. I won't embarrass them by naming them, they simple won't be around in the future.

They can, or course, start their own blogs. It is a free country, despite what they sometimes claim.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:34 PM | Comments (54) | TrackBack

January 20, 2006

What is Short, has Glowing Eyes, and Captures Terrorists?

A Jawa.

On March 12th of 2005 (later updated on March 14th) I wrote a post about a series of messages on the jihadi forum about how to make various weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical weapons, by a poster calling himself ahmed_assalafil. I had first heard about Ahmed's messages from a website that I frequent which monitors jihad forums, Internet Haganah. Included in Ahmed's messages was the claim that the poster had information on how to make a nuclear bomb, along with some rudimentary (and erroneous) instructions on Hydrogen bomb construction. He was seeking help translating the allegedly secret materials into Arabic.

Head over to The Jawa Report for the rest of the story about how a blogger played a part in convicting Jordanian-born, would-be terrorist Mohammed Radwan Obeid.

While you're there, make sure to wish Rusty a happy two-year anniversary.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Color Me Badly

Considering their past track record of funding "the other side" in Fallujah, protesting against wounded American soldiers (with signs that read "Maimed for a Lie" and "Enlist Here to Die for Halliburton"), and cuddling up with neo-copperhead John Murtha, I suppose it should be hardly surprising that the left wing radicals of Code Pink would appropriate and badly PhotoShop a photo of Iranian women fighting for freedom for their anti-freedom message.


Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:43 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Like Mike

It appears that the United States of the Perpetually Offended has a new victim this morning, as the lefties have their knickers in a twist over comments made by one of their own, former Jimmy Carter speechwriter and MSNBC Hardball host Chris Matthews.

When interviewing the Dumbest Man in the U.S. Senate™ Joe Biden, Matthews stated:

I mean, he [Bin Laden] sounds like an over-the-top Michael Moore here, if not a Michael Moore.

Predictably, various Crooks and Liars (click the link, they have the video) are upset with Matthews, including Peter Daou, who hyperventilates:

DEMAND AN APOLOGY: "Bin Laden sounds like Clint Eastwood" -- "Bin Laden sounds like Ron Silver" -- "Bin Laden sounds like Rush Limbaugh" -- "Bin Laden sounds like Bill O'Reilly"-- "Bin Laden sounds like Mel Gibson" -- "Bin Laden sounds like Bruce Willis" -- "Bin Laden sounds like Michelle Malkin"... Imagine the outrage on the right and in the press (but I repeat myself) if a major media figure spat out those words. Well, on Hardball, Chris Matthews just blurted out that Bin Laden sounds like Michael Moore. Simple: Matthews should apologize. On the air. This has NOTHING to do with Michael Moore and everything to do with how far media figures can go slandering the left.

Perhaps before getting all huffy, Daou should keep in mind a few facts: Eastwood never uttered, "Make my day, pull out of Iraq now," and it was your dear Mother Sheehan with her "absolute moral authority" that considered Iraq and Afghanistan "almost the same thing," advocating the same pull-out as bin Laden.

Nor has bin Laden quoted Silver or Limbaugh, because they support the war against terrorists, and they don't protest against U.S. soldiers while they recover from combat wounds like the fanatics of Code Pink.

Bruce Willis has million-dollar bounties on the heads of bin Laden, Zarqawi, and Zawahiri. How much does Babs have up? How about Tim and Susan?

Malkin also makes her position on terrorists clear, so I doubt you'll find that Osama is a big fan of hers, either.

But Mikey… well, Mr. Moore is another story entirely.

Bin Laden pulled material from Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11 for one of his videotaped rants in 2004, a fact that Moore himself bragged about:

There he was, OBL, all tan and rested and on videotape (hey, did you get the feeling that he had a bootleg of my movie? Are there DVD players in those caves in Afghanistan?)

And Moore himself has suggested repeatedly that there were improper relationships between the Bush and the bin Laden families, a position the fringe left echoed repeatedly, directly and indirectly as recently as yesterday.

Lefists have no shame in associating Bush with bin Laden, but when a more logical association is made between the left and radical Islam's shared hatreds (Bush), shared goals (U.S. out of SW Asia), and shared rhetoric (Michael Moore's words), it seems to hit too close to home. Perhaps what liberals are really dealing with are their own issues of guilt-by-association.

Perhaps they should associate with a better class of people.

Update: Day by Day seems to concur.

Update 2: The defense rests. (h/t K-Lo)

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:48 AM | Comments (29) | TrackBack

January 19, 2006

Justice Dept. Declares NSA Surveillance Legal

Raw Story has a detailed 42-page defense of the President's "inherent constitutional authority" to conduct warrantless investigations of enemy forces to dissuade attacks upon the United States.

While I'll let the legal eagles sort out the complex nuances of the language, it appears to my untrained eyes that the document is a fleshed-out version of this five-page DoJ briefing (PDF) released December 22nd, and it seems like they're making the same points I discussed here after reading about the briefing.

The document cites copious case law, the President's inherent Constitutional authority under Article II, and a FISA exemption granted by the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF).

It also makes the argument that if FISA is shown to conflict with the President's Article II Powers, then FISA is unconstitutional.

This is going to be very interesting, but I'd say unless the President's detractors can come up with a new argument I haven't heard of yet, then his powers to conduct this kind of warrantless surveillance will be upheld to the great consternation of those libertarians and leftists that do not understand the responsibilities on the Executive during a time of war.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:08 PM | Comments (66) | TrackBack

"New" Osama Tape is Nothing New

A "new," poor-quality audiotape attributed to Osama bin Laden claims in part, according to CNN:

"We have seen explosions in many European countries. As for similar operations taking place in America, it's only a question of time. They are under way, and you will hear about them soon."

Unless I have missed something, we have not seen explosions in "many European countries," with the last successful large scale terrorist attacks occurring on July 7, 2005 in London. The last well-publicized attempted attacks occurred exactly two weeks later on July 21, 2005, when three botched subway station bombs and one bus bomb led to no casualties and the capture of all four suspected bombers.

There have been no successful attacks since then, making the alleged bin Laden threat sound like a pre-recorded sound bite—perhaps the kind of vague, generic sound bite a dying leader might leave to rally the troops after his death.

While this is perhaps a tape meant to inspire al Qaeda's foot soldiers (or perhaps serves to function as an attack order), the boasting of attacks that either never took place or are far out of date would seem to lend soft credence to the theory that al Qaeda's one-time leader is, as Mercutio said in Romeo & Juliet, "a grave man."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:13 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Uno - Dos -Tres

Splash three:

A Pakistani security official on Thursday said at least three top Al Qaeda operatives were believed killed in a U.S. missile strike last week, including an explosives expert on the U.S. most-wanted list and a close relative of the terror network's No. 2 leader Ayman al-Zawahri...

he U.S. Justice Department names Midhat Mursi al-Sayid Umar, also known as Abu Khabab al-Masri, as an explosives expert and poisons trainer who operated a terrorist training camp at Derunta, near the eastern city of Jalalabad in Afghanistan...

The official named two other foreigners as suspected killed in the missile strike: Abu Ubaida, whom he said was the main operations chief for Al Qaeda in Afghanistan's eastern Kunar province, which lies opposite Pakistan's Bajur tribal region where Damadola is located; and Abdul Rehman al-Misri, an Egyptian and close relative of al-Zawahri, possibly his son-in-law.

Their bodies were among those believed to have been taken away Taliban/al Qaeda sympathizers after the strike. I'd rather have them on a slab with a meat thermometer in them to be certain, but I suspect that the reason thy can confirm their deaths is that they left behind a significant amount of DNA, even if their bodies were not recovered.

Congressman John Murtha, when reached for comment*, declared us defeated and said he was concerned that, "the withdrawal of the Predator drones, the smoking hole on the ground, and the number of dead al Qaeda fighters made it look like victory"...

Yeah, it kinda does.

The NY Times has more details.

*No, not really.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:17 AM | Comments (31) | TrackBack

January 18, 2006

Against the ACLU: What You Can Do


You've no doubt heard that, today, the ACLU--and assorted other enemies of America--filed a lawsuit against the government for NSA "spying" (interesting that there was no such lawsuit when Bill Clinton was doing the same thing--Remember "Echelon" and "Carnivore"?).

Since the lawsuit was filed in U.S. Federal Court in the Eastern District of Michigan, where I practice, I've already been contacted by concerned U.S. citizens who wish to intervene in the case as interested parties (whose interests and welfare are affected by this case) in support of the government's activities. And we may do so. You may feel free to contact me regarding this if you are interested in adding your name.

Her contact page is here. And yes, I did.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:11 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Colin Powell: Iran Hawk

This is interesting:

COLIN Powell yesterday warned that Iran was heading down the same path as Iraq had done before the 2003 invasion and could not be trusted to tell the truth about its nuclear programme.

The former United States secretary of state said he believed Iran posed a serious threat to the rest of the world in the same way that Iraq had done, and he refused to apologise for the action the US took against Saddam Hussein's regime.

However Mr Powell, who was in Glasgow to address a Jewish group, admitted that the military campaign against Iraq was based on "bad intelligence" and that it was now clear that Saddam had not managed to amass any stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction.

In an interview with The Scotsman, Mr Powell said it was clear that negotiations with Iran had come to a dead end and efforts now had to concentrate on preventing it taking the same path as Iraq had done.

Powell does not, however, call for military action... yet.

Increasingly though, the question seems to be more a question of "when" western allies might push for more severe measures, not "if." A nuclear weapon developed by an apocolptic Islamic cult in Tehran (one so crazy Ayatollah Khomeini wouldn't touch them) is not something that the free world can easily allow, but it will come at a price.

Our invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan have cost Coalition nations relatively little compared to what we could face with a military response to Tehran's insistance on developing nuclear weapons.

In Iraq, we completed the military invasion and more than two years of occupation so far for less military casualties than we expected in the battle for Baghdad alone.

In Iran, we would face what most agree is a more competent military than what we faced in Iraq, and we would most likely be forced to engage them in full-spectrum warfare, not just an air war.

While air assets and special forces might launch attacks to shut down known Iranian nuclear sites, our conventional forces based in Iraq would have to prepare to repel possible Iranian overland counterattacks.

In addition, western naval and Marine forces would be forced to seize control of the Persian Gulf, and the Guld of Oman, particulary the Iranian-controlled islands in the Strait of Hormuz.

It perhaps then, no accident that the nation's newest and largest aircraft carrier, CVN 76 Ronald Reagan has deployed to the western Pacific, where it could reposition to the Persian Gulf region relatively quickly. We also know that the 122nd Fighter Wing of the Indiana ANG is deploying up to 72 F-16s to "southwest Asia" in their largest deployment since the Berlin Crisis in 1961.

I hope Iran will back down, becuase I do not desire another middle eastern conflict if it can be avoided. But allowing a genocidal end times cult to possess nuclear weapons is not something the world can allow, even if that cult runs a country.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:14 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Terrorists and Smugglers

Some weak-hearted souls left of the political center have taken issue with this post, in which I stated that the civilians killed in the CIA Predator Hellfire missile strike on a compound in Damadola Pakistan were hardly innocents.

New information about the strike confirms that the compound destroyed in the attack had been used as a meeting place on more than one occasion by "significant terrorist figures" in the past and that "there were strong indications that was happening again."

Leftists, simply appalled that several children died, are unlikely to point out the fact that this stronghold belonged to a smuggler of gems and precious stones, not a "jeweler" as some news outlets have reported. Nor are they like to mention that the area was under the control of the militant Mamond tribe and a Taliban stronghold from which al-Zawahiri had married one of his wives.

Pakistani officials confirm that Egyptian aides of terrorist Ayman al-Zawahiri were killed, with conflicting reports of 4-12 terrorist bodies (Ed Morrisey presumes them to be the high value al-Qaeda members) being removed by unnamed people after the strike. In addition, four bodies that could not be readily recovered in the wake of the strike (presumably trapped under the structure) have been identified as terrorists.

Smugglers, terrorist supporters, and high-ranking terrorists died. I'm sorry about the kids, but I'd call the strike again all the same. Their deaths are regretable, but war often is.

Update: Make that terrorists, smugglers, and an al Qaeda chemical weapons expert/master bomb builder. (h/t Jim Lynch at Bright & Early)

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:52 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Be Careful what you Wish For...

Al Gore, former Vice President and Patient Zero of Bush Derangement Syndrome, responded to charges of hypocrisy by White House Press secretary Scott McClellan via left wing Raw Story:

"The Administration's response to my speech illustrates perfectly the need for a special counsel to review the legality of the NSA wiretapping program.

When does refuting a hysterical, error-prone and contradictory speech by a law school dropout (even a famous one) justify the appointment of a special counsel? If anything, the fact that the case laid out by Gore is full of lies and distortions undermines his credibility to a staggering degree.

The Attorney General is making a political defense of the President without even addressing the substantive legal questions that have so troubled millions of Americans in both political parties.

Perhaps the former Vice President should read this December 22, 2005 letter from the Office of Legal Affairs in the U.S. Justice Department which specifically addresses these legal questions.

There are two problems with the Attorney General's effort to focus attention on the past instead of the present Administration's behavior. First, as others have thoroughly documented, his charges are factually wrong. Both before and after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was amended in 1995, the Clinton/Gore Administration complied fully and completely with the terms of the law.

Mr. Gore, which charges are factually wrong?

The Clinton/Gore administration conducted warrantless physical searches without implicit authorization under FISA, and asserted the Article II powers to do so, just as President Bush justified his executive order for NSA surveillance under Article II powers, with the colorable argument that the AUMF gave him statutory authorization as well. Mr. Gore, President Bush has far more legal cover than any of your administration's actions on this front. Talk to someone who graduated law school—say liberal constitutional scholar Cass Sunstein, or your own associate attorney general John Schmidt—and perhaps you'll find a more informed opinion.

Second, the Attorney General's attempt to cite a previous administration's activity as precedent for theirs - even though factually wrong - ironically demonstrates another reason why we must be so vigilant about their brazen disregard for the law.

Mr. Gore, who are your "many legal experts?" Further, how many of them are directly or indirectly related to the Democratic Party? The NSA surveillance operation that you have not even seen was reviewed by two Attorney's General, Justice Department legal teams, NSA legal counsel, and White House counsel. Again, who are your experts?

If unchecked, their behavior would serve as a precedent to encourage future presidents to claim these same powers, which many legal experts in both parties believe are clearly illegal.

As I noted here:

What this NSA executive order matter will boil down to in the end is a separation of powers issue.

Did Congress have the legal authority to bind the Office of the Presidency in conducting warrantless searches performed for national security reasons, stripping the executive branch of an inherent constitutional power?

Every President from the dawn of international wire communications well over 100 years ago until 1978 assumed this right, and the courts have always deferred to this particular power inherent to the Presidency. This is supported by case law and precedent, and is summed up in the five-page Department of Justice briefing (PDF) delivered last week. In short, the Department of Justice seems willing to make the case that Bush was well within his constitutional powers...

Even after passing FISA, Carter himself did not feel strictly bound by it, nor has any President since, from Reagan, to George H. W. Bush, Clinton, to George W. Bush. They have all asserted (and over the past two weeks, their DoJ attorneys have as well) that the Office of the Presidency has the Constitutional authority to authorize warrantless intercepts of foreign intelligence. This power has been assumed by every president of the modern age before them, dating back, presumably to the Great Eastern's success in 1866 of laying the first successful transatlantic telegraph cable. From Johnson, then, through Grant, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland, Harrison, Cleveland (again), McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, and Taft, through Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, to FDR and on to Truman, Eisenhower, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and into the Carter administration, the Presidency has had the inherent and unchallenged power to conduct warrantless surveillance of foreign powers for national security reasons.

This is a simple, unassailable fact, not matter how loudly demagogues shriek.

As the movie says, Mr. Gore, "reality bites."

The issue, simply put, is that for more than four years, the executive branch has been wiretapping many thousands of American citizens without warrants in direct contradiction of American law. It is clearly wrong and disrespectful to the American people to allow a close political associate of the president to be in charge of reviewing serious charges against him.

Again, it is Mr. Gore that has been creative with both history and facts already presented. Far from condemning the President's program, most credible legal experts find that the NSA surveillance authorized by the President is justified by both Article II of the Constitution and statutory authorization of the AUMF provided by Congress to wage war, in which foreign intelligence operations are recognized as a component of military power. It is a shame that a man just a heartbeat away from the presidency has so little knowledge about the powers and responsibilities of the office.

The country needs a full and independent investigation into the facts and legality of the present Administration's program."

Which we will have, Mr. Gore, in spades.

Not only have your liberal friends in the ACLU and the terrorist-coddling Center for Constitutional Rights and their friends from the HAMAS-associated Council on American-Islamic Relations (though not those members already convicted of terrorism, I'd wager) filed suit, but the Administration is looking forward to testifying about the program in early February in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Please, continue to "bring it" Mr. Gore. You're proving to be the best thing to happen to the Republican Party since Howard Dean.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:32 PM | Comments (39) | TrackBack

January 17, 2006

Gore Admits: Meds Aren't Working

Former inventor and Vice President Al Gore's speech today, thought by many inside of his therapy group to be enlightening, is seen as conflicting with both past and present reality according to experts not currently afflicted with BDS, or Bush Derangment Syndrome.

Gore admitted shortly after his speech today that his current required dosage of ziprasidone just isn't working the way it used to. Gore had been medicated since claiming during an interview with Wolf Blitzer on March 9, 1999 that "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."

Gore is said to still be dealing with the mental fallout of the realization that the concept of the hypertext system that powers the Internet, like the 2000 election, belongs to a Bush.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:36 AM | Comments (65) | TrackBack

January 16, 2006

God Hates Black People

Strange as it may seem (or not), New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, not Robert Byrd or Pat Robertson, made the following claim:

Mayor Ray Nagin suggested Monday that Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and other storms were a sign that "God is mad at America" and at black communities, too, for tearing themselves apart with violence and political infighting.

"Surely God is mad at America. He sent us hurricane after hurricane after hurricane, and it's destroyed and put stress on this country," Nagin, who is black, said as he and other city leaders marked Martin Luther King Day.

"Surely he doesn't approve of us being in Iraq under false pretenses. But surely he is upset at black America also. We're not taking care of ourselves."

Nagin also promised that New Orleans will be a "chocolate" city again. Many of the city's black neighborhoods were heavily damaged by Katrina.

"It's time for us to come together. It's time for us to rebuild New Orleans _ the one that should be a chocolate New Orleans," the mayor said. "This city will be a majority African American city. It's the way God wants it to be. You can't have New Orleans no other way. It wouldn't be New Orleans."

Nagin went on to have an imaginary conversation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I'm going to be very charitable with Mayor Nagin, and simply suggest that he take some time off from his job and seek counseling for what may be post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The man is starting to sound less rational than Marion Barry.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:45 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Allergic to Heroes

"He was not a saint, he was just another human being."

So were the words of U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia as quoted in this CNN article about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. That is all that should be said (and all I will quote from this sad article) about the foibles about a man who's legacy we commemorate today.

Sadly, some people are allergic to heroes.

The deeds of a brave and noble man are no longer allowed to exist on their own merits without being provided "context" by those who have provided nothing else with their lives. One can only assume that Steven Spielberg is working on a script now lionizing James Earl Ray.

Pretender Kings will trade upon Dr. King's sacrifice for their personal glory, delivering speeches designed to put the spotlight on them, not the Reverend Doctor and his message. Let's remember Dr. King for the good he did and what he accomplished, not for how others would use his memory for their purposes.

More About Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The King Center

The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute
Time Magazine 100 article
Wikipedia entry

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:30 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

January 15, 2006

On A Roll

Jeff Goldstein, 2mg regimen of Klonopin (clonazepam) aside, is on an absolute tear today.

I was personally most drawn to They call him al-Flipper, al-Flipper..., which takes a look at a possible attempt by terrorists to mine Huntington Harbor (CA), but as the say, start at the top, and just keep scrolling.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

The posts of several days ago that al Qaeda #2 Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed in a CIA Predator Hellfire missile strike seems to be incorrect, and the media, particularly anti-American media such as the UK's Guardian, were quick to jump on the fact that 17-18 "civilians," including women and children, died in the "botched" attack.

But was this truly an attack on civilians, and was it really botched at all?

In Europe and America, we tend to think of civilians as innocents, but in an area where many of the men in families are fighters loyal to the Taliban, where foreign fighters are interspersed with the local population and none of the combatants wear uniforms, that classification is an artificial construct.

It is now emerging that such may be the case here.

Via Fox News, the Associated Press is now reporting that the airstrike had a very good reason to target these specific houses:

Al Qaeda's No. 2 leader was invited to dinner marking an Islamic holiday at the Pakistani border village struck by a purported CIA airstrike, but he did not show up, intelligence officials said Sunday, as Islamic groups demonstrated across the country in protest of the 17 people killed in the missile strike.

The two Pakistani officials told The Associated Press that this could explain why Friday's predawn attack missed its apparent target, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Usama bin Laden's top lieutenant.

Al-Zawahiri sent some aides to the dinner instead and investigators were trying to determine whether they had been in any of the three houses that were destroyed in the missile strike that killed at least 17 people, one of the officials said.

Terrorists were targeted at these locations by what appears to certainly be human intelligence working in conjunction with aerial surveillance and targeting. Only a human source (or communications monitoring—perhaps by NSA?) would be able to find out that al-Zawahiri was invited to dinner at this home, and it is reasonable for a circling drone or any operators on the ground to surmise that a small ground of armed men arriving at the specified location at the specified time might very well contain their target. This was not a case of an intelligence failure, but a case of one fewer terrorists showing up for dinner.

Locals, of course, claim that they've never sheltered any Taliban or al Qaeda fighters, which flies in the face of all that is known about a region where the Taliban have been known to operate with the support of the local tribes. Even the left-leaning Guardian seems to refute this claim and support the theory that terrorists may have been in the homes:

One Pakistani official, speaking anonymously, told The Observer that hours before the strike some unidentified guests had arrived at one home and that some bodies had been removed quickly after the attack. This was denied by villagers.

The Fox-carried Associated Press article provides more detail:

Survivors in Damadola denied militants were there, but some news reports quoted unidentified Pakistani officials as saying up to 11 extremists were believed among the dead.

A senior intelligence official said Sunday that 12 bodies, including seven foreigners, had been taken from the village.

He said the bodies were reclaimed by other militants, but another Pakistani official told AP on Saturday that some were taken away for DNA tests. A law enforcement official in Washington said the FBI expected to conduct the tests to determine victims' identities, although Pakistan had not yet formally requested them.

I have no doubt that women and children were killed in this strike, but as information continues to develop, it also seems obvious that the group of terrorists monitored and targeted by the CIA were killed as designed.

The Pakistanis have every right to officially protest the strike, but it was almost certainly approved by Musharraf with a wink and a nod. Musharraf himself warned his countrymen in the wake of the attack:

In a speech shown Sunday on state-run Pakistan Television, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf did not address the Damadola strike directly, but he warned his countrymen not to harbor militants, saying it would only increase violence inside Pakistan.

"If we keep sheltering foreign terrorists here ... our future will not be good. Remember what I say," Musharraf said in the speech, which was made Saturday in the northwestern town of Sawabi.

It is a shame that women and children died in this attack, but the blame lies squarely on the fact that these families made the decision to invite terrorists into their homes. The villagers have no one to blame but themselves, and should perhaps consider inviting a better class of people to dinner.


Note: as a small technical note to the Guardian, the use of flares as reported by some eyewitnesses is inconsistent with the use of the Predator.

The Predator drone uses an integrated electro-optical, infrared, laser designator and laser illuminator sensor package, enabling it to see in the dark or through haze, smoke and clouds. Flares are neither carried nor needed by the Predator, and would not be used by special forces to designate a target.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:21 PM | Comments (43) | TrackBack

January 14, 2006

Sending Ahmadinejad Home

What a friend we have in Ahmadinejad:

In November, the country was startled by a video showing Mr Ahmadinejad telling a cleric that he had felt the hand of God entrancing world leaders as he delivered a speech to the UN General Assembly last September.

When an aircraft crashed in Teheran last month, killing 108 people, Mr Ahmadinejad promised an investigation. But he also thanked the dead, saying: "What is important is that they have shown the way to martyrdom which we must follow."

The most remarkable aspect of Mr Ahmadinejad's piety is his devotion to the Hidden Imam, the Messiah-like figure of Shia Islam, and the president's belief that his government must prepare the country for his return.

One of the first acts of Mr Ahmadinejad's government was to donate about £10 million to the Jamkaran mosque, a popular pilgrimage site where the pious come to drop messages to the Hidden Imam into a holy well.

The next time a snotty little leftist snorts derisively about religious "fundies" here in the west (and particularly in the United States), I hope he keeps in mind that evangelicals don't have a genocidal desire to trigger a nuclear war to satisfy some hole-bound water-logged anti-Christ.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his apocalyptic sect are so radical that Ayatollah Khomeini refused to associate with them. Is the picture clear enough? We are dealing with fanatics is a position of power never before seen in a nuclear age, and our task is clear.

Perhaps it can be resolved with an M24, or perhaps it must be resolved with flights of F117s, F15s, and F16s, but history has shown us that you cannot negotiate in this life with one so eager to attain the next.

It is time to help Ahmadinejad attain his martyrdom. The future of millions depends on it.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Gore Executed, Bush Crowned

Former Vice President Al Gore was summarily executed by members of the Republican National Commitee just after midnight Saturday, two days before Gore was to give a speech denouncing the threat the President poses to the Constitution.

At the same time, Democratic member of Congress were rounded up by stormtroopers of the Secret Service and shipped off to concentration camps in the darkest corners of northwest Maryland.

The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post were closed by crack elements of the Texas Air National Guard loyal to Bush, and ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN were appointed censors reporting directly to Scott McClellan.


Al and his cronies are listening to the orb again.

I'll let you decide which.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:15 AM | Comments (23) | TrackBack

January 13, 2006

Zawahiri Killed?


U.S. officials told NBC News on Friday that American airstrikes in Pakistan overnight Thursday were aimed at the No. 2 man in the al-Qaida terror organization — Ayman al-Zawahri.

One official said intelligence indicated a strong possibility that Zawahri was in the Pakistani village at the time of the airstrike, but there is no confirmation that he was killed.

Pakistani officials say U.S. aircraft, apparently CIA Predator drones, fired as many as 10 missiles at the residential compound.

Interestingly enough, a Predator circling overhead was able to capture this image seconds before the missile strike, with subtitles.

Osama bin Laden hasn't been heard from in over a year, and some sources think he died of kidney failure in mid-December and was buried in Iran. If the DNA squeegeed off surrounding rocks verifies that Zawahiri was killed, who does that leave in charge of al Qaeda?

Update: Here.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:40 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Truthout's Accidental Truth

Left wing truthout has breathlessly issued a press release claiming they have a document proving that President Bush authorized NSA wiretaps prior to 9/11/01.

The National Security Agency advised President Bush in early 2001 that it had been eavesdropping on Americans during the course of its work monitoring suspected terrorists and foreigners believed to have ties to terrorist groups, according to a declassified document.

And what does that declassified document (PDF) reveal? Just the bottom half of the cover page alone reveals quite a bit:

Now let me ask you the same three questions I asked at Balloon Juice:

When was this document prepared?
December, 2000, but deriving from NSA Manual 123 Dated February 24, 1998.

Who was President during these dates?
William Jefferson Clinton (January 20, 1993 - January 20, 2001).

When was Bush inaugurated?
January 20, 2001.

Without even going past the cover sheet, it appears that the NSA programs covered by this particular document date to Bill Clinton's second term, from three years before Bush took office.

I'll have to finish reading the document at a later time, but this seems to be hardly the smoking gun that truthout claims.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:57 PM | Comments (32) | TrackBack

File this under, "We would if we could."

"New Jersey: Come See For Yourself."
"When it comes to its image, New Jersey really cares," Gov. Richard J. Codey said. "Our catch phrase should hint at our true beauty."

Mission accomplished.

Personally, I liked, "New Jersey: Most of Our Elected Officials Have Not Been Indicted."

For the time being, it's even true.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:28 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Can You Here Me Now? BOOM!

This bears watching. Via ABC News:

Federal agents have launched an investigation into a surge in the purchase of large quantities of disposable cell phones by individuals from the Middle East and Pakistan, ABC News has learned.

The phones — which do not require purchasers to sign a contract or have a credit card — have many legitimate uses, and are popular with people who have bad credit or for use as emergency phones tucked away in glove compartments or tackle boxes. But since they can be difficult or impossible to track, law enforcement officials say the phones are widely used by criminal gangs and terrorists.


In one New Year's Eve transaction at a Target store in Hemet, Calif., 150 disposable tracfones were purchased. Suspicious store employees notified police, who called in the FBI, law enforcement sources said.

In an earlier incident, at a Wal-mart store in Midland, Texas, on December 18, six individuals attempted to buy about 60 of the phones until store clerks became suspicious and notified the police. A Wal-mart spokesperson confirmed the incident.

The Midland, Texas, police report dated December 18 and obtained by ABC News states: "Information obtained by MPD [Midland Police Department] dispatch personnel indicated that approximately six individuals of Middle-Eastern origin were attempting to purchase an unusually large quantity of tracfones (disposable cell phones with prepaid minutes attached)." At least one of the suspects was identified as being from Iraq and another from Pakistan, officials said.


The Midland, Texas, arrest report police also identified the individuals as linked to a terror cell:

"Evasive responses provided by the subjects, coupled with actions observed by officers at the onset of the contact prompted the notification of local FBI officials to assist in the investigation," the report said. "Upon the arrival of special agents, and as a result of subsequent interviews, it was discovered that members of the group were linked to suspected terrorist cells stationed within the Metroplex.

In addition to the uses stated, cell phones such as these tracfones have been used as part of the triggering device of remote control IEDs in Iraq and elsewhere.

Another blog I came across yesterday (I'm sorry, but I forgot which one [updated: here. -ed.]) noted that there seems to be a pattern of terror attacks or attempted terror attacks following videotaped statements released by al Qaeda's resident cave doctor, Ayman al-Zawahiri. Guess who just released a statement last week?

Something to think about...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:52 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 12, 2006

Empty Suits and Empty Chairs

Senate Democrats took the better part of four days to assault the character and moral fiber of a composed and dignified Judge Samuel Alito.

But when seven appeals court judges came to testify about Alito's stellar qualfications, the Senators did what modern Democrats do best, as noted by Michelle Malkin:

Chuck Schumer walked out before the judges started to speak. Teddy Kennedy showed up late, stayed for 10 minutes, then left. Pat Leahy put on a dour face for a short time, and also bailed. Dianne Feinstein, to her credit, remained for the duration and asked respectful questions.

These four days of testimony were never about "advise and consent," nor giving Judge Alito a fair hearing, but were instead about partisan demogoguery. As John Hinderaker notes:

...if the Democrats were actually interested in what kind of judge Sam Alito is, these [judges] are precisely the witnesses who could tell them. If the Democrats really thought that Alito's judicial opinions reflect poorly on him, these are exactly the people who could answer their questions, and, if they are correct, confirm their fears. But the Democrats apparently knew that wasn't going to happen. The only conclusion one can draw is that the Democrats knew they were smearing a fine man and a fine judge. But the fact that they didn't even have the decency or respect to stay and listen to Alito's colleagues is disgusting.

The Senate Democrats did not want to hear from the appelate judges. The Senators made their scurrilous attacks against a far better man than they, and having failed in their ignoble endevour, they committed to doing what Democrats do best.

They cut and ran... again.

Note: Though it wasn't intentional, it seems that I pretty much ripped off the title and content of this post from Hugh Hewitt through some sort of blogroll osmosis. Freaky.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:55 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

The Domestic Lying Scandal

ABC News still can't basic facts about the NSA surveillance story correct, as ABC reporter Jessica Yellin proves in her story, Ex-CIA Lawyer, No Legal Basic for NSA Spying.

She stumbles—or perhaps intentionally misleads—in the very first paragraph of her story:

Former CIA General Counsel Jeffrey Smith will testify in House hearings that there is no legal basis for President Bush's controversial National Security Agency domestic surveillance program, ABC News has learned.

The section I bolded highlights a key factual error in Yellin's article, which is this fact that the NSA intercept program was decidedly non-domestic in nature.

Yellin's incorrect assertion is one common to many in the media.

Deb Reichmann of the Associated Press, makes the claim as well, even though she contradicts herself by noting, that Bush "…gave the NSA permission to eavesdrop without a warrant on communications between suspected terrorists overseas and people inside the United States."

Josh Meyer and Daryl Strickland get it wrong in the LA Times, as does Scott Shane of the NY Times and literally dozens of other journalists.

Someone please alert the media that a call between people in two countries is, by definition, not domestic. This is sloppy reporting, betraying the fact that the journalists covering this story are ignorant of the subject matter they are covering. Or could another factor be in play?

Certainly, our crack corps of media professionals wouldn't dream of purposefully trying to muddy the waters to push a certain political agenda… would they?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:17 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Tactical Seppuku

The NY Times notes more friction in the Iraqi insurgency between local insurgents and those loyal to al Qaeda:

The discussion dragged on for seven hours, he said, but did not go well. The local insurgents demanded that the foreigners from Al Qaeda leave Iraq.

"They said, 'Jihad needs its victims,' " Abu Lil said. " 'Iraqis should be willing to pay the price.' "

"We said, 'It's very expensive.' "

The meeting ended abruptly, and Abu Lil and his associates walked out, feeling powerless and angry.

"I wished I had a nuclear bomb to attack them," he said. "We told them, 'You are not Iraqis. Who gave you the power to do this?' "

Antagonism between factions of the insurgency is nothing new, but local citizens increasingly tire of al Qaeda tactics that have little or no regard for the lives of civilian populations. Attacks upon Sunnis, including many joining the Iraqi military and police forces, have increased the resolve of Iraqis to defeat al Qaeda as a matter of own personal protection.

What the Times cannot bring itself to say is what al Qaeda in Iraq leader Musab al Zarqawi already knows, which is that al Qaeda cannot win against Iraqis in Iraq, and is merely hoping to delay losing in hopes of a miraculous political victory (a precipitous American withdrawal) as advocated by some Democrats.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:36 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 11, 2006


While I'm not super-interested in the Alito confirmation hearings ("done deal" is the phrase that comes to mind), I know a lot of folks are, and my fellow Pajamahadeen are all over it with the Mondo Alito blog.

Update: Partisans won't be swayed, but this won't play well in Peoria.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hillary's Heroes

A brave U.S. soldier risks certain death by heatstroke to satisfy the liberal cry for more body armor. (Picture source)
Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:28 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

More on Ali Fadhil's Rude Awakening

The Guardian is elaborating on the story it broke yesterday that award-winning Iraqi journalist Ali Fadhil had his home violently invaded in a raid by U.S. soldiers over the weekend. Fadhil claims:

It began at half past midnight on Saturday when explosives blew apart the three entrances to my house. We thought we had been caught in a bombing, but then a rifle sneaked round our bedroom door and shot a couple of bullets blindly; suddenly our room was filled with the wild sounds of US soldiers.

My three-year-old daughter Sarah woke to this nightmare. She pushed herself on to me and shouted "Daddy, Americans! They will take you! No, no, not like this daddy ..." She tried to say something to one of the soldiers but her tears stopped her from speaking. Instead of blaming the soldier I could see she was blaming me. I tried to calm her down but as I did so the soldier threw me on to the ground and tied me.

They then took me downstairs and made me sit in the living room while they smashed every piece of furniture we have. There were about 20 soldiers inside the house and several others on guard on the roof. A blue-eyed captain came to me holding my Handycam camcorder and questioned me aggressively: "Can you explain to me why you have this footage?"

The details of the raid, which I blogged about here yesterday, are very disturbing if true.

U.S forces should have better training and fire discipline than to blindly start shooting around corners in civilian households. American soldiers should have better discipline than to randomly smash all of the Fadhil family's furniture in a random, spiteful manner. If there is any credence to this story at all, then there should be a through investigation by the authorities.

But is there credibility in Fadhil's story? That is turning out to be an intriguing question.

As I stated yesterday, random "spray and pray" gunfire is not part of any military room clearing training of which I've ever heard. It is extremely counterproductive, as rifle fire in the confines of a dwelling is as potentially dangerous to the shooter's entry team and the shooter himself as it is to any potential hostiles.

Likewise, random, purposeful violence against civilians and their property is at odds with American goals in Iraq. I find it hard to believe that any American officer or senior NCOs would allow the destruction Fadhil alleges occurred in his home at the hands of American soldiers.

For that matter, I find it hard to believe that "a small room, two metres [sic] square, with wooden walls, a refrigerator and an oval table in the middle" could also have enough room for three adult males. All this in a 6'x6' room? Again Fadhil's story seems suspect.

But this story is also easily verified, at least in part.

Gunfire--even just a couple of bullets fired "blindly" as Fadhil alleges-- leaves copious physical evidence behind. Anyone familiar with the various "CSI" television shows know that bullets make hole in what they hit, and that bullets shatter on hard targets, leaving identifiable fragments. They also leave cartridge casings, and even an untrained eye can tell the difference between the 7.62x39mm round used by Iraqi forces and the 5.56x45mm cartridge favored by American forces.

I sincerely hope that Ali Fadhil would not would not manufacture or embellish a story in the hopes of ginning up interest in a Guardian films project he is developing for Channel 4, but at this point, with so many inconsistencies in his story, I'd have to say that anything at all is possible.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:35 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Fired NSA Stalker Admits Role as Times Source

Move over Bill Burkett, we've got a new player vying for "most disreputable source" status.

Via ABC News:

Russell Tice, a longtime insider at the National Security Agency, is now a whistleblower the agency would like to keep quiet.

For 20 years, Tice worked in the shadows as he helped the United States spy on other people's conversations around the world.

...Tice tells ABC News that some of those secret "black world" operations run by the NSA were operated in ways that he believes violated the law. He is prepared to tell Congress all he knows about the alleged wrongdoing in these programs run by the Defense Department and the National Security Agency in the post-9/11 efforts to go after terrorists.

Now here is what ABC didn't tell you.

Tice was diagnosed by the Defense Department with psychotic paranoia and fired for apparently violating his security clearances by taking unauthorized peeks into the background of a female Asian employee he thought was a Chinese spy.

I wonder of James Risen realizes that the Ides of Mapes are upon him...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:32 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

January 10, 2006

Starbucks Bomber Sought

Via Fox News, it looks like someone is brewing for a fight:

Police defused an explosive device found in the bathroom of a Starbucks on Monday. No one was injured.

Authorities were called around 1:15 p.m., after an employee reported finding something suspicious in the store's bathroom. About 100 people were evacuated from the store and apartments above it, and the street was closed to traffic, said Sgt. Neville Gittens...

...In 2003, police said the windows of 17 Starbucks stores were clouded with glue and some of the door locks were jammed. Vandals also posted phony notices purporting to be from Starbucks management announcing the company's intention to abandon some of their San Francisco stores to make room for more locally owned coffee houses.

This appears to be another escalation of the Coffee Wars in which so many lives have been lost, as bean-related violence seems poised to spin madly out of control.

San Francisco authorities are said to be looking for these suspects seen just outside the targeted Starbucks just minutes before the bomb was discovered.

If these suspects are spotted, do not approach them, but instead please call the San Francisco Police Department, or contact them on the set of their latest movie.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:47 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Confirming Alito

You might notice I'm not blogging the Senate confirmation hearings for SCOTUS nominee Judge Samuel Alito. It isn't because I don't care. It's because I consider his confirmation a foregone conclusion.

Looking at his record, I see even fewer reasons for Democrats to legitimately argue against him that they did against now Chief Justice John Roberts. I think his confirmation is a done deal without anything but a bluff at a filibuster. The only question for me is which Democrats will lose the most credibility with moderates during the proceedings pandering to the liberal "base" that keeps losing them elections.

Volokh, and The Corner will certainly be following the hearing closely, so visit them or your other favorite blogs for more coverage as it occurs.

In my opinion, Alito's confirmation to the Supreme Court like waiting for sun to come up in the morning. It's only worth talking about if it doesn't happen.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:16 AM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

January 09, 2006

Rude Awakening

The Guardian (UK) is reporting that an Iraqi journalist working for them received a very rough wake-up call:

American troops in Baghdad yesterday blasted their way into the home of an Iraqi journalist working for the Guardian and Channel 4, firing bullets into the bedroom where he was sleeping with his wife and children. Ali Fadhil, who two months ago won the Foreign Press Association young journalist of the year award, was hooded and taken for questioning. He was released hours later.

Dr Fadhil is working with Guardian Films on an investigation for Channel 4's Dispatches programme into claims that tens of millions of dollars worth of Iraqi funds held by the Americans and British have been misused or misappropriated.

The troops told Dr Fadhil that they were looking for an Iraqi insurgent and seized video tapes he had shot for the programme. These have not yet been returned.

The director of the film, Callum Macrae, said yesterday: "The timing and nature of this raid is extremely disturbing. It is only a few days since we first approached the US authorities and told them Ali was doing this investigation, and asked them then to grant him an interview about our findings.

"We need a convincing assurance from the American authorities that this terrifying experience was not harassment and a crude attempt to discourage Ali's investigation."

Dr Fadhil was asleep with his wife, their three-year-old daughter, Sarah, and seven-month-old son, Adam, when the troops forced their way in.

"They fired into the bedroom where we were sleeping, then three soldiers came in. They rolled me on to the floor and tied my hands. When I tried to ask them what they were looking for they just told me to shut up," he said.

This story, as reported, is shocking and should result in an immediate investigation.

There is the distinct possibility that everything Dr. Fadhil says is accurate, at which point Central Command will have some serious explaining to do.

But as of the time I'm writing this article, every single post being written about this story comes from testimony provided by Dr. Fadhil himself in the Guardian, with no other witness testimony, or physical evidence provided to back his contentions. In addition, some of his charges do not seem to square with American tactics.

His case, as published, is thin.

The Guardian article has no concurring witnesses. In a city of 2 million, no one else heard shots or saw them enter Fadhil's home?

At the end of the article, Fadhil claims, "They rolled me on to the floor and tied my hands."

Tied? The American military does not generally tie up its prisoners, but instead uses handcuffs or nylon flexcuffs.

But the strongest evidence for or against Fadhil will be ballistic in nature.

The article seems to assert weapons discharges at two points: when the home invaders "blasted their way into the home," presumably breaching the door, and then, "firing bullets into the bedroom."

U.S forces sometimes use a breaching round to blast locks to gain entry into locked buildings, so I'd expect to find 12-gauge shotgun shell casings at or near the Fadhil family front door. The door should also show obvious signs of being breached, with shot-out locks.

I would also expect to find multiple 5.56mm NATO cartridge casings at, near, and possibly inside the bedroom, as well as bullet holes and 5.56mm bullet fragments.

If this physical evidence is not readily apparent, or the bullet holes, cartridge casings, and bullet fragments are not consistent with U.S weaponry… well, then we might have another kind of story on our hands entirely.

Jayson Ali Blair, anyone?

Note: In case anyone is wondering, the Ali Fadhil in this story is in no way related to the Fadhil family of Iraq the Model, which I confirmed with Omar Fadhil today.

Update: Ali Fadhil has released a no-less-confusing first-person account, discussed here.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:27 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

January 08, 2006

Bitter Anti-Semitic Patholigical Hatred Sells, But Who's Buying?

Some months ago when Cindy Sheehan's book Not One More Mother's Child was launched, I noted that it had an Sales Rank that I think (I'm going by memory here) was in the mid 3,000s.

I'd since rather forgotten about Saint Cindy and her tome, until I noticed Goldstein mocked her latest batch of arsenic nuttiness this afternoon as he riffed of her latest post to Michael Moore's site:

“I would say 30,000 more or less have died as a result of the initial incursion and the ongoing violence against Iraqis,” said George on December 12, 2005. Even if one accepts this very low guess-ti-mate by George, his policies have been responsible for ten times the 3000 deaths on September 11, 2001. By his own admission, he is ten times the terrorist that Osama ever was."

It isn't even worth the effort to rebut Sheehan anymore as she has become a sad parody of herself; the only hope I have is that the wing of the party will help her hold another March of the 29 before the '06 elections.

But all the same, I was wondering how her book sales were doing in the wake of her latest pronouncement. I'm not sure what I was expecting her Sales Rank to be.

I certainly expected something better than this:

113,488 yesterday, dropping to 153,267 today. Ouch. Was it something she said?

By way of comparison, Everyone Poops came in at 2,031 today, and The War Against Toenail Fungus came in at 41,338.

It seems like fewer and fewer people are buying her crap these days...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:31 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 07, 2006

Thick-Headedness Does Not Count As Armor

I relish when pundits try make profound judgments about a subject they clearly do not understand, like this - yeah, I know - NY Times article that breathlessly states:

A secret Pentagon study has found that at least 80 percent of the marines who have been killed in Iraq from wounds to their upper body could have survived if they had extra body armor. That armor has been available since 2003 but until recently the Pentagon has largely declined to supply it to troops despite calls from the field for additional protection, according to military officials.

The ceramic plates in vests currently worn by the majority of military personnel in Iraq cover only some of the chest and back. In at least 74 of the 93 fatal wounds that were analyzed in the Pentagon study of marines from March 2003 through June 2005, bullets and shrapnel struck the marines' shoulders, sides or areas of the torso where the plates do not reach.

Thirty-one of the deadly wounds struck the chest or back so close to the plates that simply enlarging the existing shields "would have had the potential to alter the fatal outcome," according to the study, which was obtained by The New York Times.

Liberal blog Newshog certainly thinks this is today's Crime of the Century, running the headline Rumsfeld and Armor - Criminal Negligence Or Treason? Smelling a choice to score cynical political points, there has been much faux concern for our troops (from the same one liberals have called Marines murderers and war criminals for 40 years, of course) by loopy Kos diarists and the always amusing Pam's House Blend among others, who don't know what they are talking about any more than did the writer at the Times who cobbled this shoddy article together in the first place.

Lets look at some facts, shall we?

Interceptor armor is relatively new, first being deployed in 1999 as a two-part system, made up of a flexible tactical vest and armor plate inserts. The vest itself is a tactical weave that will stop much shrapnel and pistol bullets up to 9mm on its own, but it will not stop any rifle bullet, nor some shrapnel. The second component of the Interceptor system is a hard 10"x12" ceramic armor plate known as Small Arms Protective Inserts (SAPIs) that can withstand multiple strikes from most, but no all rifle cartridges encountered on the modern battlefield.

The Interceptor system used by the Marines (details here) is a marked improvement over the previous PASGT vest, and is available in five sizes. The upgraded version of the Interceptor, which started being deployed in March of 2005, increased the protection with the addition of some side and upper arm protection and can be viewed here (PDF).

But the careful construction of the report defies logic and objectivity.

By design, the Times article shows an inaccurate picture of the Interceptor system provided to the Marines, based upon a false premise. This study only looked at fatalities, those Marines killed by upper body wounds while wearing vests. It excluded all the times where Interceptor vests worked as designed and the Marine survived.

This is akin to judging automobile safety by looking at only wrecks resulting in fatalities, as oppose to those wrecks where fatalities were prevented by good automotive design.

Reporters and clueless critics will not doubt be outraged decades from now when body armor of the day yields similar results against plasma rifles or other military technologies of that time.

There has always been and will always be an arms race between those developing armor and those designing weapons to defeat that armor. It has been that way for tens of thousands of years. It will be this way for the foreseeable future.

It would be smart for these “experts” to pull their heads out of their crawlspaces long enough to glance at a history book before they make fools of themselves yet again.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:52 AM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

John Murtha: Semper Fidelis?

I think regular readers of Confederate Yankee realize that in my previous comments about decorated former Marine and current democratic Congressman John Murtha, I've been very careful not to question his patriotism, even though I questioned his judgement.

That was all until now (following bold mine).

Representative John Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat who has come to national prominence since his call for a quick withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, said Thursday night that he worries about "a slow withdrawal which makes it look like there's a victory."

Appearing at a town meeting in Arlington, Virginia, with fellow Democratic Rep. James Moran, Murtha said, "A year ago, I said we can't win this militarily, and I got all kinds of criticism." Now, Murtha told the strongly antiwar audience, "I worry about a slow withdrawal which makes it look like there's a victory when I think it should be a redeployment as quickly as possible and let the Iraqis handle the whole thing."

John Murtha worries that it looks like the United States might be victorious in Iraq, and that is an outcome that he does not desire.

Let that sink in for a moment.

A ranking Democratic member of Congress has publicly stated that he is against the United States winning a war, and advocates abandoning an ally, a fledging democracy, before it can even defend itself.

I will no longer restrain from commenting on Murtha because of his past military service. Another American military hero turned upon a fledgling democracy once, and he become synonymous with the blackest kind of treachery.

Murtha's treason--and I do now classify it as such-- is even more shameful in my opinion, as he seeks to undermine not only the United States while at war, but he seeks to undermine another nation, Iraq, that has shown a stronger commitment to democracy each time it has been tested at the ballot box.

For all that he once was, John Murtha is a disgrace as a Congressman and to the Marine Corps. If Murtha has any remaining decency, he should resign his position on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

The Marine motto "Semper Fidelis" means "Always faithful" in Latin. For John Murtha, who retired from the Marine Reserves in 1990, "always" lasted just 16 years.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:14 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Can Collector

"Where does he get those wonderful toys? "

--The Joker, Batman (1989)

Ward Brewer has a thing for collecting tin cans. Really big "tin cans," like E-01 Cuitlahuac / DD-574 John Rodgers, a World War II Fletcher-class destroyer he picked up from the Mexican Navy in December.

Now he's found 50 MK-6 Depth Charges from 1942-43.

You kinda get the feeling if you send him to the scrap yard looking for a spare water tank, he'd come back with one of these, don't you?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:13 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 06, 2006

Courage to Stand

Via the Washington Post:

The residents of Ramadi had had enough. As they frantically searched the city's hospital for relatives killed and wounded in bomb blasts at a police recruiting station Thursday, they did something they had never publicly done: They blamed al Qaeda in Iraq, the insurgent movement led by Abu Musab Zarqawi.

"Neither the Americans nor the Shiites have any benefit in doing this. It is Zarqawi," said Khalid Saadi, 42, who came to the hospital looking for his brother, Muhammed.

Muhammed, it was later determined, was one of 80 police recruits killed by the terrorist attack on a recruiting line of 1,000 Sunni police force applicants in a town that had formerly assisted, sometimes actively, al Qaeda terrorists.

But that is not the entire story of yesterday's suicide bombing in Ramadi.

After the attack, the prospective recruits returned to the blood-stained streets, reformed their lines, and continued the screening process to become police officers.

The media breathlessly covers the moment-to-moment carnage of the day. They cannot understand, nor provide context to, the courage of a growing, increasingly tough anti-insurgency movement in Iraq. It is one thing to talk tough, but another thing entirely to stand for your beliefs.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:41 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

January 05, 2006

Pat Robertson: Left Behind

Ever hear of the very popular apocolyptic fiction series Left Behind?

The general plot revolves around the Rapture, an End Times event where all true Christians will be carried up to Heaven and those who are not true Christians will be left behind.

Pat Robertson make be one of the most famous ministers in America, but comments like these makes me think Pat better get ready to wave as others go by:

US evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson suggested Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine retribution for "dividing God's land" of Israel, igniting his latest trademark controversy.

As the Israeli prime minister battled for life, Robertson seemed to suggest to viewers on his "700 Club" television show that Sharon was being punished for his policies in Gaza and the West Bank.

"The prophet Joel makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who, quote, 'divide my land.' God considers this land to be his.

"You read the Bible, he says, 'This is my land.' And for any prime minister of Israel who decides he's going carve it up and give it away, God says, 'No. This is mine.'"

Robertson, who frequently provokes outrage with his remarks, said he was "sad" to see Sharon fall sick, and that he was a "very likeable person."

"I prayed with him personally. But here he is at the point of death. He was dividing God's land, and I would say woe unto any prime minister of Israel who takes a similar course to appease the EU, the United Nations or the United States of America."

"God said, 'This land belongs to me, you better leave it alone.'"

These comments betray a man who seems to think he personally knows the will of God.

I think about one guy knew that, and he had a family connection. Anybody else claiming knowledge of divine will seems to strike me as a false prophet, and more than a little bit of a joke.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:33 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Dine and Dash Pacifism

via an email from Phin, this breathtakingly perfect analogy from Cake Eater Chronicles:

in the restaurant of life, pacifists dine and dash. They're thieves. They eat the good food, they drink the good wine, they enjoy the ambience of the restaurant, but when the tab comes to the table, they get up and run because they won't pay the bill.

Make sure you read it all.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:54 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Problem of Parenting Pancakes

This is simply too surreal (via Captain Ed):

PALESTINIAN society disintegrated further yesterday as gunmen from the ruling Fatah movement tried to kidnap the parents of an American activist who died trying to halt the demolition of Gaza homes, while other militants destroyed part of Gaza's border wall with Egypt - killing two guards...

...Yesterday's rampages began at about 2am, when six gunmen, angered over al-Hams's arrest, attempted to abduct charity workers Craig and Cindy Corrie, whose daughter Rachel was killed three years ago by an Israeli bulldozer.

Rachel Corrie AKA Saint Pancake, for those of you unexposed to her before, was an idealistic, clueless, and quite possibly accidental American terrorist supporter accidentally killed by an Israeli bulldozer while trying to protect a home covering the opening to a Palestinian weapons-smuggling tunnel.

Rachel Corrie burns a hand-drawn American flag

What. Freaking. Idiots.

As Captain Ed says, the most destructive thing Israel ever did to the Palestinians was set them free to murder and rob themselves into oblivion. That they would attack their own allies (Egyptians and/or the Corries, take your pick), just shows them even more incapable of governing themselves than we ever thought possible.

I wonder if the idealistic Corrie family will wise up before they, too, are killed for a Palestinian state that is nothing less than a self-perpetuating wasteland.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:54 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 04, 2006

Hello, Swanny

This could get very interesting:

Former Steelers star Lynn Swann declared his candidacy for Pennsylvania governor Wednesday in the city where he made his name in professional football.

He told The Associated Press in an interview Wednesday afternoon that he made up his mind to run in the fall, after spending months weighing support at events around the state.

Swann, a Hall of Fame receiver and longtime TV football commentator, faces three other candidates in seeking the Republican nomination for governor — his first run for political office. The winner of the May 16 primary would likely face Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell, who is expected to seek a second four-year term.

If successful in his first bid for political office, Swann would become Pennsylvania's first black governor.

According to the article, Swann is polling ahead of the other two Republican candidates, and tracks behind only current Democratic Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell.

Swann has released very little about his proposed platform at this date and I'll withhold judgment until I see something, but one has to think that Swann's current charisma and past athletic triumphs as a Steeler are both strong assets, as well as his potential ability to cut into an black* vote that typically goes unchallenged for any Democratic candidate, regardless of actual worth.

Swann himself thinks that Democrats have "taken the African American vote for granted," and he is indeed right, just as Republicans have taken for granted that black will not vote for a white conservative. But what about a black conservative candidate?

If Swann can garner a significant portion of the black vote, it would make the demographic something it has not been in a long time: politically relevant.

Why would I say such a thing? Am I saying black voters aren't relevant or that they've been wasting their votes? Not at all.

Let me borrow from a comment I made on a another post here last month.

The huge supermajority of blacks—over 80% in many areas—seem committed to voting for any Democratic Party candidate no matter who. There is no reason for either party to waste finite resources in trying to court a demographic whose vote is seemingly set in stone.

The big, nasty secret here is that any group 80%-90% in lock-step with one party is politically irrelevant to both parties.

By being so deeply in the pockets of Democrats, Black leaders have rendered their demographic irrelevant politically. Ever wonder why nobody talks about black voters in elections except in passing, while the parties are concerned with currying favor with much, much smaller Cuban, Arab, Hispanic, or Asian minorities? Now you know. Black voters have made themselves irrelevant by giving away all of their political capital to one party. "Why buy the cow" indeed.

Simply ask yourself:

Why should Democrats waste time and political capital to appease a group that will still vote for them no matter what they fail to do in office? Why should Republicans commit resources to those who will reject them, no matter how hard they try? This has been the “common wisdom.”

If Swann can make a strong showning among black voters in Pennsylvania and Michael Steele can make a strong showing in the same demographic in Maryland's racially-charged Senate race, then black Americans will no longer be able to be ignored by Democrats, and Republicans will feel that efforts to reach out to black communities are worthwhile.

Regardless of which party retains the most influence, a less-lopsided demographic tilt that puts black back in play as a valued voting block is good for black communities not only in Pennsylvania and Maryland, but elsewhere in America.

* I say “black” in this post because of a article I read recently somewhere online talking about the huge cultural difference between African Americans and Americanized Africans, noting that these are two very different demographics. As the issue at hand seems to cut across both groups, I think I'll stick with “black” as a general description. I'll try to link in the article later once I find it again.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:37 PM | Comments (28) | TrackBack

Under-Mountain Miracle

The twelve missing miners feared dead in West Virginia have been found... alive.

Twelve miners caught in an explosion in a coal mine were found alive Tuesday night, more than 41 hours after the blast, family members and Gov. Joe Manchin said.

Bells at a church where relatives had been gathering rang out as family members ran out screaming in jubilation.

Relatives were yelling, "They're alive!"

Manchin said rescuers told him the miners were found.

"They told us they have 12 alive," Manchin said. "We have some people that are going to need some medical attention."

A few minutes after word came, the throng, several hundred strong, broke into a chorus of the hymn "How Great Thou Art," in a chilly, night air.

Of course he isn't safe. But he's good. *

Update: Early AM reports turned out to be false. 11 of 12 miners found were deceased. Only one miner, Randal McCloy, is clinging to life in critical condition.

The rumor started when people overheard communications between rescue team and the comand center and misunderstood calls that rescuers found 12 miners and were checking their vital signs.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:19 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Goodnight, Ahmadinejad

Iran is trying to die:

Iran is secretly trying to obtain technology and expertise needed to build a nuclear weapon, according to a leaked intelligence report that threatens to deepen a rift with the West over its nuclear programme...

The report concludes that scientists in Tehran are shopping for parts for a new ballistic missile with "import requests and acquisitions ... registered almost daily", the Guardian said.

And die quickly (h/t Ace):

The Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said that there will be no dialogue with Europe because it is a waste of time. This point was underlined by the Iranian leader during his first appearance in front of the committee of foreign affairs and national security of the mullah-run majlis.

"The president, defined the attempts by the governments of the past 16 years to bring to the table a dialogue with Europe and to try and reduce tensions, as a waste of time which has so far not produced any tangible results for our country."

Playing a dangerous game with very little skill, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is all but assuring that he will be the final President of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Sometime between now and mid-March, air and special forces from at least one nation and possibility more will likely launch a series of debilitating strikes from which the current radical Islamic regime in Iran will not be allowed to emerge. Any U.S. involvement will not be content to only blunt Tehran's nuclear ambitions, it will, by necessity, seek to topple them from power.

Some worry that an assault on Iran will result in Iran engaging in cross-border attacks into Iraq. These fears are probably warrantless. Decapitation strikes to destabilize the Iranian government and cripple command and control capability will likely result in Iranian forces either holding their positions, or deploying to try to prop up the current regime against an expected internal uprising.

Even an attack order is not likely to initial much more than a few isolated, grossly-overmatched air-to-ground battles that would result in something akin to the 1991 Gulf War's Highway of Death or 1944 Normandy's Todesgang "Death Road" of the Falaise Gap. While Iran boasts an army of 350,000 men, 200,000 are poorly-trained conscripts, and most of their frontline equipment is of questionable repair or is obsolete.

I would not be surprised at all to find Iran under a transition to democratic government by March 13, 2006, with a correlating decline to follow in insurgent activity in Iraq.

I also suspect MoveOn.Org will start a "No Blood for Persian Carpets" campaign that will not resonate with middle America, and Bush's approval rating as a result of these strikes will pass 60%.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:56 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

January 03, 2006

What Kos Didn't Learn From History

Kos was in laughably rare form yesterday (h/t Byron York at The Corner):

When our nation was founded, we had men of real character and courage fighting for their nascent America, one in which liberty and freedom trumped the authorative tendencies of the monarchy. Patrick Henry gave words to those efforts:
"Give me liberty or give me death!" ...

These blowhards pretend they are macho even as they piddle on themselves in abject terror from every "boo!" that comes out of Osama Bin Laden's mouth. They like to speak about how tough they are, even though they send others to fight their battles and couldn't last a day in places like Iraq, or Sudan, or the El Salvador of my youth, or any other war-torn nation....

The breathtaking cowardice of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists knows no bounds. They hide behind the American flag and our genuinely brave men and women in uniform. It's bad enough that they wouldn't deign to join the boots in the ground in Iraq. But now they make a mockery of our Constitution, for the very values that motivated our Founding Fathers to put their lives on the line to combat the unchecked powers of the British monarchy.

I have news for you, Kos, my little historically-retarded liberal, and it isn't just that the UTF stands for “Union of Failed Teachers.”

A skilled orator of his day but never a soldier, Patrick Henry was a "chickenhawk" of the first order by Kos' cheap and tawdry definition, a charter member of what would later become the "101st Fighting Keyboardists."

Wonder if Kos will die when he discovers that Patrick Henry was the forerunner of Mark Levin?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:04 PM | Comments (65) | TrackBack