Friday, December 09, 2005

Democrats On Iraq

The GOP has launced a new video exposing the "Retreat and Defeat" attitude of the Democrats. The video features leading Democrats like Howard Dean and John Kerry as they make anti-war statements advocating a cut-and-run policy that makes victory unachievable.

The video comes after the absurd statements of Kerry and Dean earlier this week, where Kerry equated American soldiers to terrorists and Dean claimed the Iraq war was unwinnable.

Dean is now claiming that he was quoted out of context, but this is completely untrue. Dean has used this tactic many times before after making outrageous statements, but to no avail. His long track record of defeatist rhetoric has shown people that he really is anti-miltitary and anti-victory in Iraq. The scary thing is, he is still the Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, because his opinions represent a larger portion of the Democratic party than you might think.

The blatantly defeatist statements of top Dems like Dean show us the retreat-at-all-costs policy Democrats have committed themselves to on Iraq. But embracing surrender is not what Americans want, and it is not the way to ensure a free, democratic Iraq.

Ed Morrissey understands this, and his Daily Standard Column, "Rally Round the (White) Flag Boys!", sums up the Dems' Iraq policy quite well. But the closing graphs of his post over at Captain's Quarters say it all:
The irony for the Democrats is that they have relied so heavily on making George Bush the focus of their electoral strategy that literally any good news from Iraq now completely discredits them. That's why people like Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi have ratcheted up the hysteria in the last several weeks approaching the next election; if successful, it demonstrates that they had sold out the US for their own petty electoral interests. They need a failure in Iraq, thanks to the stupidity of their strategy through two electoral cycles. Instead of taking Joe Lieberman's advice in 2004 and accepting the Iraq War as a bipartisan effort, so that they could focus the election on domestic issues, the Democrats took up the International ANSWER banner and argued for the most radical positions available.

Now they want to bug out just before the Iraqis make it impossible for them to declare defeat any more, the last tactic open that will ensure a failure that they can then hang onto Bush. A few prominent Democrats have started to balk at this, notably Lieberman himself, Steny Hoyer, and even Hillary Clinton to a smaller degree. They understand that the Democrats have just launched themselves off the cliff, and the GOP is about to ensure that they can't reach back for a parachute for an easy landing.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Afghans Like Their Chances

Four years after the fall of the Taliban, an ABC News poll says that Afghans are optimistic about the future:
77 percent of Afghans say their country is headed in the right direction — compared with 30 percent in the vastly better-off United States. Ninety-one percent prefer the current Afghan government to the Taliban regime, and 87 percent call the U.S.-led overthrow of the Taliban good for their country. Osama bin Laden, for his part, is as unpopular as the Taliban; nine in 10 view him unfavorably.

Progress fuels these views: Despite the country's continued problems, 85 percent of Afghans say living conditions there are better now than they were under the Taliban. Eighty percent cite improved freedom to express political views. And 75 percent say their security from crime and violence has improved as well. After decades of oppression and war, many Afghans see a better life.
This news might be a shocker to the MSM types who were saying four years ago that Afghanistan was a hopeless, Vietnam-like quagmire.

Maybe the Dems should take note of these facts and realize the parallels between the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the overthrow of Saddam Husssein in Iraq. There is a lesson to be learned here: stay the course, stay the course. Good results will follow.

(Via Instapundit)

The House Passes Tax Cuts

It appears as though the congressmen are starting to get it:
The House passed three separate tax cuts yesterday and plans to approve a fourth today, trimming the federal revenue by $94.5 billion over five years -- nearly double the budget savings that Republicans dmuscled through the House last month.

GOP leaders portray the tax bills -- for the hurricane-ravaged Gulf Coast, affluent investors, U.S. troops serving in Iraq and taxpayers who otherwise would be hit by the alternative minimum tax -- as vital to keeping the economy rolling.

"Our economic policies have done the trick," said Rep. Deborah Pryce (R-Ohio). "We are in the middle of one of the strongest economies this country has ever seen."

These tax cuts are a step in the right direction. Also, with with the prospect of a fourth tax cut coming to supplement the three passed yesterday, conservatives have reason to be optimistic.

Now that they are back on track with the tax cuts, the GOP in congress must also make strides in confirming conservative judges and keeping America in a position to win the war in Iraq.

The Knight Ridder Story

Confirm Them considers the Knight Ridder story that accuses Judge Alito of "quietly but resolutely weav[ing] a conservative legal agenda into the fabric of the nation’s laws."

Confirm Them correctly notes that Alito's nomination furthers the goal of appointing Justices to the SCOTUS who will faithfully interpret the laws in a judicially conservative manner. In other words, he is a Justice who will interpret the laws in a manner that respects the intent of the words of the law, rather than seeking particular outcomes.

The Senate Republican Conference defends this point, and recently issued a detailed rebuttal to the Knight Ridder story. The SRC's rebuttal lines up the myths asserted by Knight Ridder's story and then proceeds to knock them down with the facts. Read the SRC's response. The points it makes and the facts it uses will surely come into play when the confirmation hearings begin in January.

Finally, Confirm Them's post notes Hugh Hewitt's response to the Knight Riddder story, in which he shows concern that the authors of the Alito attack piece admitted that other reporters could come to different conclusions based on the evidence that was used.

It all seems a little sketchy to me, and I'm sure that Knight Ridder's arguments will be old news in a week. That is, until Joe Biden and the rest of the Dems try to use them again in the confirmation hearings.

The Avian Bird Flu

Ukraine has joined the list of countries that have seen cases of the H5N1 virus:
KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine said on Thursday it had detected the highly pathogenic type of bird flu that is dangerous to humans, the strain known as H5N1, quoting preliminary Russian data.

The outbreak was located in several villages in the Crimean peninsula where about 2,500 birds died within hours. Local residents said signs of the illness were detected in September and no action had been taken.

China is now reporting its fifth human case of the Avian Flu:
BEIJING - A poultry worker in northeast China has tested positive for the H5N1 strain of bird flu, the government said Thursday, making her the country's fifth confirmed human case of the disease.

The 31-year-old woman, surnamed Liu, was sickened Oct. 30 in Heishan County in Liaoning province, the official Xinhua News Agency said. She was released from the hospital Nov. 29, it said.

Two farmers in the eastern province of Anhui died of the disease last month, while a 9-year-old boy in China's central Hunan province recovered. A 10-year-old girl in southern Guangxi province was also hospitalized and has undergone emergency treatment.

Stay up with the lastest on the bird flu with WSJ's Flu Tracker.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Covering The Iraq War

John Hinderaker over at Power Line point us to a Media Research Center study of coverage of the Iraq war by the three broadcast news networks. As you might expect, the evidence doesn't exactly support the MSM's claim to be fair and objective. Most notably:
Network coverage has been overwhelmingly pessimistic. More than half of all stories (848, or 61%) focused on negative topics or presented a pessimistic analysis of the situation, four times as many as featured U.S. or Iraqi achievements or offered an optimistic assessment (just 211 stories, or 15%).
Be sure to give the report a read, it puts in hard evidence what the conservative pundits have been pointing out for a long time: the MSM is not for the president, the war, or the soldiers fighting it.

It's time that the MSM took a look at offering unbiased and comprehensive reporting on Iraq. For starters, they could ask Sec. Rumsfeld for some help, because he certainly gets it. From his speech Monday at Johns Hopkins University:
I'm not one to put much faith in opinion polls. But the other day, I came across an interesting set of statistics that I want to mention. It seems that the Pew Research Center asked opinion leaders in the United States their views of the prospects for a stable democracy in Iraq.

Here were some of the results: 63% of people in the news media thought the enterprise would fail. So did 71% of people in the foreign affairs establishment and 71% in academic settings or think tanks. Interestingly, opinion leaders from the U.S. military are optimistic about Iraq by a margin of 64% to 32%. And so is the American public, by a margin of 56% to 37%.

And the Iraqi people are also optimistic. I've seen this demonstrated repeatedly--in public opinion polls, in the turnout for the elections, and that tips to authorities from ordinary Iraqis have grown from 483 to 4,700 tips in a month.

This prompts the question: Which view of Iraq is more accurate? The pessimistic view of so-called elites in our country--or the optimism expressed by millions of Iraqis and by the roughly 158,000 troops on the ground? But, most important is the question: why should Iraq's success or failure matter to the American people? I'd like to address these questions today.
But don't expect many MSM types to go digging through Rummy's speech to find out the things they neglect to report. Instead, they'll continue to offer their anti-war slant, and have to face consequences like this.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Bush Fights Back

President Bush responded to Howard Dean's anti-war comments yesterday, calling him a pessimist trying to score political points:

"I know we're going to win, and our troops need to hear not only that they are supported but that we have got a strategy that will win," said Bush...

[The president cited] the scheduled Iraqi elections December 15 and the trial of Saddam Hussein [as] proof of progress in Iraq. Bush said the Saddam trial is proof of the change that has taken place in Iraqi society, compared to the days when Saddam was in charge and opponents faced "death or torture" instead of justice.

"Oh, there's pessimists, you know, and politicians who try to score points. but our strategy is one that will lead us to victory," Bush said when asked about Dean's remarks.

Bush has rejected setting a timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops from Iraq, saying it would encourage the Iraqi insurgency. His administration has recently gone on the offensive against critics of the war by warning that calls to withdraw could hurt the morale of U.S. troops there.

Another good move by the president, and a swift one at that. He's expected to give another speech Wednesday about the Iraq war and the upcoming Iraqi elections.

Let's hope that he continues his battle in the public opinion wars over Iraq, after his previous absence, and works everyday to combat the defeatist, cut-and-run tactics of the Dems.

For the curious, more on Dean's anti-war comments from Jim Gergahty, Captain Ed, and below.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Dean: We Can't Win the War in Iraq

Howard Dean is claiming that the United States will not win the war in Iraq:
(SAN ANTONIO) -- Saying the "idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong," Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean predicted today that the Democratic Party will come together on a proposal to withdraw National Guard and Reserve troops immediately, and all US forces within two years.

Dean made his comments in an interview on WOAI Radio in San Antonio.

"I've seen this before in my life. This is the same situation we had in Vietnam. Everybody then kept saying, 'just another year, just stay the course, we'll have a victory.' Well, we didn't have a victory, and this policy cost the lives of an additional 25,000 troops because we were too stubborn to recognize what was happening."

First of all, the war in Iraq is nothing like Vietnam War, especially not in the sense that Dean wants it to be. Dean's assertion here is that we are suffering massive casualties in a war that is unwinnable. This is completely false.

Vietnam casualties ended up around 58,000 during the span of the war. We have just over 2100 casualties in Iraq over the course of two years. Even if the average number of troops we lost each year doubled and the war lasted another ten years, we would still only have suffered about half of the loss that we did in Vietnam.

Secondly, if so many Dems are now planning to come together on a proposal for immediate with drawal, why didn't they vote for the Murtha Proposal a couple weeks back? This massive shift of opinion does not correlate, especially with the president's speech last week laying out the plan for victory in Iraq. Many Dems were actually receptive to it. Nonetheless, Dean continues:
Dean says the Democrat position on the war is 'coalescing,' and is likely to include several proposals.

"I think we need a strategic redeployment over a period of two years," Dean said. "Bring the 80,000 National Guard and Reserve troops home immediately. They don't belong in a conflict like this anyway. We ought to have a redeployment to Afghanistan of 20,000 troops, we don't have enough troops to do the job there and its a place where we are welcome. And we need a force in the Middle East, not in Iraq but in a friendly neighboring country to fight (terrorist leader Musab) Zarqawi, who came to Iraq after this invasion. We've got to get the target off the backs of American troops.

Dean didn't specify which country the US forces would deploy to, but he said he would like to see the entire process completed within two years. He said the Democrat proposal is not a 'withdrawal,' but rather a 'strategic redeployment' of U.S. forces.

This is typical Democrat rhetoric. Offer up a "new plan" without really providing any sort of real plan. A "strategic redeployment" does not serve the purpose that stabilizing Iraq does. Furthermore, Dean's comment that we should move troops to Afghanistan where we are welcome is misleading.

We are welcome in Iraq too. The majority of the population supports U.S. troops and what they are doing for the country. There is only a small fraction of the population that is part of the anti-American insurgency, and this number is shrinking. The fact that al-Qaida operatives and other anti-American forces have tried to enter the country and join the fight does not mean that Iraqis in general don't want or appreciate our help. So Dean's comment is bogus.

Also, even if we were to "strategically redeploy," how would that take "the target off the backs of American troops?" There are plenty of radical Islamists in the Middle East who don't like us, and would love to get a crack at U.S. soldiers. The troops would still be targeted, only by people other than insurgents in Iraq. Thus, winning the war in Iraq and solidifying the newly created democracy there is of utmost importance.

A democratic Iraq is an ally of the United States, and a vital asset to the general War on Terror.

But Dean does not realize this:
"The White House wants us to have a permanent commitment to Iraq. This is an Iraqi problem. President Bush got rid of Saddam Hussein and that was a great thing, but that could have been done in a very different way. But now that we're there we need to figure out how to leave. 80% of Iraqis want us to leave, and it's their country."
This particular offering says little at best. Start with the politically correct disclaimer that removing Saddam was a good thing, then go on to say we should have done it differently. That doesn't matter anymore, what matters is that Saddam is out of power, and there is an elected government with a ratified constitution operating in Iraq.

As for the stat Dean uses, it's not true. Rep. Murtha has claimed similar statistics, though neither of the two have been verified. Cap that off with the brilliant insight that Iraq is "their country" and you've got another worthless Democrat talking point.

But here's the real kicker:
Dean also compared the controversy over pre-war intelligence to the Watergate scandal which brought down Richard Nixon's presidency in 1974.

"What we see today is very much like what was going in Watergate," Dean said. "It turns out there is a lot of good evidence that President Bush did not tell the truth when he was asking Congress for the power to go to war. The President said last week that Congress saw the same intelligence that he did in making the decision to go to war, and that is flat out wrong. The President withheld some intelligence from the Senate Intelligence Committee. He withheld the report from the CIA that in fact there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction (in Iraq), that they did not have a nuclear program. They (the White House) selectively gave intelligence to the United States Senate and the United States Congress and got them to give the go ahead to attack these people."

There are so many things wrong with this paragraph I don't even know where to begin. As the President Bush and Vice President Cheney have pointed out, they saw the same intelligence that the rest of Congress did in making the decision to go to war with Iraq, and the vast majority of Democrats supported the president's choice based on the evidence present at the time.

The charge that the administration "withheld" valuable intelligence or CIA reports is a blatant lie. There is no evidence of such action, and it is absurd to say that a president of the United States would selectively release vital intelligence just so he could send American soldiers off to war. These are the charges typically brought by crackpot conspiracy theorists with anti-government agendas.

Dean has gone off the deep end. Again. And it would be a travesty if his latest comments about Iraq are seen as anything but false, factless, rhetoric.