Saturday, December 31, 2005

President Bush On 2005

In the his weekly radio address, President Bush hailed 2005 as a year where America grew more prosperous and advanced the cause of freedom abroad. He noted the progress made in Iraq:
This year, we watched the Iraqi people defy the terrorists and suicide bombers and hold three successful elections, voting to choose the only constitutional, democratic government in the Arab world.

And in Afghanistan:
We also saw the people of Afghanistan elect a democratic parliament in a nation that only a few years ago was ruled by the Taliban.

The president also said that in 2006, U.S. troops will continue to take steps to quell the insurgency and transfer more control of the fight to the Iraqis:
Our coalition is overcoming earlier setbacks and moving forward with a reconstruction plan to rebuild Iraq's economy and infrastructure. As we help Iraq build a peaceful and stable democracy, the United States will gain an ally in the war on terror, inspire reformers across the Middle East and make the American people more secure.

Regarding domestic issues, the president noted improvements in the U.S. economy
Inflation is low, productivity is high and small businesses are flourishing. Real disposable income is up. Consumers are confident, and early reports suggest good retail sales this holiday season.

As a side note, 1.8 million new jobs were created this past year, and the economy grew at a 4.3% pace in the third quarter - the best rate in more than a year.

President Bush continued to discuss his plans to implement permanent tax cuts, and cut government spending in the coming year. He with this:
In 2005, America grew in prosperity, advanced the cause of freedom and peace, and enhanced our security. Our duties continue in the new year, and I'm confident that our nation will meet the challenges that lie ahead.

You can read the entire radio address here. With all the United States has accomplished in 2005, the year must generally be regarding as a step in the right direction.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Probing the Leaks

Finally, the leak causing the New York Times' NSA story is now under investigation:
The Justice Department has opened an investigation into the leak of classified information about President Bush's secret domestic spying program, Justice officials said Friday. The officials, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe, said the inquiry will focus on disclosures to The New York Times about warrantless surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Justice Deparment is also pursuing an investigation of the leak that led to the Washington Post's secret CIA prison story:
The Justice Department has opened an investigation into the disclosure of classified information about a domestic surveillance program authorized by President Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, officials said today.

Justice prosecutors will examine whether classified information was unlawfully disclosed to the New York Times, which reported two weeks ago that the National Security Agency had been conducting electronic surveillance on U.S. citizens and residents without court-approved warrants.

The probe is the latest in a series of controversial investigations into leaks of classified information during the Bush administration, including the disclosure of a CIA agent's identity that has resulted in criminal charges against former vice presidential adviser I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

The Justice Department has also opened a probe into whether classified information was illegally disclosed to The Washington Post, which reported on a network of secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.

It is long overdue that the administration investigate these leaks. When information gets released that damages national security, especailly in the disguise of a news story, the source of that information must be found, and dealt with.

But it won't be long before the left starts claiming that the NSA leaks were "necessary" leaks because they somehow protected our civil liberties. However, what the left fails to realize is that leaking classified information is always a crime, regardless of the motivation of the leaker. Thus whomever is found to be responsible for these leaks should be prosecuted accordingly.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The ACLU Doesn't Care About National Security

The TSA is implementing a new policy to train screeners to flush out terrorists through casual conversation:
Security screeners at 40 major airports across the country will be trained next year to use casual conversation to flush out possible terrorists.

The Transportation Security Administration will first teach screeners what suspicious behaviors to look for in travelers. These can include nervousness, wearing a big coat in the summer or reluctance to make eye contact with law enforcement. Then, the screener will quiz passengers on their travel plans in hopes of spotting possible terrorists.

The security technique, called behavior detection or behavior-pattern recognition, is already in place at several major airports, including those in Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Miami and Houston. Behavior detection is a common practice among police officers and customs agents, who often engage arriving passengers they suspect in more detailed conversation. But the proposed program that will be put in place at airport security checkpoints nationwide adds a psychological dimension to the screening process.

To most, this program will sound like a something that should have been implemented a long time ago when the TSA was first created. In other words, sensible people will think this is a very resourceful and successful way of targeting and capturing terrorists.

But the ACLU is not a sensible organization:
The American Civil Liberties Union has warned that the screening technique could result in racial profiling.

"This is a code word for targeting brown-skinned males between ages 17 and 45 years. It's not only racial profiling, it's ethnic profiling," said Timothy Sparapani, who oversees privacy rights for the ACLU.

It isn't that the ACLU thinks that national security profiling should only be based on behavior-- and not race, ethnicity, religion, etc.-- but that the ACLU does not want profiling of any kind.

This is an extremely precarious position to take.

Profiling in general has been around since law enforcement was created. That's because profiling works. You can't just go around randomly selecting people and hope that every so often you catch a criminal. You look around for those who are most likely to be committing crimes, and your chances of catching people up to illegal activity goes up exponentially.

But if the ACLU were to have its way, our law enforcement officials would be prevented from profiling of any kind. This effectively blinds the TSA in catching terrorists, and handcuffs TSA workers from doing their job.

As a result, national security is severely at risk, all at the hands of the ACLU. The ACLU does not care about protecting Americans from terrorism, it would rather we do nothing at all.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Rasmussen Reports NSA Poll

There are some very striking results in this survey about the NSA's intercept program:
December 28, 2005--Sixty-four percent (64%) of Americans believe the National Security Agency (NSA) should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States. A Rasmussen Reports survey found that just 23% disagree.

Sixty-eight percent (68%) of Americans say they are following the NSA story somewhat or very closely.

Just 26% believe President Bush is the first to authorize a program like the one currently in the news. Forty-eight percent (48%) say he is not while 26% are not sure.

Eighty-one percent (81%) of Republicans believe the NSA should be allowed to listen in on conversations between terror suspects and people living in the United States. That view is shared by 51% of Democrats and 57% of those not affiliated with either major political party.

The MSM, the Dems, and others of the hard left will, no doubt, find this very surprising. Their fanatical viewpoint forces them to shield themselves from the truth, though information like this is bound to shake up the farce they put on in describing what's going on in the world.

But to those who have taken the time to find, review, and understand the evidence for the legality of the NSA's intercept program, these poll results will come simply as reassurance that the American people aren't falling for the left's clueless rhetoric.

(HT: Michelle Malkin)

Bush Didn't Lie!

From the Chicago Tribune:
On Nov. 20, the Tribune began an inquest: We set out to assess the Bush administration's arguments for war in Iraq. We have weighed each of those nine arguments against the findings of subsequent official investigations by the 9/11 Commission, the Senate Intelligence Committee and others. We predicted that this exercise would distress the smug and self-assured--those who have unquestioningly supported, or opposed, this war.

After this opening, the article goes on to discuss its various findings of each argument the administration made for going to war in Iraq, one bye one. It closes with this:
After reassessing the administration's nine arguments for war, we do not see the conspiracy to mislead that many critics allege.

It might be a good idea to read this whole article.

(HT: Instapundit)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Rumsfeld In Iraq

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been in Iraq for three days, and working diligently:
WASHINGTON (AP) - At every stop on his three-day tour of Iraq, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld sent a similar message: The U.S. military is not rushing to get out, but it is getting out, nevertheless.

In his public appearances with U.S. soldiers and commanders, as well as with Iraqi officials, Rumsfeld emphasized the positive - an elected Iraqi government is being formed under a new constitution, and Iraq's own soldiers and police are shouldering more of the security duties.

Secretary Rumsfeld is laying the groundwork for an appropriate U.S. exit from Iraq, and I do emphasize "appropriate". There is still an insurgency, and still lingering civil disputes, which essentially lead to a prolonged U.S. presence in Iraq.

But after the ratification of the constitution and the successful parliamentary elections this year, progress is being made in Iraq.

This is one of the main reasons why the U.S. troop presence is getting less, and not more prominent.
Rumsfeld and his commanders are now scaling back the U.S. presence in Iraq by canceling the deployment of two Army brigades that had been scheduled to deploy in coming weeks. Fewer U.S. combat troops are needed because the Iraqis will be doing more of the fighting.

"We'll keep passing off responsibility to them," as Rumsfeld put it more than once while in Iraq.

This can be seen as nothing other than good news. The newly-born democracy of Iraq is growing. It is becoming more self-sufficient. It is becoming more stable. It is becoming a real, functioning democracy.

And as the U.S. continues to pass off security and protection responsibilities to the Iraqis, the country is one step closer everyday to being a beacon to freedom in teh middle east.

Colin Powell and the NSA Intercepts

Colin Powell has come out in support of President Bush on the NSA's intercepts of terrorist communications.
Also yesterday, former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell gave full backing to President Bush's recently disclosed policy of having the National Security Agency, without a court order, intercept communications between terror suspects overseas and persons living in America.

Saying he was not personally aware of the warrantless eavesdropping while secretary of state, Mr. Powell told ABC's "This Week" that "in the aftermath of 9/11, the American people had one concern and that was to protect us. And so I see absolutely nothing wrong with the president authorizing these kinds of actions."

He said his "own judgment" is that it would not have been difficult to obtain emergency warrants from a special court under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

But Mr. Powell added: "I don't think anybody objects to the president doing this. He was trying to protect the nation. And we have done things like this in the past."

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Christmas Blogging

Merry Christmas everyone.

I hope that today gives you pause to consider all the wonderful blessing you enjoy everyday, I know it does for me. We are very, very privileged to live in such a wonderful and prosperous country. America is a testament to freedom and democracy everywhere.

So may your Christmas bring you hope, joy, and peace, and may your time with your family be blessed.

And let us not forget the reason for the day:

For unto Us a Child is born
Unto Us a Son is given
And the government shall be upon His shoulder
And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

Again, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.