Saturday, January 07, 2006

Thank You, Sgt. Mark Seavey

Congressmen Jim Moran and John Murtha hosted a "town hall" meeting on Iraq in Arlington yesterday, which was televised by CSPAN. Little did they know that Sergeant Mark Seavey was among the audience. Sgt. Seavey gave the following statement:
Yes sir my name is Mark Seavey and I just want to thank you for coming up here. Until about a month ago I was Sgt Mark Seavey infantry squad leader, I returned from Afghanistan. My question to you...(applause).

Like yourself I dropped out of college two years ago to volunteer to go to Afghanistan, and I went and I came back. If I didn't have a herniated disk now I would volunteer to go to Iraq in a second with my troops, three of which have already volunteered to go to Iraq. I keep hearing you say how you talk to the troops and the troops are demoralized, and I really resent that characterization. (applause) The morale of the troops that I talk to is phenomenal, which is why my troops are volunteering to go back, despite the hardships they had to endure in Afghanistan.

And Congressman Moran, 200 of your constituents just returned from Afghanistan. We never got a letter from you; we never got a visit from you. You didn't come to our homecoming. The only thing we got from any of our elected officials was one letter from the governor of this state thanking us for our service in Iraq, when we were in Afghanistan. That's reprehensible. I don't know who you two are talking to but the morale of the troops is very high.

Murtha and Moran were reeling after this. They had to be wondering whether their gig was up. They were getting told off by a serviceman who just returned from Afghanistan in a televised meeting that was supposed to be a lefty rally. Rather than bolster support for their bogus arguments, they were exposed for the unrealistic, cut-and-runners that they are.

You can watch the video clip of Sgt. Seavey at CSPAN.

Lorie Byrd over at Polipundit has more, including a link to comments posted by Sergeant Seavey.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Pat Robertson Goes Off the Deep End (Again)

Yesterday, evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson told viewers that God's wrath spurred Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's massive stroke. He claimed that God punished Sharon for "dividing the land that God gave to the Israelites."

Now Robertson is saying that his own ignorant remarks are another manifestation of God’s anger:
If Christians would read the Bible, instead of just watching TV, they would understand that people who claim to know exactly why God does what He does are usually false teachers. God disciplines American Christians for their willful ignorance of the Scriptures by having me embarrass them every 60 days or so with another ridiculous remark.

Yikes. I guess I'd have to say that I prescribe to what Mark Steyn said about Robertson on Hugh Hewitt's Radio show yesterday:
As for Pat Robertson, he sounds as nutty as these Imams, who say it's the will of God. I don't subscribe to this equivalence between, you know, Wahabi Imams and Christian fundamentalists. But I'm prepared to make an exception for Pat Robertson.

What will Pat Robertson say next to smear the reputation and further the stereotype of the religious right?

Iraq Trained Terrorists Under Saddam

The guys over at Power Line found out from Steve Hayes of the Weekly Standard that he was about to publish documents and photographs discovered in Iraq showing that Saddam's regime trained thousands of international terrorists at several camps in Iraq. Here is how Hayes' story opens:
THE FORMER IRAQI REGIME OF Saddam Hussein trained thousands of radical Islamic terrorists from the region at camps in Iraq over the four years immediately preceding the U.S. invasion, according to documents and photographs recovered by the U.S. military in postwar Iraq. The existence and character of these documents has been confirmed to THE WEEKLY STANDARD by eleven U.S. government officials.

The secret training took place primarily at three camps--in Samarra, Ramadi, and Salman Pak--and was directed by elite Iraqi military units. Interviews by U.S. government interrogators with Iraqi regime officials and military leaders corroborate the documentary evidence. Many of the fighters were drawn from terrorist groups in northern Africa with close ties to al Qaeda, chief among them Algeria's GSPC and the Sudanese Islamic Army. Some 2,000 terrorists were trained at these Iraqi camps each year from 1999 to 2002, putting the total number at or above 8,000. Intelligence officials believe that some of these terrorists returned to Iraq and are responsible for attacks against Americans and Iraqis.

According to this story, the idea that Saddam would never work with Islamic radicals because he was a secularist no longer has the weight it once did. It also turns the tables on anti-war arguments that put a lot of emphasis on fighting the war on terror first, while seeing Iraq as a different endeavor.

This story does indeed put the war on terror and the war in Iraq in a relationship that is much more meaningful than might have been originally thought. Furthermore, there are mounds of documents discovered in the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the overthrow of Saddam in Iraq that have not yet been reviewed and translated.

But the Bush administration is finally making a committed push to dig through these documents and uncover new information. Their is an abundance of information buried in these documents, and we are only beginning to scratch the surface. But even with the small pieces we have gathered from Iraq's intelligence records, there is still plenty of evidence revealing that Saddam was a major supporter and enabler of Islamic terrorism.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Democrats Aren't Planning a Fillibuster on Alito

According to Breitbart:
Democrats haven't completely given up the notion of filibustering Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court, though they're certainly not talking about it before his confirmation hearings...

Democrats have said repeatedly they aren't planning to filibuster Alito, although they also have refused to promise to refrain from the stalling tactic on the federal appellate judge.

In all likelihood, regardless of how the questions are answered, the Senate Democrats will not fillisbuster Judge Samuel Alito.

There are two reasons for this. First, Senate Republicans are a very credible threat to invoke the constitutional option in order to end the fillibuster immediately. And second, especially after the ABA's rating of Alito, the Dems know that even attempting a fillibuster would expose them as the hard left party that they are, and hurt their reputation with the American public.

But that won't stop the Dems from voting against Alito:
"If he's a mainstream conservative, if he doesn't use a court to impose his views on the American people, he's likely to get approved. Some people may vote against him because they don't want someone that conservative on the court," Schumer said. But at the same time, Schumer added, "If he is out of the mainstream and will use his tremendously powerful position as Supreme Court judge to impose his views on the American people, then there's a potential for a filibuster, and no one really knows that until the hearings."

While Alito is certainly within the realm of the "mainstream", Sen. Schumer and other leading Dems like Joe Biden and Harry Reid will find a way to classify him as otherwise. If the tactics they used during the Roberts hearings are any indicator, don't expect these Democratic Senators to be too fond of Judge Alito.

Sen. Schumer claims that "some people" may vote against Alito because "they" think he's too conservative, but it's just another one of his press ploys, and when it comes to crunch time, he'll be one of those "people" who vote against Alito. The Senate Dems are hard lefties and they know it, they just have to hide that fact from the American public.

The Truth From a Ranking Democrat

The following statement came from Rep. Jane Harman, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, on December 21:

As the Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, I have been briefed since 2003 on a highly classified NSA foreign collection program that targeted Al Qaeda. I believe the program is essential to US national security and that its disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities.

Finally, someone from the other side of the aisle is making sense.

(HT: Power Line)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The ABA on Alito

The American Bar Association has given Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito its highest rating:

The "well qualified" rating — the highest — is the same one that Alito earned in 1990 when President Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, nominated him to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Embracing the latest rating, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, "Leading Senate Democrats have said in the past that the ABA is the — quote — gold standard for evaluating judicial nominees."

The Senate Demcorats --led by Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden, Ed Kennedy, and Dick Durbin--will, of course, conveniently forget this come next week when the hearings start.

Despite the rating from the ABA, the Dems will whine that Alito is another one of Bush's conservative minions. It won't work, however, and Alito will get through to the Supreme Court, but that won't stop us from having to watch these guys make a mockery of themselves as they try to drum up new ways to stop Alito's confirmation.

Here's the AP's tentaive schedule for the hearings:
Monday: The committee convenes at noon. Senators give their opening statements. Alito gives his opening statement.
Tuesday: Senators begin questioning Alito.

Jan. 11-13: Senators continue with their questioning. Outside witnesses are expected to testify. The panel meets in closed session to discuss Alito's FBI background check.

Jan. 17: Senate Judiciary Committee votes on Alito's nomination.

Jan. 18-19: Senate debate on Alito.

Jan. 20: Final Senate debate on Alito. Senate votes on nomination.

Next week will certainly be interesting.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Jim Risen's Book Drops

Titled "State of War: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration", Risen's book was released today. The major revelation of the book has already been the subject of extensive reporting by the New York Times --the National Security Agency's eavesdropping of Americans' conversations without obtaining warrants from a special court-- and now the MSM is acting as if it were Risen's book publicist.

ABC's Note reports on Jim Risen's appearance this morning on the Today Show:

On NBC's "Today" show this morning, New York Times scribe Jim Risen told Katie Couric that he hopes he will not have to reveal his sources to a grand jury and declared his story to be the exact opposite of the Plame case. Risen claims his sources revealed information for the best possible reasons and he went on to declare those sources "patriots."

Very, very predictable. Risen wants to make distinctions between his sources and the leakers in the Valerie Plame case. The problem is, leakers of classified information can talk about their motives all they want, but their actions are criminal offenses. Distinctions are irrelevant in this case.

Power Line considers the issue:
There is a sense in which Risen is correct in saying that the leakers in the two cases are exact opposites: Scooter Libby is a Republican, and the anti-Bush bureaucrats who leaked classified national security information to Risen and his colleagues are, in all likelihood, Democrats. But Risen's suggestion that his leakers, unlike Scooter Libby, are "patriots," is risible. As we've said before, nearly all leakers believe that their motives are pure. The Plame leakers were motivated by their admirable desire to counter lies that were being told by administration critics, especially Joe Wilson.

One possibly legitimate distinction between the two groups is that the Plame leakers may not have known that there was anything secret about Valerie Plame's CIA employment--prosecutor Fitzgerald apparently concluded that she was not a covert agent--while there is no doubt that the NSA leakers were well aware that they were compromising highly classified intelligence operations.

So as I've said, the leakers' motives don't really matter, only their actions do. They have revealed highly classified information that is not meant for public use, and in doing so have compromised our national security.

Consequently, they have committed a crime, and should be prosecuted accordingly, then sent to jail to serve for their crimes.

The Military Times Poll

Michelle Malkin points us to a new Military Times poll that illustrates how our troops still support President Bush and his handling of the war in Iraq, and each by big margins. A couple key questions:
Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the situation with Iraq?
Approve 54%
Disapprove 25%
No opinion 9%
Decline to answer 12%

President George W. Bush has my best interests at heart.
Strongly agree 19%
Agree 39%
Disagree 18%
Strongly disagree 11%
No opinion/no answer 12%

Head over to Michelle's blog for more, and be sure to read he entire post.

Monday, January 02, 2006

The President Defends the NSA

President Bush gave a live press conference today from a hospital where soldiers wounded in Iraq are receiving treatment. John Hinderaker points us to the important parts of what the president had to say:
[President Bush] said that the program consists of tracking phone calls made from al Qaeda members overseas into the U.S. If that is correct, then the media's frequent references to "domestic spying" are incorrect. When asked what Bush has to say to those who are concerned about their civil liberties, he responded along the lines of, "If al Qaeda is calling you, we want to know why. I think that's reasonable.

As John notes, if the program is as the President described it, and the interceptions are carried out overseas, then it is outside the scope of FISA. If this is the case, then the legality of the NSA's surveillance programs must be unquestioned.

This bit of infomation could prove to be very helpful to the administration, but even if it turns out that FISA's scope does indeed reach the NSA, the informed observer will conclude that the agency's programs are indeed legal when all the evidence is considered.

John also has a good bit of insight about the relevance of Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, and whether or not the 1952 case offers any precedent for the NSA's surveillance programs.