CHRISTMAS IN CAMBODIA
From U.S. News & World Report's Michael Barone: Winter in Cambodia?.
This month the Kerry Campaign abandoned one claim that John Kerry had made for years about his Vietnam War service and put another into question. The claim that has been dropped: that Kerry was in Cambodia at Christmastime in 1968. In a 1979 review of the movie Apocalypse Now in the Boston Herald, Kerry wrote, "I remember spending Christmas Eve of 1968 5 miles across the Cambodian border being shot at by our Vietnamese allies." In a 1986 speech on the Senate floor, Kerry said, "I remember Christmas of 1968 sitting on a gunboat in Cambodia. . . . I have that memory which is seared -- seared -- in me." In a 1992 interview with States News Service, Kerry claimed, "On Christmas Eve of 1968, I was on a gunboat in a firefight that wasn't supposed to be taking place." That year he also told the Associated Press, "Everybody was over there [in Cambodia]. Nobody thought twice about it."
These are vivid statements full of colorful detail -- South Vietnamese soldiers shooting off guns to celebrate Christmas. But, as Emily Litella used to say on Saturday Night Live, "Never mind." Historian Douglas Brinkley's bestselling Tour of Duty, based partly on Kerry's wartime journals, places Kerry on Christmas 1968 in Sa Dec, 50 miles from Cambodia.
Swift Boat Veterans For Truth has more details here.
Investor's Business Daily reminds Senator Kerry: We Are Waiting.
John Kerry says he'll fight claims he lied about or exaggerated his service in Vietnam. The best way to fight such charges would be to stop calling people names and start providing some answers.
He'll have to show that the charges by a group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are false. That's a tall order. The allegations are numerous, well documented and quite serious.
In general, they insist that Kerry has consistently overstated his heroism, that many accounts of his service in Vietnam are not true and that he has slandered his fellow veterans by claiming they were guilty of widespread war crimes and atrocities.
It's too bad Kerry has responded to these charges — and particularly those raised in the book "Unfit for Command" by former Swift boat commander John O'Neill — by vowing to "attack."
So far, his "attack" seems to be of the political and personal kind, with Kerry and his followers claiming that O'Neill, and the 250 or so Swift boat vets who back him, are Republican Party shills. On Friday, Kerry filed a legal complaint about O'Neill's group.
But that won't do. Only answers will. Sunday, August 22, 2004
FORGET THE INVESTIGATION, MEDIA ALREADY KNOWS THE ANSWERS
This is how the mainstream media - Reuters in this case - is reporting Democrat talking points as fact:
"Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry asked the Federal Election Commission on Friday to force Republican critics to withdraw ads challenging his military service, and accused the Bush campaign of illegally helping coordinate the attacks.In other words, Reuters seems to be so keen to speed up the complaint process that it is already reporting as fact today what the Kerry campaign wants to Commission to establish as fact tomorrow. That's called pre-judging the outcome.
"The Kerry campaign said it filed the complaint against the group behind the ads, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, 'for violating the law with inaccurate ads that are illegally coordinated with the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign and Republican National Committee'...
"Bush and a top adviser have long-standing ties to people behind the advertisements, which claim Kerry lied about his Vietnam War service record, but the campaign denies any part in the ads themselves."
Then again, maybe Reuters doesn't need to wait for the Commission to reach its decisions, now that the "New York Times" (registration required, alas) has passed its verdict:
"Records show that the group received the bulk of its initial financing from two men with ties to the president and his family -- one a longtime political associate of Mr. Rove's, the other a trustee of the foundation for Mr. Bush's father's presidential library. A Texas publicist who once helped prepare Mr. Bush's father for his debate when he was running for vice president provided them with strategic advice. And the group's television commercial was produced by the same team that made the devastating ad mocking Michael S. Dukakis in an oversized tank helmet when he and Mr. Bush's father faced off in the 1988 presidential election."This is what liberals call a vast right-wing conspiracy. As Patterico writes:
"The article then spends an incredible amount of space detailing this 'web of connections,' which boils down to this: John O'Neill, a successful lawyer in Houston, knows some influential Republicans in Texas. He even knows people, including current and former law partners, who know George Bush and Karl Rove. Wow."Let's forget for a moment logical arguments along the lines of "the group received funding from a trustee of the foundation for Mr. Bush's father's presidential library, therefore it's all lies." Let's hope that at least the Commission will be able to finally concentrate on what the media has largely failed to do so far - determining whether the allegations raised by the vets are true or not. The question is not whether you can draw a fancy graph - "web of connections" - that resembles something out of a JFK conspiracy book; it is whether 250 Swift Boat veterans are lying about John Kerry's war record.
Maybe the Vets should have instead made a documentary that alleges, say, that John Kerry had been in cahoots with the Vietnamese Communist Party. Maybe there would be international awards and millions at the box-office instead of a Federal Election Commission investigation anda shrill overreaction from the Democrat candidate.
Michael Moore says that George Bush, in league with the Saudi Royal family, perverted the war on terror and send his country into a senseless war to benefit his corporate buddies. The Swift Boat Vets say that John Kerry lied about his personal military record in Vietnam.
Compare the gravity of accusations. Compare the official reaction of the accused. Then ask yourself, which one of them has better judgment and integrity to qualify them for the top office? Saturday, August 21, 2004
PLENTY OF HARM, BUT NO FOUL
While I was away, the strategy of the Kerry campaign and its media supporters with respect to the Swiftvet controversy emerged -- ignore the merits of the dispute over Kerry's service (and thus over his character and veracity), claim that the Bush campaign is behind the Swiftvets, and label the whole thing "another" Republican smear. As part of this strategy, commentators like the insufferable Chris Matthews are invoking the Willie Horton ad run in 1988 by a political action committee that supported the first President Bush. Back then, Matthews argued that the Horton ad tipped the election in Bush's favor. No one takes this claim seriously anymore, given the popularity and success of the Reagan administration and Dukasis' strident liberalism and lack of campaigning skill. However, it remains a liberal article of faith that the Horton ad was dirty and racist. Here, I explain the Horton controversy for our younger readers, and show why the ad was accurate in every respect, provided voters with important and relevant information, and was in no way racist.
DEAD HEAT IN THE BATTLEGROUND STATES
The Washington Times notes "a lot of nervousness" among Democrats in key midwestern swing states, in the words of Iowa's Democratic Party chairman, because of the tightness of the Presidential race. The Times article focuses on Iowa, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Michigan.
We can't disclose our sources, but word is that the latest polling here in Minnesota also shows the candidates in a dead heat.
And this was before people found out that Kerry accused his fellow servicemen of committing war crimes "on a day-to-day basis." No wonder the Democrats are nervous. Sunday, August 22, 2004
THE PUBLIC ISN'T BUYING IT
Scott Rasmussen has some interesting data today. He shows Bush and Kerry tied at 47% apiece. Much more interesting, however, are the numbers which suggest that the public is on to John Kerry's Vietnam fables.
Forty-seven percent of voters have a positive opinion of Kerry's military service, while 36% have an unfavorable opinion. That is stunning, given that Kerry has based his campaign on that supposed strength, and has gotten nothing but cheerleading from the mainstream press. Worse yet, only 39% believe that Kerry is telling the truth about his experiences in Vietnam, while 31% believe he is exaggerating, and 15% say he is lying.
Those percentages can only be expected to rise as people learn more about Christmas in Cambodia and Kerry's postwar denunciations of this fellow servicemen. Saturday, August 21, 2004
RICH DEMOCRATS DOMINATE DONATIONS
Now that John Kerry and the Democrats have started denouncing section 527 committees, it's worth pointing out that of the twenty-five largest contributors to 527's, only one -- that's right, one -- is a Republican. The top two donors are Peter Lewis ($14,030,000) and George Soros ($12,600,000). Altogether, the 24 Democrats contributed $56,693,000. The lone Republican donated $1,020,000.
Reader Cecil Bordages sent us a link to this MSNBC story titled "Kerry says Bush broke the law in TV ad dispute." Cecil comments:
Here's the amazing part...about half way through the main article is this section:
“Out of desperation, the Bush campaign has picked the wrong fight with the wrong veteran,” said Jim Jordan, former Kerry campaign manager who now runs an outside group airing ads against Bush. “Today’s the start of the mother of all backlashes.”
Let me see if I got this straight...the proof of the connection between SBVT and Bush is ...the same person had donated both SBVT and Bush campaign...another person once worked for a Bush advisor Karl Rove ...and other similar tenous connections must certainly mean that the Bush campaing and SBVT are working together.
However, when Kerrys former campaign manager is now running an organization which airs anti-Bush adds, there's not even a whif on a concern about a connection.
Unbelievable indeed. Sometimes I wonder whether reporters even read the stuff they write. Friday, August 20, 2004
AMERICA'S MEDIA ELITE
Instapundit expands on the analysis of the WaPo story.
And Powerline's Hindrocket asks the "Emperor's New Clothes" question about old media:
" But what qualifications, exactly, does it take to be a journalist? What can they do that we can't? Nothing. Generally speaking, they don't know any more about primary data and raw sources of information than we do--often less. Their general knowledge is often inadequate. Their superior resources should allow them to carry out investigations far beyond what we amateurs can do. But the reality is that the mainstream media rarely use those resources. Too many journalists are bored, biased and lazy. And we bloggers are not dependent on our own resources or those of a few amateurs. We can get information from tens of thousands of individuals, many of whom have exactly the knowledge that journalists could (but usually don't) expend great effort to track down--to take just one recent example, the passability of the Mekong River at the Vietnam/Cambodian border during the late 1960s."
I have been both a lawyer/law professor for two decades and a television/radio/print journalist for 15 years of those 20. It takes a great deal more intelligence and discipline to be the former than to be the latter, which is why the former usually pays a lot more than the latter. It is no surprise to me, then, when lawyers/law professors like those at Powerline and Instapundit prove to be far more adept at exposing the "Christmas-in-Cambodia" lie and other Kerry absurdities than old-school journalists. The big advantage is in research skills, of course, and in an eye for inconsistencies which make or break cases and arguments. Lawyers turned amateur journalists are going to be much better at it than time-serving scribblers, and even non-lawyer bloggers with superior research skills --think Captain Ed, Tom McGuire and Polipundit-- are going to run rings around "pros" who aren't in a hurry to bring down their favored candidate. They will be assisted in their effort by the full-time labors of "new media" pros like Jim Geraghty and John McIntyre. The only difference between professional and amateur journalists is that the former get paid to practice their trade. As with athletes, the purer effort comes with the amateurs, though some of the pros keep their ideals front and center.
The late Michael Kelly, who would appear on my radio program every Wednesday before he left on his last assignment to Iraq, rejected the idea of journalism as a profession, as there was no licensing body. The child of journalists and among the most respected journalists of our age, Kelly often described journalism a "craft" to me, one in which there were both excellent and terrible practioners. The bloggers of the center-right who have exposed the Kerry Kurtz Chronicles over the past three weeks are much better craftsmen than their paid counterparts at the big papers. They found they key lie --Kerry's many and self-contradicting tales of derring-do across the Cambodian border and his use of those lies for political advancement-- and researched it and exposed it while their paid brethren ignored the big story because it was inconvenient for their candidate's chances. The willingness to push the story forward regardless of whom it injured used to be the mark of journalists at the big papers. It isn't any more. And for a long time to come, the complicity of the old media "reporters" in not reporting Kerry's lies will be an exhibit in the history of the collapse of credibility of America's media elite. Saturday, August 21, 2004
"IS BUSH AN ISRAELI SHILL? OR A SAUDI ONE?"
That's the title of a clever and insightful column by Bret Stephens, the Jerusalem Post's editor, in which he skewers the "Anyone But Bush" crowd for contradicting itself. Sometimes it blames the Israelis for undue influence over the U.S. president and sometimes the Saudis – and both cannot be to blame given their different outlooks and hostile relations. "Is the American president an Israeli shill or is he a Saudi shill? Does he do the bidding of the insidious pro-Israel neocons or of the insidious pro-Arab oil lobby? Is his foreign policy everything his father's was not – and therefore disastrous – or is it an extension of it – and therefore equally disastrous?"
Stephens notes that in the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the Left propounded a blame-Israel set of views and he cites colorful instances of this thesis, starting with the analysis of University of Chicago professor Fred Donner in the Chicago Tribune. "The Bush administration paints a rosy scenario for the upcoming war in Iraq. It is a vision deriving from Likud-oriented members of the President's team – particularly Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith."
That was then. These days, the Left has found another explanation for President Bush's views – he is Prince Bandar's poodle. Michael Steinberger wrote in October 2003 in the American Prospect that "The links between the House of Bush and the House of Saud are deep, overlapping and notoriously opaque." Craig Unger picked these up in his book, House of Bush, House of Saud. Michael Moore amplified them in Fahrenheit 9/11.
Stephens concludes that "either you believe the Jews are behind it all, or you believe the Saudis are. But not both."
He is right, of course, but it is also the case that such inconsistency is a hallmark of conspiracy theorists. I have devoted a whole article ("Israel, America and Arab Delusions") to noting how Arab conspiracy theories simultaneously maintain two opposite views of the U.S.-Israel relationship. Do Arabs, I asked,
see Israel as the forward bastion of Western interests or the covert power behind Western decision making? Logic requires that either Washington tells Jerusalem what to do or Jerusalem bullies Washington. Yet many Muslims - Arabs and Iranians (though few Turks) - seem to sense no contradiction between these two cherished visions of Israel. They merrily exist side-by-side-even in the same individual and in the same speech-without so much as a hint of intellectual strain or inconsistency
This in turn fits into a deeper and darker pattern, as I explained in my 1996 book, The Hidden Hand:
Having it two contradictory ways at once recalls The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Mein Kampf. Those writings portray Jews as both the capitalists and middlemen who steal from the workers and as socialists who threaten the bankers. For example, Hitler declared in 1922 that "Moses Kohn on the one side encourages his [employers'] association to refuse the worker's demands, while his brother Isaac in the factory incites the masses [to strike]." Just as Germans seemed not to note the inconsistency of these claims, so Middle Easterners believe simultaneously in opposite conspiracy theories about Israel and the United States.
Nor does the American Left seem not to note the inconsistency of its theories about Israel and Saudi Arabia influencing U.S. policy.
In all these cases, believing at the same time in two opposing conspiracy theories is the hallmark of a unbalanced political mentality. It is terribly depressing to realize that the American Left – including substantial elements of the Democratic party – now fits this description.
ARAB CHILD ABUSE
Female death cultists deploy their expendable human shields:
Iraqi Shiite Muslim women and children, part of a group of ‘human shields’ protecting the shrine of Imam Ali, are seen inside the holy site in Najaf. They are part of the several hundred supporters of Moqtada Sadr.(AFP/Ahmad Al-Rubaye)
JUSTICE IN THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC
Last Sunday in northern Iran, a 16-year old girl was hanged in public for the crime of having a sharp tongue. (Hat tip: Mentat.)
On Sunday, August 15, a 16-year-old girl in the town of Neka, northern Iran, was executed. Ateqeh Sahaleh was hanged in public on Simetry Street off Rah Ahan Street at the city center.
The sentence was issued by the head of Neka’s Justice Department and subsequently upheld by the mullahs’ Supreme Court and carried out with the approval of Judiciary Chief Mahmoud Shahroudi.
In her summary trial, the teenage victim did not have any lawyer and efforts by her family to recruit a lawyer was to no avail. Ateqeh personally defended herself. She told the religious judge, Haji Rezaii, that he should punish the main perpetrators of moral corruption not the victims.
The judge personally pursued Ateqeh’s death sentence, beyond all normal procedures and finally gained the approval of the Supreme Court. After her execution Rezai said her punishment was not execution but he had her executed for her “sharp tongue”.
Reading between the lines, it’s entirely possible this poor girl was a rape victim, further victimized by the misogynistic barbarism of shari’a.
UPDATE: ActivistChat.com has more on this appalling story. She wasn’t raped; she was on trial for pre-marital sex. And the judge personally put the noose around the girl’s neck.
FLIPPER THRASHES: "MAKE THEM STOP!"
After inviting George W. Bush to Bring ... It ... On, John F. Kerry is now begging him to Make ... Them ... Stop. It’s so unattractive when Presidential candidates whine.
EAST HAMPTON, N.Y. - Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry on Saturday night urged President Bush to “stand up and stop” what he called personal attacks on him over his combat record in Vietnam.
At a fund-raiser attended by about 750 people, Kerry said the attacks by a group of Vietnam veterans and former Swift Boat commanders have intensified “because in the last months they have seen me climbing in America’s understanding that I know how to fight a smarter and more effective war” against terrorists.
“That’s why they’re attacking my credibility. That’s why they’ve personally gone after me. The president needs to stand up and stop that. The president needs to have the courage to talk about it.”
That’s the most incoherent plea for ... something ... I believe I’ve ever read. So Kerry is arguing that the Swiftees are attacking him because they want to prevent him from fighting a more effective war? Oh yeah, that makes a lot of sense.
I don’t recall Kerry “standing up” and asking Michael Moore to “stop” his over-the-top scurrilous campaign of deception (indeed, he got a place of honor at the DNC next to President Carter), or asking MoveOn.org to “stop” comparing Bush to Hitler.
Perhaps that’s because, according to the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform law, it would be illegal for the Bush campaign to try to influence a 527 group like the Swift Boat Veterans, either to continue or to stop. Kerry knows this, of course; it’s just another dishonest ploy for sympathy. Sunday, August 22, 2004
Earlier today I reported Norway’s decision to open the door to one of the most insidious figures of the global jihad—Qazi Hussain Ahmed, leader of the Pakistani Islamist political movement Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). LGF reader evariste emailed a link to a very good article at Asia Times on the recent crackdown by Pervez Musharraf on JI members: Pakistan turns on itself. Author Syed Saleem Shahzad suggests that this crackdown may lead to civil war in Pakistan, because of the strength of JI in the ISI (Pakistani intelligence) and the government.
KARACHI - Under immense pressure from the United States, a slow and gradual operation has begun in Pakistan against the strongest political voice of Islamists and the real mother of international Islamic movements, of which Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front is the spoiled child.
In a surprise move this week, Pakistan’s federal minister of the interior, Faisal Saleh Hayat, listed a number of incidences in which members of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), the premier fundamentalist party in the country, had been tied to al-Qaeda, and called on it to “explain these links”.
“It is a matter of concern that Jamaat-e-Islami, which is a main faction of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal [MMA], has neither dissociated itself from its activists having links with the al-Qaeda network nor condemned their activities,” Faisal said, adding that “one could derive a meaning out of its silence”.
The MMA is an alliance of six religious parties that gained unprecedented electoral victories in national elections in 2002. One of its members is the leader of the opposition in the Lower House, while the MMA controls the provincial government in North West Frontier Province. It also forms part of a coalition government in Balochistan province. The MMA has 67 seats in the 342-seat National Assembly, with just under a third of them held by the JI.
Read the whole thing; Shahzad provides a good capsule description of the genesis of Jamaat-e-Islami, and Qazi Hussain Ahmed’s role in the group. You’ll come away from this article even more disturbed that Norway is blindly allowing an openly avowed “Islamic revolutionary movement” to establish a vanguard on Norwegian soil.
BALI BOMBER VOWS TO CONTINUE JIHAD
Islamic mass murderer Imam Samudra, one of the Bali bombers, may go free thanks to an Indonesian constitutional court decision. And if he does walk out of prison, he vows to kill again—for Allah: Bali bomber pledges fresh attack. (Hat tip: Jihad Watch.)
Vowing to carry out more bombings against “unbelievers”, Samudra said: “I want to continue my Jihad Fie Sabililah (violent holy struggle).
”I want to go to Moro (in the Philippines). I want to go to Afghanistan. I want to go to Israel to kill Sharon.“
Speaking from his death-row cell in Bali’s Kerobokan prison, Samudra vowed to kill again. ”If I get the death penalty, I will die a martyr’s death. If I’m free, I’ll bomb again. You got it?“
The 33-year-old field commander of the Bali bombings that killed 202, including 88 Australians, said he would ”slaughter Bush" if a recent change in Indonesian legislation meant he was released from custody. Saturday, August 21, 2004
GOOD NEWS FROM AFGHANISTAN PART 3
Click here for Arthur Chrenkoff's latest serving. Monday, August 23, 2004