Friday, July 14, 2006

The Folly of Land for Peace

Israel went to war this week. The precipitating event was the killing of 8 Israeli soldiers and the capture of 2 by Hezbollah. Hezbollah captured the soldiers in a raid from Lebanon into Israel. Just before the raid, Hezbollah attacked towns in northern Israel with rockets as a ploy to direct attention away from the incursion into Israel's territory by Hezbollah forces.

Hezbollah's attack occurred as Israel was invading Gaza in response to the capture of an Israeli soldier by the Hamas military wing. Hamas used a tunnel to go from Gaza to Israel to conduct its raid.

Note that both raids came from territory that Israel voluntarily ended its military occupation. Israel removed its troops from southern Lebanon 6 years ago. Israel left Gaza 10 months ago. In both cases, the formerly occupied land became a base for Israel's enemies, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, to launch attacks on Israel. Hezbollah in Lebanon has aimed rockets at towns in northern Israel at an increasing rate in the 6 years since Israel left. Hamas in Gaza has fired over 1,000 rockets from Gaza into Israel since Israel withdrew.

Israel's war today demonstrates the folly of land for peace. Israel gave up southern Lebanon and Gaza, but the radical Islamists in Hezbollah and Hamas refused to give peace in return. Israel's concessions encouraged its enemies, not to seek peace but to increase their efforts to destroy Israel.

Land for peace is now revealed as a failed policy. Regardless of the outcome of this war, the policy of land for peace is dead for the foreseeable future.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Prosecute N.Y. Times and Leakers

The New York Times recently revealed another classified program aimed at Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. This program tracked international financial transactions. The Times does not challenge either the usefulness or the legality of this program. In fact, the first article notes that the program led to the capture of a major terrorist who plotted the Bali bombings. Yet, the paper irresponsibly publishes the program's existence and workings anyway.

The Times claims its publication is justified because the matter is of public interest. The identity of the leakers is also a matter of public interest, but the Times refuses to publish that information.

The Times has gone too far. The First Amendment does not shield the press from prosecution. The Justice Department should undertake an investigation into the journalists' acts in this case for the purpose of criminal prosecution. The investigation and prosecution should extend to the leakers.

Congress not long ago called in oil industry executives for a hearing on oil prices. The damage done by the press in revealing classified intelligence programs causes far more damage to the nation and should receive greater scrutiny. Congress should hold hearings into the acts and motives of journalists who reveal classified intelligence programs. Call the reporters and their editors and publishers to testify before Congress. Let the public see what is happening and why.

Congress should also pass a resolution expressing its outrage at the New York Times. The resolution should encourage government prosecution.

Journalists are not above the law. Nothing short of criminal prosecution of the journalists and their sources will deter the continues leaking of classified information. The Bush administration, often wrongly portrayed by the press as fiercely partisan, has treated its critics far more kindly than did the Clinton administration. The Bush administration needs to take strong action now in order to protect all other intelligence programs.

No one elected or appointed the New York Times to determine what classified information should be published. The Times people are a self-anointed, arrogant caste.

The major news media used to act responsibly. That time has passed. Only strong corrective action can return responsibility to the New York Times and others who routinely break laws and cause damage to our efforts in the War on Terror.

Vacation Break

Posting will be light or nonexistent for the next couple of weeks while I am traveling and vacationing.

Posting has been light for the past week for a different reason. My DSL service has been troublesome. (If you considering DSL and cable for a broadband internet connection, cable is probably more reliable.)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Voter ID in Georgia

I listened to a part of Jesse Jackson's radio program this morning. His guest was the Georgia Secretary of State, who is running for Governor this year. The main topic was Georgia's new requirement that voters must present government-issued photo identification. Georgian passed the law early last year as a way to prevent voter fraud.

The Secretary of State is a Democrat, and she opposes the requirement for photo ID. She gave as one of her reasons that photo ID is too difficult to obtain. She cited as an example that several students at a Georgia college had attempted to obtain a Georgia photo ID. They presented valid evidence of Georgia residence, but all had been denied. I was surprised to learn this until the Secretary of State gave the reason. The students had refused to surrender their out-of-state driver's licenses.

I hate to be the one to break this information to the Georgia Secretary of State. It is illegal in both states for a resident of Georgia to have a driver's license from another state. A person can not have a primary residence in both states.

I have moved across state lines a couple of times. Every time I went for the first time to get an in-state driver's license, I was required to surrender the old license.

Requiring voters to present photo ID will help to prevent voter fraud. (Incidentally, Jackson and the Georgia Secretary of State never mentioned the issue of voter fraud.) Obtaining photo ID is not hard. Nearly everyone of voting age has obtained a driver's license, and states with a photo ID requirement for voting can make available a similar free photo ID for non-drivers.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Al Qaeda Tortures and Kills American Prisoners

The bodies of the 2 soldiers captured by Al Qaeda have been recovered. (Hat tip to Power Line for the link.) The bodies were found near the place where they were captured Friday. It appears that the soldiers were tortured. "With great regret, they were killed in a barbaric way," said Maj. Gen. Abdul-Aziz Mohammed, the director of Iraq's defense ministry's operation room.

The International Red Cross (IRC) has not asked to inspect the places where the American soldiers were held. The IRC's response in this case contrasts starkly with its demands on the U.S. Other human rights groups have reacted similarly.

No soldier captured by the enemy in Iraq has been treated in accord with the Geneva Conventions on the treatment of prisoners. They have all been tortured and killed. Yet, the IRC makes no effort to inspect Al Qaeda's detention facilities. In part, the IRC understands that its own inspectors will be killed. Even Muslim inspectors will not be safe at Al Qaeda detention facilities, and the IRC knows this. On the other hand, IRC inspectors have no fear in American detention facilities, no matter what they report.

One argument made for treating Al Qaeda detainees as POWs under the Geneva Conventions is that this will encourage the other side also to abide by the Geneva Conventions. The U.S.'s good treatment of prisoners did not work with the Japanese in World War II. It did not work with the Chinese and North Koreans in the Korean War. It did not work with the North Vietnamese in the Vietnam War. It has no chance of working with Al Qaeda in Iraq or elsewhere.

We do and will treat Al Qaeda detainees humanely, of course. However, they are not POWs. Unlike American and Iraqi forces, Al Qaeda combat forces do not wear uniforms, they hide among civilians, they use civilians as human shields in combat, and they target civilians to terrorize them. Al Qaeda must follow the civilized world's rules of war before its soldiers can qualify as POWs.

Al Qaeda's treatment of captured soldiers is one more example of how purely evil the people in the organization are. For all the complaints about the way the U.S. treats detainees at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and other places, not a single complainer would prefer to be captured by Al Qaeda rather than by the U.S. The contrast could not be greater.

The War on Terror is a war between Good and Evil. The battle for Iraq has become part of that war, whether or not you believe it was when we invaded the country. Al Qaeda is in Iraq today and is trying to force us to leave. Anyone in the U.S. who wants our armed forces to leave Iraq before the victory is won is, knowingly or not, wanting Al Qaeda to win a battle in the War on Terror. Iraq has become an important battleground in the War on Terror. The killing of the 2 captured American soldiers reveals to the world again the true nature of the enemy and reminds us of why we must defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq and in the larger War on Terror.

Monday, June 19, 2006

NSA Surveillance and Planned Terrorist Attack

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal.), a member of the Intelligence Committee, appeared Sunday morning on CNN's Late Edition.

... [Host Wolf] Blitzer opened by quoting a TIME mag story about the subway cyanide attack called off by Ayman al-Zawahiri. Roberts said that he couldn't say anything, he had been briefed "on these kinds of threats," and that the terrorist surveillance program worked.

Blitzer then tried to get something from Di Fi [Feinstein], saying that two former intelligence officials had confirmed the plot to CNN. Feinstein did not budget [sic], saying that the terrorist surveillance program "is an important tool."

The strong suggestion by Roberts and apparent confirmation by Feinstein is that the NSA surveillance program, which has been heavily criticized by Democrats, helped to stop Al Qaeda's planned poison-gas attack on the New York subway system.

The NSA surveillance program works to increase our security in the U.S. Why would any sane and reasonable person, regardless of political affiliation, want to stop a program that saves American lives?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Senate Rejects Troop Withdrawal

In the Senate, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) had drafted a resolution calling for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2006. Kerry was not pushing for a vote on his resolution. Republicans wanted a vote on the measure and therefore introduced an identical resolution. The Senate rejected the resolution by 93-6. (Hat tip to Power Line.) The 6 votes in favor of the resolution, all Democrats, were Kerry, Barbara Boxer (D-Cal.), Robert Byrd (D-W. Va.), Russ Feingold (D-Wis.), and Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.)

Kerry called the Republican tactics political games. He said he wants a "serious debate" on the resolution "that bears my name". Does Kerry mean that he himself did not seriously debate this identical Republican resolution? Did Kerry treat the identical Republican resolution differently because it did not bear his name? Is Kerry a petty man who elevates form over substance?

House Declares Support for War on Terror

The House of Representatives voted today 256-153 in favor of a resolution supporting our side in the War on Terror. After all the "whereas" clauses, the resolution asks for support of the following:

Resolved, That the House of Representatives--
(1) honors all those Americans who have taken an active part in the Global War on Terror, whether as first responders protecting the homeland, as servicemembers overseas, as diplomats and intelligence officers, or in other roles;
(2) honors the sacrifices of the United States Armed Forces and of partners in the Coalition, and of the Iraqis and Afghans who fight alongside them, especially those who have fallen or been wounded in the struggle, and honors as well the sacrifices of their families and of others who risk their lives to help defend freedom;
(3) declares that it is not in the national security interest of the United States to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq;
(4) declares that the United States is committed to the completion of the mission to create a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq;
(5) congratulates Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki and the Iraqi people on the courage they have shown by participating, in increasing millions, in the elections of 2005 and on the formation of the first government under Iraq's new constitution;
(6) calls upon the nations of the world to promote global peace and security by standing with the United States and other Coalition partners to support the efforts of the Iraqi and Afghan people to live in freedom; and
(7) declares that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the noble struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary.

To put it another way, over 3/4 of Democrats voted declared with their votes that:

(1) Democrats do not honor "all those Americans who have taken an active part in the Global War on Terror".

(2) Democrats do not honor "the sacrifices of the United States Armed Forces and of partners in the Coalition, and of the Iraqis and Afghans who fight alongside them, especially those who have fallen or been wounded in the struggle".

(3) Democrats do want "to set an arbitrary date for the withdrawal or redeployment of United States Armed Forces from Iraq", a cut-and-run strategy that would put our good Iraqi friends in peril and would make America's international commitments worthless.

(4) Democrats are not "committed to the completion of the mission to create a sovereign, free, secure, and united Iraq". That is, Democrats do not care whether Iraq is free and secure.

(5) Democrats do not congratulate "Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki and the Iraqi people on the courage they have shown by participating, in increasing millions, in the elections of 2005 and on the formation of the first government under Iraq's new constitution".

(6) Democrats do not want "the nations of the world to promote global peace and security by standing with the United States and other Coalition partners to support the efforts of the Iraqi and Afghan people to live in freedom".

(7) Democrats refuse to declare "that the United States will prevail in the Global War on Terror, the noble struggle to protect freedom from the terrorist adversary".

House Democrats and Republicans have gone on the record with this vote on supporting the War on Terror. (Hat tip to Power Line.) Republicans voted 214-3 for the resolution. Democrats voted 149-42 against the resolution. One independent, a socialist, voted against the resolution. The parties have made clear which one vigorously supports the War on Terror and which one opposes the War on Terror.

This is an amazing vote. The War on Terror is the nation's top priority and will continue to be for a long time, and over 3/4 of House Democrats are not willing to support the War on Terror and to do what is necessary to protect America and its citizens from a repeat of 9/11. A vote for a Democrat candidate for the House of Representatives this fall is a vote against vigorous prosecution of the War on Terror. Take note of this vote, America, and remember that your vote this fall will have consequences.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Zarqawi Information Found and Used

Iraq's National Security Advisor confirmed that the military forces found important documents in the debris after the deadly air strike on Zarqawi's final safe house. The military found "a laptop, flashdrive and other documents". Among the items found was a thumb-nail drive, which was in Zarqawi's pocket. The National Security Advisor cited the thumb-nail drive as proof that the information found was authentic.

In follow-up raids, more information was discovered. The military has made nearly 500 raids since Zarqawi's death. The forces killed 104 and captured 759 in those raids.

Al Qaeda has suffered a blow. How severe a blow is not yet clear. Al Qaeda will spend some time and effort recovering from the death of Zarqawi and its losses in the follow-up raids. In the last few days, the number of attacks is way down. Do not expect that to continue. The road to complete victory may be shorter than it was a few days ago, but the road is still long and difficult. Al Qaeda and the Baathist remnants can not win unless the U.S. cuts and runs before Iraq is ready to defend itself.