Cindy Sheehan, the peace activist who set up camp near President Bush's Texas ranch last summer, said Saturday she is considering running against Sen. Dianne Feinstein to protest what she called the California lawmaker's support for the war in Iraq.
"She voted for the war. She continues to vote for the funding. She won't call for an immediate withdrawal of the troops," Sheehan told The Associated Press in an interview while attending the World Social Forum in Venezuela along with thousands of other anti-war and anti-globalization activists.
"I think our senator needs to be held accountable for her support of George Bush and his war policies," said Sheehan, whose 24-year-old soldier son Casey was killed in Iraq in 2004.
And the marathon crackup of the Democrats goes on and on . . .
NBC News aired an "exclusive" story in 2004 that dramatically recounted how al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar, the San Diego terrorists who would later hijack American Airlines flight 77 and fly it into the Pentagon, received more than a dozen calls from an al Qaeda "switchboard" inside Yemen where al-Mihdhar's brother-in-law lived. The house received calls from Osama Bin Laden and relayed them to operatives around the world. Senior correspondent Lisa Myers told the shocking story of how, "The NSA had the actual phone number in the United States that the switchboard was calling, but didn't deploy that equipment, fearing it would be accused of domestic spying." Back then, the NBC script didn't describe it as "spying on Americans." Instead, it was called one of the "missed opportunities that could have saved 3,000 lives."
Among the lives that could have been saved was that of Charles F. "Chic" Burlingame III. He was a pilot on Flight 77, and died That Day.
More from Ms. Burlingham:
Another example of opportunistic coverage concerns the Patriot Act's "library provision." News reports have given plenty of ink and airtime to the ACLU's unsupported claims that the government has abused this important records provision. But how many Americans know that several of the hijackers repeatedly accessed computers at public libraries in New Jersey and Florida, using personal Internet accounts to carry out the conspiracy? Al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi logged on four times at a college library in New Jersey where they purchased airline tickets for AA 77 and later confirmed their reservations on Aug. 30. In light of this, it is ridiculous to suggest that the Justice Department has the time, resources or interest in "investigating the reading habits of law abiding citizens."
We now have the ability to put remote control cameras on the surface of Mars. Why should we allow enemies to annihilate us simply because we lack the clarity or resolve to strike a reasonable balance between a healthy skepticism of government power and the need to take proactive measures to protect ourselves from such threats? The mantra of civil-liberties hard-liners is to "question authority"--even when it is coming to our rescue--then blame that same authority when, hamstrung by civil liberties laws, it fails to save us.
This is what the people who claim to be protecting our "civil rights" want to return us to — a country where thousands can die one morning, because law enforcement wasn't allowed to catch terrorists before they struck. Or as Ms. Burlinghame put it:
The public has listened to years of stinging revelations detailing how the government tied its own hands in stopping the devastating attacks of September 11. It is an irresponsible violation of the public trust for members of Congress to weaken the Patriot Act or jeopardize the NSA terrorist surveillance program because of the same illusory theories that cost us so dearly before, or worse, for rank partisan advantage. If they do, and our country sustains yet another catastrophic attack that these antiterrorism tools could have prevented, the phrase "connect the dots" will resonate again--but this time it will refer to the trail of innocent American blood which leads directly to the Senate floor.
A Republican Congresswoman from Florida, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, will introduce a resolution this week
to slash American funding to the Palestinian Authority and the United Nations; designate the Palestinian Authority as a "terrorist sanctuary," and close down some Palestinian Authority offices in America as part of a reduction of Palestinian-American diplomatic ties.
The Congresswoman's opinion:
"You are either with us or against us on the war on terror," Ms. Ros-Lehtinen said yesterday. "I think the response of Abu Mazen and the PA leadership relating to Hamas clearly shows where they are."
Go, Congresswoman! Though I have to say, if any people deserve the evil of having foreign aid inflicted on them, it's the Palis. Still, despite the harm it would do them, on balance they should be cut off.
And I hope when the Republicn nominee for President is chosen in 2008, he'll seriously consider Ms. Ros-Lehtinen for veep.
Even For President Penis, That's Pretty Stupid and Hypocritical
Bill Clinton at Davos: 'Global inequality and climate change are bigger threats to the world than terrorism.'
Try telling the family of the victims of a terrorist attack "It could have been worse. Instead of your loved one being murdered, the climate might have changed, or the rich might have gotten richer."
By the way, Big Bill is the guy who amassed a net worth of over a million dollars while serving as the lowest-paid governor in the U.S., and has earned millions since he left office. Somebody let me know when he reduces his annual income, net worth, and standard of living to whatever is the median average for the world.
Vichy Democrats (and oh, what a perfect name) is calling for Senators to vote no today on cloture. In itself, that is perfectly legitimate. But for those Senators who don't, suggest that they wimp out and abstain, since under Senate rules, that's the same as voting no.
That's political cowardice (perfectly in tune with a group that calls itself "Vichy Democrats," of course), but if even that's too much, then they urge Senators to go over to Walter Reed and visit wounded soldiers, as political cover for their anti-Alito stance.
'Use wounded soldiers as cover for anti-conservative, anti-Republican activities.' Even for liberals, that stinks. I hope for the sake of the country that none of the Senators are stupid and craven enough to do it.
The late science fiction author H. Beam Piper used to feature a device he called a "veridicator" in his science-fiction stories. It was a device that hooked to someone's head and told whether they were telling the truth or not.
Hmm, wouldn't it be fun to see the investigations into the NSA leaks investigated with this? Or politicians explaining what they intend to do, and why, under one of these? Or the detainees at Gitmo that claim they never, ever, were Islamofascist terrorists?
But this is much more important than law enforcement. A society without the possibility of lying would be almost unimaginable to us, different in every way.
And it's coming, soon. Probably. Unless we decide to stop it. Are you willing to trade a the ability to deceive for the assurance that no one will be able to deceive you?
Beats me. But I don't think it will be possible to stop.
In the space of 48 hours, the three top Democrats for 2008 proved themselves to have all the staying power of a nervous virgin on the set of a porn shoot.
Look at me. I'm pro-choice. I support gay marriage. I think porn is OK and that drugs (which aren't OK) ought to be legal. My tastes in music and movies and entertainers are a lot more New York and LA than they are Nashville or Branson.
But with the exceptions of maybe Zell Miller and Joe Lieberman, there's not a Democrat today I'd vote for without first chewing through my own forehead.
Democrats: I'm your target voter! Appeal to me! I'm sick of the Republicans already! Don't make me perform impossible physical acts! Please!
Meanwhile, over at the Washington Post (or here, if you aren't registered), Jim VandeHei writes:
Democrats are getting an early glimpse of an intraparty rift that could complicate efforts to win back the White House: fiery liberals raising their voices on Web sites and in interest groups vs. elected officials trying to appeal to a much broader audience.
These activists — spearheaded by battle-ready bloggers and making their influence felt through relentless e-mail campaigns — have denounced what they regard as a flaccid Democratic response to the Supreme Court fight, President Bush's upcoming State of the Union address and the Iraq war. In every case, they have portrayed party leaders as gutless sellouts.
One Dem strategist comments:
"The bloggers and online donors represent an important resource for the party, but they are not representative of the majority you need to win elections," said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic lobbyist who advised Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign. "The trick will be to harness their energy and their money without looking like you are a captive of the activist left."
Mr. Elmendorf almost got it right. The trick, in reality, is to stop appearing like our Democrats are held captive to sleazebag amoral lobbyists.
Here's notice, any Democrat associated with Elmendorf will be outed. The netroots can then decide for itself whether it wants to provide some of that energy and money to that candidate.
There's nothing "extreme left" with demanding Democrats act like Democrats, no matter how much these out-of-touch and self-important beltway insiders think it is.
We can leave it to history to decide if it's Elmendorf, Kos, or both who are "out-of-touch and self-important." What I find interesting is Kos's automatic assumption that 'acting like a Democrat' equals 'sharing my political positions.' It's not at all obvious to me that Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, or John F. Kennedy would have shared the Kos wing's ideas. Nor is it obvious, to say the least, that a majority of the country shares Kos's views. But the Kos wing is determined to bully the Democratic Party into going their way.
And the fact is, the Kossites can do it. Kerry called for a filibuster of Alito, in order to placate the Kos wing when he tries for the Donks' nomination in 2008. Hillary immediately went along. Feinstien flip-flopped, following a threat to run against her in the primary by Cindy Sheehan! When a Sheehan can threaten a Feinstein, you know that the process the Democrats use to pick their candidates is broken.
If the Democrats are to recover, they need to weaken the influence of primary voters. An "insider" dominated process will pick people who have a chance of winning the election. Nothing else will help.
NRO Financial gives us the cost of the Iraq Campaign as a percentage of GDP, as calculated by Prof Robert Whaples of Wake Forest University and Jerry Bower of National Review Online. The Iraq campaign consumes 2% of GDP, compared to 1% for the Gulf War. All other wars were more expensive.
In terms of absolute number of deaths, it's our third costliest war, soon to be fourth. As a percentage of our population, it's second lowest.
Proportionate Deaths Population Total Pop. for a population Conflict (millions) Deaths Ratio of 300 Million Revolutionary War 3.5 4,435 85.71 380,143 War of 1812 7.6 2,260 39.47 89,211 Mexican War 21.1 13,283 14.22 188,858 Civil War: Union 26.2 359,528 11.45 4,116,733 Confederate 8.2 198,524 35.59 7,263,073 Combined 34.3 558,052 8.75 4,480,921 Spanish-American War 74.6 2,446 4.02 6,684 World War I 102.8 116,708 2.92 341,584 World War II 133.5 407,316 2.25 915,316 Korean War 151.7 33,651 1.98 66,548 Vietnam War 204.9 58,168 1.47 85,165 Gulf War 260.0 293 1.15 877 Iraq War 300.0 2,377 1.00 2,377
Data for above table here, except Iraq Campaign deaths, from here. To put it another way, in proportion to population, casualties in the Civil War Between the States were about eighteen hundred eighty five times higher than the Iraq Campaign (around eight hundred thirty times higher if you include the Sept. 11th casualties and other terrorist attacks).
Perhaps the best comparison is with World War III, the Seventy Years War against the late Soviet Union ("late Soviet Union" — WHOOPEE! We beat you!). We took 91,819 deaths pulling them down (in the proxy wars of Korea and Vietnam). Adjusted for the smaller populations, that's 151,713 out of today's population. Compared to that figure, deaths in World War IV, military and civilian, are maybe 4% of WWIII. Of course WWIV isn't over, but it's hard to see us ever suffering anything like 150,000 deaths, barring a major WMD attack on the U.S.
So we're not only winning a war for our survival, we're winning damn cheaply.
Omar reports that a combined sweep by the Iraqi army and tribal militias in Anbar province has arrested 270 al-Qaida members, including both native Iraqis and foreigners, plus some who were sheltering them.
This is tremendous. This is a watershed, a turning point. With Iraqis fighting against them effectively, the terrorists won't be able to last long. And with people being arrested for cause and held for trial, the danger of civil war is much diminished. Nor is it easy to use the anti-terror campaign as a means of private revenge when people are arrested and get to tell their side of the story. And of course, captives will be interrogated, and will give us more information that leads to the arrest of further terrorists and supporters, as well as leading to arms caches and bomb factories.
With Zaqari being an idiot who accidentally and intentionally murderss Iraqis, he can be predicted to help this process along. But if he stops attacking Iraqi civilians, his organization has a chance of stopping it's decline, or at least slowing it. However, if he stops attacking Iraqi civilians, he must attack Iraqi government forces and Allied troops only, a recipe for death. If al-Qaida goes severely underground and does little, they'll be exposing their weakness, itself a moral defeat for them. They're caught in a trap.
We are winning, and they are losing. Given the probable upcoming campaigns in Syria, Lebanon, and Iran, this is very big, very good news.
Update: alas, it appears to be false news as well.
The Left likes to bleat that “America created Osama bin Laden” and, like so many of its cheap sneers, it never thinks beyond that to the logical question: why did it create bin Laden? Right now, the Democrats and media are engaging in a big ol’ song’n’dance about oversight of intelligence operations. Congressional oversight, judicial oversight, bureaucratic oversight, the more memos to fill, the more forms to file, the better. Whether or not any country needs an intelligence service, nobody needs an intelligence service that has to do everything with the lights up, in public, in triplicate. In the 1970s, Congress dramatically reined in the CIA, gutting clandestine and covert operations. Then at the end of the decade the Soviets invaded Afghanistan and, with the loss of the Shah in Iran, even the Carter administration was smart enough to wonder: what if they don’t stop in Kabul? What if they decide to press on — to Tehran and the Gulf?
So they decide to take the precaution of bogging them down in Afghanistan. In post-Watergate Washington, you can’t put down “Covert Operation to destabilise the Hindu Kush” as a line item on the Federal budget. So the administration has a quiet word with their chums in the region, and the House of Saud, whose expenditures are subject to less rigorous audits than the CIA’s, agrees to pony up the cash and run the recruitment ads, and Pakistan’s ISI comes on board as the local liaison. The Democrats rage all the time about the “outsourcing” of American jobs to the Third World, but the outsourcing of a critical anti-Soviet operation reverberated all the way to 9/11. It dramatically enhanced both the reach and prestige of Saudi Wahabism and the ISI, and it deluded the jihadi into believing they’d overthrown the Soviet Union because the Great Satan was a big sissy who was too scared to do it himself.
Read it all.
THE HOUSE OF SAUD MUST BE DESTROYED — AND WILL BE!
Is there at least one exit strategy in Iraq? Columbia Journalism Review's Paul McLeary seems to find one for the press when he gets to Baghdad:
"Getting a room wasn't a problem; while the hotel used to be full of journalists, many either left the country after the December elections or were pulled out by their publications, which have been cutting back on Baghdad staff as things have gotten progressively more dangerous. The day I checked in, the only people I saw were a few middle-aged Iraqi men in leather jackets forlornly smoking by the front desk, and a lonely cafeteria attendant, sitting at his cash register watching a soap opera.
"In fact, I didn't see any Westerners at all until my second day, when I contacted the acting bureau chief for an American paper who was staying in my hotel. As we were discussing the state of reporting in Baghdad and Iraq in general, he told me that I was a little late to the game. These days, more American reporters are leaving Iraq than arriving. In large part, for the U.S. press, 'The party's pretty much over.'"
I suspect they're discouraged by a lack of bad news.
It was interesting, and amusing, to see that Michael Moore had tried to influence Canadian voters to retain the Liberals. His only concern is that Canadians not do something that might make George Bush's life easier. The fact that the Canadian government has been shown to be almighty corrupt is unimportant.
Which is a typical leftwing attitude. For all their talk, leftism from its beginning has regarded other people as carbon copies of leftists, who ought to agree with the left on everything. And when they don't, as needing to be coerced into agreeing with leftists. See this book for an extended discussion.
THE HOUSE OF SAUD MUST BE DESTROYED — AND WILL BE!
"Please Don't Throw Me In That Briar Patch Over There"
The Democrats are suddenly talking tough. Rep. Tom Lantos (D, San Mateo County) says the U.S. must push for UN sanctions to bring Iran to heal, and if they won't do it, we must use unilateral sanctions, and retaliate against nations trading with Iran. Hillary Clinton says 'Yes, immediate sanctions, and be ready to use military force.' The New York Times is floating trial balloons on an Iran attack. What's going on? Here's Fat Steve's fearless analysis and prediction: Bush is playing rope-a-dope, conning the Democrats yet again.
'You want multi-lateralism? I'll multi-lateral till you choke on it. I'll keep negotiating till you say we have to act, alone if necessary, militarily if necessary. And if you don't say it, then the time will come when you'll have to say that you'd rather Iran got nukes than the U.S. use military force. Let's see how that works for you, electorally.'
The fact is, in the current regime isn't going to back down. It can't. It will come to revolution in Iran, or attacks on the nuclear facilities. Whether the Dems walk the walk will be interesting. When the time comes, I think Joe Lieberman and Hillary will have the stones to do what's necessary, while most of the rest of them won't. The left wing of the Democrats will screw them up, and after the Republicans take Congress in 2006, and Congress plus the Presidency in 2008, the Donkey Party will finally regain some sanity.
Interesting times. Remember, you heard it here first.
Senator Patty Murray, (WA, D.) wants to keep the $40,980.00 and change that Jack Abramoff had various Indian tribes donate to her.
How noble of her, to make sure that she and her party are the ones that stay tainted. As a Republican, I sincerely thank her for demonstrating anew her party's corruption and hypocrisy. And also, for giving my party a talking point to use when the Dems try to use Abramoff against us in the upcoming elections.
During the Cold War, this inability to see Islam for what it was, is, and will be -- a totalitarian threat at least as great, and probably a good deal greater, than Communism -- led to certain obvious failures, and certain failures that remain unobvious. Among the obvious failures was the CENTO military organization, with Iraq, Turkey, and Pakistan enrolled in a supposedly non-Communist military alliance meant to mimic NATO, under American (and British) leadership. It came to nothing, for it was nothing -- except that the Americans were locked into the myth of stout Muslim allies.
The second was the firm entrenchment of the myth of a benevolent Saudi Arabia, our "staunch ally" -- a notion promoted by ARAMCO in its official publications and through a powerful network of Washington agents. This began in the 1950s, and the power of this myth only grew. No one knew much about Saudi Arabia, and Islam itself was hardly understood; in the State Department, it remains [mis]understood. . . .
Still another country misperceived was Turkey. Turkish troops performed bravely in the Korean War. Turkey was a member of CENTO, so temporary and so silly as it was. Turkey was a place that supplied airbases and listening posts. And Turkey was both “secular” and straightforward, just like those mustachioed Pakistani generals who were so much more pleasing than the messy, fussy, dangerously leftist Indians (so they were perceived) in the 1950s and 1960s. So Turkey became a “staunch ally.” There was certainly more truth to this than in the same label affixed to Saudi Arabia. But it depended on Kemalism, on the constraints on Islam. And as we now know, when Islam came back, and it has come back (or rather, since it had never left, but had been tied down) to Turkey, that inevitably means the kind of anti-Infidel (i.e., anti-American) attitudes that can be seen in the Turkish press, and in the Turkish government, and among the Turkish public.
Read it all. And reflect on the difference between allies of convenience and real friends.
The lefties at Code Pink doctored some photographs of Iranian demonstrators to turn them into a recruiting poster for Code Pink. Publius Pundit caught them at it.
The Iranian women were protesting the mullahs tyranny in Iran. The Code Pink females are protesting the U.S. presence in Iraq. I guess Code Pink figured that was close enough to use them for their recruiting. Hey, truth is only a matter of viewpoint, right?
<sarcasm> The Patriot Act is used to violate the privacy of a poor illegal immigrant and terrorist wannabe, with the help of unprincipled vigilantes. Why isn't the MSM covering this assault on our precious liberty to recruit people for mass murder at the public library?</sarcasm>
And write your Congresscritters urging renewal of the Patriot Act.
I was going to write a post about this, but Robert Hayes at "The Argument Clinic" has written it for me. Aside from my not having nearly as negative view of St. Joe the Drunken as he does, I agree with everything he writes. So go read.
Hat tip: Instapundit, who is also being fairly sensible about all this.
THE HOUSE OF SAUD MUST BE DESTROYED — AND WILL BE!
You may remember that the New York Times ran a lot of stories about the Augusta National Golf Club, and it's heinous policy of not allowing women as members.
So of course, when they found out that Senator Edward M. Kennedy belonged to a men-only club, the Times immediately published lots of stories on it. . . Oops. It didn't. The Times didn't break the story, and it didn't write about it until Teddy decided to resign. Then, they mentioned it, on page 14.
But it is just a coincidence. Don't ever get to thinking the MSM is biased in favor of Democrats. That would be a sin against objectivity. They'd never be unobjective. No, the lack of Times coverage is because . . . somebody help me here.
Powerlessness Corrupts Al Gore used the occasion of Martin Luther King Day to deliver one of his trademark angry orations, at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in Washington. His topic: President Bush's spying on terrorists.
As National Review's Byron York notes, Gore tried to have it both ways:
"The threat of additional terror strikes is all too real and their concerted efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction does create a real imperative to exercise the powers of the executive branch with swiftness and agility," Gore told the audience at the Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall. "Moreover, there is in fact an inherent power that is conferred by the Constitution to the president to take unilateral action to protect the nation from a sudden and immediate threat, but it is simply not possible to precisely define in legalistic terms exactly when that power is appropriate and when it is not."
Nonetheless, Gore asserted that he had found a controlling legal authority:
The president has been "breaking the law repeatedly and persistently," Gore said, and his war on terror has "brought our republic to the brink of a dangerous breach in the fabric of the Constitution." Gore stopped short of calling for Bush's impeachment, but he seemed to be suggesting it--and the crowd certainly seemed to be thinking about it--when he said that Congress should hold hearings into "serious allegations of criminal behavior on the part of the president, and they should follow the evidence wherever it leads."
All this despite Gore's acknowledgment that "we still have much to learn" about the program.
So, we don't know much about this program, and the President does have certain inherent powers to protect the nation regardless of statute, but we definitely know that this program is over the line, unwarranted, and illegal, because . . . well, that's what I'm finding hard to get a handle on. Anyone caring to delve into the swamp that is Gore's rhetoric can explore here. Personally, I'm not sure how much is confusion, how much is stupidity and ignorance, and how much just plain lies.
But with Gore, the only thing you know for sure is that he's mad about not being President. That Republicans are bad, while Democrats are good. And that truth doesn't matter when you're making a political speech, and trying to win the 2008 nomination.
MY daughter is 19 months old. She weighs 26 pounds. Nixzmary Brown was 7 years old. She weighed 36 pounds.
If she had not been murdered by a blunt trauma to her skull in the Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment that was at once her home and her torture chamber (complete with child's chair with ropes), Nixzmary might have died of starvation sooner or later.
It appears her torturer, rapist and murderer was her stepfather, Cesar Rodriguez. Of course, Rodriguez could have done none of these things to Nixzmary had her mother, Nixzaliz, done something to stop it.
Read it all.
THE HOUSE OF SAUD MUST BE DESTROYED — AND WILL BE!
But now, Tice tells ABC News that some of those secret "black world" operations run by the NSA were operated in ways that he believes violated the law. He is prepared to tell Congress all he knows about the alleged wrongdoing in these programs run by the Defense Department and the NSA in the post-9/11 efforts to go after terrorists.
"The mentality was we need to get these guys, and we're going to do whatever it takes to get them," he said.
<sarcasm>Right. Doing 'whatever it takes,' including breaking the law, is not appropriate when dealing with minor enemies like terrorists. It must be reserved for the real enemies of the country: Republicans.</sarcasm>
I've been looking for this article (Warning — PDF!) for a while, and now I at least have a line on it.
The founder and director of the ACLU explains how the Soviet Union under Stalin is superior to the United States under Herbert Hoover and Franklin Roosevelt, and thus justified in using repression to keep in power.
THE HOUSE OF SAUD MUST BE DESTROYED — AND WILL BE!
On Monday, it's Richard Dawkins's turn (yet again) to take up the cudgels against religious faith in a two-part Channel 4 programme, The Root of All Evil? His voice is one of the loudest in an increasingly shrill chorus of atheist humanists; something has got them badly rattled. They even turned their bitter invective on Narnia. By all means, let's have a serious debate about religious belief, one of the most complex and fascinating phenomena on the planet, but the suspicion is that it's not what this chorus wants. Behind unsubstantiated assertions, sweeping generalisations and random anecdotal evidence, there's the unmistakable whiff of panic; they fear religion is on the march again.
Read it all.
The problem with atheism is that many of the most interesting questions are of the form "What shall we do with our lives? How shall we live?" The answers to such questions are not testable hypotheses, and are thus not withing the realm of scientific inquiry. Admitting this bugs the Hell out of scientists.
Timothy Garton Ash demonstrates that Europeans don't have a clue about what to do about Iran.
Writing in The Guardian, Timothy Garton Ash says that Europe's plan A for preventing Iran's acquisition of nuclear arms has failed.
What's plan B? Garton Ash says it's the UN, which will consider sanctions. And how will these work? They won't: Russia, China, France, Germany, and Italy will undercut them, he avers.
How about Plan C? Garton Ash doesn't have one. "Europeans and Americans" should get together, pool information on Iran, develop a "common analysis," deciding how any action will affect Iranian society, and then — well, that's where things break down. Apparently, once all these heads are put together, they'll come up with some diplomatic steps that will somehow do what all previous diplomacy has failed to do, and prevent Iran from acquiring nukes. Unless diplomacy fails again.
But there are a few things he's sure of — don't use military force:
For the hawks in Washington and Tel Aviv, Plan C would be to bomb selected Iranian nuclear facilities, in order to slow down Iran's progress towards the bomb. Despite all the famous pinpoint precision of state-of-the-art US bombing, one can be quietly confident that this would take the lives of innocent civilians - or, at least, of people whom Iranian television could credibly claim were innocent civilians. A recent trip to Iran convinced me of two things: first, that there is a large reservoir of anti-regime and mildly pro-western feeling in Iran; and, second, that this reservoir could be drained overnight if we bombed.
. . . Americans, for their part, should not confuse European warnings about the need to proceed cautiously with cowardice, euroweeniness, and all those other failings of "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" attributed to us by red-blooded American anti-Europeans.
. . . I feel deeply uncomfortable when I hear the American neoconservative Frank Gaffney calling for a revolution in Iran.
No, instead, we must attempt to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons by diplomacy. And if there is no such diplomacy available, and the only alternatives are military action, or letting the Iranian regime acquire nuclear weapons? Garton Ash won't say. What he will say is that force musn't be used, and that no attempt to stir up revolution in Iran should be made. Objectively, that means let the mullahs acquire nukes, and maybe wipe out Israel (but after all, they're only Jews), and maybe attack Europe sooner or later (but then, as Rand noted in another context, some people really just want to do).
Now, you can make a case for the position 'Let the Tehran regime acquire nuclear weapons, and rely on deterrence to keep them from using them.' But Garton Ash is so cowardly, he can't even say that out loud. He just professes to hope that somehow, someway, someone will find the magic words that will keep Iran from going nuclear — even though his own column says that the only explicit idea he has, sanctions, won't work.
And that's why we red-blooded Americans despise Europe, and consider it irrelevant, when we think of it at all. To be cautious about getting into a shooting war with Iran is prudent. To allow Ayatollah Khamaeini nuclear weapons may be the best alternative. But to so lack balls that you can't even say that out loud? Go away, coward.
Instead of a live human being, the Senate Judiciary Committee should have an inflatable doll sitting in the witness chair while the senators ask their 37-minute-long questions. On those rare occasions when they need an actual answer, staff people could go fetch the actual nominee from the golf course or wherever.