Wednesday, February 21, 2007

EU Referendum added to Jedi blog roll

I've enjoyed reading EU Referendum for months, now, ever since their expose last year about the staged news reporting in the Middle East. Their blog posts are varied and informative, largely because of the point-of-view. The view is from across the pond, and intersects the interest of American conservatives while essentially dealing with European politics.

Obviously the European Union and the challenges it presents to the national sovereignty of its member states lies behind the name.

The political observations are astute, as I see it. And I enjoy the posts regarding military moves and hardware.

Military Commissions Act gets federal court victory

Newspapers in earlier time zones have the advantage in publishing.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled Tuesday terror suspects held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have no challenge rights in U.S. courts.

In a 2-1 ruling, the judges said the 2006 Military Commissions Act blocks detainees from trying to appeal the president's decision to hold them without charges and without any promise of release, The Washington Post reported.
( (UPI))

The case is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Another poll casting doubt on the entrenched Democratic wisdom

With another grateful hat-tip to Powerline, check out these poll results collected through "Public Opinion Strategies."

Public Opinion Strategies* has released a survey [PDF file here] of likely voters’ attitudes toward the Iraq War that finds that most voters think the country is going in the wrong direction (67%) and President Bush is doing a poor job (60%), and that Iraq will never be a stable democracy (60%). No real surprises there, right?

Here are some pretty interesting numbers, though, given those and other indications** that the survey isn’t biased toward President Bush:

  • 57% believe “The Iraq War is a key part of the global war on terrorism.”
  • 57% “support finishing the job in Iraq, that is, keeping the troops there until the Iraqi government can maintain control and provide security for its people.
  • 50% want our troops should stay and “do whatever it takes to restore order until the Iraqis can govern and provide security to their country” while only 17% favor immediate withdrawal
  • 56% believe “Even if they have concerns about his war policies, Americans should stand behind the President in Iraq because we are at war.”
  • 53% believe “The Democrats are going too far, too fast in pressing the President to withdraw the troops from Iraq.”
(James Joyner, Outside the Beltway)
This poll is better than the previous one I linked in at least one respect. Once can look at the .pdf file to see the questionnaire.
How random the sample, I cannot say.

New Congress hard at work on key issue of WWII sex slavery

In another victory of intent over substance, the House of Representatives has apparently been considering a draft resolution calling on Japan to apologize for using women as sex slaves during WWII.
Apparently the resolution will recommend compensation for the sex slaves.

It's safe to say that this is another non-binding resolution, I think.

This story doesn't have any legs in the United States at present.
Japan has expressed its displeasure at a resolution before the US Congress calling on Tokyo to apologise for the country's use of sex slaves in wartime.

Foreign Minister Taro Aso said the resolution was not based on facts.

Sponsored by several members of the US House of Representatives, the proposed text urges Tokyo to formally resolve the issue of so-called "comfort women".

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Americans are against the war in Iraq?

Investor's Business Daily conducted a poll on the feeling of Americans for the Iraq War. To me, this poll seems consistent with polls taken near the time of the 2006 election. People were unhappy about the way the war was going, but not behind a strategy that would leave the U.S. worse off down the line.

There is no information about how the poll was conducted (other than the sample size), so this has to be taken somewhat tentatively.
I'd like to see a major polling outfit ask similar questions, however.

Hat tips to Powerline and Captain's Quarters which, as usual, are pretty much up on the latest.

V, P. Cheney off to Japan, Australia

Pakistan's the News reports on Vice-president Cheney's trip to visit Japan and Australia, primarily in order to encourage their continued support in the main thrust of President Bush's global war on terror.
WASHINGTON: US Vice President Dick Cheney will visit Japan and Australia this week to discuss their roles in Iraq and Afghanistan and common challenges like China’s rise and North Korea’s nuclear programs, officials said.

His trip, which opens in Tokyo Tuesday, comes as the US-led security plan for Baghdad has launched to mixed reviews and as even some White House allies have expressed concerns about a landmark atomic agreement with Pyongyang.

The vice president will take pains to thank Japan and Australia for their help in Iraq and Afghanistan and may urge them to consider ways to beef up their presence in both war-torn countries, a senior US official said on Friday. “We will talk about where there are places where we need to have more done, what other contributions we and other countries can make to the efforts of both those conflicts,” the official told reporters in a pre-trip briefing organized on the condition that he not be named.
(the News)

Friday, February 16, 2007

How do we hamstring the war effort without making it look like we're at fault if it fails?

Hat tip to Powerline blog for making me aware of this story by AP writer Julie Hirschfield Davis:

Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania, tasked by Democrats to direct the next step, says his approach "stops the surge, for all intents and purposes," and would "force a redeployment _ not by taking money away, by redirecting money."

Former Rep. Martin Frost, D-Texas, said Democrats have made a "very clear point" this week by putting the House on record against Bush's troop buildup and now must be careful not to overplay their hand by seeking to cut off funding or limit deployments right away.

"They don't want to be a scapegoat for the Bush administration's failures," Frost said. "This is Bush's war, and there should be no confusion about who's war it is, and Democrats should not set themselves up to have that done to them."

Frost said he did not want to "prejudge" Murtha's effort to restrict funds, but cautioned that Democrats should not yield to intense pressure by outside anti-war groups for swift action to end the conflict.


The Democrats have turned out worse than I hoped on the war. They have continued to offer strategies that will result in defeat. Indeed, the rhetoric suggests that many in the Democratic Party regard the war as already lost.

This is one of the outcomes I predicted when the Democrats took both houses of congress in 2006. They would no longer be able to hide solely behind criticism of the ideas of conservatives.
I think they tried to hold the line on sticking with the just criticize them! strategy, but some good maneuvering by Republicans in congress and the start of presidential campaigning has begun to lift the veil.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Haloscan commenting restored

Haloscan came up with a decent way to accomodate the NewBlogger template.

They've had it available for a few weeks, now, but there was no point during the period that NewBlogger was ushering me past the main editing page to one of the sub-pages.

That was irritating, so I'm glad they fixed it.

This, that, and Iraq

After the tragic incident in which over 100 Iraqis were killed by an IED, the initial results of the new surge strategy seem to be going well. Moqtada al-Sadr has fled to Iran, and news reports today indicate that the al-Qaeda top dog in Iraq,Abu Ayyub al-Masri, has been captured. An aide to al-Masri was killed in the same action, which was conducted by Iraqi troops.
Let's hope for more of the same.

Captain's Quarters has pointed out a story revealing an interesting flip-flop by Hillary Clinton. She announced that President Bush would have to go through Congress in order to attack Iran. Apart from being factually incorrect, Clinton's stance reverses her defense of President Clinton's Bosnian bombing in 2002.
Twenty-six members of Congress later sued the Clinton administration on the grounds that the bombing campaign constituted a violation of the War Powers Act. Mr. Clinton's Justice Department argued at the time that the War Powers Act not only gave the president the authority to drop the bombs on Belgrade — over two congressional votes rejecting a declaration of war on Yugoslavia — but that he was not required to seek congressional approval because Congress had appropriated the funding to launch the air offensive.

Mrs. Clinton defended the Kosovo campaign in a speech on October 10, 2002, before casting her vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq. "We and our NATO allies did not depose Mr. Milosevic, who was responsible for more than a quarter of a million people being killed in the 1990s. Instead, by stopping his aggression in Bosnia and Kosovo, and keeping on the tough sanctions, we created the conditions in which his own people threw him out and led to his being in the dock being tried for war crimes as we speak," she said in the 2002 speech. Milosevic died in prison in the Hague in 2006.
(New York Sun)
I'm picking Clinton to take the Democratic Party's presidential nomination over Barack Obama, by the way. Obama is the better candidate in some ways, but some polls are indicating that a majority of blacks are disinclined to vote for him.
That strikes me as a little bit strange, but if that trend holds up then Clinton's savvy at campaigning will probably outweigh her shrill exterior and lack of experience.
Not that Obama is flowing with experience, either.

Update: NBC has backed off of its report that al-Masri was killed. In making this update I took the liberty of fixing an earlier mistake attributable to me, that being the fate of al-Masri's aide. The aide was killed, not captured.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Reviewing my Amanda Marcotte moment

I chuckled as Amanda Marcotte made the news as a maligned blogger in the John Edwards camp.

Apparently some of Marcotte's past authorial indiscretions made the Edwards campaign a little nervous. Some reported that Marcotte got canned, but apparently the campaign hasn't taken that step--at least not yet.

Here's a Marcotte gem aimed at yours truly along with "Robert":

Why do I get all the Klansmen on my blog? Seriously. Crow, Robert—you’re not fooling anyone. I grew up in the South amongst white conservatives. I know what jokes about “stupid” voters are. I know they’re coded racism.

To review the full context (helpful in appreciating the depth of Marcotte's silliness), go here.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Giulianni prefers a conservative judiciary

Rudy Giuliani helped himself with mainstream conservatives this week by affirming that he prefers constructionist judges, specifically mentioning Scalia and Alito.

This does a great deal to assist with the acceptance of Giuliani by pro-life conservatives, since Giuliani is self-described as pro-choice.
Much of the concern with abortion rights stems from the establishment of the concept via judicial activism (Roe v. Wade) rather than via the legislative process.

Giuliani has made himself more electable by percentage points. Even better, his statement on judges is bolstered by his legal career.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Max Boot vs. Victor Davis Hanson on Iraq

Hat tip to Hugh Hewitt.

Hugh points out an informative debate between Max Boot and Victor Davis Hanson on the issue of Iraq strategy.

I'll offer just a tease of each.
Remember that inspired 1994 flick Dumb and Dumber? If I were to make a movie about the Middle East today it would have to be called Grim and Grimmer—and it would be a tragedy, not a farce.

There hasn’t been a whole lot to cheer since the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon and the elections in Iraq in 2005. In fact both achievements have been undermined in the past year by relentless violence on the part of anti-democratic militias—Hizballah in Lebanon and various Sunni and Shiite factions in Iraq. Lebanon is on the verge of a civil war (as is the Palestinian Authority) and Iraq is already in the early stages of its own civil war.


And Hanson's initial riposte:

Dear Max,

The surge, in my opinion, could very well work—if it is the catalyst for a change in tactics. In COMMENTARY and elsewhere, many observers have noted that the number of troops, per se, has not been, historically, the sole arbiter of military success. If the administration sends more soldiers to Iraq without new, clear directives, it will only breed more Iraqi dependency, create more targets for insurgents, and cost America more prestige.

But if we change our way of doing business tactically, operationally, and psychologically—stop the arrest-and-release insanity, eliminate key militia leaders and disband their followers, expand the rules of engagement, accelerate cash payments for salaried Iraqis, patrol the borders, all while maintaining the veneer of Iraqi autonomy—even at this 11th hour we could entice the proverbial bystanders (a majority of the country) to cast their lot with the perceived winners: namely, us.


Each participant offers four posts. The format gives Hanson the advantage, but they don't end up in gigantic disagreement with one another, so the format isn't really a problem.

Phased withdrawal from UK one step closer

As the United Kingdom slips closer to civil war, expect Democratic politicians to call for a phased withdrawal of U.S. forces from the British isles.

ISLAMIC terror cells in Britain have been instructed to carry out a series of kidnappings and beheadings of the kind allegedly planned by the nine terrorist suspects arrested in Birmingham last week.


The alleged attempt to kidnap and behead a Muslim soldier or soldiers in Birmingham was just the first of a series of planned attacks, security sources say.
(the Times)

Democratic leaders are doubtless concerned about the possibility of U.S. forces in the U.K. being caught up between competing factions in a U.K. civil war.
Expect John Murtha to recommend redeployment to Hawaii, where U.S. forces will remain within striking distance of the European continent.

Friday, February 02, 2007

A Rove memo, and the Fever Swamp

The degree of the response remains to be seen, but early indications point to the left-wing Fever Swamp being somewhat a-twitter over a Karl Rove memo submitted as evidence in the case against "Scooter" Libby as an offshoot of the Plame investigation.

The Brad Blog (honored at Bad Blog's Blood) offers this unhinged headline:

Wishful thinking, Brad.

Here's the note:

To the left near the margin, it appears to say "Tenet Wilson Memo" (Truthout says the memo was "written by Cheney in September 2003 for White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan").

At the top, there is a sentence in brackets (perhaps referring to a previous memo by Cheney?). It appears to read "[People have made too much of the difference in how I described Karl and Libby]"
followed by
"I've talked to Libby. I said it was rediculous [sic] about Karl and it is ridiculous about Libby[.] Libby was not the source of the Novak story. And he did not leak classified information."

That portion does not appear to be written by Cheney, assuming the lower portion attributed to Cheney is representative of Cheney's writing.
Here's the part attributed to Cheney:

Has to happen today[.]
Call out to key press saying same thing about Scooter as Karl.
Not going to protect one staffer and sacrifice the guy [the Pres.] [ ] that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder because of the incompetence of others.

The part in red was crossed out in the original note, and the green brackets stand in for some space on the paper.
The language used by commentators such as "Brad" would suggest that it's a simple matter of using "that" to replace "the Pres." but the spacing should allow for at least some consideration that a completely alternative ending was contemplated. Not that the note is necessarily important in any case.

In the timeline, the investigation into the Plame case has begun right around this time, and McClellan is apparently fresh from a press conference where questions regarding Karl Rove's involvement were raised.

"Brad" is crazy if he thinks that Bush is implicated in the Plame leak by this memo. It is most simply explained as a sketch of Bush's strategy for dealing with the investigation, as in designating a point man for fielding questions.

I'd like to see how this evidence is treated in the court proceedings, however.

I don't know whose incompetence Cheney speaks of (Richard Armitage?).

My best guess is that Armitage is the incompetent one and the one who would be protected without a crisp defense of Rove and Libby.

There's nothing here to implicate Bush unless I have completely mistranslated the page.