Monthly Archives: February 2004

al Qaeda Under Attack

The long-rumored “spring offensive” against al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan seems already to be underway: There is a “renewed sense of urgency” in the hunt for top al-Qaida and Taliban fugitives and it is only a matter of time before Osama bin Laden is captured, the U.S. military said Wednesday. As Pakistan interrogated al-Qaida and Taliban suspects caught in a military sweep through its rugged border region, Lt. Col. »

The question for today

The John Kerry site GLBT Web page has the following passage on Kerry’s support for gay and lesbian families: John Kerry believes that same-sex couples should be granted rights, including access to pensions, health insurance, family medical leave, bereavement leave, hospital visitation, survivor benefits, and other basic legal protections that all families and children need. He has supported legislation to provide domestic partners of federal employees the benefits available to »

Professor Ventura enters the classroom

By its terms the Peter Principle applies to bureaucratic organizations rather than show business careers, but there must be some variation of it that applies to Jesse Ventura. The principle states that in a hierarchically structured organization, people tend to be promoted up to their “level of incompetence.” Former professional wrestler, film actor, radio personality, mayor and Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura appears to have turned himself into a walking case »

Nothing recedes like success

Dick Morris thinks that President Bush’s poor showing in the polls is the result of the fact that, in the absence of new terrorist attacks against the homeland, the issue has lost its salience for most voters. Thus, he argues that “Bush must make clear to us all the threats that remain, not try to take credit for the end of the terror danger. He must make the most of »

Did Kerry cover-up evidence of P.O.W.’s left behind?

Sydney Schanberg in the Village Voice writes that John Kerry “covered up voluminous evidence that a significant number of live American prisoners — perhaps hundreds — were never acknowledged or returned after the war-ending treaty was signed in January 1973.” According to Schanberg, the North Vietnamese almost certainly held back prisioners as future bargaining chips for war reparations. A special Senate committee was convened in 1991 to investigate evidence regarding »

The President Strikes Back

President Bush gave his first partisan speech in a long time yesterday, to the Republican governors. It was pretty good: The other party’s nomination battle is still playing out. The candidates are an interesting group, with diverse opinions. For tax cuts, and against them. For NAFTA, and against NAFTA. For the Patriot Act, and against the Patriot Act. In favor of liberating Iraq, and opposed to it. And that’s just »

A meditation on St. Ralph

Our friend Steve Hayward has a definitive diagnosis of the case of one Ralph Nader. Steve’s diagnosis is that “Nader has succumbed to the personal corruption of his own massive publicity and power.” But Steve’s diagnosis is a diagnosis with a poignant lesson: “The lesson is that you don »

The best we’ve got

Ralph Peters has a terriffic New York Post column paying tribute to our serving military and their accomplishments to date in Iraq: “The best we’ve got.” Wouldn’t want our man in Afghanistan to miss this: The American soldier is a historical anomaly – not a grasping conqueror, but a man or woman of courage and good heart who wishes only to do what must be done, and then go home. »

Nostalgie de le Clinton?

I never thought I could be persuaded to experience nostalgia for Clinton, but David Ignatius comes close in his Washinton Post column this morning: “Dishonest trade talk.” Ignatius reminds us that Clinton’s message during his 1996 reelection campaign was that there was no easy escape from global competition. Protectionism would only hurt U.S. workers in the long run. But then Ignatius has to spoil it by reminding us, “The answer »

Unintended consequences: A case study

The Boston Globe carries an interesting article on one of the unintended consequences of John Kerry’s attack on President Bush’s service in the National Guard: “Ex-Guardsmen say jab at Bush tars them.” In 1936 sociologist Robert K. Merton attempted to provide a conceptual framework for the analysis of unintended consequences in “The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action.” The first two sources of unintended consequences identified by Merton were ignorance »

The friends of Khaled Saffuri

Today’s FrontPage republishes Kenneth Timmerman’s Insight article on Khaled Saffuri: “Islamists’ front man.” Khaled Saffuri is Grover Norquist’s point man at the Islamic Institute and the linchpin to the concerns raised by Frank Gaffney about Grover Norquist’s activities on behalf of Arab clients. During the 2000 campaign Karl Rove named Saffuri the Bush campaign’s point man for Muslim outreach. The friends of Khaled Saffuri are indicted terrorist funders such as »

Inside a conservative teach-in

Today’s FrontPage has republished my Power Line account of Saturday’s teach-in at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum hosted by St. Olaf College as “Inside a conservative teach-in.” My account refers to Rocket Man’s discussion of the event and the accompanying photographs that we posted in “Peace through strength.” Kevin Duchschere’s story on the controversy at St. Olaf over the doctrinaire nature of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize Forum is republished »

Losing bin Laden

The Washington Post is running a series by Steve Coll on the CIA’s unsuccessful efforts, prior to Sept. 11, 2001, to capture or kill bin Laden. This piece ran yesterday, along with this shorter one that focuses on the actions (or inaction) of Clinton’s White House security team. Taken together, these two pieces argue that “legal disputes over the hunt [for bin Laden] paralyzed Clinton’s aides.” Specifically, the Clintonistas, while »

John Kerry, old Democrat

My conservative cousin from New York has responded to my post from last week about the Wisconsin primary results. I had argued that a look at the vote by income category showed possible weakness on John Kerry’s part in a race with President Bush. My cousin offers a different perspective: “Your analysis of the primary results in Wisconsin got me to thinking that the more meaningful way to analyze the »

Some Optimistic Thoughts

I’ve been criticized for being unduly anxious about the upcoming election, and objectively, grounds for anxiety are present. The President’s approval rating is down around 50% in the »

“Rumsfeld’s War”

Rowan Scarborough, defense reporter for the Washington Times, has written a book called Rumsfeld’s War. The Times is publishing excerpts from the book; the first one appeared today: Donald H. Rumsfeld sat in a vault-like room studded with video screens and talked with President Bush as the Pentagon burned. “This is not a criminal action,” the secretary of defense told Bush over a secure line. “This is war.” Rumsfeld’s instant »

Tangled up in red, white and blue

Suzanne Fields has an outstanding column in the Washington Times that gets to the heart of the internal contradictions of John Kerry as a presidential candidate. She also has a few obvious questions for him that none of the media bigfeet has gotten around to asking: Has anyone asked Mr. Kerry whether his views on Vietnam have changed over the years? If so, how? Has the conduct and corruption of »