Monday, April 07, 2008

The Left and ABM Defenses

Apologies Are In Order
Two years ago, leftists in Congress and the media went on a rhetorical jihad against our Marines, accusing them of war crimes and of having “killed innocent civilians in cold blood.” The “massacre” at Haditha quickly became a rallying point for the radical anti-war Left and the “blame America first” crowd. It did considerable damage to the reputations of the young men involved and to our country. The military, sensitive to its image here at home and abroad, promised a thorough investigation, and eight Marines were initially charged. After months and months of investigation, it was announced last week that the military was dropping charges against Lance Corporal Stephen Tatum, making him the fifth Marine to be cleared. But I seriously doubt you heard about that on the nightly news.

While the “massacre” was a front-page headline and the subject of intense news coverage two years ago, Big Media has virtually blacked out coverage of the Marines’ exonerations. The New York Times, for example, buried on page A8 the news that charges against Stephen Tatum were being dismissed. National Review’s Media Blog noted that rising rice prices in Asia, along with other “non-stories,” were deemed more important to the folks at the Times than restoring the reputations of our heroes and warriors.

Reagan-Bush Win Again
No, that’s not a headline from 1984, but it could have been a headline coming out of the recent NATO summit. Meeting in Bucharest, Romania, President Bush, attending his last NATO summit, convinced European leaders to adopt a missile defense shield. The shield was first envisioned by President Ronald Reagan, and derisively mocked by liberals as “Star Wars.” Reagan wanted to create a defensive system that could protect America from a nuclear attack. The program was greatly scaled back during the Clinton era, but it was made a top priority under President George W. Bush. In fact, President Bush took the issue so seriously, he unilaterally withdrew the United States from the ABM treaty after the 9/11 attacks. Concerned that terrorists or state sponsors of terrorism might someday try to attack the U.S. with ballistic missiles, President Bush felt that the 1972 treaty was “written in a different era, for a different enemy” and had become an obstacle to America’s protection.

Stephen Hadley, President Bush’s National Security Advisor, said after the NATO agreement, “There has been, over 10 years, a real debate as to whether there is a ballistic missile threat. And I think that debate ended today.” Many European leaders evidently agreed with President Bush that just such a threat does in fact exist today, but from where? The most obvious suspect is Iran – a state sponsor of terrorism, a sworn enemy to the state of Israel and the United States. Iran possesses long-range missiles modeled after North Korean weapons, and we know the Islamic Republic has a clandestine nuclear program. While the radical Left likes to claim that President Bush has destroyed our standing over seas and wrecked our alliances, I think it is instructive that Europe is embracing Ronald Reagan’s missile defense shield rather than demanding more talks with Iran’s Holocaust-denying dictator.

“Senate Shutdown”
Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal noted that Republicans are on the verge of shutting down the United States Senate. No doubt many Americans would cheer the move. Some might argue that no one would notice anyway, so go for it! But here is what is going on behind the scenes: Senate Democrats are once again stalling President Bush’s judicial nominations, trying to run out the clock on his administration in the hopes that a Democrat will win the White House in November. The president has submitted nominees for 11 vacant appeals court seats, seven of which have been vacant so long that they are considered “judicial emergencies.” These seats should be at the top of the list for Senate confirmation, but, believe it or not, Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has only held one – that’s right, ONE – hearing in the past six months.

According to the Journal, five of the judgeships for the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals—which covers Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina—are also vacant. That means the remaining ten judges on the Fourth Circuit are carrying the workload of 15 judges. (Do you think these senators would notice if we “downsized” a third of their staffs?) The Fourth Circuit has also been hearing a number of critical anti-terrorism-related cases and is considered one of the more conservative circuit courts. Some legal analysts suspect that Senate liberals are intentionally stalling 4th Circuit nominees in the hopes of “moderating” the court by attrition.

Lest you think this is just idle speculation, consider these numbers: During the last two years of Bill Clinton’s presidency, 15 appellate court nominees were confirmed. Keep in mind that Republicans controlled the Senate then too. So far in the final two years of President Bush’s administration, only six appellate court nominees have been confirmed after Democrats took control of the Senate in 2006. The vacancies exist, the nominations have been made, but the Senate is not doing to its job. As a result, Senator Arlen Specter, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, has reportedly recommended that Republicans invoke “a series of procedural stalls that would make it next to impossible for the Senate to get anything done” until Democrats agree to confirmation votes for President Bush’s judicial nominees. We will keep you posted.

“Hamas’s Insults to Jews Complicate Peace”
Believe it or not, that was a headline Tuesday from the New York Times. It was a gross understatement to say the least, but the content of the article was much better. While it should not have been “breaking news” for folks at the Times, I was encouraged that some of the information you have read in this daily report has finally found its way onto pages of the New York Times. The article was largely devoted to the disgusting propaganda that Hamas is preaching in Gaza and how it is corrupting the minds of children, breeding future jihadists and poisoning any attempt to reaching a meaningful peace.

For example, the article cited a weekly column by Sheik Yunus al-Astal, a Hamas legislator and imam. On March 13th, al-Astal wrote about a Koranic verse suggesting that Jews should be burned. “The reason for the punishment of burning is that it is fitting retribution for what they have done. But the urgent question is, is it possible that they will have the punishment of burning in this world, before the great punishment [in the afterlife] …we are sure that the holocaust is still to come upon the Jews.”

The article also correctly notes that any discussion of “peace,” “cease-fires” or “truces” by Hamas is a lie. “The Prophet Muhammad made a temporary hudna, or truce, with the Jews about 1,400 years ago, so Hamas allows the idea. But no one in Hamas says he would make a peace treaty with Israel…” The Times quotes Mkhaimer Abusada, a political scientist at Al Azhar University, saying, “They [Hamas] talk of hudna, not of peace or reconciliation with Israel. They believe over time they will be strong enough to liberate all historic Palestine.” This article by the New York Times was a good first step in accurately reporting the real reasons why peace is so illusive, if not impossible, in the Middle East.

The World Economy in 2050

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