From today’s Wall Street Journal:
“I appeal to my colleagues in Congress to step back and think carefully about what to do next.”
BY JOSEPH LIEBERMAN
Monday, February 26, 2007 12:01 a.m.
Two months into the 110th Congress, Washington has never been more bitterly divided over our mission in Iraq. The Senate and House of Representatives are bracing for parliamentary trench warfare–trapped in an escalating dynamic of division and confrontation that will neither resolve the tough challenges we face in Iraq nor strengthen our nation against its terrorist enemies around the world.
What is remarkable about this state of affairs in Washington is just how removed it is from what is actually happening in Iraq. There, the battle of Baghdad is now under way. A new commander, Gen. David Petraeus, has taken command, having been confirmed by the Senate, 81-0, just a few weeks ago. And a new strategy is being put into action, with thousands of additional American soldiers streaming into the Iraqi capital.
Congress thus faces a choice in the weeks and months ahead. Will we allow our actions to be driven by the changing conditions on the ground in Iraq–or by the unchanging political and ideological positions long ago staked out in Washington? What ultimately matters more to us: the real fight over there, or the political fight over here?
If we stopped the legislative maneuvering and looked to Baghdad, we would see what the new security strategy actually entails and how dramatically it differs from previous efforts. For the first time in the Iraqi capital, the focus of the U.S. military is not just training indigenous forces or chasing down insurgents, but ensuring basic security–meaning an end, at last, to the large-scale sectarian slaughter and ethnic cleansing that has paralyzed Iraq for the past year.
Tamping down this violence is more than a moral imperative. Al Qaeda’s stated strategy in Iraq has been to provoke a Sunni-Shiite civil war, precisely because they recognize that it is their best chance to radicalize the country’s politics, derail any hope of democracy in the Middle East, and drive the U.S. to despair and retreat. It also takes advantage of what has been the single greatest American weakness in Iraq: the absence of sufficient troops to protect ordinary Iraqis from violence and terrorism.
The new strategy at last begins to tackle these problems. Where previously there weren’t enough soldiers to hold key neighborhoods after they had been cleared of extremists and militias, now more U.S. and Iraqi forces are either in place or on the way. Where previously American forces were based on the outskirts of Baghdad, unable to help secure the city, now they are living and working side-by-side with their Iraqi counterparts on small bases being set up throughout the capital.
At least four of these new joint bases have already been established in the Sunni neighborhoods in west Baghdad–the same neighborhoods where, just a few weeks ago, jihadists and death squads held sway. In the Shiite neighborhoods of east Baghdad, American troops are also moving in–and Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi army are moving out.
We of course will not know whether this new strategy in Iraq will succeed for some time. Even under the most optimistic of scenarios, there will be more attacks and casualties in the months ahead, especially as our fanatical enemies react and attempt to thwart any perception of progress.
But the fact is that we are in a different place in Iraq today from even just a month ago–with a new strategy, a new commander, and more troops on the ground. We are now in a stronger position to ensure basic security–and with that, we are in a stronger position to marginalize the extremists and strengthen the moderates; a stronger position to foster the economic activity that will drain the insurgency and militias of public support; and a stronger position to press the Iraqi government to make the tough decisions that everyone acknowledges are necessary for progress.
Unfortunately, for many congressional opponents of the war, none of this seems to matter. As the battle of Baghdad just gets underway, they have already made up their minds about America’s cause in Iraq, declaring their intention to put an end to the mission before we have had the time to see whether our new plan will work.
There is of course a direct and straightforward way that Congress could end the war, consistent with its authority under the Constitution: by cutting off funds. Yet this option is not being proposed. Critics of the war instead are planning to constrain and squeeze the current strategy and troops by a thousand cuts and conditions.
Among the specific ideas under consideration are to tangle up the deployment of requested reinforcements by imposing certain “readiness” standards, and to redraft the congressional authorization for the war, apparently in such a way that Congress will assume the role of commander in chief and dictate when, where and against whom U.S. troops can fight.
I understand the frustration, anger and exhaustion so many Americans feel about Iraq, the desire to throw up our hands and simply say, “Enough.” And I am painfully aware of the enormous toll of this war in human life, and of the infuriating mistakes that have been made in the war’s conduct.
But we must not make another terrible mistake now. Many of the worst errors in Iraq arose precisely because the Bush administration best-cased what would happen after Saddam was overthrown. Now many opponents of the war are making the very same best-case mistake–assuming we can pull back in the midst of a critical battle with impunity, even arguing that our retreat will reduce the terrorism and sectarian violence in Iraq.
In fact, halting the current security operation at midpoint, as virtually all of the congressional proposals seek to do, would have devastating consequences. It would put thousands of American troops already deployed in the heart of Baghdad in even greater danger–forced to choose between trying to hold their position without the required reinforcements or, more likely, abandoning them outright. A precipitous pullout would leave a gaping security vacuum in its wake, which terrorists, insurgents, militias and Iran would rush to fill–probably resulting in a spiral of ethnic cleansing and slaughter on a scale as yet unseen in Iraq.
I appeal to my colleagues in Congress to step back and think carefully about what to do next. Instead of undermining Gen. Petraeus before he has been in Iraq for even a month, let us give him and his troops the time and support they need to succeed.
Gen. Petraeus says he will be able to see whether progress is occurring by the end of the summer, so let us declare a truce in the Washington political war over Iraq until then. Let us come together around a constructive legislative agenda for our security: authorizing an increase in the size of the Army and Marines, funding the equipment and protection our troops need, monitoring progress on the ground in Iraq with oversight hearings, investigating contract procedures, and guaranteeing Iraq war veterans the first-class treatment and care they deserve when they come home.
We are at a critical moment in Iraq–at the beginning of a key battle, in the midst of a war that is irretrievably bound up in an even bigger, global struggle against the totalitarian ideology of radical Islamism. However tired, however frustrated, however angry we may feel, we must remember that our forces in Iraq carry America’s cause–the cause of freedom–which we abandon at our peril.
Mr. Lieberman is an Independent senator from Connecticut.
Things that make you think a little:
There were 39 combat related killings in Iraq in January. In the fair city of Detroit there were 35 murders in the month of January. That’s just one American city, about as deadly as the entire war-torn country of Iraq.
When some claim that President Bush shouldn’t have started this war, state the following:
1. FDR led us into World War Two…Germany never attacked us ; Japan did.
From 1941-1945, 450,000 lives were lost…an average of 112,500 per year.
2. Truman finished that war and started one in Korea North Korea never attacked us
>From 1950-1953, 55,000 lives were lost…an average of 18,334 per year.
3. John F. Kennedy started the Vietnam conflict in 1962…Vietnam never attacked us
4. Johnson turned Vietnam into a quagmire.
From 1965-1975, 58,000 lives were lost…an average of 5,800 per year.
5. Clinton went to war in Bosnia without UN or French consent…Bosnia never attacked us
He was offered Osama bin Laden’s head on a platter three
times by Sudan and did nothing. Osama has attacked us on
6. In the years since terrorists attacked us , President Bush has liberated two countries, crushed the Taliban, crippled
al-Qaida, put nuclear inspectors in Libya, Iran, and, North Korea without firing a shot, and captured a terrorist who
slaughtered 300,000 of his own people.
The Democrats are complaining about how long the war is taking.
It took less time to take Iraq than it took Janet Reno to take the Branch Davidian compound. That was a 51-day operation..
We’ve been looking for evidence for chemical weapons in Iraq for less time than it took Hillary Clinton to find the Rose Law Firm billing records.
It took less time for the 3rd Infantry Division and the Marines to destroy the Medina Republican Guard than it took Ted Kennedy to call the police after his Oldsmobile sank at Chappaquiddick.
It took less time to take Iraq than it took to count the votes in Florida!!!!
Our Commander-In-Chief is doing a GREAT JOB!!! The Military morale is high!
The biased media hopes we are too ignorant to realize the facts
But Wait…There’s more!!!
JOHN GLENN (ON THE SENATE FLOOR) Mon, 26 Jan 2004 11:13
Some people still don’t understand why military personnel do what they do for a living. This exchange between Senators John Glenn and Senator Howard Metzenbaum is worth reading. Not only is it a pretty impressive impromptu speech, but it’s also a good example of one man’s explanation of why men and women in the armed services do what they do for a living.
This IS a typical, though sad, example of what some who have never served think of the military.
Senator Metzenbaum (speaking to Senator Glenn): “How can you run for Senate when you’ve never held a real job?”
Senator Glenn (D-Ohio): “I served 23 years in the United StatesMarine Corps. I served through two wars. I flew 149 missions. My plane was hit by anti-aircraft fire on 12 different occasions. I was in the space program. It wasn’t my checkbook, Howard; it was my life on the line. It was not a nine-to-five job, where I took time off to take the daily cash receipts to the bank.”
“I ask you to go with me…as I went the other day…to a veteran’s hospital and look those men…with their mangled bodies . in the eye, and tell THEM they didn’t hold a job! You go with me to the Space Program at NASA and go, as I have gone, to the widows and Orphans of Ed White, Gus Grissom and Roger Chaffee…and you look those kids in the eye and tell them
that their DADS didn’t hold a job. You go with me on Memorial Day and you stand in Arlington National Cemetery, where I have more friends buried than I’d like to remember, and you watch those waving flags.
You stand there, and you think about this nation, and you tell ME that those people didn’t have a job? What about you?”
For those who don’t remember. During W.W.II, Howard Metzenbaum was an attorney representing the Communist Party in the USA. Now he’s a Senator!
If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English thank a Veteran.
It might not be a bad idea to keep this circulating
The day after Al Gore won an Oscar for his crockumentary on global warming, An Inconvenient Truth, which warns that the earth is threatened with horrific catastrophes unless we all cut our energy consumption instantly, it turned out that the real inconvenient truth is that he, like the celebrity eco-warriors is a hypocrite
Public records reveal that as Gore lectures Americans on excessive consumption, he and his wife Tipper live in two properties: a 10,000-square-foot, 20-room, eight-bathroom home in Nashville, and a 4,000-square-foot home in Arlington, Va. (He also has a third home in Carthage, Tenn.) For someone rallying the planet to pursue a path of extreme personal sacrifice, Gore requires little from himself.
Then there is the troubling matter of his energy use. In the Washington, D.C., area, utility companies offer wind energy as an alternative to traditional energy. In Nashville, similar programs exist. Utility customers must simply pay a few extra pennies per kilowatt hour, and they can continue living their carbon-neutral lifestyles knowing that they are supporting wind energy. Plenty of businesses and institutions have signed up. Even the Bush administration is using green energy for some federal office buildings, as are thousands of area residents.
But according to public records, there is no evidence that Gore has signed up to use green energy in either of his large residences. When contacted Wednesday, Gore’s office confirmed as much but said the Gores were looking into making the switch at both homes. Talk about inconvenient truths.
I’m trying to figure out why Norman Lear with a 26 car garage insists we cut our driving and Barbra Streisand from her well-staffed mansion overlooking the Pacific Ocean advises her fans to air dry their laundry outside. And Teresa Heinz and John Kerry, who use a private plane to travel to their 5 mansions and SUVs, warn us all to cut back on our energy use.
Of course, it is laughable.
It is unworkable for most people. We use a lot of energy because it makes us a more productive society and a more productive society is one which makes a higher standard of living available for more people. The technologies we invent make life easier and more productive for the less fortunate of the globe.
Goat herders in the Sahal use little energy but their lives are hard and their way of live unenviable. And they contribute nothing to the rest of the world’s welfare and progress.
I think I’ve figured it out what this naked hypocrisy is really about. It’s not just scientific and economic illiteracy on their part: It is a narcissistic desire to widen even further the gulf between themselves and those beneath them on the economic and social ladder, while clothing their desires in some moral purpose. This is nothing new of course. At various times and places throughout the world, what one wore-including colors, fabrics, length of swords, how much the tips of your shoes could curl -were set by law to make sure no one mistook the milkmaid and yeoman for the lord and lady.
Because ample energy supplies are critical, and continued economic growth is vital to the health of the nation and the only significant way to help the poor and starving of the world, this movement, if successful, would add to the tragedies already wrought by the combination of stupid celebrities and scientific ignorance. They spearheaded the destruction of the nation’s nuclear power industry and the immiseration and death of people throughout the world by the banning of DDT to fight malaria. (Some of the eco-warriors are changing their minds on these two issues but only after they caused enormous damage for no reason. They naturally would like us to forget altogether what listening to their idiocy has already cost us)
So, I have a modest proposal for the eco-celebs. We’ll give you the exclusive right to wear certain colors, shoes, swords and clothing and you can pick what these are. Only those of you who have won OscarsTM, married ketchup queens or created hit TV shows, inherited substantial wealth or whose earned income exceeds by some substantial degree that of the upper middle class-say $10 million a year –will be in this class. In exchange, you have to promise to confine yourself to staying out of politics, pretending you know beans about energy or the environment and leave the rest of us alone.
Back to the Future, Clinton-Style
By Christopher Ruddy
Newsmax.com | February 27, 2007
As Hillary Rodham Clinton comes under withering attack from the likes of Barack Obama, John Edwards, and the anti-war left, she will continue to do what she has been doing to win her party’s nomination — she will cling to her husband’s mantle.
But that mantle is not made of pure iron. It is, in fact, wrought of good and bad metals.
Hillary likes to talk about her husband’s economic record in the 1990s as if it were her own. “We know how to do the economy right — we did it in the 1990s,” she said in a Senate speech.
For sure, the ’90s were good years for America, and Bill Clinton can share in some of the credit. But a large amount of the credit is due to Newt Gingrich and the Contract with America Republicans who stormed Capitol Hill in 1994 and overthrew decades of Democratic waste and runaway spending.
Sensing the change in America, Bill quickly jettisoned his liberal economic ideas, especially Hillarycare, and took a more centrist approach.
He also took some advice from political guru Dick Morris, who advised him to govern from the middle, embrace welfare reform, and work with the Republicans.
Good came out of it.
Federal spending was restrained; taxes remained in check; the country prospered. Clinton’s economic record, I must reluctantly admit, looks even better after the past six years; in which we have seen the largest increase in federal discretionary spending since LBJ’s “Great Society” spending spree — with overall federal outlays up more than 40 percent during the Bush administration.
There is a dark side to the Clinton years, however.
For one thing, scandal after scandal plagued the president. Hillary may claim a “right-wing conspiracy,” but it is doubtful Americans will want to return to such a polarizing period.
Then there were the national security matters.
Those of us who covered the Clinton presidency — and wrote about such lofty issues as obstruction of justice and cover-ups — feared that Bill’s domestic scandals only mirrored ones he had on the national security side.
We received stark confirmation of this on Sept. 11, 2001, when 19 hijackers engaged in the most horrific attack on the U.S. homeland since Pearl Harbor. More than 2,970 Americans died, beginning a new global conflict —the war on terror.
There is ample evidence that Bill Clinton and his administration had solid opportunities to kill or capture Osama bin Laden, but failed to act.
NewsMax’s Carl Limbacher broke the story. Amazingly, in 2002, Bill admitted he had the opportunity to get bin Laden before he left the Sudan in 1996, but declined an offer from the Sudanese to turn him over to the United States.
Vanity Fair called that NewsMax revelation the “most devastating” dark spot on Bill Clinton’s record.
We do not know the full story of what happened during the Clinton years in the lead-up to 9/11, partly because Bill’s National Security adviser, Sandy Berger, as we now know, went to the National Archives and stuffed classified documents into his socks and underwear so he could deprive the 9/11 Commission of them.
The terror front was not the only national security lapse during the Clinton years, however. It was during the Clinton presidency that China became a major nuclear superpower. It has been acknowledged that some of America’s most guarded nuclear secrets, including our ballistic missile technology, were passed to China with the president’s OK. Before this, China was so backward that its missiles would often blow up soon after launch. Today, they can hit U.S. cities with pinpoint accuracy.
Adding to the mess, we now know that North Korea acquired the nuclear bomb during Clinton years, a secret the Clinton administration kept from both the American public and the incoming Bush administration. So yes, Hillary will grab onto Clinton’s economic mantle. But George Bush, who has prevented any further 9/11-style attack during his presidency, still holds the “tough on terror” mantle.
Hillary will have a difficult time persuading Americans she deserves to have it and become our commander in chief.
Christopher Ruddy is Editor of NewsMax.com.
Pelosi Hires Soros’ Right-Hand Man
By John Perazzo
FrontPageMagazine.com | February 27, 2007
One can learn a great deal about the values and core beliefs of a political figure by taking note of the people he or she assigns to key government posts. Consider, for instance, what we can learn about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on the basis of her February 8th appointment of Joseph Onek to be her Senior Counsel. “This is a critical time for the Congress and the country,” Onek said following his appointment, “and I thank the Speaker for the opportunity to return to government service and work on behalf of the American people.”
But who is Joseph Onek, and how exactly does he define working “on behalf of the American people”? A not insignificant clue is provided by the fact that Onek, a 1967 graduate of Yale Law School, is currently a Senior Policy Analyst for George Soros’s Open Society Institute (OSI), one of the world’s major financiers of the political far Left. OSI is a member of the benignly named Peace and Security Funders Group, an association of more than 50 foundations that earmark a sizable portion of their $27 billion in combined assets to leftist organizations that undermine the war on terror in several interrelated ways:
In September 2002, Joseph Onek’s OSI also made a $20,000 grant to the Legal Defense Committee of Lynne Stewart, the criminal-defense attorney who had unlawfully abetted her incarcerated client, Omar Abdel Rahman, in transmitting messages to the Islamic Group, the Egypt-based terrorist organization he headed. At the time of Stewart’s crime, Rahman was already serving a life sentence for his role in masterminding the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; he also had conspired, unsuccessfully, to plant additional bombs at the United Nations building, FBI offices in New York, the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, and the George Washington Bridge.
OSI’s money is further apportioned to a far-flung variety of leftist groups, including:
The Open Society Institute’s funding priorities reflect a vision of America as a nation infested with all manner of inequity, a country in desperate need of radical social and economic transformation. It is more than noteworthy that Joseph Onek has secured for himself a leadership position within this Institute.
Another highlight of Mr. Onek’s resume is his current position as Senior Policy Analyst for the Open Society Policy Center (OSPC), which, like OSI, was founded by the billionaire leftist George Soros. Established in the aftermath of September 11th, this organization helped draft the Civil Liberties Restoration Act, which in June 2004 was introduced in the Senate by Democrats Ted Kennedy, Patrick Leahy, Russell Feingold, Richard Durbin, and Jon Corzine. The Act was designed to roll back, in the name of defending civil liberties, vital national-security policies that had been adopted following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
OSPC’s range of concerns extends also to “the proper treatment of detainees” — a polite reference to the bloodthirsty al Qaeda combatants captured on Middle Eastern battlefields and currently incarcerated in Guantanamo Bay.
Extending its advocacy on behalf of inmates to the American prison system at large, OSPC considers “rehabilitation,” rather than punishment, to be the proper function of criminal justice. Key to the attainment of this objective, in OSPC’s calculus, are colossal boondoggles whereby American taxpayers foot the bill for a multitude of “needed services and treatment” programs designed to help ease prison inmates’ transition back into society after their release.
Joseph Onek’s busy life also requires that he reserve some time for his duties as Senior Counsel for the Constitution Project (CP), an organization that seeks “solutions to difficult legal and constitutional issues.” These “solutions” are essentially calls for the United States to abandon every aggressive anti-terrorism and anti-crime measure it has ever initiated, on grounds that such measures violate the rights and freedoms of suspected wrongdoers.
Onek serves as Director of CP’s Liberty and Security Initiative (LSI), which flatly rejects most of America’s post-9/11 homeland security efforts as misguided “government proposals that [have] jeopardized civil liberties.” Specifically, LSI:
Onek was formerly the Director of the Center for Law and Social Policy (CLSP), which promotes the familiar leftist theme of massive taxpayer expenditures, coupled with a diminution of personal responsibility, as the proper means of achieving virtually every societal objective one can name. For example, CLSP:
To disseminate his perspectives to the widest possible audience, Onek has been an occasional guest blogger on the website of the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS), a Washington, DC-based think tank that seeks to radicalize American jurisprudence by recruiting and indoctrinating law students, law professors, attorneys, and judges — and helping them to acquire positions of power. The roster of speakers who address ACS conventions includes such luminaries as Ralph Nader and the communist icon Angela Davis.
Apart from the foregoing organizational affiliations, Onek has also held important posts in two presidential administrations. Under President Clinton, he served as State Department Rule of Law Coordinator and Principal Deputy Associate Attorney General. In the latter role, Onek was a key figure in the Justice Department headed by Attorney General Janet Reno and Assistant Attorney General Jamie Gorelick. You might recall that Gorelick in 1995 issued the monumentally important “wall memo” to then-FBI Director Louis Freeh and U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White. Titled “Instructions on Separation of Certain Foreign Counterintelligence and Criminal Investigations,” Gorelick’s memo read:
“We believe that it is prudent to establish a set of instructions that will more clearly separate the counterintelligence investigation from the more limited, but continued, criminal investigations. These procedures, which go beyond what is legally required, will prevent any risk of creating an unwarranted appearance that FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978] is being used to avoid procedural safeguards which would apply in a criminal investigation.”
In short, this mandate stressed the importance of maintaining a legal barrier, or “wall,” barring intelligence investigators and law-enforcement investigators from collaborating and sharing information — even if they were both trailing the same suspect who was plotting a terrorist act. This restriction (which had first been put in place by the Carter administration) effectively crippled the government’s ability to fight terrorism, and can arguably be blamed for America’s failure to prevent the 9/11 catastrophe. Two noteworthy examples of the policy’s deadly consequences are the following:
As noted above, it was during the Carter administration that the aforementioned “wall” (dividing law-enforcement from intelligence) was first created to defuse allegations of FBI espionage abuses. And Joseph Onek served as Deputy Counsel to President Carter, advising the latter on all legal issues pertaining to the Presidency.
In other words, Onek has played major roles in the two presidential administrations that did more harm to America’s terror-fighting capacity than any other administrations in U.S. history.
On June 21, 2005, Onek testified at the invitation of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment. His chief concern involved Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which he referred to as “the so-called library records provision.” “The FBI,” Onek warned, “will seek financial records, employment records, transportation records, medical records and yes, sometimes, library records. … Inevitably, FBI investigations will sweep up sensitive information about innocent, law-abiding people.”
Onek and his fellow critics of the Patriot Act have portrayed Section 215 as an egregious invasion of personal privacy. But as Heather MacDonald points out, “grand juries investigating crimes have always been able to subpoena the very items covered by 215 — including library records and Internet logs — without seeking a warrant or indeed any judicial approval at all. Section 215 merely gives anti-terror investigators the same access to such records as criminal grand juries, with the added protection of judicial oversight.”
During his June 21 testimony, Onek also expressed deep concern about “the danger that the government will use the information it gathers and shares in ways that unfairly discriminate against Muslim Americans.” “Muslims will appear disproportionately on the government’s computer screens,” he explained, “because they are the people most likely (naturally and innocently) to visit, telephone and send money to places like Pakistan and Iraq. Inevitably, government officials will learn more about Muslim Americans than about other Americans.” He predicted that this would lead to the injustice of Muslims being disproportionately caught violating immigration laws, and that “[t]his unfairness will breed discontent in the Muslim community and undermine the fight against terrorism.”
And then, incredibly, Onek said this: “The government remains free to bring criminal or immigration cases against Muslim Americans, provided that it does not use information generated by anti-terrorist data-mining systems in cases not involving terrorism or violent crime. This limitation will require some segregation of information and impose some burdens on the government. But these burdens are a small price to pay to ensure fairness to all Americans and strengthen the fight against terrorism.”
In other words, Onek continues to advocate the very same “wall” — barring intelligence officials and law-enforcement officials from sharing information and collaborating on investigations — that his former employers at the Clinton Justice Department sanctified in the 1990s.
You have read correctly: Onek favors precisely the policy that made it impossible for the U.S. to avert 9/11, and he characterizes its most (literally) fatal flaw as “a small price to pay.”
There could be no starker illustration of blind devotion to a seemingly enlightened ideology that has, in practice, shown itself to be the wellspring of failed and foolish policy. And this is the man who Nancy Pelosi, the powerful Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, has named as her Senior Counsel. The American people should know that.
Click Here to support Frontpagemag.com.