Hillary: The Democrats’ Worst Nightmare?

Hillary: The Democrats’ Worst Nightmare?  

By Michael Reagan
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, November 05, 2007 Listen Barack Obama, John Edwards and all you other soon-to-be also-rans: lay off Hillary. She’s well on her way to winning the nomination and we don’t want anything to stand in her way, especially attacks on her character and integrity that might sidetrack her on the way to being your party’s standard bearer.

So, leave her alone. Let her cruise her way to the nomination so we conservatives can have the pleasure of dissecting her in the general election campaign.

And she is about as dissectible as a politician can get, starting with her health care reform fiasco, her sleazy involvement in the White House travel office firings, her use of private detectives to smear and harass the women who accused her husband of sexual misconduct, and her most recent campaign finance shenanigans.

I know that many of you fear that Hillary’s truckload of negatives will not only kill her chances of winning next year, but will also carry a lot of your colleagues down to defeat in 2008. I can understand why you are finally beginning to go after her – deep down inside you realize she’s your worst nightmare come true. With your party’s prospects for winning the presidency and increasing you numbers in Congress about as bright as they’ve ever been you don’t want anything to upset the apple cart.

Here’s how The Washington Post put it in an Associated Press story on August 12.

“Democratic leaders quietly fret that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton at the top of their 2008 ticket could hurt candidates at the bottom. They say the former first lady may be too polarizing for much of the country. She would jeopardize the party’s standing with independent voters and give Republicans who otherwise might stay home on Election Day a reason to vote.”

The story goes on to report: “The problem is her political baggage: A whopping 49 percent of the public says they have an unfavorable view of Clinton compared to 47 percent who say they hold her in high regard, according to a Gallup Poll survey Aug. 3-5.”

Right on! So you can see why we Republicans want to have the honor of exploiting the lady’s negatives for all the world to see. She likes to boast that she has faced the worst the so-called Republican attack machine can throw at her and has survived. Let me tell you, she ain’t seen nothing yet. We have long memories and a huge arsenal of ammunition to fire at her when the time comes.

Want a sample of her negatives? Here’s a bit from Ana Marie Cox’s blog a year ago last August: “The Boston Herald reports on what ‘ordinary, grass-roots Democrats’ think about Hillary Clinton: ‘Lying B**** . . . Shrew . . . Machiavellian . . . Evil, power-mad witch . . . The ultimate self-serving politician. . . Criminal . . . Megalomaniac . . . Fraud . . . Dangerous . . . Devil incarnate . . . Satanic . . . Power freak.'”

And that’s from Democrats!

I know you Democrats don’t want to do us conservatives any favors, but just this once let us have our way. Give us the opportunity to give the Republican attack machine another shot at Hillary Clinton. Let her coast to victory in the primaries. Then we’ll take it from there.

Winning Iraq

Winning Iraq  

By Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, November 05, 2007

If the old saw “no news is good news” has any truth to it, then things must be going very well indeed in the Iraq war. Increasingly obvious signs of success as a result of the “surge” under the able leadership of General David Petraeus have all but rendered the mainstream media speechless on the warfront. From the days of constant television showing video of black smoke billowing from burning car bombs in marketplaces, we have now reached a virtual blackout. When was the last time you saw a detailed listing of U.S. and Iraqi casualties in the top right column of the New York Times or Washington Post?

The media are not going to report good news, which leaves Americans with the impression that the war is going as poorly now as it was a year ago. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Friendly casualties are lower than they have been in years, across the board: U.S. and allied forces, Iraqi security forces, and Iraqi civilian losses are all at near-record lows. Contrasted to this time last year, the comparison is staggering. And for all the recent caterwauling from craven Foreign Service Officers about a tour in Iraq being a “death sentence, and you know it,” so far the State Department has not lost anyone except contractors hired at extravagant cost to protect its officers. (Can anyone say “Blackwater”?)

On the rise, however, are al-Qaeda In Iraq’s losses, although you can expect to see them falling in the near future, too — not because these foreign fighters are not being hunted down and killed, but because AQI targets populations are declining. Fewer and fewer recruits are coming through Syria into Iraq to join the fight.

Huge attrition rates have reduced AQI presence in Iraq dramatically. Partially as a result of these high losses, the brightness of the al Qaeda’s appeal among foreign fighters from Saudi Arabia, Chechnya, and other disturbed places around the region has dimmed. Yes, the terrorist training camps in Syria are still functioning and Damascus does little to impede foreign jihadists’ travel through Syrian territory. But it appears some radicals who prefer to fight the infidel face to face are either waiting for another time (like after the 2008 elections) or are seeking more accommodating ground. Hence, the recent resurgence of fighting in Chechnya and Afghanistan.

According to Rear Admiral Greg Smith, spokesman for the Multi-National Force–Iraq, this largely unreported good news is attributable to the strategy General Petraeus brought with him on this his third tour of duty in Iraq. “More than a majority in Anbar Province area have morally and physically rejected al Qaeda,” Smith reported in a conference call on October 31. “The movement called Concerned Local Citizens – often referred to as the Anbar Awakening – has now spread across the entire country.” This is decidedly good news for those who love freedom and extraordinarily bad new for Al Qaeda Iraq.

“There are more than 120 separate Concerned Local Citizens groups around the country,” Greg notes, “Many in the predominately Sunni areas that were former AQI strongholds.” By rejecting the terrorists and embracing a solution within the Iraqi government, tribal leaders and sheiks – still the key opinion formers in the new republic – have “tilted the kinetics” hard in the direction of a non-violent solution to Iraqi problems.

This kinetic shift has enabled the military to take advantage of a broader range of targets. “We continue to go after foreign fighters,” Smith said, “and have expanded our targeting to include AQI propaganda arm, money laundering and finance, and operations.” According to Smith “with the capture of the eighth AQI media cell, al-Qaeda’s ability to broadcast or make propaganda videos inside Iraq is severely degraded.”

Forces on the ground are careful not to overstate this success. “We’ve still got a long way to go,” Smith affirmed. He was cautiously optimistic about returning Iraqi provinces to the responsibility of Iraqi security forces. “Eight of 18 provinces are now under Iraqi control,” he noted. “We expect two more to transfer shortly.”

And as for the final eight provinces? “They won’t be transferred this year, although we had originally hoped to achieve that goal. However, we expect that not far into 2008 the transfers will be complete.”

How about the sectarian militias that media pundits have gloomily characterized as portending a civil war? “Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered his followers to support the Iraqi government,” Smith noted. His forces were among those considered most threatening to stability.

Jaysh al Mahdi (JAM) forces, under the titular control of Muqtada al Sadr, were described in a report to Congress in August 2006 as “increasingly linked to retaliatory violence.” According to Smith, JAM has now assumed a much diminished role. A returning British general officer described JAM activities in Basra and the south of Iraq as drifting increasingly into a criminal, mob-rule rather than one that is ideologically Shi’a based. He characterized activities as more “mafia-like” than religious or sectarian, and observed that from the “glass-half-full” perspective the various organized crime gangs were at least committed to keeping Iranian agents out of their business affairs.

The secularization movement seems to be growing rapidly within JAM and the Mahdi Army community. While controlling criminal gangs present their own set of challenges, at least for the moment the threat of civil war or partition of the country seems increasingly remote.

As Smith confirmed, “I have spoken with representatives high and low from all over Iraq, and none favor partition or breakup. They all identify themselves first as Iraq citizens and then as part of a religious affiliation or tribe.” This is, indeed, good news, at least for those other than NBC, which pompously announced last year that after “due consideration” it had decided “a civil war exists in Iraq.”

On the infrastructure side, Smith explained that more power is being generated than in pre-war Iraq — though electric power requirements still exceed supply. “Power shortages continue from time to time in Baghdad,” he elaborated, “but that is because in the old days Saddam directed that most of the power be allocated to Baghdad. Now we are spreading it across the entire country.” He is now making up for Saddam’s previous policy of discrimination.

That’s the good news from Iraq. Not violent, sexy, or especially titillating, but strongly indicative of a rising confidence level and improving security situation among a people who have lived far too long with a knife at their throats.

Lt. Col. Gordon Cucullu has been an Army Green Beret lieutenant colonel, as well as a writer, popular speaker, business executive and farmer. His most recent book is Separated at Birth, about North and South Korea.

Saudi Arabia is hub of world terror: The desert kingdom supplies the cash and the killers

Saudi Arabia is hub of world terror: The desert kingdom supplies the cash and the killers

As we have been saying here for four years now.

By Nick Fielding and Sarah Baxter in the Times (thanks to Sr. Soph):

[…] Yet wealthy Saudis remain the chief financiers of worldwide terror networks. “If I could somehow snap my fingers and cut off the funding from one country, it would be Saudi Arabia,” said Stuart Levey, the US Treasury official in charge of tracking terror financing.Extremist clerics provide a stream of recruits to some of the world’s nastiest trouble spots.

An analysis by NBC News suggested that the Saudis make up 55% of foreign fighters in Iraq. They are also among the most uncompromising and militant.

Half the foreign fighters held by the US at Camp Cropper near Baghdad are Saudis. They are kept in yellow jumpsuits in a separate, windowless compound after they attempted to impose sharia on the other detainees and preached an extreme form of Wahhabist Islam.

In recent months, Saudi religious scholars have caused consternation in Iraq and Iran by issuing fatwas calling for the destruction of the great Shi’ite shrines in Najaf and Karbala in Iraq, some of which have already been bombed. And while prominent members of the ruling al-Saud dynasty regularly express their abhorrence of terrorism, leading figures within the kingdom who advocate extremism are tolerated.

Sheikh Saleh al-Luhaidan, the chief justice, who oversees terrorist trials, was recorded on tape in a mosque in 2004, encouraging young men to fight in Iraq. “Entering Iraq has become risky now,” he cautioned. “It requires avoiding those evil satellites and those drone aircraft, which own every corner of the skies over Iraq. If someone knows that he is capable of entering Iraq in order to join the fight, and if his intention is to raise up the word of God, then he is free to do so.”


In the past the Saudis openly supported Islamic militants. Osama Bin Laden was originally treated as a favourite son of the regime and feted as a hero for fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. Huge charitable organisations such as the International Islamic Relief Organisation and the al-Haramain Foundation – accused in American court documents of having links to extremist groups – flourished, sometimes with patronage from senior Saudi royals.

The 1991 Gulf war was a wake-up call for the Saudis. Bin Laden began making vitriolic attacks on the Saudi royal family for cooperating with the US and demanded the expulsion of foreign troops from Arabia. His citizenship was revoked in 1994. The 1996 attack on the Khobar Towers in Dhahran, which killed 19 US servicemen and one Saudi, was a warning that he could strike within the kingdom.

As long as foreigners were the principal targets, the Saudis turned a blind eye to terror. Even the September 11 attacks of 2001, in which 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, could not shake their complacency. Despite promises to crack down on radical imams, Saudi mosques continued to preach hatred of America.

The mood began to change in 2003 and 2004, when Al-Qaeda mounted a series of terrorist attacks within the kingdom that threatened to become an insurgency. “They finally acknowledged at the highest levels that they had a problem and it was coming for them,” said Rachel Bronson, the author of Thicker than Oil: America’s Uneasy Partnership with Saudi Arabia.

Assassination attempts against security officials caused some of the royals to fear for their own safety. In May 2004 Islamic terrorists struck two oil industry installations and a foreigners’ housing compound in Khobar, taking 50 hostages and killing 22 of them.

The Saudi authorities began to cooperate more with the FBI, clamp down on extremist charities, monitor mosques and keep a watchful eye on fighters returning from Iraq.

Only last month Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz al-Sheikh, the kingdom’s leading cleric, criticised gullible Saudis for becoming “convenient knights for whoever wants to exploit their zeal, even to the point of turning them into walking bombs”.

And last week in London, King Abdullah warned young British Muslims not to become involved with extremists.

Yet the Saudis’ ambivalence towards terrorism has not gone away. Money for foreign fighters and terror groups still pours out of the kingdom, but it now tends to be carried in cash by couriers rather than sent through the wires, where it can be stopped and identified more easily.

A National Commission for Relief and Charity Work Abroad, a nongovernmental organisation that was intended to regulate private aid abroad to guard against terrorist financing, has still not been created three years after it was trumpeted by the Saudi embassy in Washington.

Hundreds of Islamic militants have been arrested but many have been released after undergoing reeducation programmes led by Muslim clerics.

According to the daily Alwa-tan [sic], the interior ministry has given 115m riyals (£14.7m) to detainees and their families to help them to repay debts, to assist families with health care and housing, to pay for weddings and to buy a car on their release. The most needy prisoners’ families receive 2,000-3,000 riyals (£286 to £384) a month.

Ali Sa’d Al-Mussa, a lecturer at King Khaled University in Abha, protested: “I’m afraid that holding [extremist] views leads to earning a prize or, worse, a steady income.”

Former detainees from the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba are also benefiting. To celebrate the Muslim holiday of Eid, 55 prisoners were temporarily released last month and given the equivalent of £1,300 each to spend with their families.

School textbooks still teach the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious antiSemitic forgery, and preach hatred towards Christians, Jews and other religions, including Shi’ite Muslims, who are considered heretics.

Ali al-Ahmed, director of the Washington-based Institute for Gulf Affairs, said: “The Saudi education system has over 5m children using these books. If only one in 1,000 take these teachings to heart and seek to act on them violently, there will be 5,000 terrorists.”

In frustration, Arlen Specter, the Republican senator for Pennsylvania, introduced the Saudi Arabia Accountability Act 10 days ago, calling for strong encouragement of the Saudi government to “end its support for institutions that fund, train, incite, encourage or in any other way aid and abet terrorism”.

The act, however, is expected to die when it reaches the Senate foreign relations committee: the Bush administration is counting on Saudi Arabia to help stabilise Iraq, curtail Iran’s nuclear and regional ambitions and give a push to the Israeli and Palestinian peace process at a conference due to be held this month in Annapolis, Maryland.

“Do we really want to take on the Saudis at the moment?” asks Bronson. “We’ve got enough problems as it is.”