Friday Digest

Digest

Oct. 12, 2001

Quote of the week…

“We cannot afford to not be fully prepared to deal with these diseases. The unthinkable has already happened. I say to you, we are underprepared and we better get ready to do the best we can. We discontinued smallpox immunizations because the threat was low. Now the threat has risen to higher levels once again, and it is time to … truly re-examine once again whether we should immunize our people against anthrax and smallpox.” –Dr. Mohammad N. Akhter, executive director of the American Public Health Association, speaking before Ted Kennedy’s Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, which is considering a proposed $1.4 billion plan to provide emergency vaccination funding.

On cross-examination…

“While Americans are up in arms and hungering for a fight and while our armed forces are prepared to fight, let us finish what we started with Iraq a decade ago. If we don’t we will be sorrier even than we are today. Does anyone think for a moment that Saddam Hussein is building weapons of mass destruction just for fun or merely as a means of keeping his Kurds under control?” –Lyn Nofziger

Open Query…

“Look at America; the country they exult at having wounded so grievously. Can you name a country that ever amassed more power and abused it less? Can you name a country that ever amassed more wealth and distributed it more fairly? Can you name another country that was ever attacked by surprise as America was in 1941, rallied to defeat both powerful enemies, and wound up with LESS land than it had previously? (America gave the Philippines its independence after victory in World War II.) Can you name another country that, after victory, treated its allies and enemies alike to massive rehabilitation and rebuilding? Instead of rape and plunder we gave Germany and Japan democracy implants. They’re both strong and prosperous democracies today. And you call that ‘satanic’?” –Barry Farber

The BIG lie…

Last week, we posted CNN’s claim that they are “sensitive about reporting information that could jeopardize lives or ongoing military operations” in this space. To the point, within the first hour of our counteroffensive, CNN was translating and broadcasting messages and videos from the enemy about civilian deaths and such….

News from the Swamp…

In the Executive Branch, there is concern about loose lips! (No Monica Lewinsky jokes, please – this is serious stuff!) On the Hill in the first days after the terror attacks, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) let slip classified information about intercepted telephone communications of the attackers. Then, last week, more potentially deadly pieces of classified information leaked from an unnamed Senator.

Mr. Bush responded with anger: “I want Congress to hear loud and clear it is unacceptable behavior to leak classified information when we have troops at risk,” and promptly instructed that briefers disseminate classified information to only the top Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate, and the chairmen and ranking members of both chambers’ intelligence committees.

Mr. Bush continued, “I understand there may be some heartburn on Capitol Hill. But I suggest if they want to relieve that heartburn, that they take their positions very seriously and that they take any information they’ve been given by our government very seriously.” (A subsequent agreement late this week to hold sensitive information in better secrecy has apparently allowed wider dissemination throughout Congress. But The Federalist calls on Mr. Bush and congressional leaders to publicly name and shame any members who compromise classified briefings.)

On a related note, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice has requested that news organizations voluntarily in future no longer broadcast in their entirety videotapes from Osama bin Laden or his henchmen – lest our enemies be transmitting hidden (so-called steganographic) messages via the media. (See the “BIG Lie” above.)

Judicial Benchmarks…

In the halls of justice on the right, the Supremes this week rejected a Louisiana city’s appeal to continue a suit against gun manufacturers for “out-of-taxpayer pocket” expenses related to “gun violence.”

In the halls of injustice on the left, the Supremes refused review of Michael New’s case for overturn of his 1995 bad conduct discharge from the Army. If you’ve forgotten, New challenged Mr. Clinton’s reassignment of him from U.S. military commanders to United Nations forces in Yugoslavia, refusing not the service location but instead the UN chain of command and the wearing of UN insignia and uniform, “turning American soldiers over to UN command and control to foreign officers who neither report to nor take orders from the president.” But, hey, Bill Clinton didn’t want to continue as any serious service member’s commander-in-chief….

On the Left…

In other home front news, while Operation Enduring Freedom has sent Al Qaeda vermin burrowing, the 9-11 attack has flushed out Leftist anti-Americans at home. Leftists among the ranks of Congress, academic institutions, the Leftmedia, “celebrities,” and state and local elected officials are emerging from their holes.

For example, Left Coaster Dona Spring, member of the Berkeley City Council, proposed a resolution to have the city manager send official letters to President Bush and Congress demanding that the bombing in Afghanistan stop. “Berkeley has always been an island of sanity in terms of the war madness that has prevailed in this country,” Spring said. “The U.S. is now a terrorist. According to the Taliban these are terrorist attacks.”

The measure failed….

The Commissars…

The Federal Aviation Administration announced airlines may be permitted to reinforce commercial aircraft cockpit doors. Note the FAA “allowed” private enterprises to increase safety measures for their commercial property! FAA spokesman Les Dorr explained, “Technically, the FAA has to approve everything that goes on the airplane. Because of the present situation, that sort of modification does not seem to us to be one that needs to be tied up in a lot of paperwork. We could theoretically make them change it, however, the long-term solution is going to be redesign and retrofit some sort of improved cockpit barrier. So, this is only a temporary measure and only because of the exigencies of the situation.” Our preferred solution for improved air safety remains arming pilots (many of whom are former military officers and well-trained in firearms use) as well as “allowing” suitably disposed aircrew and passengers, such as military and law enforcement travelers, to fly armed or at least occupy the most forward seats in the aircraft – providing a gauntlet between harm and the flight deck.

Better air security measures are necessary to get people flying again, but the best remedy is the only one to work so far … on United Airlines Flight 93. And fortunately, the Senate agreed in part, Thursday unanimously adopting the amendment of patriot Senators Bob Smith (R-NH) and Frank Murkowski (R-AK) to permit airline pilots to arm themselves and protect their passengers.

Regarding your IRS overpayment…

Democratic leaders in Congress continued pressing their case for more spending on unemployment and health care insurance, while President Bush and congressional conservatives pushed for an additional $60 billion in tax relief for taxpayers and businesses to revive the seriously ailing economy. “In order to stimulate the economy, Congress doesn’t need to spend any more money,” Mr. Bush said. “What they need to do is cut taxes.” His tax cut proposal is for an acceleration of marginal tax rate reductions passed as part of last spring’s 10-year, $1.35 trillion tax cut package; new payroll tax breaks for low- and moderate-income workers; faster tax write-offs for new purchases of business equipment; and the elimination of the alternative minimum tax on corporations.

From the department of military readiness…

It’s “let’s make a deal” time with our new anti-terror allies. NATO officials have agreed to put Russian NATO membership “firmly on the table.” NATO Assembly President Rafael Estrella, a Spanish Socialist, said that Tuesday’s Ottawa agreement “is a powerful sign that – especially after September 11 – what unites us is far stronger than what still divides us.” Although Russian President Vladimir Putin has not indicated Russia will apply for NATO membership, the agreement provides for cooperation concerning terrorism, organized crime, drugs trafficking, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and peacekeeping activities in southeastern Europe. More peacekeeping missions?

From the states…

In New York City Thursday, Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud visited the smoking remnants of the World Trade Center’s twin towers, presenting a $10 million donation to the victims fund. In another appearance hours later, the prince spoke disparagingly of America’s “blind allegiance” to Israel as a “cause” the U.S. must understand for the terror attacks, and urging a more “balanced” approach to Palestinians in their negotiations with Israel. Learning of the prince’s subsequent comments, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, in consultation with fund managers, returned the prince’s donation, referring to the unfortunate remarks as “part of the problem.” Bravo, Rudy!

The “Dumb and Dumber” Department…

“To those Americans who would lash out at your fellow citizens simply because they worship differently or dress differently or look differently than you do, there is a word for such behavior: TERRORISM,” said Gov. Tom Ridge in his farewell address to the Pennsylvania legislature before assuming the position of Director of the Office of Homeland Security. Well, only if by “lash out” you mean “commit mass criminal violence against innocents.” (He is obviously not getting off to a good start here, by mouthing politically correct pap.)

Culture comment…

In Tillamook, Oregon, home of superb dairyland and strange politicos, eco-nut protester Michael Scarpitti climbed a 60-foot tree last weekend to demonstrate his displeasure with logging. Apparently he fell asleep Saturday night – and fell from his hemlock abode, obtaining broken bones and a head injury. Hey, we think perhaps the “head injury” came earlier….

Faith Matters…

In yet another fine example of Leftist vermin emerging from their holes, the Madison School Board barred children from saying the Pledge of Allegiance in class. “What I wanted to do [with this motion] was eliminate that which would be repugnant to those who believe very strongly and would have their personal and political beliefs violated by group coercion,” claimed Madison School District board member Bill Keys.

School board president Calvin Williams has called a meeting for Monday the 15th to reconsider the decision.

Perhaps the board can also reconsider their recent unanimous condemnation of the Boy Scouts of America in a sharply worded resolution which the board had posted in all 45 schools in the Madison school district and reprinted in their school newsletters. “I’m happy to say that the Madison Metropolitan School District passed an excellent resolution on the Boy Scouts of America’s discrimination,” said board member Joann Elder. “The point is so obvious that sexual orientation does not determine morality.”

Around the world…

Anyone remember Red China? Lots of activity on their Western frontier….

And speaking of things red, a man demonstrating in Peshawar, Pakistan, in opposition to the anti-terror strikes, set fire to an American flag – which promptly engulfed his own head in flames. He was hospitalized, and his condition is unknown.

And last, we close with remembrance of two of our conservative mentors. We ask you to join us in keeping radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh in our prayers, as he seeks medical treatment – and healing – for a hearing loss that could challenge his illuminating conservative commentary. Perhaps more than any other individual, Rush has enlivened our brand of wise and witty conservatism. And we also request continuing prayers for our beloved conservative leader, Ronald Reagan, who Thursday had lived longer than any other U.S. president – 33,120 days – eclipsing the record held by the nation’s second chief executive, John Adams. God bless you, President Reagan!

SECOND OPINION

“United We Stand…”?

Osama bin Laden has declared “jihad” (holy war) against the United States. Bin Laden’s mouthpiece, Abdul Hai Mutmaen, noted that the declaration was an obligation upon Muslims worldwide. “We want this, bin Laden wants this and America will face the unpleasant consequences of the attacks,” he said.

For the record, in addition to the many hate-filled Muslims associated with Louis Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic “Nation of Islam,” there are an additional 1.1 million Muslims now in the U.S. on temporary visas. Many among their ranks will heed the call for Jihad issued by Osama bin Laden and his Islamic extremist mullahs. Jihad is a call to ALL Muslims – not just bin Laden’s terrorist cadre – and no wide, bright line separates peace-loving Muslims from Islamic extremists.

Some are still arguing foolishly that it is “divisive” to call the September 11th perpetrators “Islamic terrorists,” and that they should instead be termed only “terrorists.” Again for the record, homegrown politically motivated murderers Timothy McVeigh and Ted Kaczynski were, by any fair standards, mere unappellationed “terrorists,” not part of any widespread movement calling on networked cohorts worldwide to arise in mutually supportive aggressions. The ranks Osama bin Laden speaks for have as their goal a pan-Arabist union; their tool du jour for igniting the imaginations of potential Muslim followers is radical Islamic governance of that empire. (Of note, Iraqi tyrant Saddam Hussein was moved to invade Kuwait by a pan-Arab vision based in Ba'athist socialism; he made common cause with Islamic extremists like bin Laden only after he found himself scant in allies during the Gulf War 10 years back.)

As sage commentator Wesley Pruden noted, “President Bush is correct when he says that America’s war on terrorism is not a war against Islam, but Osama bin Laden is correct as well, that resurgent Islam is hostile to the secular West, proving once more than even the devil can quote scripture. The distinction that gets lost is the distinction between Islamists of a totalitarian ideology that seeks to destroy everything that is not Islamic, and the millions of Muslims who intend unbelievers no harm or ill will. But the Islamic world is far more sympathetic to the Islamists than we want to believe it is. We indulge naivete at our deadly peril.”

The crucial distinction, which is indeed painted with a wide, bright line, is between warring views of what kind of moral creature man is. We and our anti-terror allies believe that humans are morally choosing creatures of free will, and proper governments are ordered in consonance with the freedom of citizens to do good or ill. To our enemies, the conscience must be coerced – and even “conversion by the sword” is desirable, until enough conquered submit to their will.

Of course, this also accounts for the reluctance, discussed above, of some of our overseas anti-terror allies to offer explicit statements of their opposition to Osama bin Laden … and by extension, their opposition to his Islamic extremist adherents in their countries. Pruden continued, “We’re asked to understand this reluctance, and we should, but we should also recognize the origin of that reluctance. The leaders of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, of Egypt and the Gulf states, understand the cause very well, that it is resurgent Islam and not mere terrorism that has challenged the secular West.”

John O'Sullivan, another wise observer concurred: “We in the West cannot afford to be overly patronizing about this, however. For radical Islamism is a violent, heretical and politicized perversion of Islam – in exactly the same way that Communism and Nazism were violent, heretical and politicized perversions of enlightened Christian democratic humanism in the West. It marries religion, resentment, violence and modern political technology in pursuit of totalitarian power – just as they did. And because all these doctrines are what Burke called ‘armed doctrines,’ they have to be defeated both spiritually and on the battlefield. The West can and will defeat radical Islamism on the battlefield; it is just a matter of time. Once that has happened, the mosque can begin to demolish its spiritual claims. But not until then, alas.”

How, then, to deal with the truly divisive elements here at home … before these views become deadly? Our country must exercise greater care and concern with immigration matters. The primary objective of immigration must be reinstated as assimilation into citizenship – at least for a short term permitting in only those entrants who wish to become Americans, and who support our Constitution’s principles of freedom of conscience. And foreign nationals now residing here, but who are reasonably suspect of supporting our terrorist enemies, should be repatriated immediately – and only allowed return under heightened scrutiny of their backgrounds.

As our esteemed colleague Paul Craig Roberts concluded, “The United States and Europe are endangered not by national sovereignty and civil liberties, but by immigration policies. It is folly to be allied with Israel against its Muslim enemies and simultaneously to keep one’s borders open to Muslim immigrants. …Unless the United States and Europe exercise care in their response to terrorism, they will become more oppressive than the Taliban. …Good judgment is always in short supply. In times of crisis, it can altogether disappear. We need to keep this in mind and consider whether it is better to restrict immigration instead of our civil liberties.”

Such initial self-defensive measures would offer an excellent start for homeland defense. Once implemented, these protections would assure we need expend less concern on that nasty subsequent phrase, “…divided we fall.”

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