MartiniPundit

Random thoughts and insights – always shaken, never stirred

Archive for November 2005

Joe Lieberman, Adult

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There are, mirabile dictu, some adults among the Democrats. A case in point is Joe Lieberman.

I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood — unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.

Progress is visible and practical. In the Kurdish North, there is continuing security and growing prosperity. The primarily Shiite South remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity. The Sunni triangle, geographically defined by Baghdad to the east, Tikrit to the north and Ramadi to the west, is where most of the terrorist enemy attacks occur. And yet here, too, there is progress.

There are many more cars on the streets, satellite television dishes on the roofs, and literally millions more cell phones in Iraqi hands than before. All of that says the Iraqi economy is growing. And Sunni candidates are actively campaigning for seats in the National Assembly. People are working their way toward a functioning society and economy in the midst of a very brutal, inhumane, sustained terrorist war against the civilian population and the Iraqi and American military there to protect it.

It is a war between 27 million and 10,000; 27 million Iraqis who want to live lives of freedom, opportunity and prosperity and roughly 10,000 terrorists who are either Saddam revanchists, Iraqi Islamic extremists or al Qaeda foreign fighters who know their wretched causes will be set back if Iraq becomes free and modern. The terrorists are intent on stopping this by instigating a civil war to produce the chaos that will allow Iraq to replace Afghanistan as the base for their fanatical war-making. We are fighting on the side of the 27 million because the outcome of this war is critically important to the security and freedom of America. If the terrorists win, they will be emboldened to strike us directly again and to further undermine the growing stability and progress in the Middle East, which has long been a major American national and economic security priority. [emphasis mine]

If the Democrats had more people like Joe Lieberman, they might become the majority party again. Of course, that isn’t very likely given the support he received in the primaries last year. Meanwhile, read the rest of his piece.

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Written by martinipundit

November 29, 2005 at 11:47 am

Cheney’s Speech

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The Administration has taken a pounding lately. For the last several months, it’s been clear the Democrats smell blood and wish to see it keep flowing. From the pathetic attempts of John Kerry to achieve some sort of relevancy to PA Representative Jack Murtha (who I had never heard of before last week) Iraq is the primary target. (Other senators have carried water for the judiciary, the economy, and the hurricanes.) I don’t personally see the problem in equating Murtha’s position on withdrawal with Michael Moore – they are the same position. Further, for Kerry to come out and challenge this is ridiculous to those of us who can still recall that he sat Michael Moore next to Jimmy Carter in the front row for his acceptance speech at the 2004 Democratic Convention.

But that’s the essence of this issue. Kerry – who voted to authorize force in Iraq – again wants to be given a pass on the subject. He claims, as do others, that Bush lied. Indeed, so well that he misled the country – and John Kerry – into war. I find this position a bit amusing in its way. After all, John Kerry’s base has spent the last five years making fun of Bush, comparing him to an ape, and basically telling us he’s dumber than dirt. Yet how smart can Kerry be if he was misled by a man with the IQ of a bedbug? Not very. It’s offensive that the Democrats want to haul Bush before a tribunal (don’t think impeachment isn’t on their minds) regarding prewar intelligence, but they want to be forgiven for being misled by the President when they themselves had access to the same intelligence and came to the exact same conclusion as evidenced by their votes to authorize the use of force.

So it’s nice to see the Administration finally calling their weak hand. Vice President Cheney, as designated pit bull, has been giving speeches lately, and yesterday’s covered some important ground:

On the question of national security, feelings run especially strong, and there are deeply held differences of opinion on how best to protect the United States and our friends against the dangers of our time. Recently my friend and former colleague Jack Murtha called for a complete withdrawal of American forces now serving in Iraq, with a drawdown to begin at once. I disagree with Jack and believe his proposal would not serve the best interests of this nation. But he’s a good man, a Marine, a patriot — and he’s taking a clear stand in an entirely legitimate discussion.

What is not legitimate — and what I will again say is dishonest and reprehensible — is the suggestion by some U. S. senators that the President of the United States or any member of his administration purposely misled the American people on pre-war intelligence.

To my knowledge, Congressman Murtha has not said that, but many senators have, including both of the ones from my state. An earlier propagandist said “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth.” Senators Kennedy, Kerry, and others are following that advice, to their dishonor. I don’t question Senator Kerry’s patriotism. He’s proven quite convincingly he has none.

It’s also important to point out – as often as necessary until it takes – that Iraq is not some sort retribution for 9/11. Rather it is the essential housecleaning that the Middle East and other havens of terror have needed for decades.

In a post-9/11 world, the President and Congress of the United States declined to trust the word of a dictator who had a history of weapons of mass destruction programs, who actually used weapons of mass destruction against innocent civilians in his own country, who tried to assassinate a former President of the United States, who was routinely shooting at allied pilots trying to enforce no fly zones, who had excluded weapons inspectors, who had defied the demands of the international community, whose regime had been designated an official state sponsor of terror, and who had committed mass murder. Those are the facts. Although our coalition has not found WMD stockpiles in Iraq, I repeat that we never had the burden of proof; Saddam Hussein did. We operated on the best available intelligence, gathered over a period of years from within a totalitarian society ruled by fear and secret police. We also had the experience of the first Gulf War — when the intelligence community had seriously underestimated the extent and progress Saddam had made toward developing nuclear weapons.

Finally, according to the Duelfer report, Saddam Hussein wanted to preserve the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction when sanctions were lifted. And we now know that the sanctions regime had lost its effectiveness and been totally undermined by Saddam Hussein’s successful effort to corrupt the Oil for Food program.

This, in the final analysis, is the key. The post 9/11 world is a different place. It needs different policies. However much John Kerry, Michael Moore, Jimmy Carter, and all those who suffer from BDS on the Left would like it otherwise. Grownups are going about the messy business of defending a nation and a civilization. Open and honest debate is not advanced by carping children who are only thinking of themselves.

Written by martinipundit

November 22, 2005 at 10:10 am

Posted in Politics

Open Source Media – Thumbs Down

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When the idea for Open Source Media – then known as Pajama Media – was first bandied about, I was intrigued and asked for their prospectus. There were some serious bloggers involved, and they were people entitled to a hearing. However, after reading the prospectus, I had the feeling of being conned. It was pretty clear that in signing up I would be giving up the editorial control of my own blog and that the lion’s share of whatever money there was would be going to the big bloggers setting the thing up. While I don’t wish to impute bad motives to the OSM founders, it looked remarkably like a Ponzi scheme. I passed.

So now, with a splashy launch in New York City, flying in the top bloggers and putting them up at the W, the scheme looks just like what I feared – a lot of gravy for the big bloggers and not much left for the rest. Isn’t this already the situation with ads and links? Why should I, a small blogger, contribute to this and give up control of my writing at the same time? What, exactly, am I supposed to get out of this?

Dean Barnett at Soxblog gives one plausible reason:

As a blogger, I’m a second class pundit. But when I’m doing a story for the Weekly Standard, my phones calls to Senators, Governors, Nobel Laureates and even James Carville get returned.

The reason the calls get returned is because when I’m representing the Standard, I’m providing access to an audience that the targets of my calls want to reach. The Standard offers a level of prestige and gravitas that serves me and my sources well.

OSM should be able to do the same thing for its citizen-journalists.

Dean is a fan of OSM, and I have great respect for his writing, but I’m not as optimistic as he is. I suspect that bloggers who get that sort of access will quickly become addicted to it and lose their independence and objectivity. I could be wrong, but the journalistic community and the political community have a way of absorbing those who stumble into their parlor.

There are other disturbing signs. Ann Althouse, by no means a Lefty, has been given the DU and Kossack treatment for daring to criticize the venture:

Also, Charles Johnson linked to this post to note my bad taste — the “fluids” wisecrack — and this set off his commenters who just started wildly insulting me — hilariously assuming I’m a big lefty and using lots of bad taste insults against me. How does that make sense? If they are outraged at my bad taste, as Charles suggests they be, then why aren’t the comments primly proper?

Sexist, ad hominem, and sometimes racist slurs are hurled at right-of-center female bloggers all the time, but not typically from the Right. Frankly, we should be above that sort of thing. OSM is no more above criticism than anything else, and it’s not being helped by the herd mentality.

Meanwhile, the invaluable Moxie calls a spade a spade:

What exactly is OSM? Don’t ask me, I’m not that smart! And it seems the more I read about PJ Media/OSM, the less I know:

“Many details of OSM remain unsettled. For example, OSM wants to create a mechanism for citizen journalists, including bloggers, to submit original news during natural disasters, civil unrest and other newsworthy events. Simon said organizers still have to come up with ways to check submissions for accuracy.”

Silly, trite details. fact checking, and all. Critics have noted that there is already a vehicle for this purpose, known as THE F*CKING INTERNET.

OSM may yet take off and succeed at whatever it plans to do. But it’s hardly a revolution and it’s not going to impact the vast majority of bloggers. If anything, it will dampen the great leveller of the blogosphere – merit, replacing it with a self-appointed group of guardians, many of whom are there because they happened to get in early. I’ll still pass.

Update Perhaps I should have waited. Iowahawk explains all you need to know about OSM.

Written by martinipundit

November 17, 2005 at 2:45 pm

Posted in General

An Observation

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I look forward to the day that the hammer & sicle is viewed with the same revulsion as the swastika.

Written by martinipundit

November 3, 2005 at 8:00 am

Michelle Malkin’s New Book

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Michelle Malkin has a new book out called Unhinged: Exposing Liberals Gone Wild which looks pretty interesting. I’ll be picking up a copy.

Written by martinipundit

November 1, 2005 at 1:43 pm

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