Sunday, August 1, 2004

Intelligence <i>Success</i>

There's a fascinating story in the New York Times about the source of the information on the new terror threat to American financial centers. Some excerpts:

The unannounced capture of a figure from Al Qaeda in Pakistan several weeks ago led the Central Intelligence Agency to the rich lode of information that prompted the terror alert on Sunday, according to senior American officials.

One senior American intelligence official said the information was more detailed and precise than any he had seen during his 24-year career in intelligence work. A second senior American official said it had provided a new window into the methods, content and distribution of Qaeda communications.

"This, for us, is a potential treasure trove," said a third senior American official, an intelligence expert, at a briefing for reporters on Sunday afternoon.

The documentary evidence, whose contents were reported urgently to Washington on Friday afternoon, immediately elevated the significance of other intelligence information gathered in recent weeks that had already been regarded as highly troubling, senior American intelligence officials said.

The American officials said the new evidence had been obtained only after the capture of the Qaeda figure. Among other things, they said, it demonstrated that Qaeda plotters had begun casing the buildings in New York, Newark and Washington even before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Among the questions the plotters sought to answer, senior American intelligence officials said, were how best to gain access to the targeted buildings; how many people might be at the sites at different hours and on different days of the week; whether a hijacked oil tanker truck could serve as an effective weapon; and how large an explosive device might be required to bring the buildings down.

One of the things Americans need to keep firmly in mind is that this war has, in the minds of the jihadis, been going on for seven centuries. They're not going to surrender, nor are they going to stop attacking us any time soon. We need to unburden ourselves of our traditional notion of fighting a war for a distinct period of time and then enjoying peace for a generation thereafter. This war will not end until either Western civilization is destroyed or the Islamists are rendered impotent. Even if we critically degrade their ability to strike us, there will only be a temporary cessation of hostilities until they can regain enough strength to attack us again.

The Islamists are fanatics obsessed with killing Christians and Jews. There is no remedy for this. It's not a matter of reasoning with them or negotiating with them. It's not a matter of restoring land or improving economic conditions. It's not a matter of leaving them alone. They believe it is Allah's will that they kill all infidels. The only way to stop them, unfortunately, is to kill them first.


Matt Drudge has a bombshell. Evidently part of George Bush's plans during his second term is to eliminate the IRS and replace it with a national sales tax. According to Drudge:

A domestic centerpiece of the Bush/GOP agenda for a second Bush term is getting rid of the Internal Revenue Service, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

The Speaker of the House will push for replacing the nation's current tax system with a national sales tax or a value added tax, Hill sources tell DRUDGE.

I don't know how a sales tax could possibly compensate for the loss of income tax revenue, but I'm sure Hastert isn't just talking off the top of his head. They must have thought this through. Well, at least one hopes they have. It'll be interesting to see how the Kerryites respond.

No Extremists on the Left

The Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), a liberal advocacy group, assigns a Liberal Quotient (LQ) to all voting members of congress. Senator Kerry has a lifetime ADA rating of 92% which makes him the most liberal pol in the current senate and third all-time among members of congress. Edwards is fourth among current congressmen and senators with an 88% LQ. Their combined averages make the Kerry/Edwards ticket the left-most pair of nominees for the American presidency in the history of the ADA.

The Washington Times writes:

From the premier liberal rating organization, Americans for Democratic Action (ADA), Mr. Edwards received an average annual (1999-2002) rating of 85 percent before falling to a career-low 65 percent last year. But that score was misleading because ADA penalizes legislators for missing any of its 20 annual key votes. In fact, on the 13 ADA votes for which the itinerant Mr. Edwards was present last year, he supported ADA 100 percent of the time. (On the 17 ADA key votes cast by Mr. Kerry last year, he also supported ADA's position 100 percent of the time. Thus, between the two of them, they were 30-for-30 on ADA votes.) With Mr. Edwards' lifetime ADA rating at 81 percent and Mr. Kerry's at 92 percent, the 2004 Democratic ticket boasts higher lifetime ADA ratings than the avowedly liberal 1984 Democratic ticket of Walter Mondale and Geraldine Ferraro.

If the Republican nominees in any election were as far to the right as Kerry/Edwards are to the left wouldn't we be hearing the word "extremist" used about every five seconds to describe them and their positions on the issues? Wouldn't candidates whose voting records were the most conservative in history be pilloried by the major media for being way "out of the mainstream"?

There's still time for the media to whisper a mention of the extremism of the current candidates, of course, but from the current silence on the matter one might be forgiven for thinking that extremists only reside on the right of the ideological divide and that the mainstream in this country runs from left of center all the way left to the far horizon. The reigning attitude among the media worthies is that, to paraphrase Barry Goldwater, extremism in pusuit of a left-wing agenda is no vice.

Let's count how many times between now and November we hear the E-word applied to the current Democrat tandem by Rather, Jennings, and Brokaw, the NYT, LAT, and the WaPo. Viewpoint's guess is that it'll be a round number.

Dead or Alive

There's a report, as yet unconfirmed, that the terrorist al Zarqawi, the man responsible for many of the kidnappings and beheadings of American hostages, has been captured near the Iraqi/Syrian border. A number of Iraqi bloggers are carrying the report, but no major media have said anything about it yet as far as I know. They could be waiting for independent confirmation or the report may be groundless. We should know soon enough.