Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Truth Will Out

The response of the Kerry campaign to the accusations made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth has not been to respond to the charges themselves but rather to threaten television stations who run their ads with a lawsuit for libel. Henry and Erika Holzer have an excellent piece at FrontPage which dissects Kerry's initial strategy for dealing with the SBVT and shows how the claim that the SBVT members are not telling the truth collapses under the weight of common sense. They also explain how the threat of libel is as hollow as their candidate's resume. The Holzers close their essay with this:

Kerry, as a public official, has a constitutionally required burden of proof in a libel case to produce evidence showing that the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth witnesses either knew their statements were false, or recklessly disregarded knowledge of falsity. Kerry's lawyers must realize their client can never satisfy this burden of proof.

For these reasons, and others, the democrat lawyers' threatening letter to TV station managers was an unconscionable attempt to protect their candidate from the damning truths spoken by Vietnam veterans who have earned the right to exercise their First Amendment freedom of speech.

To their credit, TV stations in some marketplaces have refused to surrender to the bullying tactics of Kerry's lawyers. This presents the democrat party and the Kerry campaign with two choices: put up or shut up.

They can slink off the field for having threatened TV stations with a baseless libel lawsuit, or, despite how they eventually hedge their threat, they can actually sue those TV stations that aren't intimidated.

The latter course would be utter disaster-and Kerry's lawyers have to know this. Kerry would no longer be able to hide behind spin masters. He would have to file a written complaint. Sworn depositions (including Kerry's) would have to be taken. He would have to respond to requests for factual admissions. He would have to answer written interrogatories. He would have to produce documents.

There would have to be a trial. That means sworn testimony, cross examination, documentary evidence-all in front of a jury, reporters, perhaps even TV cameras. Once all that happened, America would know who told the truth-and who lied.

Indeed. Of course all of this controversy over his military service might be stopped dead in its tracks if Kerry would do what the Democrats insisted that George Bush do, which is to release his service records. Kerry, however, refuses to do this. One particularly clever explanation for his refusal to release the records is that he anticipated long ago that his VietNam service would be an issue and has decided to sit on his records while his political opponents dig themselves into a deep pit. Then, at the climactic moment, he will release the records which will vindicate Kerry and bury his enemies under an avalanche of public scorn and ridicule.

It's possible, in the same sense that Martians are possible, but there are two things working against the strategy. First, the Republicans aren't cooperating. No one in that party has embraced the SBVT ads or the vets themselves. On the contrary, they've somewhat distanced themselves from them.

Second, the records must vindicate Kerry in order for the strategy to work, and it's hard to believe that Kerry wouldn't have released them years ago if they truly did confirm his claims. It's also hard to believe that over two hundred men would be lying about this, would be subjecting themselves to the Democrat slime machine, when they have no real motive for doing so other than to defend their own honor and to set the record straight.

The Fox News Sunday panel all agreed that this would be a non-issue by Labor Day. Viewpoint is not so sure. It's a story, as journalists like to say, that has legs, and the legs are going to get stronger when Unfit For Command is released next week.

Anybody But Bush

Bill Gertz is a Washington Times correspondent well connected to the defense and intelligence people in D.C. His most recent column discusses intelligence information that suggests that the next terrorist attack will be triggered by a message from Osama bin Laden and will consist of a wave of assassinations beginning, perhaps, in Yemen or Saudi Arabia and spreading across the United States. It is believed that the terrorists have in mind as targets political and business figures whose murders would rock the American economy and the coming election. According to one official, "The goal of the next attack is twofold: to damage the U.S. economy and to undermine the U.S. election," the official said. "The view of al Qaeda is 'anybody but Bush.' "

So, if this official's analysis is correct, al Qaeda sees the re-election of George Bush as the worst possible outcome for them. Any serious citizen of this country, i.e. anyone who realizes that we are in a fight to the death with an implacable enemy, should view al Qaeda's hope of swinging the election toward John Kerry as the strongest conceivable reason to vote for George Bush.

Just Do It

Omar at Iraq the Model gives some interesting anecdotal evidence as to how Iraqis view the fighting in Najaf and Sadr City. In short, they despise Muqtada al Sadr and will be happy to see the end of him. What they do not want to see is another round of indecisive fighting that returns them to the status quo ante. Omar and his friends want to see a resolution to this, and no doubt our Marines do, too:

It seems that it's time at last! I hope they get Muqtada this time and also all his deputies. People here are not only disgusted and upset with this gang but also most of them showed extreme anger and some of them went as far as condemning Islam and even the Mahdi himself!! I don't agree of course with that, as Muqtada has nothing to do with Islam.

A She'at taxi driver told me, " Why are we doing this!? Why among all religions we commit such horrible crimes?? If this is Islam then s**t on it and on Mahdi himself, we don't want this! They went as far as attacking peaceful churches and I really don't understand why! This is not the Islam we were raised to believe in, the Islam of peace and tolerance. I wish I could see this idiot dead."

One of my colleagues; a She'at who used to sympathize greatly with Islamist whether She'at or Sunni, told me today that he is shocked with what the Mahdi army is doing, " When he revolted the 1st time and they called him an outlaw we didn't like it. How can they call a cleric who's the son of Iraq's most respectable Ayetullah, an outlaw. Now I cannot and I do not want to defend him. He's a criminal and so are all his followers. They have killed civilians, policemen, destroyed a gas station in Sadr city, and are threatening to burn down the oil pipelines now! Why and for what!?"

Check out his posts for both Wednesday and Tuesday. There's lots of insight into the Iraqi people's attitude toward all this on them.

Understanding ESC

Joe Carter at Evangelical Outpost explains some things about stem cell research that the average voter is probably not aware of. He writes:

Since the average American voter believes the President controls the economy, it's not a surprise they would believe that he would control federal funding for ESC also. But Bush's executive order didn't really initiate a ban at all. In fact, all it did was clarify what the executive branch is supposed to do - enforce the law. The ban had already been put in place by former Arkansas congressman Jay Dickey.

In 1996, Dickey attached an amendment to the Health and Human Services Appropriations Bill that prohibits the use of federal funds for research that destroys or seriously endangers human embryos. The Dickey Amendment, which has been reimplemented every year since '96, reads:

None of the funds made available in this Act may be used for- (1) the creation of a human embryo or embryos for research purposes; or (2) research in which a human embryo or embryos are destroyed, discarded, or knowingly subjected to risk of injury or death.

While the law is rather straightforward, the Clinton Administration was able to find a way around it. They reasoned that if private funds were used to destroy the embryo then it would clear the way for government funding. They would allow the private sector do the dirty work and then slip them funding for their efforts. Although this violates the clear intent and spirit of the law, it was nevertheless ruled to be a "legally valid interpretation."

The Clinton Administration adopted this stance as their policy but was unable to implement it before Bush took office. Unlike his predecessor, Bush came in with the intent to obey the law as it was written. But by the time he made his decision, a number of embryonic stem cell lines had already been derived and were in various stages of development, growth, and characterization. Since the damage had already been done to the embryos, Bush agreed to a compromise which allowed federal funding to be used for these specific lines. Funding of ESC research would be allowed without having the government be complicit in the destruction of more human embryos.

Kerry's expressed policy is a reversal of this position. By "lifting the ban" he means that he'll take the position of former President Clinton and ignore the law as it is written in order to find a way around its limitations. Since both he and Sen. Clinton were unable to override the Dickey amendment in the legislature, he is attempting to do it by fiat. In essence, Kerry is promising to ignore the will of the people as expressed through their elected representatives.

It would be interesting to see how many of the Democrats who criticize the President's position on this issue have themselves voted for the Dickey Amendment and its annual renewals.

Sec. Annan, Please Call Your Office

The Sudan crisis continues and the Sudanese leadership sits in Khartoum pretending it's not happening. This article provides an update. Some excerpts:

In a statement from Geneva on Tuesday, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs accused Sudanese forces of new helicopter attacks, denied by Khartoum, and the Janjaweed of raids on the ground. "Fresh violence today (Tuesday) included helicopter gunship bombings by the Sudanese government and Janjaweed attacks in South Darfur," the U.N. agency said.

The U.N. estimates Darfur violence has killed 50,000 and made two million short of food and medicine.

Sudan has said international pressure over Darfur aims to undermine the country's Islamist government, which Washington lists as a "sponsor of terror."

In a July 30 U.S.-drafted resolution, the Security Council gave Khartoum 30 days to take measures against the Janjaweed, or face unspecified sanctions. Khartoum denies using the Janjaweed as a proxy force and says they are outlaws.

It will be interesting to see what the U.N. does when the August 30 deadline passes. It will also be telling to read the tragic statistics of how many people died in that 30 day period. It is unconscionable that this horror has been allowed to go on this long, as if the Sudanese thugocracy were a legitimate government, and every day it is allowed to continue is another black mark on the legacy of the United Nations.