Monday, April 10, 2006

What They Want

Is there any question about what the goals of at least some of the "immigration" protestors are and who they think is most likely to help them reach those goals?

Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the photo. There's also a lot more on the protests at her site.

All Aboard the Last Helicopter

In the spirit of having voted for it before he voted against it, the flipper has laid claim to a seat on the Last Helicopter. On Meet the Press yesterday Senator John Kerry, who has more flip-flops to his credit than a freshly beached trout, said this:

What I do know is unless you get that conference, unless you combine that with the threat of withdrawal and unless you set a date to move forward, it's not going to happen.

MR. RUSSERT: But by setting a specific date for withdrawal-and you say immediate withdrawal-it is a, a change in your thinking. Now, if you go back to March of '04...

SEN. KERRY: Absolutely.

MR. RUSSERT: ...'04, this is what you said. "Kerry says, he is committed to finishing the mission. 'My exit strategy is success,' he says, 'a viable, stable Iraq that can contribute to the stability and peace in the Middle East.'" And then a month later, you offered this.

(Videotape, April 14, 2004):

SEN. KERRY: I think the vast majority of the American people understand that it is important not just to cut and run. And I don't believe in, in a cut-and-run philosophy. I think that would be very damaging to the war on terror, it would be very damaging to the Middle East, it would be very damaging to the longer term interests of the United States.(End videotape)

MR. RUSSERT: And last January of, of last year, I asked you specifically about...what you are now proposing. Let's watch.

(Videotape, January 30, 2005):

MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe there should be a specific timetable of a withdrawal of American troops?


(End videotape)

MR. RUSSERT: No. Now you're saying yes.

SEN. KERRY: There's no change. Yes, I am saying yes.

First he says that this is "absolutely" a change in his thinking then he says it's no change. His exit strategy, he tells us in 2004, requires a viable, stable Iraq, but if it looks like that will be tough to achieve then his strategy morphs into a policy of get out now. All of this, he wishes us to understand, is perfectly consistent. Senator Nuance defends his no-change change with these words:

[W]hat I said back then was based on the fact that the presumption of everybody, Tim, was that we were fighting al-Qaeda principally and that we were looking at the, at the, at the war on terror.

What difference does it make whether the people we are fighting are al-Qaeda or Saddam loyalists who will surely destabilize the country as soon as we leave and who will certainly be a threat to the U.S. if they regain control? These people don't wear uniforms. Whether they belong to al-Qaeda or not they're all scum from the same pond, and as long as they are able they will prevent Iraq from becoming the stable state that Kerry said in 2004 was his precondition for withdrawal. The distinction Kerry is trying to draw between al-Qaeda and the Baathist insurgents is one that makes no practical difference.

He then went on to a tout John Murtha's over-the-horizon strategy:

Secondly, the fact is that I have recommended, as Jack Murtha has, and others, that you have an over-the-horizon capacity. You don't withdraw completely from the region, you don't leave it exposed to the Iranians and others. And all of this has to happen with this date and accordslike summit taking place at the same time.

If we withdraw conditions will almost certainly deteriorate, as Russert points out elsewhere in the interview. What, then, is the point of withdrawing in the first place? If we have to go back in it will be infinitely more difficult to pull off both logistically and politically. Kerry knows this. We are no more likely to re-enter Iraq once we leave than we were to re-enter Vietnam once the last helicopter left Saigon. Kerry and the summer soldiers and sunshine warriors of the Democrat party know that to leave will be a defeat for the United States and for Bush. The latter, in their minds, amply justifies the former.

Bush Didn't Lie? So What.

Ever since the spring of 2003 the administration's critics have proclaimed that Saddam had no weapons of mass destruction and that there's no evidence that he had anything to do with terrorism directed against the United States.

Documents taken from Iraq, which are just now finally being translated, have consistently refuted these claims, however. One of the latest developments concerns a document that clearly is an order to recruit Iraqi suicide terrorists from the Fedayeen Saddam willing to strike at "American interests."

Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters has done some important leg work on this one, but the most thorough summary of the contents of the documents that we've come across is in Investor's Business Daily:

The latest in a stream of eye-opening Iraqi documents shows Saddam Hussein's regime was planning suicide attacks on U.S. interests six months before 9-11. Why won't Washington get the word out? Last month the Pentagon began releasing records captured during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Among the documents is a letter dated March 11, 2001, written by Abdel Magid Hammod Ali, one of Saddam's air force generals.

According to an unofficial translation, Page 6 of the letter asks for "the names of those who desire to volunteer for suicide mission to liberate Palestine and to strike American interests." Assuming the document's accuracy, this shows that Saddam's regime was not only providing aid and support for terrorist organizations of other countries. It was also planning its own bombings directed at U.S. facilities and personnel.

As counterterrorism consultant Dan Darling wrote last week on the Weekly Standard's Web site, that would mean Russian intelligence services under Vladimir Putin were better informed about Iraq's terrorist abilities than the U.S. spy community. Though little noticed by the press, during a July 2004 visit to Kazakhstan the Russian president said that between 9-11 and the U.S. invasion of Iraq, "Russian special services and Russian intelligence several times received . . . information that official organs of Saddam's regime were preparing terrorist acts on the territory of the U.S. and beyond its borders, at U.S. military and civilian locations."

This new document, said Darling, "would seem to refute a long-standing contention among members of the U.S. intelligence community that Iraq ceased its involvement in international terrorism after its failed 1993 plot to assassinate former President George H.W. Bush." Darling cites former National Security Council official Richard Clarke's book "Against all Enemies," which contends that the NSC, the CIA and the FBI all agreed Iraq posed no terrorist threat to the U.S.

Excerpts from a long, recently declassified report by the U.S. Joint Forces Command's Iraqi Perspectives Project will be published in the upcoming issue of Foreign Affairs magazine. Looking at the "Blessed July" document, Foreign Affairs notes this "regime-directed wave of 'martyrdom' operations against targets in the West (was) well under way at the time of the coalition invasion."

Equally embarrassing to our spies is another newly released document from 1999 detailing plans for a "Blessed July" operation. According to the English translation on the Foreign Military Studies Office's Joint Reserve Intelligence Center Web site, Saddam's older son Uday ordered 50 members of the fanatical "Fedayeen Saddam" group to stage bombings and assassinations in Iraq and Europe - including London, where 10 people were assigned.

The Pentagon has obviously been sitting on a treasure trove of paper incriminations against Saddam's regime. So far, just a minuscule amount of the more than 3,000 hours of tape recordings of Saddam and 48,000 boxes of intelligence documents has been translated and deciphered. What has come out so far has confirmed Americans' worst fears about Saddam's evil regime. To review:

Saddam is heard on a 1997 tape predicting terrorism would soon be coming to the U.S., while his son-in-law - who was in charge of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction - gloats about lying to U.N. weapons inspectors to hide the extent of Iraq's WMD program.

Saddam, in a tape made in 2000, talks with Iraqi scientists about his plans to build a nuclear device. He discusses Iraq's plasma separation program - an advanced uranium-enrichment technique completely missed by U.N. inspectors.

An Iraqi intelligence document, released just two weeks ago, describes a February 1995 meeting between Saddam's spies and Osama bin Laden. During that meeting, bin Laden offered to conduct "joint operations" with Iraq. Saddam subsequently ordered his aides to "develop the relationship" with the al-Qaida leader.

A fax, sent on June 6, 2001, shows conclusively that Saddam's government provided financial aid to Abu Sayyaf guerrillas in the Philippines. Abu Sayyaf is an al-Qaida offshoot co-founded by bin Laden's brother-in-law.

These are just a few of the revelations about Saddam and terrorism to be found in a handful of documents and tapes. When all are fully translated, we're betting the terror links will be clear, damning and irrefutable.

At present, we're relying too much on translations by bloggers and other amateurs. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., says the White House has been dragging its feet for fear of embarrassing supposed allies (such as Russia) whose links with Saddam would come under scrutiny.

These documents make it even plainer who our enemies are and why we're at war. The administration should move to get out accurate translations so Americans can better understand why we fight.

The shame of it is that those who've been shouting the loudest about Bush having lied to us will be unmoved by evidence such as this. These people don't care about evidence except insofar as the lack of it can be used as a club with which to kneecap the administration. If it turns out, as it certainly appears, that Saddam gave the world ample reason to believe he was hiding WMD and that he was involved in terrorist activity against the U.S., the critics will just shrug and cast about for whatever other cudgel they can wield to continue their on-going mugging of the president.

From the left's point of view their fight is not really about the war, it's not even about Bush, it's about using whatever means are necessary to put the country back on a trajectory leading to a secularized, egalitarian, socialist, demilitarized indentured servant of the United Nations. The "Bush-lied-about-Iraq" meme was useful to this end, but if it no longer works something just as serviceable will soon be found to employ in its stead.