The Hedgehog Blog
Political and social observations from two aspiring hedgehogs who love the Isaiah Berlin essay.
Thursday, September 30, 2004
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
How to Contact Sergeant Torres
"On the other hand I stand there and look at my little buddy named Bob who dances for something to eat; I can’t help but turn around and hope that my watery eyes behind my military sunglasses do not give me away."
Here's the second e-mail today from Sgt. Torres:
"Thank you all so much! The boys Scouts can do their Eagle projects, the
girls theirs or any organization. If you need any signatures send them to
me. I will be happy to sign providing I am not out in the field.
"Any packages can be sent here the following way, please do not send your
address. You can include a note if you desire. Thanks.
"For the Afghanistan children:
Attn: Torres, Jorge L. Jr.HHC, 3-116 INS-3, 1-143 FSEAPO AE 09354
"For the Afghanistan people:
Attn: Torres, Jorge L. Jr.HHC, 3-116 INS-3, 1-143 FSEAPO AE 09354
"Care packages to Soldiers:
Any SoldierAttn: Torres, Jorge L. Jr.HHC, 3-116 INS-3, 1-143 FSEAPO AE
"You have my permission to post or read this email to your listeners.
For confirmation email, firstname.lastname@example.org"
Looks to me like an opportunity to do some good!
If you're a John Kerry supporter, that is. Read this exchange from ABC's Good Morning America today and ask yourself how you would feel if you were pulling for the good Senator:
DIANE SAWYER: Was the war in Iraq worth it?
JOHN KERRY: We should not have gone to war knowing the information that
we know today.
DS: So it was not worth it.
JK: We should not — it depends on the outcome ultimately — and that
depends on the leadership. And we need better leadership to get the job done
successfully, but I would not have gone to war knowing that there was no
imminent threat — there were no weapons of mass destruction — there was no
connection of Al Qaeda — to Saddam Hussein! The president misled the American
people — plain and simple. Bottom line.
DS: So if it turns out okay, it was worth it?
DS: But right now it wasn’t [ … ? … ]–
JK: It was a mistake to do what he did, but we have to succeed now that
we’ve done what he’s — I mean look — we have to succeed. But was it worth — as
you asked the question — $200 billion and taking the focus off of Osama bin
Laden and Al Qaeda? That’s the question. The test of the presidency was whether
or not you should have gone to war to get rid of him. I think, had the
inspectors continued, had we done other things — there were plenty of ways to
keep the pressure on Saddam Hussein.
DS: But no way to get rid of him.
JK: Oh, sure there were. Oh, yes there were. Absolutely.
DS: So you’re saying that today, even if Saddam Hussein were in power
today it would be a better thing — you would prefer that . . .
JK: No, I would not prefer that. And Diane — don’t twist here.
Two things stand out: (1) Kerry's meandering, almost unintelligible answers, and (2) the way in which he loses his cool when Diane Sawyer presses him for a clear answer. It does appear that the man just can't do any better.
Another e-mail from Afghanistan
Staff Sergeant Jorge Torres, whom I know as a scoutmaster in my church (and one of the finest scoutmasters I have ever known) is a reservist now serving in Afghanistan. Jorge has only been there a few weeks, and I posted his earlier e-mail home here.
Now we have another report from Jorge, direct from the front lines in the war. He sent pictures and I will post those also, as soon as I have a little more time. Here's what Jorge has to say:
Thank you all so much for your emails. After being on duty for 16 hours or
more I can’t wait to get back and check the email or to see if anything came
from home. When I am relieved from duty I patiently wait to arrive to my resting
area. I receive my new orders for the following day. Some duties are a little
more troubling then others. Sometimes you can’t help but sit there and wonder
what may happen. You pack according to your assignment. The more risky the
assignment the better you pack your belongings. Everything that your family may
and can use you pack tight with a lock and tell your buddies send this home if
something happens with a set of instructions. All the rest in the duffle bag.
You pack your ruck sack and your assault pack and lay them on your cot.
Hopefully you didn’t take to long in packing everything because you need your
rest. You rush and take a shower if it’s your turn (every three days) and hope
for the best. In truth I rather be stuck in a fire fight then be blown by an IED
(Improvised Explosive Device). That’s a story better left unsaid.
You all ask what we could use down here and for the Afghanistan people. I
think for the American Soldiers knowing that we have you guys (Family, Friends,
The American People) in the rear we couldn’t be more blessed. We receive
packages down here from so many different people. Girl Scouts sending cookies to
grandma sending extra socks. Truly God has made such a wonderful place called
America. Oh how I miss that place! Home sweet home. The Saturday mornings
thinking of cutting grass. The yelling for Dad to the wife asking me to work on
her car. The worries of the family to the house duties all seem so simple now.
What ever made me think it was so hard.
I keep telling myself that its Monday 06:00. When soldiers ask I tell them
it's Monday morning six O’clock. They tell me it can’t be its afternoon. I tell
them soldier if you’re in the Army in this place with me it’s always Monday
morning six o’clock. They stand there perplexed. At times I can’t tell what day
it is because I truly convince myself that the day has started. I don’t want to
know what day it is until they say pack your bags and go home. Till then I
continue to stand here and do my job. Supported with a firm foundation (America,
family and friends) and trust me the Afghanistan people can see this.
On the other hand I stand there and look at my little buddy name Bob who
dances for something to eat; I can’t help but turn around and hope that my
watery eyes behind my military sunglasses do not give me away. I gave what I
can, what ever I packed in my assault pack which really isn’t much and hoped
that it was enough for him. I continue on my watch and hope that God some way
some how would make time go by faster.
Enough about this!Here are my observations.
1) The male population really has bad shoes. I think by American standards
even are old shoes are better then what they wear.
2) The children are going to school or those that can get there. If you
look at the pictures you will see that they have clothing. But there are many in
other villages that do not. Worse, no well to perform hygiene. It appears they
wear the same clothes day in and out for those that do not have a well. This
village is lucky and does have a well.
3) The children could use paper, pencils and pens to write. It appears they
value pens very much. A small care package in a one Gallon Hefty Glad bag with a
composition book or pad with a pencil makes a perfect gift for the
4) Candy and more candy. Most soldiers pick up sandwich bags and throw in
some candy, pens and pencils. We assemble I guess little care packages. That
really makes all the difference in the world. I can’t even begin to
explain the multitude of children running behind the Hummers (Military Vehicles)
asking for water and food.
In closing I can’t think but feel what Jesus felt when the children
gathered around him quote "People were bringing little children to Jesus to have
him touch them,but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was
indignant. He said to them,"Let the little children come to me, and do not
hinder them, for the kingdom of Godbelongs to such as these. I tell you the
truth; anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will
never enter it." And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and
blessed them. Mark 10:13-16Well my good friends, my love ones until my next
email and new encounters.God bless…Note: Can you tell I have a little time off
today, Thank God!
Picture bob1, the little boy who dances for food. This picture taken from
Picture school1, a bunch of little girls running to school. They can not
wave at us because the elders will beat them. So they try to give us thumbs up
when they can.
Picture go to school, two girls I guess the best of friends walking to
Picture rosi, this little girl came up with her brother to get water at the
well. Reminds me of my mother and her stories of getting water at the
Picture JackJill, The best picture ever I think. Reminds me of my wife and
me how young we where when we started our journey together.
Picture Dad52, All this watching from the tower. A little risky when the
Taliban has been trying to hit the towers with home made rockets. The last time
they came too close.
Hugh Hewitt notes:
Al Gore has an op-ed in the New York Times titled "How to Debate
George Bush." Really. It is right next to Al Franken's "Building a Radio
Empire," Phil Donahue's "Comebacks on Television," and Martha Stewart's "Timing
the Market." I haven't read Gore's piece yet --I don't know if I can, actually,
as certain levels of absurdity should be avoided-- but I hope it includes:
*Don't get made up like a saloon girl with small pox;
and sigh like a second grader in time-out;
*Don't make up travel adventures
to disaster sites with FEMA directors;
*Don't stalk the president in a way
as to alarm the Secret Service;
*Don't suddenly go passive as though you'd
been hit by a dart gun containing a paralyzing agent.
*Don't bring up
anything with "dingle" in the title.
Those are pretty good starters.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Monday, September 27, 2004
This post by Ann Althouse, a University of Wisconsin law professor, provides an interesting examination of the evolution of Senator Kerry's campaign. I like Prof. Althouse's posts on this subject and think they have the ring of truth. Of course, I'm a Bush partisan. I wonder how other centrist moderates and Kerry partisans will respond to the professor's thoughts?
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Michael Moore's Second And Third Choices for "Farenheit 9/11" Movie Poster
Saturday, September 25, 2004
The information in this Power Line post is really too much to summarize. To understand the story, you've got to read the whole thing. This tells us quite a bit about the Associated Press reporter in question. But I find something else remarkable about this story. In the pre-blogosphere days, the type of cozy relationship between lefty reporters and Democrat operatives that is exposed here would never have come to light.
Pardon My Language
I happened to be listening to NPR this morning. Sometimes they have interesting interviews and they do great unintentional self-parody. Today's example: The top-of-the hour news reader referred to the actions of a "Jordanian militant" operating in Iraq. I wondered who she was talking about. After a few lines into the story it became clear she was talking about Zarquawi.
"Jordanian militant." Oh, please.
I was sitting in court, waiting for the judge, when I read what Joe Lockhart said about Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi. I gasped audibly. (Silly me! After all, this is Bill Clinton's former press secretary talking.) Then I thought, "Holy Toledo! They're either desperate or they know it's over."
It really is breath-taking. I recommend you read Hindrocket's analysis at Power Line. He also quotes these lines from Bill Kristol's piece in The Weekly Standard:
What we do know is this: Kerry and his advisers have behaved disgracefully
this past week. That behavior is sufficient grounds for concern about his
fitness to be president. . . .
Kerry's rudeness paled beside the comment of his senior adviser, Joe
Lockhart, to the Los Angeles Times: "The last thing you want to be seen as is a
puppet of the United States, and you can almost see the hand underneath the
shirt today moving the lips."
Is Kerry proud that his senior adviser's derisive comment about the leader
of free Iraq will now be quoted by terrorists and by enemies of the United
States, in Iraq and throughout the Middle East? Is the concept of a loyalty to
American interests that transcends partisan politics now beyond the imagination
of the Kerry campaign?
John Kerry has decided to pursue a scorched-earth strategy in this
campaign. He is prepared to insult allies, hearten enemies, and denigrate
efforts to succeed in Iraq. His behavior is deeply irresponsible--and not even
in his own best interest.
There is some chance, after all, that John Kerry will be president in four
months. If so, what kind of situation will he have created for himself? France
will smile on him, but provide no troops. Those allies that have provided
troops, from Britain and Poland and Australia and Japan and elsewhere, will
likely recall how Kerry sneered at them, calling them "the coerced and the
bribed." The leader of the government in Iraq, upon whom the success of John
Kerry's Iraq policy will depend, will have been weakened before his enemies and
ours--and will also remember the insult. Is this really how Kerry wants to go
down in history: Willing to say anything to try to get elected, no matter what
the damage to the people of Iraq, to American interests, and even to
Indeed. I still can't believe it. As Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit says, these guys are acting like people who know they're toast and are just trying to mobilize their base so as to protect the downticket candidates from a landslide. I suppose they are also hoping that something unpredictable will happen and give them a chance to get back on top:
I think that statements like this are more evidence that the Kerry campaign
-- or at least the Clinton folks running it -- expects to lose. Hence, they
don't have to worry about who they'll be working with, but they want to fire up
the anti-Bush base. That doesn't make it any less disgraceful to be going around
uttering comments that might as well be designed to undermine America's
alliances, of course. This sort of stuff is appalling.
My favorite Iraqi blog is Iraq The Model. It's been fascinating (and a good reality check) to follow this group blog by three young, well-educated anti-Saddam Iraqi brothers, two of them dentists and one a physician. Here's a snippet :
One of my friends asked me to post his thoughts about the "Fahrenheit 9/11"
film.He'd be glad to read your e-mails in responce to it.
Well the best part goes when he suspected that the war against Taliban was
to build a pipeline through Afghanistan!! With this level of assessment I won't
be surprised if future wars will happen for building a bridge or maybe paving a
road!! And I really was shocked when he pictured Iraq like peaceful country
where children play and people laugh happily, guess what Mr. Moore you are wrong
coz I live in Iraq and children weren't playing they were working to live and
people weren’t smiling they were either afraid of getting killed or arrested for
no reason or just because they don’t like Saddam and they dared to say so.I
really don’t know why you have to cheat to make the people believe you coz the
whole world knew how the Iraqi people suffered from Saddam and you try to show
that they were happy with him!
In the same superficial manner you used to show that Iraq was a happy
place, one could use the pictures of children singing around Stalin celebrating
his birthday to show that people loved Stalin and they were happy. Now that was
one real documentary shot you took from Iraqis' life prior to the war!
And I liked your idea when you said" A nation that never attacked the
united states a nation that never threatened to attack the united states a
nation that have never murdered a single American citizen" well a (nation) like
Iraq started a war with Iran for 8 years with casualties of 1000000 dead people
on both sides and killed his own (nation) with toxic gas and then invade another
country and killing its people (Kuwait) and threatened to burn all the oil
fields if they tried to kick him out Don’t you think Mr. Moore that burning the
oil is a threat to the whole world not only to the united states and in your
opinion how long this (nation) will need to burn whole America. No Mr. Moore
Iraq wasn’t a (nation) it was a movie just like yours but it was written,
produced and directed by Saddam Hussein.
Still I have too many things to say but I think the article will be too
long to read so last to say to Mr. Moore being a writer doesn't mean that you
write lies and being a producer doesn't mean that you cheat people for their
money and being a director doesn't mean that you have to be silly and for the
best of all please find another job!!.
Friday, September 24, 2004
This side of President Bush's National Guard service. All of this should really be a plus for him, but (a) he hasn't bragged about it, (b) has allowed others to pummel him using false or incomplete facts, and (c) the old news media are fixated on, and committed to, the notion that he got into the Guard through family influence and then did not fulfill his duties.
Oh, well. Maybe it won't matter in the long run. But is certainly is an injustice.
This piece by Charles Krauthammer focuses on the increasing recklessness of the Kerry campaign and its spokespeople, but mainly of the candidate himself. I'm not ready to believe, as some do, that the race is over. But Kerry's public statements make it clear he thinks it will be unless he does something spectacular.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
William Safire, in today's New York Times column:
Conservatives should stop slavering over Dan Rather's scalp, and liberals
should stop pretending that noble ends justify fake-evidence means. Both should
focus on the lesson of the early 70's: from third-rate burglaries to fourth-rate
forgeries, nobody gets away with trying to corrupt American elections.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
An e-mail from Afghanistan
A man who goes to church with me is a reservist and recently was called to Afghanistan. He's a fine man and has served as a Scoutmaster for several years now; we who know him do not tend to think of him as a military man.
Here's an e-mail he sent today to a number of his friends and relatives back home. It is a reminder that there are real people, real Americans, our neighbors, who have homes and families and jobs, who are risking their lives on our behalf every day. :
Well here is the latest of my patrols. I went out yesterday and was a bit
hesitant. The only thing I could rely on was my training. I thought much of what
was happening around my world and took out my best suit. I cannot and will not
forget why I am here or the reason why so many before me.
As the elections come closer . . . the shooting and anti-American posters
go up. Many people from villages are given a hard time against the
elections. If the Taliban finds them with a voter’s card they are beaten
or shot. At one of the villages we came across a family that was
threatened and their family member locked in a room with all their personal
belongings. They were looking for the interpreter that was helping the
Americans. They came to kill him. I was so amazed oh heck I was
straight out flabbergasted. The wrong powers that be believe that if one
person is in charge, it is evil and should be stopped at all cost.
Oh well, I was pretty mad about the whole thing. I advise the squad
leader to check this place out where they had anti American posters. But
as luck has it we were only a squad size and more support was going to be needed
in order to enter the village.
Home we went throwing bottled water and candy to the children of the
villages. Oh how sad these villages look. They remind me of
ants. The children make me very sad. You give them a pen, and they
are so happy! Not just the pen but the fact that an American solder came
and gave them that pen. Regardless of what the world may hear, Americans
do what we can to start the ball rolling. We cannot be expected to keep it
rolling. It must be kept rolling by those who need it most. A school
was open down here and they are grateful for any supplies soldiers can give
pencils, pens and paper.
Pause. Wow, did I write all this . . .
Monday, September 20, 2004
Here's the CBS statement on Rathergate.
Now, why is CBS protecting the source? My guess: Because whoever it is, the source is important to CBS. If it were simply Mr. Burkett or some other small fry, then CBS would burn him or her mercilessly. If, however, the source is one CBS will need in the future, CBS can't burn it.
Hmmm. What kinds of sources does CBS need to avoid harming? The Democratic National Committee and the Kerry campaign come to mind.
Black Knight: Ohhh, had enough, eh?
Arthur: Look, you stupid *******, you've got no arms left!
Black Knight: Yes I have!
Black Knight: Just a flesh wound! (kicking Arthur again)
Arthur: Look, STOP that!
Black Knight: Chicken!!! Chicken!!!!!!!
Arthur: Look, I'll have your leg!
(The Black Knight continues his kicking)
Arthur: RIGHT! (He chops off the black knight's leg with his sword)
Black Knight: (hopping) Right! I'll do you for that!
Arthur: You'll *WHAT*?
Black Knight: Come 'ere!
Arthur: (tiring of this) What're you going to do, bleed on me?
Black Knight: I'm *INVINCIBLE*!!!
Arthur: You're a looney....
Black Knight: The Black Knight ALWAYS TRIUMPHS! Have at you!!
The Power Line crew points out that the CBS "climbdown" is beginning, or so it seems. The New York Times and the Washington Post both have stories.
It will be interesting to see if CBS apologizes, and if it continues to insist that the story is true-- that (1) Bush used influence to get into the Guard and (2) he did not fulfll his obligations once admitted. As far as I know, there's no evidence to support (1), although the simple fact is tha Bush was who he was-- the son of a well-known and respected Texan who had been a congressman and then served in several key government positions. A senior Guard officer reviewing the application of a strong candidate might well have decided that, all other things being equal, he'd take the young man from the prominent family. Such things happen all the time. Not coming from a prominent or influential family myself, I have never liked that fact of life, but it is a fact of life nonetheless.
Regarding (2), Bush's fulfillment of his responsibilities to the Guard, I don't think there's a shred of evidence that this allegation is true. In fact, there is pretty compelling evidence that it is not true, based on the (unforged) documents released by the Pentagon. This piece by Byron York in The Hill seems to lay the issue to rest, and I have never seen anyone on the other side of the question respond to the information York presents here.
Sunday, September 19, 2004
King Blogger And Dan, The Black Knight
For some reason this exchange from Monty Python and The Holy Grail made me think Dan Rather and Rathergate:
[after slicing one of the Black Knight's arms off] King Arthur : Now stand aside.
Black Knight : 'Tis but a scratch.
King Arthur : A scratch? Your arm's off.
Black Knight : No it isn't.
King Arthur : Then what's that?
Black Knight : [after a pause] I've had worse.
King Arthur : You liar.
Black Knight : Come on ya pansy.
Check out this site called Football Fans For Truth. It lays out an pretty embarrassing aspect of the campaign that makes Kerry seem like a phony. He should take a lesson from Bill Clinton, who is not athletic and never pretended to be. That did not seem to hurt Clinton, that big loveable lug.
For example, If I threw a football like this I would sure as shootin' not invite anyone to photograph me doing it:
Now, as for the next photo, perhaps the sun got in Kerry's eyes. But he still looks, well, like an uncoordinated dork. (Sorry, more felicitous language eludes me at the moment.)
Finally, this link takes you to video of Kerry actually playing football with an unnamed college team during pre-season practice. Now, this one had to be set up, and that took some effort. Memo to Kerry campaign staff executives (whoever they are this week): Stop with the sports photo opps!
You need to read the whole page. It's short and really quite embarrassing.
CHANGE OF MOOD: Here is MoveOn.org's latest ad. Watch it. You may be enraged. You may be disgusted. You may laugh, like my 14 year-old son did-- he thought it was simply pathetic. I really hope this ad gets air time in battleground states. It will drive hundreds of thousands of votes to Bush.
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Compare for Yourself
This graphic from the Washington Post compares an undisputed document from Jerry Killian's files with one of the forged documents pawned off on Dan Rather. I suppose hindsight is always 20-20 and all that, but this only makes it more obvious that several people at CBS turned a blind eye toward clear red flags.
Also, very uncharacteristically, my hometown paper, the L.A. Times, actually has some stories critical of CBS. In this one, the Times reports CBS's latest lame excuse: The White House did not challenge the documents, so "60 Minutes" went with them. If only the White House had said something, CBS says, they would never have used the documents.
Oh, man. Do these people have no shame?
The Times did not stop with that article. In this op-ed piece, entitled "Rather went on faith, not facts," Tim Rutten (a certified Kerry-loving liberal) comes down hard on CBS. There's some blather here about the SwiftVets, but all in all Rutten's criticism of CBS is unsparingly vociferous. A great read. This is not a partisan issue, and it's good to see the MSM hitting hard where they should.
Friday, September 17, 2004
My new favorite political humor blog, Iowahawk (photo above borrowed from his main page), proposes these hilarious new slogans for the Kerry campaign (edited to avoid offending those higlhy principled souls like me who object to vulgarity):
- I Will Keep Our Enemies Guessing, Too
- Projecting American Strength Through Intricately Complex Nuance
- The Thinking Man's Self-Confessed War Criminal
- Vote For Me or My Running Mate Will Sue
- Those Atrocity Stories? Dude, I Was Just *****ing You
- I Will Do For You the Many Wonderous Things I Have Done For Massachusetts
- Fear Not, America, I Have Deigned to Lead You
- I Will Never Recuse My UN Ambassador from the Vote to Ask for a Permission Slip to Defend This Country
- The Next Time America is Attacked, I Promise To Open Up a Carafe of Whupa**
- Post-Emptive Leadership For A Safer World
- I Have Three Words For George Bush -- Bring It On
- I Have Five More Words For George Bush -- Call Off Your On-Bringers
- Restoring America's Seat At The Global Popular Table
- Come Home Again, America... No Wait, Stay There Again
- There Once Was A Man From Nantucket, If You Get My Drift
- [Marryin'] Billionaire Bag Ladies So You Don't Have To
And my personal favorite:
- Some Look at Things As They Are And Say, 'Why?' Others Look at Things As They Are Not And Say, 'Why Not?', And I Suppose A Few Might Look at Things As They Are Not, And Say 'Why?', and Vice-Versa, and So Forth, And One Might Be Tempted To Look at These People Looking at Things And Ask 'Who?' But This Would Not Be Constructive, Because The Important Thing To Realize Is That Some People Like To Look At Things, And This Is Precisely My Point
Something like this pops up. How on earth could they have written a story in which General Staudt is a key player, and Staudt is still alive, and not interview him?
If the "60 Minutes" crowd did not do such sloppy work intentionally, then they are a bunch of agenda-driven journalistic hacks. If they did do it intentionally, maybe they should get lawyers.
Thanks, Power Line.
A Few Random Thoughts
Last night I watched Special Report with Brit Hume. (I love that show.) In Jim Angle's report on Rathergate, all the information about Marian Knox's interview was presented fully. Then Angle presented short clips of interviews with former Texas Air National Guardsmen (contemporaries of George W. Bush) who provided valuable information about the way flight physicals were done at the time, how that particular Guard base functioned, etc. I asked my wife, a former television newswoman, "Why couldn't CBS find those guys to round out their story a little?" Her response: "That's what we always did, but then, we wanted to show both sides of a story."
Mickey Kaus asks some interesting questions of CBS here. He also has some analysis of the latest poll results, which show Kerry possibly cratering. Mickey also notes that if, as CBS claims in its statement,
Mary Mapes, the producer of the report and a well-respected, veteran journalist whose credibility has never been questioned, has been following this story for more than five years
has a vast and detailed knowledge of the issues surrounding Bush's service in the Guard and of the individuals involved in the story [emphasis added]
then why had CBS apparently not interviewed Lt. Col. Killian's secretary, Ms. Knox, before they ran with the (probably bogus) Killian memo story last week?
On the Laura Ingraham show today (I listen to her every morning while running; it gets my mental juices flowing), Pat Caddell called the Marian Know interview the most embarrassing thing he's seen in all his years in politics, or words to that effect. Yup.
Proving that great minds think alike, Hugh Hewitt asks, why the Viacom upper corporate brass is standing by while Dan Rather and CBS self-immolate? (I was wondering the same thing last night as my wife and I watched "Special Report," but she told me to be quiet while the show was on and I was thus unable to develop the thought.) Seriously, folks, CBS has a brand name, and Viacom is allowing Rather to destroy or seriously damage it. Amazing.
The show goes on.
Thursday, September 16, 2004
Subscribe to Hedgehog Blog!
Look on the left side of the blog, just above my photo. You can subscribe, which means you sign up to receive my posts by e-mail whenever they first appear here. This feature is powered by a very reputable service called Bloglet. You will not receive spam or popup ads as a result of signing up.
Now, I can't figure out why anyone but my family and close friends would want to subscribe to this thing (and I'm not even sure about them), but I thought I'd offer. Flatter me-- subscribe!
Quote of The Day: The View from Mr. Rather's Planet
Dan Rather in the Washington Post today:
"If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break thatNow hear this: Mr. Rather has informed us that the story of the forged documents has not yet broken. (Pay no attention to the bloggers behind the curtain.)
story," Rather said in an interview last night. "Any time I'm wrong, I want to
be right out front and say, 'Folks, this is what went wrong and how it went
"I'd like to break that story." Hello? Here on Earth it was broken last week. Oh, well. Why should we expect Rather to live in our universe?
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
I am still in a state of astonishment about the Marian Knox interview on "60 Minutes II" tonight. Here is my annotated version of the full transcript (annotations in bold italics). (Thanks to RatherBiased.com for the cartoon and the interview text; the bold, italicized comments are mine):
60 Minutes, September 15, 2004.
DAN RATHER: Last week on this broadcast, we heard for the first time the
full story from a Texas politician who says he helped George Bush avoid
military service in Vietnam. Former Texas House Speaker Ben Barnes said he
helped Bush get a highly coveted place in the National Guard. We also
presented documents for the first time, which indicated that once Bush was
accepted into the guard he failed to live up to the requirements of his
service. We reported that the documents were written by lieutenant Bush's
National Guard squad commander, colonel Jerry Killian, who passed away in
In the past week, those documents have been subjected to extraordinary scrutiny and criticism tonight, another voice-- a credible voice-- has entered the debate. [We shall see how credible she is, but thanks for the reassurance.] The woman who describes herself as colonel Killian's right hand [When does she do that? Not in the interview, and not in the L.A. Times story, which describes her as a typist.] during much of the 1970s, Marion Carr Knox, colonel Killian's secretary, flew to new york this afternoon to tell us she believes the documents we obtained are not authentic. But there's yet another confusing twist to this story: She told us she believes what the documents actually say is exactly as we reported. Marion Carr Knox is 86 years old and completely comfortable in the eye of a storm. She spent more than two decades keeping pilots and officers in line at Ellison Air Field in Houston. Now she wants to set the record straight about the memos CBS obtained.
There's a twist. You've seen the memos that we broadcast, these memos that we got.
MARION CARR KNOX: I did not type those memos.
RATHER: You didn't type these memos?
KNOX: No. And it's not the form that I would have used. And there are words in there that belong to the army, not to the air guard. We never used those terms.
RATHER: So with these memos, you know that you didn't type them.
KNOX: I know that I didn't type them. However, the informati n in those is correct. [Huh?]
RATHER: [Drum roll here.] Few, if any, things that I ask you about will be more important than this point: You say you definitely didn't type these memos.
KNOX: Not these particular ones.
RATHER: Did you type ones like this?
RATHER: Containing the same or identical information?
KNOX: The same information, yes. [What on earth that does mean-- "the same information?"]
RATHER: Mrs. Knox says the information in the four memos CBS obtained is very familiar, but she doesn't believe the memos are authentic. She does remember her boss, colonel Jerry Killian, being upset over Mr. Bush's failure to follow orders to take a physical. Did or did not lieutenant Bush take a physical as ordered by Colonel Killian?
KNOX: That last time no he didn't. [Meaning, I suspect, that he took all the earlier physicals required of him but after he headed to Alabama, where the National Guard had no planes for him to fly, he did not need to take a physical. The Washington Times reported on that aspect of the story here.]
RATHER: To your knowledge was he ordered to do so? According to the L.A. Times, not exactly a right-wing rag, Mrs. Knox was a typist, not a secretary, and not Killian's secretary; she worked for a number of officers simultaneously. Read that here. Somehow CBS missed this fact.]
RATHER: This is important: I think you'll agree, that then-lieutenant Bush was in the military, lieutenant colonel Killian was his immediate military commander, correct, his squadron command center
KNOX: Right. Yeah.
RATHER: The country was at war. It's very unusual for a military officer, particularly a flying officer, not to obey a direct order from his superior, or if not, tell me.
KNOX: It was a big no-no. To not follow orders. I can't remember anyone refusing now, for instance, with the physical, every officer knew that at his birthday he was supposed to have that flying physical. Once in a while they might be late, but there would be a good excuse for it and let the commander know and try to set up a date for make-up. If they did not take that physical, they were off of flying status until they did. [And this is something a typist would know about?]
RATHER: Did you ever hear lieutenant colonel Killian talk about this or did he write memos about this? What was his feeling if lieutenant Bush did not take the physical as ordered?
KNOX: He was upset about it. That was one of the reasons why he... well, he wrote a memo directing him to go take the physical.
RATHER: I don't understand it.
KNOX: I'm going to say this: It seems to me that Bush felt that he was above reproof. [And her basis for this view is?]
RATHER: Marion Carr Knox remembers lieutenant Bush well, seeing him often as he showed up for training in 1971 and '7 2,
KNOX: He was always gentlemanly. He called me by the name of his father's secretary. He was always apologizing about that. He couldn't remember my name. He was very gentlemanly. I felt that his parents must have been wonderful to have produced somebody as nice as that. [Golly, to read this you would think Mrs. Knox likes and admires GWB. This omits the fact that Mrs. Knox says she is a Democrat, dislikes Bush and does not intend to vote for him. Read about that here.]
RATHER: Among the contentions one of the questions raised, one, did or did not George W. Bush get into the National Guard on the basis of preferential treatment.
KNOX: I'm going to say that he did. I feel that he did because there were a lot of other boys in there the same way. ["I feel he did?" What?]
RATHER: Accurate or inaccurate to say that this unit was filled with people who had republican and democratic connections who got in on the basis of preference?
KNOX: At that time, yes.
RATHER: Now, you observed lieutenant Bush yourself.
RATHER: Tell me about him. What kind of officer was he?
KNOX: Bush seemed to be having a good time. He didn't seem to be having any problem with the other pilots, let me say that. But his time there, it seemed that the other fellas were, I'm going to say this, sort of resentful for his attitude. [Well, CBS could talk to some of those "other fellas." Guess they ran out of time to do that.]
RATHER: What was his attitude?
KNOX: Well, that he really didn't have to go by the rules. [Oh, please. The typist knows this?]
RATHER: He didn't really have to go by the rules?
KNOX: It seemed that way to me. [Well, in that case, never mind.]
RATHER: Knox says her boss, colonel Jerry Killian, started what she calls a cover-your-back file, a personal file where she stored the memos about the problems with Mr. Bush's performance and his failure to take a physical and the pressure Killian felt from upstairs. She addressed this memo and a reference to retired General Staudt pushing for a positive officer training report on lieutenant Bush. "And Staudt is pushing to sugar coat it." Does that sound like colonel Killian? Is that the way he felt?
KNOX: That's absolutely the way he felt about that. [Is there no one else in the wide world in a position to tell us how Killian felt about this?]
RATHER: And she talked about this mental moment. She doesn't believe the memo is authentic, but she says the facts behind it are very real. [Again, what on earth does that mean?] He did write a memo like this?
RATHER: So he did write a memo like this, not this one is your contention, but one like it?
KNOX: It's just like a personal journal. You write things.
RATHER: Is that what he was keeping, more or less a personal journal?
KNOX: It was more or less, that yes.
RATHER: These memos were not memos that you tipd and you don't think they came directly out of his files?
KNOX: The information, yes. It seems that somebody did see those memos, and then tried to reproduce and maybe changed them enough so that he wouldn't get in trouble over it. [Oh, my. A novel theory to add to the pile. But after all, she was a typist, she ought to know. Can anyone find the air base custodian? He probably has an opinion too, if he's still alive.]
RATHER: I understand.
KNOX: Could deny it.
RATHER: I understand.
KNOX: That's all just supposition.
RATHER: I understand. [Really? Then why are you reporting it if you understand it's "all supposition?"]
(voiceover) Mrs. Knox says the fact that then-lieutenant Bush was repeatedly missing drills was not lost on his fellow pilots. [Excuse me, but from where do we get this "fact?" This is the first time the notion of Bush missing drills appears in this story. A different story is told here. Haven't seen it rebutted anywhere.]
Was it common knowledge or not that lieutenant Bush had not attend some drills?
KNOX: Well, they missed him. It was sort of gossip around there, and they'd snicker and so forth about what he was getting away with. [I see. Gossip.]
RATHER: What lieutenant Bush was getting away with?
RATHER: They were snickering about that?
KNOX: Well, the other officers, and I guess there was even a resentment.
>> RATHER (voiceover): She told us again and again she believed then-lieutenant Bush refused a direct order to take take a physical.
Colonel Killian's son, with whom I have no argument and I respect the Killian family tremendously for the sacrifice that they made when their husband and father was serving in the military, colonel Killian's son says that this this isn't true.
KNOX: He has no way of knowing whether it's true or not. [And you do?]
>> RATHER (voiceover): Mrs. Knox says for young George Bush in 1972, working in a senate campaign became more important than flying for the guard.
Back off for a moment. Take a breath. Think a little and have you tell me what you believe the story here is.
KNOX: I think it's plain and simple. Bush didn't think that he had to go by the rules that others did. He had this campaign to take care of, and that's what he was going to do, and that's what he did do. [At last! The authoritative "bottom line" on this story.]
RATHER: A few personal thoughts on the story we have reported tonight. [OK, we all move forward to the edges of our seats.] We shall continue to aggressively investigate the story of President Bush's service in the National Guard, and the story of the documents and memos in Colonel Killian's file. Are those documents authentic, as experts consulted by CBS news continue to maintain? [And which experts would those be? The handwriting expert and the typewriter repairman?]
Or were they forgeries or recreations, as Marion Carr Knox and many others believe? [Golly, the suspense is killing me. Rather seems to be one of only a few people in the USA who think there's any doubt about this.] We will keep an open mind, and we will continue to report credible evidence and responsible points of view as we try to answer the questions raised about the authenticity of the documents. [I'm glad you cleared that up. You are yet the intrepid news organization, CBS, where Murrow once worked. For a few days there I thought you were a black hole of arrogance, impervious to criticism. I feel reassured, knowing that you are now "on the story" of the forged documents. Can't wait to see what you find out.]
Having said that, we do feel that it's important to underscore this point: Those who have criticized aspects of our story have never criticized the heart of it, the major thrust of our report: That George Bush received preferential treatment to get into the National Guard, and, once accepted, failed to satisfy the requirements of his service. [Huh? This has never been proven, not when Bush ran for governor twice or when he ran for president last time. And you haven't proved it either.]
If we uncover any information to the contrary, rest assured we shall report that also. [Oh, brother.]
UPDATE: We can all rest easier now. Dan Rather is "on" the forged documents story, according to Howard Kurtz in today's Washington Post:
"If the documents are not what we were led to believe, I'd like to break that
story," Rather said in an interview last night. "Any time I'm wrong, I want to
be right out front and say, 'Folks, this is what went wrong and how it went
Bill Clinton couldn't have said it better.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
They've found Jerry Killian's former secretary, who is now 86 years old. She thinks the CBS documents are forgeries, but also thinks they reflect what Killian thought. She's also quite anti-Bush, for whatever that's worth. Here's the Dallas Morning News article (link requires registration). Thanks to Hugh Hewitt.
Thanks to Little Green Footballs, we have this link to an attack video on the Democratic National Committee web site. This one is called "Fortunate Son" and makes an issue of-- guess what?-- President Bush's National Guard service. And there are clips from a certain blockbuster "60 Minutes II" report here. Looks like the Democrats must be hoping that the documents are legitimate, or else they have egg all over their faces too.
Monday, September 13, 2004
Well, I don't think it's this bad, but it's pretty close. The sad thing is, Dan Rather doesn't even realize it.
The Prowler (from the American Spectator, a real magazine who probably even has writers who don't work in their pajamas) has a source within CBS News. Here's a tidbit:
While CBS news anchor Dan Rather can say there is no internal investigation
under way over the alleged forged documents used as the foundation for an
investigation into President George W. Bush's National Guard service, you
wouldn't have been able to tell from the 15 or so 60 Minutes and CBS News"
staffers working away feverishly on Friday and Saturday to try to nail down
On Friday, according to CBS News sources, Rather spent the day on the phone and dealing with CBS suits who were nervous about the fall out from the story. "All Dan could say was that this was an attack from the right-wing nuts, and that we should have expected this, given the stakes," says a CBS News producer. "He was terribly defensive and nervous. You could tell."
Read it all.
But it gets better. An interesting site called RatherBiased.com posted here a summary of stories by the other mainstrean TV networks that are anything but flattering to Dan rather and CBS. It's a short but interesting read. Looks like there's blood in the water . . . .
A Brief Debate on CBS and The Vietnam-Era Service Discussion
Someone actually posted a comment below, and I am so delighted that I am posting the comment and my response here. Thanks to Anonymous, who has given me a chance to add some discussion to this site.
This exchange began as a response to the post below entitled "Update to The RatherGate Update:"
I didn't read your link. Didn't want to get angry. I would like to pose a question, however. If it was discovered some 30 years after the fact that a senior partner in your firm failed the bar exam but some backroom dealings got him admitted anyway would that change your opinion of the person? Would you consider it fair to comment on the incident? Would you find it relevant to the senior partner's future decision making? Take a trip down to the litigation part of your firm and ask them if they ask during depositions of former military personnel what type of discharge they received. I'm pretty sure you'll find they ask every time. Why do they do that? Because honoring your committment says something about a person. If the President was not entitled to an honorable discharge but received one anyway do you find that to be an admirable event? If the President claimed in recent years that he was proud of his service and stated he served when in reality he didn't do you find that to be a sign of his "strong leadership". Do you believe that if he really served in Alabama it is just some weird coincidence that not a single other guardsman serving there remembers him showing up? I suspect the reason you focus on Dan Blather is you don't want to admit that your man in the white house has routinely ignored his obligations, used his family connections, and lied repeatedly to get what he wants.
The Hedgehog said...
Dear Anonymous:Thanks for the comment. I hardly know where to begin.First, the focus of my posts is not on how well Bush served, but on the clear likelihood that outright forgeries have been successfully pawned off on a major news media organization with the intent of influencing a presidential election.
Second, as to Bush's National Guard past, I think it is very hard to make any judgments about such matters 35 years later. I feel the same way about Kerry's service records. Both men were honorably discharged, and you're right, that is a question litigators ask in deposition. But once the answer is given, "Yes, I was honorably discharged," that is the end of that line of questioning.
I don't know if you were around and of draftable age during the Vietnam War (I was), but there was a lot of behavior that went in that era that is impossible to understand unless you "were there." Most of us who faced those issues have a kind of pact among ourselves that whatever decisions people made then about serving are now part of the past. (Heck, even the guys who broke the law and went to Canada got amnesty.)
The only, and I emphasize only, reason any of this has become such a hot issue is that Senator Kerry, with his very complex Vietnam service history, put Vietnam-era service at the center of his campaign, almost ridiculously so. I think you'll agree that his doing so has not worked out well for him, for President Bush, or the public.
At least it is to me. The Prowler, put out by the American Spectator, has an inside source at CBS News. The first paragraph will whet your appetite:
While CBS news anchor Dan Rather can say there is no internal investigation
under way over the alleged forged documents used as the foundation for an
investigation into President George W. Bush's National Guard service, you
wouldn't have been able to tell from the 15 or so 60 Minutes and CBS News"
staffers working away feverishly on Friday and Saturday to try to nail down
This summary of Dan Rather's "defense" of the original 60 Minutes II story will leave you shaking your head, disgusted, and probably angry.
Also, RatherBiased.com is a great site, full of hard information. As a bonus, if you like editorial cartoons poking fun at Rather and CBS (it's not really "poking fun;" I think of it as speaking truth to power in an amusing way), go visit. The CBS logo above is one example. Here's another:
YET ANOTHER UPDATE: If you're interested in some thoughtful speculation about who is CBS's source, WizBang has some well-developed ideas.
It's hard to keep up with this story. The latest mainstream journalist/op-ed writer to jump on Dan Rather is William Safire of the New York Times. He says:
It may be that CBS is the victim of a whopping journalistic hoax,
besmearing a president to bring him down. What should a responsible news
To shut up sources and impugn the motives of serious critics - from
opinionated bloggers to straight journalists - demeans the Murrow tradition. Nor
is any angry demand that others prove them wrong acceptable, especially when no
original documents are available to prove anything. . .
Hey, Dan: On this, recognize the preponderance of doubt. Call for a
panel of old CBS hands and independent editors to re-examine sources and papers.
(The "courage" comment is kind of an inside joke. A few years back, when Ted Turner was openly discussing his plans to purchase CBS, Rather ended every newscast with the word "courage,"presumably to rally the CBS troops against the Philistines gathering outside the city walls. Rather has become sort of a sad self-parody, hasn't he?)
And, thanks to Power Line, there's this, from computer expert Joseph Newcomer:
There has been a lot of activity on the Internet recently concerning the forged
CBS documents. I do not even dignify this statement with the traditional
weasel-word “alleged”, because it takes approximately 30 seconds for anyone who
is knowledgeable in the history of electronic document production to recognize
this whole collection is certainly a forgery, and approximately five minutes to
prove to anyone technically competent that the documents are a forgery. I was
able to replicate two of the documents within a few minutes. . . CBS is
stonewalling. They were hoaxed, pure and simple. CBS failed to exercise
anything even approximately like due diligence.
Dr. Newcomer's analysis of the CS documents is exhaustive, compelling, and quite interesting. (Warning: It's also quite long.)
We haven't heard the last of this by a long shot. I wonder if anyone at CBS will lose his/her job over this?
Sunday, September 12, 2004
I have all kinds of religious obligations and commitments today, so this may be all I post.
The CBS forgery story is not going away. Power Line today is (as usual) the best site to watch for developments, since they have been driving the story almost from the beginning. Here's an excerpt from one of today's Power Line posts:
It is time to draw the obvious inferences from CBS's behavior and from the
circumtances of the case. The 60 Minutes documents purportedly derive from the
"personal file" of a long-deceased superior officer of President Bush. The
family of the deceased officer denies that they are the source of the
CBS refuses to identify the source of the documents or otherwise to
disclose how they came into its possession. The reporter who vouches for the
authenticity of the documents is himself no expert, but a long-time antagonist
of conservatives in general and the Bushes in particular, with close ties to
Texas Democrats. The documents discredit discredit Presidnet Bush consistent
with a key Democratic theme in the midst of a presidential campaign.
Substantial evidence of the fraudulent nature of the documents is
produced. The reporter demands that we take his word on the authenticity of the
documents. CBS fails to identify a single document analyst who supports the
authenticity of the documents. CBS fails to produce a single authentic document
with an appearance like the documents in issue.
CBS refuses to disclose the copies of the documents for independent
examination by a neutral third party. Evidence of the fraudulent nature of the
documents continues to mount. See, for example, this morning's Washington Times
story, "Bush Guard
papers 'forged'" and this morning's New York Times story, An
ex-officer now believes Guard memo isn't genuine."
Drawing the reasonable inferences implicit in these circumstances, the
serious question that must be asked at this point is what happens when a media
monolith acts as a front for Democratic operatives peddling forgeries calculated
to smear a Republican president and presidential candidate?
Read the whole thing.
Saturday, September 11, 2004
Just A Reminder . . .
that you can post comments to every post here. And it's anonymous! (Unless you want to identify yourself.)
Just click on the "Comments" section below.
Ms. Galt asks some interesting questions:
But leave off the lambasting -- let's talk motives. Because even more
staggering than the fact that CBS aired these, is that some drooling incompetent
produced them. I mean, how the hell hard would it be to buy a used IBM Selectric
and type out some memos?
In fact, it seems to me that the "Republicans did this to get Kerry" is
almost the best explanation here. The memos are sorta-kinda believable, but
there are enough faults left in to totally and completely discredit them. What
better way to hurt the credibility of everyone hurling charges at Bush, than to
let a nice big fat juicy scandal blow up in the faces of those pushing it? Now
the next time charges are levelled, some proportion of the population will
remember that there are people willing to make up big, stupid lies in order to
drag him down.
On the other hand, no one ever went broke overestimating the stupidity
of the general public. Why not give it a try? If it's good enough to fool Dan
Rather, maybe it'll go over with the American people too.
This will hurt Kerry a little, more I think, because attack ads will
get less cred than because people will blame him. That's not fair. On the other
hand, the Democrats who eagerly stepped forward to make political hay out of
this can't really complain now that they've been baled.
There's nothing like a wit to put the Dan Rather meltdown into perspective. (In other words, ridicule can be pretty withering to a stubborn, arrogant old newsman who's been so deep in the liberal echo chamber for so long that he can't even tell he has a bad haircut.)
Mark Steyn's take on the Rather story is a perfect example. Read it here. And here are some exerpts to whet your appetite:
Amazingly, this guy at the Air National Guard base, Lt. Col. Killian, had
the only typewriter in Texas in 1973 using a prototype version of the default
letter writing program of Microsoft Word, complete with the tiny little
superscript thingy that automatically changes July 4th to July 4th. To do that
on most 1973 typewriters, you had to unscrew the keys, grab a hammer and give
them a couple of thwacks to make the ''t'' and ''h'' squish up all tiny, and
even think it looked a bit wonky. You'd think having such a unique typewriter
Killian would have used a less easily traceable model for his devastating
''CYA'' memo. Also, he might have chosen a font other than Times New Roman,
designed for the Times of London in the 1930s and not licensed to Microsoft by
Rupert Murdoch (the Times' owner) until the 1980s.
Killian is no longer around to confirm his extraordinary Magic Typewriter,
but his son denied the stuff was written by his dad, and his widow said her late
husband never typed. So, on the one hand, we have hundreds of living veterans
with chapter and verse on Kerry's fantasy Christmas in Cambodia, and, on the
other hand, we have a guy who's been dead 20 years but is still capable of
operating Windows XP. It took the savvy chappies at the Powerline Web site and
Charles Johnson of ''Little Green Footballs'' about 20 minutes to spot the
eerily 2004 look of the 1972 memo, and various Internet wallahs spent the rest
of the day tracking down the country's leading typewriter identification
As I watch this unfold I feel like a kid watching the clowns at the circus. Except the clowns are on TV, and don't know they are clowns.
Friday, September 10, 2004
Read this from Red State, and then ask yourself: Before the Internet, was this kind of oversight on a big newspaper even conceivable? (Thanks to Hugh Hewitt.)
And read what Hugh Hewitt reports here about yet another expert who makes CBS's intransigence all the more amazing.
I love the Internet.
The Greenside is a web page maintained by a Marine family:
Lt. Col. David G. Bellon was commissioned as an officer in the Marine Corps
in 1990 after graduating from law school. He remained on active duty until 1998,
then continued as a reserve officer while building a law practice in Oceanside.
In January 2003, he went to Iraq to serve in the infantry during the invasion.
He returned home in September of last year and was sent back to Iraq in February
2004. Bellon, who is serving in the volatile Sunni Triangle, has a wife and two
children, ages 4 and 6. He hopes to be home by Christmas. His family maintains a
website, http://www.thegreenside.com , on which they post Lt. Col. Bellon's letters to his father.
Here is Lt. Col. Bellon's latest post, which I recommend to everyone. You can subscribe to The Greenside and be notified whenever Dave sends a new e-mail to his family. I highly recommend them:
Email from Dave - Sep 8, 04
9/9/2004 9:41:49 PM
As you have heard, we lost 7 Marines to a suicide car bomber the other
day. We also lost 3 Iraqi Special Forces Soldiers. All were
exceptionally brave men. The Marines are from a battalion that has fought
as hard or harder than any other here in Iraq. These were the guys that
were knee deep in the hardest fighting in Fallujah back in April and who have
been going hard ever since. Even more tragic is that they were close to
getting out of here.
As heart broke as the Marines of the battalion were, last night they
really took it to the insurgents inside of Fallujah. Contrary to what
might be in the media, the mission was not "retribution" for the suicide
bombing. It was part of a regular operation that was slightly accelerated
in light of what happened. We had been watching the city for quite a while
and killed many, many terrorists last night. The battle lasted for hours
and hours later, we were still getting secondary explosions off of objectives
that we destroyed. You must have faith that the Marines are giving much
better that we get.
Such action does not lessen the pain for the Marines who lost their
buddies but it gives them a chance to fight and that is what they want. I
saw the SgtMaj for the battalion that lost the seven Marines the morning after
the explosion. He told me "there is still plenty of fight left in them"
(the Marines). Sure enough, that night (last night), they delivered.
Regardless of what the enemy throws at them, the Marines will always be laying
in the tall grass looking to take the fight to them. There is a major
effort to "keep the noise level down" and stay out of the news but it does not
mean that the Marines are not out there every day performing. I cannot say
it enough, they are amazing.
The Iraqi Special Forces soldiers were outraged by the attack and were
also full of fight afterwards. They wanted to go into Fallujah that day
and attack the muj. Their commander stood in front of them and told them
to bide their time. It came soon enough. They participated in last
night’s action and did well. In fact, we just took on 200 more recruits
and continue to have high expectations for them. These guys are under
constant threats. When they go home on leave, it is not uncommon for them
to have to move their families around in order to avoid kidnappings or murders
of not only themselves but their entire families, children and all. We
just spoke to them today about having faith that we will win and to believe that
things will get better. In fact, I am much less tolerant of Americans who
are losing their stomach to see this through. These Iraqis have never
known freedom and have no idea what life could be life if they see it through,
yet they put their lives on the lines based on nothing but faith.
Having seen the tragedy in Russia this week we cannot help but shake
our heads here and wonder when the rest of the civilized world will wake up and
realize that we are in the middle of a struggle for civilization. History
will show that the outcome of this struggle will be no less critical to our
collective future than WWII. Islamic Fundamentalism inspired terrorism is
mutually exclusive to peaceful coexistence with anyone who does not buy into
their twisted view of the world. For the masses of appeasers who are still
blabbering on about "dialogue" and concessions, I would simply offer that what
transpired in Russia is not an aberration. The enemy we face here is the
same one that murdered the children in that school, is the same one that flew
the airplanes in the towers, and is the same one that bombed the train in
Perhaps even more sobering is that as horrific as these events are,
they pale in comparison to what they aspire to. Believe me, if they could
get into a school in Wichita or Sacramento, they would gladly do it and convince
themselves along the way that they are doing God's work as they ape for the
cameras before killing as many innocent people as they can. The
"recruiting videos" that we capture contain graphic scenes of beheadings,
tortured confessions and insanely violent rhetoric. Even after what we
have seen, it is hard to watch them. The enemy celebrates them.
History will be unkind to those leaders who do not have enough faith in
their people to be honest enough with them to clearly state that the free world
is now engaged in a war with extremist criminals who have literally been praying
for this confrontation for decades. It is not "life as normal." It
is beyond imagination how "experts" can get on the news shows and blame Russia
for what happened in that school. Russia is no more to blame than the US
is to blame for 9/11 or Spain is to blame for what happened this spring.
As ugly as it is, it is a fight to the finish and we must fight it that way or
we will pay the price.
My roommate and very good friend left last night. He was the
operations officer for the Regimental Combat Team. That equates to the
quarterback with the CO being the head coach or owner. We both arrived at
the Regiment in January and became fast friends. Truth be told, he was as
much a mentor/teacher as friend. Prior to returning to the Fleet, he
coached football at the Naval Academy. It amazed me as an entire
generation of young Naval Academy grads seemed to worship the guy. We
could not go into a chow hall anywhere without having a Lt walk up to him and
say "remember me." Several days ago, one of his former players was killed
in an ambush. It was not the first of his former students to be killed out
here but this one hit Sparky hard. He was very close to the Marine.
The officer's father contacted Sparky and asked him to bring his son home.
Even though his absence here leaves a huge hole, I know that his presence and
strength will be some consolation to the family.
Forged Documents: A CBS Disaster
I'll be honest: I don't know where this controversy is going (no one does) but it has the makings of a really rich story. Why? Many, many reasons, chief among them that Dan Rather was so triumphant in his tellling of the story; the left was so gleeful about it (all the major lefty newspapers ran the story on the front page); the Democrats pushed the story so hard; and the problems with the documents are so painfully obvious.
It is moving very fast, but here are links that will help you keep up:
The Washington Post (a story below the fold, but still pretty damning);
Byron York, National Review (the only article I've seen that actually relies on the documents already in existence to determine whether the CBS documents fit in);
The Prowler (this is really good stuff; the site keeps going down because Matt Drudge linked to it, but a cached version is available)
Thomas Lipscomb, Chicago -Sun Times
John Podhoretz, New York Post
Power Line, which broke the story, really made it happen, and surely will be covering it all day;
Steven Hayes in The Weekly Standard (quickly becoming outdated but still good basic info).
Thursday, September 09, 2004
Take a look at this post on Little Green Footballs. I am no expert (in fact, I know nothing about authentication of documents), but I cannot imagine how the obvious defects in the documents here can be explained in any other way than as a forgery.
Keep watching this one, folks.
UPDATE TO THIS UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt produces this roundup of information on this story, as of 2:45 p.m. Pacific time. It just gets "curiouser and curiouser."
Historical Perspective by Comparison: The Kasserine Pass
Reader Ralph Kostant writes:
"If the present editorial board of the Los Angeles Times and Senator John Kerry had been around in February 1943, we might have read the following editorial:
"The news that the United States Army has suffered casualties of 1000 dead, 2000
wounded and 3650 taken prisoner in just five days of fighting at Kasserine Pass
in Tunisia makes this an appropriate time to reassess the decision to invade
North Africa. As Senator John Kerrey said yesterday, 'This is the wrong
war in the wrong place at the wrong time.' One wonders how officers will
motivate G.I.’s to go into battle against Rommel’s finest troops, when the
Roosevelt Administration has failed to demonstrate how the North African
campaign will protect the security of the United States. It was Imperial
Japan, not Nazi Germany, that attacked Pearl Harbor on 12/11/41, and the
Roosevelt Administration has failed to produce any evidence of a German
connection to that attack.
"Historical note: After initially being driven from Kasserine Pass by Rommel’s panzers on February 19-20, American troops rallied, held their lines and protected the supply bases that Rommel was attempting to capture. The U.S. Army retook Kasserine Pass on February 23, albeit with heavy losses. By March 20, 1943, Allied troops had broken the Axis lines. By May 13, 1943, all Axis resistance to the Allied armies in North Africa had ended, with over 240,000 German and Italian troops surrendering as prisoners of war."
I am not a lover of conspiracy theories, but this post from Power Line lists some very convincing analyses of the documents forming the basis for the story, which are described as "the personal records of the late Lieutenant Colonel Jerry B. Killian," who died in 1984. These analysts flat-out claim that the documents are forgeries. If what they are saying is true, then there needs to be an aggressive review of the matter and Dan Rather and company will be forced to apologize. (Now that would be fun to see!)
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
I am starting to get that "broken record sound," but it really does seem that the Kerry camp's pretty desperate. I'd love to be a fly on the wall at a campaign strategy meeting-- or to see their internal polls, which must have them very, very worried.
Their desperation shows in their attempt to revive the Bush National Guard "issue," a tired old story that ran out of gas months ago. There's simply nothing to it. The latest smack-down of this smear appears here in The Hill. Byron York's summary tells us everything we need to know. If York's account is true, then there is clearly nothing to the "AWOL" story. In fact, Glenn Reynolds wonders if Bush is not setting Kerry up with another "rope-a-dope" tactic:
Reading further in this story, I note that the Bush folks seem to want to pressHmm, indeed.
this issue, in order to demand that Kerry release his military records in full.
Is this another rope-a-dope? Hmm. It just might be. "Kerry Navy probe to expand scope?"
Here's a story of a hero. This one is only 24 years old. How come we keep hearing about the death toll among our soldiers in Iraq, but never anything about those who actually save lives, and do it heroically?
And here's another one. This soldier is only 18 years old. Yes, that's right, 18.
It is so very painful to me to read of every man -- young or old-- dying in this war. I have an 18 year-old son myself. We can't waste a minute in getting the job done, securing Iraq for the future, and getting these boys and young men out of harm's way.
I note that both of these decorated heroes have Hispanic surnames. Buenisimo! And glad you are here, guys.
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
From the New York Times:
"Everybody told me, 'God, if you're coming to Canonsburg, you've got to
find time to go to Toy's, and he'll take care of you,'" Mr. Kerry said, dropping
the name of a restaurant his motorcade had passed on the way in. "I understand
it's my kind of place, because you don't have to - you know, when they give you
the menu, I'm always struggling: Ah, what do you want?
"He just gives you what he's got, right?" Mr. Kerry added, continuing
steadily off a gangplank of his own making: "And you don't have to worry, it's
whatever he's cooked up that day. And I think that's the way it ought to work,
for confused people like me who can't make up our minds."
Is anyone supervising this guy?
And Some Thoughts About Using Honest Language
A correspondent notes the dishonest use of language in reporting on the war against islamofascism:
On NPR's morning headlines today we learn that "militia men" and "rebel
fighers" in the "impoverished Sadr City section of Baghdad" killed many innocent
Iraqis and a U. S. soldier. Chechen "rebels" were named in the killing of
335 children and parents in a Russian school. Yet NPR quotes a "militant
Hamas leader" who says the Israelis are TERRORISTS who struck a Hamas hideout in the Gaza strip.
Thanks to the same correspondent for pointing me to this Daniel Pipes column, which expands on the problem. Pipes lists some of the favorite euphemisms the old media use for "terrorists:"
--Assailants - National Public Radio.
-- Attackers - the Economist.
-- Bombers - the Guardian.
-- Captors - the Associated Press.
-- Commandos - Agence France-Presse refers to the terrorists both as
"membres du commando" and "commando."
-- Criminals - the Times (London).
-- Extremists - United Press International.
-- Fighters - the Washington Post.
-- Group - the Australian.
-- Guerrillas: in a New York Post editorial.
-- Gunmen - Reuters.
-- Hostage-takers - the Los Angeles Times.
-- Insurgents - in a New York Times headline.
-- Kidnappers - the Observer (London).
-- Militants - the Chicago Tribune.
-- Perpetrators - the New York Times.
-- Radicals - the BBC.
-- Rebels - in a Sydney Morning Herald headline.
-- Separatists - the Daily Telegraph.
And my favorite:-- Activists - the Pakistan Times.