Tuesday, December 20, 2005


Bush Gives the Iraq P.R. Machine a Much Needed Tune Up

I had stated in a previous post that "[w]hile it is good that President Bush is finally responding to the terrorist collaborating rhetoric of the anti-war pigs {1} on the left, his P.R. effort in regards to Iraq still falls way short of the mark."

To begin with I stated that he had to (a) give his speeches in prime time and (b) give them from the Oval Office so as to speak more directly to the American people.

Well, it seems that the President got the memo. Sunday night 9pm EST (6pm out here on the left coast) he spoke from the Oval Office about Iraq. In a speech that last just a hair under twenty minutes he touched all the bases that he needed to touch.

Regarding both the challenge and promise that lie ahead in Iraq he said:

Three days ago, in large numbers, Iraqis went to the polls to choose their own leaders — a landmark day in the history of liberty. In coming weeks, the ballots will be counted, a new government formed and a people who suffered in tyranny for so long will become full members of the free world. This election will not mean the end of violence. But it is the beginning of something new: constitutional democracy at the heart of the Middle East. And this vote — 6,000 miles away, in a vital region of the world — means that America has an ally of growing strength in the fight against terror. All who had a part in this achievement — Iraqis, Americans, and coalition partners — can be proud. Yet our work is not done. There is more testing and sacrifice before us. I know many Americans have questions about the cost and direction of this war. So tonight I want to talk to you about how far we have come in Iraq, and the path that lies ahead.

He rightly stood by his decision to invade Iraq despite the fact that WMD has not yet been found, although they found capacity to restart WMD programs. The only part of that I would take issue is his stating that the intelligence was wrong. That has not yet been proven conclusively. Given the fact that intelligence agencies on "Arab street" nations like Jordan and Egypt, the UN Security Council, and even intelligence agencies for countries like France, who, may I remind, were among the most vehement opponents of the U.S.-led invasion believed Saddam had WMD stockpiles. Also, when we consider the fact that given the pourous borders between Iraq and Syria and that Saddam new we were coming almost a year before we did, they had all the time in the world to move them to Syria. In fact, Charles DuefluerDirector of Central Intelligence Special Advisor for Strategy regarding Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Programs stated his belief in that possibility. Needless to say, the fat lady hasn't even taken her first singing lesson on the subject of WMD in Iraq.

The President then wins the Captain Obvious Award with this one:

That is an important question, and the answer depends on your view of the War on Terror. If you think the terrorists would become peaceful if only America would stop provoking them, then it might make sense to leave them alone. This is not the threat I see. I see a global terrorist movement that exploits Islam in the service of radical political aims — a vision in which books are burned, and women are oppressed, and all dissent is crushed. Terrorist operatives conduct their campaign of murder with a set of declared and specific goals — to de-moralize free nations, to drive us out of the Middle East, to spread an empire of fear across that region and to wage a perpetual war against America and our friends. These terrorists view the world as a giant battlefield and they seek to attack us wherever they can. This has attracted Al Qaeda to Iraq, where they are attempting to frighten and intimidate America into a policy of retreat.

I have two questions for the Maestro Murtha-led Crackpot Chorus chanting the demand for immediate withdraw refrain: (1) Why did Osama Bin Laden say before 9/11 that our premature withdraw from Somolia inspired him to think the U.S. was paper tiger that would cut and run when things got tough, thus giving the impression that al Qaeda could pursue its terrorist activity unabated if taking the fight to the terrorist only makes more terrorists? This, along with repeating the "Iraq is another Vietnam" canard of the "give appeasement another chance" crowd, is a major talking point of the letters sent by Zawahiri to his underlings to "keep up their spirits. This leads right into the second question, how's does it feel to want what the terrorists want?

Bush then followed up his Oval Office speech with a press conference where he pulled no punches on the loaded questions offered by the leftist media. Since, for the most part, he just repeated and elaborated on what he said in the speech the night before, I won't say much about it. But there is one line I thought was brilliant:

Well, the Patriot Act helps us connect the dots. And now the United States Senate is going to let this bill expire. Not the Senate -- a minority of senators. And I want senators from New York [read Chuck Schumer] or Los Angeles [read Barbara Boxer] or Las Vegas [read Harry "Dingy" Reid] to go home and explain why these cities are safer.

Since we are in such an inquistive mood, I would like to ask those same very senators along with a few of their friends ( Sens. Russ Feingold D-WI and Carl Levin D-MI) how leaking news of classified wiretaps, giving our enemies a heads-up as to our tactics for undermining their deadly activity, makes us safer? And how does trying to mislead the American public as to the legality of this make us any safer? Anyone with an I.Q. of an ice cube knows that both of these nonsensical acts of political posturing threatens our national security.

Here's your next memo Mr. President. Now that you got the engine in your Iraq P.R. machine fully tuned up and firing on all cylinders, it's now time to run right up the tailpipe of the machinery of the Axis of Weasels right onto victory.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Give the Cut and Run Coward Naysayers the Finger....

....the purple finger that is

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


The Execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams: Justice Well-Served

The execution of Stanley "Tookie" Williams at 12:01am this morning ended the 24+ year effort to overturn a 1981 death sentence handed down for the murders of 7-Eleven store clerk Albert Owens, and Brookhaven Motel owners Yen-I Yang, Tsai-Shai Chen Yang, and their daughter Yu-Chin Yang Lin on February 28 and March 11, 1979 respectively.

In explaining why I think Governor Schwarzenegger was right in denying clemency to Williams, I want to use Catholic teaching on capital punishment as my backdrop.

The Catholic Church teaches, as it always has, that it is morally licit for civil authorities to administer capital punishment to those guilty of serious crimes commensurate with its duty to protect the safety, public order, and the moral health of society. This would include such other aims as deterrence and retribution, since the former is a means through which the civil power protects its citizens and the latter redresses the disorder caused by the offense. For this reason, the judgments involved in whether to execute or not are based on several contingent criteria including the issue of whether present day penal systems can satisfy these goals without recourse to lethal means. And when one considers that the determination of the efficacy of penal systems lies outside the Church's competence to speak on authoritiatively, it must be emphasized that (contrary to common perceptions otherwise) the opposition to the death penalty on the part of the Vatican and many of the world's bishops does not carry the force of Catholic doctrine. For this reason, Catholics are not obliged to give religious submission to it as is expected for actual magisterial teachings according to the Second Vatican Council (cf. Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium 25).

For starters, let's look at the Williams case through the criteria of protecting the safety of society. At first glance, it might seem as though since Williams is securely locked up in a maximum security prison like San Quentin, he poses no longer poses any danger to society and therefore no recourse to the death penalty is required. But such a view is extremely superficial. First of all, it leaves out the deterrence factor. By putting to death someone who has committed the crimes Williams did it sends a message to those who have any ideas about committing similar crimes that the state takes its obligation to protect its citizens seriously enough to exact the most severe punishment. This will cause such persons to, at the very least, reconsider the idea of killing innocents. Human nature, as well as history attests to the fact that the prospect of paying for a heinous crime with one's life will be decisive in causing many to decide against committing murder. The fact that only a miniscule percentage of murders are murder-suicides and that the defense attorneys of 99.9% of convicted murders argue vigorously for life instead of death is further testament to this fact. In this light, the idea that capital punishment has no deterrent effect is a prima faciae absurdity and this writer finds such claims insulting to his intelligence. Beyond this, there are credible studies that demonstrate, despite its truncated application, the death penalty in the U.S. has a notable deterrent effect.

Williams is a co-founder of the Crips, one of the most brutal and dangerous street gangs in the world. His execution would serve to undermine the activities of the Crips as well as other gangs in general by the demoralizing effect of seeing their forebearer die at the hands of the law.

Finally, it is my view that non-lethal means are not sufficient in protecting society from the danger Mr. Williams poses when we consider the fact that he refuses to be debriefed by prison officials. As the LOS ANGELES COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S RESPONSE TO STANLEY WILLIAMS’ PETITION FOR EXECUTIVE CLEMENCY makes clear: "Such a debriefing could provide the prison authorities with important information to aid them in establishing institutional security. It would also provide tremendous insight into how the gang members operate within the prison walls and how they are able to continue their criminal activities on our city streets while locked up behind those walls."

Williams' refusal to be debriefed lends a great deal of credibility to the suspicions of prison officials that Williams is still coordinating gang activity from behind the walls of San Quentin.

This along with the fact that, despite the overwhelming evidence against him, he still refuses to admit committing the crimes he was convicted of undercuts his claims to have atoned for his past. This I think renders any granting of clemency injurious to both the public order the moral health of society. But what about the anti-gang children's books he coauthored? And what about the Noble Peace Prize nominations he has received for those efforts?

As to the latter, the fact that a terrorist like Yasar Arafat, if I am not mistaken, had been nominated for the same prize should cut no ice with anyone. As to the former, well, again, if he really was serious about steering children away from gangs he would tell prison and law enforcement officials what he knows about the organizational structure and actvities of the Crips inside and outside prison walls. As the L.A. D.A. counter petition cited above states, such cooperation would be of great assistance in helping them break up the deadly hegemony of gang activity inside prison walls and on the streets. His refusal to do so, in conjunction with the fact that his writings bear traces{1} of hostility toward police, leads me to believe that these books are nothing more than a front for his deception, thus allowing him to better pursue his clandestine gang activity.

I also find it offensive that the anti-death penalty camp trumpets, without qualification, his so-called atonement in light of the above-stated facts that at the very very very least cast suspicision on the veracity of Williams' claims. It seems to me that the anti-death penalty camp is so dedicated to their agenda that they are willing to overlook such obvious sophistry even if it puts innocent lives in danger.

It is not out of hatred for Mr. Williams that I take this position. I do so out of my concern for justice and the protection of the common good. I also take this stand out of mercy for Williams' soul. It is not good for the soul of someone like Tookie Williams to allow him to think he can commit the crimes he has committed, refuse to accept responsibility for them, and refuse to make restitution for them by refusing to assist law enforcement break the grip of terror street gangs have over many neighborhoods, especially poor black neighborhoods, by providing needed information, and pretend he has made atonement when he has not.

By denying him clemency and making his execution imminent, making his impending face to face meeting with God in judgment imminent, his chances of having a change of heart and repenting as he passes through the portal of this life into the next is greater, thus enabling his eternal salvation.

And for that I will pray and urge everyone reading this to pray for the repose of Stanley Williams eternal soul.


{1} See the Introduction of the Tookie Proposal for Peace. In it, Williams blames "police tyranny" along with other factors for gang violence, including his own participation in it. The fact that he doesn't include his own choices in his litany is very telling I think.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


The Bush Iraq P.R. Machine Is Running Better, But Still Needs Work

In the last month or so, the Bush Administration has finally begun to strike back at the false claims of the opposition regarding the war in Iraq.

He rightly pointed out that over one hundred Democrats in the House and Senate bore witness, by their votes, to the fact that they agreed that Saddam had to go. And Vice President Dick Cheney's saying that while he "cannot prevent them [the Democrats] from losing their backbone, but will not allow them to rewrite history" was as well put as it was true. The President has also made a more concerted effort to outline the progress made thus far in Iraq. He has even begun to to tie the word Islam (extremist Islam that is) to the terrorism we are at war with. Deo Gratis!

While it is good that President Bush is finally responding to the terrorist collaborating rhetoric of the anti-war pigs {1} on the left, his P.R. effort in regards to Iraq still falls way short of the mark. I am not talking so much about the content (although I agree with Laura Ingraham, at least I think it was Laura Ingraham, who said that Bush ought to talk more about how our being in Iraq is making us safer at home) as I am about (a) the time factor and (b) the choice of venue he uses to convey his message.

As to the first, the times of day he has chosen to give his last few policy speeches have been, if I may be blunt, horrid. They have either been too early in the morning (even by EST) or too late at night. In both cases, most people miss hearing the speech in its entirety and are at the mercy of either the sound bites of the networks or the analysis of pundits as to what was said and what it means. And we all know how unmerciful the network nedia has been with providing an accurate picture of what's actually going on in Iraq. I think saying that that's not good enough wins the No s#&t, Sherlock Award hands down.

These speeches have to made in prime time so the maximum number of the American public hear it straight from the president first hand.

The second, and I think equally, if not more, important is the venue. The seriousness of this issue demands that the president's choice of venue properly conveys that seriousness. And the pep-rallyish venues he has chosen thus far don't fill the bill at all, to put it mildly. It appears as though he is speaking to the American people in a second hand way. And I think the American people naturally resent that on an issue as serious as the war on Islamo-facist terrorism (of which Iraq is the main front), as do I.

I believe the President needs to speak from the Oval Office in primetime (making his request for network time clear) directly to the American people.

He needs to clearly outline the progress made in Iraq, that while it is still a dangerous place, it is better and safer there now than it was prior to the war. He needs to repeat ad infinitum that America is safer today because of our presence in Iraq by pointing out that we have captured or killed more al Qaeda operatives in Iraq than anywhere else; and we have foiled many terrorist plots here in the U.S. due to the intelligence obtained from those captured.

Mr. Bush needs to continue to drive home the fact that many of the Democrats who are playing the "wrong war at the wrong time, at the wrong place" broken record are flip-flopping ala John Kerry from their original position. It would also be helpful to characterize our pulling out of Iraq at this juncture as a "surrender" {2} because that's exactly what it would be.

The President needs to keep hammering on the point that the Democrats attacking the Iraq policy for political gain only emboldens the terrorists and puts us here at home in greater danger. To this end, it sure wouldn't hurt to use Joe Lieberman's recent WSJ op-ed piece as a source for some of his talking points. Hoist the Democrats up on a Democrat petard I say.

Again, the importance of the venue cannot be stressed enough. The Oval Office, with all its majesty and historical significance, is the best venue in my view.

Recently Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) suggested that the President use the firseside chat motif, ala FDR during WWII to convey his message.

Now, it is not everyday that I find myself in agreement with the former Mr. Liz Taylor. He was, after all, part of the that stupid "gang of fourteen" that pulled the rug out from underneath the feet of the Senate Republicans trying to get rid of that hideous filibuster rule in the confirmation of judges.

But he has definitely put a much needed finger on the venue problem.

While this war has been unfairly and inaccurately compared to Vietnam, ala Ted "Senate Wet Brain" Kennedy's "Iraq is George Bush's Vietnaaaam." gin-soaked sloganeering, our failure in Vietnam taught us a valuable lesson that needs to be applied here in the war in Iraq: the profound effect public opinion has on prosecuting a war effort. I think Abe Lincoln once said that public opinion is everything in war. The lives of thousands, perhaps millions, of innocent Americans and westerners depend upon Iraq NOT becoming another Vietnam viz. a P.R. failure.

And ensuring Iraq does not become such a failure is a grave responsibility that falls on the shoulders of President George W. Bush.


{1} This is something of a recapitulation of the Black Sabbath song War Pigs.

{2} It was either a guest or a caller to the Bill Bennet's Morning In America Radio show that suggested that Bush call premature withdraw from Iraq a "surrender".

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