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Jack Kelly

SHOULD WE THANK TOM DELAY FOR THE DEBACLE OF NOVEMBER 7?

Dick Tuck was a Democratic political consultant whose pranks bedeviled Richard Nixon in the 1950s.  Mr. Tuck helped many clients to victory, but he got creamed in his lone bid for elective office, for the California state senate in 1964.  His defeat permitted him to make the most memorable concession speech in history: "The people have spoken...the bastards." Many conservatives share Mr. Tuck's sentiments in the wake of Tuesday's debacle.  How could an electorate whose judgment we praised in 2004 go so far off the rails in just two years? The truth is, they didn't.  The Republicans lost because they deserved to lose.  And we have Tom DeLay to thank for it.

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SANTORUM 2008

Some of the Republicans likely to lose Tuesday -- like Rep. Don Sherwood in Pennsylvania's 10th district -- deserve to.  But when the public gets in a "throw the bums out" mood, some who get thrown out aren't bums. On July 26, 1945, less than two months after Germany's surrender, a British electorate weary of the demands of greatness replaced Winston Churchill as prime minister with  Clement Attlee, and Britain's swift decline as a world power began. The three GOP senators thought to be in the deepest kimchee are Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, Mike DeWine of Ohio, and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island.  The republic would miss Mr. DeWine only a little, and Mr. Chafee not at all. Rick Santorum is another story.

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WHY IS MOOKIE STILL ALIVE?

Why is the Moqtada al Sadr - nicknamed "Mookie" by our troops - still alive? That this question can still be asked illustrates why things are going south for the U.S. in Iraq. The Moqtada al Sadr is a creature of Iran, which funds his militia.  Twice before (in April and August of 2004) he ordered uprisings against U.S. troops.  At the time, there was a warrant out for his arrest for the murder of (the genuinely moderate) Shia cleric Ayatollah Abdul Majid al Khoei, who was gunned down by Mahdi army members in April, 2003. "Mookie" al Sadr has the blood of dozens of Americans, and thousands of Iraqis, on his hands.  There is evidence he has been coordinating with al Qaeda.  Yet al Sadr is not dead.  He is not in prison.  He is in the government.  And people wonder why U.S. policy in Iraq is failing.

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WHY IS NORTH KOREA OUR PROBLEM?

As the U.S. takes the lead in formulating the international response to North Korea's (apparently fizzled) nuclear test, there is a question which ought to be asked: Why is this our problem? In 1950, this was easy to answer.  The fledgling democracy in South Korea was too weak to protect itself.  North Korea was then an agent of an international Communist conspiracy.  But that was more than half a century ago.  The Soviet Union has collapsed.  North Korea remains Stalinist, has a formidable military, and still dreams of conquering the South.  But its objectives are peninsular, not global, and it has little likelihood of obtaining them, even without American intervention. That's because South Korea now  has a formidable military, which could be made much more formidable if the South Koreans chose to do so.  South Korea today has more than twice the population of North Korea, 24 times the national wealth. So why can't the South Koreans take care of the problem themselves?

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IF ONLY DEMOCRATS HATED KIM JONG IL AS MUCH AS GEORGE BUSH

If Democrats went after America's enemies with the relentless ruthlessness with which they attack Republicans, the Axis of Evil would be toast. No sooner had North Korea made its (either botched or faked) nuclear bomb test last weekend than Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Sen. Hillary Clinton were blaming it on "the failed policies of the Bush administration." Democrats tend to view foreign policy crises through the narrow prism of their impact on domestic politics.  But the villain here isn't Bill Clinton or George Bush.  It's Kim Jong Il.  And what's important here is not which party controls the House of Representatives.  It's whether we can prevent a second Korean War. The Democrats are behaving as if the cost of another Korean War with thousands of American soldiers dead is the price they'd willingly pay to gain control of the House.

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THE NEW YORK TIMES DESERVES A HORSEWHIPPING

The New York Times who, along with the Washington Post did stories last Sunday on a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) issued in April deserves a horsewhipping. The NIE represents the collective judgment of the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.  The stories insinuated the intelligence chiefs had concluded the war in Iraq was a mistake.  "Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Worsens Terrorism Threat," said the headline in the New York Times.  "Spy Agencies Say Iraq War Hurting U.S. Terror Fight," said the headline in the Washington Post. "We assess that the Iraq jihad is shaping a new generation of terrorist leaders and operatives; perceived jihadist success there would inspire more fighters to continue the struggle elsewhere," the NIE said. The Times and the Post reported only the first half of that sentence.

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THE BLOOD ON JOHN MCCAIN’S HANDS

Do you think Al Qaeda terrorists are planning another attack on the United States? You'd have to have a two-digit IQ to believe they aren't.  Yet if Senate Democrats and a handful of renegade Republicans have their way, we will never learn the details of what is being planned through interrogating captured al Qaeda suspects. Thanks to the Supreme Court's breathtaking overreach in the Hamdan case this summer, which extended Geneva Convention protections to terrorists (who clearly are not entitled to them), our ability to obtain information from captured terrorists is in jeopardy. John McCain and the other senators who are blocking efforts to clarify the law argue that permitting the CIA to use the coercive techniques described above would open the door to other countries torturing U.S. prisoners.  They argue further that any attempt to "amend" Article 3 would bring worldwide condemnation of the U.S. The first argument is ludicrous; the second irrelevant.

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THE FRAUD OF THE RED CROSS AMBULANCE

His face swathed in bandages, Kassem Shalan had a chilling tale to tell the journalists who gathered around his bedside in the Jebel Amil hospital, where he was being treated for minor shrapnel wounds. As he was loading patients into his ambulance from another in the village of Qana, Lebanon, on July 23, both were attacked by an Israeli Apache helicopter:  "There was a boom, a big fire, and I was thrown backwards," Mr. Shalan told Time magazine. Curiously, he then told Martin Chulov, Middle East correspondent for the Australian newspaper, a very different story.  Mr. Shalan said he was driving the ambulance when it was struck by the Israeli missile, and was "spared more serious injuries by the armored vest he was wearing and the driver's canopy that protected him from a direct hit." "He remembers nothing after the flash and bang of the missile then the crunch of the crash as his ambulance veered off the road," Mr. Chulov said then.

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THE WORST EX-PRESIDENT

The State Department has granted a visa to Mohammad Khatami, the former president of Iran, to visit the United States.  Mr. Khatami is coming this week chiefly to attend meetings at the United Nations.  He also will speak at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard; at a function sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Arlington, Virginia, and at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C.  And he will meet with former president Jimmy Carter.  Mr. Khatami requested the meeting with Mr. Carter. Perhaps to say "thank you." Thanks to James Buchanan (1791-1868), Pennsylvania's unfortunate contribution to the presidency (1857-1861), Jimmy Carter can claim not to have been the worst president in U.S. history. But he is unquestionably the worst ex-president, snuggling up to every tyrant who will allow his buttocks to be smooched.  

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THE DEMOCRAT DANGER TO AMERICA

Judge Anna Diggs Taylor illustrates why Democrats cannot be trusted with political power in time of war. Ms. Taylor, who is the chief judge of the federal district court in Detroit, ruled Aug. 17 that it is unconstitutional for the National Security Agency to listen in, without warrants, on telephone conversations between terror suspects abroad and people in the United States. Her ruling was praised by Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, and other prominent Democrats.   Then it was discovered that Judge Taylor served on the board of a foundation which gave $125,000 to the Michigan ACLU, the lead plaintiff in the case, and did not disclose this apparent conflict of interest.

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ISRAEL IN ‘NAM

Finally, a war like Vietnam. If the cease fire in Lebanon actually goes into effect, Israel will have lost despite having won every battle, because political dithering prevented decisive victory. Hezbollah will have won through a propaganda campaign what it could not obtain on the battlefield. Hezbollah won by surviving.  Israel's reputation for military invincibility is shattered.  The vultures are circling: "Today Arab and Muslim society is reasonably certain that the defeat of Israel is possible and that the countdown to the disappearance of the Zionist entity in the region has begun," Ahmed Barakat, a member of Hezbollah's central council, told a Qatari newspaper. As in Vietnam, the overwhelming failure was in political leadership. 

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2006 FOR THE DEMS: 1972 OR 1974?

My dish of crow went down easier after I read the hilarious editorial in the New York Times Wednesday celebrating zillionaire businessman Ned Lamont's victory over Sen. Joseph Lieberman in Connecticut's Democratic primary. (I'd predicted a Lieberman win in a July 16 column.) "The rebellion against Sen. Lieberman was actually an uprising by that rare phenomenon, irate moderates," the Times declared. Flanking Mr. Lamont when he gave his victory speech were those famous moderates, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.  Just the faces, I'm sure, Democrats in swing districts want representing their party in the fall.

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ISRAEL, IRAN, AND AUGUST 22

In military parlance, a "spoiling attack" is when you see your enemy mobilizing to strike you, you hit him first to throw him off balance. By responding more vigorously to the kidnapping of its soldiers and the rocket attacks on its cities than Hezbollah likely expected, Israel may have launched a spoiling attack on Iran. On July 20, Iran said it would reply on August 22 to the Western package of incentives for ending its nuclear program.  For Westerners, the only thing peculiar about this is the length of time Iran is taking to respond, since for us, the date August 22 has no special meaning. But it may have more significance for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

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A LESSON LIBERALS NEVER LEARN

The Israeli-Hezbollah war wouldn't have happened if John Kerry were president, John Kerry told the Detroit News last Sunday. President Bush hasn't devoted the attention to the Middle East that he would have, Mr. Kerry told reporter Valerie Olander. Sen. Kerry didn't explain how his personal attention would have prevented Hezbollah's abduction of two Israeli soldiers, or its firing of rockets into Israeli cities, and Ms. Olander didn't ask. Sen. Kerry has misplaced confidence in his own persuasive powers, and in what can be accomplished by diplomacy.  The lesson liberals like Kerry can never seem to learn is that diplomacy based on hubris and cowardice inevitably leads to failure.

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HIGH NOON FOR MOONBATS

High noon approaches for the moonbats.  We'll soon know if they'll sit above the salt at the Democratic table, or be exiled to the outer darkness. High noon is Aug. 8, the date of the Connecticut primary.  The "netroots" gang of left-liberal Web loggers have picked a fight they must win, or suffer a potentially catastrophic loss of face.

In Connecticut's Democratic primary, three-term incumbent Sen. Joseph Lieberman is being opposed by millionaire businessman Ned Lamont in a race in which there is essentially only one issue:

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SELECTIVE SECRETS

We in journalism are selective about what we think you need to know in the war on terror. The New York Times thinks you need to know the National Security Agency has been listening in on phone calls from al Qaeda suspects abroad to people in the United States, even though telling you also alerts the terrorists, who, presumably, have sought more secure ways to communicate. The Washington Post thinks you need to know the CIA has "secret prisons" in Europe, even though telling you reduces the cooperation we receive from foreign governments, for fear we cannot keep their secrets. And the New York Times thinks you need to know we've been tracking terrorist financing through the SWIFT consortium in Belgium, even though publication means al Qaeda will seek other ways to move money. We are less eager to provide you with information harmful to our enemies.

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POLITICAL SCIENCE

Their efforts to politicize science are at once the most amusing and most alarming trait of liberals. On June 6, the National Academy of Sciences issued a report on climate change.  It "represented a unanimous decision that global warming is real, is getting worse, and is due to man," said CNN reporter Michelle Mitchell.  "There is no wiggle room." Dr. Richard Lindzen of MIT, one of the 11 scientists who prepared the report and considered by many to be America's leading climatologist, said this wasn't true: 

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BILL KELLER BELONGS IN JAIL FOR TREASON

We spend tens of billions of dollars each year on (often not very good) intelligence.  But all al Qaeda needs to buy is a subscription to the New York Times. The administration has sound legal grounds for prosecuting the Times under the Espionage Act, Gabriel Schoenfeld argued in a lengthy essay in Commentary in March.  Newsday columnist James Pinkerton thinks the Times should be prosecuted, but that the Bush administration lacks the political courage to do so. For the sake of the nation's security, the Times must be prosecuted, most especially its Editor, Bill Keller. (Google "Bill Keller" + "treason" and you'll get close to 40,000 hits.)

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WILL CANADA WAKE UP OR CONTINUE TO WIMP OUT?

 It was unthinkable, like a plot to kill the Care Bear, Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny.

Most liberals here and abroad think Islamic terrorists exist primarily to cause embarrassment to the Bush administration. 

If a bomb goes off in a marketplace in Baghdad, it's only a reminder of the tragic consequences of Bush's relentless pursuit of oil.  If there's a riot at Guantanamo Bay, it's just proof of how wrong it was to establish a prison there in the first place.

And most liberals here and abroad think that if people overseas dislike us, it is our fault.

But Canada -- especially in the minds of Canadians -- is the kindest and gentlest of nations, the very model of global citizenship, with none of the rough edges of its neighbor to the south. 

So the weekend's developments came as a shock to many in the Great White North.

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YES, THE MEDIA WANT US TO LOSE IN IRAQ BUT THEY MAY NOT SUCCEED

Dan Rather's 44-year relationship with CBS News came to an unceremonious end this week.  This should remind us that of the many differences between the Vietnam war and the war in Iraq, the three most important are talk radio, Fox News, and the Internet. Mr. Rather must think his fate unfair. He was in effect fired when the documents on which he based an expose of President Bush's National Guard service were shown to be clumsy forgeries.  But Walter Cronkite, who told a much bigger lie, is still an esteemed figure at CBS. The one great similarity between Vietnam and Iraq is that our enemies, despairing of victory on the battlefield, sought to win with a propaganda campaign.  In Vietnam, this strategy succeeded.  If it fails in Iraq, it will be chiefly because of the emergence of the new media.

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IT’S THE PROSECUTORS WHO SHOULD BE PROSECUTED

There was anger, anguish and incredulity in the fever swamps this week when Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald make it clear he would not indict White House political guru Karl Rove in his apparently endless investigation of the outing of CIA officer Valerie Plame.

This should remind us the greater threat to our civil liberties comes not from the measures the Bush administration has taken to protect us from terrorists, but from prosecutors who abuse their power for political purposes.

Liberals wanted Rove indicted only because he is a skilled political adversary.  The interest among liberals in an indictment of the person who actually told columnist Robert Novak about Ms. Plame (thought to be former deputy secretary of state Richard Armitage) is zero, because there would be no political gain from it.

Their efforts to criminalize policy differences stem from two related beliefs, both inimical to democracy.

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DOWNHILL FOR AL QAEDA, A DOWNER FOR THE LEFT

Zarqawi's death is a huge psychological and political boost to the fledgling Iraqi government.  Iraqis danced in the streets.  Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki pushed through a parliament giddy at the news his choices for the critical ministries of defense and interior (which is in charge of the police), finally completing formation of his government.

Zarqawi's legendary brutality had made many Iraqis fearful of cooperating with their government.  Now that he is dead, what has been a stream of tips could become a river.

Things will now get much worse for al Qaeda.  Thanks to leads from "a treasure trove" of documents recovered from the rubble, Coalition forces launched 17 raids in greater Baghdad Thursday.

While Iraqis celebrated, news of the demise of the murderous thug was greeted sourly on the left-liberal blogs Democratic Underground and Daily Kos, where posters feared Zarqawi's death would boost support for President Bush and the Iraq war.

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THE FRAUD OF THE ANTI-WAR LEFT

Jesse Macbeth, a self-styled "special forces ranger," regaled moonbat audiences with tales of the atrocities he committed in Iraq:

"Fallujah is where we slaughtered people in mosques," he said.  "We would dig holes and leave mass graves of children, women and old men."

Unfortunately for Mr. Macbeth, he made a video which was seen by actual veterans. In it, he is wearing his beret improperly ("like a pastry chef," said an Army spokesman).  He's wearing a Ranger beret, but it has a Special Forces flash.  The sleeves on his BDU jacket are rolled up the way the Marines do it; not the Army. 

And there is no such thing as a "special forces ranger."  The "Green Beret" Special Forces and the Rangers are two distinct Army units.

In short, Mr. Macbeth was a fraud so obvious even the moonbats should have seen through him, but they didn't because they wanted so badly to believe the terrible things he was saying about U.S. forces in Iraq. 

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CONGRESS: OUT OF TOUCH AND ABOVE THE LAW

A rare bipartisan unity was achieved in the House of Representatives this week.  What was it that brought lawmakers together?  A determination to win the war on terror?  A plan to secure our borders?  A compromise to save Social Security from bankruptcy?

Nah.  Democratic and Republican leaders in the House joined together to protest the search the FBI made last weekend of the offices of Rep. William Jefferson (D-La), who is under investigation for allegedly accepting a bribe from a Kentucky businessman.

Partisan differences are set aside when (and apparently only when) the privileges of lawmakers are threatened.

One would imagine that in the wake of the Duke Cunningham and Jack Abramoff scandals, the GOP would be grateful for the attention devoted to Mr. Jefferson, because his case, and that of Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-WVa), make Democratic denunciations of the "Republican culture of corruption" seem a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

But one would be wrong. 

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REPORTING PHONY NEWS IN AMERICA, REFUSING TO REPORT REAL NEWS IN IRAQ

Because it dominated the news this past weekend, many Americans are aware of the USA Today story May 11 revealing that the National Security Agency has established a data base containing the records of telephone calls made by tens of millions of Americans.

Not so many Americans are aware that USA Today's "scoop" is recycled news.  The New York Times ran a story on the NSA database last December.  It was treated then with the ho hum response it so richly deserves.

Cynics note the recycling occurred on the eve of Senate hearings on the nomination of Gen. Michael Hayden -- who as head of the NSA established the data mining program -- to be director of the CIA.  Could the leakers and the journalists going bananas over the recycled revelation be trying to sidetrack his nomination?

Whatever the reason, the contrast between the ink and air time given the NSA telephone number database rehash and the inattention given a startling al Qaeda document captured in Iraq could not be greater.

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THE PRISON DREAM TEAM

Will Mary McCarthy and Dana Priest end up sharing a jail cell?

The CIA announced Friday it has fired a senior analyst for leaking classified information to the news media.

After she failed a polygraph examination, Mary McCarthy confessed to leaking to Dana Priest of the Washington Post information about secret CIA prisons for al Qaeda bigwigs.  Earlier this month, Ms. Priest was awarded a Pulitzer prize for her reporting on the secret prisons.

Prison is where they both could end up.

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THE GREAT UN-COMMUNICATOR

You've got to hand it to President Bush.  For a pretty decent, straightforward guy, he sure has a knack for making enemies.

The economy is booming.  There has been no successful terrorist attack in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001.  Al Qaeda officials acknowledge we're winning the war in Iraq.  Yet in the history of polling, only three presidents have had job approval ratings as low or lower than President Bush does now.

They were Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter just before they left office, and Harry Truman after he had fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur.  Mr. Bush is about where Mr. Carter was (34 percent), but still has a ways to fall to reach the nadirs of Nixon (24 percent) and Truman (23 percent).  Will he?

The president's popularity problem isn't one problem, but three.

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THE FAT LADY IS WARMING UP FOR AL QAEDA IN IRAQ

Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the al Qaeda chieftain in Iraq (or maybe not, see below) is changing tactics, says London's Sunday Times (4/30).

Mr. Zarqawi "is attempting to set up his own mini-army and move away from individual suicide attacks to a more organized resistance movement," writes Michael Smith.

Col. John Gronski of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard indicated Monday (5/1) why the change in tactics isn't such a good idea.  Col. Gronski is commander of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team of the Pennsylvania Guard's 28th Infantry Division, stationed in Ar Ramadi.

Iraqi troops supported by Col. Gronski's soldiers killed more than 100 insurgents in a battle last week, Col. Gronski told CNN.  Two Iraqi soldiers died in the battle.  No Americans were killed.

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REVOLTING GENERALS

In every army, there are (a few) Grants and (many) McClellans. The key to success in war is to find and promote the Grants. Keep this in mind as you examine what Time magazine calls the "Revolt of the Generals."

Six retired Army and Marine generals have called for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.  There are about 4,700 retired flag officers. For every general speaking out against Secretary Rumsfeld, there are more than 780 who are not.

The generals speaking out may have reasons other than patriotism for doing so. Gen. Zinni is flogging a book. MajGen. John Riggs was busted a grade and forced to retire because of a procurement scandal. MajGen. Eaton oversaw the rebuilding of the Iraqi army in 2003-2004, when everyone now agrees this was a disaster.

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THE DEMOCRAT’S APRIL FOOLS’ NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY

The mood in Washington has been sour lately, so many were grateful when the Democrats in Congress provided a little levity Wednesday, March 29 by issuing their national security strategy.

It would have been more appropriate to delay its release until Saturday, April 1st - April Fools' Day.

On Feb. 3rd, the Defense Department issued its quadrennial report on defense strategy.  It was 92 pages long.  The "Democratic Plan to Protect America and Restore Our Leadership in the World" is six pages long.  Half of these pages are in Spanish, saying what was said in English.  And there is a cover page in each language. 

So the actual "plan" is just two pages long, presented in bullet points in large type, with plenty of white space between them.  It contains 833 words. Party elders must have burned the midnight oil for months to produce this magnum opus.

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