Monthly Archives: July 2007

US Government: Three Branches, Four Stooges

What Would John Wayne Do notes:

According to retired Justice Sandra Day O’Conner, the growing ignorance of the up coming generations on how our government operates will cause the problems with government to escalate in the future.

She added in her 12-minute speech that surveys have shown fewer teenagers can identify the three branches of government than can name the Three Stooges.

If more kids know the names of the Three Stooges (Larry, Curly, Moe, and Shemp) than the three branches of government then I have no problem with them calling the branches Larry, Curly, Shemp and Moe.

“How does that work, Wolf?” you ask.

Moe is the Executive because he’s the leader. And he’s the biggest jerk in the room whom the others are scared of.

Larry is the Judiciary because he’s the one with the crazy Sandra Day O’Conner hair and the crazy Marty Feldman eyes who has secret stuff going on inside that you don’t want to know. You don’t want to know how the Judiciary comes up with their crazy eye-deas either.

Curly and Shemp are the Legislature because it’s bicameral and there are two of them. One frightening and insane like a sinister clown (Curly, House) and one merely frightening and slow, or should I say “special” (Shemp, Senate).

Three Branches, Four Stooges. It tells you most of what you need to know about how the US government works. With the bonus being that if you start by believing that 3=4 then you can also understand how the government comes up with its budget.

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Dr Fadl, Founder of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, recants theological basis for Jihad

From Ian Black for the not-very-trustworthy (but I shall give it a shot, being optimistic by nature) Guardian:

In a prison cell south of Cairo a repentant Egyptian terrorist leader is putting the finishing touches to a remarkable recantation that undermines the Muslim theological basis for violent jihad and is set to generate furious controversy among former comrades still fighting with al-Qaida.Sayid Imam al-Sharif, 57,  was the founder and first emir (commander) of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad organisation, whose supporters assassinated President Anwar Sadat in 1981 and later teamed up with Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan in the war against the Soviet occupation.

Sharif, a surgeon who is still known by his underground name of “Dr Fadl”, is famous as the author of the Salafi jihadists’ “bible” – Foundations of Preparation for Holy War. He worked with Ayman al-Zawahiri, another Egyptian doctor and now Bin Laden’s deputy, before being kidnapped in Yemen after 9/11, interrogated by the CIA and extradited to Egypt where has been serving a life sentence since 2004.

Sharif recently gave an electrifying foretaste of his conversion by condemning killings on the basis of nationality and colour of skin and the targeting of women and children, citing the Qur’anic injunction: “Fight in the cause of God those who fight you, but do not transgress the limits; for God loveth not transgressors.” Armed operations were wrong, counterproductive and must cease, he declared sternly.

Zawahiri, evidently rattled, rounded sarcastically on him in a video message broadcast after Sharif’s statement – faxed from Torah prison to an Arabic newspaper – announced not only his change of heart but a book-length repudiation endorsed by hundreds of other former militants, and which is due to be published soon. Continue reading

One cannot define an Ideology by Intentions of True Believers

Over at Volokh Conspiracy, Ilya Somin wrote a book review that turned into an exploration of the socialist basis of Hitler’s Nazi party (Nazi=abbreviation for National Socialist German Worker’s Party). The article is great enough, but it’s the comments that really shine, with reasoned debate between socialists who deny Somin’s conclusions and non-socialists who support Somin’s conclusions. I wrote a comment that I think is worth reprinting here.

ATRGeek wrote at 7.24.2007 10:14am

But I would also suggest that as a general principle, it is usually best to let the proponents of an ideology define that ideology. So, for example, I think it is important that the socialist’s definition of “socialism” typically emphasizes the collective ownership of the means of production, because I would suggest that we should defer to the socialist’s own definition of their ideology.

I strongly disagree. We do not have to let the proponents of an ideology define it. Let’s try to disprove the negative of your hypothesis with an example. There is a group of serial killers who wear pink and claim that their ideology consists of wearing pink, and that’s it. They claim that serial killing is only incidental to their way of life.

Would we take their explanation seriously? The negative of your hypothesis is that we do not believe their explanation. I don’t believe it. Nobody sane would. Serial killing is of much greater social weight than wardrobe choice. Negative confirmed. Therefore your proposition is proved false.

There is an old saying, perhaps you have heard it.

“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.
Matthew 7:15-16″

We must judge ideas by their results, not by their intentions. There’s another saying you may know.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The intentions of true believers are not an accurate way to describe any ideology. Only results are. And results must be measured by factual information, not by prejudice or invective.

Results testing is the nature of conservatism, to use what has been proved to work and abandon those things that don’t. That’s why people tend to become conservative when they reach a point in their life where they do things that are existentially meaningful, such as getting married and having children.

Results testing on socialism and its cousins communism, Maoism, and Nazism, has proved that it doesn’t work, that it produces misery on a heroic scale, and in fact is the closest thing to human evil that is allowed by atheist atheology. I think that judging from the results, it’s high time that socialist ideologues dropped the socialist ideology and picked one with a better track record.

Will you? How long will it take?

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Blogspotting: Dissecting Leftism

John Jay Ray is a brilliant thinker and clear writer with a lot of free time on his hands, an ex-leftist sage who writes at Dissecting Leftism and a passel of other sites. Don’t miss his omnibus article on The Motivations of Political Leftists. Leftists will hate him because he has their number.

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31 Great Questions and a few more – Plus 50

Radly Balko has a whole bunch of great questions to ask presidential candidates.

  1. A recent study found that over half the country now derives part or all of its income from the federal government. Three of the richest counties in the country are in the D.C. suburbs, a telling indicator of just how bloated with taxpayer dollars Washington has become. The federal government is today pervasive in our day-to-day lives, from cradle to grave, from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep. Do you think these trends are healthy? Looking at the premise of this question, would you agree or agree federal government is getting too large, too influential, and too pervasive?
  2. The government is made up of people. Flawed people, just as the private sector is. But when private people make mistakes, the consequences are limited to them, and perhaps a few people around them. When a government official makes a mistake, it can affect millions. Isn’t it better to let the American people make as many as their own decisions as possible? What makes a government bureaucrat more qualified to make decisions about the average Americans life than the average American?
  3. In the same vein, can you name five government agencies that are either superfluous, anachronistic, ineffective, or otherwise no longer necessary, and that you would eliminate? To make things interesting, let’s take everything under the Department of Defense off the table, with the acknowledgment that there’s plenty of cutting to be done there, too.
  4. Do you think it’s appropriate for drug cops to be making medical policy?
  5. What is your philosophical approach to federalism? What issues do you feel are best decided at the national level? What issues should be left to the states? Is there any underlying principle you use in separating one from the other, or would you make such decisions ad hoc?
  6. Do you believe the U.S. military should be deployed for humanitarian missions?
  7. Do you think an atheist could be president? Do you think an atheist should be? Assuming you generally agreed with an atheist on more issues than the alternatives in a given election, would you vote for one?
  8. Name five things you think are none of the federal government’s business.
  9. What is your view of the pardon power and executive clemency? Should it be used frequently? Should it be use to show mercy and forgiveness or to correct injustices that slip through the cracks? Neither? Both?
  10. Do you think the criminal justice system is adequate in its present form? Do our criminal courts achieve the just outcome in an acceptable percentage of cases?
  11. When the two are in conflict, do you believe a politician is obligated to vote for his own principles and values, or for the will of the people?
  12. Is there any type of speech you believe should be criminalized?
  13. Do you promise not to claim for yourself any of the executive powers you’ve criticized the Bush administration for claiming?
  14. Do you think it’s appropriate that the minority party in the senate can filibuster the majority? Would your position change if your party was in the minority?
  15. What is your position on Kelo vs. New London? Under what circumstances would it be appropriate for a government to seize land from one private party and give it to another?
  16. If elected, will you fire all of the U.S. attorneys appointed by President Bush?
  17. What federal crimes will you instruct the Justice Department to make a priority during your administration?
  18. Do you think a journalist should ever be tried for treason for making public classified information?
  19. Are there any currently private industries that you believe are “too important” to be left to the private sector? Oil and gas? Health care? Google?
  20. America by far and away has the highest prison population in the world. Does this concern you? Are there any federal crimes you feel should be repealed from the books, or devolved to the states?
  21. Should violations of regulatory law be criminalized? That is, should people go to jail for violating EPA, OSHA, or other regulations? Or should they merely be fined?
  22. Would capturing Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al-Zawahiri be a priority for your administration? How would you go about doing it?
  23. Do you believe we’re winning the war on terror? Are we doing all we can be doing? Are we overreacting? What would you do differently?
  24. What’s your philosophical approach to risk assessment and the precautionary principle? Do you think government should ban products, treatments, and procedures until they’re proven safe, or permit them until they show signs of being unsafe?
  25. Do you think it’s a legitimate function of government to protect people from making bad decisions or prevent them from developing bad habits? Even if those habit or decisions don’t directly affect anyone else? How far should the government in preventing bad habits and bad decisions? In other words, should the government’s role be merely advisory, or should it criminalize things like gambling, pornography, drug use, or trans fats?
  26. At what point a child’s rights supercede a parent’s rights? Should a Christian Science parent be allowed to deny his child basic medical treatment? Should parents be allowed to teach their children to be racist? If parents believe some vaccinations are too risky, should they be permitted to decline them for their children?
  27. Should members of Congress be required to follow all of the laws that they pass?
  28. Should members be required to read each bill before voting on it?
  29. Would you support a requirement that each law be limited in scope and subject, so members wouldn’t be required to cast a single yes-or-no vote on bills that have multiple amendments covering a variety of issues?
  30. Would you support a sunset provision requiring Congress to revisit and re-pass each law after five years?
  31. Do think presidents should be term limited? What about members of Congress? If you didn’t give the same answer to each question, what’s the difference?

And a few more.

  1. As the purpose of PBS in the United States was to broadcast artistic and cultural programs of lasting quality that wouldn’t appeal to a large enough audience to justify them for the main three networks, as most Americans now have 30, or 100, or 500 television channels to choose from with far more quality programming than is offered by PBS, and as the majority of programming on PBS is now anti-capitalist, anti-conservative commentary and repeats of BBC programs, is PBS worth keeping? If it is worth keeping, how do you propose to fix it so it isn’t so egregiously biased?
  2. Public Radio features NPR, which isn’t quite as leftist as Air America or MSNBC, but it also features leftist, America-bashing news features from BBC International and the Canadian CBC, and leftist entertainment such as Le Show, This American Life, and All Things Considered. As the aggregated programming of Public Radio is biased far to the left of the country’s populace what would you do to remedy the situation with this network that is paid for by taxpayers?
  3. Do you believe in content monitoring or censorship on the Internet? In Magazines or Newspapers? In Books? If the answers are different, why?
  4. What concrete steps would you take to restore civility, manners, and shared Judeo-Christian moral principles to politics and public life in America? What would you do first in order to get the ball rolling?
  5. Would you support a national mission to identify and repeal bad federal, state and local laws? What criteria would you use to evaluate them for goodness or badness? A measurement of happiness and misery, enforcement costs, compliance costs, perverse side-effects? If you would not support the repeal of bad laws, why not?
  6. Do you think it is healthy for our country that the vast majority of Senators and Congressmen are lawyers who have never served in the military or any form of national service?
  7. Do you think it is healthy for our country to encourage immigrants to settle in homogeneous communities, keeping their own languages and customs and even their own family laws, and getting their news from satellite television from the countries they fled to come to America? Does this produce immigrant tribes, for want of a better word, that see their society in opposition to their country, leading inevitably to tensions, criminal activity, and civil disturbance? Does ethnicity and religion matter? What would you change about the immigration and naturalization system?
  8. When government programs were founded in order to remedy or fix a social problem, and have not succeeded or have made the problem worse, how long should they be allowed to continue before they are canceled?
  9. How do you propose to prepare Social Security to stay solvent thirty years from now, when more than a third of all Americans will be 65 or older? Will every working American be supporting one retiree on his or her own? Will you allow ordinary Americans to invest their Social Security in the same higher-yield market instruments that members of Congress and other federal employees invest their Social Security in?
  10. Is there a danger to the nation in falling fertility rates and depopulation? If women in other countries are reproducing at much higher rates, creating an expansive population pressure that must expand somewhere, won’t this when coupled with falling fertility rates in America produce a flood of immigrants to America that will overwhelm our ability to assimilate them, or even to perform reasonably prudent security checks on them?
  11. Why are Lindsey Lohan, Paris Hilton, and Anna Nicole Smith and other celebrity train wrecks on the news all the time? Is there something to be learned from the wall-to-wall coverage? Is there anything to be done, and if there is, what would you do?

I’m done for now. Your turn.

Update: I found more great questions at the Andrew Jacksonian Blog, Dumb Looks Still Free. Continue reading

Text of George W. Bush Speech 7/24/2007

From Pajamas Media

Nearly six years after the 9/11 attacks, America remains a nation at war. The terrorist network that attacked us that day is determined to strike our country again, and we must do everything in our power to stop them. A key lesson of September the 11th is that the best way to protect America is to go on the offense, to fight the terrorists overseas so we don’t have to face them here at home. And that is exactly what our men and women in uniform are doing across the world.

The key theater in this global war is Iraq. Our troops are serving bravely in that country. They’re opposing ruthless enemies, and no enemy is more ruthless in Iraq than al Qaeda. They send suicide bombers into crowded markets; they behead innocent captives and they murder American troops. They want to bring down Iraq’s democracy so they can use that nation as a terrorist safe haven for attacks against our country. So our troops are standing strong with nearly 12 million Iraqis who voted for a future of peace, and they so for the security of Iraq and the safety of American citizens.

There’s a debate in Washington about Iraq, and nothing wrong with a healthy debate. There’s also a debate about al Qaeda’s role in Iraq. Some say that Iraq is not part of the broader war on terror. They complain when I say that the al Qaeda terrorists we face in Iraq are part of the same enemy that attacked us on September the 11th, 2001. They claim that the organization called al Qaeda in Iraq is an Iraqi phenomenon, that it’s independent of Osama bin Laden and that it’s not interested in attacking America.

That would be news to Osama bin Laden. He’s proclaimed that the “third world war is raging in Iraq.” Osama bin Laden says, “The war is for you or for us to win. If we win it, it means your defeat and disgrace forever.” I say that there will be a big defeat in Iraq and it will be the defeat of al Qaeda.

Today I will consider the arguments of those who say that al Qaeda and al Qaeda in Iraq are separate entities. I will explain why they are both part of the same terrorist network — and why they are dangerous to our country.

A good place to start is with some basic facts: Al Qaeda in Iraq was founded by a Jordanian terrorist, not an Iraqi. His name was Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Before 9/11, he ran a terrorist camp in Afghanistan. He was not yet a member of al Qaida, but our intelligence community reports that he had longstanding relations with senior al Qaida leaders, that he had met with Osama bin Laden and his chief deputy, Zawahiri.

In 2001, coalition forces destroyed Zarqawi’s Afghan training camp, and he fled the country and he went to Iraq, where he set up operations with terrorist associates long before the arrival of coalition forces. In the violence and instability following Saddam’s fall, Zarqawi was able to expand dramatically the size, scope, and lethality of his operation. In 2004, Zarqawi and his terrorist group formally joined al Qaida, pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden, and he promised to “follow his orders in jihad.”

Soon after, bin Laden publicly declared that Zarqawi was the “Prince of Al Qaida in Iraq” — and instructed terrorists in Iraq to “listen to him and obey him.” It’s hard to argue that al Qaida in Iraq is separate from bin Laden’s al Qaida, when the leader of al Qaida in Iraq took an oath of allegiance to Osama bin Laden.

According to our intelligence community, the Zarqawi-bin Laden merger gave al Qaida in Iraq — quote — “prestige among potential recruits and financiers.” The merger also gave al Qaida’s senior leadership — quote — “a foothold in Iraq to extend its geographic presence … to plot external operations … and to tout the centrality of the jihad in Iraq to solicit direct monetary support elsewhere.” The merger between al Qaida and its Iraqi affiliate is an alliance of killers — and that is why the finest military in the world is on their trail.

Zarqawi was killed by U.S. forces in June 2006. He was replaced by another foreigner — an Egyptian named Abu Ayyub al-Masri. His ties to the al Qaida senior leadership are deep and longstanding. He has collaborated with Zawahiri for more than two decades. And before 9/11, he spent time with al Qaida in Afghanistan where he taught classes indoctrinating others in al Qaida’s radical ideology.

After Abu Ayyub took over al Qaida’s Iraqi operations last year, Osama bin Laden sent a terrorist leader named Abd al-Hadi al Iraqi to help him. According to our intelligence community, this man was a senior advisor to bin Laden, who served as his top commander in Afghanistan. Abd al-Hadi never made it to Iraq. He was captured, and was recently transferred to the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay. The fact that bin Laden risked sending one of his most valued commanders to Iraq shows the importance he places on success of al Qaida’s Iraqi operations.

According to our intelligence community, many of al Qaida in Iraq’s other senior leaders are also foreign terrorists. They include a Syrian who is al Qaida in Iraq’s emir in Baghdad, a Saudi who is al Qaida in Iraq’s top spiritual and legal advisor, an Egyptian who fought in Afghanistan in the 1990s and who has met with Osama bin Laden, a Tunisian who we believe plays a key role in managing foreign fighters. Last month in Iraq, we killed a senior al Qaida facilitator named Mehmet Yilmaz, a Turkish national who fought with al Qaida in Afghanistan, and met with September the 11th mastermind Khalid Shaikh Muhammad, and other senior al Qaida leaders.

A few weeks ago, we captured a senior al Qaida in Iraq leader named Mashadani. Now, this terrorist is an Iraqi. In fact, he was the highest ranking Iraqi in the organization. Here’s what he said, here’s what he told us: The foreign leaders of Al Qaida in Iraq went to extraordinary lengths to promote the fiction that al Qaida in Iraq is an Iraqi-led operation. He says al Qaida even created a figurehead whom they named Omar al-Baghdadi. The purpose was to make Iraqi fighters believe they were following the orders of an Iraqi instead of a foreigner. Yet once in custody, Mashadani revealed that al-Baghdadi is only an actor. He confirmed our intelligence that foreigners are at the top echelons of al Qaida in Iraq — they are the leaders — and that foreign leaders make most of the operational decisions, not Iraqis.

Foreign terrorists also account for most of the suicide bombings in Iraq. Our military estimates that between 80 and 90 percent of suicide attacks in Iraq are carried out by foreign-born al Qaida terrorists. It’s true that today most of al Qaida in Iraq’s rank and file fighters and some of its leadership are Iraqi. But to focus exclusively on this single fact is to ignore the larger truth: Al Qaida in Iraq is a group founded by foreign terrorists, led largely by foreign terrorists, and loyal to a foreign terrorist leader — Osama bin Laden. They know they’re al Qaida. The Iraqi people know they are al Qaida. People across the Muslim world know they are al Qaida. And there’s a good reason they are called al Qaida in Iraq: They are al Qaida … in … Iraq.

Some also assert that al Qaida in Iraq is a separate organization because al Qaida’s central command lacks full operational control over it. This argument reveals a lack of understanding. Here is how al Qaida’s global terrorist network actually operates. Al Qaida and its affiliate organizations are a loose network of terrorist groups that are united by a common ideology and shared objectives, and have differing levels of collaboration with the al Qaida senior leadership. In some cases, these groups have formally merged into al Qaida and take what is called a “bayaat” — a pledge of loyalty to Osama bin Laden. In other cases, organizations are not formally merged with al Qaida, but collaborate closely with al Qaida leaders to plot attacks and advance their shared ideology. In still other cases, there are small cells of terrorists that are not part of al Qaida or any other broader terrorist group, but maintain contact with al Qaida leaders and are inspired by its ideology to conduct attacks.

Our intelligence community assesses that al Qaida in Iraq falls into the first of these categories. They are a full member of the al Qaida terrorist network. The al Qaida leadership provides strategic guidance to their Iraqi operatives. Even so, there have been disagreements — important disagreements — between the leaders, Osama bin Laden and their Iraqi counterparts, including Zawahiri’s criticism of Zarqawi’s relentless attacks on the Shia. But our intelligence community reports that al Qaida’s senior leaders generally defer to their Iraqi-based commanders when it comes to internal operations, because distance and security concerns preclude day-to-day command authority.

Our intelligence community concludes that — quote — “Al Qaida and its regional node in Iraq are united in their overarching strategy.” And they say that al Qaida senior leaders and their operatives in Iraq — quote — “see al Qaida in Iraq as part of al Qaida’s decentralized chain of command, not as a separate group.”

Here’s the bottom line: Al Qaida in Iraq is run by foreign leaders loyal to Osama bin Laden. Like bin Laden, they are cold-blooded killers who murder the innocent to achieve al Qaida’s political objectives. Yet despite all the evidence, some will tell you that al Qaida in Iraq is not really al Qaida — and not really a threat to America. Well, that’s like watching a man walk into a bank with a mask and a gun, and saying he’s probably just there to cash a check.

You might wonder why some in Washington insist on making this distinction about the enemy in Iraq. It’s because they know that if they can convince America we’re not fighting bin Laden’s al Qaida there, they can paint the battle in Iraq as a distraction from the real war on terror. If we’re not fighting bin Laden’s al Qaida, they can argue that our nation can pull out of Iraq and not undermine our efforts in the war on terror. The problem they have is with the facts. We are fighting bin Laden’s al Qaida in Iraq; Iraq is central to the war on terror; and against this enemy, America can accept nothing less than complete victory.

There are others who accept that al Qaida is operating in Iraq, but say its role is overstated. Al Qaida is one of the several Sunni jihadist groups in Iraq. But our intelligence community believes that al Qaida is the most dangerous of these Sunni jihadist groups for several reasons: First, more than any other group, al Qaida is behind most of the spectacular, high-casualty attacks that you see on your TV screens.

Second, these al Qaida attacks are designed to accelerate sectarian violence, by attacking Shia in hopes of sparking reprisal attacks that inspire Sunnis to join al Qaida’s cause.

Third, al Qaida is the only jihadist group in Iraq with stated ambitions to make the country a base for attacks outside Iraq. For example, al Qaida in Iraq dispatched terrorists who bombed a wedding reception in Jordan. In another case, they sent operatives to Jordan where they attempted to launch a rocket attack on U.S. Navy ships in the Red Sea.

And most important for the people who wonder if the fight in Iraq is worth it, al Qaida in Iraq shares Osama bin Laden’s goal of making Iraq a base for its radical Islamic empire, and using it as a safe haven for attacks on America. That is why our intelligence community reports — and I quote — “compared with [other leading Sunni jihadist groups], al Qaida in Iraq stands out for its extremism, unmatched operational strength, foreign leadership, and determination to take the jihad beyond Iraq’s borders.”

Our top commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, has said that al Qaida is “public enemy number one” in Iraq. Fellow citizens, these people have sworn allegiance to the man who ordered the death of nearly 3,000 people on our soil. Al Qaida is public enemy number one for the Iraqi people; al Qaida is public enemy number one for the American people. And that is why, for the security of our country, we will stay on the hunt, we’ll deny them safe haven, and we will defeat them where they have made their stand.

Some note that al Qaida in Iraq did not exist until the U.S. invasion — and argue that it is a problem of our own making. The argument follows the flawed logic that terrorism is caused by American actions. Iraq is not the reason that the terrorists are at war with us. We were not in Iraq when the terrorists bombed the World Trade Center in 1993. We were not in Iraq when they attacked our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. We were not in Iraq when they attacked the USS Cole in 2000. And we were not in Iraq on September the 11th, 2001.

Our action to remove Saddam Hussein did not start the terrorist violence — and America withdrawal from Iraq would not end it. The al Qaida terrorists now blowing themselves up in Iraq are dedicated extremists who have made killing the innocent the calling of their lives. They are part of a network that has murdered men, women, and children in London and Madrid; slaughtered fellow Muslims in Istanbul and Casablanca, Riyadh, Jakarta, and elsewhere around the world. If we were not fighting these al Qaida extremists and terrorists in Iraq, they would not be leading productive lives of service and charity. Most would be trying to kill Americans and other civilians elsewhere — in Afghanistan, or other foreign capitals, or on the streets of our own cities.

Al Qaida is in Iraq — and they’re there for a reason. And surrendering the future of Iraq to al Qaida would be a disaster for our country. We know their intentions. Hear the words of al Qaida’s top commander in Iraq when he issued an audio statement in which he said he will not rest until he has attacked our nation’s capital. If we were to cede Iraq to men like this, we would leave them free to operate from a safe haven which they could use to launch new attacks on our country. And al Qaida would gain prestige amongst the extremists across the Muslim world as the terrorist network that faced down America and forced us into retreat.

If we were to allow this to happen, sectarian violence in Iraq could increase dramatically, raising the prospect of mass casualties. Fighting could engulf the entire region in chaos, and we would soon face a Middle East dominated by Islamic extremists who would pursue nuclear weapons, and use their control of oil for economic blackmail or to fund new attacks on our nation.

We’ve already seen how al Qaida used a failed state thousands of miles from our shores to bring death and destruction to the streets of our cities — and we must not allow them to do so again. So, however difficult the fight is in Iraq, we must win it. And we can win it.

Less than a year ago, Anbar Province was al Qaida’s base in Iraq and was written off by many as lost. Since then, U.S. and Iraqi forces have teamed with Sunni sheiks who have turned against al Qaida. Hundreds have been killed or captured. Terrorists have been driven from most of the population centers. Our troops are now working to replicate the success in Anbar in other parts of the country. Our brave men and women are taking risks, and they’re showing courage, and we’re making progress.

For the security of our citizens, and the peace of the world, we must give General Petraeus and his troops the time and resources they need, so they can defeat al Qaida in Iraq.

Thanks for letting me come by today. I’ve explained the connection between al Qaida and its Iraqi affiliate. I presented intelligence that clearly establishes this connection. The facts are that al Qaida terrorists killed Americans on 9/11, they’re fighting us in Iraq and across the world, and they are plotting to kill Americans here at home again. Those who justify withdrawing our troops from Iraq by denying the threat of al Qaida in Iraq and its ties to Osama bin Laden ignore the clear consequences of such a retreat. If we were to follow their advice, it would be dangerous for the world — and disastrous for America. We will defeat al Qaida in Iraq.

In this effort, we’re counting on the brave men and women represented in this room. Every man and woman who serves at this base and around the world is playing a vital role in this war on terror. With your selfless spirit and devotion to duty, we will confront this mortal threat to our country — and we’re going to prevail.

I have confidence in our country, and I have faith in our cause, because I know the character of the men and women gathered before me. I thank you for your patriotism; I thank you for your courage. You’re living up to your motto: “one family, one mission, one fight.” Thank you for all you do. God bless your families. God bless America.

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Don’t Call it a Comeback!

I have been posting primarily at WordPress for a while for various reasons. And now ScribeFire finally is good enough at what it does to allow me to easily post to both Blogger and WordPress platforms without doing any extra work. Read one or the other or both! Read them all twice!

Comments are still only at WordPress.

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