This cartoon is a repost from April 24 of last year. At the time some readers thought the cartoon was our prediction of what was going to happen in Iraq, as if we were declaring the invasion of Iraq a failure. We were not. The cartoon was intended as a sort of warning, a picture of something that could happen that we did not want to happen -- the change from a secular tyranny to a religious tyranny.
Today CNN reports: Iraqis agree basic law draft.
[A spokesman for a council member] said the draft charter will recognize Islam as "a source of legislation" -- rather than "the" source as some officials had sought -- and that no law will be passed that violates the tenets of the Muslim religion.
Apparently the Iraqi draft constitution does not enshrine Islam as explicitly as did the Afghan constitution. But if no law can be passed that "violates the tenets of the Muslim religion," then it might as well. If Islam is the moral standard of the law, then all secular, western legal principles deemed anti-Islamic can easily be overruled. Property rights. Women's individual rights. Freedom of speech. All are at risk. This is territory we've already covered regarding Afghanistan (see Taliban Lite, Infant Terrible and Fundamental Change?). But it's clear that the warning expressed in the cartoon above remains valid, particularly when this news appears the same day: Religious vigilantes terrorize Basra.
Ms Inam al-Zubaidi, an 18-year-old female student, wears a headscarf to avoid harassment by fanatical religious groups.
Mr Mustafa al-Iqabi sports a beard and tries to get home by 10pm to avoid religious squads who cruise the streets at night and take the law into their own hands.
Many residents of Iraq's second-largest city worry that these vigilante groups, which have emerged in recent months, want to impose an Islamic state on Basra similar to the one in Iran.[...]
Many people blame the violence on some of the 150 small political and religious groups that have sprung up in this city of two million.
Most worrisome have been the kidnappings, and sometimes murder, of women whose actions have been deemed un-Islamic.
A few weeks ago, local newspapers reported the shooting death of a young woman who worked in a video store -- a placed deemed 'pornographic' by extremists.
UPDATE March 3: Daniel Pipes has an excellent, must-read editorial on this subject: Islamic Law Rules In Iraq.
[T]here are two reasons to see the interim constitution as a signal victory for militant Islam.
First, the compromise suggests that while all of the Sharia may not be put into place, every law must conform with it. As one pro-Sharia source put it, "We got what we wanted, which is that there should be no laws that are against Islam." The new Iraq may not be Saudi Arabia or Iran, but it will include substantial portions of Islamic law.
Second, the interim constitution appears to be only a way station. Islamists will surely try to gut its liberal provisions, thereby making Sharia effectively "the source" of Iraqi law. Those who want this change -- including Mr. al-Sistani and the Governing Council's current president -- will presumably continue to press for their vision. Iraq's leading militant Islamic figure, Muqtada al-Sadr, has threatened that his constituency will "attack its enemies" if Sharia is not "the source" and the pro-Tehran political party in Iraq has echoed Sadr's ultimatum.
When the interim constitution does take force, militant Islam will have blossomed in Iraq.
UPDATE March 5: CNN reports today: Signing of Iraqi constitution delayed.
Last-minute concerns from Shiite Muslims on the Iraqi Governing Council delayed Friday's signing of an interim constitution for the country, sources said. [...] Talk at the signing ceremony suggests second thoughts began to emerge among some members after Iraq's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, rejected the interim plan, sources said. Several Shiites objected to a provision in the document that they apparently felt would give too much power to Kurds in shaping a future permanent constitution, said Mahmud Ali Uthman, a Kurdish council member.
Three days of hearings over the legality of the West Bank barrier concluded Wednesday at the World Court, with dozens of Muslim countries backing Palestinian arguments that the barrier is illegal and will block the creation of a viable two-state solution to the Mideast conflict.[...]
Although Israel is officially boycotting the proceedings, officials have been at the court to make their views known. Foreign Ministry legal expert Daniel Taub says he hopes the court pays attention to its written arguments -- arguments shared by the United States and many European Union countries. The court, he says, has no right to intervene in a political dispute and undermine the road map for peace.
"But we care ultimately about the lives of our civilians and we'll do whatever is necessary to ensure that in the absence of action by Palestinians so far to stop terrorism that the 935 people we've buried so far because of Palestinian terrorism will be the last," he said.
Meanwhile, Little Green Footballs helps keep things in perspective with these two stories (our headlines):
From The Telegraph: Jailed Palestinian terrorist justifies targeting Israeli children.
Although Khalil wanted to blow up soldiers in her planned attack in Tel Aviv she said it was legitimate to kill Jewish children because one day they would serve in the Israeli army.
From The Jerusalem Post: Israeli bus bombed by Palestinian terrorist as World Court debates security fence.
Deploring the world's "double standards" for criticizing Israel for building the security barrier, Barkat, the Jerusalem council opposition leader, said that "Our right not to be blown up is more important than the quality of life of people whose lives will be disrupted as a result of... the fence."
Reuters reported yesterday that Bush Denounces Iran Elections. (Via Little Green Footballs) President Bush's comments are welcome, but we'd prefer not only stronger words, but more than words. Here's what mere words have gotten us so far: More nuclear signs tied to Iran.
Even for a regime that excels in deception, the announcement by the Iranian government that nearly half the eligible voters cast their ballots in Friday's election is an extraordinary bit of effrontery. And even those Western "news" outlets that decided to pronounce the turnout "low" (the BBC, of course, echoed the party line by talking about a large turnout), did so by comparing the official numbers with those of the last parliamentary election, when more than 60 percent voted for the toothless "reformers." The real numbers are a tiny fragment of the official ones. [...]
Oddly, the wild distortion of the real results does show something that the mullahs do not want us to know. They fear the Iranian people, knowing how deeply the people hate them, and they believe they must continue to tell a big lie about popular support for the regime. But the people know better. [...]
For those interested in exposing hypocrisy, it is hard to find a better example than all those noble souls who denounced Operation Iraqi Freedom as a callous operation to gain control over Iraqi oil, but who remain silent as country after country, from Europe to Japan, appeases the Iranian tyrants precisely in order to win oil concessions.
And from The Wall Street Journal: The Iranian Deception.
Now is precisely the time for Mr. Bush to show solidarity with the majority of Iranians who want greater freedom, just as Ronald Reagan spoke up for the people of Poland in the early 1980s. The only way to stop Iran's despotic regime from getting nuclear weapons is to help Iranians change the regime. [...]
By the way, does Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage still think Iran is operating a "democracy," as he noted not long ago? Just checking.
Meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders reports that the Iranian theocracy is censoring opposition Web sites.
You will have to excuse us Iranians for our lack of sympathy for these so-called reformers: Just ask yourself, as we ask ourselves, where they were while Iranian youths were being beaten, tortured, abducted, maimed, and deprived of their legitimate rights to continue their university studies.
But despite our disappointment with the Khatamists, Iranians were nevertheless given an occasion for joy and pride on February 20, the date of our most recent elections, and of the momentous boycott of them. It will be remembered in the history of my nation, because on that day, Iranians showed again that we have the resolve to clear "Islamic mullahism" from our homeland once and for all. We have decided that our children must not be tormented as we have been.
Throughout the day on February 20, I went to different parts of Tehran to observe for myself what was going on at the polling stations. To my great pleasure, there were only few people at any of them. Although the regime had done its best to urge everyone to participate in the elections, brave Iranians were far more determined to tell the world and the regime, again, that they are tired, and are on the verge of achieving their much longed-for change.
Iranians abstained from the elections not because of the prohibition against Khatamist candidates, but because we -- almost all of us this time -- have finally realized that our goal can only be achieved "over" the Islamic republic, not "through" it. The vision of tomorrow's secular Iran will prevail, and soon. With or without the rest of the world's help, we are determined to paralyze and eventually oust the militants of the Islamic regime.
This weekend showed that our efforts have nearly, after all this time, borne the fruit we have striven for all these years: freedom. [Emphasis added]
The conflict is incredibly complex. The rebels for the most part, are baddies. In my opinion, Aristide and his regime are also baddies.
FoxNews reports: U.S. Tries to Broker Peace in Haiti; Rebels Threatened to Attack Capital.
Ten years ago, the United States sent 20,000 troops to end a military dictatorship that had ousted Aristide in 1991, a year after he became Haiti's first freely elected leader. But Washington has made clear it won't commit a large number of troops this time.
Aristide, hugely popular when he was elected especially among the destitute in Western hemisphere's poorest country, has since lost a lot of support. Opponents accuse the former priest of failing to help those in need, condoning corruption and masterminding attacks on opponents by armed gangs. Aristide denies the charges. Flawed legislative elections in 2000 led international donors to freeze millions of dollars in aid. [...]
Rebels in Cap-Haitien, meanwhile, hunted down militants loyal to Aristide on Monday, accusing them of terrorizing the population in the days before the city fell.
"I am a brick mason, I didn't do anything wrong," Jean-Bernard Prevalis, 33, pleaded as he was dragged away, head bleeding.
"We're going to clean the city of all 'chimeres,"' said rebel Dieusauver Magustin, 26. Chimere, which means ghost, is used to describe hardcore Aristide militants.
It was not clear what would happen to those detained. One rebel said they were saving them from lynching. But another, Claudy Philippe, said "The people show us the (chimere) houses. If they are there, we execute them."
The New York Times reports on today's Iranian "elections":
Many city walls that were plastered with election posters in previous elections are almost bare this time. Text messages circulated anonymously on mobile phones are urging people to shun the vote. "The ballot boxes are coffins for freedom," said one message. "Let's not participate in the funeral of freedom on Friday." [Emphasis added]
The other great lesson is that many Iranians, when pushed to the wall by the tyrants, do indeed have the courage to fight back. In an unprecedented step, more than 100 reformers issued a letter to Supreme Leader Khamenei, in which they used language more traditionally reserved for greater and lesser satans in Washington and Jerusalem. They surely know that punishment will be severe, but they did it anyway. One fine day such shows of courage will inspire the Iranian people to defend them en masse, fill the public spaces of the major cities with demonstrators, and demand an end to the regime. And one fine day such actions will compel the Bush administration to support the Iranian people. And on that day the regime will fall, and with it the keystone to the international terror network with which we are at war.
Reports from most Iranian cities are stating about the massive popular boycott of the Islamic regime's sham elections. Millions of Iranians have stayed home and afar from official ballot boxes in order to show the rejection of the Islamic republic in its totality. Reports from Shiraz, Mashad, Kerman, Malayer, Abadan, Bookan, Esfahan, Tabriz, Marivan, Amol, Sannandaj, Oroomiah (former Rezai-e) and Gonabad are all stating about dead cities in another show of massive Civil Disobedience.
Reports from some remotes villages of Mazandaran province are stating about an organized "collection" of "votes" by the Islamic regime's militiamen. Villagers have been forced to vote as armed militiamen are presenting them ambulent ballot boxes and explaining them the "advantages" of their "participation". The regime is using such process in order to compensate its fiasco in the cities which are under the watch of many foreign observers.
UPDATE 2: From The Eyeranian:
More than one source describe how empty Tehran streets are compared to normal, on this day the regime has advertised as the day the nation will come out to vote for their appointed parliament.
The Eyeranian is an American-based blog about Iran that was featured in a CNN report yesterday: Iran's bloggers fear clampdown.
In response to the thuggish tactics of the hard-liners, reformists have called for a boycott of the elections. Their logic might make sense to them, caught as they are between rivals who change the rules of the game at will and a public that has voted at least four times for change only to be cheated out of meaningful change. But the idea of a boycott has led the reformists into an impasse of paradoxes.
They say a ballot cast today is a vote for undemocratic elections. Conversely, a refusal to participate becomes a vote in favor of democracy. Iran's eligible voters -- there are 46 million of them -- may be excused for suffering a bout of vertigo from trying to follow this reasoning. They are being asked to believe that democracy requires one not to vote or that the act of voting identifies the voter as someone who actively rejects democracy.
UPDATE 3: 'Free Iran' News is declaring a boycott victory against the clerical regime by the Iranian people. The Independent reports: Low turnout in Iranian election after banning of 2,300 candidates.
Early indications of urban voting patterns suggested that people had stayed away from polling stations amid widespread disillusionment with the electoral process.[...]
Most voters who turned out appeared to be diehard conservatives or religious people who had been told it was their duty to vote. Others said they wanted the official mark on their identity card showing they had voted. There have been rumours recently that proof of electoral participation would ease government job or university applications. "My only reason to vote is not to get into trouble taking exams. I've been picking names from the list at random," said Fereshteh, a 20-year-old woman outside a north Tehran polling station.
With the disappearance of the last vestiges of hope for democratic transformation within the existing political system, the Iranian opposition to clerical dictatorship is closing ranks and converging on items of a common agenda for the future of the country. [...]
Hashim Aghageri, a leading Iranian dissident reacting to the massive disqualification of reformist candidates by the Guardian Council has declared that Iran's reform movement is finished. In an open letter published by the Iranian news agency ISNA, this history professor who is a reformist himself said that hopes for mending the system from within are over and he advises Iranians to oppose the regime through passive resistance. Passive resistance or civil disobedience is one of the items on the wish-list, which is uniting Iranian activists from all over the political spectrum.
UPDATE 5 -- Feb. 21: Iran Va Jahan has posted an excellent editorial from The Times (U.K.) regarding the "elections": Dictatorial Democracy: A Vote of No Confidence in Iran.
Yesterday's general election in Iran was as cynical and undemocratic as anything an Orwellian state could devise, with a self appointed clerical elite forcing a cowed press and subservient religious establishment to hail the "democratic" outcome of an election shorn of all but the trappings of democracy. [...]
[T]he derisory turnout is a blow to the Guardian Council and its allies. Many in the hardline camp do not care: their preoccupation has been to protect their own personal wealth, often corruptly amassed through state approved quasi-religious monopolies, and to stop any judicial investigation of their own abuses of power. But the election leaves Iran's neighbours and those countries such as Britain insisting on "critical engagement" with a problem. How much should they continue with business as normal?
Jack Straw may have believed it essential to keep lines open to Tehran, especially during the Iraq war and the tense aftermath. But the Foreign Secretary's frequent visits to Iran have done naught to bolster reform. Dialogue with a country as strategic as Iran is important; but endorsing a hardline regime is the worst kind of appeasement.
The "animal rights" movement is celebrating its latest victory: an earlier, more painful death for future victims of Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's disease.
Thanks to intimidation by animal rights terrorists, Cambridge University has dropped plans to build a laboratory that would have conducted cutting-edge brain research on primates. According to The Times of London, animal-rights groups "had threatened to target the centre with violent protests ... and Cambridge decided that it could not afford the costs or danger to staff that this would involve." [...]
Millions of humans would suffer and die unnecessarily if animal testing were prohibited. Animal rights activists know this, but are unmoved. Chris DeRose, founder of the group Last Chance for Animals, writes: "If the death of one rat cured all diseases, it wouldn't make any difference to me."
CNN reports: Kerry ekes out Wisconsin win over Edwards.
Former Green Party candidate Ralph Nader is poised to declare that he will seek the presidency again this year, this time as an independent and despite a vigorous effort by the left to dissuade him, according to friends and associates. [...]
[Micah] Sifry is part of the campaign to stop Nader from running, including an open letter to him last month in The Nation, a liberal magazine that has been associated with Nader for 30 years. Nader contributors from 2000, such as Ben Cohen, a co-founder of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, also are organizing "No, Ralph, No" efforts.
UPDATE Feb. 20: FoxNews reports: Nader to Jump in Presidential Race:
Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate who ran for president in 2000 as a Green Party candidate, will enter the 2004 race for the White House as an independent candidate, advisers told Fox News on Friday.[...]
Some are wondering what effect, if any, Nader's entry into the race will have on the other candidates, particularly as Kerry and Edwards both try to attract independent voters. Nader's 2000 presidential run is blamed by many Democrats for tilting a close election in favor of George W. Bush.
This cartoon was inspired by a The Boston Globe op-ed by Jeff Jacoby: John Kerry's shifting stands.
Where Kerry will ultimately come down on this issue is anybody's guess. But it's safe to say that wherever you come down, he'll be able to claim he was there all along.
UPDATE Feb. 25: President Bush recently made comments that sounded familiar to us: Bush fires back at Democrats.
Without naming him, Bush unleashed his first attack on the Democratic front-runner, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. Some Democrats, he said, are "for tax cuts and against them; for NAFTA and against NAFTA; for the Patriot Act and against the Patriot Act; in favor of liberating Iraq and opposed to it. And that's just one senator from Massachusetts."
This is another gag cartoon from our Buster McNutt series. His humor column this month is about shopping carts, but John managed to put a political spin on the cartoon.
This cartoon was originally published in the January 2003 edition of The Intellectual Activist and refers to President Bush's proposal to ban human cloning.
CNN reported yesterday: Scientists say they've cloned human embryos
The technique, scientists said, was not designed to make babies but to further the process known as therapeutic cloning, a possible treatment for a multitude of diseases. Advances in stem-cell technology have been hailed as holding potential cures for many crippling illnesses, such as diabetes, spinal cord injuries and Parkinson's disease. [...]
Opponents have said using embryos, even ones just several minutes old, is destroying a human life. Embryos are destroyed when stem cells are removed. The report already has sparked a renewal of the debate over whether all forms of human cloning should be banned.
The one truth in the anti-cloning position is that cloning does represent "the desire to exert our will over every aspect of our surroundings." But such a desire is not immoral --it is a mark of virtue. Using technology to alter nature is a requirement of human life. It is what brought man from the cave to civilization. Where would we be without the men who "exerted their will" over their surroundings and constructed the first hut, cottage, and skyscraper? Every advance in human history is part of "the technological project," and has made man's life longer, healthier, and happier. These advances are produced by those who hold the premise that suffering and disease are a curse, not to be humbly accepted as "God's will," but to be fought proudly with all the power of man's rational mind.
The other op-ed is by Harry Binswanger: Immoral to Ban Human Cloning.
A surgeon "plays God" whenever he removes a cancer or an infected appendix rather than letting the patient die. We "play God" anytime we use our intelligence to improve the "natural" course of events. Natural? It is man's nature to "play God" by reshaping matter to produce the food, shelter, tools, cars, and power stations that sustain and enhance our existence. Not to "play God" in this way means to abandon the struggle for human life and submit abjectly to whatever happens.
Cloning technology is tied in with stem-cell research. The United Nations has put off for a year any decision regarding cloning to produce stem cells, but the Bush administration is already curtailing it. In this research, the entity that is being legally "protected" is a single cell or a small ball of cells -- not anything that remotely resembles a human being. One can argue about the status of a fetus in the late stages of pregnancy, but there are no rational grounds for ascribing rights to a clump of cells in a Petri dish. It is irrelevant that those cells may have the potential, if implanted in a womb, to produce a baby. A potentiality is not an actuality.
Stem-cell research holds the promise of major breakthroughs in saving actual human lives—yours and mine. The idea of banning such research to sacrifice actual lives to potential ones is obscenely wrong -- wrong morally and politically.
At the threshold of a wide range of earth-shaking biomedical advances, we must not let irrational fears of the new slow our progress in the battle to enhance and extend human life.
The Tehran Times recently published a John Kerry campaign letter: Kerry Says He Will Repair Damage If He Wins Election. (Via Little Green Footballs) Quoting the letter:
It is in the urgent interests of the people of the United States to restore our country's credibility in the eyes of the world. America needs the kind of leadership that will repair alliances with countries on every continent that have been so damaged in the past few years, as well as build new friendships and overcome tensions with others.
We are convinced that John Kerry is the candidate best qualified to meet this challenge. Senator Kerry has the diplomatic skill and temperament as well as a lifetime of accomplishments in field of international affairs. He believes that collaboration with other countries is crucial to efforts to win the war on terror and make America safer.
The Tehran Times did not include the list of the letter's signers, which can be seen at the Kerry Web site: Letter for Democrats Abroad. While there may some doubt as to who sent what to whom and why, what is clear is that the theocratic Iranian regime approved of the letter and its publication. And considering Kerry's approach to foreign policy, there's also no doubt that the mullahs would prefer Kerry over George "Axis of Evil" Bush.
Kerry has since softened his language a bit, but his position today appears to be essentially the same. In his December 2003 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, Kerry claimed that he "will not cede our security to any nation or institution." Yet throughout the speech he repeatedly invokes the United Nations and advocates "collective action," "international sanction," a "new era of alliances," and rejoining the "community of nations." In contrast, he criticizes President Bush for being "unilateral," "imperial" and "intoxicated" with American power.
Ultimately he declares: "I will treat the United Nations as a full partner -- not only in the war on terror, but in combating other common enemies like AIDS and global poverty."
A "full partner"? So much for not ceding our security to any nation or institution.
In regard to Iran, a country even our appeasing State Department ranks as the world's worst sponsor of terrorism, Kerry said:
[T]he Bush Administration stubbornly refuses to conduct a realistic, non-confrontational policy with Iran even where that may be possible. As President, I will be prepared early-on to explore areas of mutual interest with Iran, just as I was prepared to normalize relations with Vietnam a decade ago.
Lest we forget what kind of regime Kerry proposes being "non-confrontational" with, WorldNetDaily reports: Iran hosting global terrorist conference.
Just as the U.S. State Department approves wider contact with Iran and as members of Congress begin planning the first official trips in 25 years, Tehran is sponsoring a 10-day conference of major terrorist organization beginning [this] week.
The purpose of the conference is to discuss anti-U.S. strategy. Among the groups headed to Iran to participate are: Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and al-Qaida allies Ansar Al Islam.
Khomeinism, a form of fascism, was, and remains, a consistent political doctrine. [...] [Today's ruling] Khomeinists sincerely believe that a woman is half as valuable as a man and that she should cover her hair because it emanates rays that drive men wild with lust. They genuinely believe that men who shave their beards will go to hell. They regard the West as a civilization in decline, and its values, including human rights and democracy, as decadent.
Their strategic goal is to destroy Western-dominated civilization and replace it with a better, Islamic, one. They dream of wiping Israel off the map and, one day, hoisting their flag of faith atop the White House.
For the Iranian theocracy and the terrorists it supports, the choice for the next American president is no contest: John "Non-Confrontational" Kerry.
Teheran's aim is to see Bush defeated. The thinking in Teheran is that a Democratic president would not have the stomach to go to war in order to save Iraq's middle class.
UPDATE March 18: Daniel Pipes used this cartoon to illustrate his editorial Capturing Osama.
...Mr. bin Laden's capture or death could indeed have a major beneficial impact on the war on terror -- by helping to re-elect President Bush against his presumptive Democratic opponent. Who wins the forthcoming presidential election will deeply affect the future conduct of the global war on terror. To adopt Fred Barnes's formulation in the Weekly Standard, "George W. Bush is a September 12 person. John Kerry is a September 10 person."
CNN reported this weekend: Kerry calls Bush 'extreme' and out of touch.
"In the face of the Bush administration's failures, we know what kind of campaign the Bush attack machine will run," Kerry said. "They did it to my friend John McCain in South Carolina in 2000. They did it to my friend Max Cleland in Georgia in 2002. Well, it's not going to work in 2004, for a very simple reason: They're extreme. We're mainstream, and we're going to stand up and fight back."
According to the Globe, Kerry became involved in the anti-war movement upon his return, and asked for and received an early discharge from the Navy so he could continue those efforts. How could Kerry so easily abandon his comrades in Vietnam, and then, 30 years on, call on those same men and women to back his presidential ambition?
Kerry now holds himself up as a war hero and asks for my vote. Yet, 30 years ago he stood with Jane Fonda and gave aid and comfort to an enemy still killing our brother veterans by the hundreds.
Bush's honorable service in the National Guard bothers me less than Kerry's abandonment of his brothers, his switching sides and his active contribution to an enemy's efforts to kill Americans.
Here's a picture of the cover of Kerry's 1971 book The New Soldier.
Mark Steyn on Kerry and Vietnam: Kerry won't scare any of the big beasts.
The only relevant lesson from Vietnam is this: then, as now, it was not possible for the enemy to achieve military victory over the US; their only hope was that America would, in effect, defeat itself. And few men can claim as large a role in the loss of national will that led to that defeat as John Kerry. A brave man in Vietnam, he returned home to appear before Congress and not merely denounce the war but damn his "band of brothers" as a gang of rapists, torturers and murderers led by officers happy to license them to commit war crimes with impunity. He spent the Seventies playing Jane Fonda and he now wants to run as John Wayne.
Kerry lives in a mansion on Beacon Hill on which he has borrowed $6 million to finance his campaign. A fire hydrant that prevented him and his wife from parking their SUV in front of their tony digs was removed by the city of Boston at his behest.
The Kerrys ski at a spa the widow Heinz owns in Aspen, and they summer on Nantucket in a sprawling seaside "cottage" on Hurlbert Avenue [...]
It's a wonderful life these days for John Kerry. He sails Nantucket Sound in "the Scaramouche," a 42-foot Hinckley powerboat. Martha Stewart has a similar boat; the no-frills model reportedly starts at $695,000. Sen. Kerry bought it new, for cash.
CNN reported yesterday: Gore: Bush 'betrayed us'.
"He took America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure, dangerous to our troops, that was preordained and planned before 9-11," Gore told Tennessee Democrats at a party event Sunday.
The former vice president said that he, like millions of others, had put partisanship aside after the September 11 terrorist attacks and wanted Bush to lead the nation. Instead, Gore shouted to the crowd, Bush "betrayed us."
InstaPundit has an audio link to the relevant part of the speech, including the "he played on our fears" line, which was excluded from the news stories that I saw. As Reynolds noted, the speech is more than a little reminiscent of Howard Dean's Iowa Shriek.
Larry Elder writes: On Iraq and Weapons of Mass Destruction: Did the American President Lie? (Via Capitalism Magazine)
The near pathological contempt so many hold for President Bush clouds their ability to put themselves in the commander-in-chief's shoes. On Sept. 11, in America, over 3,000 people lost their lives. Meanwhile, Saddam Hussein continued to defy United Nations Security Council resolutions to come clean. He flouted the U.N.-sponsored Oil-for-Food program, diverting the money from its intended purpose.
Critics quite properly accuse the U.S. intelligence community for failing to connect the dots and thus prevent 9/11. After the first Gulf War in 1991, the advanced nature of Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program shocked intelligence analysts. Nuclear bomb testing in India and Pakistan came as a surprise, as did the advanced nature of Iran's and Libya's WMD programs. By all means, the U.S. intelligence failures call for serious soul-searching, and possibly housekeeping to improve accuracy.
But, in the case of pre-war Iraq, the president's critics suggest the following: Cross your fingers, hope for the best, and run the risk of another attack on American soil, this time possibly with chemical or biological weapons. No, the president acted upon the best available information and properly discharged his responsibility as commander-in-chief.
Meanwhile, this same commander-in-chief and other members of the U.S. government don't seem very concerned about the danger posed by the Iranian Islamofascist regime, from its funding of terrorists to its development of WMD. In fact, unlike Iraq, there's been a concerted effort even court diplomatic relations with this Axis of Evil member.
Michael Ledeen recently wrote about the danger of this policy of appeasement with Iran: The Seventh Level: Americans appeasing evil.
If the Specter/Ney/Biden efforts to "improve relations" [with the Iranian theocracy] were simply acts of folly by men who don't know better, one might laugh them off. But they have serious consequences, as our diplomats -- who actively encouraged the representatives' acts of appeasement -- must realize. The Iranian people overwhelmingly hate the regime, and look to Washington for encouragement and support to carry out a democratic revolution, and therefore the mullahs try to create opportunities to convince the people that the Bush administration in fact approves of the regime itself. Any warm statement from a famous American is a body blow to the democratic opposition, and a balm to the mullahs, just as every critical word from President Bush has encouraged the people, and weakened the tyrants.
Appeasers are sent deep into the Inferno, because their acts are truly wicked, shoring up our would-be killers and discouraging our would-be allies inside the country.
UPDATE: Today, Winds of Change features Iran In Focus, a great collection of links compiled by 'Free Iran' News. Winds of Change also had this Iran entry from early this week: Iran: Pay Attention, which features a good post by Oxblog.
America has convincing new evidence that Iran is hiding an atomic bomb project despite Teheran's promise to open up all of its nuclear facilities to international inspectors, a senior US official has told The Telegraph.
He said the Teheran regime was secretly trying to build a second and more advanced uranium enrichment plant in parallel to the large facilities in the town of Natanz revealed to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last year.
"There is no doubt in our mind that the Iranians have a lot that the IAEA does not know about," said the official. "The Iranians have a military programme that the IAEA has never set eyes on."
The International Herald Tribune reported yesterday: Pakistani scientist Kahn admits he passed on nuclear secrets.
In an extraordinary announcement, Abdul Qadeer Khan, the revered founder of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, appeared on national television early this evening, admitted he had shared Pakistani nuclear technology with other countries and asked the nation for forgiveness.
"I take full responsibility for my actions," the scientist, once one of the most powerful men in Pakistan, said in a soft voice, "and seek your pardon." [...]
He said he acted entirely on his own and did not have the permission of his superiors to share the technology.
"There was never, ever any kind of authority for these activities from the government," he said. [...]
On Sunday a senior Pakistani official said a government investigation had found that the scientist had shared Pakistan's nuclear technology with Iran, Libya and North Korea for more than a decade. In what appears to be one of the most successful efforts to evade antiproliferation controls in history, Khan sent nuclear-weapons related parts, plans and designs to the three countries with the aid of middlemen from Sri Lanka, Germany and the Netherlands. [...]
Analysts have said that it would have been nearly impossible for Khan to have passed on such information without the tacit approval of the country's powerful army.
The Guardian reported more bluntly about who approved of what: Musharraf knew I was selling secrets, says nuclear scientist. (Via InstaPundit)
The disgraced founder of Pakistan's nuclear programme has informed investigators that he supplied rogue states with nuclear technology with the full knowledge of the country's ruling military elite, including President Pervez Musharraf, a friend of the nuclear scientist was reported as saying yesterday.
CNN reports today: Nuke scientist set for pardon.
Reuters reported yesterday: Sharon Stuns Party, Says Gaza Settlements Will Go.
"I have given the order to plan for the evacuation of 17 settlements in the Gaza Strip," the right-wing [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon] told the Haaretz newspaper. "I am working on the assumption that in the future there will be no Jews in Gaza."[...]
"We are talking of a population of 7,500 people. It's not a simple matter. We are talking of thousands of square km (miles) of hothouses, factories and packing plants," he said. "The first thing is to ask their agreement, to reach an agreement with the residents...it's not a quick matter, especially if it's done under fire," he added.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported: Gaza settlers take to the media to fight against Sharon's plan to remove their homes.
Rachel Sapperstein, 63, a teacher and another Brooklyn native [said ...] the settlers earned the right to stay here because of the constant danger they face from Palestinian militants.
"We've been living here under mortars and shelling for all these years and our reward for that is being thrown out of our homes," she said.
Sapperstein said she believes Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is laughing at what she called Israel's capitulation.
Dismantling settlements amid the violence would only invite more attacks, settlement spokesman Dror Vanunu said. [...]
Just a few miles and a world away in Gaza City, Palestinians celebrating the Eid Al Adha festival said they do not believe the settlements will be evacuated.
"Sharon is a terrorist, all his speeches are lies," said Wael Yusuf, a Palestinian police officer wearing khaki fatigues, carrying a Kalashnikov and eating orange cotton candy beside a park filled with hundreds of frolicking children.
Even if Israel did leave the Gaza settlements, it would not be enough, Yusuf said. Israel would also have to give back the West Bank, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and every other square inch of land it inhabits, he said.
And from the Jerusalem Newswire: Terrorists see Sharon plan as victory.
Palestinian terrorist organizations this week gloated over Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to unilaterally evacuate all Jews from the Gaza Strip, calling his words a "victory" for the Palestinian "resistance."
One terrorist wants to see Israel run away from Gaza as it did from southern Lebanon in 2000, and said that such a scene would make the Palestinian victory complete.
Israeli military commanders warned that a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza at this time would cause a drastic increase in Palestinian terrorism against the Jewish state. [...]
"The removal of settlements or even a withdrawal from Gaza will not end the occupation. Therefore, the resistance will continue," [Senior Palestine Islamic Jihad terrorist Nafiz Azzam] said.
Hamas leaders issued similar statements, calling Sharon's plan a victory for Palestinian terror, and vowing to push on to their goal of eradicating the Jewish state.
The Dari-language daily Etefaq-e Eslam describes the move [to continuing broadcasting singing women on TV] as a "violation of the constitution" and calls on [Afghanistan] President Hamed Karzai to intervene to uphold Islamic law. It protests not only against women singing on television but at the fact that those shown were not fully veiled.
"Given the fact that respect for Islamic laws is firmly demanded in every article of the constitution, how could Kabul television employees dare to do this, since it completely goes against Islamic principles?" the paper asks. [...] "Those who regard women as a means of satisfying their lust and voluptuousness and as a toy call their singing and dancing art. They call the corruption of women human rights." [...]
But weekly newspaper Tolu-e Afghanistan is delighted by the reappearance of female singers on television.
"Afghan TV has finally broken its dreary silence after a decade," it says, "and the beautiful sound and image of the famous Afghan entertainer, Salma, appeared on TV screens and reached our ears. ... The people of Kabul and the whole of Afghanistan wish to see Salma and all other much-loved artists from abroad appearing again on the stages of the capital and the provinces."
The paper says Afghanistan's reformers and conservatives have been squaring up for battle over the issue of women's rights and that the reformers, backed by the younger generation, are now growing more confident.
And in The Jerusalem Post yesterday, Barry Rubin commented on the issue of women's rights in the Arab world: Arab women and the vote.
In July 1999 the [Kuwaiti] elections saw the victory of more liberals than ever before, holding about 16 of the 50 seats. Supporters of women's suffrage confidently predicted parliament would endorse the ruler's plan. Islamist members, however, passionately opposed the idea, with wide popular support.
"Those women who are calling for political rights have reached menopause and need someone to remind them of God," said one. When the most popular version of the women's voting rights legislation came up for the vote, the elected members rejected it by a 32 to 15 margin.