October 31, 2004

Decision 2004


We know that not all Kerry voters are primarily voting against Bush; and we know some Bush voters would vote for Bush no matter what. But in my opinion this cartoon captures what is motivating the large majority of voters on both sides. For Bush voters, fighting terrorism is the priority; for Kerry voters, fighting Bush is the priority.

I voted for Bush last week. Regular readers know that I have little good to say about Kerry's proposed policies. They also know that I've been critical of Bush's halting, apologetic pursuit of the war on terror (our first cartoon on that subject was in November 2001).

But because Bush correctly identified state-sponsors of terrorism as a primary target, and then followed through with deposing two terror-sponsoring regimes, and because Kerry has offered no alternative except to pursue the war more multilaterally (that is, commit the same mistakes Bush has made but as a matter of principle), and worse still, because Kerry would treat terrorism as a fundamentally criminal enterprise rather than the war it is, Bush remains the only short-term hope of holding back if not stopping Islamist terrorists and theocrats who threaten American and her allies. If re-elected, it would remain to be seen if Bush would prosecute the war as it should be. But he's the only candidate to come close to pursuing the correct course.

Two recent editorials do a much better job than I could of explaining why Bush should be supported with qualifications. The first is by TIA Daily's Robert Tracinski: Anti-Bushites for Bush.

Kerry may not be the "perfect" candidate of the enemies of civilization -- but he is their candidate, nonetheless, and he must be defeated. Bush is far from being the perfect candidate for those who want a vigorous defense of civilization against murderous Islamic fanatics. But he is our candidate, such as he is, and he deserves our support. ...

September 11 demonstrated that it is necessary to topple and destroy the Middle Eastern regimes that use terrorism as a weapon against the West -- the principle behind the Bush Doctrine. The administration has applied that doctrine to two regimes, and they deserve credit for it. But even that is not enough, over the long term. Even if our leaders applied the Bush doctrine consistently (against Iran and Syria, for example) and backed it up with the maximum force available, that would still leave the question: then what? What would prevent the re-emergence of new terrorist regimes to replace the old ones?

The only long-term answer is that the Arab and Muslim worlds must be civilized. They must have imposed on them a better system of government, one that allows, for the first time in the Arab world, the material vibrancy of a relatively free economy and the spiritual vibrancy of the free exchange of ideas. This would do exactly what the clashing examples of East Berlin and West Berlin did in the Cold War: it would provide an unanswerable demonstration of the benefits of a free society on one side, contrasted to misery and oppression on the other side. It is, in my view, the most important thing that can be done in the military and political realm to defeat the philosophy that animates Islamic terrorism. ...

The choice, in short, is this. George Bush is a candidate who stands for a vigorous projection of American power to reshape the political structure of the Middle East, destroying the political underpinnings of Islamic terrorism -- but whose execution of that goal is continually undercut by compromise and appeasement. John Kerry is a candidate who stands for American withdrawal and passivity -- for whom any expression of American strength would be an act of compromise and appeasement.

George W. Bush cannot be trusted to fight the war properly, but John Kerry can be trusted to retreat.

Also, from Harry Binswanger: Vote for President Bush.

The Bush doctrine, for all its timid, bumbling, and altruism-laced implementation, intends America to act, to use its military might offensively, even when half the world protests against it. Kerry's "instincts" are to negotiate, conciliate, and retreat.

It has been clear from the beginning of this overly long campaign that Kerry's fixation on "working with allies" does not represent a concern with any practical benefit to be attained but is an expression of his anti-American, anti-war views -- views essentially unchanged from his anti-Vietnam War days. Contrary to some of his more recent statements, Kerry does not think that Iraq in particular was "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time": he thinks any military self-assertion by America is wrong.

I agree with both authors' contention that Bush's religiosity is a concern but not one that trumps the war.

Hopefully whoever wins Nov. 2 will do so by a wide margin. I, for one, do not want this presidential election to drag on like the last one.

UPDATE -- November 2: This cartoon appears in today's (Tuesday's) Investor's Business Daily.

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Posted by Forkum at 11:47 PM

October 29, 2004



FoxNews reports: Bin Laden Claims Responsibility for 9/11.

Posted by Forkum at 07:39 PM

October 28, 2004



CNN reports: Doctor: Arafat has blood platelet deficiency.

UPDATE -- November 1: This cartoon appears in today's (Monday's) Investor's Business Daily.

Posted by Forkum at 08:06 PM

October 27, 2004

Curious Specimen


From the International Herald Tribure: Vote in U.S. inflames Europeans.

Judging from opinion polls, media reports and conversation on this side of the Atlantic, the overwhelming sentiment on what would be bad for Europe is another four years with President George W. Bush. In Britain, France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, Europeans appear to be united by an overwhelming antipathy toward Bush. ...

European media are sending correspondents all over the United States in an effort to delve into the American psyche.

"We want to understand why so many people are still on Bush's side; it's a kind of mystery to us," said Peter Frey, Berlin bureau chief for ZDF television in Germany. "We are asking the American people, 'Why are you voting for Bush?' We want to understand why he has this support." ...

For many Europeans, it is not what Kerry would do as president that matters, it is the way they think he would do it.

"The fact that Kerry has an attitude in which he feels he wants to consult the allies and is less arrogant in his relationship with allies, puts him in a much more positive light here," said Nathalie La Balme, program officer at the Paris office of the German Marshall Fund. "I don't know whether if Kerry gets elected anything will change. But in terms of attitude and perception and words, it would make a big difference." [Emphasis added]

Posted by Forkum at 07:55 PM

October 26, 2004



A controversy over whether or not Iraqi stockpiles of RDX and HMX explosives went missing before or after U.S. forces arrived has effectively defused yesterday's "breaking" story as an immediate threat to Bush's campaign. By midday the story was already off CNN's main page as a separate news item (FoxNews, however, still has it front and center). FoxNews reports: When Did Missing Explosives Disappear?.

The mystery over tons of missing explosives in Iraq turned Tuesday from a question of what happened to them to when they disappeared.

The United Nations' nuclear department, the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned Monday that insurgents may have stolen the 380 tons of conventional explosives -- the kind used in the car bombing attacks that have killed many soldiers and bystanders in Iraq.

But senior Defense Department officials told FOX News they’re not sure whether looters made off with the explosives or whether Saddam moved them before the war began. NBC News reported Monday night that one of its reporters was embedded with the 101st Airborne. She watched the troops conduct what can be described as a "cursory search" of the premises on April 10, and found a great deal of conventional ordnance, but no RDX or HMX. 

Such questions haven't stopped Kerry from trying to exploit the issue: Kerry Blasts Bush on Missing Ammo.

Kerry accused President Bush on Tuesday of trying to cover up bad decisions relating to the execution of the war in Iraq and alluded to the possibility that more bad news has yet to be uncovered.

"Mr. President, what else are you being silent about? What else are you keeping from the American people?" Kerry said during a speech in Green Bay, referring to the estimated 380 tons of highly explosive material that have gone missing from an arms depot in Iraq.

Although Kerry and the Democrats are blaming the Bush administration for losing the ammo, calling it "one of the great blunders" of the Iraq war, recent reports by NBC and further details given by the Pentagon and International Atomic Energy Agency on Tuesday suggest that the material may have been missing before the 101st Airborne Division rolled into the Al-Qaqaa facility as Saddam Hussein was being deposed in nearby Baghdad in April 2003.

Vice President Dick Cheney responded for Bush from Florida, saying, "It is not at all clear that those explosives were even at the weapons facility when our troops arrived in the area of Baghdad."

Also today, Kerry released a campaign commercial that capitalizes on the story. Apparently they did a quick edit on another commercial and inserted the new claims. (Via Little Green Footballs)

James Taranto has more: The Times Spoils CBS's Surprise.

UPDATE I -- October 27: This story is more complex than yesterday's reports indicated. Belmont Club has more about who saw what when and where: The RDX Problem Resolves Itself. And The Wall Street Journal ponders the political aspects of the story: Munitions Overkill.

UPDATE II: Looks like the fuse is still smoldering after all. The story is back on CNN's main page: Missing Iraqi explosives fuel campaign rhetoric.

UPDATE III -- October 28: Kerry seems to be putting all his campaign eggs into the Al Qaqaa basket. FoxNews reports: U.S. Military Releases Al-Qaqaa Image.

UPDATE IV -- October 29: FoxNews reports: U.S. Team Took 250 Tons of Iraqi Munitions.

Posted by Forkum at 08:35 PM

October 25, 2004



Posted by Forkum at 10:26 PM

October 24, 2004

Tora Bore


AP reports: Kerry: Bush Allowed Bin Laden to Escape. (Via Little Green Footballs)

"Can you imagine trusting them [Afghan warlords] when you have your 10th Mountain Division, the United States Marine Corps, when you had all the power and ability of the best-trained military in the world?" Kerry told a rally at the University of Nevada-Reno. "I would have used our military and we would have gone after and captured or killed Osama bin Laden. That's tough." ...

"You want to talk about the war on terror, Mr. President? Let's talk about it," Kerry yelled while his supporters cheered him on. "Let's talk about what happened when you let Osama bin Laden escape in Afghanistan.

"Let's talk about what happened when we had the world's number one terrorist, number one criminal, cornered in the mountains of Tora Bora. What did the president do? Do you know what he did? He outsourced the job of capturing him, just like he outsourced a lot of American jobs. He gave it to Afghan warlords who only one week earlier were fighting against us."

Fortunately retired General Tommy Franks -- who, unlike Kerry, was actually involved with the operations around Tora Bora -- put these charges to rest last week in The New York Times: War of Words.

As commander of the allied forces in the Middle East, I was responsible for the operation at Tora Bora, and I can tell you that the senator's understanding of events doesn't square with reality.

First, take Mr. Kerry's contention that we "had an opportunity to capture or kill Osama bin Laden" and that "we had him surrounded." We don't know to this day whether Mr. bin Laden was at Tora Bora in December 2001. Some intelligence sources said he was; others indicated he was in Pakistan at the time; still others suggested he was in Kashmir. Tora Bora was teeming with Taliban and Qaeda operatives, many of whom were killed or captured, but Mr. bin Laden was never within our grasp.

Second, we did not "outsource" military action. We did rely heavily on Afghans because they knew Tora Bora, a mountainous, geographically difficult region on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is where Afghan mujahedeen holed up for years, keeping alive their resistance to the Soviet Union. Killing and capturing Taliban and Qaeda fighters was best done by the Afghan fighters who already knew the caves and tunnels.

Third, the Afghans weren't left to do the job alone. Special forces from the United States and several other countries were there, providing tactical leadership and calling in air strikes. Pakistani troops also provided significant help - as many as 100,000 sealed the border and rounded up hundreds of Qaeda and Taliban fighters.

Contrary to Senator Kerry, President Bush never "took his eye off the ball" when it came to Osama bin Laden. The war on terrorism has a global focus. It cannot be divided into separate and unrelated wars, one in Afghanistan and another in Iraq. Both are part of the same effort to capture and kill terrorists before they are able to strike America again, potentially with weapons of mass destruction. Terrorist cells are operating in some 60 countries, and the United States, in coordination with dozens of allies, is waging this war on many fronts.

As we planned for potential military action in Iraq and conducted counterterrorist operations in several other countries in the region, Afghanistan remained a center of focus. Neither attention nor manpower was diverted from Afghanistan to Iraq. When we started Operation Iraqi Freedom we had about 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, and by the time we finished major combat operations in Iraq last May we had more than 10,000 troops in Afghanistan.

Kerry could have learned similar information from Melanie Kirkpatrick of The Wall Street Journal who over a week ago wrote: Tora Bora Baloney. Kirkpatrick, like Kerry, wasn't involved in the military operations Tora Bora either. But unlike Kerry, she at least listens to people who were, such as Gen. Tommy Franks and his deputy, Lt. Gen. Michael "Rifle" DeLong:

Getting the Tora Bora story right is important because Mr. Kerry's accusation goes to the heart of his broader charge against Mr. Bush -- that he bungled the war in Afghanistan. It's hard to be convincing on this point, when, less than three years later, 10 million Afghans have just gone to the polls in the first free election in their 5,000-year-old history. It's even harder to see how sending in thousands of U.S. troops to secure Tora Bora would have helped win that war faster -- even if it had resulted in bin Laden's death or capture. Mr. Kerry's criticism of the Tora Bora campaign also belies his promise to rely more on allies if he were commander-in-chief.

UPDATE -- October 26: This cartoon appears in today's (Tuesday's) Investor's Business Daily.

Posted by Forkum at 05:55 PM

October 23, 2004



This cartoon is from the run-up to the 2002 congressional elections. Unfortunately, it's still relevant. AFP reports: Kerry campaign deploys army of lawyers in Florida. (Via Little Green Footballs)

Still reeling from the 2000 election debacle in Florida, Democrats have deployed an army of lawyers in the battleground state that gave George W. Bush the presidency after five weeks of recounts and legal wrangling.

Less than two weeks from the November 2 presidential election, the legal team of Democratic contender John Kerry, as well as activist groups, have already filed a number of voting-related lawsuits in the state.

Many Democrats claim the Republicans stole the 2000 election after the Supreme Court halted 36 days of recounts and legal battles in Florida, leaving Bush with a 537-vote lead in the state that delivered him the presidency.

While both sides expect some trouble this time around, analysts generally doubt it will descend to the level of the last election, when lawyers, party leaders and state officials battled over hanging chads, butterfly ballots and other electoral oddities that turned Florida into an international laughing stock.

Posted by Forkum at 08:08 PM

October 22, 2004

The Soul of the Left


This is our cover art for the July 2004 issue of The Intellectual Activist. In the cover article, Robert Tracinski discusses Michael Moore's tactics and what they indicate about the left. For example, in the movie Fahrenheit 9/11, Moore attempts to use the classroom footage of President Bush from Sept. 11, 2001, to smear Bush. Tracinski writes:

This now-famous has been touted by Moore's followers as damning evidence of Bush's indecisiveness, and the Democrats' presidential candidate, John Kerry, even mentioned it as his criticism of Bush's handling of September 11 -- a measure of the degree to which the Democratic leadership is allowing Moore to dictate the party's talking points. Yet the actual footage proves nothing; Bush is supposed to look helpless and befuddled, but he merely looks thoughtful.

This footage is thoroughly examined in the film FahrenHYPE 9/11, showing how Moore distorts the event. (A reminder to students: If you want to join many other students in showing FahrenHYPE 9/11 on your campus, go to: MusHaveInfo.com.)

Tracinski later discusses the deeper ideas of Moore's film and why one positive reviewer (of many positive reviews) called Moore's lies and deceptions "a legitimate abuse of power":

Lurking behind the glowing reviews of Fahrenheit 9/11 is an unadmitted Marxist premise -- the root idea of the left and the foundation necessary to justify propaganda. In the ideology of materialist Marxism, ideas are just a "superstructure," a "legitimating ideology" whose sole purpose is to advance the power of one group or class over another. The seizure of political power, in this view, is the only truly important goal -- and the marshalling of ideas and arguments is to be judge only by how it serves raw power politics. More than a decade after the fall of Soviet tyranny, that is the ugly totalitarian outlook that leers out at us from the left-leaning reviewers' reaction to Michael Moore.

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Posted by Forkum at 08:42 PM

October 21, 2004

Democracy Is


On Oct. 19, FoxNews reported the following comments by President Bush:

If free and open Iraqi elections lead to the seating of a fundamentalist Islamic government, "I will be disappointed. But democracy is democracy," Bush said. "If that's what the people choose, that's what the people choose."

Talk about disappointing. Unfortunately this is consistent with past Bush statements that he will not impose a government on the Iraqis.

I wrote in April 2003, "Indications are that the Bush Administration is not taking the principled approach advocated in the editorials above [see link], which argue that a secular government based on individual rights should be established in Iraq, not a mere democracy."

I think a fundamental mistake in Bush's prosecution of the war on terrorism is his promotion of "democracy" detached from any specific forms of free governments. Deposing terrorist-sponsoring regimes and establishing free countries in their place is a crucial element of the war on terror, and Bush is to be commended (and supported) for launching a long overdue offensive. But democracy alone will not guarantee a free country.

Objectivist scholar Leonard Peikoff has explained why democracy does not equal freedom (from The Ayn Rand Lexicon, edited by Harry Binswanger):

The American system is not a democracy. It is a constitutional republic. A democracy, if you attach meaning to terms, is a system of unlimited majority rule; the classic example is ancient Athens. And the symbol of it is the fate of Socrates, who was put to death legally, because the majority didn't like what he was saying, although he had initiated no force and had violated no one's rights.

Democracy, in short, is a form of collectivism, which denies the individual rights: the majority can do whatever it wants with no restrictions. In principle, the democratic government is all-powerful. Democracy is a totalitarian manifestation; it is not a form of freedom...

The American system is a constitutionally limited republic, restricted to the protection of individual rights. In such a system, majority rule is applicable only to lesser details, such as the selection of certain personnel. But the majority has no say over the basic principles governing the government. It has no power to ask for or gain the infringement of individual rights.

A free Iraq (or Afghanistan, or Iran for that matter) would not have to exactly duplicate the American system of government, but it would have to duplicate our basic protection of the individual against the majority, i.e., against a democracy.

The Bush Doctrine -- the doctrine of treating as hostile regimes any states that harbor and sponsor terrorists -- is the correct approach to the war on terrorism, even if Bush himself has not consistently followed it. And we know that the worst state sponsors of terrorists and jihad ideology are fundamentalist Islamic states like Iran and Saudi Arabia.

So it would be far more than merely "disappointing" if Iraq becomes a fundamentalist Islamic state. It would be a defeat for us in the war on terror. Yes, there's a chance that Iraqis will vote for a free country. But if we're in a war against dictatorships, why leave the creation of one to chance?

In this regard, presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry is no alternative to Bush, for this election is and should be about prosecuting the war on terror. Regular readers will know that we don't believe Kerry would properly pursue America's interests in the war (e.g., see here and here). But we also maintain that Bush has made serious compromises (e.g., see here and here). It is because of the importance of the war that we point them out.

Posted by Forkum at 08:12 PM

October 20, 2004

The Kerry Draft


Charles Johnson and other bloggers have tried to call attention to a contradiction in John Kerry's presidential campaign. Though Kerry and other Democrats keep raising the fake spectre of a Bush military draft, it is Kerry who has promised a plan for mandatory national service in the form of a community service requirement for high school students.

His proposal was touted during the Democrat primaries, but you will no longer find evidence of it on Kerry's web site. In Kerry's Vanished Draft Proposal, Johnson provides links to a deleted Kerry web page and its replacement. The former said (all emphasis below has been added):

As part of his 100 day plan to change America, John Kerry will propose a comprehensive service plan that includes requiring mandatory service for high school students and four years of college tuition in exchange for two years of national service.

Though no longer on Kerry's web site, for while the above quote could be seen on a Kerry page archived online at Way Back Machine. If you click on that link, you'll find that the page is no longer available there either. But since the proposal was part of speeches and at least one press release from Kerry, traces of it are found elsewhere on the Internet.

A web site called Bank of Knowledge archives Democrat campaign speeches. In a May 2003 speech on National Service, John Kerry said:

So I propose that all high school students should also be required to do community service before they graduate.

A New Hampshire political news web site reported on the speech: Kerry pushes mandatory national public service.

Speaking to veterans and to students at his former high school, Sen. John Kerry proposed a $3.5 billion national effort to involve more Americans in public service building on the framework of other programs and mandating that all high schools incorporate service requirements for graduation.

Slate magazine reported in July 2003 that The Agenda of John Kerry includes:

3. Institute mandatory and voluntary national service. Kerry would provide four years' tuition at a public university to any American who performed at least two years of national service. He would make some sort of community service a prerequisite for graduation from any U.S. high school. The high-school programs would be state-designed but federally funded.

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia contains this line from their entry on the John Kerry presidential campaign:

Kerry supports supplementing national service in nearly all aspects of American life, including requiring community service for high school students to graduate [...]

In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, the Gazette posted a press release from the Kerry campaign dated November 20, 2003: Kerry Presents Vision of 100 Days to Change America. "As part of his Action Plan for the First 100 Days, Kerry vowed to ..."

Make national service a way of life by requiring mandatory service for high school kids and giving Americans the chance to earn four years of college tuition in exchange for two years of service.

Using Google, I found a dead link for the above press release at the Kerry web site. But if you look at the first entry in this Google search, you can still see what used to be on Kerry's site: "... national service a way of life by requiring mandatory service for high school kids and ...".

John Kerry and some of his supporters continue attempts to scare up votes by saying that Bush will institute a military draft, even though Bush has unequivocally rejected conscription as an option, and even though a recent Democrat draft proposal was overwhelmingly defeated in Congress (2 votes for, 402 against).

The truth is that John Kerry has publicly promised a special draft of his own, and it now appears he wants to hide it. The immorality of a draft does not arise from the fact that it is military service. A draft is immoral because it is involuntary service, and involuntary servitude is a violation of individual rights whether it occurs in fox hole or a soup line. And it is exactly involuntary servitude that Kerry has planned for high school students.

John Kerry's use of a trumped-up draft scare is sleazy enough as it is. Turns out it's hypocritical, too.

UPDATE I -- October 22: A reader named Marj has directed us to an online archive that contains both the missing Kerry page and the press release.

Posted by Forkum at 07:48 PM

October 19, 2004

Preempt The Vote


From the New York Post: Democrat Primer: Play Phony Race Card By Charging Vote 'Intimidation'. (Via Rodger Morrow)

Republicans ripped into John Kerry yesterday over a stunning new internal manual that advises Democrats to launch "pre-emptive" strikes charging the GOP with voter intimidation -- even if none exists.

The "Election Day Manual" -- written for Kerry's Colorado campaign workers -- includes a menu of options Democrats can follow next month to claim Republican intimidation, ranging from issuing press releases to organizing minority leaders to denounce the practice.

It was unclear last night whether the manual had been penned by the Kerry campaign or the Democratic National Committee, although questions about it were fielded by the DNC.

Democratic leaders dismissed the charge, insisting the manual was aimed at providing guidance for "preventing and combating" voter intimidation from happening in the first place.

UPDATE -- October 26: This cartoon appears in today's (Tuesday's) The Detroit News.

Posted by Forkum at 08:25 PM

October 18, 2004

Hail Mary


AFP reports: Kerry comment about Cheney daughter may have backfired. (Via Little Green Footballs)

John Kerry has come under renewed criticism for raising the case of Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, during a presidential debate.

Five days after making the comment, Kerry remained at the centre of a media controversy for highlighting Cheney's sexual orientation.

Political talk shows, newspaper commentators and an opinion poll have all kept the gay comment in the public. Democrats have bravely called it a storm in a political teacup and Kerry's campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill has said Cheney's daughter is "fair game".

This cartoon was inspired by comments today from James Taranto: "Blogger Rodger Morrow suggests that [Kerry] is being forced to resort to a "Hail Mary" approach..."

And in today's TIA Daily, Robert Tracinski wrote of the incident (The Washington Conundrum): "Kerry's gratuitous violation of a simple rule of campaign etiquette reveals an unacceptable lust for power."

The motive [for the drafting of Mary Cheney into the Kerry campaign] seems to be the vaguely cynical hope that Kerry could pit Cheney's own daughter against her father's ticket, that the controversy over the coming days would be: what does Mary Cheney think about her father's campaign? How has he treated her? And so on. A group of leftist "gay rights" activists have been trying to do this for a long time, demanding that Mary Cheney state her own views publicly -- demanding, in effect, that she denounce her father in public. Last Wednesday's comment seems to be Kerry's attempt to pick up on that somewhat disreputable far-left campaign.(This is not the first time that Kerry has picked up a loony-left rallying cry and given it a respectable, mainstream spokesman -- from the Winter Soldier smear in 1971, to the Howard Dean anti-American foreign policy, to the more recent claim that Bush secretly wants to bring back the draft.)

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Posted by Forkum at 09:31 PM

October 17, 2004

Hot Water


FoxNews reports: Annan: Iraq War Hasn't Made World Safer.

The U.S.-led war in Iraq hasn't made the world any safer, U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said in a British TV interview aired Sunday.

"I cannot say the world is safer when you consider the violence around us, when you look around you and see the terrorist attacks around the world and you see what is going on in Iraq," Annan told the ITV network. "We have a lot of work to do as an international community to try and make the world safer," he said.

Annan has previously described the U.S.-led war that toppled Saddam Hussein as "illegal."

FoxNews also reports: Oil-for-Food Probe Includes Annan's Son.

The Justice Department criminal probe into the U.N. Oil-for-Food program is focusing on several individuals, among them U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan's son, FOX News has learned.

Kojo Annan, the secretary-general's son, was employed by a U.N. contractor that monitored food and medicine shipments that were flowing into Iraq as part of the multibillion-dollar program created in late 1996.

The Oil-for-Food program is now being probed by the Justice Department and Congress as a boondoggle that enriched Saddam Hussein and others. A report delivered last week by Charles Duelfer found that Saddam was able to "subvert" the $60 billion U.N. Oil-for-Food program to generate an estimated $1.7 billion in revenue outside U.N. control from 1997-2003. [...]

FOX News was unable to locate Kojo Annan for comment but his father told reporters at the United Nations earlier this year that there was no connection.

UPDATE -- October 20: From Claudia Rosett at The Wall Street Journal: La République des Bananes: Kofi Annan tries to explain away France and Russia's Oil for Food wrongdoing.

In defending Russia, China and France, Mr. Annan further implied that Saddam's traffic went only to companies, not governments, and therefore could not possibly have swayed state policies. Perhaps Mr. Annan has forgotten that all Saddam's contracts were funneled into Oil for Food via the official U.N. missions of the respective countries. Although earlier this year Mr. Annan and some of his aides were busy excusing Mr. Annan's Secretariat from any responsibility for Oil for Fraud, by way of blaming the U.N. member-state missions, especially those on the Security Council.

Maybe Mr. Annan also forgot that both China and Russia, however nonbanana their status at the U.N., have yet to enter the era of genuine private property rights. In both these nations, there is a hazy line between state and private sector, no fair and impartial rule of law to define that line, and no press free enough to delve deeply into such matters as when, by whom and at what price it might have been crossed. Maybe Mr. Annan also forgot that large business interests, even when private, can wield a certain amount of lobbying clout, even in France.

And maybe he just hasn't had time to read the lists of oil vouchers handed out liberally by Saddam to assorted French former officials and Russian politicians and state entities--alleged bribes now presumably under investigation by the U.N.'s own "independent inquiry" led by former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker. Earlier this year, an aggrieved Mr. Annan warned critics of the Oil for Food program to shut up and wait for Mr. Volcker to wend his way toward a final report. Apparently, when it comes to Saddam's biggest clients, Mr. Annan sees no problem with his own policy of pre-emptive exoneration.

Posted by Forkum at 10:07 PM

October 16, 2004

Party Crasher


From yesterday's New York Times: Nader Emerges as the Threat Democrats Feared.

With less than three weeks before the election, Ralph Nader is emerging as just the threat that Democrats feared, with a potential to tip the balance in up to nine states where President Bush and Senator John Kerry are running neck and neck. Despite a concerted effort by Democrats to derail his independent candidacy, as well as his being struck off the Pennsylvania ballot on Wednesday, Mr. Nader will be on the ballots in more than 30 states. Polls show that he could influence the outcomes in nine by drawing support from Mr. Kerry. They are Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Wisconsin.

Usually we post cartoons three or four days a week. But in the run up to election day, we've decided to fill in the empty days by reposting cartoons that are still relevant (we'll go back to the old schedule after the election). This cartoon was first posted on February 18, 2004.

UPDATE -- October 19: From FoxNews: 'Nader Factor' Still a Concern.

Politicos on both sides of the aisle are pondering just what effect independent candidate Ralph Nader may have on the 2004 presidential election -- a race that could hinge on the number of votes the independent candidate pulls. On Monday, Nader announced a 10-state campaign swing he is embarking on between now and Election Day, which will include Alabama, Connecticut, Louisiana and New York as well as key swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

"We're trying to get as many votes as possible, which means we're going into states that are characterized as safe states, battleground states and states that fall in between," he said at a Washington news conference.

Posted by Forkum at 07:21 PM

October 15, 2004

Child's Play


This is the final of three new Michael Moore cartoons that we created for a companion book to the new DVD, FahrenHYPE 9/11. It turns out that we're not only in the book. We were pleasantly surprised to see three Cox & Forkum cartoons in the movie.

My impression after one viewing: FahrenHYPE 9/11 is a very welcome rebuttal to Moore's film. (You can view a trailer here.) Using relevant facts and context, the documentary takes Moore to task for many of the deceptions in Fahrenheit 9/11, covering issues such as: the 2000 election, quotes from Bush, the Afghanistan pipeline, American-Saudi relations, the Iraq war and much more. Featured commentators include: Dick Morris, Ron Silver, Zell Miller, Ann Coulter, Dave Kopel, David Frum, Frank Gaffney, David Hardy and Jason Clarke. And other people appearing in the film explain why they consider themselves to have been exploited by Moore.

I was also impressed that the film is not merely a fact-checking critique. It goes further, naming Islamofascists as the enemy, briefly recounting their attacks against America over the years, and even listing attacks that have been thwarted in America -- all of which make Moore's claim that "there is no terrorist threat" that much more ridiculous (as if the 9/11 attacks weren't enough to do so).

I have not completely read the companion book, but it appears to be as informative as the movie (we have one personal complaint: some of our cartoons are stretch out of proportion!). The book contains interview transcripts, editorials, commentary on the making of the film, and lots more editorial cartoons besides our own.

In short: Not only does FahrenHYPE 9/11 help set the record straight, it is also a refreshing presentation of people standing up for America's right to defend herself against terrorists and their state sponsors.

Obviously Cox & Forkum played a small part in this project, so you can take my recommendation for what it's worth. But I think FahrenHYPE 9/11 is a much-needed exposé of Moore's smoke and mirrors, in his own medium. The companion book adds further details and entertainment. I recommend both to anyone interested in 9/11, the Islamic terrorist threat, and the presidential election -- especially if you've already seen Fahrenheit 9/11.

ATTENTION STUDENTS: Some students are showing FahrenHYPE 9/11 on their college campuses as an antidote to presentations of Fahrenheit 9/11. Jason A. Nunnelley has set up a Web site to help with such efforts: MustHaveInfo.com. If you'd like to do the same on your campus, contact Jason.

UPDATE -- October 20: Michael Moore recently appeared on the campus of the University of Wisconsin. Ryan Schenk wrote the following about the event:

Last night, Michael Moore came to the campus of the University of Wisconsin, and gave a speech on the Student Union outside by the lake. It was packed. I went to it, not wanting to miss a spectacle, and to see with my own eyes what it is we're fighting. And I saw it.

If anyone is still wondering whether the Left is actually rooting for our enemies, namely Islamic Fascists and their terrorist comrades, let me quote Michael Moore: "We cannot win this war! We can't. We SHOULDN'T win this war...I mean, who the hell are we!!!! The ARROGANCE!!!! We're like, 'Oh, we're going to come and invade your country, and force you to be free,' and then wooptie woo, f*** you!" This was met with loud cheers, applause and laughter by the audience.

Much of the speech consisted of the usual America-bashing, ridiculing the idea that America is such a great country; and of course there was tons of class warfare, charges of racism, sexism, etc.

He screamed out to the Bush supporters, who were yelling out "four more years" and such, "Why don't you go fight in the war. I have some enlistment papers right here; come up and sign them if you think you're so brave!" Then I walked over to this group to give them some support, and to see the inevitable confrontations.

One guy, who looked like a professor, said to me, "You're a bunch of Nazis. Why don't you shut the hell up." I gave him a word or two, in a semi-respectful way. Another guy tried to dump a pitcher of water or beer on us, but missed and hit two girls who were screeching at us to "shut up." He got pulled away by the police. It was pretty orderly. And the group that I joined was not obnoxious at all. I couldn't hear the speech while with them, but only because I was right in the middle of the "four more years" and "flip-flop" chants.

What I was most amazed at was how the crowd cheered with joyous rage at the most evil statements, by such an evil person. The cheers were the loudest when the speech was about how terrible America is, and how we don't have the right to defend ourselves militarily.

Posted by Forkum at 06:22 PM

October 14, 2004

Fiscal Restraint


UPDATE -- October 19: This cartoon appears in today's (Tuesday's) Investor's Business Daily.

Posted by Forkum at 05:30 PM

October 13, 2004

Grave Evidence


BBC reports: Babies found in Iraqi mass grave. (Via Little Green Footballs)

A mass grave being excavated in a north Iraqi village has yielded evidence that Iraqi forces executed women and children under Saddam Hussein.

US-led investigators have located nine trenches in Hatra containing hundreds of bodies believed to be Kurds killed during the repression of the 1980s.

The skeletons of unborn babies and toddlers clutching toys are being unearthed, the investigators said. They are seeking evidence to try Saddam Hussein for crimes against humanity.

And what might some Europeans think of such an endeavor for justice?

Mr Kehoe said that work to uncover graves around Iraq, where about 300,000 people are thought to have been killed during Saddam Hussein's regime, was slow as experienced European investigators were not taking part.

The Europeans, he said, were staying away as the evidence might be used eventually to put Saddam Hussein to death.

This cartoon is from May 2003 and was first posted in August 2003.

UPDATE I: This cartoon is slated to appear in tomorrow's (Thursday's) Investor's Business Daily.

UPDATE II -- October 17: From FoxNews: Reporter's Notebook: Saddam's 'Killing Field'.

Posted by Forkum at 02:16 PM

October 12, 2004

Dose of Reality


FoxNews reports: CDC to Allot Flu Vaccine to High-Risk Patients.

The government moved Tuesday to direct scarce remaining flu shots straight to pediatricians, nursing homes and other places that care for the patients who need them most.

But only a fraction of the 22.4 million doses that maker Aventis Pasteur has yet to ship can be diverted to areas with the biggest shortages. And officials acknowledged Tuesday that even if planned rationing goes well, there will be high-risk patients who struggle to get shots but can't find them.

"We're sorry for the people who need flu vaccine and may not be able to get it this year," said Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This is what we get from government control of the flu vaccine.

UPDATE I -- October 18: CNN reports: Health secretary: No flu vaccine crisis.

The shortage of flu vaccine in the United States is "not a health crisis," Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said, urging people to be patient as the government works to reallocate the nation's limited number of vaccines.

"I would like to tell individuals just be calm and don't stand in line, because we have approximately 24 million doses of vaccine that have not been shipped yet," Thompson said Sunday. "We're reallocating those vaccines and shipments to regions that have a shortage, and we want to make sure first off that our elderly citizens, those age 65 and older, get the vaccine first because that is where the biggest number of vulnerabilities really are."

UPDATE II -- October 19: This cartoon appears in today's (Tuesday's) The Detroit News.

Posted by Forkum at 10:52 PM

October 11, 2004



From The Boston Globe: Protests lose force day after Afghan election.

"I think they [the other candidates] saw how many people were voting for Karzai, and they got scared, so they decided to say the election was not fair," said Seelay Srek, 22, an observer working at a women's polling station.

She said she had been elated to watch Afghan women vote for the first time, and went home relieved that there had been little violence -- only to grow angry at the emphasis on the ink mistake.

"The ink is not important compared to millions of people's votes," she said. [...]

Srek, the Afghan journalist who acted as a poll observer in Kabul, said she was most excited when she saw an old woman arrive enthusiastically at the polls despite a pronounced limp. "It made me happy," she said.

Another woman, she said, told her she planned to vote for Karzai against the wishes of her husband.

"When I go home, I'll tell him I voted for the guy he wanted," she confided.

Meanwhile, FoxNews reports: No Vote for Women in Saudi Elections.

Women may neither vote nor run in Saudi Arabia's first nationwide elections, the government announced Monday, dashing hopes of progressive Saudis and easing fears among conservatives that the kingdom is moving too fast on reforms.

Some women considered the move yet another indignity in a country where they need their husbands' permission to study, travel or work. But others said they wouldn't trust themselves to judge whether a candidate is more than just a handsome face.

The religious establishment had been lobbying against women's participation in the elections, diplomats said.

UPDATE -- October 12: Meanwhile, in Africa: Nigerian court condemns women to death by stoning.

Islamic courts in Nigeria sentenced two women to death by stoning for having sex out of wedlock, but two men whom they said they slept with were acquitted for lack of evidence, authorities said Tuesday.

Both sentences, which were passed within the last month in the northern state of Bauchi, have to be confirmed by the state governor before being carried out, and they are open to appeal.

Nobody has been lawfully stoned to death in Nigeria since 12 northern states introduced Islamic Sharia law in 2000, because all such sentences have been overturned on appeal. [...]

The adoption of Sharia law in northern Nigeria has polarized Africa's most populous nation, whose 130 million population is split roughly evenly between Muslims and Christians.

Posted by Forkum at 08:43 PM

C&F Cartoon on Italian TV

Italian blogger Marco Montemagno was recently interviewed on a new Italian television show covering America's presidential election. In the course of the interview, the Cox & Forkum Web site is show on-screen, and our Dan Rather vs. Bloggers cartoon is prominently featured. You can see the video by clicking on the link at the end of Marco's post. (The cartoon appears in the middle of the video when he begins discussing Memogate.) The video is of course in Italian, but Marco writes:

On Sky Tg24 Televison channel, directed by Emilio Carelli, has been launched yesterday a weekly show about USA Election 2004 and Internet [...]

It's a real and true innovation for the Italian television, because it's offered to the public at home the possibility to watch all the material (video, images, documents) available over the web, but rarely shown on the italian national television.

Also blogs and bloggers will get major attention as information source and it is the first time that a blogger, is the guest of a television show during the news, which is a real revolution for the italian televsion.

Our congratulations (and thanks) to Marco.

Posted by Forkum at 08:25 PM

October 10, 2004



Probably the most passionate comment from presidential candidate Senator John Kerry came during the first debate

And part of that leadership is sending the right message to places like North Korea. Right now the president is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to research bunker-busting nuclear weapons. The United States is pursuing a new set of nuclear weapons. It doesn't make sense. You talk about mixed messages. We're telling other people, "You can't have nuclear weapons," but we're pursuing a new nuclear weapon that we might even contemplate using.

Not this president. I'm going to shut that program down, and we're going to make it clear to the world we're serious about containing nuclear proliferation.

Morally equating America's possession of nuclear weapons with that of the dictatorships of Iran and North Korea was disgusting enough. But Kerry's announcement to the world -- including our enemies -- that he would act on that belief by disarming America is beyond the pale.

Bill Hobbs commented on the issue just after the debate: Kerry Opposes Another Vital Weapons System. As did Hugh Hewitt. From the latter:

Notice Kerry's dismissiveness of the prospect of even using nuclear bunker busters.  Does he prefer that a president of the future not have that option when confronted with a rogue nation threatening us or an ally but whose command and control facilities are buried deep in mountains or below a mile of concrete?  Kerry states simply that seriousness about containing nuclear proliferation begins with "shutting down" American weapons development. This is profoundly at odds with mainstream American defense thinking. It is a radical position, and Kerry is a radical candidate.  Kerry expresses amazement that anyone can believe that America can say nukes for us but not for others, but America has been saying that since the dawn of the nuclear era, and must continue to say so.  Follow Kerry's logic, and it is the iron logic of unilateral disarmament.

Kerry even mentioned the nuclear-bunker-busters in the second debate.

And the president is moving to the creation of our own bunker- busting nuclear weapon. It's very hard to get other countries to give up their weapons when you're busy developing a new one. I'm going to lead the world in the greatest counterproliferation effort. And if we have to get tough with Iran, believe me, we will get tough.

"Get tough" using what? U.N. resolutions?

UPDATE -- October 12: This cartoon (and the one below) will appear in the October/November issue of President & CEO Magazine. We're happy to announce that Cox & Forkum will be a regular feature of the magazine.

Posted by Forkum at 11:24 PM

October 09, 2004

Coalition of the Bribed


From The Wall Street Journal: Iraq Amnesia.

[Saddam] instituted an epic bribery scheme aimed primarily at three of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, with the intent of having them help lift those sanctions.

"Saddam personally approved and removed all names of voucher recipients," under the Oil for Food program, Mr. Duelfer writes. Alleged beneficiaries of such bribes include individuals in China, as well as some with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and French President Jacques Chirac.

As Congressmen Chris Shays's House International Relations Committee heard in testimony on Tuesday, France, Russia and China did in fact work hard to help Saddam skirt and escape sanctions. One Iraqi intelligence report uncovered by Mr. Duelfer says that a French politician assured Saddam in a letter that France would use its U.N. veto against any U.S. effort to attack Iraq -- as indeed France later threatened to do. [...]

...Even if one accepts the desirability of some kind of "global test" before America acts militarily, U.N. Security Council approval can't be it. There was never any chance that this "coalition of the bribed" was going to explicitly endorse regime change, or the presumed alternative of another 12 years of economic sanctions. "Politically," writes Mr. Duelfer, "the Iraqis were losing their stigma" by 2001.

From WSJ's James Taranto: Duelfer Damns U.N.

If President Bush had decided not to liberate Iraq without yet another U.N. resolution, it seems clear that Saddam's coalition of the bribed would have continued to balk. The Iraqi people would have continued suffering under dictatorship or sanctions, while Saddam bluffed the world by pretending to have weapons of mass destruction.

Had the sanctions been lifted, Saddam likely would have acquired such weapons for real. Given that he had used them in the past, against both Iranians and Iraqi Kurds, there's no assurance he would have employed them only as a "deterrent"--or that he would not have given them to terrorists.

As it is, Saddam is in prison, and Iraq is disarmed and moving toward democracy. Can there be any doubt that America is safer--or that it would imperil both America and the world if a president were to subject U.S. national security to a "global test"?

And from NRO's Claudia Rosett: Saddam’s Sugar Daddy. (Via Little Green Footballs)

Saddam followed a deliberate strategy of using bribes in such forms as contracts for cheap oil via the U.N. program, or outright gifts of vouchers for oil pumped under U.N. supervision, to gain political influence abroad. He grossly violated U.N. rules, with illicit trade agreements, oil smuggling, and arms deals (conventional, but still deadly) — and the U.N. did not stop him. By 2001, Saddam was able to thwart many of the constraints sanctions were meant to impose on his regime. His strategy, notes the Duelfer report, succeeded "to the point where sitting members of the Security Council were actively violating resolutions passed by the Security Council."

But no one has ever heard these facts from the U.N. itself, certainly not from such prime violators as France, Russia, and Syria — nor from the man most directly responsible for protecting the honor of the institution, Secretary-General Annan. Instead, Annan has to this day refused even to disclose to the public such basic details as the names of Saddam's contractors or the terms of their deals.

UPDATE -- October 12: This cartoon (and the one above) will appear in the October/November issue of President & CEO Magazine. We're happy to announce that Cox & Forkum will be a regular feature of the magazine.

UPDATE -- October 20: From Claudia Rosett at The Wall Street Journal: La République des Bananes: Kofi Annan tries to explain away France and Russia's Oil for Food wrongdoing.

In defending Russia, China and France, Mr. Annan further implied that Saddam's traffic went only to companies, not governments, and therefore could not possibly have swayed state policies. Perhaps Mr. Annan has forgotten that all Saddam's contracts were funneled into Oil for Food via the official U.N. missions of the respective countries. Although earlier this year Mr. Annan and some of his aides were busy excusing Mr. Annan's Secretariat from any responsibility for Oil for Fraud, by way of blaming the U.N. member-state missions, especially those on the Security Council.

Maybe Mr. Annan also forgot that both China and Russia, however nonbanana their status at the U.N., have yet to enter the era of genuine private property rights. In both these nations, there is a hazy line between state and private sector, no fair and impartial rule of law to define that line, and no press free enough to delve deeply into such matters as when, by whom and at what price it might have been crossed. Maybe Mr. Annan also forgot that large business interests, even when private, can wield a certain amount of lobbying clout, even in France.

And maybe he just hasn't had time to read the lists of oil vouchers handed out liberally by Saddam to assorted French former officials and Russian politicians and state entities--alleged bribes now presumably under investigation by the U.N.'s own "independent inquiry" led by former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker. Earlier this year, an aggrieved Mr. Annan warned critics of the Oil for Food program to shut up and wait for Mr. Volcker to wend his way toward a final report. Apparently, when it comes to Saddam's biggest clients, Mr. Annan sees no problem with his own policy of pre-emptive exoneration.

Posted by Forkum at 09:38 PM

October 08, 2004

Strange Bird


UPDATE -- October 11: This cartoon appears in today's Investor's Business Daily (the Monday Special edition). It will also appear in tomorrow's (Tuesday's) The Detroit News.

Posted by Forkum at 12:08 AM

October 07, 2004

Black Wash


FoxNews reports: Bush Steps Up Criticism of Kerry Record.

"I've led our country with principle and resolve and that's how I'll lead our nation for four more years," Bush said to enthusiastic applause. [...] Bush's remarks Wednesday constituted the most extensive and direct attack he's made on Kerry. He said his rival has "a strategy of defeat" for Iraq [...]

The president defended his prosecution of the war against Saddam Hussein and the bigger fight against terrorists. "There will be good days and bad days in the War on Terror ... we will stay in the fight until the fight is won," he said.

Sen. John Edwards, Kerry's vice presidential running mate, shot back Wednesday, saying that Bush was "completely out of touch with reality" about the Iraq war and the economy.

"He won't acknowledge the mess in Iraq. All you have to do is turn your television on," Edwards said at a rally in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Posted by Forkum at 12:01 AM

October 06, 2004

Campaign Fodder


Excerpt from the Vice Presidential debate, after Senator Edwards disputed Vice President Cheney's rebuttal about the cost of the war:

EDWARDS: [...] Not only that, 90 percent of the coalition casualties, Mr. Vice President, the coalition casualties, are American casualties. Ninety percent of the cost of this effort are being borne by American taxpayers. It is the direct result of the failures of this administration.

IFILL: Mr. Vice President?

CHENEY: Classic example. He won't count the sacrifice and the contribution of Iraqi allies. It's their country. They're in the fight. They're increasingly the ones out there putting their necks on the line to take back their country from the terrorists and the old regime elements that are still left. They're doing a superb job. And for you to demean their sacrifices strikes me as...

EDWARDS: Oh, I'm not...

CHENEY: ... as beyond...

EDWARDS: I'm not demeaning...

CHENEY: It is indeed. You suggested...

EDWARDS: No, sir, I did not...

CHENEY: ... somehow they shouldn't count, because you want to be able to say that the Americans are taking 90 percent of the sacrifice. You cannot succeed in this effort if you're not willing to recognize the enormous contribution the Iraqis are increasingly making to their own future. We'll win when they take on responsibility for governance, which they're doing, and when they take on responsibility for their own security, which they increasingly are doing.

UPDATE: From CNN: Car bomb kills Iraqi national guard members.

Posted by Forkum at 01:36 AM

October 04, 2004



This is the second of three new Michael Moore cartoons that we created for a companion book to the new DVD, FahrenHYPE 9/11. The DVD and book debut tomorrow, Oct. 5th, the same day that Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 appears on DVD. A trailer for FahrenHYPE 9/11 can be viewed on the Web site.

Like our most recent Moore cartoon, this one is based on my observations about Fahrenheit 9/11. In the film, Moore assaults the viewer with graphic images of maimed Iraqi children, dead Iraqi babies, wounded and dead American soldiers, and American soldiers killing Iraqi combatants. Yet Moore did not show a single image of the 9/11 attacks. No airplanes striking the WTC. No explosions. No jumping victims. Nothing but the sound of the attacks, some reaction shots and a few aftermath images. Such editing choices speak volumes about Moore's motives and lack of objectivity.

ATTENTION STUDENTS: Some students are showing FahrenHYPE 9/11 on their college campuses as an antidote to presentations of Fahrenheit 9/11. Jason A. Nunnelley has set up a Web site to help with such efforts: MustHaveInfo.com. If you'd like to do the same on your campus, contact Jason.

Posted by Forkum at 05:41 PM

October 03, 2004



FoxNews reports: U.S., Iraqi Forces Mop Up Samarra.

U.S. commanders have praised the performance of Iraqi security forces in the offensive in Samarra, 60 miles northwest of Baghdad, calling the assault a successful first step in a major push to wrest key areas from insurgents before January elections.

Posted by Forkum at 07:21 PM

October 02, 2004

Armed and Disingenuous


The "Global Test" cartoon has an update that touches on America's right to use preemptive force. This cartoon and post elaborate the issue further.

In the past, Senator Kerry has condemned the Iraq invasion as a "war of choice," saying that President Bush's use of preemptive force was wrong because there was no imminent threat from Iraq. In the debate, he emphasized this by pointing out that Iraq had not attacked America on 9/11, Osama bin Laden had.

Kerry acknowledged America's right to use preemptive force (*see below), and that's consistent with his previously stated imminent-threat threshold. But unlike Bush, Kerry didn't make it clear that he would ever choose to use preemptive force to prevent a growing threat. An imminent attack obviously demands an immediate response by its very nature. Only a pacifist would advocate sitting still in the face of an impending attack. And there's no reason to doubt that Kerry would, as he declared at the Democrat convention, meet an attack "with a swift and certain response."

However, the question of using preemptive force is one of preventing attacks before they are imminent, as in Iraq. Nothing I've heard from Kerry indicates he would do so. Worse still, he seems to have purposefully obfuscated the issue while at the same time making it a central argument against the invasion of Iraq.

(Another cartoon on the topic: "Detour of Duty".)

*Kerry from the presidential debate transcript:

The president always has the right, and always has had the right, for preemptive strike.  That was a great doctrine throughout the Cold War.  And it was always one of the things we argued about with respect to arms control.

No president, through all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America. 

But if and when you do it, ... you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons. [...]

How many leaders in the world today would respond to us, as a result of what we've done [in Iraq], in that way?  So what is at test here is the credibility of the United States of America and how we lead the world.  And Iran and Iraq are now more dangerous -- Iran and North Korea are now more dangerous.

Now, whether preemption is ultimately what has to happen, I don't know yet.

(NOTE: This cartoon was posted on Oct. 1st. We dated the cartoon one day later so that it would have its own permalink.)

UPDATE -- October 5: This cartoon appears in today's (Tuesday's) The Detroit News.

Posted by Forkum at 09:04 PM

October 01, 2004

Global Test


In the last night's presidential debate, Senator Kerry criticized President Bush's decision to invade Iraq for not passing a "global test." Kerry stressed the need for more international assistance in Iraq, stating repeatedly that we're suffering 90% of the casualties and shouldering 90% financial burden. However, Charles Johnson quoted a relevant Financial Times article from earlier this week: No French or German turn on Iraq:

French and German government officials say they will not significantly increase military assistance in Iraq even if John Kerry, the Democratic presidential challenger, is elected on November 2.

Mr Kerry, who has attacked President George W. Bush for failing to broaden the US-led alliance in Iraq, has pledged to improve relations with European allies and increase international military assistance in Iraq.

“I cannot imagine that there will be any change in our decision not to send troops, whoever becomes president,” Gert Weisskirchen, member of parliament and foreign policy expert for Germany’s ruling Social Democratic Party, said in an interview. [...]

Michel Barnier, the French foreign minister, said last week that France, which has tense relations with interim prime minister Iyad Allawi, had no plans to send troops "either now or later."

In the debate, Bush responded appropriately to Kerry's "global test" comment:

"I'm not exactly sure what you mean, 'passes the global test,' you take pre-emptive action if you pass a global test. My attitude is you take pre-emptive action in order to protect the American people, that you act in order to make this country secure."

UPDATE I: From AP: Bush: Kerry would let France control US military. (Via Little Green Footballs)

"The use of troops to defend America must never be subject to a veto by countries like France," Bush told supporters a day after Kerry said the United States ought to pass a "global test" before launching a preemptive war.

Kerry spokesman David Wade accused the president of taking Kerry's words out of context and brushed off the attack as a desperate ploy, saying: "They want to run against a straw man. Instead, they have to run against John Kerry."

"Out of context"? In the context of his "pass the global test" comment, Kerry said that in using the preemptive strike option, a president not only has to make sure his countrymen understand why, but he also has to "prove to the world that [he] did it for legitimate reasons." The obvious implication of this is that if a president can't satisfactorily "prove to the world that [he] did it for legitimate reasons," then he doesn't have a right to use preemptive force. Kerry's use of "legitimate reasons" is very broad and, I think, intentionally vague, but it's clear that he considers our sovereign right to launch a war of self-defense somehow subject to whether or not "the world" (whatever that means) approves of our evidence, motives and goals. If that's not making the use of troops to defend America "subject to a veto by countries like France," I don't know what is.

Speaking of France, reader Barry Rab directed us to this New York Post op-ed by Amire Taheri, in which he writes:

Add to this the recent bizarre phrase from French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin. The head of the Figaro press group went to see him about the kidnapping of two French journalists in Iraq; Raffarin assured him they would soon be freed, reportedly saying, "The Iraqi insurgents are our best allies."

In plain language, this means that, in the struggle in Iraq, Raffarin does not see France on the side of its NATO allies -- the U.S., Britain, Italy and Denmark among others -- but on the side of the "insurgents."

UPDATE II -- MORE C&F NEWS: We're proud to announce that this cartoon is slated to appear in the Sunday edition of The Detroit News-Free Press, which is America's 10th largest Sunday paper with a circulation of over 700,000 -- by far a record for us. The cartoon will appear along side comments by other bloggers from The Detroit News Weblog. Our thanks to George Bullard for his efforts.

UPDATE III -- EVEN MORE: Investor's Business Daily will also run this cartoon in their weekend edition -- the Monday Special (available Saturday morning). With a circulation of 200,000, the total printed copies of the cartoon will now be over 900,000.

UPDATE IV: The topic of preemptive force is continued in our next cartoon.

UPDATE V: The Downeast Coastal Press, a rural weekly in Maine, will also run the cartoon.

UPDATE VI -- October 6: From The Washington Times: Kerry says Franco-German troops unlikely.

Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry conceded yesterday that he probably will not be able to convince France and Germany to contribute troops to Iraq if he is elected president. The Massachusetts senator has made broadening the coalition trying to stabilize Iraq a centerpiece of his campaign, but at a town hall meeting yesterday, he said he knows other countries won't trade their soldiers' lives for those of U.S. troops.

UPDATE VII: The real Global Test? The Washington Times reports: U.N. panel to frame guidelines on legality of pre-emptive strike. (Via Little Green Footballs)

Members of an international panel studying United Nations' operations say the group hopes to lay down clear rules declaring when it is legal for a nation to use pre-emptive military force in its own defense.

The issue grows out of the international controversy over the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq without a final U.N. Security Council resolution explicitly authorizing the war, said panel member Gareth Evans, a former foreign minister of Australia.

"I expect the panel to be giving close consideration to what those rules are and how they should be applied and whether an effort should be made to identify generally agreed criteria for the legitimate use of force, whatever the context," Mr. Evans said during a recent appearance at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington.

He made his remarks before last week's presidential debate in which Democratic nominee Sen. John Kerry's call for a "global test" on when pre-emptive action is justified became a campaign issue.

Posted by Forkum at 02:01 AM