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Saudi 'cop killers' shot dead
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Page 4: Opinion
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Security Threats Warm Our Allies
Victor Davis Hanson

Japan's prime minister, Junichiro Koizumi, is busy trying to strengthen the American alliance. In recent months, members of his government have announced new joint military arrangements with the U.S. and announced to the South Koreans that, unlike Japan, they are not to be trusted with sensitive American intelligence...........
Posted by: Clerese Snasing6445 || 06/21/2005 12:34 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10793 views] Top|| File under:

#1  In recent months, members of his government have announced new joint military arrangements with the U.S. and announced to the South Koreans that, unlike Japan, they are not to be trusted with sensitive American intelligence...........

Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 06/21/2005 15:24 Comments || Top||

Attention, Europe. Here is a model for your New constitution.
The Iraqis are writing their new constitution. It seems by some indications to be the *most* democratic constitution ever written. Right now, all over Iraq, people of good intent are holding public seminars, meetings, conferences, and hosting international constitutional experts, all with this one objective in mind. To *understand*, *appreciate*, and to make their voices known to the constitutional convention, what their needs, desires and ideas are for this one document. This piece of paper.

When this document is created, I will read it.

I suspect that it will be brief. That it will define a limited government that serves all of the people. That it emphasizes the precious rights and liberties that government may not infringe.

And that the Iraqi people will be so proud of it, that they will carry a copy of it with them wherever they go, and translate it to other languages, so that other nations may see what they, the Iraqi people, have done.

European leaders will read this constitution with shock and fear. Shock that it is a document of The People and not of the elite. Fear that The People of Europe may embrace it as their own, and demand a constitutional Europe based on a similar, democratic construction. Fear that it will be a Manifesto for democratic change in Europe, heralding the fall of the old, corrupt regimes and the rise of government by, of, and for The People.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 06/21/2005 18:34 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10793 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Heh.

Go for it, Iraq! :-D

May the Force be with you. (As the Farce is with Europe.)
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 06/21/2005 21:33 Comments || Top||

Fifth Column
Durbin Stands By His Hyperbole
Conclusion to a long article, including all of Durbin's remarks last week. Read The Whole Thing
On Friday night, Durbin posted yet another statement on his website:
"More than 1,700 American soldiers have been killed in Iraq and our country's standing in the world community has been badly damaged by the prison abuses at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.
No Senator, you and your friends have damaged our country's standing.
My statement in the Senate was critical of the policies of this administration which add to the risk our soldiers face.
What about YOUR statements, Senator?
I will continue to speak out when I disagree with this administration.
Why not just get a column in Al-Jazerra?
I have learned from my statement that historical parallels can be misused and misunderstood. I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings: our soldiers around the world and their families at home deserve our respect, admiration and total support."
Even as you encourage those who would murder them, innocent civilians, and have sworn to kill us, as well.
Even a casual reading of the Durbin record shows a number of things. Durbin is speaking in code, communicating with the hard-left base of his party and their European friends and well-wishers. Here's what he is saying, stripped down to its essentials.

First, Durbin's reference to the Nazis, the Soviet gulag, and Pol Pot's killers was an intentional part of a detailed argument, an argument that equates the killer-prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay with combatants in war, and which asserts that America is acting wrongly and unlawfully vis-à-vis these prisoners. Not only does this undermine the justice of America's cause in the war on terror, it elevates unlawful combatants to the status of legitimate warriors.

Next, Durbin's detailed argument asserts that the conditions and practices at Gitmo amount to "torture," and are part of a pattern that began at Abu Ghraib and continues throughout the world, practices which class the United States among the "most repressive regimes in history." In his original speech, Durbin asserted: "Using their new detention policy, the administration has detained thousands of individuals in secret detention centers all around the world, some of them unknown to Members of Congress. While it is the most well-known, Guantanamo Bay is only one of them. Most have been captured in Afghanistan and Iraq, but some people who never raised arms against us have been taken prisoner far from the battlefield."
So why doesn't somebody arrest Durbin and lock him up in one of these facilties?
Durbin's argument, coming in this context, implies that the American military has built a global network of Abu Ghraibs/Gitmos, wherein systematic torture of prisoners is taking place, all of it under the control of the United States military. On Tuesday, Durbin referred to the "torture techniques used at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo and elsewhere" and by Friday, Durbin was making the argument that Abu Ghraib equals Gitmo openly: "This FBI memo points to it. It is the kind of thing that happened at Abu Ghraib."
Somebody told me it was raining, so there MUST be a flood, somewhere!
Of course Durbin will not segregate the criminal conduct by a handful of out-of-control G.I.'s not acting under orders--and already prosecuted and punished--from the authorized conduct at Gitmo and elsewhere. To do so would be to protect the military's reputation, but it would damage Durbin's agenda of demonizing the war effort. To advance that agenda, Durbin takes a single report from an FBI investigator, inflates its allegations to Abu Ghraib-level criminal conduct, and attributes it to every detention facility used in the war on terror. This is not the simple slander of one interrogator, or one facility.

Durbin's argument also systematically makes the case that the threat from Islamists is overstated, and the reaction to the overstated threat is wildly disproportionate to the real threat. In his first floor statement, Durbin never articulates the threats to Americans from terrorists, but does pause to exclaim in horror that the United States officials "have even argued in court they have the right to indefinitely detain an elderly lady from Switzerland who writes checks to what she thinks is a charity that helps orphans but actually is a front that finances terrorism." Without any explanation of the case or reference to it, Durbin passes on from this portrait of the tyrannical America imprisoning an elderly benefactor of children to the argument that "[a]busive detention and interrogation policies make it much more difficult to win the support of people around the world, particularly those in the Muslim world," thus telegraphing his opinion of American military practices around the world.

Durbin never articulates a defense of any interrogation tactics, never pauses over the threat, never recalls the brutality of the jihadists from September 11, to Bali, to Madrid. He never names a single victim of their violence, but instead worries over their conditions, telling his Chicago interviewer that "we have held 500 to 700 people for sometimes up to two and a half years with no charges."

There are "no regrets" on Durbin's part because he believes America is deeply committed to criminal conduct in an out-of-control war being waged against individuals who would better be negotiated with.

DURBIN'S REMARKS should not be allowed to be edited away with an apology. The American electorate does not believe the conditions at Guantanamo are "torture." They do not agree that the criminal conduct of Abu Ghraib is illustrative of the American military. They do not worry that we are being overly inclusive about the population at Gitmo. They do not believe that any part of what America been about since September 11 is in any way connected with the Nazis, the Stalinists, or Pol Pot.

They are disgusted over this slander of the military, and they deserve a vote on whether Senator Durbin's argument deserves anything except complete and quick condemnation by responsible members of both parties intent on supporting the war, the military, and the country's defense. Dick Durbin hasn't been misunderstood, as his Friday web statement claims. He isn't the victim of a right-wing media, as his Friday interview argues. Dick Durbin has been perfectly understood. All of his words have been read and listened to, in their original context and in his original delivery.

Durbin stands with the Michael Moore left, the Howard Dean attack-America-first caucus, and the international chorus that assigns the responsibility for the jihadists to American overreach in the world. The election of 2004 might have been the occasion when the Democratic leadership took account of where American public opinion stands on this war. That leadership rejected the results of November because those results rejected them. In response they have upped the rhetoric, intent on a replay of the anti-war movement and rhetoric of the late '60s and early '70s, hopeful of converting Bush to Nixon, and of driving American power back to its own shores. The tactic of demonizing the American military worked then, so it is being replayed now. If this rhetoric is not checked, it is only a matter of time until we have a new John Kerry discussing the "Genghis Khan" tactics of the American military operating in the Middle East.

Durbin's slander was simply a rhetorical bridge too far, but for both the man and his party there are no regrets and no apology. Not one senior Democrat has condemned Durbin's statement. Not one Democratic senator has asked for a caucus meeting. The difference between 2005 and the Vietnam era, however, lies in the public's appreciation of its soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines, founded in no small part on the public's recognition that the consequences of a collapse of American will in the new millennium will not be millions dead in Europe or Asia, but more Americans dead in America. Censure Durbin because he deserves it, and the country's defense demands it.
Posted by: Bobby || 06/21/2005 07:46 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10793 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Censure would be a start. Expulsion is what we need. Does the Senate deserve our respect?
Posted by: Jackal || 06/21/2005 9:01 Comments || Top||

#2  I'm sorry to say that Durbin is one of my senators. He's a leftist from way back and gets even more so the higher he goes (#2 dumocrat in Senate now). I don't agree with the censure though. He should just be tossed out on his ass by the voters.
Posted by: Spot || 06/21/2005 9:19 Comments || Top||

#3  Censure would be a start. Expulsion is what we need.

Screw that -- exile him. Let him live in Paris for the rest of his life.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 06/21/2005 9:28 Comments || Top||

#4  I find it ironic that the Durbin defenders wouldn’t waste the salt in their urine to extinguish the smoldering bones of Ashcroft yet are all too willing to accept a single unsubstantiated memo from an unnamed FBI agent as proof of torture.
Posted by: DepotGuy || 06/21/2005 9:47 Comments || Top||

#5  Make sure his words are recorded, then at the apprpriate time, play them back. Play them back loudly, and often.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 06/21/2005 10:03 Comments || Top||

#6  He just apologized, on the floor of the Senate. Tears in his eyes! I think he's really sorry - that the vast, right-wing conspricy descended on him like a ton of bricks, that is.

Then some dem said the Pubs played it up to divert attention from the war. So, Dicky fell into Karl Rove's trap! Maybe we oughta elect Karl president!
Posted by: Shavith Thaing5807 || 06/21/2005 18:05 Comments || Top||

#7  Hugh Hewitt played a tape of the "apology." It wasn't much of an apology; I'd rate it about as lame as his first non-apology apology. Still, I wonder what the DUniks and Kosroaches had to say about it.
Posted by: Mike || 06/21/2005 18:37 Comments || Top||

#8  He didn't apologize acording to the story at Drudge. He meant no disrespect to our fine soldiers, he regreted his poor word selection, but no I was wrong, I made a mistake, I apologize. Keep him right where he is. I hope when he loses his next election it is the one that puts the Republicans at 60 in the Senate.
Posted by: Mrs. Davis || 06/21/2005 18:38 Comments || Top||

#9  But I saw it, and he had tears in his eyes!

ST 5897 nee Bobby
Posted by: Bobby || 06/21/2005 18:41 Comments || Top||

#10  I thought it was unacceptable, but then I read another:

"A poor choice of words conveyed to some the impression that I embraced the discarded policies of the past," Lott said. "Nothing could be further from the truth, and I apologize to anyone who was offended by my statement."

Now Durbin should resign his post and spend a couple of weeks apologizing again and again at military posts and to veterans groups.
Posted by: Mrs. Davis || 06/21/2005 20:38 Comments || Top||

#11  I will mail this to the Senator from Illinois tomorrow.

Dear Senator Durbin:

I grew up in Illinois, and can remember Everett Dirksen and Adlai Stevenson as credits to the State. On the other hand, your recent remarks comparing Guantanamo to "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others" is the most outrageous statement I have ever heard. I also read that you were carefully explaining how you were not apologizing, but then said, "I sincerely regret if what I said caused anyone to misunderstand my true feelings: our soldiers around the world and their families at home deserve our respect, admiration and total support." I believe the "gulag" and "support" statements are completely incompatible.

Your words, Senator, were trumpeted on the front page of the Al Jazerra website as evidence we were losing our will to fight in Iraq. Maybe that’s not what you said, or meant to say, but that’s how our enemies have read it, and it will encourage the Iraqi insurgents and Taliban to persevere, to hope and pray the Vietnam analogy finally comes to pass, and to kill more and more of those same people who you say "deserve our respect, admiration and total support." You do not support them, Senator; you use them as a political tool for your own political advantage.

I agree that some of the treatments described in the FBI memo are harsh, even humiliating, but I do not consider them torture, nor would I put them in the same category as the insurgents, with their batteries, wire, clubs, knives, and guns. But to compare our treatment of the detainees with real experts in murder and torture is unbelievable. I am sure the detainees are much better treated than some of our own men were in Germany and Japan during the war, and better treated than most of our men in the Vietnam War. Where does the Bataan Death March rank with the Gulag and Guantanamo, Senator? While we have lost over 1,700 service personnel in Iraq, that’s just over 55% of the innocent civilian lives lost in the attacks of 9/11.

I understand your statements were made for political purposes, Senator, but I believe your statements will cost American lives. My son served six months in Iraq, returning in March. His biggest complaint while he was there was the hurtful words of politicians, even more troubling than land mines and IED’s. I don’t vote in Illinois, Senator, but I have family and friends that do, and I will remind them of your statements when you run for re-election. We’ll see if they believe your public statements or my son’s (and my) point of view.
Posted by: Bobby || 06/21/2005 21:31 Comments || Top||

#12  Excellent, Bobby! *applause*
Posted by: .com || 06/21/2005 21:35 Comments || Top||

#13  "My son served six months in Iraq, returning in March. His biggest complaint while he was there was the hurtful words of politicians, even more troubling than land mines and IED’s."

Same thing from my son while he was over there. Makes me wonder: how many of these kids are going to come back here and vote Democrat in the next election? Or any other election for the rest of their lives?

Good letter. Send it.
Posted by: Dave D. || 06/21/2005 21:45 Comments || Top||

#14  Thanks, folks....it's already got a stamp on it!
Posted by: Bobby || 06/21/2005 22:18 Comments || Top||

#15  If you liked it, please feel free to borrow - like Senator Lieberman - and use parts in your OWN letter to Turban Durbin or other Senators.
Posted by: Bobby || 06/21/2005 22:25 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Politix
Facing the Music - Mark Steyn on Democratic complaints about Guantanamo
Been following the latest horrifying stories from what Amnesty International calls the "gulag of our time"? John Kass of The Chicago Tribune was outraged by the news that records by Christina Aguilera had been played at Guantanamo at full volume in order to soften up detainees. He thought they should have used "Dance, Ballerina, Dance" by Vaughn Monroe, over and over and over.

Well, readers had plenty of suggestions of their own, and so the Tribune's website put together a list of "Interro-Tunes" — the most effective songs for aural intimidation, mood music for jolting your jihadi. A lot were the usual suspects - like the Captain and Tennille's blamelessly goofy "Muskrat Love", which, as I recall, put the Queen to sleep at a White House gala, though the Duke of Edinburgh sat agog all the way to the end. Someone suggested Bob Dylan's "Everybody Must Get Stoned", which even on a single hearing sounds like it's being played over and over. I don't know what Mr Kass has against "Ballerina", which is very pleasant in the Nat "King" Cole version. But he seems to think one burst of "Dance, ballerina, dance/And do your pirouette in rhythm with your aching heart" will have the Islamists howling for the off-switch and singing like canaries to the Feds. Who knows? I sang "Ballerina" myself once on the radio long ago, and, if it will discombobulate the inmates, I'm willing to dust off my arrangement and fly down to Guantanamo, if necessary dressed liked Christina Aguilera. If they want an encore, I'll do my special culturally sensitive version of that Stevie Wonder classic, "My Sharia Amour".

By now, one or two readers may be frothing indignantly, "That's not funny! Bush's torture camp at Guantanamo is the gulag of our time, if not of all time." But that's the point. The world divides into those who feel the atrocities at Gitmo "must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime — Pol Pot or others" (in the widely quoted words of Senator Dick Durbin), and the rest of us, for whom the more we hear the specifics of the "atrocities" the funnier they are. They bear the same relation to the gulags (15-30 million dead), the Nazi camps (nine million dead) and the killing fields of Cambodia (two million dead) as Mel Brooks‚ "Springtime For Hitler" does to the original. Nobody complained at Auschwitz that the guards were playing the 78s of The Merry Widow (the Fuhrer's favorite operetta) with the volume knob too high. When that old KGB hand Yuri Andropov succeeded Brezhnev as the big guy in the Kremlin, he was reported in the western press to be a big Glenn Miller fan. But to the best of my knowledge no-one suggested he was in the basement of the Lubyanka torturing the inmates with "I Got A Gal In Kalamazoo".

The first time the full-blast junk-pop treatment caught the eye of the media was a decade and a half back, when US troops bombarded the Panamanian strongman General Noriega with the Bobby Fuller Four's "I Fought The Law (And The Law Won)". In those days, nobody reckoned it was torture. But these days torture seems to be in the ear of the behearer. Because the jihadi find western culture depraved — and I'm not necessarily in disagreement on that, at least where Christina Aguilera's concerned — we're obliged to be extra-super-duper-sensitive with them.

Says who? Again, the more one hears the specifics of the "insensitivity" of the American regime at Guantanamo, the more many of us reckon we're being way too sensitive. For example, camp guards are under instructions to handle copies of the Koran only when wearing gloves. The reason for this is that the detainees regard infidels as "unclean". Fair enough, each to his own. But it's one thing for the Islamists to think infidels are unclean, quite another for the infidels to agree with them. Far from being tortured, the prisoners are being handled literally with kid gloves (or simulated kid-effect gloves). The US military hand each jihadi his complimentary copy of the Koran as delicately as white-gloved butlers bringing His Lordship The Times of London. When I bought a Koran to bone up on Islam a couple of days after 9/11, I didn't wear gloves to the bookstore. If that's "disrespectful" to Muslims, tough. You should have thought about that before you allowed your holy book to become the central motivation for global jihad.

I'm not arguing the merits here so much as the politics. There's certainly a discussion to be had about how to categorize these people. As things stand, they're not covered by the Geneva Conventions — they're unlawful combatants, captured fighting in civilian clothes rather than uniform, and, when it comes to name, rank and serial number, they lack at least two thereof, and even the first is often highly variable. As a point of "international law", their fate is a matter entirely between Washington and the state of which they're citizens (Saudi Arabia, mostly). I don't think it's a good idea to upgrade terrorists into lawful combatants. But if, like my namesake the British jurist Lord Steyn, you feel differently, fine, go ahead and make your case.

Where the anti-Gitmo crowd went wrong was in expanding its objections from the legal status of the prisoners to the treatment they‚re receiving. By any comparison — ie, not just with Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot — they're getting better than they deserve. It's the first gulag in history where the torture victims put on weight. Each prisoner released from Guantanamo receives a new copy of the Koran plus a free pair of blue jeans in his new size: the average detainee puts on 13 pounds during his stay, thanks to the "mustard-baked dill fish", "baked Tandoori chicken breast" and other delicacies. These and other recipes from the gulag's kitchen have now been collected by some Internet wags and published as The Gitmo Cookbook.

Judging from the way he's dug himself in, Dick Durbin, the Number Two Democrat in the US Senate, genuinely believes Gitmo is analogous to Belsen, the gulags and the killing fields. But he crossed a line, from anti-Bush to anti-American, and most Americans have no interest in following him down that path.You can't claim (as Democrats do, incessantly) to "support our troops" and then dump them in the same category as the Nazis and the Khmer Rouge. In the hermetically sealed echo chamber between the Dem leadership, the mainstream US media, Hollywood, Ivy League "intellectuals" and European sophisticates, the gulag cracks are utterly unexceptional. But, for a political party that keeps losing elections because it has less and less appeal outside a few coastal enclaves, Durbin's remarks are devastating. The Democrats flopped in 2002 and 2004 because they were seen as incoherent on national security issues. Explicitly branding themselves as the "terrorists' rights" party is unlikely to improve their chances for 2006.
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 06/21/2005 09:26 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10793 views] Top|| File under:

#1  excellent!
Posted by: 2b || 06/21/2005 10:34 Comments || Top||

#2  Been following the latest horrifying stories from what Amnesty International calls the “gulag of our time”? John Kass of The Chicago Tribune was outraged by the news that records by Christina Aguilera had been played at Guantanamo at full volume in order to soften up detainees. He thought they should have used “Dance, Ballerina, Dance” by Vaughn Monroe, over and over and over.

Guantanamo music, what do you think, A list or B list?
Posted by: Red Dog || 06/21/2005 11:26 Comments || Top||

#3  "Its a Small World" from Disney World would have them broken and talking within a hour. Guarenteed. For the real hardcore Dylan's harmonica from "Along the Watchtower" at 120 decibels.
Posted by: BrerRabbit || 06/21/2005 11:47 Comments || Top||

#4  The more you hear about this "Torture" the less electable the Dhimicrats seem to be. Not sure if any wants it but the cookbook can be ordered here. Rush is also doing a booming business with some gitmo gear thats just really funny. can't wait to get my shirts, going to weat them to Disneyland next month!
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 06/21/2005 11:53 Comments || Top||

#5  Notice how the bitchers don't have complaints about how Specialist Matt Maupin's treatment is going.
Posted by: Snolunter Elmineger5424 || 06/21/2005 11:54 Comments || Top||

#6  haha! I was in Disney Land when the boats broke down in It's a Small World. Oh my god! The nightmare of it all!! You are right, it is the winner.

But, I have to say that those skunks...or whatever, are A list. Absolutely "A"!
Posted by: 2b || 06/21/2005 11:54 Comments || Top||

#7  I was in Disney Land when the boats broke down in It's a Small World. Oh my god! The nightmare of it all!!

Great. Now I'm gonna wake up screaming for an entire week.

Disney World refurbished "Small World" and in the process removed my favorite sign from the last 'scene':

Posted by: Robert Crawford || 06/21/2005 13:01 Comments || Top||

#8  My Mullah went to Club G'itmo and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt (T-shirt on Rush)
Posted by: Spot || 06/21/2005 13:21 Comments || Top||

#9  I ROFL too, on that one, Spot!
Posted by: BA || 06/21/2005 13:31 Comments || Top||

#10  Dang, Spot, I want one! :-D
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 06/21/2005 14:40 Comments || Top||

#11  "This is the song that never ends," in 3-part harmony. That should do it.
Posted by: Asedwich || 06/21/2005 20:00 Comments || Top||

#12  there was a NYNY group in the late 60s that did:
"I Love the Dead before they are Cold".

That would be pretty awful to listen to in jail.

Course I think Beefheart's TroutFace is awful too.

I have been told that it is not.
Posted by: 3dc || 06/21/2005 21:49 Comments || Top||

The Democrats sign up with the anti-Semites
It is important that support for Israel in the US Congress is bipartisan. Israel, the only functioning democracy in the Middle East, has no real friend in the world other than America. The stability of that friendship, demonstrated by support in the Congress (and among the American people) over many decades, has been vitally important to help Israel withstand over 50 years of attacks by terrorists or Arab nations. Israel's foes ultimately do not want compromise with it, they have the goal of destroying the nation militarily, or de-legitimizing it politically (such as at the UN and various international courts and bodies, or in academia and among the "intelligentsia").

At different times in Israel's short recent history, one or the other party has been in control of the Congress, but the support for Israel has not depended on which party was ascendant. A major reason for the support for a strong US Israel relationship in Congress, and the fact that it has remained bipartisan, has been the work of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.

Regrettably, this bipartisan support appears to be slipping away. A year ago, I wrote an article titled Why the left hates Israel, pointing out how the biggest threat to the Jewish state today comes from the political left. But I noted then, that at least in Congress, where support for Israel might be a bit stronger among the GOP than among Democratic members, the fever swamps of anti-Israel hate had not yet reached into the Democratic side of the aisle, with the exception of a very few members such as Cynthia McKinney, Jim Moran, and Fritz Hollings.

So what are we to make of Thursday's mock Judiciary Committee hearing designed to impeach President Bush, conducted by Michigan Congressman John Conyers? The meeting was attended by about 30 Democratic members of Congress. Among them were Jewish members, such as Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank, New York Congressman Jerry Nadler, New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey, and Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowski. As reported in the Washington Post but (surprise, surprise!) not in the New York Times,

The session took an awkward turn when witness Ray McGovern, a former intelligence analyst, declared that the United States went to war in Iraq for oil, Israel and military bases craved by administration "neocons" so "the United States and Israel could dominate that part of the world." He said that Israel should not be considered an ally and that Bush was doing the bidding of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

"Israel is not allowed to be brought up in polite conversation," McGovern said. 'The last time I did this, the previous director of Central Intelligence called me anti-Semitic."

Rep. James P. Moran Jr. (D-Va.), who prompted the question by wondering whether the true war motive was Iraq's threat to Israel, thanked McGovern for his "candid answer."

At Democratic headquarters, where an overflow crowd watched the hearing on television, activists handed out documents repeating two accusations -- that an Israeli company had warning of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and that there was an "insider trading scam" on 9/11 -- that previously has been used to suggest Israel was behind the attacks.

The event organizer, Democrats.com, distributed stickers saying "Bush lied/100,000 people died." One man's T-shirt proclaimed, "Whether you like Bush or not, he's still an incompetent liar," while a large poster of Uncle Sam announced: "Got kids? I want yours for cannon fodder."

So the Democrats in Congress are now giving voice and credibility to the view that Israel was responsible for the Iraq war. And other Democrats, watching the hearing at the DNC, are hosting anti-Semites who argue that Israel had advance warning of the 9/11 attacks and is therefore responsible for allowing the attacks to occur. And even deeper into familiar anti-Semitic tropes: that Israelis withheld the information so as to benefit financially.

This sounds exactly like classic anti-Semitism. These messages were not being conveyed on anti-Semitic web sites, or on Palestinian TV and radio on Thursday, but at a Democratic function from a meeting room in Congress, with more than 10% of the Democrats in Congress in attendance, and at Democratic National Headquarters. . In all likelihood, these outrageous charges are now being communicated and rebroadcast throughout the Arab and Muslim world, with the imprimatur and legitimacy of the Democratic National Committee, and the US Congress as the reliable source.

Until late Friday, no Democratic Party official or Congressman, had expressed any discomfort with what happened. Now, we have a statement by Congressman Barney Frank, saying he was out of the conference room when the bad stuff happened in the mock impeachment trial, and that he thinks McGovern's view are noxious. So too, DNC Chairman Howard Dean released a statement saying the DNC rejects the hate literature that was being distributed in its own office.

In fact, the activist groups that watched the meeting at the DNC, and handed out the moonbat conspiracy literature blaming Israel for 9/11, were there as guests of the DNC. No one at the DNC can claim that they were surprised that the "hearing" in Congress or the advocacy in their office took on an anti-Semitic slant. McGovern's views are well known (that is why he was invited by Conyers, presumably), and the activists were handing out their anti-Semitic literature openly to everyone in sight in the DNC office. Except for the fact that Dana Milbank, the Washington Post reporter, (and no friend of the Bush administration for that matter), described what actually went on in his Washington Post article, this story never would have surfaced and in all likelihood, no apologies would have been offered. That is, I think, because for an increasing share of the activist members of the Democratic Party, no offense to any of this would have been taken.

In the past few weeks, the obsessive hatred of President Bush by the left has led to some extraordinarily stupid and vicious comments by Illinois Senator Richard Durbin and DNC Chairman Howard Dean, among others. Dean claimed that Republicans do not need to work (62 million trust fund loafers apparently voted for President Bush in November), and that Republicans are evil. Durbin's comments were worse: that the treatment of a few detainees in Guantanamo was so abhorrent, that it brought back memories of the Nazis in the concentration camps, or Pol Pot's murderous Cambodian killers. Trivializing the holocaust is a mainstay theme of the left, from PETA's ad campaign comparing the holocaust to Americans eating chicken for dinner to the constant attempt by university professors to argue that Israel is behaving like the Nazis. Now Dick Durbin has joined this slanderous troop.

Democrats, to judge by recent events, appear to be losing their collective minds in some form of shriek therapy. Being out of power may do that to a party used to having its way for many decades in Congress. But there is one other possible explanation for the apparent insanity. With so much money concentrated in the hands of some hard left advocates (think George Soros, Hollywood, trial lawyers, internet millionaires and some union bosses), the Democrats may feel the need to feed the beast - to protect and cater to their hardcore base, so as to keep the money flowing into the political coffers for future campaigns. So the strategy is for Democrats to be completely over the top in their attacks - trashing Bush, America, our military, Republicans, and Israel, all of whom are targets of the activists, to keep the moveon.org and Dailykos crowds happy.

Jews voted almost 3 to 1 for John Kerry over George Bush in the 2004 election. With Bush having achieved a notable record of support for Israel in his first term, the explanation for this voting pattern would seem to be that Israel mattered less to liberal Jewish voters than abortion rights, the environment, social justice, gay marriage, etc. That is fine, so long as the Democratic Party and its candidates were at least supportive of Israel, and critical of anti-Semitism.

But when the Democratic Party sponsors what amounts to a festival full of anti-Semitic hysteria and Israel bashing at its own headquarters, and invites anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists in to address members of their Congressional delegation, then I think that the line of basic support for Israel has been crossed. Arguably, when former President Jimmy Carter invited filmmaker and Israel hater Michael Moore to share his Presidential box at the 2004 Democratic convention, the line had already been crossed. Or maybe it was crossed when the entire Democratic establishment treated Jew-baiter Al Sharpton as a serious Presidential candidate and respected member of the Party in 2004. Now, there can be little doubt.

Democrats, who still have their heads screwed on straight, and retain some sense of decency, like Joe Lieberman, and Steny Hoyer, need to take a long look in the mirror at the unraveling of their Party, and begin to do something about it. Whoever was responsible for allowing the Jew hating conspiracy theorists in the DNC offices to distribute their garbage should be fired. John Conyers should be asked to explain why a known anti-Semite like McGovern was invited to the panel's discussions. Why did no member of Congress attending the Conyers hearing challenge McGovern when he went off on his loopy theories? Not only Barney Frank owes an explanation and an apology to the public for such passivity in the face of evil.

The Israel haters, and anti-Semites believe they have found a comfortable home in the Democratic Party. If American Jews continue to vote overwhelmingly for the Democrats, then they will be casting their votes for a Party which is becoming indifferent to Israel bashing and anti-Semitism, and in the case of Conyers inviting McGovern to speak, even promoting these toxic views.

Just a few weeks back, Howard Dean blathered that Republicans were the white Christian party. The events in Washington Thursday suggest that in reality it is Howard Dean's own Democratic Party which is no longer interested in welcoming America's Jews.

Richard Baehr
Posted by: anonymous5089 || 06/21/2005 09:28 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10793 views] Top|| File under:

#1  With Bush having achieved a notable record of support for Israel in his first term, the explanation for this voting pattern would seem to be that Israel mattered less to liberal Jewish voters than abortion rights, the environment, social justice, gay marriage, etc. That is fine, so long as the Democratic Party and its candidates were at least supportive of Israel, and critical of anti-Semitism.
Richard Baehr's tone is offensive,IMO, to Americans who are of the Jewish faith. Votes should be won or lost by an AMERICAN political party on the very issues that Baehr seems to be sneering at because obviously he thinks loyalty to Israel should rank as #1 voting issue for Jewish-Americans. I think Baehr's type of thinking gives credence to theories about how dual citizenship in Americans might lead to conflicted loyalties. IMO, Baehr's rant about "classic anti-Semitism/fever swamps of anti-Israel hate" in evidence at Thursday's mock Judiciary Committee is excessive. Granted, there were probably some anti-war nuts in the audience handing out their conspiracy pamphlets, but so what? These type of knats are always buzzing around with one conspiracy theory or other - some still think the JFK assassination was an inside job of CIA, FBI, and Mafia. No one pays attention to them and if anything because their theories are so off the charts, they have a zero threshold of credibility. But free speech is a protected right, no matter how obnoxious it may be. We all can excercise the right to decline to listen to or read offensive examples of free speech. I don't think censorship of ideas is acceptable in a free nation. The very idea of a Baehr implying that any criticism ranging from reasoned to crazy tinfoil conspiracies of Israel is anti-semitic or that our government's support of Israel is written in stone is hogwash. Israel is a nation looking out for its own interests, which are not always our best interests. Israel is not our 51st state. If Israel does things not in the USA's best interests (like selling defense secrets to China or spying) then our gov't has every right to sanction/censure Israel - that's not being "anti-semitic." That would be Uncle Sam looking out for its own country's interests as it should.
Posted by: Thotch Glesing2372 || 06/21/2005 13:55 Comments || Top||

#2  Amen
Posted by: Mountain Man || 06/21/2005 16:19 Comments || Top||

#3  This article hits it right on the head. #1, #2, what a bunch of garbage.
Posted by: Angeamp Uneamp3391 || 06/21/2005 20:45 Comments || Top||

Veterans, Are These Kerry 180's Legit??
Posted by: RG || 06/21/2005 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10793 views] Top|| File under:

#1  You can see the real forms at http://www.archives.gov/research_room/obtain_copies/standard_form_180.pdf

Anyone can download them. The real question is, will we see his DD-214 discharge papers? My belief is no, since I think he got a dishonerable discharge and it was changed under Carter to honerable.
Posted by: mmurray821 || 06/21/2005 4:39 Comments || Top||

#2  I beleieve if by some odd chance had Kerry won, someone would have put themselves in legal jeopary by leaking teh DD214, and Kerry would have been forced to withdraw. Then we would havegone from ORDINARY TREASON to TREASONOULSY STUPID with Edwards....
Posted by: BigEd || 06/21/2005 7:47 Comments || Top||

#3  The only people he released his records to are three friendly reporters, who are now squatting on the records and refusing to release them. The same reporters who salivated over the Abu Ghraib photos; even the Boston Globe, which published photos from a pron site claiming they were photos of prisoner abuse in Iraq; now refuse to disclose the contents of Kerry's records!
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 06/21/2005 8:14 Comments || Top||

#4  The 180s look ok, it's who he gave them too. We need to see the complete files ourselves.
Posted by: Steve || 06/21/2005 9:26 Comments || Top||

#5  There are legit but he made sure only Kerry-friendly reporter is laughable. Can anyone imagine Bush only releasing his records to say the Washington Times and perhaps National Review. The rest of the press would go nuts about a coverup. If his grades are any indication of his (Kerry's) truthfulness then I suspect the Military records would be very entertaining.
Posted by: Cyber Sarge || 06/21/2005 10:10 Comments || Top||

#6  I just want to see his discharge papers.

The originals from when he got kicked out of left the service. Not the made-up ones from Jimmuh.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 06/21/2005 14:42 Comments || Top||

Commentary: Iraq: Vietnam Syndrome Strikes
Admittedly stretched very thin, the U.S. military has the courage, the stamina and the weapons to see the Iraq insurgency through, however long it takes. The body politic is another story.

Already, Congressional support for the war is flagging. Some Republican internationalists are letting it be known, albeit off the record, if the Iraq war vote came up today, knowing what they now know, they would be nays. Cartoonists are juxtaposing Vice President Cheney's assertion that the insurgency is in its "last throes" with President Bush's "Mission Accomplished" from the deck of an aircraft carrier May 1, 2003.

Public impatience with the war of liberation that turned out to be a guerrilla war of attrition is growing. Diminished public support is palpable. The pernicious Vietnam syndrome is worming its way through the halls of congress - and the court of public opinion. Over half the country no longer supports the war. Half those polled take the Vietnam analogy seriously and want to get out now. Fifty-six percent say it wasn't worth it. Over half also say U.S. security was not enhanced by the war.

Army recruitment and reenlistment goals are falling short by 40 percent. The capabilities for fighting two and a half wars simultaneously have long since fallen to the post-Cold War cost-cutters in two Clinton administrations. The two wars at the same time strategy is also a distant memory.

The now famous Downing Street memo, written by Sir Richard Dearlove, then head of MI6, the British secret intelligence service, and now Dean of Pembroke College at Cambridge, has convinced many former war hawks the Bush Administration's strategy for a quick war on the cheap was snare and delusion.

The Rumsfeld Doctrine did not foresee the need for prolonged occupation, as Iraq required.

If Kim Jong Il - the unpredictable absolute dictator of North Korea -- were to order his million-man army to cross the DMZ and dig in a few miles to the south, on the outskirts of Seoul, the U.S. would have to resort to tactical nuclear weapons to force him back whence he came.

It is now glaringly obvious the war had nothing to do with Iraq's phantom weapons of mass destruction, and everything to do with a strategy that may have been misguided.

Iraq, the war's strategic thinkers posited, was to become the Arab world's first democracy. Democratic Iraq would then become a catalyst for change in the surrounding authoritarian states. And Israel, surrounded by Arab democracies, could at last relax and look forward to at least a quarter of a century of peace and tranquility.

The illusion that 24 million Iraqis would go back to work after a few joyous days of celebration a la France circa 1944, and that oil would pay Uncle Sam's war bills was conventional wisdom at the highest echelons of government. Everything was slam-dunk, from WMD to the rallying of the Iraqi army to the coalition. Talk of a possible Sunni-inspired-insurgency was ridiculed.

Recently retired generals, speaking off the record with journalists they have known since they were junior officers in Vietnam 35 years ago, go so far as to say Iraq has broken the back of the U.S. military. Richard A. Clarke, former top counter-terrorist honcho at the White House, writing in the Sunday New York Times magazine, has picked up similar asides from his military contacts.

"One victim of this slow bleeding in Iraq," says Clarke, "is the American military as an institution. Across America, the National Guard, designed to assist civil authorities in domestic crises is in tatters... Now the rot is beginning to spread into the regular Army. Recruiters are coming up dry, and some, under pressure to produce new troops, have reportedly been complicit in suspect applications."

By the end of president Bush's term, Clarke writes, "the war in Iraq could end up costing $600 billion, more than six times what some key Pentagon officials had projected" Many other costs are also beginning to become clearer.

Mr. Bush is unlikely to change course because opinion polls show the majority of Americans don't like the heading. He has staked his presidency on seeing it through to a viable Iraqi democracy taking root and then being able to defend itself without the U.S. cavalry standing by to ride to the rescue.

Cutting out in the middle of an insurgency would have incalculable consequences. Islamist extremists would see this as the defeat of the world's only superpower - and a clear track for jihadi mayhem in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Pakistan, not to mention a civil war in Iraq.

But the American people know more about the cloudy future of Social Security than they do about the stakes in Iraq. It is now incumbent on Mr. Bush to use the bully pulpit to spell out the tragic geopolitical consequences of failure in Iraq. Failure is not an option. But at the current rate, it is an all too tragic possibility.

Karl Rove can't wait for the dog days of August - or another Michael Jackson-style circus to keep the president's poll numbers from getting any worse. But only Mr. Bush can do that.

From Abu Ghraib to Sen. Richard Durbin's addle-pated remarks about Stalin, Hitler and Pol Pot, the United States continues to lose ground all over the world. Repair work is long overdue there, too.
Posted by: Spavirt Pheng6042 || 06/21/2005 08:20 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10796 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Commentary: Iraq: Vietnam Syndrome Strikes"

It isn't "striking". It is being very carefully, meticulously engineered, cultivated and encouraged by the Democratic Party and its cohorts in academia and the mainstream media for cheap political gain.
Posted by: Dave D. || 06/21/2005 9:25 Comments || Top||

#2  The Rumsfeld Doctrine did not foresee the need for prolonged occupation, as Iraq required.


Posted by: Robert Crawford || 06/21/2005 9:29 Comments || Top||

#3  It isn't "striking". It is being very carefully, meticulously engineered, cultivated and encouraged by the Democratic Party and its cohorts in academia and the mainstream media for cheap political gain.


I'm beginning to believe that the endless cries of "another Vietnam" are not predictions, but threats.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 06/21/2005 9:42 Comments || Top||

#4  You're right, RC. Fortunately, I'm too young to know the Vietnam era (i was 2 years old at the time), but this is ridiculous. The only Vietnam era link I wanna make is look at what happened with Pol Pot (Sen. Durbin's favorite dictator) after we pulled out. 2 million dead is more than enough for me to see this one to the end. And, one final rant: MSM, QUIT throwing around these poll numbers. The Cowboy doesn't govern by polls like Billy did!
Posted by: BA || 06/21/2005 9:48 Comments || Top||

#5  Remember that "halt in the desert" on days 3-4 of the Iraq campaign, when everyone had to hunker down and wait out that sandstorm? That's when the idiot reporters begain their "it's another Vietnam!" mantra.

It's a threat, as well as wishful thinking. They're praying America fails. They want it so bad they can taste it.
Posted by: Dave D. || 06/21/2005 9:51 Comments || Top||

#6  Fortunately, I'm too young to know the Vietnam era (i was 2 years old at the time), but this is ridiculous.

Same here, and I agree with you on not wanting to see the aftermath of abandoning them. But I see the Democrats pulling the same stunts they did then.

And, one final rant: MSM, QUIT throwing around these poll numbers. The Cowboy doesn't govern by polls like Billy did!

The press needs the polls as a metric to know who well they're doing. They're citing them so much recently because they're proud of how well they've hurt both the president and the war effort.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 06/21/2005 9:55 Comments || Top||

#7  Both good points, RC! I just wish the "average American" would learn about other news sources. I've said it once and I'll say it again. I learn more about what's REALLY going on in the world here at RB before 9 am than most people do in an entire week!
Posted by: BA || 06/21/2005 10:00 Comments || Top||

#8  IMHO we've always depended on the use of nukes in squashing a NK surge across the DMZ. Artillery as well, of course, but nothing says "wrong move" like a fission device
Posted by: Frank G || 06/21/2005 10:08 Comments || Top||

#9  good comments..and Dave D nails it.

The media's at it again with its doom gloom and it's true because we repeated it often enough routine. Will the masses bite? Sadly, yes, they probably will.
Posted by: 2b || 06/21/2005 10:13 Comments || Top||

#10  You can contact your Senators, or your favorites, by going to -http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

I, myself, plan a carefully-worded, one-page, clear-as-a-bell, mailed-via-US mail letter to at least ten. Naturally, my sentiments will be the same (almost a form letter) except Mr. Durbin will get a personalized version.

Just remember not to call them names in print. Have your significant other read it over so you don't go to jail.

Some of you readers are excellent wordsmiths. Why don't we post a few sample letters to copy-and-paste?
Posted by: Bobby || 06/21/2005 11:05 Comments || Top||

#11  I was in the car the last three days listening to the poison of hate filed talk radio (/sarcasm) across this beautiful country. Someone mentioned the polls and newspaper editorials in the same sentence. Suddenly it struck like lightning; Polls are editorials for television.

Newspapers run unsigned editorials all the time. Nobody, except a few insiders, knows who really writes them. (Even more curious is who reads them, but more on that in a moment.) Editorials give the editors a great chance to bloviate on some subject they know little about. If we knew who wrote them, we'd know who to laugh at.

TV people want to be JOURNALISTS! just like the guys at the newspapers and Newsweak. But they can't run editorials because they wouldn't be anonymous. You'd know which idiot came up with the stupid idea. So instead they hire a polling firm to ask a leading question and phone for results when real people are out working or otherwise engaged in some worthwhile activity. They get the results they want and run it as an editorial covered by the poll results.

We should pay as much attention the the poll reuslts TV editorials as we do to the ones in the local fish wrapper...none.

Ignore the media.
Posted by: Mrs. Davis || 06/21/2005 11:19 Comments || Top||

#12  But if you compare Dick Durbin to Jane Fonda on the occasion of her visit to Hanoi, that's not really calling him a name, is it?
Posted by: Bobby || 06/21/2005 11:23 Comments || Top||

#13  "If Kim Jong Il - the unpredictable absolute dictator of North Korea -- were to order his million-man army to cross the DMZ and dig in a few miles to the south, on the outskirts of Seoul, the U.S. would have to resort to tactical nuclear weapons to force him back whence he came."

THis alone shows that the articles author is full of shit.

First, they dont need to dig in - they are already dug in up north of the DMZ, and well within artillery rang of Seoul.

Second, and more importantly, they'd be out of food and ammunition within 96 hours. The US is already set up to destroy the logistics apparatus, and NKorea is far on the low side of being able to supply that huge peasant army it has if it moves it anywhere.

"he National Guard, designed to assist civil authorities in domestic crises"

IDIOT! THe NAtional Guard, since WW2, has been designed to be part of the war-fighting forces of the US, to add to combat power of the US when at war. And we are at WAR. The Ancillary duties are the onse that are done domestically. But since WW2, the Guard has been the main way of augmenting combat units in the US Military. And particularly, sinve the complaints of Guard as a "dodge" in Vietnam, the guard has been treated as an integral part of the active duty forces.

"Army recruitment and reenlistment goals are falling short by 40 percent. "

The other services are meeting or exceeding their goals. And the Army is actually recruiting as many people as it did 2 years ago. Look at the total numbers in 02, and the the total numbers now. Remember the mandate from Congress to increaste the standing forces by 30,000? Remember that the Army didnt want to do that? Well, there's your shortfall. Sure, its a bit worrisome that the Army cannot reach the levels it had back during the cold war (when it was half again as large as it is now). But its also not nearly as dire as this guy would have you believe.

The reason for the "Vietnam" thing coming up? Because the press has become an adversary - an active oppononet to the United State. They are pushing the "Vietnam/Bad-news" 24x7 every place it can, and is not reporting the facts on the ground - that we are winning, that militarily we have gotten the job done, that politically Iraq and the region have been changed for the better, that the Iraqis are starting to get on their feet and take care of themselves...

But other than Chernekoff, you simply dont see it. The MSM is all about painting things in the worst light, denying any successes with "Yes, but" articles, and parroting the party line from the Anti-America and Anti-Bush crowd.

How many lies and misstatements can the author of this article cram into one article?
Posted by: OldSpook || 06/21/2005 11:52 Comments || Top||

#14  How many lies and misstatements can the author of this article cram into one article?

how many words was it?
Posted by: 2b || 06/21/2005 12:03 Comments || Top||

#15  Remember the mandate from Congress to increaste the standing forces by 30,000? Remember that the Army didnt want to do that? Well, there's your shortfall.

Thank you, OldSpook. You just caused me to slap my forehead so hard I left an imprint.

Now that you've explained it, it all makes sense. Which party pushed the increased size of the Army? I suspect I know, and I suspect it's also the party that's been making those most noise about how the failure to make the (inflated) goal means we'll need a draft.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 06/21/2005 12:55 Comments || Top||

#16  He forgot to mention: The sky is falling!
Posted by: Xbalanke || 06/21/2005 13:17 Comments || Top||

#17  The current media grew up with Vietnam and Watergate and like Captain Queeg they've been trying to relive (or recreate if they have to) their glory days.
Posted by: RJ Schwarz || 06/21/2005 23:53 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Tech
The Folly of Our Age: The Space Shuttle
Like the monster in some ghastly horror movie rising from the dead for the umpteenth time, the space shuttle is back on the launch pad. This grotesque, lethal white elephant - 14 deaths in 113 flights - is the grandest, grossest technological folly of our age. If the shuttle has any reason for existing, it is as an exceptionally clear symbol of our corrupt, sentimental, and dysfunctional political system. Its flights accomplish nothing and cost half a billion per. That, at least, is what a flight costs when the vehicle survives.

If a shuttle blows up - which, depending on whether or not you think that 35 human lives (five original launchworthy Shuttles at seven astronauts each) would be too high a price to pay for ridding the nation of an embarrassing and expensive monstrosity, is either too often or not often enough** - then the cost, what with lost inventory, insurance payouts, and the endless subsequent investigations, is seven or eight times that.

There is no longer much pretense that shuttle flights in particular, or manned space flight in general, has any practical value. You will still occasionally hear people repeating the old NASA lines about the joys of microgravity manufacturing and insights into osteoporesis, but if you repeat these tales to a materials scientist or a physiologist, you will get peals of laughter in return.

To seek a cure for osteoporesis by spending $500 million to put seven persons and 2,000 tons of equipment into earth orbit is a bit like... well, it is so extravagantly preposterous that any simile you can come up with falls flat. It is like nothing else in the annals of human folly.
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: Spavirt Pheng6042 || 06/21/2005 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [10795 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Yeah ok, but whatever you do, don't nix that "rods from God" or "God's rods" idea.
Posted by: Rafael || 06/21/2005 1:27 Comments || Top||

#2  CHALLENGER blew up when Reagan challenged the USSR, while COLUMBIA blew up post 9-11 during the WOT, where America's = Columbia's very existence and sovereignty is at risk of destruction!
Posted by: JosephMendiola || 06/21/2005 1:34 Comments || Top||

#3  This person has no imagination, he doesn't mention that the very laptop he's using to type this article was made possible by a direct link to research done for the space program. Miniaturization.......the lifeblood of computer chips and spaceships, makes it possible to carry a "supercomputer" around under your arm. A mere 35 years ago the processing power in that laptop would've occupied a good size building. And it would've cost millions of dollars.

Why can't they someday grow crops in space? Nutrients, lights, oxygen, CO2, water, no pests or worms. A space farm. No droughts, no plagues of locusts, no storms or floods. If we don't go there, we'll never know these things.

All the astronauts know what could happen anytime they liftoff. Afterall, they're riding on a humongous, controlled, superexplosion, hurling them into space. Yet they willingy, no, gladly go. As would I. I'd like to see what effect a Budweiser would have in weightlessness.
Posted by: Tom Dooley || 06/21/2005 2:37 Comments || Top||

#4  Miniaturization.......the lifeblood of computer chips and spaceships, makes it possible to carry a "supercomputer" around under your arm. Sorry, this claim is laughable. The most recent computer equipment on the shuttle is so big and old (state of the art 25 years ago thats pre the IBM PC)that in the real world, you couldn't give it away and there is equipment that only someone who has been around the computer biz as long as me would recognize, such as the IBM AP-101S.
Posted by: phil_b || 06/21/2005 4:20 Comments || Top||

#5  Satellites carry obsolete electronics and for good reasons. First you never, never, ever carry an unproven design (in spatial tems that means who hasn't been around for a LOT of time) into the space: if the thing fails, or a hardware bug is revealed (remember the Pentium bug?) while in orbit you have blown up gazillion dollars.

Second: The newer the electronics, the smaller it is and the smaller it is, the more sensitive to cosmic radiation: A P4 with an its engraving of under 0.2 microns is LOT more sensitive to radiation than say, a 8088 ie the processor in the original IBM PC
Posted by: JFM || 06/21/2005 5:05 Comments || Top||

#6  Very interesting, JFM. That point never occurred to me. And I've been a science junkie for a looooong time.
Posted by: trailing wife || 06/21/2005 6:28 Comments || Top||

#7  There is no longer much pretense that shuttle flights in particular, or manned space flight in general, has any practical value.

Beg to differ - and I know this is a touchy subject since my husband spent 20 or so years of his career in space-related stuff.

The shuttle is old and desperately needs replacing. That said, there are a lot of reasons for humans to be in space. Exploration and eventually possible exploitation of space assets is one - and yes, I do know the energy economics involved, so I'm not suggesting we have tug boats lugging iron ore to earth. "Exploitation" might include colonization.

Or - and here it gets dicier from a geopolitical point of view - it might include defense.

Finally, while we've made some useful strides in robotics after a long gestation period of research, we are nowhere near able to build robotic systems that could, for instance, repair or refuel satellites in orbit.

There certainly are things for which robotic probes would be a good start. But there are also IMO very solid reasons for a manned space program.

Finally, re: spinoff technology, don't underestimate how much got seeded by our space and defense R&D. Really tough, complex technical challenges have a way of generating whole new technologies that would not - or at least have not - been developed in more common research programs. The work on the early re-entry capsules and then on the tiles that make up the shuttle heat shield is directly related to composite materials all around us ... not only your non-stick frying pans but also the composites that help to make stealth fighters stealthy.

Ditto re: software and chip technologies, many of which have their roots in defense and space research. A portion of my own career gave me some visibility into that process.

Oh, and those robots? Until very recently, estimates were that DOD funded approximately 90-95% of all robotic-related research in the US.

I am not necessarily advocating here for the militarization of space in the form of, say, bases on the moon. I do think it would be shortsighted to believe no one else has such possibilities in mind in their new space programs.

Hard complex problems with a compelling focus - such as defending against missile attacks or putting and keeping humans alive in space - have a way of paying for themselves down stream. It helps, though, if you are willing to move on past the obsolete systems when their cost-benefit has gone negative. Unfortunately, the 90's econ bubble was purchased in part by gutting what should have been work on follow-on systems. The shuttle is all we have right now, a dangerous and wrongheaded position for us to be in IMO.
Posted by: rkb || 06/21/2005 7:06 Comments || Top||

#8  Whadda less-on© - (not even a moron). And where does he want all this "wasted" money to go? To the UN?
Posted by: Bobby || 06/21/2005 8:05 Comments || Top||

#9  The shuttle is a terrible disappointment.

Currently it costs about 40 million dollars to put someone up on the shuttle. The Russians can put someone up for 20 million dollars and make money on the deal.

What is needed is a cheaper launch!

Posted by: bernardz || 06/21/2005 8:27 Comments || Top||

#10  I cannot endorse either the tone or some of the specific claims in this article (2000 tons of equipment on a Shuttle?) but the gist is correct. The Shuttle is a bill of goods, doing the same job as expendable rockets at two or three times the cost. The various missions that require a human presence are, as represented, absurd make-work projects with little or no scientific validity.

The truth, unacceptable for many, is that chemical rockets just do not have the energy density to carry humans into space in any meaningful way. The Shuttle, dangerous monstrosity though it is, is almost at the edge of what is possible with this basic technology. It is unlikely, or at least absurdly impractical, that Human beings will ever go farther with this technology than they already have.

In the early 60s, the US launched Project Apollo, which eventually put 12 people on the Moon at a cost of 40 billion dollars. At the same time, there was another parallel program aimed at the same purpose, Project Orion. This was designed to put 150 people on the Moon at a cost of 5 billion dollars. Orion was nuclear-powered, using small fission bombs to drive itself into orbit and interplanetary space. There is every indication that it would have worked. Orion was cancelled in 1963, a consequence of the Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty. Its method of applying nuclear energy would be completely unacceptable in today's world
but there are other, much safer, ways to use nuclear energy and these are once again being explored for future programs. See NuclearSpace.
Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy || 06/21/2005 8:46 Comments || Top||

#11  absurd make-work projects with little or no scientific validity.

Science might not be the only, or even the main, reason for humans in space, AC.
Posted by: rkb || 06/21/2005 9:29 Comments || Top||

#12  AC has it right. We will go no farther until a better method of propulsion is devised. It has to be light, compact and capable of allot of sustained power. You can't do that with chemical thrust.
Posted by: Yosemite Sam || 06/21/2005 10:37 Comments || Top||

#13  I wonder what Derbershire thinks about the number of test pilots and expensive planes the US military has lost over the years. If that's the cost of doing business why is space travel different?

The astronauts know the risks and the costs seem big but are nothing compared to other items in the Federal Budget. Was the shuttle a mistake? Yes, in my humble opinion the Air Forces demand that it be able to carry their larger sattelites (which the Air Force no longer wanted after Challenger disaster) screwed the shuttle from the early days. And the shuttle is nothing compared to the space station.

But to paraphrase a wise man, you go to soace with the equipment you have, not the equipment you wish you had. Otherwise you'd never go.
Posted by: rjschwarz || 06/21/2005 10:46 Comments || Top||

#14  There is a general recognition that the Space Shuttle is dated, and that NASA isn't really up to the task of making a better mousetrap. That is why there is a big push to involve free enterprise in the concept. Scientists have a habit of being too focused on discovery for its own sake. When money is involved, practicality is at the forefront. For example, NASA requires a ground crew of 100 or more personnel; a private launch may only need 5-10. NASA is risk averse, having been severely punished for its accidents; but a private company would just dust itself off and try again, not having the luxury of taking a few years off to scrutinize its operations from top to bottom. Sure, it's a tragedy when an employee dies, but high risk is their choice, and why they get the big bucks. The real space race will begin when there is major money to be made. This will be mining for H3 on the moon. Dozens of major corporations will team up to make literally trillions of dollars. N.B.: Mining creates civilization. It is the most powerful economic engine around, stimulating every other economic sector. A nation's power rests in its mines.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 06/21/2005 10:57 Comments || Top||

#15  #4 .... Nevertheless, research for space travel is directly linked to the miniturization that you find so laughable.
Posted by: Tom Dooley || 06/21/2005 13:57 Comments || Top||

#16  Every time I see an article like this I find myself agreeing with parts of it. Yes the Shuttle is dated and grossly over priced. But most of the cost involved with each mission is in the standing army that maintains, and operates the orbiter and its systems. As a stand alone heavy launch vehicle the SRBs and the ET stack modified to carry either non man rated SSMEs or the Russian designed engines now showing up on US launch vehicles would rival the old Saturn V in launch capacity. But such a system should only be used for unmanned launches of heavy payloads. Certain missions can only be preformed by people in orbit. The Hubble servicing missions for one. The initial repair mission should not of been required if adequate testing on the mirror had been done but thats water over the dam. Over the years a number of options have been looked at for manned space flight. All of which have gone nowhere for a varity of reasons. One of the ones I like best is called Black Horse http://www.risacher.org/bh/spacast3.html
And there others. Rutan has been doing in flight testing of a subscale system for t-space of an air launched manned system http://www.transformspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=projects.view&workid=CCD3097A-96B6-175C-97F15F270F2B83AA
Posted by: Cheaderhead || 06/21/2005 15:57 Comments || Top||

#17  I think Snoopy wrote this piece

"it was a dark and stormy night"
Posted by: 2b || 06/21/2005 16:10 Comments || Top||

#18  Here's a picture of the main processors used in the space shuttle. The chip is made by Singer (yes, the sowing machine company). Serious dejavu for me. Singer had a weird hardware partitioned architecture that was terrific for real time applications. Nothing else came close in the late 70s. It also used ferrite memory (little metal discs), which had the nice feature of being non-volatile and allowed hot restarts. Everyone else had stopped using ferrite memory 10 years earlier. In reality this is 60s technology and its still flying in the shuttle. Amazing!
Posted by: phil_b || 06/21/2005 16:44 Comments || Top||

#19  I've always been partial to Clarke's elevator.

Derbyshire (looking at the archive of his NRO articles) knows (or, implies he does, anyway) a little about a lot. Methinks he knows a lot about very little. But 'tis 'Merika, he can write anything he wants. We are equally free to laugh, fisk, etc.

If we aren't going to look for another mudball to augment / replace this one, then I consider the book closed. We are merely rearranging deck chairs.

"He not busy being born is busy dying."
-Bobby Zimmerman (aka Dylan)

Whatever the cost, we need exploration, by humans when appropriate... Simply put, cuz we can think, we can imagine, we can see what does not yet exist. Robotics is so far from that reality that his grand statements just boggle.

NASA, and it was a mismanaged Clintoonian Rainbow Dickhead cum PC Institution boondoggle for almost a decade, once upon a time was a major seed-corn source. No society can have too many sources of fundamental research / seed-corn. Those that eat theirs during the Socialist Winter, can expect a Communist Spring - to go Joe M on ya for a moment. It can be a source of seed-corn again, if run properly and staffed with brilliance - not PCite Rainbow Dildos and MBA's - 5 or 6 of the latter and 0 of the former ought to suffice, I believe, but just as with all our other 3 & 4 letter agencies, it has been packed with New Age sycophants and prolly needs a good spring cleaning. I hope the new Administrator is like-minded.

Just my $0.02 after watching the source of most of my childhood dreams dragged through the PC looneybin and, now, the mud. Very Heavy Sigh.
Posted by: .com || 06/21/2005 18:51 Comments || Top||

#20  .com, I think NASA has been a seed-corn sink for about twenty to twenty-five years now.
Posted by: Phil Fraering || 06/21/2005 19:09 Comments || Top||

#21  And given the current administrator's obsession with replacing the shuttle with a shuttle-derived vehicle, especially one using the worst bits-and-pieces from the shuttle like the SRB.

(See this thread at Rand Simberg's site for information on one of the proposed systems, apparently a favorite of Griffin from back before he became administrator, and what I believe to be a fairly cognent criticism thereof. My favorite quote from the thread, from Erik Anderson:
Message to NASA: you can go to the moon and Mars, or you can spend the money instead subsidizing Thiokol and polishing pads 39A and B. There is not enough money to do both.
That about sums up my feelings on the matter.
Posted by: Phil Fraering || 06/21/2005 19:19 Comments || Top||

#22  In #11 rkb says:
Science might not be the only, or even the main, reason for humans in space, AC.

I couldn't agree more, rkb. I was referring to the Shuttle missions that are tailored to use its manned capability, like the multiply repeated Spacelab missions. I probably should have been more clear.

In the long term, it is inevitable that we will move into space in a big way. It is new territory, becoming available through an increase in our capability, just as the increased capability provided by little boats allowed certain prehistoric people to migrate from the Continent to England.

I think authoritarians fear this because they realize, perhaps subconciously, that a self-sufficient community in space would be largely beyond the reach of centralized power.
The Trotskuite Global Network Against Weapons and Nuclear Power in Space, aka GnawAn'Pis, is vehement in its opposition to mining or settlement in space, yet they seem to skirt around any direct statement of the reasons for their opposition.
The most telling indication is their claim that such efforts would provide a "refuge for the elite" which they consider a bad thing.
Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy || 06/21/2005 19:27 Comments || Top||

#23  I've heard about the proposal to use the SRB as a man rated launch vehicle for the CEV. As it has no emergency engine shutdown procedure short of blowing the top end of the casing after the CEV has blasted free at much higher G loads than the launch itself would generate I think its a dead horse to start with. CEV if built will most likely use the Delta 4 or the Atlas Heavy. As I said above the basic Shuttle launch stack minus the orbiter is capable of putting around 100 tons into orbit. Front mounting the payload on the ET would eliminate the problem of foam and ice impacting the playload while mounting the engines under the ET would also eliminate the problem of vehicle flex on the pad during the time the engines start. If you look at video of a shuttle launch you will see the whole vehicle pitch forward by at least a foot at the orbiters nose once the SSMEs are brought to takeoff power. All this happens befor ethe SRBs ignite and puts a lot of stress on the SRB field joint for the segments.
Posted by: Cheaderhead || 06/21/2005 20:29 Comments || Top||

#24  Cheaderhead writes:

I've heard about the proposal to use the SRB as a man rated launch vehicle for the CEV. As it has no emergency engine shutdown procedure short of blowing the top end of the casing after the CEV has blasted free at much higher G loads than the launch itself would generate I think its a dead horse to start with.

There are lots of reasons why it's a bad idea. Unfortunately it's also the brand new boss's idea, which means it may be used no matter how bad it is. (It didn't stop them from picking Lockheed's design for the DC-X followup, for instance).
Posted by: Phil Fraering || 06/21/2005 20:33 Comments || Top||

#25  Phil F - Okay, you're established as the Voice of Doom on this thread. Is Der Administrator a total blockhead? Is there no hope, sniff sniff? The PC-hole, she be deep - and I'm not convinced, just yet, that Bush & Co will do whatever he sez without question. So, what have you got that's constructive? I still have those pesky unfulfilled dream thingys, you see, and I'd like my grandchildren (at least) to realize them, since I can't.
Posted by: .com || 06/21/2005 20:40 Comments || Top||

Okay, you're established as the Voice of Doom on this thread. Is Der Administrator a total blockhead? Is there no hope, sniff sniff? The PC-hole, she be deep - and I'm not convinced, just yet, that Bush & Co will do whatever he sez without question. So, what have you got that's constructive? I still have those pesky unfulfilled dream thingys, you see, and I'd like my grandchildren (at least) to realize them, since I can't.

(mode voice=Yoda)
No! There is another!

I think a lot of the vehicles currently being built to service the suborbital market (Rutan hasn't finished designing SS2 yet, but I can point out Rocketplane, Inc. in Oklahoma, XCOR Corporation, Blue Origin, TGV's Michelle-B, Armadillo Aerospace's work, etc.) could all wind up being "rough drafts" of the bottom stage of a two-stage reusable launch vehicle system.

Heck, if you want to see something interesting, both in the success and failure department, go to Armadillo Aerospace's site and check out the videos. They're currently in the process of switching away from peroxide as a fuel, because for the past three to four years they've been held up by an inability to obtain useful grades of hydrogen peroxide in useful quantities.

But other than those above groups and likeminded people... DOOM! GLOOM! FAIRBANKS!...
Posted by: Phil Fraering || 06/21/2005 21:29 Comments || Top||

#27  Y'know, you have to publicly disclose if you own Armadillo Aerospace stock, lol!
Posted by: .com || 06/21/2005 21:51 Comments || Top||

#28  .com: I just have a fondness for vehicles that take off and land vertically, the way the gods and Robert A. Heinlein *meant* them to do.
Posted by: Phil Fraering || 06/21/2005 23:03 Comments || Top||

#29  Short term use the shuttle to carry payloads but send it up unmanned. Send up bulk cargo so that if it blows no loss. They could use Kerosine (potential rocket fuel for earth orbit access with easy transfer ability, can be used for braking and thus avoid heat shield issues) or water (propellant for space travel to get out of low earth orbit for whatever ship needs to).

Longer term, stack some solid rocket boosters together to create an unmanned heavy lifting vehicle. Either that or shuttle C design. This could be used to get our space only space ships up there.

Longest term, charter rockets from private companies.

Either way send the men up in one of the space planes being developed by private industry. Nasa should contract out for those flights and encourage them.

The design needs for a good heavy lifting vehicle and a troop transport vehicle are different and there is no point creating both. Also there is no point NASA needs to own and run everything. They should move into contracting services and worry about the next step. Then the one after that as industry catches up.
Posted by: RJ Schwarz || 06/21/2005 23:49 Comments || Top||

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