Archive for January, 2010
27 Jan 2010

Former WMD Chief’s Report: Al Qaeda’s WMD Ambitions and Intentions

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Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, currently a Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, previously Director of Intelligence and Counterintelligence at the U.S. Department of Energy and Chief of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Department for the CIA, has published a 32-page report, Al Qaeda Weapons of Mass Destruction Threat: Hype or Reality?, which asks the obvious question:

Why hasn’t there been an attack up to now by al Qaeda utilizing WMD?

To date, al Qaeda’s WMD programs may have been disrupted. This is in fact one likely explanation, given a sustained and ferocious counterterrorist response to 9/11 that largely destroyed al Qaeda as the organization that existed before the fateful attack on the US. If so, terrorists must continue to be disrupted and denied a safe haven to reestablish the ability to launch a major strike on the US homeland, or elsewhere in the world. …

Or perhaps, al Qaeda operational planners have failed to acquire the kind of weapons they seek, because they are unwilling to settle for anything other than a large scale attack in the US. …

[I]f Osama bin Ladin and his lieutenants had been interested in employing crude chemical, biological and radiological materials in small scale attacks, there is little doubt they could have done so by now. However, events have shown that the al Qaeda leadership does not choose weapons based on how easy they are to acquire and use. …

An examination of the 9/11 attack sheds light on al Qaeda’s reasoning behind the selection of specific weapons, and how that may apply to the role WMD plays in their thinking. Al Qaeda opted to pursue a highly complex and artfully choreographed plot to strike multiple targets requiring the simultaneous hijacking of several 747 jumbo passenger aircraft, because using airplanes as weapons offered the best means of attacking the targets they intended to destroy. If conventional wisdom on assessing WMD terrorism threats had been applied to considering the likelihood of the 9/11 plot, analysts may well have concluded it never would have happened; at the time, it was simply hard to believe any terrorist group could pull off such an elaborate plot utilizing novel, unpredictable weapons that were so difficult to acquire.

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Mowatt-Larssen presents a detailed 15-year (unclassified) chronology of efforts by al Qaeda to acquire WMD.

Graham Allison summarizes the evidence of that chronology in a forward to the report:

This chronology teaches us four important lessons. First, al Qaeda’s top leadership has demonstrated a sustained commitment to buy, steal or construct WMD. In 1998, Osama bin Laden declared that “acquiring WMD for the defense of Muslims is a religious duty.” In December 2001, bin Laden’s Deputy Ayman Zawahiri stated, “If you have $30 million, go to the black market in the central Asia, contact any disgruntled Soviet scientist and a lot of dozens of smart briefcase bombs are available.” A few months later, al Qaeda announced its goal to “kill four million Americans.”

Second, al Qaeda was prepared to expend significant resources to cultivate a WMD capability even during the planning phases of 9/11. In the years leading up to September 2001, we see that bin Laden’s organization never lost its focus on WMD, even while coordinating the 9/11 attacks, orchestrating the simultaneous bombings of the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya in 1998, and successfully striking the U.S. warship (USS Cole) in 2000.

Third, a clear hallmark of al Qaeda’s WMD approach is to pursue parallel paths to procure these deadly materials. Multiple nodes of the network were assigned to different tasks of the overall WMD effort, acting and reporting independently, ensuring that failure in one cell did not jeopardize the entire operation. By taking into account possible operational set-backs and intelligence breaches, al Qaeda has displayed deliberate, shrewd planning to acquire WMD.

Fourth, al Qaeda has taken part in joint development of WMD with other terrorist groups. This collaboration between the most senior members of separate organizations demonstrates that interest in and motivation to possess WMD are not limited to a single group.

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The single most alarming detail must be:

Pakistani humanitarian NGO Umma Tameer e Nau (UTN), which was founded by Pakistani nuclear scientists with close ties to al Qaeda and the Taliban. UTN was headed by Bashiruddin Mahmood, who had been chief of Pakistan’s Khushab plutonium reactor. … Sometime before August 2001, UTN CEO Bashiruddin Mahmood offer[ed] to construct chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs for al Qaeda and Libya, in two separate, discreet approaches. …

Mahmood confesses that he was introduced to al Qaeda seniors in Afghanistan in summer 2001, met with Osama bin Ladin around a campfire, and they discussed how al Qaeda could build a nuclear device. Mahmood drew a very rough sketch of an improvised nuclear device. When Mahmood advised Osama bin Ladin that it would be too hard for his group to undertake a nuclear weapons program and develop the billion dollar infrastructure for weapons-usable materials, bin Ladin queries, “What if I already have it? (the nuclear material)”

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Newsmax

Security Management

26 Jan 2010

Laurie Mylroie and Neocon Conspiracy Theory

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Edward Jay Epstein, in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal, explains that the Anthrax spores used in postal attacks around the time of 9/11 had been weaponized by a coating of silicon greatly enhancing their effectiveness as an aerosal. Over 100 scientists had had access to the particular strain of Anthrax, and the FBI’s ham-handed investigative efforts applied such intense scrutiny, pressure, and public accusations that they resulted in two suicides and a public apology including a $5.8 million settlement with no actual resolution.

The crux of the investigative problem is the silicon. None of the scientist suspects or the laboratories they had access to possessed either the specialized equipment or expertise needed to weaponize the Anthrax. Over 8 years later, the case remains open.

The Epstein editorial came to mind this morning, as I was looking through the Memeorandum aggregator page and found a link to this sneering hit piece by Justin Elliott, one of Talking Points Memo’s little leftist elfs.

Elliott is busily trying to marginalize Laurie Mylroie, a Harvard-educated Arabist, who has served on the faculty of Harvard and the Navy War College and as an advisor to Bill Clinton, identifying her as a “crackpot” and conspiracy theorist. I had not been previously familiar with Dr. Mylroie, her books, or opinions, but looking into all this, it is very clear that she has taken a position very much at odds with the prevailing consensus of the foreign policy and intelligence establishments and the media, one attributing a far more significant ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda and an active role on the part of the Iraqi regime in both the first WTC bombing and 9/11.

I don’t own her books (I just ordered two of them), so I don’t know if I agree with her, find any of her evidence persuasive or her reasoning credible, but I am interested in seeing what she has to say. Thank you, Mr. Elliott. Whenever I see the left performing one of their little excommunication-on-the-basis-of-thought-crime ceremonies, I always develop the suspicion that the target of such attention may be perfectly correct.

The TPM hit piece notes that the Department of Defense’s Office of Net Assessment (an internal Pentagon think tank) was employing Dr. Mylroie as recently as 2007 as a consultant to produce reports on Saddam Hussein’s strategy for dealing with UN inspections and his intelligence service. She had previously written in 2005 a History of Al Qaeda. I plan to read it carefully.

The popularly prevailing theory, completely excluding state support for al Qaeda’s terrorist activities, is very useful if you are interested in asserting Iraqi innocence in order to indict Bush, but it does leave a number of important problems unanswered, like where did those weaponized Anthrax spores come from?

26 Jan 2010

Obama Statue Under Fire in Jakarta

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Statue of ten year old Barack Obama in Menteng Park, Jakarta

Indonesia authorities announced yesterday that they are considering acquiescing to demands that a statue of Barack Obama as a little boy, erected by relatives and friends in a Jakarta park “to motivate children to study hard and dream big,” be removed. 56,000 Indonesians have signed a petition calling for the ouster of Obama’s statue. The location ought to be used for the statue of an Indonesian, critics contend. Obama lived in Indonesia for only four years as a child.

AFP

26 Jan 2010

Let’s Hope the Health Care Bill Is Dead

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Megan McArdle doesn’t believe the progressive commentariat can cheerlead congressional democrats into a desperation move involving getting the House to pass the Senate bill on the basis of written pledges to amend it later to meet House requirements then ramming it through the Senate by cheating and using reconciliation (as described by Dick Morris).

Health care’s popularity drops any time Congress discusses it. With respect to Nate Silver, who argues that the bill would be popular if they ever passed it and could discuss what’s in it, you cannot “prove” that voters like a bill because various bits of it poll well on their own. Do I want a sous vide machine? Certainly! I could take a poll that would show nine or ten wonderful things I would love about owning a sous vide machine. Am I going to buy one? No I am not, because it costs hundreds of dollars I need for other things.

Almost everything polls well on its own, except tax increases. …

I think Yglesias is right that this process was always more fragile than it appeared. As I read it, majorities of both houses do not want to pass this bill–otherwise, they wouldn’t have run for the exits so quick. They were looking for an excuse that they could deploy without risking retaliation from the leadership–and what the Massachusetts election showed, is that they don’t have all that much to fear from the leadership, because the leadership may not be there after November. Reid’s almost certain to lose his seat, and Pelosi may lose her majority in the house.

They don’t want to say they want to kill it, of course. So instead, they’re doing pretty much what I expected: putting it on the back burner. We want to pass health care, but we just have a few things to do first . . .

Once it goes on the back burner, it’s over. As time goes by, voters will be thinking less and less about the health care bill they hated, and more and more about other things in the news. There is not going to be any appetite among Democrats for returning to this toxic process and refreshing those bad memories. They’re going to want to spend the time between now and the election talking about things that voters, y’know, like.

26 Jan 2010

Krauthammer on Obama and the Democrats

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Barack Obama told ABC News that he is determined to continue to try to pass the health care bill, even if it hurts him politically. “The one thing I’m clear about is that I’d rather be a really good one term president than a mediocre two term president.”

Charles Krauthammer responds that “Well, there is a third option he didn’t consider. He could be a mediocre one term president, and that’s what he been thus so far in his first year. And because mediocrity does not usually encourage the electorate to re-elect you that might account for being a one termer.”

Krauthammer describes the democrat response to their defeat in Massachusetts as “a marvel of obliviousness, of obtuseness, and of unbelievably condescending arrogance.”

3:04 video

25 Jan 2010

Question of the Day

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What world leader is so lame that he requires a teleprompter to address a class of 6th graders?

Hat tip to Gateway Pundit.

Remember Iowahawk’s message from Obama’s teleprompter video?

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CORRECTION:

Photos exist of his Obamatude actually interacting with the kiddies ex tempore. It turns out he brought the teleprompter to use to announce a program incentivizing school districts to adopt federal curriculum guidelines.

(From Dan Riehl’s commenter Ozwitch:)

What is even more disturbing than the need to whip TOTUS out to talk to school kids is the purpose of Obama’s visit to that school. He was announcing his desire to put billions more into his program “Race to the Top” (RttT in Obamaland cutespeak) and also create a means for school districts to bypass the authority of their State Boards of Education in order to apply for federal RttT funds. What is so disturbing about this? One of the requirements of winning this federal grant money is that local school districts must contractually agree to adopt federal curriculum guidelines, even those that have not yet been defined by the Obama Administration. Yup….the federal core curriculum issue rears its ugly head again.

25 Jan 2010

Democrats’ Dilemma

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Noemie Emery, in the Weekly Standard, relishes the cruel dilemma faced by congressional democrats, trapped between their party’s base demanding do-or-die passage of the health care bill and a massive public backlash.

In the wake of the stunning debacle (in their view) in the Bay State last Tuesday, Democrats find themselves with two thrilling alternatives: They can drop their unread and unreadable 2,200-page monstrosity of a health care reform bill and be labeled as wimps, jerks, and hapless losers who wasted a year and couldn’t deliver. Or, they can try to ram the Senate bill through the House (which hates most of it) in order to pass a bill that two-thirds of the country now loathes with a passion. They can either jump off the ship or stay on and sink with it. Either way, they end up in the drink.

There’s an interesting split among Democrats as to which courses to take. Those edging their way toward the lifeboats are those members of the House and Senate who sooner or later have to be in touch with the voters. Those who want the bill passed (i.e., pushed down the throats of the howling public) are White House officials and pundits, bloggers, academicians, talk show hosts, and others who don’t face reelection in this year or any, and will even find their business improving if the bill passes and all hell breaks loose. The pundits, who have no skin in this game since they will not get fired, have transferred their soaring contempt for the American people to their beleaguered House members. “Jump! Jump!” they cry to the quivering congressfolk. No sacrifice is too great for others to make for their dreams. …

Administrations have screwed up before, but this, in one of Obama’s pet words, is truly “historic” in terms of unforced self-destruction: No party before has wreaked such havoc upon its own members, created such division among its supporters, or sowed so much widespread despair. The fact that one year ago it stood on the pinnacle makes it still more amazing. As Jay Leno put it, “It’s hard to believe President Obama’s now been in office for a year. And you know, it’s incredible. He took something that was in terrible, terrible shape and he brought it back from the brink of disaster: The Republican party.”

25 Jan 2010

Who Mishandled Abdulmutallab?

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George Smiley notes ironically that the Massachusetts special election did the Obama Administration one big favor. It soaked up all the news coverage, preventing anyone paying attention to some very damaging congressional testimony by Admiral Dennis Blair.

Appearing before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair admitted that intel officials bungled the handling of Farouk Abdulmutallab, the underwear bomber who tried to bring down a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day.

Specifically, Mr. Blair told the committee that Abdulmutallab should have been interrogated by a special team that handles high value targets. But the spooks never got a crack at the Nigerian suspect. As Blair told Congress, he was never consulted about how the suspect should be handled.

Indeed, the nation’s intel apparatus was apparently out of the loop as the FBI decided to treat the would-be bomber as they would a criminal. Mr. Blair’s lieutenants were out of the loop as well. Then, after less than an hour of questioning, Abdulmutallab was read his Miranda rights and provided with legal counsel. At that point, he stopped cooperating with authorities, leaving key questions unanswered.

And, it gets worse. Remember that team that’s supposed to interrogate high-value suspects? It was hailed as a key element of Mr. Obama’s plan (unveiled last year) to end the “torture” of terror detainees and shut down the facility at Guantanamo Bay. But as Blair informed the Homeland Security panel, that highly-touted team has never been formed.

For his candor, Blair is in trouble with Congressional Republicans–and the White House. According to Newsweek’s “Declassified” blog, administration officials have described the DNI (a retired Navy admiral) as “misinformed,” and have ordered him to correct his remarks. Sure enough, Blair released a statement only an hour later, claiming that his comments were “misconstrued.”

In other words, Admiral Blair is feeling the heat for telling the truth. The nation’s intelligence chief was never consulted in the aftermath of an attempted terrorist attack that could have destroyed an airliner and killed hundreds of passengers. He also claims that the (limited) FBI interrogation provided important information, although you’ve got to wonder just how much Abdulmutallab divulged in hour before FBI agents advised him of his “rights.”

There’s also the troubling matter of why the High-Value Interrogation Group (or HIG as it’s known) still isn’t in operation. Months after the President ordered its creation, attorneys are still devising a charter for the group, suggesting that it is months away from achieving operational status. Until then, who’s in charge of interrogating suspected terrorists? After being pilloried by politicians and the press, both the CIA and the military have grown skittish; we’re guessing that most of the questioning will be conducted by the FBI, until the HIG–staffed by experts from intelligence and law enforcement–becomes operational.

Blair’s disturbing admissions also raise another question, namely, who made the call to treat Farouk Abdulmutallab as a criminal suspect, rather than an accused terrorist? The administration claims the decision was made by agents from the FBI’s Detroit field office, who met the plane when it landed. But that sounds a bit suspect. Would you, as a Special Agent in Charge be willing to stake your career on the handling of a suspected terrorist–a decision you made without consulting your superiors in Washington?

There’s little doubt that senior FBI officials (and probably, Attorney General Eric Holder) were alerted when Abdulmutallab was removed from that Northwest flight. And the decision to “Mirandize” was likely made by high-ranking officials at the bureau, if not Mr. Holder himself.

25 Jan 2010

Wording of Bin Ladin’s Latest Recording May Signify Imminent Attack

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The French news service AFP quotes an important news release from the Washington-based Intelligence subscription IntelCenter.

Osama bin Laden’s word choice in the latest audio message attributed to him is seen as a “possible indicator” of an upcoming attack by his Al-Qaeda network, a US monitoring group warned Sunday.

IntelCenter, a US group that monitors Islamist websites, also said that manner of the release and the content of the message showed it was “credible” that it was a new release from the Saudi extremist.

“The Osama bin Laden audio message released to Al-Jazeera on 24 January 2010 contains specific language used by bin Laden in his statements in advance of attacks,” IntelCenter said in a statement.

The group said it considered the language “a possible indicator of an upcoming attack” in the next 12 months.

“This phrase, ‘Peace be upon those who follow guidance,’ appears at the beginning and end of messages released in advance of attacks that are designed to provide warning to Al-Qaeda’s enemies that they need to change their ways or they will be attacked,” the group said.

In a statement carried by Al-Jazeera television, bin Laden praised the Nigerian man who allegedly tried to blow up a US airliner approaching Detroit on Christmas Day.

He warned the United States that, “God willing, our attacks against you will continue as long as you maintain your support to Israel.”

IntelCenter said the audio statement “appears to be exactly what it purports to be, an audio message from bin Laden.”

“The manner of release, content of message and other factors indicate it is a credible and new release from bin Laden,” it said.

The center said similar language attributed to bin Laden was made in a March 19 2008 condemnation of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed which was followed by an attack on the Danish Embassy in Islamabad on June 2, 2008.

The phrase also was used in bin Laden’s April 15, 2004 European truce offer, which was followed by Al-Qaeda attacks in London in July 2005, according to the IntelCenter, which said the 14-month lapse could be explained by the “difficulty” in actually putting an attack into operation.

Audio releases were bin Laden’s normal vehicle for statements, with video statements having been very rare since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States that killed almost 3,000 people, IntelCenter said.

24 Jan 2010

Hubris Punished

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Willem-Adolphe Bouguereau, Liberal Democrat Pursued By the Furies, 1862, Chrysler Museum of Art

Jay Ambrose takes on the role of Greek chorus, chanting about the lessons “Progressives” should have learned when they were turned out of office last time and didn’t.

Go back some decades, and it looked as if liberals were going to be the death of America. They wanted to take it really easy on criminals. They favored welfare programs that destroyed families. They backed foreign aid that buttressed tyrannies. Their way of dealing with enemies was unilateral disarmament. Still other proposals could have spent, taxed and regulated us into oblivion.

The voters didn’t like all of this, the L-word became a curse, and so liberals went into something akin to a witness protection program. They changed their name to “progressives” and if they did not quite hide out, they became less obtrusive with some of their views. Yes, they griped, fumed, engaged in numerous sneak attacks and thumbed their noses at the opposition, but they did turn the lights dimmer than before on their grand vision of free-enterprise destruction and runaway statism.

Ah, but then after their surprising 1990s ascension came the self-destruction of earmark-happy, spendthrift congressional Republicans who seemed to assume power was theirs forever, even if many of their principles were proving strangely evaporative.

So first off, the Democrats took back Congress. Then Barack Obama used unexcelled rhetorical skills, a recession, an unpopular war in Iraq and George W. Bush’s deep decline in public estimation to capture the White House. Conservative values had supposedly been rejected, and behold, it was the liberal hour, a time for the enlightened few to strike back, to fix things – glory, glory hallelujah!

The arrogance was suffocating. Resurrected liberals were practically smirking as they instructed us to sweet-talk our way out of terrorist threats, advised we should quickly duplicate Europe’s semi-socialist mistakes and condescendingly dished up all manner of other liberty-smothering ideological inanities that would transform America into a poor imitation of what it once was. …

Ordinary Americans have caught onto all of this, and so, I am sorry, liberals, but the word of the day for you is “lose.” Your side has lost elections in New Jersey and Virginia, and now your side has lost the Senate seat previously held by the very liberal Ted Kennedy in very liberal Massachusetts to Scott Brown, a Republican.

The message to the Democrats is simple. Either give up your liberal ways and veer toward the center or face political catastrophe in November’s general election. The message to liberals generally is also simple: Get back into your witness protection program.

No, Senators and Congressmen, the message of 2008 was not, “Go ahead and repeat the New Deal.” What 2008 really proved is that Americans are, for the most part, pragmatic and apolitical. When politics gets too noisy or too scary, when things start going to pot economically, they throw out the incumbents and send in the other team.

The Clintons alarmed America with Hillarycare, and the voters took away their Congressional majority. So Bill Clinton pulled in his horns and tried to govern competently, making noises like a Centrist. The economy caught fire as the Republican Congress favorably impacted economic policies, and Bill Clinton ironically even escaped removal from office, despite the Monica Lewinsky scandal and his perjury, because the public was decidedly content with a divided government featuring a competent democrat administration (however corrupt) as long as the economy was good.

Barack Obama has a very undeserved reputation for high intelligence. He is so stupid that he never even understood that there has come to exist, post the unhappy 1970s, a fundamental and unspoken contract between voters and leaders in American national politics: Don’t screw up the economy and you can be in office.

24 Jan 2010

“Proportionality in Modern Asymmetrical Wars”

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I would give the following paper by Amichai Cohen, International Law professor at Ono Academic College, Israel, a gentlemanly C.

Excerpt

Armed conflicts of this type have sometimes been termed “asymmetrical” –- an adjective used principally with reference to the fact that the protagonists are a state, with all its might and force, and an organization with few heavy arms and a limited number of fighters. But such conflicts are also asymmetrical in a more complicated sense: they are fought between a state, in possession of sound reasons for following the laws of armed conflicts (LOAC) or international humanitarian law (IHL), and a high incentive and organizational obligation to do so, on the one hand, and on the other hand, an organization that almost never follows these rules and has very little incentive to do so.

States involved in these conflicts mostly attempt to follow, or are expected by the international community to follow, IHL as detailed in customary international law, in the Geneva Conventions, and in other sources of applicable international law. However, it has become increasingly difficult to abide by these laws, mainly because of the novel nature of the problems that constantly arise. This brief review will only deal with two of the most prominent of such problems:

    The first is how to apply the rule forbidding indiscriminate attacks on a civilian population when the enemy deliberately operates from within that environment. Direct attacks against civilians are of course always forbidden. However, what are
    the appropriate norms that a state should apply when the only possible way of fighting the enemy involves risking the lives of civilians whom the enemy is using for its own protection?

    A second problem arises from the fact that non-state actors are not susceptible to the range of formal and informal sanction which may be used against states. Since international law is not policed effectively, non-state actors may readily assume
    that their violations of the laws of war, including those mentioned above, will not be punished by law. For example, they may target civilians of the state actor in the knowledge that there exists very small chance that they will be punished for
    doing so by any international judicial body. Consequently, while one side to the conflict behaves in accordance with IHL, the other considers itself to be free of the limitations imposed by these rules.

Read the whole thing.

My criticism is that, although Professor Cohen does a workmanlike academic job of dividing alternative perspectives into models, his fundamental approach is fundamentally far too abstract, unempiric, and ahistoric.

Restricting consideration of the practical responses to terrorism, guerrilla warfare, and violations of the laws and customs of war to a small number of very recent, poorly handled examples which occurred under the leadership of democratic governments, which obviously failed satisfactorily to implement or articulate clear policies, was a fundamental mistake.

The world did not suddenly spring into existence in 1993. “Assymetrical warfare” and the cynical exploitation of the chivalrous instincts and humanitarian values of honorable and civilized armies by outlaws and barbarians has always been part of the human experience. Military commanders from Classical Antiquity down to WWII frequently dealt with decisive effect with the same problems without scandalizing posterity by cruelty and excesses.

Professor Cohen is too satisfied with the classification of perspectives into “models,” and too cautious and timid about identifying explicitly the major and important role played in the fraudulent framing of the issue as presented to the public by dishonest and ideologically biased humanitarian organizations and the media.

24 Jan 2010

Cradle of Liberty, Grave of Obamacare

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Minuteman memorial near the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts.

Michael Goodwin thanks the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for change we can believe in.

We the people of the United States owe Scott Brown’s supporters a huge debt of gratitude. They didn’t merely elect a senator. They ripped the façade off the Obama presidency.

Just as Dorothy and Toto exposed the ordinary man behind the curtain in “The Wizard of Oz,” the voters in Massachusetts revealed that, in this White House, there is no there there.

It’s all smoke and mirrors, bells and whistles, held together with glib talk, Chicago politics and an audacious sense of entitlement.

At the center is a young and talented celebrity whose worldview, we now know, is an incoherent jumble of poses and big-government instincts. His self-aggrandizing ambition exceeds his ability by so much that he is making a mess of everything he touches.

He never advances a practical idea. Every proposal overreaches and comes wrapped in ideology and a claim of moral superiority. He doesn’t listen to anybody who doesn’t agree with him.

After his first year on the job, America is sliding backwards, into grave danger at home and around the world. So much so that I now believe either of his rivals, Hillary Clinton or John McCain, would have made a better, more reliable and more trustworthy president.

They warned us he wasn’t ready.

Yes, we’re stuck with him, but we’re no longer stuck with his suffocating conformity. The second Boston Tea Party opened the door to new ideas and new people of both parties.

Obama’s reactions were predictable. More self-pity, blaming George W. Bush, and claiming that the voter revolt is due to ignorance about the health-care plan they hate.

Blah blah blah. Hasn’t he heard? The magic is gone.

Massachusetts changed everything. America’s spirit of independence has been emancipated and the cult of Obama-ism is finished.

With the Brown victory over Coakley and the mighty Massachusetts democrat party machine, Massachusetts voters proved that no democrat seat is safe, and the radical Congressional democrat majority is cowering like a beaten dog.

The public had decisively rejected socialized health care and the completion of the transformation of America into a European-style welfare state for the second time. Nationalized health care has become the kind of third rail for democrats that Social Security Reform is commonly asserted to be for Republicans. Every time they try touching it, they get killed.

The 2000 election, in which Al Gore was so narrowly defeated losing West Virginia and his home state of Tennessee clearly because of his support for Gun Control, seems to have finally persuaded the democrat party leadership that Gun Control is simply too costly to be actively pursued in contests outside the most urban blue states. Perhaps the likely impending loss of control of Congress for the second time following a second power grab at health care will persuade them to put aside that long-cherished democrat platform plank, too.

When you come right down to it, it seems to me that it is possible to argue that, on the national level, when push comes to shove, the fundamental goals that democrat party politics have long been directed toward, socialism, central economic planning, the welfare state, bureaucracy, disenfranchisement of the individual in favor of officially recognized interest groups and estates, complete domestic disarmament, are all fatally unpopular with a decisive majority of Americans. When it reaches the point that voters really take a personal interest, pretty much all of the democrat party’s fundamental goals are third rails.

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