Saturday, August 28, 2004

Michelle Malkin: Bipartisan Betrayal at the Border

Can we talk about a war other than Vietnam for a minute?

Political debate is now focused on whether Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and his mates were under fire at Cam Ranh Bay and how close he was to the Cambodian border (not very) three decades ago. But there are American foot soldiers under siege right now on our own borders.

And neither party is doing much of anything to arm, fund or defend them.

Instead, the Associated Press reported this weekend that President Bush's nephew, George P. Bush, traveled to Mexico in search of overseas votes and condemned the federal policy of arming U.S. Border Patrol agents with plastic pellet guns. According to the AP:

"Speaking in a mix of English and sometimes-halting Spanish, George P. Bush said his uncle was not to blame for the gun policy, which has angered Mexicans. He instead blamed it on 'some local INS guy who's trying to be tough, act macho.' "

Bush went further in defaming the character of our Border Patrol agents and their supervisors: "If there has been American approval for this policy, that is reprehensible," George P. Bush said of the guns, essentially paintball projectiles filled with chile powder. "It's kind of barbarous."

Newsflash, George P.: Your uncle abolished the INS last spring. As for the pepperball gun policy, the Border Patrol purchased a measly 14 of the pellet guns for agents in Harlingen, Texas, earlier this month after conducting a study of non-lethal weaponry. The guns were first made available to agents to protect them against violent confrontations in California and Arizona in 2001.

Whose bright idea was it to arm our border guards with chile powder as they stand watch against terrorists, drug dealers and other thugs? Border Patrol spokesman Doug Mosier noted that the guns were purchased as part of a binational pilot project with -- pay attention, George P. -- Mexico.

George P. Bush calls it "barbarous" that we arm Border Patrol agents with plastic pellet guns. The true disgrace is that we have rendered our border guards defenseless, handing them toy guns instead of real weapons. The criminals in Mexico who traipse across our border have no problems with "macho" displays of barbarism. Park Ranger Kris Eggle was murdered by an AK-47-wielding Mexican drug smuggler two years ago this month. Kris was 28 when he was gunned down -- the same age as George P. Bush.

You want to talk about "reprehensible"? What is reprehensible is a prominent American citizen disrespecting our federal immigration enforcement officers on foreign soil while scraping for expatriate votes. Border Patrol agents and Park Rangers on the southern border put their lives on the lines every day to protect us from harm. They should be thanked, not trashed.

If George P.'s views were merely his own, they might not be worth anyone's time. But homeland security officials in Washington have been doing their fair share of undermining rank-and-file Border Patrol agents as well from the comfort of their air-conditioned offices. When a mobile unit of border agents in Southern California made a series of high-profile mass arrests of illegal aliens in June, prompting the ire of ethnic activists and Hispanic Democrats, Under Secretary for Border and Transportation Security Asa Hutchinson iced the agents' efforts and publicly criticized the arrests. Instead of backing his own men and women, Hutchinson assured the open borders lobby that his department would bow to the "sensitivities" surrounding interior enforcement.

The retreat has had a devastating effect on border agents' morale -- and our safety. A new survey of border security personnel released this week by the National Border Patrol Council revealed that almost two-thirds of the workforce are demoralized, and nearly half of these employees have considered leaving their job within the past two years. The council noted: "Almost three years after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, despite the expenditure of billions of dollars and endless rhetoric from the top about how anti-terrorism is our foremost priority, only about half of these officers believe that our nation is any safer from terrorist threats."

Al Qaeda plots murder with dirty bombs, truck bombs and airplanes, while we arm our border guards with chile powder. Let's roll? Bull.

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Lowell Ponte: Ruckus at the Republican Convention

Lowell Ponte August 27, 2004

Leftist Web sites have worried the police in New York City whose job is to prevent radicals and terrorists from disrupting and endangering the 2004 Republican National Convention. These anti-President George W. Bush Internet sites have encouraged protestors to bring slingshots to attack police horses, and marbles that can be thrown beneath those horses’ hooves to make them slip and injure themselves and their police officer riders.
These sites have provided “anarchist cookbook” recipes that tell protestors how to set off sensors used to detect terrorist explosives and chemical weapons. Such detectors sounding an alarm could cause panic, mass evacuations, a disrupted convention and the loss of scarce national television prime time for the Republican message.
During the 1960s, protest as a form of civilized dialogue began to be replaced in America by protest used as political theater, as political warfare and increasingly as political terrorism.

This article examines how one group of today’s uncivilized protestors is undermining our democratic republic. It also explores connections between this radical protest organization and both Teresa Heinz Kerry and a key operative in the highest echelon of the campaign organization of Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry.

The Ruckus Society is a leftwing organization that advocates – and trains radicals from a wide variety of other leftwing groups how to use – “direct action” and “guerrilla communication” to promote “progressive” politics. During the Clinton Administration it was given tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) “charitable organization.”

The Ruckus Society was formed in 1995 in the San Francisco Bay area by two radical environmental activists. One was Howard “Twilly” Cannon, who was on the front lines of seagoing confrontations for Greenpeace. The other was Mike Roselle, a co-founder of both the far-left Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and the violent eco-terrorist group Earth First! notorious for spiking trees with concealed 11” nails that caused lumberjack chain saw chains to snap and cause severe injuries to the user.

This and related Earth First! techniques to jam and break the machinery of capitalism are called “monkey-wrenching” by radicals after their canonical text The Monkey Wrench Gang, a 1975 novel by Edward Abbey that glorifies the burning of billboards and terrorist attacks on machinery. The Ruckus Society’s logo depicts two large meshed gears of a machine with a monkey wrench wedged into their teeth to stop them. The early Industrial Revolution spawned its own word with the same meaning – sabotage, from the way French factory workers would shut down machines by throwing their wooden shoes, sabots, into the gears to jam them.

Earth First! begat the domestic terrorist group Earth Liberation Front (ELF), which along with related eco-animal terrorist groups (according to a May 2004 FBI statement before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee) have “committed more than 1,100 criminal acts in the United States since 1976, resulting in damages conservatively estimated at approximately $110 million.” These included the torching of a large apartment complex under construction in San Diego, California and many more violent terrorist acts.

The Ruckus Society played a major role in the 1999 radical assault on Seattle, Washington to protest a World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting there. Leftist activists, including ones who learned confrontation tactics and guerrilla theatre techniques at Ruckus training camps, smashed store windows, set cars ablaze and did millions of dollars in property damage.

“Violence to me is against living things,” Ruckus’ Executive Director John Sellers told far-left Mother Jones Magazine. “But inanimate objects? I think you can be destructive, you can use vandalism strategically. It may be violence under the law, but I just don’t think it’s violence.”

Prior to the protests, reported the Chicago Tribune, two Ruckus Society leaders made a deal with Seattle police. The Ruckus leaders promised that if a few hundred protestors could have the media photo opportunity to symbolically break through the security cordon around the WTO meeting, the protestors would then promptly submit to peaceful arrest. Police officials in liberal Seattle naively agreed. But when the moment for this photo-op came, thousands of protestors rushed aggressively through the police security line and refused to submit to arrest. Having been deceived, the police responded with enough force to stop the violent protestors.

“The police response to civil disobedience was brutality,” declared Sellers, who had learned to use such radical tricks when he was head of the Washington, D.C. office of another far-left organization Greenpeace. “We had discussions with them and they were not supposed to use physical force unless there was a life-threatening situation.” But after the dust settled Sellers boasted to USA Today: “We kicked the WTO’s butt all over the Northwest.”

At the 2000 Republican Convention in Philadelphia, Ruckus-trained leftists planned to bring the city to a halt with rioting. Well-prepared police stopped them, and in the process seized improvised weapons, gasoline-soaked rags, and piano wire that the protestors intended to string across streets to trip police horses. In the melee 23 police cars were damaged and 15 officers were injured.

Even the Executive Director of the left-leaning American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Larry Frankel said of the Philadelphia protestors: “We believe that vandalizing property, turning over trash cans, assaulting persons and shutting down the city by blocking traffic are not activities protected by the First Amendment.”

More than 400 of the Philadelphia anti-Republican protestors were arrested. John Sellers (who during years of “civil disobedience” has been arrested more than 40 times) was charged with “obstruction of justice, obstructing a highway, failure to disperse, recklessly endangering another person, and conspiracy.”

“We think it would be terrible public policy for us to have people come, joining in what appears to us to be a very well thought out, well-planned conspiracy to shut down the city of Philadelphia and disrupt the convention that was here,” said Democratic Mayor John Street, “and at the end of the day we say all is forgiven, go back where you came from. That will not be the case.” But as typically happens with property-destroying leftwing activist lawbreakers, all criminal charges against Ruckus Society leader Sellers were dropped three months later.

According to the Ruckus Society’s Action Planning Training Manual, what it calls its tactics of “non-violent” destruction of property and disruption of other peoples’ lives is as American as apple pie. “One of the most famous direct actions ever, the Boston Tea Party,” it reads, “is patriotically taught in school.”

The Ruckus manual argues that such lawbreaking is justifiable. “It is also illegal to break into a home. But if that home is on fire and you fear someone will be hurt, it is OK – in fact it is your responsibility – to break in. This is the argument of competing harms: A smaller harm is accepted if it prevents a greater harm from occurring."

Such twisted sophistry is based on the arrogant aristocratic assumption by leftists of their own moral and intellectual superiority to everybody else. Such leftists believe that their radicalism makes them as noble as Mahatma Gandhi or Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and entitles them to impose their superior ideology on the rest of us at gunpoint. The Ruckus manual to teach radicals how to manipulate the news media almost says this outright: “As activists we often have a more sophisticated understanding of an issue than the general public.”

The same kind of belief in his superiority led demonic megalomaniac Adolf Hitler to propose that, for the “greater good” of the human race, he had to set aside civilized law and commit the “small harm” of eradicating the Jews. The Ruckus Society’s rationalization for lawlessness and destroying the property in which others have invested their lives is no better than that of their fellow socialist Hitler.

The Ruckus Society’s “action camps” have also provided training to thousands of radical activists in the techniques of agitation, disruption and how to select targets. Those it has trained have come from many different leftwing groups, including RAN, Earth First! and ELF. “Nearly half of Ruckus’ roster of camp ‘trainers,’” according to research by the Center for Consumer Freedom, “proclaims membership in Earth First! as well.” Among the topics taught at these boot camps for radicals have been “street blockades,” “police confrontation strategies” and “using the media to your advantage.”

Activists who have undergone Ruckus training are to ordinary protestors as a Navy Seal commando is to an ordinary foot soldier. Ruckus graduates have been armed with a huge toolbox of ways to goad police into overreaction, exploit situations, and cause problems for those they target. Ruckus has become the military academy where dozens of leftwing groups send their elite shock troop protestors to learn the skills of waging guerrilla street warfare against capitalism.

One such leftwing activist is Zack Exley, who was trained by and has worked as a “workshop facilitator” for The Ruckus Society.

Since April 2004 Exley has been the Director of Online Communications and Online Organizing for the John Kerry-John Edwards 2004 presidential campaign organization. Are Senator Kerry (and the Secret Service agents who protect him) aware of Exley’s training with and for this law-breaking violent anarchist group, and of its links to members of domestic terrorist organizations?

Now that FrontPage Magazine has made the public aware of this, when will Senator Kerry (or the Secret Service) demand Mr. Exley’s resignation from the Kerry-Edwards campaign staff?

Can Senator Kerry be trusted to fight terrorism if he knowingly employs as one
of his highest campaign staffers an extremist who has been involved with the Ruckus Society, whose leader was arrested for alleged activities involved with trying to disrupt the 2000 Republican National Convention, and that has trained radicals planning to disrupt the 2004 Republican National Convention?

Although Ruckus leaders say they teach only non-violence (i.e., violence against property but supposedly not people whose lives, blood and sweat are invested in that property), the chairman of one of their targets, the tree-farming company Boise Cascade, has said that what the Ruckus Society calls “direct action” is just “a euphemism for violent intimidation and aggressive harassment.”

“The Ruckus Society has taken on the task of turning radical left wing political demonstrations, and repackaging them, into benign but wacky, media-friendly events,” one anonymous internet blogger opined. “But a disruptive freak show is still a disruptive freak show no matter how big the clown shoes are. Behind the big banners….remain the same old messages of anti-Americanism, anti-capitalism…. Go ahead and paint a happy face on the Earth Liberation Front…. The FBI still knows that they’re a domestic terrorist group. Go ahead and give members of the Communist Party USA a shave and a haircut. Maybe you can even teach them how to smile. Doesn’t matter.” (“Anarchism,” Ruckus leader Sellers declared, “has gotten a really bad rap, like communism.”)

After John Sellers was arrested in Philadelphia amidst law-breaking protestors near the 2000 Republican National Convention, his bail was initially set at an unprecedented $1 million because, said one prosecutor, Sellers “facilitates the more radical elements to accomplish their objective of violence and mayhem.”

In 2004 the Ruckus Society planned no protests outside the Democratic National Convention in Boston, but it has planned for powerful protests against the 2004 Republican National Convention in 9/11-terrorist-ravaged New York City. “Everybody,” Ruckus leader Sellers told the Boston Globe, “is concerned first and foremost with getting the Bush Administration out of office.”

The Ruckus Society is a coalition member with United for Peace and Justice (UPJ), the main group organizing these anti-Republican protests. One of the leaders of UPJ is Medea Benjamin, who also played a key role in organizing the 1999 Seattle protests. Visiting Communist Cuba for the first time during the 1980s, the Nicaraguan Marxist Sandinista supporter and Fidel Castro acolyte Benjamin declared, was “like I died and went to heaven.”)

The Ruckus Society has over the years been given $150,000 by the Turner Foundation, endowed by leftist Cable News Network (CNN) founder Ted Turner. Ruckus has also accepted more than $23,000 from the leftwing Tides Foundation, which has been given at least $400,000 by the Heinz Foundation, which is controlled by Teresa Heinz Kerry, who is the wife of 2004 Democratic Party presidential candidate Senator John F. Kerry. Money being fungible, it is reasonable to infer that some of the cash that has bankrolled Ruckus Society protests and the training of confrontational radical protestors at the 2000 and 2004 Republican National Conventions has come via the family of Democratic candidate John F. Kerry.

And at Ruckus Society training camps some of those protestors might have learned their skills alongside or from the man who today sits at the center of the Kerry campaign’s web operations, Zack Exley.

Every monkey wrench thrown at Republicans between now and election day should be checked carefully for Democrat fingerprints and DNA.

Mr. Ponte hosts a national radio talk show Saturdays 6-9 PM Eastern Time (3-6 PM Pacific Time) and Sundays 9 PM-Midnight Eastern Time (6-9 PM Pacific Time) on the Liberty Broadcasting network (formerly TalkAmerica). Internet Audio worldwide is at LibertyBroadcasting .com. The show's live call-in number is 1-866-GO LOWELL (1-866-465-6935). A professional speaker, he is a former Roving Editor for Reader's Digest.

Prof. M.T. Owens: Fahrenheit 1971

From the September 6, 2004 issue: The radicalism of the young John Kerry. by Mackubin Thomas Owens
The Weekly Standard: 09/06/2004, Volume 009, Issue 48

"We will not quickly join those who march on Veterans' Day waving small flags, calling to memory those thousands who died for the "greater glory of the United States." We will not accept the rhetoric. We will not readily join the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars--in fact, we will find it hard to join anything at all and when we do, we will demand relevancy such as other organizations have recently been unable to provide. We will not take solace from the creation of monuments or the naming of parks after a select few of the thousands of dead Americans and Vietnamese. We will not uphold the traditions which decorously memorialize that which was base and grim. . . . We are asking America to turn from false glory, hollow victory, fabricated foreign threats, fear which threatens us as a nation, shallow pride which feeds of fear."

- John F. Kerry Epilogue to The New Soldier (1971)

WHEN THE VIETNAM VETERANS' MEMORIAL was unveiled in Washington, D.C., in the 1980s, there was a great deal of talk about "healing" the divisions of the Vietnam war. The controversy generated by the anti-Kerry book Unfit for Command and ads run by an organization called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth criticizing John Kerry's record in Vietnam and his actions after he returned indicates that there is still a lot of "healing" to do. Indeed, the divisions over the Vietnam war may well never heal as long as those who fought it and those who protested it are still alive. This is because the very act of remembering Vietnam places one in the midst of a culture war.

On the one side in this culture war are those who believe that Vietnam wasn't very different from other wars. The cause was just, but it was as affected by ambiguities as any other war, including World War II. In the end, the U.S. defeat was the result of strategic failure, not moral failure. Those who fought it were doing their duty as they saw it, just as their fathers and grandfathers had done theirs when the times demanded it of them.
On the other side are those for whom the Vietnam war represented the very essence of evil. The United States had no business fighting this war and could never have won it. It was not like other wars. All it did was wreck lives, American and Vietnamese. It was one continuous atrocity. War crimes were par for the course. Those who fought it were different from those who fought the "good war." They returned home psychologically if not physically crippled--homeless, drug addicted, and likely to commit suicide.

Some on the anti-Vietnam side have moderated their views in light of what happened in the aftermath of the U.S. withdrawal from Southeast Asia. They stipulate that they were wrong about communism. The cost of American defeat was high, especially to the South Vietnamese and Cambodians. The price of South Vietnam's "liberation" was, in addition to Saigon's war dead, a minimum of 100,000 summary executions at the hands of the Communist liberators, a million and a half "boat people," a like number of individuals sentenced to "reeducation camps," genocide in Cambodia, and a perceived shift in the "correlation of forces" that encouraged Soviet adventurism throughout the 1970s. But as Mickey Kaus admitted in an essay that appeared in Slate in May 2001 amid the furor over whether the killing of certain civilians by men under the command of former Nebraska senator Bob Kerrey amounted to a war crime, those who had moderated their antiwar views still wanted to be honored for their "idealism": "The Thanh Phong story," Kaus wrote, "reminds us that avoiding serving in Vietnam had an honorable and realistic ethical basis (in addition to its realistic selfish basis)."

But others on the anti-Vietnam side of the culture war continue to take their bearings, either directly or indirectly, from the hard-core opinion of those who believe that the Vietnam war represented all that is evil about America--capitalistic exploitation, racism, and imperialism. Noam Chomsky and H. Bruce Franklin exemplify this view. As the latter writes in "The Vietnam War and the Culture Wars," Vietnam, far from being "an aberration, some kind of wayward 'mistake' by a nation long leading the world's march to progress," instead "typified the nation's history from colonial settler regime to global empire." Indeed, for Franklin, the Vietnam war was the culmination of the 600-year-old European crusade to oppress people of color throughout the globe--thus the mass murderer Lt. William Calley (My Lai) was only the latest manifestation of the spirit of that earlier mass murderer, Christopher Columbus.

During his presidential campaign, John Kerry has sought to portray himself as a member of the first group--a veteran proud of his service in Vietnam. In his remarks on July 25 at the Democratic National Convention, Kerry said, "We [veterans] fought for this nation because we loved it. . . . I defended this country as a young man and I will defend it as president." But this sentiment is completely at odds with his infamous testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on April 22, 1971, wherein he said he and those he spoke for were "ashamed of and hated what we were called on to do in Southeast Asia. . . . And to attempt to justify the loss of one American life in Vietnam, Cambodia, or Laos by linking such loss to the preservation of freedom . . . is to us the height of criminal hypocrisy."

The fact is that most Americans have no idea how radical Kerry's views on Vietnam were. His April 1971 Senate testimony (reprinted in full on pages 9-12) could have been written by Chomsky or Franklin. But the larger reality is even more troubling.
In his indispensable America in Vietnam, Guenter Lewy notes the establishment of a veritable war-crimes industry, supported by the Soviet Union, as early as 1965. As Ion Mihai Pacepa, a former Romanian intelligence chief, has recounted, the Soviets set up permanent international organizations--including the International War Crimes Tribunal and the Stockholm Conference on Vietnam--"to aid or to conduct operations to help Americans dodge the draft or defect, to demoralize its army with anti-American propaganda, to conduct protests, demonstrations, and boycotts, and to sanction anyone connected with the war."

Pacepa claims to have been responsible for fabricating stories about U.S. atrocities in Vietnam and "flacking" them to Western news organizations. Lewy writes that "the Communists made skillful use of their worldwide propaganda apparatus . . . and they found many Western intellectuals only too willing to accept every conceivable allegation of [American] wrongdoing at face value." The Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW), a small, radical group that never exceeded a membership of 7,000 (including John Kerry) from a pool of nearly 3 million Vietnam (and 9 million Vietnam-era) veterans, essentially "Americanized" Soviet propaganda. When he testified before the Senate in 1971, Kerry was merely repeating charges that had been making the rounds since 1965.

Kerry also claimed that containing communism was no reason to fight in Vietnam:
"In our opinion, and from our experience, there is nothing in South Vietnam, nothing which could happen that realistically threatens the United States of America. . . . I want to relate to you the feeling that many of the men who have returned to this country express because we are probably angriest about all that we were told about Vietnam and about the mystical war against communism.

We found that not only was it a civil war, an effort by a people who had for years been seeking their liberation from any colonial influence whatsoever, but also we found that the Vietnamese whom we had enthusiastically molded after our own image were hard put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from.
We found most people didn't even know the difference between communism and democracy."

Perhaps this perspective explains the fact that John Kerry, as he proudly told the Senate, met with the North Vietnamese and Vietcong delegations in Paris in May 1970. According to his testimony, he discussed the peace proposals advanced by the North Vietnamese--especially the eight points of Madame Binh. This all took place while Americans were still fighting and dying in Vietnam. Shortly before Kerry's Senate testimony, other representatives of the VVAW met with the North Vietnamese and VC delegations in Paris.

MANY OF KERRY'S DEFENDERS contend that anti-Kerry veterans have no right to criticize his speaking out against the war, especially in view of his service in that war. But it is not his protests against the war that anger veterans so much as his method of doing so. In a recent NPR editorial, James Webb, a genuine hero of the Vietnam war (Navy Cross), the author of Fields of Fire, the best novel about Vietnam, and secretary of the Navy during the Reagan administration, observed:
"For most veterans it was not that Kerry was against the war, but that he used his military credentials to denigrate the service of a whole generation of veterans. The Vietnam Veterans Against the War was a very small, highly radical organization. Their stories of atrocious conduct, repeated in lurid detail by Kerry before the Congress, represented not the typical experience of the American soldier, but its ugly extreme. That the articulate, urbane Kerry would validate such allegations helped to make life hell for many Vietnam veterans, for a very long time."

There were many individuals who returned from Vietnam troubled about the war. Some were critical of U.S. strategy, operations, and tactics in Vietnam. Others came to believe the war was wrong on moral grounds. But most did not slander their comrades using language that mirrored Soviet or Vietnamese Communist propaganda. Most did not consort with the enemy in a time of war. It was possible to oppose the war without doing what Kerry did.

Look at a contemporary example. On the one hand, there are those whose criticism of [the war in] Iraq is fueled by a visceral hatred for the American polity. For these critics, the war in Iraq is all about oil and Halliburton, just one more manifestation of American imperialism--Bush is Hitler and the United States is "Amerikkka." This is the perspective of Michael Moore, Ramsey Clark, and

On the other hand, there are many thoughtful people who oppose U.S. policy in Iraq. This group includes individuals I greatly admire and whose judgment I would rarely gainsay, such as the aforementioned Jim Webb (a good friend) and retired Marine general Anthony Zinni, former commander of Central Command. Both criticize the policy and strategy decisions of the Bush administration and express concern about the risks associated with these policies. They don't employ the language of the Bush-haters to denounce the United States for conducting an immoral and unjust war.

Kerry's actions after Vietnam are reminiscent of Michael Moore and today. It was not enough for him merely to criticize U.S. policy in Vietnam. He and his friends in the VVAW were obliged by their radicalism to go after the United States itself.
Kerry could have defused much of the controversy regarding his postwar activities had he simply apologized for his remarks. But he insists on having it both ways: war hero and courageous war protester. The closest he has come was to respond in April 2004 on Meet the Press to Tim Russert's query about the testimony by saying, "I'm not going to quibble, you know, 35 years later that I might not have phrased things more artfully at times."

I will not question Kerry's record in Vietnam. But his actions after the war are a different matter. After all, his radical views regarding Vietnam are not simply of historical interest. As the Wall Street Journal recently observed, Kerry's denunciation of the United States in 1971 "presaged a career in which he has always been quick to attack the moral and military purposes of American policy--in Central America, against the Soviet Union, and of course during the current Iraq war that he initially voted for."

Mackubin Thomas Owens is professor of national security at the Naval War College. He led a Marine infantry platoon in Vietnam in 1968-69.

© Copyright 2004, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Jonah Goldberg: Unless You Were There
August 26, 2004, 8:30 a.m.

Unless You Were There...I will judge, dammit.

Maybe it's because I've spent the better part of a month in the farthest left corner of Washington state — speaking geographically and otherwise — but I find the whole SwiftVets controversy a little maddening.

I haven't spent a lot of time studying the allegations made in Unfit for Command, (and if that's what you're looking for, NRO has plenty to offer elsewhere). And since I haven't read the book, I guess I'm really not qualified to offer too much of an opinion on the details, at least not an opinion that isn't crusted over with clichés and conventional wisdom.

But all of this does raise an interesting question. Even if I had read the book, would I have the right to an opinion?

Let me explain. As longtime readers know, one of my bigger gripes is the notion that only some people are qualified to make certain judgments or arguments. For example, it drives me nuts when racialists say "it's a black thing" or when they talk about "white logic." One time, I defended myself in a column against the charge of racism by quoting from the dictionary the definition of racism. I received a bunch of e-mails from offended Asian Americans who were furious that I would "dare" invoke a dictionary in my defense when the only reliable measure of my racism was their feelings.

Anyway, while most conservatives agree, at least in principle, that the notions of subjective truth at the core of identity politics are poisonous and dangerous, in my experience conservatives are far more divided over the importance of, well, experience. I don't necessarily think, however, that this is a liberal-conservative thing so much as evidence of the way some clichés can corrupt the way we think.

For example, a few years ago it was reported that then-Senator Bob Kerrey may have done some bad things in Vietnam. Instantaneously, defenders exclaimed, "Unless you were there, you have no right to judge." Now, while I thought Kerrey deserved the benefit of the doubt, and the self-righteousness of anti-war liberals bothers me no matter what the circumstances, as a matter of first principles I thought this argument was nonsense.

After all, in many important spheres of life proximity to or participation in events is a disqualification for objectivity. If you are an eyewitness to a crime — never mind a victim of it — there's no way you could be put on an impartial jury charged with "judging" a defendant. What defense lawyer would welcome having the presiding judge also play the dual role of prosecutor? For instance, none of the jurors in the Abu Ghraib courts martial are prison guards at Abu Ghraib, and rightly so.

Similarly, if we cannot make judgments about the alleged crimes committed in battle unless we were there, how can we make judgments about their heroism? Is the fog of war so selective that it can conceal the bad a man does, but not the good?

And, as a side note, this view neuters the study of history entirely. Since none of us were around during slavery, does that mean we have no right to judge? In a few years time, there won't be any Holocaust survivors left. I guess we will lose with them our right to have opinions about all that. Or consider John Keegan, indisputably one of the 20th century's greatest military historians. He never served in battle, so I guess he's wasting his time offering opinions about anything.

In a sense this is all of a piece with the interminable "chicken-hawk" gripe which is now oddly descending upon Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. For decades, Cheney's foreign-policy expertise was universally respected — until 2004, when the Democrats suddenly discovered that their candidate not only served in Vietnam, but was determined to base his entire bid for the presidency on his four months there. Now prominent Democrats are claiming that Cheney is a "coward" and that he has no right to criticize John Kerry's views and votes on foreign-policy issues, because Cheney didn't serve in Vietnam.

As for the president, the only area in which he beats John Kerry decisively in the polls is, broadly, in his capacity as commander-in-chief. The American people — as well as a majority of veterans and (I presume) those serving in the military — generally think Bush is a better war president than Kerry would be. And yet the Kerry campaign insists that Kerry's stint in Vietnam makes him more qualified to be a war president because George W. Bush's four-year term as a war president cannot outweigh the fact that John Kerry spent four months in Vietnam. Meanwhile a bunch of guys who served alongside Kerry under similar circumstances all say that Kerry's full of it, and the Democrats say they have no right to talk at all. Indeed, they want the book pulled from bookstores. Follow all of that?

Now, keep in mind this is all largely a reversal from twelve years ago when Bill Clinton ran for office. Back then the Paul Begalas and John Kerrys claimed that service in Vietnam — or anywhere else — was irrelevant to being an effective president (while some Republicans were largely saying the reverse). Now, suddenly, it is the qualification that trumps all others.

My point isn't the usual hypocrisy gotcha, though that's certainly worth pointing out. It's that experience — while more often than not superior to the lack of it — isn't as powerful or important as we like to think. If service in Vietnam or in uniform were the prerequisite for correct thinking on military and foreign-policy issues, then you'd think Veterans would all agree with each other. Obviously, they don't. The media's favorite veteran, John McCain, disagrees with John Kerry about Iraq and most foreign-policy issues (depending on which day of the week Kerry is talking). John Edwards talks about how Kerry still carries shrapnel in his leg and therefore...therefore...therefore, well, something along the lines of nobody's ever allowed to criticize John Kerry. Obviously, that's idiotic on its face. If it's not, maybe we should count the side with the most shrapnel in its collective body and declare it the most qualified to lead the country. My guess is Karl Rove would be happy with that.

We do not live in the world of Starship Troopers where only veterans are allowed to vote.

In a democracy, arguments and reason must count for something, if not necessarily everything. During the lead-up to the war, opponents of the war (including hundreds of nasty folks in my e-mail box) declared that the White House had no right to send troops into combat because they hadn't seen it themselves. Or, I remember Chris Matthews trying to bully Rich Lowry into silence during the lead-up to the war. Matthews shrieked at Rich something to the effect of "Have you ever been to the Middle East!?" And when Rich said no, Matthews responded something like "Well, then you have no right to talk."

This is the path to madness. If reading books and articles, talking to experts — including veterans — and making arguments built on facts and logic is always insufficient compared to the experience of being shot at — or taking a walking tour of a Middle Eastern city — then we must have compulsory military conscription for everybody — men, women, Quakers, Amish, gays, and invalids included (and then find ways to rotate them through combat). That's the only way to ensure that everyone maintains their rights.

Of course, that's not what anyone has in mind. One reason, it seems, liberals have bought into this cliché so fiercely when it comes to John Kerry is that they think it will work for him and hurt George W. Bush. A related motive seems to be, simply, payback for past slights at the hands of the party more comfortable expressing patriotism and support for the military. A third motive for this chicken-hawk nonsense is simple bullying. It was and is a thuggish attempt to silence opponents' arguments without dealing with them on the merits. Don't like Wolfowitz's (or Lowry's ) argument but don't have any good answers to it? Easy: Say he has no right to make it.

Conservatives have, by and large, bought into this argument for different reasons altogether, chief among them laziness. Vietnam was complicated in every sense. It was obviously confusing and chaotic for many who were there and for even more who weren't. Explaining the rightness of what often seemed to be — and sometimes were — horrendous acts was just plain hard. Carefully explaining or even discussing the fact that terrible things happen in even the "best" of wars to people who believed that anti-Communism itself was paranoid and even reactionary was almost impossible. The ingratitude of some antiwar liberals made things even harder. Why bother reasoning with the deliberately unreasonable?

In much the same way liberals can scream bloody murder at the slightest perceived racial insensitivity on the part of cops but go deaf to the explanations behind it, knee-jerk opponents of the military found it difficult to understand, easy to condemn, and impossible to sympathize with American troops doing difficult and messy work in America's interests. Hence the instinctive response from those inclined to support the military: "Unless you were there, you have no right to judge." This is less an argument and more a sign of exhaustion.

But as a civilian who never served in uniform I reserve my right to judge, to form opinions based upon what I learn. When it is demonstrated definitively that American soldiers do terrible things, I want to feel free to say so, not least because if I don't condemn those who do wrong I am in effect saying the best are no better than the worst. But more important, I want the right to judge because without that right I cannot take pride in them, except on the cheap, and I cannot express my gratitude and have it be sincere.

The latest:
Unless You Were There... 08/26
Not-So-Swift Silencer 08/25
Misusing Hayek 08/20
Yucca Fear Mongering 08/16
Previous Articles
MisunderestimatedBill Sammon paints a riveting portrait of President Bush as he broadens the war on terror overseas.Buy it through NR

WFB: Gruesome and Constitutional 08/27 2:29 p.m.
Lowry: The McCain Myth 08/27 2:09 p.m.
Owens: A Tangled Web 08/27 12:53 p.m.
Carney: No Dollar Left Behind 08/27 12:45 p.m.
York: Kerry and Swift Boats: A Damage Report 08/27 9:29 a.m.
Kudlow: The Clinton-Hastert Wedge 08/27 9:09 a.m.
BuzzCharts: Wages of Spin 08/27 9:08 a.m.
Graham: Taxing Times for Democrats 08/27 8:58 a.m.
Kurtz: The Dangerous Secret 08/27 8:56 a.m.
Moore: Grapes of Wrath 08/27 8:53 a.m.
Wallison: Quiz Show 08/27 8:52 a.m.
Marshall: Four Million 08/27 8:44 a.m.
VDH: The Fog of Battle 08/27 8:43 a.m.
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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Robert J. Samuelson: So Much For Free Speech

Wednesday, August 25, 2004; Page A17
The Washington Post

The presidential campaign has confirmed that, under the guise of "campaign finance reform," Congress and the Supreme Court have repealed large parts of the First Amendment. They have simply discarded what were once considered constitutional rights of free speech and political association. It is not that these rights have vanished. But they are no longer constitutional guarantees. They're governed by limits and qualifications imposed by Congress, the courts, state legislatures, regulatory agencies -- and lawyers' interpretations of all of the above.

We have entered an era of constitutional censorship. Hardly anyone wants to admit this -- the legalized demolition of the First Amendment would seem shocking -- and so hardly anyone does. The evidence, though, abounds. The latest is the controversy over the anti-Kerry ads by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth and parallel anti-Bush ads by Democratic "527" groups such as Let's assume (for argument's sake) that everything in these ads is untrue. Still, the United States' political tradition is that voters judge the truthfulness and relevance of campaign arguments. We haven't wanted our political speech filtered.

Now there's another possibility. The government may screen what voters see and hear. The Kerry campaign has asked the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to ban the Swift Boat ads; the Bush campaign similarly wants the FEC to suppress the pro-Democrat 527 groups. We've arrived at this juncture because it's logically impossible both to honor the First Amendment and to regulate campaign finance effectively. We can do one or the other -- but not both. Unfortunately, Congress and the Supreme Court won't admit the choice. The result is the worst of both worlds. We gut the First Amendment and don't effectively regulate campaign finance.

The First Amendment says that Congress "shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or . . . the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government" (that's "political association''). The campaign finance laws, the latest being McCain-Feingold, blatantly violate these prohibitions. The Supreme Court has tried to evade the contradiction. It has allowed limits on federal campaign contributions. It justifies the limits as preventing "corruption" or "the appearance of corruption." But the court has rejected limits on overall campaign spending by candidates, parties or groups. Limiting spending, the court says, would violate free speech. Spending enables candidates to reach voters through TV and other media.

Unfortunately, this artful distinction doesn't work. If groups can spend any amount on campaigns, their spending can easily become unlimited contributions. All they need to do is ask the campaign how their money ought to be spent -- on what TV ads, for example. To prevent this, the FEC imposes restrictions on "coordination" between candidates, parties and groups making "independent expenditures." John Kerry alleges that the Swift Boat Veterans and the Bush campaign "coordinated" illegally. Republicans see similar ties between Kerry and Democratic 527s.

But "coordination" is really "speech" and "political association." It's talking and planning among people who want to elect or defeat the same candidates. There's an indestructible inconsistency between the language of the First Amendment and campaign finance laws. Why shouldn't veterans coordinate with Bush? Why shouldn't Democratic 527s coordinate with Kerry? The Supreme Court upholds the campaign finance laws simply by ignoring the First Amendment's language.

All the legal twisting has (so far) produced mostly self-censorship. Politicians try to comply with the law's letter and evade its spirit. To maximize its support for Kerry, the Democratic National Committee has set up a separate "independent expenditures" unit. The unit's top officials aren't supposed to talk politics with the Kerry campaign or other DNC officials. In a recent Newsweek interview, DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe was asked about the unit's ads. Here's his abbreviated (for space) response:
McAuliffe: Legally, I cannot have that conversation. . . . I cannot signal to the Kerry campaign what type of ads we're doing, how much money we're spending, because that would be deemed coordination. . . .

Q: You can't tell him anything about what the themes of your advertising will be?
A: No sir, absolutely not . . .
Q: Do these rules strike you as absurd?
A: Yes.

Of course they're absurd. A party and its candidates should talk about whatever they want. If the First Amendment doesn't cover that, what would it cover? It's also unrealistic to think -- regardless of legal precautions -- that "signaling" won't occur between support groups and candidates.

The media poorly describe what's happening. Campaign finance reform is a respectable cause. It's inconvenient to say that the First Amendment is being scalped. Few do. The New York Times recently ran a story on two campaign lawyers -- one Democratic, one Republican -- who bring cases before the FEC to bend "the complex rules to their clients' maximum benefit." The story barely hinted that, once candidates need lawyers and rulings to say what they can do, their constitutional protections have disappeared.

But the truth cannot remain forever obscured. Campaign finance laws must fail at their larger aim of improving public confidence in politics and government. They breed disrespect for law, the Constitution or both. If the laws are aggressively expanded and enforced -- with more limits on contributions, spending and "coordination" -- people will realize they're losing their rights of free speech and political association. But if the laws are laxly enforced, as they have been, they will inspire continuing evasions and harsh condemnations by "reformers." Public confidence suffers either way. Americans will ultimately have to choose between the Constitution and a mere law -- or watch both be damaged.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

Daniel Pipes: "Islamophobic Prejudice"

"Islamophobic Prejudice" and CAIR

Daniel Pipes
August 25, 2004

In the early morning on July 9, 2004, a fire burned much of the Continental Spices Cash & Carry, a grocery store in Everett, Washington, specializing in Pakistani, Indian and Middle Eastern groceries. The fire caused an estimated $50,000 in damages but no injuries. On putting out the fire, police and firefighters found a gasoline can, a spray-painted obscenity against Arabs and a spray-painted white cross. Rupinder Bedi, the proprietor of a 7-Eleven next door, told the Seattle Times how he found Continental Spices’ manager, Mirza Akram, 37 and a Pakistani, crying and telling him “he had been harassed by some customers earlier this summer [and that] the verbal slurs didn’t stop until he threatened to call police.”

Further, the Everett Herald reports,
The morning of the fire, the store manager told investigators he feared the fire had been set in retaliation for attacks on Americans in the Middle East. He claimed that the month before, two white men came to the store and became upset when they learned he had been born in Pakistan. They left the store angry.
That was the story. On August 19, however, the police arrested Akram in his store on a federal arson warrant. He stands accused of setting fire to the store to collect insurance on the building and its contents. U.S. attorneys explained in court that mounting financial losses led Akram to stage an arson and then make it look like a hate crime.

Specifically: Akram was in the process of buying Continental Spices from the Z.A. Trading Corp. of Seattle; having already paid $52,800, he owed at least another $32,200. But gross sales at Continental Spices dropped from almost $11,000 a month in 2003 to less than $3,000 a month just prior to the fire, a decline in revenues that apparently made it impossible to make the monthly purchase payment of $640 and rent payment of $1,200.

Wrongly thinking Z.A. Trading Corp.’s insurance policy covered the store, Akram allegedly schemed for months to burn it down. (Ironically, the store was not on the policy.) On the evening of July 8. he met with an unnamed male friend (who has since turned state’s evidence) at his home and told the friend how he had poured gasoline inside the store and lit incense above the gasoline, expecting the incense would ignite the gasoline.

Akram allegedly had the friend drive to the store in the early morning of the 9th to see if it was on fire. He called Akram and reported that is was not. Then, about 4 a.m. on July 9, the friend entered the store and dropped burning incense into the gasoline, causing a fire to erupt so fast that it burnt the friend’s trousers. He “narrowly escaped” the building without injury.

Phone records obtained by investigators show 11 calls between Akram and his friend between midnight and 4 a.m. on the day of the fire. If convicted of arson, Akram faces up to 20 years in prison.

While Akram is presumed innocent until proven guilty, this tale points once again to (1) the need to treat claims of “hate crimes” with less than total credulity and (2) the unreliability and poor judgment of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Immediately on July 10, CAIR rushed a press release out the door, “Arsonist Torches Muslim Store in Washington,” calling on “local and national leaders to address the issue of growing Islamophobic prejudice following an arson attack on a Muslim-owned business in Washington State.”

That mainstream organizations persist in treating CAIR as a serious “civil rights” group baffles this observer. What more must CAIR do to make them realize what it is? (August 21, 2004)

Daniel Pipes ( is director of the Middle East Forum and author of Miniatures (Transaction Publishers).

Bob Smizek: Parker is a Hero Here Now; Is Bonds Next?

Wednesday, August 25, 2004 By Bob Smizik, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The year is 2012, and the Pirates, in the midst of making a run at a second consecutive Central Division title, have invited their championship team from 20 years ago back to PNC Park, which still remains the crown jewel of baseball stadiums.
One by one these somewhat paunchy men, most in their 50s, come out of the home dugout to polite applause. There's Jim Leyland, Andy Van Slyke, Gary Redus, Roger Mason, Jay Bell, Orlando Merced, Don Slaught, Bob Walk, Randy Tomlin, Mike LaValliere, Zane Smith, Jeff King, Stan Belinda, John Wehner, Gary Varsho, Tim Wakefield. All receive a cordial welcome. Then the applause picks up as Lloyd McClendon, the dean of National League managers and in his 12th season with the Pirates, comes on to the field.

Finally, the place comes alive, and people are on their feet as the final returnee from the 1992 team hits the top step of the dugout and comes on the field. PNC Park is rocking for Barry Bonds, recently inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame, owner of the all-time home run record and universally regarded as one of the greatest players in the game's history.
Bonds doffs his cap to the crowd and joins his teammates on the third-base line as the applause thunders down.

The preceding, you say, could never happen. No way will Bonds ever be received in such a manner in Pittsburgh. The dislike, bordering on hatred, is too thick, the memories still too fresh.
But if Dave Parker can be welcomed back a hero to Pittsburgh, and he has, so can Bonds.
Time, they say, heals all wounds. That certainly has been the case with Parker.
He will be the keynote speaker Friday at a luncheon kicking off African-American Heritage Weekend. Imagine that, the Cobra as a keynote speaker. Those who knew him back in the day when he was the biggest, baddest, brashest man in baseball can only imagine the text of a Parker speech.

But he's a fine choice. Parker's a smart guy, who has carved himself a place in the business world. He's a success beyond baseball. He's a man with a story worth hearing.
When Parker was in town earlier this summer for a reunion of the 1979 World Series champions, he was warmly embraced by the fans at PNC Park.
That was amazing.

Parker once was Bonds in Pittsburgh. In fact, he was more than Bonds.
Did they fans ever throw batteries at Bonds?
Did the Pirates ever sue Bonds over back wages?
There was an ugliness that existed between Parker and the fans and Parker and the Pirates that can never be replicated with Bonds.
Parker joined the struggling Pirates in July 1973. The team, world champion in 1971 and a division winner in '72, was reeling from the death of Roberto Clemente and playing below .500. Parker had played half a season of Class AAA ball and before that no higher than Class A. But he was anything but a timid rookie.

Dal Maxvill, the shortstop on two championship St. Louis teams in the mid-1960s, had joined the Pirates only days earlier. He watched Parker -- 6 feet 5 and, then, 235 pounds -- strut around the locker room that belonged to Willie Stargell and said, "I don't know who he is, but I'm glad he's on our side."

Parker made that kind of impression on everyone. He was loud, boastful and big.
When his production failed to match his mouth in 1974 and he didn't receive the playing time he thought he deserved, he didn't shrink.
"Play me or trade me," he announced late that season, as if he were some established veteran.

The Pirates heeded his words and Parker lived up to them. He won two batting titles and an MVP award in 1977 and '78. He could hit for average and power, run, had one of the strongest arms in the game and was a natural leader. More than that, no one -- absolutely no one -- played the game harder. A ground ball in the infield was a 30-yard, all-out sprint for Parker. If a catcher was in his way at home plate, he bowled him over.
He embodied almost everything Pittsburgh should love in a baseball player.

If only he had shut up.
His brash personality never quite fit in Pittsburgh. When his production tumbled and his weight climbed after 1979, he became a whipping boy.
That's when batteries came out of the stands in his direction. When it was learned after his trade in 1983 that cocaine abuse might have contributed to his decline, the Pirates sued.

Parker resurrected his career in Cincinnati and Oakland, but his lapse in his final seasons with the Pirates ultimately will deny him a spot in the Hall of Fame.
But not in heart of Pirates fans. He's speaking Friday at PNC with part of the proceeds going to Parker's charity of choice, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania.
Parker is a Pittsburgh favorite. If it can happen to him, it can happen to Bonds.

(Bob Smizik can be reached at

E.G. Robinson III: Gibbons Volleyball Team Not Resting on its Laurels

Published: Aug 25, 2004 Crusaders hustle for wins: Cardinal Gibbons volleyball team not resting on its laurels By EDWARD G. ROBINSON III, Staff Writer
The News & Observer
The quarter-size hole in Christina Falcone's left knee pad exemplifies her team's mentality. Cardinal Gibbons high school volleyball players sprint, slide and sometimes somersault to dig balls.

So what if in the process their equipment takes a beating? Knee pads can be replaced.
When you play for the Crusaders and coach Jim Freeman, timidity takes a back seat to spontaneity, creativity and hustle.

Cardinal Gibbons, which has won six consecutive North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association 3-A state championships, has once again this fall been designated among the area's best along with Durham Riverside and Chapel Hill.

Team (last week) record
1. Riverside (1) 2-0
2. Cardinal Gibbons (2) 5-0
3. Chapel Hill (3) 3-1
4. Sanderson (4) 2-0
5. Wakefield (7) 1-0
6. Green Hope (8) 2-0
7. East Chapel Hill (NR) 2-1
8. Person (5) 3-1
9. North Johnston (9) 3-0
10. N. Raleigh Christian (10) 0-0

This past weekend, the Crusaders won the Chapel Hill Invitational, defeating tournament host and defending NCHSAA 4-A state champion Chapel Hill 25-21, 25-16, 25-27, 25-15 in the final.

The Crusaders improved to 5-0 this season and won their second Chapel Hill Invitational.
"Everyone expects us to win. We do have that pressure on us," said Falcone, a 5-foot-10 junior setter. "Teams really want to beat us because we've won six championships and we lose [about] two games a year.

"It drives us to keep winning and to keep the reputation of Cardinal Gibbons."
On, Web site operator John Tawa listed the Crusaders 97th in the top 100 national poll.

Tawa, who considers North Carolina's volleyball development to be in a growth stage compared to established states such as California, included the Crusaders because of their depth this season.
Tawa linked Gibbons' overall success to Freeman, who is in his 14th season as head coach. "He's a galvanizing force," Tawa said.

Freeman's goal this season is to galvanize a team with one senior and five freshmen. Six of the 11 team members are first-year varsity players.
The Crusaders' Dara Hutzler, a 6-foot senior outside hitter, decided not to play this season.

"We're so young," Freeman said. "They have no idea what's going on yet. We have a lot to learn. I'm still trying to figure them out."
In demeanor, this team differs from past teams. From 1998-2000, Cardinal Gibbons teams won 80 matches in a row.

Those teams, Freeman said, were ultra-competitive and featured feisty, dominating players. This year's team, he said, has talent but the players haven't learned how to compete as a unit, and with an edginess.
"We want to be aggressive in everything we do," Freeman said. "Go to the ball aggressively while at the same time be in control and efficient."

In the near future, with players like 6-3 Katie Kabbes and 6-4 Katie Camp, aggressive play isn't likely to be a problem. With improved technique, Freeman expects his freshman duo to emerge as a force around the net.
Kabbes and Camp each had 15 kills against Chapel Hill and combined for 11 blocks.
Aware of their presence at the net, Kabbes encourages her partner to occasionally shoot her opponents an intimidating look. "She's got the glare," Camp said. "She's intense."
But intensity alone rarely wins championships. The Crusaders will expect leadership from senior Katie Novacek and juniors Tara Enzweiler and Sara Uniacke.

Those players will help the Crusaders stabilize their passing game, which has been a staple of teams in the past. On Saturday, the players moved the ball crisply around the floor, setting teammates in optimal positions to make kills.
"If we can control the ball on our side, we can frustrate other teams. We can control the game," said Falcone.

East Chapel Hill coach Michelle Wood said Gibbons players look experienced even if they're not, adding, "They don't make lots of mistakes. You have to play them almost perfect.
"What's so impressive about them is they play defense so well. They give you no free balls and every pass is on the money."

Staff writer Edward G. Robinson III can be reached at 919) 829-4781 or

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Mark Gauvreau Judge: The Soviet-Iraqi Connection

Mark Gauvreau Judge August 24, 2004

We've been here before.

That's one reaction to the phenomenon that has come with the Iraq war: the denial of Saddam Hussein's evil. Columnist Nat Hentoff recently expressed outrage when he read, in the New York Observer, that many people interviewed on the streets of Manhattan actually had good things to say about Hussein. Perhaps the most representative comment was this, made by - of course – a journalist: "[Saddam's] committed. Actually, he's not duplicitous. I think he's very much open about what he believes and what he will do with his power, which is actually unlike Bush, who is incredibly duplicitous and lies."
What is so staggering about this is not just the stupidity and moral cretinism of the comment, but the immediate, knee-jerk reaction from people - particularly the grubby "protestors" scampering throughout New York - that such pollution is somehow a form of free speech that deserves respect. When such a ridiculous comment is met with ridicule, liberals are quick so attach the cliché - hey, that's what makes this country great. Everyone can give their opinion.

But this is not as much an opinion as it is hostility to thought itself. That phrase, "hostility to thought itself," comes from the great historian Robert Conquest, author of a brilliant book about totalitarianism, Reflections of a Ravaged Century. Conquest outlines the thought that gave rise to Nazism and communism - and the hostility to thought that led far too many Western intellectuals and artists to defend Soviet crimes. Conquest broke down the arguments defending communism into four basic steps:1) There is much injustice under capitalism.2) Socialism will end this injustice.3) Therefore anything that supports socialism is to be supported.4) Including any amount of injustice.
Some of the things said my Western intellectuals in defense of Stalinism were truly appalling. In the 1920s writer Lincoln Steffens travled to Russia, returned home and declared, "I have seen the future and it works." Playwright Bernard Shaw went to Russia during the height of the famine in the early 1930s, then returned home and described the Soviet population as overfed. In 1934, H.G. Wells had a private audience with Stalin. Wells declared that he, Wells, had "never met a man more candid, fair and honest," adding that "no one is afraid of him and everyone trusts him.

Conquest notes that many American "suckers. did not take in what they saw with their own eyes." Writer Malcolm Muggeridge also saw this phenomenon, describing "Quakers applauding task parades, feminists delighted as the sight of women bowed under a hundredweight of coal, architects in ecstasies over ramshackle buildings just erected and already crumbling away." Most notoriously, New York Times reporter Walter Duranty didn't play down the famine that killed ten million in the Ukraine - he denied it outright, claiming such claims were "malignant propaganda." Duranty won the Pulitzer Prize.
These were not people doing something wonderful, expressing their opinions and adding to the marketplace of ideas. It is what Conquest calls it – a "morbid affliction" or even an "addiction" to an ideology that is so obviously criminal. Yet, as Conquest notes, simply calling these people unpatriotic does not get to the heart of the problem - in fact, it can be a diversion.

Calling someone unpatriotic allows them access to the grab bag of counter-charges: McCarthyism, hostile to dissent, what makes America great is protest, censorship, etc. They immediately don the mantle of victim, and it often works. Conquest points to the real problem: "Many whose allegiance went to the Soviet Union may well be seen as traitors to their countries, and to the democratic culture. But their profounder fault was more basic still. Seeing themselves as independent brains, making their choices as thinking beings, they ignored their own criteria. They did not examine the multifarious evidence, already available in the 1930s, on the realities of the Communist regimes. That is to say, they were traitors to the human mind, to thought itself."

This hostility to thought itself was difficult to shake long after the 1930s. Indeed, it became something of a contagion in the 1960s during the Vietnam war. America was not only in a losing but honorable battle against a totalitarian regime - indeed, an heir of Stalin - but was the evil force in the war. Student protestors didn't call for America's retreat, they openly praised the Vietcong. In the coverage after Saigon fell, and in the recent coverage of John Kerry's anti-wart activism, one angel is absent: an assessment of communism and what it did to that country. This is hostility to thought itself.

This, of course, is exactly what is going on with much of the protest against the Iraqi war. These people aren't as much communists or anarchists - although there are a few of those - as they are hostile to thought and reason itself. Michael Moore can comb through miles of footage to make George Bush look foolish, yet can't bring himself to depict Saddam Hussein's Iraq as anything but a peaceful, kite-flying paradise (Walter Duranty would be proud). To be sure, Moore can think that George Bush is a Hitler who through sheer rapaciousness dragged us into war through lies.

Unfortunately, this "argument" has to ignore certain facts. First and foremost, it must ignore the reality of September 11. That attack led the United States, not unreasonable, to alter it's foreign policy. In the age of terrorist attacks and dirty bombs and Islamic fascism, it would attempt to change the culture of the Middle East - or at least the most dangerous pockets of it. One of those pockets was Iraq, a country we were already at war with. Saddam had attempted an assassination of a president, had harbored terrorists and paid suicide bombers, had attempted to build a nuclear reactor in the 1980s, had used weapons of mass destruction and had flouted the United Nations over a dozen times. This is to say nothing of the environmental devastation of draining the southern Iraqi marshes.

Even the argument that "Bush lied" falls apart when matched with facts. After the United Nations, France, Germany, Russia, Egypt, Jordan and the CIA told the president that Hussein had weapons of mass destruction - and as Hussein kept ignoring UN resolutions and his plans kept firing at American airmen in the no-fly zone - the president decided that he had to act. The logical question at this pint is, what happened to the weapons Hussein had? More compellingly, if he had no weapons, why did he lie, thus laying the groundwork for his own destruction? Most importantly - and unasked by the media - is the question of whether Saddam's lost bluff has shown the Middle East or resolve, and thus advanced our own safety in the war on terror. Didn't expect any of those questions to be addressed by the protestors.

Mark Gauvreau Judge is the author of If It Ain’t Got That Swing: The Rebirth of Grown-Up Culture (Spence). He writes for New York Press.

Hugh Hewitt: A Historian's Tour of Duty

Waiting for Douglas Brinkley to come out and share what he knows about John Kerry's Cambodia adventure. The Weekly Standard 08/19/2004 12:00:00 AM

"KERRY WENT into Cambodian waters three or four times in January and February 1969 on clandestine missions," historian Douglas Brinkley told the London Telegraph last week. "He had a run dropping off U.S. Navy Seals, Green Berets, and CIA guys. . . . He was a ferry master, a drop-off guy, but it was dangerous as hell. Kerry carries a hat he was given by one CIA operative. In a part of his journals which I didn't use he writes about discussions with CIA guys he was dropping off."

John Kerry was obliged last week to recant a number of statements he has made over the years--statements rich in detail and emotion--about his Christmas Eve, 1968 illegal mission into Cambodia. Turns out that despite his ringing oratory on the floor of the Senate, Kerry had invented that account.

Perhaps Brinkley had never spotted Kerry's accounts of his December 24, 1968 adventures, or because he knew them to be bunkum, the historian chose not to include this tale of daring-do in his best-seller Tour of Duty. But Kerry has told other stories of secret missions across the border, including to a Washington Post reporter in June of 2003 and a U.S. News reporter in May of 2000. To the Post reporter he spoke of a CIA man he dropped off and the "lucky hat" he gave Kerry. To the magazine writer he told a tale of running weapons to anticommunists across the border. To Brinkley Kerry either told, or allowed the historian to read, accounts of Navy SEALs, Green Berets, and spooks jammed on his swift boat.

Retired Navy Admiral Roy Hoffman, commander of the swift boats during Kerry's four months on board them, scoffed at these stories in a report in the Kansas City Star: "'I was always properly informed. The whole time I was there, I don't recall such a mission," Hoffman said. The available sources do not support the notion that any swift boats, much less Kerry's, were supporting covert-ops across the Vietnam-Cambodian border. If Brinkley has sources beyond Kerry's private recollections and journals, he should let the public know what they are.

Interestingly, as Kerry's campaign spokesmen retreated last week from their boss's floor-of-the-Senate declamations, they did not claim that he had been on any covert ops. Word of this retreat had either not reached Brinkley when he made his statement to the Telegraph, or his own researchers compelled him to stick up for the idea of John Kerry as a ferry-man of SEALs, spooks, and weapons-runner.

Drudge announced last week that Brinkley was rushing a New Yorker piece into print that would defend Kerry's magic hat account, but does Brinkley really want to bet his reputation on Kerry's journals at this point? Or does he want to step back and ask himself whether a senator who invented "searing" memories might have had a creative pen along with his movie camera during his tour of duty?

It remains possible that Kerry's magic hat and his gun-running are true accounts that neither his campaign nor Admiral Hoffman know of, and which have somehow eluded the historians' accounts of the "Salem House" operations of the Studies and Observations Group that was running the covert insertions into Cambodia in early 1969.

What is more likely is that Kerry has expanded his Vietnam service whenever necessary for the advancement of his career, that he has molded it to the exigencies of the speech he needed to give or the attention he needed to gain. Kerry did not anticipate the internet or the power of a thousand pairs of eyes checking and rechecking, and he may not have counted on the instinct of a historian to preserve his reputation even at the expense of his access.

Douglas Brinkley owes the public an accounting of John Kerry's accounts. Perhaps he will salvage the senator's Cambodian tale. And perhaps he will sink it.

Hugh Hewitt is the host of a nationally syndicated radio show, and author most recently of If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat: Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends Upon It. His daily blog can be found at
© Copyright 2004, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.

Christopher Hitchens: Not So Swift

fighting words
A wartime lexicon.

Not So Swift: John Kerry's dubious Vietnam revisionism.
Posted Monday, Aug. 23, 2004, at 12:11 PM PT

George Orwell once wrote a column about an anecdote concerning Sir Walter Raleigh which, as he put it, deserved to be true. While imprisoned in the Tower of London, Raleigh (as we know for sure) decided to beguile the weary detention by writing a History of the World. One day, his efforts were distracted by a commotion below his cell window. He looked out and saw a brawl in progress among the warders. It ended with a man lying dead on the ground and the others running away. Well-connected as he was in the jail, the learned eyewitness Raleigh could not find out what the quarrel had been about, or who had started it, or who had struck the fatal blow. At that moment, he abandoned his History of the World, and only a fragment of it has come down to us.

I have no idea whether John Kerry is or is not telling the unvarnished truth about his service in Vietnam. (I am pretty sure, though, that he was unwise to prompt the release of the photograph of himself with his latest long-silent defender, William Rood of the Chicago Tribune. The shot of Kerry awkwardly shouldering a rocket launcher for the camera makes him look like a complete poseur.) It's obviously ridiculous for either side to accuse the other of using their recollections for "partisan" purposes. What else? Kerry himself didn't make a fetish of this until he sought a party's nomination (which is what "partisan" means) and his nemesis John O'Neill has been silent since the last time this all came up, which was in the Nixon era. Did Kerry imagine that if he dressed up in his old uniform again, his former critics would decide to keep quiet? What, if anything, was he thinking?

On that previous occasion, though, Kerry was using his service as a warrior to acquire credentials as an antiwarrior. Now, he is cashing in the same credentials to propose himself as alliance-builder and commander in chief. This is not a distinction without a difference.

A few years ago, the faculty and students at the New School in New York (where I should say that I teach part-time) had to vote on whether another Democratic senator—Bob Kerrey of Nebraska—should lose his job as president of the university. He had been accused of committing war crimes in Vietnam. Some of his squad said that he'd personally slaughtered some old people and children, others said he'd been there but not taken a direct part. Nobody disputed that an appalling atrocity had occurred under his command. Whatever the truth of the matter, I thought that Kerrey himself was not telling it. He had, for example, claimed that these cold-blooded murders took place on "a moonless night" when easily consulted records showed this not to be so. The faculty of the school for which I work voted for his resignation, but he sort of copped a pass by having lost part of a limb in a later engagement and having gone on to be anti-Nixon, and a general consensus emerged that one mustn't pass judgment on actions committed in the fog of war. (Incidentally, this was an absolutely astonishing proposition for the New School, which was home to a generation of anti-Nazi refugee scholars, to have accepted.)

John Kerry actually claims to have shot a fleeing Viet Cong soldier from the riverbank, something that I personally would have kept very quiet about. He used to claim that he was a witness to, and almost a participant in, much worse than that. So what if he has been telling the absolute truth all along? In what sense, in other words, does his participation in a shameful war qualify him to be president of the United States? This was a combat of more than 30 years ago, fought with a largely drafted army using indiscriminate tactics and weaponry against a deep-rooted and long-running domestic insurgency. (Agent Orange, for example, was employed to destroy the vegetation in the Mekong Delta and make life easier for the Swift boats.) The experience of having fought in such a war is absolutely useless to any American today and has no bearing on any thinkable fight in which the United States could now become engaged. Thus, only the "character" issues involved are of any weight, and these are extremely difficult and subjective matters. If Kerry doesn't like people disputing his own version of his own gallantry, then it was highly incautious of him to have made it the centerpiece of his appeal.

Meanwhile, even odder things are happening to Kerry's "left." Michael Moore, whose film Kerry's people have drawn upon in making cracks about the president and the My Pet Goat moment, repeatedly says that you can't comment on the Iraq war—or at least not in favor of it—if you haven't shown a willingness to send a son to die there. Comes the question—what if you haven't got a son of military age? Comes the next question—should it only be veterans or potential veterans who have a voice in these matters? If so, then what's so bad about American Legion types calling Kerry a traitor to his country? The Democrats have made a rod for their own backs in uncritically applauding their candidate's ramrod-and-salute posture. They have also implicitly subverted one of the most important principles of the republic, which is civilian control over military decisions. And more than that, they have done something eye-rubbingly unprincipled, doing what Reagan and Kissinger could not do: rehabilitating the notion of the Vietnam horror as "a noble cause."

Christopher Hitchens is a columnist for Vanity Fair and a regular contributor to Slate. His most recent book is Blood, Class and Empire. He is also the author of A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq.

More fighting words:

Not So SwiftJohn Kerry's dubious Vietnam revisionism.posted Aug. 23, 2004Christopher Hitchens
Chalabi Strikes BackA counterfeit charge considered.posted Aug. 11, 2004Christopher Hitchens
Safe CrackingThe silliness of security alerts.posted Aug. 6, 2004Christopher Hitchens
Firehouse RotJohn Kerry's cheapest shot.posted July 30, 2004Christopher Hitchens
Plame's Lame GameWhat Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife forgot to tell us about the yellow-cake scandal.posted July 13, 2004Christopher Hitchens

Search for more Fighting Words in our archive.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Chris Lynch: No Way to Run a Campaign

This is taken from Chris Lynch's blog-
If it seems to you like every day something new and damaging to the Kerry Campaign pops up - it's because literally almost every day something damaging to the campaign has popped up.Let's take a look at the month of August to illustrate how the Kerry Campaign has truly been the gang that couldn't shoot straight. (How come nobody has been fired for this epic bumbling?) Aug. 1 - Normally a candidate gets a "bounce" in the polls immediately after his convention - not so for Kerry.

Aug. 2 - Kerry advisor says Kerry will make world safer by giving Iran nuclear fuel and hope that they use it for good. Sane people everywhere say, "Are you friggin' kidding me?" Meanwhile the Kerry campaign suffers some guilt from association after Howard Dean questions the timing of terror alerts in New York - claiming they could be politically motivated. Again, sane people everywhere ask, "Are you friggin' kidding me?"
Aug. 3 - Swift Boat Veterans for Truth explain their version of the real story of John Kerry's military history - this picture was interesting
Aug. 4 - The Kerry campaign and DNC lawyers threaten legal action against any stations that air the Swift Boat ads. Instead of addressing the allegations made by the vets - Kerry decides that threat of legal action would be better. The campaign slogan is officially amended to "Bring it on.....and we'll sue!" Meanwhile Senator Kerry announces:
I believe I can fight a more effective, more thoughtful, more strategic, more proactive, more sensitive war on terror that reaches out to other nations and brings them to our side and lives up to American values in history.
Aug. 5 - Kerry tells reporters that he would not have waited around like Bush did for 7 minutes on 9/11. He states:
"Had I been reading to children and had my top aide whispered in my ear, 'America is under attack,' I would have told those kids very politely and nicely that the president of the United States had something that he needed to attend to -- and I would have attended to it." This claim comes back to bite him in the ass when his actual reaction to the morning of 9/11 is revealed - over 40 minutes of not being able to think or act.

Aug. 6 - Former New York Mayor - Rudy Giuliani notes that it is sad that a man running for the president seems to be getting his clues from Michael Moore and Rudy adds for good measure:
John Kerry is an indecisive candidate [with] an inconsistent position on the War on Terror, who voted against funding for our troops and who cannot give a clear answer on his position concerning the decision to remove Saddam HusseinOn the Swift Boat front - the now controversial Michael Kranish pens a piece for the Boston Globe that claims that George Elliot has recanted his criticism of John Kerry. George Elliot responds under oath saying "I said no such things."
Aug. 7 - Kerry's wife Theresa contradicts Kerry's claim that the President did not act properly on the morning of 9/11 by saying:
"I think the president behaved correctly in terms of being quiet amidst stunning news like that in a classroom of kids," she told the host of MSNBC's "Hardball With Chris Matthews" during an interview before the Democratic National Convention last month. "You know, what can you do? It takes you a couple of minutes to digest what you have just heard. And then he was . . . not in his White House and in his office with all of his people. He was in the school in Florida."
Aug. 8 - At the DNC Theresa Heinz-Kerry claimed to be active in anti-Apartheid protests but evidence suggests that she attended just a single protest.

Aug. 9 - A Rueters article notes that; "Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry said on Monday he would have voted for the congressional resolution authorizing force against Iraq even if he had known then no weapons of mass destruction would be found." This goes over well with the Deaniac base.
Aug. 10 - The Mary Ann Knowles story about having to work through chemotherapy that Kerry used at the DNC turns out to be untrue.

Aug. 11 - The Kerry Campaign changes its story on Christmas in Cambodia. I don't think "seared into my memory" means what I think he thinks it means.

Aug. 12 - Quiet day for the Kerry Campaign. Whoever was in charge today should get a promotion.
Aug. 13 - Grumbling from the Kerry Press Corps. Oh and an article by Kathleen Antrim in the ultra liberal San Francisco Examiner leads with, "John F. Kerry's campaign for president is imploding. And he knows it."

Aug. 14 - Dave Kopel examines media bias on the Swift Boat Veterans issue.

Aug. 15 - The Christmas in Cambodia claims are examined in of all places - The Seattle Times
Aug. 16 - It is noted that the Kerry / Edwards Campaign site touts that "Kerry is an Experienced Leader in the Intelligence Field - John Kerry served on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is the former Vice Chairman of the Committee" - the problem is that was actually Bob Kerrey. John Kerry was never Vice Chairman (maybe there was an attendance requirement?). The claim was later removed from the site but it is strange that Kerry doesn't even seem to know his own resume. Reports that David Alston never served with Kerry on a Swift Boat turn out to be false but the truth is that it is likely that Alston only served a week with Kerry. Alston is quietly dropped by the Kerry campaign. Bonus - Christmas in Cambodia gets coverage in the Wall Street Journal.
Aug. 17 - researches a Bush ad claim that Kerry missed 76% of the meetings for the Senate Intelligence Committee (a committee on which Kerry sat and something on his resume that he touts as reason to vote for him). After checking the available data - says that the amount of meetings missed or skipped by Kerry was probably higher than 76%. Kerry refuses to release records on his attendance at "closed" meetings
Aug. 18 - Swift Boat vets respond to a counter ad by MoveOn PAC
"We find it odd that MoveOn PAC would question the right of a group of veterans to voice an opinion on a legitimate issue-an issue first raised by John Kerry-and now the centerpiece of his campaign," said Rear Admiral Roy Hoffmann, U.S. Navy (Ret.), founder and chairman of Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ( "The 300-plus veterans who make up the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth have every right to participate in a public debate concerning the controversy surrounding John Kerry’s military service record. We were there. We served alongside John Kerry and we know the history of his service. We will not be silenced."
Aug. 19 - Veterans from the USS Gridley (who served with Kerry on his first tour of Vietnam) come forward as not real enamored of the Senator and the words "just another goofy Ensign" enter the national consciousness.

Aug. 20 - A second ad from Swift Boat Veterans for Truth is released. This ad deals with Kerry's testimony in front of Congress in which he alleges war crimes were rampant in Vietnam. The Veterans in the ad are none too happy with Kerry. The NY Post also has a Christmas in Cambodia piece.
Aug. 21 - The Washington Post profiles William Ferris (who was severely wounded in action and who watched John Kerry's 1971 Senate testimony about war crimes from his hospital bed) and other Swift Boat veterans. The article reminds the reader that Kerry has not released his medical or military records.
Aug. 22 - Bob Dole says something that probably many were thinking:
"One day he's saying that we were shooting civilians, cutting off their ears, cutting off their heads, throwing away his medals or his ribbons," Dole said. "The next day he's standing there, 'I want to be president because I'm a Vietnam veteran."Maybe he should apologize to all the other 2.5 million veterans who served. He wasn't the only one in Vietnam," said Dole, whose World War II wounds left him without the use of his right arm.Dole added: "And here's, you know, a good guy, a good friend. I respect his record. But three Purple Hearts and never bled that I know of. I mean, they're all superficial wounds. Three Purple Hearts and you're out."

The Main Stream Media handling of Kerry's Vietnam record starts to turn from kid glove coverage to real journalism with articles by Michael Barone and John Leo in US New & World Report, a column asking for answers from Kerry by Ken Tower in Investor's Business Daily Now there were many more things that I could have added in but I think you get the idea. Whoever is running the Kerry Campaign has no clue, no strategy and no control over the message that the campaign should be getting out. They pinned their hopes on presenting Kerry as a decorated war veteran and pretty much nothing else. That strategy is coming back to haunt them in a big way.With the Swift Boat ads doing damage to their candidates credibility - the Kerry Campaign now wants to focus on issues but the questions raised by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth remain unanswered and claims of wanting to run an issues oriented campaign ring hollow when one considers that the DNC was pretty much issue free.

posted by chris @ 9:04 AM