July 30, 2005

Disgusting Moral Equivalence at the LA Times

The LA Times prints a disgusting opinion column by Saree Makdisi, a Professor at UCLA:

The usual self-congratulatory contrast between "our" civilization and "their" barbarism has set the stage for a cycle of moralistic inquiries into the motivations of suicide bombers and the supposed duty of "good" Muslims to restrain "bad" ones. Few have noticed that suicide bombing is merely a tactic used by those who lack other means of delivering explosives. Fewer still seem to notice that what happened in London is what occurs every time a U.S. or British warplane unloads its bombs on an Iraqi village.

Just to clear up a little misconception - that the terrorists do not lack other means of delivering explosives - the terrorists have RPG's, grenades, pipe bombs, roadside bombs, car bombs, mines, etc. Wouldn't want the facts to get in the way of an often repeated flimsy rationalization.
This column is absolutely disgusting. Mr. Makdisi is saying that our troops are the moral equivalent of the suicide bombers.
The basis of his argument essentially assumes that U.S. and British warplanes have been carpet bombing Iraqi villages. Clearly, they have not. Our B-52's, B-1's, B-2's and other heavy bombers are not even used. Large numbers of Iraqi civilians are not dying from our bombing operations. At this point in the war, however, they are more likely to die as the result of suicide bombing by the Iraqi terrorists. To the extent that U.S. and British warplanes actually conduct bombing operations in an Iraqi village, only precision munitions are used. These precision munitions allow for great accuracy and minimal casualties. It would, however, be completely dishonest for me to not acknowledge that even these bombing operations do, at times, cause casualties of Iraqi civilians. Any such deaths are, of course, regrettable and unintentional. However, more often than not, these Iraqi civilians are not always "innocent" in the sense that they are actively hiding the terrorists or are allowing the terrorists to use their villages as a base.
Islamic terrorists, who use suicide bombing, are deliberately targeting innocent civilians - men, women and children. I stress the word "deliberately" - it is the terrorists goal that these civilians die. To the extent that U.S. and British bombing raids kill Iraqi civilians, any such deaths are minimal and unintentional. Makdisi, however, indicates that such "collateral damage" is just as bad as the deliberate killing by the terrorists because in either scenario a person dies. I would argue that is way too simplistic. It does matter. If the U.S. and British decided to intentionally kill Iraqi citizens, we could kill millions in one day through the use of our respective nuclear arsenals. We could wipe out an entire city in a couple of bombing runs. That clearly would wipe out the insurgency and allow our armed forces to go home much sooner. Yet, we do not. Rather, we are waging one of the most "sensitive" wars ever fought by a nation. We expose our troops to unnecessary risks by forcing them to fight the terrorists in dangerous urban warfare.
Makdisi continues:
Our governments dismiss out of hand any connection between the London bombings and the war in Iraq. Such attacks, they say, predate 2003. But Iraq was first invaded in 1991, not 2003. Then a decade of sanctions against that country killed a million Iraqis, including 500,000 children. Over the same period, unwavering support for Israel has resulted in the deaths of thousands of innocent Palestinians and the total paralysis of an entire people. Tens of thousands have been slaughtered by U.S. and British forces in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001.
At its best, this is total historical revisionism. It was only after Iraq had invaded Kuwait (last time I checked, another Muslim nation) that the U.S. and its allies invaded Iraq in 1991. We were defending our Middle Eastern allies and the Muslim people within that country. It is undisputed that the Kuwaiti people were being brutally raped and murdered. Our military presence in Iraq following the 1991 Gulf War was only to prevent Saddam Hussein's regime from exterminating the Kurds or invading another country. The decade of sanctions was done by the United Nations (although, of course, the U.S. did support the sanctions). Was this the best policy? In my mind, no. The sanctions were intended to punish the Iraqi government's behavior - if the United Nations really wanted to do so, they could have finished the job in 1991. The United Nations set up programs whereby Iraq could sell oil in exchange for food and other humanitarian items. Did Sadaam's regime use the "Oil for Food" Program to do so? No, he used it to build bigger and better palaces. Ultimately, if people died because of sanctions (I doubt that his numbers are anywhere close to correct), it was the result of Sadaam's corruption - not our actions.
Saddam Hussein was responsible for millions of Muslim deaths. In fact, he has killed more Muslims than any other person in history through his internal purges of dissidents, his wars against the Kurds, his wars with Iran, his war with Kuwait, etc. It is incredibly hypocritical to say that the Muslim attacks are the result of the Iraqi invasion, which resulted in the killing of Muslims in Iraq, when that invasion is responsible for deposing the greatest killer of Muslims this world has ever seen... Our invasion stopped the continued mass murder and killing of Muslims.
Another thought - we helped stop the genocide of Muslims in Bosnia. I guess we get no credit for that either...
Of course, Makdisi now claims that the decades of unwavering support of Israel have somehow lead to the suicide bombings and attacks on the west. It must be the Jews fault... This is ridiculous. If the Palestinians are "suffering" it is due to their own actions or those of their Arab sponsors. The Palestinians are living in refugee camps because (a) they decided to leave Israel before the Arab armies attacked Israel, (b) the Arab countries will not assimilate them into their population, (c) the Palestinians have diverted the billions of dollars of aid to finance their terrorist war again Israel or to the personal bank accounts of the Palestinian leaders as opposed to building public infrastructure and cities and (d) on every occasion that Israel has offered peace, they have refused to cease terrorist attacks on Israeli citizens. If the Palestinians would allow Israelis to live in peace, Israel would do so.
Moreover, Al Quaeda, who was responsible for the attacks against the U.S. and Great Brittain, is not a Palestinian terrorist organization. In the past, the terrorist statesman Yasser Arafat often lamented that Bin Laden and Al Quaeda did not pay attention to the Palestinian cause.
Suicide bombing, which is the subject of his column, predates 9/11, Afghanistan and Iraq. Suicide bombing was originated and perfected by the Palestinian terrorists against Israeli citizens. Al Quaeda was attacking the west long before 9/11 (Kobar Towers, the U.S.S. Cole, etc.). The attacks on London were not the logical result of our foreign policy following 9/11...
The fact that the LA Times would print such trash is astounding. I urge everyone to write to the editor of the LA Times ... While Mr. Makdisi is not a member of the editorial board, the editorial board chose to put this column in its paper. By doing so, they have endorsed his column or, at the very least, have found it to be an acceptable view point.

July 29, 2005

Charles Krauthammer: Politically Correct Bag Checks are Idiotic

Charles Krauthammer has an excellent column on New York's "random" bag check policy in New York subways:

The American response to tightening up after London has been reflexive and idiotic: random bag checks in the New York subways. Random meaning that the people stopped are to be chosen numerically. One in every five or 10 or 20. This is an obvious absurdity and everyone knows it. It recapitulates the appalling waste of effort and resources we see at airports every day when, for reasons of political correctness, 83-year-old grandmothers from Poughkeepsie are required to remove their shoes in the search for jihadists hungering for paradise. The only good thing to be said for this ridiculous policy is that it testifies to the tolerance and goodwill of Americans, so intent on assuaging the feelings of minority fellow citizens that they are willing to undergo useless indignities and tolerate massive public waste. Assuaging feelings is a good thing, but hunting for terrorists this way is simply nuts. The fact is that jihadist terrorism has been carried out from Bali to Casablanca to Madrid to London to New York to Washington by young Muslim men of North African, Middle Eastern and South Asian origin. This is not a stereotype. It is a simple statistical fact. Yes, you have your shoe-bomber, a mixed-race Muslim convert, who would not fit the profile. But the overwhelming odds are that the guy bent on blowing up your train traces his origins to the Islamic belt stretching from Mauritania to Indonesia. Yet we recoil from concentrating bag checks on men who might fit this description. Well, if that is impossible for us to do, then let's work backward. Eliminate classes of people who are obviously not suspects. We could start with a little age pruning — no one under, say, 13, and no one over, say, 60. Then we could exempt whole ethnic populations, a list that could immediately start with Hispanics, Scandinavians and East Asians. Then we could have a huge saving, a 50 percent elimination of waste, by giving a pass to women, except perhaps the most fidgety, sweaty, suspicious-looking, overcoat-wearing, knapsack-bearing young woman, to be identified by the presiding officer. You object that with these shortcuts, we might not catch everybody. True. But how many do we catch now with the billions spent patting down grandmothers from Poughkeepsie?

I think he has a point. New York made a good choice to start checking the bags of people entering the subway - London demonstrated what a really vulnerable target that such a place would be for terrorists. However, "random" searches make no sense. We are currently at war with Islamic terrorists that tend to originate from a certain geographical area. Wouldn't it make sense to at least keep a closer eye on people fitting that description?? If you didn't want to "racially profile", then at least exclude from the searches those of whom are most likely not to be terrorists...

Helen Thomas - President of Dick Cheney's Fan Club....errr Not!

From Drudge Report:

Veteran wire reporter Helen Thomas is vowing to 'kill herself' if Dick Cheney announces he is running for president. The newspaper HILL first reported the startling claim on Thursday. "The day Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I'll kill myself," she told the HILL. "All we need is one more liar." Thomas added, "I think he'd like to run, but it would be a sad day for the country if he does."

Gee Helen...why don't you tell us how you really feel? Makes me wish Cheney would run...

If the British Were Treated Like the Israelis...

A good column from Julia Gorin:

Desperation has again led Muslims to commit suicide bombings, this time in London. Brits still bewildered by the attacks, protesting, "But we're not Jewish!" need to get out of their cocoons and start asking the relevant question: Why is this happening? To stop terrorism, one must remove the root causes of terrorism. To that end, maybe it's time England pulled out of occupied Londonistan. Only then will this cycle of violence end. With the unemployment rate among British Muslims at 10 percent above the national average, perhaps a divestment campaign, as well as an academic boycott of England, would help England figure out what it's been doing wrong. Either way, our favoritism toward this colonial power at the expense of Muslims must end. ...In one interview with friends of 22 year-old London bomber Shehzad Tanweer, the youngsters said they understood his anger, sharing "the same sense of otherness, the same sense of siege, the same sense that their community, and Muslims in general, were in their view helpless before the whims of greater powers." After all, from the rescue of Kuwait to the liberation of Iraq to the American soldiers we fed to Somalis, to the jihad we fought for Muslims in Kosovo and Bosnia, plus the towing of the line that Western journalists agree to in reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in order to maintain access to the terrorist perspective, it's easy to understand Muslim anger: we all know what it's like — having that annoying, sycophantic friend, always doing stuff for you, always forgiving you no matter how you mistreat or provoke him. Really, the West is like Ned Flanders from The Simpsons; no wonder Muslims want to ring our necks! ...Amid the sweeping arrests in Britain, the country would do well to show restraint — and not take an example from the U.S., which squandered international good will after 9/11. Because everyone likes a victim: when Jews were being incinerated, they were likeable; when they tried to make sure it didn't happen again, the world found it distasteful. When America was struck on 9/11, they liked us! they liked us! they really liked us! When we did something about it, the world stopped liking us. (It's almost surprising that our Left hasn't coordinated with al Qaida to keep that good will coming.)

Read it all. It would be funny if it weren't so true.

July 28, 2005

Victor David Hanson - A Lesson In History....

Another great column from Victor David Hanson:

The mantra "Bush lied; thousands died" charges that the president altered his reasons for the war from the original worry over weapons of mass destruction. But, aside from the fact that the U.S. Senate voted for the war on 22 additional counts, wars, rightly or wrongly, have often had a variety of changing public explanations. Lincoln led the North into the Civil War emphasizing that it was a struggle to preserve the Union, not outlaw slavery. The Emancipation Proclamation was not passed until January of 1863 when enough Union progress allowed Lincoln to publicly redefine a practical struggle of restoration into one of sweeping idealism. Woodrow Wilson ("He kept us out of war") and Franklin D. Roosevelt ("Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars") won re-election by promising noninvolvement in Europe's fighting. Yet, when voted back in, they both prepared for war, convinced that there was no living with either Prussian militarism or Axis fascism. Since America entered World War I without first being attacked, should we conclude "Wilson lied, thousands died"?

Sen. John Kerry intoned of the Patriot Act he voted for, "We are a nation of laws and liberties, not of a knock in the night." Though, so far, that mild statute pales before exigencies of past liberal wartime presidents who really did jail innocents, night and day, without warning or sometimes even justification. Abraham Lincoln suspended habeas corpus during the Civil War. During World War I, under the Espionage and Sedition Acts, Woodrow Wilson detained citizens without trial and made it a crime to slander the United States. Franklin Roosevelt convicted and executed saboteurs through military tribunals, and sent thousands of Japanese Americans to relocation camps.

We're constantly reminded of the regrettable intelligence lapses from Sept. 11 onward, but they seem almost minor in light of prior blunders in the fog of war. Thousands of Americans perished at Shiloh, Pearl Harbor and during the Battle of the Bulge because commanders like Ulysses S. Grant, Admiral Husband Edward Kimmel and Dwight D. Eisenhower didn't have a clue what the enemy was planning.

July 27, 2005

Some People Never Learn

Bill Johnson wrote a column in which he laments U.S. anti-terrorism tactics and the resulting loss of our freedom:

Perhaps inside a dusty, faraway cave where he takes his breakfast, Osama bin Laden saw the photographs. I am guessing he did not teeter in his chair, but just laughed his backside off. You just have to know he is a man now thoroughly satisfied with himself if he understands at all the lengths to which we have gone as we quake at the mere specter of him and his henchmen. How thrilled he must be at what is occurring in New York as we speak, the way authorities there are now conducting more than 1,100 searches a day of riders on the city's massive transit system, how the biggest bust so far has been one of a 21-year-old man caught with a cache of illegal fireworks. Cops wrote him a ticket. Is that a briefcase chained to a downtown Brooklyn fire hydrant? Evacuate office buildings and shops and bring life to a halt for millions until the bomb squad blows it up. Somewhere in New York, an architect or lawyer is still trying to explain that one to his boss or client. The cave dweller might also have been pleased that our government - or, more specifically, the Transportation Security Administration - last week was found to have violated constitutional privacy protections by secretly collecting personal information on at least a quarter-million Americans. Meanwhile, most of us didn't seem to even notice.

So, what is the alternative? Do we not take terrorism seriously? What happens when the next terrorist bombing occurs? What would you tell the victims' families - that we could have prevented the bombing, but we didn't want Osama to think he was getting the best of us? Good luck with that one.

How many people must die before Democrats get serious about this threat?? After 9/11, the Democrats latched onto the intelligence failures pre-9/11 (while correct to do so, they did, however, seem to use this as a way to smear Bush while forgetting that Osama Bin Laden began planning for 9/11 on Clinton's watch). The overriding sentiment was that we need to fix the intelligence failures. The Patriot Act, which Democrats widely supported after 9/11 and now decry as the greatest threat to American liberties, was the response of the post 9-11 hearings. Now, they are complaining that Bush is actually using the Patriot Act to obtain intelligence on suspected terrorists...

Who Cares About Slogans?

Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker The New York Times report:

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration is retooling its slogan for the fight against Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, pushing the idea that the long-term struggle is as much an ideological battle as a military mission, according to senior administration and military officials. In recent speeches and news conferences, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and the country's top military officer have spoken of "a global struggle against violent extremism" rather than "the global war on terror," which had been the catchphrase of choice.

The old catchphrase "global war on terror" had always sounded kind of silly - like we were declaring war on a feeling. Yet, this new catchphrase is ridiculous for these reasons: (1) in the name of political correctness, they are, once again, ignoring the fact that we are dealing with islamic extremism, (2) "global struggle" waters down the fact that we are at war with Al Quaeda (After the wake-up call that was 9/11, most Americans have pretty much gone back to sleep...do we really need to give them more sleeping pills?), (3) the catchphrase is rather long-winded and unwieldy (can you see many TV anchors actually using it?) and (4) there is nothing memorable about the catchphrase.

Look, I realize that politics is all about perceptions and public relations. Yet this seems to fail miserably to accomplish any of their goals.

New Tallest Building In The World

As an architecture fan, this is really cool:

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- A proposal to build a new 115-story building by 2009 could give Chicago claim to having the first and second tallest skyscrapers in the country. The 2,000-foot tower, proposed by Chicago developer Christopher Carley and designed by noted architect Santiago Calatrava, would go up along the city's lakefront near Navy Pier, northeast of the Loop. The 110-floor Sears Tower is currently the nation's tallest building. Carley's building, minus its spire, would be 1,458 feet high -- taller than the Sears Tower by eight feet. No financing for what would be a hotel and condo tower has yet been arranged and some rival developers say the proposal does not seem feasible.

Here is a concept drawing of what the new skyscraper would look like:

Air America Scandal

It appears that hundreds of thousands of dollars, which were intended for community programs, were diverted to Air America Radio. From the Bronx news:
The Bronx News has learned, through informed sources, that the diversion of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club in Co-op City to the liberal Air America Radio is at the center of the city’s probe of corruption at the local club. The money, which was reportedly paid to Air America as a loan, was supposed to be paid back with interest, two unidentified informed sources told the News. One source added that Air America officials, led by an official of the Gloria Wise Club, agreed to help the local club by publicizing its activities. To date, no indictments have been handed down in the New York City Department of Investigation’s ongoing probe of the Gloria Wise Club’s reported transfer of funds to Air America...
More on this story at michellemalkin.com.

Can you imagine what the response would be from Mainstream Media or the Democrats if this were Rush Limbaugh as opposed to Air America?? They would be screaming that Rush was stealing from kids and there would be non-stop coverage.

July 26, 2005

Why Can't I Get Jobs Like This....

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

Leading economic indicators: In June, Co-President Stephen S. Crawford of the financial giant Morgan Stanley (who was installed in the job in order to ensure management ''stability'' during the company's currently shaky status with investors) signed a two-year contract at $16 million a year which allowed him, if he changed his mind, to resign and promptly collect all $32 million. A few days later, he resigned. The ''stability'' was needed at faltering Morgan Stanley because longtime CEO Philip J. Purcell had just been eased out, but his contract called for $113 million in severance pay.

Hollywood's Problem

Michael Medved writes in USA Today about the "Hollywood Disconnect". According to Medved, the decline in box office sales is largely the result of Hollywood not understanding the "values" of most of America including religion. I don't think that the problem is a lack of more films like "Passion of the Christ". Americans may be largely religious, but historically, Hollywood has done just fine by offering escapism - not religious indoctrination.

I do, however, agree with Medved that the partisanship of Hollywood has caused Hollywood big problems:

Revealingly, none of the studio honchos talked about reconnecting with the public by adjusting the values conveyed by feature films, and replacing the industry's shrill liberal posturing with a more balanced ideological perspective. Something clearly changed between 2004 and 2005 to cause an abrupt drop-off at the box office, and the most obvious alteration involved Hollywood's role in the bitterly fought presidential election. The entertainment establishment embraced John Kerry with near unanimity — and bashed George W. Bush with unprecedented ferocity. Michael Moore became an industry hero and the most visible symbol of the Hollywood left. Innumerable callers to my radio show expressed resentment at the strident partisanship of top stars; no one ever complained about the lack of 3-D digital projection or alcoholic beverages at concession stands. Despite efforts by entertainer activists, a majority of voters cast their ballots for Bush. If even a minority of those 62 million GOP voters — say, 20% — reacted to Hollywood's electioneering by shunning the multiplex, it could easily account for the sharp decline in ticket sales after Bush's re-election.

Americans may be "celebrity-obsessed", but most Americans - Democrats and Republicans - resent being told how to think or vote (especially by "artists" that more often than not dropped out of high school or college).

It would be one thing if it were only campaigning for one candidate over the other. The more that actors such as Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins or Sean Penn slandered George Bush, the more that many staunch Republicans came to resent them...

The Israel Exception

Meryl Yourish has a good column on yourish.com where she looks at Condi Rice's approach to Israel.

You might recall people thinking that when Condoleeza Rice replaced Colin Powell as Secretary of State, we might actually see State toughen up on the palestinians.
It's become more and more clear that Rice is absolutely made in the Powell mode, and that when the president says "You're either with us, or with the terrorists," the Exception Clause remains in effect.... Watch and see. We are in the exact same place today as we were when Clinton was president, with the exception that Bush isn't hosting a mass-murderer at the White House every other week. Once again, Israel is the state that has no right to respond to terror attacks, and no right to defend herself. Israel must give and give and give, but the palestinians must give nothing but words. In English, because in Arabic, they're still praising the murderers of innocents—with PA money, meaning the backing of Europe and the US. Facts like these leave me no other conclusion: The Bush Administration does not include palestinian terrorists in the war on terror. So. How is this president any different from his predecessor in that regard? The Republicans are losing people like me, who voted for Bush because of his stance on terror. When that stance excludes the years-long terror war in Israel, he loses me. Utterly.

She makes an excellent point. Like Yasser Arafat, Abbas has done nothing to reign in the terrorists. Abbas has done nothing to end incitement of the Palestinian people against Israel. Yet, where is the condemnation of the Palestinians.

The idea of forcing Israel to arm the Palestinians, to provide the Palestinians with any financial support or "show restraint" to bolster Abbas is infuriating to me. Israel has every right to defend herself. Should America provide arms to Al Quaeda? Should America provide money to Bin Laden or otherwise try to bolster Bin Laden's standing in the world? If America were attacked on a daily basis by suicide bombers, mortars and rockets coming from Mexico or Canada, we Americans would be concerned with nothing other than when is the invasion planned and how come we haven't nuked them yet.

Or, would the U.S. be telling Great Brittain to show restraint? Not likely

Dennis Prager Discusses the Palestinian Legacy

Dennis Prager has another interesting column this morning that centers largely on the Palestinian sole contribution to the world:

In the last few weeks, innocent men, women and children have been blown up, paralyzed, brain damaged and otherwise had their lives ruined by Muslim suicide bombers in Britain, Egypt and Iraq. Who can we thank for this man-made plague? Palestinians and the Left. We need to thank Palestinians for their major contribution to humanity — religiously sanctioned mass murder of innocents through suicide. Prior to the Palestinians, this did not exist. It is true that Tamil suicide bombers in Sri Lanka have murdered many thousands and they are not Muslims. But the Tamil rationale for suicide terror — though utterly immoral — is confined to a (secular) nationalist movement in Sri Lanka. Palestinian Muslims — no Palestinian Christians have committed a suicide bombing — have created a religious and moral basis for mass murder and did so within a worldwide religion with a billion adherents. When the Palestinians sent brainwashed young men to blow themselves up in Israeli buses, cafes and discos, they offered justifications that provided the basis for many others to do the same.

They said that blowing up Jews in Israel — of any age and in any location — was an act that glorified Allah, that one who engaged in such atrocities was a Muslim equivalent to a saint, and would be rewarded in heaven by many beautiful virgins. I do not know of any Muslim religious organization or leader who condemned this Palestinian Muslim terror-theology as anti-Islamic... What therefore happened was that the religious justification for murdering innocent people took hold in the Muslim world. It apparently never occurred to Muslim leaders that once you justify evil, that evil will eventually be unleashed against you, too. If blowing up Jewish children is OK, so is blowing up Egyptian, Moroccan, Iraqi, British, Spanish and Russian children.

Dennis also discusses the Left's legitimization of the Palestinian suicide bombing.

According to the world's Left, it's OK for Palestinians to put bombs in an Israeli student cafeteria because: (1) Israel occupies Palestinian land (even though a leftist Israeli government offered 97 percent of it to Yasser Arafat), (2) Therefore, Palestinians are engaging in legitimate resistance, (3) Since Palestinians don't have sophisticated weaponry, they use their weapon, the suicide bomber (4) Israelis kill Palestinian civilians, so there is a moral equivalence between Israel and the Palestinians (even though the Palestinians target Jewish innocents and the Israelis do not target Palestinian innocents). But, alas, the anti-Israel Left (an almost redundant description), too, did not understand the genie it had helped unleash onto the world. Why is it all right for Muslims to blow up Israeli children, but not Russian children? Israeli buses, but not British buses? Jews in Israel, but not Muslims in Iraq?

I take issue with the merit of the excuses set forth in items (1) through (4), but I will save that rant for another day. Dennis Prager does have a point. You cannot justify or excuse the use of suicide bombing or the targeting innocent civillians as a legitimate act of resistance against Israel, but then expect that the Islamic terrorists are not going to bring their "act of resistance" to the U.S., London, Europe, etc. The legitimization of the Palestinian terrorist tactics and the rewards given to the Palestinians (Billions in aid, international support for a Palestinian country and condemnation of Israel) taught the terrorists that terrorism does, in fact, work and that suicide bombing of civillians is acceptable.

July 25, 2005

Mark Steyn on the Impending Roberts Confirmation "Fight"

Another great Mark Steyn column:

Thoughtful Democrats — the rarest birds on the endangered species list — might want to ponder this: "Another hanging chad has dropped. His name is John G. Roberts Jr., and he undoubtedly will turn out to be opposed to abortion rights, affirmative action, an expansive view of federal powers and a reading of the Constitution that takes a properly suspicious view of the state's embrace of religion. In these and other matters — the death penalty, for instance — he is expected to substantially reflect the views of George W. Bush, the man who nominated him to the Supreme Court, because that was what the election of 2000 and its sequel were all about. You hang enough chads, and you get to change the Supreme Court." That's not moveon.org, or the wilder shores of the Internet. That's Richard Cohen, big-time columnist in that bastion of mainstream media, the Washington Post. And his first thought, on learning the name of President Bush's Supreme Court nominee, is of hanging chadsLeave aside Cohen's careless assumption that the 2004 election was "all about" the Supreme Court: I happen to be writing this in a taxicab stuck in traffic in Central London, where bombs are going off, and it seems to me last November was a little about all that loud exploding stuff, too. If the Democrats hadn't been so hung up on chads and the court, they might have had something to say about that. Leave aside, too, that it was the Democrats who were trying to "hang enough chads." The Republicans were happy to have the election decided on — what's the word? — "votes." It was the Democrats who introduced us to the Four Chads — Swinging Chad, Dangling Chad, Hanging Chad and Dimpled Chad — at a time when, to most Republicans, the Four Chads were that vocal group who'd headlined the party's A-list $3.95-a-plate celebrity fund-raiser. It was the Dems who demanded the election be decided by chad diviners interpreting the subtle, indeed undetectable indentation of the dimple as a decisive vote for Al Gore. America has chads in its politics because Democrat lawyers put them there.... For four years, Democrats drove around with bumper stickers mocking ever more stridently the "selected President." Yet, pace Justice Stevens, the Dems' faith in the selection process — in judges as the true parliament of this great Republic — restored itself within weeks, at least when it comes to selecting gay marriage, abortion, affirmative action, etc. In the words of leading Democratic thinker Nancy Pelosi, "It is a decision of the Supreme Court — so this is almost as if G-d has spoken." She was talking about "eminent domain" not Bush vs. Gore, but you can't have it both ways: It can't be the Word of G-d one day and merely "Bush's daddy's pals" the next. The Democrats never recovered from the 2000 election. They became obsessed with the "illegitimate" Bush, and carried on obsessing no matter what lively distractions intervened: In time the Twin Towers tumbled, the Taliban crumbled, they're only here today, but hung chads are here to stay. Michael Moore couldn't make a movie about 9/11 and Iraq without a 20-minute chad-dangling opening. Even the chad-free election of 2004 — the "sequel," as Richard Cohen coyly puts it — only momentarily dented the party's imperviousness to reality: If you can't get Bush, get Tom Delay, or Karl Rove, or John Bolton, or some other guy nobody's heard of. Now it's Roberts' turn. Barely had the president finished announcing the nomination when the Dems rushed Sen. Chuck Schumer on air, hunched and five-o'clock-shadowed and looking like a bus-&-truck one-man Nixon revue. Schumer's line was that, as a judge, Roberts had too thin a paper trail. His message seemed to be: Look, we Dems have the finest oppo-research boys in the business and, if we can't get any dirt on this guy, that must mean it's buried real deep and is real bad; the very fact that we can't get anything on him is in itself suspicious. Etc., etc.

July 23, 2005

Victor David Hanson - The World Must Fight Islamic Terrorists Together

Another outstanding article from Victor David Hanson:

First the terrorists of the Middle East went after the Israelis. From 1967 we witnessed 40 years of bombers, child murdering, airline hijacking, suicide murdering, and gratuitous shooting. We in the West usually cried crocodile tears, and then came up with all sorts of reasons to allow such Middle Eastern killers a pass. Yasser Arafat, replete with holster and rants at the U.N., had become a “moderate” and was thus free to steal millions of his good-behavior money. If Hamas got European cash, it would become reasonable, ostracize its “military wing,” and cease its lynching and vigilantism. When some tried to explain that Wars 1-3 (1947, 1956, 1967) had nothing to do with the West Bank, such bothersome details fell on deaf ears. When it was pointed out that Germans were not blowing up Poles to get back lost parts of East Prussia nor were Tibetans sending suicide bombers into Chinese cities to recover their country, such analogies were caricatured. When the call for a “Right of Return” was making the rounds, few cared to listen that over a half-million forgotten Jews had been cleansed from Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, and lost billions in property. When the U.N. and the EU talked about “refugee camps,” none asked why for a half-century the Arab world could not build decent housing for its victimized brethren, or why 1 million Arabs voted in Israel, but not one freely in any Arab country. The security fence became “The Wall,” and evoked slurs that it was analogous to barriers in Korea or Berlin that more often kept people in than out. Few wondered why Arabs who wished to destroy Israel would mind not being able to live or visit Israel. In any case, anti-Semitism, oil, fear of terrorism — all that and more fooled us into believing that Israel’s problems were confined to Israel. So we ended up with a utopian Europe favoring a pre-modern, terrorist-run, Palestinian thugocracy over the liberal democracy in Israel. The Jews, it was thought, stirred up a hornet’s nest, and so let them get stung on their own. We in the United States preened that we were the “honest broker.” After the Camp David accords we tried to be an intermediary to both sides, ignoring that one party had created a liberal and democratic society, while the other remained under the thrall of a tribal gang. Billions of dollars poured into frontline states like Jordan and Egypt. Arafat himself got tens of millions, though none of it ever seemed to show up in good housing, roads, or power plants for his people. The terror continued, enhanced rather than arrested, by Western largess and Israeli concessions. Then the Islamists declared war on the United States. A quarter century of mass murdering of Americans followed in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, East Africa, the first effort to topple the World Trade Center, and the attack on the USS Cole. We gave billions to Jordan, the Palestinians, and the Egyptians. Afghanistan was saved from the Soviets through U.S. aid. Kuwait was restored after Saddam’s annexation, and the holocaust of Bosnians and Kosovars halted by the American Air Force. Americans welcomed thousands of Arabs to our shores and allowed hundreds of madrassas and mosques to preach zealotry, anti-Semitism, and jihad without much scrutiny. Then came September 11 and the almost instant canonization of bin Laden. Suddenly, the prior cheap shots at Israel under siege weren’t so cheap. It proved easy to castigate Israelis who went into Jenin, but not so when we needed to do the same in Fallujah. It was easy to slander the Israelis’ scrutiny of Arabs in their midst, but then suddenly a few residents in our own country were found to be engaging in bomb making, taking up jihadist pilgrimages to Afghanistan, and mapping out terrorist operations.

Apparently, the hatred of radical Islam was not just predicated on the “occupation” of the West Bank. Instead it involved the pretexts of Americans protecting Saudi Arabia from another Iraqi attack, the United Nations boycott of Iraq, the removal of the Taliban and Saddam, and always as well as the Crusades and the Reconquista. But Europe was supposedly different. Unlike the United States, it was correct on the Middle East, and disarmed after the Cold War. Indeed, the European Union was pacifistic, socialist, and guilt-ridden about former colonialism.

* * *

But now? After Holland, Madrid, and London, European operatives go to Israel not to harangue Jews about the West Bank, but to receive tips about preventing suicide bombings. And the cowboy Patriot Act to now-panicked European parliaments perhaps seems not so illiberal after all. So it is was becoming clear that butchery by radical Muslims in Bali, Darfur, Iraq, the Philippines Thailand, Turkey, Tunisia, and Iraq was not so tied to particular and “understandable” Islamic grievances.

Perhaps the jihadist killing was not over the West Bank or U.S. hegemony after all, but rather symptoms of a global pathology of young male Islamic radicals blaming all others for their own self-inflicted miseries, convinced that attacks on the infidel would win political concessions, restore pride, and prove to Israelis, Europeans, Americans — and about everybody else on the globe — that Middle Eastern warriors were full of confidence and pride after all.

Meanwhile an odd thing happened. It turns out that the jihadists were cowards and bullies, and thus selective in their targets of hatred. A billion Chinese were left alone by radical Islam — even though the Chinese were secularists and mostly godless, as well as ruthless to their own Uighur Muslim minorities. Had bin Laden issued a fatwa against Beijing and slammed an airliner into a skyscraper in Shanghai, there is no telling what a nuclear China might have done. India too got mostly a pass, other than the occasional murdering by Pakistani zealots. Yet India makes no effort to apologize to Muslims. When extremists occasionally riot and kill, they usually cease quickly before the response of a much more unpredictable angry populace.

What can we learn from all this? Jihadists hardly target particular countries for their “unfair” foreign policies, since nations on five continents suffer jihadist attacks and thus all apparently must embrace an unfair foreign policy of some sort.

Typical after the London bombing is the ubiquitous Muslim spokesman who when asked to condemn terrorism, starts out by deploring such killing, assuring that it has nothing to do with Islam, yet then ending by inserting the infamous “but” — as he closes with references about the West Bank, Israel, and all sorts of mitigating factors. Almost no secular Middle Easterners or religious officials write or state flatly, “Islamic terrorism is murder, pure and simple evil. End of story, no ifs or buts about it.”

Second, thinking that the jihadists will target only Israel eventually leads to emboldened attacks on the United States. Assuming America is the only target assures terrorism against Europe. Civilizations will either hang separately or triumph over barbarism together. It is that simple — and past time for Europe and the United States to rediscover their common heritage and shared aims in eradicating this plague of Islamic fascism.

Read it all.

July 22, 2005

Michelle Malkin - Why Not Use Racial Profiling?

Michelle Malkin has an interesting point about the NYPD decision to search bags of subway riders:
July 22, 2005 -- WHAT'S the point? In the wake of the latest terrorist attacks in London, Mayor Bloomberg and the NYPD announced plans to conduct random searches of packages and backpacks carried by subway riders. "Random," of course, is a synonym for blind. And we all know what it means when you put blind bureaucrats in charge of homeland security: Grannies and toddlers, prepare to be on heightened grope alert. Reassuring al Qaeda operatives everywhere, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly pledged that his officers would not engage in "racial profiling." He also emphasized that passengers would be free to "turn around and leave" instead of consenting to a search.
I guess this would be funny if it were not so true... Michelle notes that:
It is reckless to prevent law-enforcement authorities from taking obvious national-security profiling factors (racial, ethnic, religious, nationality, behavioral or otherwise) into account. And it is deadly to refuse to enforce immigration laws in a manner that results in, yes, profiling. "Look for things that are unusual," Commissioner Kelly implored. "Look at things through the prism of 9/11." Uh-huh. But don't dare note the obvious:

* The 7/7 London terrorist bombers were young Muslim men — all but one of them of Pakistani origin. * All of the 1993 landmark-bombing conspirators were Muslim men from the Middle East or Sudan.

* All of the '93 World Trade Center terrorist bomb plotters were young Middle Eastern Muslim men — five of them, illegal aliens.

* The '97 New York subway-bomb plotters were also young, Middle Eastern Muslim illegals. . . . * All three of the Millenium bomb plotters were young Muslim male illegal aliens from Algeria.

* Four of the U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa were Middle Eastern Muslim men.

* Look, too, at the Islamist subway bomb plotters arrested last summer in a conspiracy to attack the Herald Square subway, three police stations on Staten Island, a prison, and the Verrazano Bridge. One of the men in the August 2004 plot, Shahawar Matin Siraj, was a 22-year-old illegal alien from Pakistan based in Jackson Heights. The other, James Elshafay, was a young, Jew-hating American man of Egyptian descent.
Look at 9/11. If you are going to take such measures as searching bags, why not place first priority on searching the bags of those that are more likely to be affiliated with Al Quaeda than old ladies in wheel chairs???

John Kerry Is A Big Fat Hypocrite

This is one of the most hypocritical things I have ever heard:
WASHINGTON - Democratic Sen. John Kerry urged the White House on Friday to release "in their entirety" all documents and memos from Supreme Court nominee John Roberts' tenure in two Republican administrations."We cannot do our duty if either Judge Roberts or the Bush administration hides elements of his professional record," said the Massachusetts senator who was his party's presidential candidate last year. Opening what is expected to be a broader attempt by Democrats to pry loose documents, Kerry issued his statement as Roberts made the latest in a series of courtesy calls on senators in advance of confirmation hearing.
Keep in mind that the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" and various Republicans requested that John Kerry, who was running for President at the time (largely based upon his alleged heroics in Vietnam), release his full military records during the campaign. Did Kerry comply with their requests? Not during the campaign. In fact, John Kerry did not sign the form required to release his records until well after the campaign was over. When he did release the records, he did not release them to the public. Rather, he only released them to 3 reporters from friendly newspapers. If that isn't hypocrisy, well I don't know what is...

Clearly, Kerry and the Democrats are frustrated because they have found no smoking gun. They want material to wage war against Roberts. Unfortunately for them, Roberts has not been on the bench for very long . Therefore, he doesn't have a large number of opinions to review.

Daily Kos - Palestinian Terrorist Apologists

Evidently, Daily Kos sides with the Palestinian terrorists and is anti-Israel. The following is from its online encyclopedia:

The recent political history of Israel and Palestine is a topic that is dealt with in many places on-line, usually claiming to be unbiased, usually failing. Trying to come up with a neutraly written history is hard, and ultimately subjective and unlikely to be agreed upon. Fortunately dKosopedia rejects the NPV of the Wikipedia, allowing an easier solution - a biased but acurate history of the troubles, with links to other points of view that are available on-line. The following is therefore written from a pro-Palestinian point of view, with the belief that a rational reading of the evidence leads to a pro-Palestinian conclusion.
The article is complete historical revisionism that portrays the Israelis as the aggressors in the wars started by the Arabs. Daily Kos ignores the fact that Israel has consistently sought peace with the Palestinians and the Arab world - only to have such efforts either rejected out right or effectively rendered worthless (i.e., Egypt makes peace with Israel only to covertly support Palestinian terrorists with money and weapons). Of course, Daily Kos completely ignores the Palestinian terror campaigns against Israel. By doing so, they clearly indicate that the murder of innocent Israeli men, women and children is appropriate. From my standpoint, even if (and that is a big "if") you have legitimate political grievances, you forfeit any moral standing once you start shooting 4 year olds in their beds or bombing night clubs and restaurants.
One of the big reasons I switched from Democrat to Republican was that, as a Jew, I felt unwelcome in the Democratic Party. The Democrats affiliate with and tolerate leftists like those that frequent the Daily Kos - i.e., the anti-Israel crowd. I have a hard time understanding how any self-respecting Jew can support a political party that does not unequivocally support Israel's right to exist.
Israel was created after the Holocaust because (a) Israel was the ancestral homeland of the Jewish people (Jewish claims to "Palestine" pre-date any Arab claims by thousands of years), (b) following the Holocaust, none of the European countries wanted to resettle the Jewish people that had just been liberated from the death camps and (c) most importantly, the World recognized that the creation of a Jewish state was the only way to avoid continued persecution and another genocide of the Jews. If there had been an Israel in the 1930's and 1940's, the Holocaust would have never happened. Jews fleeing Hitler's Europe would have had a place to go - rather than being turned away from the U.S., London, etc. If you believe in "Never Again", you believe in Israel. Otherwise, it is only lip service.

Prime Minister John Howard: Terrorism Is Not The Result Of Foreign Policy

Since the bombings in London, the left has been quick to attribute the attacks to British support of the war in Iraq. Here is an interesting transcript that I found at "The Corner" over at the National Review of remarks made by Australian Prime Minister John Howard:

PRIME MIN. HOWARD: Could I start by saying the prime minister and I were having a discussion when we heard about it. My first reaction was to get some more information. And I really don't want to add to what the prime minister has said. It's a matter for the police and a matter for the British authorities to talk in detail about what has happened here. Can I just say very directly, Paul, on the issue of the policies of my government and indeed the policies of the British and American governments on Iraq, that the first point of reference is that once a country allows its foreign policy to be determined by terrorism, it's given the game away, to use the vernacular. And no Australian government that I lead will ever have policies determined by terrorism or terrorist threats, and no self-respecting government of any political stripe in Australia would allow that to happen. Can I remind you that the murder of 88 Australians in Bali took place before the operation in Iraq. And I remind you that the 11th of September occurred before the operation in Iraq. Can I also remind you that the very first occasion that bin Laden specifically referred to Australia was in the context of Australia's involvement in liberating the people of East Timor. Are people by implication suggesting we shouldn't have done that? When a group claimed responsibility on the website for the attacks on the 7th of July, they talked about British policy not just in Iraq, but in Afghanistan. Are people suggesting we shouldn't be in Afghanistan? When Sergio de Mello was murdered in Iraq -- a brave man, a distinguished international diplomat, a person immensely respected for his work in the United Nations -- when al Qaeda gloated about that, they referred specifically to the role that de Mello had carried out in East Timor because he was the United Nations administrator in East Timor. Now I don't know the mind of the terrorists. By definition, you can't put yourself in the mind of a successful suicide bomber. I can only look at objective facts, and the objective facts are as I've cited. The objective evidence is that Australia was a terrorist target long before the operation in Iraq. And indeed, all the evidence, as distinct from the suppositions, suggests to me that this is about hatred of a way of life, this is about the perverted use of principles of the great world religion that, at its root, preaches peace and cooperation. And I think we lose sight of the challenge we have if we allow ourselves to see these attacks in the context of particular circumstances rather than the abuse through a perverted ideology of people and their murder.

PRIME MIN. BLAIR: And I agree 100 percent with that. (Laughter.)

I agree. Our foreign policy should not be dictated by terrorists. In my opinion, the Islamist terrorists are not waging their "jihad" to avenge Afghanistan or Iraq. The U.S. was a victim of terrorism long before George W. Bush came to power (e.g., the first attack on the World Trade Center, the attack on the U.S.S. Cole, the attacks in Africa, etc.) The terrorists view all non-Muslims as "infidels" and believe that it is their duty to either convert us to Islam or kill us all.

It is Not About Iraq

Oliver Roy has a good column in the New York Times:

Conflicts in the Middle East have a tremendous impact on Muslim public opinion worldwide. In justifying its terrorist attacks by referring to Iraq, Al Qaeda is looking for popularity or at least legitimacy among Muslims. But many of the terrorist group's statements, actions and non-actions indicate that this is largely propaganda, and that Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine are hardly the motivating factors behind its global jihad. First, let's consider the chronology. The Americans went to Iraq and Afghanistan after 9/11, not before. Mohamed Atta and the other pilots were not driven by Iraq or Afghanistan. Were they then driven by the plight of the Palestinians? It seems unlikely. After all, the attack was plotted well before the second intifada began in September 2000, at a time of relative optimism in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Another motivating factor, we are told, was the presence of "infidel" troops in Islam's holy lands. Yes, Osama Bin Laden was reported to be upset when the Saudi royal family allowed Western troops into the kingdom before the Persian Gulf war. But Mr. bin Laden was by that time a veteran fighter committed to global jihad..... From the beginning, Al Qaeda's fighters were global jihadists, and their favored battlegrounds have been outside the Middle East: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya and Kashmir. For them, every conflict is simply a part of the Western encroachment on the Muslim ummah, the worldwide community of believers. Second, if the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine are at the core of the radicalization, why are there virtually no Afghans, Iraqis or Palestinians among the terrorists? Rather, the bombers are mostly from the Arabian Peninsula, North Africa, Egypt and Pakistan - or they are Western-born converts to Islam. Why would a Pakistani or a Spaniard be more angry than an Afghan about American troops in Afghanistan? It is precisely because they do not care about Afghanistan as such, but see the United States involvement there as part of a global phenomenon of cultural domination. What was true for the first generation of Al Qaeda is also relevant for the present generation: even if these young men are from Middle Eastern or South Asian families, they are for the most part Westernized Muslims living or even born in Europe who turn to radical Islam. Moreover, converts are to be found in almost every Qaeda cell: they did not turn fundamentalist because of Iraq, but because they felt excluded from Western society (this is especially true of the many converts from the Caribbean islands, both in Britain and France). "Born again" or converts, they are rebels looking for a cause. They find it in the dream of a virtual, universal ummah, the same way the ultraleftists of the 1970's (the Baader-Meinhof Gang, the Italian Red Brigades) cast their terrorist actions in the name of the "world proletariat" and "Revolution" without really caring about what would happen after.

War In Iraq v. War on Terror

Jonah Goldberg has an interesting column:
For years we've been told that the war in Iraq was a mistake because the real enemy was al-Qaida or jihadism. Iraq is a "distraction" and all that. And all along Blair and Bush have been saying the exact opposite: Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. And yet, when terrorists strike at the heart of London, the pro-war crowd says this has nothing to do with Iraq and the anti-war crowd says it does. This has it exactly backward. Indeed, isn't the determination of jihadi fanatics to defend Iraq by attacking London exactly the sort of evidence required to demonstrate a linkage between terrorism and Iraq? If America and Britain invaded Canada, Islamic terrorists wouldn't care. But when we invaded Baghdad, they immediately declared it to be the defining battle of their movement. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the head of al-Qaida in Iraq, has flatly declared that the future of their cause depends on the outcome of the fight in Iraq. Doesn't this suggest in the teeny-weeniest way that maybe, just maybe, the war in Iraq and the war on terror are inextricably bound together?

Dick Morris on Advocacy Groups & John Roberts

A great column from Dick Morris on the impending nomination fight:

In the immediate after math of Bush's nomination of Judge John Roberts to the Supreme Court, we witness an unusual dichotomy on the left and right. The Democrats, clearly on the spot because they had voted unanimously to confirm him to the Circuit Court of Appeals, are waiting for the hearings and the negative research to pull up past statements or opinions on which they can oppose the nomination. But advocacy groups on both sides of the life-vs.-choice debate are wasting no time in ginning up their email and postal lists for the coming confirmation battle. Already the National Abortion Rights League and Moveon.org are rallying supporters to do battle, while Newsmax and other conservative groups are circulating petitions in the judge's defense. We must treat the passion of those opposing Roberts with due skepticism. Advocacy groups have been waiting for a fight over the Supreme Court for a decade now and are determined to cash in on the opportunity it affords them to fatten their lists, add to their supporters and pad their revenues. ....They are in a battle with one another to gather donors, members, names, supporters and signatures. This dynamic, on both sides of the fight, explains the passion of the groups even as Bush seems to have nominated a candidate moderate enough to be confirmed without a Democratic filibuster. But you won't hear that from any advocacy groups. Their mission is to polarize and to make money and derive power from the hot coals they rake to life and the conflagration they kindle. Bush seems to have found a judge with such a meager output of decisions and writings that the opposition has to hunt long and hard to find anything to hang around his neck. Can the advocacy groups of the left, in their own interest, foment a fight where none exists? Can they induce their proxies who sit in the Senate to see in Roberts a threat to civilization, and seduce them into a battle and a filibuster? It will be fun to watch them try

This will be an interesting confirmation process to watch . . .

July 21, 2005

Birthday Break!!!

Well, I am officially 33 years old today... damn, that is getting old.

Between being busy at work and taking a couple of hours off this afternoon to see my family, I will likely not be doing much blogging today. Will be back tomorrow...

July 20, 2005

Bush Nominates John Roberts

CNN reports that President Bush has nominated John Roberts to the Supreme Court.:

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush's choice of Judge John Roberts Jr. as the first Supreme Court nominee in 11 years has mobilized advocacy groups of all stripes, and early reaction indicates a partisan fight could be forthcoming. If confirmed by the Senate, the conservative Roberts would replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who gained a reputation as a moderate swing voter in her 24 terms on the nation's highest court. The conservative group Progress for America rallied in front of the Supreme Court building in Washington on Tuesday night, carrying signs reading "Confirm." A liberal advocacy group, People for the American Way, sent out 400,000 e-mails to supporters after the announcement, according to the group's president, Ralph Neas. The nomination of Roberts, a federal appellate court judge, pleased Republicans and prompted Democrats to vow a thorough review in the Senate

Ideally, the Supreme Court should be the interpreter of the law and any confirmation hearings would focus on the nominees legal credentials. However, the activism of the Supreme Court over the years has placed the focus on the nominees position on certain controversial issues. For example, will he help overturn Roe v. Wade? I am not sure where I fall on that issue personally. For the most part, I am probably pro-choice - yet, I consider abortion to be the wrong alternative in most cases.
The cynic in me would say that the reason the Democrats are so concerned about Roberts' position on abortion demonstrates that the right to an abortion is not firmly based in the Constitution. From a purely legal perspective, the right of privacy upon which Roe relies is not an explicit right granted in the Constitution or Bill of Rights. Roe v. Wade was arguably an example of the Supreme Court going beyond its stated role as the interpreter of the law. Rather, it could fairly be seen as an example of "legislating from the bench". However, the supporters of Roe do have a good point in that it could very easily be deemed to be an implied right based upon certain portions of the Bill of Rights.
Over the next few weeks, we will undoubtedly hear about John Roberts' infamous footnote that argued for the overturn of Roe v. Wade:
Arguing a case for the first Bush administration in 1990 when he was deputy solicitor general, Roberts said Roe v. Wade "was wrongly decided and should be overruled." In his 2003 confirmation hearing, however, he told senators he was acting as an advocate for his client, rather than presenting his own positions. He told senators Roe was "the settled law of the land" and said "there's nothing in my personal views that would prevent me from fully and faithfully applying that precedent."
It is important to keep in mind that John Roberts was advocating as a member of the solicitor general's office in support of the Bush administration's position that Roe v. Wade should be overturned. Lawyers are paid to be advocates and to represent certain causes - regardless of their personal beliefs.

July 19, 2005

Christopher Hitchens on the Rove "Scandal"

Christopher Hitchens has another good column at slate.com on the Rove non-scandal:

Thus, and to begin with, Joseph Wilson comes before us as a man whose word is effectively worthless. What do you do, if you work for the Bush administration, when a man of such quality is being lionized by an anti-war press? Well, you can fold your tent and let them print the legend. Or you can say that the word of a mediocre political malcontent who is at a loose end, and who is picking up side work from a wife who works at the anti-regime-change CIA, may not be as "objective" as it looks. I dare say that more than one supporter of regime change took this option. I would certainly have done so as a reporter if I had known. OK, then, how do the opponents of regime change in Iraq make my last sentence into a statement of criminal intent and national-security endangerment? By citing the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982. This law, which is one of the most repressive and absurd pieces of legislation on our statute book, was a panicky attempt by the right to silence whistle-blowers at the CIA. In a rough effort to make it congruent with freedom of information and the First Amendment (after all, the United States managed to get through the Second World War and most of the Cold War without such a law), it sets a fairly high bar. You must knowingly wish to expose the cover of a CIA officer who you understand may be harmed as a result. It seems quite clear that nobody has broken even that arbitrary element of this silly law.... But the coverage of this non-storm in an un-teacup has gone far beyond the fantasy of a Rovean hidden hand. Supposedly responsible journalists are now writing as if there was never any problem with Saddam's attempt to acquire yellowcake (or his regime's now-proven concealment of a nuclear centrifuge, or his regime's now-proven attempt to buy long-range missiles off the shelf from North Korea as late as March 2003). In the same way, the carefully phrased yet indistinct statement of the 9/11 Commission that Saddam had no proven "operational" relationship with al-Qaida has mutated lazily into the belief that there were no contacts or exchanges at all, which the commission by no means asserts and which in any case by no means possesses the merit of being true. The CIA got everything wrong before 9/11, and thereafter. It was conditioned by its own culture to see no evil. It regularly leaked—see any of Bob Woodward's narratives—against the administration. Now it, and its partisans and publicity-famished husband-and-wife teams, want to imprison or depose people who leak back at it. No, thanks. Many journalists are rightly appalled at Time magazine's collusion with a prosecutor who has proved no crime and identified no victim. Far worse is the willingness of the New York Times to accept the demented premise of a prosecutor who has put one of its own writers behind bars.

Read it all. Hitchens goes into more detail on the credibility (or, should I say, the lack thereof) of Joe Wilson as well.

The Indecisiveness of Western Leaders

Cal Thomas blasts the indecisiveness of Western leaders in dealing with the war against Islamic terrorism:

DOLGELLAU, Wales — Thank goodness for those history channels that bring back the generals and politicians of the past who, by contrast, make many of today's leaders look indecisive. I saw President Harry Truman on one of them last week. In a speech to the nation near the end of World War II, Truman rejected suggestions that the Allies seek accommodation with Japan, rather than victory. Truman would have none of it, saying only Japan's "unconditional surrender" would be acceptable. Contrast that with the conciliatory blather of today. Prime Minister Tony Blair is inviting British and Muslim leaders to a meeting Tuesday at 10 Downing Street where it is reported he will urge worldwide action to uproot what he has called the "evil ideology" and "twisted teaching" that lay behind the London bombings. Here's what Blair should say to the Muslim leaders: "The onus is on you guys. You find and shut down the terrorists and their network. You turn those who incite, plan and encourage violence over to the authorities. If you don't act, we will by closing and bulldozing the mosques and schools that incubate and instruct the killers, prosecuting the terrorists we find and deporting them and their clerics, and closing our borders to anyone from countries that harbor and teach terrorists. Those who are British citizens will be stripped of their citizenship."

In my opinion, the problem stems from political correctness. No politician wants to come across as insulting a religion. So, rather than hold Muslim leaders accountable for reforming their religion and assisting the government in rooting out the terrorist cells, these politicians hold high profile "meetings" with Muslim leaders and tell anyone who will listen that "Islam is a religion of peace". Look, I think it is important to remind the public that the Islamists are a violent sect of the religion of Islam and are not representative of all Muslims - it is highly appropriate to avoid any public backlash against Muslims. However, once that is done, why can't Tony Blair or Geroge Bush give the Muslim leaders a simple ultimatum: clean up your house or we will (and I can assure you that you won't like how we do it).

Gore: New TV Channel Will Be Non-Partisan

According to Al Gore, his new television channel will be non-partisan:

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - Former Vice President Al Gore, co-founder of a new television channel launching next month, said he's shunning politics - and so is his media venture. "I consider myself a recovering politician. I'm on step nine," Gore told a meeting Monday of the Television Critics Association. The 2004 Democratic candidate for president was asked if he was concerned the 24-hour news and information channel, called Current, would be perceived as having a political slant. It's scheduled to launch Aug. 1. "I think the reality of the network will speak for itself. It's not intended to be partisan in any way," said Gore, Current's co-founder (with businessman Joel Hyatt) and chairman of the board.Aimed at an 18-34-year-old audience, Current has loftier goals in mind than party politics: Gore said it will engage young people in the "dialogue of democracy" by providing stories that interest them, and will involve them in the channel's content. Using Web parlance, Gore said he wants Current to be the channel of choice for young adults. "We want to be the television home page for the Internet generation," he said.

I will believe it when I see it. Al Gore has spent almost his entire life in politics - do you think that he can really separate this venture from his background and experiences?

July 18, 2005

Left-Wing Blogs - Good or Bad for the Democrats?

Have left-wing blogs been bad for the Democrats?? Dean Barnett of the Weekly Standard thinks so:

The Democratic party, on the other hand, errs in precisely the opposite fashion as Trudeau. While Moulitsas recognizes that the left-wing blogosphere is a world unto itself, if establishment Democrats have any awareness of that fact they have yet to betray it. Where Trudeau feels bloggers are a bunch of shut-in half-wits, the Democratic party seems to be under the impression that bloggers are an enormous, important constituency--and that it must go to whatever lengths necessary to win the hearts and minds of this virtual community. THIS SEEMS LIKE A MAJOR MISCALCULATION, because the politics of the left-wing blogs are far out of the American mainstream. Where most of the 120 million Americans who voted in the last election bear a benign indifference to political matters, the left half of the blogosphere seethes with hatred for George W. Bush and his supporters. What's more, the blogs take numerous positions that would strike all but the most passionate Democratic partisans as patently preposterous. For example, several of the left-wing blogs recently ran an advertisement that referred to West Virginia Senator and former Ku Klux Klan Kleagle Robert Byrd as an "American Hero." Also, the level of discourse on the Daily Kos and other prominent liberal blogs is not something that would be attractive to the majority of the American public. The writings are often obscene and usually relentlessly hostile and negative. Crude personal attacks, whether aimed at right-wing bloggers or politicians, are the order of the day. A typical example came on July 4 inresponse to a humorous piece by the internet satirist "Iowahawk", which purported to be written by Abu Masab Al-Zarqawi and was titled, "Stop Questioning My Patriotism." This relatively benign and (and extremely funny) essay elicited the following response from regular Kos contributor "Armando:" "Fucking pricks. You goosestepping McCarthyites. Now go cry to momma. You yellow-bellied elephants." And yet mainstream Democratic politicians are desperately trying to ingratiate themselves with Kos and his audience. A Who's Who of top tier Democrats have written "diaries" for the site, including Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, and Ted Kennedy. The above listed politicians, and their less mainstream colleagues (think the John Conyers/Louise Slaughter variety), are constantly romancing the Kossacks. . . .Perhaps most pathetically, these politicians' earnest efforts to win Moulitsas's affections often fall flat. On the Daily Kos, the "front page" gets the heaviest traffic; a typical diary languishes in obscurity, one of dozens of similar efforts offered each day by the community unless Moulitsas plucks it from relative anonymity and promotes it to the front page. The vast majority of diaries written by politicians for the site do not get promoted to the front page. Moulitsas didn't even deem Ted Kennedy's screed worthy of special note. . . . How has this strategy been working? Disastrously. The last six months have been a horror show for Republicans. And yet, astonishingly, the Democratic party has suffered more in the polls than the Republicans. According to a recent poll done by Democrats Stanley Greenberg and James Carville, 43 percent of Americans have warm feelings for the Republican party compared to 38 percent who feel the same way for Democrats. Greenberg characterizes his poll's results this way: "Republicans weakened in this poll . . . but it shows Democrats weakening more." Greenberg says the Democrats' fall is due to voters feeling that the party has "no core set of convictions or point of view." Why is that? The Democratic party has decided to imitate the style of the political blogs, even though the most trafficked one, the Daily Kos, receives fewer than 600,000 visits a day. While the traffic numbers of the Daily Kos are a great accomplishment, even 600,000 readers (a generous estimate) are nearly insignificant from a national electoral perspective. And while Kos's readers represent a constituency which prefers a steady diet of heated rhetoric and non-stop Bush bashing, there is nothing to suggest that a larger movement is developing with a similar taste for bare-knuckled, obscenity-laced politics. As Markos Moulitsas observed, his virtual community is a "different world." Democrats seem to have forgotten that elections are held in the real one.
I am not sure that I agree with most of his conclusions. Quite frankly, I am of the belief that blogs - whether Republican or Democratic leaning - are great tools to encourage grass root activism and excitement for politics. The Democrats do not have any new, exciting policy positions or ideas . . . . Although an oversimplification, lately their "platform" has seemed to be focused on opposing Bush. They need all the help they can get in stirring up interest in their candidates. John Kerry had to be one of the worst, uninspired candidates ever fielded by the Democratic Party, yet he was able to attract approximately 48% of the popular vote in the 2004 election. I credit that to the success of the Left-Wing blogs such as Daily Kos.
Barnett does, of course, have a point that the Left-Wing blogs tend to be full of obscenity laced and heated anti-Bush rhetoric. Is this the best face to put on your political party? Do you want "swing" voters to stop by Daily Kos and be told why "Bush is worse than Hitler" or "Bush has murdered more people than Sadaam Hussein"?? Do you want to have Daily Kos explain to swing voters why "Republicans are worse than Al Quaeda"? Most centrists would find these comparisons over the top and not indicative of serious people. As I have written before, you don't win votes by telling people that their family members and friends are the moral equivalents of Osama Bin Laden.
The vilification of one's political opponents is getting out of hand. Intelligent people can certainly disagree with Bush's policies on Iraq, taxes, education, energy, environment, etc. However, this does not mean that Bush is evil, that he is destroying the country or that he is the next Adolf Hitler.
To the extent that the vitriol of the Left-Wing blogs is spilling over into "mainstream" politics, then maybe Barnett does have a point. Lately, Democratic politicians do seem to be more intent on Bush-bashing and scandal mongering than creating serious policy initiatives. If this is an effort to curry favor with the Democratic activists that frequent Daily Kos an Moveon.org, then it is not a sign of good things to come for the Democratic party.

The Valerie Plame Non-Scandal

John Tierney has an excellent Op-Ed Column in the New York Times:

The White House felon So far Karl Rove appears guilty of telling reporters something he had heard, that Valerie Wilson, the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson IV, worked for the C.I.A. But because of several exceptions in the 1982 law forbidding disclosure of a covert operative's identity, virtually no one thinks anymore that he violated it. The law doesn't seem to apply to Ms. Wilson because she apparently hadn't been posted abroad during the five previous years. The endangered spies Ms. Wilson was compared to James Bond in the early days of the scandal, but it turns out she had been working for years at C.I.A. headquarters, not exactly a deep-cover position. Since being outed, she's hardly been acting like a spy who's worried that her former contacts are in danger. At the time her name was printed, her face was still not that familiar even to most Washington veterans,but that soon changed. When her husband received a "truth-telling" award at a Nation magazine luncheon, he wept as he told of his sorrow at his wife's loss of anonymity. Then he introduced her to the crowd. And then, for any enemy agents who missed seeing her face at the luncheon but had an Internet connection, she posed with her husband for a photograph in Vanity Fair. The smeared whistle-blower Mr. Wilson accused the White House of willfully ignoring his report showing that Iraq had not been seeking nuclear material from Niger. But a bipartisan report from the Senate Intelligence Committee concluded that his investigation had yielded little valuable information, hadn't reached the White House and hadn't disproved the Iraq-Niger link - in fact, in some ways it supported the link.
Mr. Wilson presented himself as a courageous truth-teller who was being attacked by lying partisans, but he himself became a Democratic partisan (working with the John Kerry presidential campaign) who had a problem with facts. He denied that his wife had anything to do with his assignment in Niger, but Senate investigators found a memo in which she recommended him. Karl Rove's version of events now looks less like a smear and more like the truth: Mr. Wilson's investigation, far from being requested and then suppressed by a White House afraid of its contents, was a low-level report of not much interest to anyone outside the Wilson household.
So what exactly is this scandal about? Why are the villagers still screaming to burn the witch? Well, there's always the chance that the prosecutor will turn up evidence of perjury or obstruction of justice during the investigation, which would just prove once again that the easiest way to uncover corruption in Washington is to create it yourself by investigating nonexistent crimes. For now, though, it looks as if this scandal is about a spy who was not endangered, a whistle-blower who did not blow the whistle and was not smeared, and a White House official who has not been fired for a felony that he did not commit. And so far the only victim is a reporter who did not write a story about it.
This was a good column.

So, why are the Democrats so insistent upon continuing the witchhunt? Well, the Clinton years taught the Democrats that the easiest way to bring down a politician was to shed light on a scandal. Clinton became entangled in several scandals during his tenure in the White House - Whitewater, Filegate, Gennifer Flowers, Monica Lewinsky, too name a few. Maybe this is pay back... a tradition in D.C. The thought of bringing down Karl Rove is probably too much to pass up.

Mark Steyn takes on Joe Wilson

Mark Steyn has a great column in the Chicago Sun-Times:

Karl Rove? Please. I couldn't care less. This week finds me thousands of miles from the Beltway in what I believe the ABC World News Tonight map designates as the Rest Of The Planet, an obscure beat the media can't seem to spare a correspondent for. But even if I was with the rest of the navel-gazers inside the Beltway I wouldn't be interested in who ''leaked'' the name of CIA employee Valerie Plame to the press. As her weirdly self-obsesssed husband Joseph C. Wilson IV conceded on CNN the other day, she wasn't a ''clandestine officer'' and, indeed, hadn't been one for six years. So one can only ''leak'' her name in the sense that one can ''leak'' the name of the checkout clerk at Home Depot. Back when Woodrow Wilson was running for president, he had a campaign song called ''Wilson, That's All.'' If only. With Joe Wilson, it's never all. He keeps coming back like a song. But in the real world there's only one scandal in this whole wretched business -- that the CIA, as part of its institutional obstruction of the administration, set up a pathetic ''fact-finding mission'' that would be considered a joke by any serious intelligence agency and compounded it by sending, at the behest of his wife, a shrill politically motivated poseur who, for the sake of 15 minutes' celebrity on the cable gabfest circuit, misled the nation about what he found. This controversy began, you'll recall, because Wilson objected to a line in the president's State of the Union speech that British intelligence had discovered that Iraq had been trying to acquire ''yellowcake'' -- i.e., weaponized uranium -- from Africa. This assertion made Bush, in Wilson's incisive analysis, a ''liar'' and Cheney a ''lying sonofabitch.'' In fact, the only lying sonafabitch turned out to be Yellowcake Joe. Just about everybody on the face of the earth except Wilson, the White House press corps and the moveon.org crowd accepts that Saddam was indeed trying to acquire uranium from Africa. Don't take my word for it; it's the conclusion of the Senate intelligence report, Lord Butler's report in the United Kingdom, MI6, French intelligence, other European services -- and, come to that, the original CIA report based on Joe Wilson's own briefing to them. Why Yellowcake Joe then wrote an article for the New York Times misrepresenting what he'd been told by senior figures from Major Wanke's regime in Niger is known only to him. . . .The British suicide bombers and the Iranian nuke demands are genuine crises. The Valerie Plame game is a pseudo-crisis. If you want to talk about Niger or CIA reform, fine. But if you seriously think the only important aspect of a politically motivated narcissist kook's drive-thru intelligence mission to a critical part of the world is the precise sequence of events by which some White House guy came to mention the kook's wife to some reporter, then you've departed the real world and you're frolicking on the wilder shores of Planet Zongo. What's this really about? It's not difficult. A big chunk of the American elites have decided there is no war; it's all a racket got up by Bush and Cheney. And, even if there is a war somewhere or other, wherever it is, it's not where Bush says it is. Iraq is a ''distraction'' from Afghanistan -- and, if there were no Iraq, Afghanistan would be a distraction from Niger, and Niger's a distraction from Valerie Plame's next photo shoot for Vanity Fair. The police have found the suicide bomber's head in the rubble of the London bus, and Iran is enriching uranium. The only distraction here is the pitiful parochialism of our political culture.

I agree.

The Hollywood Agenda

From John Leo:
David Koepp, who wrote the screenplay for War of the Worlds, says the Martian attackers in the film represent the American military, while the Americans being slaughtered at random represent Iraqi civilians. I see it differently. I think the Martians symbolize normal Americans, while those being attacked are the numbskulls who run Hollywood. Perhaps the normals went a bit too far in this easy-to-understand allegory, but think of the provocation. Among other things, Koepp made the "thereisnoInternet" mistake, carefully masking his analysis in U.S. interviews, but saying it flat-out in Rue Morgue, an obscure Canadian horror magazine, apparently thinking nobody would notice. But as the movie makes clear, once the normals begin to track you with their newfangled technology, there is no escape. They can find you even in Canada. Hollywood has grown eye-poppingly angry with the rest of the country, mostly over Bush and Iraq, but partly, at least, because the left-coasters apparently thought they were somehow entitled to a string of Democratic presidents after Clinton. The upshot is that even mild-mannered nonpropagandists like George Lucas have come under pressure to display their lefty credentials with silly political touches. The first three, brilliant Star Wars had no such touches, but the last three, nonbrilliant ones surely do. In the last of the epics, two anti-Bush lines showed up: "Only a Sith [a dark lord] thinks in absolutes" and "If you're not with me, you are my enemy." Lucas said the "enemy" sentence had been written before Bush's similar words after 9/11. Maybe so, but Lucas had three years or so to figure out the political impact of the line but left it in anyway. Last May, at the Cannes Film Festival, natural breeding ground for excitedly anti-American prose, Lucas apparently said that his final Star Wars movie, featuring the rise of Darth Vader and the sinister empire, is a wake-up call to Americans about the erosion of freedoms under President Bush. (I say "apparently" because Cannes news reports, appearing only in various Canadian papers, had no direct quotes about a wake-up call, only paraphrases.) Paul Jackson of the Calgary Sun wrote: "Now [Lucas] says the Star Wars movies have a political message: Fight to free Americans from the evermore frightening dictatorial tyranny of the Bush administration." . . . .
No movie has been made about the terrorists since 9/11, nothing on al Qaeda, the Taliban, Daniel Pearl, Saddam Hussein, the USS Cole, the embassy attacks, the daring and impressive attempts to track down terrorists. Nothing. Not even a movie about heroic action after 9/11—the firemen who ran upstairs to their deaths to save others in the twin towers, the people who drove all night from Texas and the South to help New Yorkers cope with the disaster. But wait. Help is on the way. Hollywood is still reluctant to irritate terrorists, but a few movies about 9/11 heroes are on the way. And whom did Paramount pick for the highest-profile one? Oliver Stone, the unhinged director/screenwriter who refers to 9/11 as a justified "revolt" against the established order and the six companies he thinks control the world. At a panel after 9/11, Stone said that the Palestinians who danced at the news of the attack were reacting just as people responded after the revolutions in France and Russia. He thinks 9/11 may have unleashed as much creative energy as the birth of Einstein. Internet commentators are going berserk over the idea of a wacky pro-terrorist paranoid directing the first big 9/11 movie. It will focus on two American heroes, not terrorists. But it could well turn out badly. Besides, why pick Stone? What can be done about the Hollywood brain? And where are those Martian attackers when you really need them

July 15, 2005

More from the Palestinian Death Cult

More from the Palestinian death cult:

Less than 24 hours after the July 7 terrorist bombings in London, a Palestinian Authority Television sermon called for the extermination of every single Infidel: "Annihilate the Infidels and the Polytheists! Your [i.e. Allah's] enemies are the enemies of the religion! Allah, disperse their gathering and break up their unity, and turn on them, the evil adversities. Allah, count them and kill them to the last one, and don't leave even one."

We give millions and the Europeans give billions to this demented society of aspiring genocidal maniacs. What the hell. Maybe we should give them their own country?!

Air Guitar Championships??? What the hell...???

This is strange....

Washington Post on Rove

The Washington Post has a good and surprisingly sensible editorial on the Rove leak:

But much is still unknown, and Democratic demands that Mr. Rove be fired immediately seem premature given the murky state of the evidence. While we await more facts, it's worth remembering some from the previous episodes of this strange story-- including a few that have been mangled or forgotten. Mr. Wilson made his trip in 2002 to look into reports that Iraq had sought to buy uranium from Niger. A year later, he publicly surfaced and loudly proclaimed that the Bush administration should have known that its conclusion that Iraq had sought such supplies, included in the president's 2003 State of the Union address, was wrong. He said he had debunked that theory and that his report had circulated at the highest levels of government. One year after that, reports by two official investigations -- Britain's Butler Commission and the Senate intelligence committee -- demonstrated that Mr. Wilson's portrayal of himself as a whistle-blower was unwarranted. It turned out his report to the CIA had not altered, and may even have strengthened, the agency's conclusion that Iraq had explored uranium purchases from Niger. Moreover, his account had not reached Vice President Cheney or any other senior official. According to the Butler Commission, led by an independent jurist, the assertion about African uranium included in Mr. Bush's State of the Union speech was "well-founded." ..... Mr. Rove and other administration officials had a legitimate interest in rebutting Mr. Wilson's inflated claims -- including the notion that he had been dispatched to Niger at Mr. Cheney's behest. It's in that context, judging from Mr. Cooper's e-mail, that Mr. Rove appears to have brought up Ms. Plame's role. Whether Mr. Rove or others behaved in a way that amounted to criminal, malicious or even merely sleazy behavior will turn on what they knew about Ms. Plame's employment. Were they aware she was a covert agent? Did they recklessly fail to consider that before revealing her involvement? How they learned about Ms. Plame also will matter: Did the information come from government sources or outside parties? It may be that Mr. Rove, or someone else, will turn out to be guilty of deliberately leaking Ms. Plame's identity, knowing that it would blow her cover. Or officials may have conspired to cover up a leak or lied about it under oath. For now, however, it remains to be established that such misconduct occurred.

My only issue with the editorial is that the Washington Post doesn't recognize that, in fact, there is no way that there could have been a violation of law. Clearly, the evidence deduced so far (including Joe Wilson's own book) has revealed that this leak does not amount to a violation of the law as Ms. Plame had not been covert in over five years (the requirement of the statute). You do not even need get to the analysis of intent as the CIA agent being "outted" had not been covert in the previous five years. Of course, whether it was unethical or not is still not clear...

BMW Brings Night Vision to Cars!!!

This is cool:

BMW claims that its new 7 Series is the first production car to feature a far infra-red night vision system, used in conjunction with the new high-beam "assist" function to make night driving safer. A thermal imaging camera covers a distance of up to 300m in front of the vehicle to create an image of objects out of range of the headlights. The more brilliantly the object the on the central monitor is displayed, the greater the warmth registered by the camera.Pedestrians and animals would thus be the brightest areas of the image because of their high infra-red heat signature; they're also the most important things to concentrate on when driving responsibly.BMW engineers have opted for the innovative far infra-red (FIR) technology because studies show it is more effective than near infra-red (NIR) for detecting people, animals and objects at night.The image section also follows the road (panning) and distant objects can be enlarged (zoom). The system is activated simply by a switch next to the light switch and is planned to be available on the 7 Series worldwide in the last quarter of 2005.

Here is a cool picture of the night vision in use:

Too bad I cannot afford a new 7 Series. Hell, not many people can as they tend to list at around $70,000. The good news is that the auto industry tends to make such things standard or at least less expensive options on lower priced cars as time goes by.