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Tuesday, December 28th, 2004


Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has been under a good deal of criticism lately, mostly of the stupid and opportunistic variety, but vocal enough that it has provoked a vigorous counterattack in Rumsfeld’s defense. First, by former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich on David Horowitz’s Frontpagemag website and Newt’s own blog (Newt has a blog?). A substantive excerpt:

“Most notably, he[ Rumsfeld] undertook an extraordinarily complicated set of negotiations with our allies to move forces from obsolete and expensive Cold War positions in Europe and East Asia to much more useful and less expensive positions from where they can be more effective in defending America.

Just eight short months into the new Bush administration and just weeks after Mr. Rumsfeld’s Defense Department transformation plan had begun, the United States was attacked on 9/11. By now the response to that attack is well known. Mr. Rumsfeld took control and led the remarkably successful campaign in Afghanistan, which led in short order to the defeat of the Taliban and the destruction of its terrorist training camps. Even during ongoing military campaigns, Mr. Rumsfeld never wavered from his transformational objectives.

In the summer of 2003, in order to accelerate transformation in the Army, he brought Gen. Peter J. Schoomaker out of retirement to become Army chief of staff. Mr. Rumsfeld, with the brilliant leadership of General Schoomaker, was able to move personnel from noncombat to combat units, enabling them with additional reorganization to create 15 newly restructured combat brigades.

Also, because of Mr. Rumsfeld’s successful plan, our military is more flexible, more agile and better able to fight unconventional enemies. A new civilian personnel system was designed to reward merit, reduce force stress and replace a bureaucratic culture of risk aversion with one of innovation.

Moreover, he was able to move military personnel out of jobs that should be and are now held by civilians. Under this reorganization, Army troop levels increased (by 30,000), as did the number of combat brigades (from 10 to 15), making a draft unnecessary despite some critics’ claims that one was imminent.

Today, over at The Diplomad, Secretary Rumsfeld was also the topic where they provided a few useful caveats to conventional MSM wisdom. On Rumsfeld’s recent presidential vote of confidence:

“…Reading the NY Times or Washington Post you would get the sense that Rumsfeld was Secretary Powell’s arch-enemy, and that foreign policy was not working properly if the two of them were arguing or if, God help us, the President was listening to Rumsfeld and not to Powell. Here’s what’s wrong with that kind of analysis:

— The President makes the final call if SecDef and SecState disagree or even they agree. If you don’t like the outcome, blame the President. But whoops, it turns out there are not enough voting-age blamers to go around and President Bush just got re-elected, decisively.

— Secretaries of State and Defense SHOULD disagree. It goes with the territory and is a healthy part of making good decisions. The military view of the world sees areas of responsibility, unified commands and missions; the diplomatic view sees geographic regions and use of force as an element of overall foreign policy. Each has a different constituency of troops or employees and interests both at home and overseas. Diplomads who work a lot with our military counterparts find that we have healthy disagreements all the time. It’s not a problem

— Secretary Powell and Secretary Rumsfeld each worked in the other’s bureaucracy (the former in a distinguished military career that took him to the Chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs, the latter as Ambassador to NATO); it’s not hard to envision them having been named to the other one’s position.

[ I interrupt this excerpt to point out that the most qualified successor to Rumsfeld as a wartime DefSec would of course be Colin Powell, which would require a special act of Congress to permit as it did for George Marshall. ]

— If they come across to foreign audiences as a good cop/bad cop pair, that doesn’t mean they’re not working towards the same objectives.”

The fine folks at The Diplomad are a little too easy on Rummy over Abu Ghraib though. Rumsfeld let that one get away from his usual ironfisted supervisory style where what to my eyes was a psychological warfare operation that ended up being subcontracted to morons. I say this because I’ve had two people with field experience – real field experience in covert ops – in MI interrogation swear up and down that Abu Ghraib was outside normal practice by a country mile. Even the rough stuff done with a wink and a nod. The results of the scandal were a political disaster of the first magnitude. Let’s not minimize what was a boon to our enemies.

I’m glad Rumsfeld kept his job for reasons I’ll explain later but first a personal aside. One of my Aunts worked for Don Rumsfeld a long time ago in his CEO days when I was just a boy. She wasn’t his right hand by any means but she was a trusted enough corporate subordinate to be asked to come back to work temporarily (she had left to raise a child) to help with his Mideast trip preparations when Rumsfeld was made President Reagan’s special envoy. My Aunt was always very impressed with Rumsfeld’s intelligence and energy and described him as the toughest, sharpest and most ruthless boss she had ever worked for.

I have no doubt that a President Rumsfeld would have fired Secretary Rumsfeld in an instant for Abu Ghraib.

That being said we need to recall that all the negatives that have occurred during Rumsfeld’s tenure in four years would have amounted to perhaps a bad week under Secretary Marshall during the Korean War. Or Henry Stimson, our last great Secretary of War who inadvertently allowed die-hard Nazis the run of our P.O.W. camps. Not one or two camps but over 200 of them. Rumsfeld survived his scandal not simply because of the famous Bush family loyalty but because for all practical purposes he would be very difficult to replace.

The DoD is a very, very difficult Department for a Defense Secretary to get control of – Clinton’s administration never did and just let the services run on autopilot except for ” diversity and gender” issues. Rumsfeld, Cheney, Weinberger and McNamara were the Secretaries who really ran the DoD with strong civilian control but most others never quite got the hang of corralling the bureaucracy, a process that in the best of times takes years.

These are not the best of times.

The only other former DefSecs with wartime experience are older than Rumsfeld except Dick Cheney, who as sitting Vice-President is not eligible. Aside from the fact that Rumsfeld has the drive, the ability, the experience and the grasp of issues to push through the Revolution in Military Affairs transformation that much of the brass hates and fears, we are in the middle of a war. A new, inexperienced Secretary, assuming that confirmation hearings were not dragged out, would take at least six months to a year to get up to speed on just the war. In the meantime, transformation would go out the window and the services could continue to plan and arm to fight the Warsaw Pact.

It’s not that Rumsfeld is without his major mistakes. He’s made them. It’s that the cold reality is that from President Bush’s perspective, the pros of Donald Rumsfeld still far outweigh the cons and that any likely successor would be marking time that the United States cannot afford to lose.

Sunday, December 26th, 2004


In all likelihood this will do little good because we are dealing with barbarians but these barbarians have shown themselves to be vulnerable to international pressure to some degree in the past. They are not loved by their own people and feel American power on their necks so lets add to it shall we ?

In Iran, a woman named Hajiyeh Esmaelvand is going to be buried up to her neck in the ground and a mob of Islamist religious fanatics are going to throw stones at her head until she is dead.

One small daily slice in an Islamist tyranny but Ms. Esmaelvand is ” fortunate” in the sense that an international campaign has mobilized on her behalf to publicize her case and pressure the Iranian government to not carry out this form of medieval cruelty.

If you would care to sign the petition against stoning women to death, sign here.

If you would prefer to write the powerless figurehead who serves as window dressing for the corrupt, hardline, clique around ” Supreme Guide” Khameini, you can write the President of Iran at:


Or help clog up his Fax line, if you are particularly motivated:

0098 21 649 5880

As I said, it probably won’t do much good but on the bright side a hapless woman may be spared a grisly death and the forces of darkness and brutality in Iran will receive a political setback.

Sunday, December 26th, 2004


This post is dedicated to Geitner Simmons for an email Hat Tip:

I have to hand it to the Hard Left and the Transnational Progressives, they will leave no stone unturned in their quest to acquire undemocratic and unaccountable control over the rest of us. That in the process they trivialize and ultimately devalue important and meaningful concepts such as ” Genocide” and ” Human Rights” is at best, an afterthought in their view, if not a bonus.

The latest lunacy is brought to us by Counterpunch which reports that a group of NGO leftists appointed to represent Eskimos by the UN ( why can’t Inuit elect their own representatives ? How does Kofi Annan decide who legitimately speaks for Eskimos ?) intend to sue the United States for causing Global Warming and failing to implement the Kyoto Treaty as a violation of Inuit ” Human Rights “. I am not making this up. Moreover the venue selected is not even properly speaking, a judicial body, much less one the United States is legally obligated to give any heed. What it most likely is is a forum stacked with sympathetic left-wing activists who will help create a propaganda circus.

The Kyoto Treaty is designed to do one thing, to be a heavy carbon tax on the American economy and slow American economic growth. If it was truly designed to halt Co2 emissions and Global Warming more than half of humanity would not be exempt from its standards and it would be a mechanism to transfer anti-pollution technology as rapidly as possible to India and China while preserving Amazonian and African rain forests from further deforestation. Nuclear power plants would be springing up all over South America, Asia and Africa and so on.

That the United States, even under Bill Clinton, refused to go along with this global con game and shakedown is understandable which is why Leftists are now attempting to describe the refusal as ” Genocide”. I wonder how the people of Dar Fur are feeling about their victimization at the hands of Islamist nightriders being equated to the political agenda of Canadian leftists? Or Holocaust Survivors for that matter?

Global Warming itself is relatively poorly understood and while that is not to say the phenomenon is not a real one it is a slim reed to justify massive government intervention in the American economy. The same kind of interventions, regulations and taxes that the same leftists who now fret about the planet used to advocate on behalf of ” the people” and socialism. How fortunate for them that their 19th century solutions just happen to fit every crisis that comes along. Consider the odds.

Socialists posing as environmental activists like to take a rather liberal view of scientific methodology when it suits them. Below, Lubos Motl, a real scientist, describes the ” scientific” stance of a popular green propaganda website – Realclimate.org

“Let’s return to Connolley, Mann, Bradley, and their six friends. That’s a very interesting company. And I think that their website is not encouraging a serious scientific debate. They describe their new blog as

“a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. … The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science.”

Of course that this description itself is another lie. The whole web is a collection of incredibly clearly politically twisted statements for which science is just an unimportant hostage, which are intended to brainwash the readers, especially the naive ones. Moreover, they only accept the comments that flatter them – all comments submitted under their articles are filtered before they appear – it’s a “1984” approach to the problem. Let me list the recent titles of their articles, to show how “non-political” they are, and add a short abstract of mine:

A welcoming Nature – It is difficult for us to write a scientifically sound article, but it is much easier to convince our friends in Nature to publish an un-reviewed advertisement of our brainwashing blog 🙂 Just what is this Consensus anyway? – Everyone agrees with everything we say, and if she does not, we will erase her and destroy her

Fox News gets it wrong – Fox quoted a person who said that we don’t understand global climate well enough, but it is unfair because Fox should have quoted the whole life of that person and the person also said that it is dangerous for people to do anything because it could destroy the world

Statistical analysis of consensus – We are getting overwhelmingly effective in destroying the articles that whose results we don’t like, and if we make one little step of progress, we will be able to codify our viewpoint in the constitution

Michael Crichton’s state of confusion I,II: return of the science – Crichton is wrong, and perhaps an alien described by Carl Sagan – and the reason why he’s wrong is that there is consensus, and we can eliminate everyone who is wrong

Climate change disinformation – Every article we don’t like can be linked to oil, and because oil is dirty, we will always be able to humiliate everyone who disagrees with us. A few examples of recent articles in the newspapers follow

Welcome to RealClimate – Global climate is a field in which everyone feels that he has something to say. But we’re really better than an average crackpot because there is consensus between 9 of us that we’re better

Weren’t the temperatures warmer during the Medieval Warm Period? – It’s a myth, myth, myth. Did you hear? A myth. Forget about all papers that describe MWP, and believe us because we have a consensus. Read our crappy papers and avoid all other papers that show why ours are crappy, which is the only path for a true believer

But we do know that it was warmer 6000 years ago, don’t we? – It’s also a myth. In this case, we don’t have even crappy papers that would indicate it’s a myth, but don’t forget that we have a consensus that we’re better than others 🙂

Will you finally shut up and agree that 100.00% of people agree with all of this global warming theory? There are 9 of us plus a lot of powerful friends and we will beat you up if you disagree.”

OK, I added the last entry for the sake of clarity, 😉 but at least I always tell you if there is any twist in my postings. They will not tell you anything like that. They know very well that the Arctic region is warming, and Antarctica is cooling, and therefore there must be at least 3 times as many articles about Arctic than those about Antarctic. Just look at the ratio of these two apparently symmetric and equally important places on Earth in their blog! This itself is enough to calculate how unbalanced scientists they are.

They will keep on repeating their lies about the “scientific consensus” until everyone will agree, following the famous dictum due to Goebbels that a lie repeated 100 times becomes the truth. They will never tell you that the influential Russian Academy of Sciences identified the “science” behind the Kyoto protocol as “scientifically unfounded nonsense“. Well, Putin’s advisor Illarionov compared Kyoto to fascism, as you can see in the same article, but it is a different story.

The United States does not need to bow to the demands of kangaroo courts run by Transnational Progressives any more than we should grant manipulated and incomplete data scientific credibility. Or attempt a systemic solution for the planet only within the borders of the United States. We need to call such things what they are – a hostile and dishonest bid for power moved by the Spirit of Tyranny- by a small class of networked international activists.

When people propose solutions that do not address a problem and lie about their justifications we can be pretty sure they wish us nothing but harm.

Friday, December 24th, 2004


Last January, I boldly made a number of predictions for 2004. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see how I did, shall we ?:

” Al Qaida will switch from attempting catastrophic acts of terrorism against the American homeland in the short term to the assassination of high profile, non-American, ” soft targets ” with symbolic resonance. My short list would include the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Grand Ayatollah Sistani, Musharraf of Pakistan, Muhammed VI of Morocco, the Pope, a member of the British Royal Family and any minister of the ” New Europe ” governments that supported the Iraq war. “

Hmm. Al Qaida did not manage to assassinate anyone of any international prominence this year, though several attempts were made to wack Musharraf, none of them got off the ground. A number of officials from Iraq’s interim government were assassinated this year but the gunmen could have easily been ex-Baathists, Sadrists or hired criminals as easily as Zaqawri-al Qaida terrorists.

Al Qaida did turn away from hitting the American homeland and toward Europe on 3/11 with the massive train bombing in Madrid that helped replace pro-American Prime Minister Aznar with anti-American Leftist Zapatero.

“President Bush will be reelected, winning 52-54 % of the popular vote. Either Colin Powell or Donald Rumsfeld will resign from the cabinet but not both. If Rumsfeld resigns it will only be because he was forced out.”

Boy, I sure called that one !

“There will be a boom to replace Dick Cheney with Condi Rice on the GOP ticket which will not happen unless the Vice-President suffers a serious health problem.”

There were some rumblings prior to the Vice-Presidential debates about Cheney being a drag on the ticket. Rice, who was under fire herself at the time, was not mentioned but Rudy Giuliani and John McCain were – neither of whom are favorites of the Bush II inner circle. This said more about the speculators in question than it did about Bush or Cheney.

“American forces in Iraq will draw down for a potential intervention in Pakistan whether or not Musharraf survives the year. American special operatives will capture or kill a major Saudi financier of al Qaida terrorism, perhaps with Saudi complicity.”

Dead wrong here.

“A major al Qaida leader will be captured or killed by American forces.”

In response to the beheading of Paul Johnson, Saudi security almost immediately killed the al Qaida chief in Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz al-Muqrin. This was almost assuredly in response to heavy American pressure to ” do something”. The operational leader of the USS Cole bombing.

Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri was also captured. Not an Osama bin Laden but not small fry either.

“The bioethics of implanting computer chips and components into human beings will become a media hot-button issue.”

I was too far ahead of the curve on this one. It’s still on the horizon in terms of being debated primarily in the internet media and blogosphere it has yet to hit the MSM in a big way. I’ll recycle it for 2005.

“Hard core leftists will challenge Tony Blair’s leadership of the Labor Party at the first opportunity, most likely after a scandal of some kind, be resoundingly crushed and will subsequently bolt the party.”

Dead wrong again but I think I might recycle this one too.

Thursday, December 23rd, 2004


Josh Marshall comments on a post by Kevin Drum commenting on a post by David Adesnik on public support for the war and comes up with this gem:

“Here’s what I mean — it comes down to an issue of cognitive dissonance.

The dead-even political polarization of America remains the defining fact of our politics. Close to 50% of Americans were dead set on voting for President Bush almost no matter what. Or they were dead set on voting against John Kerry. For our purposes, it’s the same difference.

I think that many Bush supporters simply couldn’t take stock of the full measure of the screw-up in Iraq during the election because doing so would have conflicted their support for President Bush. Iraq and the war on terror so defined this election that support for the war and the president who led us into it simply couldn’t be pried apart. “

As a Bush supporter who watched the administration screw up the occupation of Iraq with great dismay, I feel qualified to offer a lesson in Occam’s Razor to Mr. Marshall.

John Kerry did not ” pry apart” the pro-war voting bloc because Kerry did not offer anything to hawkish voters that would indicate that a Kerry administration would be a decisive improvement over the performance of George W. Bush. Or even a marginal improvement. We feared it would be even worse. Not surprising when at least a fair portion of Mr. Kerry’s base were to the Left of Howard Dean on the war who was himself, well to the Left of Senator Kerry.

Cognitive dissonance apparently knows no partisan creed.

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