Thursday, March 31, 2011

Lies, Guns, and Mexico

I was glad to read a good post at The PJ Tatler debunking the oft-heard claim that Mexican drug cartels get the majority of their weapons from the US. This lie has been a constant meme at the State Department. Over the past two years, I don't know how many meetings I attended given by "smart" and "well-educated" State Department personnel on how drugs flow north from Mexico and guns flow south from the US.  We were shown pictures of guns and told they come from the US. In fact, however, none of the guns shown, not one, was a weapon freely available in the US market, even in the "notorious" gun shows of Texas and Florida.

I remember, in particular, one briefing at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) in which the presenter said that M-16s and AK-47s were being sent from the US to Mexico. I remember asking her, "Where were they purchased?" "Gun shows," was the answer.  I bet her and the audience that none of us could walk out of the FSI and purchase an M-16 or an AK-47, or any of the other weapons shown on the slides, including heavy machine guns and submachine guns, at a gun show or a gun store. I defied the speaker to buy one.  I would go with her to the next gun show out at Dulles, in Virginia, and we would try to buy a fully automatic weapon.  She turned down the offer.

I then asked if she knew the definition of an assault rifle. Hem, haw. No, she didn't know the definition.  I noted to her that it is virtually impossible to buy an assault rifle in the US; you can buy a "sporterized" version of, say, an AK-47, which looks like an assault rifle, but certainly does not perform like one. Awkward silence. Then she threw out the number "60%." That was the magic number. The ATF had reported that 60% of the weapons confiscated in Mexico came from the US.  I was surprised and expressed my doubts, but she was quite insistent on that number.

Well, it just so happened that I had a good friend at ATF (one of the most worthless organizations on the planet), so during the break, I called him.  It turns out that this number is the percentage of weapons traced to US sellers from sample batches sent ATF by the Mexican police.  The Mexicans seize weapons, and if any "looked like" they might come from the US, then the ones that "most looked like" they might come from the US, went to the ATF for analysis. This was a relatively small sample of weapons, already pre-selected as "perhaps from the US." Of that small and highly unrepresentative sample, the ATF had determined that 60% might have come from the US. The actual total number of weapons from the US was "very small," he told me. "Any machine guns?" I asked.  He was not aware of any, and said they were almost all hand guns and sport rifles.  No matter.  A few days later the Secretary of State had used the 60% number, and the President and other administration spokesmen, including the media, continued to inflate it. That tied in with calls to reinstitute the Clinton ban on "assault weapons." There, of course, was no Clinton ban on assault weapons, it was a ban on weapons that looked like assault weapons.  Real assault weapons, by the way, have been almost completely banned since about 1935.

Having worked in Mexico, Central America, and northern South America, I can tell you the guns are not coming from the US (except, of course, for the ones the ATF has shipped south as part of the most idiotic "sting" operation in history--a topic for another day.)  They come mostly from Asia, Eastern Europe--including Russia and Ukraine--and from stocks of older weapons held in Central America from years of warfare, and the overwhelming majority of those are of Soviet/Russian/Chinese design and fabrication.

On Military Intervention, the National Interest and the American Left

The idiotic, open-ended intervention in Libya is another one in a long string of such interventions by the American left.  As The Diplomad has said repeatedly, that left will only support the idea (we'll come back to that) of the use of American military power in situations with no vital, tangible, or even remotely understandable U.S. national interests.  If there are real U.S. interests at stake, e.g., stopping Saddam, removing Castro, putting Chavez into a box, resisting the Sandinistas, helping El Salvador and Colombia fight vicious communist thugs, putting missiles into Europe, rescuing Grenada from Castro, or destroying the Soviet Union, the American liberal is against intervention.  The liberal "supports" interventions into places such as Vietnam, Somalia, Bosnia, and, now, Libya.

I write "supports" because the liberal is for the idea of intervention but always with so many caveats, limitations, and conditions, that success, however defined, becomes more and more difficult.  In addition, once the United States, the world's preeminent military power, intervenes in a military crisis, even if there were no U.S. interests before that intervention, U. S. national interests get created by the intervention. Yes, once we intervene, committing our people, treasure, and prestige, we have a national interest in obtaining success. We now have to win, and the other side has to lose, or our enemies around the world will be emboldened to act against us.  Once that interest in victory emerges, liberal support for the intervention drops off; the most dramatic cases, of course, being Vietnam and Somalia.  Then, we find, that U.S. interests must be opposed and undermined.  If this Libyan adventure drags on, we will see that phenomenon emerge again.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The President on Oil

Listening to The President discuss his energy policy, I realized how grateful we must all be to Him.  Without His policies of the past two years, our economy would have turned around, and we would be consuming more fuel than ever.  Thanks to the policies He has advocated and implemented, and which He advocates for the future, no risk exists of our turning around the economy and burning lots of fuel.

He has hit on a great policy for oil conservation: generalized poverty.

All Hail The One! HaShem השם has Spoken!


Charity Begins at Home, or, Why Libya and Not Cuba and Venezuela?

OK, the President's had a valid point when he noted that an argument for not intervening everywhere, should not become one for not intervening anywhere. Got it. It's the old idea that just because the cops can't catch every criminal, that doesn't mean they shouldn't catch any.  I, however, don't believe that Obama, Biden, Kerry, Pelosi, etc., made that argument when the time came to go after Saddam.

But, let's be kind. Let's accept the President argument in favor of rational, practical idealism, to wit, we will do what we can to further freedom and protect the innocent where we can.  Under Democratic administrations we have marched off "to do what we can, where we can" in places of little or no interest to the United States, i.e., Vietnam, the former Yugoslavia, and now Libya.  In addition, the Democrats turned a relatively simple and limited humanitarian mission undertaken by Bush (the Elder) in Somalia--done with overwhelmingly firepower which kept the warlords in awe and in line--into the disastrous "Blackhawk Down" mission of nation-building undertaken with reduced firepower and lots of UN meddling and confusion.  The Democrats seem to love responding to the call of distant trumpets, while ignoring those much closer to home, heralding real threats to real US interests.

For some 52 years we have tolerated a murderous, vile dictatorship in Cuba, one which openly has worked for the destruction of  core US interests, and, even, lest we forget, wanted to have the USSR install city-killing mid-range nuclear missiles on the island.  The Castro boys almost provoked a Third World War.  Every argument made about Libya can be made about today's Cuba. A history of mass murder and repression of its people; overt racism; promotion of espionage, terror, and war against the United States, including the murder and imprisonment of American citizens; past pursuit of weapons of mass destruction (1962); fomenting of unrest throughout Latin America including support for guerilla groups and drug trafficking; and open collaboration with the sworn enemies of the United States.  The one thing that cannot be said about Cuba, which can be said about Libya is that it is a "distant land." It is ninety miles from Florida.  For Castro we do not set up "no Fly Zones," nor do we target his air defenses. We send him Jimmy Carter, who while a moron and a bore, is unlikely to put an end to the rule of the Castro boys.



In Venezuela, we have a situation underway that is going very badly. We have major interests in Venezuela. Chavez is repressing his people and turning the country into a vast economic wasteland with perhaps the world's highest homicide rate.  He is imprisoning decent democratic men such as Alejandro Peña Esclusa on trumped up terrorism charges, shutting down the media, destroying the independence of the judiciary, and making irrelevant the Congress . He has launched a "slow motion" destruction of a flawed but functioning democratic system, which is now virtually complete.  He has supported drug trafficking and terrorism against a major US ally, Colombia, and bought himself, with the money we provide, the governments of Nicaragua, Bolivia, Ecuador, much of the Caribbean, and is in the process of buying Argentina and Paraguay.  He had bought Honduras, but the Hondurans tossed out their sell-out President Zelaya, and re-established a flawed but functioning democracy under President Lobo.


As with all other leftist dictators, Chavez is encouraging anti-semitism, putting Venezuela's Jewish community under tremendous pressure, and playing dangerous games with the Mad Mullahs in Iran.

So, instead of dealing with the threat at our door, we run off to deal with the "threat" in Libya.  Got it. The Dems are in power.

Monday, March 28, 2011

"We may with more successful hope resolve, To wage by force or guile eternal war," President Obama Speaks On Libya

I set low standards and low expectations for the President's speech on Libya, and it fully met both.

I simply do not believe this President. He expects us suddenly to believe that he is a patriot and sees the US and the US military as a unique force for good in the world? That runs counter to everything the man has said and done for his whole career.  He is simply unbelievable. He is simply running as fast as he can for the political center as the clock moves ever closer to November 2012.

He did a good job of reading the teleprompter, he had good cadence, and good posture. He, however, did not make the case for intervention in Libya, nor explain how his intervention was superior to that of Bush's in Iraq, which he has always opposed.  In most of the speech, you could have substituted the word "Iraq" for "Libya," and "Saddam" for "Qaddafi."  Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld must be either laughing their heads off, or shaking them in stunned amazement.  How can Obama ever, ever criticize Bush for his intervention in Iraq, except to say that Iraq cost more than Libya?  Tyrant exploiting his people and their wealth; carrying out massacres and threatening more; promoting terrorism around the world including against Americans; creating a situation that threatens the stability of the neighborhood -- uh, is he talking about Libya or Iraq? You tell me. The only accusation Obama could not make against Qaddafi was that he has weapons of mass destruction--and, ironically, he could not because the Bush administration dismantled Qaddafi's nuclear weapons' program.

His speech was weakest in explaining the burning American interest.  To bring up Qaddafi's past acts of terror against the US, raises the question of why, then, didn't you go after Qaddafi right away?  Why wait for the people of Libya to rise up? Why didn't the CIA just bump him off? Has Qaddafi done any of that terrorism stuff lately? Qaddafi only lost his legitimacy when the people rose against him? If he had managed to keep control of the situation, there would have been no intervention?  We intervened to ensure that the UN Security Council's writ was respected?  How many of the UNSC countries have joined us? Has Russia or China? How many of the rotating members joined us? Did big ol' Brazil--you know the place he just visited and promised our oil market? No, not all.

He still could not explain the mission.  As far as I can tell, he sees us having two missions: the military one of establishing the NFZ which will now "pass" to NATO (don't get me started on that little legerdemain), and a political one of removing Qaddafi.  He sees these as somehow separate missions.  Those are the sort of distinctions without a difference that clever speech-writers and memo-drafters in Washington come up with that prove impossible to implement in the field.  What if the political opposition needs our military support to bring down Qaddafi? Is the answer, "No?"  What if Qaddafi won't leave, and is spoiling for a fight?  So what is the exit strategy? How do we know when the military mission can stand down? Can the military cease and desist while Qaddafi is still in power?

Folks, as suspected.  There is no plan except to bomb away and hope that something happens.

P.S. The quote in the title comes from Satan's speech in "Paradise Lost."  See the picture below; I believe that was taken during the President's speech, or maybe not . . . .


While We Wait . . . .

While we wait for The Explanation from The One about The New War, we recommend that all get into the right mood, and check out a very funny and wise blog, The People's Cube, from whom we have stolen this brilliant image.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Tomorrow, All Will be Revealed Tomorrow . . .




Well, friends, after many days of bombing and sending Americans into war, The One, The Anointed One, Ha Shem, will deign to address the Great Unwashed. Down from the Mount he will come, and speak to us. Yes, the chattiest President of the United States ever to exist, somehow has managed a Calvin Coolidge-like silence on why he has gotten us into a war on the shores of Tripoli.  It seems Coolidge will be exorcised tomorrow evening, and The One will unveil the Revelation that prompted him to war in Libya.

We do not have high hopes for this sermon. No, we do not. There will be many vacuous, probably historically incorrect platitudes, but will he, at least, address the key issue: what is the American national interest in Barrack and Hillary's Most Excellent Adventure?  What was happening in Libya that allowed him to dither for weeks, and then, suddenly, forced him to rush into war without consulting Congress or even a cursory "by-your-leave" from the people who elected him? Will he lay out clearly our goals? Is this just about a No-Fly Zone? Qaddafi, what will we do with Qaddafi? Does he have to leave? If not, then what was this all about? If he does have to, but won't, what then? Do we just flatten Libya with bolts from the blue for the next two months? Do we send the Marines back to the shores of Tripoli, or do the Europeans invade? Who will be in charge of the Libya operation? What are his/their instructions, mandates, and limits? Who will have operational control over American forces? Readers undoubtedly can think of many other questions.

We will watch. We will try to be fair (hard). We will comment.

Meanwhile, the bombing continues.

Too Good to Miss


Somebody just sent me this. I had to pass it on. I don't know its origin, but it is pure genius. Click on it for a full version that will let you read the brilliant caption.

Beg your forgiveness if you've already seen it elsewhere.

Should We Establish A No-Fly Zone over London?

Reading the Great Mark Steyn this morning. In going over his description of the revolt of the "entitled" in London, it strikes me that we all need to urge President Obama to set up a NFZ over London.

As Steyn makes clear, police helicopters are key to the effort by the ruling class to put down the people of the UK.  We must stop this assault on the people as they exercise their legitimate right to trash ATMs, break into luxury stores, and smash bank windows! I am sure there are Muslims in that crowd who are going to be suppressed by the minority, unelected pro-Zionist regime at 10 Downing!

We must help our brothers and sisters in the UK!  President Obama, you must go to the EU and the Arab League and make the case.  We must be ready for a nefarious British veto in the UN Security Council, and if need be we will have to act without the UNSC's approval! That will appease the anti-UN crowd in the US. We have assets located in and near the UK, we have allies in France, Spain, Germany, and Ireland who would assist in maintaining the NFZ, and the Arab League would support us in defense of the Muslim people of Londonistan!

President Obama!  Listen to our plea!  Do this for the oppressed people of the UK! Do it in the memory of your Kenyan father, and of all the Mau-Mau who died at the hands of British imperialists!

P.S. Maybe over Wisconsin, too?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

When You "Live" in North Korea, Every Day is Earth Day


All over the planet, the "socially conscious" are turning off their lights for an hour today.  They're doing it for Gaia, to fight "global warming," to reduce the evil "carbon footprint." Electricity is a capitalist evil, don't ya know?

The Dear Glorious Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has a better idea, of course.  Every hour of every day of every year is Earth Day in the DPRK! As this satellite photo shows, North Korea does not suffer the curse of electricity.

Soon, thanks to the efforts of our environmentalists, we will follow in the footsteps of the Dear Leader, and join him and the people of North Korea in protecting Gaia!

Geraldine Ferraro, R.I.P.

I was saddened to hear that Geraldine Ferraro has died.

I certainly did not vote for her, but she always struck me as a decent and kind person, with a grace and sense of humor sadly lacking in much of the political debate that goes on today.  She was a relatively unknown three-time Representative from New York when Democratic-nominee Walter Mondale picked her to be his running mate in the 1984 presidential campaign. She became the first woman vice-presidential candidate of any major party in American history. The selection of the attractive and articulate Ferraro gave Mondale's otherwise hopeless campaign a bit of luster and a brief bump up in the polls (not unlike McCain's Palin pick 24 years later.)  Despite the MSM's fawning over her, in the end she could not help Mondale defeat probably the best American political campaigner of the 20th century, Ronald Reagan.  She tried hard and loyally, and, as noted, with grace and humor, but the numbers were just not there. She struggled not only against the Reagan juggernaut, but against the bland man at the top of her own ticket, her own husband's somewhat unsavory reputation, and her pro-abortion stance that put her in opposition to her professed Catholic beliefs.

Her politics were the standard, somewhat unimaginative "New Deal" liberalism that was rapidly being overwhelmed by Reagan and reality. In later years, while she remained a moderate liberal, she seemed to put some distance between herself and the increasingly wacky left and the violent Bush-bashers.  She objected to the vile treatment of Palin by the media and the political left, and she joined Fox News as a political contributor.

She was a throwback to a time that now seems so distant; a time when you could have a vigorous debate, without getting personal.  She seemed to love politics and appreciate and love her country: not a bad combination.

Geraldine Ferraro, R.I.P.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bomb Until We Think of Something to Do

Sorry for the lack of blogging over the past few days. I have been tied up with work, and with my lucrative side business as a ghost writer.  Good money in that.  Most of all, however, I have been just too angry, irritated, and sad over our action in Libya.

We are now several days into the bombing campaign, and all we have is confusion--oh, yes, and death.  Our superb military have, as we all knew they would, quickly established a No-Fly Zone.  Was there any doubt they could do that? Now, what? We still have no end game, no exit strategy, no answer to the question, "How do we know when we've won?" Instead, we have bombing.

President Obama has said Qaddafi must go. OK. So we're going to target him? Apparently not, except when we do, but not really. Have we gone bear hunting with the idea of wounding the bear?  Who are the rebels? Does anybody really know? Who's in charge of the rebels? Anybody? What are their goals? The US wants to pass command and control, so to whom? Will it be NATO? Who provides the bulk of NATOs resources and capabilities? One guess, and the answer is not the UK, France, Italy, or Spain . . .  It's a bit like arguing whether a Ford is better than a Mercury.  Same factory, folks. Will it be some other harebrained scheme for collective control that will leave the US with the responsibility but not the authority? No answers, so instead we have bombing.

Above all, however, the administration has not defined our interests. What was so pressing about Libya to excuse the manner in which we got involved? Aren't the people leading the charge into the Libyan desert the same ones who spent years deriding the idea of a threat from Saddam?  No answers, so instead, we have bombing.

Obama and his hopeless coterie must understand that war must form part of a policy, it is not just mindless, bored vandalism.  Meanwhile, we will just keep bombing until we think of something to do . . . .

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Get Ready to Impeach Obama

There, I said it.  I will say it again, get ready to impeach Obama.

I never, never thought I would say that about a President. I was against efforts to impeach Nixon (yes, I am that old), I opposed efforts to impeach Clinton, and, of course, I thought the talk about impeaching G.W. Bush was rubbish. I opposed those efforts because I thought none of those Presidents had done something to rise to the level of impeachment, and to put the country through that process would make America weaker, embolden our enemies, and hurt our economy.  In the case of Obama, the opposite is true.  To leave him in power will make America weaker, embolden our enemies, and hurt our economy.  He must go; he must be shown the door; sent off to some distant pasture, or, the equivalent, a job at MSNBC or on ESPN.  Short of that, we must find a way to render him completely harmless for the next two years, and I am simply not clever enough to think of how to do that.

Truth in advertising.  I did not vote for Obama in 2008; I voted for Sarah Palin and the guy from Arizona. From day one, I thought Obama would make a lousy President; I know too many people just like him not to reach that conclusion.  Don't forget.  I work at the State Department, and it's full of people from "America's finest universities," who are as ignorant as the day is long about how the world really works.  I did, however, feel that, "OK. He's my President. The people chose him. I will do my best for him." But, I can't do that any more.  I now fully and with no hesitation join the ranks of those who question his competence, his intelligence, his knowledge, and, above all, his patriotism. There I said it. I question his patriotism.  This man is utterly disdainful of America, its proud history and institutions, and its true friends in the world, e.g., the UK, Australia, Japan, Canada, Israel, Colombia, Poland, the Czech Republic, and a handful of others.  He misses no opportunity to apologize for America or belittle its accomplishments. He misses no opportunity to devastate our economy at home or to kow-tow to our enemies abroad.

For reasons known only to him and a handful of dopey advisors, he has blithely sent off America's superb military into an idiotic adventure on the shores of Tripoli with no thought given to what the purpose is, or how it will end. He does this without even the pretense of consulting Congress or bothering to make a case to the American people for sending their children and treasure into war in Libya. He could at least let us in on the secret:  what is this war about? The two wars in Iraq, I understood; the one in Afghanistan, likewise, but this?  What is it? We fight because, supposedly, the UN, the EU, and the Arab League say we can?  Does that make sense? Is that worth killing and dying for? All this to create a No-Fly Zone so that a bunch of jihadist enemies of America can take out a cranky old gangster, who for the last couple of years has been our snitch inside the terror mafia? Or do we have other purposes? Are we out to build a Jeffersonian democracy in a country that is not a nation? Tells us, Anointed one, please!

All this alone would be enough to brings articles of impeachment against Obama. But now, unless stopped by Congress, it seems he is about to go one step too far.  In the muddled, brainless run-up to this war, clearly no thought was given as to how we get out of it.  So instead of having an exit strategy, we have a "duck and cover" strategy.  Supposedly, we will soon turn over command and control of the war to some, as yet undefined, foreign organization. At one time, it was NATO, but given the schisms within NATO and within the EU,  we hear via the Drudge Report of some sort of French-created international political committee that will control the No-Fly Zone.

No. We cannot allow this to happen.

That some lame committee made up of who knows whom--apparently to include members of the Arab League--will make decisions about US military deployments in a shooting war? No way. Are we going to have a repetition of what happened in Somalia, when UN command and control got hopelessly crossed with US command and control? This sounds even worse. This is a disaster waiting to happen.  The Congress better stand up and say "No," in a very clear voice.  Not only are our servicemen being sent to fight with no plan, for an unknown objective, in a place with almost no US interests, but now they will have to bow and scrape before some international committee with no clear idea of what it wants and comprised of people full of envy of and disregard for the United States?  If the British want their troops under the control of some French-run committee, well, that's their choice.  America should reject it flat out, and either we set clear goals for this idiotic intervention or we get out, just like the French refused to take part in Iraq and the Spanish pulled their troops out when it suited them.

Libya is a mess made by Arabs and the international left who spent the last 40-plus years lionizing Qaddafi.  This is not our problem; this is not at all akin to our first adventure on the shores of Tripoli.

This is not America's war.

Obama should not be America's President.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Ending the Bloodiest War of All

We hear how Obama's mad intervention in Libya is war number three for the U.S., i.e., Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya.  No.  It's number four.  We have another war that has killed more people than all those wars combined, a war we are clearly losing, and one we should not be fighting the way we are.  That war is the absurd "war on drugs," one in which the DiploMad has served.

The Mexican government has announced that nearly 31,000 people have died in Mexico the past four years in drug-related violence.  Having worked on Mexican drug issues both in Mexico and in Central America, I can tell you that number is almost certainly way too small.  On top that, of course, nobody knows how many thousands, tens-of-thousands, have died in Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Jamaica, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan, Burma, Thailand, Iran, the US, Europe, and on and on in "drug-related violence."

About one-fourth of all US Federal prisoners are there for drug offenses, with perhaps another one-fifth or so there for committing crimes to obtain money for drugs.  About one-fifth of state prisoners are there for drug offenses.

Does this make sense? Our insistence of making illegal a product that a small but important minority of people want is leading to the destruction of countries such as Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala, nearly destroyed Colombia and Miami, and is an increasing threat to the future of the small Caribbean states.  At home it leads to violence and police action largely in communities already suffering serious social pathologies.  On top of those problems in those communities, we add drug violence and having huge numbers of young men dragged off to prison.  We have built a massive and expensive bureaucratic-legal-security apparatus to suppress drug trafficking by putting thousands and thousands of persons in prison, and imposing ponderous regulations on exporters, importers, and financial institutions of questionable effectiveness. We have given prosecutors and police huge powers over our lives, and created a whole class of people who have formed careers dealing with the drug war.  For what?  Anybody out there who wants illegal drugs and can't get them? Of course not.

Time to legalize drugs. I know, I know, the devil is in the details. Do we allow anybody to set up a stand on any corner and sell anything he wants? What do we do about prescription drugs? Yes, there are many details to be worked out. But we need to start putting an end to this absurd war.  Drug use is an issue for parents, doctors, and educators, not cops, prosecutors, intelligence agents, State Department bureaucrats, and military forces.  We all know that drug use is harmful, but the main harm now comes from the illegality.

Monday, March 21, 2011

One More Thing On Libya: It's No Oil for Blood . . .

Before the wacky lefties start dusting off their old "No Blood for Oil" bumper stickers and banners, we want to remind all that this is not the case in Libya.  We right now get whatever oil we want, albeit not much, from there.

We, therefore, do not have to expend American blood for oil.  This war doesn't even have that going for it.

One of the absurdities of Obama's war is that we will expend blood, but get no oil for it.

Libya: This Doesn't Make Sense

Don't want to be a one-note fanatic, but I remain distressed by the intervention into Libya.  Woke up early this morning; the TV news was full of video of cruise missiles and bombers heading towards Libya; some footage of bomb damage at Qaddafi's headquarters and of blasted Libyan military gear.

All this leads to the following reflections; perhaps a bit disjointed, and I apologize for that.

To begin, today's news reminds me, once again, that without a doubt the West has achieved an unprecedented mastery of the technical side of warfare. By the West, of course, I really mean the USA.  The US military, with whom I have worked all over the world, remains the most amazing organization on the planet.  That is why I get very upset over an abuse of that organization, and this intervention is just that.

Our terrific military is being called upon to execute a mission that doesn't make sense. Unlike Saddam, the Taliban, or Al Qaeda, crazy old Qaddafi posed no threat to the US homeland or to our interests abroad.  One of the great achievements of the Bush administration was that it defanged Qaddafi-- dismantled his nuclear weapons program and turned him into a valuable source of information on Al Qaeda. That administration basically treated Qaddafi as though he were an aged sex offender, put him under house arrest and tagged him with a ankle monitor.  Qaddafi, once the darling of the left, became just a cranky old man with an odd fashion sense selling his oil to whomever wanted it.  Sort of an Arab Joan Rivers selling his wares on late night TV-- he did seem to wear a lot of that Joan Rivers jewelry, by the way.  We didn't buy much oil from him--only about 0.3% of our consumption comes from Libya--but the Euros did. So we had an imperfect solution in an imperfect world.

Then, Qaddafi got himself a rebellion. OK. People in Libya are unhappy. OK. He is a crazy gangster and responded like a gangster. OK. And our interests are what? Are they so pressing as to justify Obama's incredible abuse of Presidential power? Not even an attempt to get Congress, much less the American people on board? How do we justify sending our people into harm's way, spending hundreds of millions of dollars, probably billions by the time this is "over," however, that's defined?  What is the mission? No Fly Zone, or blast Qaddafi into the arms of 72 virgins? What result will make any difference to American national interests? What are our interests in this?

A slight digression, if you will.  This Libya business has served as a reminder that we have a President who is a typical product of our "finest" universities.  In other words, he is glib, narcissistic, feels entitled, and is intellectually lazy.  Despite all the hype to the contrary, I very much doubt Obama reads or reflects much.  We have a U.S. President, totally ignorant of America's history and of world realities, bored by the duties and responsibilities of the Presidency, but enamored of its perks--he launches a war as he goes off on an eminently postponable trip to Brazil.  He needs a distraction from his failed domestic policies, so why not a little PR burnishing on the international scene? A war is good for that; war leaders look tough, and there are always those photos with returning service personnel.

Obama's intervention, however, is similar in one way to those carried out in Grenada, Panama, and Iraq.  It shows, once again, the consequences of the sustained assault by the left on our ability to act quietly and cheaply to take out "offenders" such as Maurice Bishop, Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, or, now, Qaddafi.  We, in effect, have no ability to act covertly.  We have no effective intelligence agency, certainly not that bureaucratic, lawyer-stuffed monstrosity of political correctness out at Langley, Virginia called the CIA.  That whole thing needs to be dismantled and built anew.  No, instead of being able to pay some disgruntled Colonel a couple of million bucks into an offshore account to take out some madman--that would be "selective targeting" and that is wrong--we have to launch massive military assaults that kill thousands and cost billions.  Thank you liberals, thank you very much.

So, we will continue to kill Libyans in the name of protecting them, we will put our brave military at risk to benefit the EU, do violence to our laws and constitutional procedures, and spend lots and lots for no discernible US interest.  Thank you liberals, thank you very much.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

All Hail President Obushama!!

Ok, I am being unfair to President Bush. He, after all, was a pretty good President for about seven of his eight years--his last year or so he went AWOL, allowed the big spenders to "stimulate" the economy into a near depression, and, hence, allow the calamity known as Obama to become President.

Now to Libya.  Qaddafi is a gangster.  Anybody not know that?  Well, it seems the international left didn't know that until a few weeks ago.  Qaddafi was regularly feted at "Non-Aligned" summits, and praised by the left as a paragon of anti-imperialist virtue. He was a firm ally of the most extreme elements of the PLO and other radical "Palestinian" organizations; he hosted terror training camps in Libya which were attended by the various lefty terror riff-raff of the 1970s and 1980s, including ETA, IRA, and the Red Army; he preened and paraded all over the international stage; was an ally of the USSR, Castro, and all the other members of the Evil Empire; blew up PAA103; and made little secret of his desire to develop a nuclear weapon capability.  He bought himself supporters, such as Louis Farrakhan and others, including academics and politicians.

With the exception of Maggie Thatcher, the rest of the Euros were terrified of him and worked to prevent the United States from taking serious actions against him. When Reagan launched his airstrikes on Libya, the French and the Spanish made sure the US bombers could not use their airspace.  Only after the US liberated Iraq from Saddam, pulling the old bastard out of a spider hole, did Qaddafi suddenly decide to give up his nuclear program, and stop supporting international terror. He turned on Al Qaeda and became just another aging reprobate out to make some money from oil companies selling to the European market (very little goes to the US).  The French and Russians were happy to sell him weapons and to collect large sums of petrodollars from him.

Now, suddenly, he's a threat? To whom? To his own people?  That's been the story since 1969, what else is new?  What's new is that the left has decided to go with the "Arab street."  They supported the "street" against the old farts running Tunisia and Egypt, and now find they cannot not support the "street" against Qaddafi.  The problem here is that Qaddafi is not Zine El Abidine Ben Ali or Hosni Mubarak.  He is a brutal and scrappy tribal chief who has nowhere to run, and has lots of money, men, and guns.  He will fight and he doesn't give a damn whom he kills.  Neither the Tunisian nor the Egyptian had the stomach to turn the military on their own people. No problem there with Qaddafi.

The western mostly lefty elites have been in a tizzy.  They want Qaddafi out; all of sudden their hero has feet of clay and is, well, an embarrassment.  But, alas!  Europe is a mighty rhetorical giant, but a military midget.  The Euros, for shame, need good ol' trigger happy cowboy firepower, the very same one they deride every day for having brought freedom to Iraq and trying to do the same in Afghanistan.  Enter stage left, our dimwitted President and Secretary of State. We will do the Euros bidding! Our men, ships, planes, blood, and treasure will be put to serve European interests!

Does Obama consult with the US Congress?  Bush did that, remember?  Does he ask Congress for an expression of support for the use of military power?   Bush, did that, and we still hear from the left that he got insufficient authorization.  No. Obama and Clinton get permission from the UN, the EU, and the Arab League instead.  I guess when you're a liberal, that's all that counts. No need to bother with the Congress or in making a case to the American people.

So, now we are in a war with no clear objective: Is it to establish a "No Fly Zone," or get Qaddafi out? What if we get a NFZ, which our military will establish quickly, but Qaddafi doesn't go or continues his war without aircraft? What then? Are we on the hook to protect Libyans from Libyans? How long before the pictures of dead and dying Libyans, supposedly killed by our missiles and bombs, have the UN, the Euros, and the Arab League backing out? Guess who will get left holding the bag of sand?

Code Pink, where are you?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Warren Christopher -- RIP

Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher has died.  He lived a life of fame and fortune. He was a successful Los Angeles lawyer and Democratic political operative--he is widely credited with saving Bill Clinton's career.  He was also an abysmal Secretary of State.  He would certainly rank near the very top in the DiploMad's list of "Genuinely Horrible Secretaries of State."

At one time he would have been the uncontested number one. We would cite his cravenness towards the Syrians, and other enemies of the United States, and remind ourselves that this was the man who thought Jimmy Carter was too tough. He had a remarkable inability to understand even the basics of how the world works, and America's unique role in it.  He was a incredibly bad manager and judge of people, surrounding himself with a coterie of incompetent politicos and careerists.  He ended up leaving as head of the State Department, a job he should never have had, in frustration and as a figure of ridicule within the organization, and the world.

What prevents him from having the uncontested number one slot in our ranking of terrible Secretaries of State?  As noted, normally he would have no competition; the problem is that since he left State he has had a succession of competitors for the title "Worst Secretary of State."  You have, for one, the reprehensible, bombastic and crude Madeleine "I am Here to Shop" Albright who certainly gives him a run for the title.  Let us not forget Colin Powell, who, while a better manager and speaker than Christopher, also seemed to have limited understanding of the world, and was more concerned about his domestic image as a fighter against the Republicans.  Condi Rice?  Weak, indecisive, lousy manager who allowed the Department's liberal-Democrat machine to run the organization.  Hillary? She's just mailing it in.  No vision, no idea of how and where to use American power. A sad, sad list of Secretaries . . .

Warren Christopher, R.I.P.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Liberals -- The War Lovers

Well, friends, it seems President Obama got the permission slip he wanted from the UN, the EU, and, of course, the Arab League, so that we can risk our pilots, our planes, our treasure, and our name in Libya in pursuit of no tangible U.S. national interest.

More and more it's clear: liberals love to send America's youth off to war but only if there is no U.S. interest to be protected or furthered--and, of course, liberals themselves don't have to tote a gun.  The Euros, the Arabs, the gathered lefties of the world will be happy, well, until that first CNN/BBC/MSNBC report comes in on an errant US bomb that crashes into a school, a bus, a senior citizen's home, or, of course, that jeep-full of Spanish and Italian journalists.  Then the attack on the US and its "trigger-happy" military will begin.

The US, of course, will have to take over the whole operation when it becomes patently clear that neither the British nor the French have the capabilities needed. That, therefore, means the whole mess will be ours:  the UN will back off; the Arab League will be nowhere to be seen; and the EU will be snickering behind our backs with not a word of thanks for having secured their oil supplies.  And the Libyans? All of them, pro- and anti-Qaddafi, will be angry with us and our intervention.

There is no gain for the U.S. to get involved, and no valid reason to get involved, so, of course, we will get involved.