A study in cowardice

Marc at the The Van Der Galiën Gazette delivers a delicious smackdown on defeatist Democrats and liberal think tanks here, arguing that cutting and running is not the answer to the problems in Iraq.

There are parts of it I don’t agree with, like, for example, where he states that “we” (being the US) “destroyed their country,” but overall it’s good writing, and should be considered a must-read, coming from a pragmatic perspective similar to Joe Klein’s.

Breaking: Senator Craig to resign tomorrow (MORE: CRAIG TO RESIGN, EFFECTIVE 9/30)

Via Fox:

WASHINGTON — Idaho Sen. Larry Craig will resign from the Senate Saturday after pressure from fellow Republicans to step down after an arrest in a men’s room sex sting, Republican officials said Friday.

Craig decided to resign with plans to make the announcement on Saturday, the Associated Press reported.

Craig will hold a news conference in Boise on Saturday, his spokesman, Dan Whiting said, but he would not say whether the three-term senator planned to step down. Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, however, appeared to have settled on a successor: Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, according to several Republicans familiar with internal deliberations.

More links and speculation can be found here.

Sat PM Update: As expected, Craig announced today that he will resign – effective 9/30.

Sick: Director Brian De Palma makes film sliming our troops as a way to protest the war

First, many thanks to Jules for inviting me to guest blog at his place, and for the warm reception I received from his regular commenters. It’s been a real treat blogging alongside some of the blogosphere’s finest, and hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to do so again the next time Jules decides to take a hiatus from his tavern responsibilities. Jules, hope I didn’t leave too much of a mess! To you, Dissident Frogman (whose most recent post touched on a topic I’m about to discuss), I leave my lightly perfumed lavendar scarf which I’d be honored to have you wear on your arm around France as my champion. Just don’t wear it the next time you come to America, though. You might have quite few people look at you funny ;) Until we meet again, mon ami …

Now, on to the story. Via Reuters:

VENICE (Reuters) – A new film about the real-life rape and killing of a 14-year-old Iraqi girl by U.S. soldiers who also murdered her family stunned the Venice festival, with shocking images that left some viewers in tears.

“Redacted”, by U.S. director Brian De Palma, is one of at least eight American films on the war in Iraq due for release in the next few months and the first of two movies on the conflict screening in Venice’s main competition.

Inspired by one of the most serious crimes committed by American soldiers in Iraq since the 2003 invasion, it is a harrowing indictment of the conflict and spares the audience no brutality to get its message across.

And this isn’t the first time he’s tried to broadbrush all of our military over the despicable actions of a few:

De Palma, 66, whose “Casualties of War” in 1989 told a similar tale of abuse by American soldiers in Vietnam, makes no secret of the goal he is hoping to achieve with the film’s images, all based on real material he found on the Internet.

That goal?

“The movie is an attempt to bring the reality of what is happening in Iraq to the American people,” he told reporters after a press screening.

“The pictures are what will stop the war. One only hopes that these images will get the public incensed enough to motivate their Congressmen to vote against this war,” he said.

It should come as no great surprise that some parts of this trashing of our men and women in uniform were “fictionalized” – but, of course, there’s a reason for that:

Halfway between documentary and fiction, “Redacted” draws on soldiers’ home-made war videos, blogs and journals and footage posted on YouTube, reflecting changes in the way the media cover the war.

“In Vietnam, when we saw the images and the sorrow of the people we were traumatizing and killing, we saw the soldiers wounded and brought back in body bags. We see none of that in this war,” De Palma said.

“It’s all out there on the Internet, you can find it if you look for it, but it’s not in the major media. The media is now really part of the corporate establishment,” he said.

The film’s title refers to how, according to De Palma, mainstream American newspapers and television channels are failing to tell the true story of the war by keeping the most graphic images of the conflict away from public opinion.

“When I went out to find the pictures, I said (to the media) give me the pictures you can’t publish,” he said, adding that because of legal dangers he too had to “edit” the material.

“Everything that is in the movie is based on something I found that actually happened. But once I had put it in the script I would get a note from a lawyer saying you can’t use that because it’s real and we may get sued,” De Palma said.

“So I was forced to fictionalize things that were actually real.”


The film, shot in Jordan with a little known cast, ends with a series of photographs of Iraqi civilians killed and their faces blacked out for legal reasons.

“I think that’s terrible because now we have not even given the dignity of faces to this suffering people,” De Palma said.

“The great irony about Redacted is that it was redacted.”

For the last four years we’re been hearing nonstop accusations about how our troops are supposedly nothing but illiterate, heartless, lawless thugs who rape, pillage, and murder on whim – oftentimes from the mediots, and more often than not from the likes of prominent members of Congress who ‘claim’ to support the troops like Rep. John Murtha, Senator John Kerry – in an encore performance of his role in “supporting” the troops during Vietnam, Dick Durbin, Ted Kennedy, and Charlie Rangel (all comments of which have been published by an all-too willing anti-war press), yet De Palma wants to claim that the mainstream media is part of the “corporate establishment”?

Apparently this Hollyweirdo missed the last train to Cluesville.

If De Palma was really interested in getting the “truth” out about our mission in Iraq, the truth the mainstream media doesn’t saturate their airwaves, bandwidth, and print outlets with, he’d make a movie about the many heroes not just in Iraq, but in Afghanistan and elsewhere, heroes like:

… and the many, many other fine men and women who do our nation proud and serve with distinction and honor, as profiled at Blackfive, and many other wonderful milblogs out there that exist to tell you the stories about our, military and their accomplishments and heroism -both of which are done sometimes at the expense of making the ultimate sacrifice, stories our mainstream media passes over in favor of the more sensationalistic ones like Abu Ghraib.

But, as is the norm with the morally depraved far left as represented in this instance by Hollywood, the “truth” is as they define it and in this case, the “truth” for them is that our troops are no better -in fact, they are “worse” – than the type of brutal thugs who ruthlessly attacked America on 9-11, murdering 3,000 innoncents, innocents like 29 year-old newlywed Peter Edward Mardikian, who walked into the WTC that morning for a meeting in Windows on the World, not knowing he’d never see his college sweetheart bride again.

De Palma has taken the self-loathing that is deeply embedded into the liberal psyche and turned it into an art form. That he would not only make this film, but market it to a foreign audience, should tell you where his sympathies reside. Dr. Rusty Shackleford writes in response:

Our side condemns and prosecutes the same actions our enemies celebrate, and yet Leftists like De Palma equivocate between the two and are okay with our enemies winning?

The only thing wrong with that sentence is the fact that there’s a question mark at the end of it.

Does this mean I’m questioning Brian De Palma’s “patriotism”? Absolutely, positively, hell yeah, damn straight I am.

Cross-posted at Jules’ blog.

Tony Snow to resign next month


WASHINGTON – Tony Snow, the highly visible White House press secretary, will leave his job on Sept. 14 and be replaced by his deputy, Dana Perino, an administration official said Friday.

President Bush was to announce the changes during an appearance in the White House briefing room.

Snow, ailing with cancer, had said recently he would leave before the end of Bush’s presidency because he needs to make more money.

He’ll definitely be missed, not only because he’s just an all around good guy, but because he had a great way of dealing with the press. Here are some flashbacks:

Here’s wishing him and his family all the best, with continuing prayers on his struggle with cancer.

Jonah Goldberg on the “moralizing” left

In light of the Larry Craig scandal and the schadenfreude the far left has been expressing over his downfall, Jonah Goldberg has a must-read piece up today in which he writes about the left and how they have no room to talk about hypocrisy as it relates to moralizing:

But the left has another solution. Under its system, you can still be a moralizer. You can still tell people what to do and how to live. And, best of all, you can still fall short of your ideals personally while guiltlessly trying to use government to impose your moral vision on others. All you have to do is become a liberal moralizer.

Once you become a liberal, you can wax eloquent on the glories of the public schools while sending your kids to private school. You can wax prolix about the greedy rich while making a fortune on the side. You can even use the government to impose your values willy-nilly, from racial quotas and confiscatory tax rates to draconian environmental policies and sex-ed for grade-schoolers – all of which will paid for in part by people who disagree with you.

You don’t even have to give up traditional religion, so long as you now define the teachings of your faith in perfect compliance with the Democratic platform.

Why, just look at John Kerry. In 2004, the Democratic nominee repeatedly insisted that his religious faith is “why I fight against poverty. That’s why I fight to clean up the environment and protect this earth. That’s why I fight for equality and justice. All of those things come out of that fundamental teaching and belief of faith.” Great! But when it comes to, say, abortion, consulting one’s faith is a no-no: “What is an article of faith for me is not something that I can legislate on somebody who doesn’t share that article of faith.”

So I guess under a Kerry administration, America’s civil rights and economic and environmental policies would all be voluntary?

The point is simply this: Hypocrisy is bad, sure. But it’s a human failing that should fall upon the individual in question. What the left wants to do is use hypocrisy as a cudgel to declare that conservative ideals are categorically illegitimate because some conservatives fail to live up to them. But we all fail to live up to our ideals sometimes (just ask John Edwards, who wants get rid of everyone’s SUV, save the one in his driveway). That’s sort of why we call them “ideals.” Most of us don’t fall as far as Larry Craig seems to have fallen, but that’s not necessarily an indictment of his arguments, it’s an indictment of the man.

Exactly. But I’d go one step further. In the case of John Edwards (and other global warming hypocrites like him, Al Gore, of course comes to mind), pointing out their hypocrisy is essential to the overall argument, because in their cases their alarmist rhetoric about global warming that there is supposedly a ‘consensus’ on so-called ‘man-made global warming’ doesn’t square with the fact that there is no consensus on the bottom line root causes of global warming. Yet they preach to thousands of people the ‘value’ of ‘sacrificing’ in order to try and save the earth ‘while we still can’ while at the same time turning right around openly living a lifestyle that they frown and chide others for doing, which is a strong indicator that they really don’t believe in all the gw mumbo-jumbo they give speech after speech about. They’re just talking about it because it’s fashionable in progressive circles to do so, and not only that, but they can make money off of it, too. A double bonus.

Also, while the assertion that global warming is ‘man-made’ is indeed highly debatable, the assertion that living a moral lifestyle is immensely beneficial for you emotionally, physically, psychologically, and spiritually is not debatable. You’ll never hear a serious-minded lefty actually argue against that. Now, they’ll say that someone’s lifestyle choices are their own business, and that the government’s role is to essentially protect people from themselves (as they often do with “free” condom giveaways, and “needle-exhcange” programs) but you’ll never hear a top-tier lefty like Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama argue that living a moral lifestyle is not beneficial to you in the ways I mentioned. It’s because they know if they try, it’ll sound like they got their talking points straight out of the 60s “free love movement” hippie manual.

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They’re wrong about so many other things …

… so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone to find out that this NYT editorial on gun rights gets the Constitution wrong, as Instapundit explains.

This isn’t the first time they’ve gotten the Constitution wrong, either – I remember last year when they mistakenly confused the right to speak with the mythical “right” to be heard.

Charlie Foxtrot speculates on a possible NYT response to the criticism:

“Constitution, Declaration of Independence…whatever. You are taking my words out of context, and missing the bigger point….blah, blah,blah.”

On a more serious note, Stephen Spruiell makes a good point about another point the NYT attempted to make in the op/ed:

Also worth noting is the editorial board’s use of the phrase, “Second Amendment idolatry.” It’s been said before, but it bears repeating: Can you imagine the Times using this phrase with respect to any other constitutional amendment? Should we start describing its desire to remain free from government censorship as First Amendment idolatry? Support a women’s right to vote? Nineteenth Amendment idolater! Personally, I’d like to see a little less Sixteenth Amendment idolatry from the Times editorial board, but that’s just me.



Breaking: “Dangerous” chemical vials found at UN headquarters

Via Fox News:

DEVELOPING STORY: Vials of dangerous chemicals believed originating from Iraq were discovered Thursday in the world headquarters of the United Nations in the heart of New York City.

No evacuations were ordered, and there was no immediate danger to the public, according to a U.N. spokesman.

Hazardous materials personnel were reported at the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission offices at 48th Street and 1st Avenue in Manhattan.

The U.N. spokesman issued the following statement:

On Friday 24th August 2007 in archiving UNSCOM files, UNMOVI staff discovered two small plastic packages with metal and glass containers (ranging in size from small vials to tubes the length of a pen) with unknown liquid substances. The archives are located at the UNMOVIC headquarters.

Brian Ross has more:

United Nations weapons inspectors discovered six to eight vials of a dangerous nerve gas, phosgene, as they were cleaning out offices at a U.N. building in New York this morning, federal authorities tell the Blotter on ABCNews.com.

The federal authorities said the office, in a U.N. building near headquarters, was being evacuated and the White House had been notified at 10 a.m.

New York police and fire officials reported to the scene around 12:15 this afternoon.

A U.N. spokesperson said a statement would be issued shortly.

Authorities said the phosgene was believed to have been discovered in Iraq and manufactured prior to 1991.

Former U.N. weapons inspectors told ABCNews.com that vials of phosgene had also been used by inspectors in Iraq to help calibrate air sampling instruments.


The former inspectors said the remaining vials were supposed to have been destroyed.

“If it is properly sealed, it should not pose much of a threat unless it is dropped,” said former New York City emergency services director Jerry Hauer, an ABC News consultant.

“They need to get it out of there and put it in a safe canister,” Hauer said. “It shows immense stupidity to have that kind of thing sitting around as a souvenir.”

Little Green Footballs is reporting that it’s not actually nerve gas:

Phosgene is not a “nerve gas” as ABC’s Blotter reported; it’s technically classified as a “nettle agent” used in chemical warfare. More info at the CDC: Facts About Phosgene.

Hmm. If so, the USA Today’s “On Deadline” blog is misreporting that it’s nerve gas, too.

Hat tip: Jeff Goldstein, who is monitoring this developing story.

Conference call on the announcement of the announcement? (MORE: FRED WILL MAKE IT OFFICIAL SEPT. 6TH)

The Politico’s Jonathan Martin reports that the Thompson team has sent out an email that there will be a conference call today at 4 pm which will “discuss the next steps as we move forward as an organization”:

A Thompson aide confirms that they’ll share the news about the long-awaited formal launch. “By the end of the day, we’ll have more clarity,” the aide said, declining to reveal which day the announcement would take place.

Yeah, we’ll see.

Update: The Politico link above has been updated to include this info:

UPDATE: Still no official confirmation from the campaign, but Thompson sources now confirm that he will announce his candidacy next Thursday, Sept. 6. The launch will include a tour of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Florida. As expected, Thompson will not appear at the GOP debate in New Hampshire on Wednesday, Sept. 5.

A Thompson campaign official says that they’ll issue a paper statement as to their plans later this afternoon.

More Hillary campaign contribution questions

Gateway Pundit and Stop The ACLU both have the latest details on yet another shady character involved in donating lots of money to Hillary Clinton. His name is Abdul Rehman Jinnah, and he, too, like Hsu, was wanted by law enforcement. Just keep scrolling at both places.

I’d say it’s about time you started answering some hard questions, Mrs. Clinton. Your contributing Mr. Hsu’s donations to charity (more on that here via ST reader Karl) in light of this news just doesn’t cut it.

Incidentally, Democrats who rec’d money from Hsu are dashing away from him faster than you can say “cut and run.”

This song’s for you, Hil:

Chris Muir is on the same page.