The Iraq Study Group and James Baker's Saudi Connection: Dem Skepticism Takes a Magical Holiday

As we’re all aware, the Iraq Study Group, otherwise known as the Baker-Hamilton Commission (lawyers can’t do anything without having the word “commission” in the title, can they?) has released their report.

The “Study Group” — the stated goal of which was to pursue a round-table bipartisan discussion on commissions for the purpose of delineating task forces and implementing two-way dialog on methods for eliminating bureaucracy in the arena of Middle-East think-tanks — found that the United States is way off course in its goal of getting out of Iraq. President Bush disagrees in many areas.

Democrats in Congress and the mainstream media have gleefully devoured the report as damning evidence of the failures of Bush and Rumsfeld to properly wage war (by “properly” I mean doing it so nobody gets hurt or loses cable reception in the process). Gee, normally Democrats are so inquisitive about the source of their information. What happened?

Just for fun, lets ponder one question for a moment. Shortly after the attacks on 9/11, some Americans filed a $1 trillion lawsuit against Saudi officials and the Sudanese government. Who is a senior partner in one of the law firms Saudi Defense Minister Sultan bin ‘Abd-al-‘Aziz hired for his defense? You guessed it: James Baker III.

This all could be meaningless as it pertains to the Study Group findings, or maybe not, but still, how loud and how often would this fact have been trumpeted in the media if the Iraq Study Group report found that Bush’s war plan was right on track? How come nobody is pointing to Baker and questioning his personal motives? How can Baker be considered “neutral” in any of this?

What about Hamilton?

Then of course there’s Lee Hamilton, who once co-chaired a commission (there’s that word “commission” again) to investigate security issues at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. This was again done hand-in-hand with James Baker. The Baker-Hamilton report on Los Alamos, which was commissioned (doh!) in the early summer of 2000, after the theft of hard drives at the apparently not-so-heavily-guarded laboratory, released their recommendations later that year.

And how’s that going? Earlier this year, police in New Mexico, responding to a routine call at a trailer park, found nuclear secrets from Los Alamos that were allegedly “accidentally” taken by an employee — who was keeping them nice and warm next to a meth lab. The Baker-Hamilton report recommendations sure did a bang-up job there. What was recommendation #1? “Fire Gilligan as security director and replace him with Barney Fife”?

So, take the “Iraq Study Group” report for what it is: An opinion presented by people who have potential agendas and past track records of laughable failures, not to mention have the word “commission” listed way too many times on their resumes.

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Note: If you’re seeing only this post, the entire blog can be accessed at DougPowers.com

The Iraq Study Group and James Baker’s Saudi Connection: Dem Skepticism Takes a Magical Holiday

As we’re all aware, the Iraq Study Group, otherwise known as the Baker-Hamilton Commission (lawyers can’t do anything without having the word “commission” in the title, can they?) has released their report.

The “Study Group” — the stated goal of which was to pursue a round-table bipartisan discussion on commissions for the purpose of delineating task forces and implementing two-way dialog on methods for eliminating bureaucracy in the arena of Middle-East think-tanks — found that the United States is way off course in its goal of getting out of Iraq. President Bush disagrees in many areas.

Democrats in Congress and the mainstream media have gleefully devoured the report as damning evidence of the failures of Bush and Rumsfeld to properly wage war (by “properly” I mean doing it so nobody gets hurt or loses cable reception in the process). Gee, normally Democrats are so inquisitive about the source of their information. What happened?

Just for fun, lets ponder one question for a moment. Shortly after the attacks on 9/11, some Americans filed a $1 trillion lawsuit against Saudi officials and the Sudanese government. Who is a senior partner in one of the law firms Saudi Defense Minister Sultan bin ‘Abd-al-‘Aziz hired for his defense? You guessed it: James Baker III.

This all could be meaningless as it pertains to the Study Group findings, or maybe not, but still, how loud and how often would this fact have been trumpeted in the media if the Iraq Study Group report found that Bush’s war plan was right on track? How come nobody is pointing to Baker and questioning his personal motives? How can Baker be considered “neutral” in any of this?

What about Hamilton?

Then of course there’s Lee Hamilton, who once co-chaired a commission (there’s that word “commission” again) to investigate security issues at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. This was again done hand-in-hand with James Baker. The Baker-Hamilton report on Los Alamos, which was commissioned (doh!) in the early summer of 2000, after the theft of hard drives at the apparently not-so-heavily-guarded laboratory, released their recommendations later that year.

And how’s that going? Earlier this year, police in New Mexico, responding to a routine call at a trailer park, found nuclear secrets from Los Alamos that were allegedly “accidentally” taken by an employee — who was keeping them nice and warm next to a meth lab. The Baker-Hamilton report recommendations sure did a bang-up job there. What was recommendation #1? “Fire Gilligan as security director and replace him with Barney Fife”?

So, take the “Iraq Study Group” report for what it is: An opinion presented by people who have potential agendas and past track records of laughable failures, not to mention have the word “commission” listed way too many times on their resumes.

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Note: If you’re seeing only this post, the entire blog can be accessed at DougPowers.com

All Aboard Gore's Ark

When Al Gore was on the Oprah show the other day, she referred to Gore as “our Noah.”

That’s one ark, complete with two of each species of demagogue, that I don’t want to be aboard.

Who’ll be there? Oprah, Gore, Rosie O’Donnell, Maya Angelou, Barbra Streisand, Michael Moore, et al. It would require more of a tanker than an ark, but still, talk about a floating cuckoo’s nest. I’ll take my chances in a row boat, thank you very much.

To counter, Dennis Miller, who, unlike Gore, is a comedian on purpose, had his own take on global warming on the Tonight Show last night:

The pair discussed environmental issues and so-called climate change at length, with Miller displaying a copy of Newsweek magazine dated April 28, 1975. He highlighted an article titled, “The Cooling World,” with scientists at the time purporting the planet was headed toward global cooling, not warming.

“I just don’t think we control [the temperature] like we think we do,” said Miller.

Clean air, clean water, count me in, but some of these things are just crazy,” he continued. “Alaska? I don’t care about Alaska. To me, Alaska’s ideal for our purposes. It’s cold. It’s set off from the main house. It’s got a lot of goodies in it. It’s like that old fridge you keep out in the garage. I think it’s time to start hittin’ it for some Jeno’s pizza rolls ’cause the game is on.

“Listen, we’re gonna replace oil till what? Till we run out of it. That’s the American way. … And we’ll replace oil when we run out of it. That’s why I drive an SUV, so we’ll run out of it more quickly. I think that I am an environmental champion. These people who are driving hybrids around are only prolonging the problem.”

Leftist onlookers probably got a pretty bad night’s sleep and more than likely felt as if somebody put itching powder in their hemp sheets.

All Aboard Gore’s Ark

When Al Gore was on the Oprah show the other day, she referred to Gore as “our Noah.”

That’s one ark, complete with two of each species of demagogue, that I don’t want to be aboard.

Who’ll be there? Oprah, Gore, Rosie O’Donnell, Maya Angelou, Barbra Streisand, Michael Moore, et al. It would require more of a tanker than an ark, but still, talk about a floating cuckoo’s nest. I’ll take my chances in a row boat, thank you very much.

To counter, Dennis Miller, who, unlike Gore, is a comedian on purpose, had his own take on global warming on the Tonight Show last night:

The pair discussed environmental issues and so-called climate change at length, with Miller displaying a copy of Newsweek magazine dated April 28, 1975. He highlighted an article titled, “The Cooling World,” with scientists at the time purporting the planet was headed toward global cooling, not warming.

“I just don’t think we control [the temperature] like we think we do,” said Miller.

Clean air, clean water, count me in, but some of these things are just crazy,” he continued. “Alaska? I don’t care about Alaska. To me, Alaska’s ideal for our purposes. It’s cold. It’s set off from the main house. It’s got a lot of goodies in it. It’s like that old fridge you keep out in the garage. I think it’s time to start hittin’ it for some Jeno’s pizza rolls ’cause the game is on.

“Listen, we’re gonna replace oil till what? Till we run out of it. That’s the American way. … And we’ll replace oil when we run out of it. That’s why I drive an SUV, so we’ll run out of it more quickly. I think that I am an environmental champion. These people who are driving hybrids around are only prolonging the problem.”

Leftist onlookers probably got a pretty bad night’s sleep and more than likely felt as if somebody put itching powder in their hemp sheets.

Pearl Harbor: Retrieving Lost Lessons of the Greatest Generation

An entire generation is about to pass — a generation that knows sacrifice; a generation that has confronted and defeated terror; a generation that has beaten back tyranny; a generation from whom we should have taken copious notes. Some of us did take note, but many of us didn’t, and the rest refuse to participate either way.

Today is the 65th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and the rest of America. As the dwindling number of survivors gathered, perhaps for the final time before age takes its toll, we find ourselves at a similar crossroads.

For many people, Pearl Harbor exists only in a movie – a film that taught the unaware that the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in order to get Ben Affleck and Josh Hartnett to stop banging Kate Beckinsale with irresponsible abandon.

The reason it’s important that the real lesson of Pearl Harbor be passed down through succeeding generations encompasses more than Pearl Harbor itself. It’s about victory in the face of daunting challenges and unflinching decision-making despite comparatively ugly choices.

When you reflect on Pearl Harbor, what’s the first thing you think of? Chances are, “losing” wasn’t among your first thoughts. Though the attack was a temporary and overwhelming victory for the Japanese empire, the ultimate lesson is that tyranny was put down in the course of the years following the attack. When we think of Pearl Harbor, we should think “victory,” not “defeat.”

Then vs. now

Fast-forward the tape to 2006. Remember how you felt on 9/11/01? Much the same as Americans felt when they heard the news from Hawaii 65 years ago today. The enemy has changed and isn’t as definable as being able to point at one nation and yell “they did it,” but the ultimate goal should be the same: Victory.

After the Japanese launched the attack on Pearl Harbor, Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is reported to have said, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.”

I fear that American politicians today are filling that giant, which was temporarily re-awakened on 9/11, not with resolve, but with Sominex.

For many, victory isn’t the goal. If The Greatest Generation, as Tom Brokaw dubbed them (click here for some debate on the Brokaw label), would have hemmed and hawed like some of our politicians are doing today in the years immediately following 1941, what would have happened? If America in 1941 had the Congressional class of 2006 and 2007, the only item to remain open to speculation is if we’d be speaking German or Japanese.

When our children, their children, and their children, are sitting around on the 65th anniversary of 9/11, will that date remind them of victory, or defeat? Will America as we know it even exist? Will our children, their children, and their children even be alive?

If pondering those questions gives you a moment of unsure pause, then you’ve already answered them. We should be very concerned about the course that is being set by our politicians and those for whom American defeat and resignation is the only way to ensure a “fair” world.

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The Marlboro Candidate: Smoking Harmful — To Obama's Presidential Ambitions?

Did you guys know that Barack Obama is a cigarette smoker? If I heard this before, I’d forgotten.

We could be about to see the true level of committment of certain liberals to their pet candidate. Smoking? Oh my God! It probably won’t be too bad, though. Hell, a good Democrat can even kill a voter and be re-elected time and time again.

I did some poking around, and it’s funny, because all of a sudden, when it’s their guy, Democrats don’t seem to think it matters that Obama smokes.

Hell, smoking can even help a candidate.

“How smoking helps Obama” is the title of this commentary in The New Republic, reprinted in the Dallas Morning News in full here. “Smoking may help Obama’s image” claims the author.

One commenter at Rolling Stone wrote “who the f*#k cares if Obama smokes?”

I certainly wouldn’t, as long as these same people were this passive as it concerns the habits of rest of us.

The Marlboro Candidate: Smoking Harmful — To Obama’s Presidential Ambitions?

Did you guys know that Barack Obama is a cigarette smoker? If I heard this before, I’d forgotten.

We could be about to see the true level of committment of certain liberals to their pet candidate. Smoking? Oh my God! It probably won’t be too bad, though. Hell, a good Democrat can even kill a voter and be re-elected time and time again.

I did some poking around, and it’s funny, because all of a sudden, when it’s their guy, Democrats don’t seem to think it matters that Obama smokes.

Hell, smoking can even help a candidate.

“How smoking helps Obama” is the title of this commentary in The New Republic, reprinted in the Dallas Morning News in full here. “Smoking may help Obama’s image” claims the author.

One commenter at Rolling Stone wrote “who the f*#k cares if Obama smokes?”

I certainly wouldn’t, as long as these same people were this passive as it concerns the habits of rest of us.

Gates To Success: The Lesson For Future Bush Nominees

Note to President Bush: Instruct all your future nominees, from the courts all the way to your cabinet, to say America isn’t winning. Confirmation guaranteed!

Case in point — Robert Gates, who will be the next Defense Secretary. Gates was asked by Senator Carl Levin if America was winning in Iraq. Gates said “no.” Levin nearly soiled his Mens Wearhouse slacks with orgasmic political glee. Here’s a short video of the exchange. (Note: Gates also said “we’re not losing, either,” but the Dems were willing to allow him one indiscretion since they already had their desired soundbite)

The committee then voted unanimously to send Gates’ nomination to the Senate floor for confirmation, and probably even offered to take him out for drinks.

Whether or not Gates is right doesn’t really matter in this case — it was the sight of Democrats nearly dry-humping a Bush nominee that was the story of the year, and it should serve as a lesson for future Bush nominees facing a Democrat controlled Senate.

Note to future nominees: Learn to face Senate Democrats and include one of more phrases like these in your responses, and you’re a shoo-in:

“America is not winning”

“The fault of big oil”

“…on the backs of the poor”

“For the children”

“To avoid future disenfranchisement”

“Lack of health care”

“Unfair distribution of resources”

“Unfair distribution of global power”

“Unfair distribution of methods of distribution”

“The unspeakable horror of Abu Ghraib and Gitmo”

“Wal-Mart’s low wages…”

“Exhorbitantly high CEO wages”

“The travesty of racial profiling”

“Corporate greed”

“Trans fats kill more people every year than ______”

“Behind in our U.N. dues”

“To ensure the continuation of a secular government”

“Lovely pantsuit, Mrs. Clinton”

Sens. Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer react after hearing Defense Secretary nominee Gates’ opinion that America is not winning.

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To The Moon, Alice… Maybe

On Monday, NASA announced plans to once again put human beings on the moon, and to build a base on or near a lunar pole. The base will be the hub for future missions to Mars, or so it is planned.

This announcement will bring on the usual criticisms, chiefly ”how can we spend billions and billions of dollars on this with all the problems here on earth?”

I’ve often argued that, if done properly, the exploration of space is a social program.

Space travel is a huge undertaking, one that excites, motivates and is remembered by us for the rest of our lives, not to mention handed down to succeeding generations. What other social program does that for people? How many kids will grow up to reminisce about gathering around the living room, giddy with nervous anticipation and jaw-dropping marvel, to watch the arrival of Uncle Billy’s Social Security check?

The word “check” is the operative word here. Other social programs are an easier sell, and if there’s one thing a politician likes, it’s ease. Though fueled by money, the ultimate goal of the space program is not a fiscal one (though maybe it should be — we’ll get to that in a minute). The space program is only limited by imagination, and its goal boundless. A terrestrial social program’s limit and goal is the bottom of your pocket. One is much easier and more convenient to reach than the other. The nearest star system is about 250 trillion miles away. Your wallet is on the dresser. Which is the government more likely to focus on first?

Setbacks

With the government in charge, NASA has gone from awe-inspiring to foundering, almost exactly in line with the onslaught of political correctness in our society. Starting with the Mercury program in the ’50s and early ’60s, through the Apollo program, which ended in the early ’70s, there was the feeling of real progress with the space program, and all with no in-flight deaths.

Men have gone to the moon several times, and now, 36 years after the first lunar landing, ships can hardly get off the ground without incident. Why? Because there’s nothing more counterproductive than a politically correct technocrat.

Space travel is an incredibly dangerous business, and in today’s Nerf-wrapped, sharp-edges-rounded-off world, the government has little tolerance for anything that could cause an owie. Another problem is that the government, defense weapons notwithstanding, is traditionally at least 20 years behind the technological times.

After President Kennedy’s challenge to land a man on the moon and safely return him to the earth, it took eight years to reach this goal, and with primitive technology by today’s standards. Now, we’re shooting for 15 years out, and I’ll bet that won’t even happen.

In a dangerous business such as space travel, there is little room for political correctness wrapped in red tape, and we’re seeing proof of that with some recent NASA problems and disasters. The truth is, NASA has become skittish, and, as any test pilot will tell you, this means that it’s time to step aside and let somebody else take the wheel.

Privatize?

I do think it’s time to further privatize space exploration if any of our goals are to be met, and on time. The government, and quasi government, has had their shot, so to speak. It’s time to give capitalism a chance.

Here’s another incentive for the uber-wealthy with ambitions of heavenly conquest: You get there first, you own it. It’ll be like a galactic Oklahoma land run. Keeping federal peskiness to a minimum will be key. If the U.S. government of today ran the push west early in American history, Lewis and Clark would still be sitting just outside St. Louis trying to figure out how to keep the wagon wheels from falling off.

Sure, turning loose the private sector on the heavens wouldn’t be without problems. For example, it could be a little awkward walking on the beach with your date, looking up, and saying, “There’s a beautiful Trump out this evening,” but it would be a small price to pay to finally get the space program headed in the right direction.

It’s good to see some planning to go back to the moon, but if the government is in charge of it all, there will be some serious setbacks in this endeavor; it will take three times longer than it should, and cost four times as much.

“Business as usual” won’t cut it with a project of this scope, and if we do insist on business as usual, that will be the day that I’ll agree that, indeed, the money would be better spent here on earth.

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Bolton is Boltin'

U.N. Ambassador John Bolton is a guy who carefully considers the genuine best interests of the United States with every decision he makes. This, of course, doesn’t fly with freshly emboldened Democrats who are filibustering a permanent confirmation, so Bolton submitted his resignation to Bush, and the president accepted.

That’s okay, because seeing a man of integrity like John Bolton in the United Nations was somewhat sad and uncomfortable — sort of like watching John Wayne in a Broadway musical.

Who’s next? No doubt the Democrats plan to force Bush to send the U.N. a holiday fruitcake they’re more comfortable with.