Saturday, December 10, 2005

1968 Presidential Upstart McCarthy Dies

1968 Presidential Upstart McCarthy Dies

By FREDERIC J. FROMMER, Associated Press Writer
56 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Former Minnesota Sen. Eugene J. McCarthy, whose insurgent campaign toppled a sitting president in 1968 and forced the Democratic Party to take seriously his message against the Vietnam War, died Saturday. He was 89.

McCarthy died in his sleep at assisted living home in the Georgetown neighborhood where he had lived for the past few years, said his son, Michael.

Eugene McCarthy challenged President Lyndon B. Johnson for the 1968 Democratic nomination during growing debate over the Vietnam War. The challenge led to Johnson's withdrawal from the race.

The former college professor, who ran for president five times in all, was in some ways an atypical politician, a man with a witty, erudite speaking style who wrote poetry in his spare time and was the author of several books.

"He was thoughtful and he was principled and he was compassionate and he had a good sense of humor," his son said.

When Eugene McCarthy ran for president in 1992, he explained his decision to leave the seclusion of his home in rural Woodville, Va., for the campaign trail by quoting Plutarch, the ancient Greek historian: "They are wrong who think that politics is like an ocean voyage or military campaign, something to be done with some particular end in view."

McCarthy got less than 1 percent of the vote in 1992 in New Hampshire, the state where he helped change history 24 years earlier.

Helped by his legion of idealistic young volunteers known as "clean-for-Gene kids," McCarthy got 42 percent of the vote in the state's 1968 Democratic primary. That showing embarrassed Johnson into withdrawing from the race and throwing his support to his vice president, Hubert H. Humphrey.

Sen. Robert Kennedy of New York also decided to seek the nomination, but was assassinated in June 1968. McCarthy and his followers went to the party convention in Chicago, where fellow Minnesotan Humphrey won the nomination amid bitter strife both on the convention floor and in the streets.

Humphrey went on to narrowly lose the general election to Richard Nixon. The racial, social and political tensions within the Democratic Party in 1968 have continued to affect presidential politics ever since.

"It was a tragic year for the Democratic Party and for responsible politics, in a way," McCarthy said in a 1988 interview.

"There were already forces at work that might have torn the party apart anyway — the growing women's movement, the growing demands for greater racial equality, an inability to incorporate all the demands of a new generation.

"But in 1968, the party became a kind of unrelated bloc of factions ... each refusing accommodation with another, each wanting control at the expense of all the others."

Although he supported the Korean War, McCarthy said he opposed the Vietnam War because "as it went on, you could tell the people running it didn't know what was going on."

"I admired Gene enormously for his courage in challenging a war America never should have fought," Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (news, bio, voting record), D-Mass., said Saturday.

Drawing a parallel to the current debate over the Iraq war, Kennedy said, "His life speaks volumes to us today, as we face a similar critical time for our country."

Former Sen. George McGovern, D-S.D., said McCarthy's presidential run in 1968 dramatically changed the antiwar movement.

"It was no longer a movement of concerned citizens, but became a national political movement," McGovern said Saturday. "He was an inspiration to me in all of my life in politics." McGovern won the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination, when McCarthy ran a second time.

Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., who ran for vice president in 2004, said McCarthy "was a remarkable American, a man who spoke his conscience, and he was a great leader for my party."

In recent years, McCarthy was critical of campaign finance reform, winning him an unlikely award from the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2000.

In an interview when he got the award, McCarthy said money helped him in the 1968 race. "We had a few big contributors," he said. "And that's true of any liberal movement. In the American Revolution, they didn't get matching funds from George III."

After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, McCarthy said the United States was partly to blame for ignoring the plight of Palestinians.

"You let a thing like that fester for 45 years, you have to expect something like this to happen," he said in an interview at the time. "No one at the White House has shown any concern for the Palestinians."

In a 2004 biography, "Eugene McCarthy: The Rise and Fall of Postwar American Liberalism," British historian Dominic Sandbrook painted an unflattering portrait of McCarthy, calling him lazy and jealous, among other things. McCarthy, Sandbrook wrote, "willfully courted the reputation of frivolous maverick."

In McCarthy's 1998 book, "No-Fault Politics," editor Keith C. Burris described McCarthy in the introduction as "a Catholic committed to social justice but a skeptic about reform, about do-gooders, about the power of the state and the competence of government, and about the liberal reliance upon material cures for social problems."

McCarthy was born March 29, 1916, in Watkins, a central Minnesota town of about 750. He earned degrees from St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., and the University of Minnesota.

He was a teacher, a civilian War Department employee and college economics and sociology instructor before turning to politics. He once spent a year in a monastery.

He was elected to the House in 1948. Ten years later he was elected to the Senate and re-elected in 1964. McCarthy left the Senate in 1970 and devoted much of his time to writing poetry, essays and books.

With a sardonic sense of humor, McCarthy needled whatever establishment was in power. In 1980 he endorsed Republican Ronald Reagan with the argument that anyone was better than incumbent Jimmy Carter, a Democrat.

On his 85th birthday in 2001, McCarthy told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis that President Bush was an amateur and said he could not even bear to watch his inauguration.

In an interview a month before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, McCarthy compared the Bush administration with the characters in the William Golding novel "Lord of the Flies," in which a group of boys stranded on an island turn to savagery.

"The bullies are running it," McCarthy said. "Bush is bullying everything."

McCarthy was an advocate for a third-party movement, arguing there was no real difference between Republicans and Democrats.

In 2000, he wrote a political satire called "An American Bestiary," illustrated by Chris Millis, in which high-level advisers are portrayed as park pigeons — "they strut and waddle" — and reporters are compared with black birds who flock together.

He blamed the media for deciding who is and is not a serious candidate and suggested he should have kept his 1992 candidacy a secret, since announcing it publicly did no good.

McCarthy also ran for president in 1972, 1976 and 1988.

For McCarthy, the 1950s and 1960s were the Democratic Party's high points because it pushed the Civil Rights Act through Congress and championed national health insurance programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

"I think he probably would consider his work in civil rights legislation in the 1960s to be his greatest contribution," his son said Saturday.

The bad times, Eugene McCarthy said, began with America's increased involvement in the Vietnam War and the simultaneous failure of some of Johnson's Great Society social programs.

Instead of giving people a chance to earn a living, McCarthy said, the Great Society "became affirmative action and more welfare. It was an admission the New Deal had failed or fallen."

In recent years McCarthy had lived at Georgetown Retirement Residence, an assisted living center in Washington. He and his wife, Abigail, separated after the 1968 election. She died in 2001.

Survivors include daughters Ellen and Margaret and six grandchildren, Michael McCarthy said.

A private burial is planned for next week and a memorial service in Washington will be scheduled, Michael McCarthy said.

Comedian Richard Pryor Dies

Comedian Richard Pryor Dies

By JEREMIAH MARQUEZ, Associated Press Writer
1 hour ago

LOS ANGELES - Richard Pryor, the groundbreaking comedian whose profanely personal insights into race relations and modern life made him one of Hollywood's biggest stars, died of a heart attack Saturday. He was 65.

Pryor died shortly before 8 a.m. after being taken to a hospital from his home in the San Fernando Valley, said his business manager, Karen Finch. He had been ill for years with multiple sclerosis, a degenerative disease of the nervous system.

Music producer Quincy Jones described Pryor as a true pioneer of his art.

"He was the Charlie Parker of comedy, a master of telling the truth that influenced every comedian that came after him," Jones said in a statement. "The legacy that he leaves will forever be with us."

Pryor lived dangerously close to the edge, both on stage and off.

He was regarded early in his career as one of the most foul-mouthed comics in the business, but he gained a wide following for his universal and frequently personal routines. After nearly losing his life in 1980 when he caught on fire while freebasing cocaine, he incorporated the ordeal into his later routines.

His audacious style influenced generations of stand-up artists, from Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock to Robin Williams and David Letterman, among others.

A series of hit comedies and concert films in the '70s and '80s helped make Pryor one of the highest paid stars in Hollywood, and he was one of the first black performers to have enough leverage to cut his own deals. In 1983, he signed a $40 million, five-year contract with Columbia Pictures.

His films included "Stir Crazy," "Silver Streak," "Which Way Is Up?" and "Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip."

Throughout his career, Pryor focused on racial inequality, once joking as the host of the Academy Awards in 1977 that Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier were the only black members of the Academy.

Pryor once marveled "that I live in racist America and I'm uneducated, yet a lot of people love me and like what I do, and I can make a living from it. You can't do much better than that."

But he battled drug and alcohol addictions for years, most notably when he suffered severe burns over 50 percent of his body while freebasing at his home. An admitted "junkie" at the time, Pryor spent six weeks recovering from the burns and much longer from his addictions.

He battled multiple sclerosis throughout the '90s.

In one of his last movies, the 1991 bomb "Another You," Pryor's poor health was clearly evident. Pryor made a comeback attempt the following year, returning to standup comedy in clubs and on television while looking thin and frail, and with noticeable speech and movement difficulties.

In 1995, he played an embittered multiple sclerosis patient in an episode of the television series "Chicago Hope." The role earned him an Emmy nomination as best guest actor in a drama series.

"To be diagnosed was the hardest thing because I didn't know what they were talking about," he said. "And the doctor said `Don't worry, in three months you'll know.'

"So I went about my business and then, one day, it jumped me. I couldn't get up. ... Your muscles trick you; they did me."

Despite his health troubles, he was happy and in good humor in his final days, said his wife Jennifer Lee Pryor.

"He will be missed, but will forever live in thousands and thousands of hearts and continue to impact and inspire people with his truth and his pain, which he turned into comedy brilliantly," she said.

While Pryor's material sounds modest when compared with some of today's raunchier comedians, it was startling material when first introduced. He never apologized for it.

Pryor was fired by one Las Vegas hotel for "obscenities" directed at the audience. In 1970, tired of compromising his act, he quit in the middle of another Vegas stage show with the words, "What the (blank) am I doing here?" The audience was left staring at an empty stage.

He didn't tone things down after he became famous. In his 1977 NBC television series "The Richard Pryor Show," he threatened to cancel his contract with the network. NBC's censors objected to a skit in which Pryor appeared naked save for a flesh-colored loincloth to suggest he was emasculated.

"I wish that every new and young comedian would understand what Richard was about and not confuse his genius with his language usage," comedian Bill Cosby said through a spokesman Saturday.

In his later years, Pryor mellowed considerably, and his film roles looked more like easy paychecks than artistic endeavors. His robust work gave way to torpid efforts like "Harlem Nights," "Brewster's Millions" and "Hear No Evil, See No Evil."

"I didn't think `Brewster's Millions' was good to begin with," Pryor once said. "I'm sorry, but they offered us the money. I was a pig, I got greedy."

"I had some great things and I had some bad things. The best and the worst," he said in 1995. "In other words, I had a life."

Recognition came in 1998 from an unlikely source: The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington gave Pryor the first Mark Twain Prize for humor. He said in a statement that he was proud that, "like Mark Twain, I have been able to use humor to lessen people's hatred."

Born in 1940 in Peoria, Ill., Pryor grew up in his grandmother's brothel. His first professional performance came at age 7, when he played drums at a night club.

Following high school and two years of Army service, he launched his performing career, honing his comedy in bars throughout the United States. By the mid-'60s, he was appearing in Las Vegas clubs and on the television shows of Ed Sullivan, Merv Griffin and Johnny Carson.

His first film role came with a small part in 1967's "The Busy Body." He made his starring debut as Diana Ross' piano man in 1972's "Lady Sings the Blues."

Pryor also wrote scripts for the television series "Sanford and Son," "The Flip Wilson Show" and two specials for Lily Tomlin. He collaborated with Mel Brooks on the script for the movie "Blazing Saddles."

Later in his career, Pryor used his films as therapy. "Jo Jo Dancer, Your Life is Calling," was an autobiographical account of a popular comedian re-examining his life while lying delirious in a hospital burn ward. Pryor directed, co-wrote, co-produced and starred in the film.

"I'm glad I did `Jo Jo,'" Pryor once said. "It helped me get rid of a lot of stuff."

Pryor also had legal problems over the years. In 1974, he was sentenced to three years' probation for failing to file federal income tax returns. In 1978, he allegedly fired shots and rammed his car into a vehicle occupied by two of his wife's friends.

Even in poor health, his comedy was vital. At a 1992 performance, he asked the room, "Is there a doctor in the audience?" All he got was nervous laughter. "No, I'm serious. I want to know if there's a doctor here."

A hand finally went up.

"Doctor," Pryor said, "I need to know one thing. What the (blank) is MS?"

Pryor was married six times. His children include sons Richard and Steven, and daughters Elizabeth, Rain and Renee.

Daughter Rain became an actress. In an interview in 2005, she told the Philadelphia Inquirer that her father always "put his life right out there for you to look at. I took that approach because I saw how well audiences respond to it. I try to make you laugh at life."

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Bill's comment: We have lost a true legend, and a master of his art. "The King of Comedy" of my lifetime will be greatly missed. I am sure that everyone up there will love to hear all of the Mudbone routines, my personal favorite of his.

Thank you for making four generations laugh our asses off, as you put your demons out there to joke and reflect about. We will catch up to you later.

The day George Carlin leaves God's green earth, then the world of comedy will be in a total ball of confusion.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Investors disappointed with NASCAR TV deal

Posted on Thu, Dec. 08, 2005

Investors disappointed with NASCAR TV deal

Shares of track owners ISC, SMI take a hit


The Associated Press

NEW YORK - International Speedway Corp., the corporate name behind 12 NASCAR tracks, felt Wall Street's disappointment Thursday over a new $4.48 billion television contract that some felt should have been significantly higher.
NASCAR announced late Wednesday an eight-year agreement with News Corp.'s Fox, Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN and ABC, and Time Warner Inc.'s Turner Sports. The deal - which trumps its previous $2.8 billion, six-year contract - runs through the 2014 season.

However, analysts expected an even higher price to televise NASCAR's major racing events - including Nextel Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck series.

"While the overall TV contract is an increase over the previous one, we believe the announced contract is at the low end of expectations, and the Street will view this as a disappointment," Raymond James analyst Joseph Hovorka said in a report.

The average annual rights fee of the deal is $560 million, which is about 40 percent higher than the current contract. However, NASCAR said the first year of the contract will be worth between $470 million to $500 million - and increase between 3 percent and 5 percent annually.

Analysts said this is well below their projected $573 million in rights fees for NASCAR next year, and they had estimated 2007 would hit about $575 million. This caused at least two Wall Street securities firms to recommend selling shares of ISC.

Investors were quick to sell off shares of International Speedway, sending it to a new 52-week low. Shares dropped $5.70, or 10.8 percent, to $47.10 at the close of trading on the Nasdaq, after earlier trading as low as $45.90. The previous year low was $48.97.

The stock is down 11 percent this year, however, it is now trading 22 percent behind its $60.59 high reached on April 5. Shares had traded at an all-time high of about $70 at the end of 1999.

It wasn't only International Speedway's stock that got slammed. Speedway Motorsports Inc., which owns six race tracks that host NASCAR events, also took a steep tumble in trading.

Shares of Speedway Motorsports closed down $4.17 at $34.80 - 10.7 percent - on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock is down about 8 percent so far this year, and has fallen 13.6 percent from its year high of $40.29 set in April.

"International Speedway and Speedway Motorsports will be negatively impacted in 2007 and beyond as the significant TV rights revenue stream will decline substantially," AG Edwards analyst Timothy Conder said in a report.

International Speedway - which was founded is controlled by the France family - owns or co-ownes a dozen race tracks throughout the county. The most well-known property is the Daytona International Speedway.

Bill's Comment: Apparently, these so-called expert analysts do not watch NASCAR closely. Television ratings have been up every year since 2001, when they went to the current format of FOX/NBC/TNT/SPEED. None of the other major sports can make this claim. Also, you are less likely to change the channel because of the excitement, especially when the "Chase For The Cup", a ten race quest for the Nextel Cup with either the top ten drivers or drivers within 400 points of first place sprint (pardon the pun) to the finish line.

As in many events in our lifetime, there is always hindsight, thinking that you could have held out for more. However, I believe that the France family (and other NASCAR executives) decided to let the dominoes fall in place during the offseason, and proceed to make the product both more accessible and more marketable for all. Despite the fact that some are moaning and groaning about the value of the package, I feel that it is a win-win for all of the involved networks. As NASCAR is increasing its fanbase annually, the clock is ticking until " the good ol' boys" becomes more of a higher spectated event than both the NFL and the NBA. Only time will tell.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

WOAI San Antonio News: Dean: US Won't Win in Iraq



Watch this story:,565

Saying the "idea that we're going to win the war in Iraq is an idea which is just plain wrong," Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean predicted today that the Democratic Party will come together on a proposal to withdraw National Guard and Reserve troops immediately, and all US forces within two years.

Dean made his comments in an interview on WOAI Radio in San Antonio.

RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman Responds:

"I've seen this before in my life. This is the same situation we had in Vietnam. Everybody then kept saying, 'just another year, just stay the course, we'll have a victory.' Well, we didn't have a victory, and this policy cost the lives of an additional 25,000 troops because we were too stubborn to recognize what was happening."

Dean says the Democrat position on the war is 'coalescing,' and is likely to include several proposals.

"I think we need a strategic redeployment over a period of two years," Dean said. "Bring the 80,000 National Guard and Reserve troops home immediately. They don't belong in a conflict like this anyway. We ought to have a redeployment to Afghanistan of 20,000 troops, we don't have enough troops to do the job there and its a place where we are welcome. And we need a force in the Middle East, not in Iraq but in a friendly neighboring country to fight (terrorist leader Musab) Zarqawi, who came to Iraq after this invasion. We've got to get the target off the backs of American troops.

Dean didn't specify which country the US forces would deploy to, but he said he would like to see the entire process completed within two years. He said the Democrat proposal is not a 'withdrawal,' but rather a 'strategic redeployment' of U.S. forces.

"The White House wants us to have a permanent commitment to Iraq. This is an Iraqi problem. President Bush got rid of Saddam Hussein and that was a great thing, but that could have been done in a very different way. But now that we're there we need to figure out how to leave. 80% of Iraqis want us to leave, and it's their country."

Dean also compared the controversy over pre-war intelligence to the Watergate scandal which brought down Richard Nixon's presidency in 1974.

"What we see today is very much like what was going in Watergate," Dean said. "It turns out there is a lot of good evidence that President Bush did not tell the truth when he was asking Congress for the power to go to war. The President said last week that Congress saw the same intelligence that he did in making the decision to go to war, and that is flat out wrong. The President withheld some intelligence from the Senate Intelligence Committee. He withheld the report from the CIA that in fact there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction (in Iraq), that they did not have a nuclear program. They (the White House) selectively gave intelligence to the United States Senate and the United States Congress and got them to give the go ahead to attack these people."

Your Response to Howard Dean's Iraq War Statements


LAST UPDATE: 12/6/2005 9:59:29 PM

In an interview on News Radio 1200 WOAI, DNC Chair Howard Dean said, "The idea that the United States is going to win the war in Iraq is just plain wrong." Dean criticized what he called President Bush's "permanent commitment to a failed strategy" and called for withdrawal from Iraq to "take the targets off our troops' back."

Dean’s statements have provoked many responds. Here is a sampling…

Could Howard Dean be more wrong? Iraq is like Vietnam only in the sense that the anti-war movement is undermining the Armed Forces’ mission there. Howard Dean and other Democrats hate Bush so much they are willing to compromise this country’s safety and standing in the world for political gains. The Democrats offer no alternative to our actions in Iraq. Withdrawal is their only solution.

Admittedly, the administration made some mistakes in Iraq. They recognize that and are adjusting. In a short time they have toppled a dictator, held elections, written a Constitution and will ratify it. Pretty good for a couple of years work. How long did it take America to get to that point?

- Kevin Barry from Cohasset, MA

Will the press ever ask any questions of Cheney / Bush / Rice /Rumsfield before their term expires?

- Bob Robison from Nashville, TN

Howard Dean is insane and dangerous to mankind. Please investigate.

- Dave Lerbs

Howard Dean is an idiot. How a man can be so anti-American and reap the benefits of the blood shed by our men and women in the military is disgusting. He and all the democrats who support him should be ashamed of themselves.

- Murray Ally

The Marines took the border town of Husaybah with over 300 terrorist killed, and we now own the town that was a funnel for fighters coming into Iraq from Syria. That's "losing the war in Iraq"? Howard Dean knows nothing. Our Marines can walk through walls. Only Howard Dean can lose the war in the media. What a seditious disgrace to say we will lose the war in Iraq.

- Stephen Conlon from Charlotte, NC

We're getting very tired of reading and listening to hard up losers like "Smart-Mouth" Howard Dean and Jean Claude "Cut & Run" Kerry. These two unmatched bookends are sorry specimens of US patriotism. They absolutely do not have a clue about working together with the administration towards what is best for the nation. Rather, they prefer to make silly, unpatriotic, highly partisan statements that do more harm than good and only have the goals of the failed Democratic Party in mind. Both are disloyal, self centered jerks. Both have a serious lack of credibility.

- Ross Parker

Howard Dean should ashamed to call himself an American. The cut and run party that he heads has the same mentality his party had during the Vietnam War. His party and people like him caused the death of millions of Vietnamese and Cambodians. They obviously have no problem living with themselves over that, just as they would have no problem living with millions of Iraqis murdered by jihadists if we pulled out of Iraq.

- Art Kubach

Here's a news tip for you from someone who lived in Vermont under then-Governor Howard Dean for a decade: Howard Dean is a complete and utter idiot. -Russell Spreeman from La Porte, IN

I am a fourth generation Vermonter and I can attest native Vermonters are ashamed of ALL their representatives on the national scene.


Howard Dean said the Democrats will come together on a proposal to withdraw troops from Iraq, but neglects to say what the real plan is. Just another slam at the President, from a man who knows how to do nothing but vent his anger. The more he opens his mouth in public, the more he denigrates the Democratic party.

Obviously, I am a Republican. I have many friends that are Democrat, and three of them have decided to change to Republican. Were it be known, I believe many people are going to follow. Hillary Clinton, Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy, etc. are pulling the party's chances of ever winning another election.

Say what they want, our country is safer now that we have a determined President who articulates his plans and sticks by them. He has our country's interest in his heart. The Democrats have only hatred for Republicans, and greed enough to make them dangerous.

Terrorists do not care if a leader is a Republican or Democrat. However, they do fear the determination and strong will of our President. Put a Democrat in power, and see how long it takes for us to experience worse than 911. It frightens me even to think of it.

- Marie J. Clough from Ellsworth, ME

Let the Democrats run the war on terrorism and watch the world succumb to evil not seen since the days of Hitler. Pass along to Dean that we can't win if we're not there. It makes no sense to turn tail and run now, or ever. That would be a huge disaster to our relations with any in the world. What country would believe us after such a display of cowardice? My son didn't join the U.S. Cowards! NO! He joined the U.S. ARMY, as did all of the other volunteers that make up our defense, no matter the branch they chose.

- Bob Harvey

Howard Dean's remarks about "never winning the Iraqi war" certainly have given aid and comfort to our enemy and are nothing short of treasonous. They are irresponsible and have endangered the lives of every one of our military personnel.

- LJCohrt

Howard Dean ... He should rot in hell!

- Walter Dixon from Fairhope, AL

I believe in free speech and I can certainly tolerate some pretty crazy political debates, but I believe with all my heart that Howard Dean should have kept this opinion to himself. I come from a very long line of military family. I have family serving now. Why doesn't anyone believe when Howard Dean (and other leaders) tell the world that "we cannot win the war in Iraq" that is adds mental stress/anger to our troops and comforts Saddam, Ramsey Clark, and the terrorists?

If Howard Dean visits Iraq and our troops then he might have a different opinion. He might be able to show respect when he tells the world our troops can't win this war. I don't think Howard Dean understands what is going on.

- Patsy Robertson from Atlanta, GA

Can you find a way to keep Dean talking? Every time he opens his mouth more and more people are realizing that Democrats are traitors and seek the defeat of America if that can hurt Bush. They are guilty of treason, should be arrested, indicted, tried, found guilty, sentenced and SHOT FOR TREASON or hanged like Eichmann. Benedict Arnold was a patriot compared to Democrats.


Dean is lying. Congress did see all pertinent intelligence. The truth is the only intel they didn't see made even a more compelling case for removing Saddam.

- Dan

You quoted Howard Dean as saying "The President said last week that Congress saw the same intelligence that he did in making the decision to go to war, and that is flat out wrong. The President withheld some intelligence from the Senate Intelligence Committee."

The Senate Intelligence Committee is an OVERSIGHT committee. That means the OVERSEE. The Senate Intelligence Committee sees the raw intelligence data before the President does.

As a journalist, you have a commitment to the truth, even if it isn't pleasant. Howard Dean told a lie. You have a duty to present the truth... that the Democrats opposing the war not only supported war against Iraq in 2002... and that they not only accused Saddam of stockpiling WMD's and supporting terrorists BEFORE 9-11... but that said Democrats had a greater insight into and access of the intelligence Bush was using to make the case for war against Iraq.

It's funny that the media couldn't mention Swift Vets without accusing them of lies...yet they can feature a news story based on a lie and won't even log into Lexis Nexus to easily refute it.

- Tony Ferrero from Morris, IL

I'm a soldier who served in Iraq and find Dean’s pessimistic views of what this military can accomplish quite distressing.

- CJ Grisham

Your article about what Dean had to say is nothing more than giving comfort to the enemy, which you, personally, are also guilty of. Certainly, we have the freedom to say what we wish (except for very limited restrictions which have been found illegal in a reasonable court of law), but Dean's lies don't need to be given more airplay.

As a Vietnam Veteran, I am very aware of what happened there, and what went wrong. Dean is doing nothing more than twisting facts, glossing over the good and bold-faced lying. From someone of his ilk, you'd expect nothing else.

- R. Patrick

The Democratic Party lost the war in Viet Nam first by trying to maintain the status quo and not win the war by attacking the North, and second by forcing an immediate pullout through lack of funding in Congress with the idea of letting the South Viet Namese defend themselves.

The Democratic Party is proposing the same thing with Iraq. The difference is that we aren't attempting to keep the status quo, and we are not fighting Iraq, nor even a portion of Iraq. Rather than a formal government, we are fighting "imported" terrorists, and some disgruntled Sunnis. A completely different scenario! -Mike Kelley

Thanks for highlighting Mr. Dean's lunacy. It's nice to hear that the Democrat’s Iraq strategy is finally starting to coalesce after all this time, though I think his prediction of defeat won't bode well for their chances at the polls. "Cutting and running" and "failure and defeat" don't sit well with most Americans, though apparently these appear to be central themes to the liberals’ platform.

One thing you can say for Mr. Dean is that he's always good for print.

- Scott from Pittsburgh, PA

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

President Discusses War on Terror and Rebuilding Iraq


Omni Shoreham Hotel
Washington, D.C.

10:44 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, all. Richard, thanks for the invitation. Thanks for letting me come by and address the Council on Foreign Relations. The Council is one of America's oldest and most admired foreign policy organizations, and I appreciate the chance to come and talk about foreign policy.

Richard is a good man, and he's doing a fine job as the President of the Council on Foreign Relations. And I appreciate your service to the country. I want to thank Nancy Roman. I want to thank the board members of the Council. And I want to thank you all for being here today.

Today we mark the anniversary of a fateful day in American history. On December the 7th, 1941, our peaceful nation awoke to an attack plotted in secret, and executed without mercy. The strike on Pearl Harbor was the start of a long war for America -- a massive struggle against those who attacked us, and those who shared their destructive ambitions. Fortunately for all of us, a great generation of Americans was more than equal to the challenge. Our nation pulled together -- and despite setbacks and battlefield defeats, we did not waver in freedom's cause. With courage and determination, we won a war on two fronts: we liberated millions, we aided the rise of democracy in Europe and Asia we watched enemies become allies, and we laid the foundation of peace for generations.

On September the 11th, 2001, our nation awoke to another sudden attack. In the space of just 102 minutes, more Americans were killed than we lost at Pearl Harbor. Like generations before us, we accepted new responsibilities, and we confronted new dangers with firm resolve. Like generations before us, we're taking the fight to those who attacked us -- and those who share their murderous vision for future attacks. Like generations before us, we've faced setbacks on the path to victory -- yet we will fight this war without wavering. And like the generations before us, we will prevail.

Like earlier struggles for freedom, this war will take many turns, and the enemy must be defeated on every battlefront -- from the streets of Western cities, to the mountains of Afghanistan, to the tribal regions of Pakistan, to the islands of Southeast Asia and the Horn of Africa. Yet the terrorists have made it clear that Iraq is the central front in their war against humanity. So we must recognize Iraq as the central front in the war on terror.

Last week at the Naval Academy, I gave the first in a series of speeches outlining our strategy for victory in Iraq. I explained that our strategy begins with a clear understanding of the enemy we face. The enemy in Iraq is a combination of rejectionists and Saddamists and terrorists. The rejectionists are ordinary Iraqis, mostly Sunni Arabs, who miss the privileged status they had under the regime of Saddam Hussein -- they reject an Iraq in which they are no longer the dominant group. We believe that, over time, most of this group will be persuaded to support a democratic Iraq led by a federal government that is strong enough to protect minority rights.

The Saddamists are former regime loyalists who harbor dreams of returning to power -- and they're trying to foment anti-democratic sentiment among the larger Sunni community. Yet they lack popular support -- and over time, they can be marginalized and defeated by security forces of a free Iraq.

The terrorists affiliated with or inspired by al Qaeda are the smallest but most lethal group. Many are foreigners coming to fight freedom's progress in Iraq. They are led by a brutal terrorist named Zarqawi -- al Qaeda's chief of operations in Iraq -- who has pledged his allegiance to Osama bin Laden. The terrorists' stated objective is to drive U.S. and coalition forces out of Iraq and to gain control of the country. They would then use Iraq as a base from which to launch attacks against America, overthrow moderate governments in the Middle East, and try to establish a totalitarian Islamic empire that reaches from Indonesia to Spain.

The terrorists in Iraq share the same ideology as the terrorists who struck the United States on September the 11th, blew up commuters in London and Madrid, and murdered tourists in Bali, killed workers in Riyadh, and slaughtered guests at a wedding in Amman, Jordan. This is an enemy without conscience -- they cannot be appeased. If we're not fighting and destroying the enemy in Iraq, they would not be leading the quiet lives of good citizens. They would be plotting and killing our citizens -- across the world and within our own borders. By fighting the terrorists in Iraq, we are confronting a direct threat to the American people -- and we will accept nothing less than complete victory.

We're pursuing a comprehensive strategy in Iraq. Last week, my administration released a document called the "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq." Our goal is victory -- and victory will be achieved when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq's democracy, when the Iraqi security forces can provide for the safety of their own citizens, and when Iraq is not a safe haven for terrorists to plot new attacks against our nation.

Our strategy to achieve that victory has three elements. On the political side, we're helping the Iraqis build inclusive democratic institutions that will protect the interests of all Iraqis. We're working with the Iraqis to help them engage those who can be persuaded to join the new Iraq, and to marginalize those who never will. In two-and-a-half years, the Iraqi people have made amazing progress. They've gone from living under the boot of a brutal tyrant, to liberation, to free elections, to a democratic constitution. A week from tomorrow, they will go to the polls to elect a fully constitutional government that will lead them for the next four years. By helping Iraqis continue to build their democracy, we will gain an ally in the war on terror; by helping them build a democracy, we will inspire reformers from Damascus to Tehran; and by helping them build a democracy, we'll make the American people more secure.

On the security side, coalition and Iraqi security forces are on the offense against the enemy. We're clearing out areas controlled by the terrorists and Saddam loyalists, leaving Iraqi forces to hold territory taken from the enemy, and following up with targeted reconstruction to help Iraqis rebuild their lives. And as we fight the terrorists, we're working to build capable and effective Iraqi security forces, so they can take the lead in the fight -- and eventually take responsibility for the safety and security of their citizens without major foreign assistance.

As Iraqi forces become more capable, they're taking responsibility for more and more Iraqi territory; we're transferring bases for their control, to take the fight to the enemy. That means American and coalition forces can concentrate on training Iraqis and hunting down high-value targets like Zarqawi.

On the economic side, we're helping the Iraqis rebuild their infrastructure, and reform their economy, and build the prosperity that will give all Iraqis a stake in a free and peaceful Iraq. In doing this, we have involved the United Nations, other international organizations, our coalition partners, and supportive regional states.

A week ago at the Naval Academy, I spoke about our efforts to train the Iraqi security forces. I described the changes we've made in the way these forces are trained and the resulting gains the Iraqi forces have made in the past year. Today, I'm going to talk about how we're working with those Iraqi forces and Iraq's leaders to improve security and restore order, to help Iraqis rebuild their cities, and to help the national government in Baghdad revitalize Iraq's infrastructure and economy.

Over the course of this war, we have learned that winning the battle for Iraqi cities is only the first step. We also have to win the "battle after the battle" -- by helping Iraqis consolidate their gains and keep the terrorists from returning. Used to be that after American troops cleared the terrorists out of a city and moved onto the next mission, there weren't enough forces, Iraqi forces, to hold the area. We found that after we left, the terrorists would re-enter the city, intimidate local leaders and police, and eventually retake control. This undermined the gains of our military, it thwarted our efforts to help Iraqis rebuild and led local residents to lose confidence in the process and in their leaders.

So we adjusted our approach. As improvements in training produced more capable Iraqi security forces, those forces have been able to better hold onto the cities we cleared out together. With help from our military and civilian personnel, the Iraqi government can then work with local leaders and residents to begin reconstruction -- with Iraqis leading the building efforts, and our coalition in a supporting role.

This approach is working. And today, I want to describe our actions in two cities where we have seen encouraging progress -- Najaf and Mosul.

The city of Najaf is located about 90 miles south of Baghdad, and it's the home to one of Shia Islam's holiest places, the Imam Ali Shrine. As a predominantly Shia city, Najaf suffered greatly during Saddam's rule. Virtually every element of infrastructure and basic services had been crippled by years of insufficient maintenance. In 1991, thousands of Najaf residents were killed during a brutal crackdown by the dictator. Our troops liberated Najaf in 2003 -- yet about a year later, the city fell under the sway of a radical and violent militia. Fighting in the streets damaged homes and businesses, and the local economy collapsed as visitors and pilgrims stopped coming to the shrine out of fear for their lives.

In the summer of 2004, we discussed the growing problem in Najaf with Iraq's political leaders -- and the coalition and Iraqi government decided to retake control of the city. And we did. Together, coalition and Iraqi forces routed out the militia in tough, urban fighting. It was an intense battle, our guys performed great, and so did the Iraqi forces. Together with the Iraqi government and the Shia clerical community, we forced the militia to abandon the shrine and return it to legitimate Iraqi authority. The militia forces agreed to disarm and leave Najaf.

As soon as the fighting in Najaf ended, targeted reconstruction moved forward. The Iraqi government played an active role, and so did our military commanders and diplomats and workers from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Together, they worked with Najaf's governor and other local officials to rebuild the local police force, repair residents' homes, refurbish schools, restore water and other essential services, reopen a soccer stadium, complete with new lights and fresh sod. Fifteen months later, new businesses and markets have opened in some of Najaf's poorest areas, religious pilgrims are visiting the city again, construction jobs are putting local residents back to work. One of the largest projects was the rebuilding of the Najaf Teaching Hospital, which had been looted and turned into a military fortress by the militia. Thanks to the efforts by Iraqi doctors and local leaders, and with the help of American personnel, the hospital is now open and capable of serving hundreds of patients each day.

Najaf is now in the hands of elected government officials. An elected provincial council is at work -- drafting plans to bring more tourism and commerce to the city. Political life has returned, and campaigns for the upcoming elections have begun, with different parties competing for the vote. The Iraqi police are now responsible for day-to-day security in Najaf. An Iraqi battalion has consumed [sic] control of the former American military base, and our forces are now about 40 minutes outside the city.

A U.S. Army sergeant explains our role this way: "We go down there if they call us. And that doesn't happen very often. Usually, we just stay out of their way." Residents of Najaf are also seeing visible progress -- and they have no intention of returning to the days of tyranny and terror. One man from Najaf put it this way: "Three years ago we were in ruins. One year ago we were fighting in the streets ... [Now] look at the people shopping and eating and not in fear."

There is still plenty of work left to be done in Najaf. Like most of Iraq, the reconstruction in Najaf has proceeded with fits and starts since liberation - it's been uneven. Sustaining electric power remains a major challenge -- and construction has begun on three new substations to help boost capacity. Because there is a shortage of clean water, new water treatment and sewage units are being installed. Security in Najaf has improved substantially, but threats remain. There are still kidnappings, and militias and armed gangs are exerting more influence than they should in a free society. Local leaders and Iraqi security forces are confronting these problems -- and we're helping them.

Another area that has seen tremendous gains is the ancient city of Mosul. Mosul is one of Iraq's largest cities, and it's the home of a diverse population of Sunni Arabs, Kurds, and other ethnic groups. Mosul is also the city where our troops brought justice to Saddam's sons in the summer of 2003. In the months after liberation, Mosul was relatively quiet -- and so we began to redeploy our forces elsewhere in the country. And when the terrorists and Saddamists infiltrated the city, the Iraqi police were not up to the task of stopping them. These thugs intimidated residents, and overwhelmed the police.

By late last year, terrorists and Saddamists had gained control of much of Mosul, and they launched a series of car bombings and ambushes -- including an attack on a coalition mess tent that killed 14 American service members. The terrorists and Saddamists killed innocent Iraqi civilians, and they left them in the streets with notes pinned to their bodies threatening others. American and Iraqi forces responded with a series of coordinated strikes on the most dangerous parts of the city. Together we killed, captured, and cleared out many of the terrorists and Saddamists -- and we helped the Iraqi police and legitimate political leaders regain control of the city. As the Iraqis have grown in strength and ability, they have taken more responsibility for Mosul's security -- and coalition forces have moved into a supporting role.

As security in Mosul improved, we began working with local leaders to accelerate reconstruction. Iraqis upgraded key roads and bridges over the Tigris River, rebuilt schools and hospitals, and started refurbishing the Mosul Airport. Police stations and firehouses were rebuilt, and Iraqis have made major improvements in the city's water and sewage network.

Mosul still faces real challenges. Like Najaf, Mosul's infrastructure was devastated during Saddam's reign. The city is still not receiving enough electricity, so Iraqis have a major new project underway to expand the Mosul power substation. Terrorist intimidation is still a concern. This past week, people hanging election posters were attacked and killed. Yet freedom is taking hold in Mosul, and residents are making their voices heard. Turnout in the -- for the October referendum was over 50 percent in the province where Mosul is located. That's more than triple the turnout in the January election. And there's heavy campaigning going on in Mosul for next week's election.

In places like Mosul and Najaf, residents are seeing tangible progress in their lives. They're gaining a personal stake in a peaceful future, and their confidence in Iraq's democracy is growing. The progress of these cities is being replicated across much of Iraq -- and more of Iraq's people are seeing the real benefits that a democratic society can bring.

Throughout Iraq, we're also seeing challenges common to young democracies. Corruption is a problem at both the national and local levels of the Iraqi government. We will not tolerate fraud -- so our embassy in Baghdad is helping to demand transparency and accountability for the money being invested in reconstruction. We've helped the Iraqi people establish institutions like a Commission on Public Integrity and a stronger Supreme Board of Audit to improve oversight of the rebuilding process. Listen, the Iraqi people expect money to be spent openly and honestly -- and so do the American people.

Another problem is the infiltration of militia groups into some Iraqi security forces -- especially the Iraqi police. We're helping Iraqis deal with this problem by embedding coalition transition teams in Iraqi units to mentor police and soldiers. We're also working with Iraq leaders at all levels of government to establish high standards for police recruiting. In a free Iraq, former militia members must shift their loyalty to the national government, and learn to operate under the rule of law.

As we help Iraq's leaders confront these challenges, we're also helping them rebuild a sound economy that will grow and deliver a better life for their people. Iraq is a nation with the potential for tremendous prosperity. The country has a young and educated workforce, they've got abundant land and water, and they have among the largest oil resources in the world. Yet for decades, Saddam Hussein used Iraq's wealth to enrich himself and a privileged few. As he built palaces, Saddam neglected the country's infrastructure. He ruined the economy, and he squandered the most valuable resource in Iraq -- the talent and the energy of the Iraqi people.

So we're helping the new Iraq government reverse decades of economic destruction, reinvigorate its economy, and make responsible reforms. We're helping Iraqis to rebuild their infrastructure and establish the institutions of a market economy. The entrepreneurial spirit is strong in Iraq. Our policies are aimed at unleashing the creativity of the Iraqi people.

Like our approach to training Iraqi security forces, our approach to helping Iraqis rebuild has changed and improved. When we started the reconstruction progress in the spring of 2003, our focus was on repairing and building large-scale infrastructure -- such as electrical plants and large water treatment facilities. We moved forward with some of those large projects, yet we found our approach was not meeting the priorities of the Iraqi people. In many places, especially those targeted by the terrorists and Saddamists, the most urgent needs were smaller, localized projects, such as sewer lines and city roads. Delivering visible progress to the Iraqi people required us to focus on projects that could be completed rapidly.

And so in consultation with the Iraqi government, we started using more resources to fund smaller, local projects that could deliver rapid, noticeable improvements, and offer an alternative to the destructive vision of the terrorists. We increased the amount of money our military commanders had at their disposal for flexible use. We worked with Iraqi leaders to provide more contracts directly to Iraqi firms. And by adapting our reconstruction efforts to meet needs on the ground, we're helping Iraqi leaders serve their people, and Iraqis are beginning to see that a free life will be a better life.

Reconstruction has not always gone as well as we had hoped, primarily because of the security challenges on the ground. Rebuilding a nation devastated by a dictator is a large undertaking. It's even harder when terrorists are trying to blow up that which the Iraqis are trying to build. The terrorists and Saddamists have been able to slow progress, but they haven't been able to stop it.

In the space of two-and-a-half years, we have helped Iraqis conduct nearly 3,000 renovation projects at schools, train more than 30,000 teachers, distribute more than 8 million textbooks, rebuild irrigation infrastructure to help more than 400,000 rural Iraqis, and improve drinking water for more than 3 million people.

Our coalition has helped Iraqis introduce a new currency, reopen their stock exchange, extend $21 million in micro-credit and small business loans to Iraqi entrepreneurs. As a result of these efforts and Iraq's newfound freedom, more than 30,000 new Iraqi businesses have registered since liberation. And according to a recent survey, more than three-quarters of Iraqi business owners anticipate growth in the national economy over the next two years.

This economic development and growth will be really important to addressing the high unemployment rate across parts of that country. Iraq's market-based reforms are gradually returning the proud country to the global economy. Iraqis have negotiated significant debt relief. And for the first time in 25 years, Iraq has completed an economic report card with the International Monetary Fund -- a signal to the world financial community that Iraqis are serious about reform and determined to take their rightful place in the world economy.

With all these improvements, we're helping the Iraqi government deliver meaningful change for the Iraqi people. This is another important blow against the Saddamists and the terrorists. Iraqis who were disillusioned with their situation are beginning to see a hopeful future for their country. Many who once questioned democracy are coming off the fence; they're choosing the side of freedom. This is quiet, steady progress. It doesn't always make the headlines in the evening news. But it's real, and it's important, and it is unmistakable to those who see it close up.

One of those who has seen that progress is Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman. Senator Lieberman has traveled to Iraq four times in the past 17 months, and the article he wrote when he returned from his most recent trip provides a clear description of the situation on the ground. Here's what Senator Lieberman wrote -- Senator Lieberman wrote about the Iraq he saw: "Progress is visible and practical. There are many more cars on the streets, satellite television dishes on the roofs, and literally millions more cell phones in Iraq hands than before." He describes an Iraqi poll showing that, "two-thirds [of Iraqis] say they are better off than they were under Saddam Hussein."

Senator Lieberman goes on, "Does America have a good plan for doing this, a strategy for victory in Iraq? Yes, we do. And it's important to make clear to the American people that the plan has not remained stubbornly still, but has changed over the years." The Senator says that mistakes have been made. But he goes on to say that he is worried about a bigger mistake. He writes, "What a colossal mistake it would be for America's bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and, in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory." Senator Lieberman is right.

There is an important debate going on in our nation's capital about Iraq, and the fact that we can debate these issues openly in the midst of a dangerous war brings credit to our democracy. In this debate, some are calling for us to withdraw from Iraq on a fixed timetable, without regard to conditions on the ground. Recently, one Democratic leader came out in support of an artificial deadline for withdrawal, and said an immediate withdrawal of our troops would, "make the American people safer, our military stronger, and bring some stability to the region." That's the wrong policy for our government. Withdrawing on an artificial deadline would endanger the American people, would harm our military, and make the Middle East less stable. It would give the terrorists exactly what they want.

In a letter to the terrorist leader Zarqawi, the al Qaeda leader Zawahiri has outlined his goals in Iraq with these steps: "Expel the Americans from Iraq I establish an Islamic authority over as much territory as you can to spread its power in Iraq extend the jihad wave." The terrorists hope America will withdraw before the job is done, so they can take over the country and turn it into a base for future attacks. Zawahiri called the Vietnam War as a reason to believe the terrorists can prevail. He wrote, "The aftermath of the collapse of American power in Vietnam -- and how they ran and left their agents -- is noteworthy." In the past, al Qaeda has said that American pullouts from Lebanon and Somalia showed them that America was weak and could be made to run. And now the terrorists think they can make America run in Iraq, and that is not going to happen so long as I'm the Commander-in-Chief. (Applause.)

We are not going to yield the future of Iraq to men like Zarqawi, and we're not going to yield the future of the Middle East to men like bin Laden. We will complete our mission in Iraq, and leave behind a democracy that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself. Our military will continue to hunt down the terrorists in Iraq -- and to prepare the Iraqi security forces to take over more of the fight and control more of the territory on their own. We will continue to help the Iraqis rebuild their cities and their lives so they can enjoy the prosperity that freedom brings. We will continue to stand with the Iraqi people as they move forward on the path of democracy. And when victory is achieved, our troops will then come home with the honor they've earned.

Next week, I'll discuss the political element of our strategy in greater detail -- how we're helping Iraqis build a democracy that will be a strong ally in this global war against the terrorists. One of the great lessons of history is that free societies are peaceful societies, and free nations give their citizens a path to resolve their differences peacefully through the democratic process.

Democracy can be difficult and complicated and even chaotic. It can take years of hard work to build a healthy civil society. Iraqis have to overcome many challenges, including longstanding ethnic and religious tensions, and the legacy of brutal repression. But they're learning that democracy is the only way to build a just and peaceful society, because it's the only system that gives every citizen a voice in determining its future.

Before our mission in Iraq is accomplished, there will be tough days ahead. Victory in Iraq will require continued sacrifice by our men and women in uniform, and the continued determination of our citizens. There will be good days and there will be bad days in this war. I reject the pessimists in Washington who say we can't win this war. Yet every day, we can be confident of the outcome because we know that freedom has got the power to overcome terror and tyranny. We can be confident about the outcome because we know the character and strength of the men and women in the fight. Their courage makes all Americans proud.

This generation of Americans in uniform is every bit as brave and determined as the generation that went to war after the attack on our nation 64 years ago today. Like those who came before, they are defeating a dangerous enemy, bringing freedom to millions, and transforming a troubled part of the world. And like those who came before, they will always have the gratitude of the American people.

Our nation will uphold the cause for which our men and women in uniform are risking their lives. We will continue to hunt down the terrorists wherever they hide. We will help the Iraqi people so they can build a free society in the heart of a troubled region. And by laying the foundations of freedom in Iraq and across the broader Middle East, we will lay the foundation of peace for generations to come.

Thanks for giving me a chance to come and speak to you today. May God continue to bless our country. (Applause.)

END 11:18 A.M. EST

The Future of Iraq- Speech by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld


Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Studies
John's Hopkins University
Washington, D.C. Campus
Monday, December 5, 2005

Thank you very much, Dean Einhorn. I see here Ruth Wedgwood in the front row, a member of the Defense Policy Board, and a couple of friends here from 30 or 40 or even more years back. Bill Coleman and Hal [inaudible], it’s good to see you. Colonel Hickey, thank you for all you do, as well as you gentlemen.

This is an impressive institution, with a well-deserved reputation as one of the important centers of strategic thought in America. And I’m certainly pleased to be with you. And I thank you for your invitation.

This School, of course, is named for one of the giants of the Cold War, Paul Nitze, who I knew and worked with over the years.

Paul was a driving force here, as has been my friend, Paul Wolfowitz, who led this School before returning to government in the Pentagon first and now at the World Bank.

And I am pleased to be here to discuss America’s ongoing mission in Iraq -- and the importance of it succeeding.

The other day, I came across an interesting set of statistics that I’d like to mention. It seems that the Pew Research Center asked leaders in the United States their views of the prospects for a stable democracy in Iraq.

Here were some of the results:

* 63% of the people in the news media thought the enterprise would fail;
* So did 71% of the people in the foreign affairs establishment; and
* 71% in the academic settings or think tanks.

Interestingly, opinion leaders from the U.S. military are more optimistic about Iraq by a margin of about 64 percent to 32 percent favorable. And so is the American public, by a margin of 56 percent to 37 percent.

And the Iraqi people are optimistic. I’ve seen this demonstrated repeatedly -- in public opinion polls, in the turnout at the elections, the referendum on the constitution, in the number of tips that the Iraqi people are providing to the Iraqi Security Forces and to the Coalition forces. They’ve grown from 483 a month to 4,700 tips per month.

This prompts the question: which view of Iraq is more accurate? The pessimistic view of the so-called elites in our country -- or the more optimistic view expressed by millions of Iraqis and by the some 155,000 U.S. troops on the ground?

But, most important is the question: why should Iraq's success or failure matter to the American people?

I'd like to address these questions today, before responding to your questions which I look forward to.

First, should we be optimistic or pessimistic about Iraq's future?

The answer may depend on one's perspective to a certain extent. Indeed, one of the reasons that views of Iraq are so divergent is that we may be looking at Iraq through different prisms of experience or expectation.

For starters, it must be jarring for reporters to leave the United States, arrive in a country that is so different, where they have to worry about their personal safety, and then being rushed to a scene of a bomb -- car bomb -- or a shooting, and have little opportunity to see the rest of the country.

By contrast, the Iraqi people see things probably somewhat differently: they can compare Iraq as it is today, to what it was three years ago -- a brutal dictatorship where the Secret Police would murder or mutilate a family member sometimes in front of their children, and where hundreds of thousands of Iraqis disappeared into mass graves. From that perspective, Iraq today is on a vastly different, and a greatly improved path.

A distinguished academician, I don’t have the exact quote so I won’t name him, said something to the effect that the situation in Iraq is terrible, and it’s never been better.

If one is viewing events through a soda straw, they should know that they are by definition selectively focusing on some facts that may highlight their view and not seeing some other perspectives. A full picture of Iraq comes best from an understanding of both the good and the bad, and the context for each.

Among the continuing difficulties to be sure are:

* Bursts of violence, including continued assassination attempts, attempts to intimidate Iraqi leaders and those who support the legitimate Iraqi government;
* Hostage taking;
* Continued U.S., Coalition, and Iraqi casualties;
* Iran and Syria continue to be unhelpful. We know that;
* Calls for Coalition withdrawal from some quarters that encourage those who are opposing the legitimate Iraqi government and aid their fundraising and their recruiting.

However, there are also some positive developments to be seen, if we look for them:

* The political process is on schedule. Iraqis now have a constitution that they wrote, that they voted for, and that they now are proceeding towards elections under that constitution in less than two weeks -- a week and a half -- December 15.
* There are hundreds of candidates who are politicking in those elections;
* There seem to be growing divisions among the enemies of the Iraqi people, particularly after the bombing of a wedding reception in Amman, Jordan, where now even Zarqawi's family is demonstrating against him;
* Iraq's neighbors now seem to believe that this new democracy might in fact succeed, which they doubted I think for some period, and they seem to be moving to get right with the Iraqi people and the prospective Iraqi government. And they’re more active in their support, which is a good thing;
* A vital and engaged media is emerging, with some 100 newspapers in Iraq now, 72 radio stations, 44 television stations, incredible number of cell phones, which is an entirely new thing in that country; and
* The Sunnis are increasingly taking part in the political process, and further isolating those who still oppose the government of Iraq;
* The stock market is alive and well in Iraq.

To be responsible, it seems to me, one needs to stop defining success in Iraq as the absence of terrorist attacks. As Senator Joe Lieberman recently suggested, a better measure of success might be that a vast majority of Iraqis -- tens of millions -- are on the side of the democratic government, while a comparatively small number are opposed to that government. I would suggest that this gives the Iraqi people an enormous advantage over time.

The other question I posed is of critical importance, and that was: why does Iraq’s success or failure matter to the American people?

Consider this quote:

"What you have seen, Americans, in New York and Washington D.C. and the losses you are having in Afghanistan and Iraq, in spite of all the media blackout, are only the losses of the initial clashes."

The speaker was Zawahiri, a senior member of al-Qaeda, and a top leader in the effort to defeat U.S. and Coalition forces and I should add moderate Muslim regimes around the world. The terrorists’ methods of attack, simply put, are slaughter. They behead. They bomb children. They attack funerals and wedding receptions.

This is the kind of brutality and mayhem that the terrorists are working to bring to our shores. And if we do not succeed in our efforts to arm and train Iraqis to help defeat the terrorists in Iraq, this is the kind of mayhem that these terrorists, emboldened by a victory, will bring to our shores -- let there be no doubt.

Indeed, the most important reason for our involvement in Iraq -- despite the costs -- and they're considerable -- is often overlooked. It is not only about building democracy, although democracies tend to be peaceful and prosperous and are in and of themselves good things to be sure. And it's not only about reopening Iraqi schools, hospitals or rebuilding infrastructure, though they are proceeding apace and these things are desirable and ultimately essential to stability in that country.

But, simply put, defeating extremist aspirations in Iraq is essential to protecting the lives of the American people.

Imagine the world our children would face if we allowed Zawahiri, and Zarqawi, and bin Laden, and others of their ilk to seize power and operate with impunity out of Iraq. It would turn Iraq into what Afghanistan was before September 11th -- a haven for terrorist recruitment, training and a launching pad for attacks against U.S. interests and our fellow citizens. Iraq would serve as the base of a new Islamic caliphate to extend throughout the Middle East and which would threaten the legitimate governments in Europe, Africa, and Asia. This is their plan. They have said so. We make a terrible mistake if we fail to listen and learn.

In my view, quitting is not a strategy. Quitting is an invitation to more attacks and more terrorist violence here at home. This is not just a hypothesis. The U.S. withdrawal from Somalia emboldened Osama bin Laden in the 1990’s. We know this. He said so.

The message that retreat in Iraq would send to the free people of Iraq and to moderate Muslim reformers throughout the region and the world would be that they cannot count on America. The message it would send to our enemies would be: that America will not defend itself against terrorists in Iraq and it will not defend itself against terrorists anywhere.

What is needed in my view is resolve, not retreat; courage, not concession. Rather than thinking in terms of an exit strategy, we should be focused on a strategy for success.

The President's strategy focuses on progress on the political, and economic, and security fronts. You can read that strategy paper on the White House web site.

On the security side, today some 214,000 Iraqi security forces have been trained and equipped. They are of varying degrees of experience. Each day and each week and each month that goes by, they gain more experience and more capability. Working with Coalition forces, they are steadily improving in experience:

* Coalition forces have handed over military bases to Iraqi control and also a complex of palaces in Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit;
* The Shiite areas of Najaf and Karbala and Sadr City, the scenes of battles last year, are more peaceful today; and
* In Tal Afar, 5,000 Iraqi troops took a key role in liberating and securing what had been a base of operations for extremists' networks and foreign networks.

I began these remarks by mentioning the contrast between what the American people are reading and hearing about Iraq and the views of the Iraqi people. I don’t think we can close a discussion on Iraq without mentioning the media coverage and the current political debate that’s taking place.

Recently, a member of the Associated Press Managing Editors Association reported on the intense discussions within the A.P. over whether or not their coverage of Iraq has been slanted or fair. For my part, almost every time I meet with troops, I am asked the same question: they ask why aren't the American people being given an accurate picture of what's happening in Iraq?

But let me say something in defense of the media. They have a tough job. It’s not easy. And a number of them have put their lives at risk, and some have been killed.

The media serves a valuable -- and indeed an indispensable -- role in informing our society and holding government to account. But it’s important also for the media to hold itself to account. Government has to reassess continuously, and we do. So to, it’s useful I believe for the media to reassess.

We have arrived at a strange time in this country where the worst about America and our military seems to so quickly be taken as truth by the press and reported and spread around the world -- often with little context and little scrutiny -- let alone correction or accountability after the fact. Speed it appears is the critical determinant. Less so, context.

Recently there were claims by two Iraqis on a speaking tour that U.S. soldiers attacked them with lions. It was widely reported around the United States. It is still without substantiation. And yet that story was spread across the globe. Not too long ago, there was a false and terribly damaging story about a Koran that was supposedly flushed down a toilet in Guantanamo, and in the riots that followed in several countries, some people were killed. And a recent New York Times editorial implied that America’s armed forces -- your armed forces -- our armed forces -- use tactics reminiscent of Saddam Hussein.

I understand that there may be great pressure on many of them to tell a dramatic story. And while it is easy to use a bombing or a terrorist attack to support that interest, it is not always the most accurate story or at least not the full story.

Consider this: You couldn't tell the full story of Iwo Jima simply by listing the nearly 26,000 Americans that were casualties in a brief 40 days at Iwo Jima; or you couldn’t explain the importance of Grant’s push into Virginia just by noting the savagery of the battles. And they were savage. So too, in Iraq, it is appropriate to note not only how many Americans have been killed -- and may God bless them and their families -- but what they died for -- or more accurately, what they lived for.

So I suggest -- and I take for granted the good intentions of the people in the media -- I suggest that we ask: how will history judge -- if it does -- the reporting some decades from now when Iraq’s path is settled?

I would urge us all to make every effort to ensure -- government and the media -- to make every effort to ensure that we’re trying to tell the whole story.

Further I think it's worth noting that there are 155,000 or 156,000 today Americans in uniform who are sending back e-mails to their friends and families, telling them what they’re seeing. And it's a slice of what is actually happening. It's not the total picture. But it's a slice. And it's an accurate slice. It's the truth as they see it. And much of it is different than what those in the United States are seeing and reading.

Our country is waging a battle unlike any other in history. We are waging it in a media age that's unlike any war that war fighters have ever known. Think of it. This is the first war of the 21st Century. It’s the first war to be conducted with talk radio, and 24-hour news, and bloggers, and emails, and digital cameras, and Sony video cams, and all of these things that bring so much information near instantaneously to people. And in this new century, we all need to make adjustments -- government and the media alike. And change is hard -- let there be no doubt.

We are all Americans. We are all in this together. And what we do today will not only impact us, but it will surely impact our children and our grandchildren, and the kind of world they will live in.

Thank you. I’d be happy to respond to some questions.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Shalom Y'all! By Miriam Karp

By Miriam Karp


Looking for a nice place to beat the end of winter, can't-wait-for-spring blues? Want to stroll on ocean beaches and catch some champion golf before the summer crowd hits?

Consider South Carolina for the climate, beaches, low prices, and golf. American readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine continue to rate Charleston among the top ten US travel destinations year after year. The 28 million annual visitors spending $7 billion dollars attest to the Palemetto State's enjoyable ambiance and amenities.

Jews Welcome Here

Think of the historic South as a close-minded place where a Jewish presence is unwelcome? A glimpse into the Triangle State's intriguing Jewish history may surprise you.

Which state was the first to grant Jews voting rights? Which has a constitution where its founding fathers specifically state that Jews are welcome-the most liberal religious tolerance in the world at that time? New Hampshire? Massachusetts? Guess again. Head south for the answer, to South Carolina.

Jews in South Carolina have enjoyed a long and complex 300 year history. In 1800, the Jewish population was 2,000, more than any other state. Many became successful tradesmen and merchants. Among them were Revolutionary War heroes and faithful sons of the Confederacy. Though Jewish families had some hardship adapting to their new environments -mostly families who lived in small, rural South Carolina towns that offered no kosher food, synagogues, rabbis or potential suitors for their daughters- most Jewish immigrants found South Carolina an easily adaptable place where they could prosper.

Jewish mercantile businesses flourished throughout South Carolina, with many storefronts in Charleston, Abbeville, Spartanburg, and Anderson. Playing a vital role in the community, Jewish South Carolinians held political positions throughout its history, dating back to the Confederacy when Judas B. Benjamin served as Secretary of State under Jefferson Davis.

The fascinating history of South Carolina Jewry was featured this year in a new exhibit at the McKissick Musuem at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, "Portion of the People," and can also be pursued at the College of Charleston Jewish Heritage Collection. A recent South Carolina ETV show, the "Land of Promise" explored the state's saga.

Jewish life today enjoys a revitalized dynamism that has characterized the post Civil Rights South. The best of both worlds, a slower paced genteel hospitality with an open-minded progressiveness that has affected blacks, Jews and all minorities

Enough abstract historicating about the past; let's get practical about the present. What was that about beaches and golf courses?

Sports and Resorts

Many beaches circle the seaport city of Charleston. Folly Beach, fifteen minutes by car from downSouthCarolJosesphMann.9town Charleston, is a popular surfing destination in South Carolina. Folly Beach also has a beautiful bird sanctuary where you might even spot a Bald Eagle.

The Isle of Palms is a luxury resort area with costly hotels and well kept golf courses. Kiawah Island, 21 minutes drive from Charleston has a ten-mile stretch of continuous white sand beach. It is ideal for nature lovers, as miles of bike and hiking trails run through marshland and forests filled with magnolias, pines, and oaks.

Farther off coast, Hilton Head Island is famed for being one of the best resort islands in the USA. Don't miss the spectacular Magnolia Gardens. As early as 1900, Magnolia Gardens near Charleston was noted in the Baedeker Guide as a must-see for international visitors. It includes a tropical garden, a 125-acre waterfowl refuge, and other theme areas. Middleton Place next door is America's oldest formal landscaped garden.

Northwest of Charleston, Cypress Garden is a swamp-garden with paths going through nearly 200 acres of marsh and swampland. Deep-sea fishing is popular in this area. Tour operators offer half-day and full-day fishing trips to the Gulf Stream year round.

The Spoleto Festival

Picturesque Charleston was founded in 1670. It has 73 pre-Revolutionary buildings, and 136 other buildings from the late 18th century. More than 600 buildings erected before the 1840s still stand and historic plantations are in the area. Beth Elohim on Hassell Street is an 1840 synagogue of Greek Revival design.

With a Jewish population of 5,000, Charleston Jews will proudly remind you that "The Jewish presence in America started here." Three synagogues, a Jewish day school, and a small kosher grocery are in town.

Charleston is the home of the spring Spoleto Festival. This premiere American arts festival features over 120 performances including opera, jazz, theater, dance, symphonic and chamber music and may be the most important arts festival in the U.S.

The Grand Strand

The Grand Strand is a 60-mile stretch of white sand beach along the South Carolina coast. Many resort towns including well-known Myrtle Beach line the Grand Strand.

North Myrtle Beach is famous for its youthful orientation while the southern part has a more family-style atmosphere. Entertainment options range from theme theaters presenting extravagant musical shows to standard seaside activities.


From the Beach to the Rabbi's Speech

Chabad of Myrtle Beach is busy year round. Summer tourists appreciate the minyan, mikvah, Shabbos hospitality, classes, glatt kosher restaurant and day camp. Many Israeli vendors hawk their wares along the beach, and then come to Chabad to recharge Jewishly. The day school has grown from a small pre-school to 115 students through 8th grade, and was featured in People Magazine for its creative Holocaust observance. So, dump the sand out of your sneakers and drop in for some chicken soup, southern style.


The Green Scene

Myrtle Beach claims to be the Golf Capital of the World. An average winter temperature in the fifties Fahrenheit promotes year round play on over 100 golf courses. In addition to outlet malls, the area is famed for its unique boutiques offering a variety of specialty merchandise.

The Hub

Columbia, the state capital, is the center of everything, geographically and culturally. It is the hub of the arts, education and history, a home of fascinating museums, archives and libraries, and the gateway to many of South Carolina's beautiful recreation lands and waters.

The city's 2,500 Jews are characterized by pride and dignity in their heritage and in all they've accomplished. They are drawn to Columbia by the University of South Carolina, the capitol, and by Fort Jackson, which is home of the army's chaplain school.

All three Columbia congregations help sustain the day school and the mikveh, which are run by Chabad for the whole community. Chabad has been in Columbia for 16 years. Their development of the day school 11 years ago, the mikveh 5 years ago, the Jewish Learning Institute with college-level adult learning, is appreciated and supported by all in this wonderfully cooperative and interdependent community.

Shabbat services, an ample supply of kosher foods in the Publix supermarket and innovative holiday activities at USC are enjoyed by guests to Columbia.

Good things come in Small Packages

This small state, 40th in size, is a gem of natural splendor and variety. The Blue Ridge Mountains in the northwest corner of the state gradually give way to the Piedmont Plateau in the middle, and the sea level coastal region, with 187 miles of coastlines. Upstate Greenville County offers the Whitewater falls, dropping about 900 feet. The Cherokees call this range the Great Blue Hills of G-d.

Kosher Expeditions offers a Southern tour featuring historic treks down oak shaded cobblestone alleys, home and garden walking tours, plantation tours, and lectures on all aspects of Southern life, and, of course, Kosher food. More information is available at Kosher

So, relax and enjoy this beautiful state...... and don't be surprised to be greeted by a hearty "Shalom, y'all!"

The immigrants started out as peddlers, and then established businesss. Over forty stores on upper King St. were closed in observance of Shabbat. The men held daily prayer services above their shops, and the women kept kosher homes.

* South Carolina was the first place in the western world to elect a Jew to public office.

* Charleston's congregation, Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim, founded the country's first Hebrew Benevolent Society and the first Hebrew Orphan Society.

* In 1800, Charleston boasted the largest Jewish population of any town in the United States.

* Georgetown, South Carolina, has had six Jewish mayors, including three before 1818.

Picture Captions: Kids in a South Carolina Jewish camp on a roll.

Southern Jewish pride

East European immigration doubled Charleston's Jewish population of 700 in 1912. The 'greenhorns' neighborhood was called 'Little Jerusalem.'

Rabbi Hirsch Zvi Levine served as Charleston's Cantor, Kosher Slaughterer and Mohel circumcisor, besides authoring his own Torah commentary. "One man must do the whole business here," wrote the Congregation's president in 1858.



Good Day Everyone!,
For the first time in almost four years, I am actually taking paid time off. I am off from both jobs, which may turn out to be very smart on my part. They are calling for anywhere between three to six inches of snow, which means I do not have to hop into my car and go somewhere unless it is on my own free will. It has not sunk in, yet.

I do not plan to go anywhere special. It is a vacation from work, a chance for rest and relaxation. I did send an e-mail to one of my friends at my primary job; but, other than that, I do not have any inclinations to think about either job until I return, which will not be until next week.

To the rest of you, Blessings on your day! I will keep you in my thoughts.


Blanco's Katrina documents show her fumbling, spin control
Contributed by Jeffrey Sadow
Sunday, 04 December 2005

Blanco's office scrambled to spin Katrina

Iblamefema Gov. Kathleen Blanco, forced by Congress, let more light shine on her administration’s mismanagement of the Hurricane Katrina situation, and at the same time gave public view to her attempts to deflect criticism of it.

It’s not surprising that the documents were released late Friday – this is a standard trick by officials to minimize the damage that troubling revelations about them can create by sending them out at the least attentive point in the new cycle. And these materials paint an unflattering picture of the Blanco Administration’s response to the disaster.

The confusion would seem to be evident. The most important document that could be sent, Blanco's request for federal assistance, she asserts was sent by mail which the White House says it never received. I know Katrina caused problems even in Baton Rouge, but wasn’t there a working FAX machine on the state capitol’s fourth floor on Sep. 2? Or a computer with Internet access? Reading this brings to mind the old excuse when a debt isn’t dealt with in a timely fashion: “the check’s in the mail ….”

And, being that it was known by nightfall of Aug. 29 that New Orleans was flooding, why wasn’t it until Aug. 31 that anybody seemed concerned enough to start commandeering buses? If Blanco and others around the state complain that federal officials should have known what was going on through television reports, why didn’t she know New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and failed to fully implement his own vague evacuation plan and started the process much sooner?

In fact, the only document released that shows Blanco seemed to be on top of things was a timeline based on her own personal recollections, with little evidence to back up its claims. By contrast, much evidence points to an administration that seemed as preoccupied with trying to control public perceptions as it did with dealing with the disaster, even as the disaster continued to unfold.

(Particularly interesting in all of this is that the administration was practicing what it preached concerning news control. No long before Katrina struck, operative Bob Mann was discussing how Blanco's team should try to manipulate the news through the Internet.)

Given that the public already has formed largely negative impressions of Blanco’s performance, it’s unlikely the lame defense contained in this information will alter much, if at all, the battle of public opinion that Blanco is losing and that will cast a shadow over the remainder of her, likely only, term in office.

Americans, Heros, anti-Americans: Why Many Modern "Liberals" Qualify as "un-American" by J.B. Williams
Canada Free Press
Monday, December 5, 2005

First, many modern liberals aren't liberal at all today. Instead of seeking to expand personal freedom and liberty like the liberals of old, they seek to remove freedoms and liberties from others to support their federal dependency. There ain't nothin' American about that!

Just so you don't miss the point, let's keep it simple and straight forward. People from other countries who hate American principles are called "anti-American". People from America who hate those same American principles are called "un-American". Too simple?

Oh I know - it's politically incorrect to use the term "un-American" when referring to people who call themselves American. That's as good a place to start as any. Unlike the French, real "Americans" couldn't care less about political correctness. So get over it and learn to accept whatever title you have earned.

Frankly, there is no more appropriate term than "un-American" to describe the behavior of many liberals living in America today. Being born or legally residing in America does not make one American. Sure, legally it does, but that's all. Being an American requires much more than just calling this piece of real estate home.

What is an American? If America is an idea, a vision, a set of common beliefs based upon a love and respect for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, freedom, self-governance and self-determination; - then being an American must mean being one who upholds, supports, protects, promotes or defends these principles.

American is an overused term today, just like the term "hero". I saw Chris Matthews from Hardball interviewing one of the congressmen recently scuffed up in an auto accident while joy riding around Iraq the other day, referring to him as a "hero". Why, because he visited Iraq and got scuffed in a car wreck? I’m not sure how this qualified the good congressman as a "hero", but it did in Matthews mind.

On the other hand, if getting three purple hearts in three months, all from self-inflicted surface scratches, none of which required medical treatment, qualifies you as a "hero", why not a scuff from a fender-bender?

Some call Rep. Jack Murtha a "hero" and I’m not suggesting he isn’t. But did he earn this title by actually performing some act of notable heroism while serving in Vietnam? He might have. Or did the act of serving alone earn him the title? I don’t know his war record, but I’m pretty willing to call just about anyone who ever wore a US military uniform a hero. So fine…

I have enormous respect for Murtha or anyone who ever wore a US uniform in defense of my country. But I’m not sure that this act alone makes anyone a "hero" by definition. Certainly, many over the years have served in uniform, who were not a "hero", like the kid that rolled a hand grenade into his CO’s tent at the beginning of Gulf War II, or the people caught playing stack-the-naked-terrorist at Abu Ghraib prison. Soldier yes — hero no!

The point is - calling everyone a hero dishonors those who have actually earned that title. Likewise, calling everyone an American just because they legally reside in America dishonors those who earn that title by loving, supporting and defending those good ole American principles.

Is it possible to be an American if you don’t believe in, support or defend fundamental American principles? The truthful answer is no, it isn’t. America is nothing more than a belief system based upon a set of principles. We can disagree on the details of implementation all we want. But if you don’t hold dear those basic American ideals, or if you spend your time fighting against those principles, you are not American, no matter what the address on your ID says. Both American and un-American are behavioral patterns, not just legal terms of residency.

This is the basis in which so many of today’s so-called "liberals" qualify as un-American and like it or not, real Americans who do uphold true American principles have run out of tolerance for those who don’t. Hence, the recent willingness to call them as they see them…

Liberals are confused and perplexed by this recent development. They are offended that anyone would dare call them just what they are on the basis of how they behave. But isn’t it about time we start calling things what they are, while we still remember what they are?

What would you call a congressman who used his Top level Security clearance to view Top Secret intelligence concerning a known enemy of America, only to then privately travel halfway around the globe to tell all he knew about Top Secret policy plans, helping our enemy prepare a defense?

We used to call someone like this a traitor, guilty of treason. Today, we call him a patriot for boldly demonstrating his dissent against American policy. His name is Senator Rockefeller…and he did just that in 2002, while Chairmen of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. American or un-American behavior? You tell me…

What about someone who stands before an international audience including our enemy and calls American soldiers, currently risking life and limb in defense of our nation "Nazis"? American or un-American behavior? His name is Senator Dick Durbin and he has clucked for the international camera more than once, calling his country a terrorist state operating "Gulags". An act of American patriotism or anti-Americanism?

How about a Senator whose military band-of-brothers call him "unfit for command", who recruited a few socialist America-bashing billionaires in an effort to buy a ride in the oval office chair he would win no other way? American or un-American? His name is John Kerry, and he wants to try again in 2008.

The examples of un-American politicians are nearly endless today. How about the people who vote for them? Hate capitalism? That’s a shame since America was designed, founded and became the world’s most prosperous and generous nation on the basis of a free-market capitalist economy. Capitalism = Americanism…

Hate religious speech? That’s too bad… The founders seldom completed a single sentence without referring to their religious beliefs and they wrote the First Amendment for the purpose of insuring that free religious expression would always be part of the social discourse in this country. Fundamental morality and free religious expression = American.

Believe in abortion? Unfortunately for you, the American founders wrote about an inalienable God given "right to life", not any right to abort life for convenience sake, which has become the single largest affront on life, liberty and happiness in America today. Abortion = un-American.

Patriot, one who loves, supports and defends his country. Nowhere can you find a definition of patriot that says one who hates, undermines, circumvents, attacks and seeks to destroy the founding principles of his country.

In the federal government you trust? Sorry… Not an American concept - a socialist concept. Hate corporations? Is profit a dirty word in your world? Looking to vote yourself money from the treasury by electing officials willing to rob others on your behalf in exchange for your vote? Again, as un-American as robbing your next-door neighbor just because he has more…

You can call yourself anything you want, it’s America. But the rest of us get to call you what you actually are…"un-American". If you spend your time or vote for people who spend theirs, attacking fundamental American principles, there is no more appropriate term available.

If you want us to stop calling you un-American, try acting American. If you don’t love, support, promote and defend true American principles and ideals, you are by all accounts, un-American.

Why are pro-abortion people offended when someone calls them a baby killer, but not offended by the act of killing babies itself? I have never figured that out???

The same people are offended by just about everything America is, ever was or was ever intended to be. So why aren’t they proud of the title un-American? They are clearly proud to be un-American, just not happy with the title that accompanies their behavior. Why?

I believe in fundamental American principles and would proudly die defending those ideals. I am proud to be a true American. If I were proud of socialist principles, I'd be just as proud to be called a socialist. Why aren't they?

Well, offended or not… they had better learn to live with the title they have worked so hard to earn. Acting against America IS by definition un-American.

Deep down, they know who and what they are. They don’t find it the least offensive to be un-American. But being called un-American is quite another story…

JB Williams is a business man, a husband, a father, and a writer. A no nonsense commentator on American politics, American history, and American philosophy. He is published nationwide and in many countries around the world. JB Williams can be reached at