Wednesday, 04 April 2007


Ken Berwitz

You can't make this stuff up. 

The Democratic party has found a way to win the global war on terrorism.  How?  By banning the TERM global war on terrorism. 

This has to be some kind of a bad joke, right?  Terrorism exists across many nations and we, along with a number of other countries, are fighting it, aren't we?  I mean there IS a global war on terrorism, isn't there?

Not if you're a Democrat, evidently.  Read this -- you won't believe your eyes.


No more GWOT, House committee decrees

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Apr 3, 2007 20:12:47 EDT

The House Armed Services Committee is banishing the global war on terror from the 2008 defense budget.

This is not because the war has been won, lost or even called off, but because the committees Democratic leadership doesnt like the phrase.

A memo for the committee staff, circulated March 27, says the 2008 bill and its accompanying explanatory report that will set defense policy should be specific about military operations and avoid using colloquialisms.

The global war on terror, a phrase first used by President Bush shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., should not be used, according to the memo. Also banned is the phrase the long war, which military officials began using last year as a way of acknowledging that military operations against terrorist states and organizations would not be wrapped up in a few years.

Committee staff members are told in the memo to use specific references to specific operations instead of the Bush administrations catch phrases. The memo, written by Staff Director Erin Conaton, provides examples of acceptable phrases, such as the war in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, operations in the Horn of Africa or ongoing military operations throughout the world.

There was no political intent in doing this, said a Democratic aide who asked not to be identified. We were just trying to avoid catch phrases.

Josh Holly, a spokesman for Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, the committees former chairman and now its senior Republican, said Republicans were not consulted about the change.

Committee aides, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said dropping or reducing references to the global war on terror could have many purposes, including an effort to be more precise about military operations, but also has a political element involving a disagreement over whether the war in Iraq is part of the effort to combat terrorism or is actually a distraction from fighting terrorists.

House Democratic leaders who have been pushing for an Iraq withdrawal timetable have talked about the need to get combat troops out of Iraq so they can be deployed against terrorists in other parts of the world, while Republicans have said that Iraq is part of the front line in the war on terror. Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., the armed services committee chairman, has been among those who have complained that having the military tied up with Iraq operations has reduced its capacity to respond to more pressing problems, like tracking down al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

This is a philosophical and political question, said a Republican aide. Republicans generally believe that by fighting the war on terror in Iraq, we are preventing terrorists from spreading elsewhere and are keeping them engaged so they are not attacking us at home.

However, U.S. intelligence officials have been telling Congress that most of the violence in Iraq is the result of sectarian strife and not directly linked to terrorists, although some foreign insurgents with ties to terrorist groups have been helping to fuel the fighting.

You have to wonder if this means that we have to rename the GWOT, said a Republican aide, referring to the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medals established in 2003 for service members involved, directly and indirectly, in military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere in the world.

If you are a reader of the Harry Potter books, you might describe this as the war that must not be named, said another Republican aide. That is a reference to the fact that the villain in the Harry Potter series, Lord Voldemort, is often referred to as he who must not be named because of fears of his dark wizardry.-

Wow.  This is breathtaking.  What a way to be effective.

Maybe they can ban use of the term "war on poverty" and eliminate poor people too.

As a country we voted this insanity into the majority.  We can vote it out in less than two years.  I'm counting the days.


Ken Berwitz

Do you want a free copy of our book, "The Hopelessly Partisan Guide To American Politics"?  Believe it or not, there's a way to get it that doesn't require e-theft or shoplifting skills.

I just spoke to our publisher, Kenji Sugihara, and he suggested we do something straight out of left field.

His idea is to have readers of this blog send e-mails telling us whether they want the Democratic or Republican party to win the presidency in 2008, and why. 

The five best answers (our opinion, of course) will be sent a copy of the book. 

I don't know why Kenji wants to do this;  maybe it is because he is politically astute, maybe it is his generosity or maybe he just wants to unclutter his desk.  Who cares?  YOU get the book, right?

Your answer can be brief or detailed, that's your choice.  But you have to be interesting and informative.  These criteria will be judged by at least one Republican and one Democrat, so there won't be any hanky-panky. 

Please post your answer at  Make sure to include your e-mail address and as much of your name as you care to.

The winners will be notified by e-mail.  Then, of course, we will require your full name and mailing address.

And, as an extra added attraction, we might even put one or more of the answers on this website.  If you're smart enough to win, why shouldn't you be immortalized in cyberspace?  Besides, based on last year's election most of you disagree with my politics, so this is a free shot at nailing me.  It doesn't get better than that.

Ok, get to it.  We are waiting for your wit and wisdom!!


Ken Berwitz

I do not relish writing this. 

But while I have tried to figure out a way to explain John Edwards' actions other than that he is exploiting his wife's cancer, it has become impossible to do so.

As I'm sure you remember, Edwards called a press conference several weeks ago.  It was made clear before that press conference that his wife, Elizabeth, had cancer again.  Ms. Edwards' first bout with this horrible condition was with breast cancer, and initial reports suggested the new episode was breast cancer as well.  I wrote a short blog at that time, which is shown below in its entirety:


Ken Berwitz

It appears that presidential candidate John Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, has suffered a recurrence of the breast cancer she was originally diagnosed with at the end of the 2004 campaign.

Let's hope that Ms. Edwards can beat this cancer and that it never comes back again.  My heart goes out to her and the Edwards family. 

Shortly afterwards it was announced that the new cancer was elsewhere on her body, so I appended the following to my initial blog:


UPDATE:  The initial reports are wrong.  The cancer is bone cancer.  Edwards just said that it is not curable but it is treatable --- and compared it to diabetes.  He also said it was "relatively minimal", and Elizabeth followed up by referring to it as "low volume. 

Edwards says there will NOT be any suspension of his campaign.

Let me repeat what I said earlier:  Let's hope that Ms. Edwards can beat this cancer and that it never comes back again.  My heart goes out to her and the Edwards family.

As you can see, I did not mention a word about any possibility that the press conference might have been run to promote Edwards' candidacy.  I assumed, as did pretty much everyone else, that Mr. Edwards was either going to suspend his campaign or shut it down entirely to use his time and efforts on behalf of his wife.  Otherwise, he surely would have informed us of his wife's potentially life-threatening condition in a far more subdued way.  He would never call the kind of press conference people use for major political news.

Even as I watched the press conference and saw it turn from a report on Ms. Edwards' condition to an assurance that the campaign would go on unabated, to a selling message for Mr. Edwards, I tried to rationalize that Ms. Edwards' cancer was not being used as a political opportunity.  I don't like to think ugly.  So despite its appearence, I wanted to give John and Elizabeth Edwards the benefit of the doubt.  

Now, however, I can't do that anymore.  Read this article from today's Washington Post and see why.  Bold print is mine:


Edwards Provides Lesson in E-Campaigning 101

When you visit the John Edwards for President Web site, you're invited to send a sympathy note to the Edwardses. And tens of thousands of well wishers have done so since that heart-wrenching news conference two weeks ago at which Elizabeth Edwards courageously discussed her incurable cancer.

What those well wishers get in return -- e-mail messages soliciting contributions to Edwards's campaign.

Visitors to the Edwards site who choose to "send a note to Elizabeth and John" are first taken to a heartfelt letter from the candidate that was written the day after he learned that his wife's cancer had returned. Edwards thanks readers for their "prayers and wishes," vows that he and Elizabeth will "keep a positive attitude always look for the silver lining" and declares that "our campaign goes on and it goes on strongly."

Anyone who then chooses to send a note of sympathy to the Edwardses -- and, thus, provide his or her e-mail address -- automatically becomes part of the Edwards campaign's online e-mail database, a list that is crucial to any campaign's ability to raise vast amounts of money over the Internet.

If you sent a note to the Edwardses before the critical March 31 end-of-the-quarter fundraising deadline, you would have received frantic e-mail solicitations from the campaign, such as the one on March 28 from Edwards campaign manager David Bonior titled, "96 hours to show substance works." The solicitation asked for "$25, $50 or any amount you can afford to give."

"John, Elizabeth and you have created something incredible together. Our grassroots campaign for change is raising the bar for what leadership means in America -- and it's strong enough to win," Bonior wrote. (Scroll down to the bottom of this post to read the Bonior e-mail.)

And you would have received Monday's announcement that the campaign had exceeded its online fundraising goal, raking in more than $3.3 million over the Internet.

While Edwards has enjoyed a big surge in donations since he and his wife disclosed the return of her cancer, the campaign has not mentioned the "C" word in any of its fundraising solicitations. In fact, an e-mail sent to supporters on March 22, the day of their famous news conference, omitted the usual link to contribute money.

Jonathan Prince, Edwards's deputy campaign manager, acknowledged that the campaign adds the e-mail addresses of Elizabeth Edwards's well wishers to its e-mail fundraising list. Giving a one-line explanation, he said, "Nobody gets an e-mail from us without explicitly agreeing to receive e-mails."

Ari Rabin-Havt, an Internet strategist for Sen. John Kerry's (D-Mass.) 2004 presidential campaign, said it's common for campaigns to use devices such as petitions to spur growth in their e-mail lists. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, for example, has a petition on her Web site calling for the ouster of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez.

Kerry came under fire in '04 for using e-mail addresses culled through his online petition calling for the firing of then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to raise money for his campaign.

"The reason people do these petitions is for important advocacy and because they grow their e-mail lists," Rabin-Havt said. "And when you grow your e-mail list, you raise more money."

But petitions are one thing, said some Democratic critics of Edwards's fundraising practices. Cancer is another.

One Democratic operative, citing comments made by Edwards, charged, "There's a certain inconsistency to, on the one hand, going out of his way to say 'don't vote for us because of this tragedy,' but then using it to solicit funds."

Another Democrat, who asked to remain anonymous because of the issue's sensitivity, said while it's understandable that campaigns use e-mail addresses they acquire through their Web sites for fundraising purposes, "there should have been an exception in this case."

But Rabin-Havt, who is not working on a presidential campaign this cycle, argued that any other candidate in Edwards's position would do the same thing. "If he didn't use these e-mail addresses, it would be poor online strategy."

Mary Boyle, a spokeswoman for the campaign finance watchdog group Common Cause, said of the Edwards campaign's online fundraising practices: "While it may not sit well with some people, it points to the reality of running a campaign in this environment that's all about fundraising."


How, in the name of simple decency, can John Edwards do this?  Is this the ethic he brought to the courtroom, where he became fabulously wealthy by suing doctors and hospitals?   Is this the moral compass he would bring to the white house? 
For god sake, Mr. Edwards, campaign on issues.  If you have to use a political prop make it the Lincoln Monument, not your wife's life-threatening condition. 


Ken Berwitz

Remember Haditha?  It is where marines are supposed to have killed Iraqi civilians "in cold blood".  That quote is from john murtha, the unindicted ABSCAM co-conspirator who, until being embraced by the left because of his stand against Iraq, did little other than bring pork to his congressional district and steer military contracts to his brother. 

Murtha is, himself, a former marine.  The idea that someone like this would definitively judge fellow marines before the facts were known and before any trial was held when evidence could be presented, is sickening beyond belief.  The Marine motto is Semper Fideles (always faithful).  Murtha, by his actions, prefers to give our enemy the benefit of the doubt over marines.  He is a disgrace.

With this in mind, please read the following account from  Since it does not attack and demean the young men who are on trial, it is probably not in your newspaper today.  It sure wasn't in my copy of the New York Times or on the Today show this morning.  Bold print is mine:


Testimony leaves Murtha allegations wilting
Officers defend Marines accused of killing civilians in Iraq ambush

Posted: April 4, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern


Six officers and a senior enlisted Marine have given sworn statements that there was nothing they saw or heard about a firefight in Iraq in 2005 that would make them think any Marine purposely killed Iraqi civilians, according to a law firm investigating the case.

Officials with the Thomas More Law Center of Ann Arbor, Mich., say they are representing Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani, who along with other Marines was accused after Time magazine "misreported" circumstances about the battle in the war on terror that pitted U.S. Marines against Iraqi and foreign terrorists on Nov. 19, 2005.

Chessani is accused of failure to investigate and brief higher command about the situation. The sworn testimony was taken for use at a proposed May Article 32 hearing for Chessani, because the witnesses likely will be out of the country an unavailable then.

"The more evidence that is brought to light from key witnesses the better," said Brian Rooney, a former Marine officer who served seven months in Iraq, and is one of two Thomas More Law Center attorneys on the case. The other is Robert Muise, who served in the first Persian Gulf War.

"There is so much misreporting and outright propaganda from the enemy presented as fact by news organizations like Time magazine that we have started in on the process of debunking false reports through the truth with these depositions," Rooney said.

The attack happened in Haditha, Al Anbar, Iraq, which had been known as "an insurgent citadel." It became headline material in the United States when a Marine convoy was ambushed by a road-side bomb and small arms fire from nearby houses.

The bomb killed one Marine in a Humvee and injured two more, and the resulting house-to-house battle between the outnumbered 4-man Marine "fire team" and the insurgents resulted in 24 Iraqi deaths, including 15 civilians.

One key witness was the intelligence officer for 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines while the unit was in Iraq, Rooney said. During his closed testimony, he provided classified evidence of the enemy situation and tactics, including the common procedure of using civilians as cover for their attacks.

"The intelligence officer is a crucial witness in this case," said Muise. "During his testimony, he effectively described the enemy situation prior to, during, and after the Nov. 19 terrorist attack, providing the necessary context for the decisions that were made as a result."

"His testimony shows the complexity of the attack this day, the callousness of the terrorists toward the local civilians, whom they use to their advantage, and the error of viewing this incident in a vacuum," he said.

Another witness who is the current intelligence officer for the battalion, said since the incident got so much negative attention, terrorist propaganda alleging war violations against Americans have "ballooned" in Iraq.

"The government's politicized quest to find wrongdoing in this case will ultimately harm the war effort, and it has already resulted in an incredible expenditure of time, money, and scarce resources, which could be better used fighting the terrorists," said Richard Thompson, president of the Thomas More Law Center.

Yet another officer who witnessed the scene of the attack shortly after the gunshots ended and helped remove the civilian bodies from homes occupied by insurgents said there was no evidence of "executions" as alleged.

"This officer's testimony is significant. He was on the scene shortly after the attack. He saw the location of the bodies. He personally observed the damage caused by the attack. And yet, he saw nothing that caused him to suspect any wrongdoing on the part of the Marines. Moreover, this officer was given immunity by the government, so the only way he can get in trouble is if he testifies untruthfully," said Lt. Col. Jon Shelburne, a military member of the defense team.

"Our job is to allow the facts of Nov. 19, 2005, and beyond to be presented to the investigating officer rather than the scurrilous and unfounded accusations from anti-war politicans and media who rely on insurgent sources for their stories about our decent and hard fighting men in uniform," said Thompson.

When murtha told us these marines killed civilians in cold blood it made front page news.  It also generated so much media fawning over murtha that his already-large ego inflated to the point that he actually ran for house majority leader (with pelosi's blessing!).  Fortunately there still are enough rational Democrats for this not to have happened.  Too bad for murtha's brother.

Simply stated, if the news doesn't hurt the war effort, President Bush, the Republican party or our armed forces, reportage from mainstream media sources becomes more than a little iffy.  The bad news is no problem at all.  And the murtha's of the world are given a benefit of the doubt these marines would never get in a month of Sundays.

Personally, while I am rooting for them to be innocent I have no opinion whether or not this is so.  I can't have an intelligent, informed opinion because we haven't completed a trial and heard all the testimony.  The point is, neither can murtha.  But that hasn't stopped this useful idiot from opening that big, stupid mouth of his.

 Maybe if the saddamists ever take back control of Iraq he can retire from the house and take a job there replacing baghdad bob.  Based on his Haditha stance, no one will even notice the change.


Ken Berwitz

For now, just a cartoon from  There will be more, I promise.

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