Friday, 28 December 2007


Ken Berwitz

Most people have heard the one about the kid who kills his parents and then pleads for mercy from the court because he is an orphan.

I don't know whether that joke is funny to you.  But I know it isn't funny when a variation of the joke is used to entrap otherwise innocent men who are strolling through a public park. 

Ed Morrissey of supplies the details and his trenchant analysis:

Topless Woman Propositions Man In Park -- And Who Gets Arrested?

Police have a tough job, especially when it comes to vice-squad details. They have to keep areas free of predators in order to allow law-abiding citizens to enjoy public places. However, they also have to take care not to entrap people in behavior that they ordinarily wouldn't commit. In Columbus, Ohio, it seems very clear they crossed that line:

Robin Garrison, an off-duty 42-year-old firefighter, was walking in Berliner Park in Columbus, Ohio, in May when he saw a woman sunbathing topless under a tree.

He approached her and they started talking and getting comfortable, the woman smiling and resting her foot on his shoulder at one point.

Eventually, she asked to see Garrison's penis; he unzipped his pants and complied.

Seconds later, undercover police officers pulled up in a van and arrested Garrison; he was later charged with public indecency, a misdemeanor, based on video footage taken by cops who were targeting men having sex or masturbating in the park. While topless sunbathing is legal in the city's parks, exposing more than that is against the law.

Right off the bat, the hypocrisy here is apparent. The police want to clean up the park -- and how do they do that? Have topless women laying around to attract supposed perverts. I can see where that would make the park so much more family-friendly than before this particular sting operation.

Undoubtedly, Garrison should not have exposed himself. However, would he have done so had it not been for the interaction with the "undercover" police officer? Rubbing his shoulder with her foot constitutes a serious come-on when done by a half-naked woman in public. Garrison only popped out Mr. Happy after that physical contact, which strongly suggests that Garrison thought this an unusual opportunity, not that he prowled the park looking for opportunities to expose himself.

Columbus should ask whether they have created more problems than they solve in these cases. Rounding up perverts who masturbate in public places is a good use of police resources and allows people to use community assets as intended. Having topless women laying out in the open and caressing men who act on understandable signals of sexual openness turns these places into precisely what they're hoping to avoid.  .


The police get a woman to show a man her boobs, engage him in a conversation, make a suggestive physical advance, ask to see his penis....and then arrest the poor bastard when he eventually reacts to the come-ons.

As Morrissey so correctly points out, this arrest does not in any way address the perverts who may be infesting the park.  Why not?  Because Garrison's actions were what a NON-pervert would have done.

From a personal standpoint, if I were walking through Berliner park and a topless woman acted this way, I sure as shootin' know I'd be tempted.  If I were a 42 year old guy (if only!) who had no responsibilities that would have precluded casual sex with a willing partner, I'm reasonably sure I would have done exactly what Garrison did.

It seems to me that police efforts would be far better targeted towards men who would expose their penises WITHOUT a woman's eager encouragement. 

I hope all charges are dropped against Robin Garrison in less time than the boob lady got him to drop his zipper.  Then maybe they can start doing something to lessen perversion at Berliner park.  Because this didn't do squat.


Ken Berwitz

Writing for, blogger John Hawkins ( ) has compiled his list of the 12 biggest campaign blunders committed by presidential candidates so far.

Let's understand three things:

-There are a great many blunders to choose from, so you may not agree with the list -- or, for that matter, its order of importance;

-We have almost a year of campaigning to go.  Inevitably, therefore, you can expect many more blunders in the future, both big and small.  So if you assume there will be subsequent major blunders to replace some or all of the ones on Mr. Hawkins' list you will probably be right;

-Hawkins is a conservative.  A liberal/left wing blogger - say, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga of or John Amato of  - would almost certainly have compiled different blunders in a different order.

With this in mind, here is John Hawkins' list:

The Top 12 Blunders of the Presidential Campaign
By John Hawkins
Friday, December 28, 2007

12) Mike Huckabee attacks Romney's religion: In an interview with the New York Times magazine, Mike Huckabee asked, "Don't Mormons believe that Jesus and the devil are brothers?"

Why Huckabee chose to give Romney's supporters a chance to bash him for being "anti-Mormon" just for asking the question is unknown, but the comment, which Huckabee later apologized for, helped enable his detractors to paint him as a man exploiting his faith to help win an election.

11) Mitt Romney "saw" his father march with Martin Luther King: This is a bit of a strange controversy because Romney's father certainly did participate in civil rights marches and there have also been people who have come forward and claimed to have seen George Romney march with Martin Luther King.

However, Romney certainly didn't see it, he certainly didn't march with MLK personally as he has previously claimed, and Mitt's response to this flap certainly makes visions of Bill Clinton's infamous response from his 1998 Grand Jury testimony dance through your head.

Here's Clinton: "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is."

Now, here's Mitt: "The reference of seeing my father lead in civil rights and seeing my father march with Martin Luther King is in the sense of this figurative awareness of and recognition of his leadership. I've tried to be as accurate as I can be. If you look at the literature or look at the dictionary, the term 'saw' includes being aware of -- in the sense I've described."

Oh yeah, he definitely has a little Clinton in him.

10) Obama's Flag Pin and National Anthem Flap: In his quest to win the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama tried to reach out to the patriotism-loathing netroots by making a big public show of not wearing a flag pin,

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama says he doesn't wear an American flag lapel pin because it has become a substitute for "true patriotism" since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Obama then was photographed refusing to hold his hand over his heart during the national anthem.

His response to that, bizarrely, was that some people were falsely claiming he didn't hold his hand over his heart during the Pledge of Allegiance when really, it was the national anthem.

Of course, you still hold your hand over your heart during the national anthem, so the point was moot. Long story short, it looks like Obama's unpatriotic "true patriotism" didn't poll as well as he thought it would.

9) Hillary's campaign says Obama is a coke-dealing Muslim liar who has been lying since kindergarten: In what may be the most grotesque display of dirty politics since the Nixon administration, Hillary Clinton's surrogates publicly and falsely suggested that Obama might have been a coke dealer, is secretly a Muslim, and that a kindergarten essay proved he had been lying about his desire to be President.

Had a Republican engaged in the exact same tactics, he would have been accused of being the worst sort of racist -- which incidentally, will probably also be what happens to Hillary Clinton in certain quarters if her repulsive smear tactics enable her to beat Obama in the Democratic primaries.

8) Fred Thompson skips New Hampshire For Leno: On the day of his much anticipated entry into the race, Fred Thompson chose to skip a New Hampshire debate and instead introduced himself to the public on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."

That started him out on the wrong foot in New Hampshire and he never recovered in that state. Today he's running 6th in New Hampshire, behind Ron Paul -- which means that if he bombs in Iowa, his campaign may be dead shortly after New Hampshire finishes voting on January 8th.

7) Southern Fried Hillary: In what was really a backhanded slap at black men, Bill Clinton was called the first black President, a label that he readily latched onto for political purposes.

Well, when his charisma-challenged wife tried to pick up where he left off in a black church in Alabama, the result was a horrible Southern accent of the sort you'd expect to hear at a New York Party as they tried to imitate an inbred, hillbilly yokel. It sounded something like this,

"IIIIIII don't feel noways tired. I come too fahrr from where I started frum...III culd have listened all afternuune."

6) John Edwards' running feud with Ann Coulter: Ann Coulter was roundly -- and rightly -- slammed for calling John Edwards a "f*ggot" at CPAC last year.

Unfortunately for John Edwards, instead of ignoring it, he tried to hype it for the sake of publicity and fundraising which not only caused Ann Coulter to continue to go after him, but led to lots of conversations that went about like this,

Person 1: Ann Coulter was wrong to call John Edwards a f*ggot.

Person 2: You're right. She should have just called him a little girl or Silky Pony.

Person 1: ...Or the Breck Girl. I mean he is pretty girlish. But, oh that Ann Coulter -- she always goes too far!

Then, Edwards made the mistake of compounding his error by having his wife call in to attack Coulter on Hardball. That's really the way to convince people that you're not as much of a wimp as they think you are -- by sending your sick wife out to fight your battles for you.

5) Fred Thompson's rejection of a Constitutional amendment to ban abortion: In the name of Federalism, Fred Thompson rejected a Constitutional amendment to ban abortion on Meet the Press.

At first glance, that might seem to be a minor matter since there is no chance of getting it passed any time soon -- but that was the very moment that the bottom started falling out of his campaign as more than a few social conservatives slowly began the migration from him to Huckabee.

4) John Edwards' $400 Haircut: Let me ask the same question a voter asked him on the campaign trail: "Senator, I was just wondering: since you're on this national poverty tour, how do you justify spending $400 on a haircut?"

Of course, you don't and that has summed up the silliness of John Edwards' campaign. He's a pampered, super wealthy lawyer who has built a whole campaign around being a supposed champion of little girls who can't afford a $10 coat at Wal-Mart. It sounds fake, it is fake and people know it's fake.

3) John McCain supports the Senate amnesty bill: At one point, John McCain was considered the front runner for the GOP nomination, but his support for the incredibly unpopular "amnesty" bill in Congress did so much damage to his campaign's poll numbers and fundraising that many political analysts wrote his campaign off for dead.

Since then, because of the weakness of the field, he has been able to climb back into contention, but his continued support for amnesty is like a 45 pound barbell tied to his back. If he doesn't get the nomination, it'll be because of his support of amnesty. If he does get the nomination and goes on to lose in the general election, it'll be because of amnesty. In other words, the biggest hurdle standing between John McCain and the White House isn't his Republican or Democratic opponents, it's his desire to make 12 million fence-jumping, social-security-number-swindling scofflaws into American citizens over the fervent protestations of most members of his own party.

2) Fred Thompson gets in the race late: For months and months, Fred Thompson sat on the sidelines writing columns and doing radio appearances as his poll numbers went up. He thought, with some justification, that there wasn't much of a reason to officially declare his candidacy when he was becoming more popular without getting in the race.

However, on the other hand, while Fred was waiting, the conservative media was picking other candidates to back, top talent was signing on with other campaigns, his supporters were starting to get impatient, and expectations were building to super human heights.

Then, when Fred finally jumped in the race in September of this year, he was mercilessly savaged while he -- and his campaign -- got up to speed under a microscope.

Had he gotten in earlier, say in July of this year, there wouldn't have been as much scrutiny during that first month and he would also have probably raised more money than any other candidate in the third quarter, which would have given him much needed cash and a sign that his campaign was "for real."

As of yet, Thompson's campaign still hasn't recovered from the poor first impression that he made because he got in the race so late. That could turn out to be the difference between Fred Thompson, the GOP nominee -- and Fred Thompson, the guy who was out of the race by the middle of January.

1) Hillary's drivers' licenses for illegals flap: The wicked witch of New York was cruising along, looking inevitable, when she mangled a question about drivers' licenses for illegal aliens in what was probably the single worst debate performance for a top tier candidate this year.

After that horrific performance, Obama started rising in the polls while Hillary's campaign started making unforced errors and playing dirty. If Hillary Clinton doesn't capture the nomination, that botched debate question will be the key moment that led to her defeat and even if she does become the Democratic nominee, the aftermath of that controversy has revealed to the GOP how fragile Hillary Clinton really is when she's challenged.  .

One of the more fascinating elements of these blunders (and the numerous ones to come) is how many have been made by candidates who base much of their campaigns on the premise that President Bush makes mistakes -- as if he does and they don't.

Well gee, golly, gosh.  I guess they make them too. 


Ken Berwitz

It is hard to overstate the value of the web site, especially for a one-man show like me.  I don't have the time or resources to uncover material like what I'm reposting below, but somehow they do and we are all better informed for it.

If you thought the previous blog, outlining chris dodd's phoniness, was bad, try this on for size:

Hillary: Ive Know Mrs. Bhutto Many Years

December 27th, 2007

From a campaign press release:

Statement of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on the Death of Benazir Bhutto

I am profoundly saddened and outraged by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, a leader of tremendous political and personal courage. I came to know Mrs. Bhutto over many years, during her tenures as Prime Minister and during her years in exile. Mrs. Bhuttos concern for her country, and her family, propelled her to risk her life on behalf of the Pakistani people. She returned to Pakistan to fight for democracy despite threats and previous attempts on her life and now she has made the ultimate sacrifice. Her death is a tragedy for her country and a terrible reminder of the work that remains to bring peace, stability, and hope to regions of the globe too often paralyzed by fear, hatred, and violence.

Let us pray that her legacy will be a brighter, more hopeful future for the people she loved and the country she served. My family and I extend our condolences and deepest sympathies to the victims and their families and to the people of Pakistan.

She just cant help herself:

I came to know Mrs. Bhutto over many years, during her tenures as Prime Minister and during her years in exile.

Sure she did.

From Hillarys (ghostwritten) autobiography, Living History, pp 322-4:

Silence Is Not Spoken Here

The contradictions within Pakistan became still more apparent at my next event, a luncheon hosted in my honor by Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and attended by several dozen accomplished women in Pakistan. It was like being rocketed forward several centuries in time. Among these women were academics and activists, as well as a pilot, a singer, a banker and a police deputy superintendent. They had their own ambitions and careers, and, of course, we were all guests of Pakistans elected female leader.

Benazir Bhutto, a brilliant and striking woman then in her midforties, was born into a prominent family and educated at Harvard and Oxford. Her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistans Populist Prime Minister during the 1970s, was deposed in a military coup and later hanged. After his death, Benazir spent years under house arrest. In the late 1980s, she emerged as head of his old political party. Bhutto was the only celebrity I had ever stood behind a rope line to see. Chelsea and I were strolling around London during a holiday trip in the summer of 1989. We noticed a large crowd gathered outside the Ritz Hotel, and I asked people what they were waiting for. They said Benazir Bhutto was staying at the hotel and was soon expected to arrive. Chelsea and I waited until the motorcade drove up. We watched Bhutto, swathed in yellow chiffon, emerge from her limousine and glide into the lobby. She seemed graceful, composed and intent.

In 1990, her government was dissolved over charges of corruption, but her party won again in new elections in 1993. Pakistan was increasingly troubled by rising violence and general lawlessness, particularly in Karachi. Law and order had deteriorated as the rate of ethnic and sectarian murders rose. There were also rampant rumors of corruption involving Asif Zardari, Bhuttos husband, and supporters.

At the luncheon she hosted for me, Benazir led a discussion about the changing roles of women in her country and told a joke about her husbands status as a political spouse. According to newspapers in Pakistan, she said, Mr. Asif Zardari is de facto Prime Minister of the country. My husband tells me, Only the First Lady can appreciate its not true.

Bhutto acknowledged the difficulties faced by women who were breaking with tradition and taking leading roles in public life. She deftly managed to refer both to the challenges I had encountered during my White House tenure and to her own situation. Women who take on tough issues and stake out new territory are often on the receiving end of ignorance, she concluded.

In a private meeting with the Prime Minister, we talked about her upcoming visit to Washington in April, and I spent time with her husband and their children. Because I had heard that their marriage was arranged, I found their interaction particularly interesting. They bantered easily together, and seemed genuinely smitten with each other. Only months after my trip, accusations of corruption against them grew more harsh, and in August 1996, Bhutto elevated her husband to a cabinet post. By November 5, 1996, she was ousted amid allegations that Zardari had used his position for personal enrichment. He was convicted of corruption and imprisoned; she left her country with her children, under threat of arrest and unable to return. 

I have no way of knowing whether the accusations against Bhutto and her husband are well-founded or baseless.

Thats it. An official luncheon and a little private conversation afterwards.

But its not quite the stuff of I came to know Mrs. Bhutto over many years, during her tenures as Prime Minister and during her years in exile.

Of course the Hillary camp has quickly rushed out a photograph of their (one and only) historic meeting:

U.S. first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton with her daughter Chelsea, left, and Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, holding hands with her son Bilawal and daughter Bakhtawar, take a stroll in this March 26, 1995 file photo, in the garden of the prime ministers residence, in Islamabad.

Still, now that Ms. Bhutto is dead Hillary will have no one to contradict her self-serving fantasies.

Speaking of which, this entire chapter in Hillarys book is hilarious insofar as she tries to make her tour of five Middle Eastern countries with Chelsea (who was on spring break) sound like an important government initiative.

After a seventeen-hour flight, we landed in Islamabad, Pakistan, in the late evening in a pounding rainstorm. The State Department had asked me to visit the subcontinent to highlight the administrations commitment to the region, because neither the President nor the Vice President could make a trip soon. My visit was meant to demonstrate that this strategic and volatile part of the world was important to the United States and to assure leaders throughout South Asia that Bill supported their efforts to strengthen democracy, expand free markets and promote tolerance and human rights, including the rights of women. My physical presence in the region was considered a sign of concern and commitment.

But Hillary and Chelsea didnt go on their jaunt unprepared. Not by a long shot:

I had given a lot of thought to how Chelsea and I should dress on the trip. We wanted to be comfortable, and under the suns heat, I was glad for the hats and cotton clothes I had packed. I didnt want to offend people in the communities I was visiting, but I was also wary of appearing to embrace customs reflecting a culture that restricted womens lives and rights.

On Jackie Kennedys historic tour of India and Pakistan in 1962, she was photographed wearing sleeveless shifts and knee-length skirts―not to mention a midriff-baring sari that caused an international sensation. Public opinion seemed to have grown more conservative in South Asia since then. We consulted State Department experts, who offered tips on how to behave in foreign countries without embarrassing ourselves or offending our hosts. The South Asia briefing papers warned against crossing legs, pointing fingers, eating with the unclean left hand or initiating physical contact with the opposite sex, including a handshake.

I made sure to pack several long scarves that I could throw around my shoulders or put over my head if I entered a mosque. I had noticed the way Benazir Bhutto covered her hair with a light scarf. She wore a local form of dress called shalwar kameez, a long, flowing tunic over loose pants that was both practical and attractive. Chelsea and I decided to try out this style. For the extravaganza at the Lahore Fort that night, I wore a red silk shalwar kameez, and Chelsea donned one in a turquoise green that complemented her eyes.

Yes, Mrs. Clinton definitely has the experience it takes to be President. .

There it is, folks, straight from her own many sided mouth.

Now, prepare to see this flagrant BS cited on the network news or in the major dailies.  It should be there approximately two weeks after the next blizzard in Borneo.


Ken Berwitz

Are there bigger liars in this country than bill and hillary clinton?

The previous blog showed how clinton lied about her relationship with just-assassinated Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan.  Here are the specifics which out her as a liar - along with her husband - regarding her involvement in the Irish peace process:

Hillary Had No Role in Irish Peace, Despite Bills Claims

Friday , December 21, 2007

By Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

Recently, as only Hillary can do, she claimed that she was deeply involved in the Irish peace process. Bill has also picked up the theme, citing her independent role in resolving the century-old conflict as experience with which to justify a White House run.

How odd that Hillary forgot to mention her pivotal role in Ireland just four years ago, when she wrote her $8 million memoir, Living History. There, she told a very different story.

Her first mention of Ireland was in a discussion of Bills October 2004 trip:

The trip highlighted Bills milestones in foreign affairs. In addition to his pivotal role in easing the tensions in the Middle East, he was now focusing on the decades Long Troubles in Northern Ireland. (Emphasis added)

No memories of her own involvement in the Irish troubles.

Ireland next appeared in Hillarys memoirs in 1995, when the Clintons visited Belfast and Dublin. According to Hillary, while Bill met with the various factions of Irish politics, Hillary met with women leaders of the peace movement. Rather than discuss the difficulties of the peace process, Hillary focused on a teapot used by the women:

They poured tea from ordinary stainless steel teapots, and when I remarked how well they kept the tea warm, Joyce insisted that I take a pot to remember them by. I used that dented teapot every day in our small family kitchen in the White House...

Other than to describe the womens fear when their sons left the house and their support for a ceasefire and an end to the violence, Hillary doesnt cover much policy.

She then describes a visit to Derry to meet John Hume, the charming Nobel Peace Prize winner, where tens of thousands thronged the streets in the freezing cold to roar approval of Bill and America, and I was filled with pride and respect for my husband. (Emphasis added)

After Derry, the Clintons went to Belfast to light the Christmas tree in front of City Hall. Following the ceremony, they attended a reception.

No mention of Hillarys deep involvement.

From Belfast, the Clintons flew to Dublin, where Hillary addressed a group of women from both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. According to her recollections, she praised the bravery of Irish women who had stood up for peace.

After meeting the Irish president, the U.S. ambassador, Ted Kennedys sister, and the Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney, Bono and the Clintons went shopping and tried to trace Bill Clintons mothers genealogy.

Not exactly heavy-duty diplomacy.

Hillary returned to Ireland in 1997 where she attended a dinner in Dublin for Prime Minister Ahern and then flew to Belfast where she gave a speech in honor of the late Joyce McCartan, a respected promoter of peace and the women who had given Hillary the stainless teapot a few years earlier. Hillary brought the teapot back to Ireland with her as a tribute to the women of Ireland who sought peace. Hillary also attended a roundtable discussion with young Catholic and Protestant representatives.

In describing August 1998 in her book the month when Ken Starr granted Monica Lewinsky immunity Hillary lists world events, such as the end of the Soviet Union, and free elections in South Africa. She also mentions in passing that: The peace talks and cease-fire were successful in Ireland.

End of story. Nothing about her role in that process.

Later, she describes the setback to the peace process in Omagh, Northern Ireland, where a car bomb killed 28 people and injured hundreds of others, damaging the peace process that Bill had worked so long and hard to nurture with Irish leaders. (Emphasis added)

Hillary does recall that in her meetings with women in Ireland, shed spoken with them about the troubles and how to find a way to achieve peace and reconciliation. But she turns that into a discussion of her own personal problems with Bill and Monica, Now thats what I had to try to do in the midst of my own heartbreaking troubles.

Hillary makes one last mention of Ireland in her book, citing the important role of her husband and former Sen. George Mitchell in the peace process.

Thats it.

Bills memoirs are also totally devoid of any memories of any role at all by Hillary in the peace process. Other than the Christmas tree lighting and attending receptions and meeting celebrities Bono, Seamaus Heaney, etc. there is nothing substantive about Hillary.

In elaborating on her so-called role in the Irish peace process, candidate Hillary now says:

"And I know its frustrating. It took years before the Catholics and the Protestants before Sinn Fein and you know, the DUP would even talk to each other I mean George Mitchell sat at a table sometimes for hours and nobody would say a word or if they would they would say: 'would you tell him this?' Or 'here's what I think'. And that went on for years. But eventually there were breakthroughs. You could build enough trust and connection."

So what does that have to do with her and what was her deep involvement in the Irish peace process? Hillary never explains.

But Bill Clinton said, as he desperately tried to help Hillary overcome her new found deficit in Iowa, that an unnamed man had said that Hillary had played "an independent role in the Irish peace process.

Clinton offered no explanation of who the anonymous man was or what exactly this independent role was for Hillary.

But Bill does describe his own role and Hillary was nowhere to be found:

"Good Friday was one of the happiest days of my presidency. Seventeen hours past the deadline for a decision, all the parties in Northern Ireland agreed to a plan to end 30 years of sectarian violence. I had been up most of the night, trying to help George Mitchell close the deal. Besides George, I talked to Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair, David Trimble, and Gerry Adams twice, before going to bed at 2:30 a.m. At five, George woke me with a request to call Adams again to seal the deal.

Hillary apparently slept through the night perhaps dreaming her Walter Mitty dream of delivering the peace agreement single handedly.

Dick Morris served as Bill Clinton's political consultant for 20 years, guiding him to a successful reelection in 1996. He is the author of New York Times bestsellers Because He Could, Rewriting History (both with Eileen McGann), Off with Their Heads, and Behind the Oval Office, and the Washington Post bestseller Power Plays. .

In elective politics, the voters get what they deserve.  If the voters want a woman of little experience and accomplishment who lies to their faces about the experiences and accomplishments she does not have, they deserve her.

This is no Era Of Good Feeling.  We need a real leader with real experience and real accomplishments in the White house. 

We need better than hillary clinton in the White House.  A lot better.


Ken Berwitz

Victor Davis Hanson of National Review has put together a review and assessment of the war in Iraq that is so well done I have nothing to add to it.  Not one word. 

Here it is:

A Long War In a Nutshell
A Look Back

By Victor Davis Hanson

Views on the war in Iraq now transcend reasonable discussion. The war rests in the realm of emotion, warped by the hysteria of partisan bickering.

The result is that we have forgotten why we invaded Iraq in long-ago 2003. We cannot agree why we had problems after the stunning removal of Saddam Hussein. And we are not sure either whether we are winning or why we even should.

Why We Invaded
After the victory of the 1991 Gulf War, a bipartisan consensus had emerged that Saddam Hussein had to be contained by both arms and sanctions. Our government wanted to prevent him from using oil revenues to obtain more dangerous weapons, destroying more of his own people, and from attacking or invading yet a fifth nearby country. Few, if any, disagreed.

But after September 11, and the realization that state-sponsored terrorists from the Middle East had the desire to destroy the United States and the capability to do it great harm, the decade-long containment of Saddam Hussein, in light also of his serial violations of both armistice and U.N. accords, was considered inadequate. Few disagreed.

So both houses of Congress, backed by an overwhelming majority of the American people, authorized the use of military force to remove Saddam Hussein, at the vigorous request of the President.

The WMD Debacle
Though the Congress in October 2002 formulated 23 different reasons why Saddam posed a threat to our security, the administration in easy hindsight, quite wrongly mostly privileged and exaggerated just one writ: Saddams arsenals of weapons of mass destruction might enhance Middle East terrorist operations enough to trump even what we had witnessed on 9/11.

Supporters of a narrow war to remove WMDs relied on a past, though false consensus of such an existential threat; it was one, however, that had nevertheless prompted embargoes, sanctions, no-fly zones, and periodic bombing. Perhaps they were sure of such a WMD danger because it had been formulated at home in the 1990s and echoed abroad by both European and Middle Eastern agencies and alone would galvanize the public in a way the other sanctioned casus belli might not.

Nevertheless, when such weapons were not found in Iraq, and the insurgency imperiled the brilliant three-week victory, the case for the war, in the eyes of many, collapsed. It did so on both moral and practical grounds. For some reason, no one cared that the other twenty-some Congressional causes were still as valid as when they had been first approved in October 2002.

The Victory over Saddam
We now argue over the requisite number of troops necessary in the aftermath of Iraq. Few, however, complain about the three-week victory of March and April 2003, in which U.S. military and coalition forces, at very little loss, destroyed the Baathist government and removed Saddam Hussein with about 250,000 troops. Someone did something right, though exactly who and what is now forgotten.

The War Over the War
The real controversy arose, however, over the subsequent four-year occupation and reconstruction, in which nearly 4,000 American lives were lost and over a half a billion dollars were spent to stabilize the fragile postwar democracy.

The debate, since 2003, has hinged on our own culpability, and postfacto, on our reasons for going into Iraq in the first place. It has focused almost solely on American lapses, not recognition of either the capability, or zeal, or brutality of the enemy. Acrimony instead arose over our inability to stop the looting, the dissolution of the Iraqi army, the laxity in patrolling ammunition dumps and borders, the first pull-back from Fallujah, and our naivet in allowing Shiite militias, particularly those under the control of Moqtada Sadr, to act as destructive surrogates for an ascendant Iran.

The Taboo Considerations
Rarely did anyone remind the American people nor would they have desired to hear that in all of Americas major wars such tragic errors of commission and judgment were commonplace, or that our present lapses were not in that regard at all unique. The initial victory had raised expectations so high that such reflection would have been seen as little more than morbid fatalism.

Rarely also did we hear that our missteps were not only correctable (as for example the recapture of Fallujah or the reconstitution of the Iraqi army attest), but also did not imperil the ultimate goal of stabilizing the Iraqi government. And almost none suggested that in a televised war of the postmodern age, it is difficult for a liberal Western society to defeat and humiliate an enemy at least to the degree necessary for it to accept a radical change of heart.

Also forgotten was any appreciation of the magnitude of the undertaking going 7,000 miles into the ancient caliphate to foster constitutional government where it had never taken root, among outright enemies like Iran and Syria, and duplicitous allies such as Saudi Arabia and Jordan. In that regard, to suggest the tragic loss of lives and money in Iraq were, by standards of our past major wars, a reflection of American competence and concern was paramount to blasphemy.

The Continuance
Yet for all the acrimony and dramatic loss of both political and public support, the United States continued its efforts to secure the fragile democracy and unite the warring factions. Apparently enough, Americans assumed that even the costs and heartbreak of this persistence paled in consideration of the dangers to both the security of the region, and our own security, incurred by a sudden flight and American defeat in the face of victorious Islamic insurgents and al Qaeda terrorists.

So we stayed, and we learned, and we persevered. Classical arguments for victory prevailed, despite being caricatured and deemed simplistic: whatever transient emotional, financial, and moral advantages were to be had by fleeing Iraq, they would all be overshadowed by the eventual human and financial costs of our utter defeat.

Against the War
There was little opposition to the war when it began, at least if public polls and congressional authorizations were fair indicators. But by 2004, as more American lives were lost to insurrection, and Iraqis began to suffer sectarian violence, the war insidiously lost support among the American people. The new prevailing sentiment is best collectively summed up as My brilliant three-week war was ruined by your insanely stupid occupation.

Politicians who had adamantly railed about the dangers of weapons of mass destruction and the need not only to remove Saddam, but to stay and help the Iraqis, now either denied they had done so, or suggested they had been misled by cooked intelligence. Or, in rarer cases, they admitted that their good idea of removing Saddam was now more than nullified by the incompetence or nefariousness of the Bush administration.

It was more common here at home to hear defamation of our allied Iraqi democrats, than of the enemy al-Qaeda terrorists and insurrectionists who tried to murder them. While there was no doubt that exaggerated claims of WMD and connections to al Qaeda in Iraq had contributed to the anti-war surge, it is also a fact such opposition was fueled largely by the impression of ongoing American stasis or defeat in Iraq.

Four national American elections heightened the acrimony. Each witnessed a gradual evolution from public support to disavowal. The 2002 voting during the lead up to the war saw affirmation for the notion of removing Saddam. 2004 witnessed a nation split over the costs versus benefits of staying in Iraq. 2006 reflected a radical shift against the war. The verdict is out on 2008, though it appears the surge has prompted many critics to once again adjust positions.

The level of vituperation was only matched in the American Civil War and during the Vietnam War. At various times our troops were denigrated by U.S. Senators and Congressmen as terrorists, cold-blooded killers, ethnic cleansers, and analogous to the soldiers of Hitler, Pol Pot, Saddam, or Stalin. Novels, documentaries, movies, ads, and celebrity interviews charged our generals with treason, our elected officials with Nazi-like characteristics, and urged defeat, impeachment, and trials as correctives.

The Turnaround
There is no longer serious doubt that by any fair measure the situation in Iraq has radically improved by the end of 2007. All markers point to some degree of improvement fewer civilian and military lives lost, violence lessened, essential services improving. It is difficult to know exactly why and how this change came about, as it is so often hard in military history to chart exactly when and why such frequent turnabouts occur.
Tens of thousands of now mostly unknown American soldiers took a frightful toll on insurgents and terrorists between 2003-2007, to such an extent that many enemy groups were increasingly incapable of continuing.

Gen. David Petraeus and his staff were able to convince the administration to surge 30,000 additional troops to tip the strategic balance, so that the American military might have the necessary force to ensure everyday Iraqis better security.

Petraeus was also able to change our military strategy from one of counterterrorism to a broader counterinsurgency plan that was far more successful in enlisting Iraqis to fight the common enemy.

The enormous surge in oil prices, which peaked at $98 a barrel, ensured revenue for infrastructure and services, and of equal importance, a promise of a better future on the horizon.

Al-Qaeda upped the ante by sending its operatives into Iraq, gradually alienated the population by its atrocities, and thereby pushed Sunni tribesmen into a de facto alliance with the U.S. military. The fear of Iran, and the Shiite-dominated government convinced the Sunni tribes that they would only lose more influence should they continue their resistance.

The result is not just that Iraq is quieter and has a good chance to stabilize, but also that the violent alternatives to such a resolution have mostly been attempted and failed. We are witnessing, then, a sort of catharsis of worn-out citizenry who attest by experience that armed force will not result in victory, while political participation and petroleum wealth may get them some of the prestige, power, and money that they had previously sought unsuccessfully through arms.

The Verdict?
The final verdict on Iraq will hinge on its outcome whether the elected government ensures stability, safety, and prosperity to the majority of Iraqis without resort to either theocracy or dictatorship. Even in the event of a positive outcome (an American victory), however, critics will still insist that such results were not worth the commensurate cost in American lives and money. They will also argue that whatever good comes of Iraq is largely nullified by the prewar exaggerated claims for al Qaeda and WMD in Iraq.

Supporters, in turn, will counter that the worst and most dangerous state in the Middle East now has the possibility of becoming the best. Islamic radicalism in its abhorrent manifestations suffered a terrible defeat in Iraq, its frontline fighters killed en masse, its agendas rejected freely by Arab peoples, and its overall prestige lowered in the Islamic world with beneficial repercussions from Libya to Lebanon.

The question of oil and the war is largely forgotten. Critics once chanted no blood for oil, but they quieted when the price shot up and the Iraqis themselves profited enormously from it. Supporters of the war did not wish to prove that cheap, accessible oil was not the main reason to go to war by the painful reminder that its price is now disastrously high and imperils the economy of the United States.

Lessons from
Iraq the More Things Change, the More They Remain the Same
Prior to 2003, and in the wake of Panama, the Balkans, and Afghanistan, there was a strange orthodoxy that the future of American arms rested almost exclusively in precision weapons and smaller, specialized forces.

Iraq taught us the opposite: conventional infantry forces in number, and equipped and led in innovative fashion, still remained indispensable. Force protection from MRAP vehicles to the use of drones will be as increasingly emphasized as its enormous costs are debated. A $100,000 wheeled robot used to destroy a $10 IED is emblematic of the dilemma.

Our military is too small for our assumed current geopolitical responsibilities. Either increase the former or cut back on the latter or, better yet, do both.

It is not just lives lost that govern popular support, but also the length of hostilities. Had the American military lost 4,000 soldiers in a dramatic shoot-out around Baghdad in April 2003, followed by a peaceful occupation, public support would have remained high.

But for an impatient American public, it was the duration, and sense of war without end or victory that provoked the oppostion. War in our present century will have to be conducted far more quickly even as we learn that is often impossible, given that human nature is unchanged and thus comes to wisdom very slowly.

For all our sophisticated media and nuanced politics, simply winning or losing still shapes views on war. There have been three radical positions on Iraq: a general support when it looked won; a general opposition went it looked lost; and a slow return to grudging reappraisal when it looks re-won. Politicians, academics, and pundits are hardly immune from, or embarrassed by, their own contorted reactions to these primordial emotions, as we now witness as columnists and politicians scramble to stake out new third positions sort of, kind of supporting the war..

The felony of untruth and distortion against a war counts far less than any misdemeanor in support of one. Photoshopped pictures, fraudulent documentaries, printed lies about flushed Korans, or bogus published stories about atrocities turn off the public less than a single untruth or hedge by a military officer or government official.

While the success of a war hinges on the militarys destruction of the enemy and our ability to win the hearts and minds of the population, critical time and support for those efforts are won only by non-stop explication, not periodic assertion.

In an age of glitzy graphics, e-mail, instantaneous blogs, and minute-by-minute news updates, there is still no substitute for wartime oratory and brutal candor. We should assume in any future war, those in the media, the universities, and the arts will ipso facto oppose the use of force, which in turn can only be supported by arguments that are as moral and ethical as they are logically, honestly, and elegantly presented..


Ken Berwitz

Chris dodd is going absolutely nowhere in his presidential campaign -- which is fine with me.  For this reason I pay little attention to him.

But the level of dishonesty dodd has displayed regarding Benazir Bhutto's death is so blatant that I feel the readers of this blog should know about it.  So here, courtesy of Brian Maloney of, are the particulars:

Chris Dodd Blasts Administration Over Bhutto Slaying


Dodd Goes Unhinged Over Bhutto Death

Making the earlier
words of fellow Democrat Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) sound tame by comparison, Chris Dodd took a spin on the Unhinged Expressway this afternoon, laying blame for Benazir Bhutto's death squarely on the shoulders of President Bush.

During an interview with libtalker Ed Schultz that occurred two hours after Feingold's, Dodd didn't use the slightest bit of discretion in his uber- partisan attack on Bush:

DODD: It reflects once again the misdirection in my view of the (Bush) Administration on focusing on Iraq and Iran. I've been saying for months that Pakistan and Afghanistan deserve more attention.

It's still the epicenter of international terrorism, of where Osama bin Laden is, here. And yet the administration continues to focus its efforts, its resources, its time and effort on Iraq and Iran.
As was the case with Feingold earlier today, Dodd's on- air statements before a liberal audience don't match up at all with his official statement on Bhutto's passing:
Washington, DC- Senator and Presidential Candidate Chris Dodd today expressed his condolences to the family of Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated earlier today in Pakistan.

Dodd, who has kept in touch with Bhutto over the past few weeks of turbulence and unrest in Pakistan, and is a 26-year member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that this is again another reminder of the experienced leadership our country needs at a time when critical regions around the world are in turmoil.

"Today's news from Pakistan is both shocking and saddening. As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, I have had the opportunity to travel to Pakistan and come to know Former Prime Minister Bhutto very well over the years. I spoke to her personally several weeks ago and have stayed in close contact with her since. She was a respected leader who played an important part in moving Pakistan toward democracy.

"As we recognize the loss of a leader today, we must also recognize the implication of today's tragedy to the security of the region and to that of the United States.

"At this critical time we must do everything in our power to help Pakistan continue the path toward democracy and full elections. Our first priority must be to ensure stability in this critical nuclear state.

"The United States should also stand ready to provide assistance in investigating this heinous act. And as Pakistan perpetrators to justice, it should also demonstrate that it will not allow such violence to derail democracy and proceed with elections in a timely manner."
These guys obviously have a playbook: sound statesmanlike in the press releases, while bashing Bush and throwing partisan slime when it seems safe to do so. Could they be any phonier?
The answer, Brian, is no.  Chris dodd could not be any phonier. 
But that's the wrong question.  The question is why shouldn't he feel free to be a blatant phony when media have given him a free pass on so many things during his terms as senator. 
How about his advocacy of the policies which enabled Enron to play its fiscal games with Arthur Andersen, for example?  How about the contributions he received from Enron, apparently for services rendered?
How about his fawning, doting comments about how racist, former KKK member Senator robert byrd would have been a great leader even during the civil war?  Trent Lott said far less about Strom Thurmond and was hounded out of his majority leadership, almost forced to resign.  Chris dodd?  Liberal Democrat, therefore free pass. 
When mainstream media give protected species status to people like chris dodd, they create the conditions for the dodds of the world to continue behaving as they do. 
It's quite a partnership.  I hope they're proud.


Ken Berwitz

To say the least, I am no fan of either John Edwards or Hillary Clinton.  But the last line of this little squib from had me laughing out loud, so I thought I would pass it along for you to laugh at too. 

What made me bust out laughing was how the last paragraph proves the first paragraph right.  I have put both in bold print:

Edwards jabs Clinton with Ask John events

December 28, 2007

DES MOINES Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) announced a new program designed to allow Iowans a chance to ask Edwards questions amid reports that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) hasnt been taking audience questions during her statewide tour.

The Edwards campaign on Thursday announced its Ask John program, which is intended to give caucus-goers a chance to ask Edwards any questions they might have in the lead-up to caucus night.

The announcement comes days after a Dec. 22 report in The Los Angeles Times that Clinton, who normally sets aside time at the end of her events to answer audience questions, has not been doing so. Iowa and New Hampshire voters are well-known for getting involved in the process and asking tough questions of the candidates.

The Edwards campaign on Friday said the Ask John program was in the works for some time and its timing had nothing to do with the reports about Clinton.

The Clinton campaign did not respond to requests for comment.


For sheer amusement value this would be hard to beat.  Edwards accuses Clinton of not responding, and the Clinton camp's reaction is no response. 

Yep, that's what we need in the White House.  

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