THE SAPIENT SPARROW: conservatism for commoners

"What has always made the State a hell on earth has been precisely that man has tried to make it his heaven."–Holderlin

Nonproliferation? How Quaint! – Mark Steyn – National Review Online

Nonproliferation? How Quaint! – Mark Steyn – National Review Online.

Filed under: national defense, , ,

Son of Hamas Founder Speaks of Islam

Does the moderate version exist?

via Son of Hamas Founder Speaks of Islam.

Filed under: national defense, , ,

Wilders at House of Lords, March 5: “Freedom must prevail, and freedom will prevail”

Geert Wilders Speech House of Lords, London Friday the 5th of March 2010 Thank you. It is great to be back in London. And it is great that this time,

via Wilders at House of Lords, March 5: “Freedom must prevail, and freedom will prevail”.

Filed under: national defense, , , ,

LEST WE FORGET

Excellent story by Sara Carter who just returned after a lengthy stay among the troops in Afghanistan.  She filed this story on New Year’s Eve.

via Perilous patrol through heart of Taliban territory – Washington Times.

Filed under: national defense,

TERRORIST TRIALS IN N.Y.C.-what could possibly go wrong?

Photo by Park Foreman

Andrew C. McCarthy, who led the 1995 terrorism prosecution against Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman and eleven others for the 1993 WTC bombing, has written his analysis of specific weaknesses in Holder’s decision to try terrorists in NYC.  Mr. McCarthy bases his analysis on his own personal experience and in terms of Mr. Holder’s testimony in Washington, D.C. today.

There was also a well-thought-out response to the various arguments made by the Administration in the Wall Street Journal.  It gives a good synopsis of the Senate hearing today with Atty. General Holder.  (BTW, by my reckoning, the amount that NYC will need to be “reimbursed” by all of us could run upwards of $300 million based on the $75 million per year expense over approximately the four years that the trials could take.  Hope the Chinese are cool with continuing to loan us funds.)

Finally, check out this link.  Mr. Goldberg, as always, gives a thorough treatment to the decision to bring terrorists back to NYC.

It’s No Way to Fight a War on Terror by Jonah Goldberg on National Review Online.

What do we sparrows think about all of this?  Let me know.

Filed under: constitution, national defense, , ,

AFGHANISTAN-SNATCHING DEFEAT FROM THE JAWS OF VICTORY

POTUS meets with national security team

The latest news on the long-awaited decision with respect to sending more troops to Afghanistan is—that we are going to wait some more.  So,  while our troops on the ground there continue to hope for the cavalry, the POTUS will be taking off for his Asia trip.  Sometime after his return on November 19th, he will make his decision, perhaps before Thanksgiving, perhaps after, perhaps the first week in December—or not.  After all, this situation is not a huge emergency like, for example, Healthcare Reform.  Right?  It is reported that the White House is “chafed under the criticism” that Mr. Obama is “dragging his feet.”  Well, if his shoes are looking scuffed…

Contrary to what Mr. Obama had previously said about making decisions based on the assessments of his Generals on the ground, he is now resisting that very advice, choosing instead to give preference to the opinion of  U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Eikenberry whose leaked, classified cable voiced a sharp dissent from General McChrystal.

afghanistan flagOur newest “reset” Afghanistan policy seems to be focused on how and when the U.S. and its allies will turn over responsibility to the Afghan government.  The POTUS stated that “U.S. commitment is not open-ended”.  Currently, we seem to be fighting a holding action that is aimed at heading off Taliban insurgents and protecting the population.  The prevailing opinion of the “powers that be” is that “insurgency can be blunted but not defeated by force”.  So it looks like the goal of this War is quickly becoming buying time for the Afghani Army, ill-trained and ill-equipped as they are, to take over from Allied troops.  And, when we are not buying time, we are buying off the enemy so that we can operate under the present, reduced circumstances.  Consider the quote below:

“In this grotesque carnival, the US military’s contractors are forced to pay suspected insurgents to protect American supply routes. It is an accepted fact of the military logistics operation in Afghanistan that the US government funds the very forces American troops are fighting. And it is a deadly irony, because these funds add up to a huge amount of money for the Taliban. “It’s a big part of their income,” one of the top Afghan government security officials told The Nation in an interview. In fact, US military officials in Kabul estimate that a minimum of 10 percent of the Pentagon’s logistics contracts–hundreds of millions of dollars–consists of payments to insurgents.”
Aram Roston, The Nation

In my opinion, there are several problems with the way the POTUS is handling this decision, not the least of which is that every day that goes by puts our soldiers in Afghanistan at greater risk.  And, do we really want to signal to the enemy that we are not in this War for the long haul?  Mr. Obama may deal with people in this Country that have the patience and attention of a gnat, Islamofacists are not likewise afflicted.  Furthermore, for someone who was hailed to be a “the most intelligent president in our lifetime”, Mr. Obama seems to be unable to either articulate the real goal of this War, nor how to achieve it.

In an earlier post I included a link to a cogent argument for why total victory in this War is essential.  If you read it, then you already know that the critical issue is that the Taliban cannot re-take Afghanistan in order to have a safe haven from which to launch more and deeper attacks into Pakistan, thus de-stabilizing that nuclear nation.  If we are worried about Iran having nuclear weapons, how much scarier is it to have them in the hands of the Taliban?

Finally, consider this quote from a retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant that was e-mailed to Jamie M. Fly at “The Corner” blog on NRO:

“Our service members are dying and the president is dithering. I have been in the military while a president dithered or failed to make a tough decision, it is eviscerating, and a rot settles in. “Commander in Chief” is not just a fancy title. The president is the ultimate officer and like any poor officer his failure to make tough decisions is seen as a weakness by his NCOs and men. Morale, that most fragile base of any good military unit suffers immediately. When our officers are fearful and indecisive, we become fearful and indecisive.

NCOs find reasons not to patrol or to avoid high-risk areas, Convoys are diverted to avoid possible confrontation, our allies desert us and the advantage is ceded to the enemy.

And this happen quickly, weeks are all that’s left to keep the advantage in Afghanistan. After a certain point in time “mission weariness” begins to settle in and the edge is lost on our weapon and almost impossible to regain. Quite frankly I fear that the time to make a difference is quickly slipping away and even if he eventually approves the fully levy of Gen McChrystal’s request the momentum may have been permanently lost”.

In short, where is a “Decider” when we need one?

Filed under: INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE, national defense, POTUS, , , ,

TO ALL OUR VETERANS-THANK YOU

Anzio

In 2004, the WWII National Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C.  My Daddy, a veteran of WWII, did not live to see it.  He was aware of its creation and contributed financially to its erection.  It seemed to me that he believed that he had a personal stake in helping it to be built.  Daddy served in the 45th “Thunderbird” Division as a Combat Engineer.  He lan45th Division Thunderbirdded first in North Africa,  later in Sicily and soon after that in Anzio, Italy.  The war experiences of my father, a midwestern farm boy from a tiny community, shaped him forever.  I never tired listening and learning from the stories that he told about “the war”.

I would like to think that, had he lived, he would have been one of the first on the bus to Washington D.C. this year to see the WWII Memorial, his memorial.  I would also like to think that his reaction would have been like those in the video below.  Though I am sorry that Daddy, like many of his cohorts, never were able to see the WWII Memorial completed, I am overjoyed that many have.

Today, above all days, I offer my heartfelt thanks to those, like my Daddy, who sacrificed and continue to sacrifice their lives in defense of our freedom.  May God bless all of you who have blessed us so immeasurably.

Filed under: national defense, personal, , , ,

“NOTHING LASTS FOREVER, EVEN COLD NOVEMBER RAIN”

(title of this post from a Guns n’ Roses song of the same name)

NOTE: The author of this post is Caesar 10044.  He holds a PhD in History.  These are his reasons why the current liberal ascendancy cannot last.

1) Barack Obama already appears haggard and joyless.  His lying is probably making him sick.  History will remember him as “Barack the Unready”.

2) Speaker Pelosi is already a laughingstock and will probably suffer a nervous breakdown out of fear of being caught-out in her lies, (a la Tell Tale Heart),

3)Rahm Emanuel is good at street fighting, but I predict that he will blow up at the wrong person at the wrong time.

4)Expect a backlash against paying the huge taxes and utility increases that the “Cap and Trade” Bill will establish.  (I believe that Al gore will eventually be discredited).

5)Should Health Care Reform pass, there will be a backlash against the taxes that will proceed the implementation of the actual Health Care.

6)It is heartening that the first, real bipartisan action is to have Congess compel Mr. Obama to remove his “czars”.  Without them, his power base is weakened.

7)There is a good chance that those radical Democrats, as well as the “Blue Dogs”, who voted for “Pelosicare”, will be looking for new careers in 2010.

8)As people see their own taxes rise, the public will demand that  Rangel and others who have not paid their taxes finally receive their just deserts.

9)People will finally become exasperated at not being able to tell jokes about Obama.

10)I believe that the Health Care Reform bill will be successfully be blocked in the Senate.

11)If a ‘second stimulus’ comes to pass, it will cause enough discontent that moderates and independents will start listening to the ‘Tea Party’ movement.

12)In the foreign policy area, Obama’s decisions about Afghanistan will continue to make him look weak.  If Iran develops a nuclear device, Obama will look even worse, especially with respect to our allies.  If Israel acts on its own and bombs Iran’s nuclear facilities, (as it did in Iraq), Obama will look even more ineffectual.  (Remember, Likud is in power.)

13)If Democrats are expected to “fall on their swords” on behalf of their Congressional leaders (who view them as expendable) the Democrat party will become even more divided and have a lack of trust within its ranks.

14)More young people than one would think do not want to be paying for something created by people who they are realizing lied to them about its benefits to them.  (Graduating college students are already realizing this.)

15)The recent Government take-over of the student loan industry, making no private loans available once “caps” are reached, means no Graduate School for many students.  Less education will make it harder for younger people to compete for jobs with 30-somethings.  It will be too late to blame Bush when they realized this.

16)Look at Great Britain and their “love affair” with Blair.  Now they are sick of Labour and cannot wait for their defeat.

17)People only tolerate corruption when times are good.  (Look up what happened to Bertie Ahern in Ireland if you don’t believe me.)

come_to_the_dark_side

...and a conservative sense of humor.

Filed under: cap & trade, congress, economy, education, healthcare, INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE, LEGISLATION, national defense, POTUS, , , , , ,

TWO ANNIVERSARIES, SAME MESSAGE: IRAN & EAST GERMANY

iran hostageThirty years ago, I watched in disbelief and horror as Americans were taken hostage in Iran.  As they were bound and blind-folded and manhandled, my heart sunk.  These were AMERICANS.  How could this have happened?  What did these people want anyway?  Every night at the start of the evening news there was a segment on the hostages in Iran.  In the upper right hand corner of the screen, a special graphic showed the number of days they had been held.  I tied yellow ribbons around my trees.  I prayed for the safe return of all of them, and finally they were returned— on Iran’s terms, not ours.  One giant point for the bad guys!

Twenty years ago, I watched in disbelief and wonder as the wall in Berlin began to fall.  From berlin wallmy childhood it had stood, rising over both east and west.  My children had never known a world in which it did not exist.  To me, that wall had always been synonymous with “the Iron Curtain”.  It symbolized tyranny, cruelty, fear and hopelessness—a powerful symbol, indeed.  More powerful yet was the meaning of its breaching three decades later—evil cannot prevail, liberty is finally victorious over oppression,  zeal for freedom overcomes totalitarianism.  One giant point for the good guys!

Today I heard that there are large demonstrations in the streets of Tehran.  No surprise there, they always celebrate the anniversary of the hostage-taking.  But wait.  Listen.  They are sending apologies to us and asking support from us.  “Are you with us,” they chant, “or are you with them?”  (The chant creates a word play on the name, “Obama”, that means “with us” in Farsi).  My heart lurches.  I find myself feeling disbelief and wonder.  Here is another three decade old wall.  Is it beginning to crack and teeter?  Will it also fall?

iranian anti-government protest

The wall in Berlin was felled by a strong America with a strong President who believed in our goodness and that our values were superior to those of the wall-builders and said so in a clear, strong voice.  Today, we have a very different kind of President with a very different perception of America and its values, who will not be marking the fall of the Berlin Wall.  And though the people of Iran long to hear his clear, strong voice raised on their behalf, what they hear is, at best, a weak whisper.

I still believe that evil cannot prevail, that liberty is finally victorious over oppression and that zeal for freedom overcomes totalitarianism.  My preference is for the “good guys” to win again, sooner rather than later.  We need to have the Iranian people as friends.  My fear is that this moment will pass, just as the moment during the Iranian election demonstrations passed, without comment, without remark, without so much as a whimper or a sigh.  Ignoring the Berlin Wall is not what tore it down and freed the people behind it.  Ignoring the pleas of the Iranian people shores up the wall that imprisons them.  Shame on him who bolsters its strength, if only by his silence.  And my (rhetorical?) question is, whose side is such a man really on?

Filed under: INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE, national defense, POTUS, , , , ,

IRAN, URANIUM and NUKES

In case you missed it, these are the latest developments concerning the negotiations with Iran with respect to its uranium enrichment program.  Following the Fox News release is an entry from today’s National Review Online.  The link to the column that Peter Robinson refers to is here.

I have watched “Uncommon Knowledge” programs that air, usual in several parts, on NRO.  They are full of valuable information.  I will definitely be watching the interview that Peter Robinson has done for this series–you should too.

Fox News
U.S. Disappointed Iran Delays U.N. Nuclear Proposal
Oct 23, 2009 3:33 PM EDT

The United States expressed mild disappointment Friday that Iran withheld a decision on whether to accept a U.N.-coordinated plan that could ease fears about Iran’s potential for making a nuclear weapon.

The U.S., along with Russia and France, officially endorsed the plan Friday. The State Department said it was unhappy that Iran was not ready to embrace the plan, which calls for Iran to ship most of its low-enriched uranium to Russia for further enrichment. The resulting fuel is to be used for a research reactor in Tehran that makes medical isotopes and is under regular monitoring by a U.N. agency.

The plan is attractive from the U.S. point of view because it would consume a large proportion of Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium, thereby limiting the potential for it to secretly convert it into uranium suitable for making a nuclear weapon. Iran denies it has any intention of making a nuclear weapon.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog that is coordinating the uranium shipment plan, said Iran gave notification on Friday that it could not yet provide a final answer.

Iran said it was “considering the proposal in depth and in a favorable light, but needs until the middle of next week to provide a response,” the Vienna-based nuclear agency said.

Iranian state television reported that Tehran prefers to simply buy a quantity of higher-enriched uranium from abroad for use in the Tehran reactor, rather than give up a large portion of its own stockpile of low-enriched uranium.

State Department spokesman Ian C. Kelly said the U.S. still hopes Iran will go along with the IAEA option.

“This is a real opportunity for Iran to help address some of the real concerns of the international community about its nuclear program and at the same time still provide for the humanitarian needs of the Iranian people,” Kelly said.

“We hope that they will next week provide a positive response,” Kelly added. “Obviously we would have preferred to have had a response today. We approach this with a sense of urgency. The international community’s been waiting a long time for Iran to address some of our real concerns about their intentions.”

The draft proposal to ship Iran’s uranium to Russia was put forth earlier in the week after three days of talks in Vienna.

Armageddon Time   [Peter Robinson]

This past week I conducted an Uncommon Knowledge interview with Victor Davis Hanson and Robert Baer that scared the bejeepers out of me. Our topic: Iran, Israel, Russia, nuclear weapons, and the next six months.

The interview will begin airing on NRO on Monday. In the meantime, here’s my column.   (Link appears above.)

10/23 01:42 PMShare

Filed under: INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE, national defense, U.S. GOVERNMENT, ,

"His eye is on the sparrow, and He surely watches me." --Mrs. Doolittle, 1905

Archives