Hans' News and Politics Blog

A Blog of Conservative News, Politics, and Foreign Affairs

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Saudi Arabia has made a secret deal with Pakistan to purchase nuclear weapons in case Iran acquires nukes. Nukes in the hands of Wahhabists, that's just what the world needs! Continued nuclear proliferation presents a clear and present danger to the United States and dramatically increases the risk of a nuclear attack on the us. Consider this scenario:

September 11, 2009: A container ship enters the harbor of Los Angeles and a nuclear weapon detonates. There are over 1 million casualties. The US investigates the source of the attack, but can only trace back the ship to Singapore, where it took on containers from a variety of nations that could be a source of it. It could have been Iran, long time sponsor of terrorism. Saudi Arabia, homeland of Wahabbi extremism. Or Pakistan, where the Taliban still enjoy many friends. It could also be a nuclear weapon sold by North Korea or a warhead that was stolen from Russia. All possible countries of course deny that the weapon originated from their country. The US cannot strike back because there is no target. All we can do is hope that the next nuke does not get through by closing our borders, collapsing global trade and bring on another great depression. Unlikely? Impossible? How many lives are you willing to bet on that? Would it be easier and cheaper to take out those governments today, than to wait for a far more threatening situation to arise? Undoubtedly. If we fail to act today, future generations might curse us for allowing the world to come to the brink of destruction. However, if we act today, we will be accused of acting unilaterally, without proper casus belli, just as we were accused during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Apparently the TV networks are concerned about their poor performance in the new TV season. In particularly, their poor performance among males age 18-34. This should really come as no surprise, since Hollywood has long abandoned that segment of the TV audience. Starting in the '90s, network executives noticed that women watched more TV than men. It was, in particular, increased competition from game consoles and the internet that led to the decline in viewing habits. In response the networks increasingly targeted women to the exclusion of men in their programming. During the '90s this subtle shift went almost unnoticed as kinder, more sensitive men in dramas, and stupid, lewd men in sitcoms increasingly dominated the scene, while lead strong, assertive roles were increasingly given to women. In the political correct '90s this was accepted without much demurring. A generation of young men started to grow up with an almost complete lack of strong male role models to imitate. 9-11 changed all that: suddenly there are a plethora of male role models available to the youth of today in the form of firemen, policemen, soldiers, sailors, and marines. Leaders like George W. Bush, Rudy Giuliani, and Donald Rumsfeld, who Molly Ivins, once called Rip-Van-Rummy, so archaic did his masculinity seem to her. While young men increasingly take account of these role models, they find nothing equitable represented on TV today. The liberal Hollywood elite has so disavowed the typically male role as chauvinistic that they are unable to readjust to the new realities. Hence, young men have chosen to simply tune out TV completely.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

At a recent conference at the Harvard School of Government as covered by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung with American and European journalists the Europeans pointed out that their editors usually only allow a very narrow scope of stories about America such as:

1. Bush is stupid, religious fanatic
2. American democracy is dysfunctional
3. American policy is aggressive and narrow-minded
4. The US press is cowed into submission by the president
5. The US is a Human Rights violator

If it doesn't fit that profile their European editors do not want to hear it. In addition, increasingly stories about the US are not written by correspondents in the US, but by their European counterparts, based not on first-hand experience, but on their preconceived notions about the US.

This goes to the heart of the difficulties the US is having in convincing Europeans to go along with their policies, most people do not understand them. The only people who do tend to have a grasp of American concerns tend to be government officials from our respective allies abroad. However, some European politicians, especially Chirac and Schroeder, have found it easier to curry favor with their electorate by denouncing US policy, instead of trying to explain US motivation. This applies not only to the recent unpleasantness over Iraq, but also on issues such as the International Criminal Court and the Kyoto agreement. There have been no serious efforts in European media to explain the reasons for US opposition, instead it is simply explained as point #3.

Part of this adversarial approach of the European media is based on the political nature of those papers. While most US papers at least try to present both sides of an ongoing issue and limit their opinions to the editorial page, European papers have no such tradition. On the continent they are usually affiliated with a political party and are used to assume an advocacy role, over an informational role. To the Europeans the failure of the US press to openly advocate against the Iraq war was symptomatic with a press that was supine, not of a press that was objective, leaving the decision to the reader.

In the long run this inability to get a fair hearing in the European media on our issues will lead to a continued demonization of the US in the eyes of the average European. What we need is a revolution in the way the US deals with the media in Europe. The State department ought to open a center in Bruessel, modeled on US think-tanks, such as the Heritage foundation or the Brookings Institute. The role of this center would be to communicate US policy to European media by providing editorials, research papers, and television interviews. It would be a pro-active organizations that would aggressively advocate our positions to the European media to increase the understanding of the European people. This would be no panacea for all disagreements. There still will be serious policy differences on various issues; however, it might lead to the resolution on some issues while preventing disagreements to mutate into open hostility.

Sunday, October 19, 2003

Various liberal politicians and media outlets, such as Ted Kennedy, Al Gore, virtually all the democratic presidential candidates, the New York Times, and The Nation have with an increasingly hysterical tone stated that there is no evidence of an Iraq - Al Qaeda link and that President Bush lied about Saddam Hussein's connection to terrorism. So let us see what we do know about Saddam Hussein's connections to date:

- Stephen Hayes reported in the July 11 Weekly Standard that the official Babylon Daily Political Newspaper, published by Saddam's son, Uday, ran a "List of Honor" in its Nov. 14, 2002, edition. Among 600 leading Iraqis named was: "Abid Al-Karim Muhamed Aswod, intelligence officer responsible for the coordination of activities with the Osama bin Laden group at the Iraqi embassy in Pakistan."

- Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, director of an Afghan al Qaeda camp, fled for Baghdad after being injured as the Taliban fell. He received medical care and convalesced there for two months. He then opened a terrorist base in northern Iraq and arranged the October 2002 assassination of U.S. diplomat Lawrence Foley in Amman, Jordan.

- According to Richard Miniter, author of the best-selling "Losing bin Laden," "U.S. forces recently discovered a cache of documents in Tikrit, Saddam's hometown, that show Iraq gave Mr. Yasin both a house and a monthly salary." Al Qaeda member Abdul Rahman Yasin was indicted for building the bomb that exploded beneath the World Trade Center on Feb. 26, 1993, killing six and injuring some 1,000 New Yorkers.

- While sifting through the Mukhabarat's bombed ruins last April 27, the Toronto Star's Mitch Potter and the London Telegraph's Inigo Gilmore discovered a Feb. 19, 1998, intelligence memo marked "Top Secret and Urgent." It said the agency would pay "all the travel and hotel costs inside Iraq to gain the knowledge of the message from bin Laden and to convey to his envoy an oral message from us to bin Laden."

- His Salman Pak terror camp trained hijackers on an actual passenger jet.

- On Jan. 5, 2000, Ahmad Hikmat Shakir — an Iraqi airport greeter reportedly dispatched from Baghdad's Malaysian Embassy — escorted Khalid al Midhar and Nawaz al Hamzi to a Kuala Lampur hotel where these two September 11 hijackers met with September 11 conspirators Ramzi bin al Shibh and Tawfiz al Atash. Five days later, Mr. Shakir disappeared. Qatari officials arrested him on Sept. 17, 2001. They discovered papers tying him to the 1993 WTC plot and "Operation Bojinka," al Qaeda's 1995 plan to atomize 12 jets over the Pacific.

- Ansar Al-Islam, an Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist group was allowed to set up shop in northern Iraq and train several hundred members there. After the camp was destroyed, several samples of Ricin were discovered at that location, the same poison discovered in terror plots in London and Paris earlier this year. Several bags of the bean that serves as the basis for the production of Ricin where found hidden and mislabeled in an Iraqi storage facility.

It is very difficult to argue that there was no connection to terrorism. Yet do not expect a change in attitude from liberals. Absent of video of Saddam Hussein discussing the 9-11 plot with Osama Bin Laden they will continue to insist that there is no evidence.

From Strategypage.com
The U.S. Army is moving ahead with a major reorganization to make the brigade the major combat unit, with the division replacing the corps as a headquarters. Details of the new organization are not yet set, but active duty combat brigades will probably increase from 33 to 48 and reserve/National Guard combat brigades from 15 to 22. This makes available some 60 combat brigades, but only about 140 infantry and armor battalions. That's because the new plan calls for frequently using only two combat battalions per brigade. The idea behind that is to mix tank and infantry companies more frequently, and regularly. This is an idea that has been bounced around for decades, because in combat, you often have tank battalions broken up so the tanks can operate with infantry units.

This is, IMHO, a rather poor idea to increase the number of deployable brigades. It dramatically reduces the "speartip" portion of the forces by cutting the number of maneuver battalions from 3 to 2, while adding combat support functions. Instead of five mini-brigades under a division, it might be better to increase the number of maneuver battalions to four, add several support battalions depending on mission, and abandon the increasingly outdated division structure altogether. This was the recommendation of Colonel Douglas Macgregor Breaking the Phalanx. You would end up with about 26 Brigades of between 5,000 and 6,000 men in the active Army and about 11 Enhanced Readiness Brigades in the Reserve.

Today I open my own Blog. As the title indicates, the focus of this blog will be news, politics, and foreign affair. I hope in time to become a news and opinion source for people interested in political discourse. Since I have never done anything like this blog, it might take some time until I get it right. So please be patient.

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