May 31, 2006

Haditha: A Rush to Judgement?

According to a Time Magazine report back in March, in the early morning hours of November 19th, 2005, a U.S. Marine HUMVEE was struck by an IED in the city of Haditha in Iraq. The blast killed the driver, Lance Corporal Miguel Terrazas. Afterwords, the details become sketchy, but we do know that when the dust settled, 24 Iraqi civilians were reported dead.

The ever outspoken John Murtha appeared on ABC's "This Week" proclaiming that the Haditha incident was worse than Abu Ghraib and even went as far as to accuse those in the higher levels of the chain-of-command of covering the incident up:

"Who covered it up, why did they cover it up, why did they wait so long?" Murtha said on "This Week" on ABC. "We don't know how far it goes. It goes right up the chain of command."

We don't know exactly what happened in Haditha. Many in the MSM are suggesting that these Marines became enraged when one of their own was killed and went on a rampage even though that report is not consistent with how CNN's Arwa Damon described her time spent with the same Marines prior to the incident on November 19th. Although she was not present during the supposed "massacre," she has come out with her own accounts of how cautious the unit was in their duties:

I know the Marines that were operating in western al Anbar, from Husayba all the way to Haditha. I went on countless operations in 2005 up and down the Euphrates River Valley. I was pinned on rooftops with them in Ubeydi for hours taking incoming fire, and I've seen them not fire a shot back because they did not have positive identification on a target.

The White House has reported that two investigations are currently being conducted: one into the killings themselves and the other focusing on the delay in reporting. The findings of the investigations are to be made public, according to Tony Snow.

The bottom line is we don't know what happened. While John Murtha has made a spectacle of this and the MSM has taken the story of the incident well beyond the level of respectable reporting (in my opinion), we do know that something happened. It is not fair to rush to judgement and call this the worst human rights atrocity since the war began when the investigation hasn't even been completed. I still have full confidence in our military members' competence and ability. Now is not the time to turn our backs on those soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen who are sacrificing themselves daily for our future safety and security.

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May 27, 2006

Democrats: We Must Raise Minimum Wage!

According to a report on CNS, Democrats in Washington once again cited the supposed "need" to increase the federal minimum wage. They called upon the GOP to push for legislation to increase the minimum wage due to rising prices at the gas pumps. Who can blame them for trying? After all, the Senate GOP dropped the ball on the one issue that will define their era, much to the delight of the Democrats I'm sure. Why not try pushing for an increase in minimum wage proposed by the GOP? It's like a two-for-one deal for them. Can't you hear it now? "Look how badly the GOP screwed up this country with the immigration bill and now, unemployment rates are going through the roof."

According to the article:

"As Americans take their family cars out this Memorial Day weekend, it will be hard for the Republicans to go home and avoid talking about the issues that really matter to their constituents -- like $3-a-gallon gasoline that is emptying their wallets," said Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).

and then...

Schumer and his fellow Democrats called high gas prices "one of the most pressing issues facing Americans, heading into the Memorial Day weekend driving season."

Perhaps Sen. Schumer was too busy sleeping through basic economics while he earned his Harvard education. Long nights at the frat house, Chuck (wink, wink)? The statement above is about as asinine as it gets when referring to the economy. I won't even bother insulting your intelligence to explain why.

Of course, the Democrats' idea of a solution is to increase the federal minimum wage. Countless studies have shown that an increase in minimum wage hurts those living in poverty more than it helps them. In 1996, a Joint Economic Committee report debunked the idea that increasing minimum wage was the answer to solving the poverty issue in America. Leading economists such as Walter Williams and Thomas Sowell have also pointed out the flaws in raising minimum wages or establishing "living wages."

Increases in minimum wage rates force employers to reduce the work force by either laying off workers or, by simply not filling positions as individuals quit. This leads to higher unemployment rates and less opportunities for lower-skilled workers. Another prevailing myth the Democrats attempt to circulate is the idea that those making minimum wages have families to support. According to data from the report cited above, 10 years ago, only 1.2% of minimum wage earners were adult heads of households earning less than $10,000 annually. Yes, the data in that report is old, but considering the state our economy is in now, it is highly unlikely that that number has increased. In fact, it is most likely that the number has decreased. So who are the other 99%? Most economists agree that they are young people, mostly students, who work a minimum wage job and live at home with their parents. Sound familiar? Yeah, I think we all started out that way. In fact, a 2004 Bureau of Labor Statistics report affirms this notion:

Minimum wage workers tend to be young. About half of all hourly-paid workers earning $5.15 or less were under age 25, and about one-fourth were age 16-19. Among teenagers, about 9 percent earned $5.15 or less. About 2 percent of workers age 25 and over earned the minimum wage or less. Among those age 65 and over, the proportion was 4 percent.

You cannot destroy poverty. It simply cannot happen and any increase in the minimum wage will only weaken the economy. You can, however, encourage young people, and those stuck in the low-skills labor market, to enhance their marketability in the work force by continuing to pursue higher education goals and developing skills which can transfer into the labor force. It's a concept that is so simple that even a Democrat should be able to comprehend. So why don't they? Because they target the poor individuals in this country for votes. They want those in poverty to remain there, stuck in the rut with nowhere to go but down.

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May 24, 2006

Released Guantanamo Inmates Can't Find a Home

ABC News has an exclusive article on some of the Guantanamo Bay accused terrorists who were recently released. Of course, the writer of the article makes a point to affirm these detainees' "innocence." She apparently confuses "innocence" with not having enough evidence to charge or prove guilt. That should not simply infer complete and total "innocence." I guess O.J. Simpson is also "innocent?" Yeah...right.

The article features an interview with Abu Bakkir Qassim, one of the recently released detainees. After it was determined that these men could no longer be held, the U.S. had a hard time finding anyone to take them. U.S. officials would not allow them to enter our country and, being that their former home was China where their religion is falling under major scrutiny now, returning there was not an option. The nation of Albania agreed to take in the detainees.

The interview is actually quite entertaining. Of course, Qassim is bitter and upset that he spent four-and-a-half years in prison for, what they call, no reason, but where does he want to go to live?

Q: If not Albania, where do you want to be?

A: Were hoping that the United States government would recognize the mistake that it has done and accept, allow us to enter the United States. U.S. government captured us, U.S. government incarcerated us, locked us up in prison, and U.S. government said that we were not a threat and should be released.

Uighur-Americans came forward, made an offer to the United States government to accept us into Uighur-American society and community. They even went into the courts and contacted the lawyers and wrote a letter to the U.S. government officials asking them to consider releasing us into the United States. Unfortunately, it did not happen, a rather disappointing decision.

However, other countries such as Canada, Germany, Norway, Turkey would also be good countries for us to settle because of their sizable Uighur populations. Uighur culture is an interdependent culture where we always need to see our friends and sit down and talk with them. And especially in our situation, we need a lot of people around us helping us to forget this bitter life experience that we spent wasted in Guantanamo for the last four-and-a-half years.

What a surprise. Qassim goes on to tell the story on how he came to be in Afghanistan and just happened to learn how to shoot guns:

Q: Did you ever receive anything like weapons training?

I reject the motion that I ever received military training. When I went to Afghanistan, I find that quite compelling to use that opportunity to study the Koran Uighurs are physically Muslim, but they don't really know how to read [religious texts]. That environment provided me an excellent opportunity, so I spent most of my time reading the Koran, learning Islamic, taking Islam, learning more about Islam.

Afghanistan is a country where you can see guns everywhere. Out of my curiosity, I learned how to use them. It doesn't mean that I was seeking weapons training. I told the U.S. government that just learning how to use that machine gun does not make me a dangerous person or a person who would attack someone or gets me the title that I received military training.

So in other words, yes, I received weapons training but my lawyers told me to simply admit that, out of simple curiosity, I learned how to shoot a gun.

This interview is another example of the MSM trying to spin a story against the war effort in an attempt to make us the bad guys. The guy was apprehended for a reason. He was a suspected terrorist. I agree we can't simply hold on to them forever but just because there isn't enough evidence to charge does not mean they were "innocent."

Linked to: Basil's Blog

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May 23, 2006

Debunking Anti-War Myths About Iraq

Peter Wehner, deputy assistant to the president and director of the White House's Office of Strategic Initiatives, has a featured article today on OpinionJournal.com which debunks many of the myths being promulgated by the anti-war left. He covers four key myths which the left uses to smear the President about Iraq:

  • The President misled the American people prior to invading Iraq: Mr. Wehner goes into detail on how the NIE (National Intelligence Estimate) made a judgment in 2002, concerning Iraq stating that Saddam had ignored UN sanctions and was continuing pursuit of WMD capabilities. They also predicted that if left unchecked, he'd have a nuclear weapon within a decade. He also points out that several of the President's most harsh critics on the war were in favor of taking action against Saddam prior to the war.
  • The Bush Administration pressured the intelligence community: Several Democrats, including Al Gore, have charged that the President's administration coerced those in the intelligence community to spin their analysis. Mr. Wehner cites the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence's bipartisan Report on the U.S. Intelligence Community's Prewar Intelligence Assessments on Iraq, which came to the conclusion that no intelligence agencies or officials were coerced to spin any intelligence analysis.
  • Saddam was not a threat since we found no WMD: Mr. Wehner cites the analysis given by weapons inspector David Kay upon his return from Iraq-
    I actually think this may be one of those cases where [Iraq under Saddam Hussein] was even more dangerous than we thought." His statement when issuing the ISG progress report said: "We have discovered dozens of WMD-related program activities" that were part of "deliberate concealment efforts" that should have been declared to the U.N. And, he concluded, "Saddam, at least as judged by those scientists and other insiders who worked in his military-industrial programs, had not given up his aspirations and intentions to continue to acquire weapons of mass destruction."
    He also cites the fact that Saddam was using the Oil for Food program to bring down UN sanctions which prohibited him from pursuit of WMD.
  • The push for Democracy in Iraq is a post-war rationalization: Mr. Wehner cites a speech given by the President in 2003 prior to the war in which he stated-
    "A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region, by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions. America's interests in security, and America's belief in liberty, both lead in the same direction: to a free and peaceful Iraq. . . . The world has a clear interest in the spread of democratic values, because stable and free nations do not breed the ideologies of murder. They encourage the peaceful pursuit of a better life. And there are hopeful signs of a desire for freedom in the Middle East. . . . A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region."
    Many of us probably remember that speech. I most certainly do.

We all know that the left has tried to spin the Iraq war into something that it simply is not. The claims from the Democrats that this is "Bush's Vietnam" and Murtha's call for immediate withdrawal have all essentially been part of an ongoing, long-term political objective: take back Congress and the White House. They have essentially politicized this war, undermining those soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen, whom have shed their blood to ensure the future safety of this nation, all for political gain. But the American people are smarter than that. The 2004 Presidential election was proof and the 2006 elections will be no different. If anything, their rhetoric has served to push society to an even more conservative stance.

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May 22, 2006

If It's Not Amnesty Then What is It?

The Washington Times has a couple of great articles today on the illegal alien issue. One details the fact that employers who have hired illegal aliens will be essentially given a clean slate. The other focuses on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the challenges they will face on implementing the legislation.

Per the first article:

Among those who will be cleared of past crimes under the Senate's proposed immigration-reform bill would be the businesses that have employed the estimated 10 million illegal aliens eligible for citizenship and that provided the very "magnet" that drew them here in the first place. Buried in the more than 600 pages of legislation is a section titled "Employer Protections," which states: "Employers of aliens applying for adjustment of status under this section shall not be subject to civil and criminal tax liability relating directly to the employment of such alien."

Further into the article:

"The legislation we are considering today is not amnesty," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter said last week. "That is a pejorative term, really a smear term used to denigrate the efforts at comprehensive immigration reform. This is not amnesty because amnesty means a pardon of those who have broken the law."

I've often said that politicians, especially at the federal level, are simply not in touch with reality. They are so caught up in "politics" and focusing on what the media is saying about them that they often aren't able to get anything productive done. This isn't just confined to one party either; Republicans and Democrats are both guilty. This is another example. If you don't consider wiping the slate clean for employers who have illegally employed undocumented workers amnesty, then what exactly do you consider amnesty?

If this legislation were to be passed, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) would be responsible for straightening out the estimated 10 million illegal, undocumented aliens in this country. They would be charged with determining whether they were short- or long-term immigrants and all of this will need to be backed up with some kind of documentation. Oh yeah did I mention they want the 10 million people taken care of in 90 days? What this will amount to is what we saw in wake of Katrina with thousands of people receiving money and aid that they didn't need because they weren't truly affected by the hurricane. Long-term workers would essentially be put on the path to eventually gain citizenship. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that none of these illegals will claim short-term status and they will all be able to get away with it because the "documentation" element of this whole thing is shaky at best. How do you legitimize something with documentation on undocumented workers? This legislation simply creates a slippery slope that we are not currently prepared to face. I am convinced that there has to be a better way to deal with this. What we're looking at now amounts to a big mess.

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May 21, 2006

Oh They're Killing Bears? Let's Get Naked!!

Reuters reports:

LONDON (Reuters) - Around 100 animal rights campaigners stripped naked in central London on Sunday to protest the use of traditional bearskin hats worn by military guards on ceremonial parade.

Wearing nothing but bear masks and carrying placards saying "Bears Slaughtered for the Queen's Guards -- Indefensible", the group gathered to call on the Queen and the Ministry of Defense to end use of the foot-high bear pelt hat known as a busby.

"The Ministry of Defense has blood on its hands while it allows bears to be slaughtered for ceremonial caps when beautiful synthetics are available", says PETA's Anita Singh.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense said they were looking for alternatives to the Canadian bearskin used for the hats but that it was proving very difficult.

The ministry told the BBC three years ago that skins for the hats are a by-product of bear culls by the Canadian government.

Soldiers wearing the hats can be seen all year outside the Buckingham Palace, where the changing of the guard is a popular tourist attraction.

Wearing bearskins is thought to have been a tradition of some regiments since 1815 when the monarch granted the right to don the head gear in recognition of the defeat of Napoleon's bearskin-wearing Imperial Guard at the Battle of Waterloo.

You know, anymore, nothing that comes from the left is a surprise. PETA has been known to sponsor nude protests for years and this is simply one more example of their lunacy. Basically it's just an excuse for a bunch of liberal morons to "get naked."

I have tried, for years, to understand the liberal mentality and it always seems to escape me. Perhaps it's due to the fact that they have no uniform stance on any issue; rather they're simply advocates for an "anything goes" society-a form of anarchy really. They are a group full of contradictions (abort the babies, save the animals) rather than principles. The only true principle of leftism is that their are no principles. We all saw Michelle Malkin's meltdown yesterday in response to those idiots at Wonkette and truthfully, that is what they want. They live to raise the ire of conservatives and stir the pot. They don't care about making offensive racial remarks because they simply don't care about anything. They want a free-for-all society with no values and no restrictions. While the Malkin/Wonkette incident was ugly, things are likely going to get even uglier as the 2006 Congressional elections loom nearby. The Dems and the left have both adopted the same policy: take control of congress and impeach the President. That is the only principle they'll be running on and God help us if they take over. It will be an embarrassment to America.

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