U.N.: Tons of Explosives Missing in Iraq

Well, no matter how you look at this one, it’s a colossal screw up. And to think we were well aware of what was on this base from before the invasion; it’s truly pathetic. I think it’s safe to assume that someone will end up taking responsibility for this, because that’s how the military works. I would’nt be surprised to see a General lose a star and be retired over this.

[Read the story]

Interesting Note in a Campaign of "Truth"

John Kerry has been running a campaign that seems hinged on the appearance of “being straight with the American people”. In fact, on several occasions, he has used that very statement to say that the President has been lying to us. While we could endlessly debate the WMD issue (the sad fact is that everyone – including John Kerry – was utterly convinced that Iraq possessed these weapons), it’s impossible to classify the statements as “lies”. (By the way, I happen to think we might still find a stockpile or two. If you think it would be hard to hide something in the desert, then you definitely need to read this story.) But I digress…

On the other hand, there have been several notable instances of Kerry blatantly either stretching the truth beyond elasticity or just flatly making things up. He told us he met with the U.N. Security Council. Turns out he didn’t. But the one that’s interesting to me is this:

On September 20th Kerry was at New York University where he delivered this comment:

“In the dark days of the Cuban missile crises, President Kennedy sent former Secretary of State Dean Acheson to Europe to build support.  Acheson explained the situation to French President de Gaulle.  Then he offered to show him highly classified satellite photos as proof.  De Gaulle waved him away saying, “The word of the President of the United States is good enough for me.”  How many world leaders have that same trust in America’s president today?”

What’s really interesting is that he made a statement like this that could be so easily verified. It leads me to think that he and his campaign either think most people are too stupid to check or too apathetic to care. The fact is, this meeting did take place, but that’s about the only “true” item in the whole statement.

Sherman Kent was the CIA official who actually carried the photos into de Gaulle’s office.  And according to Kent, De Gaulle not only didn’t utter the trite, “if it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for me”, he examined them closely. He actually asked for a magnifying glass so he could get a better look at the photos.

And the purpose of Acheson’s trip was not to “build support.”  It was to inform.  De Gaulle’s biographer says that the very first thing de Gaulle said to Acheson was “I understand that you have not come to consult me, but to inform me.” Acheson replied “that’s correct.”

A Weekly Standard story details the incident and then goes on to provide the real kicker: De Gaulle expressed concerns that Kennedy might actually be trying too hard to cultivate European and world support for what he had to do with Fidel and the missiles.

Should Everyone Vote? "Definitely Not", says Mona Charen

From Mona’s article at Town Hall, based on the recent findings of a CATO Institute study:

“Here they come – the earnest exhortations to get out and vote. You’ll be hearing it from television newscasters, MTV, newspaper ads, radio talk show hosts, weathermen, schoolteachers… you get the idea. Everyone has a duty to vote, they will say.

“No they don’t. If a person is utterly ignorant about matters of public policy, then he or she has a solemn obligation to refrain from voting. The percentage of people who fall into the utterly ignorant category is estimated to be about 25 percent of eligible voters.”

She goes on to point out some of the key statistics from the study:

“Seventy percent of voters apparently were completely unaware of the fact that the federal government adopted a huge prescription drug benefit as part of Medicare during the term of President Bush. Fully 65 percent did not know that the government had passed a ban on partial birth abortions. Some 58 percent acknowledged that they knew little or nothing about the Patriot Act (a figure Somin argues persuasively is probably low-ball). Sixty-one percent thought, incorrectly, that there had been a net job loss in 2004. Only 32 percent were aware that Social Security is one of the two largest expenditure areas in the federal government. Only 25 percent could correctly state that the Bush administration does not believe Saddam Hussein was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. Only 22 percent knew that the current unemployment rate is lower than the average for the past 30 years.”

This is a must-read, so go do it.

Her article is based on the findings of the study titled “When Ignorance Isn’t Bliss: How Political Ignorance Threatens Democracy” by Ilya Somin. Somin is an assistant professor of law at George Mason School of Law. His research interests are constitutional law, property law, and popular political participation and its implications for constitutional democracy.

Here’s a snippet from the Executive Summary:

“Democracy demands an informed electorate. Voters who lack adequate knowledge about politics will find it difficult to control public policy. Inadequate voter knowledge prevents government from reflecting the will of the people in any meaningful way. Such ignorance also raises doubts about democracy as a means of serving the interests of a majority. Voters who lack sufficient knowledge may be manipulated by elites. They may also demand policies that contravene their own interests.”

Use this link to download a PDF version of the full report.

You simply won’t believe how uninformed most people are.

The Proper Response to Terrorists

Once again, Al-Jazeera is airing video tape of an innocent victim pleading for her life. And in what has become the standard procedure, her captors are demanding that troops be removed from Iraq in exchange for her life. This won’t happen, of course, and she’ll end up being murdered, very likely in a gruesome beheading. So far, they have made these same demands of American troops, Japanese troops, Polish troops…

Now, it seems to be perfectly logical that no country could comply with these demands. In fact, compliance would simply validate this method to reach their means, and they would continue doing it. I suggest that the proper response would be the exact opposite. What would have been the effect, do you think, if the response was instant and unequivocal? “We received notice today that the terrorists have demanded that we remove our troops immediately. In response, we’ll be shipping 5,000 additional troops to the region today.” Every single time these animals kidnap some poor innocent person (most of whom, by the way, are simply there to try to help the Iraqi people), the country faced with the demand to remove troops immediately sends an additional 5,000 soldiers. To me, that seems the proper response to these animals.