Above the Law

Bush’s showy and controversial Thanksgiving Day flight to Baghdad has created a stir in Great Britain, where Air Force One — in its haste and demand for discretion — ignored international law:

    Of more concern, air traffic controllers in Britain are seething over the flight, in which the president’s 747, falsely identified as a Gulfstream, traveled through British airspace. Prospect, the controllers union in the United Kingdom, says the flight broke international regulations, posed a potential safety threat and exposed a weakness in the air defense system that could be exploited by terrorists.

Rich Lowry Must Be Smarter Than He Sounds

He obviously ignores David Frum’s column, as revealed in this profile of antiwar.com. As Andrew Sullivan so charmingly puts it, the money quote:

Although writer and editor Tom Englehardt, who runs the popular political blog TomDispatch.com, says he reads Antiwar.com every day, Slate.com’s William Saletan had never heard of it. Neither had UC Berkeley journalism professor and political columnist Susan Rasky. National Review editor Rich Lowry also claimed ignorance, despite Frum’s coverage, as did the Weekly Standard’s Kristol.

Because When You Think of Engineering Know-How, You Think…

Of Estonia, Palau, and Rwanda. Definitely not Germany. The reconstruction of Iraq gets even funnier. Why screw the American taxpayers slightly less through a competitive bidding system open to countries with actual businesses in them when you can just hand the dough over in titanic fistfuls to the president’s friends and supporters? They’ll pass along just enough to Azerbaijani subcontractors to keep the Coalition quiet, and funnel the leftovers into reelecting friendly congressmen. The welfare-warfare state wins again.

Don’t say I never warned you.

Extraordinary Jingocon Delusions & the Madness of Nationalist-Statists

“Observe good faith and justice towards all Nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all. Religion and Morality enjoin this conduct; and can it be, that good policy does not equally enjoin it? … Who can doubt, that, in the course of time and things, the fruits of such a plan would richly repay any temporary advantages, which might be lost by a steady adherence to it? Can it be that Providence has not connected the permanent felicity of a Nation with its Virtue? The experiment, at least, is recommended by every sentiment which ennobles human nature. Alas! is it rendered impossible by its vices?”

George Washington, 1796

Matthew linked to the neocon show trial of conservative PATRIOT Act opponent Grover Norquist, that is, the FrontPageMag.com article “A Troubling Influence,” by former Reagan Defense official Frank J. Gaffney Jr. To me, the really interesting thing about this article is its illogic. For example, in his introduction to Gaffney’s piece, editor David Horowitz praises Norquist for being in the forefront of conservative efforts to get the Reagan Administration to support the mujahideen in Afghanistan, while he (Horowitz) was part of a “Communist Fifth Column network”; roles have reversed, however, and Norquist is now part of an Islamist Fifth Column network in “our war against Islamo-fascism” and Horowitz is a valiant defender of the American way. Horowitz writes:

“America is no longer protected by geographical barriers or by its unsurpassed military technologies. Today terrorists who can penetrate our borders with the help of Fifth Column networks will have access to weapons of mass destruction that can cause hundreds of thousands of American deaths.”

But, of course, US support for the mujahideen empowered bin Laden (at least through Saudi matching funds) in Afghanistan and led to US support for jihad in the Balkans. Throw in the attack-attracting guarantee of security for the Saudi monarchy and the permanent stationing of troops in Saudi Arabia and you’ve got a foreign policy mess. To then allow jihad-training, recruiting, and fundraising in the US brings the problem home. Gaffney claims that supporters of anti-American terrorism have had access to and influence upon President Bush, yet in the same article supports the PATRIOT Act, which allows the White House to imprison Americans without trial.

Gaffney and the jingo-cons must know that US government jihad-support inspired and allowed terrorist infiltration, since, in the footnotes to his FrontPageMag article, Gaffney suggests that we read US News and World Report‘s article “The Saudi Connection, which alleges that:

“U.S. intelligence officials knew about Saudi Arabia’s role in funding terrorism by 1996, yet for years Washington did almost nothing to stop it. Examining the Saudi role in terrorism, a senior intelligence analyst says, was ‘virtually taboo.’ Even after the embassy bombings in Africa, moves by counterterrorism officials to act against the Saudis were repeatedly rebuffed by senior staff at the State Department and elsewhere….

“…[I]n many of the jihad struggles, Washington was neutral, as in Kashmir, or even supportive, as in Bosnia. When Saudi money began financing jihadists headed to Chechnya, Washington responded with ‘a wink and a nod,’ as one analyst put it.

“- On the subject of Saudi ties to terrorism, the word came back: There was simply no interest. The result, says a CIA veteran, was ‘a virtual embargo.’

“- The G-men found the source of the cash curious: a Saudi charity…, which had funneled the money through the Saudi Embassy. Senior Justice Department officials expressed concerns about ‘national security,’ and the case, eventually, was dropped.

“In his recent book Sleeping With the Devil … former CIA operative Bob Baer calls it ‘Washington’s 401(k) Plan.’ ‘The Saudis put out the message,’ Baer wrote. ‘You play the game–keep your mouth shut about the kingdom–and we’ll take care of you.’ The list of beneficiaries is impressive: former cabinet secretaries, ambassadors, and CIA station chiefs. Washington lobbyists, P.R. firms, and lawyers have also supped at the Saudi table, as have nonprofits from the Kennedy Center to presidential libraries. The high-flying Carlyle Group has made fortunes doing deals with the Saudis. Among Carlyle’s top advisers have been former President George H.W. Bush; James Baker, his secretary of state; and Frank Carlucci, a former secretary of defense.

“- Official inquiries about bin Laden went unanswered by Riyadh. … [T]he CIA instructed officials at its Riyadh station not to collect intelligence on Islamic extremists–even after the bombing….

“Frustrated with Riyadh, Newcomb’s Office of Foreign Assets Control at Treasury began submitting the names of Saudi charities and businessmen for sanctions. But imposing sanctions required approval from an interagency committee, and that never came.

“- As part of a still-classified report, he wrote a cable instructing U.S. ambassadors to insist that host governments crack down on the groups. But some at State argued that the charities were doing important work and fought to kill Sheehan’s initiative. The cable was deep-sixed.

“- At the Saudi High Commission in Bosnia, which coordinated local aid among Saudi charities, police found before-and-after photos of the World Trade Center, files on pesticides and crop dusters, and information on how to counterfeit State Department badges.

“- For two years, investigators have followed the money to offshore trusts and obscure charities which … they believe are tied to Hamas, al Qaeda, and other terrorist groups. To date, no groups have been indicted.”

This is the government that Gaffney and the anti-Saudi anti-Islamofascists encourage to undermine the Constitution and ignore the foreign policy advice of the founding fathers. This is the government that they support when it overthrows a Muslim-majority secular state and places a Saudi agent in charge of negotiations involving tens of billions of dollars of its wealth.

Infuriating the Warbots with Half Our Wits Tied Behind Our Backs

OK, OK, I’ll give this dude (scroll down) a link for all the effort he’s put into calling us “socialist half-wits.” But praytell: where, exactly, is the socialism? Here? Here? Here? Here? Maybe here?

I don’t expect the accuser, despite having way too much time on his hands, to read the links above, much less understand them, but he should recognize that “socialist” is, unlike “dumbass,” a charge easily supported or refuted. Here’s a definition of “socialism,” and here’s an example of it in action. Criticizing self-designated conservatives–especially the sort who push ever-larger government— hardly a socialist makes.