Saturday, October 30, 2004

Too Close to Call

The presidential race is too close to call at this writing, as almost all the polling data we have seen shows a slim lead for GW Bush, but within the margin of error. Zogby shows a slight lead for Kerry, and John Zogby himself is calling the race for Kerry. He was right in 1996 and again in 2000, so many on the left will be comforted by this news. However, this race is so polarized and so close compared to 2000 and 1996 that we don't think any of the polling is really very accurate. Based on RealClearPolitics' nationally averaged polls, however, Bush is UP by 2.5% over Kerry (at this writing).

Zogby, we wouldn't be surprised, is calling this race to try to cement his reputation among pollsters as the One Who Got it Right, but the race is so tight that a flip of the coin would be as accurate.

If more polling comes out prior to election day that shows a clear trend to one or the other candidate, then it may be prudent to make a prediction. But there are so few truely "undecided" voters out there that it may come down to one word: turnout.

If John Kerry should end up winning this presidential election, this is one Blogging Group who will not stoop to the hate-mongering of those opposed to Bush for the last 4 years have done, nor as those opposed to Clinton for his term did. We are disgusted with the level of partisanship that has gripped the nation in these last twelve years. The LTS has been on one side of the debate, as the blogging world and some of the electronic media and talk radio are the only voice of the conservative point of view, but everyone who is active in the political debate needs to tone down the rhetoric and turn UP the civility.

We hope that we will know for sure the result of the election on Tuesday night, but don't count on it. The Democrats have plans in place for challenging almost any close race with charges of "voter intimidation" and "voter disinfranchisement", and have teams of lawyers across the country waiting to file their lawsuits.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Liberal Observations

Why are liberals so concerned about what the Europeans think of America? One of the more common themes to emerge when a liberal is talking or writing about why they don't like GW Bush is their strong desire to for the world, especially Europeans (and even more so the French), to "like us". Their feelings seem to get hurt if they think the Europeans don't like us, as they tend to go on and on about how much "the world has grown to hate America under George Bush."

What they don't seem to understand, apparently, is that much of Europe, and ESPECIALLY the French have NEVER liked Americans, and nothing we can do will ever change that! At best the French and many of the European elites have considered Americans to be loud, obnoxious, crude oafs, useful only for swatting back the occasional genocidal maniac.

Another common feature of liberal argument today is the liberal's penchant for labeling anyone who disagrees with them politically as "brainwashed", or "robots", or sometimes "clueless". It is frankly quite odd to us that so many liberals cannot understand nor accept any point of view other than their own. If someone does dare to disagree, and is not convinced by the liberal's 'obviously brilliant argument', then the only conclusion the liberal can arrive at is that this person is clearly brainwashed or simply to stupid to understand. How classically leftist is this line of thinking?

Dr. John Ray, MA, PhD, a psychometrician from Australia has an excellent site (here and in Interesting Links, right) with links to many of his acedemic publications on the psychology of the Left.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Reader Comment

We at the LTS love to hear from readers. An anonymous reader commented recently about our recent post (below) regarding a report from Fox News discussing how the media portrayed the economy in 1994 versus 2004. Here are his comments:

[T]his first problem with such ridiculous analysis is that '96 and '04 are not even close economically. The second is that republicans need to get over Clinton.

Apparently, our reader misunderstood the article's objective, which was to show how differently the "mainstream media" has portrayed economic conditions in this economy today versus those in the fall of 1996. No doubt there are differences between the underlying economic forces at work on the economy today compared to 1996, but the resulting key indicators are virtually the same, yet these nearly identical numbers were reported in a positive light in 1996 when Bill Clinton was running for re-election, and negatively today. The authors of the Fox article cite Business Week's chief economist Michael J. Mandel's article in the September 6th issue about how strikingly similar the economic situations are today and in 1996. We don't know the credentials of our anonymous commenter, and since no supporting data or references were cited in his comments, we have no facts on which to place value on the commenter's point of view.

We thought it also worth noting that the unemployment rate in 1996 was 5.6%, but is only 5.4% today.

As far as our commenter's point about Clinton, we believe that almost all Republicans are "over" Clinton. The economy, thanks in part to Clinton, was good in the 1990's. In fact, we believe that presidents get too much blame and too much credit for good or bad economies. We believe that government has very little effect on the economy, except when it is an excessive burden by way of high taxes and excessive regulation. The only role we would like to see government take in the economy is one to help foster a positive, commerce-friendly environment where individuals by themselves or collectively in businesses and corporations are free to create jobs, wealth, and prosperity for all Americans. Regulation should be used to protect the health and safety of all Americans, but not as a tool for social engineering. The government should get out of the way of the Free Market and let market forces come to bear on the problems of our society.

Healthcare is an area where much more market forces can and should be brought to bear. For most people with health insurance, and that is by far the large majority of Americans, going to the doctor costs $10. Yup, a $10 or $20 copay is all most Americans pay, and as a result, we have no idea how much these things actually cost, and have no incentive to shop around or to let the market determine what these costs should be. We haven't yet done the research, but we suspect that if a graph was drawn showing the average annual cost per person for healthcare, that that line would spike up and remain on a high trend line immediately after the start of Medicare and Medicaid. These programs, while well intentioned, quickly removed any market forces from the costs associated with healthcare. No one actually had to pay for things from their own pocket, so they didn't care how much it cost. The only cost containment structure in place are bureaucrats in Washington.

For those of us not yet on Medicare, most of us have a similar health insurance plan, which still has no real ability to apply market forces on the cost of healthcare, not with the behemoth of Medicare/Medicaid sucking up the lion's share of our national healthcare dollars.

We agree that healthcare is broken in this country. We strongly DISAGREE that more government intervention is the answer. On the contrary, more government intervention, as espoused by the Democrats, would only bring rationing and even poorer healthcare for all but the most privileged.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

So, Senator Kerry, was Iraq a Threat or Not?

We can't figure out John Kerry. For several weeks now, he has been saying that Iraq was a "diversion" from the War on Terror, and was not an imminent threat, but now with the FALSE report (as outlined on this site previously) of missing high explosives he has been saying that Bush was guilty of gross incompetence for not securing these explosives, and they may have fallen into the hands of—terrorists! So which is it today, Mr. Flip-Flopping Kerry, was Iraq a threat, or not?

Here is another article showing the true gross incompetence: John Kerry.

A Vietnam Veteran for Bush (and he's a life-long Democrat)

We received an email from a reader with a link to a site run by a Vietnam veteran who pulled three tours of duty so that his two brothers would not have to go themselves. The rules in those days wouldn't allow brothers to be deployed to Vietnam at the same time, so this brave man went for them all. He was badly injured during his third tour. He is a life-long Democrat but is stronly supporting George W. Bush. His site is excellent, and we especially urge you read "Ashley's Story".

The link.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Economic SPIN

Fox News has a great article about the bias of the news media.

We can't do it justice, so read it here.

Attempted UN Intervention in the US Elections

The recent October Surprise from the left, the "missing" 380 tons of high-explosives MDX and RDX from the Al-Qaqaa weapons facility in Iraq, is a clear attempt by the UN to interfere and influence next week's US presidential elections.

The story first broke yesterday in the NY Times, citing a letter from the Iraqi interim government to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expressing concern about the missing high explosives. However, NBC News reported today that they had embedded reporters with the 101st Airborne Division when US forces first arrived at the Al-Qaqaa facility, three weeks into the war, and that while they found larger stockpiles of bombs, there was no sign of any of MDX or RDX.

The now clear fact that these highly explosive weapons had already disappeared from huge Al-Qaqaa complex, a site described by CNN in January of 2003 as belonging "to the Iraqi Military Industrialization Commission and was listed on a dossier of weapons of mass destruction facilities released by the British government last year.", is apparently lost on John Kerry, the Democrats, and the mainstream media, with the notable exception of NBC. Kerry was quick to jump on this now false story and continues today to deny the facts.

Even more disturbing than the left's continous disregard for the truth, is the fact that the UN, though the IAEA, have deliberately involved themselves in the US election is trying to discredit the Bush administration and boost the flagging Kerry campaign. Any American even considering voting for Kerry should think long and hard about a candidate who so strongly supports the UN, an agency who has proven over an over its utter uselessness.

One last comment on this subject: while the missing 380 tons of highly explosive material, that was intended, by the way, be used on Iraq's NUCLEAR weapons program (WMD's), is scary, to suggest as some on the left have, that the US has failed at securing WMD's (we thought Iraq didn't have any?), remember that those 380 tons pales in comparison to the over 400,000 tons of ordinance already destroyed or about to be destroyed.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

A Soldier's Blog from Iraq

Little Green Footballs has a link to a US soldier's blog who is stationed in Iraq. It is very interesting reading. An excerpt:

A quick touch on the headlines for today. As I sit and write this, explosions rock the area and we are unsure if it is outgoing or incoming. We have gotten used to it and we usually don't think twice about it.

I had a reader inform me of something I already knew about. Ramadan. I know that this month is supposed to be a month of charity, fasting and cleanliness, however, I see no charity in all of this. Five churches bombed this morning, one of them near us. Where is the charity in this? Car bomb kills troops in Iraq. Nope, not there either. Explosions rock central Baghdad. Still searching. Bombing, killing and violence seem to be the order of the day.

Also I wished to touch on the item regarding the soldiers who refused their mission because of their equipment. This is an extremely isolated incident, however black the mark on the military it may leave. The United States military is some of the best equipped and supplied forces in the world and there is absolutely no excuse for cowardace or using this excuse because of fear. Our platoon consists of at least 18 well equipped soldiers, 2 heavily armored HMMWVs, (I hate mine because I cannot see or hear) and 2 lighter armored HMMWVs. I prefer to ride in the lighter ones for they are faster, more mobile and I can see and hear anything that may be coming. The excuse given by at least one of the soldiers that refused the mission, is that some of their vehicles were deadlined (not mission capable). Well, genius, whose fault is that?? The operator, that is who.

Here is the link.

The George Soros Email Exchange

Dissecting Leftism today posts a link to an email exchange between George Soros and RayD of Davids Medienkritik. It is a long exchange, but well worth it. Mysteriously, the link to this exchange on Soros' website disappeared after it was posted. Apparently Mr. Soros doesn't like to be 'bested' on such matters.

Here is the link.

Monday, October 18, 2004

An Insider's View of Iraq

We came across this excellent site regarding Iraq and Iraqis, whose principle contributor was a senior advisor to Ambassador Bremmer in Iraq when the Provisional Coalition was in control. Mr. Moore was a pollster for the ambassador, and has keen insight into how the Iraqi people think about many subjects, as well as the Iraq situation in general.

The Truth About Iraq

The FY04 Federal Budget Numbers Are In

The financial health of the country is much better off than the mainstream media and the Democrats (not that there is any difference between the two) would have us believe.

Larry Kudlow writes in today's NRO that the picture is getting brighter, and tax cuts are the reason. Here is an excerpt:

And the Budget Says . . .
. . . the supply-siders were right all along.

Is there more sanity in the federal budget than people think?

The latest budget numbers closing out fiscal year 2004 show slower spending growth, stronger tax receipts, and a $413 billion deficit that came in about $100 billion less than the Office of Management and Budget predicted at the start of the year and $64 billion lower than the Congressional Budget Office estimate.

Overall, according the Treasury Department, tax receipts increased 5.5 percent in fiscal year 2004 compared to a 3.8 percent decline in fiscal year 2003. Income-tax withholdings gained 2.5 percent versus a loss of 2.2 percent in the prior year. Corporate tax collections exploded 43.7 percent on the shoulders of near-record corporate profits.

What’s going on? It’s clear: At lower marginal tax rates, the rising economy is throwing off a lot more tax revenues. Score one for the supply-siders.

Here is the article.

Some Unfiltered News from Iraq

A reader's email today regarding what is really happening on the ground in Iraq:

"Our 40 year old son, who is a 20 year retired Marine, is still over there in Baghdad. He was to be done with his contract the end of Sept but they couldn't get a replacement for him and was asked to stay until the end of this year which he has agreed to do. He has been there for over a year on a government contact that he took. He was able to be with us this summer for our family reunion in July at which time we helped him celebrate his big 40 birthday. He brought back pictures to show us where he is and what he does. Its all security so don't know much but he did have some great pictures to show us on his lap top that he brought back and I feel much better about him being there since I seen them. He is in the green zone and fairly safe (I think and Hope). We will be glad when he is back in the states. He too was telling us some of the good things that we are doing there and many we never hear about. It’s so much better than before so keep those military and non military that are there trying to do their jobs in your prayers. I think you'll get a good view of what's going on when you read this.

"Away" games are always preferable to "Home" games

This is one of the postings from a real Marine CI network (NMCI); reviewed within DoD, screened for classified info before allowed on the discussion board by the board moderators (also DoD). They’re legitimate postings from real people stationed over there.

Interesting reading.

Subject: [MCCIA] Report from a Marine Officer on duty in Iraq - - -A thought from Iraq - "Doom & Gloom about Iraq's future. I don't see it from where I'm sitting."[For those of you who haven't gotten my "Thoughts" before, I'm a Major in the USMC on the Multi-National Corps staff in Baghdad. The analysts and pundits who don't see what I see on a daily basis, in my opinion, have very little credibility to talk about the situation - especially if they have yet to set foot in Iraq. Everything Americans believe about Iraq is simply perception filtered through one's latent prejudices until you are face-to-face with reality. If you haven't seen, or don't remember, the John Wayne movie, The Green Berets, you should watch it this weekend. Pay special attention to the character of the reporter, Mr. Beckwith. His experience is directly related to the situation here. You'll have a different perspective on Iraq after the movie is over.]

The US media is abuzz today with the news of an intelligence report that is very negative about the prospects for Iraq's future. CNN's web site says, "[The] National Intelligence Estimate was sent to the White House in July with a classified warning predicting the best case for Iraq was 'tenuous stability' and the worst case was civil war." That report, along with the car bombings and kidnappings in Baghdad in the past couple days are being portrayed in the media as more proof of absolute chaos and the intransigence of the insurgency.

From where I sit, at the Operational Headquarters in Baghdad, that just isn't the case. Let's lay out some background, first about the "National Intelligence Estimate." The most glaring issue with its relevance is the fact that it was delivered to the White House in July. That means that the information that was used to derive the intelligence was gathered in the Spring - in the immediate aftermath of the April battle for Fallujah, and other events. The report doesn't cover what has happened in July or August, let alone September.

The naysayers will point to the recent battles in Najaf and draw parallels between that and what happened in Fallujah in April. They aren't even close. The bad guys did us a HUGE favor by gathering together in one place and trying to make a stand. It allowed us to focus on them and defeat them. Make no mistake, Al Sadr's troops were thoroughly smashed. The estimated enemy killed in action is huge. Before the battles, the residents of the city were afraid to walk the streets. Al Sadr's enforcers would seize people and bring them to his Islamic court where sentence was passed for religious or other violations. Long before the battles people were looking for their lost loved ones who had been taken to "court" and never seen again. Now Najafians can and do walk their streets in safety. Commerce has returned and the city is being rebuilt. Iraqi security forces and US troops are welcomed and smiled upon. That city was liberated again. It was not like Fallujah - the bad guys lost and are in hiding or dead.

You may not have even heard about the city of Samarra. Two weeks ago, that Sunni Triangle city was a "No-go" area for US troops. But guess what? The locals got sick of living in fear from the insurgents and foreign fighters that were there and let them know they weren't welcome. They stopped hosting them in their houses and the mayor of the town brokered a deal with the US commander to return Iraqi government sovereignty to the city without a fight. The people saw what was on the horizon and decided they didn't want their city looking like Fallujah in April or Najaf in August.

Boom, boom, just like that two major "hot spots" cool down in rapid succession. Does that mean that those towns are completely pacified? No. What it does mean is that we are learning how to do this the right way. The US commander in Samarra saw an opportunity and took it - probably the biggest victory of his military career and nary a shot was fired in anger. Things will still happen in those cities, and you can be sure that the bad guys really want to take them back. Those achievements, more than anything else in my opinion, account for the surge in violence in recent days - especially the violence directed at Iraqis by the insurgents. Both in Najaf and Samarra ordinary people stepped out and took sides with the Iraqi government against the insurgents, and the bad guys are hopping mad. They are trying to instill fear once again. The worst thing we could do now is pull back and let that scum back into people's homes and lives.

So, you may hear analysts and prognosticators on CNN, ABC and the like in the next few days talking about how bleak the situation is here in Iraq, but from where I sit, it's looking significantly better now than when I got here. The momentum is moving in our favor, and all Americans need to know that, so please, please, pass this on to those who care and will pass it on to others. It is very demoralizing for us here in uniform to read & hear such negativity in our press. It is fodder for our enemies to use against us and against the vast majority of Iraqis who want their new government to succeed. It causes the American public to start thinking about the acceptability of "cutting our losses" and pulling out, which would be devastating for Iraq for generations to come, and Muslim militants would claim a huge victory, causing us to have to continue to fight them elsewhere (remember, in war "Away" games are always preferable to "Home" games). Reports like that also cause Iraqis begin to fear that we will pull out before we finish the job, and thus less willing to openly support their interim government and US/Coalition activities. We are realizing significant progress here - not propaganda progress, but real strides are being made. It's terrible to see our national morale, and support for what we're doing here, jeopardized by sensationalized stories hyped by media giants whose #1 priority is advertising income followed closely by their political agenda; getting the story straight falls much further down on their priority scale, as Dan Rather and CBS News have so aptly demonstrated in the last week."

Kerry's Discharge from the Navy

Since John Kerry has made his Vietnam service such an important part of his
campaign for president, and his supporters have gone so hard after president
Bush for his service in the National Guard, we thought this article in the NY
Sun regarding his discharge very interesting.

Here is an excerpt:

An official Navy document on Senator Kerry's campaign Web site listed as Mr. Kerry's "Honorable Discharge from the Reserves" opens a door on a well kept secret about his military service.

The document is a form cover letter in the name of the Carter administration's secretary of the Navy, W. Graham Claytor. It describes Mr. Kerry's discharge as being subsequent to the review of "a board of officers." This in it self is unusual. There is nothing about an ordinary honorable discharge action in the Navy that requires a review by a board of officers.

According to the secretary of the Navy's document, the "authority of reference" this board was using in considering Mr. Kerry's record was "Title 10, U.S. Code Section 1162 and 1163. "This section refers to the grounds for involuntary separation from the service. What was being reviewed, then, was Mr. Kerry's involuntary separation from the service. And it couldn't have been an honorable discharge, or there would have been no point in any review at all. The review was likely held to improve Mr. Kerry's status of discharge from a less than honorable discharge to an honorable discharge.

Read the article here.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Kerry-Edwards Quotes on Iraq

Little Green Footballs has a fabulous link to many quotes from Kerry-Edwards on Iraq. It is clear again that Kerry-Edwards has flip-flopped on the war many times, but in the days and weeks leading up to the war they were supporters. Only after Howard Dean found success as an anti-war candidate did the Kerry Team change.

Here are the quotes.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

45 Million Uninsured?

Norm Weatherby posted yesterday on his site Quantum Thought-A Palette for Thinking about John Kerry and the Democratic spin machine's recent statements regarding the US Census Bureau's reporting that there are 45 million American's without health insurance.

Here is what he wrote:

45 Million Uninsured? In A Pig's Eye. Notice how Kerry/Edwards and the liberal media are flashing on the Census Bureau figures of "45 million uninsured Americans"?

There's only one little problem: It's a bold faced lie!

Consider that the Census Bureau admits that their figures include people who were between jobs and had no insurance for as little as one day! The average time was less than a week...and the Census Bureau counts them as not having insurance for the whole year! This figure of "transient unemployed" is 20 million. Counting them is an insult to our intelligence...something the government has practiced to perfection.

OK...45-20 million is 25 million.

Next consider that included in these Census figures is a figure that allows for "undocumented residents" (That's illegal immigrants folks, criminals.) Get that? Twelve million illegals don't have health insurance and that's supposed to be Bush's fault right? What kind of funny tobacco these people smoking? I biggest they return to their legal countries to obtain health care. Don't clog our statistics tables with their illegal presence.

25 million minus 12 million leaves 13 million US citizens without "Health Insurance".

Guess what folks? It's estimated that 6 million of these people actually qualify for Medicaid, various State medical programs and free county hospital plans like Dallas Parkland Hospital. The federal government has been trying to find ways to let these people know of this care availability and sign them up. So who's to blame because these people who are too lazy or stupid to sign up? This is like blaming me because some otherwise able bodied dolt is too stupid to put food in his mouth and starves to death.

13 minus 6 leaves....7 million.

7 million that have no " Health Insurance"...but guess what again? It's estimated that 60% of these people are in the upper income brackets and choose to be self -insuring or just don't want health insurance even though they can afford it. (Talk to a health insurance agent about this one. He sees it every day.)

That leaves 2.8 million people, too poor to afford health insurance and need ... what? Health insurance? Why health insurance? These people can just walk into any Emergency room in any hospital in the nation and all the care is free. That fact is posted conspicuously on the wall of every ER by Federal law! Or didn't you know that?

So when you hear Kerry /Edwards or other liberal cycloids quoting the 45 million figure understand that they figure you are to stupid or uncaring to search out and learn the real situation. That's someone you want for President?

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Economics, Jobs, and Politics

Donald Luskin, of Trend Macrolytics, writes in today's National Review Online a decisively complete dissection of Paul Krugman's recent column in the New York Times. He includes lots of footnoted detail that clearly shows how wrong the partisan Mr. Krugman is again regarding Kerry and Bush's policies and proposals on the taxes, the economy, and jobs.

Read Mr. Luskin's column here.

Economists J. Edward Carter & Cesar V. Conda also write in today's NRO an article titled, "368 Economists Against Kerrynomics".

Here is an excerpt:

Leading economists have a message for America: “John Kerry favors economic policies that, if implemented, would lead to bigger and more intrusive government and a lower standard of living for the American people.”
That was the conclusion released in
a statement Wednesday by 368 economists, including six Nobel laureates: Gary Becker, James Buchanan, Milton Friedman, Robert Lucas, Robert Mundell, and — the winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics — Edward C. Prescott. The economists warned that Sen. Kerry’s policies “would, over time, inhibit capital formation, depress productivity growth, and make the United States less competitive internationally. The end result would be lower U.S. employment and real wage growth.”

You can read the article here.

William Saffire's column today discusses in detail the French-damning Duelfer Report, as we discussed at length in several posts this and last week. We are constantly amazed at the difference between what the actual report says, and what is written about the report by the "fair and balanced" mainstream media.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

John Kerry's Family History

HundredPercenter has an interesting post today regarding John Kerry's family history.
(Link via Dissecting Leftism.)

Monday, October 11, 2004

Iraq's WMD Program

Claudia Rosette, of the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies, and the Hudson Institute, writes in today's National Review Online a scathing review of Saddam Hussein's WMD program and how Saddam was positioning Iraq for a post-sanctions build-up of WMD's. As reported here last week, the Duelfer Report outlines a chilling and outrageous corruption scandal involving the UN, and many of the countries most opposed to the war in Iraq.

Here is an excerpt:

"CIA chief weapons inspector Charles Duelfer may not have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, but he sure found information enough to blow the lid off the simmering scandal of the United Nations Oil-for-Food program. As it turns out, Oil-for-Food pretty much was Saddam Hussein's weapons program.
As Duelfer documents, Oil-for-Food allowed Saddam to replenish his empty coffers, firm up his networks for hiding money and buying arms, corrupt the U.N.'s own debates over Iraq, greatly erode sanctions and deliberately prep the ground for further rearming, including the acquisition of nuclear weapons. As set up and run by the U.N., Oil-for-Food devolved into a depraved and increasingly dangerous mockery of what was advertised by the U.N. as a relief program for sick and starving Iraqis.
The report notes that the start of Oil-for-Food, in 1996, marked the revival of Saddam's post-Gulf War fortunes. His regime amassed some $11 billion in illicit funds between the end of the Gulf War in 1991, and his overthrow by the U.S.-led Coalition in 2003. Most of that money flowed in from 1996-2003, during the era of Oil-for-Food. One might add that what allowed this dirty money to stack up was U.N. policy — urged along and overseen by Annan, in the name of aid — that allowed Saddam to import the equipment to revive Iraq's oil production, all of it accruing to Saddam. Saddam's regime had virtually no other source of income; there was no tax base. It was out of these oil flows, condoned (but not well metered) by the U.N., that Saddam derived virtually all income for the astounding roster of political bribery and illicit arms transactions detailed in this report."

Here is the whole article.

Friday, October 08, 2004

We Were Right to Go into Iraq

We have been studying the Duelfer Report on Iraq in more depth, and are now more convinced than ever that the United States and our allies were absolutely correct in going into Iraq. The decision to go in was based, in part, on what we now know to be faulty intelligence that Iraq had WMD's. At the time, of course, there was universal acceptance that Iraq HAD WMD's. The only disagreement was how to effectively deal with them.

On the one side were those who felt that "containment" was the correct approach, and on the other was the argument that only the use of armed forces could remove the threat. President Bush and Prime Minister Blair both felt that in the context of the post-9/11 world that the potential for state-sponsored terrorism, especially given a regime like Saddam's and his record on supporting terrorism, was too great a threat to leave to inspectors and diplomats. That no weapons have been found, and none are likely to be found, had been troublesome to us at the Lost-Tooth Society and to many others.

The Duelfer Report, however, makes clear (as outlined briefly in our post below) that Saddam had a very clear strategy:
  • Use the Oil for Food (OFF) program to line the pockets of politicians and diplomats from countries sympathetic to Iraq and thereby gain additional support, especially from countries with veto power in the UN Security Council.
  • By 'sort of' cooperating—albeit reluctantly—with the UN, he would work to have all the sanctions removed, while at the same time he was working to have in place all the pieces and people to quickly restart work on the WMD's, once the international scrutiny was removed.
  • To avoid appearing weak, Saddam also chose to put forth the illusion that he may very well have WMD's during this process.

The fatal flaw in his strategy was trying to avoid the appearance of weakness, mostly to feed his own ego, but probably also out of a concern that unfriendly neighbors might see weakness as an opportunity to strike. Had he instead chosen to open wide the doors of his country to all who wanted to see that he no longer possessed WMD's, his plan may have succeeded. Certainly the invasion undertaken by coalition forces would not have taken place.

Despite the loss of life on both sides of the conflict, removing Saddam from power, and stopping his plan to re-acquire WMD's was the right thing the do.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Iraq WMD Strategy

Little Green Footballs (see Interesting Links) posts today a link to the Duelfer Report, a report to the Director of the CIA by the Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq Survey Group, regarding Iraq's WMD's and Sadam Hussein's WMD strategy since the first Gulf War. The report is long, and LGF has an excellent summary of the allegations of the $60 billion Oil For Food (OFF) program and how it related to the possible resumption of Iraq's WMD program.

The Key Findings section is particularly interesting, as this excerpt from the report shows:

"Saddam Husayn so dominated the Iraqi Regime that its strategic intent was his alone. He wanted to end sanctions while preserving the capability to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction (WMD) when sanctions were lifted."

As reported by LGF, "How quickly could he have done this? We have an answer to this question too, because last month Saddam’s former nuclear chief, Mahdi Obeidi, wrote a piece for the New York Times [Sept 26, 2004] saying that the Iraqi nuclear weapons programs could have been reconstituted within months."

Read the Key Findings (PDF) here.

Iraq WMD Strategy (part 2)

James Tarantino's Best of the Web Today, appearing in the, has another excellent article regarding Iraq's WMD program and the Duelfer Report.
Read it here.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Federal Spending Analysis

The Economics division of the Lost-Tooth Society has been studying historical spending rates of the federal government, and wanted to post some of the preliminary findings. We have noticed many unsubstantiated complaints from the left regarding spending by the Bush administration, so we thought a review of the facts was warranted.

We began by looking at the Tax Foundation's website (see "Interesting Links"), and found an analysis of the president's FY'04 budget. It compares the 2004 budget with the historical averages of Post WW2 budgets, Bill Clinton's budget averages, George HW Bush's budget averages, and the averages of Ronald Reagan's budgets, all as a percent of Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. (GDP, for those of you who don't already know, is the measure of the whole of the national economy.)

Some of the key findings:
  • Total receipts (% of GDP) 17% (versus 17.9 post WW2)
  • Total outlays 19.7% vs 19.5 (post WW2)
  • Deficit 2.7% vs. 1.6%
  • Annual growth in receipts 2.7% vs. 2.9%
  • Annual growth in outlays 2.2% vs. 2.3%
  • Debt held by public 36.9% vs. 44%
  • Gross public debt 64.8% vs. 56%

It's even more interesting when GWB's 2004 budget is compared with Bill Clinton's. You can read the entire article and review the table here.


We also looked further into the details of federal spending between the Bush (43) and Clinton budgets to see how their spending patterns differed.

We compared Clinton's first four years to Bush (estimated 04), using Office of Management and Budget spreadsheets(Budget Authority by Agency) (constant $), and discovered that:

  • Clinton's spending on veteran's affairs increased by an average of 8%, Bush increased by 27%.
  • EPA under Clinton up 1%, under Bush the EPA saw an increase of 10%.
  • Education spending under Clinton increased 25%, but increased 58% by Bush.
  • Labor department budget authority under Clinton decreased 16%. Under Bush Labor Dept. spending increased 35%.
  • Small Business Administration spending under Clinton's watch decreased a whopping 59%, and increased under Bush by an equally eye-popping 6,125%!


We at the LTS are not very happy with GWB's large spending increases, but the data above clearly debunks the liberal view that he has gutted education and environmental spending. On the contrary, he is spending far more that Clinton did on the very programs they cry the loudest over.

You can find all the OMB spreadsheets here.