Kerry: Iraq Is Equivalent To Bay Of Pigs

If you could imagine the most foolish analogy anyone could use in terms of our efforts in Iraq, you couldn’t possibly beat the one John Kerry chose at a rally in Toledo, Ohio today. Kerry used his idol John Kennedy as an example of how Bush supposedly can’t admit mistakes, and equated Iraq to the disastrous betrayal at the Bay of Pigs:

Kerry recalled how President John Kennedy took the blame for the bungled Bay of Pigs operation in Cuba in 1961.
“Can you imagine President Kennedy … standing up and telling the American people he couldn’t think of a single mistake that he had made? When the Bay of Pigs went sour, John Kennedy had the courage to look America in the eye and say to America ‘I take responsibility, it is my fault.”‘
Challenging Bush, Kerry said: “Mr. President, it is long since time for you to start taking responsibility for the mistakes that you’ve made.”

Good grief. As a military and political historian, John Kerry is every bit as incompetent as he is a presidential candidate. The Bay of Pigs was a military and diplomatic disaster of the first order. Kerry’s favorite president arranged to have a large group of Cuban ex-pats invade Castro’s Cuba with the promise of air support and political cover. At the last moment, Kennedy chickened out and withdrew the promised Air Force cover, allowing Castro to annihilate the bewildered invading army and defeat the United States. The operation was widely condemned by our friends and foes alike, the latter for the attempt and the former for the incompetence with which it was carried out.
Further, Kennedy never did take complete responsibility, although he did make that speech. At first he tried to deny that the US had any part in it. Later on, he and his staff maintained — and still do, to this day — that Eisenhower had put the invasion plans in motion and that Republicans hamstrung Kennedy with political threats if he canceled it of being painted as “soft on Communism”.
I’d like to know how John Kerry sees the invasion of Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein as analogous to the Bay of Pigs fiasco. We haven’t lost as many men in the nineteen months since our invasion than were killed or captured in a single week at the Bay of Pigs. In Iraq, Bush resolutely pushed forward until our objective was achieved — the fall of Saddam — and insists on staying until a democratic and representative government is established. He didn’t chicken out and turn tail, even when the Left kept crying out that, in the words of Janeane Garofalo, we would be “doomed, doomed!” and tens of thousands of American soldiers would lie dead in the desert of Mesopotamia.
Only John Kerry, the cut-and-run candidate, could possibly compare the Bay of Pigs favorably to the remarkable victory in Iraq. It’s yet another example of Kerry hysteria, and another reason why Kerry cannot be trusted with the position of commander-in-chief.
UPDATE: Val Prieto shares his family’s connection to the Bay of Pigs betrayal and has a few eloquent and choice words for Senator Kerry.

Terror tape authenticated

According to the Drudge Report, the Al Qaeda video tape obtained by ABC in Pakistan has been authenticated by the CIA and FBI. Drudge reports:

ABCNEWS obtained the tape from a source in Waziristan, Pakistan over the weekend. The network has withheld airing it, initially citing concerns over its authenticity.
One senior federal official alleged ABCNEWS is now holding back from broadcasting any portion of the video out of fear it will be seen as a political move by the network during election week.
One ABC source, who demanded anonymity, said Thursday morning, the network was struggling to find a correct journalistic “balance.”
“This is not something you just throw out there while people are voting,” the ABC source explained.
A second ABC source told DRUDGE Thursday morning: “ABCNEWS has shared this tape with both the CIA and the FBI as part of our reporting process. ABC News is committed to accurate, credible and complete journalism and is applying the same scrutiny to this tape that we apply to all raw information. ABCNEWS continues to report this story aggressively.”

According to Drudge, the tape portrays a man with his face concealed by a headdress speaking with an American accent. The man warns, “The streets will run with blood,” and “America will mourn in silence” because they will be unable to count the number of the dead.
I concur with ABC’s decision not to immediately run with this story, waiting for the CIA and FBI to authenticate the tape. But if Matt Drudge is correct and it has been authenticated, ABC cannot play hide the ball from the American voters.

Abortion No Longer A Liability For The GOP?

The Washington Post runs a fascinating report today, analyzing its daily tracking poll on one of the issue points — the appointment of Supreme Court justices. In a revelation that challenges the conventional wisdom of gender politics, th Post reports that a narrow plurality puts more trust in George Bush to appoint SCOTUS justices than John Kerry:

The survey found that 49 percent of all likely voters surveyed said they had more confidence in the president to choose future Supreme Court justices while 42 percent favor Kerry — preferences that were sharply shaped by party identification. Three in four Democrats — 76 percent — believe Kerry would do a better job filling future vacancies while 89 percent of Republicans chose Bush. Political independents split equally between the two candidates. …
The gender gap on Supreme Court appointments is smaller for women but larger for men than it is on the overall vote, the survey suggests. Women are two percentage points more likely — 47 percent to 45 percent — to have more confidence in Kerry to fill court vacancies. Men trust Bush more than Kerry, 54 percent to 37 percent, a 17-point gap.

Traditionally, women have supported Democratic presidential candidates over the GOP, usually by wide margins; Gore topped Bush among women by eleven points in 2000. That gap usually gets explained by Republican policy stands on reproductive rights, especially abortion. However, in this election, Bush has essentially tied Kerry among women (some polls put Bush in a narrow lead).
Speculation about the cause of the shift usually centers on “security moms” — those who consider national security a more pressing issue than abortion. However, that doesn’t apply to a specific question about appointing Supreme Court justices, while abortion rights impact directly on it. Seeing no change among women supporting Bush tends to imply that abortion no longer carries the same strong backing it previously has with women. In fact, the gap between Bush and Kerry on this question is actually narrower than it is on general support overall for election. Having almost half of all women trust such an explicit right-to-life candidate more with judicial nominations is a paradigm shift of stunning scope.
Kerry has assured voters that he will not nominate any justice who does not support abortion rights, an explicit litmus test that was designed to bolster his sagging numbers with women. However, if the Post poll is any indicator, Kerry may be doing more damage than good among female voters with his pandering position on abortion.

Putin, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do

According to Bill Gertz of the Washington Times, Russian special forces troops moved many of Saddam Hussein’s weapons out of Iraq and into Syria in the weeks before the U.S. invasion:

John A. Shaw, the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology security, said in an interview that he believes the Russian troops, working with Iraqi intelligence, “almost certainly” removed the high-explosive material that went missing from the Al-Qaqaa facility, south of Baghdad.
“The Russians brought in, just before the war got started, a whole series of military units,” Mr. Shaw said. “Their main job was to shred all evidence of any of the contractual arrangements they had with the Iraqis. The others were transportation units.”

You get two guesses where the Russians shipped the goods. According to Mr. Shaw:

Most of Saddam’s most powerful arms were systematically separated from other arms like mortars, bombs and rockets, and sent to Syria and Lebanon, and possibly to Iran, he said.

Mr. Gertz further reports that the Iraqis didn’t just abandon the site after these shipments. The Al-Qaqaa facility was defended by Fedayeen Saddam, Special Republican Guard and other Iraqi military units until the US forces defeated them on or about 3 April.
The Russians weren’t just acting as UPS drivers, either.

A second defense official said documents on the Russian support to Iraq reveal that Saddam’s government paid the Kremlin for the special forces to provide security for Iraq’s Russian arms and to conduct counterintelligence activities designed to prevent U.S. and Western intelligence services from learning about the arms pipeline through Syria.
The Russian arms-removal program was initiated after Yevgeny Primakov, the former Russian intelligence chief, could not persuade Saddam to give in to U.S. and Western demands, this official said.

The Russians didn’t just spirit away some weapons haphazardly.

Documents reviewed by the official included itineraries of military units involved in the truck shipments to Syria. The materials outlined in the documents included missile components, MiG jet parts, tank parts and chemicals used to make chemical weapons, the official said.

Mr. Gertz concludes:

Defense officials said the Russians can provide information on what happened to the Iraqi weapons and explosives that were transported out of the country. Officials believe the Russians also can explain what happened to Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs.

Right. Sure they will explain. I’ll just wait here and report back . . . .
UPDATE: I had forgotten about this. Hat tip: The Corner.
ADDITIONAL REMARKS: This story makes the whole missing/partially non-existent explosive story and the Kerry instant talking points (take shoddy reporting and add water) look rather silly. While waiting for the Russians to ‘fess up, I’ll also be waiting for the MSM to turn its attention to this bombshell. Maybe I should order a pizza . . . might be awhile . . . like 3 November.

Iran Sees John Kerry As Monty Hall

According to Reuters, the Iranian mullahcracy not-so-secretly looks forward to a John Kerry presidency, thanks in part to Kerry’s “Let’s Make A Deal” rhetoric in regards to Iran’s nuclear ambitions:

Iranian officials like to portray U.S. presidential elections as a choice between bad and worse but there is little doubt they would prefer Democratic challenger John Kerry to win next week.
Since President Bush took office the Islamic state has been dubbed an “axis of evil” member, seen U.S. forces mass on its borders in Iraq and Afghanistan and faced concerted U.S. accusations that it has a covert atomic arms program.

In other words, Bush’s foreign policy regarding Iran is firmly rooted in reality. Iran has long been the strongest support for Islamofascist terror groups, directly funding Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad in Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank/Gaza Strip territories. It had links to al-Qaeda, although no one is sure whether or not those were operational links or strictly diplomatic contacts yet. More ominously, the oil-rich country has pursued nuclear technology which it claims it needs for domestic energy production — at the same time it launched its new ballistic missile program, which now can hit targets 1,200 miles away.
Kerry, on the other hand, proposes more appeasement:

But the Massachusetts senator’s emphasis on a multilateral foreign policy approach and hints he would negotiate with Iran over its nuclear program appeal to the country’s bazaar-rooted instincts to bargain its way out of a crisis.
“Logically speaking, everything points to Iran supporting Kerry,” said Tehran-based political analyst Mahmoud Alinejad.
“If Bush is re-elected it will be on a platform of a radical strategy to democratize the Middle East, if necessary by force. At least what Kerry has hinted at provides the possibility for Iran to get out of this deadlock, to buy some more time.”

The question is, time for what? Enough time to build its nuclear devices so that it can effectively deter any attempt to stop its spread of Islamic terrorism? The Iranian mullahcracy is deeply dangerous to the region and to the security of the West. Giving them more time to perfect and implement their strategies does not sound like an intelligent foreign policy; it smells of surrender. The Iranians can smell it from half a world away. Hopefully, Americans will notice the stench before November 2nd.

Florida Unions, Attorneys Argue Minorities Are More Incompetent

People need to understand the difference between disenfranchisement and incompetence in terms of voting and registration. Disenfranchisement results from direct government action in denying valid voters the right to cast their ballots. Incompetence is a potential voter who isn’t bright or thorough enough to fill out a ballot or registration card correctly. Florida unions and attorneys were disappointed yesterday to find this out in federal court, where they offered the odd and specious argument that minorities are more incompetent than others:

Florida election officials will not be required to process incomplete voter registration forms for the presidential election, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King said the three prospective voters for whom the lawsuit was filed did not have the legal standing to pursue the case, which was backed by the AFL-CIO. … Attorneys with the Washington-based Advancement Project said the plaintiffs would appeal by Friday. The group argued that the rejections disqualified more than 14,000 people across the state, with a disparate effect on minorities. Nearly 45 percent of the challenged forms in one county, Duval, came from blacks.

It makes no difference if the registrations came from blacks, whites, Greens, or left-handed mauvish CPAs. If the registrant didn’t complete the form correctly, they need to refile their registrations. Part of voting is the responsibility to make sure one is registered to vote properly. With registration requirements as lax as they are these days, how much of a hurdle does that present?
Playing the race card is especially despicable and condescending. Does the AFL-CIO really intend to argue to an appellate judge than minorities are inherently unable to take responsibility for their own voter registration? Perhaps they will tell the judge that filling out a form with check boxes presents too difficult a challenge for the African-Americans in Duval County, an argument that minorities throughout Florida should detest. It’s nothing more than an incitement for Democrats to arftificially undermine the results of the election.
If a voter of any ethnicity cannot be trusted to properly fill out a voter registration card, especially with the relaxed requirements now in place, we surely cannot be better off by allowing them to pull the lever on November 2nd.

Happy (Belated) Blogiversary To The Commissar!

I missed this when it occurred, but it’s never too late to sa yHappy Blogiversary … or at least I hope not! The Commissar at Politburo Diktat celebrated his first blogiversary, or as he put it, the October Revolution. The Commissar has been a great friend to me in blogging, and has developed the Politburo Diktat into not only one of the best satirical political blogs but also one of the best for flat-out analysis. Both of us started at the same time, and we both have had tremendous success, and he’s sent a lot of encouragement (and readers) my way.
All of the proletariat salutes you, Commissar!

NY Times Asks The Wrong Commander

The New York Times busily attempts to shore up its sagging reputation by tracking down the commander of the 101st Airborne unit that arrived at the Al Qaqaa weapons bunker in April 2003. Col. Joseph Anderson tells Jim Dwyer and David Sanger that his troops did not inspect the bunkers at Al Qaqaa, but that’s no longer the issue:

White House officials reasserted yesterday that 380 tons of powerful explosives may have disappeared from a vast Iraqi military complex while Saddam Hussein controlled Iraq, saying a brigade of American soldiers did not find the explosives when they visited the complex on April 10, 2003, the day after Baghdad fell.
But the unit’s commander said in an interview yesterday that his troops had not searched the site and had merely stopped there overnight.
The commander, Col. Joseph Anderson, of the Second Brigade of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, said he did not learn until this week that the site, Al Qaqaa, was considered sensitive, or that international inspectors had visited it before the war began in 2003 to inspect explosives that they had tagged during a decade of monitoring.

First of all, the issue is whether they secured the site and the ingress/egress to it, since the argument from the Times and IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei has been that lax security on the part of Americans led to 380 tons of materiel being looted. Second of all, two contemporaneous reports show that the 3ID had already investigated the Al Qaqaa site and found nothing under IAEA seal. The CBS report — the Times’ reporting partner on this story — makes clear that the 3ID knew that the site had been suspected of WMD production and/or storage; the Fox report confirms the same information and gives even greater detail. Both articles were published on April 4, 2003, six days before Col. Anderson showed up at Al Qaqaa.
The Times continues to flail desperately to keep from drowning, but like anyone who panics in deep water, they’re doing more damage than good. It’s now clear that Sanger and Dwyer have no clue as to which American military units showed up first at Al Qaqaa, even though the information obviously exists in Lexis-Nexis and probably could be found through Google. Hell, their CBS partners wrote one of the stories, and it still hasn’t occured to either to read the earlier reports.
This demonstrates the desperation that the mainstream media — CBS and the New York Times in particular — feel about the election and their fading impact on it. Journalistic incompetence can’t explain all of the elements of this debacle; editors supposedly exist to keep this from happening, but just like Rathergate, the editors appear to be up to their eyeballs in the muck. For instance, 60 Minutes intended to air this bit of yellow journalism two days before the election, interesting timing for a news organization supposedly dedicated to truth. If the danger to America and its military forces is so acute, why wait a full week to report it?
The American media have plenty to answer for at the end of this election cycle. When the Paper of Record and Edward R. Murrow’s news organization both reveal themselves as whores for the Democrats, the entire industry that takes their cues from them becomes suspect.

Surprise! Media Treated Bush Worse Than Kerry In The Stretch

Editor and Publisher reports that an independent study of the media shows that George Bush got more than twice the negative coverage than John Kerry did in October, and that only one in seven stories reported about Bush cast him in a positive light:

A new study for the non-partisan Project for Excellence in Journalism suggests that in the first two weeks of October, during the period of the presidential debates, George W. Bush received much more unfavorable media coverage than Sen. John Kerry.
In the overall sample (which included four newspapers, two cable news networks and the four leading broadcast networks), more than half of all Bush stories were negative in tone, during this period. One-quarter of all Kerry stories were negative, according to the study. …
In the final accounting, 59% of stories that were mainly about Bush told a mainly negative story, while 25% of Kerry stories played out that way. One in three stories about Kerry were positive, one in seven for Bush.

Editor and Publisher downplays any presumed media bias, saying that part of the negativity related to Bush’s performance in the debates and from continuing violence in Iraq. However, the reporting that pushed the idea that Bush lost all three debates when only the first seemed to favor Kerry (until the “global test” line started resonating) demonstrates the bias inherent in the media as well. Regarding Iraq, the media covers the violence well but hardly gives any coverage at all to the massive rebuilding effort that the US has made throughout the entire country. “If it bleeds, it leads” — that’s SOP, but in Iraq it gives a very distorted view of the work the Administration has done there. It would be difficult to accept that some bias is not at work in those editorial decisions as well.
Newspapers tended to be the worst — their coverage ran 46% negative overall, as opposed to 28% for the broadcast networks and 30% for cable news shows. Compare all of those numbers to the 59% negative rating for President Bush, and the notion that bias plays a small role begins to appear ridiculous. It’s supposed to be a coincidence that when covering the President, these outlets suddenly get twice as negative as they do with John Kerry? Doubtful.

CBS Reported Suspicious Powder At Al Qaqaa In April 2003

Alert CQ reader Samuel Silver sent me this article from the archives of CBS News — the same organization that helped prepped NYTrogate with the New York Times — which shows that the Third Infantry Division had reached Al Qaqaa and discovered thousands of vials of a mysterious powdered explosive by April 3, 2003 (coincidentally, my birthday):

U.S. troops found thousands of boxes of white powder, nerve agent antidote and Arabic documents on how to engage in chemical warfare at an industrial site south of Baghdad. But a senior U.S. official familiar with initial testing said the materials were believed to be explosives.
Col. John Peabody, engineer brigade commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, said the materials were found Friday at the Latifiyah industrial complex just south of Baghdad. … The facility is part of a larger complex known as the Latifiyah Explosives and Ammunition Plant al Qa Qaa [emph mine — CE].

Troops of the 3ID discovered thousands of boxes, each with three vials of white powder, the form in which the explosive agents that the IAEA claim went missing were stored. From this description, it sounds as if the material left at Al Qaqaa would have only been samples or starter materials, as storing 380 tons of powdered explosive in vials would have taken most of Baghdad to store.
Nevertheless, the contemporaneous CBS report showed that the 3ID knew what they had at Al Qaqaa and did more than just a cursory look around the joint to go sightseeing. They suspected that the facility held WMD or chemical-weapons manufacturing capability. A bottle labeled “tabun,” a nerve agent, was found with a small amount of the chemical inside. The troops also discovered atropine stored at the bunker, an antidote for nerve agents, making them very suspicious of the shells stored at Al Qaqaa.
With all of the pressure on the Bush administration to find WMD, does anyone seriously think for a moment that they left Al Qaqaa without checking for UNSCOM and/or IAEA seals? From the description that CBS gave at the time, the Army took a very close look at the materiel at Al Qaqaa:

The senior U.S. official, based in Washington and speaking on condition of anonymity, said the material was under further study. The site is enormous and U.S. troops are still investigating it for potential weapons of mass destruction, the official said.
“Initial reports are that the material is probably just explosives, but we’re still going through the place,” the official said. …
The facility had been identified by the International Atomic Energy Agency as a suspected chemical, biological and nuclear weapons site. U.N. inspectors visited the plant at least nine times, including as recently as Feb. 18.

The idea that various Army units showed up at the weapons facility and strolled around a few minutes before moving up the road to Baghdad, leaving the lights on and the front door unlocked, looks more and more ridiculous. The Army knew very well what it had found, and it searched the bunkers carefully looking for the most dangerous and high-priority items.
Shame on CBS for not even checking its own archives in order to research their hit piece on Bush. Shame also on the NY Times for not reviewing the embeds for the units in the area during the invasion to verify the contemporaneous reporting. Even if one wants to write a hit piece, doing the proper research should be a basic part of the job.
UPDATE: Several CQ readers also found this story at Fox from April 4, 2003:

U.N. weapons inspectors went repeatedly to the vast al Qa Qaa complex — most recently on March 8 — but found nothing during spot visits to some of the 1,100 buildings at the site 25 miles south of Baghdad.
Col. John Peabody, engineer brigade commander of the 3rd Infantry Division, said troops found thousands of 2-by-5-inch boxes, each containing three vials of white powder, together with documents written in Arabic that dealt with how to engage in chemical warfare.
Initial reports suggest the powder is an explosive, but tests are still being done, a senior U.S. official said. If confirmed, it would be consistent with what the Iraqis say is the plant’s purpose, producing explosives and propellants.

Again, it appears that the 3ID performed much more than a cursory search and came up with laboratory samples of the HMX and/or RDX, but not the massive amounts the IAEA claimed was stored at Al Qaqaa. Fox reported that the Army had plenty of suspicion about that site and thought it likely that the Iraqis had either manufactured or stored WMD there.