Saturday, March 13, 2004


Europe is in now. That's what 3/11 means. They thought they could straddle it, let the storm blow by. But it just blew up in Madrid and every member state of the EU understands that Madrid is Rome is Berlin is Amsterdam is Paris is London is New York.

As a lot of people in the US have been saying for a long time, this isn't terrorism, this is a world war. On one side is a death cult that seeks global domination. On the other is democratic capitalism and what historians call "western and oriental civilizations." Know this about the death cult: the minute they get nuclear devices they will use them. In major urban areas. The minute they get aerosol small pox, they will use it. At airports and train stations and malls. These people worship death. It is their true religion.

Killing them is now the job of every western and oriental government. Every last one of them. The UN probably won't join us in this pre-emptive war against terrorism. But the EU will be along shortly. Eight million people in Spain didn't take to the streets because they were "traumatized," as one of the nitwit news channels put it. They took to the streets because they were furious about what happened in Madrid. Every politician in the EU understood the ramifications.

Game on. The game is kill every terrorist that walks.

Where The Evidence Leads

Stratfor reports that the evidence gathered in Madrid points away from ETA. The first two paragraphs of the Stratfor report are worth quoting in full:

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar continued to insist March 12 that ETA is to blame for the most devastating attacks in his country's history. However, Spanish explosives experts examined an unexploded bomb found inside a backpack late March 11 and concluded the device was not manufactured by ETA bombers.

Within hours of the attack, European and Russian diplomatic and security sources told Stratfor that Islamist militants were the likeliest suspects. Those suspicions now have hardened. A highly placed U.S. source told Stratfor on March 12 that U.S. intelligence believes the attacks were carried out either by groups associated with al Qaeda or by al Qaeda sympathizers. The source confirmed that U.S. intelligence agencies are actively helping the Spanish government search for the guilty party.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Umbrellas In The Rain

Hundreds of thousands of them, as Spaniards take to the streets.

"To defend these causes the Government asks Spaniards to demonstrate tomorrow in the streets of Spain. Under the slogan "With the victims, with the Constitution, for the defeat of terrorism" demonstrations have been called in all Spaniard cities tomorrow Friday at seven in the evening. I wish those demonstrations to be as overwhelming as the pain we feel today, as civic as our patriotism that makes us feel solidarity with all those that suffer the consequences of terrorism's actions."

-- Prime Minister Jose Marie Aznar

Spain, Updated

This is a good end-of-day report from Reuters on the status of the rail bombings investigation and the political ramifications.

Stolen Dynamite

From Startfor's news wire (subscription required):

Spanish officials said material used in the explosives in Madrid was dynamite. They also said the dynamite was of the same type previously associated with Basque separatist group ETA and is believed to be linked to a 2003 dynamite theft in France that Spanish authorities suspected was carried out by ETA.

We won't know for a while who was behind it. But the JUS story does seem a bit fishy.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

Cell Phones Ringing

This is terrorism:

The bodies of the dead, some with their cellphones ringing unanswered as frantic relatives tried to contact them, were carried away by rescue workers. The wounded, faces bloodied, sat on curbs as buses were pressed into service as ambulances.

One firefighter said he saw 70 bodies along a platform at El Pozo station, just east of downtown Madrid. One corpse had been blown onto the roof.

A total of 10 bombs exploded in a 10-minute span along nine miles of the commuter line - running from Santa Eugenia to the Madrid hub of Atocha - killing 182 people and injuring more than 900, Interior Minister Angel Acebes said.

Police found and detonated three other bombs.

-- from The Associated Press report on the bombings today in Spain.


This massacre in Spain doesn't look to me like the ETA's work. It looks to me like the work of Al Qaeda. No one knows right now who did it. It matters a lot who did.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Scared of Crooked Liars?

Let's go straight to AP reporter Mike Glover's "nut" graph:

Earlier Wednesday in Chicago, Kerry toughened his comments about his GOP critics after a supporter urged him to take on Bush. "Let me tell you, we've just begun to fight," Kerry said. "We're going to keep pounding. These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen. It's scary."

Is Senator Kerry becoming Howard Dean? What in the world is he going to say in September? And October? By way of contrast, I offer you President Clinton's 1996 acceptance speech to the Democratic National Convention in Chicago:

First, let us consider how to proceed. Again I say the question is no longer who's to blame, but what to do.

I believe that Bob Dole and Jack Kemp and Ross Perot love our country, and they have worked hard to serve it. It is legitimate, even necessary, to compare our record with theirs, our proposals for the future with theirs. And I expect them to make a vigorous effort to do the same.

But I will not attack. I will not attack them personally or permit others to do it in this party if I can prevent it. (Applause.)

My fellow Americans, this must be -- this must be a campaign of ideas, not a campaign of insults. The American people deserve it. (Applause.)


The great thing about polling these days is that if you don't like the numbers you're reading, just wait until numbers more to your liking come along. A little birdie reports that the new NBC News/WSJ poll, which will be released tonight, shows Bush doing better than the Gallup Poll showed him doing a couple of days ago. Ellisblog therefore officially drops Gallup and proclaims NBC/WSJ as the most accurate of all polling outfits.

The Shadow Campaign

The story of the Democratic 527s is here. Having spent years and years fighting for passage of "campaign finance reform" (or the infringement of political speech, if you want to get snarky about it), Democrats are now doing everything they can to circumvent the very reforms they just insisted were essential regulatory additions to the American political process.

To call this Clintonian would be unfair to the Ghost of Chappaqua. He was never this brazenly hypocritical. The story has to be read to be believed. You can't make this stuff up.

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Peer Pressure and the Press

Republicans are amazed by the disparity in the news coverage of Senator Kerry and President Bush. As well they might be. Kerry's triple back-flips on virtually every issue are "explained" in The New York Times and The Washington Post as the products of a "nuanced" mind at work. President Bush's straightforward assertions are portrayed as the lies of an ill-advised moron. What's going on here?

Some of what is going on here is classic honeymoon stuff; you get some free spin after you lock up the Democratic nomination. Another piece is simple front-running; politicians who are ahead in the polls get better coverage than those who are behind. And some of this is simply liberal wish fulfillment thinking; if he's anything like how we describe him then maybe we can learn to like him.

Senator Kerry is, as most everyone who knows anything about politics knows, an insufferably arrogant and self-involved bore. The press know this better than most, since they've had to cover him for what has seemed, to them, like an eternity. Yet something is holding them back.

That something is peer pressure. First of all, understand that Democratic campaign operatives and members of the press see themselves as flip sides of a coin. They share the same values, they're ideologically in tune, they socialize together, they both advance the greater good, each in his or her own way. Occasionally, reporters act badly and go off on unproductive tangents. Democrats are always amazed by this and teach seminars at places like the Kennedy School to remind the media of their higher obligations.

In the main however, the two work hand in glove. Your average New York Times reporter sees a Democratic operative as his or her ally in the world. That same reporter knows a handful of "good Republicans," but assumes confidently that all others are hopeless reactionaries.

The synergy of journalists and Democratic campaign operatives suffered something of a breakdown in 2000. One of the loudest complaints of the Gore campaign was that the vice president's traveling campaign press corps treated him "unfairly." The charge seems almost quaint now, in light of what has been said about President Bush. But the memory of Gore's "unfair" treatment by the press corps is very much alive inside the Kerry campaign (and amongst major Democratic players in general) today.

The message from these aggrieved Democrats to the press is that the press cannot make the "Gore mistake" again. The last time it led to Bush (which almost all of them view as the political equivalent of Three Mile Island). If it happens this time, it will lead to Bush and as many as three new Bush-appointed Supreme Court Justices. A truly catastrophic event, if you're a liberal, which they all are.

Because of this peer pressure, the press coverage of Kerry so far has been remarkably solicitous, especially when one remembers that most reporters basically share Mr. Kaus's view of the man.

Can it hold? Or will the peer pressure spell eventually crack under torturous exposure to the Brooding Botox-ed Brahmin? Eight months is a long time. A very, very, very long time.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

Blamed For Everything That Goes Wrong

An e-mail from a friend in the US Army:

Did anybody see NewsFirst International on Tuesday night?. I tuned in at the end of a report from Iraq so I didn't get all the details, but the reporter was visiting a U.S. Combat Support Hospital and talking to the patients and staff. Typical stuff, but with a positive view. (I think the reporter is a Canadian, but I didn't get his name) At the end of his report he covered the arrival of helicopter bringing in another patient, but in this instance the patient was not a soldier but a young (about 4 years old) Iraqi girl. She suffered an accident at home and was burned by boiling water on 30% of her body. The Iraqi doctors reportedly told the parents there was nothing they could do except send her home to die. Somehow, her parents got her to the Americans and that is where the broadcast ended. As the camera showed the girl on the operating table the reporter closed with the following words "… somehow she was brought to the Americans. Blamed for everything that goes wrong. Relied on to make everything right." I share this because that is not only a great turn of phrase, but an excellent summation of our role in Iraq.