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Saturday, October 20, 2001

Colin Powell, the Squeamish Loser
Colin Powell has declared that after we defeat the Taliban, that he wants them to be a part of a government we leave behind.

This may sound heretical to some but we need to get rid of that squeamish loser, Colin Powell.
I admit, I've never liked Colin Powell. When I was in the Marine Corps, he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He was nakedly ambitious, overtly political, and I never trusted him. He transformed the military into a "purple suited" joint department that emphasized bureaucracy over combat efficiency.
Then he became the leading figure in the war in the Persian Gulf and is the man primarily responsible for botching it up. Most people don't recall how he thought that a large military action was a bad plan. He wanted to use economic sanctions against Hussein. He kept doing his best to steal the glory from the on-scene commander, General Norman Schwarzkopf, who did an amazing job of motivating, leading, and controlling the military forces on scene. Never before has a desk bound general like Colin Powell been given so much credit for a field army's actions. Powell was so successful at stealing the glory that most people consider him the man who defeated Saddam Hussein rather than the man who prevented his defeat. If Powell had his way, we'd still be trying to talk Hussein into leaving Kuwait. Powell didn't want to fight Hussein, and after he was over-ruled and we fought the war, Powell is the man who saved Hussein from destruction.

It's even appropriate to say that by stopping Schwarzkopf in the middle of winning the war, that Powell caused the rise of the Taliban and the escalation of anti-American terror. If we had destroyed the Baath party and installed a democratic republic in Iraq, the people of Iraq would be more prosperous, we'd have cheaper oil, and we'd have a stronger influence over Iran and the other nutty nations in the region. We spent a lot of money in that war and got nothing out of it except a more dangerous world.

Powell is the man who allowed Saddam Hussein to remain in power after we spent billions to conquer him and now he wants to keep the Taliban in power.

So now why I am bringing all this up? I read today that Powell, now in the position of Secretary of State, has announced that he thinks that the government we install in Afghanistan should contain "moderate" elements of the Taliban!!

The Taliban wants to kill Americans for no other reason than that they hate us, and he is afraid to hurt their feelings? Should we have allowed "moderate" Nazis to retain power in Germany after WWII? The Taliban execute women for public sport and Powell thinks they should be allowed a voice in the government we set up? We've got to remove Powell from our government, he is not only embarrassing, he is dangerous. Colin "Squeamish" Powell is not, never has been, and cannot become a leader. He is too much of a wheeling and dealing politician and he is once again jeopardizing the safety of our nation through his unwillingness or inability to set aside his squeamishness at destroying and controlling an enemy.

We need a man who is unafraid to kill to be our Secretary of State. We need men of good character in our government who can be trusted to install a government in Iraq and Afghanistan, (and someday in Iran) that supports the same freedoms that we enjoy here. Freedom is not a concept peculiar to our nation. All people deserve it, and if we want peace, we must ensure that others are free to prosper. A prosperous people is a peaceful people.

All nations of the world should be free, and all people deserve freedom. We can't make this happen for all nations, but once we go to the trouble and expense of conquering a nation, we have a moral obligation to leave behind a government that respects the people's freedom. We also have an obligation to ensure that we leave behind a government that is friendly to us.

Colin Powell's call to leave the Taliban in power is not only childish, but it is dangerous. It is high time that Americans wake up and put this petty politician in the job he is best suited for: retirement.

Saturday, October 13, 2001

War on Terrorism?
I'd like to point out two issues regarding our "war on terrorism" that are mostly being ignored by the popular sentiment in this country: the arrogance of trying to define another's religion for him, and the failure to define our enemy and what constitutes his defeat.

First, it is amazing how our President and leader, George Bush, has repeatedly told us that bin Laden and his ilk do not believe in "true" Islam.
How arrogant, and how wrong! This is an important point because it masks what we're really facing.
Do you call your Protestant friends and tell them that they aren't really Christians? Are Seventh Day Adventists really Christians? (Well, according to the BATF and the FBI they aren't, but that's another story.)

Do you have the gall to tell an Orthodox Jew that only the Conservative Jews are really Jews? Do the Sfardic Jews have more legitimacy than the Ashkenazic Jews?

Freedom of Religion is an important principle in this great nation. It implies that a person's beliefs are his and no one has the right to define his beliefs for him. If a man wishes to believe in Islam according to its ancient recipe like the Taliban do, we haven't the ability to change him. We should make no mistake, no matter how benevolent and intelligent Islam has been in the past and still is for many today, it has also been interpreted to be very violent and oppressive at many times in its history and by many today.
This point is very important because it highlights the only proper remedy for this violent set of beliefs. Since we cannot change their beliefs, we must kill those who believe it. A person has freedom of religion, but he also has responsibility, a responsibility that transcends law, religion or his own existence, to not oppress others, or attack others without just cause. When a religion treats women as sub-human, holds public executions of these women for sport, and melts skyscrapers, it has ceased to be a protected religion.

All of the Taliban, and their co-religionists, which are distinct from some benevolent forms of Islam, must be killed, their religion must cease to exist. The only way to kill a belief is to kill all those who believe that way.

My second point, and perhaps more important to us, is when will this "war on terrorism" be defined?

We have national leaders clamoring for more and more curtailment of our freedoms for the duration of this war, but no explanation as to when we should regain these freedoms. The Bush administration has been running roughshod over the Congress and has used federal agencies to restrict our movements. The FAA has even more useless questions to ask us when we wish to travel. We have been told that our right to know what is going on is no longer important.

These restrictions may be very appropriate. But when will we return to the rights we had before? We have been promised that this will be a long war, and it will continue until terrorism is erradicated. How will we know when this has been completed? I don't mind restricting my activities for the war, it's only practical, but I want to know very clearly when my freedom, won by the blood of great Americans over two hundred years ago, will be restored. Otherwise, we may be losing our freedom permanently due to the vagueness of our war aims.

So far, the only thing Bush has objected to is the establishment of a national ID card, for which I respect him. But he needs to further establish our trust of him by ending the farce that this is a "different" war. It is no different than any other war. There are people who have attacked us, and their power must be destroyed. We must identify who they are and stop pussy footing around calling a spade a spade. Those who are our enemies must die, and the religion that fuels their fervor against us must be eradicated. We know who they are. The formality as to whether they are a recognized government or not is irrelevent. If they control a people who would injure us, they are sufficiently identified.

Some have alluded to a concern that we must ensure that other nations support us, especially Arabic or Muslim nations. It is the challenge of leadership to not be stymied by lesser peoples. Britain is behind us, as are other nations. If others do not support us, we shall still be victorious. We must never forget that we are powerful, all other nations in contrast are weak. They will never all be against us, unless we fail to destroy those that attack us individually. Bush started with big talk about how those not being for us are against us, for which he was rightly praised, but his actions do not speak quite so forcefully. I hope that I am wrong, and that he isn't slipping into any form of appeasement to any other nation anywhere. There is a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to love and a time to hate, a time of war and a time of peace. We are now in the time to kill, and we are obliged to do so, with or without any others. Let them not stand in our way!

We are a good people, a great nation, and lovers of freedom. We need no excuses for the defense of our country. We need not be ashamed to attack our attackers. We need not wince at naming our enemies. We must defeat them to preserve freedom for all people, because we are still the model of freedom for the world and if we lose our freedom from such vague definitions of who our enemies are and what constitutes their defeat, we will be condemning our future and the world's future to a return to how things were before George Mason penned the Bill of Rights; a world where people were subordinate to government rather than a government subordinate to its people.

George Bush, tell us who our enemy is, and before taking our freedoms, tell us when we will have them back again! We are willing to sacrifice, but we want your promise of a very clear point when our sacrifices will no longer be necessary.

In the meantime, I'm getting into good shape so I can join the Marine Corps again in case things get bad enough that they'll take me back.