Mark Steyn: “[Obama’s] arguing …if we ease up on the waterboard, …they won’t use the rusty scimitar when they’re decapitating [our troops]

You really ought to read both President Obama’s speech and Dick Cheney’s speech from yesterday on national security. I always advise reading speeches because it you can cut through all the meaningless fawning bull-crap like, “oh – what great oratory skills presenter X has…,” and get down to the content presented. In my view – once speech consisted of high sounding theoretics – while the other seemed practical and realistic – but that’s just me. You can read them and draw your own conclusions.

Here is some audio of Mark Steyn and Hugh Hewitt discussing some of the aspects of Obama’s speech:

Here is the transcript of the audio. I have emphasized certain parts.

Read the full interview – or listen to the full Podcast

HH: Watched the extensive news coverage of President Obama and Dick Cheney hurling thunderbolts at each other. And to discuss that and other matters, joined by Columnist To the World, Mark Steyn. You can read all of Mark’s work at www.steynonline.com. Mark, just generally, quite an extraordinary day on the national security front with these battling giants of the national security world.

MS: Yes. I thought the President’s speech was revolting and contemptible, and one that he really should not have given. In a sense, the Vice President, Dick Cheney, all he had to do, really, was say well look, whatever you feel about these policies, for eight years, they worked, whereas during the 90s, we had attacks on American targets routinely throughout the 1990s, leading up to 9/11. Now obviously, there’s an element of luck in that as the IRA famously said to Mrs. Thatcher, you have to be lucky every day, we only have to be lucky once. But when you’ve been lucky for eight years, I think clearly you’re doing something right. And there was no need for Obama to give this speech, and he should not have given it.

HH: He’s clearly feeling very defensive. And Dick Cheney’s speech today was so sober, so detailed, so specific in its rebuttal of the airy claims about what’s going on in the world that I think it leaves a huge mark. But let’s listen to the worst two passages among many from the Obama speech, cut number 12A:

BHO: All too often, our government made decisions based on fear rather than foresight. But all too often our government trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions. Instead of strategically applying our power and our principles, too often we set those principles aside as luxuries that we could no longer afford. And during this season of fear, too many of us, Democrats and Republicans, politicians, journalists and citizens, fell silent.

HH: Mark Steyn, this is a deeply dishonest statement. It lacks the specificity that would allow people to rebut it, and it is an attempt to give himself credit for that which he does not deserve, the national security success of the last eight years, and to diminish that success.

MS: Yes, I think that’s true. I mean, let me say first of all, I think it’s entirely improper for him to be giving this speech. It’s far more specific, if you look for example at Jimmy Carter’s famous speech, again, saying that, I think in 1977, saying we were all far too hung up about communism, and we had “an inordinate fear” of it, even that speech, as ridiculous as that was, was not a specific assault on the immediate preceding government. Well, what happened on January 20th was not some coup, was not the successful conclusion of a war of liberation. It’s a two party system, and Party A is out of power, and Party B is in power. But the acts taken in the last year, as far as the world were concerned, were the acts of the government of the United States. And given that they were generally successful for the citizens of the United States, I think this would have been a perfectly understandable speech to give last summer when he was campaigning for president. But it’s a very weird speech, and a contemptible speech to give right now.

HH: Let’s get to the second cut, this on interrogation, cut number 14:

BHO: I know some have argued that brutal methods like waterboarding were necessary to keep us safe. I could not disagree more. As commander in chief, I see the intelligence. I bear the responsibility for keeping this country safe. And I categorically reject the assertion that these are the most effective means of interrogation. What’s more, they undermine the rule of law. They alienate us in the world. They serve as a recruitment tool for terrorists, and increase the will of our enemies to fight us, while decreasing the will of others to work with America. They risk the lives of our troops by making it less likely that others will surrender to them in battle, and more likely that Americans will be mistreated if they are captured.

HH: Mark Steyn, there so many falsehoods in this. Go ahead.

MS: Yes, there are, and I think first of all, one thing that is completely absurd is this idea that somehow American interrogation techniques act as a recruitment tool for al Qaeda. This is nonsense. What acts as a recruitment tool for the jihad in general is when it’s seen or perceived to be successful, and the jihadists are seen as the coming men. The idea that some guy in Waziristan or Yemen is encouraged to join the jihad because of waterboarding is preposterous. There’s no evidence for it whatsoever. He’s just concocted that out of his own head, and I think actually betrays either the naïveté of this president, which is one thing, or what’s worse, is the cynicism of him if he knows that this is nonsense and he’s saying it anyway.

HH: Well, the idea that we’re undermining the rule of law as he undermines the rule of law, by making an attack upon the legal conclusions and positions of a previous administration, and adopting what is in essence an ex post facto approach to people who participated in the war on terror. It’s really something I never expected out of someone who purports to have been a scholar of the Constitution. Mark Steyn, the idea also that our methods will increase the degree of bad torture on our troops when they’re caught, it’s absurd. They cut our heads off.

MS: Yes, and I suppose he’s arguing here that well look, if we ease up on the waterboard, then when our troops are captured, they won’t use the rusty scimitar when they’re decapitating them. This is completely preposterous, the idea that somehow what is happening at Guantanamo and other facilities, if we make nice with these fellows, they will suddenly start observing the rules of the Geneva Convention. No, if you’re the kind of target they’re looking for, and they capture you, they will saw your head off and release it as a snuff video on the internet. And nothing that Obama says is going to change that. Now as I said, either he’s a fool who simply cannot understand that not everybody sitting around the world looks at things the way an ACLU lawyer does sitting in Hyde Park, Chicago. But if he’s making that mistake, then he’s actually incapable of the so-called empathy that he prizes as one of his key qualities.

HH: The backdrop to the speech today, Mark Steyn, bad timing for the President, of course, the arrest of four would-be bombers of synagogues and shooter-down of airlines and airplanes in New York. And I don’t believe they converted to radical Islam in prison because of waterboarding being conducted on the jihadists.

MS: No, they didn’t, and in fact if he wanted to make a serious speech, he would have addressed the issue of Islamic recruitment and conversion in American and other Western prisons, which is really the same thing happened to Richard Reid, the shoe bomber. It’s actually by now a tried and tested formula for recruits. It’s a far more effective formula than running around the Middle East saying oh, have you seen, you know, the Americans are waterboarding some of us. This is actually an effective recruiting tool, what they’re doing in Western prisons. It’s sad to see someone with such a September 10th mentality trotting out these old lines.

Democratic Majority Leader thinks the government firing CEO’s is just great, but doesn’t know the definition of socialism

This is Harry Reid on the firing of GM’s CEO:

I wish people who were pro-socialism would just come out and say it – rather than pretending that their ideas aren’t what they are. Then, at least we could have an honest debate about the merits. For whatever reason though, the whole government-can-do-everything crowd doesn’t want to acknowledge that they hold socialist philosophies. Could that be because socialist philosophy is built on the ideas of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engles – and if the American people actually realized that, they would reject them?

This interchange wins:

Reid: “Well, I don’t know what the definition of a socialist ideal is but…”

Levin: “Look it up, idiot.”

Hendrickson: “Government control of companies”

America: A Nation of Laws, or a Nation of Men?

Here is a great little video segment on the different views of the Rule of Law (click image to watch):

ThomasSowell

New Blog: Appeal to Heaven

Appeal to HeavenOver the years and months, What The Crap has gradually become more and more serious. This is perfectly acceptable, as blogs naturally evolve over time. Still – I have been meaning to create a space devoted to respectfully discussing deeper issues at greater length. Thus:

Appeal To Heaven

Appeal to Heaven will also certainly evolve over time. My initial goal is to clearly communicate conservative ideas and discuss the philosophy of liberty.

Please check it out and let me know what you think!!

PS – What The Crap will still be a place for posting random thoughts, videos, and other stuff I come across. Enjoy.

-wtc

My Letter to President Obama

I am a middle class web designer and developer for a high-tech internet start-up. Right before I was hired – the small company I work for was purchased by a large investment firm. The large investment firm saw a value in the product we were creating and decided to invest money into our smaller company.

This has allowed our small company to create many more jobs including my own, as well as provide good benefits and better pay. The investment from the larger parent corporation has clearly given us the critical funding we needed for the technology and staff to get our project off the ground.

My question is, how will raising taxes on wealthy investors and corporations (such as our parent company) help create more jobs and promote small businesses like our own?

Being middle class, of course, I wouldn’t mind a tax break. However – I would rather pay taxes from my earnings at a good job – than receive a tax-cut and face potential lay-offs.

I’m interested in your thoughts?

Best Regards,

-wtc

Who are the National Health Care ‘Losers,’ according to Tom Daschle?

For those of you absolutely stoked about national healthcare – This from RealClearPolitics.com on “President-elect Obama’s apparent choice for health and human services secretary” Tom Daschle (emphasis mine):

He [Tom Daschle] proposes setting up a board to establish standards for health care delivery in the United States that would be modeled on how the Federal Reserve Board and Securities and Exchange Commission oversee banks and corporations. Technically, it only would oversee the public health systems (Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Health Administration, etc.), which provide about 32 percent of health care nationwide.

On Page 179, he writes, “The Federal Health Board wouldn’t be a regulatory agency, but its recommendations would have teeth because all federal health programs would have to abide by them.” But here is the kicker: Although his board technically would have no say on the 68 percent of health care that is provided through the private sector, at the bottom of Page 179, Daschle modestly adds: “Congress could opt to go further with the Board’s recommendations. It could, for example, link the tax exclusion for health insurance to insurance that complies with the Board’s recommendation.”

Those last 19 words would spell the end of independent private-sector health care in America. Obviously, no health insurance would be sold if it were denied the tax deduction. Thus, every policy, every standard decided by this board would be the law of the land for every drug company, every hospital, every doctor and every health insurance company.

Indeed, 20 pages later, in the section in which he identifies “losers” under his plan, Daschle is admirably candid. Among the explicit “losers,” he includes: Doctors and patients might resent any encroachment on their ability to choose certain treatments, even if they are expensive or ineffectual compared to alternatives. Some insurers might object to new rules that restrict their coverage decisions. And the health-care industry would have to reconsider its business plan (emphasis added).” That is to say, they can stay in business and deliver their services, but only as the government bureaucrats say they may. They no longer would be genuinely independent.

In case you missed it:

“Doctors and patients might resent any encroachment on their ability to choose certain treatments…”

This is exactly what national healthcare will bring – the end of personal choice. When the government dolls out your heath care – government bureaucracy,  NOT YOU make the decision over what treatment you may receive. It’s no longer your health plan, rather it’s the government’s.

What evidence do you have that the government can make better decisions about your life , than you yourself (or your doctor) can?

The Error of Judging a Social Program by it’s Intentions, Rather than Results

Good ole’ Milton:

So applicable today.

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