So I believe, compulsorily and satirically, in the existence of this absurd world; but as to the existence of a better world, or of hidden reason in this one, I am incredulous, or rather, I am critically sceptical; because it is not difficult to see the familiar motives that lead men to invent such myths. George Santayana

Iraq In Peril ~ Editorial

Iraq in Peril

New York Sun Staff Editorial
December 23, 2005

In the coming days the future of Iraq may be in peril. Yesterday, 35 political parties and organizations largely representing Sunni Arabs signed a statement calling for the Iraq's election commission to be disbanded and asking for a new election to be monitored by the United Nations and European Union. The Shiites responded yesterday by asking exactly what kind of guarantee they would have that those threatening boycott would recognize the next election. As our Eli Lake reports today, the chairman of the commission, Adel al-Lamy, called these threats a form of extortion. We agree with him.

RushLimbaugh.com: Senator Larry Craig Defends His Patriot Act Vote

From www.RushLimbaugh.com:

Senator Larry Craig Defends His Patriot Act Vote
December 21, 2005

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT RUSH: We have with us Senator Larry Craig from
Idaho, one of the four Republicans who voted with Democrats the
other day to prevent the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, and we
posted his name and the three others on our website. He wanted to
call and explain his vote, so here he is. Senator, it's great to
have you with us, and welcome to the program.

SENATOR CRAIG: Well, Rush, thank you, and thank you for allowing me
on. It is a very important debate, and something that I think has
-- certainly by Harry Reid and others -- been dramatically miscast
as it relates to the intent of some of us who have constantly
worked to assure that the Patriot Act did not tread on the rights,
the constitutional rights, of law-abiding American citizens. You
know, I've been here a little while, and I remember Janet Reno, and
I remember Waco and Ruby Ridge, afnd I fear the day that we get a
president, not this president, who has a very liberal attorney
general and sees the opportunity, uh, to leap through the holes
that are crafted in the Patriot Act, uh, that could tread on our
civil liberties. I say that having once voted for the Patriot Act
and -- and will vote for it again, and we're working very hard at
this moment. We've been visiting with the White House the last few
hours along with Democrats and Republicans to try to resolve this,
because there is no question that a majority of the Senate, which
includes some Democrats, do not want to see the Patriot Act expire.
At the same time, we see this as a once-in-a-two-or-three-year
opportunity or four to make sure that it never gets misused. That's
permanent law we're talking about, not just something that we keel
with on a day-to-day basis.

Reviewing, Revising, Renewing - The Patriot Act by Senator Larry Craig

Editorial by Idaho Senator Larry E. Craig

Reviewing, Revising, Renewing - The Patriot Act
by Senator Larry Craig

December 16, 2005

Back in August, shortly after reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT
Act was approved by the Senate, I wrote a piece praising the role
of Idahoans in improving the Patriot Act and protecting Americans'
civil liberties. Now, as 2005 and the first session of the 109th
Congress draw to a close, it's time for an update on the progress
of the Patriot reauthorization.

Wiretap Dance By Ronald Kessler

The Wall Street Journal

Wiretap Dance

By RONALD KESSLER
December 21, 2005; Page A18

Ever since 9/11, the media and congressional critics have waged a relentless battle against President Bush for not doing enough to prevent the terrorist attacks. Now these same critics have begun a campaign against the Bush administration for doing too much to prevent the next attack.

The latest example is the New York Times revelation that after 9/11, Mr. Bush authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to intercept communications with an overseas nexus to uncover information about possible al Qaeda attacks. The fact that Mr. Bush bypassed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which lays out procedures for intercepting communications in terrorist cases, raises legitimate concerns. But it should be of more concern that al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations are trying to obtain nuclear and biological weapons that could wipe out major cities, kill millions of people and devastate the American economy.

Against that kind of threat, the FISA procedures are simply too slow. Even under the law's emergency provisions, once the FBI learns about the need to intercept a phone conversation or email communication, it takes at least a day -- often longer -- to obtain all the necessary approvals, including the signature of the attorney general.

The Truth About Tenet By Michael Ledeen

National Review Online
December 19, 2005, 8:33 a.m.

The Truth About Tenet
James Jesus Angleton explains it all.

"Oh, come on! You expect me to believe that?"

I was recently back at the ouija board with my old friend, the late James Jesus Angleton, once upon a time the head of CIA Counterintelligence. I had wanted to talk to him about the latest warnings from the interminable 9/11 Commission, a.k.a. The Monologue That Will Not Die, that we hadn't done enough with homeland security. I knew his view of the commission was much like mine — namely that these guys need a day job. Or maybe a Caribbean cruise. Or maybe a proper spanking. But he didn't want any of it, he was all worked up over Iran, and he had a wild theory about what was going on.

Can It Be? Democracy Working? By William F. Buckley Jr.

Can It Be? Democracy Working?

BY WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY JR.
Universal Press Syndicate
December 19, 2005

The national elections in Iraq are putatively good news. What happened that was of great importance was the decision by the Sunni insurgents to permit people to vote without threatening death and mayhem. That license increased the participation rate from a little more than 50 percent of eligible voters last January to about 70 percent on Thursday.

We will not have long to wait before seeing whether the insurgents' decision was an acknowledgment of political reality, or only a temporary maneuver calculated to reinforce their strength in showdowns to come. If a few weeks go by and there is a marked decrease in insurgent activity, then the events of Dec. 15 will reasonably be viewed as a true turning point in this protracted struggle.

It is wise to remember that democratic exercises are pointless except as they commit the participants to accepting the consequences of losing. If a political movement takes part in an election only in order to measure strength, intending no commitment to be instructed by the election's results, we have only illusory adjudications of power.

Iraq vote leaves Dems looking like the losers By Mark Steyn

Iraq vote leaves Dems looking like the losers

BY MARK STEYN
December 18, 2005
www.suntimes.com

Well, that old Iraqi quagmire just keeps getting worse and worse, if only for the Democratic Party. What was the straw they were clutching at back in January? Oh, yeah, sure, gazillions of Kurds and Shiites might have gone to the polls, but where were the Sunni? As some of us said at the time, the Sunni'll come out tomorrow. And so they did. On Thursday, they voted in record numbers, leaving Howard Dean and Nancy Pelosi and the rest of the Democrats frantically scrambling for another disaffected Iraqi minority group they could use as proof that the whole crazy neocon war-for-oil scam was a bust.

The Truth About Torture By Charles Krauthammer

The Weekly Standard

The Truth about Torture
It's time to be honest about doing terrible things.

by Charles Krauthammer
12/05/2005, Volume 011, Issue 12

DURING THE LAST FEW WEEKS in Washington the pieties about torture have lain so thick in the air that it has been impossible to have a reasoned discussion. The McCain amendment that would ban "cruel, inhuman, or degrading" treatment of any prisoner by any agent of the United States sailed through the Senate by a vote of 90-9. The Washington establishment remains stunned that nine such retrograde, morally inert persons--let alone senators--could be found in this noble capital.

In Search of Murtha's Army By Jed Babbin

In Search of Murtha's Army

By Jed Babbin
Published 12/13/2005 12:10:46 AM

Last week, I went to Iraq to search for John Murtha's army. You know: the one he described as "broken, worn out," and "living hand to mouth." Thanks to the help of some friends in low places, I met with a lot of the troops and almost all of the commanders around Baghdad and at Camp Fallujah. Murtha was not just wrong, but damnably wrong. And so, unsurprisingly, is Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean, who declared the war unwinnable.

I promised to bring back as many of the facts as I could. Here are the two most important ones: First, we are winning this war. Second, as the operations in Iraq enter their fourth year, our forces are beginning to suffer the problems that a prolonged conflict creates.

Dealing With Irrational Iran By Hillel Halkin

Dealing With Irrational Iran

BY HILLEL HALKIN
December 13, 2005

How is one to think about Iranian nuclear weapons and Israel? Two things should be clear, even if all the rest is arguable:

1. The current regime in Iran would happily carry out its threats to destroy Israel if it believed that, once it acquired nuclear weapons, it could get away with it.

2. Israel would therefore be entirely justified, morally and legally, in attacking and destroying Iranian nuclear installations if it believed it could get away with it.

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