Hillary Clinton, Bhutto Wannabe

Hillary Clinton is trying to burnish her thin foreign policy credentials by claiming she knew Benazir Bhutto (never mind that she didn't know Bhutto had three children and not two, and that Bhutto's father was executed and not assassinated). You can't blame her, Bhutto is what Hillary wishes she could be: a brave woman of actual accomplishment who achieved the pinnacle of power, and became a real hero to millions of women. Hillary too is a hero to millions of women . . . it is just much harder to see why as compared to Bhutto. Endless repititon of the meme that 'Hillary is a hero' seems to have done the trick.

Now Hillary has been caught fudging another item on her weak foreign policy resume. Trying to paint herself as another fearless and intrepid woman leader (just like Benazir Bhutto!) Hillary came up with a story about how Bill Clinton put her, Chelsea, Sinbad and Sheryl Crow in mortal danger by sending them to Bosnia, braving corkscrew landings and snipers in the process (can one surmise that this was a Bill Clinton plot to get rid of his wife? I bet Hillary's campaign didn't see that angle).

Via Ed Morrissey we find that this unlikely occurence of course probably didn't happen (quoting a commenter who has some personal experience here):

I was part of Task Force Eagle in Bosnia during that time. I was part of then MG William Nash, 1st Armored Division, security detail. I take two issues with her statement. First and most blatantly checkable, was the year she states. She's a year off. It was actually March 1996. We didn't go into Bosnia until after the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords, which was in the Fall of 1995, (November, I think). I remember it because it ruined Christmas for just about the entire 2nd Brigade, 1st AD, in Baumholder Germany. Then President Clinton actually came to Baumholder right before Christmas to make a speech. It should be easily checkable.

Secondly, she landed at Eagle Base in Tuzla, Bosnia in a C-17. At that time, it was the most secure location in country, being an old Russian MIG base. The compound was very well fortified and snipers weren't an issue for us. They never were during the entire mission, except maybe in Sarajevo. Our biggest issue was landmines, again, not an issue at Eagle Base as it had been very well cleared.

Shameless self promotion is just stupid when things like that are so easily verifiable. [ed. - You can say that again. The internet age is not proving friendly to the Clinton deceit machine.]

Is going serpentine really a plus for presidential candidates? It wasn't, until Benazir Bhutto got shot.

If personal bravery, and risking grave personal injury are big reasons to vote for a candidate, well, I guess Hillary is going to vote for John McCain then isn't she.

P.S. I just have to say, in my darkest of dark hearts, I thought 'if she wants to be Bhutto, let her end up the same way. That would probably suit Hillary, for her 'legacy' would be ensured'. I know some of you thought the same thing . . . put it out of your mind. That is banana republic thinking right there, it is unAmerican.

The Real Person Of The Year

TIME Magazine announced that Vladimir Putin will be their Person of the Year for 2007, but they got it wrong (though thankfully they didn't pick Al Gore). Pervez Musharraf was the Person of the Year all along: he is the key U.S. ally in the War on Terror, and he is besieged on all sides by insurgents peeling away large tracts of his nation, democratic reformers demanding an end to his military diktat, and Islamic extremists who want to get their claws on Pakistan's frightening nuclear capabilities. Pakistan is the vortex, and Musharraf is at the center.

His situation alone would put him in the running as Person of the Year, but his actions should have ensured TIME's editors would choose him. He made a deal for autonomy with the tribes of the Northwest Frontier Province, launched a major offensive in the Swat valley, and stormed the Red Mosque in Islamabad. He declared a state of emergency, and wrangled with Bhutto and the U.S. State Department over the reinstitution of democracy.

The assassination yesterday of Benzir Bhutto of course adds to the weight he bears. He is already being blamed for her death, but whether he is to blame or not, he now bears the woeful costs of the near-civil war that now ensues.

Musharraf has already faced nightmares Vladimir Putin can't even imagine.

Only America Has Free Speech

It is often said that 'free speech' is one of the hallmarks of Western democracy - but don't you believe it. Free speech only exists in the United States, and nowhere else. Europe just doesn't get the whole free speech concept, by banning religious dress in places like France, and the criminalization of Holocaust denial and 'revisionist' history in places such as Germany and Austria. Britain is one of the worst offenders. They have chilling defamation laws that make the free exchange of information and opinion completely impossible, they have no written constitution that protects free speech, and their television news is state-run.

Canada is no better. Mark Steyn is being hauled before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission for alleged 'hate speech' in his book 'America Alone'. This is the gist of the problem:

After the Canadian general-interest magazine Maclean's reprinted a chapter from the book, five Muslim law-school students, acting through the auspices of the Canadian Islamic Congress, demanded that the magazine be punished for spreading “hatred and contempt" for Muslims.

The plaintiffs allege that Maclean's advocated, among other things, the notion that Islamic culture is incompatible with Canada's liberalized, Western civilization. They insist such a notion is untrue and, in effect, want opinions like that banned from publication.

Only Americans, the inventors of free speech, understand it and cherish it. The rest of the world pays lip service to it, but when politicians throughout the rest of the world are confronted with the clash of free speech with identity politics, political expediency wins every time. No other nation in the world has enshrined free speech as a sacrosanct principle, and so such mischief often occurs.

Iraq Casualties Still Way Down

According to the Iraq Coalition Casualty Count , the Coalition is on course to have the lowest casualties since the beginning of the war:

The lowest-casualty month of the war so far has been February, 2004:

Now, keep in mind that one of the very worst months of the war came only two months after that, in April, 2004, when the Coalition lost 140 brave volunteers. The violence rises and falls in Iraq, and has done so cyclically several times before during this war. There is no gurantee that the latest relative lull will hold. This latest abeyance of violence seems to be the product of planning rather than luck however, and al-Qaeda and the other insurgent groups have lost the initiative and ability to create widespread violence on demand. It also seems quite clear that there is no civil war in Iraq now, if there ever was one.

Let's see if the trend actually holds. Six more months of this (just one more Friedman Unit), and I am convinced that the war is over in all but name.

Success Dawns On Rank-And-File Dems

It was inevitable - when the good news coming from Iraq is too obvious to ignore or marginalize, the public picks up on it, as in this AP-Ipsos poll:

The poll showed a nearly even division over whether President Bush's troop increase this year has helped stabilize the country, with 50 percent saying no and 47 percent yes. Just three months ago, only 36 percent said yes.

By 52 percent to 41 percent, most said the U.S. is making progress in Iraq. When AP-Ipsos last asked that question in September 2006 — a time when vicious sectarian attacks resembled a civil war — just 39 percent saw improvements under way.

While far greater proportions of Republicans than Democrats think progress is being made, even growing numbers of Democrats agree. The portion of Democrats saying the troop increase has helped stabilize the country has nearly doubled since September to 26 percent, and the number saying the U.S. is making progress has shown similar growth.

For many Democrats, though, the gains are seen as tentative.

"Yes, there's been progress, but I don't think it will be long-term," said Regina Pitts, 51, a Democrat from Fairview, Tenn. "We can't stay there forever and babysit."

Regina Pitts form Fairview, Tennessee is woefully uninformed about U.S. national security history. We have been babysitting forever in Germany, Japan and Korea, and have long overstayed our welcome in Bosnia as well. Perhaps Ms. Pitts actually does realize this, but sees Iraq as a 'special case' that is somehow immune from the normal course of how these things work. In any event, it is great to see the fair weather fans among the great Democratic masses finally coming around to admitting success in Iraq.

The anti-war movement is, for all intents and purposes, dead.

(h/t Dave Price)

Nedra Pickler To The Rescue

Nedra Pickler of the Associated Press apparently has a full-time job protecting Democrats and explaining away their gaffes and mistakes. She attempted to 'fact-check' Republicans over Barack Obama's outrageous statement that U.S. forces are 'just air-raiding villages and killing civilians' in Afghanistan. Rather than report on this statement as a good objective and detached journalist is supposed to do, Pickler instead tried to run interference against Republican indignation over Obama's ridiculous claim that the U.S. is just randomly killing civilians in Afghanistan.

Well today Pickler is at it again, this time defending Hillary Clinton against complaints that her campaign sent out emails slandering Obama for his 'muslim' upbringing in Indonesia, which apparently is a falsehood. Pickler's article reads like a press release from Hillary's campaign itself. For example, was this email sent out by a Clinton volunteer to put Obama in a bad light? "Oh heavens no," Zimmerman [Iowa Democratic campaigner] said in a telephone interview. "She just wanted the people who were concerned with the politics of Jones County to be aware of it."

As unlikely as that may be, of course Hillary Clinton herself is most unlikely to have authorized that email. But, man, does the AP bend over backwards to explain this away or what? I am sure we can count on Nedra Pickler to apologize for and explain away mistakes made by Republicans, right?


P.S. You have by now no doubt heard of the Wicked Witch of the West Wing's attack on kindergartener Obama's presidential ambitions. Tactless, graceless, and a great example of the politics of personal destruction that Hillary (allegedly) deplores. Hillary can't run on her record, can't run on her experience, her character, ethics or her brains. Not to mention, nobody likes her. Why, exactly, is she running for president?