I spent this week at work in training. People from around the globe attended the training courses. One of them was Joe, a self-professed socialist from Massachusetts. While he was a fun guy, and we chatted about a number of wide-ranging subjects, our political ideologies were almost diametrically opposed. Yet we still got along fine. America is nice that way.

At one point, Joe mentioned some information he’d read about the yearly complaints received by the Federal Communications Commission. In 2000 and 2001 there were fewer than 350 complaints each year. In 2002 the number rose to about 14,000, and in 2003 it soared to more than 240,000 complaints. The stinger of this article was that 99.8% of the complaints in 2003 came from a single group: the Parents Television Council. Joe was incensed that this Christian group would spend its time and effort trying to change what was shown on TV, and he was shocked that they would be allowed such access to the FCC.

I try to avoid politics when in training, but at this point I had to chime in with a sarcastic comment: “Damn those Christians for exercising their freedom of speech!” This comment promptly shut Joe up; whether he suddenly recognized the hypocrisy of his comments or was simply irritated by my statement, I’m not sure. Perhaps it would be better for Joe to gather like-minded friends and make use of his own freedom of speech, rather than fuming over others using their freedom to express their opinions to the government. It is always a better idea to speak for yourself, rather than reflexively trying to stifle others.

Incidentally, complaints to the FCC rose to over one million in 2004. While the Parents Television Council was extremely active during that year, half of the complaints came from individuals angered over Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction” at the Super Bowl halftime show. Perhaps if Joe had read the entire article, he might have noticed his fellow Americans individually exercising their freedom of speech.

Exercising his own freedom of speech, Senator Byrd (D-WV) recently spoke out against the nomination of Dr. Condoleezza Rice for the position of Secretary of State. During his long rant against Dr. Rice, Senator Byrd missed the point multiple times:

Dr. Rice is responsible for some of the most overblown rhetoric that the Administration used to scare the American people into believing that there was an imminent threat from Iraq. On September 8, 2002, Dr. Rice conjured visions of American cities being consumed by mushroom clouds. On an appearance on CNN, she warned: “The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he [Saddam] can acquire nuclear weapons. But we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud.”

May I politely remind the Senator from the State of West Virginia that President Bush never claimed that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat? I may? Spiffy! Here’s the salient bit from the State of the Union address in 2003:

Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

Senator Byrd’s long oration before the Senate continued in the same vein. Numerous times he made inaccurate statements, or mischaracterized the statements or actions of others. I find it highly ironic that one of the loudest voices of dissent against the nomination of America’s first black female Secretary of State was raised by a former Grand Kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan. But Senator Byrd was most certainly free to voice his objections to the now confirmed and sworn in Secretary Rice. He was simply exercising one of many freedoms we enjoy in this country.

Another freedom U.S. citizens enjoy is the freedom to vote for our government leaders. Iraqis around the world are also enjoying this freedom today; while the actual election day in Iraq is set for January 30, Iraqis living in other nations have already gathered to cast their vote in a three-day window. It has been many decades since the Iraqi people had a free election. Though there were elections under Saddam Hussein, they were far from free. To quote a classic video game, “When there’s only one candidate, there’s only one choice.”

Exercising his freedom of speech, Senator Kennedy (D-MA) stated yesterday that the U.S. should pull its troops out of Iraq. “It will not be easy to extricate ourselves from Iraq, but we must begin.” Since I have already reminded one Senator of the facts, here’s a historical reminder for you, Senator Kennedy: U.S. troops never left Germany after it was defeated in World War II. Here we are, 60 years after the end of World War II, and we still have American soldiers stationed in Germany. But they are not seen as “part of the problem,” as Senator Kennedy views the troops in Iraq.

Why is it that the senior Senator from Massachusetts feels such a pressing need to compare Iraq to Vietnam? “We lost our national purpose in Vietnam. We abandoned the truth. We failed our ideals. The words of our leaders could no longer be trusted,” he said. Well, there is a real similarity between the two wars. The Vietnam War was lost largely because Leftists in the United States turned public opinion against the war, and they are attempting to do exactly the same thing with the war in Iraq.

In fact, the Central Intelligence Agency’s top official in Baghdad warned recently that the security situation is deteriorating and is likely to worsen, with escalating violence and more sectarian clashes. How could any President have let this happen?

It’s quite simple, Senator. When you bloviate about how the war in Iraq was a fraud made up in Texas, you undermine our soldiers and their jobs. When you criticize everything the President says and does, you are giving aid and comfort to the enemy. And when you call for a quick withdrawal, you spread the word to the murderous thugs converging on Iraq that they need only to wait us out, and they’ll be back in power.

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has announced that he will fight against the coming elections: “We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology.” Congratulations, Senator Kennedy; you have just aligned yourself with a head-chopping murderer who wants Americans dead. Not just out of Iraq, but dead.

Regardless of his political stance, however, Senator Kennedy is free to speak out as he sees fit. That is a blessing of living in this great nation. President Bush has explained our national goal further: “So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.” In a few days, Iraq will join Afghanistan in casting free elections.

Fifty million people to date have escaped the oppressive control of tyrants because of President Bush’s vision. Let freedom ring!

In a previous article, I wrote how the 9/11 Commission is following the political road map laid out in a leaked Democrat memo plotting to use “non-partisan” investigations to attack President Bush. While the Commission is being blatantly partisan, it is also illustrating how not to investigate an issue. Jonathan Rauch wrote up “The 9/11 Commission could learn more if it talked less” for the National Journal. He sums up how the commission has gone wrong and what it should do to make things right. His tagline for the article is “The most important job of the 9/11 commission is not to fix blame for past wrongdoing but to identify and correct continuing problems.” Needless to say, this is not happening.

So before this partisan commission steps up Dick Clark, a counter-terrorism chief in both the Clinton and Bush administrations. His book, Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror, and his appearance before the 9/11 Commission catapulted him into his 15 minutes of fame. But what exactly is he saying in his book? In a glowing article of praise, Slate author Fred Kaplan sums up Clark’s claims this way:

In the summer of 2001, Bush did almost nothing to deal with mounting evidence of an impending al-Qaida attack. Then, after 9/11, his main response was to attack Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11. This move not only distracted us from the real war on terrorism, it fed into Osama Bin Laden’s propaganda—that the United States would invade and occupy an oil-rich Arab country—and thus served as the rallying cry for new terrorist recruits.

But does this claim stand up to the facts? Supposedly President Bush’s main response to 9/11 was attacking Iraq. Really? Let’s see, from September 2001 to March 2003 seems to be a long time to start a “main response,” don’t you think? And we know the U.S. was completely focused on attacking Iraq during these eighteen months. After all, nothing else made the major news other than gearing up for the war in Iraq. Oh, wait. I guess something else happened first. Seems Dick Clark completely forgot the removal of the Taliban from power in Afghanistan. I guess the main response wasn’t going after Iraq, but going after al-Qaeda.

So what about his other claim that the Bush administration did almost nothing about an impending al-Qaeda attack? According to Clark’s testimony before the 9/11 Commission, he mentioned al-Qaeda to Dr. Condoleezza Rice and her expression said she didn’t even recognize the name. But Dr. Rice had made public statements over a year before September 11th about the threat from bin Laden. So did the Bush administration really drop the ball with al-Qaeda, as Clark states in his book? Not at all, if we are to believe his own words in a 2002 briefing to reporters. In this briefing, Clark stated that the Bush administration in early 2001 had “changed the strategy from one of rollback with al-Qaeda over the course [of] five years, which it had been, to a new strategy that called for the rapid elimination of al-Qaeda.” Clark’s book says that the Clinton administration was clearly focused on terrorism and had extensive plans to combat it. All of these he says the Bush administration failed to carry out. But again, in his own words before reporters in 2002, Clark said, “I think the overall point is, there was no plan on al-Qaeda that was passed from the Clinton administration to the Bush administration.”

So Clark basically said one thing in his book and something completely different in 2002. As 9/11 Commission member Jim Thompson asked of Clark, “We have your book and we have your press briefing of August 2002. Which is true?” Clark responded that both are true, but this is impossible since the two statements are completely contradictory. Vice President Dick Cheney sums it up when he said of Dick Clark:

“So I guess, the other thing I would say about Dick Clark is that he was here throughout those eight years, going back to 1993, and the first attack on the World Trade Center; and ’98, when the embassies were hit in East Africa; in 2000, when the USS Cole was hit. And the question that ought to be asked is, what were they doing in those days when he was in charge of counterterrorism efforts?”

Since Dick Clark’s book has now been exposed as a load of tripe, it’s time to move onto the other bit of pig offal sitting on the 9/11 Commission. I am speaking of Jamie Gorelick, Deputy Attorney General under President Clinton. Since she was directly responsible for the “wall of separation” between the Justice Department and the CIA that prevented the two agencies from communicating with each other, she ought to be a witness called before the Commission, not sitting on it. Scott Jordan wrote “The Gorelick Rosetta Stone”, linking the Chinagate scandal of the Clinton administration with the tragedy that is the September 11th attacks:

To set the stage, recall that Bill Clinton ensured his loyal minions populated the US Attorneys’ offices nationwide when he fired every last US Attorney at the dawn of his Administration, then appointed his own. Next, as we have seen through Jamie Gorelick’s startling memo, he saw to it that domestic law enforcement was blinded to foreign intelligence information. He then methodically offered up White House access and key strategic technologies to the highest bidder: China, and Indonesian/Chinese billionaire donors with close ties to China’s dictatorial regime.

Thanks to Ms. Gorelick’s actions, the FBI and CIA were unable to share information with each other. Many people wonder why these agencies were able to gather information about the September 11th murderers so quickly but were unable to stop the attacks. The answer is that the dots were all there, but thanks to “Gorelick’s Wall” no one was in a position to connect them.

So who is ultimately to blame for the September 11th attacks? It was al-Qaeda specifically, and radical Islam generally. Don’t believe that radical Islam was behind this? Let me share with you this little quote offered up by Omar Bakri Muhammad on April 18th: “We don’t make a distinction between civilians and non-civilians, innocents and non-innocents. Only between Muslims and unbelievers. And the life of an unbeliever has no value. It has no sanctity.”

“Religion of Peace,” my eye.

In early November of 2003, a memo from Democrat Senator Jay Rockefeller’s office was read on the air by Sean Hannity, a syndicated radio talk-show host and half of the “Hannity and Colmes” FOX TV show. This memo showed that the Democrats planned to use the pre-war intelligence investigations as a way of attacking President Bush. Democrat Senator Zell Miller released the following statement concerning this memo:

“I have often said that the process in Washington is so politicized and polarized that it can’t even be put aside when we’re at war. Never has that been proved more true than the highly partisan and perhaps treasonous memo prepared for the Democrats on the Intelligence Committee.

“Of all the committees, this is the one single committee that should unquestionably be above partisan politics. The information it deals with should never, never be distorted, compromised or politicized in any shape, form or fashion. For it involves the lives of our soldiers and our citizens. Its actions should always be above reproach; its words never politicized.

“If what has happened here is not treason, it is its first cousin. The ones responsible – be they staff or elected or both – should be dealt with quickly and severely sending a lesson to all that this kind of action will not be tolerated, ignored or excused.

“Heads should roll!”

Now fast-forward from the November memo to today. An investigation is making headlines, but this investigation isn’t looking into the intelligence leading up to the war to liberate Iraq. It is becoming increasingly clear that the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (the official title of what is commonly called the 9/11 Commission) investigation into the September 11th, 2001 attacks is following the outline set up in last November’s Democrat memo.

This commission has become a vehicle for the Democrats on it to attack all things Bush.

If you haven’t figured this out from the beginning, you should have realized it with the circus act surrounding Dr. Condoleezza Rice, the National Security Advisor to President Bush. She had already testified behind closed doors before the commission, but the Democrats demanded that she testify publicly. Why? I’ll give you a two-word answer: TV grandstanding. With the hoopla surrounding this commission, what political hack could resist getting face-time on national TV grilling the National Security Advisor? This is even better publicity than defacing your own billboard.

At one point, former Senator and, you guessed it, Democrat Bob Kerrey sniped at Dr. Rice for President Bush’s comment that he was tired of “swatting flies” when it came to fighting terrorism. “Can you tell me one example where the president swatted a fly when it came to al-Qaeda prior to 9/11?” Bob Kerrey demanded. “How the hell could he be tired?” While Dr. Rice tried to pass that off as a figure of speech, I don’t think she wanted to give him the unvarnished truth. If I were testifying in Dr. Rice’s place, I’d have responded this way: “Commissioner, President Bush saw that the response to terrorist attacks from 1993 to 2000 was to prosecute the people involved one by one, as common criminals. In effect, the Clinton administration, when it could be bothered, swatted at these people one by one as you would an annoying fly. President Bush knew that a massive response was necessary to oust al-Qaeda and other terrorists and terrorist nation-states. The Clinton years saw nothing but a limp-wristed bit of fly-swatting, and President Bush was tired of it.” Maybe there’s a reason why I wouldn’t last long in the national political scene.

If the commission truly wanted to have Dr. Rice testify before them, why did they speak about half as many words as Dr. Rice? That’s right, based on my quick rough count, the commission members spoke one word for every two that Dr. Rice got out. They weren’t there to get information from her; they were there to get face-time on TV and be seen pontificating and bloviating at her before the cameras.

The Democrats on this commission are not looking to see how we can improve our defense so we do not suffer another 9/11 attack. Rather, they are trying their best to point the finger of blame at President Bush. After all, didn’t President Bush have over 200 days in the White House to prevent the September 11th attacks? The dirty truth is that President Bush couldn’t start his term off running because of the vandalism caused by the departing administration. Damaged computers, phones ripped from the walls, vulgar graffiti and general vandalism prevented the smooth transition of power, thanks to members of the sulking Clinton-Gore administration. So here we have the previous administration who spent eight years doing practically nothing about terrorism, from the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center to their closing days in office. But it’s not their fault, claim the Democrats on the commission, it’s President Bush’s fault since he was the one in office when 9/11 happened.

But here’s the question: even if the Bush administration had received specific intelligence outlining the 9/11 attacks, what could it have done to stop them? If Bush knew that almost two dozen Arabic Muslim males between the ages of 18 and 40 were planning on hijacking airplanes on September 11th, he would have two options: ground all planes, or detain and question all male Arabs trying to get on flights that day. Can you imagine the liberal howling and ACLU lawsuits that would have come from either action? The hummus would have really hit the fan. If you want an example of what public reaction would have been if the Bush administration had acted on al-Qaeda threats before 9/11, you can read this article about the impeachment of President Bush on The New Republic’s website.

In the next article, I will write more about Dick Clark’s testimony before the commission, the botched nature of this commission, and the questionable placement of Jamie Gorelick on this commission. But I will leave you with this parting thought for now: the liberals are attacking President Bush for not taking preemptive action against the 9/11 attacks, and at the same time they are attacking President Bush for preemptively stepping into Iraq and removing the viper’s nest of corruption and terrorism sponsorship there. In this case, President Bush is truly damned if he does, and damned if he doesn’t.