Thursday, January 26, 2006

Iraqi Air Force Official Explains About The Missing WMDs

Okay, he was only the #2 man in Saddam Hussein's air force, so perhaps he's just blowing smoke. Or perhaps it is because he has a new book out. But isn't it odd that this news story quoting Georges Sada and an Israeli general saying the same thing--is being ignored by the mainstream media? I mean, even if both these guys are lying, it's still news, unless you can prove them wrong:
The man who served as the no. 2 official in Saddam Hussein's air force says Iraq moved weapons of mass destruction into Syria before the war by loading the weapons into civilian aircraft in which the passenger seats were removed.

The Iraqi general, Georges Sada, makes the charges in a new book, "Saddam's Secrets," released this week. He detailed the transfers in an interview yesterday with The New York Sun.

"There are weapons of mass destruction gone out from Iraq to Syria, and they must be found and returned to safe hands," Mr. Sada said. "I am confident they were taken over."

Mr. Sada's comments come just more than a month after Israel's top general during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Moshe Yaalon, told the Sun that Saddam "transferred the chemical agents from Iraq to Syria."
He gives detail about when and how, telling how Iraqi Air Force pilots told him the details of moving materials onto airliners including "yellow barrels with skull and crossbones on each barrel."  The article goes on to quote a number of people that vouch for Sada's integrity, and points out that Sada is putting his life, and his family's life at risk with this:
Short of discovering the weapons in Syria, those seeking to validate Mr. Sada's claim independently will face difficulty. His book contains a foreword by a retired U.S. Air Force colonel, David Eberly, who was a prisoner of war in Iraq during the first Gulf War and who vouches for Mr. Sada, who once held him captive, as "an honest and honorable man."


Mr. Sada acknowledged that the disclosures about transfers of weapons of mass destruction are "a very delicate issue." He said he was afraid for his family. "I am sure the terrorists will not like it. The Saddamists will not like it," he said.
The American left won't like it either, but their notion of retaliation is failing to invite you to their next wine and cheese party.

As I have pointed out previously, Jordan confiscated 20 tons of chemical agents from al-Qaeda operatives planning to use them in an attack in the Jordanian capital. This report tells us that Jordan's government says the chemical agents were driven in from Syria--and that one of the agents, VX, was beyond Syria's ability to make--but Iraq had made VX in the past. This article from May 2, 2004 quotes an Israeli general:
Israel's military chief told an Israeli newspaper there is "no doubt" that Iraq possessed both chemical weapons and the means to deliver them. In the first two days of the war, the United States -- acting on tips from Israeli intelligence -- destroyed the aircraft Saddam had prepared to carry chemical munitions, Lt. Gen. Moshe Yaalon said. The munitions themselves were buried, or transferred to other countries.

"We very clearly saw that something crossed into Syria," he said.

"We have six or seven credible reports of Iraqi weapons being moved into Syria before the war," a senior administration official told Kenneth Timmerman of Insight magazine.

A Syrian intelligence officer, in letters smuggled to an anti-regime activist in Paris, identified three sites in Syria where Iraqi WMD are being stored, Timmerman said. The sites were the same as those identified earlier by a Syrian journalist who defected to Europe.

You are not going to hear about this on NPR, PBS, CBS, ABC, or NBC. I even doubt that you will hear it on Fox. You aren't going to read it in your daily newspaper. Why? If not for Michelle Malkin, I wouldn't have known.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Will Roe Be Overturned?

I don't know. I am very reluctantly pro-choice--and that is primarily because especially in the first trimester (the one area where Roe most clearly told the states to butt out), abortion is simply too easy a procedure to perform for a governmental ban to work--especially because there are so many rabid pro-choicers out there who risk jail, and spend their considerable fortunes to fund abortions. The most that a ban will do, unless we do something about the causes of all those pregnancies, is remove those abortionists who are primarily in it for the money. I am sure that there are some in that category--but I would guess that someone who has to wear a bullet-proof vest to go to work on a regular basis is probably motivated by more than just money.

If you want first trimester elective abortions to end (as opposed to merely becoming illegal), some of the enormous moral problems of this country are going to have to be worked out first. We are going to have to substantially improve the moral climate in which kids are growing up, so that they are not sexually active so early. That means that you may not be able to watch R or NC-17 rated movies while the kids are up. (When we lived in California, there were a lot of parents who would watch bloody, gory, and sexually explicit movies with their five year olds in the room.)

It means that we are going to have to find some way to drain the fever swamp of both broadcast and cable television. I am not quite sure how the government can do much in this area. There's an awful lot of trash on the tube that encourages girls to see themselves primarily as sexual objects--and encourages boys to see girls in that same way. But while vulgar and repulsive, it isn't obscene by any standard that the Supreme Court is going to accept. This means that you, as parents, are going to have to let networks know that you do not approve of this crap being on the tube.

It isn't enough, unfortunately, to turn it off in your home. I tried to raise kids in Sonoma County, California, and I began to appreciate the enormous struggle that Orthodox Jews must feel when they move into an overwhelmingly secular community. You can do what you want to be a good example--but your kids are going to go to school with kids coming from majority homes, where Mom doesn't hide the fur-lined handcuffs and porno movies well enough; where drunkenness, marijuana, and crack are common (and in middle class homes).

I was reading an older copy of Newsweek in the gym today, and it reported a survey showing that 16% of Americans wanted a complete ban on elective abortions; 21% wanted no restrictions on abortion at all. The vast majority of Americans wanted a lot more restrictions on abortion, but not a complete ban.

First of all, I suspect that most Americans don't even know what the current laws of their state are. The reason that some states don't have a ban on third trimester abortions is because the legislature isn't willing to pass one. Idaho Code, Title 18, chapter 6, seems, as I read it, to go right up to the bumpstops of what the federal courts will allow the state to regulate--and the partial-birth abortion ban in section 18-613 probably goes beyond it.

Secondly, a lot of Americans are horrified by partial-birth abortion, by abortion for sex selection, and abortion as primary birth control. (I know that for most women, it is not their primary form of birth control--but I pointed a months back to a Los Angeles Times article about an abortion doctor in Arkansas who had adult patients coming in for whom this was their primary birth control method--and some were repeat customers:
The last patient of the day, a 32-year-old college student named Stephanie, has had four abortions in the last 12 years. She keeps forgetting to take her birth control pills. Abortion "is a bummer," she says, "but no big stress."
So what happens if Roe v. Wade were to be either gutted or completely overturned by the Supreme Court?

The decision would go back to the states--and I would expect that such a decision would be very clear that abortions taking place entirely within a state are a state decision. Congressional action would be limited to abortions in the territories, on federal reservations, and perhaps in medical plans funded by the federal government. Otherwise, each state legislature would have to grapple with the problem.

Now, I find it interesting that pro-choice sorts are making arguments that are contradictory--that there is strong majority support for keeping abortion "safe and legal"--and that overturning Roe would be a disaster. Here's one example, from a comment made over at Volokh Conspiracy today:
"what's to preclude Congress from passing laws to restrict or outlaw abortion?"

The fact that the Republican Party would go the way of the Dodo in 90% of America if it tried to outlaw abortion outright.
Of course, if there was really this vast majority in support of keeping abortion available on something like the current terms, then overturning Roe would only change the situation in a very small number of states. It is precisely because a strong majority wants abortion to be somewhat harder to get than it is today that liberals are so twitterpated about Alito getting on the Court.

Now, I am also disappointed to see that liberals are convinced that if the Supreme Court overruled Roe that conservatives would not be content to leave this for the states to handle:
That was a joke, right? You really think that conservatives would not support federal legislation to ban abortions because the prior argument was it should be left to the states?
I think the problem here may be projection. "That which is not prohibited, is required." Liberals have spent so much time convincing themselves that pro-lifers want every woman barefoot and pregnant--if not being tortured on the rack--that they simply refuse to believe that one of the concerns about Roe was that it was Constitutionally incorrect--and that the federal government's job is not to solve every problem.

I've long been concerned that the Supreme Court (or, for that matter, Congress) acting as a superlegislature on state issues is tremendously harmful. I think Oregon's voters made a big mistake with their euthanasia initiatively. I unfortunately assisted in passing California's medical marijuana initiative. (Like a number of Californians, current or former, as I am, I saw the error of my ways within a couple of years.)

Still, the primary responsibility for passing laws that affect intrastate matters lies with the voters of that state. If they screw up, without violating the state or federal constitutions, they have it within their power to correct it.

I look forward to the day when the U.S. Supreme Court will start doing their job again--deciding whether laws passed by the voters or their elected representatives are constitutional--not whether they are good or bad. The "no rational basis" argument used in Cleburne doubtless made the federal judges involved feel good about themselves, because it does appear that the City of Cleburne had no rational basis for that law. That's a very subjective basis for overturning a law--and it leads to judges as superlegislators.

Fifty states as fifty laboratories is an unintended consequence of federalism, and it has worked out generally pretty well. Some states try truly stupid ideas; within a few years, when the idea fails, the legislature can either repeal the law, or its proponents can ask Congress to make the bad idea national in scope (to hide that it failed in one state--as with gun control). Some states try innovative ideas that work--and when they do work, other states copy it (such as non-discretionary concealed weapon permit laws).