Thursday, September 07, 2006


President Bush made two outstanding speeches over the last two days. The first discussed the global war on terror and was plain spoken and powerful -vintage Bush- and served a severe warning to Iran.

The terrorists who attacked us on September the 11th, 2001, are men without conscience -- but they're not madmen. They kill in the name of a clear and focused ideology, a set of beliefs that are evil, but not insane.
Bin Laden and his terrorist allies have made their intentions as clear as Lenin and Hitler before them. The question is: Will we listen? Will we pay attention to what these evil men say? America and our coalition partners have made our choice. We're taking the words of the enemy seriously. We're on the offensive, and we will not rest, we will not retreat, and we will not withdraw from the fight, until this threat to civilization has been removed.
As we continue to fight al Qaeda and these Sunni extremists inspired by their radical ideology, we also face the threat posed by Shia extremists, who are learning from al Qaeda, increasing their assertiveness, and stepping up their threats.
This Shia strain of Islamic radicalism is just as dangerous, and just as hostile to America, and just as determined to establish its brand of hegemony across the broader Middle East. And the Shia extremists have achieved something that al Qaeda has so far failed to do: In 1979, they took control of a major power, the nation of Iran...
It's time for Iran's leader to make a different choice. And we've made our choice. We'll continue to work closely with our allies to find a diplomatic solution. The world's free nations will not allow Iran to develop a nuclear weapon.

And here is, I hope, the money quote:

And armed with nuclear weapons, they would blackmail the free world, and spread their ideologies of hate, and raise a mortal threat to the American people. If we allow them to do this, if we retreat from Iraq, if we don't uphold our duty to support those who are desirous to live in liberty, 50 years from now history will look back on our time with unforgiving clarity, and demand to know why we did not act.

I'm not going to allow this to happen -- and no future American President can allow it either.

John Podhoretz reads this as a very strong indicator that we will strike Iran.

So there it is. A week after Iran declared its intention to continue uranium enrichment, the president of the United States has said in no uncertain terms that it will be stopped - that the failure to stop it would lead history to judge him, us and the world in the harshest possible terms.

Like most people, I've presumed for the past few years that our commitment in Iraq and the extreme difficulty of targeting the proper sites had basically foreclosed a serious military option in Iran. Certainly the hesitant and cautious behavior of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in the past few months suggested as much.

Now it seems to me that, barring a miraculous change of heart on the part of the Iranian regime, a military strike is all but inevitable.

The second is a powerful end-run against the self-defeating idiocy epitomized by the Supreme Court's Hamdan decision to essentially offer Geneva Convention rights to terrorists.

I hope Mario Loyola is right:

The President just pulled one of the best maneuvers of his entire presidency. By transferring most major Al Qaeda terrorists to Guantanamo, and simultaneously sending Congress a bill to rescue the Military Commissions from the Supreme Court's ruling Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the President spectacularly ambushed the Democrats on terrain they fondly thought their own. Now Democrats who oppose (and who have vociferously opposed) the Military Commissions will in effect be opposing the prosecution of the terrorists who planned and launched the attacks of September 11 for war crimes.

And if that were not enough, the President also frontally attacked the Hamdan ruling's potentially chilling effect on CIA extraordinary interrogation techniques, by arguing that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions is too vague, and asking Congress to define clearly the criminal law limiting the scope of permissible interrogation.

Taken as a whole, the President's maneuver today turned the political tables completely around. He stole the terms of debate from the Democrats, and rewrote them, all in a single speech...

The White House makes it clear that detainees are NOT getting POW status.

Both worth reading in their entirety.

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