Saturday, January 07, 2006

No links between Saddam and Al Qaeda?

There were no links between Saddam and Al Qaeda, right?

Well, here is some information telling a different story.

The article also explains why this information, understandably, didn't come out before.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Is China on the brink of change?

It wasn't that long ago when I thought that China might invade Taiwan, despite a newly signed Japan-US alliance that announced that they considered Taiwan a security interest. But this recent column by Daniel Ikenson titled Friday Night Lights: Cornering freedom in China seems very hopeful.
Renmin University, also known as the People's University of China, has an enrollment of almost 19,000 and is one of China's most respected schools. It was founded in 1950 by the Communist party. The children of many Chinese officials were educated there, and three generations of Chinese leaders, Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping, and Jiang Zemin, have paid special attention to the school's development. So I was especially surprised by what I learned.

It was about 8 P.M. on a Friday when I ventured onto Renmin's campus. In a courtyard near the school's east gate, I discovered some 200 students who were exchanging views about history, economics, politics, and culture. It was U.S. history, economics, politics, and culture that they were discussing and they were speaking English.

I moved through the crowd, sampling the various conversations and marveling at the students' knowledge of American politics and history. As the only Westerner on the scene, I stood out.

Some students smiled and began to ask me questions. One asked where I was from and I said, "The United States, Washington, D.C." Immediately, he flashed two thumbs up and said "Very good. America is very good. America is our model."

He ushered me to an area of the courtyard that was drawing the largest crowds and asked me to evaluate his performance before climbing atop a soapbox. He smiled and began:

"Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal......"

From memory, the student recited the Gettysburg Address. The audience joined in enthusiastically for the final verse:

". . . that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
Is it possible that the ideas that have permeated a major university in China could soon have an impact on China's political direction? Some commentators have argued regarding China that economic freedom eventually leads to political freedom and that the current capitalist/dictatorship hybrid can't last. Reading this column, I have to agree with that assessment.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

And the Winners Are...

As promised, here are the winners of the Noble and Knave of the Year for 2005, as voted on by the readers of the Washington Times:

First, the runners-up for Noble of the Year:

• Aage Bjerre: 23
• Judge Loretta Preska: 26
• The first responders: 31
• Simon Wiesenthal/Margaret Thatcher: 35
• The Marine Corps: 46
• Ike Boutwell: 75
• The American people: 78
• The Iraqi people: 115

And the winner is...

Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith was in an engineering unit supporting the 3rd Infantry Division's advance toward Baghdad in the early stages of the Iraq war. On April 4, 2003, while attempting to take Baghdad Airport, Sgt. Smith and his men were pinned down by advancing units of Saddam's elite Republican Guard. When his unit was hit by both a rocket-propelled grenade and a mortar, wounding three soldiers, Sgt. Smith's situation became desperate. "That was when Sgt. Smith made a decision with the gallantry of the Medal of Honor," said Lt. Col. Thomas Smith, Sgt. Smith's commander. "He got in the M-113 [armored vehicle] ... and had [the driver] back up to just the point where he could cover all three of the Republican Guard targets ... We know he went through three boxes of ammunition." Sgt. Smith's heroism saved 100 of his men, while costing his own. President Bush posthumously awarded Sgt. Smith the Medal of Honor in April -- the first of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. With a total of 172 votes, it gives the Editorial Board no greater pleasure than to name this year's Noble Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith.

Following are the runners-up for Knave of the Year:

• Nobel Prize Committee/Col. Lawrence Wilkerson: 15
• Katie Barge and Lauren Weiner: 20
• Kamau Kambon: 26
• Leah Hodges: 30
• Al Gore/Campus Pie Throwers: 36
• Harry Belafonte: 42
• Rep. Charles Rangel: 47
• The Democratic leadership: 160

And the winner is...

If elections consumed the news cycle in 2004, then the Iraq war filled the void in 2005. Taking its cue from the Democratic leadership mentioned above, the U.S. media was notable only for its refusal to be fair. Champagne corks popped across newsrooms with each uptick of the public's seemingly growing disapproval of the war. That's to be expected, especially when bad news is the only news deemed fit to print. A case in point: Left-wing stooge Cindy Sheehan draws hundreds of cameras and is on the front-page of every major newspaper in the country, while three successful elections in Iraq are somehow cast as a prelude to civil war. Americans have come to expect media bias in political matters, but when it's about our soldiers and the cause they're fighting for (and winning), the media's performance in 2005 was despicable. With a total of 176 votes, the U.S. media is the Knave of the Year.