Some of you older Americans may remember when the New York Times editorial pages attacked the Kennedy and Johnson administrations for striking out and alienating the Ku Klux Klan and other racist organizations across the South during the 1960s civil rights battles.
The way the Times looked at it, these Klansmen were being brutalized and having their rights trampled by a federal government that no longer respected the fact that their racist domination of black Americans was going to be forever changed with radical new civil rights laws JFK and LBJ were pushing through Congress.
Despite the fact that these bigots had dominated the Deep South through fear and torture instead of democratic elections made no difference.
This was not a matter of popular will. Instead, it was about making sure that all elements participated in the New South's democratic process.
Without support from Klansmen and segregationists, any election in Dixie would be invalid. And any continued violence from the Ku Klux Klan against blacks, Catholics and Jews would not be the fault of the Klan, but rather the federal government in Washington.
Maybe I've confused the Times' position on civil rights in the South with their remarkably similar position on Iraq.
This morning the nutbars at the New York Times actually took the Bush Administration to task for not doing more to bring Sunnis and Baathists into the Iraqi political process.
To hell with the fact that 75% of the country that live in the Shiite and Kurdish regions are excited about selecting their first democratically elected president next month.
The Times is emotionally broken up about the 25% of Iraqis who have driven their collective boots into the heads of the Shiite and Kurdish communities over the past half century.
These supposedly educated editorialists just can't seem to figure out why Baathists and Sunnis are angry about entering a brave new political world where one person gets one vote.
No longer will Shiites be assassinated by Saddam's Sunnis if they dare to tell their followers to worship God in their own unique way.
No longer will Kurds worry about whether their political acts will lead to their children and wives dying unimaginably gruesome deaths.
A Stalinist leader who allowed Sunnis to rule by tyranny is in prison, the oppressed are on the verge of being liberated by our country, and the New York Times is bitching about it.
What's wrong with this picture?
The Times editorialists are angry because we destroyed some buildings in Fallujah where the Sunni population conspired with terrorists to kidnap Americans and carve off their heads.
And they're mad--get this -- because we didn't protect Saddam's Baathist thugs from mass firings after moving into Baghdad.
I could almost write the Maureen Dowd column for the day in 2003 after President Bush announced that all of Saddam's henchmen would be welcome to keep their jobs in the Army and police force.
What an ugly, insulting column that would have been.
Thought we were there to liberate from Saddam's thugs...just proves we went in for oil...liberation for Iraqis was never the goal...all about Halliburton...blah, blah, blah.
As 2004 comes to a close, I say let the Sunnis face this brave new democratic world the same way the racist minority in the South had to face integration forty years ago.
They need to face the fact that their tyrannical world has been destroyed. They can help build a better world or get the hell out of the way.
Thoughts? E-mail me at JScarborough@msnbc.com
Terror or democracy (Joe Scarborough)
As troops sat down for lunch under skies described as brilliant blue by a reporter on the scene, mortar shells ripped through a US base near Mosul — killing at least 20 soldiers stationed there.
Just as U.S. casualties spiked on and after D-day, we can expect more deaths in the coming weeks leading up to Iraq's first election.
We all know every soldier's death is tragic.
But for the parents, children, and loved ones of those twenty American soldiers, the pain they will endure in the coming months and years will be unbearable.
I have looked into the eyes of young children who lost their fathers to terror attacks. Somehow, telling them that their dad died for a great cause was pathetically inadequate for such times.
All you can do is hug them and let them know you will keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Seven years after whispering my condolences to young boy from my district after he lost his father in the Khobar Towers attack, I still remember the lost look in his eyes.
The nine-year-old really didn't comprehend what was going on at the time, and I'm sure he still asks God every night why he was left to go though his teenage years without a father by his side.
Such a loss must be crushing, complete, forever.
So why did we allow that to happen to twenty more American families today?
Why are we in Iraq?
Why don't we spare others and bring our young men and women home?
Great questions. In fact, they are the same questions Americans could have asked sixty years ago, as young servicemen were dying by the tens of thousands in Hitler's Europe and the South Pacific.
Even in that "good war", U.S. families had to deal with immeasurable personal losses. But they knew America no other option but to fight the war against Hitler to the end.
Despite polls out this week suggesting otherwise, most Americans understand we have no other choice but to defeat these terrorists in Iraq unless we want to face them on the streetsof America.
The choice is clear: terror or democracy.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair understood that today while speaking to his troops in a surprise visit to Baghdad.
"The danger that people feel here is coming from terrorists and insurgents who are trying to destroy the possibility of this country becoming a democracy. Now where do we stand in that fight? We stand on the side of the democrats against the terrorists. And so when people say to me, 'Well look at the difficulties, look at the challenges,' I say, 'Well, what's the source of that challenge?'
"The source of that challenge is a wicked, destructive attempt to stop this man, this lady, all these people from Iraq, who want to decide their own future in a democratic way, having that opportunity.
"And where should the rest of the world stand? To say, 'Well, that's your problem, go and look after it,' or, 'You're better off with Saddam Hussein running the country' — as if the only choice they should have in the world is a choice between a brutal dictator killing hundreds of thousands of people or terrorists and insurgents.
"There is another choice for Iraq — the choice is democracy, the choice is freedom — and our job is to help them get there because that's what they want. Sometimes when I see some of the reporting of what's happening in Iraq in the rest of the world, I just feel that people should understand how precious what has been created here is."
There is no doubt that the British Prime Minister was hearing the same complaints about press coverage from his troops that I hear from US soldiers in Iraq. They tell me that while there are bombings and assorted terror attacks, the good they are doing in that country far outweighs the evil being spread by the Islamic terrorists.
Still, many in the press are questioning why the security situation has gotten worse in Iraq in recent months. As I discussed yesterday , the answer is in the memo written by Iraq's reigning terror kingpin, al Zarqawi.
He has told his gang of terrorists that once free elections and democracy takes hold in Iraq, their day is done. The government will gain legitimacy and all those attacking security forces will be seen as enemies of the first freely elected government in Middle East history.
This is the worst case scenario for Zarqawi and Bin Laden.
The past century has taught us that freedom is on the march in all regions of the world except the Middle East. A peaceful democratic revolution in Iraq will have an historic impact on Iran, Syria, and the rest of the Arab world.
With that freedom will come learning, enlightenment, hope, prosperity, and liberation — liberation from hate, bigotry, and Osama Bin Laden's dark vision.
The choice is clear: terror or democracy. Bin Laden or Blair. Freedom or tyranny.
Let's pray to God that on the 60th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, the American people will posses the same resolve that their brave men and women in uniform carry with them every day as they wake up for work in Iraq.
Circle January 30th on your calendar as Iraq's D-day, because our enemies know as Hitler did in 1944, that a U.S. victory on that date will mean the beginning of the end for the forces of evil.
And may God bless those who gave their lives in the service of our country and our civilization earlier today. History will understand more clearly than today's scribes why these soldiers' service to America was so critical to our country and our world.
E-mail your thoughts to JScarborough@msnbc.com.
Fighting the real enemy (Joe Scarborough)
The war on terror hangs in the balance.
And yet, in a time when moral clarity is so desperately needed from reporters on the front lines of that war, Americans are fed editorials attacking the liberators and language glamorizing terrorist thugs.
But more on language and labels in a minute.
First, it's time we face up to the ugly truth about the mainstream media outlets covering this war.
The fact is that newsrooms across America and Europe are filled with reporters and editors who loathe George Bush that they would rather see him lose in Iraq than see America win.
This animosity runs so deep news outlets affix the label of “occupier” to US liberators while using the term “insurgent” to describe Islamic fascists who would rather kill every man, woman, and child in Iraq than see them free.
The Michael Moore faction in the Democratic Party claims US troops are not liberators, but rather empire builders. Then again, Moore also compared the terrorists who carved off American hostages' heads to our founding fathers.
While most Democrats and leftist reporters would never make such a public admission, many do believe that spreading freedom to Iraq and Afghanistan is an imperialist scheme to spread American hegemony across the globe.
Since when did promoting Jeffersonian democracy equate to the spread of American hegemony?
Since George Bush launched this war instead of, say, Bill Clinton.
Isn't it remarkable that we never heard terms like “American imperialism” or “US hegemony” or “unilateral war” when former President Bill Clinton launched military strikes against Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sudan, or Iraq?
Can you remember 'The New York Times' or CBS News or any other mainstream media outlet taking President Clinton to task for his wars in the Balkans?
Of course not.
In fact, most wrote editorials praising America's entrance into a 500 year civil war and printed screaming headlines exaggerating incidents of mass graves and ethnic cleansing.
Never mind the fact that the Serbs' conduct in Kosovo never came close to reaching the level of barbarism and butchery that Islamic fascists have exhibited in Iraq and across the world.
In Kosovo, an act of aggression by the Serbs was always seized upon by press to justify America's involvement there.
In Iraq, the more horrendous the terror attack, the sharper the rebuke against Bush for launching his liberation efforts.
What makes the media's moral blindness so damning is the fact that the leader of the terror network responsible for most of the Iraqi killings wrote out his war plans months ago for all the world to see.
This is not morally ambiguous stuff.
Jordanian terror king al-Zarqawi warned his followers in a memo produced earlier this year that the Americans were not going to be driven out of Iraq by terror tactics.
Therefore, the only way to stop free elections and a democratically elected government was to kill as many Shiites as possible.
After slaughtering enough innocent Shia, civil war would break out and cause the streets of Iraq to flood with the blood of the unbelievers. Then, and only then, Iraq would be a safe haven for Islamic terrorists.
Zarqawi concluded by warning his terror network that if America had its way, a representative government would be elected and then their cause would be lost.
So yesterday, scores of innocent Shia were incinerated in two of Iraq's holyist cities for simply worshipping their God as they chose.
Imagine the outrage if Christian Serb leaders had written a memo defining their chief political goal as the killing of Muslims.
'The Times' would have gone apolectic. Dan Rather would have grimly spoken of a Balkan holocaust. And Hollywood types would have been standing in line at the White House asking Bill Clinton how they could support his efforts overseas.
But with the stakes so much higher in this war, the mainstream media is churning out the bad news daily, always implying that these murderous rampages in Iraq are really the fault of their one true enemy, George W. Bush.
And what about the Shia?
Screw 'em. The cocktail party circuit in Manhattan and Hollywood have concluded the bastards are too stupid to live under a democratic system anyway.
But for a group of idiots, Iraq's Shiite leaders sure seem smart to me.
This summer they turned the screws on one of their own-al Sadr-and told him his attacks against the US forces would not be tolerated.
Last month, the Shia's most powerful leader delivered a religious edict ordering his people to vote in next month's elections.
And most impressively, the general population is not biting at Zarqawi's bait. They know that their family members are being slaughtered in the streets of Iraq not because of US imperialism, but because Zarqawi desperately needs to draw them into a civil war.
But unlike America's mainstream press, the Shia are smart enough to read the enemy's war memos and plan accordingly.
Imagine for a moment that we lived in a world without George Bush, John Kerry, Michael Moore, Fox News, James Carville, Vietnam, the New York Times, and the all the forces that have created faultlines throughout contemporary American political life.
In such a world, does anyone seriously doubt that all of America would be united behind this war?
Imagine a world where editorial page writers were less concerned about proving George Bush wrong than bringing freedom and hope to the epicenter of Islamic terrorism.
Imagine a country where political leaders were less concerned about what party took credit for winning a war than both parties working together toward the common goal of actually winning that war.
Imagine a world where CBS News and the New York Times editorial page dared to call those slaughtering innocents in Iraq “terrorists” instead of labeling them insurgents, as if they were throwing off the yoke of a colonial power set on ruling their land for hundreds of years.
Imagine a world where journalism schools produced reporters and editors who were not afraid to call evil by its name.
Now imagine living in a world where we are fighting for the very future of our civilization-and most of the world's press remains neutral (or worse) because they don't like the man leading that epic battle.
This war on terror has seen its epicenter move from New York to Kabul to Baghdad in the past few years. It is as clearly a war of good against evil as any America has fought since World War II.
But American and European reporters are so blinded by their cynicism— and their hatred of George W. Bush— that like Hitler's Albert Speer, they do not recognize evil when its hand is on their shoulder.
Or on the front page of their newspapers.
They refuse to tie together the 9/11 murders with the Bali bombing, or the Madrid murders, or the school house slaughter in Russia, or the assassination of election workers in Iraq.
They refuse to connect the dots because George W. Bush and Tony Blair drew a line between them first, while the rest of the world was sleeping.
Maybe that's why I am staring at a picture of a man being gunned down like a dog on the front page of the New York Times. The terrorists executing the man and his two fellow election workers conducted the murders in broad daylight for all the world to see.
And what did the New York Times call these beasts?
Insurgents against what?!?
These “insurgents” were not gunning down US soldiers. They were not murdering police officers who were trying to put down an oppressed people.
These “insurgents” had one goal in mind yesterday: destroying those who would dare to believe that Iraq could live in freedom and peace.
Should you and I be shocked that the media is expressing little to no outrage at this unspeakable act?
Should we contemplate why so many media outlets, who would have spoken out against this atrocity had it happened in Kosovo, Israel, or scores of other countries, are sitting quietly by while Islamic terrorists continue killing election workers, doctors, and all others who are trying to bring aid to a desperate people?
Of course not.
The media hates this war because it hates this president. It doesn't matter how noble the goal. It doesn't matter how high the stakes.
In this perverse new media reality, George Bush is evil, U.S. troops are occupiers, and terrorists who gun down defenders of democracy are “insurgents.”
NBC poll (and Chevy Chase tirade) highlight secret to Bush's success (Joe Scarborough)
A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll helps explain why John Kerry and the anybody-but-Bush machine came up short in last month's election.
Forget about all the other issues cluttering cable news outlets and the Internet. In the end, we are a nation at war that lives in an age of terror.
The political party that understands that reality, and positions itself as the most able to take the fight to the terrorists, wins.
Unfortunately for the Democratic Party, the NBC/WSJ poll shows Republicans with a clear advantage on that issue.
A majority of Americans say Bush has a mandate to do whatever it takes to win in Iraq and the war of terror, while Republicans generally enjoy a 15 point lead when voters are asked who they trust more to handle those wars.
But instead of facing up to this great challenge, Democrats and their supporters are still obsessing over vote counts in elections that are already over. And elites in New York, Washington, and L.A. keep opening their mouths only to make matters worse for the candidate they will all support in 2008 (see Hillary Clinton).
May God help the Democratic Party over the next four years, because Hollywood and CBS News sure as hell won't.
This morning, Americans awoke to news of political assisinations in Iraq, swarms of locusts in Mexico, and a new audio tape of Osama Bin Laden.
But they won't be talking about those stories around the watercooler today. Instead, chances are good that many more will discussing Christmas plans, this weekend's football games, and former "Saturday Night Live" star Chevy Chase's tirade at the Kennedy Center last night.
I can almost hear an office worker asking another if she heard what that crazy Bill Murray called President Bush at the White House Christmas party right in front of his two children!
But it was Mr. Chase who lost control of just about everything this side of his bowels when he delivered a broadside against President Bush.
He started by calling the President a "dumb f_ _ _."
The Washington Post also reported today that Chase used Dick Cheney's favorite slur as an adjective, assuring the audience, "I'm no f_ _ _ _ _ _ clown either... This guy started a jihad."
But the line that will make Republicans from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to Orange County, California smile with glee was his description of the President as an "uneducated schmuck."
Republicans like Bush and Reagan have always fed off of others' low expectations.
And far from being angered at having their fearless leader referred to as a "dumb, uneducated blankety-blank schmuck," Republicans exploit such insults for their political gain. That's why I suspect Karl Rove and his family will probably pay homage to Chase this weekend by sitting down to watch " Caddyshack" and " Fletch."
Like Michael Moore, Chevy Chase makes Rove's job so much easier.
When Ronald Reagan first ran for governor of California in 1966, he was considered to be so stupid that friends of sitting Governor Pat Brown funneled money into the Reagan camp— all so this dimwitted B-list actor could win the GOP primary.
Reagan did, and then whipped Brown
Fourteen years later, Jimmy Carter's White House threw a party after Reagan locked up the national Republican presidential nomination. The thought was that America would never elect a man held in such low esteem by elites on both coasts.
Fast forward to Election Eve, 1980, and there was Jimmy Carter complete with quivering lip telling the voters of Plains that he just hoped he didn't do anything to embarrass them.
Dumb Ronald Reagan gave Carter a historic drubbing and entered the White House underestimated and misunderstood.
Hell, Dan Rather and hundreds of Marxist professors across America and Europe still don't understand how Reagan won the Cold War and died a national hero.
And the original host of SNL's "Weekend Update" doesn't understand how shrill attacks like his only helps the man he hates.
I held hundreds of townhall meetings while in Congress, and I know first hand that nothing sells on the stump like Hollywood arrogance. And last night, one of Hollywood's favorite sons used his time on the fabled Kennedy Center stage to slander the President of the United States as an uneducated moron— who, by the way, received more votes than anyone else in United States history.
The Democrats should be so dumb.
And by the way, I pray that my children will be so "uneducated" as to attend Yale and Harvard when they grow up.
Instead of focusing on recounts and recriminations, the Democratic Party needs to be constructive. I have a homework assignment its members can complete over the Christmas break: Read the New Republic's cover story from last week, "An Argument for New Liberalism."
In the article, TNR editor Peter Beinart warns Democrats that unless they confront Islamic totalitarianism as seriously as Truman faced down Stalinism, the Democratic Party will be relegated to permanent minority status.
The article is sure to anger Democratic activists and amuse arrogant Republicans. But mark my words: Beinhart's approach will be embraced by Hillary Clinton over the next four years, as she prepares to win back the White House for the Party of Hollywood, Chevy Chase, and Michael Moore.
It will be a tough task for Clinton or anyone else. But impossible if Hollywood clowns like Chevy Chase don't understand how they have played a role, however slight, in the unravelling of their once great party.
E-Mail me at JScarborough@msnbc.com
The Washington Post feeds into conspiracy theories (Joe Scarborough)
I've always liked the Washington Post.
I know they've been knocked as being left-of-center and part of the Northeast liberal elite crowd. But from what I've read in the Post since first getting elected to Congress ten years ago, I have found them to be more intellectually honest and moderate in their coverage of political issues than, say, the New York Times.
In fact, when I left Congress, one of the things I missed the most was being able to pick up the Post on my way to work for 25 cents.
Maybe because of my generally positive feelings about the paper, I am surprised at an article they ran today regarding the 2004 election .
For weeks now, Democratic hacks and political conspiracy theorists (see Jesse Jackson) have been keeping themselves busy traveling around Ohio and Florida. Their purpose? To prove to the world that George Bush won those two states because of massive polling irregularities and Republican-induced fraud.
Late last month, the Palm Beach County elections supervisor was attacked by an angry swarm of such conspiracy nuts at a public event. The group, whom I suspect receives transmissions through the fillings in their head from the 1970s rock group Klaatu, still can't get over the fact that Bush beat Kerry by nearly 400,000 votes in Florida.
Anyone who knows anything about politics knows that questioning the results of all elections that fall within 400,000 votes would cause chaos in the voting process.
And anyone who knows anything about Florida politics knows that only the most troubled conspiracy theorist— or rabid Democrat— could make the laughable claim that Bush's victory in the Sunshine State was aided by fraud.
But that didn't stop the Washington Post from reporting on a “study” from Berkeley students and professors who claimed that George Bush got 130,000 of John Kerry's votes from the three Democratic Counties in South Florida that have electronic voting machines.
To make the discovery more credible, the Post reporters interviewed an MIT professor who first professed skepticism at such results. But later, that same professor breathlessly reported that he had looked over the numbers and came up with the same result.
“You can't break it; I've tried. There's something funky in the results from the electronic-machine counties.”
Oh my God! This is serious!! How could Karl Rove and Hitler— now living comfortably in Barbados and completing his second set of diaries for Der Stern— have masterminded yet another election day plot to subvert American democracy?
Well, actually… they didn't.
Had our Berkeley students and professors conducting said study spent less time reading Noam Chomsky and more time reading Florida election results, they would have understood what political factors led to George Bush outperforming their expectations by 130,000 votes in South Florida.
I will present these factors numerically in such a way that even a Berkeley student taking a fourth bong hit while assembling his aluminum foil helmet to the background strains of “Dark Side of the Moon” can follow.
Hopefully, a few Washington Post reporters will also take note.
1. Ask any mermaid you happen to see and she'll tell you that a helluva lot more people voted in 2004 than 2000. Higher voter turnout equals… anyone? Anyone? That's right! More votes for both candidates.
2. Democratic and Republican operatives were saying before the election that John Kerry was underperforming among key constituencies in South Florida. Some Democrats blamed it on Kerry's failure to excite African-American voters while others suggested that the absence of Joe Liebermann from the ticket would hurt Democrats in Jewish communities.
3. Just weeks before the election, a Palm Beach reporter spoke of the latest Palm Beach County poll showing the president within striking distance of Kerry. Almost all concurred that if Bush was outperforming expectations in heavily Democratic Palm Beach County, then John Kerry was in trouble. Turns out he was.
4. Had our Berkeley students briefly compared the 2004 election results with those from other years, they would have found that George Bush actually underperformed when compared to other GOP candidates—including one named Jeb.
I don't want to do their Christmas break homework for them (can you say Christmas in Berkeley?), but here is the voting breakdown between two conservative Republicans named Bush:
Jeb Bush —40%
PALM BEACH COUNTY:
Jeb Bush —43%
MIAMI DADE COUNTY:
Jeb Bush —53%
For those of you not stoned out of your gourd or gazing at the 3D poster of Jesus, Jerry Garcia, and George McGovern waving from atop a UFO you picked up from Spencer's Gifts, the numbers draw an unmistakable conclusion.
A series of unfortunate events for John Kerry occurred in South Florida this election season. These things happen in political campaigns. And the events led to election results understood and accepted even by the most partisan Democratic strategist.
The president's vote totals may have been 130,000 higher than these Berkeley students had hoped for, but the results were far from unusual. Hell, Bush even got whipped by his little brother and a slate of other Republican candidates in 2004 in these South Florida counties.
Immediately after the election, many of these conspiracy theorists (who pass themselves off as political activists) spoke of inexplicable vote totals in Democratic counties across North Florida that went for Bush.
A few days later it was reported that these same counties had gone for Bush in 2000 and heavily trended Republican in national elections. Another conspiracy theory bit the dust.
Though I have made light of the Berkeley study, the more serious question to why the Washington Post would feed into conspiracy theories that political reporters on its own staff could have debunked in 30 seconds.
The Post's readers deserve an answer to that question.
They also deserve to know why the paper would raise similar questions regarding the Ohio results when their report in the Buckeye state is based on selective antidotes, partisan attacks, and general observations that could have been made of every election held in all fifty states.
As the spokesperson for Ohio's election department said this week, “In Washington, D.C., a voter who casts a ballot in the wrong precinct cannot have that ballot counted. Yet in Ohio, it was 'voter suppression' and 'voter disenfranchisement.'”
Today's Post report began with a Ohio voter recounting the tragic tale of how young, black men left polling places before casting their votes because they had to wait too long.
“How is that good for democracy?” she asked.
Pass the Pulitzer and weep for our once free land. Why, there are reports that between 5,000 and 15,000 people “lost their votes” because they refused to wait in line.
Funny how you never hear similar horror stories from Republican precincts.
Is that because it never happens or because the press never reports it?
All I know is that on election day, voters in Precinct 110 in Escambia County, Florida stood in line for up to seven hours waiting to vote. When the rain started pouring down and the rest of Florida's polling places closed down, these voters stayed put.
As the hours passed by, the tired voters began singing “God Bless America” and other patriotic hymns. College students drove in pickup trucks filled with bottled water to give the crowd. These people had come to vote and they were going to stay there until their vote was counted.
So why didn't we hear about similar GOP precincts across America on election night?
You want the truth? You can't handle the truth.
Okay. Maybe you can. Here goes.
You don't hear both sides of the story because most Republican voters stuck in line are white conservatives and moderates who voted for Bush. Reporters don't usually win awards or get noticed by their editors for writing such stories.
Instead, who among us can resist the tale well told of young black men having their votes stolen by scheming, white Republican power brokers? Even if, in the case of Ohio, the white, scheming Republican is actually black.
I am not surprised that a reporter would pitch this story to an Internet publisher who deals in conspiracy theories. But the fact that the Washington Post would publish this sloppy piece of journalism is shocking.
Readers of the Washington Post deserve better.
This morning's headlines — and Rummy (Joe Scarborough)
Sen. John McCain is making news with his full frontal assault on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld . The Arizona senator is blasting away at Rummy for refusing to send more troops into Iraq.
The troop controversy reminds me of a conversation I had with one of Rumsfeld's closest aides while I was serving on the Armed Services Committee in Congress. Rummy's aide kept talking about how the Bush Administration would transform the military by dramatically cutting troop levels and slashing costs across the board. One of the more troubling plans involved the mothballing several aircraft carriers and slashing the number of ships available to the Navy and Marine Corps.
His logic seemed a bit simple: If America could send a bomber from an airbase in Missouri to hit a target in the Middle East on the same day it took off, why would America need all those extra ships to project U.S. power?
I replied that it was kind of hard to land a B-2 Bomber in a soccer stadium in Iran to rescue hostages, or to send a not-so-subtle message to the Chinese that those American carriers in the Straits of Taiwan should be interpreted as, "Don't screw with America or our allies."
But all I got from Rummy's advisor was a polite smile that said, "You just don't understand the future of warfare or how smart we are, boy."
In less than a year, it would be obvious that nobody fully grasped the future of warfare that Osama bin Laden would bring to our shores. Unfortunately, success in Afghanistan months after 9/11 only reinforced the Secretary's belief that US Armed Forces could do more with less.
But Afghanistan is not Iraq.
It is said that in preparing for battle, generals are always fighting the last war. That seems to be the case in Iraq, where I have been saying from the beginning that our troop levels have been far too low. McCain and a group of retired generals have also been saying the same thing for over a year now, but no one at the Pentagon has listened until recently.
What that has meant for our troops has been an almost impossible security situation.
This morning we are reading reports of insurgents moving back into Fallujah just weeks after being routed by U.S. Marines. After that bloody battle, the President and Pentagon were warned by an internal Marine report that without additional boots on the ground, terrorists would slip back into Fallujah and launch more deadly attacks on Americans and Iraqis who support freedom instead of terror.
For the record, I remain a big fan of Donald Rumsfeld. But it's time for the Secretary to listen to his generals, and give them the troops they need.
In other news headlines this morning, I want to get into this Bill O'Reilly thing about defending Christmas. Talk about courage.
Here is a story of one New Jersey school that wants to ban little kids from singing "Silent Night" in a Christmas concert. This school's stupid move is right out of a "South Park" script.
Speaking of stupid, how about those New York Mets spending a billion dollars or so on Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez ? I'm a big Sox fan, but like Tom Glavine a few years back, the Mets will spend way too much money on a pitcher whose best days are behind him.
Maybe Barry Bonds will let Pedro dig into his steroid stash to prolong his career a few years.
Speaking of Bonds, John McCain is on the right track. If Major League Baseball is too scared to confront dopeheads in their dugouts, the U.S. Congress should crack heads to ensure those Americans who collectively spend billions on baseball are getting what they pay for.
One final note from the news headlines about a political party's unseemly demise. You know things are getting bad for the Democratic Party when they have to make up fake oversight hearings. That's right. The Senate Democrats have announced a series of eight "oversight hearings" in the coming year.
The only problem is that as members of the perpetual minority, these Democrats have no subpoena power and no Republicans attending any of their show trials, or hearings, or whatever they will be called.
Watch the liberal media report on these hearings with the earnestness of Iran-Contra or Abscam. If Republicans tried such a trick, they would be laughed out of town.
E-mail me at JScarborough@MSNBC.com.
Bill Moyers' retirement plans (Joe Scarborough)
By now, many who follow media events have heard the latest rant from PBS host Bill Moyers regarding his retirement plans. The former newsman and Democratic operative says he will spend the final chapter of his life reporting on the biggest news story of our time.
So what does Moyers consider the monumental event that changed Western Civilization and the world? Is it the September 11 terror attacks? The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan? The Islamic extremists' worldwide war of terror?
Not even close.
Moyers is telling Americans on the eve of his retirement that the biggest story of our time is Rush Limbaugh, Matt Drudge, and Fox News.
No. Really. I'm not kidding.
This guy claims with a straight face that the biggest news story in this age of terror is "how the right-wing media has become a partisan propaganda arm of the Republican National Committee." Moyers claims, "We have an ideological press that's interested in the election of Republicans, and a mainstream press that's interested in the bottom line. Therefore, we don't have a vigilant, independent press whose interest is the American people."
So the former CBS and PBS newsman — who served in Democratic Administrations — is now interested in an independent press that shows no favoritism to any political party.
Gee. That's a relief, because if one were to judge Mr. Moyers by his own words though his career, this self-righteous reporter (who claims to practice the purist form of journalism) could be accused of being little more than a shrill political hack for the Democratic Party.
Let's go back two years after the American voters gave Republicans control of the Senate in the 2002 midterm elections. The week after Democrats suffered that stunning loss, Moyers went on a left-wing rant that reminds one more of James Carville than Walter Cronkite.
The PBS host of "NOW" launched into a rabid screed and declared that "for the first time in the memory of anyone alive, the entire federal government — the Congress, the Executive, the Judiciary — is united behind a right-wing agenda for which George W. Bush believes he now has a mandate."
Moyers went on to declare that Republicans would use their power to oppress women, rob from the poor to feed the rich, rape the environment, and push for secrecy "on a scale that you cannot even imagine."
He concluded the reading of his Democratic talking points by making a joke at Christians' expense by saying, "If you like God in government, get ready for the Rapture."
What a calm, disinterested voice of reason.
But wait. There's more!
Not content to simply use his anchor chair on taxpayer funded PBS to attack Republican policies, Moyers amped up his Democratic rants by resorting to childish name-calling. For the former Democratic Party hack, anyone disagreeing with his 1960s style brand of liberalism was branded as being "delusional."
"One of the biggest changes in politics in my lifetime is that the delusional is no longer marginal," Moyers said. "It has come in from the fringe, to sit in the seat of power in the Oval Office and in Congress."
Maybe someone should inform Mr. Moyers that far from being marginal or on the fringe, George W. Bush received more votes than any other political candidate in United States history.
So is this so-called journalist calling the majority of American voters delusional for electing President Bush and a Republican Congress?
Could it be that it is Bill Moyers and his big government agenda is the one that is extreme and on the fringe of American political life?
And doesn't it seem to you that Bill Moyers is accusing right-wing media types of doing the same thing for the Republican Party that he has been doing for Democratic candidates for forty years?
Of course. But in the media world, liberals like Moyers get journalism awards, while cultural megaforces like Rush Limbaugh and Matt Drudge get served extra helpings of scorn and ridicule from media elites.
Not that they're complaining.
I would guess that most of those targeted by Moyers don't mind being on the wrong side of the retiring host since, unlike Moyers, they are on the right side of history.
Send your e-mails to JScarborough@MSNBC.com. Plus, don't forget to tune into 'Scarborough Country' at 10 p.m. ET tonight for a further discussion on this matter.
Mainstream press buries yet another good story (Joe Scarborough)
Anyone needing further proof of media bias when it involves the president's foreign policy needs to look no further than this Saturday's New York Times article on the current state of Afghanistan.
The Times continues its "good news is no news" approach to U.S. foreign policy by virtually ignoring the remarkable progress being made in Afghanistan and instead obsessing over poppies. Here's the slanted story.
I'm not sure how they did it, but this week the Times and the mainstream media— which the editor of the New Republic recently tagged as anti-war activists— ignored the historic inauguration of Afghanistan's first democratically-elected president in its history.
One of the few columnists telling Americans what's really going on in Afghanistan is Pulitzer Prize winning writer Charles Krauthammer. His latest column is a must read on the The Afghan Miracle.
In 2001, the mainstream press predicted doom in Afghanistan and reminded readers daily of how past wars there had turned into quagmires for the Soviet Union and the British Empire.
A few weeks later, these naysayers were proven wrong.
Since the press refuses to tell you the truth about our soldiers' successes overseas, it bears repeating that when George Bush first got elected president, Afghanistan was home base to al Qaeda, the Taliban, Osama Bin Laden, and the most repressive religious regime on the face of the earth.
Those not attending religious services were tortured, women were locked in their homes and banned from attending schools, Christians were executed, women suspected of adultery were buried up to their heads and then stoned alive, and homosexuals were crushed to death by Taliban thugs. A
Three years later, these same brutalized people were allowed to go to the polls and elect the president of their choice.
So why did the press bury this historic story? For the same reason they have been focused on bad news coming out of Iraq instead of telling Americans what a great job their soldiers and Marines have been doing to liberate another formerly oppressed nation.
Btw, the most slanted piece on Afghanistan this week was written by the LA Times, whose inauguration story seemed to long for the good old days of the Taliban. The Times praised the Taliban for their work in stemming the opium trade.
Somehow their barbaric acts of savagery were overlooked as was the fastest growing commodity in Afghanistan: freedom.
On the movie front, I went to see "Ocean's Twelve" last night. Forget all the stupid things said during election season by the stars of this film, and overlook the smug reviews that ironically blast the movie for its smugness.
Soderberg is great as usual and the Clooney/Pitt partnership is as good as it gets in Hollywood these days. Here's the Times' review.
Speaking of reviews, the New York Times surprisingly enough gives my book, "Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day," a fairly positive review. We are told that "Joe Scarborough is mad as hell and he isn't going to take it anymore" and that the book is "an entertaining eruption." I am also credited for being honest enough to take on my own party.
However, the reviewer claims I am extremely confused on matters of deficits and debts because I do not support higher taxes.
If opposing higher taxes makes me confused, so be it Jedi.
Thoughts? E-mail JScarborough@MSNBC.com
Congressional memo to future generations: You're screwed (Joe Scarborough)
Take it from a not-so-old former congressman who knows: Proud young Americans, you are in for a con job from Washington that you can't even imagine.
Your government has already borrowed almost $8 trillion that it can't pay back. Guess who will have to write the check? That's right. You.
Expect massive tax hikes in your future, and wicked cuts in national defense, education, environmental enforcement, police protection and medical care for the poor and elderly.
Oh, you say the poor should pay for their health care just like you? Fine.
Wait till you have to crawl over 3-year-old kids dying on the front steps of the emergency room where you are taking your kids and then you will be asking yourself if it was really wise for this generation of politicians to spend money as responsibly as pot heads in an open-all-night grocery store.
And guess what these politicians who have already straddled you with an $8 trillion debt plan to do as soon as Congress gets back in session?
No, guess. Really. You'll love this.
They plan to plunge America into debt by $2 trillion more dollars!
You see, they've got this really cool plan to privatize parts of Social Security that usually make free market conservatives like myself giddy. We start talking about the invisible hand and the power of market forces.
Only problem is that this plan to get government off our backs costs a cool $2 trillion in transition fees.
And— let me see if you are following me here— who pays for that?
That's right. YOU!
But that's not the biggest problem with this $2 trillion Social Security plan. What bothers me the most is the fact that everybody in Washington knows that allowing Americans to invest parts of their Social Security payments in the stock market will produce some winners. But capitalism also always produces losers, and we all know that there will be millions of Americans who will make stupid investments in the coming years. (See Enron, etoys, Pets.com, Worldcom)
So what will happen when they retire and start complaining to their local congressman and TV camera crews about how they're about to be thrown out in the streets because of the dumb investments they made with their Social Security payments years ago?
Congress will pass the "Save Our Stupid Seniors Investment Relief Act of 2025," thereby guaranteeing that all Americans will have all Social Security payments restored in full.
That will require that you take your third job in the Chinese high tech factory just so you can pay even more taxes to Washington.
It's a bright future, brought to you by a gang in Washington who really couldn't care less about what happens to the world they pass on to their children and grandchildren.
How do I know this? Because I was in Congress long enough to learn that you judge politicians by their actions, not their words.
P.S. I talk about the selling out of America by politicians in my book "Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day."
P.P.S. Here's something you don't hear me say every day. Read Paul Krugman's column on this subject today. He comes to the same conclusion that I do: Congress will borrow $2 trillion today to privatize Social Security and then borrow trillions more to cover American's poor investments in the future. Here's the link to his column.
Can Peace break out in the Middle East? (Joe Scarborough)
While I'm obsessing over peace in the Middle East, I wanted to pass along some poll results from the Jerusalem Post that Opinion Journal posted this morning:
"A majority of 51.8 percent of the Palestinians polled said that they were opposed to "military operations" against Israeli targets and consider them harmful to Palestinian national interests, compared with 26.9% last June. Only 41.1% of the Palestinians believe that terrorist attacks should continue compared with 65.4% last June.
According to the poll, a majority of Palestinians, 59.3%, feel optimistic regarding the future in general, compared with 45.3% last June."
The poll suggests that peace just may have a chance of breaking out in the Middle East. Arafat's death continues to pay dividends and maybe the Godfather of Terrorism finally did something to make the world a better place to live. He died.
BTW, I have made no secret that I am a strong supporter of Israel. Many Palestinians believe that all Americans blindly support Israel in all negotiations with the Palestinian authority. But everytime I see a father cradling his dead child because of the ongoing war, it breaks my heart.
I can't tell the difference between a dead Israeli child and a dead Palestinian child. And daring to speak for the Almighty, I believe that God can't either.
Israeli Prime Minister Sharon is daring to do what it takes for peace. Chances are good he will be killed by one of his own if he ever makes peace with the "enemy."
Hamas members are tired of watching their leaders being blown to bits by Israeli soldiers.
And now the Palestinian people are starting to imagine a world where they can live peacefully next to their enemy.
Just as with Iraq, we all have a long way to go. But seeds are being planted across the Middle East. And maybe, just maybe, peace will break out in Israel in our lifetime.
I look at it this way. If the Red Sox can win the World Series, anything is possible.
Thoughts? Email me at JScarborough@msnbc.com
Setting the record straight (Joe Scarborough)
Last week I wrote about the prospect of peace in the Middle East, despite the torrent of bad news coming out of Israel and Iraq. One topic I touched upon struck a nerve with a viewer named Andrea. This is what she wrote me in response to my blog:
"I mostly agree with you, but was deeply offended when you likened
the soldiers at an IDF checkpoint who made a Palestinian play his violin to Nazis forcing Jews to play before the gas chambers."
This was my response to Andrea:
"As one of Israel's biggest supporters in Congress and now on TV, I assure you I do not compare Israeli troops to Nazis. Reread the blog and you will see that I said the incident had Israelis making the comparison.
Apparently this action deeply offended many Jews worldwide because Holocaust victims were forced to play the violin for Nazis. Because I do not share their heritage, I do not understand the deeply offensive nature of this action. The shooting of the young girl was much more disturbing to me than making sure the Palestinian man knew how to play the violin and wasn't using music lessons as a ploy to get past a checkpoint to murder more Israeli citizens.
Hope that clears it up."
And for the record, this is what I wrote in the blog regarding the troops' behavior:
"I dare to believe that 2005 could be a year of epic change in the Middle East by ushering in an era of freedom to a region that has only know death, despair and dictatorships over the past century.
I sound terribly naive in a week when we are confronted with stories of a young Palestinian girl riddled with bullets, U.S. troops continuing to be blown up by cheap and plentiful roadside bombs, and Israeli security checkpoint guards taunting Palestinian citizens in a way that elicits memories of the Holocaust for Jewish survivors. (emphasis added)."
The violin story wouldn't have even stuck me as odd were it not for articles I read that mentioned how the incident struck a nerve in Israel.
Was the action a bit humiliating for the Palestinian? Probably. But for a region on edge, it should not have been surprising that checkpoint guards would want to verify that the young man was passing through their screening area for music lessons instead of launching a suicide attack on Israeli citizens.
I remain hopeful that Hamas will lay down its weapons and get involved in the Palestinian electoral process. They claim to be headed in that direction despite the fact they blew up another Israeli soldier earlier this week. Since the Palestinian region has been run by Hamas for the past four years, there is no need for Israel to negotiate with anyone until this terror group turns into a legitimate political force.
I met Gerry Adams on Capitol Hill in the late 90s as he was moving the IRA terror group Sinn Fein from terrorism to retail politics in Ireland in the 1990s.
Hopefully, someone in Hamas will have the courage to walk away from their eternal hatred of Israel long enough to look into their children's eyes and realize that the world terrorists have created is not one worthy of their children.
Let's pray for peace, dignity and freedom for all the people of the Middle East this holiday season. God knows they have suffered under tyranny and totalitarian rule long enough.
What do you think? E-mail: JScarborough@MSNBC.com
Asylum can't protect from disgrace at home (Joe Scarborough)
The account is chilling.
A soldier seeking asylum in Canada tells the grim story of trigger-happy U.S. Marines and soldiers gunning down women and children in the streets of Iraq. Later he recounts how soldiers pumped hundreds of bullets into civilian cars, slaughtering unarmed occupants trapped inside.
And then there was the time U.S. Marines gunned down unarmed protesters in retaliation for a stray bullet flying overhead.
In what was described by reporters as "chilling testimony," former U.S. Marine Jeremy Hinzman and retired staff sergeant Jimmy Massey described Iraq as an immoral war and accused fellow Marines of murder and mayhem.
The explosive charges were meant to bolster Hinzman's efforts to dodge combat duty and gain citizenship in Canada.
The only problems with the claims are that Massey named no names in the testimony and the Marine seeking asylum — Hinzman — never even set foot in Iraq.
Like John Kerry and the Winter Soldiers thirty years ago, these former members of the armed services have no problem telling the world that American troops are baby-murdering villains whose actions on the battlefield have made them all war criminals.
But as with John Kerry's testimony before the Senate in 1971, these cowards came forward only when it was politically expedient.
More damning to their horror story is the fact they refuse to name names.
You can take it to the bank that if I were fighting next to some crazed U.S. soldier who was gunning down women and children in the streets of Iraq, I would immediately report the murderous activity to my military commanders. Instead, these publicity-seeking hounds decided to call a press conference in Canada months after the alleged incidents occurred.
If these wanton acts of rape and murder ever took place, how would this grandstanding months later save a single civilian from the fury of our barbaric ground troops in Iraq? Oh wait. It wouldn't.
But then again, spreading these pack of lies to an American-hating press corps was never about saving a single life in Iraq. Instead, it was about nothing more than helping a coward flee to Canada.
If the whole north-of-the-border thing doesn't work out for Hinzman, I'm sure Osama Bin Laden would let him share a cave in Pakistan. After all, this disgraced former Marine aided and abetted every terror network worldwide by spreading lies and propaganda about our brave fighting men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The only mistake America made in this case was allowing two people so utterly lacking in character into the Marine Corps. By their actions, they have proven themselves to be unworthy of being called United States Marines.
Send all of your comments to JScarborough@MSNBC.com
Last week I connected the dots between the breathtaking democratic uprising in Kiev and the fight for freedom in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Few can remember how grim the realities were for the Afghan people — especially women — before U.S. bombs chased Taliban thugs out of town wearing women's clothes. Though it is taking much longer, I suspect the only thing the terrorists in Iraq will be wearing when they leave the country will be a shroud.
This weekend, New York Post columnist John Podhoretz also compared the Ukrainian uprising to the fight to liberate the Arab world:
"When the world's only superpower stakes the future of the world on democracy, it's going to have ramifications — and we saw one intended ramification in the astonishing conduct of the Afghan people, who went to the polls in mass numbers two months ago.
And now, in Ukraine, we're seeing this new popular commitment — a commitment by Ukrainians to take charge of their own lives and their own politics.
The blogger Tulip Girl, an American living in Kiev, published a beautiful letter from her Ukrainian friend Lena last week. Ignore the grammatical problems and revel in it:
'Quite recently I didn't believe that my people able to resist to violence and humiliation. Two months ago I guessed that I live in the worst country in the world. I was oppressed when I could not see a dignity in my fellow citizens, willingness to freedom and happiness...Now I can see that they are not passive mammals who want just to dig [a] comfortable burrow, to generate they own posterity and to finish life in poverty, pretending that there is no another way.
'Since Nov. 22 there are not a crowd on the main square of my country. This is the PEOPLE. This is the NATION. Love, faith and hope filled up a whole space of capital of my country.'
To what extent the Ukrainian revolution has been influenced by American evangelizing about the power of freedom and democracy is something we won't know for a while. But we can be sure it played some kind of role — and that's an unintended consequence of which we can all be deeply, deeply proud. And another reason to give thanks for the sacrifice of those who are fighting for freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan."
As I said last week on this subject, democracy can be a messy form of government. The fall of the Soviet Empire has proven that over the past 13 years. But, as Podhoretz pointed out in his column, the former Soviet Bloc nations are now entering a mature stage of freedom. This development has allowed the Ukrainian uprising to occur.
Just as with Eastern Europe, the road to democracy in Iraq will be a difficult journey. But it is a trip we have no choice but to make.
What do you think? Send all e-mails to JScarborough@MSNBC.com