The Echo Chamber
Friday, October 11, 2002
  1:07 PM

Graham Confirms Hypocrisy With “No” Vote

Isn’t it interesting that Senator Bob Graham (D, FL) voted “no” on the war resolution? Because he’s a Democrat, you might guess that his vote reflects concern that the resolution gives too much power to Bush.

But wait, wasn’t Graham the Democrat who was trying to expand the resolution to allow Bush to go after not only Iraq, but other terrorist groups?

Graham’s “no” vote confirms my suspicion that he was being a hypocritical and insincere partisan at precisely the moment that the country required serious debate.

I’ve been picking on Senator Byrd for being against the war, but at least everyone knows what Bryd’s position was. If Graham was against the war, instead of playing political games, he should have stood up and voiced the reasons for his opposition.

Senator Graham should be ashamed of himself.  

  5:26 AM

The Iraq War Resolution Has Passed Congress

Early this morning the Senate passed the Iraq War Resolution 77-23. Martin Devon called it right.

The House approved the resolution yesterday 296-133.

Senate roll call.

House roll call.

Text of the resolution.

Happily, the “Daschle Dawdle Watch” and the short-lived “Byrd Watcher’s Alert System” have ended. Because the Democrats were not able to delay this vote until after the election, the thoughts and concerns of the American people were not cut out of the debate.

The Democrats cried foul when they thought Bush was going to war without Congressional approval. Then they cried foul because he asked for approval – too close to an election to suit them politically. Ultimately, most Democrats understood that this vote was more important than partisan politics. Many understood the danger.

The vote was cast and it was overwhelmingly in favor of allowing armed intervention. This show of solidarity makes it more likely, not less, that the UN will move toward the U.S. position on Iraq. And if I were Saddam, I’d be on the phone to Washington this morning negotiating my exile to some posh retreat.

“Peace through strength” is not a fashionable idea with the left. Nancy Reagan should be accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of her husband, but that’s not likely to happen. History shows that we have a choice, “peace through strength” or “fashionable appeasement.”

Through this vote, America states that she prefers lasting peace to fleeting popularity. 

Thursday, October 10, 2002
  3:39 PM

The “Daschle’s Dawdle Watch” appears to be at an end:
Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said Thursday he'll vote to give President Bush the authority to use U.S. forces to disarm Iraq, saying Iraqi President Saddam Hussein is a threat that "cannot be ignored."
Dawdling from at least one other Democratic Senator continues:
Sen. Robert Byrd, D-West Virginia, has argued the resolution would give the White House too much power and tried to amend the resolution to limit Bush's authority to one year. The amendment was defeated on a 66-31 vote.
So, with apologies to the vacationing Scott Koenig, the “Daschle Dawdle Watch” has been renamed “The Byrd Watcher’s Alert System.” We are at alert level ORANGE (HIGH RISK of Byrd dawdling).

One of the more hard-working bloggers, Martin Devon, has compiled a list predicting how each Senator will vote. At present, Martin has the resolution passing 77-23. 

  9:34 AM

Yesterday, an amendment to the war resolution sponsored by Senator Bob Graham of Florida was defeated. The resolution would have increased the authority of the president to strike not only Iraq, but other terrorist organizations. Who voted for it? There were 10 votes favoring the resolution, all from Democrats! Bob Graham is a Democrat! What gives?

Democrats are not sincerely trying to expand the power of the President. They are trying to expand the scope of the war power resolution so that they can assemble enough votes to defeat it or raise enough “concerns” to delay the vote until after the election.

Such insincerity has no place in a debate of this magnitude.

Bob Graham: if you don’t want war with Iraq, have the courage to stand up and say so. Don’t hypocritically propose to expand the war powers resolution and then turn around and have “concerns” about the scope of that power. This is beneath contempt.

Congradulations to the Republicans for not taking the bait.

Meanwhile, Senator Robert Byrd sought this week to force a series of votes over individual clauses within the war resolution, each vote would have necessitated its own debate. Sen. Joseph Lieberman stopped this effort by making a small change in the language of the resolution.

Byrd was still defiant in a speech Wednesday before the Senate, arguing for a delay in today's vote to limit debate to 30 hours on Iraq. "This is a fateful decision. It involves the blood of our fighting men and women," Byrd said. "It is too momentous a decision."
So Byrd thinks its too soon to debate whether there should be time limits on the debate. This my friends is first-class dawdling.

Daschle, having Presidential ambitions, is content to let others, like 84 year-old Byrd, do the dawdling. But as leader of his party, I think he deserves the credit. The Daschle Dawdle Watch is now ORANGE (HIGH RISK of dawdling).

For now, I'll forgo starting a separate "Byrd Watch." 

Wednesday, October 09, 2002
  1:57 PM

Arafat attempted to assassinate Colin Powell last April.

This according to senior consultant for the US Department of Defense and the US Department of State, Yossef Bodansky. Bodansky describes the attempt in his new book, "The High Cost of Peace."

"During a meeting with [special negotiator Gen. Anthony] Zinni, Arafat made a special request - a personal favor. A police officer from a very important family in Gaza had just been killed at Arafat's compound. It was imperative to get the body to Gaza for proper burial, Arafat pleaded.

Zinni requested Jerusalem to make an exception to the siege. Jerusalem consented on April 7-8. However, the PA was not ready to dispatch the body until the evening of April 11 - at about the same time Powell was due to arrive at Ben Gurion Airport.

Unbeknownst to the Palestinians, Israeli security forces were following the ambulance bearing the officer's body as it left the Ramallah area.

Their suspicions deepened when the ambulance made a "wrong turn" and headed toward Highway 1 - connecting Ben Gurion Airport and Jerusalem - instead of taking the road to Gaza. As the ambulance was about to enter Highway 1, it was ambushed and stopped by an Israeli anti-terrorist unit. A quick search netted a huge bomb installed under the policeman's body and a martyr's bomb-web under the seat next to the driver.

The two supposed Red Crescent medics told their interrogators that their plan was to park the ambulance near a bend in the road where Powell's convoy was bound to slow down. They would open the vehicle's hood as if they had an engine problem. Once the limousine got close to the ambulance, the driver was to blow it up, in the expectation that the convoy would stop and the security personnel would rush to investigate the explosion.

Exploiting the confusion, the other "medic" was to run to the limousine, try to get in, and blow himself up either inside the limousine or pressed against its exterior."

---Newsmax via Right Wing News.

  1:09 PM

The attack on the Marines yesterday appears to be the work of Kuwaiti al Qaeda.
[Pentagon officials said] it appears the two assailants, who were killed by U.S. military police shortly after the attack, had been in Afghanistan, where they were trained in al Qaeda training camps.

The two are also believed to have relatives who are being held by the United States at the U.S. Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba…

“It's not likely to be just a Kuwaiti matter," [Kuwaiti Brigadier General] Al-Moumen said, "but tied to tensions in the region."

Agreed. “Tensions” that include al Qaeda in Iraq – the country Al Gore has lectured us as being a distraction from the War on Terror. 

  8:56 AM

Well, Susanna Cornett was right.

The Maryland/D.C. sniper is not an Islamic terrorist. We learn this morning that he left behind a message scrawled on a Tarot card.

"Dear policeman, I am God," the message said. Police said it was found on a Tarot card known as the Death card, part of a deck used in fortune telling. Sources close to the investigation said it was spotted in a wooded area about 150 yards from the school entrance, where police also found a spent shell casing and a matted area of grass that suggested that the gunman had lain in wait.
Claiming he’s God on the back of a Tarot card rules out an Islamic fanatic. But it’s also not something that you would necessarily expect from a White Supremacist. Many White Supremacists cloak their racism in pseudo-religion.

On this case, everybody gets to be a profiler. Let me take my turn. I don’t think this guy is killing for any widely-held belief system. He’s killing simply because he can. It’s the ultimate evil power-trip. He has disassociated himself from all people. But he may not be the stereotypical quiet loner. He’s smart and may even be charming, not because he likes people, but because he enjoys manipulating people. He’s probably white. He’s probably over the age of 30. His claim to be “God” explains why his killings have been so indiscriminate (all ages and races). Because, he would say, God kills indiscriminately. He probably derived extra pleasure from the police reaction to the child shooting. He would like to shoot another child, but feels that schools may be a little too closely guarded now. He might try to shoot a child elsewhere. To remain “indiscriminate” he might try to shoot a girl next time; perhaps a girl from a different ethnic background.

I’m going to go take a long shower now.

UPDATE: Drew over at "The Sky Blog" has a profile. 

Tuesday, October 08, 2002
  9:03 PM

Scott Koenig of Indepundit is out for several weeks on an extended vacation. While he is out he has asked me to be the “Keeper of the Daschle Dawdle Watch.”

With any luck, this will be a short watch. According to Reuters:

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat, said he expected three procedural votes each requiring up to 30 hours of debate before going to final passage next week, unless Byrd dropped his objections…

Daschle said the first procedural vote slated for Thursday should indicate the outcome on the final vote. While Daschle had sought to limit the war powers further, he said on Tuesday he was "inclined" to support the measure.

With a key vote set for Thursday and with rough time limits set for the debate, I’m going to have to lower the Dawdle Watch to Blue (guarded risk of dawdling).

I’ll be watching these debates closely, however. Who knows? Daschle could have a “concerns” that need to be addressed via filibuster. 

  4:44 PM

I've been too busy to post much today. But here's a random thought I may try to flesh out in the coming days:

If we asked the anti-Semitic rioters at Concordia or Berkley their position on private ownership of firearms, what would they say? What would be the end result of widespread anti-Semitism coupled with firearm confiscation? 

Monday, October 07, 2002
  4:10 PM

The Maryland/D.C. sniper has apparently struck again. This time the victim was a 13-year-old boy who was being dropped off at school.

Scott Koenig is following this closely. 

  3:50 PM

This just in: U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott has lost his ever-loving mind.

After accepting at face value all that he was told by Saddam Hussein’s government and questioning our President’s honesty in Iraq last week, McDermott made the following statements to a cheering Seattle crowd:

"And what we are dealing with right now in this country is whether we are having a kind of bloodless, silent coup or not… This president is trying to bring to himself all the power to become an emperor — to create Empire America…”
McDermott also said that at the heart of the debate is whether Congress or the president has the power to declare war.

The statements about a coup and Bush seeking to become an emperor are too flaky to warrant debate. The “heart of the debate” comment is not crazy, just wrong. McDermott is the only one I hear bringing this up, so how can it be the “heart of the debate?” It’s a moot point anyway. Bush is seeking congressional authorization, and it’s a foregone conclusion he’s going to get it. So who cares at this point whether Bush had the power to start this operation without congressional authorization?

McDermott’s comments would be laughable if Streisand had made them. But the country should be able to expect more of a congressman.

---Link via Midwest Conservative Journal

  11:43 AM

Its interesting to see Joe Lieberman make the same arguments for the Iraqi War that bloggers have been making all year.

This man is looking more and more like the guy Bush will face in 2004.

---Link via LGF.

  6:38 AM

Al-Jazeera has published a tape said to contain the voice of Bin Laden.
---Link via JunkYardBlog.
I think Bin Laden is worm food. The message on the tape was either pre-recorded (this is somewhat doubtful because the message alludes strongly to the upcoming Iraq War) or, more likely, was made with an impersonator. United Press International published their article with this disclaimer, “United Press International has not been able to determine whether the speaker is bin Laden or when the tape was recorded.”

But the message on the tape is good for a few laughs. “Bin Laden” whines:

"[American’s should] understand the message of the New York and Washington attacks which came in response to some of your previous crime… By God, the youths of God are preparing for you things that would fill your hearts with terror and target your economic lifeline until you stop your oppression and aggression. If we follow the act of these criminal bandits at the White House, the Jewish agents, who are preparing for an attack on the Muslim world and dividing it up, without you opposing them, one would think that you don't understand the attacks at all."
Al Qaida is actually whining that we didn’t react properly to September 11th.

You don’t understand our attack, you’re insufficiently terrorized. No fair! We were counting on you to be consumed with guilt and self-doubt. Sure, we expected you to lob a cruise missile into the desert. But what’s up with ousting the Taliban? What’s up with hunting us to the ends of the earth?

This article makes me smile. 

Sunday, October 06, 2002
  9:03 PM

If you are a regular reader, you'll notice I've changed the look of Pundit Tree.

This new template, "Grey River," was designed by Martijn ten Napel. I found it at

You can still see what my page used to look like by going to the archive. Let me know whether you think this is an improvement.  

  1:57 AM

They're hunting a suspect!

White supremacist Robert Gene Baker III is being sought in connection with the Maryland/DC shootings.

Damian Penny has a picture of the guy. You may have to scroll down, Damian's permalinks aren't working right.

UPDATE: Spoke too soon. According to Foxnews:

Authorities were talking to a 33-year-old Maryland man late Saturday, but Moose stressed he was not a suspect and no weapons were found with him.

The man was arrested at about 3:15 p.m. Saturday in Fairfax County, Va., Moose said. He said police traced a weapon that formerly belonged to him, but that the man had returned the weapon to a store, where another customer bought it.

Moose told reporters it is "unfair, unnecessary and inappropriate" for the media to portray the man as a suspect.

----link via comment at Indepundit

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