Saturday, April 22, 2006

The retired generals, Charles Krauthammer and George C. Marshall

(Welcome visitors from Betsy's Page, David Boyd, and Powerline)

Yesterday Charles Krauthammer blew away the whining retired generals' complaints meant to undermine current civilian leadership of America’s military.

Krauthammer next gave the generals and their supporters a civics lesson and warning:

The civilian leadership of the Pentagon is decided on Election Day, not by the secret whispering of generals.

We've always had discontented officers in every war and in every period of our history. But they rarely coalesce into factions. That happens in places such as Saddam's Iraq, Pinochet's Chile or your run-of-the-mill banana republic. And when it does, outsiders (including United States) do their best to exploit it, seeking out the dissident factions to either stage a coup or force the government to change policy.

That kind of dissident party within the military is alien to America. …

It is precisely this kind of division that our tradition of military deference to democratically elected civilian superiors was meant to prevent.

Today it suits the anti-war left to applaud the rupture of that tradition. But it is a disturbing and very dangerous precedents that even the left will one day regret.
Since America's founding, almost all our military officers have understood and respected civilian control.

World War II Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall was one of them. According to his biographer, Forrest Pogue, Marshall believed so strongly in civilian control that he never voted while a serving officer, lest doing so influence how he carried out orders from elected leaders and their designees.

Marshall wasn't unique as regards an officer not voting. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, for instance, for much the same reasons as Marshall, never voted until after he resigned his active commission.

Today, many officers who do vote will tell you they pass on federal candidates and even state candidates who might make decisions effecting the state's national guard. The officers explain they vote mostly for local candidates, such as those running for school board seats in districts where their children attend school.

Did Marshall ever have to follow orders with which he very strongly disagreed? Yes, often.

For instance, against his advice and that of his staff, Roosevelt and Churchill repeatedly delayed the Allied attack on northwest Europe and ordered Marshall instead to direct forces and supplies to other areas.

In such circumstances, Marshall knew he had the options every Army officer has: request a transfer or resign.

Given those honorable options, it’s not expected an officer will carry out orders with which he or she strongly disagrees, remain in the Army accumulating grade and benefits, and then retire and join others in attacking former civilian superiors.

When Marshall was asked which party he favored, he usually answered something like this : My mother was a Republican. My father was a Democrat. And when I was old enough, I became an Episcopalian.

Now we have some retired generals whose mothers were women and fathers were men, and who, when they were old enough to retire, decided to team up and hammer at a foundation stone of American democracy.

No tears for the CIA leaker

NBC News reports:

In a rare occurrence, the CIA fired an officer who acknowledged giving classified information to a reporter, NBC News learned Friday. …

The leak pertained to stories on the CIA’s rumored secret prisons in Eastern Europe, sources told NBC.

The information was allegedly provided to Dana Priest of the Washington Post, who wrote about CIA prisons in November and was awarded a Pulitzer Prize on Monday for her reporting.

Sources said the CIA believes McCarthy had more than a dozen unauthorized contacts with Priest. Information about subjects other than the prisons may have been leaked as well….(full story here)
How did America get so weak that it’s now “a rare occurrence ” when we fire a CIA officer who gave classified secrets to conduits the officer knew would disclose them to America’s enemies?

What about Dana Priest and The Washington (“No Danish cartoons.”) Post?

For starters, they need to tell us why they and other MSM news organizations disclose America's national security secrets, and thereby put us all at greater risk than we already are? What’s written in the Constitution that says Priest and The Post can put us at greater risk?

I’ve got a lot more questions. I’m sure you do too.

So I’m going to keep returning to these questions.

I plan to give them as much priority as I’ve given The N&O’s “journalism.”

We need to get things turned around. America's national security shouldn't be in the hands of the liberal/leftists who dominate news reporting at WaPo and NYT.

What are you're thought's about all of this?

I continue to appreciate your interest, comments and support.


Friday, April 21, 2006

The Churchill Series - Apr. 21, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Before you go back to reading the days news with its reports from the Middle East and stories about the continuing troubles in Northern Ireland, read this paragraph from the Encyclopedia Britannica’s Churchill biographical entry online (I've broken the paragraph into sections thereby creating "white space" for readers' ease. - JinC):

In 1921 Churchill moved to the Colonial Office, where his principal concern was with the mandated territories in the Middle East.

For the costly British forces in the area he substituted a reliance on the air force and the establishment of rulers congenial to British interests; for this settlement of Arab affairs he relied heavily on the advice of T.E. Lawrence.

For Palestine, where he inherited conflicting pledges to Jews and Arabs, he produced in 1922 the White Paper that confirmed Palestine as a Jewish national home while recognizing continuing Arab rights.

Churchill never had departmental responsibility for Ireland, but he progressed from an initial belief in firm, even ruthless, maintenance of British rule to an active role in the negotiations that led to the Irish treaty of 1921. Subsequently, he gave full support to the new Irish government. ...
It’s almost a century since those events occurred, and forty years since Churchill died. Yet if he walk ed among us now, he'd immediately recognize and understand events in the Middle East and Northern Ireland.

Our media often report events in those areas as if they are primarily determined by contemporary political and religious leaders, and economic and military factors. While they’re important, religious, political, and cultural factors that have been in play for centuries remain the controlling factors in the Middle East and Northern Ireland. conflicts.

Churchill knew that "back then" and would remind us of it today.

My lead Duke lacrosse blogger

Signifying Nothing remains my lead blog for Duke lacrosse links and commentary.

SN blogger Chris Lawrence is a visiting professor in Duke's Political Science Department.

What's more, he lives in the Trinity Park neighborhood, just a few blocks from "the house."

Fervid media have taken to referring to the TP neighborhood as "the epicenter of this gang rape story which has pitted ..."

With all of that, I thought to say, "Chris has a front row seat at what's happening."

But his situation is better than that.

It's more like that of a guy with a box seat behind the dugout AND a pass to both teams' locker rooms.

Chris' commentary is informed and reasoned. He's a "follow the facts" blogger.

And as you would expect from a "follow the facts" blogger, he's quick to acknowledge occasional errors.

Give Chris and SN a look here, if you haven't already done so. Start at the top and keep scrolling down.

How to win a Pulitzer

In today’s Washington Times Douglas MacKinnon describes the litmus test a writer has to pass before the Pulitzer committee deems his or her work acceptable:

Well, as near as I can tell, to make the grade, one must have done at least one of the following: Betray national secrets; go after only Republican lobbyists; tackle only Republican corruption; blame the United States for everything wrong in the world: and the surefire attention getter; try to tear down the presidency of George W. Bush….
Does MacKinnon provide examples of what he’s saying? Yes. Here are a few of them:
Dana Priest of The Washington Post, won the best reporting award for revealing that the CIA was using secret prisons in Eastern Europe to interrogate terrorists.

In other words, they gave an award to a reporter who got a tip from a government worker who betrayed his or her country by revealing top-secret information. The reporter and The Post, in an effort to become the darlings of left, then splashed said top secret information all over the front page.

Who benefited from this "Pulitzer Prize Winning Reporting?" Terrorists who mean to kill everyone in the United States.

Next, you have the New York Times winning a Pulitzer Prize for announcing President Bush's "domestic eavesdropping program." Again, a proudly left-of-center newspaper is given a prestigious award for revealing top secret information that can only bring aid and comfort to al Qaeda and other terrorists who mean to destroy us and our allies.

It should be noted that with regard to the two prizes just mentioned, in the interests of national security, Mr. Bush personally appealed the patriotism and commonsense of both The Post and the New York Times, and implored them not to run the stories. Both papers, it seems, put their strong dislike of Mr. Bush and his policies before the future safety of Americans....
The Post and Times will no doubt answer MacKinnon with “the public has a right to know” and “as journalists we have a duty to report.”

But when Times’ reporter Judith Miller refused a federal judge’s order to disclose the identity of an anonymous source, we heard nothing from the Times about the public’s right to know.

The Post ran Priest’s story, it knew the consequences.

When The Washington Post Company’s Newsweek published a story which proved bogus about Gitmo guards flushing pages of Koran down a toilet, it knew the story would inflame the Muslin world, where the story led to rioting, deaths and injuries as well as further inflaming anti-American sentiment.

The Post Co. defended its publication decisions by claiming “the public has a right to know.”

Then there were the Danish cartoons. The Post and Times, along with almost all of the cowering MSM, decided they could make an exception to the old “right to know” principle. They told us their decisions had nothing to do with the thought of angry Muslims storming the newsroom. It was a question of “sensitivity.”

So they wouldn't dream of publishing even one of the cartoons.


Somewhere in the Bible it says the breath of hypocrites “stinketh.”

Don’t get downwind from The Post or Times.

MacKinnon’s column.

Presumed Guilty at Duke

(Welcome visitors from Signifying Nothing)

Dallas Morning News columnist Mark Davis has a question for the “they’re guilty” folks:

What would be the reaction if I were to burst right out of the blocks today and say these Duke lacrosse players are innocent?

I could try to whip up sympathy for them as if I knew the charges were untrue, the indictments a joke, the whole thing a lie.

And then maybe I could suggest we hold rallies in support of them and maybe drum up cash for their future education.
Then what would happen? And what about Davis? What would he think of himself?

Davis answers:
(It) would not go over well. I would be guilty of a singularly obnoxious burst of presumptuousness.

I won't be doing any such thing, of course. But I will be asking why everyone gets a free pass for such presumptions on behalf of the accuser.

Since no one but the parties involved knows the truth, it is the height of irresponsibility for any of us to act as though we do.
The height of irresponsibility?

Be careful, Mr. Davis.

Duke has some privileged and highly compensated faculty who don't agree with you.

And neither do many Durham “activists” and those who make up what most MSM call “the community.”

Mind you, Mr. Davis, I don’t agree with such people.

I’m just warning you they’re loud, angry, self-righteous, and demanding “justice now.” That's a scary combination.

I support everything you say except this:
Note that I do not use the term "presumption of innocence." Only our court system must abide by that precept. …
Not true.

The Founders believed citizens’ rights devolve to us as citizens’ duties.

Can any of us have a right to presumption of innocence unless the rest, or at least most, of us respect and enforce that right?

Imagine a Durham or America dominated by people acting like those you confront in your column.

I hope people read your column. I’ve linked to it here.

Thank you.


Readers' Note: If you'd like to email Davis, his address is:

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Churchill Series - Apr 20, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

In 1896/97 Churchill, then serving as a cavalry subaltern in India, experienced an intellectual awakening. Hitherto an indifferent student, he began a wide-ranging and intense self-education which he continued throughout his life until its last days.

Historian John Keegan tells us something about the awakening and reaches a conclusion about the young Churchill, who turned 22 on November 30,1896:

(Churchill’s demands for books) were met by his mother, who sent him expensive books by the crate during his Indian years. …

The mainstay was Gibbon, the greatest of all English historians, whom “through the glistening hours of the Indian day, from …stables till the evening shadows proclaimed the hour of Polo, I devoured.”

Even before finishing all eight volumes of Gibbon, however, he had embarked on Plato’s
Republic and then the twelve volumes of Macaulay’s History of England. …

Shortly afterward he launched into Schopenhauer, Malthus, Darwin, Aristotle’s
Politics, Pascal, Saint-Simon, and Adam Smith. …

The young Churchill, in his leap to self-education, must have been the most unusual cavalry subaltern in any European army.
John Keegan,
Winston Churchill. (pgs. 38-39)

Duke lacrosse reporting: Is McClatchy's N&O really better?

Did you know The McClatchy Company's Raleigh N& O executive editor for news, Melanie Sill, is upset with national news organizations’ reporting on the Duke lacrosse story?

Sill call’s the reporting “superficial and focused on the case's seamy aspects.”

The national reporting has certainly been superficial and seamy. Outrageous too in it’s shameless appeals to race and class tensions, and in its bias against the lacrosse players.

But what about McClatchy's own N&O? What’s its reporting been like?

Sill says The N&O's been “fair” even as it's “pushed hard on the police investigation.” Pushing hard is necessary because “ (j)ournalism's purpose is to inform communities about important issues.”

OK, let’s take a look at how The N&O informs communities.

Here’s a sample from a lacrosse team story The N&O ran Sunday, Apr 9, on its front page:

Speeding down I-40 while drunk. Urinating in public. Using an adult's ID to buy a case of beer while underage. Kicking in the slats of a fence after an argument with a girlfriend.
Can you see the concentration “on the police investigation?”
Are you glad Sill won't let The N&O engage in “seamy” reporting?

The N&O has published a lengthy interview with the accuser but is withholding her identity. However, it frequently tells readers about her. Here's a sample from a Sunday, Apr 16, story, “Mother, dancer, accuser:”
The petite, soft-spoken woman is described by friends as a caring mother and a hard worker. According to people who have talked with her about her studies at NCCU, she also is a serious student who recently received an A in a difficult course.
I think the two samples cited here typify The N&O’s “fair” reporting.

In yesterday’s N&O you could read this:
They came from a world of hushed golf greens and suburban homes with price tags that cross the million-dollar line.

Before dawn Tuesday, they were escorted into the industrial gray and stainless steel of the Durham County jail. They each wore handcuffs, co-defendants in a gang rape investigation.
Sensationalist? Or just part of The N&O's police investigation reporting? We know what editor Sill would say, don't we?

And there was also this in yesterday’s N&O:
Seligmann, 6-foot-1 and 215 pounds, is a 2004 graduate of Delbarton School, a $22,500-a-year academy. …

A winding, two-lane road leads from the center of Morristown, with its Gap, Godiva and Starbucks, to the woods and rolling hills of the Delbarton campus. …

Seligmann's hometown is about 15 miles east of Morristown. Sitting on a hill, the Borough of Essex Fells is an old summer community that New York City financiers and stock brokers now call home. …

The Seligmann's live in a two-story brick Colonial with black shutters and ivy growing up the front facade. Public records show the house is valued at $1.3 million.
In her next column Sill should tell us how Durham police and DA Nifong will use information about the Gap, Godiva and Starbucks in Morristown and Seligmann's parents’ $1.3 million home to build their case against him. We already know how The N&O is doing that.

Remember what Sill says: “Journalism's purpose is to inform communities about important issues.”

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Churchill Series – Apr 19, 2006

I'm sorry I haven't had time to get a post up today.

My work load is heavy (How did Churchill manage to get so much done?)

I'll post tomorrow, Apr 20, late in the evening.

Thanks for your understanding.


In Duke lacrosse case: McClatchy headline bias

Here are a few Duke lacrosse headlines The McClatchy Company's Raleigh News & Observer's published in the last 24 hours:

Durham DA pursues third arrest

3rd suspect sought in lacrosse case

Finnerty's exclusive neighborhood in shock

Suspects in rape share background of privilege
The N&O's exec editor for news, Melanie Sill, has blasted national news organizations for "sensationalist" reporting. She's invited them to leave the Duke and Durham area.

Sill frequently cites The N&O's Duke lacrosse news reporting and columns as models of "fair" coverage.

The N&O's public editor, Ted Vaden, has a different view. He's made a number of criticisms of The N&O's coverage in two recent columns (here and here), including telling readers The N&O's publication of the the now infamous "vigilante poster" was "inappropriate."

Would you believe an oral history of the Clinton presidency?

Betsy Newmark has a good sense of humor but she's not kidding when she reports the Miller Center at the University of Virginia is compiling oral histories of the presidencies from Carter through Clinton.

An oral history of the presidency of William Jefferson Clinton.

That seems so appropriate.

Pizza, anyone?

A Pulitzer for disclosing national security secrets

Paul at Powerline says:

New York Times reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau won the Pulitzer Prize today for their treasonous contribution to the undermining of the highly classified National Security Agency surveillance program of al Qaeda-related terrorists.

As I argued in a column for the Standard, the Risen/Lichtblau reportage clearly violated relevant provisions of the Espionage Act -- a particularly serious crime insofar as it lends assistance to the enemy in a time of war.

Juxtapose the Times's award-winning reportage with the Times's highminded editorial condemnation of President Bush for allegedly failing to follow proper procedure in declassifying the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate key judgments.
Today the Times instructs us: "Even a president cannot wave a wand and announce that an intelligence report is declassified."

Waving a wand is apparently a prerogative reserved to Times executive editor Bill Keller, who made the decision to "declassify" the NSA surveillance program in the pages of the Times. According to Keller, the publication of the NSA story did "not expose any technical intelligence-gathering methods or capabilities that are not already on the public record."

Thus Keller waved his wand, and the Times blew the NSA program. Smarter folks than I will have to reconcile the trains of thought at work among the editors of the New York Times.
We hear a lot these days from folks at the Times and their supporters about “arrogance” and “privilege.”

The Times condemns them when they think they’ve found them in others. But could there be anything wrong in disclosing a secret National Security program? The Times will make that decision.

Well, when the Times does it, how about telling us the how and why? At least answer questions the Times own public editor.

The Times won’t answer those questions. Arrongace, privilege and “we’ll decide what’s a secret.”

Its enough to make me ask whether the people running The Times are on the same side we're on.

Tell kids about Lexington and Concord

Yesterday was the anniversary of Paul Revere's ride.

Today is the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord.

"Here once the embattled farmers stood"

With the nation’s left-leaning teachers union, the National Education Association, increasingly influencing what's taught in schools, it's not likely many children will be told at school today about the battles and their contributions to the creation of the freedoms we enjoy.

So how about taking a look at this site and sharing some of what you find with a child or children you love.

Also, why not go to a search engine and type in .... (You can all finish the rest of that right up to 'and share some of that with them.')

It's a wonderful country!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Churchill Series – Apr 18, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Churchill loved poetry. He read it; he memorized it; and he enjoyed reciting poems.

Today is many of us recall Longfellow’s poem, “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere”

It begins: “On the 18th of April in ’75”

So today a poem in tribute to Churchill, written at the time of his death by Duff Cooper, who held many cabinet offices in Churchill’s cabinets.

When ears were deaf and tongues were mute,
You told of doom to come.
When others fingered on the flute
You thundered on the drum.

When armies marched and cities burned
And all you said came true,
Those who had mocked your warnings turned
Almost too late to you.

Then doubt gave way to firm belief,
And through five cruel years
You gave us glory in our grief,
And laughter through our tears.

When final honours are bestowed
And last accounts are done,
Then shall we know how much was owed
By all the world to one.

On Rumsfeld: Here’s a choice

At Newsweek Evan Thomas and John Barry author its lead story this week: a hit piece aimed at Defense Secretary Rumsfeld.

Thomas and Barry, you’ll remember, helped produce Newsweek’s false story about guards at Gitmo flushing pages of the Koran down a toilet. The story led to rioting in the Muslim world that resulted in at least 15 deaths, hundreds of injury and increased Muslim hostility directed at Americans.

Newsweek was forced to issue a retraction.

Are you saying, “John, we’re interested in the Rumsfeld story but can’t you offer us someone with more bona fides than Thomas and Barry?”

Sure I can. Look at this New York Times op-ed:

AS the No. 2 general at United States Central Command from the Sept. 11 attacks through the Iraq war, I was the daily "answer man" to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. I briefed him twice a day; few people had as much interaction with him as I did during those two years. In light of the recent calls for his resignation by several retired generals, I would like to set the record straight on what he was really like to work with.

When I was at Centcom, the people who needed to have access to Secretary Rumsfeld got it, and he carefully listened to our arguments. That is not to say that he is not tough in terms of his convictions (he is) or that he will make it easy on you (he will not). If you approach him unprepared, or if you don't have the full courage of your convictions, he will not give you the time of day.

Mr. Rumsfeld does not give in easily in disagreements, either, and he will always force you to argue your point thoroughly. This can be tough for some people to deal with. I witnessed many heated but professional conversations between my immediate commander, Gen. Tommy Franks, and Mr. Rumsfeld — but the secretary always deferred to the general on war-fighting issues.

Ultimately, I believe that a tough defense secretary makes commanders tougher in their convictions. Was Donald Rumsfeld a micromanager? Yes. Did he want to be involved in all of the decisions? Yes. But Mr. Rumsfeld never told people in the field what to do. It all went through General Franks.

Mr. Rumsfeld did not like waste, which caused some grumbling among the military leadership even before 9/11. He knew that many of the operational plans we had on the books dated back to the 1990's (some even to the late 80's), and he wanted them updated for an era of a more streamlined, technological force. He asked us all: "Can we do it better, and can we do it with fewer people?"

Sometimes General Franks and I answered yes, other times we answered no. When we said no, there was a discussion; but when we told him what we truly needed, we got it. I never saw him endangering troops by insisting on replacing manpower with technology. In both Afghanistan and Iraq, we always got what we, the commanders, thought we needed.

This is why the much-repeated claims that Mr. Rumsfeld didn't "give us enough troops" in Iraq ring hollow. First, such criticisms ignore that the agreed-upon plan was for a lightning operation into Baghdad. In addition, logistically it would have been well nigh impossible to bring many more soldiers through the bottleneck in Kuwait. And doing so would have carried its own risk: you cannot sustain a fighting force of 300,000 or 500,000 men for long, and it would have left us with few reserves, putting our troops at risk in other parts of the world. Given our plan, we thought we had the right number of troops to accomplish our mission.

The outcome and ramifications of a war, however, are impossible to predict. Saddam Hussein had twice opened his jails, flooding the streets with criminals. The Iraqi police walked out of their uniforms in the face of the invasion, compounding domestic chaos. We did not expect these developments.

We also — collectively — made some decisions in the wake of the war that could have been better. We banned the entire Baath Party, which ended up slowing reconstruction (we should probably have banned only high-level officials); we dissolved the entire Iraqi Army (we probably should have retained a small cadre help to rebuild it more quickly). We relied too much on the supposed expertise of the Iraqi exiles like Ahmad Chalabi who assured us that once Saddam Hussein was gone, Sunni Arabs, Shiites and Kurds would unite in harmony.

But that doesn't mean that a "What's next?" plan didn't exist. It did; it was known as Phase IV of the overall operation. General Franks drafted it and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the State Department, the Pentagon, the Treasury Department and all members of the Cabinet had input. It was thoroughly "war-gamed" by the Joint Chiefs.

Thus, for distinguished officers to step forward and, in retrospect, pin blame on one person is wrong. And when they do so in a time of war, the rest of the world watches.
Here’s the op-ed’s tag line
Michael DeLong, a retired Marine lieutenant general, is the author, with Noah Lukeman, of "Inside Centcom: The Unvarnished Truth About the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq."
I said nothing throughout the op-ed because I thought anything I said could easily detract from what DeLong was saying. What’s more I didn’t want to get in your way.
Sometimes a publication will have trouble with a blogger lifting an entire piece, especially when there’s no commentary in the post.

I hope in this case the NY Times doesn’t have a problem. I doubt it will. The post has introductory comments. The Newsweek comments help “frame” DeLong’s op-ed. Also, at this blog we’ve discussed matters DeLong writes about: and we’ll do so in the near future, especially matters relating to the number of troops that should have been deployed in Iraq at various points in time up through today.

Given all of that I think this post's use of DeLong’s op-ed meets the fair use standard.

Hat Tip: Mike Williams

What I’m saying to those retired generals

It seems all of you now speaking out in opposition to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld were intimidated by him while on active duty.

So what happened post-retirement that now, finally, you have the courage to form up and launch media attacks on the seventy-three year old secretary?

Did you all take one of those Outward Bound courses that are supposed to help us face our fears?

Or did you take one of those “Be more assertive” courses now available online for only $39.95?

Why don’t the six of you go on Oprah and tell us all about it.

Start by telling us how you used to sweat and tremble when Rumsfeld fixed you with a glare and asked, “Why?”

We’ll sob.

And when you get to something like standing atop the climbing wall that last day at Outward Bound, we’ll cheer.

I’ve got to go now and check whether I filed for a tax extension.

The IRS intimidates me. What about you guys?

I won’t tell.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Churchill Series - Apr 17, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Two short items, both from William Manchester's biography Alone.

At the time of Neville Chamberlain's death Churchill paid very generous tribute to him in the House of Commons. And I think he treats Chamberlain generously in his WWII history.

Other times he wasn't so generous when assessing Chamberlain, a former mayor of Birmingham. He once said, "Chamberlain looks at life through the wrong end of a municipal drainpipe."

Late one evening Churchill was working in the library at Chartwell. A young scholar and a stenographer/typist who had just joined his employ were with him. The scholar had prepared a research paper which Churchill was to use as background for his Marlborough biography.

Churchill scanned the paper. He was dissatisfied with it, and made that clear to the young scholar.

At a pause point, the stenographer/typist sought to break the tension with: "Oh, look outside. It's so dark."

Churchill stared at her for a moment, then said, "It generally is at night."

CNN: There were sealed Duke lacrosse indictments

The latest is from CNN.

Follow the story there at one of the papers' sites or at Signifying Nothing.

Going to the airport now. Back later.

The Duke lacrosse case: Some of the bad; some of the good

I have no problem with any Duke lacrosse player following advice of counsel and exercising constitutional rights, especially when I see the team attacked with the prejudicial and inflammatory kind of journalism The N & O’s Ruth Sheehan practices. (Here and here)

The horrific attacks by Sheehan and so many others on presumed innocent young citizens do serve a few important, albeit unintended, purposes. Let's look at them:

1) The attacks remind us of how precious our rights are and that we must always be ready to protect them.

2) They remind us of how fortunate we are to have in the community citizens who will do that. Look at some of what former Chapel Hill mayor and UNC Law professor Ken Broun recently told The Durham Herald Sun:

"Their attorneys advise them not to talk to police even if they're totally innocent, because of the possibility that things that you might say even if you're totally innocent in the case might be viewed differently by the person hearing them than you meant them," (Broun) said.

"I think that a criminal defense lawyer will generally tell a person under suspicion that unless there is a good reason to talk to police -- for instance, if there's a plea bargain involved or the story is clearly exonerating -- the lawyer will often tell the client not to talk to police.

And I wouldn't draw any reflection on guilt or innocence based upon the failure to talk, particularly after a lawyer gets involved. That's pretty standard operating procedure."
3) They remind us to be ever grateful for the service of our military and public service officers, our court system and reasonable citizens respectful of due process and presumption of innocence

ALERT: No Duke lacrosse indictments today

The Raleigh N&O has just reported:

A Durham grand jury issued a list of indictments this afternoon that did not include members of the Duke University lacrosse team.
District Attorney Mike Nifong had been widely anticipated to seek charges today from the grand jury after an escort service dancer told police more than a month ago that she was sexually assaulted by three men at a lacrosse team party.

It was unclear whether any indictments were issued under seal -- a rare move -- or whether the case was among 24 carried over to a grand jury session two weeks from today.

Nifong refused to answer questions, as did Superior Court Judge Ronald Stephens, who oversees the grand jury.
You can read the rest here.

At this point we don't know what may happened in the grand jury room.

We'll need to follow the story at the usual sites. I'n using The N&O, The H-S, The Chronicle, WRAL, and Signifying Nothering.

It will be interesting to see if Nifong has anything to say.

I'm sure defense attorneys will have things to say later today or tomorrow.

More from JinC tonight.

This in haste and unproofed.

Military criticism of civilian leaders is nothing new

There’s a lot wrong with MSM’s reporting about the retired generals speaking out in opposition to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, and implicitly, in opposition to President Bush.

But I’m not getting into MSM’s flubs and biases right now except for one: the reports claiming the current military criticism of civilian leadership is “unprecedented.”

That’s not true! Military leaders have often been critical of civilian leadership. Some were retired but others made public criticisms while on active duty: Generals MacArthur, Patton and Stilwell come immediately to mind.

During his presidency, Bill Clinton was so often publicly criticized by officers that top brass felt compelled to issue public warnings that those doing so faced disciplinary action. MSM should remind us of that.

In his biography of WW II Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall, Forrest Pogue recounts an instructive and amusing episode that relates to what we’re considering here.

In late December 1941 Britain and the U. S. agreed that the Chiefs of Staff of the two nations’ service branches would form a combined group which would set war strategy, identify and prioritize major military operations, and allocate resources.

Most WW II historians agree the group, The Combined Chiefs of Staff, preformed admirably. But the group had many sharp and sometimes angry differences regarding what to do when and how. Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke called a heated, three hour-long argument they had “the Mother and Father of all rows.”

At one meeting of that sort things got so hot the Generals and Admirals and Field Marshals and Air Marshals could agree on only one thing: it wasn’t good for the Allied cause for them to all be in the same conference room at that moment. So they decided to break and return later.

During the break Field Marshal Sir John Dill, who for much of the war served as liaison officer for the two staffs, went back and forth between the groups with the same message for both: If the chiefs couldn’t settle their differences and draw up a document they could all initial, then “they will get to decide.”

Dill’s message had a great effect because, as one of the chiefs later put it, “We all knew what a hash they could make of things.”

When the Combined Chiefs resumed their meeting, they worked more cooperatively and achieved agreement on a document they all initialed.

The document was then passed on so “they” could initial it “FDR” and “WSC.”

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Look what those Newsweek guys are doing now?

Remember that false Newsweek’s story last May about guards at Gitmo flushing Koran pages down a toilet?

It sparked rioting in the Muslim world that resulted in at least 15 deaths, hundreds injured and increased Muslim hostility directed at Americans.

John Barry , Newsweek’s national security correspondent, was assigned to verify the story with Pentagon sources but botched the job.

Evan Thomas was the editor who gave the report a green light for publication based on “confirmation” from a single source who later told Barry that maybe he hadn’t seen the document Barry had asked him about.

You can read more about all of that at's "Newsweek's Victims."

And what are Barry and Thomas doing now?

Just as you’d expect if you know how MSM works, their false Gitmo toilet flushing story hasn’t slowed their careers. In fact, they’ve moved on to bigger things.

This week Barry and Thomas team up to write Newsweek’s lead story: a lengthy hit piece targeting Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. (Anatomy of a Revolt - What made a chorus of ex-generals call for the Seder’s head? The war over the war—and how Rumsfeld is reacting.)

You’d know it was a hit piece just from the headlines.

Revolt? No one’s revolting. Some retired officers are speaking out. That’s nothing new.

“Chorus of ex-generals?” Six are speaking out but I’ll bet by next week we could get a hundred more to do the same.

And what would that prove? Betsy Newmark “did the math” today at her blog. There are about 4,700 retired generals living in the U. S. If we have 106 speaking out that's about 2%.

I'm going to continue to read what outfits like Newsweek and the NY Times say about Rumsfeld. But I'll also reading Michael Barone, Charles Krauthammer, NRO, Powerline , Instapundit, Weekly Standard, and others say.

Meanwhile, a request to Newsweek and the NY Times: Please spend less time telling us what's wrong at the Pentagon, and more time trying to figure out what's wrong at your organizations.

Do you believe this Duke lacrosse “Exclusive?”

News organizations keep telling us how hard they work to gather and report facts. But that's not always the case, Consider the following news story which, mind you, is an “Exclusive.” headlines:

"Exclusive: Accuser in Duke Rape Case May Have Been Drugged"
The story begins with these three paragraphs:
An unnamed source close to the investigation of a reported rape near the Duke University campus has told NBC 17 News that someone might have drugged the accuser the night she claims three lacrosse members raped her.

"She may have been slipped a date-rape drug in a mixed drink she was given by one of the lacrosse players shortly after she arrived,” the source told NBC 17 late Friday.

"Her condition is said to have changed dramatically in a short period of time, from being completely sober on arrival to passing out on the floor in a short period of time."
NBC17’s story continues for another twenty-five paragraphs , but says nothing further about the unnamed source’s speculation the woman “may have been slipped a date-rape drug.”

Did NBC17 ask the source the basis for the source's speculation? NBC17 doesn’t say.

I'm sure the first question most of us would have asked the source was something like: “Is what you're saying based on what you're heard or know about lab results from the woman's blood samples taken at Duke Hospital the night of the alleged assault?"

Nothing about that in the "Exclusive."

And what does “close to the investigation” mean?

Is the source just one of the many uninformed attention seekers now floating around town and approaching media with: “If you promise not to identify me I can….?”

Or is it someone in DA Mike Nifong’s office looking to “soften up” grand jurors who are home this weekend and, we’re told, will be asked Monday to vote to indict one or more of the lacrosse players?

Surely NBC17 knew people would ask such questions. Why didn’t it say something about what “close to the investigation” means?

Something else: assuming the source asked for anonymity, what was the reason for that?

We’re not told. No surprise though.

NBC17’s “Exclusive” has as much substance as a soap bubble.

Hat tip: Signifying Nothing
News story URL:

Rev. Jesse Jackson steps into the Duke lacrosse spotlight

The Associated Press reports:

The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Saturday his Rainbow/Push Coalition will pay the college tuition of a woman who told police she was raped by members of Duke University's men's lacrosse team while working as a stripper -- no matter the outcome of the case.

"I can't wait ... to talk with her and have prayer with her, because our organization is committed, when she's physically and emotionally able ... to provide for her the scholarship money to finish school so she will never ... again have to stoop that low to survive," he said from Chicago in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

When asked, the civil rights leader also said his group will pay for the woman's tuition even if her report proves false. …
So, you want a college scholarship? You got it. And you don’t even need to study hard and get good grades so long as you can make a false rape accusation.

All you parents, teachers, and guidance counselors: be sure to let high school students know how they can become eligible for a Rev. Jackson scholarship.

Jackson's really helping change America, isn't he?

The AP says nothing about what Jackson, regarded by some as a civil rights leader, plans to provide victims falsely accused by his scholarship winners.

Hat tip and trackback: Signifying Nothing.
Trackback: Gateway Pundit. Sister Toldjah.