Quote of the Day… from Warren Harding?

July 7, 2011

One of the last presidents one would expect to be quoted on anything, yet historian Steven Hayward pulls up one on the Congress’ pathetic reputation and doubts about democracy:

In simple truth, I get discouraged sometimes about the stability of popular government. I come in contact with the abject surrender of public men to what appears to be about one-half of one percent of the voters to whom they look to their commission to public service. What the country needs more than anything else is a House and Senate for ten years which give at least as much thought to the welfare of the Republic as is given to individual candidates for re-election. Nothing so disheartens me as to have an extended conference with men in responsible places, hear them admit of the correctness of a policy or position, and then frankly say it is impossible to go through with the policy or maintain the position and be assured of re-election. I have concluded that I would vastly prefer a limited career with the consciousness of having done the right thing than to hold on to the constitutional limit by playing to the favor of those who do the fake work under our political system.

So, when our current situation discourages us (and that’s most of the time these days) and it seems like it couldn’t be worse, that maybe our system just doesn’t work anymore, remember that others were troubled by those same doubts, and yet things got better. I think that’s one of the great lessons of studying American History: that we’ve been through so much —and so much worse— yet always recovered and gone on to greater things. My friends on the far Right muttering about how “it’s just like 1860” really need to stop, breathe deeply, and check in with reality.

But still… Harding??

PS: Steven Hayward is a great historian, perhaps most well known for his two-volume “Age of Reagan.” He’s recently joined Power Line as a welcome addition.

PPS: Okay, in all fairness to Warren G., whose likeness graces my mouse pad, in recent years I’ve come to suspect that, while no doubt mediocre, his reputation has suffered thanks to historians raised in the era of the New Deal who want to make all those nasty Republicans between Wilson and FDR look as bad as possible.

PPPS: Well, Hoover kind of deserves it, but for different reasons — like being too much like FDR.

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Friends and allies: most major terror plots originate in Pakistan — Updated

July 7, 2011

Don’t forget, we’ve given Pakistan more than $18 billion in aid since September 11th, 2001. Gee, thanks for having our backs, guys:

Most of the major terrorist plots against the West since 2004 had links to Pakistan, including two that targeted Canada, says a study to be released today by a U.S. think tank.

In just over half of the 32 “serious” plots identified in the New America Foundation study, the participants had received either training or direction from jihadists in Pakistan.

The findings underscore Pakistan’s role as al-Qaeda’s primary safe haven, despite recent concerns about countries like Yemen, writes investigative journalist Paul Cruickshank, the study’s author.

“This paper has shown that by some measures al-Qaeda’s safe haven in Pakistan has actually become more dangerous in recent years. More serious plots emerged in the West in 2010 linked to established jihadist groups in Pakistan than in any year since al-Qaeda built up its operations in FATA in the early 2000s.”

FATA is the acronym for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, the rugged frontier region of Pakistan, where al-Qaeda and its affiliates have set up since the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

In 53% of terror plots, members of the groups involved had trained in Pakistan, compared with 6% in Yemen, 3% in Iraq and 38% where no overseas training occurred, the study says.

Forty-four percent of the plots were directed by jihadist groups in Pakistan, while 6% were directed from Yemen, 3% from Iraq and 47% had no clear overseas direction.

Most of the Western recruits who went to Pakistan had initially wanted to fight NATO forces in Afghanistan but were instead persuaded to return to their home countries to conduct terrorist attacks, it says.

This isn’t to say the Pak government directed these attacks (though in some cases they have), but the central government is chronically weak, and large factions are very sympathetic to al Qaeda, the Taliban, and the jihadist cause overall. They’ve been at best a part-time ally, sometimes giving us important cooperation, sometimes working against us — often at the same time. We’ve tolerated it because we not only need the cooperation we do get (Several al Qaeda bigwigs were nabbed with Pakistani help.), but because our position in Afghanistan has required putting up with a lot to keep supply routes open through the Khyber pass.

But that situation is changing with Obama’s decision to run away withdraw from Afghanistan; we just won’t need that supply route nearly as much.

And if that’s the case, and if so much terrorism originates in Pakistan and the government is unable or unwilling to stop it, why should we keep giving them so much money? Or do we keep paying tribute for fear Pakistani nukes would otherwise wind up in the wrong hands?

My own feelings mirror those of Victor Davis Hanson: time to say “Adios, Pakistan!”

via Undhimmi

UPDATE: And just to add a bit of fuel to the fire, our “allies” were selling nuke secrets to the North Koreans:

The founder of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb program asserts that the government of North Korea bribed top military officials in Islamabad to obtain access to sensitive nuclear technology in the late 1990s.

Abdul Qadeer Khan has made available documents that he says support his claim that he personally transferred more than $3 million in payments by North Korea to senior officers in the Pakistani military, which he says subsequently approved his sharing of technical know-how and equipment with North Korean scientists.

Admittedly, this was in the 1990s, but still, not something you want to see in a responsible friend and partner.

To say the least. (via The Jawas)

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


I weep

July 7, 2011

U.S. must rely upon the Russians for access to space

I remember when we had a space program.

via The Tatler