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friedrich braun
Tuesday, October 26th, 2004, 06:56 PM
Commander in Chief
by Charley Rees


George Bush, our present commander in chief who has never seen combat, believes that combat-veteran John Kerry is unfit to be commander in chief. Well, let's look at Mad George's record.

In August 2001, he was warned that al-Qaida wanted to attack the United States in our own territory. He did nothing. His claim that he is excused since he did not know the time or place or manner of attack is bull. He should have alerted the airports and airlines, as well as the immigration people, to tighten up and keep a sharp watch. Instead, he thought about Iraq.

Pursuing his obsession with Iraq, he disdained all the warnings from people who know the area. He did indeed deliberately mislead the American people in regard to weapons of mass destruction. When you censor all the caveats and disagreements that were present in the intelligence briefings and instead state as undeniable facts that not only were there weapons but we knew exactly where they were, then you are misleading people. You are misleading people when you cleverly juxtapose talk about Saddam Hussein with the attack on Sept. 11. He had nothing to do with that, and the Bush administration knew it.

So, he takes us to war anyway, without waiting for the U.N. inspectors to complete their work. That's why he lost the support of France, Germany and Russia. Bush's position was absurd. He gets a U.N. resolution demanding inspections. Iraq agrees. Inspectors start their work. Then, Mad George says, "Stop, I want to go to war."

So, he takes us to war, but how well did this commander in chief perform? Damned poorly. He disregarded advice that we needed more troops. He was confident, according to his big Christian buddy Pat Robertson, that the United States would suffer no casualties. They now stand at 1,103 dead and 8,000 wounded.

When the American forces reached Baghdad, they didn't know what to do. They had to stand around and watch an orgy of looting. No plans for the aftermath had been made. Then Bush put in an occupation czar, Paul Bremer, who committed blunder after blunder. He disbanded the Iraqi army; he disbanded the police force; he fired all the Baathists who knew how to run the government; he holed up inside the Green Zone, a heavily fortified former Saddam palace, and couldn't go out without a heavy guard.

So there's Bremer, stuck with the results of his commander in chief's bad decisions. He doesn't have enough U.S. troops to provide security, much less secure Iraq's borders. He has fired and alienated all the Iraqis who could have helped. Then the Central Command's top brass start committing their own blunders.

They publicly announced that we were going to go into Fallujah and take out the "terrorists." After several days of heavy fighting, we stopped and backed off. We publicly boasted that we would arrest or kill the firebrand cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. Well, Muqtada al-Sadr is still alive and free. In a combat situation, when you say you are going to do something and then fail to do it, you send a message to the enemy that you are weak. A competent commander in chief would never do that.

Then, because of further incompetence of the top brass, we have the scandal of Abu Ghraib prison. The damage this has done to America's image in the Muslim world is incalculable.

The big contractors with their no-bid contracts were too busy raping the American taxpayers to rebuild the electricity, water and sewer systems that we had destroyed. To this day, those systems are not fully functional.

Trying to use front-line forces whose training is destruction and killing as police units resulted in the alienation of the Iraqi people. Iraqi civilian deaths, that famous "collateral damage," are now estimated between 13,000 and 15,000 human beings, many of them women and children. In that culture, every death requires vengeance.

Meanwhile, our incompetent commander in chief opposed the creation of the Homeland Security Department, opposed the creation of the 9/11 Commission, refused to testify under formal conditions and failed to hold a single human being responsible for anything. At the present time, a CIA inspector general's report is being withheld, presumably until after the election.

If George Bush is your idea of a competent commander in chief, then God help America.









October 25, 2004

Charley Reese [send him mail] has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969–71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. He now writes a syndicated column which is carried on LewRockwell.com. Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner. Write to Charley Reese at P.O. Box 2446, Orlando, FL 32802.

© 2004 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

Charley Reese Archives

friedrich braun
Saturday, October 30th, 2004, 11:46 PM
October 28, 2004

Does IQ Matter In A President?
By Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer's VDARE.com scoop from last week, "This Just In: Kerry's IQ Likely Lower than Bush's!," continues to make news. On the "NBC Nightly News" on Thursday night, 10/28/2004, Tom Brokaw asked John Kerry for his reaction to Sailer's discovery. You can read the exchange on VDARE.com's blog.

Perceptions of candidates' intelligence have long played a major role in American politics, as have attempts to manipulate those perceptions. Misspelling the word "potato," for example, appears to have permanently doomed former Vice President Dan Quayle's Presidential ambitions.

Thus, it's hardly surprising that some candidates have toiled to cultivate an image of brilliance. For example, Joseph Kennedy Sr. spent heavily on the ghostwriters who largely concocted the two nonfiction bestsellers published under his son John's name. JFK even won the Pulitzer Prize for "Profiles in Courage," which is now known to be mostly the work of speechwriter Theodore Sorenson.

In reality, President Kennedy possessed a fine but hardly spectacular brain. According to historian Thomas C. Reeves, author of "A Question of Character: A Life of John F. Kennedy," in prep school JFK scored a 119 on an IQ test. Although a tenth of the population scores higher than 119, a C-SPAN poll of 58 historians rated Kennedy as possessing the eighth strongest leadership qualities of all 41 Presidents.

Similarly, the Democratic nominee in 1952 and 1956, Adlai Stevenson, also portrayed himself as an intellectual. The press created the term "egghead" to describe the bald and supposedly scholarly Stevenson. In truth, Stevenson's resume was comparable to that of George W. Bush. Stevenson was the grandson of Grover Cleveland's second Vice President. As a rich socialite, Stevenson barely scraped through Princeton and Northwestern. After a nondescript early career, Stevenson unexpectedly became the popular and competent governor of Illinois. He then ran for President only four years later. At his death, the only book found resting upon his bedside table was "The Social Register."

In sharp contrast, the man who twice beat Stevenson, Dwight Eisenhower, took pains to hide his considerable brainpower. He found it expedient to present himself as a kindly old duffer interested mostly in golf and cowboy stories. This masquerade fooled even the historians of the time, who somehow assumed that the organizer of the staggeringly complex D-Day invasion had the IQ of a tree stump. Shortly after Eisenhower left office, a poll of historians rated him one of the ten worst Presidents ever.

After Ike's death, however, a new generation of historians discovered much evidence supporting the expert opinion of his Vice President, Richard Nixon, that

Eisenhower was "The most devious man I ever came across in politics." Therefore, this year's C-SPAN poll of historians rated him one of the ten strongest Presidential leaders.

One rule of thumb useful in evaluating candidates' reputations is to remember that more writers will write nice things about politicians who give more jobs to writers. For example, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Adlai Stevenson, and John F. Kennedy resembled George W. Bush in important ways. They were wealthy heirs to famous political names who possessed strong electoral skills but no intellectual interests discernible to the disinterested historians of the current era. All three, though, were smart enough to hire Arthur Schlesinger Jr. This prominent Harvard historian returned their favors by extolling their mental glamour for years afterwards.

In contrast, Presidents such as Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Dwight Eisenhower, and Richard Nixon who employed as advisers more businessmen and soldiers than intellectuals naturally elicited less adoration from professional prose stylists. In reality, these four were formidably brainy.

Coolidge translated Dante for fun and was the last President to write his own speeches. His prose style was the most lapidary of 20th Century Presidents. (The reason Coolidge slept so much while in the White House appears to be that he may been clinically depressed after the sudden death of his 16 year old son in 1924.)

Hoover was an extremely successful mining engineer and mine promoter, who with his wife translated the classic mining text De re Metallica.

Eisenhower adeptly managed a massive military campaign involving the largest sea-borne invasion ever and a fractious, difficult coalition.

Nixon played a central role in American public life for many decades despite humble origins. There's a story I have not confirmed that Nixon scored 143 on an IQ test, which seems not implausible—what other political assets did Nixon have besides an exceptionally powerful intelligence, energy, and determination? In contrast, his opponent in 1960, John F. Kennedy, tested at 119 in prep school, but he was gifted with good looks, a charismatic personality, self-confidence, a glamorous wife, a prominent father, and wealth, everything the awkward, maladroit Nixon lacked.

Bill Bradley, a celebrated jock turned politician, provides a recent example of the dubiousness of reputations for intelligence. The former New York Knick managed to project for two decades a public image as the thinking man's Senator. Yet, when finally tested in his run against Al Gore for the Democratic nomination in 2000 Bradley's lackluster campaign lived down to his 485 SAT Verbal score (570 under the new scoring system). The late historian Jim Chapin, one of the very few leftists to publicly admit the utility of IQ, told me that Bradley's SAT Verbal score "May explain his relative ponderousness in reacting to changing verbal circumstances—he clearly preps and over-preps, but he may have more trouble dealing with unexpected lines."

That we should expect smarter Presidents to serve us better may seem unlikely, though, judging from the historical record. While some intensely bright men such as Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln enjoyed much success in office, others experienced major difficulties, such as Richard Nixon, Herbert Hoover, Woodrow Wilson, William Howard Taft, James Madison, and John Adams

Still, this doesn't mean that IQ is not desirable in a President, all else being equal. The problem is that all else is not equal. There are so few people at the far right end of the IQ bell curve that you can't always find amongst them all the other Presidential talents you need.

In contrast, the rare individuals who make it to the White House from the fat part of the bell curve are far more gifted overall than is typical for their IQ. It's the same as with height in basketball. If you are 7'6" tall, NBA teams will throw money at you no matter how dorky you might be. But if you are only 6'0", the competition is so fierce that you need to be as quick as Allen Iverson.

So, if IQ can indeed explain something like one sixth of job performance, how important is IQ in hiring Presidents? Chapin and Charles Murray, co-author of The Bell Curve came to an agreement during a discussion in 2000 that IQ probably explains about as much of the variance in success of Presidents as it has been measured to do for salesmen: 16%. That sounds trivial. Yet, since there are so many different factors that contribute to success, IQ can be one of the most important in relative terms. For most jobs, it typically ranks with conscientiousness and honesty as one of the three most significant factors.

Can a man be too smart to be President? "Possibly," says Jerry Pournelle, the science fiction novelist who learned recently that at age six he had scored 184 on an IQ test. "We have known since Shakespeare that there is and perhaps ought to be a certain distrust of those sicklied over with the pale cast of thought." Although Pournelle fought in Korea as an artillery officer, he states, "We have always known that the brightest do not make the best military officers. There is a minimum, but go too high and you get problems. This is standard thinking." According to British psychometrician Chris Brand, the military adage that if a leader is more than 30 IQ points smarter than his average follower, he will have trouble communicating effectively stems from British Army research during World War II.

Inspired by this rule of thumb, historian Chapin offered a novel theory for why the first six Presidents were so smart on average, while the braininess of Presidents from Andrew Jackson through William McKinley tended to be unimpressive, and then 20th Century presidents rebounded to be generally fairly bright.

He suggests that the IQ gap between the average President and the average voter has stayed roughly the same, but the voters have changed in average intelligence level. Up through 1824, the electorate was quite smart because only elite property owners could vote. Then, politics became a kind of national spectator sport with huge turnouts, so the IQ of voters fell to the mean. Therefore, we stopped electing geniuses like Jefferson and Madison and started electing nondescript politicos like Franklin Pierce and Rutherford B. Hayes.

Then, a century ago, other forms of mass entertainment came along. Turnout dropped, especially among the dimmer elements. This allowed clever men like Nixon, Carter, Bush the Elder (Phi Beta Kappa at Yale, graduating in 2.5 years), and Clinton to win elections.

Gregory Cochran, a rocket scientist turned evolutionary biologist, summed up the challenge facing voters. "What really matters in a leader is not being smart, but being right. Who was smarter? Warren G. Harding or V.I. Lenin? I'm sure Lenin could have beaten Harding in chess, but I definitely would rather have lived under Harding than Lenin. Harding was kind of a dumb bunny, but his prejudices and instincts were much more reasonable than Lenin's, who was wrong about everything."

I think it's useful for both the public and the candidates to have honest information about their intellectual capacities. Test scores aren't hugely important, but at least they are objective and honest compared to the enormous amounts of spin we voters are subjected to.

It's not good for Kerry to listen to all the flattery about how brilliant he is compared to Bush. For example, it hurts him on the campaign trail because he refuses to just read what his speechwriters give him. He did well in the debates where the time limits kept him from rambling.

But when giving a speech, he insists on embroidering the crisply-written text with his own off the top of the head dependent clauses and digressions. He'd be doing better if somebody told him – "Senator, you aren't that smart. Just the read the speech.”

Bush, in contrast, is a more disciplined campaigner because he doesn't improvise much. But, as President, he'd do a better job if he sweated the details more. He should be told, “You were smart enough to get two Ivy League degrees and learn how to fly a supersonic jet fighter, so stop winging it based on your gut instinct. Buckle down and study the issues.”

[Steve Sailer [email him], is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and movie critic for The American Conservative. His website www.iSteve.com features site-exclusive commentaries.]

friedrich braun
Friday, February 11th, 2005, 03:27 PM
THE END OF THE SEARCH
January 13, 2005

by Joe Sobran

What can we say? The search for Iraq's "weapons of
mass destruction" has finally ended. None were found, of
course. Even the hawks who insisted that Saddam Hussein
had them aren't demanding that we keep looking.

President Bush, not missing a beat, says the war on
Iraq was still justified -- even though the very
justification he insistently gave for it has been
exploded. He now talks as if he'd never believed it
himself. He probably didn't.

Bush and his people -- Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell,
Rice, Tenet, et cetera -- repeatedly said there was "no
doubt" that the weapons existed, threatening us. Prime
Minister Tony Blair warned Britain that an Iraqi attack
might be just 45 minutes away. The war propaganda
continued, monotonously, for months upon months.

It was all nonsense. But skeptics were scolded for
not believing a president who "knows so much more than we
do." What he "knew" was that his CIA director called the
evidence of those weapons a "slam dunk, Mr. President."
When people call you "Mr. President," they're going to
tell you what you want to be told.

As the columnist Richard Cohen points out, CBS News
just fired four of its top executives for getting one
story wrong. Bush hasn't fired any of the yes-men who
were wrong about a far graver matter. But that's what
yes-men are supposed to do: go with the boss, right or
wrong. Maybe especially when he's wrong.

Back when Bill Clinton was still swearing on his
Bibles that he'd done nothing untoward with Miss
Lewinsky, he hauled out his whole cabinet to vouch for
him. They dutifully did so. You might wonder how, say,
his secretaries of state and agriculture could be so sure
of his innocence in this matter, but again there was "no
doubt." And having staked their honor on Clinton's honor,
none of them resigned when he finally admitted his lie.

"I'm with you when you're right, governor, but not
when you're wrong," an aide is said to have told
Louisiana's legendary rascal Earl Long. Long quickly set
him straight: "You stupid son of a bitch, I don't need
you when I'm right!"

Bush doesn't need his underlings when he's right, as
long as they serve him well when he's wrong. And they've
certainly done that. Colin Powell especially sacrificed
much of the esteem he'd built over a long career when he
parroted Bush's baseless assertions. The phrase "weapons
of mass destruction" was Bush's Monica Lewinsky. For
months you couldn't turn the radio on without hearing it.

And once more, nobody is resigning because it turned
out to be a deception. Nor is indignation sweeping the
country. People who voted for Bush aren't acting
disillusioned. Hawkish pundits aren't blushing. Even
opponents of the war aren't excited. A cynical
resignation seems to be universal.

The only conclusion I can draw is that we all take
presidential prevarication for granted now. It's as if
lying were part of the job description for the nation's
highest office.

So here's the story: Republicans were indignant when
Clinton lied about his Oval Office antics. It was matter
for impeachment. The Starr Report supplied the details,
right down to the cigar. Then Bush restored morality to
the White House and lied us into a war, and we lived
happily ever after.

Clinton lied so glibly, even when he didn't have to,
that everything he said was taken with a grain of salt.
He was already "Slick Willie" before he was president.
Eventually his own party had to deal with his notorious
character: Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut gave a
resounding speech on the Senate floor rebuking him, and
Vice President Al Gore, running for president, played
down his connection with his own boss.

Nothing like that is happening among Republicans
today. The party is united behind a president who started
a war under false pretenses, which then veered off into
something else. Nobody feels impelled to express even
mild reservations. So far there has been no Republican
Joe Lieberman, trying to show that the party still has a
conscience. Or at least a capacity for embarrassment.

Clinton told lots of little lies, and the habit
caught up with him. Bush has told one deadly whopper, and
he's still getting away with it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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friedrich braun
Saturday, February 12th, 2005, 10:10 PM
We Have Nothing to Fear But Bush Himself
by Paul Craig Roberts



Suppose you are the party responsible for invading a country under totally false pretenses. Suppose you had totally unrealistic expectations about the consequences of your gratuitous aggression.

What do you do when, instead of being greeted with flowers, you find your army is tied down by insurgents and you have no face-saving way to get out of the morass? If you are the moronic Bush administration, you blame someone else.

Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rice, Cheney and Bush blame Syria and Iran for the troubles that they brought upon themselves. The Iraqi insurgency, say the Five Morons, is the fault of Syria and Iran.

Here is Rumsfeld excusing himself for his dismal failures in Iraq: "Partly it’s [the insurgency] a function of what the Syrians and the Iranians are doing."

You see, the facts that the US invaded Iraq on false pretenses, killed and maimed tens of thousands of Iraqis, shot down women and children in the streets, blew up Iraqis’ homes, hospitals and mosques, cut Iraqis off from vital services such as water and electricity, destroyed the institutions of civil society, left half the population without means of livelihood, filled up prisons with people picked up off the streets and then tortured and humiliated them for fun and games are not facts that explain why there is an insurgency. These facts are just descriptions of collateral damage associated with America "bringing democracy to Iraq."

The insurgency, according to the Five Morons, is because Syria and Iran won’t close their borders, thus letting in "terrorists" who are responsible for the insurgency. Some might think that this accusation is an example of the pot calling the kettle black coming as it does from the US, a country that has not only proven itself incapable of closing its own borders but also has demonstrated no respect whatsoever for the borders of other countries.

The Bush administration, which already held the world record as the most deluded government in history, has now taken denial to unprecedented highs by blaming Syria and Iran for its "Iraqi problem." Why didn’t Americans realize that it is dangerous to put a buffoon in charge of the US government who hasn’t a clue about the world around him, what he is doing or the consequences of his actions?

Why is Secretary of State Rice trying to set Iran up for UN sanctions – which the US can manipulate to justify invading another Muslim country – when the US has proven to the world that it cannot occupy Baghdad, much less Iraq?

Are Iran and Syria going to quake in their boots after witnessing the success of a few thousand insurgents in tying down 8 US divisions? The bulk of the US force in Iraq is engaged in protecting its own bases and supply lines. It was all the generals could do to scrape up 10,000 Marines for their pointless assault on Fallujah.

What is the point of the Bush administration’s bellicosity when it has been conclusively demonstrated that the US has insufficient troops to successfully occupy Iraq, much less Syria and Iran? The American people should be scared to death that they have put in power such deluded people.

Are Americans going to fall for the same set of WMD lies a second time? Are Americans going to deliver up their sons, and perhaps daughters as well, to be drafted and sent to the Middle East to be killed and maimed for no American cause?

The US Treasury is empty. The once "almighty" dollar is tottering. The US military is stretched to the breaking point. Former allies look askance at America. Hatred of America has reached an all time high.

The Bush administration must bring its policies in line with its means before it leads our country into greater disaster. The Bush administration and its deluded sycophants must stop poking fun at "reality-based" experts and listen to a reality-based message.

There is no possibility of the US imposing its will on the Muslim world. By its behavior the Bush administration is confirming Osama bin Laden’s propaganda and breeding more terrorists.

It does not serve America for Bush to impose Ariel Sharon’s agenda on the Middle East. Bush’s insane policy is producing rising anger that endangers Israel and America’s puppet governments in Egypt, Jordan, and Pakistan along with the Saudi regime. Ironically, this is recognized by Egypt’s Mubarak and Jordan’s King Abdullah, who was unable to refrain from pointing out that Bush has managed to create a Shi’ite crescent from Iran to Lebanon.

What, King Abdullah wonders, will be the next unintended consequence of the moronic administration that the American people in their superior wisdom and virtue have seen fit to empower in Washington. "If our aim is to win against terrorism, we can’t afford more instability in the area," warned the king prior to the ill-fated US invasion of Iraq. "It’s the potential Armageddon of Iraq that worries all of us."

It should worry Americans, too.

February 12, 2005

Dr. Roberts [send him mail] is John M. Olin Fellow at the Institute for Political Economy and Research Fellow at the Independent Institute. He is a former associate editor of the Wall Street Journal, former contributing editor for National Review, and a former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury. He is the co-author of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.

Copyright © 2005 Creators Syndicate