Recently in War Category
The Petraeus hearings were a disgrace. The man was called a liar and a puppet before he ever uttered a word. Can this country have a political discourse under such conditions? When the moveOn.org message is indiscernible from the Senators' in the committee hearing room, there is a problem in our government. It means a foreign-born Hungarian socialist has hijacked the Democrat Party, for pennies on the dollar.
Why have the committee meet under such poisonous conditions? Aside from the political theater, was there any point to the exercise? We as a Nation still need to listen to each other. The only alternative is violence. To assume your political adversary is always lying is to end dialog.
When Reid proclaimed the war lost last April, the Democrat party announced publicly its investment in losing the war in Iraq in order to win the election in 2008 here in the US. It is this investment that set the stage for the Petraeus Report fiasco. With politics at home trumping the war abroad, do we really remember those who were killed on 9/11? Is this honoring their memory?
OK boys, girls and Legionaries (Tom, Realist et al). Petraeus actually did provide a report. Instead of rehashing what we have been chewing on for over a year now, lets get a copy of it, I will open a new thread if needed. There is plenty of passion here, but lets put some fresher meat on the table than "should we go to war in Iraq". Your vote in a comment would be appreciated. BTW, using the NIE and other sources is most definitely fair game etc. But the TOPIC is the current situation and Petraeus' veracity.
Thoughts on September 11th
September 11, 2007
It seems hard to believe, but it was six years ago today that radical Islamic terrorists struck at the heart of our country, killing more Americans in a single day than at any time since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
These terrorist attacks were well planned and targeted.
By attacking The World Trade Center in New York City terrorists struck at the financial centers of our nation. By attacking the Pentagon in Northern Virginia they struck at the military strength of our nation, and by attempting to launch a similar attack against The White House or the U.S. Capital, they sought to strike the political institutions of our country.
In the days following these attacks the true American spirit was awakened. We sought to bring those who were responsible for these attacks to justice, and military operations against the Taliban and other terrorist organizations ensued. We pledged to do everything we could to make certain that an attack of this nature did not occur again.
Today, six years after these horrific attacks, there have been successes and disappointments in the war on terror.
It appears that Iraqi's and other Middle Easterners are paying big money ($20K a pop) to get across our southern border. One would imagine that this is part of some operation to wreak another 9/11 style terrorist act. In spite of the nay sayers there is little that an open border is an open invitation to nail us again.
This is the security dimension of what we face in light of a border out of control. Smuggling of drugs, weapons and aliens is going to come back and bite us. Al Qaeda won't be sending in an Arab plumber into the US at $30K a head. It will be a bomb maker, a pilot, or something worse.
What if a nuke is brought across the border? This is an idea is one the US government is concerned as are ngo's . What is amazing is how little press these concerns get. We are asleep and the bed really is burning. A reporter recently wrote it would take another 9/11 to wake us up. I hope that is not going to be the case.
[UPDATE: I just saw the ad on FNC and it appears the show tonight might be telling the same story as Islam vs Islamists but not play the same film. In any event, the story of this individuals is very compelling so I strongly recommend watching it.]
Free Republic has a notice that the documentary I wrote about in April, Islam vs Islamists, is going to air on Fox News Channel tonight at 9:00 pm. (There is some controversy because it was supposed to air last night, and so far it is not showing up on the Comcast guide.)
I highly recommend everyone watch this short film. It got pulled from PBS under questionable circumstances with the hint of pressure from Islamist advocacy groups.
There is only one possible, practical answer to the biggest problem of our age, and that is reform within Islam. This documentary tells the story of a few very brave individuals who are attempting to accomplish such reform. Don't miss it.
My fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far.
And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.
Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith.
They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.
They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men's souls will be shaken with the violences of war.
For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home.
Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.
And for us at home -- fathers, mothers, children, wives, sisters, and brothers of brave men overseas -- whose thoughts and prayers are ever with them--help us, Almighty God, to rededicate ourselves in renewed faith in Thee in this hour of great sacrifice.
Many people have urged that I call the Nation into a single day of special prayer. But because the road is long and the desire is great, I ask that our people devote themselves in a continuance of prayer. As we rise to each new day, and again when each day is spent, let words of prayer be on our lips, invoking Thy help to our efforts.
Give us strength, too -- strength in our daily tasks, to redouble the contributions we make in the physical and the material support of our armed forces.
And let our hearts be stout, to wait out the long travail, to bear sorrows that may come, to impart our courage unto our sons wheresoever they may be.
And, O Lord, give us Faith. Give us Faith in Thee; Faith in our sons; Faith in each other; Faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose.
With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogancies. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister Nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil.
Thy will be done, Almighty God.
-Franklin Delano Roosevelt
'"Put simply, the Constitution does not allow the President to order the military to seize civilians residing within the United States and then detain them indefinitely without criminal process, and this is so even if he calls them 'enemy combatants'," the court said.'
Article below the fold
I want to go back a ways because it looks like I missed a good discussion while I was on vacation.
I posted on May 2 about the comments of Harry Reid which I viewed as treasonous. Stay Poof then masterfully steered the following posted comments into an indictment of American policy in Iraq, stating the following about Saddam:
when did he try to assassinate the pres? was it before or after we had invaded his country?
Um...before. We only kicked him out of Kuwait in 1991. We didn't invade Iraq until 2003.
Poof then went on to say:
actually, the Iraqi government sent a guy to the US embassy to find out what the Bush admin's response would be if Iraq invaded Kuwait, and was told something to the effect of, "we have no official policy on that" That statement was interpreted to mean that Bush/the US didn't care one way or the other if Iraq invaded Kuwait.
Poofy then quoted the NY Times and New Republic to back up his statement, to which Kevin replied:
schooled. Nice work.
Now, I'm not saying that the Times has ever had a problem with journalistic integrity, but I didn't trust the sources Poof was using. I, like Jack, figured I would have heard more about this if their reporting was accurate. I decided to check it out for myself and I found this now declassified NSC report on the meeting. That's the full text there.
So here's my take on the Glaspie issue:
First- The NY Times and New Republic printed Glaspie's words out of context at a time when the meeting between her and Saddam was considered classified.
Second- NOTHING she stated even implied giving Saddam a "go ahead" to invade Kuwait. Only a madman like Saddam could interpret a statement like "We are neutral in your territorial dispute," to mean, "Go ahead and invade and annex the other guy."
My answer? WHO CARES?
Part II of my answer: WHAT'S WRONG WITH OCCUPATION?
Call me Socrates and put me in a Bill & Ted movie.
Interesting report from a Marine over at Not Larry Sabato.
Not what you'd expect on that blog - and followed by an interesting discussion among his (mostly liberal) readers. The gist is, "If it is good news from Iraq, it cannot be true." Well worth checking out.
...At a minumum.
For a leader on the national level to comment about "this war is lost"...A firing squad or a hangman's noose is more appropriate.
I'm talking about the capital crime of Treason.
THERE ARE TROOPS IN THE COMBAT ZONE PUTTING THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE EVERY DAY TO WIN THIS WAR.
On a side note, forgive my absence as of lately. I've been busy getting ready for another trip to play in the sandbox. I'll post as much as I can until I go, then I'll see what I can do.
Soon to be nothing even remotely resembling household news is this story about the Al Qaida guy who was formerly a high ranking officer in the Iraq military.
Begging the question the MSM doesn't dare ask: how "formerly," exactly?
Thomas Joscelyn wants to know how much, if any, contact he had with his old patron while waging terrorist war for bin Ladin in Afghanistan.
Don't we all.
Or should I say, "Don't we most."
I can imagine quite a few people who are right now beginning to shriek that this man, this poor abused misunderstood idealist, must not be asked a single question more.
Don't miss this further post on Bush's shenanigans in this matter.
Also, Captain Ed weighs in regarding media coverage of the capture. Which sheds some light on the story as a whole.
That is precisely the question raised by the controversy surrounding the new documentary, Islam vs. Islamists. The one-hour investigative journalism piece was originally included in a project launched by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Like the other installments of the $20 million "America at a Crossroads" series, Islam vs. Islamists was produced with a large grant (in this case over $600,000 in taxpayer funds). Now, however, it has been buried by the CPB and its production outlet, PBS.
Why? Because the topic of the film is the question that so many of us have been asking since September 11, 2001: "Where are the moderate Muslims?" - and some don't like the answer one little bit.
Powerful interest groups, it turns out - some of whom govern a massive, oil-laden Arabian kingdom, some of whom simply do the kingdom's bidding, and some of whom blindly follow wherever the nose-ring of multiculturalism leads them - don't like the fact that the documentary reveals the extensive Saudi/Wahabbi money trail in the development of Islamic institutions in the U.S., and exposes the widespread conspiracy against Islamic reformers. Thus there has been pressure on PBS and the CPB to spike the film. At the moment, PBS refuses to broadcast Islam vs. Islamists, and the only way most Americans will ever see it is if CPB releases the rights so the film can be distributed through other channels. (See below on how to make that happen).
Today in DC, the film's producers and two of its key subjects held a private screening and panel discussion. There will be a follow up here shortly, but first the basic message.
Bottom line: Moderate Muslims in Europe and North America are under unbelievable pressure to shut up. Leaders promoting the compatibility of Islam and democracy who speak out do so at the risk of their livlihoods and lives, and consequently the vast, silent majority of Muslims who are perfectly content in Western society have no choice but to "look at politics through an Islamist lens." Islamism - or political Islam - is the dominant ideology spread via the mosques and (maybe unwittingly) by the media. Those seeking a reformation in Islam are having a devil of a time getting their voices heard.
The stakes are high: The Islamist leaders interviewed in the film - all prominent, "mainstream" Muslim leaders in Europe and the U.S. - state unapologetically that their aim is to impose shariah law on western societies.
It is an amazing irony that modern "liberals" have been so slow to support the reformation within Islam. A key irony is that the media have allowed Islamists to import an immensely uncivil agenda under the auspices of supposed "civil rights." As one of the subjects in the documentary states, "the entire struggle is about the rights of women." Does anyone in the West actually need a slap in the face to appreciate this?
Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, Arizona cardiologist and chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, and one of the true heroes of our age, issued a plea this afternoon
...from the majority in the West that understand what it is to separate religion and politics, that understand that somebody can be even more pious and more religious by not having government coerce what we believe, that understand our religion can be a source of law but not the source of law, all of these aspects that are part of the Christian Enlightenment or Western Enlightenment: I've been taught by my grandfather that it can happen in Islam.
There will be another screening of the film tonight, Wednesday, April 25, for our congressmen and senators. Please take a moment to send a note to your representatives encouraging them to go watch this documentary tonight at the Rayburn office building (they have received invitations with details). ASK THEM TO TELL THE CPB TO PUT IT ON THE AIR VIA PBS OR RELEASE IT FOR FURTHER DISTRIBUTION.
Please read this outline of Paul Truong's memoir of the fall of Viet Nam and his escape.
Nancy Pelosi's 'great' adventure is a wonderful example of the lefts naivete toward the thugs of the world. This is an old trend. The first example I can think of was when a reporter for the NYT's back in the 30's wrote glowingly of the Stalin's regime, while wading through the dead bodies of millions of Ukrainians; fake but accurate indeed.
James Earl Carter is poster child for those who rub elbows with despots in order to attack one's own country. He was part of that smashingly successful program started back in the 90's to stop Kim Jung Il from building nukes. We all see how well that turned out; of course you know it's Bush's fault.
"Blood-soaked underwear"? What the hell does that mean? Is he associating the menstrual cycle with cowardess?
Shut your damn pie-hole, Spicoli. My close friend had his underwear, as well as the rest of his clothing, soaked in his own blood when a 30mm Russian grenade blew him up. Now he's pissed on account of his permanently paralized leg is getting him a medical discharge, thus preventing him from ever going back. We don't need your input...YOU ARE A COWARD!
On a side note, let me say I'm a Tony Blair fan. However, he's gotta sound a little less like C-3PO if he wants his 15 troops back. To paraphrase: "I hope Iran will release them. Oh My."
If the British declare war on Iran over their captured sailors and marines, will the U.S. support them, or will the gutless wonders in Congress abandon our best ally?
Today's news the Joe man may be looking to play ball reminded me of this oldie (for us) but goodie.
Joining our gang now would certainly be a lot more dramatic than if he had simply done it in January when the session started. And who knows, there may be matters of principle involved. But going from Al Gore's running mate to a Republican seems like quite a leap. It may not even be possible, based on certain elements of quantum theory.
An interesting take by Virginia's junior senator:
George McGovern, more forthcoming than most, bluntly stated as much to this writer during a break in taping a 1995 edition of cnn's "Crossfire." After I had argued that the war was clearly winnable even toward the end if we had changed our strategy, the 1972 presidential candidate who had offered to go to Hanoi on his knees commented, "What you don't understand is that I didn't want us to win that war." Mr. McGovern was not alone. He was part of a small but extremely influential minority who eventually had their way.
Via Freep ...
This is the continuation of the ongoing "Iraq: Now What" conversation. Here's the history:
Something that concerns me about all this is that I often hear things like, "We have to remove Saddam" or "Leaving Iraq is not an option" or "If Iran is supplying weapons, we have no choice but to expand the war..."
It sometimes sounds like our enemy has completely boxes us in, and is leading us deeper down a tunnel, and we have no choice but to follow.
Has anyone here ever play the board game called Go? In it, two players try to control as much territory on the board as they can while attacking and attempting to gain control of their opponent's territory. It's an ancient game, that's been used for hundreds, if not thousands of years as a tool for teaching Chinese and Japanese generals about warfare.
Anyway, in Go there's a term called Sente, which means, "having the initiative." A player who is controlling the game is said to have sente. The longer a player is able to keep sente, the longer he will be able to force his opponent's hand, and in doing so will prevent his opponent from developing his own strategy. In the end, the player who is able to control the game will win the game.
The war in Iraq isn't a board game, but every time I hear something like, "We have no choice to..." or "Our only option is..." or "If we want to protect our way of life, we have to..." it makes me wonder which side is really in control of this war.
In a big sense this falls out from No Relation's articles Sober Follow-Up: Winning the War on Terror and Rantings of a Drunken Vet: Winning the War on Terror I credit comments from SPMM a.k.a. Marshmallow a.k.a. Puffy who asks some telling questions was the final goad, and I give him credit for giving these positions a local voice.
SPMM: I feel like you're beginning to misunderstand my main point: that winning at any cost could potentially be more costly than "losing."
In the last World War we lost over 350,000 all told. We currently are not at 1% of this number. We spent over 2.0 Trillion current dollars for WWII, we have not yet hit 400B in Iraq. We put over 16 million men into uniform, mostly through a draft. Our current armed forces consist of 1.4 million volunteers. We fought WWII with 130 million people. We now have 300 million. We are now far richer on a per capita basis. Our economy has not even geared up for war yet, and it is doing better than any other in the West. Now, you are asking if we are even close to a Pyrrhic Victory? With all respect, have you really this through to the end? We are ridiculously far from such a loss. When our losses surpass those of WWII, which we won, then such a question begins to look like something other than overwrought hysteria. The really crazy part is you are not alone; it is a mass hysteria running rampant in the nation. 3000 dead on the battle field was a single day of hard fighting in several of our wars. Did not the founders write that the tree of liberty requires the blood of sacrifice?
Thanks to all who commented on my last post. Good points being brought up.
Our friendly dissenter, Stay Puff Marshmellow Man, asked me how I would use the strategy of attrition in the current situation with the War on Terror.
I replied: "I wouldn't use attrition, I would use annihilation." I then promised to continue that conversation.
You see, the enemy we fight is fanatical and at the current pace they can replace their terrorists and supplies as fast as we can kill them. We are spending too much effort trying to win over public support and too little effort trying to kill bad people.
The ironic thing is, the longer we stay, the more support we lose. A long, foreign occupation would go unsupported in any country.
Some will say the "hearts and minds" game is the only way, but it's not. We've fought an enemy worse than this in the past, and left 100% successful.
I'm speaking of the Japanese, and I can't help but compare the war on terror to fighting them in WWII.
Say what you will about the lack of connection between Iraq and 9/11, let me start by saying that if you think Iraq has nothing to do with Islamic terrorism, you are a RETARD. Iraq is no doubt a battle front in the War on Terror.
That being said, I want to comment on the troop surge President Bush had proposed. I support it, because my opinion is that it is a huge step in the right direction. There's a war going on there, and the more troops we have in country, the better. It doesn't take a math major to figure out a simple concept like strength in numbers.
However, I don't think that will be enough. We need a change in strategy. Well, for that matter, we need a strategy to start with.
Years ago, in a military history class, I was taught that there are three strategies in war: annihilation, attrition, and exhaustion. Look them up...I lack the intelligence to properly articulate the concepts. I recommend the writings of John Keegan and Colonel Harry Summers.
SO...Which one have we been pursuing in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Do I have to say how ridiculous the whole concept of a "non-binding" resolution against the President's war plans is? What a gutless excuse for action.
Why not just phrase it "I'm opposed to Iraq, but I'm afraid to do anything real about it, so I'll vote for the `non-binding' version of what I really think."
If you oppose the war, have the intestinal fortitude to back your opposition, or have the dignity to back down.
I'm embarrassed this thing got so many votes.
I have to admit it kind of makes me glad to see Jane Fonda exercising her free speech on the war issue again, only because I believe it will hurt the anti-war cause. If that treasonous waste of oxygen wants to go out there and tell everyone how bad war is...more power to those of us who disagree with her.
The recent protest circuses have me laughing because no one there can really explain why they oppose the war. We're just hearing the same old "no war for oil, Bush lied, kids died" rhetoric. It makes me think these protestors are just opposed to wars in general and have no sense of why they are opposed to this one...
Just to be clear, let me explain why I support this one...
The following article comes by way of a veritable princess warrior of the blogosphere, Nan of American Daughter. It was directed strictly at a law enforcement audience (for reasons that become clear), and has slipped out of the LE circle into limited public circulation. Nan is pretty plugged in and managed to get her hands on it.
Neither of us can with 100% certainty vouch for the information about training films found in Afghanistan or - obviously - any ruminations about "what's likely here." But based on the news items referenced, which I will vouch for because I remember most of them, the scenario is not remotely far fetched and certainly is worth bringing to the attention of all parents, school officials and local LE's who have not already seen it.
The argument that other states should join New Hampshire and Utah in allowing schools employees to carry concealed in particular makes complete sense to me and seems overdue.
The article also has plenty of good information for parents, but especially for cops.
"If you walk out off-duty without your gun, every time you pass a fire exit or see a fire extinguisher, say to yourself, 'Firefighters have made more preparations than I have.'"
I think you'll find this well worth taking a few minutes to read. Thanks to American Daughter for forwarding it.
In their benevolent wisdom, our government is trying to prevent widespread panic by withholding information from the public. We obtained what purports to be a good copy of a password-protected article from a website for policemen and we a sharing it because we feel that the public has a right to know.
We are reproducing this article in its entirety. Normally we scrupulously subscribe to the doctrine of "Fair Use" and show the utmost respect for the material of other authors. But without the involvement of the bloggers this material would not be available to the general public. And all of this article has already been posted in Yahoo! Groups (such as Nassau County News Flash) and it is in general circulation throughout the "good old boy" email community. We believe that our readers have a right to see this material.
[Caveat: The Police One website carries this notice -- Warning! Some sections of PoliceOne.com are secure for law enforcement only. PoliceOne confirms the Law Enforcement status of all Law Enforcement officers who register on the site. We were unable to gain access to the website to confirm the accuracy of our copy of this article. We are reproducing the text of our copy here because we trust our source.]
Mass Slaughter in Our Public Schools: The Terrorists' Chilling PlanBy Charles Remsberg | 01/03/2007
Probably the last place you want to think of terrorists striking is your kids' school. But according to two trainers at an anti-terrorism conference on the East Coast, preparations for attacks on American schools that will bring rivers of blood and staggering body counts are well underway in Islamic terrorist camps.
- The intended attackers have bluntly warned us they're going to do it.
- They've already begun testing school-related targets here.
- They've given us a catastrophic model to train against, which we've largely ignored and they've learned more deadly tactics from.
"We don't know for sure what they will do. But by definition, a successful attack is one we are not ready for," declared one of the instructors, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman. Our schools fit that description to a "T" -- as in Terrorism and Threat.
Grossman, the popular law enforcement motivational speaker, and Todd Rassa, a trainer with the SigArms Academy and an advisory board member for The Police Marksman magazine, shared a full day's agenda on the danger to U.S. schools at a recent three-day conference on terrorist issues, sponsored by the International Assn. of Law Enforcement Firearms Instructors (IALEFI) in Atlantic City .
They reminded the audience that patrol officers, including perhaps some with their own children involved, will inevitably be the first responders when terrorists hit. And they documented chilling descriptions of the life-or-death challenges that likely will be faced.
In Part 1 of this three-part report on highlights of their presentations we focus on what's known about the threat to our schools to date, why terrorists have selected them as targets, and what tactics you're likely to be up against in responding to a sudden strike.
In Parts 2 and 3, we'll explore Grossman's and Rassa's recommendations for practical measures you and your agency can take now to get ready, including some defensive actions that don't require any budget allocations.
Excuse my absence as of lately, but a few days off from work and watching Charlie Rangel show up on the news again has gotten me over my writer's block. (Sorry Joe, I hate to see you fight alone, but I'm clueless until I get drunk and ticked off...)
Let me begin by saying Congressman Rangel is a Korean War Veteran who served America honorably in a time of war, and for that, he has my utmost respect. I don't intend my following criticism of his positions to degrade him personally, and especially not his service and sacrifice, in any way.
He's been in the news lately for his recent characterization of Saddam's hanging as a "lynching", and I've got plenty of disagreement on that, which I hope to get to later. What's been bothering me for a while now about Congressman Rangel is his calling for the reinstatement of the draft.
I'm split 50/50 on the draft issue. I've been in the Army almost 9 years now, with over 5 of that on active duty. I like being part of a volunteer force. Those who join us, for the most part, do so for the right reasons, and no one has twisted their arms to get them in. On the other hand, I think a draft would do America some good. I observe the American public every day, and I see that the majority of Americans have no understanding of the sacrifice that has been made for the freedom we enjoy.
Congressman Rangel has called for the draft as a matter of protest against the war in Iraq. He's wrong. I won't argue against a draft, but I will argue against a draft that is used to protest a war. The Congressman disagrees with the current action in Iraq, and he's made that no secret. I won't claim to know his true intent in calling for a draft, but his statements make me angry.
Let me pick apart some of his words here:
I just arrived at a hotel so it will be some time before I get to catch up on all the comments here, because ....
24. Oh yeah.
I'm not going to "live blog" 24 because live blogging 24 would be like live blogging sex, which tends to detract from some of the enjoyment. But now that we are at a long commercial break ...
GIVE ME A BREAK!! JACK BAUER JUST KILLED A MAN WITH HIS TEETH. OH MY GOODNESS IF YOU'VE EVER WONDERED HOW THEY COULD TOP THEMSELVES ON THAT SHOW THEY SURE AS SHOOTIN' JUST DID IT!! RIPPED OUT A MAN'S JUGULAR ...
I am so reminded of this line from Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman:
"The jugular vein is severed; not cut but torn apart as though by a powerful beast."
More at the next long commercial break. Holy cow.
UPDATE: Jack beat the helicopters to the hideout! Jack knew that transponders are kept in pockets! Jack got the guy out moments before the rockets hit! Next to Jack Bauer, we are all silly little girls ...
UPDATE II: INTERESTING angle on the Islamic terrorists!!! The show starts with a maelstrom of hand-wringing about civil rights and Americans turning against each other, warning against villainizing Muslims - and the terrorists turn out to be ... MUSLIMS! Of course, this being 24, by the 10th hour the real bad guys are likely to be a couple of teenage girls.
UPDATE III: I swear, the biting-the-guy-in-the-neck scene made for the best opening hour since the one where Jack Bauer walked into the room, shot the guy who had negotiated for immunity, and cut off his head with a hacksaw.
UPDATE IV: Oh, does Jack know from torture - or has Jack gone soft FROM THE TORTURE??!! What a friggin' commentary on current events: Torture works, Jack, TORTURE WORKS!!
Jack: "I don't know how to do this anymore."
So the problem with being tortured is: It makes us foolishly shy away from torture. (That's 24 talking, not me). So, be careful who you trust with national security, ESPECIALLY IF THEY'VE BEEN TORTURED.
UPDATE V: Prediction: The president's sister is a terrorist, although her Muslim husband is not.
UPDATE VI: Ok, the first two hours have been an Islamofascist-fest. It's ostensibly ALL about the Muslims, the nefarious bastards.
What this tells me is, it's not EVEN REMOTELY about the Muslims.
24 don't telegraph nothing. I'm thinking Prussian Blue, or perhaps the Russians, or maybe the Scientologists.
UPDATE VII: Oh, so THAT'S what you do with suicide bombers on the subway - kick 'em out the back door. Good to know.
UPDATE VIII: President Wayne Palmer: "So Jack was right. He was right all along and I - this is going to get much worse."
How delicious: Yeah, that's right. Ignore Jack Bauer's advice at your own peril.
Well godalmighty I hope I can be in front of a TV tomorrow night at 8 pm.
The preview was intriguing. Looks like the end of the world or something. Oh well, par for the course. This is what the television was invented for.
If you've got a distant-foreign violent moron leader getting chummy with other moron leaders who just happen to be situated along the Pan-American Highway, you might have a problem if you happen to live in the U.S.
Such ruminations evoke thoughts about the southern border.
I have spoken with two separate parents of children fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan who opined "we should bring them all home and put them on our southern border." I'm guessing plenty of Americans have had that exact same thought.
Here's my thought:
Why not bring most of our overseas-stationed troops home (ok, leave 135,000 in Iraq for a few more months), and put them on our southern border, and then SEND THEM ACROSS THE BORDER to make Mexico our 51st state, and then leave the necessary handful on the Mexico-Guatemala border and just worry about defending THAT one? It's one-third the size, for cryin' out loud. And although it's a mess, it's not as big a mess as the current U.S.-Mexico border.
Downside: Lot's of Mexicans go on U.S. welfare in the short term.
Upsides: The aforementioned millions of Mexicans get the chance to improve their lives. Replacing the Mexican government with an American state government will eliminate an incredibly corrupt institution once and for all. Consequently, Mexico's substantial natural resources could be developed in such a way that selling would not yield money down a rat hole as it does now.
I think there would be a huge amount of support from the revolutionaries and the biggest problem would be the handful of former plutocrats heading north. We could give THEM all soccer teams to run, and that would be the end of that.
Here's a pretty interesting site at Globalsecurity.org which seems to be documenting the releases of detainees from Guantanamo.
Also, a link to a report by Mark Denbeaux and Josh Denbeaux, Esq. Mark is a Professor at Seton Hall University School of Law and both he and Josh are counsel representing 2 detainees. It's actually pretty interesting.
I don't care what anyone says, the world has been a much better place for almost 24 hours now.
UPDATE: Welcome NY Times 'The Caucus' Blog readers! We don't get many city folk out here in possum gravy country, but we love it when we do. We also love our Rep. Virgil Goode, though I hope you will take a moment to read the full discussion that follows.
At the suggestion of our good buddy Zimzo, I have looked into remarks made by Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode in his recent letter touching on the Koran, religion and immigration, as well as Goode's follow-up statement.
I take exception to Goode's argument that the current state of affairs and the problem of rampant, nonsensical multiculturalism should be blamed on Bill Clinton. Clinton might have initiated the diversity in immigration program, but the Republicans had at least a short spell controlling the levers of power, did they not? They could have fixed it if they had a mind to.
Robert Spencer has a very informed take on this controversy (as tends to be the case with any question regarding Islam and the West):
Goode is not opposed to having "many more Muslims in the United States" out of "bigotry," as CAIR has predictably alleged, but because he is aware that Islam presents a challenge, as we have explained here so many times, to "the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America." He also seems to be aware, when he warns that "our resources" could be "swamped," that Muslim immigrants, including mujahedin, cheerfully live on the dole in Europe -- a situation that is nothing less than suicidal.
Spencer is truly one of the "voices crying in the wilderness" about the threats facing America and the West in general. I've read most of his books and I think he is mostly on point. He knows a lot more than I do about Islam, to be certain.
I also think, however, that it is indubitably the case that the public face of any ideological or cultural movement can appear scarier than it really is - particularly in the case of religion.
Ideologically - and mythologically - religions can be pretty fearsome. A great example is the horrorshow that Roman Catholicism was made out to be in England and America from, like, 1600 until about 40 years ago. I mean, from the Pope right on down to the priests and the scruffy Irish foot soldiers, Catholicism was painted as a menace, an institutional force bent on subverting democracy and taking over the world.
It didn't quite work out that way because, whatever the Vatican might have been planning or not planning, western civilization has a way of smoothing the rough edges of any ideology that purportedly seeks to contravene basic human liberties, respect for the individual, rule of law, beer commercials, and all of the other things that have made the United States the shining city on the hill. There is no reason to think Muslims won't come around in a generation or two and start watching NASCAR and football with the rest of us. (And I do NOT mean soccer.)
As to the question of whether one should be allowed to take an oath on the Koran rather than the Bible: Spencer points out the Koran permits lying. That's a good point, and the Koran appears to permit quite a few additional behaviors one would not hope to see in a courtroom. Whatever criticisms one may have of Christianity's New Testament, you must admit the world would have far fewer religiously-justified murders if everyone followed its rules.
That being said, why do we need a holy book for the swearing in ceremony of a public official anyway? Christians can say "our book is holiest and true" and Muslims may counter, "no OURS is so we want to swear on it."
But the point is, you need to raise your right hand and make a public pledge. If you are a little "off" maybe you want to raise your left hand - sure, we can have that argument. But the pledge is what's important, whether you follow God or Gaia or Reverend Bob Dobbs.
I think an immigration policy that is discriminatory based on the ideology of the applicant is a great idea. Assimilation is a numbers game: Over time, over generations, the host society will influence newcomers as long as the number of immigrants who detest the basic tenets of American culture is much smaller than the number of people already here. Their kids will grow up learning to love football, freedom of thought and fast cars, and will gradually shed their alien cultural baggage.
Whether you are pledging on a Koran or Bible does not seem like such a huge issue because really you are pledging to tell the truth or uphold the Constitution or whatnot, and it seems to me that should be the focus. If Muslims make the pledge and keep the pledge, the law is happy. If they don't, the law will rain down hellfire on them as it will on anyone who breaks such a public oath.
And as long as all their offspring have the opportunity to watch the Daytona 500 every February, I think in the long run everything is going to turn out all right for America.
There is a theme of thought in America that the Muslim extremists who commit acts of terrorism are simply oppressed and misunderstood. Let me tell you: Nothing could be further from the truth.
My platoon returned to our base in Ghazni province one morning in the spring of '05, after an uneventful night patrol. We found the entrance of the base scattered with local Afghans. This by itself was fairly common...Afghans were often coming in and out of our base for legitimate reasons and had to wait outside before they were cleared for entry.
There was a big difference this time. The locals were clustered into maybe a dozen small groups, and within these groups were bloodied bodies. Some were moving, and some were not. We heard a few screams and moans as we went by.
As we continued through the entrance of our base, we saw the medics lined up outside of our aid station, ready to go to work. Most of us grunt troops just went to bed. We'd been out for a while and we were exhausted. There was nothing we could do, and the sight the blood and bodies was nothing new to us at that point. My platoon's medic, however, knew his work wasn't done, and hurried off as soon as he could.
We found out later that the Taliban had crashed a local wedding party and thrown a grenade into the crowd. I'm not sure exactly why this particular party was targeted, I only know that these terrorists had decided to kill people who did not support them, while they were in peaceful assembly. This was a typical thing.
I wondered if people back home would ever know what it cost the soldiers to win this war. In America, things were already beginning to look like peacetime. The standard of living was on the rise, racetracks and nightclubs were booming, you couldn't get a hotel room in Miami Beach...it was so crowded. How could anyone ever know of the price paid by soldiers in terror, agony, and bloodshed, if they'd never been to places like Normandy, Bastogne, or Haguenau?
-PVT David Webster, as quoted in the HBO mini-series "Band of Brothers"
I've decided to start sharing some of my personal experience from Afghanistan, so this will probably become a regular post for me.
I usually try to avoid the topic in conversation. The few times I've tried to tell stories about it, I usually get blank looks and meaningless comments. Often, I get sympathy, which is the opposite of what I desire. While I appreciate it, the people it comes from have no idea, and it just makes me feel more distant.
Understanding is what I want. I want America to understand what we've been through. I want America to appreciate what we've done and what we've accomplished, rather than just pay us lip service.
Most of all, I want America to support us through to the only acceptable option...
From the Far East I send you one single thought, one sole idea, written in red on every beachhead from Australia to Tokyo...THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR VICTORY!
-General Douglas MacArthur
The condemning excerpt:
Ayatollah Khamenei moreover said the failure of the American President party in the latest Congress elections proved that America's war waging policies are not approved within the country, adding the event was not just an American internal affair rather it was the defeat of Bush's war mongering policies.
The IR Leader pointed to American President's late admission to the defeat, adding since Washington had shown hostility and war waging always towards the Iranian nation, the defeat of the policies actually translated into the convincing victory of the Iranian nation in this political phase. [That emphasis is mine.]
Paul Belien's "Brussels Journal" blog is a must-read. It should be required for everyone in the U.S., Europeans purportedly too far gone to save.
It isn't nice reading, but necessary.
The number of emigrants leaving the Netherlands and Germany has already surpassed the number of immigrants moving in. One does not have to be prophetic to predict, like Henryk Broder, that Europe is becoming Islamic. Just consider the demographics. The number of Muslims in contemporary Europe is estimated to be 50 million. It is expected to double in twenty years. By 2025, one third of all European children will be born to Muslim families. Today Mohammed is already the most popular name for new-born boys in Brussels, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and other major European cities.
Broder is convinced that the Europeans are not willing to oppose islamization. "The dominant ethos," he told De Volkskrant, "is perfectly voiced by the stupid blonde woman author with whom I recently debated. She said that it is sometimes better to let yourself be raped than to risk serious injuries while resisting. She said it is sometimes better to avoid fighting than run the risk of death."
I'm going to go a step further and recommend a book that ties in with Belien's theme.
From the "that's going to leave a mark" department:
The excitment you see among our enemies and among the Left are identical.
A Vietnam vet friend of mine sent me this one. It's a good one to end today with.
Happy Veteran's day, and Thank You to any veterans reading this.
A valid question: Which candidate and which party should one vote for in order to best support U.S. military personnel?
To answer this question in the negative (not the point of this post but let's get it out of the way): There is a hard-core faction on the left who believe America has too much power and ambition and needs to be cut down to size. They want the U.S. to lose. Therefore they will always advocate to bring the troops home if the troops are in any danger of causing a U.S. victory anywhere, they will describe any U.S. military endeavor as an unmitigated failure, and they will advocate retreat in the face of any enemy. These people will vote for a Democrat if the only other choice is a Republican.
If you think the U.S. has it coming, or if you generally advocate military retreat, or if you happen to BE a terrorist, stop reading right now and go vote for your local Democrat candidate. This is democracy in action. The Democrats certainly won't all represent your wishes, but as a whole they're the only party with the possibility of accomplishing what you'd like to see accomplished.
As one of their biggest supporters wrote yesterday: The Democrats' only plan for Iraq sounds a lot like what most people call 'defeat'. For some in the U.S., that's good enough as long as it brings the troops home.
To answer the question in the positive, the Washington Post just reported on a unique angle: What the troops themselves think we should do in Iraq. In short, the troops believe a U.S. pullout would be 'devastating':
The soldiers declined to discuss the political jousting back home, but they expressed support for the Bush administration's approach to the war, which they described as sticking with a tumultuous situation to give Iraq a chance to stand on its own.
Leading Democrats have argued for a timeline to bring U.S. troops home, because obvious progress has been elusive, especially in Baghdad, and even some Republican lawmakers have recently called for a change in strategy. But soldiers criticized the idea of a precipitate withdrawal, largely because they believe their hard work would go for naught.
Capt. Jim Modlin, 26, of Oceanport, N.J., said he thought the situation in Iraq had improved between his deployment in 2003 and his return this year as a liaison officer to Iraqi security forces with the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, based here on FOB Sykes outside Tall Afar. Modlin described himself as more liberal than conservative and said he had already cast his absentee ballot in Texas. He said he believed that U.S. elected officials would lead the military in the right direction, regardless of what happens Tuesday.
"Pulling out now would be as bad or worse than going forward with no changes," Modlin said. "Sectarian violence would be rampant, democracy would cease to exist, and the rule of law would be decimated. It's not 'stay the course,' and it's not 'cut and run' or other political catchphrases. There are people's lives here. There are so many different dynamics that go on here that a simple solution just isn't possible."
(No small wonder, as has happened in the past, some Democrats continue to take a stab at making it difficult for U.S. military personnel to vote.)
The Virginia Senate race serves as a useful barometer of military veterans' position on the question of "supporting the troops." Although running against a decorated Navy veteran, Republican George Allen surprisingly won the endorsement of both the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition. Although George Allen has staked out the more "conservative" position than Jim Webb on a number of issues, including immigration enforcement and gay marriage, opposition to the Iraq War is Webb's key message and Allen's support of the war has been a chief point of differentiation between the two in the public debate.
After all of the votes from today's elections are analyzed, we should get a clearer picture of what current and former troops view as public 'support.' Leaving aside the recent unfortunate reminder that the Democrats' left wing maintains a low opinion of them, we can see that in the eyes of the troops support for U.S. military personnel cannot be boiled down to pulling out of Iraq.
BAM - What a pre-election surprise!
Iraq was close to developing an atom bomb. If not for the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the world would be a MUCH more dangerous place about now.
This intelligence put Saddam far ahead of Iran in the nuclear pursuit, and made it much more urgent to take some definitive action against Saddam before he could build and deploy it. And bear in mind that this intelligence came from the UN, and not from the United States.
UPDATE: Read Michelle's take.
UPDATE II: Also, Ace's.
UPDATE III: Great detail from Charles (what would you expect?)
They have found evidence of Saddam trying to contribute pilots to a "plot" which was supposed to attack the U.S. sometime in 2001, which could well have been 9/11 or the suspected follow-up attack.
They have found documents detailing cheating on weapons inspections, on hiding weapons and weapons components, of transfering weapons around the country and burying them in deserts, and a lot of other things that puts the lie to the democrat spin that Saddam was no danger to us...
Well, after years of listening to Democrats ridiculing the administration about "mushroom clouds" and "false claims of WMD programs", the New York Times, the liberal's paper of record, now says Saddam might have been within a YEAR of having a bomb in 2002.
Thank GOD for President Bush. Maybe I will have to thank God that I was not President, because I opposed the war.
UPDATE IV: Big media has picked up the story.
I'm sorry, did the New York Times just put on the front page that IRAQ HAD A NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM AND WAS PLOTTING TO BUILD AN ATOMIC BOMB?
What? Wait a minute. The entire mantra of the war critics has been "no WMDs, no WMDs, no threat, no threat", for the past three years solid. Now we're being told that the Bush administration erred by making public information that could help any nation build an atomic bomb.
Let's go back and clarify: IRAQ HAD NUCLEAR WEAPONS PLANS SO ADVANCED AND DETAILED THAT ANY COUNTRY COULD HAVE USED THEM.
I think the Times editors are counting on this being spun as a "Boy, did Bush screw up" meme; the problem is, to do it, they have to knock down the "there was no threat in Iraq" meme, once and for all. Because obviously, Saddam could have sold this information to anybody, any other state, or any well-funded terrorist group that had publicly pledged to kill millions of Americans and had expressed interest in nuclear arms. You know, like, oh... al-Qaeda.
The New York Times just tore the heart out of the antiwar argument, and they are apparently completely oblivous to it.
Finally, the Kerry supporters begin to crawl out into the light of day:
The sad fact is, young men and women without a college degree usually earn less, as much as $23,000 a year less, according to a recent U.S. Census report. And many of those have-nots, lured into the military by enlistment bonuses, find themselves in Iraq. Then, in many cases, their tours of duty have been extended, because the U.S. military is currently overextended with troops needed on numerous fronts.
"Stuck in Iraq" says it pretty well.
It isn't designed to do much for the self image of any American who happens to be in Iraq right now, but that's apparently a bitter pill some of our countrymen are willing to swallow.
"Kerry's words were pretty straightforward, and if you listen to the tone of voice in which he said them, it's hard to construe them as a joke. He didn't sound like he was trying to make funnies."
"Do the following words malign the troops? 'You know, education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework, and you make the effort to be smart, you can do well, and if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq,'" Snow added.
"Those are the words. That's not the intention. We're sitting here trying to do mind-reading. We're not playing the 'what if' game. Do those words insult the troops? Apparently, troops believe so," he said.
This won't surprise anyone (and it confirms what a commenter here noted - that John Kerry attends soldiers' funerals!)
"A woman - who had also lost her son in the war and who represented the local Kerry campaign - approached the Johnsons at their son's wake," Moy said. "Justin was laid out in his Army uniform as the woman began her speech about hating Bush and helping Kerry.
"She asked the Johnsons to speak out against President Bush," the author said. The family turned down the request.
Morgan said that while doing research for their book, she and Moy discovered that Kerry and liberal activist Michael Moore personally recruited family members within days of their son's deaths - and sometimes even at the funerals - to come and work for the campaign in order to undermine Bush.
Talk about low. How many Americans realize this is the crew they will be voting for if they indeed plan to vote out the GOP?
If the upcoming election is, as the Democrats wish, about Iraq, then let's be sure we all are clear on what the battle in Iraq is about.
The host, Paul Orgel, had asked me what I thought of President Bush and I replied that, whatever my differences with him on this or that, I thought he was one of the most farsighted politicians in Washington. That is to say, he is looking down the line to a world in which a radicalized Islam has exported its pathologies to every corner on Earth...
...if it really is, as Democrats say, "all about the future of our children," then our children will want to know why our generation saw what was happening and didn't do anything about it. They will despise us as we despise the political class of the 1930s....
...But suppose the "ANYONE BUT BUSH" bumper-sticker set got their way; suppose he and Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld and all the minor supporting warmongers down to yours truly were suddenly vaporized in 20 seconds' time. What then?
Nothing, that's what. The jihad's still there. Kim Jong-il's still there. The Iranian nukes are still there. The slyer Islamist subversion from Southeast Asia to the Balkans to northern England goes on, day after day after day. And one morning we'll switch on the TV and the smoke and flames will be on this side of the Atlantic, much to President Rodham's surprise. Bush hatred is silly and parochial and reductive: History is on the march, and the anti-Bush crowd is holding the telescope the wrong way round...
He dismissed the idea that going into Iraq had only served to "recruit" more terrorists to the cause. (Gen. Peter Pace told me last week that, if anything, the evidence is that Iraq has tied up a big chunk of senior jihadists who'd otherwise be blowing up Afghanistan and elsewhere.) The president's view is that before it was Iraq it was Israel; with these guys, it's always something...
The invaluable Brussels Journal recently translated an interview with the writer Oscar van den Boogaard from the Belgian paper De Standaard. A Dutch gay "humanist" (which is pretty much the trifecta of Eurocool), Mr. van den Boogaard was reflecting on the accelerating Islamification of the Continent and concluding the jig was up for the Europe he loved. "I am not a warrior, but who is?" he shrugged. "I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it."
Too many of us are only good at enjoying freedom. That war-is-never-the-answer 25 percent are in essence saying there's nothing about America worth fighting for, and that, ultimately, the continuation of their society is a bet on the kindness of strangers -- on the goodnaturedness of Kim Jong-il and the mullahs and al Qaeda and what the president called "al Qaeda lookalikes and al Qaeda wannabes" and whatever nuclear combination thereof comes down the pike.
And lest anyone forget, the fight in Iraq is a direct result of the attacks on the U.S. on September 11, 2001. There's is a global war going on between the United States and the jihadists, and Iraq is the central front. That's why our troops are there.
Reasonable people can disagree about whether it's winnable. This is why I don't consider Jim Webb (and so many others) fools. You can make a reasoned calculation that an unwinnable battle should not be entered into. But you can also argue some battles must be fought even if the progress is not 100 percent predictable (and if the leadership has not foreseen every eventuality). In Iraq, we must find a way to win. In contrast to the Bushites and neocons, I personally think "democracy for the Iraqi people" may not be the answer nor was it the ultimate goal. The goals were to take out Saddam (done) and ensure the country does not become a launching pad for distribution of weapons of mass destruction or attacks against the U.S. and other countries in the West (in progress).
In the 1990s, every statesman in America (Democrats at the top of the list) shouted from the rooftops that the government of Iraq was a mortal threat to the security of the world. Not too many folks are making that claim now, are they?
"NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, on the issue of terrorism, I agree with Dr. Ben-Ami's definition. It's the indiscriminate targeting of civilians to achieve political ends. That's a capsule definition, but I think for our purposes it suffices. What does the record show? Let's limit ourselves to just the Second Intifada, from September 28 to the present. The period for that period, the record shows approximately 3,000 Palestinians have been killed, approximately 900 Israelis have been killed. On the Palestinian side and the Israeli side â€” I'm now using the figures of B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories â€” on the Palestinian and the Israeli side roughly one-half to two-thirds of the total number were civilians or bystanders. And if you look at the findings of the human rights supports â€” B'Tselem, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Physicians for Human Rights in Israel, and so forth â€” they all say that Israel uses reckless indiscriminate fire against Palestinians, and B'Tselem says when you have so many civilian casualties, you have, you know, 600 Palestinian children who have been killed, which is the total number of Israeli civilians killed. 600 Palestinian children killed.
They said when you have so much, so many civilians killed â€” I don't particularly like the phrase "collateral damage" â€” when you have so many civilians killed, B'Tselem says it hardly makes a difference whether you are purposely targeting them or not, the state has responsibility. So, you could say Israel â€” using numbers, now â€” is responsible for three times as much terrorism in the Occupied Territories as Palestinians against Israel. That's the question of terrorism.
Let's turn to an ancillary issue: the issue of torture. Now, the estimates are, up to 1994-1995, that Israel tortured â€” and I'm using the language of Human Rights Watch and B'Tselem â€” Israel has tortured tens of thousands of Palestinian detainees. Israel was the only country in the world, the only one, which had legalized torture from 1987 to 1999. The record on torture, on house demolitions and on targeted â€”
SHLOMO BEN-AMI: 1999 is when we came to office.
NORMAN FINKELSTEIN: Well, I wish that were â€” I wish that were the saving grace, but . . .
The Iraq Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 which was founded in 1991 to promote democracy and economic prosperity in Iraq and the Middle East, has every reason to play up the death count from the Saddam regime. Not that they would overestimate, but they have no political reason to underestimate. An article on their website says this:
Since then, Mr. Hussein's has been a tale of terror that scholars have compared to that of Stalin, whom the Iraqi leader is said to revere, even if his own brutalities have played out on a small scale. Stalin killed 20 million of his own people, historians have concluded. Even on a proportional basis, his crimes far surpass Mr. Hussein's, but figures of a million dead Iraqis, in war and through terror, may not be far from the mark, in a country of 22 million people.
The First Gulf War was short enough to keep civilian casualties relatively low. Between 200 and 2,300 civilians were killed during the fighting, mostly in air raids.
Estimates of the impact of sanctions vary. The Iraqi government claims that 1,500,000 people died as a result of the sanctions. While that estimate is likely to be higher than the reality, an article in CNN sites a UN report which puts the death toll from sanctions at around 1,000,000. Children under 5 account for a disproportionate number of these deaths:
The United Nations estimates 1 million Iraqis, mostly children, have died under the sanctions. The Al-Thawra newspaper gave a higher death toll, claiming 1.5 million people have died as a result of the embargo.
The DoD has famously said that it doesn't keep track of civilian deaths in Iraq, but www.iraqbodycount.net puts number at between 43,000 and 48,000. This number is based on American and Iraqi news sources, as well as the various wire services. A breakdown of these numbers can be found here.
Some may say that Saddam is to be held responsible for these deaths, particularly the ones caused by sanctions. This is a matter of perspective, and a strong argument could be made to support this point of view. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, the US had the power and influence to end the ineffective sanctions and save innocent lives, yet it did not.
We might expect to hear a louder protest to the loss of innocent life on a massive scale coming from members of the pro-life movement, who have voiced strong opposition to the use of stem cells in potentially life-saving research. Why people who call themselves pro-life can get bent out of shape over a lump of cells while remaining utterly silent, or even supportive, of a policy which has caused the death of more than a million innocent people is speaks either to the collective ignorance or hypocrisy of the pro-life movement.
While this movement as a whole has failed to mobilize in any effective way in the issue of the US policy toward the Middle East, some elements within the pro-life community have spoken out, and their message, thankfully, has not been in support of the War. In an article for the Center for Christian Nonviolence, Rev. Emmanuel Charles McCarthy writes about how war inevitably leads to abortion as misplaced persons who are pregnant are faced with few alternatives. He says:
Mass abortions are the necessary and one hundred per cent inevitable consequence of modern war. Morally, that which a person is certain will occur if he or she makes a particular choice represents a choice for which he or she is responsible before God. A person cannot morally claim he or she does not intend abortions that are certain to take place, by claiming he or she only intends to improve the mother's bodily health or the health of the body politic.
To sum up in the simplest terms possible, one cannot be both pro-life and pro-war.
Not good for Hillary.
I just saw a portion of Bill Clinton being interviewed by Chris Wallace and all I can say is our former president is losing it. Does this topic touch a nerve or what!
The overall impression is of someone who cannot discuss the issue rationally and all the elements are there: Defensiveness, ad hominem attacks, deflecting blame, changing the subject.
Now that the transcript is out, this will get some traction.
CLINTON: But at least I tried. That's the difference in me and some, including all the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try. They did not try. I tried.
So I tried and failed. When I failed, I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke, who got demoted.
So you did Fox's bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me. What I want to know is ...
WALLACE: Well, wait a minute, sir.
CLINTON: No, wait. No, no ...
WALLACE: I want to ask a question. You don't think that's a legitimate question?
CLINTON: It was a perfectly legitimate question, but I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of.
I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked, "Why didn't you do anything about the Cole?"
I want to know how many you asked, "Why did you fire Dick Clarke?"
"They had eight months" probably is not a compelling argument, because "you had eight years" is the rebuttal that will come into everyone's mind.
According to a French intelligence leak, Osama bin Laden died on August 23. This is just my speculation, but I've been saying he's been dead, seriously ill, or very deeply hiding for quite some time.
My reasoning is this: Research on bin Laden has consistently shown him to be a man of conceited pride. His audio and video recordings have shown us he is not one to pass credit on to his subordinates. Late last year, without any obvious explanation, his number two man, al Zawahiri, began making the al Qaeda tapes. Prior to this, al Zawahiri had always been in the background, behind bin Laden, with his mouth shut.
Why the change in spokesman? I believe that if bin Laden is alive and well, he's hiding so deeply that he is incapable of running his organization.
Speaking of Iran...
If you want to understand "Eurabia," dhimmitude and the fate that European countries are bringing upon themselves, (for instance, see this), carve a couple hours out of your day and read The Rage and the Pride, which Fallaci wrote in an apparent single exhalation of outrage in the days after 9-11.
She will be missed.
I want to take a straw poll. The following questons are NOT scientific. I am just curious what folks out there are thinking w.r.t. this movie. If you did not see the movie, that itself is a good piece of info. Your input will be greatly appreciated.
1. Did you watch "The Path to 9-11"?
a. not at all
b. only Sunday night
c. only Monday night
d. both nights
e. kinda sorta, I did a lot of channel surfing
2. If you did watch any of it, do you
a. Strongly agree with the movie
b. Somewhat agree with the movie
c. Somewhat disagree with the movie
d. Strongly disagree with the movie
3. Who was the biggest villain, portrayed in the movie, within the US government?
4. Would you recommend this movie to someone who has not seen it?
5. If yes, why?
6. If no, why?
7. What important element, if any, was left out?
If I get enough replies, I will compute some statistics, and post the best answers. â€˜Bestâ€™ here will come in three flavors: most thought provoking, funniest, and nastiest. Yes, all three categories are entirely subjective; itâ€™s my poll.
Again, your input will be greatly appreciated. Unfortunately, door prizes will not be available.
Stay Puft presents a thoughtful argument that the notion Democrats need to provide an alternative "plan" for Iraq is flawed. He also has a dig at our Jack-Ash brain trust:
Zimzo's evil twin!? Right now you and Jack are sounding a lot like the SAME person, whose name could only be Jack Ash!
hahaha hehehe hahaha oh man that's good stuff!
But I'm not a member of the Democratic party, I'm not campaigning for the upcoming election, and I'm not saying a Democrat WOULD do better in office.
All I'm saying is that the Pres. has the power, the access, the intelligence, the bureaucracy, etc. By "tools" I mean the whole decision making apparatus, made up of the white house, the pentagon, the CIA, the Armed forces, etc.
The US has limited control over the sentiments of Iraqi citizens to begin with. We need to be imaginative, creative, wise, prudent, and well timed if we want to "fix" the situation in Iraq. It's not a matter of "We need more troops here, more money here." It isn't about military tactics and establishing superiority in the air, on the land, and at sea, or whatever disagreements over how best to prosecute a war used to be over. the situation seems so complex and the path to success will be so much more intricate, dealing with PR, public opinion, "hearts and minds."
Under the circumstances, planning a wise solution demands a lot of processing power, if you will, and the White House has access to more RAM than a senator does. I'm just saying that the only people with all the resources to fully understand what's going on are those at the very top.
That doesn't mean that a Democrat would do a better job, it just means that it doesn't make sense to demand a complete plan for this complex situation from people who aren't in the very top echelons of the government/military/intelligence bureaucracy, Jack Ash!
(oh man that's good stuff!)
Ahem. I'll let the local Jack Ash's speak up for themselves. But I will say Democrats CAN make some policy commitments to give an indication what they would do differently. Pull out of Iraq? Throw Israel under the bus? Eliminate all spying on Muslims suspected of terrorist ties? Release the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay on humanitarian grounds?
I'm sure Stay Puft's hair is perfect, but I have to wonder how many pina coladas went under the bridge for him to come up with this messy argument.
Even though they are not in charge, the Democrats can say what they would do differently.
Marshmallow, our liberal denizen in chief, has earned our respect for his knowledge, research skills and feistiness. But I wonder openly and marvel at his claim that asking for an alternative to the President's plan is a 'cheap tactic.' Marshamallow is not engaging in simple name calling, for he reasons that "The gov. has billions of dollars and legions of intelligent folks who they can put to work problem-solving these issues" which is true, on its face. Further more, there are think tanks from both ends of the political spectrum that ponder all that goes on in Iraq and they too attack the problem.
Marshmallow then uses the great sport of baseball to make an analogy, and basically says that one does not need to pitch better than Bonderman to criticize Bonderman's pitching performance in a particular game. This statement is also true on its face. Marshmallow by using baseball to make a point has proven that he is a great American. However, I am not asking Gnossis to pitch. What I am asking him is, "What in particular can Bonderman do to improve his pitching?"
Mark Steyn is a blogger who is in my opinion witty, erudite, and factually correct. His most appealing attribute is his humor. It is telling, the level of animus that he generates. Attached is an observation Mark makes regarding the war in Iraq.
For the Iraqis, "Iraq" is about Iraq. For everyone else in the world, "Iraq" is about America. This country has acquired the habit either of losing wars or of ending them inconclusively. A similar result in the Middle East would lead not just the Chinese, Russians, and Iranians but also the Norwegians, Singaporeans, and Australians to conclude that the nation's hyperpower status was some freak accident â€” like Jerry Lewis stumbling into a boardroom meeting and being mistaken for the new chairman. They would make their dispositions according, there being no reason why anyone should take Washington seriously ever again. If the Democrats think that's good for the world, I'd like to know why.When did we become so myopic as to be unable to stop the politics at the waters edge? Politicsâ€™ ending at the waterâ€™s edge used to be the by-word for presenting a united front to the enemy. The back-rooms of Congress were where the back stabbing, acrimony, and mendacity occurred that are the hallmarks of a healthy republic. We are airing our laundry out in front of the world and giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
How do we put the genie back in the bottle? We are doing ourselves no favors. I see this as suicide. It is all the more painful that it is taking us so long to die.
The link to the above is here:
The open border we share with our neighbors to our North and South is a huge security risk. A terrorist, meaning us ill, with a suitcase could and might or already may have walked across the border. What is in the suitcase? This terrorist is probably disguising himself as an immigrant looking for work. How do we pick him out of the crowd?
We already witness the Border Patrolâ€™s inability to stop the flow of drugs over the border given our current arrangement. Why should the border Patrol be expected to fare better stopping terrorists with Nukes?
Knowing Joe is a big fan, I thought I'd share Ann's latest op-ed discussing the Global War on Terror.
Coulter Haters/"Cut and Run" War on Terror Softies-- I look forward to reading and enjoying your stinging criticism...
(Guess I need to append a "duh" to that title, but please work with me here.)
The porous U.S. southern border is more than an economic problem and more than a social problem: It is a security problem. Most Americans probably need little convincing about that particular assertion. But it's well worth spelling out the fact that this is not a problem on paper. This is real.
Below is more of Heidi's stellar work on this topic. (Disclaimer: Although I agree with Heidi almost all of the time on this subject, I will say I'm not sure ICE itself is "inept" as an organization. I have some questions about the directives and funding ICE has to work with - but those are questions for another day.)
This is the latest Guard The Borders Blogburst from Euphoric Reality.
By Heidi at Euphoric Reality
For a long time here at GTB, we have focused on the tsunami of humanity that flows over our southern border from Mexico. Mexicans, by far, are the largest group of illegals inside our borders, and their open agenda of Reconquista has place tax-funded groups like La Raza, MEChA, and LULAC under the microscope. We've also covered the alarming news of the number of Middle Easterners who take full advantage of our unguarded borders to infiltrate our country, paying coyotes tens of thousands of dollars to allow them to blend in with herds of illegals crossing the border. Once inside the country, they disperse and fade away into our society.
Lately, focus has shifted from clandestine border crossings to blatant visa violations as the FBI hunted and captured 11 Egyptian men who entered the country under false pretenses. Such visa violations (including overstaying visa expirations) are not unusual for Middle Easterners, particularly from Pakistan, Yemen, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, etc., but we Americans are rarely aware of them. Chechens are also making concerted efforts to get into the country illegally, despite the generous visa allowances for their country.
Today, I'd like to examine our broken immigration process in the light of the current war in the Middle East. To that end, I'd like you to reference this column by Investor's Business Daily.
While I'm catching up with all the recent events in the area, I just wanted to mention that it's about time someone bombed Hezbollah. They've been overshadowed by al Qaeda and Hamas in recent years and this could be the big "break" they need to make it back to the top.
This VDH column is not easily excerpted:
First, before 9/11 the Western hard right-wing allowed radical Islam a pass â€” and then afterwards the Left did worse. That fact helps to explain the strange exemption given radical Islam in the West even today...
Multiculturalism (no culture is worse than the Westâ€™s) and its twin of cultural relativism (those with power have no right or ability to judge others) gave a wide pass to radical Islam and its 7th-century primitivism. Apparently most Leftists thought the dearth of women in the clubhouse at the Masters Tournament at Augusta National was far worse than the Arab worldâ€™s honor killings, burqas, and coerced female circumcision.
Indeed, a radical Leftist always faces a dilemma when a fellow anti-American sounds fascistic. The usual course, as we have seen since September 11, is either to keep silent about such embarrassing kindred spirits, or to weasel out by suggesting our own hegemonic tendencies pushed a once reasonable â€œOtherâ€ in lamentable directions.
The result? Killers and terrorists have been able to operate openly in European capitals. Here in North America, in the 58 months after the Twin Towers fell, numerous cadres of terrorists still continue to be rounded up â€” without a peep of condemnation from mainstream Muslim groups, who have instead crafted an ingenious cult of victimization, predicated on sympathy from the Left.
Read it all.
The war we are in began before the Texas Rangers were even a twinkle in George W. Bush's eye, back when W. still kept his fridge stocked with Lone Star. It's been a bipartisan heads-in-the-sand exhibition that continues to this day. The only partisan angle on this issue is that so far only a few right wing extremists have a clue about what is actually happening.
As Americans celebrate Independence Day this coming Tuesday... we should all reflect on the war raging around us as we continue the fight for our freedom. We can never forget.
Terrorists and their supporters in the U.S. just won a significant victory in the U.S. Supreme Court in the Hamden case.
Background from the liberal sympathizers' viewpoint here.
Current discussion here.
UPDATE: Good discussion at Lucianne.com. I'll be interested in getting NR's take on this when he gets back, but it seems like this decision could result in less prisoners being taken (read that however you wish).
UPDATE IV: Our alert commenters have pointed out my blanket insinuation "liberals support terrorists" is not entirely true. For the record, I do not believe every single liberal in the whole wide world supports every single terrorist. Such a statement would be plain silly. For instance, I have no idea what any liberal thinks about the Tamil Tigers.
What I should have said was "Islamic terrorists and their supporters in the U.S...": because these have a common enemy, which puts them in many ways on the same "team," because as everyone knows Islamic terrorism, to the extent it even exists, was caused by George W. Bush. This began when Yasser Arafat and others - witnessing the bureaucratic largesse that enabled George W. Bush to skate by with light duty in the Air National Guard, accurately predicted the ease with which Bush would later steal the U.S. presidency and coax leaders of both parties to support an unjustified war in Iraq - formed the Black September group which erupted onto the world stage at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The process continued in the early 1990s when Osama bin Laden - observing the effectiveness with which Texas Rangers Managing General Partner George W. Bush compelled the people of Arlington to foot the bill for a new stadium, accurately predicted that Bush would later convince the American people to support an unjustified war in Iraq - became radicalized. This short sentence is included here for reasons of style. But while I think there is evidence of liberal support for Islamic terrorists, I do not think it is unqualified support in the sense that I think most liberals believe that when George W. Bush is no longer president, Islamic terrorism will disappear from the Earth, except maybe in the occupied portions of Palestine, where it serves a needed purpose. I apologize for the sweeping generalization of my initial post, and I hope this explanation clarifies everything so that our liberal commenters and I are now on the same page. Thank you.
Yeah, John Kerry, pulling out the troops arbitrarily really worked in Vietnam. I think this is a political mistake on the part of Dems to put a withdraw the troops bill out if they weren't going to speak with one voice. You can read the Washington Times story here.
Yesterday was the groundbreaking on the 9-11 Pentagon Memorial. As a Northern Virginia resident with many friends who work in the Pentagon (and worked there on that September morning in 2001), this issue hits close to home. Please follow the link and do what you can to support the memorial.
Dear Fellow American,
We all remember where we were on September 11, 2001 when our country was attacked by terrorists. The victims who were murdered that day in the World Trade Center, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania and in the Pentagon must never be forgotten.
My younger brother, David Laychak, died that day in the Pentagon attack. He left behind his wife and two young children. His loss is something that will always be a part of their lives and of mine.
Four and a half years ago, friends, acquaintances, even complete strangers were there to provide comfort, solace and friendship during a very difficult time. People still ask what they can do to help. My answer is simple. Help us build the Pentagon Memorial.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Memorial will take place today, June 15, 2006. For the family members who lost loved ones in the Pentagon attack, this is a day we have looked forward to for over four years. Rosemary Dillard lost her husband, Eddie in the Pentagon attack. She shares her thoughts about the memorial, "I live to make sure this memorial is built. I live to see them lift that first shovelful of earth from the ground."
I want to make sure the world does not forget my brother, David and Rosemary's husband, Eddie who are only two of the 184 people who died at the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, 59 passengers and crewmembers aboard American Airlines Flight 77 and 125 service members and civilians working in the Pentagon that morning. All the families hope that the completed memorial will be a place where everyone can come to remember, reflect and renew.
Remember the victims who were killed because they were doing nothing other than living their daily lives like you and I do every day.
Reflect on the events that occured that warm September Tuesday morning that have changed our country forever and through this tragedy find solace, peace and healing.
Renew our commitment to build a place where we can honor the family members, friends and colleagues that were lost and come away with a feeling of hope.
My hope is that if your travels bring you to Washington, DC, you will be able to visit this memorial and know that you were a big part of making it possible. Your support today will help us build and sustain the memorial for all to remember, reflect and renew on the events of September 11, 2001.
I wish you and your family well and thank you for your generosity.
James J. Laychak, President
Pentagon Memorial Fund, Inc.
Brother of Dave Laychak
P.S. You have a unique opportunity to be part of history by helping us build the Pentagon Memorial to remember the innocent victims who were murdered in the Pentagon attack on 9/11. Please help us ensure future generations never forget what happened on September 11, 2001. And please forward this email to all of your friends. Thank you.
P.P.S. We also welcome you to visit our re-designed website, www.PentagonMemorial.net where you can sign up for email updates, see renderings of the Memorial, share your personal story and sign our guestbook.
Below is an excerpt from Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki:
"We emphasize the peaceful nature of our nuclear weapons... I mean... of our nuclear power plant, and nuclear energy and activities. We have no need for nuclear weapons, as we've often said. Nuclear weapons are not part of our defense doctrine."
I wish I could wake up every morning to news like this!
If I had to pick a day to be stuck in, Groundhog Day style, this might just be it.
God Bless America.
UPDATE: Statemen by the President
(Provided by Sophrosyne)
7:31 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Last night in Iraq, United States military forces killed the terrorist al Zarqawi. At 6:15 p.m. Baghdad time, special operation forces, acting on tips and intelligence from Iraqis, confirmed Zarqawi's location, and delivered justice to the most wanted terrorist in Iraq.
Zarqawi was the operational commander of the terrorist movement in Iraq. He led a campaign of car bombings, assassinations and suicide attacks that has taken the lives of many American forces and thousands of innocent Iraqis. Osama bin Laden called this Jordanian terrorist "the prince of al Qaeda in Iraq." He called on the terrorists around the world to listen to him and obey him. Zarqawi personally beheaded American hostages and other civilians in Iraq. He masterminded the destruction of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad. He was responsible for the assassination of an American diplomat in Jordan, and the bombing of a hotel in Amman.
Through his every action, he sought to defeat America and our coalition partners, and turn Iraq into a safe haven from which al Qaeda could wage its war on free nations. To achieve these ends, he worked to divide Iraqis and incite civil war. And only last week he released an audio tape attacking Iraq's elected leaders, and denouncing those advocating the end of sectarianism.
Now Zarqawi has met his end, and this violent man will never murder again. Iraqis can be justly proud of their new government and its early steps to improve their security. And Americans can be enormously proud of the men and women of our armed forces, who worked tirelessly with their Iraqi counterparts to track down this brutal terrorist and put him out of business.
The operation against Zarqawi was conducted with courage and professionalism by the finest military in the world. Coalition and Iraqi forces persevered through years of near misses and false leads, and they never gave up. Last night their persistence and determination were rewarded. On behalf of all Americans, I congratulate our troops on this remarkable achievement.
Zarqawi is dead, but the difficult and necessary mission in Iraq continues. We can expect the terrorists and insurgents to carry on without him. We can expect the sectarian violence to continue. Yet the ideology of terror has lost one of its most visible and aggressive leaders.
Zarqawi's death is a severe blow to al Qaeda. It's a victory in the global war on terror, and it is an opportunity for Iraq's new government to turn the tide of this struggle. A few minutes ago I spoke to Prime Minister Maliki. I congratulated him on close collaboration between coalition and Iraqi forces that helped make this day possible. Iraq's freely elected Prime Minister is determined to defeat our common enemies and bring security and the rule of law to all its people.
Earlier this morning he announced the completion of his cabinet appointments, with the naming of a new Minister of Defense, a new Minister of the Interior, and a new Minister of State for National Security. These new ministers are part of a democratic government that represents all Iraqis. They will play a vital role as the Iraqi government addresses its top priorities -- reconciliation and reconstruction and putting an end to the kidnappings and beheadings and suicide bombings that plague the Iraqi people. I assured Prime Minister Maliki that he will have the full support of the United States of America.
On Monday I will meet with my national security team and other key members of my Cabinet at Camp David to discuss the way forward in Iraq. Our top diplomats and military commanders in Iraq will give me an assessment of recent changes in the political and economic and security situation on the ground. On Tuesday, Iraq's new Ambassador to the United States will join us, and we will have a teleconference discussion with the Prime Minister and members of his cabinet. Together we will discuss how to best deploy America's resources in Iraq and achieve our shared goal of an Iraq that can govern itself, defend itself and sustain itself.
We have tough days ahead of us in Iraq that will require the continued patience of the American people. Yet the developments of the last 24 hours give us renewed confidence in the final outcome of this struggle: the defeat of terrorism threats, and a more peaceful world for our children and grandchildren.
May God bless the Iraqi people and may God continue to bless America.
END 7:37 A.M. EDT
"I firmly believe that only a combat soldier has the right to judge another combat soldier. Only a rifle company combat soldier knows how hard it is to return his sanity, to do his duty and to survive with some semblance of honor. You have to learn to forgive others, and yourself, for some of the things that are done."
-Tom Gibson, discussing an alleged war crime committed by an American during the 1944 Normandy Invasion
(as quoted in Stephen Ambrose's "Band of Brothers")
Whether or not the allegations of what happened in Haditha are true or not, I do not know, and I will not make a judgement on this.
What I do know is that Rep. Murtha is handling this in an extremely poor manner. Between his current position and his military background, Murtha has enough power to make things right through the proper military courts, as would be his duty. But, make no mistake, the objective of his public outcry is to advance his political agenda. Murtha opposes the war in Iraq. He wants you to oppose the war in Iraq. He will emphasize every negative occurance in Iraq in order to accomplish this.
If you think I am out on a limb here, I just want to ask you one thing...When was the last time Murtha has been so vocal in applauding the military for anything good we have accomplished?
Murtha has betrayed the US Armed Forces.
Just thought I'd offer my thoughts on a subject that's a little close to home.
As far as firing into the rioting crowd goes...I'm not sure why we would even have to justify this to anyone. It's a RIOT. Riots are dangerous. People get killed.
For anyone who might be wondering just how dangerous a riot might be...here's a couple pictures I took after the riots that resulted from last year's bogus Newsweek stories on Koran desecration.
Yes, those vehicles and buildings were intact prior to the riot. We never quite understood the mentality of these Pashtun rioters: "I hate America...Let's destroy our own village!"
So now the Afghan legislature wants to put the driver of the vehicle on trial. This is just ridiculous. The roads in Afghanistan, especially big cities like Kabul, are extremely chaotic. People die on them everyday. Here's a typical city street in Kabul.
Imagine losing the brakes on a 6-ton armored HMMWV. Accidents happen.
Perhaps for this Memorial Day you did not have the opportunity to tour Washington DC to view firsthand the monuments and historical relics that give this holiday its significance. Well, you didn't have to, because Cathouse Chat did.
Go read and view her travelogue now. Whether or not you've done the DC thing, you will appreciate this excellent annotated tour.
Thanks, CC - great job
Unbelievable story - two great pieces by R.S. McCain at Donkey Cons.
If you haven't done a huge amount of 'Memorial Day'-themed reading this weekend, just read about Desmond Doss and you'll catch the spirit of the holiday.
More and more, I am seeing â€œSupport the Troopsâ€ ribbons on vehicles along side of anti-war stickers. Frequently, when someone I've met finds out I am a veteran, I get the response of â€œI donâ€™t agree with what weâ€™re doing over there, but thank you for what youâ€™ve done.â€ This position has me confused. I appreciate that those who oppose what America is doing in the Middle East have not, for the most part, resorted to harassing troops the way many Vietnam protestors did. However, I cannot help but feel this is a sort of back-handed insult. Everyone has a right to their opinions and freedom to express them, but how can someone hold this contradictory position?
To say you donâ€™t support the war is to say you donâ€™t believe in that for which we are fighting. Therefore, Americaâ€™s current military actions are in vain, and those who have sacrificed life and limb also did so in vain. How is this support of the troops?
â€œSupport the troopsâ€¦bring them homeâ€ has me bothered as well. We are an Armed Forces made up of volunteers, doing the job for which we volunteered. Someone who is not willing to make that sacrifice really has no business telling us to stop. Regardless of your opinion on the conflict we are in, we are in it. At this stage, victory should be the only option.
The â€œPeace is Patrioticâ€ slogan might be the one that irks me the most. When brave Americans are giving their time, sweat, blood, and lives for America, protesting their cause is NOT patriotic. End of story.
Al Qaedaâ€™s strategy to defeat us involves outlasting us on the battlefield of public opinion. Whether you like it or not, if you protest the war on terror, you are on the side of terrorism. As another blogger has pointed out, â€œâ€¦I just canâ€™t understand how the phrase â€˜we are losing a soldier a dayâ€™ can be followed by anything other than â€˜so letâ€™s get those #@%ing bastards.â€™â€
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- President Hamid Karzai ordered an inquiry Tuesday into a U.S. bombing that killed at least 16 civilians, including some at a religious school, and called for a meeting with the commander of American forces in Afghanistan.
Let me emphasize something here before I rant: This same bombing by the Americans destroyed a Taliban stronghold and may have killed up to 80 Taliban.
The equivalent of this, hypothetically speaking, would have been De Gaulle launching an inquiry over French civilian deaths when we kicked the Nazis out of France.
The question being dealt with here is if collateral damage should be permissible in war, and how much. Karzai has taken the position that 16 lives is too much for the tactical gain we achieved in this attack. However, the Geneva Convention as well as traditional Just War Theory agree that civilians being used as human shields can be killed if it is unavoidable. Itâ€™s tragic that non-combatants die in a war, but nonetheless, it IS war, and collateral damage is impossible to avoid altogether. In a just war, victory for the righteous side will protect more lives than it destroys. Karzai should be thanking us that we go to such extreme lengths to avoid civilian casualties.
Karzaiâ€™s action implies blame against America, and surely many in the Muslim world will learn of Karzaiâ€™s probe and harden their attitude toward us. It was the terrorists who chose to hide behind those people like cowards. It was the terrorists who got them killed. The problem is the terroristsâ€¦not America...and until Karzai figures this out, he will get nowhere.
I recently spent some time in Afghanistan as an Infantry Scout in the Army. From my point of view, there are three major things that Karzai needs to do with his country before America can leave them to handle the Taliban on their own:
The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and I have continued a pretty interesting debate, one that I'm sure we can both be proud of in our respective environs: Me, amongst my buddies in a typical afternoon of NASCAR, gunplay and mumbly peg. Him, down at the coffeehouse, amidst the angry poets, fuming clove cigarettes and doe-eyed hippy chicks.
Following is his response to this post on border/national security. It's pretty good, so I'll try to keep my interruptions to a minimum:
Sorry, this point goes right over my head, maybe because I was a religion major, but it strikes me as a faintly Buddhist notion, maya and all that, no?
Well, itâ€™s a good thing you know so much more than I do about issues of security, but you should stop banging your head on things, it might be affecting you.
1 re: economics and the reality of the border: the border is a reality for labor, not capital.
You sort of made it sound like the fact they would be negatively affected was a reason "they" would try to keep it from happening. Are we imagining a monolithic rational force...or is a monolithic rational force imagining us...
2 On immigration: Crime rates in border communities have risen because of gang-led drug trafficking operations. Where I live there are undocumented workers yet not rising crime. I submit to you that itâ€™s not illegal immigrants, but drug traffickers, who lead to rising crime rates. Yet the hr 4437 legislation has far-reaching implications which go well beyond removing drug traffickers and jihadists.
3 Donâ€™t put words in my mouth. I did not imply that there is a â€œmonolithic rational forceâ€ behind the issue, only that the immigrant community would be negatively affected by a terrorist attack. Do you disagree?
...I do appreciate a man who picks up on the oblique cultural references...
4 On terrorism: again, I'm not suggesting that the fact that another attack hasn't happened = it WILL NEVER happen. but it does tell us something about the effectiveness of our enemy. Jihadists have declared war on the US. In a war, enemies have to attack each other. You want illogical, how about saying we're at war when an enemy who, despite our horribly porous borders, has only attacked us once in over 10 years. Youâ€™ll be surprised to know that there is in fact an unambiguous definition of â€œterrorismâ€ You may not want to discuss terrorist tactics, but surely you recognize that terrorism, as a strategy for fighting a war, depends on terrorizing a population by carrying out regular attacks in random places to create a perception in the population that no one is safe until the people lose their will to resist and sort of cave in. This definition fits for what is going on in Israel, and it applied to the situation in Bosnia, etc. But it does not describe the American experience during this, â€œwar on terrorismâ€ and you can't say the PATRIOT ACT saved us, because it's effectiveness in preventing terrorist attacks is negated by the fact that ANYONE can sneak into the country from Mexico, Canada, or Sea. Anyone can walk right in around the back, just a half a mile from the railroad track.
And do anything they wantâ€¦
5 â€œBecause something has not happened, therefore it will not (or is unlikely to) happen.â€
What makes you think the sun will come up tomorrow? Is it that itâ€™s never NOT come up, or is it based on some sort of idea about physics and the laws of motion? the fact that no jihadist has yet taken advantage of the border situation indicates that our enemy isnâ€™t as organized or effective as some would like us to believe because if the jihadists had their act together they would have surely exploited the weakness in our borders by now. Can you think of one conceivable reason why a highly organized group with an international presence, and dedicated to the destruction of the US, would pass on the opportunity to sneak in and raise some hell, especially considering the goal of â€œterrorismâ€ is to keep a population in fear. It there is a single jihadist cell in Mexico, or all of South America for that matter, why havenâ€™t they seized the opportunity? You canâ€™t just say, â€œI donâ€™t know why, letâ€™s not get in to terrorist tacticsâ€ thatâ€™s a cop out.
It makes me think there arenâ€™t so many terrorists out there, and that the ones that are out there are ineffective in carrying anything out. But maybe they wait because they want to lure people in the US into thinking like that, yeah? Get us thinking that there arenâ€™t so many of them out there after all. What advantage would that serve them?
Or maybe Bush is a right and theyâ€™re all tied up in Iraq and so they donâ€™t have the ability to carry out an attack on the US. But if thatâ€™s the case, they donâ€™t have an international presence, and are of no real consequence in the immigration debate.
I was not copping out, I just wanted to focus on other aspects of your argument for reasons of brevity in that post. Regarding THIS point, I think you are being a little sanguine in your assumptions about possible terrorist attacks on American soil. Not having suicide bombers hitting the TGI Friday's in Peoria every weekend could be perfectly consistent with a strategy more focused on big events.
My point is: Who knows? As the Buddha said, What is the sound of one hand clapping? (That was actually a pretty straightforward question - the answer is "very soft clapping." Try it by slapping your fingers against your palm and you'll see what I mean).
If we're going to make a guess about terrorist attacks, why not err on the side of caution? If we're blithely optimistic, sitting back trading wives and Cadillacs and diamonds, then if we guess wrong it's "fare thee well, Titanic, fare thee well."
You've stated your case well. We have some different assumptions about things but I respect your opinion and I think it is representative of what a good number of progressives believe.
...Or so it seems.
Former University of South Florida Professor Sami el-Arian got the maximum sentence on a conspiracy charge, for his role in supporting Palestinian Islamic Jihad. This terrorist group is not to be confused with the Hezbollah-backed Lebanese group that bombed our Marines in Beirut in 1983, also known as Islamic Jihad.
Read more here.
If this isnâ€™t treason, I donâ€™t know what is. They should have fried him.
The judge gave him credit for time served, and the prosecutors dropped 8 charges in exchange for one guilty plea and an agreement to be deported. While I donâ€™t know the details of the case, I think this was way too much. Even McDonaldâ€™s never gives you â€œbuy 1--get 8 free.â€
Responding to this post from the other day, Big Puffy Liberal says:
Ok, let's keep an eye on Mexica and the young communists and other fringe groups to make sure they don't blossom into baby al qaeda's. (I see the KKK claims to be a movement of white Christians, so if you know any white Christians, I'd keep an eye on them too).
Anyway... what do you think about the immigration situation?
I think it's all about economics.
But most of the typical reasons you hear for supporting strict regulations of immigration are pretty weak. Claims that immigrants damage the economy or raise crime rates can pretty easily be refuted.
One reason that seems to have some teeth is the security issue. That is, the fact that any crazy person could waltz right into the country with a bomb strapped to their back.
What people who are opposed to legislation like 4437 need to realize is that a terrorist attack would be the immigrant community's worst nightmare. We've already passed the PATRIOT act, so another attack would compel politicians to pass even more extreme legislation. Given the current political climate, a terrorist attack on the US would likely lead to the most ill-conceived, draconian anti-immigration legislation to date. So in that sense, it's in the immigrant community's own interest that the borders are secure.
On the other hand, the security argument is weakened by the fact that, even though anyone can waltz into the country, there hasn't been another attack. I know the line, "al qaeda works slowly, they're biding their time" ok, but attacking a country once every 10 years doesn't sound like a very effective plan for destroying it? The idea of "terrorism" is to terrorize a population. If there really is this highly organized, global terrorist network hell bent on destroying the US, and it's so easy to get into the US, why no attacks (knock on wood)? Based on the common understanding of terrorism, we should expect to see guys sneaking in and shooting up malls on a regular basis, or blowing up a section of train track as the toxic chemical train passes through town. It'd be so easy for one bad guy to raise hell in the US. Remember that DC sniper guy? And what better way to get us out of Iraq than to "fight us over here"? but that's not what's happening. There's no denying that the border is easy to cross, so the fact that we haven't seen regular terrorist attacks (a la Hamas or Hezb'allah) seems to indicate that the anti-American terrorists aren't quite as global and highly organized as we've been told. That's not to say that we ought to pretend that anti-American groups don't exist, but it does seem to take some of the urgency out of the "we need to secure the borders for the sake of national security" argument.
Pardon me a moment because I still need to bang my head on the table a few more times...
Ok, that's better.
I think Stay Puft and I have agreed the economic incentive is the root of illegal immigration from the south. We just don't agree on the particulars - MANY people in areas inhabited by illegal immigrants (like the next town over from me) would also disagree with the argument crime has not increased - and I see other rationales possibly involved. But we've played that argument out for now.
His comments on border security and national security, however, are so wrong I hardly know where to start.
I'll give it a try, below the fold.
Mike Burleson has written this editorial on the demise of the modern aircraft carrier. He begins with an ominous mention of the Iranian's "Hoot" super torpedo (based on the Russian Shkval rocket) which, fitted with a nuclear warhead, could wipe out an entire U.S. naval battle group. Burleson goes on to discuss the current weakness of the super carrier:
There are three main reasons for the increased obsolescence of the modern super carrier in Western navies. First is its immense cost, causing only a handful of very rich countries the ability to support their construction. Next, smaller and more affordable weapon systems are currently being deployed which can perform many of the functions of the carrier. Finally, and most crucial for the fate of the West, is the giant vesselâ€™s vulnerability to modern precision weapons in the Digital Age.
All nine Nimitz Class U.S. carriers have been built in Newport News, Virginia by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems. I wonder what impact ending the carrier's central role in the U.S. Navy would have on Virginia's shipbuilding industry... especially given that each carrier costs a whopping $8 billion. Hmmmâ€¦
UPDATE: Here is more background on the Soviet inspired Iranian "Hoot" weapon. Looks like it isn't much of a threat after all.
Any blogger who is involved with the smear campaign against Jill Carroll should be ashamed. More on the AP.
Congressional Quarterly has an article on â€œBush Fatigue.â€ The story basically makes the case that Bush, like many other mid-late Second Term Presidents, has vastly diminished influence and is in a hopeless situation. Itâ€™s the usual political drivelâ€¦ however it does bring up this one interesting point:
At least he has a solid one-third of the country behind him in the worst of times, mired as we are in the third year of an increasingly unpopular war. He could also argue that if they did polling in Abraham Lincolnâ€™s day he, too, would have registered well below 40 percent approval in the third year of the Civil War, before the burning of Atlanta turned the war â€” and the public â€” to Lincolnâ€™s favor.
"On March 10, 2006, the Global Islamic Media Front (GIMF) posted, on the Islamic websites, a final warning to the American people, on behalf of Rakan Ben Williams who defines himself as Al-Qaeda under cover soldier, USA [sic]."
"On November 8, 2005, the London daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported: The Global Islamic Media Front has threatened [the West] on the Internet by means of its new soldier, whom it calls Rakan Ben Williams, and whom it claims is a white Englishman who converted to Islam."
I discern your wonder about this warning in which you do not quite recognize what to make of it. You are probably asking: Why would Al-Qaeda Organization announce its upcoming operations inside the mainland? Why the repeated warnings? Originally by the commander in Chief of Al-Qaeda (the victorious, by the grace of Allah), followed by the same warning through his trusted deputy, and now by Rakan Williams (Al-Qaedaâ€™s under cover soldier in the west).
...Let me also inform you that we are talking about two operations, not one. The scale of one of them is larger than the other but both are large and significant. However, we will start with the smaller, and temporarily put the larger on hold to see how serious the Americans are about their lives. Should you value your own life and security, accept Muslimsâ€™ demands, but if you shall prefer death (over giving in to Muslimsâ€™ demands). Then, we, by the grace of Allah, are the best in bringing it (death) to your door steps.
...I will not give any more clues; this is enough as a wake up call. Perhaps the American people will start thinking about the magnitude of the danger that is coming their way.
...O you helpless Americans, especially those living in States far away from Washington, D.C.! Your country is comprised of many States that should not have anything to do with Muslims. Take the State of Arizona for example; what does this State have to do with killing Muslims in Palestine, Afghanistan, and Iraq? What interest of theirs serving, helping, and siding with the Jews and Israel?
...This is the last warning you will receive from us. Consequently, if you ignore it, we regret to inform you that we will carry out devastating operations against the States of America and we will not show mercy whatsoever, you would have brought destruction to yourselves. Do not ever forget, you have rejected the truce which was offered to you by Muslims; you have supported the thieves of the white house and blessed their adventures. Therefore, you get nothing from us short of similar treatment; for only blood for blood.
May Allah facilitate a way for us to spill the blood of the occupiers and cut off the heads of the aggressors. Allah has full power and control over all of His affairs, but most mankind knows not.
Rakan Ben Williams
Al-Qaeda under cover soldier
You can go a little nuts if you follow these things too closely. When someone says. "I will not give any more clues" I am instantly reminded of The Riddler and other Super Bad Guys, who invariably gave TOO MANY clues.
Even more questions arise in this case, when the threat is from a supposed soldier of Allah here in the U.S.
Rakan Ben Wilyamz is not only the 'new secret weapon' of global Jihad, but also a model of 'super-hero' for Islamic youth. The fact that the name might have been taken from a comic series, colors it with the heroism of an imaginary figure. Rakan is the Jihadi answer to Superman, Batman, and their colleagues.
The GIMF has evoked vigorous dialogue, to say the least.
One thing to bear in mind regarding the Islamic groups is: They make a LOT of threats, and for good reasons, they have not carried out very many of them.
The banner headline spread across the front page of Il Giornale, the respected Milan daily reads:
Al Qaeda: We will destroy New York within 35 days. Threat on the Internet. Countdown begins.
The threat was contained in a video clip featured on a web site associated with the fundamentalist terror group. It announced al Qaeda plans to destroy New York in a nuclear blast on February 2. Il Giornale claims the FBI blocked and removed the web site.
The video clip showed three possible scenarios: 1. A bomb or giant fireball from the skies that will cover the metropolis with a radioactive cloud. 2. A storm of radioactive clouds that will topple skyscrapers one by one, along with the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge. 3. An explosion on board a charter aircraft that will cause a radioactive cloud to spread over the city.
The video clip was accompanied by large, red-lettered Arabic captions saying: 'If God wills it, the end of America is near.'
Luckily for us, God, and the Department of Homeland Security, did not will it that time. We must hope they do not will it this time.
I guess as a regular, dumb old citizen I can't be expected to understand why subcontracting management of American ports to an Arab company would not be a bad idea:
Chertoff defended the security review of Dubai Ports World of the United Arab Emirates, the company given permission to take over the port operations. Chertoff said the government typically builds in "certain conditions or requirements that the company has to agree to to make sure we address the national security concerns." But Chertoff declined to discuss specifics, saying that information is classified.
"We make sure there are assurances in place, in general, sufficient to satisfy us that the deal is appropriate from a national security standpoint," Chertoff said on ABC's "This Week."
To me, this explanation does not convey a sense of air-tight security precautions.
I do not believe the Bush Administration are just a bunch of dunderheads, top to bottom. But when there is money involved....well, maybe it creates an opportunity for imbecility to rise to the surface.
Now, we can stipulate it's a good thing W and the GOP won the election: Justices Roberts and Alito - installed. John Kerry - safely back in the Senate. Ted Kennedy - running nothing but his mouth. Charlie Rangel - heh, can you IMAGINE him chairing a committee...talk about signs of the End Times...
BUT, we do have to draw the line somewhere. There comes a point where we have to say, enough.
I did not need Ann Coulter to tell me to stop supporting the Republican National Committee. I was way ahead on that one.
Last year, I decided to stop giving money to:
-Republican National Committee
-Senate Platinum Leadership Committee
-White House Super Special $5000-Dinner-Invitation American Heroes Committee
...despite the succession of increasingly
desperate heartfelt direct mail I receive from each.
For the various problems related to port security and border security, I suppose we need to be writing some letters...? Finding better candidates? Building a more conservative Republican Party in Virginia?
Or am I just too unsophisticated to understand all the nuances of national security?
The Tuesday, January 3, 2006 meeting of the Herndon and Vienna TownSquare groups will be a joint meeting.
Perspectives on Post-Election Iraq: What the liberal media is not telling you
An informative, objective and inspirational report on the important work our troops are doing, what remains to be done, and the prospects for a successful democracy in Iraq.
Tuesday, January 3, 7:00 PM
Young America's Foundation
110 Elden St.
Herndon, VA 20170
DIRECTIONS: From the Dulles Toll Road, take the Fairfax County Parkway exit north, go about 1/2 mile then take the Elden St exit toward Herndon. Take the first right, onto Laurel Way, then go about 50 yards - into the cul de sac - and take the right to go around the back of the building to the YAF offices in Building #110.
Seating is limited: Please RSVP by e-mail to info -at- novatownhall.com. For more information and to RSVP by phone, please contact Joe Budzinski at 703-505-9294.
Merrick 'Mac' Carey: CEO and founder of the Lexington Institute, a public policy think tank based in Arlington, Virginia. The Institute runs research, press efforts and policy forums to advance democratic capitalism and a strong national defense.
Carey was Press Secretary to Representative Jack Kemp (1982-1984). From 1985 to 1987, Carey was Chief of Staff to Representative James Courter, a member of the House Armed Services and Iran-Contra Committees, and in 1989 he served as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean. From 1990-1993, Carey was Executive Vice President of the international economic advisory firm Johnson Smick International.
Carey also served for 7 years as an Intelligence Officer in the United States Naval Reserve. He joined in 1989 as a Petty Officer 3rd Class, was commissioned as an Ensign in 1990 and promoted to Lieutenant in 1994. His duties included 7 months as an Intelligence Watch Officer at U. S. Navy Headquarters, Europe, from September 1990-April 1991 as a mobilized reservist for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, and as an Air Intelligence Officer for 5 weeks in 1996 preparing missions and flying with VP-11 in support of Operation Decisive Edge over Bosnia.
Carey has been published in Barron's, Proceedings, The San Diego Union Tribune, Richmond Times Dispatch, and numerous other publications. He has lectured at the Naval War College, Marine Corps University, the Heritage Foundation, and at numerous business and policy forums.
Michael Payne, who was embedded with the Army's 1st Cavalry Division in Baghdad: Founder of Take A Stand Ministries, a non-profit, tax-exempt Christian media corporation. Payne decided to go to Iraq because he didn't think the general media was giving the complete story about the United States' role in the war.
"I believed that the media is putting a bad light on the war effort by reporting only the negatives," Michael said. "To speak to that, though, I had to go see for myself and to bring the real story back."
Raised in Loudoun County, Payne is an Air Force veteran. After his four-year hitch in the military was over in 1975, Michael worked for 20 years in a family-owned butcher shop his father ran in Loudoun County. Michael phased out the butcher shop in 1992 and opened Country Butcher Barbeque.
He sold the barbecue business to his two sons, Brett and Beau, four years ago and began working at a Christian radio station, WJTM, in Frederick, Md. Michael was the station's manager in February, when the business was placed under contract to a National Public Radio affiliate, WYPR.
He then began working full time for Take A Stand Media Ministries.
"I have about six people who work closely with me in the ministry, and I hope we will be able to rotate in and out of Iraq as long as our troops are there."
Everyone who's been mystified by the utter incompetence of the Bush White House's communications program should be heartened by the president's speech today in Annapolis:
The terrorists in Iraq share the same ideology as the terrorists who struck the United States on September the 11th. Those terrorists share the same ideology with those who blew up commuters in London and Madrid, murdered tourists in Bali, workers in Riyadh, and guests at a wedding in Amman, Jordan. Just last week, they massacred Iraqi children and their parents at a toy give-away outside an Iraqi hospital.This is just a snippet; I recommend reading it all. Better late than never for him to begin cutting through the fog of misinformation.
This is an enemy without conscience -- and they cannot be appeased. If we were not fighting and destroying this enemy in Iraq, they would not be idle. They would be plotting and killing Americans across the world and within our own borders. By fighting these terrorists in Iraq, Americans in uniform are defeating a direct threat to the American people. Against this adversary, there is only one effective response: We will never back down. We will never give in. And we will never accept anything less than complete victory...