Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"We're not making a diplomatic surge"

Said Thomas P.M. Barnett, on Hugh Hewitt's show. Barnett was on to discuss a post on his blog which suggested that the United States allow the Sunni/Shi'a fighting to accelerate in the hopes of creating a dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Barnett, always well informed and well spoken, said a number of things, but made three essential points:


We're moving in the direction... of recognizing a free Kurdistan. That war(in Kurdistan) is a complete success.

The surge strategy, and I would emphasize the word strategy there ... is what has really turned the tables. There we've been successful in turning the Sunni Sheiks and tribes against al Qaeda in the region... I believe we can count that as a second success.

The third one is the one that I think most people refer to when they talk about the war going badly or the surge failing: and that is, our capacity to stop Sunni on Shi'a violence... and we're nowhere near the two sides being fatigued in their fighting... I don't think the surge is going to be judged effectively in that light.

I think the real key is gonna be: Is Bush gonna bite the bullet and create a peace dialogue in the region on Iraq that gets Saudis and Iranians to the table... it's really shaping up to be a proxy war between the House of Saud and Tehran... I'd rather see the fight sped up a bit and then get them to the peace table.

If we quote "speed up the battle," and that battle involves hundreds of thousands of casualties slaughtered in a genocidal conflict... don't you think that'll bankrupt our credibility in the third world?

We're going to get the same outcome whether it's slow motion, or whether it's fast... I'm more willing to run that risk and accept the consequences of that, then I think other people are, simply because I think it's going to happen anyway, just in a slower fashion.

Is there any chance it wouldn't happen [the violence ends before we leave], I mean, You're giving up, isn't there at least some prospect?

I'm increasingly dissatisfied that we haven't been able to get any sort of regional peace dialogue on Iraq going... we haven't gotten the Saudis to step up whatsoever, and we're still pursuing the WMD charge with Iran, which I believe based on our intelligence is a premature fight to drag into this current issue of Iraq.

If we run out on Iraq, how long will it be until another Arab people or regime trusts us on any pledge we make in the future?

If we can get down to half the number of troops we've got now, reman operationally efficient against al Qaeda in Iraq, and protect Kurdistan... that force can still do everything we need to do, but it would allow the dynamic of a Shi'a/Sunni fighting to either force some sort of regional peace dialogue, or we would suffer some sort of credibility loss... if we pull out completely, that's a different subject.

How many casualties in that Shi'a/Sunni fight are you willing to stand by and see happen? What's the upper most limit a Western liberal democracy can stand back and watch happen?

It's not me, Hugh, who's going to sit back and take that quarter million [deaths], which I think is a good number, it's Bush who's doing that by refusing to engage in some serious dialogue with Iran on the subject, and really twist some arms in Riyadh on the subject.

Interesting perspective, although I don't believe anywhere near as many Iraqis will die in the long term if we stay in Iraq with a large troop presence, compared to the significant draw down Dr. Barnett is proposing.

I also believe it's a huge gamble. If America pulls out of the central fight between Sunni's and Shi'a, and a holocaust ensues... what if the killings do not prompt a dialogue between Iran and Saudi Arabia? What if U.S. credibility does suffer an even greater blow than it has already?

Barnett responds to his interview with Hugh Hewitt here.

Sadr's Acquiescence

Al-Sadr suspends militia activity in Iraq

BAGHDAD - Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered a six-month suspension of activities by his Mahdi Army militia in order to reorganize the force, and it will no longer attack U.S. and coalition troops, aides said Wednesday.

Captain's Quarters: Sadr Backs Down

The cycle of violence already seems to be slowing down. Having the Mahdis sidelined will mean less violence in Baghdad, where the militias had ruled the streets until the Americans decided to conduct their aggressive strategy starting in February. It may also mean a capitulation in the south, where the Mahdis had battled against the Badr Brigade for control after the British pullout.

A Second Hand Conjecture:

But the Iraq war is lost, he needs to buck up and keep listening to the Democrats...

Don Surber: How do you say “No mas” in Arabic?

The Huffington Post [commenter]:

If this guy takes over he's gonna be a meaner badder SOB than Saddam ever was. All this blood and carnage to replace one brutal thug for another. Was it worth it King George???

First State Politics: Mahdi Army Stands Down

Mark Talk: Enemy Retreats In Iraq

Innocent Bystanders: The Beginning of the End?

Bill Roggio explains all the players in Sadr's Mahdi Army.

The Belmont Club thinks this can only mean that Sadr is probably up to no good.

But the liberal blog readers see it differently. Over at The Huffington Post [commenter]:
If this guy takes over he's gonna be a meaner badder SOB than Saddam ever was. All this blood and carnage to replace one brutal thug for another. Was it worth it King George???

Sadr's surrender is yet another win for the U.S. military, and for the Iraqi government, which is trying to fully gain control. Consequently, Sadr's move deals a blow to insurgents who pray to Allah for greater chaos, and for Democrats, whose political fortunes are staked on the failure and implosion of the Iraqi state, followed by greater violence and bloodshed.

In Just One Operation

From Bill Roggio's latest:

U.S. and Iraqi forces maintain the pressure in Diyala province after successive U.S. and Iraqi offensives in Baqubah and the northern Diyala River Valley cleared al Qaeda from the region. The latest operation occurred in Khalis, where a joint U.S. and Iraqi Army air assault resulted in 33 al Qaeda operatives killed and three captured during a series of firefights and helicopter strikes in the city. Voices of Iraq reported that the bodies of an additional 11 al Qaeda fighters were found after the operation.

44 dead al Qaeda in one operation on one day in one part of Iraq.

Success is in the eye of the beholder.

Iran's Plan To Kill Americans

... has been years in the making.

Kimberly Kagan's new Iraq Report:

Iran began preparing to combat American forces in Iraq even before the invasion of 2003... Immediately after the U.S. invasion, thousands of members of these resistance groups, primarily from the Badr Corps, moved into Iraq and attempted to seize control of various key locations in Shia areas.

That's great. As proof of Iran's pre-meditated stealth tactics in Iraq evolve, American directors in Hollywood lavish Iran's President with praise and seek to feature him in their films.

Add Oliver Stone the apostate to the list of celebrities too ignorant, drunk, or deranged to realize that propping up dictators, autocrats and anti-American madmen lends credence to their cult of personality, and impugns their own country's honor and principles.

Deserting Your Allies

Via Newsweek:

In Pakistan, President Musharraf was wary of his American allies in the War on Terror. In 2002, he told a high-ranking British official: "My great concern is that one day the United States is going to desert me. They always desert their friends." According to this official, who declined to be identified sharing a confidence, Musharraf cited the U.S. pullouts from Vietnam in the 1970s, Lebanon in the 1980s and Somalia in the 1990s.

Victor Davis Hanson picked up on this:
Note the recent quotes from Pakistani and Syrian strongmen to the effect that the U.S. abandons its friends. These are not right-wing talking points, but candid assessments by selfish, calculating dictators about the world as they saw it. Their referents, like bin Laden’s, are mostly Vietnam.

Who says Vietnam should not serve as a lesson to Americans about the disastrous consequences of abandoning its allies?

Kiss of death?

Quite literally and figuratively.

In an editorial in Cuba's communist party newspaper, Granma, the ailing dictator said the pairing of the two White House hopefuls seemed "invincible," according to an English translation on the paper's Web site.

Castro, who has overseen communist rule of Cuba since 1959, did, however, make it clear that he is no fan of the two Democrats' support of democratic reform in Cuba.

via CNN

Not an endorsement... but still praise that any U.S. presidential candidate should want to avoid like the plague.

A Russian Conspiracy - Theory


Is Putin the capricious autocrat we think he is, or the victim of a concerted effort by his political opponents to bring him down?

It is turning out those in exile and desperate to get back into power are the ones who would use murder as a propaganda tool. And if this is the case, then why would they not use nuclear material smuggled through London to disrupt Russia and begin the take over of Russia one such Oligarch, Boris Berezovsky, has openly called for.


What if these people were right, that it was the Oligarch’s trying to stain Putin so they could garner support for a coup? Putin has what he needs and can get what he wants. He is not facing election. He has no motive outside the conspiracy fantasies of people with no proof. On the flip side, we have the words of these Oligarchs stating their plans. And we know, as the article points out, they are the ones who truly gained from the publicity surrounding these deaths. Publicity they paid PR firms to help promote.

So is Putin the victim? He's not so innocent, and not so shy about using heavy-handed tactics, says American Thinker:

Last Friday, another act of war took place in the skies over the Caucasus, when a Russian aircraft violated the Republic of Georgia's airspace and was fired on by the country's air defense forces. Prior to this latest incident, Russia violated Georgian airspace no fewer than three times within as many weeks, including one instance of a deliberate missile attack against a Georgian-NATO radar site.


"On the brink of destruction"

“We are now on the brink of destruction,” Lincoln himself said. “It appears to me the Almighty is against us, and I can hardly see a ray of hope.”

Lincoln on the Civil War.

How did that turn out?

100 More Taliban Killed

On a day when they release 19 Koreans they've held hostage, they pay: US troops 'kill 100 Taliban fighters'
More than 100 Taliban insurgents and allies have been killed in a major battle with US-led troops in southern Afghanistan, according to the US military.

The fighting erupted after a convoy of Afghan and US coalition forces came under attack in Shah Wali Kot district in Kandahar province and called in air support.

There were no civilian casualties reported but one Afghan security force member was killed and three foreign troops and three Afghan soldiers were wounded.

Captain's Quarters Blog: Major Taliban Engagement Ends In Rout
Taliban forces ambushed American and Afghan troops in Kandahar province today - and now probably wish they hadn't.

More from Pat Dollard.

Calming Syria

Jerusalem Post: IDF moves large-scale training forces from Golan Heights to South

The IDF has decided that war with Syria is unlikely and is moving training forces out of the Golan Heights after months of cross-border tension, security officials said Wednesday.

The decision followed months of growing tensions along the frontier and concerns that the escalation could result in war. Over the summer, media reports of an impending war alternated with announcements by Syrian and Israeli leaders that they had no interest in hostilities.

Hopefully a sign of progress, and not a sign of weakness to the Syrians

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Attacking The General

When in doubt, launch a character assassination attack.

That has been the trend in recent months since the surge has begun to show results. Faced with growing empirical evidence showing falling Iraqi casualties, growing Iraqi discontent with al Qaeda, 41 dead al Qaeda today alone, and even some progress among Iraq's fractured political and ethnic groups, "progressive" politicians and bloggers have launched a counter-offensive.

One of the signature tactics has been an attack on General Petraeus' character, honesty and competence. (Oh, and they attacked Joint Chiefs Chairman Pace, too). It began perhaps in June with Harry Reid, and has continued through today with The CarpetBagger Report: Petraeus ’softened’ the NIE?:

Last week, a declassified National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq said there has been “measurable but uneven improvements in Iraq’s security situation,” in the midst of what was otherwise a gloomy and depressing report. Indeed, the NIE added that, despite some security improvements, severe violence in Iraq was likely to continue over the next six to 12 months.

As it turns out, the NIE may have intended to go further, but Gen. Petraeus gave the report a little touch-up:

"The NIE, requested by the White House Iraq coordinator, Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, in preparation for the testimony, met with resistance from U.S. military officials in Baghdad, according to a senior U.S. military intelligence officer there. Presented with a draft of the conclusions, Petraeus succeeded in having the security judgments softened to reflect improvements in recent months, the official said."

In other words, intelligence agencies were poised to paint an even bleaker picture of Iraqi’s security situation, but Petraeus apparently lobbied for wording such as “measurable but uneven improvements.”

If I'm reading this right, the charge is that Petraeus himself convinced the NIE to whitewash the report? Clearly, the man is an omnipotent force to be reckoned with. CarpetBagger wants its readers to believe Petraeus is an "errand boy" for the White House, rather than a responsible General risking his life for his country.

The way I read the Washington Post story, Petraeus asked the NIE to include recent realities on the ground, and the NIE complied.

Kevin Drum of the Washington Monthly takes a more subtle approach. In a "surge report card," he lists a series of bullets points and links giving an assessment of the surge. To his credit, Drum allows:
Petraeus seems to be doing a good job on the counterinsurgency front

But of course, the caveat:
(though it's frankly hard to say how much of this is good PR based on a limited number of success stories and how much is genuine widespread progress).

Among Drum's brief analysis of the surge, he concludes that:

1) Anbar is a success (Of course, this has been reported for months now), but not due to the surge...
2) If the Sheiks can "finish off" AQI in Anbar (with out help), what does that say about the conventional liberal wisdom that America is creating more Jihadi's than it's killing?
2) Drum is a huge fan of the word "anecdotal," whatever that means,
3) military advice to stay in Iraq for a decade is somehow undermining the war effort, and
4) the British are leaving Southern Iraq (Just as Brown Refuses To Set Iraq Withdrawal Timetable)
5) Drum cites the Brookings Iraq Index (the same Brookings of the now hated O'Hanlon and Pollack).

Drum concludes:
The conventional wisdom this summer, after a steady round of dog-and-pony shows from the military, says that although political progress in Iraq is nil (or even in reverse), at least we're finally making some tactical progress on the security front. And maybe we are. But I'm trying to be as honest as I can be here, and it looks to me like the balance of the evidence suggests that this is more hype than reality. As near as I can tell, we're not making much progress on either front.

How long can Drum contradict the evidence, state the accepted "conventional wisdom," and then contradict that as well?

Also note the "dog-and-pony shows" remark. Hmm... what other liberal anti-war activist is known for that phrase? Oh yes, the "young, good looking" Jon Soltz.

Now, these liberal critiques are to say nothing of recent exaggerated claims by clueless liberal writers, such as Robert Naiman at the Huffington Post, who claims that over 1 million Iraqis have been killed so far during the Iraq war.

Nor does it match the incredulity of the claims by Senator Harry Reid that president Bush is to blame for Congress' 18% approval rating.

But attacking the man leading the troops at war is attacking the troops.

Update: More Petraeus bashing. (H/T Instapundit)

Update: Quite the contrary from Matt Sanchez: I am afraid General Petraeus will downplay the positive effect for fear of appearing too partisan. (H/T PJM)

Update: Mudville has more about the Petraeus hysteria.

Chinese Cyber Warfare

These invisible, stealth attacks often go unreported. It is inevitable that a future catastrophe will be predicated on the failure of computer-based military/government/defense systems whose collapse will be due to premeditated attack via overseas hackers.

August 28, 2007: Chinese Cyber War operatives have, over the last three months, hacked into the computer networks of several German government ministries (Foreign, Economics and Research), as well as the office of the Chancellor ( Angela Merkel, the head of the government). Some 160 gigabytes of data was moved to computers in northern China. This revelation was leaked to the media while the Chancellor was in China, to discuss trade matters, and demand that China do more to stop the theft of German intellectual property.

The Chinese attack was supposed to be done so that it would not be detected. But it was, and as much as 200 additional gigabytes of data did not make its way to China. Naturally, the Chinese deny everything, but the Germans are apparently still building their case that this was a Chinese government sponsored operation. The first major hack of government computer networks took place back in the 1980s, when a gang of West German hackers, hired by the Soviet secret police (KGB) were caught inside U.S. Department of Defense networks, stealing classified data.

Keep your eyes and ears open, and your computer security closed tight.

Trouble for Murtha

According to this article, the Thomas More Law Center has agreed to represent Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani in a civil suit against Rep. John Murtha if/when the charges against him are dropped.

Sounds like Murtha may be paying for his words "in cold blood" in cold, hard, cash.

Failure To Communicate

"What we've got here is... failure to communicate... So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it... well, he gets it. I don't like it any more than you men."

Ominous words, portending Cool Hand Luke's doom to failure because he didn't follow the rules.

When foreign governments, diplomats, politicians, and even domestic political opponents decry America's "heavy-handedness," they should recall this snippet from Newsweek's piece on the ongoing hunt for bin Laden:

Whenever he and his men moved within five kilometers of the safe house, he says, they had to file a request form known as a 5-W, spelling out the who, what, when, where and why of the mission. Permission from headquarters took hours, and if shooting might be involved, it was often denied. To go beyond five kilometers required a CONOP (for "concept of operations") that was much more elaborate and required approval from two layers in the field, and finally the Joint Special Operations Task Force at Baghram air base near Kabul. To get into a fire fight, the permission of a three-star general was necessary. "That process could take days," Rice recalled to NEWSWEEK. He often typed forms while sitting on a 55-gallon drum his men had cut in half to make a toilet seat. "We'd be typing in 130-degree heat while we're crapping away with bacillary dysentery and sometimes the brass at Kandahar or Baghram would kick back and tell you the spelling was incorrect, that you weren't using the tab to delimit the form correctly."

As I've written in the past, the United States follows strict rules of engagement. Far more rigid than those by which Afghanistan's last foreign visitors, the Soviets, operated under.

The U.S. military's dutiful adherence to the rule of international law, policy, procedure and documentation has saved innocent civilians' lives, but also spared many terrorists, and perhaps Osama bin Laden himself.

The military is exceedingly judicious in its use of force, and the left should remember that when assailing seemingly random "air raids" that have on occasion killed civilians (civilians terrorists have put into harm's way, more often than not).
Update: Some think the war on terror and our fight with al Qaeda would be over if we caught bin Laden. I disagree. Witness the rise of Qaeda acolytes Zarqawi and Dadullah.

IRG Cash

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard... just what are they guarding?
No oversight Crucially important to U.S. officials weighing the possibility of sanctions is that the Guard presides over a multibillion- dollar income stream outside the scrutiny of Iran's parliament or the national budgeting process, according to many of those familiar with the Guard's operations.

Such a cash flow, Iranian opposition leaders and some analysts have argued, could be marshaled to finance clandestine military operations, such as support to Iraq's Shiite militias, weapons for Lebanon's Hezbollah fighters or clandestine nuclear development programs.

The controversial uranium enrichment facility at Natanz, which came to light in 2002, was developed under close supervision by the Revolutionary Guard without disclosure under the parliament's public budgeting process. Since then, U.S. officials have attempted to impose a series of sanctions to halt financing of Iran's nuclear and missile development programs.

The rest at the L.A. Times. "Progressives" may want to educate themselves on the IRG's dubious tactics before running to their defense. Especially when Iran's semi-fanatical leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says:

"Soon, we will see a huge power vacuum in the region. Of course, we are prepared to fill the gap, with the help of neighbors and regional friends like Saudi Arabia, and with the help of the Iraqi nation.”
Is that not reason enough to remain in Iraq and bolster its democracy?

More Cannibalism From The Left

They're already in the midst of an internal ideological struggle over Iraq about the talking points: unmitigated failure, or potential for victory?

And yet more proof surfaces this week of the internal divisions, as the "progressive" fringe continue to hammer Democrats that show even a shred of backbone standing up for what they believe in - American victory over al Qaeda in Iraq.

H/T Instapundit

The Few And The Brave

The enemy can plant huge bombs in the culverts, such as the one that blew up Superman. The entrances to the culvert were easy for the enemy to reach unobserved, and mines, bombs or other boobytraps could have been easily planted. SSG Lee could have ordered one of the Iraqis to clear the culvert, and I’m sure that an Iraqi would have done so. Many are very courageous. But SSG Lee was mentoring these men, and without hesitation, he entered the culvert himself to check it out. This was my introduction to MiTT 8.

People at home want to know what our Soldiers and Marines are doing in Iraq, and the only way to tell their story is to follow them. So deep inside the culvert, crawling on all fours, using my camera as a walking chalk (it’s pretty tough), I crawled behind SSG Lee who was using his rifle as a walking chalk. The day was hot. The body armor made it hotter.

I said, “I only met you for the first time like twenty minutes ago. What’s your name, Staff Sergeant?”

“Staff Sergeant Lee, Sir,” he answered while crawling forward.

“United States Marine Corps,” I said.

“Semper Fi,” he answered, and kept clearing the tunnel.

Helping to pave the way for a brighter future in Iraq.

Did Sarko say...?

China Daily: Sarkozy calls for troop exit from Iraq

That was the headline.

What he said:

Praising his predecessor, he reiterated, “France was — thanks to Jacques Chirac — is and remains hostile” to the American-led war in Iraq. “History proved France right,” he added.

Calling for a concrete deadline for the withdrawal of troops from Iraq, he described it as “a nation that is falling apart in a merciless civil war,” where the Sunni-Shiite divide could ignite conflict throughout the Middle East and where terrorists are setting up permanent bases to attack targets around the world.

Sarkozy is no fan of the U.S. war in Iraq, but he is not arguing for any sort of immediate U.S. withdrawal from the country.

Monday, August 27, 2007

An Israeli Soldier

...saved by Palestinian police in the West Bank.

What's this world coming to?

Something good, maybe.

"A nuclear-armed Iran is for me unacceptable"

The gauntlet has been thrown... by the French.

PARIS, Aug. 27 — In his first major foreign policy speech as president of France,Nicolas Sarkozy calling the Iranian nuclear crisis “the most serious weighing on the international order today” and said that Iran could be attacked militarily if it did not live up to its international obligations to curb its nuclear program.

A nuclear-armed Iran is for me unacceptable,” Mr. Sarkozy said in a speech to France’s ambassadorial corps, stressing the urgency of finding a negotiated solution. “This approach is the only one that would prevent a catastrophic alternative: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran.”

He's not your daddy's French President.
P.S. - Iran's Revolutionary Guard. Billions of reasons why they're not simply a fighting force, and why hitting them in the pocket will hit Iran in the pocket.

America v. al Qaeda

Michael Yon,

On why America is winning:

Over the past several years, while working into a strategic fatigue, our military has made an amazing transformation in how it conducts this war. Gone, for instance, are heavy-handed tactics, replaced by multi-dimensional counterinsurgency strategy rolled out simultaneously with targeted kinetic battles, like those recently with the 3/2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team in Baqubah.

Arrowhead Ripper was merely the latest experience that underlines the Army’s rapidly-growing expertise. Yet the Marines have adapted faster and seem poised to win the war in their battle space. In fact, it’s been Army officers who have told me repeatedly over the past several years that nobody is successfully morphing to meet this war faster than the Marines. Of course, Army officers who compliment Marines always say, “But that didn’t come from me.”

...and why al Qaeda is losing
Some of these men will admit they were insurgents who switched sides because they realized that they are more likely to get what they want with a stable government. Al Qaeda promised them everything under the baking sun, yet al Qaeda killed people who smoked—and Iraqis like to smoke. They killed people who had satellite dishes or televisions, but al Qaeda would be drinking and with prostitutes. Iraqis have told me some interesting anecdotes about the religious technicalities of prostitution. They are not supposed to have sex out of wedlock, so they marry the prostitute (and the house of ill-repute has the proper religious authority present to make the marriage), and then they divorce the prostitute after completing their business. Another rumor in the area is that al Qaeda tried to force shepherds to make their female sheep wear underwear. This is one I have heard all over Iraq.

I defy any "progressive" blog to publish a post that even hints that the United States military is doing some good in Iraq.

Bush "under-educated" says NPR Talk Show Host

Brian Lehrer, the host of the The Brian Lehrer Show (On WNYC, an NPR affiliate), made quite an off hand comment this morning about president Bush. It may have been worded poorly, it may have been unintentional, or it may have been a Freudian slip:


...Let's begin with Bush on Vietnam, what an odd thing to bring up.

[After playing a clip from president Bush's Iraq/Vietnam speech last week]:


Is this another example of president Bush being kind of under-educated, or not realizing the impact of his words, thinking he could make that kind of ideological remark, if you can call it that, without having historians and politicians jump all over him?

Hmm... Yale and Harvard degrees, one should be so unfortunate.

This comment, unsurprising as it is coming from NPR, does not go very far toward the show's description on WNYC, of a "sane alternative" in talk radio.

Lastly, if Lehrer did some research, he would find that many historians happen to agree with the president's assessment of a dangerous parallel between Iraq and Vietnam: Vietnam historians give Bush reason to stay in Iraq. Brian Lehrer seems under-educated on this fact.

Not to mention that both Jonn Kerry and James Webb, critics of Bush's comparison, have compared Iraq to Vietnam when it suited their political agenda.

The NYT On Fred Thompson

There's a little something in there for everyone, I suppose:

Over time, as Mr. Thompson traversed the highly politicized terrain of the Congressional investigations that built his off-screen career, he evolved from a man primarily cast as a defender of Republican interests to one whose fair-mindedness would win praise from Democrats and incur the wrath of the Republican leadership.

But the White House’s worries were quickly set to rest by the man the Senate had chosen to get to the bottom of the matter, Fred D. Thompson. In July 1981, just one day into his job as special counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mr. Thompson assured the White House that there was no “smoking gun,” documents show. He had yet to interview a single witness.

The Corner has more.

Greece In Flames

Smoke is seen rising as forest fires sweep through Greece in this handout satellite photo from NASA released on August 26, 2007. Since Friday, towering walls of flame have cut a swathe of destruction through the Peloponnese and swept across other regions, prompting Greece to declare a nationwide state of emergency on Saturday. The regions in red indicate the different locations of the fire.

An elderly woman stands amongst burnt cars in the village of Artemida in Peloponnese peninsula, southwest of Athens August 25, 2007. The worst forest fires to hit Greece in decades have killed 41 people and more are feared dead, authorities said on Saturday.

Pictures from Reuters.

Disbelief, Apostasy, and Guilt

No progress seen among "progressives."

Disbelief among "progressive" bloggers regarding the success of the surge is rampant to such a degree that when news of progress on political deadlock in Iraq is reported, immediate denials, refutations, and sardonic rejections are issued:

DailyKos: More "Progress" In Iraq

Well hallelujah, the surge is working! Which caused the White House to immediately break out the champagne and declare this to be, "an important symbol," which causes any thinking person to put down their glass and read the article very carefully.

The good news can mean only bad news for "progressives":

And of course there is the well-funded and publicized PR campaign by Ayad Allawi to get his old job back. Throw in the increasing number of calls for his ouster by prominent American politicians and you can see why it was time for such a "significant political development." One that will no doubt rank right up there with the last throes and mission accomplished.

These "progressives" are guilty of apostasy; abandoning the country and ideals which provide them with the freedom to criticize - exactly what our enemies hope to crush. "Progressives" are knowingly or unwittingly feeding the propaganda goals of the enemy. The Viet Cong took heart when American anti-war activists provided moral and PR support, and likewise gloomy liberal defeatism heartens the terrorist elements within Iraq and the wider Middle East. Al Qaeda has mastered the art of media manipulation, and liberals are towing the line.

Authors of the Euston Manifesto are undoubtedly chagrined. These "progressives" have violated many of its clauses:

  • No apology for tyranny
  • Development for freedom
  • Opposing anti-Americanism
  • United against terror

The list of offenders are vast: Sean Penn and Danny Glover paying homage to Hugo Chavez, Cindy Sheehan hugging Chavez and creating a shameful spectacle from the death of her son.

Sheehan alone has become a propaganda tool for the enemy. Al Qaeda could not have asked for a better marketing campaign. We have also seen Nancy Pelosi conducting a one-woman foreign policy by meeting with Syria's dictator Bashar Assad, while Harry Reid leads the charge to declare U.S. defeat while American boots are still on the ground fighting for his country.

Liberal blogs such as DailyKos issue daily falsehoods and misinformation about the war. Reading only left-wing blogs will enable you to recite a list of U.S. military casualties and setbacks, but leaves you ignorant of the many tales of bravery and courage under fire, stories of rescue and victory, or reports about even a few of the 1,500 terrorists we are killing on a monthly basis. When a new National Intelligence Estimate is released, the downside alone is represented and held up as cause for celebration.

The view is myopic, the scope narrow.

They only have eyes for defeat.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Party At War With Itself

Are Democrats and their "progressive" ilk at war with one another?

The Moderate Voice had a very interesting post this week, noting that:

instead of uniting against Republicans, progressive bloggers like Matt Stoller havedecided to declare war on every Democrat who they consider not to be progressive (read anti-war) enough.

This is a trend that a number of conservative blogs have picked up on (myself included earlier this week). It's as if "progressive" bloggers have begun to operate as the party whip, enforcing the party line, (albeit, their view of what the party line should be).

Predictably, one effect is to drive the party further to the left. Another is to create friction among Democrats (witness Markos v Harold Ford), or shouting down independent thinkers, such as Joseph Lieberman.

Yet, it's also had a more worrisome effect: Convincing liberals that their vision can be the only correct view (despite the facts), and simultaenously duping its readership into delusional thinking.

Case in point - The liberal blog Think Progress has seemingly become so desperate for bad signs (given the success of the surge and the defection of many Democrats from the "war is lost" Reid/Pelosi gang), it's begun proposing wildly speculative ideas, such as: Is The Prospect Of Withdrawal Responsible For The Modest Security Gains In Iraq?

What place does such fantasy have in the realm of politics and war?

Meanwhile, in the midst of good news about the surge, DailyKos diarists are telling its readers with the utmost confidence that The Surge is Not the Solution.

Progressive bloggers are excusing known fabricators, committing blatant hypocrisy, claiming the right is hyping terror, while claiming the terror threat has gotten worse.

All this, while Democrats control both houses of Congress.

With nary a legislative accomplishment to point to, and repeated failures to even modestly bend the Bush administration to its will, it is little wonder "progressives" have drifted so maddeningly out to left field.

(via PJM)

Update: The smearing continues, as Think Progress slams Democratic Rep. Brian Baird because he "Turns To Conservative Media To Push New, Pro-Escalation Iraq Position."

Political Stalemate Broken In Iraq

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's top Shi'ite, Sunni Arab and Kurdish political leaders announced on Sunday they had reached consensus on some key measures seen as vital to fostering national reconciliation.

Tentative agreement
Iraqi officials said the leaders had agreed on draft legislation that would ease curbs on former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath party joining the civil service and military.

Consensus was also reached on a law governing provincial powers as well as setting up a mechanism to release some detainees held without charge, a key demand of Sunni Arabs since the majority being held are members of their sect.

Talks on the new oil law have also begun to progress.

I wonder how many "progressive" blogs will report this good news?


Guatemala's Fire Volcano or "Volcan de Fuego" erupts in Guatemala August 9, 2007. You Witness News/Santiago Billy Prem (Reuters)

Hillary in the Hot Seat

Bad week for Hillary Clinton. She's reaching.
WOLFEBORO, N.H., Aug. 24 -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton drew outrage from her opponents for the Democratic presidential nomination on Friday after saying that a terrorist attack in the United States would give Republicans an edge in the 2008 race.

She said:
"But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world," she said. "So I think I'm the best of the Democrats to deal with that, as well."

Senator Clinton is not only angering her Democratic rivals, but our Iraqi allies as well
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki lashed out on Sunday at U.S. Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton who had called for him to be replaced.

She's way ahead in the polls, and shouldn't need to make such controversial statements. Isn't the cardinal rule for a front-runner before the primaries just not to 'F' up?

Winning on the ground, Losing at home

Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
It might be a good idea if the various countries of the world would occasionally swap history books, just to see what other people are doing with the same set of facts.

~Bill Vaughan

Forget other country's history books, our own historians can't even agree. Case in point, despite the fact that some historians are up in arms over Bush's Iraq/Vietnam comparison, others could not agree more. Times of London:

Supporters of the Iraq war have also been delving into Lewis Sorley’s book, A Better War, which was rereleased in paperback this year. The war, Sorley wrote, “was being won on the ground even as it was being lost at the peace table and the US Congress”.

The North Vietnamese have given this argument a boost over the years. In an interview after his retirement, Bui Tin, who received the South Vietnamese army’s unconditional surrender in 1975, recalled that visits to Hanoi by Jane Fonda, church ministers and other antiwar protesters “gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses . . . through dissent and protest [America] lost the ability to mobilise a will to win”.

James Q Wilson, a social scientist who is revered by conservatives, argued in The Wall Street Journal last year: “Whenever a foreign enemy challenges us, he will know that his objective will be to win the battle . . . among the people who determine what we read and watch. We are in danger of losing in Iraq . . . in the newspapers, magazines and tele-vision programmes we enjoy.”

Despite fighting terrorists, we are fighting a public relations war.

Down With The King!

Disgraceful. BDS has reached new heights:

General Pace, You Can Save the US - by Arresting Bush for "Conduct Unbecoming"


Captain's Quarters:

Lewis quotes extensively from the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but clearly his scholarship does not extend to the Constitution. The command of the armed forces follows from the president's election to office, and cannot be separated from the office itself. Bush isn't C-in-C because he got appointed to that position, but because the American electorate voted him into that role. In other words, the military cannot arrest the C-in-C but leave the President in power, and to argue otherwise is to demonstrate complete ignorance.


Technorati is now tracking 100 million blogs. However, that is not the bloggingmilestone to which the title of this post refers. Rather, it is the discovery, from among those 100 million blogs, of the single most asinine post ever written.

Hot Air:

Like Fisk’s embrace of Trutherism in the course of denying he’s embracing Trutherism, this turd’s found a rich vein of “nuance” in calling for a partial military coup.

The Belmont Club has more, and points out that there have been many other significant developments around the world aside from the war in Iraq.

Update: HuffPo - "We were just joshin' with ya!" Sure you were.

Robbing Us Of Victory

Ralph Peters:

Forget the anti-war nonsense you hear. The truth is that our troops want to continue this struggle. I know. I'm here. And I'm listening to what they have to say. They're confident as never before that we're on the right path.

Should we rob them of their victory now and enhance al Qaeda by giving them a free win? How can we even contemplate quitting now?

via the tank.

Hitchens Blasts Bush On Vietnam

Hitchens: To invoke Vietnam was a blunder too far for Bush

A rare criticism of Bush's Iraq war policy by Christopher Hitchens.

In this real-world argument, there is a very strong temptation for opponents of the war to invoke the lessons of Vietnam. I must have written thousands of words attempting to show that there is absolutely no analogy between the two conflicts.

Hitchens then proceeds to lay out 13 reasons why the two wars are incomparable.

However, I believe he is arguing over the details, rather than the metaphor Bush sought to express, which is: We are losing the war at home, and retreat spells a humanitarian disaster which would make today's Iraq look like a bad Friday night B-movie compared to the biblical mountains of corpses which would result from a precipitous U.S. withdrawal and loss of will to fight.

H/T Hot Air.

al Qaeda, Death Dealer

This should come as no surprise:

It says the ground forces found human skulls, decomposing bodies and bones wrapped in bloody clothes in the majority Sunni area on the southern outskirts of the capital.

But it's a grim reminder of why Iraq has slowly begun to turn on al Qaeda, and its squalid, morally bereft ideology.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Batman: The Dark Knight

PerezHilton issues a "Spoiler" for Batman: The Dark Knight

Someone big dies in Batman…..but who??


Cool pic, though.

Terrorists By The Numbers

Bill Roggio writes of the al Qaeda counteroffensive:

Some of the results:

Police beat off the attacks, and captured 14 al Qaeda fighters in the process. One policeman and two civilians were killed, and another nine were wounded in the gunbattles.

Al Qaeda in Iraq also conducted two high profile attacks in Salahadin province. On August 22, a suicide truck bomber struck an education center in a residential area in the city of Bayji. Over 45 civilians were killed in the attack and scores more wounded.

Over 200 al Qaeda in Iraq fighters assaulted mosques and the homes of tribal sheikhs in the village of Kanan. "They blew up the mosque, then they bombed houses crowded with family members." Brig. Gen. Ali Dalayan, the police chief of Baqubah told AFP. Al Qaeda targeted the tribal sheikhs recently pledged to fight the terror group. Twenty-three people were killed during the battle, including one of the sheikhs, several of his sons, and a policeman, AFP reported. "The attackers however managed to abduct 15 people, eight women and seven children." Twenty-two al Qaeda fighters were later detained south of Kanan.

However small victories al Qaeda manages, they are still losing an average of 1,500 fighters a month in Iraq alone.

That means al Qaeda is losing at least 21 fighters for every American casualty.

And What Will Happen If We Exit Iraq?

I quoted from this Webb essay back in February.

James Webb, circa 2000:

"...the aftermath of Saigon's fall is rarely dealt with at all. A gruesome holocaust took place in Cambodia, the likes of which had not been seen since World War II. Two million Vietnamese fled their country — usually by boat — with untold thousands losing their lives in the process. This was the first such diaspora in Vietnam's long and frequently tragic history. Inside Vietnam a million of the South's best young leaders were sent to re-education camps; more than 50,000 perished while imprisoned, and others remained captives for as long as 18 years. An apartheid system was put into place that punished those who had been loyal to the United States, as well as their families, in matters of education, employment and housing. The Soviet Union made Vietnam a client state until its own demise, pumping billions of dollars into the country and keeping extensive naval and air bases at Cam Ranh Bay.

Now James Webb, circa August, 26th, 2007, on ABC's This Week:

Moran: Senator Webb, you're a Vietnam veteran, won the Navy Cross there, and have made no secret over the years that you feel that America betrayed the Vietnamese people, and abandoned them to a cruel fate, isn't that what the president is saying here what will happen to the Iraqis if we withdraw?

Webb: Well, I think that I may be one of the few people in government who still on the one hand strongly believe in what we attempted to do in Vietnam, and on the other hand from the beginning have strongly warned against the strategic blunder of going into Iraq.

They simply are not comparable. If you look at even the opinions of the American people, despite the way that the Vietnam war ended, 8 years after the Gulf of Tonkin, in 1972, the American people by and large, in a 74 to 11 percent, still believed that it was important that South Vietnam not fall to communism.

The overall strategic objective was strong, the implementation became flawed.

In Iraq, we’re having a reverse situation. We have an overall strategic objective that was not directly related to what we were attempting to do in the war against international terrorism. We have good people implementing a bad strategy. It’s just not the same situation. … We’re not going to have stability in that region until the American troops are out of Iraq.

(Video here)

Not comparable? Hasn't Webb compared the two in the past? I see no sound rationale in his explanation that we can abandon the Iraqis now, but were wrong to do so to the Vietnamese then.

Judge for yourself whether Webb parsed his own words, or was just politicking. I think he sounds like a sophist.

More at Instapundit.

Bloggers Get Credit For Journalism

Jay Rosen: The journalism that bloggers actually do, A New York University professor critiques Michael Skube's recent Times Op-Ed questioning the journalistic value of blogs.

Among other reasons why Blogs are not to be dismissed, Rosen lists some examples of stories made newsworthy by the Blogosphere:

March, 2007. Firedoglake at the Libby Trial. Popular lefty political blog provides the only blow-by-blow coverage of the trial by splitting the work among six contributors who bring big knowledge to bear for a committed-to-the-case readership. Reporters come to rely on the blog for its updates and its accuracy in live-blogging and analysis.

2007 to present. Blogger Michael Yon reports from Iraq. Supported primarily by donations from readers, independent journalist Michael Yon -- a former Green Beret -- is spending 2007 embedded with soldiers whose courage and sacrifice he admires, and whose stories he tells, mostly recently from Anbar province.

December 2006-April 2007. Talking Points Memo drives the U.S. Attorneys firings into the national spotlight. Mixing old-fashioned legwork with perseverance and lots of help from readers over several months, Josh Marshall and his TPM Media empire accumulate evidence "from around the country on who the axed prosecutors were, and why politics might be behind the firings."

August, 2006. Porkbusters, the Sunlight Foundation and TPM Muckraker expose congressional earmarks and the senator who placed a secret hold on a bill to put information about federal fund recipients online.

And there are many more. I've written on this topic as well here.

H/T Instapundit.

al Qaeda PR Attack Fails

Michael Totten:

Hundreds of Iraqi Yezidis, members of an ancient religious sect heavily influenced by Persian Zoroastrianism, were murdered last week in the most deadly terrorist attack in the world since September 11, 2001. Fuel tankers packed with explosives were ignited in a refugee camp near the town of Kahtaniya, just outside the Kurdish autonomous region. Officials say the death toll has surpassed 500. The American military says this is the handiwork of al Qaeda. They’re probably right: this has their fingerprints all over it.

American commander General David Petraeus recently warned that terrorists and insurgents may use the media as a weapon and stage massive, headline-grabbing attacks as a way of showing the surge is a failure. If this massacre was indeed a part of that strategy, it has failed.

Why Anbar Awoke

Michael Yon:

Ironically, in Anbar Al Qaeda has become our best ally for killing al Qaeda. They’ve managed to do this directly, just by being al Qaeda. Despite the promised carrots, what Al Qaeda consistently delivered here was mostly stick, and with a special kind of hypocritical contempt that no sensible person would believe possible. (Not unlike the notion of baking the children of resistant parents or ordering shepards to diaper the corrupting genitals of goats.)

Al Qaeda has a management style—doing drugs, laying up sloppy drunk, raping women and boys, and cutting off heads, all while imposing strict morality laws on the locals—that makes it clear that they have one set of principles for themselves, and another for every one else.

In that kind of scheme, it didn’t take long before people in Anbar realized that any benefits from Al Qaeda having control would not be distributed equally. Once that realization spread, the tribal sheiks—almost all Sunni—had to consider the alternatives.

The sheiks of Anbar turned against al Qaeda because the sheiks are businessmen, and al Qaeda is bad for business. But they didn’t suddenly trust Americans just because they no longer trusted al Qaeda. They are not suddenly blood allies. This is business, and that’s fine, because if there is one thing America is good at, it’s business.

When will this guy win a Pulitzer?

More Positive Iraq News Rolling In

Civilian Reconstruction: Iraqi Infrastructure Gets Major Boost- Electricity Situation Improves- 33 Schools Built:

The ministry of building and housing has built 33 schools in a number of provinces. These schools are part of a group of 70 elementary schools planned in various areas. This ministry has also completed 80% of housing project ‘Sebaa Ibkar’ in Baghdad. This project contains 48 apartment buildings, schools, commercial buildings and parking lots.

Fighting al Qaeda: IA General: 537 Al Qaeda Killed Or Captured Since June 19
Diala, Aug 24, (VOI) – A total 237 gunmen were killed and 300 wanted others arrested in security operations Arrowhead Ripper and Lightning Hammer in Diala province, 57 km north of Baghdad, since June 19, an Iraqi security official said on Friday.

More bad news for AQ from Strategy Page: Al Qaeda Fades From Iraq
the most compelling bit of new on al Qaedas demise in Iraq is the changing composition of the hostiles there. At the beginning of the year, about 70 percent of terror attacks were by al Qaeda, and their Sunni Arab allies. Now, only about fifty percent of , a lower number of, those attacks are al Qaeda. The rest are Iranian supported Shia Arab groups, who are also trying to establish a religious dictatorship in Iraq (one run by Shias, not by Sunnis, as al Qaeda wants.) Al Qaeda is taking a major beating because so many Sunni Arab tribes have turned on it.

More reasons to stay: “Our troops have earned more time.” Democratic Rep. Brian Baird, fresh from Iraq:
The invasion of Iraq may be one of the worst foreign-policy mistakes in the history of our nation. As tragic and costly as that mistake has been, a precipitous or premature withdrawal of our forces now has the potential to turn the initial errors into an even greater problem just as success looks possible.

to walk away now from the recent gains would be to lose all the progress that has been purchased at such a dear price in lives and dollars. As one soldier said to me, “We have lost so many good people and invested so much, It just doesn’t make sense to quit now when we’re finally making progress. I want to go home as much as anyone else, but I want this mission to succeed and I’m willing to do what it takes. I just want to know the people back home know we’re making progress and support us.”

And the icing:

The new comfort zone for many politicians and leader-writers appears to be the notion that if Britain withdraws its troops from Iraq and sends all the freed-up forces to Afghanistan, then all will be well. Siren voices are insisting that honour would be satisfied by such a move and we would still be pulling our weight in what Gordon Brown refuses to call ‘the war on terror’ or ‘the war against Islamist extremism’. Afghanistan, say those voices, is the crucial place to be engaging al-Qa’eda. Iraq is a sideshow.

This is no comfort zone at all. The war against Islamist extremism is indivisible. ‘The thought that Afghanistan is somehow a more righteous war is absurd,’ General Jack Keane told me this week. Keane is the soldier who helped devise present US policy in Iraq and has been critical of the British performance in southern Iraq.

Al-Qa’eda is an international criminal organisation that declared war on the West in the 1990s, and is determined to subjugate us. If we cut and run from one crucial battleground, it will be a betrayal of our allies in both America and Iraq and a victory for all Islamist extremism, Shia as well as Sunni. Moqtada al Sadr, the Shiite leader in southern Iraq, was crowing in the Independent only this week that his militia had driven the British out.

~ Liberal British journalist William Shawcross

(Via PJM)

Not bad for a day's worth of news.

Walk Like A New Yorker

Last winter, the New York City Department of Health released figures that told a surprising story: New Yorkers are living longer than ever, and longer than most people in the country. A New Yorker born in 2004 can now expect to live 78.6 years, nine months longer than the average American will. What’s more, our life expectancy is increasing at a rate faster than that of most of the rest of the country. Since 1990, the average American has added only about two and a half years to his life, while we in New York have added 6.2 years to ours.

But why?

All the boons of the nineties—the aggressive policing, the dramatic drop in crime, the renaissance of the city’s parks and street life, the freakish infusion of boom-time wealth—played a part. Take the miraculous evaporation of the homicide rate. In 1990, a stunning 2,272 New Yorkers were murdered; in 2005, that number dropped to 579.

One answer...

When I ask what the X factor is—where the “excess life” is coming from—Frieden (NYC Commissioner of Public Health) goes over to his desk and returns with a clear plastic statuette. It’s from the American Podiatric Medical Association and Prevention magazine: BEST WALKING CITY, 2006.

You go, New York.

Preaching To The Choir

The liberal CarpetBagger Report quoted from Historian Robert Dallek in a post on August 22nd. Dallek was sharply critical of President Bush:

“We were in Vietnam for 10 years. We dropped more bombs on Vietnam than we did in all of World War II in every theater. We lost 58,700 American lives, the second-greatest loss of lives in a foreign conflict. And we couldn’t work our will,” he said.

“What is Bush suggesting? That we didn’t fight hard enough, stay long enough? That’s nonsense. It’s a distortion,” he continued. “We’ve been in Iraq longer than we fought in World War II. It’s a disaster, and this is a political attempt to lay the blame for the disaster on his opponents. But the disaster is the consequence of going in, not getting out.”

Despite the fact that Dallek missed Bush's point (that by leaving Vietnam, the South Vietnamese were subject to mass killings, torture, and imprisonment, as Iraqis will suffer if we withdraw), I have some history with Professor Dallek. He's a nice enough guy, but not an objective observer of history.

As it turns out, I actually took a class with Professor Robert Dallek my senior year of college. He admitted in class that he was a “died in the wool” party guy.

He wasn’t talking about the Republican party.

Mr. Dallek also frequently went on anti-Cheney tirades.

I respect his research, and his long career, but his is hardly the impartial, objective professional opinion that can be held up to the light.

Yet Another Haditha Marine Cleared


Official Recommendation: Drop Charges against another Marine in Haditha case

The recommendation now goes to Marine Lt. General James Mattis. Mattis has already dropped charges against two other Marines based on similar recommendations.

More from Let Freedom Ring: Another Marine Deserves a Murtha Apology.

What say you, Jack Murtha?

Liberal Bloggers Playing Majority Whip

With news from even the mainstream media that the surge is working, and that some Democrats have noticed, the liberal Blogosphere has gone wild trying to dispel the notion that progress is being made in Iraq, or that Democrats have begun to stray from the party line.

Case in point from a DailyKos diarist:

First, Democratic candidates are actively trying to find different ways to criticize the war and the surge, and all of these ways are based on the success or failure of said war and surge, and

Second, and most important to our purposes, those who criticize candidates for their words on the War and on the Surge are cultivating the mistaken belief that we're dealing with "success" in the conventional sense. They are perpetuating that myth and allowing the Administration to simply look incompetent rather than what they truly are.

Finally, admonishing undisciplined Democrats, the diarist writes: "The Democrats need to realize this and react accordingly."

This is what it has come to, liberal Bloggers playing Majority Whip?

Smacks of desperation.

The Universe In Layman's Terms


The scale of the Universe is simply astounding. The best way for the layperson to understand the distances we are dealing with is not to use words like Parsecs or light years, but rather to use easy to understand analogies.

(Via PJM)

"Progressive" Discourse

CarpetBagger Report posted a story last week about a World War II veteran who had trouble getting a Purple Heart from the Navy:

Nyles Reed, a 75-year-old Texan, sustained injuries during combat in Korea in 1952. Last week, the Pentagon sent him a letter to let him know he qualifies for a Purple Heart.

But the Defense Department didn’t actually give Reed a Purple Heart; it just sent him a certificate saying he’d earned one. The mailing included a notice explaining that the medal for injured troops was “out of stock.”

I took the occasion to ask in the comments section of CarpetBagger why liberal (progressive) Blogs scarcely, if ever, publish positive stories about the military; tales of heroism, victory, or overcome great odds.

Here are responses by the Blogs' "progressive" readers. Their language is... not surprising:

8. On August 17th, 2007 at 1:12 pm, N. Lihach said:

That’s very disappointing of the Navy. Thankfully Mr. Reed’s Senator stepped in to help him out.

That being said - I’d like to see one post on this Blog, just one, that wasn’t critical of the military.How about some posts about the bravery of our troops, such as The Battle Of Donkey Island, outside Ramadi:

“Charlie Company quickly noticed that they had discovered an enemy staging area hidden on an island south of Ramadi and quickly took the fight to the enemy in a fierce engagement that would last for over 24 hours.

“As one of the Apache teams — Apache helicopter teams returned from a refueling run, Chief Warrant Officers Alan Crist (sp) and Kevin Pertee (sp) noticed a wounded soldier and that a medevaced aircraft had yet to arrive.

“In the face of enemy fire, they landed their Apache helicopter, and I remind you that’s a two-seated helicopter. Following a seldom-used technique, they loaded Specialist Jeffrey Jamaleldine into the front seat of the Apache helicopter while one of the pilots strapped himself to the aircraft’s wing. They flied him, then, to an area where he could be attended to by medics.”That would be a nice change of pace.

9. On August 17th, 2007 at 1:16 pm, Ed Stephan said:

$12 Billion a month on the Iraq Quagmire and we can’t afford a Purple Heart ribbon and medal? I bet one Pelosi or Reid cross-country plane ride would buy a carload of such medals. I mention them because it would be pointless to mention any real Republicans.

10. On August 17th, 2007 at 2:13 pm, sparrow said:

Nobody could have anticipated…

11. On August 17th, 2007 at 2:21 pm, sergio said:

Have no fear! Bush will put in an order for other thousand or so from Red China. Just enought to last till the next election.

12. On August 17th, 2007 at 2:26 pm, sergio said:

one more thing,they better be lead-free,we don’t want our service men and women to get sick.

13. On August 17th, 2007 at 3:02 pm, Rambuncle said:

That being said - I’d like to see one post on this Blog, just one, that wasn’t critical of the military.Actually, there have been many posts on this Blog that have not been critical of the military. The post before this one and the post after this one are not critical of the military.

14. On August 17th, 2007 at 3:16 pm, libra said:

Following a seldom-used technique, they loaded Specialist Jeffrey Jamaleldine into the front seat of the Apache helicopter while one of the pilots strapped himself to the aircraft’s wing. — N. Lihach, @8

Too bad Jamaledine won’t get a Purple Heart medal. And, probably, the Apache’s pilots won’t get much of official recognition of their bravery and ingenuity, either. Medals cost money and the pilowrts just did their job.

BTW, do Apache helicopters have wings? All I can seem to remember about helicopters is those rotors…

15. On August 17th, 2007 at 3:19 pm, N. Lihach said:

That’s easy, Rambuncle. Neither post before or after this one has to deal with the military.Find me a post on CarpetBagger that tells a positive story. Bravery, heroism, overcoming the odds, any of the dozens of reports whereby our troops have routed al Qaeda, often killing them at a rate of 35-1.

Maybe I’ve missed it somewhere, I’ll give you that.

It’s just unfortunate. The anger among the left and centrists felt towards the President has spilled over to our troops, and that’s not fair. If you don’t believe me, go read what Jack Murtha had to say about the Haditha Marines, many of whom are now being cleared of all charges. Look at Reid’s comments about Petraeus, look at TNR’s Scott Thomas Beauchamp fiasco, look at Obama’s “air raiding” remarks.

One would think there is nothing rewarding at all to be taken from military service by reading this Blog. Sure, the Navy made a dumb mistake. But more than likely, it was a Navy bureaucrat, possibly a civilian, who checked the records, saw they were low on medals, and responded shamefully to a war veteran.

I wouldn’t hold that up as a sign that our military is in decay.

16. On August 17th, 2007 at 3:48 pm, N. Lihach said:


It seems SPC Jamaleldine DID receive his Purple Heart:

“SPC Jamaleldine is my Brother. he is save and doing fine in Schweinfurt, Germany reunite with his wife and 2 sons. He survived a headshot and received his purple heart on july 3rd. ”

Link here:

A simple Google search did the trick.

Please don’t assume the worst about our military. Your hatred for Bush is blinding you. Trust me, I used to hate Bush, too. Then I realized we have bigger enemies out there; al Qaeda, for one.

17. On August 17th, 2007 at 4:43 pm, bubba said:

I fail to see how this post is critical of the military. Sounds to me like it is a criticism of the civilian leadership that works with the military.

18. On August 17th, 2007 at 4:53 pm, Woody Bombay said:

Bubba’s right, the post isn’t critical of the military. It’s not the military’s fault that the supply of Purple Hearts is being outpaced by the demand. That’s the fault of this failed administration for sending the troops to Iraq in the first place. But Libach still clings to the old “you criticize Bush, you criticize our troops” chestnut. It was always cheap, ridiculous and intellectually dishonest, but he’s sticking to it.

19. On August 17th, 2007 at 5:33 pm, bubba said:

Give Lihach a break. Even though the odds of dying in a bus accident, mine disaster, bridge collapse, aftermath of a hurricane hitting our shores, railroad track accident, by playing with imported toys, by eating imported foods, by eating domestic foods, etc., etc., etc., is much higher than in a terrorist attack, he’s bed wettin’ and pants poopin’ afraid and needs his authoritarian figure to give him some feeling of comfort.

20. On August 17th, 2007 at 6:10 pm, N. Lihach said:

Very intelligent discourse, I’m glad we can all be polite…

Nowhere in these comments have I explicitly supported or defended Bush. Rather, I contend that hatred of the President has come to coincide with bashing the military. There is copious proof out there to support the fact that left-leaning individuals tend to be far more critical of the military, often smearing the troops themselves.

Whether it’s shouting down a soldier at YearlyKos, which Jon Soltz did, (conduct unbecoming an officer), or when Bloggers on DailyKos write:

“do I still support the individual men and women who have given so much to serve their country? No. I think they’re a bunch of idiots. I also think they’re morally retarded.”Or when comments are made by Markos himself about the American contractors horribly executed and strung up and beaten: “screw

There are few greater instances of perfidy to this country, when one smears those who risk their lives on a daily basis.

Let’s try to be mature and keep the ad hominem “bed wettin’ and pants poopin’” comments to a minimum. They do not further the debate.

21. On August 17th, 2007 at 6:31 pm, Woody Bombay said:

You can’t plead for “mature” debate and keep repeating the your ridiculous “liberals hate the military” lie. That doesn’t further the discussion, either. And your contention that bashing Bush “has come to coincide with bashing the military” is an equally ridiculous lie. In your post you 1) mischaractere an event (Soltz); 2) pick a random quote off a blog as representative of an entire political

Bashing Bush, if anything, shows support for the military because Bush’s policies have been bad for the military - stupid, immoral war in Iraq; Walter Reed conditions; veterans’ benefits; etc. His launching of the wrongheaded war in Iraq demonstrates how little regard he has for the millitary. And let’s not even talk about his draft dodging and then skipping out on his National Guard service.

And conservatives’ shrill trashing of any vet who doesn’t agree with their views - from John Kerry to John Murtha to Markos to Pat Tillman to Scott Beauchamp and the troops who backed up his story to TNR - indicates that there is plenty of ‘perfidity’ on the right. Hey, look - ‘copious proof’ that right-leaning individuals tend to be far more critical of the military, often smearing the troops themselves. Why do you hate America’s fighting men and women, Lihach? Traitor!

22. On August 17th, 2007 at 6:32 pm, Woody Bombay said:

Hey, my first graph got cut off. Here it is in its entirety:

You can’t plead for “mature” debate and keep repeating the your ridiculous “liberals hate the military” lie. That doesn’t further the discussion, either. And your contention that bashing Bush “has come to coincide with bashing the military” is an equally ridiculous lie. In your post you 1) mischaractere an event (Soltz); 2) pick a random quote off a blog as representative of an entire political side; and 3) ignore Markos’s follow-up on that comment.

23. On August 17th, 2007 at 8:12 pm, N. Lihach said:

Woody Bombay,

I never said anywhere here that “liberals hate the military.”

I did not mischaracterize the event; Soltz shouted down Aguila, which, as an Officer, Soltz should not have done. Check the military code. Technically, Aguila was also in violation of military code, though. But note that Kos and others are fine with Adam Kokesh protesting the war in his uniform, but not Aguila’s supporting the war. Hypocritical?

I picked a random quote, but there are many, many more. Read just about any comment section from liberal blogs on the military, they get pretty nasty.

Markos’ follow up comment did little to save face. He clearly realized he blundered, then he backpedaled, just like a politician.

Bashing Bush isn’t supporting the troops. It’s specious to insinuate that opposing a war characterizes you as a defender of our soldier’s lives. Soldiers perform their duty, knowing full well their job is to protect the country. It just seems to me that it is convenient that the troops are only supported by liberals when they can bash Bush in the same breath. Notice I didn’t say “hate” here. In my time reading liberal blogs, I have scant found even a desultory attempt to describe a hair-raising tale of victory and heroism. Did you know last month that US troops killed 100 Taliban in one attack alone? Why do I have to go to Asia Times, of Lahore, Pakistan, to read about it? Or only conservative blogs? Where are the liberal blogs covering stories such as American troops killing 35 al Qaeda, after being ambushed, and only suffering 2 casualties. You won’t find that on liberal blogs.

I don’t bash just any veterans who I don’t agree with. Rather, I will criticize a veteran who is out of line. Take Jack Murtha, who declared on national television last year that the Haditha Marines killed those Iraqi’s “in cold blood!” before any investigation, before a trial, before the facts were in. That is despicable. Aren’t they innocent until proven guilty?

Tillman - I have seen nothing but support for the investigation to find the truth of this incident. The wackiest think I’ve read, though, are some liberal blogs suggesting Tillman was killed because he was supposedly to meet with Noam Chomsky. Now that’s nutty…

Beauchamp - This has been covered by the NYT, the WaPo, and numerous Blogs. He lied. Period. At the bare minimum, at the very least, he lied about the disfigured woman in the mess hall in Iraq. His own personal blog, which you can read online, details how he wanted to join the Army so he could write a book. Go look for yourself.

That about sums it up.

24. On August 18th, 2007 at 2:06 am, Chris said:

More war stories!
And more cowbell!

25. On August 18th, 2007 at 11:27 am, bubba said:

Woody, you can’t talk logic or common sense or facts with folks such as Lihach. Such things just do not compute or simply cannot fit into their frightened little pea brains. Folks like him/her come in and falsly claim (bear false witness perhaps) against this site, apparently based on a couple isolated incidents not even associated with this site, and then wish to be treated with respect, dignity, mature debate. Fact is, they have no idea what that means. And as you have clearly pointed out, the acts and practices of those on the right are far more harmful to the military than those few items clowns like Lihach wish to obsess upon. Bet wettin’ pant’s poopin’ people like that do not deserve the freedoms that this country used to provide, including the right to be debate and be debated.

26. On August 18th, 2007 at 4:51 pm, sergio said:

bottom line,it’s the american people’s job to have a smart and brave president to lend our troops into battle. That is where this country fucked -upped.

27. On August 19th, 2007 at 2:20 pm, N. Lihach said:


No need to attack me personally. Use your facts, reason, and/or persuasion skills to back up your argument.

To date, you have shown none.

Rather, your retort is to launch some ad hominem attacks to distract from the issue at debate.

I have a sneaking suspicion that you’re scraping bottom, since it seems you have no hard evidence to back up your assertions.

Just prove me wrong, show me a link which shines a positive light on a military service member.