Sunday, July 29, 2007

Victory and Hope


Iraq Wins the Asia Cup

The New York Times has The Celebration Across Iraq





More from Hot Air.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Dr. Sanity Gets Right To The Point

Exactly:

Frankly, any presidential candidate whose success is predicated on ensuring the defeat and humiliation of his or her own country by a group of murderous medieval barbarians is not a candidate I want to lead my country under any circumstances.


That sums up everything.

To The Editors At Salon


A follow up to my post yesterday...

To the Editors,

I am writing to inform you of a significant factual error in Juan Cole's "Informed Comment Blog/Column.

Cole's proof behind his critique of the Bush Administration's war on terror rests on the most recent Osama bin Laden tape.

That tape, however, has been thoroughly proven to be a FAKE - Rather, the tape dates back to 2001.

I suggest Mr. Cole correct his story.

See more here:

http://nonpartypolitics.blogspot.com/2007/07/salon-writer-fooled-by-new-binladen.html


Sincerely,


Nick Brunetti


Will he amend his story?

A Tragic Death Still Unresolved



SAN FRANCISCO - Army medical examiners were suspicious about the close proximity of the three bullet holes in Pat Tillman's forehead and tried without success to get authorities to investigate whether the former NFL player's death amounted to a crime, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.
Shot from 10 yards away

The doctors — whose names were blacked out — said that the bullet holes were so close together that it appeared the Army Ranger was cut down by an M-16 fired from a mere 10 yards or so away.

and

In his last words moments before he was killed, Tillman snapped at a panicky comrade under fire to shut up and stop "sniveling."

If it was fratricide, the family has a right to know.
_
Update: (sigh) The Kos kids believe Tillman was murdered because he planned to meet with Noam Chomsky.
_
_

The Unscrupulous Writer Turned Soldier


Joined the effing Army to write a good book... and profit, and maybe gain fame & fortune on the backs of his comrades.

Wonderful.

This Scott Thomas Beauchamp is quite lacking in the integrity department.

The Wanker's Blog: Sir Real Scott Thomas

Michelle Malkin probably does the best job covering it: “Scott Thomas” steps out of the shadows



Dean Barnett takes note of his true motives from Beauchamp's own Blog:

I know that NOT participating in a war (and such a misguided one at that) should be considered better than wanting to be in one just to write a book...but you know, maybe id rather be a good man than a good artist...be both? Some can and some cant...i guess it all depends on how great an artist, or how great a man they want to be. Sometimes it feels like i have to choose between being totally loyal to thoughts of my future family OR totally loayl to chasing down the muse. must find a middle ground.

Barnett also asks if Beauchamp is... This War's John Kerry?

Mark Steyn asks:

Was he in Iraq last year? Did he witness a war crime? Is this reportage? Or was he just doing a bit of imaginative fiction like the creative-writing classes teach? And into which category do his New Republic pieces fall?



I invite Scott Thomas to come by the Dragon PAO shop at FOB Falcon- Bldg 301,Rm 119, and I'd be happy to share the DoD media policy with him. While he's here, I'd love to discuss with him the mass graves, Bradley IFV dog hunting and IED burn victim he's so intent on stating is fact. If he can provide the evidence, I will gladly retract every word I've posted on the subject. If he's not willing to do that, then it kind of makes you wonder about his credibility, and that of the New Republic's doesn't it?

Powerline: "Now that Beauchamp has stepped forward, the issues regarding the veracity of "Shock troops" should be resolved in short order. It is striking that Beauchamp's statement does not add any facts to support the veracity of "Shock troops," although his identity is certainly a start."

Instapundit links to more coverage. Mudville Gazette has more as well.

...

I'm halfway through Harry Potter right now, so staying up to date with my posts has been difficult...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Stephen Colbert, Say It Ain't So

Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert pans O'Reilly (which is not so big a deal, O'Reilly can be a blowhard), but then excuses and promotes DailyKos. Kos proudly links to it here.

I'm surprised at Colbert, who I thought was intelligent...


Salon Writer Fooled By New Bin Laden Tape


Well... the new OLD Bin Laden tape, really..

Juan Cole wrote in Salon on July 24th that "Bush's incompetence gives al-Qaida new life."

His premise:

But the very fact that bin Laden could still deliver his poisonous message to the Muslim world six years after his attack on New York and Washington killed some 3,000 people is first and foremost a remarkable testament to the incompetence and fecklessness of the Bush administration. The tape, the new NIE and events in Pakistan and Afghanistan all suggest that, shockingly, al-Qaida is more deadly now than at any time during the past half-decade.

At first glance, Cole's argument may sound vaguely convincing. However, when in fact anyone paying even the slightest attention to al Qaeda-related terrorism news puts their thinking-caps on, we discover a problem:

1) As documented thoroughly at Hot Air, and all over the Blogosphere, the "latest" Osama video is actually a re-cut of a video that was released in 2001.

That's point number one shot down for Mr. Cole.

2) Regarding the new NIE, which characterized al Qaeda as stronger than last year, In From The Cold Blogger wrote:

- Only a small amount of new information was present in the new report
- Most of the report remains classified
- The bulk of the "new information relates to al Qaeda's successful efforts to reestablish safehavens along the Afghan-Pakistani border."
- The "primary reason" for al Qaeda's resurgence "has nothing to do with the War in Iraq, or domestic security measures in the United States. As the draft assessment indicates, Al Qaida's reconstitution along the PakistanAfghan border is a direct result of the disastrous "Waziristan Accords," signed last year between the Islamabad government and pro Al Qaida groups in the western tribal lands. Implementation of those agreements further eroded Pakistani authority in the region, and allowed terrorists to rebuild the training, support and administrative infrastructure that once existed in neighboring Afghanistan."

That's point nubmer two shot down. So much for Cole's thesis. Now... regarding Pakistan, what are Cole's thoughts? He begins by dryly noting:

And now the U.S. seems to be thinking about operating in the same area...

But typically, as for fighting AQ in Pakistan - He's against it:

In the best of times, hunting down an individual in Pakistan's tribal areas would be rather like trying to find a person moving among safe houses in Wyoming, Colorado and Nevada. The current unrest would only make the job of any U.S. Special Forces operating in the region that much harder. But the de facto American threat to invade Pakistan also brought an alarmed reaction from the Musharraf regime. On CNN, Foreign Minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri angrily pointed out that Pakistan had sacrificed 700 troops to the fight against extremists in the tribal areas. He warned that any U.S. incursion would enrage the Pakistani public and defeat any hope of Washington winning local hearts and minds.

And while he opposes taking action on al Qaeda in Pakistan, Cole simultaneously admonishes the Bush Administration:

Astonishingly, al-Qaida may be back, and the signs of its resurgence are everywhere, but there is little reaction from an American public that has everything to fear from the group. War-weary, bogged down in a fruitless guerrilla war in Iraq, disillusioned with the Bush team (which has lied to it assiduously), the public appears to be taking its eye off al-Qaida. If so, it would be making the same mistake as Bush, who is obsessed with Iraq to the detriment of urgent counterterrorism measures.

So, in other words... Bush is obsessed with Iraq, which is why al Qaeda has proliferated... but we shouldn't attack in Pakistan, where they are strongest? That makes a lot of sense.

This episode will be noted as yet another in a long line of scathing critiques of President Bush's war on terror, from a source with a tepid understanding of the situation who views his dogmatic liberal doctrine through an incomprehensible prism, which solves absolutely nothing.

No wonder, as Pat Dollard notes - For Democrats, The War In Iraq Has Little Or Nothing To Do With Defeating Al Qaeda.

Because if it did, how could they argue for withdrawal?
Update: The Astute Bloggers weigh in, and note that this is not the first time Juan Cole, (a Professor of Modern Middle East and South Asian History in the History Department at the University of Michigan) has gotten his facts wrong.

A Terrorist's Diary

Note to Self: When conducting an insurgency in Iraq with my fellow Islamic Fundamentalist Mujihadeen, (Allah be praised), if a laser guided bomb hits a nearby building, don't flee the building, because an F16 may be waiting to send me to meet the 72 Virgins I am promised before I have gotten to kill any infidels.


This is a video from a F16 doing CAS (close air support) during the recent fighting in Fallujah... This F16 was on such a mission, to hit a building with an LGB (laser guided bomb).

After the weapon had been launched 30+ insurgents left the building en masse to hurry to a nearby engagement with US Marines. The fighting had been going on for hours. The pilot communicates with the FAC (forward air controller) either in the air or on the ground, and changes the flight path of the bomb while it is en route to the target. You can clearly see the "L" flashing in the MFD (multi-function display), and TGP (terminally guided projectile) is selected. It is the pilot who says "I got numerous individuals on the road, do you want me to take those out?" The FAC says "Take em out!"

Click here to watch the video.

In Iran: Guns Ready, Mouths Hungry


Iran's economic woes continue... it began with inflation and unemployment, then came the gasoline rations, and now ever more dire measures:

Amir Taheri: Putting up the Family Jewels for Sale

What would you do when faced with a cash flow problem? You might try to curb expenditure, work harder to earn more, borrow money, or, when all else fails, put up the family jewels for sale. The latter is precisely what President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's administration is trying to do as it faces a cash shortage.

And how has Ahmadinejad been able to hijack his ailing country's economy?

The virtual abolition of Article 44 is a major political victory for Ahmadinejad, something that his two immediate predecessors as presidents failed to achieve.

His hands are no longer tied by the Constitution; Ahmadinejad is now putting up public businesses for sale that could be regarded as family jewels.

But where is the money going?

According to estimates, some $10 billion has been pumped into pork-barrel projects that often fuel inflation further. Ahmadinejad has also increased expenditure on his so-called "exporting the revolution" programme. Syria has received almost $3 billion in cash and cut-price oil. The Lebanese branch of Hezbollah has been rewarded with $1.8 billion while the Palestinian Hamas movement has collected almost $1 billion. A further $3 billion has been spent on financing anti-US political and armed groups in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Not to mention...

The biggest rise in public expenditure, however, has come from increases in imports, as the government tries to stockpile "strategic goods" in anticipation of war with the US.

This news should cause the US to heighten its hype and rhetoric about an invasion of Iran. It seems the Islamic theocracy is conducting a pseudo "Arms Race" with the United States by arming itself and like-minded neighbors.

We should oblige Ahmadinejad and the mullahs. Their troops will be armed, but their bellies will as empty as their gas tanks.

Why We Are Winning In Iraq

The facts boiled down from Strategy Page:

What most of the troops, and Iraqi civilians, notice is the lower level of violence. Since the surge offensive began four months ago, Iraqi (military and civilian) deaths have declined by more than 50 percent, and American casualties are down by over a third. U.S. troops are still taking the lead in moving into hostile areas, and being exposed to ambush and IEDs. But U.S. tactics and training have made enemy efforts much less lethal. This has helped demoralize an increasing number of terrorists. Many are tired of killing Iraqi civilians, and the increasing difficulty at getting at American troops. Look at this from the Iraqi perspective. In a very good month, Iraqis make a hundred or more attacks a day on American troops, and kill, on average, about four of them. While the terrorists make a big deal out of every American killed, they know that most of their attacks were not only failures, but got a lot of their buddies killed. On average, 10-20 terrorists die for every American killed. This has been going on for years, and an increasing number of Iraqi fighters are demoralized and quitting. Many either become informers, or surrender and speak freely. This is resulting in fresher intelligence, and raids that are catching terrorist cells preparing for operations, and in possession of weapons, bombs and incriminating documents.


Wow... fewer Iraqi civilians dead, fewer Americans death, fewer attacks, a 20-1 Terrorist-American kill ratio... What is Harry Reid missing? Jack Murtha? The Mainstream Media? The American people?

Everything.

The al Qaeda links to Iraq:
“The facts are that Al Qaeda terrorists killed Americans on 9/11, they’re fighting us in Iraq and across the world and they are plotting to kill Americans here at home again.”


And amid these positive signs of progress, Michelle Malkin writes of A new critique of the 2004 Lancet Iraq Death Toll Study, and makes "an interesting side note":
as Kane observes in his paper, the Lancet authors “refuse to provide anyone with the underlying data (or even a precise description of the actual methodology).” The researchers did release some high-level summary data in highly aggregated form (see here), but they released neither the detailed interviewee-level data nor the programming code that would be necessary to replicate their results.


But it should be little surprise that liberal statistical studies cherry-picked data to present an awful scenario. Just as it should come as little surprise that violence in Iraq has been dropping. As The Mudville Gazette notes, look at what our troops do in a single day over there, "while you were sleeping":

While you were sleeping, U.S. and Iraqi soldiers were busy:
Monday, 23 July 2007 Three Iraqis freed, their captors detained
Monday, 23 July 2007 Iraqis take lead in island clearing operation
Monday, 23 July 2007 Allons Soldiers render medical aid to Iraqis after VBIED blast
Monday, 23 July 2007 Truck Bomb destroyed during Marne Avalanche
Monday, 23 July 2007 12 al-Qaeda terrorist facilitators captured
Monday, 23 July 2007 Coalition Forces kill 9 terrorists, detain 8 and destroy weapons caches
Monday, 23 July 2007 Warlords find EFP cache
Monday, 23 July 2007 Combined operation nets cache find in Jamia
Monday, 23 July 2007 Suicide car bombers miss target, kill 3 civilians, wound 13 others
Monday, 23
July 2007 Soldiers search for missing comrades leads to discovery of weapons caches

Monday, 23 July 2007 Task Force Marne Soldier died of wounds
Monday, 23 July 2007 Soldiers attacked during combat logistics patrol
Monday, 23 July 2007 IA Forces, U.S. Special Forces detain al-Qaida Terrorists linked to U.S. casualties
Monday, 23 July 2007 Search nets seven terrorist suspects in Bulayj
Monday, 23 July 2007 IA, U.S. Special Forces detain alleged terrorist finance chief in Ninewa Province
Monday, 23 July 2007 ISF, U.S. Special Forces detain five suspected extremists
Sunday, 22 July 2007 Insurgents target ambulance
Sunday, 22 July 2007 Iraqi Army, Coalition Forces detain suspected Al Qaeda cell leader near Taji
Sunday, 22 July 2007 Coalition Forces Detain Two Suspected Weapons Smugglers
Sunday, 22 July 2007 Coalition Forces kill one terrorist, detain 14 suspects



Perhaps Harry Reid should consider his call for immediate withdrawal from Iraq, given such promising signs and hopeful progress. After all, Reid can't even explain how many Iraqis will undoubtedly be massacred if the US were to exit ungracefully.

Reid may be okay with defeat and potential mass revenge killings, but our soldiers are not, and they are working to ensure this does not happen.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

From Triumph To Tragedy


I play soccer once a week with friends. It's just a pick-up game in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I love soccer, not that I'm very good at the sport. So this I can understand: Iraq and Saudi Arabia Advance to Asian Cup Final

Thousands of fans gathered in the central Baghdad district of Karradah to celebrate Iraq's victory by dancing, beating drums and chanting ''Iraq! Iraq!

But the murder which followed is beyond my experience:

The first bomb exploded in a crowd of people cheering near a well-known ice cream parlor in Baghdad's western neighborhood of Mansour, according to police and hospital officials. At least 30 people were killed and 75 were wounded, an Interior Ministry official said.


Gateway Pundit has more, including pictures.

The Anti-War Types Impugn The Anti-Mainstream Opinion

Hugh Hewitt:

Bill Kristol, Fred Kagan, Fred Barnes, Michael Yon, John Burns, Mark Steyn, Max Boot –any member of the media or any intellectual—who is even open to the idea that the overthrow of Saddam was necessary and the fight for a stable, democratic Iraq a crucial moment for the world, one requiring victory over the butchers—is despised because they know what they know and refuse to let the debate end. They are influential because they are experienced and persuasive, and this enrages especially the obscure anti-war radical whom no one will listen to no matter how much evidence they accumulate that Tower 7 was an inside job and that steel doesn’t melt.

A lot of very smart men are committed to this war, and believe that victory is a likely outcome. Anti-War liberals are obstructed from even a hint of this view because of their Bush hatred and opposition to the war in the first place.

Give peace a chance... Hey, give the surge a chance.

Harry Reid's so-called "Lost" War

A significant headline was missing in the news this week: Reconciliation talks held in Taji

As the report noted:

Sunni and Shia tribal sheiks from the Iraqi villages of Aqar Qaf, Bassam, Salamiyat and Fira Shia moved closer to reconciliation July 16 here during a meeting facilitated by the 1st Battalion, 37th Field Artillery Regiment.

Bill Roggio has a similar headline - Iraq Report: Taji tribes turn on Mahdi Army and al Qaeda
U.S. forces continue the process of turning tribal leaders and Sunni insurgent groups against al Qaeda in Iraq. The latest success came in Salahadin province, where 25 Sunni and Shia tribes in and around the city of Taji banded together to fight both al Qaeda in Iraq and the Mahdi Army. Taji is just 12 miles north of Baghdad and sits along the strategic supply lines to the northern provinces.

The rest here.

These developments are only the tip of the iceberg, further proof along with Sunni Sheik cooperation with MNF-Iraq in Anbar Province, and Iraqi civilians informing on al Qaeda in Diyala.

But that's not all. al Qaeda is making itself new enemies: Al-Qaeda threatens to escalate attacks in North Africa

Worse, still for al Qaeda, as Captain's Quarters Blog notes, "The Times of London reports that US and Iraqi forces have developed dozens of informants within AQI in Baghdad, a nearly unthinkable accomplishment just a few months ago."

And in Iraq, al Qaeda's most publicized base of operations, Newsweek reports of internal feuding amongst al Qaeda members:
a power struggle within the senior ranks of Al Qaida, pitting the group's #2 leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri (and fellow members of his "Egyptian" faction), against a Libyan clique, led byAbu Yahya al-Libi.

Furthermore, as The Belmont Club describes, for al Qaeda and other Islamic Fundamentalists, Another Satan Emerges:
Make way for the Chinese. The News reports that the "attack on Chinese nationals in Balochistan is said to be the first reaction to Chinese government’s steps to curb Muslim insurgency in its own territory." This follows on recent attacks by Islamic radicals on Chinese in Islamabad. What's it all about? The Online Times describes the ongoing war between China and Islam on its Western boundaries.

...and in this case, terrorists may have bit off more than they can chew. Already enmeshed in an insurgency in Iraq, and having declared war on North Africa, Allah's holy warriors now have to face a ruthless totalitarian enemy:
But however that may be, China is waging a battle of cultural extermination against its Muslim minorities with a genuine ruthlessness, before the word became debased by the accusations of CAIR.

Wretchard sums up the difference between American use of force, to that of China or Russia, with amazing clarity:
One of the most fascinating questions -- one worthy of a book -- must be why Osama Bin Laden chose to order his suicide airplanes into Manhattan rather than say, Beijing or Moscow. Both these nations have been campaigning against Muslims for centuries. And the answer, I suspect, lies in the "excited commands and shouts of glee form the Chinese on the soundtrack". Or the veritable rain of shells that fell on Grozny in the recent past or the vicious campaign that still rages through Chechnya today. Maybe Bin Laden attacked America because he knew how it would fight. In a mode where even prisoners in Guantanamo Bay could insist upon their Korans being handled with white gloves, while a large section of America's own media would condemn this treatment as too harsh.

...War by al-Qaeda against China or Russia would have been just kinetic war. One in which radical Islam would lose 100 men, women and children for every Chinese or Russian it killed. That was a losing proposition. What Osama needed was information war, one which would allow him to dish out propaganda instead of take losses, and that could only be started by attacking the United States of America. Western politics would do the rest. Only after the information war started was it feasible to extend the military campaign. Strange as it may seem September 11 was a necessary prelude to attacking the Chinese.

There are times when I am tempted to think that the Western Left is radical Islam's Ring of Power. And the brilliance of al-Qaeda's reliance on it as a force-multiplier is that the defeat of radical Islam must consequently come at the price of altering the structure of post-war Western politics itself. In a sense the Western Left has become a hostage to the current world crisis, and perhaps the only part of the Left that understands this are the signatories of the Euston Manifesto, who realized that al-Qaeda had already claimed its political soul: that unconciously, almost imperceptibly, the Left in uncritical embrace of any foe of America had come to align itself with the most brutal, obscurantist, repressive theocrats on the planet. And would conceivably share its fate with them.

Meanwhile, Coalition Forces are on the offensive in Iraq:
The eastern portion of Baqubah has been cordoned, and Iraqi and U.S. forces are conducting "a deliberate, house-to-house search there for al-Qaida operatives." Multinational Forces Iraq reported that 67 insurgents have been killed, 253 captured and 151 improvised explosive devices and 24 booby-trapped buildings have been dismantled since Arrowhead Ripper began in Baqubah. Iraq's Ministry of Defense reported 67 insurgents have been killed and 50 captured during ongoing operations throughout Diyala province.

Raids
On July 16, U.S. forces conducted two raids in Haswah and Jabella. The Haswah raid netted eight members of an IED cell, including its leader, as well as a mobile IED factory. The Jabella raid, which was conducted with a battalion of Iraqi soldiers, targeted the Mahdi Army.

Qaeda routed
On July 15, over 9,000 U.S Marines, Soldiers, and Sailors, and Iraqi Army members launched Operation Matwani in the western expanses of the Euphrates River Valley... On July 3, one such al Qaeda team attempted to strike in Ramadi, but was routed south of the city by Coalition airpower and Iraqi ground forces.

More captured and killed
Special Forces captured 12 al Qaeda operatives during raids in Baghdad, Taji, Fallujah, and Ramadi on July 18 and 19. Raids in Tarmiyah resulted in three al Qaeda operatives killed and two captured on July 17. In Qayyarah, Iraqi troops captured the emir of the town along with three associates during a raid on July 15.

Operation Ithaca (my Alma mater)
Last week the 82nd Airborne launched “Operation Ithaca” on 12 July, and two days ago OnPoint interviewed Col Andrew Poppas, CO of 5th Squadron, 73rd Cav., about their part in the operation and its effect on both the locals and the insurgents.

In this brief but significant operation, 29 insurgents were killed, 23 were captured, and 8 locals who had been kidnapped and tortured by the insurgents were freed the day of their scheduled execution.

If US and Coalition forces have killed or captured such a large number of insurgents, if Osama bin Laden is dead, (or so it appears), if al Qaeda is fracturing, if Iraqi Sunni and Shi'a are turning their backs on the death cult... then isn't it about time Harry Reid recanted and apologized for his premature defeatist pronouncement that the Iraq war is lost?

More Developments In Troop Bashing

As mentioned here yesterday, the recent spate of shameful military bashing rhetoric has become more acute. However, investigations in the Blogosphere into the scurrilous allegations continue:

TNR's Shock Troops

Instapundit notes:

SCOTT THOMAS AND JAMIL HUSSEIN: Some sensible thoughts at The Mudville Gazette. "The New Republic's new 'war hero' is not exposing bad behavior of others that's condoned by his seniors - he's confessing to that behavior himself. Since the New Republic won't release his identity, we can only conclude that either they support this sort of behavior by US troops or know that he isn't one. Neither option speaks well for anyone involved."

Hot Air has more on the TNR controversy, and how the New York Times scrubbed its own story.

Even more from LGF, which asks "Is the Times correcting a mistake, or trying to run interference for the New Republic? It’s long past the point where I’d give them the benefit of the doubt and assume the former."

Powerline also weighs in on the New York Times' "fix."

A response to the TNR story by a US Army Officer can also be found here.

Blogger John Barnes thinks the pseudonym "Scott Thomas" belongs to an MFA writing student.

Finally, Michelle Malkin rounds up developments, and relates a story of the sneering Peter Beinart, editor of The New Republic, and what he said when conservative talk show hosts headed to Iraq to see the situation on the ground themselves:
“This is the most pathetic thing I’ve heard in a long time. They should be ashamed of themselves,” Peter Beinart, editor of left-leaning The New Republic magazine, said.

“They have no idea what journalism is, and to pretend they are journalists is laughable,” Beinart said. “You do not achieve victory by not facing reality. I think these are the kinds of people that will lead us to lose there.”

Also, from Monday, this scathing critique of The Nation piece by Chris Hedges, which I somehow missed until today:
** Technically, as a reader notes below, abusing a corpse in military as well as civilian life is a crime. In this case, I’d apply the legal principle of who cares? The Nation article, at least before I got bored with reading about low-grade offenses, was short on offenses that couldn’t be addressed with a simple “cut that out,” or improved intelligence. I’d add that the reader, a dear old friend, falls into the “genocide preferred” camp, as he would prefer Saddam Hussein (genocide tally 500,000 to 1.5 million, depending how you count) were still in power. That might explain the failure to appreciate that war-stressed soldiers goofing with a corpse, while distasteful, is not a big deal. Unlike, for example, this or this. This is the kind of thinking that has people convinced the United States is practicing torture, illegal detention, illegal wiretapping and wholesale trampling on rights, exercised over same illusions while ignoring threats posed by our enemy and taking for granted vile actions of same.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Call Of Duty


While left-leaning publications are busy investigating every real or perceived wrongdoing, misstep, cough, sneeze and hiccup by our fighting service men and women, including trumped up allegations based on hearsay supplied by anonymous sources, there are a number of writers more interested in the positive stories of triumph, honor, and dedication of our troops.

In The 9/11 Generation, Dean Barnett writes that:

"Once again, history is calling. Fortunately, the present generation appears more reminiscent of their grandparents than their parents."

Barnett goes on to tell the story of a number of men and women who have volunteered for military service because of their personal and patriotic beliefs. He also follows up his piece here at Hugh Hewitt's Blog.

Barnett's words stand in stark contrast to those of Steve Lopez, writer for the L.A. Times. Lopez recently wrote a piece in which he recounted his criticism of his own nephew's decision to join the Marine Corps. Lopez told his nephew that his decision was "uninformed," as if only a journalist of the caliber employed by the L.A. Times would possess the wherewithal to make a decision of such gravity.

When an individual makes a personal decision to join the armed forces, especially during a time of war, friends and relatives understandably walk a fine line between gentle disagreement and offensive condescension. It nearly impossible to think that an individual would even deign to join the military without at least some feeling of honor, or sense of sacrifice. To think that a person would sign away up to eight years of his or her life for a bonus check or misguided bravado is a ridiculous notion.

Rather, anyone who wears the uniform representing our country's military cannot but stand tall with pride and dignity. Answering the call of duty for the good of one's family, friends, neighbors, country, and way of life is not a task to be undertaken lightly.

No article, Op-ed, or opinion piece can tinge the gallantry of our men at arms.

They Love To Hate The Troops


This past week, the Blogosphere has been filled with more posts and commentary than usual on an the question of reporting on the troops.
I. Shock Troops...
Gateway Pundit has a roundup of the biggest controversy - Busted!... New Republic's "Shock Troops" Shocker Is BOGUS!, the New Republic "Shock Troops" fairy tale:
"Today it was confirmed that the New Republic's reports were just another bogus liberal attempt to harm our military. -Figures!"

Powerline compares The New Republic's piece with criticism and analysis by the New York Times:

We don't know yet whether Thomas's article is fact or fiction. Foer may yet produce facts that substantiate it. As I observed last week, however, TNR ran the article without much in the way of independent verification of the incidents recounted in it. Foer's comments in the Times article today amplify the point. Given the poor light in which they displayed our armed forces serving in Iraq, the incidents retailed by "Thomas" were self-authenticating in the eyes of TNR. "The editors" never seriously thought to question them.

Gateway Pundit also has the response from our military: MNF-Iraq Responds to The New Republic's "Scott Thomas" Tales
More also from Hot Air.

II. Haditha...
Let Freedom Ring has a few posts, with video, of Congressman Jack Murtha's shameful accusations against the Haditha Marines, of which he had not a shred of actual proof. (Incredulously, Murtha is a former Marine)

One of the accused Marines' fathers, Darryl Sharratt, is quoted after his meeting with Murtha:

At no time during the dialogue would Mr. Murtha acknowledge the impending exoneration of my son.

III. Killitary...

Little Green Footballs is right on top of a DailyKos post that mysteriously disappeared from the liberal Blog site - Killitary: How American's Armed Forces Create Serial Killers and Mass Murderers

More from Pat Dollard.

But Kos can't entirely be blamed... they were only regurgitating what The Nation wrote.

LGF also follows up with USA Today's interview of the author. His argument?
“It’s not my intention to denigrate the troops,” Corey Mitchell says. “It’s to help them when they get back.”

and
“The piece was completely misinterpreted by the readers,” he says. “I don’t know if that’s because I did a bad job writing it? ... My piece was pro-soldier all the way.”

Mitchell added a new preamble after all the criticism he got from "left- and right-wing blogs"
I decided to repost this after being excoriated by both left- and right-wing blogs. After speaking with various military personnel who read this post they assured me that it is very obvious and clear what I was getting at. The military trains people to kill and some of our men and women return home and don't receive the proper care to deal with the horrors of war or even the intensity of training. Not a single one of them thought I was trying to smear the soldiers or call them serial killers. They thanked me for pointing out a serious problem that gets overlooked by the military and needs to be dealt with.
And finally, also in the Nation: The Other War: Iraq Vets Bear Witness
Written by (courtesy LGF) - "Chris Hedges, author of the discredited anti-Israel article “The Gaza Diaries,” and ... none other than the daughter of Islamic Jihad kingpin Sami Al-Arian, Laila Al-Arian. Nice company they’re keeping at The Nation."
You can judge their forthright honesty. The full piece can be found here.

With such a glut of American Solder-hating diatribes going around, it would be nice to have someone show their love. Thankfully, DailyKos shows how it supports the troops:
I don’t like our troops, I don’t like what they’re doing, I don’t like their fat, whining families, and yet, I support them. Thank God I live in a free country. Thank You.

After all, the troops do owe us, right? Wrong. We owe them... more than harsh words, libelous hyperbole, or shameful denigration of their actions and honor in the battlefield.


Update: More from The Shiled of Achilles

Update: Continued coverage from LGF

Update: Dean Barnett continues his commentary - They Grey Lady Waddles In

Pit Stop



A KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft from Grissom Air Reserve Base, Ind., refuels an F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft from Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, while flying over the Pacific Alaska Range Complex during exercise Red Flag-Alaska July 16. During the multi-national training exercise, pilots fly various aircraft under simulated air combat conditions. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Shawn J. Jones)


(Courtesy BlackFive)

Russian Diplomacy

...as my father called it.

NATO jets tail Russian aircraft for second time in a week

RAF MILDENHALL, England — For the second time in less than a week, NATO air forces scrambled fighter jets on Friday in response to Russian aircraft straying toward — and allegedly into — British airspace.

Officials from Norway and Britain confirmed Friday they dispatched fighter jets four days after a contingent of Norwegian F-16s and British Tornados shadowed a set of Russian aircraft traveling toward British airspace.


The Russians are cranky over their expelled "diplomats" (read: Attaches, spies) because of the egregious poisoning death of Alexander Litvinenko.

The Russian reaction is infantile and futile.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The AP Highlights Blitzer's Greatest Hits

CNN carried a story this morning from the AP which recounted Wolf Blitzer's recent spat of interviews gone wrong: Lynne Cheney, Dick Cheney, and most recently Michael Moore.

The AP writes:

It's less a reflection on the 59-year-old CNN host than on the growing occupational hazard for people like him: the interview subject who's ready to pick a fight.

Moore was seething before Blitzer even asked anything on the July 9 appearance. CNN had preceded the interview with a taped report by Dr. Sanjay Gupta alleging Moore had fudged some facts in "Sicko."

The AP story seems excessively defensive of Blitzer. In fact, it smacks a bit of the media excusing its own.

After all, what can one say of Blitzer, other than he must simply be the most unfortunate television journalist ever? His garbled responses to the angry fulminations of his irked guests are weak, pathetic and defensive. The man can hardly stand up for himself, whether he is deserving of the diatribe he receives or not.

The AP continues:

Yet it may seem hostile to an interview subject -- or be made to seem hostile -- simply because public figures now understand there are so many more opportunities to bypass the Wolf Blitzers of the world.

They could appear on television or radio formats judged ideologically sympathetic, ranging from Rush Limbaugh to "Air America." They could choose hosts -- CNN's Larry King immediately comes to mind -- who primarily lob softballs and let their subjects talk. Or they could use the Internet and cut out the middleman entirely.


There is a reason Larry King does not get yelled at, just as there is a reason why Wolf Blitzer is a crash test dummy. When you have a show called 'The Situation Room,' in which hyperbolic journalism is practiced on a daily basis, what else can one expect? Just ask the former hosts of Crossfire:


Jon Stewart on Crossfire

Posted Oct 15, 2004

Jon Stewart browbeats the Crossfire hosts for their "partisan hackery." Many suspect this now-legendary appearance prompted CNN to remove the show from their line-up.

Unbelievable Bravery And Progress

This should make anyone proud to be an American:

LT. GEN. ODIERNO: Yeah, thanks, Bryan. I would like to make a statement here very quickly, just to conclude.

As you all know — and I know they make you proud, too, but all the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines of the coalition continue to make me extremely proud every day as I watch them execute an extremely complex and difficult mission under very tough conditions, especially now, in the summer, where it’s 125 degrees during the day. And not a day goes by that their bravery, dedication and professionalism is not highlighted to me.

Late last month I was provided with yet another example just how extraordinary these fine young men and women truly are. Just south of Ramadi, a patrol from Charlie Company, 177 Armor, was engaged with sustained automatic weapons fire. Attack helicopters and close air support were dispatched to engage an enemy that was firmly entrenched, well-armed and determined.

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.

Such courage and bravery is seldom seen in today’s world, but it’s what I have come to expect from the amazing men and women here in Iraq. This is not just a story of valor, however; it has what has become known as the Battle of Donkey Island. The soldiers of 177 Armor were fighting a large AQI element attempting to undertake a series of spectacular attacks within Ramadi. Those found were housed in a large tractor trailer accompanied by a second trailer filled with weapons. They were dressed in white dishdas (ph), running shoes and were found amongst a large cache of suicide vests.

The nature of their journey was very telling. No longer were they able to take a direct route into what was once a stronghold for them. These fighters were forced to take drastic measures to get even five kilometers outside of the city. They were forced to do this because, along with our Iraqi partners we have drastically increased presence throughout the theater. The plus-up has allowed us to find, fix and destroy the enemy at places like Donkey Island before it was able to inflict its violence on the Iraqi people.

After one month increased operations and patrols, we are now beginning to feel the full effects. Cache by cache, operation by operation we are diminishing the enemy’s ability to operate. There will come a time when we’ll truly be able to leave the responsibilities of security to the Iraqis, but until that day comes, there is still work to be done.

With the progress that has been made over the last few months of this operation, that day may not be far — too far into the future, but we are not yet there. But the Iraqi people have shown they believe the time is now to bring this country together and move to a more peaceful future.

Recently, my sergeant major visited a Marine unit on the outskirts of Ramadi when he struck up a conversation with a young lance corporal. This young Marine was on his second deployment in his many years in the Marine Corps. When asked what his first tour was like in the same area, he explained how they fought from the day they arrived until the day they went home. He went on to say that the deployment this time was entirely different, witnessing rebuilding projects, more Iraqi security forces, more normal, daily routines and a dramatic improvement in the security situation.

He then looked at my sergeant major and asked, “We’re not going to be given enough time to finish this, are we, Command Sergeant Major?”

I’ll just end it with that. I hope that that young Marine warrior is wrong. Thank you for your time, and I appreciate having the opportunity to talk with all of you. Thank you.

MR. WHITMAN: Well, General, thank you for yours and for the full hour that you’ve given us and for your constant support of this program and making your subordinate commanders available to us. And we hope to have you again very soon. Thank you.

LT. GEN. ODIERNO: Okay. Thank you.



Courtesy Pat Dollard

Nowhere To Run

"Aerial footage of a sniper running from his firing position to his vehicle, and subsequent engagement by Coalition forces."




(Courtesy MilBlogs)

Obama The Hypocrite

July 2007:

SUNAPEE, N.H. (AP) - Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama saidThursday the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn’t a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there.


December 2005:
Obama also has accused the Bush administration of doing too little to stop the murderous policies of the Sudanese government toward the people of Darfur. In an article in December 2005, he went so far as to urge the deployment of "a U.N.- or NATO-led force."


Details, details.

Friday, July 20, 2007

al Qaeda Loses Its Grip

No, of course there is no al Qaeda presence in Iraq...



Being thanked by Iraqis:

Late last week while I was visiting Diyala province, a citizen in Baqubah relayed to Colonel Townsend, the Stryker Brigade commander there, “You have liberated us from the hold of al Qaeda.” Baqubah joins a growing list of cities like al Qaim, Haditha, Hit, Ramadi, Habbaniya, Fallujah, Abu Ghraib, and Arab Jabour area that have been liberated from al Qaeda control over the past seven months.


Real Progress:
My observations and the indicators include that the Iraqi people are clearly rejecting al Qaeda and assisting coalition forces and Iraqi force in liberating their towns and villages, large numbers of Sunni tribesmen volunteering for the police as well as the army, a decrease in sectarian violence and displacement of individuals, willingness of armed groups to establish and observe cease-fires with coalition forces and Iraqi security forces.

Some displaced families are returning to their homes; growing confidence and professionalism of the Iraqi army; decreased effectiveness of militias operating in and around Baghdad; an increased sense of security by residents in several different locations inside of Baghdad, in Baqubah, Al Anbar, and specifically the Arab Jabour region; a significant increase in intelligence provided to coalition forces and Iraqi security forces at our joint security stations and combat outposts, as well as Iraqi command-and- control headquarters; improved confidence that the Iraqi people are starting to have more confidence in their own army . As a result, hundreds of extremists are no longer available to terrorize the innocent people; and thousands of Iraqis are better off today than they were just a month ago. Iraqis can be proud of their army and their police, but there’s still some ways to go, and we all know that.

I also want to highlight, though, that the Iraqi security forces do in fact continue to grow and get better. They have shown a willingness to fight and take casualties, which has not always been the case. They have greatly improved their tactical proficiency and have placed more effective command-and-control structures in place, such as the Baghdad Operational Command. Their special operational forces are operating side by side with coalition forces throughout the country.
Recruiting continues to be strong, and manning of the units continues to increase. Professionalism, discipline and esprit de corps continue to improve. Their ability to conduct independent operations increases and continues to be done across the country.

By the numbers:

To date, we have conducted over 85 battalion-level operations, a 50 percent increase over the same one-month timeframe last year. We’ve fired over 300 precision-guided munitions. Almost 600 caches have been found and cleared, over 1,300 IEDs have been found and cleared, over 25 VBIEDs have been found and cleared and eight vehicle factory borne IED factories have been dismantled. Attacks, casualties and IEDs have all decreased since the start of Phantom Thunder.

Over 175 high-value individuals were either killed or captured since 15 June. These high-value targets include the capture of a suspected senior al Qaeda operative with possible ties to the June 2006 and May 2007 abductions of coalition forces, and the downing of a helicopter in April 2006.

(Courtesy, Pat Dollard.)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

"Superficial Thinking"

Iraq's Ambassador to the U.S., Samir al-Sumaidaie weighs in on U.S. Withdrawal.

Reporter:

What do you say to an American that is listening and following the news, who says, we went over there on some very bad intelligence, it hasn't worked out the way our leaders said it would, the time pressures on our military and the time pressures on your political leaders do not square – we're going to run out of strength before you've got enough of a reconciliation going – and it might be best for Americans, it might be best for Iraqis, as well, for America just to get out of there.

Ambassador al-Sumaidaie:
This is superficial thinking. Let's be fair. Historians will argue about whether it was right or wrong, justified or not justified to go into Iraq. However, we are now dealing with a situation which was created to a large extent by this intervention. To have created a mess and to turn around and walk away from it, apart from the fact that it is immoral in my view, it is not without a price. The price will be a destabilized Middle East, rampant international terrorism, which is bound to visit you here at home sooner or later. So some clear thinking has to be made about the price of these decisions.

The ambassador's comments surely stand in stark contrast to comments made by Democratic Senator Harry Reid, or even the liberal Blogosphere which insist Iraqis do not want us there.

Harry Reid, his friends in the Senate, the anti-war coalition, and the liberal Blogs should take note of the seasoned, widely respected voices in the media, even if they may disagree. It is easy to understand why one would not want to take the word of the Iraqi Ambassador, for his self-interest is perhaps inextricably linked to the government's survival.

But what about New York Times Baghdad Bureau Chief John Burns?
JOHN BURNS: Well, I think, quite simply that the United States armed forces here -- and I find this to be very widely agreed amongst Iraqis that I know, of all ethnic and sectarian backgrounds -- the United States armed forces are a very important inhibitor against violence. I know it`s argued by some people that they provoke the violence. I simply don`t believe that to be in the main true. I think it`s a much larger truth that where American forces are present, they are inhibiting sectarian violence, and they are going after the people, particularly al-Qaeda and the Shiite death squads, who are provoking that violence. Remove them or at least remove them quickly, and it seems to me -- controversial as this may seem to be saying in the present circumstances, while I know there`s this agonizing debate going on in the United States about this -- that you have to weigh the price. And the price would very likely be very, very high levels of violence, at least in the short run and perhaps, perhaps - perhaps for quite a considerable period of time.


and
But it seems to me incontrovertible that the most likely outcome of an American withdrawal any time soon would be cataclysmic violence. And I find that to be widely agreed amongst Iraqis, including Iraqis who strongly opposed the invasion. And especially amongst Sunnis, a minority who ruled here, whose power was usurped by the invasion and who now find themselves facing Shiite militias and 350,000 man and woman Shiite-led Iraqi security force, that`s to say army and police, which is overwhelmingly Shiite and would be likely, first of all, to disintegrate in the face of a civil war, but with its principal units falling on the Shiite, not the Sunni side of that war.


Will Congress listen to the cautious, prudent voices on the ground in Iraq? Or will they further only their own self-interests, for the sake of political gain?

The Pot Calls The Kettle Black

Think Progress is whining again: Washington Times Propagates False Headline: ‘Senate Rejects Iraq Pullout’

Rather, the post argues, the vote was to end a conservative filibuster.

Therefore, the headline should have read: 'Senate Rejects Democratic Vote To End Conservative Filibuster.'

Does that sound any better?

Speaking of false headlines, Think Progress should consider its own casuistry:

After Years Of Misleading Excuses, Pentagon Finally Seeks Lifesaving Vehicles For Troops In Iraq


The title of this post would lead one to believe that the Pentagon has never been in search of 'Lifesaving Vehicles For Troops In Iraq.'


This, of course, is a blatant lie. More on the armor controversy here, here, here, here, and here.

If Think Progress thinks the Pentagon has just begun building or procuring 'Lifesaving Vehicles' for our troops, its writers are grossly uninformed.

Update: Pentagon May Increase MRAP Purchase - "Delivery delays have spurred the Pentagon to consider ordering up to 20,000 more armored vehicles needed to protect U.S. soldiers from roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan." This doesn't exactly square with the headline by Think Progress that the Pentagon is "finally" seeking Lifesaving vehicles for the troops. Funny how those facts get in the way sometimes.

Update: A reader commented, noting further proof of misinformation with respect to armoring our troops.

Surviving An IED

In his latest post from the front, Michael Yon tells the tale of an amazing story of survival by a Stryker Brigade.

As the bomb detonated beneath it, the General Lee arced like a dolphin from the sea of Hell. LT Brad Krauss can be seen flying out like Superman, if you look closely and imagine real hard. PFC Devon Hoch can clearly be seen standing in the back hatch. And that was it. Our guys’ lives seemed to be reduced to propaganda. The terrorists published reports that the soldiers were killed.

But that’s not exactly how it turned out.


Read the rest here.

Failure Is An Option

Shockingly, the candlelight vigil didn't work. Maybe, as DailyKos says, "Because sometimes the price of love is peace." Jeez.

In response to the Democrats' latest repeated failure to pass any significant legislation limiting the President's war powers or schedule a withdrawal, Think Progress seems to report the failure as some sort of victory:

After forcing conservatives to stand all-night and filibuster the Levin-Reed Iraq redeployment bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has pulled the entire Defense Authorization bill from consideration on the Senate floor.

Democrats forced conservativs to stay up all night. The horror.

Yet, losing a debate about whether to lose a war or not hardly left Reid with people to blame for his shortcomings, and those of his party on this issue:
In his Senate floor speech, Reid blasted “a handful of dedicated obstructionists.”

Others saw it differently:
Calling it a "colossal waste of time," Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said the previous 24-hours of debate had been an "indignity" for the Senate.

We also saw the Senate Majority Leader's spiteful reaction to his utter loss: Reid Pulls Defense Authorization Bill Off The Floor, Vows To Return To Iraq Redeployment Legislation.

Meanwhile, many news agencies are commenting on the all-nighter as a stunt or political theater. It seems that even the press is disgusted with this Congress, and rightly so.

Gateway Pundit reminds us of a few reasons why Democrats should not be rushing to any sort of judgement that the war is a failure at this point. Because, while Congress fails its troops and the American people, legislating for defeat, our soldiers are making incredible progress by the numbers. Here are some reasons:

In Iraq- 45 out of Iraq's 55 Most Wanted have been captured or killed.

In the overall War on Terror- 18 of the top 25 Al Qaeda members have been captured or killed.

56 of the top 58 most wanted al Qaeda linked terrorists in the Saudi Kingdom have been killed or captured.


It's nice to know that someone is at least keeping track. If only the administration could rebuke its critics so poignantly.

No wonder it's the Worst. Congress. Ever.

Update: Media Matters also grasps at straws to point out a case in which a reporter's "bias" against the Democrats was visible. What a pathetically poor example.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

al Qaeda Denial Syndrome

DailyKos mocks: It's al-Qaeda, All the Way Down

I went to the dry cleaners this week, and some al-Qaeda laundry worker lost a button off my shirt. Then the al-Qaeda gas station had the prices back up to $3, and my al-Qaeda molar started to hurt, and I had to visit the al-Qaeda dentist. So I really just had an al-Qaeda of a day.

You think I'm overusing that term? Obviously, Bush does not agree.

Kos & Co. must be getting its intelligence from Barbara Boxer, who reduces the conflict in Iraq to a meager Civil War.

However, Bill Roggio, who is actually reporting from Iraq, sees it differently, as he debunks Malcolm Nance's views on the Iraq war: Al Qaeda and its role in the Iraq insurgency
The attempts to minimize the role played by al Qaeda in Iraq in the larger Sunni insurgency took a significant step over the past week. Clark Hoyt, the public editor of the New York Times, claimed that the media had become complicit in the government's attempts to paint the entire Sunni insurgency with an al Qaeda brush. Also this week, Malcolm Nance published an article at the Small Wars Journal claiming al Qaeda is being given too much credit for the violence in Iraq. In the article, titled "Al Qaeda in Iraq--Heroes, Boogeymen or Puppets?," Nance claims al Qaeda is but a bit player in the Iraqi insurgency and is largely controlled by the Baathist remnants of Saddam Hussein’s regime. To Nance, al Qaeda is both a U.S. Boogeyman and Baathist Puppet.

If taken seriously, these theories are likely to have a significant impact on the political battle over the war in Iraq as it is played out back here in the States. I took a look at the major points advanced by Nance and found his argument to be unpersuasive. Nance makes several factual errors and contradicts himself on several important points. And he fails to recognize the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq, the continually evolving nature of the Sunni insurgency and our understanding of it.

His theory that the insurgency is dominated by Baathist Former Regime Leaders (FRLs) was popular circa 2003-2004, and has long since been discredited. While Baathists and Former Regime Elements certainly play a role in the insurgency, their influence has diminished over time as al Qaeda and its puppet Islamic State of Iraq have coopted significant elements of the Sunni Insurgency.

al Qaeda by the numbers:
Finally, the numbers. Nance claims al Qaeda in Iraq has only 1,500 members. While this may be true for the number of foreign fighters inside Iraq, al Qaeda has successfully “Iraqified,” as was demanded by al Qaeda's senior leadership. Last fall Abu Ayyub al Masri, the leader of al Qaeda in Iraq and the minister of defense in the Islamic State or Iraq, claimed to have over 12,000 fighters, with another 10,000 in training. He also admitted to taking over 6,000 casualties over the course of 2006. Even if we accept al Masri is spewing propaganda and inflating numbers, (though intelligence officials I spoke with take al Masri’s numbers seriously) al Qaeda in Iraq’s numbers are far greater than 1,500. Nance focuses on the foreign fighters at the exclusion of Iraqi members.

and
U.S. troops on the ground have an understanding of the difference between al Qaeda, local insurgents, criminals and the plight of the villages and cities in the grip of al Qaeda.

Read the rest. Senator Barbara Boxer should do the same.

In related al Qaeda-is-really-in-Iraq-news, the U.S. confirmed the Islamic State of Iraq is an al Qaeda front and that its leader does not really exist. The military has also discovered that Abu Omar al-Baghdadi is a "contrived entity." Hot Air and Pat Dollard have more on how al-Mashhadani, the captured al Qaeda leader, is "singing like a bird."

Add to this news the Assault on al-Qaeda strongholds:
Baghdad - Thousands of US and Iraqi troops launched a massive assault on al-Qaeda strongholds south of Baghdad on Monday in a bid to stem the flow of weapons into the Iraqi capital, the US military said.

Add more news that Marine General Peter Pace: US Weighs Larger 'Surge' in Iraq, and add the conviction of our troops, such as Major General "we're staying" Rick Lynch... and the picture for al Qaeda does not look very bright in the coming months.

But talk to DailyKos, or a Democratic Senator, and you'll just get an earful about a lost war, a civil war, and what the troop's families deserve. You won't hear about the real threat on the ground, and you certainly won't hear many stories about the bravery of our service men and women.

Instead, political excuses for an expedient exit will be bandied about, at the expense of Iraqi lives, the region's security, and American strategic interests.

Getting Closer to "Star Wars"

Former Spook writes of

Saturday's test flight by the U.S. Air Force's Airborne Laser (ABL), which is designed to shoot down ballistic missiles during their boost phase.


High-energy oxygen-iodine laser
To simulate an intercept, the prototype Airborne Laser actively tracked an airborne target, compensated for atmospheric turbulence and fired a "surrogate" for a missile-zapping high-energy laser, according to the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, which is funding the project. The successful test clears the way for the next phase of ABL development, installing a high-energy oxygen-iodine laser, and eventually, firing the weapon against a simulated missile target. That test is now scheduled for August 2009.


Who is our near peer competitor in this arena? I can't think of one.

National Review's Caliphate Intelligence Estimate

Trouble in Paradise...

James Robbins:

“The U.S. Threat to the Jihadist Homeland”
Caliphate Intelligence Estimate
Compiled by Abdullah Abu Abdullah, Director of Caliphate Intelligence
Classification: Top Secret, Code Word [redacted], Eyes Only

Prepared for Osama bin Laden, Amir al-Mu’minin, and the Shura Council of the Caliphate.

...

Key JudgmentsWe judge the Caliphate will face a persistent and evolving Crusader threat over the next three years. The main threat comes from Western military and intelligence services, especially the United States, driven by their undiminished intent to eliminate the Caliphate and a continued effort by these countries to adapt and improve their capabilities.


Read more here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Candlelight Vigil To End The War

Barbara Boxer was on a roll today during NPR's All Things Considered:

She begins by calling Robert Siegel David.

When Siegel says:

"I assume bringing out the cots means that there will be a debate on it, but we seem to know what the outcome is, what's the point of having a debate over an amendment that will not receive cloture?"

Boxer pulls the sympathy card, and then the 'Civil War' card in prompt fashion:

"The American people deserve this debate, and our fighting men and women deserve this debate, and their families, and the wounded."

"Our Iraq amendment.. the only one that will start redeploying our troops out of a Civil War, and will change the mission for our troops."


Has she done any research into the complexities of the enemy we are fighting? The al Qaeda captured and killed by our troops? Iranian involvement? The Anbar awakening? Our troops who want to stay and fight? The terrorists' hatred of freedom?


Give peace a chance... legislation by Candlelight vigil:

"We're also having a vigil tonight. And this vigil, I think is going to be very, very moving."

And as a finale, she descends into what I can only describe as Crazy Talk:

"Look, I never speculate as to how I'd vote down the road. I just know what's facing me in the next several hours and through the night. This is the only one, the only amendment, that will get our troops out of the middle of a Civil War... where they really don't know where the enemy is, who the enemy is, who's gonna fight them, who's gonna kill them, who's gonna wound them, who's gonna blow up an improvised explosive device... near their... brain, so they will never be the same, and - you know, it's all fine that Senators Warner and Lugar and I have deep respect and admiration... I'm very good friends with them. I think it's good that they're doing what they're doing, but it doesn't change a thing on the ground."

How does she know it's a Civil War if the troops 'don't even know who they are fighting?' Has she watched at least one of the Pentagon's Multi-National Force-Iraq briefings which detail al Qaeda's clear involvement in Iraq? Has she heard Zawahiri's most recent video which makes it abundantly clear what al Qaeda's intentions are?

Those are rhetorical questions, I already know the answer.

Update: DailyKos covers the 'Candlelight Call To Action' outside the Capitol building, which Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi used for a fulminating photo-op. Surely, this will turn the tide of the war in favor of the defeatist Democrats.

Moore is all for the pull out.. of his fight with CNN

Instapundit links to a Tim Blair post about someone who "cut and ran." Blair notes our LONG NATIONAL NIGHTMARE OVER and quotes from the Washington Post:

“Sicko" filmmaker Michael Moore called a truce Monday in his weeklong fight with CNN that flared when the network accused him of fudging facts in his popular documentary about the health-care system.

This, after he promised to become CNN's "worst nightmare."

CNN also has the video of an exchange on Larry King between Moore and Dr. Sanjay Gupta on July 11th. The split screen showing Moore's grimaces during the re-play of Gupta's report are notable.

After the segment was replayed, Gupta remains calm and conciliatory toward Moore, too much so, I would say. Note the dichotomoy in self control between Gupta's calm demeanor while Moore is speaking, versus Moore's head-shaking, face-making, smirking, mocking expressions and tone when it is Gupta's turn to speak. Bully.

By the end of the segment, Larry Kings says "Go" to Moore, prompting him to refute the facts Gupta calmly spelled out. Moore, for once, was tongue-tied.

A Shot From 7,000 Miles Away


The Bismarck Tribune reports:


BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AP) -- The airplane is the size of a jet fighter, powered by a turboprop engine, able to fly at 300 mph and reach 50,000 feet. It's outfitted with infrared, laser and radar targeting, and with a ton and a half of guided bombs and missiles.

The Reaper is loaded, but there's no one on board. Its pilot, as it bombs targets in Iraq, will sit at a video console 7,000 miles away in Nevada.



INDIAN SPRINGS -- Commanders at Creech Air Force Base launched a new era of aviation history Thursday, activating an attack squadron for the remotely piloted MQ-9 Reaper spy plane, a big brother of the MQ-1 Predator that can fly faster and higher and drop laser-guided bombs as well as fire missiles.

"The Reaper is like a Predator on steroids," Lt. Col. Jonathan Greene, commander of the 42nd Attack Squadron, said after the activation ceremony in a hangar where a Reaper with his name on it was parked, north of the base's main Predator complex.

Courtesy the tank.
Update: More from engadget on the Reaper.

"If it was ever about the oil, it's not now"

Catching up on my Michael Yon reading:

The big news on the streets today is that the people of Baqubah are generally ecstatic, although many hold in reserve a serious concern that we will abandon them again. For many Iraqis, we have morphed from being invaders to occupiers to members of a tribe. I call it the “al Ameriki tribe,” or “tribe America.”


and
Most Iraqis I talk with acknowledge that if it was ever about the oil, it’s not now. Not mostly anyway. It clearly would have been cheaper just to buy the oil or invade somewhere easier that has more. Similarly, most Iraqis seem now to realize that we really don’t want to stay here, and that many of us can’t wait to get back home. They realize that we are not resolved to stay, but are impatient to drive down to Kuwait and sail away. And when they consider the Americans who actually deal with Iraqis every day, the Iraqis can no longer deny that we really do want them to succeed. But we want them to succeed without us. We want to see their streets are clean and safe, their grass is green, and their birdsare singing. We want to see that on television. Not in person. We don’t want to be here. We tell them that every day. It finally has settled in that we are telling the truth.


First Anbar, and now Baqubah and surrounding areas. Sounds like progress. No wonder our guys are dancing in the streets with Iraqis.

And in the face of such success stories, Democrats are re-McGovernizing, as Bill Kristol has said.

Going Web Incognito 2.0


Yesterday on NPR, Brian Lehrer discussed online discussion, Blogs, comments, and anonymity.

Does anonymity on the Internet facilitate free speech, or drag discourse down to the level of the lowest common denominator? Ian Clarke, founder of The Free NetworkProject and the new website Thoof, and Andrew Keen, author of The Cult of the Amateur, debate the issue.

The show centered around two website founders debating the pros and cons of Blogging and commenting anonymously. Ian Clarke took the 'libertarian' view that one should have the right to publish online anonymously if one so chooses - and let the online 'market' or 'readership' sort it out.

Andrew Keen disagreed, contending that an informal, agreed upon standard should be introduced whereby all sites would require full disclosure of a writer or commenter's identity. Keen was quick to note, however, that he did not endorse legislation to this effect.

Perhaps one of the most notable recent occurrences of anonymous commenters gone wild are the vitriolic lamentations for the many missed opportunities by militants or blood clots to kill Vice President Dick Cheney found in The Huffington Post's comment section. Comments, such as:

3. So near and yet so far. Close but no cigar.
“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can... ”
Come on , little blood clot that could.
June 07, 2007 at 05:39pm PM EDT


18. Die *sshole.
June 07, 2007 at 05:54pm PM EDT



50. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, he dies!
June 07, 2007 at 06:27pm PM EDT


I called in to the Brian Lehrer Show and actually managed to throw in my two cents about the topic, but suffering from a moment of sheepishness, neglected to plug my own blog. Oh well.

It's an interesting discussion, and worth a listen.
Update: What about John Mackey's disgraceful behavior.