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Is there a Civil War still going on in Iraq? Perhaps.
But there is another Civil War brewing... within the Democratic party.
From the DailyKos: Promises, Promises...
The past few days haven't been kind to Senate Democrats. They had their asses handed to them on habeas corpus, the Webb dwell time amendment became a joke, and Feingold-Reid went down in flames, with each defeat prompting an, "oh well, let's move on."
"The NYT's editorial page is on a quest, along with all of us, for an effective Congress"
...that some Democrats, including presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, were complicit in the
smearing of General Petraeus, the Daily Kos Thanks Hillary for Calling Petraeus a Liar.
If that still isn't enough proof, Senator Clinton also voted against the Senate bill condemning the MoveOn.org ad which accused General Petraeus of betrayal. This should come as no surprise, considering the accusations the Senator made to General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker during the hearings:
"I want to thank both of you, General Petreaus, Ambassador Crocker, for your long and distinguished service to our nation. Nobody believes that your jobs or the jobs of the thousands of American forces and civilian personnel in Iraq are anything but incredibly difficult... Despite what I view as your rather extraordinary efforts both in your testimony both yesterday and today, I think that the reports that you provide to us, really require the willing suspension of disbelief."
TimesOnline: Big drop in sectarian killings since last year
Sheik Ahmed added ‘All of Anbar has to avenge the killing of the Sheik, within a year no one will hear of Alqaida any more.
The "progressive" CarpetBagger Report second guesses the decision to bar Ahmadinejad from Ground Zero:
I appreciate the fact that blogging does not lend itself to mixed emotions, which I admit to feeling in a case like this. My first instinct was to reflexively oppose Ahmadinejad’s request. The man is a dangerous nut, and it’s hardly a stretch to assume that he wants to appear at Ground Zero to improve his own image on the international stage. Given the hostilities between his country and ours, there’s no reason for the U.S. to accommodate his public-relations campaign. If Ahmadinejad wants to appear more responsible as an international leader, there are several constructive steps he can take in his own country.
But the more I think about it, the more I second guess this reaction.
[H]ere this man comes, to make an ostensibly good-faith gesture and to pay respects to our dead. Maybe he wants to help himself understand the magnitude of the tragedy so he can better understand why his country is under such a threat.
Is it really a ‘good faith’ gesture? Maybe not. Maybe it is just a stunt to make him look good. One thing is for sure…denying him the opportunity doesn’t make us look good.
Look, I realize Ahmadinejad is not a good guy and has said some scary things, but let’s get a grip. It’s not as if Ahmadinejad or Iran had anything to do with 9/11. He’s a Shiite Persian. Bin Laden is a Sunni Arab. They’re not allies. Never have been. They don’t even have similar goals or aims.
Moreover, don’t we want Muslim leaders to acknowledge the tragedy of 9/11? Doesn’t that help us? Whatever we think about Ahmadinejad, wouldn’t it be constructive to have a prominent Middle Eastern head of state, particularly one that is hostile to America, publicly acknowledge the horribleness of what happened on 9/11? We are, after all, supposedly engaged in a battle of ideas.
But this is all too complicated for today’s Republican Party. Apparently all that matters is that Ahmadinejad is an “Islamofascist” and therefore it is imperative that he not be allowed anywhere near Ground Zero.
If security and safety concerns make the visit impossible, all of this is a moot point. But as a matter of principle, it’s worth considering what the U.S. reaction should be if, say, there were no logistical concerns. After all, Ahmadinejad is a foe, but that hasn’t stopped the Bush administration from sitting down the Iranians to discuss Iraq policy. Doesn’t that mean we have some kind of diplomatic relationship with Tehran?
Among its many blunders: Videotaping decapitations, the overzealous killing of Muslims (resulting in Sunni's and Shi'ites rejecting its murderous ways), and of course perpetrating 9/11, which awoke the sleeping giant, al Qaeda has fumbled again.
Ayman al-Zawahiri, al Qaeda's number two "boasted that the U.S. was being defeated in Afghanistan, Iraq and other fronts."
Interesting that Zawahiri should state this position when Muslims in Iraq are now offering bounties for the capture of al Qaeda leaders.
But as Gateway Pundit noted, Zawahiri stole Harry Reid's talking points. In fact, he stole the Democrats' talking points on the war. In preaching America's defeat, Zawahiri is only reinforcing the well-established Democratic Party line, and strengthening the resolve of those who are determined to see through to victory.
When Zawahiri says:
"The Crusaders themselves have testified to their defeat in Afghanistan at the hands of the lions of the Taliban," he said. "The Crusaders have testified to their own defeat in Iraq at the hands of the mujahideen, who have taken the battle of Islam to the heart of the Islam world."
The No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq said Thursday that a seven-month-old security operation has reduced violence by 50 percent in Baghdad but he acknowledged that civilians were still dying at too high a rate...
On Thursday, Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno told reporters that car bombs and suicide attacks in Baghdad have fallen to their lowest level in a year, and civilian casualties have dropped from a high of about 32 to 12 per day.
For many in Washington, the biggest unanswered question from Army. Gen. David Petraeus’ high-profile, low-satisfaction testimony last week was not about military strategy but about political tactics. Why has the anti-war movement been unable to translate the clear public mandate they claim into any clear change in our government’s Iraq policy?
To most war opponents, the blame increasingly lies with the Democratic leadership in Congress, for not taking a hard enough line with President Bush and not fighting to cut off war funding. And their frustration is visibly bubbling over — the provocative group Code Pink, for example, has actually taken to protesting outside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s home in San Francisco in recent days.
But there is a growing feeling among many Democrats, particularly within the D.C. establishment, that just the opposite is true. They may not say it publicly, for fear of arousing the grass roots’ wrath, but the realist wing of the party seems to think the Democrats’ biggest problem on Iraq these days is not that there’s too much Bush Lite but that there’s too much Bush Left.
Under this view, too many anti-war activists, not satisfied with berating the president, have too often wound up behaving like him. They have gone beyond fighting back and holding the Decider accountable to adopting the same divisive, dogmatic and ultimately destructive style of politics that Democrats have been decrying for the past seven years, with the same counterproductive results.
...they realized they had a scrapbook of sorts of the lives of Auschwitz’s senior SS officers that was maintained by Karl Höcker, the adjutant to the camp commandant. Rather than showing the men performing their death camp duties, the photos depicted, among other things, a horde of SS men singing cheerily to the accompaniment of an accordionist, Höcker lighting the camp’s Christmas tree, a cadre of young SS women frolicking and officers relaxing, some with tunics shed, for a smoking break.
In all there are 116 pictures, beginning with a photo from June 21, 1944, of Höcker and the commandant of the camp, Richard Baer, both in full SS regalia. The album also contains eight photos of Josef Mengele, the camp doctor notorious for participating in the selections of arriving prisoners and bizarre and cruel medical experiments. These are the first authenticated pictures of Mengele at Auschwitz, officials at the Holocaust museum said.
Donal Kagan: Today's Defeatists:
The results of the recent change in leadership and strategy in Iraq have made it plain that the war there is not lost nor is defeat inevitable. And yet, the war’s opponents, even as the situation improves, have rushed to declare America defeated. They offer no plausible alternative to the current strategy and take no serious notice of the dreadful consequences of swift withdrawal. They seem to be panicked by the possibility of success and eager to bring about withdrawal and defeat before events make it too late.
In 1864 Lincoln changed generals, and undertook a more aggressive strategy, but the war continued to drag on. A hostile newspaper, wrote, “that perhaps it is time to agree to a peace without victory.” Like Pericles, Lincoln was assailed by attacks on his policies and by personal vituperation. At the Democratic convention in August 1864 a speaker told a crowd in the streets that Lincoln and the Union armies had ‘‘Failed! Failed!! FAILED!!! FAILED!!!!” The loss of life ‘has never been seen since the destruction of Sennacherib by the breath of the Almighty and still the monster usurper wants more men for his slaughter pens.”
The Democratic convention was dominated by the anti-war faction whom the Republicans called “Copperheads,” after the poisonous snake. According to their best historian, they were “consistent and constant in their demand for an immediate peace settlement. At times they were willing to trade victory for peace. One persistent problem for [them] was their refusal or reluctance to offer a realistic and comprehensive plan for peace.” Pressed by the Copperheads, the Democrats nominated a rabidly antiwar candidate for vice president and adopted a platform that called the war a “failure,” and demanded “immediate efforts” to end hostilities….” Their platform statement would permit abandonment not only of emancipation, but of the most basic war aim, reunion. Even New York’s Republican Party boss declared that Lincoln’s reelection was widely regarded as an “impossibility…The People [were] wild for Peace.” At the end of August defeat for the Republicans and the Union cause seemed inevitable, but Lincoln refused to seek peace without victory, saying that he was not prepared, to “give up the Union for a peace which, so achieved, could not be of much duration.”
No one would have predicted that within a matter of months the war would end with a total victory for the Union forces, slavery abolished and the Union restored, but events took an unexpected turn. A series of Union military victories changed the course of the war. The Democrats, having declared or predicted defeat were, as one historian has written: “Tarred as traitors, regardless of their actual positions on the war, Democrats were … roundly thrashed in November. In fact, the stench of treason clung to the Democrats for years; nearly a generation would pass before another Democrat, Grover Cleveland, occupied the White House.”
First, from the Jerusalem Post, Oops: 'Dozens died in Syrian-Iranian chemical weapons experiment'
Proof of cooperation between Iran and Syria in the proliferation and development of weapons of mass destruction was brought to light Monday in a Jane's Defence Weekly report that dozens of Iranian engineers and 15 Syrian officers were killed in a July 23 accident in Syria.
According to the report, cited by Channel 10, the joint Syrian-Iranian team was attempting to mount a chemical warhead on a Scud missile when the explosion occurred, spreading lethal chemical agents, including sarin nerve gas.
What's beyond question is that something big went down on Sept. 6. Israeli sources had been telling me for months that their air force was intensively war-gaming attack scenarios against Syria; I assumed this was in anticipation of a second round of fighting with Hezbollah. On the morning of the raid, Israeli combat brigades in the northern Golan Heights went on high alert, reinforced by elite Maglan commando units. Most telling has been Israel's blanket censorship of the story--unprecedented in the experience of even the most veteran Israeli reporters--which has also been extended to its ordinarily hypertalkative politicians. In a country of open secrets, this is, for once, a closed one.
As for the North Korean theory, evidence for it starts with Pyongyang. The raid, said one North Korean foreign ministry official quoted by China's Xinhua news agency, was "little short of wantonly violating the sovereignty of Syria and seriously harassing the regional peace and security." But who asked him, anyway? In August, the North Korean trade minister signed an agreement with Syria on "cooperation in trade and science and technology." Last week, Andrew Semmel, the acting counterproliferation chief at the State Department, confirmed that North Korean technicians of some kind were known to be in Syria, and that Syria was "on the U.S. nuclear watch list." And then there is yesterday's curious news that North Korea has abruptly suspended its participation in the six-party talks, for reasons undeclared.
Little known history, courtesy Bryan of Hot Air - Video: The Grand Mufti, the Nazis and modern Islamism
"It all sounds like a grand conspiracy theory, but it’s not: The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem before and during the WWII years, Haj Amin El Husseini, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood (founded 1928) aligned with the German Nazis in 1937 and recruited Muslim SS units in Bosnia during the war.
"...There are a few takeaway points from all this. First, the jihad didn’t start in 2001 or 1993 or 1983 or even 1979. It goes back quite a bit farther, and isn’t a response to US policies. Second, the jihadis work with secular allies when it suits them. The grand mufti worked hand in glove with Hitler; they would work with anyone else who could provide whatever they believe they need to achieve their goals. Third, the Muslim Brotherhood isn’t dormant or dead — it boast about 20% of Egypt’s parliament, for one thing — and it and its various offshoots are still working toward the goal of global Muslim domination."
A row of beds lies empty in the emergency ward of Baghdad's Yarmouk Hospital. The morgue, which once overflowed with corpses, is barely a quarter full.
Doctors at the hospital, a barometer of bloodshed in the Iraqi capital, say there has been a sharp fall in victims of violence admitted during a seven-month security campaign.
Last month the fall was particularly dramatic, with 70 percent fewer bodies and half the number of wounded brought in compared to July, hospital director Haqi Ismail said.
The number of foreign fighters entering Iraq from Syria has decreased noticeably in recent months, corresponding to a similar decrease in suicide bombings and other attacks by the group al-Qaeda in Iraq, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials. (via The Washington Post)
Shouting "Al Qaeda is the enemy of Allah!" Sunni mourners vowed to punish Al-Qaeda in Iraq for the murder of popular Pro-US tribal leader, Abu Risha, on Friday.
"A prominent Saudi cleric once praised by Osama bin Laden has published an open letter condemning Al Qaeda's violence. In the long letter published on an Arabic Web site, Cleric Salman al-Awdah calls on Mr. bin Laden to end the killing of innocent Muslims and others in terrorist acts in Iraq and elsewhere around the world."
“We are convinced that no modern problem has a military solution, and that applies to the Iranian nuclear programme as well”
Iran threatened to fire long-range missiles at American targets in the Middle East yesterday as the war of words between Teheran and the West continued to escalate.
A senior commander of the Revolutionary Guard, the largest component of the Islamic republic's armed forces, chose this moment to outline the capability of his country's ballistic missiles.
The Shahab-3 rocket has a range of 1,250 miles, allowing it to strike an array of Western targets across the Middle East.
"Today the Americans are around our country but this does not mean that they are encircling us. They are encircled themselves and are within our range," said Gen Mohammed Hassan Koussechi.
"The change of government in Paris has given French diplomacy a new and welcome dose of realism. Bernard Kouchner has made it clear that Gallic patience has come to an end where Iran is concerned. If Iran continues in its nuclear intransigence, Kouchner announced, the world must prepare for war
"...In stark contrast to the role played by the Chirac government, Nicolas Sarkozy has made it plain that he wants to work with the US on security concerns in the Middle East. Iran used to be a major client for French industry, just as Iraq once was under Saddam Hussein. France therefore has had influence in Teheran that neither the British nor the US have had, but their attempts to use it to curtail the Iranian nuclear quest came to naught.
"Their sudden support for keeping military options open may get some attention from the mullahcracy."
Stephen: Fine speech. Now what do we do?
William Wallace: Just be yourselves.
Hamish: Where are you going?
William Wallace: I'm going to pick a fight.
Hamish: Hope we didn't get dressed up for nothing.
Hot Air has the video: Rep. Jack Murtha confronted about Haditha accusations
And as Hot Air notes, it just so happens that the charges against another Marine got dropped today.
Gateway Pundit has more: Cold-Blooded Jeff Gannon Confronts Murtha on Haditha (Video)
Murtha Quickly Redeploys to the Next Question.Washington reporter Jeff Gannonconfronts "Cold-Blooded" John Murtha during a Congressional Press Conference yesterday on Capital Hill. Gannon asks Murtha if he will apologize to the Haditha Marines he slandered!
A 16-man assault team moved in, including four SAS snipers whose usual weapon is an AWS rifle with telescopic sights. Smaller than a standard sniper rifle and with a range of only 300 yards, its shot sounds like an air gun.
Three snipers would each target one bomber; the fourth was to take out any bomber who did not go down immediately. Behind the SAS a quick reaction force of paratroopers and bomb disposal experts waited.
In the rising heat of a July morning, the team lay hidden around the safe house. An Arabic-speaking intelligence officer, monitoring the voices inside, warned: “Targets preparing to exit.” The snipers readied themselves. When all three bombers were in clear sight, the commander gave the order to fire. The sniper rifles were barely heard as the bombers jerked and hit the ground.
THE usual number of UK special forces in Baghdad is close to 400 men: a single 60-man SAS “sabre” squadron; a company of paratroopers, Royal Marine commandos and RAF Regiment personnel from the Special Forces Support Group; a squadron from the Special Reconnaissance Regiment; and a squadron of radio monitoring experts from 18 (UKSF) Signal Regiment. They also have specialist signallers from 264 (SAS) Signal Squadron, specially fitted-out RAF Chinook helicopters from 7 Squadron and C-130 Hercules transport aircraft from 47 Squadron.
The US has about 47,000 “special forces”; but only about 1,200, including Delta Force and Seal Team Six, are comparable to British special forces units.
“The problem from the start was that operational training and procedures for the top UK and US special operations forces are vastly different,” one British source said.
In Iraq, British special forces aim to merge into the background, driving battered local cars and wearing cheap clothes bought in markets. They looked on aghast at their US colleagues who initially drove around in new Dodge pickups.
“We used to laugh when we saw the Americans around the green zone,” one source said. “They would be wearing designer jeans, heavy boots and T-shirts - that was their idea of local dress. To a man they would all have pistols strapped to each leg with black plastic holster and webbing, and of course they would be wearing the latest shades. We called it ‘living the dream’.”
Last week, ThinkProgress gloatingly reported that Admiral William Fallon, CENTCOM Chief, called General Petraeus a "chickenshit."
Well, it turns out those reports were totally bogus: Fallon denies animosity with Petraeus
Fallon was clearly irked by the stories about his supposed disagreements with Petraeus over the pace of that withdrawal and all-around disdain for the Army general published in outlets ranging from The Washington Post to various blogs. One story cited an unnamed senior official who said “bad relations” between Fallon and Petraeus was the “understatement of the century.” Another quoted Pentagon sources as saying Fallon openly derided Petraeus during their first meeting last March after Fallon took the CentCom reins.
The latter story particularly galled Fallon, who called it “scurrilous,” adding that the characterizations of a dysfunctional relationship with Petraeus are “just absurd.”
Incredulous Poll results flaunted by DailyKos: One Million-Plus Violent Iraqi Deaths (So Far)
This from a "respected British marketing firm."
Gauging Iraqi civilian deaths from a poll... Hmm, where have we seen this before?
If they weren't grasping at straws before, they are now.
By my (very) unscientific estimate, if you assume 5 years of war (a generous estimate) X 365 days a year = 1,825 days since the war began, and divide that number by the 1,220,580 deaths this poll claims, you come to:
For the record, Iran actually has two missiles capable of reaching Israel, the Shahab-3 (with a maximum range of 800 miles, and the recently-delivered BM-25, a North Korean derivative of the Soviet-designed, SS-N-6 submarine launched ballistic missile (maximum range: 1500 miles). The operational status of the BM-25 is uncertain; a German diplomat reported last March that Iran had acquired 18 disassembled missiles from North Korea, presumably with a smaller number of launchers. Iran has never conducted a test launch of the BM-25, so it's unclear if the missile would be available for operations against Israel and U.S. targets in the Middle East.
As for the Shahab-3, that system attained its initial operating capability less than three years ago, after a long and troubled development. Most estimates place the number of Shahab-3 airframes in Iran at no more than 40, with a launcher inventory of less than half that total. Obviously, the number of available launchers is critical, since it limits the number of missiles that can be fired at any given time. So much for that 600 missile salvo.
The Revolutionary Guards, or at least the al Quds force (which specialize in supporting pro-Iranian terrorists in foreign countries) is having a hard time in Iraq. With the collapse of al Qaeda in Iraq (because the Sunni Arabs turned on them), U.S. troops are now concentrating on Iranian supported groups. Coalition commando forces are specifically looking to capture as many al Quds operatives as they can. As a result of this, Iran has been pulling its al Quds people out of Iraq. Those that have been captured so far have given up embarrassing and damaging information.
the operation caught Damascus by surprise (there was apparently little reaction from Syria's air defense system); the Israelis inflicted serious damage on the target, and both the F-15I crews and the commandos escaped unscathed. Syria has threatened retaliation, but its options are limited.
Then, there's the matter of that commando team. If the Times is correct, those personnel arrived in the target area a day ahead of the fighters, inserted (we'll assume) by Israeli Sea Stallion helicopters. As we've noted before, the successful infiltration of a commando team by helicopter, deep into Syrian territory, is an impressive operational feat, indeed. But getting the commandos (and their choppers) all the way across Syria (and back again), undetected, represents a monumental challenge, even for a state-of-the-art military like the IDF.
"It doesn't really matter."
That sums up the collective coma.
The names of Brad Pitt's children, though? Well, that's easy.
Wretchard at The Belmont Club put it best:
I recalled the saying, in an earlier post, that everyone dies two deaths. The first is the physical death. The second and more lasting death is when the dead are forgotten
We learn that there is very good reason to doubt the most recent Osama bin Laden videos timed for release around the sixth anniversary of 9/11. The doubt does not stem from bin Laden's fake looking beard or nonsensical left-wing remarks.
Rather, it is because others have proven just how easy it is to create a phony bin Laden video. No wonder bin Laden's a miserable failure.
But there are far more shocking developments in the war on terror yet. This time - good news for the good guys. The Belmont Club writes: The Wizard War
The National Science Foundation's "Darkweb" project is developing a variety of technologies to automate what only a few online sleuths can do: find Jihadis online and track them, even when they post under different names. It can perform content and traffic analysis and "profile" the style of authors.
The Democrats were scared for a reason. They worried that Petraeus would impress the country as dispassionate and serious--which he did. He called Bush's troop surge no unqualified success, said that much work remains--but that Iraq has turned a corner; has achieved tangible, important results in its fight against terrorism and inter-sect violence since the surge began. It was a Democratic nightmare.
The US Marine Corps has proven again why it is the most feared fighting force on God's green earth. If Leonidas had 300 Marines it might have been a bit closer fight. One of the most stunning and beautiful things you should see is the USMC Silent Drill team. If you have not, you have cheated yourself. They are currently touring the US along with a group of Marines to share their stories about the Corps. Go see them.
It was reported last week that the U.S. confirmed Israeli air strike on Syria:
A US official has confirmed that Israeli warplanes carried out an air strike "deep inside" Syria, escalating tensions between the two countries.
The target of the strike last Thursday remained unclear but Israeli media reported that a shipment of Iranian arms crossing Syria for use by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah militia in Lebanon was attacked.
Israel would not risk war with Syria just to test out an air defense system that Iran might get. They would risk war to stop Hezbollah from rearming to the point where they would launch another attack on Israel and provoke another war in the sub-Litani region, and they would have every right to do so.
That the Syrians are closed lipped and not flooding the zone with "oh poor innocent us" footage and pics of stuffed animals from the site speaks volumes about what got hit.
This operation had been planned since the spring, when the facility first came to the attention of the Israelis. The Syrians had apparently bought North Korean technology and materiel at about the time that Kim Jong-Il had started to cooperate with the West on nuclear disarmament. Analysts believe that Kim either hoped to hide his work by sharing it with the Syrians or just get as much hard currency as he could grab through proliferation. No one doubts that the Syrians would love to have nukes, nor does anyone doubt where those weapons would go -- and Israel, as they did with Saddam Hussein's nuclear reactor at Osirak, decided to eliminate the threat before it reached fruition.
Canada's envoy John Von Kaufmann said that Iran's "deteriorating human rights situation" contravened its international and domestic obligations, citing "treatment of women as second-class citizens" and suppression of peaceful demonstrations for women's rights. The complaints were echoed by those of the European Union. But Iran's envoy, A. Eshragh Jahromi, said that Canada should have its own record scrutinized.
"Such comparisons are nonsensical," says Pat Maguire, Persian Gulf co-ordinator for Amnesty International in Canada. "The human rights conditions in Iran are appalling, and bear no resemblance to Canada's."
"...this is the really loud message -- the Arab world, taken as a whole, has responded with... silence. No other Arab government complained about the raid, forcing Syria to take its protest to the United Nations alone. No mobs poured into the famous "Arab street," no flags were burned, no cars torched, and no "rage boys" screamed into television cameras. The message to Syria and Iran could not have been more clear: The Arabs are far more worried about Iran and its satellites than they are about Israel."
By its actions, Israel showed it is not interested in waiting for diplomacy to work where nuclear weapons are at stake.
As a bonus, the Israelis proved they could penetrate the Syrian air defence system, which is stronger than the one protecting Iranian nuclear sites.
Obama wants American troops out of Iraq as soon as possible:
CLINTON, Iowa - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is calling for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. combat brigades from Iraq, with the pullout being completed by the end of next year.
If al-Qaeda hoped to win the Sunni tribes in western Iraq back to their banner, they severely miscalculated in their assassination of Sheikh Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha.
Instead of cowing his tribesmen and intimidating them back into submission, 1500 of them defiantly lined the road for his funeral, swearing revenge on AQI
Since September 11, the economy hasn’t suffered a single down quarter. In fact, it has notched 23 straight quarters of economic growth … Overall, the American economy is, adjusting for inflation, $1.65 trillion bigger than it was six years ago. To put that gigantic number in some perspective, the U.S. economy has added the equivalent of five Saudi Arabias, eight Irans, 13 Pakistans, or 15 Egypts, depending on your preference. And while 9/11 did cause the stock market to plunge, the Dow is 37 percent higher than it was on Sept. 10, 2001, creating trillions of dollars of new wealth for Americans. What’s more, the unemployment rate is 4.6 percent today vs. 5.7 percent back then. Not bad at all.
Like conspiracy theories surround 9/11, many will credulously swallow illogical, wildly outrageous rumors because they want to believe.
President Petraeus? Iraqi official recalls the day US general revealed ambition
The US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, expressed long-term interest in running for the US presidency when he was stationed in Baghdad, according to a senior Iraqi official who knew him at that time.
Sabah Khadim, then a senior adviser at Iraq's Interior Ministry, says General Petraeus discussed with him his ambition when the general was head of training and recruitment of the Iraqi army in 2004-05.
"I asked him if he was planning to run in 2008 and he said, 'No, that would be too soon'," Mr Khadim, who now lives in London, said.
Q The United States is not that helpless. It could have stopped the bombardment of Lebanon. We have that much control with the Israelis.
MR. SNOW: I don’t think so, Helen.Helen Thomas from NPR
Q We have gone for collective punishment against all of Lebanon and Palestine.
MR. SNOW: What’s interesting, Helen –
Q And this is what’s happening, and that’s the perception of the United States.
MR. SNOW: Well, thank you for the Hezbollah view.
The CarpetBagger Report, a professed liberal blog site, has some not-so-progressive rhetoric aimed at presidential candidate Fred Thompson:
"Thompson... looks like Shrek with liver spots. That may be enough to do him in."
...by al Qaeda.
Via Pat Dollard: Breaking: Leader Of Anbar Awakening Killed - Petraeus: “A Tragic Loss”
The most prominent figure in a revolt of Sunni sheiks against al-Qaida in Iraq was killed Thursday in an explosion near his home in Anbar province, police said. Abdul-Sattar Abu Risha was leader of the Anbar Salvation Council, also known as the Anbar Awakening—an alliance of clans backing the Iraqi government and U.S. forces.
The Muslim holy month of Ramadan has begun with a grim attack against the leader of the movement that actively opposes al Qaeda in Iraq. Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, the founder of the Anbar Awakening movement, was murdered in a car bomb attack outside of his home in Ramadi.
Sattar's murder is a serious blow to the Anbar Awakening and the fight against al Qaeda in Iraq beyond the borders of Anbar province. Sheikh Sattar has been instrumental in organizing tribal sheikhs and former Sunni insurgent groups such as the 1920s Revolution Brigades and the Mujahideen Army to band together and fight al Qaeda in Iraq.
An attempt at a mini, high-impact Tet. Important is the symbolism, that Al Qaeda can continue to operate in Anbar, even with security improvements. Though it has to be noted no one ever said Al Qaeda was utterly expelled from that province.
Today marks — yes, another Marine Corps anniversary — the 160th anniversary of the storming of Chapultepec (the castle defending Mexico City) during the Mexican-American War, 1847.
"...for the Marines, the taking of Chapultepec and ultimately Mexico City gave us two things:
- The first five words of our hymn: "From the halls of Montezuma, to the
shores of Tripoli ..."
- The "blood" red stripe along the seams of our dress-blue uniform trousers
(Marines don't wear pants).
The origin of the blood stripe is more tradition than fact. But we Marines heartily claim it. According to tradition, the blood stripe represents the blood shed by Marines storming Chapultepec. And the reason only corporals and above are authorized to wear the stripe is because there was such a high percentage of NCOs and officers killed in the taking of the castle.
It's Tim Johnson and Joe Lieberman's fault.
I'm not kidding.
That was Senator Harry Reid's contention today in an NPR interview.
First, the meandering, banal preamble:
NPR Reporter: "Democrats have tried and failed to pass resolutions mandating troop withdrawals, or timetables... What exactly do you plan to lay out in the coming weeks?"
Reid: "We're gonna continue to lay out for the American people the fact that we need a change of direction in the war in iraq. We clearly need that.
Reporter: "What specific change?"
Reid: "The mission needs to be changed, the mission needs to be changed. It needs to be changed by having American troops begin to start coming home in signifcant numbers, and that troops that are left there be used for counterterrorism, and protecting the assets we have there. And on a very limited basis, perhaps, and only on a limited basis, to help train Iraqis.
"Remember I've - I say that the Iraqis have been trained, and trained and trained - what we have from the president is continually: 'we need patience, we need patience.' Well, my patience has worn out, as has the patience of the American people."
Reporter: "So you've lost patience. Some wonder why the Democrats aren't more aggressive in making their next move."
Reid: "Make sure that everyone understands that listens to this program: We're in the majority, but it's a very slim majority. All the votes that have taken place to this point have been with Tim Johnson being sick. As a result of that, he's been recuperaing, he's back now and we hope to have him with us now.
"But, on the Iraqi issue, with Joe Lieberman, who votes with us on virtually everything else, voting with the Republicans, I'm in the minority. I have 49 Democrats, and there are 50 Republicans. So we have been in the minority, and I think we have fought very hard to have the President change course."
From Hugh Hewitt:
"They haven't accomplished what they hoped to do in Iraq"
"There's a reason why young Saudis leave the Kingdom to go fight the Jihad. Because they would rather fight it in their own country and that's the goal of al Qaeda. They want to train these young men, and then turn them against the regimes in their own countries.
"It's a mistake for the Saudis to not clamp down much stronger on these young men who are leaving the Kingdom and then joining the Jihad, but they're in a fix. They want to show their support for the Sunnis, and the Sunnis are under attack in Iraq, and so it's a real paradox for the Saudis."
But what do they have in common? Anti-Americanism.
Thirty years ago this month, Germany's Red Army Faction--better known as the Baader-Meinhof Gang--kidnapped Hanns-Martin Schleyer, president of the German employers' association, and murdered his driver and three bodyguards. Six weeks later, on Oct. 18, 1977, the RAF murdered Schleyer, too, after the West German government refused to give in to RAF demands for the release of its imprisoned leaders. That same day, three of those leaders--Andreas Baader, Gudrun Ensslin and Jan-Carl Raspe--committed suicide. Schleyer's body was found the next day in the trunk of a car, his mouth stuffed with pine needles. An RAF communiqué announced that "we have ended Hanns-Martin Schleyer's pitiful and corrupt existence. . . . His death is meaningless for our pain and our rage."
Islamism is a political doctrine no less than it is a religious one, and in its critique of Western society it is indistinguishable from the rhetoric of radical chic. "The capitalist system seeks to turn the entire world into a fiefdom of the major corporations under the label of 'globalization,' " says bin Laden in his latest sermon. He also manages to cite Noam Chomsky on the subject of "the manufacturing of public opinion," while scolding the Democrats for not putting a stop to the war in Iraq and the Bush administration for "not observing the Kyoto accord." Where have we heard this before?
Anti-Americanism is the common thread. The German terror plot of 2007 had as its targets the U.S. Air Force base at Ramstein and the Frankfurt airport, which thousands of Americans pass through on their way home. For its part, Baader-Meinhof detonated car bombs at U.S. military bases in 1972, 1977, 1981 and 1985. In the last of these attacks, RAF cadres Birgit Hogefeld and Eva Haule lured American GI Edward Pimental from a bar, murdered him, and used his ID to park a car bomb at the Rhein-Main air base. The bomb killed American airman Frank Scarton and civilian contractor Becky Bristol and injured 20 others.
When I went to Ramadan's event in the Palazzo d'Arco, I had just finished reading Osama Bin Laden's latest anniversary prose-poem. Here, too, are signs of an act being cleaned up. He brags of the murders of Sept. 11, of course (thus inconveniencing all those who attribute them to Mossad or some mysterious other agency), but he does not forget to cite Noam Chomsky, CIA maverick Michael Scheuer, and the Oliver Stone theory of the JFK assassination. He also exhibits concern for the global-warming crisis, the fate of American Indians, and even the recent collapse of the subprime mortgage market. Everything he says about the war in Iraq, right up to the affected concern for the civilian and military casualties, is presented as if he had hired one of Michael Moore's screenwriters as a consultant. Most unctuous of all, he reminds his audience that the Quran has a whole section in praise of the Virgin Mary, an ecumenical point that I had noticed before. (It is typical of monotheisms to plagiarize each other's worst features, from Abraham onward.) I think that this pitch is probably too crude and crass to work, but it's exactly the crudeness and crassness of Bin Laden that require the emergence of more "credible" middlemen to allay anxiety and offer reassurance. Only six years on, and already the soft mainstreaming of Islamic imperialism is under way.
...and 3 were killed.
Breitbart reports: Al-Qaida in Iraq takes heavy losses
BAGHDAD, Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Al-Qaida militants in Iraq have taken heavy losses in two joint U.S.-Iraqi raids north of Baghdad, the U.S. military reported Thursday.
In one operation involving more than 1,000 U.S. troops and Iraq Special Forces in the Hemreen mountain area and Diyala river valley, three al-Qaida fighters were killed and 80 others were arrested, the Army statement said.
The report said four of the arrested men are considered senior leaders in the terror group, Kuwait's KUNA news agency reported. U.S. air support was used to conclude the raid, after which a major weapons cache was found, the statement said.
Elsewhere in Salah Al-Din province, U.S. forces arrested 12 al-Qaida suspects and destroyed an entire house packed with explosives and weaponry, the report said.
...has hit it into high gear. The "news agency" Inter Press Service has published:
U.S.-IRAQ: Fallon Derided Petraeus, Opposed the Surge
By Gareth Porter*
WASHINGTON, Sep 12 (IPS) - In sharp contrast to the lionisation of Gen. David Petraeus by members of the U.S. Congress during his testimony this week, Petraeus's superior, Admiral William Fallon, chief of the Central Command (CENTCOM), derided Petraeus as a sycophant during their first meeting in Baghdad last March, according to Pentagon sources familiar with reports of the meeting.
Fallon told Petraeus that he considered him to be "an ass-kissing little chickenshit" and added, "I hate people like that", the sources say. That remark reportedly came after Petraeus began the meeting by making remarks that Fallon interpreted as trying to ingratiate himself with a superior.
That extraordinarily contentious start of Fallon's mission to Baghdad led to more meetings marked by acute tension between the two commanders. Fallon went on develop his own alternative to Petraeus's recommendation for continued high levels of U.S. troops in Iraq during the summer.
Gareth Porter (born June 18, 1942 in Independence, Kansas) is a U.S. Americanhistorian, investigative journalist and policy analyst on U.S. foreign
and military policy. A strong opponent of U.S. wars in Southeast Asia and the Middle East, he has also written on the potential for diplomatic compromise to end or avoid wars in Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, Korea, Iraq and Iran. He is the author of a revisionist history of the origins of the Vietnam War, Perils of Dominance:Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam.
IPS, civil society's leading news agency, is an independent voice from the South and for development, delving into globalisation for the stories underneath. Another communication is possible.
Listen to the commanders! But only if they suck up to Bush and the neocon's conceits and fantasies.
Using a schoolyard manipulation of General David Petraeus’ last name, MoveOn asked in a full-page advertisement whether this honorable commander would betray
his nation for the sake of a temporary political advantage. Calling the MNF-I commander “Betray-Us”, the Democratic activist organization accused the general of deliberately misreporting the results of the war effort to boost the Bush administration.
At Heading Right, I question who's betraying whom. I question MoveOn's patriotism. I suggest that MoveOn and the Democrats who support the organization would gladly commit character assassination of the lowest order against a man who has served this nation for decades in such an honorable fashion that the Senate voted unanimously to give him command of our forces in Iraq just eight months ago.
There were some brave and intrepid souls who endured every word of the six-anda-half hours of testimony before the House Armed Services and House Foreign Affairs Committees.
They offer no plausible alternative to the current strategy and take no serious notice of the dreadful consequences of swift withdrawal. They seem to be panicked by the possibility of success and eager to bring about withdrawal and defeat before events make it too late.
A well-known anti-war leader has gone public with the transcript of a private conference call that shows peace activists are exasperated with the Democratic congressional leadership and at a loss for a long-term strategy.
I've noticed that the mantra has gone from "listen to the generals" to "stop hiding behind the generals." Whatever. Jules Crittenden has related thoughts.
There was a drop-off for a couple of weeks, but we do not see a sign of that abating. The [Iranian] Quds Force have been pulled out of the country, as well as Lebanese Hezbollah trainers who were used in assistance [by Iran].
Frederick W. Kagan, writing in National Review:
As the debate over Iraq progresses, however, we must keep constantly in mind the perspective that the various generals bring to bear on the problem. The chiefs would be remiss if they did not advise the president and secretary of defense about the strains that this war — like all significant wars — put on the armed services. The commanders in the field would be failing in their task if they did not provide honest advice about what forces they need to win. The ultimate burden of decision falls upon the president. He must evaluate the relative danger of withholding necessary forces from commanders engaged in an important struggle against the damage that keeping more forces deployed for longer is doing to the military.
We're at war, aren't we? Not all Americans understand that. And though our voluntary military is not entirely made up of citizens looking to get revenge for 9/11, or to fight the war on terror, or to promote American democracy from the barrel of a gun, it's hopeful to see that some are that honorable, idealistic, and patriotic.
“Do you know the Weekly Standard magazine?” Captain Covey asked me.
“Of course,” I said.
“My buddy Tom Cotton was just written up there,” he said. “It was pretty cool seeing him in that magazine.”
“What did he do to get in the magazine?” I said.
“He’s like me,” he said. “He’s a Harvard Law grad who joined the Army after 9/11. I’m an attorney.”
“You’re an attorney?” I said. “What are you doing out here in Iraq?”
“I practiced law for three years,” he said, “then got into investment banking. When 9/11 happened I just had to sign up with the Army. Investment banking is a lot more stressful than this.”
“You’re kidding, right?” I said.
“No,” he said and laughed. “I am totally serious.”
Nothing spectacular, says Variety and Time Out Magazine.
From Time Out:
“The look of seemingly fly-on-the-wall footage can sometimes give a story a gritty immediacy — surely what De Palma is seeking — but it can also create an air of improvisation, playfulness and even comedy, and that’s what happens too often here — which isn’t very helpful when you’re trying to convey the real horror of a street-kidnapping or a decapitation. The greatest flaw is that the actors generally aren’t up to the task and so don’t convince as US soldiers — they play like actors playing US soldiers. Much of the film — bar a compelling episode at a reconstructed US army checkpoint where suspicious cars are checked or, too often, fired upon — has a rushed, unrehearsed air to it. One suspects that De Palma has mistook a lack of preparation with his actors for the path to convincing realism.”
Dean Barnett writes in the weekly Standard: The Lopsided Netroots - Why there's no conservative Kos:
Some people on the right fear that the left has developed an insurmountable advantage in harnessing the power of the Internet. While the Daily Kos, YearlyKos, and other bastions of online liberalism have clearly become power players, conservatives have no comparable entities. The right-wing blogosphere doesn't hold conventions, doesn't win the attention of candidates, and more important, doesn't move voters the way the progressive blogosphere does. The progressive blogosphere is a hotbed of activism; the most prominent outposts of the right-wing blogosphere stick to punditry.
"As he gazed around him the youth felt a flash of astonishment at the blue, pure sky and the sun gleaming on the trees and fields. It was surprising that Nature had gone tranquilly on with her golden process in the midst of so much devilment."
-Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage