Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"On the margins of their consciousness"

Wretchard of The Belmont Club writes:

I suspect that in the minds of many, the question will be begged. A large percentage of public policy debates are determined not by winning intellectual arguments but by forming attitudes. A friend of mine wrote in a private email that many people in his San Francisco office don't even think about the War on Terror or the fact that America hasn't been attacked by 9/11. All that is a hum on a distant planet; something on the margins of their consciousness. Arguments invoking the numbers of Iraqi Government divisions, the Anbar Awakening, etc might as well be a recitation of track lengths in a obscure railroad. A certain percentage of people have made their minds up. 'America has lost. The TV says so. And besides, so what?'

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Taliban meet USMC

"We've been waiting a while to get this going"

- Corporal Matt Gregorio
Marines from the 24th MEU

The first US Marines of a new expeditionary force were deployed in Afghanistan’s troubled Helmand province yesterday, promising new and more aggressive tactics in an implicit criticism of the British operation there.

And from Fox News:

"The feeling in general is optimistic, excited," said Moder, 34, of North Kingstown, Rhode Island. "They've been training for this deployment the last nine months. We've got veteran leaders."

Moder said that experience would affect how his men fight in Afghanistan. "These guys saw a lot of progress in Ramadi, so they understand it's not just kinetic (fighting) but it's reconstruction and economic development."

One Marine in Charlie Company, Cpl. Matt Gregorio, 26, from Boston, alluded to the fact the Marines had been in Afghanistan for six weeks without carrying
out any missions. He said the mood was "anxious, excited."

"We've been waiting a while to get this going," he said.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Reconsidering Bilal Hussein

Michael Totten on why the AP should reconsider its vigorous unquestioned support of accused terrorist conspirator Bilal Hussein:

I’m sure media companies are careful about who they hire, but it’s hard to make the right call every time in a bewildering and inscrutable place like Iraq. Terrorists and insurgents are and have been supported by a substantial percentage of the local population. It’s nearly impossible to build a firewall thick enough to keep them all out.

Even the U.S. military can’t do it. I spent a week with the 82nd Airborne at a small forward operating base in Baghdad where three thoroughly vetted translators were caught working for the enemy. If such people can infiltrate the Army, how much easier must it be to infiltrate the likes of the Associated Press and Reuters? The military is more motivated and more able to screen its employees than a multinational corporation. Media companies don't have the same caliber of intelligence assets, nor do newspapers and wire agencies depend on reporters, photographers, and stringers for their own security.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Killers, not resistance fighters

"Al Qa'eda came here saying they would give freedom," said Mr Abbas. "But they killed the innocent people and made problems between the Sunni and Shia. They are liars and terrorists, not resistance fighters."

Mr. Abbas, a leader of the Sunni Muslim "Awakening."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Free Tibet, America?

"Free Tibet, I mean, actually, I mention this in America Alone. It’s not really what the book’s about, but I just happened to mention it in passing. Free Tibet is the classic liberal cause. It’s the all-time great bumper sticker. You go to any college in America, they’ve got a Free Tibet society. Everyone’s got the bumper stickers. The left, God bless them, got the bumper sticker in 1957, they put it on the Ford Edsel, and every time they buy a new car, they peel the Free Tibet bumper sticker off and put it on the new car. It’s the quintessential liberal cause in that nothing has happened. Nothing is done. It’s a bumper sticker, and that’s where it ends, and Tibet is less free than it ever was, and in fact, has been comprehensively wrecked and undermined by the Chinese. Butthey don’t mind as long as they get their little bit of posturing out of it."

The above is Mark Steyn on Hugh Hewitt's radio show. We've been tryin got "free tibet" for how long?

I write this as a former card-carrying member of "Students for a free Tibet" back in high school.

Columnist to the world Mark Steyn, the Pulitzers, Petraeus, Iran

"...occasionally, people have talked about putting me in for a Pulitzer for this, that and the other, and it turns out an undocumented American can do almost anything in this country. He can get a fake driver's license and all the rest of it. But apparently, the Pulitzers still maintain, it's like an old-time country club. It's very hard to get into."

Mark Steyn on Hugh Hewitt, discussing his book, America Alone.

Here is Hugh later on in the show, making an excellent point about the Petraeus testimony:
"I’m struck by the fact that when he [Petraeus] goes about methodically telling people on the Hill that Iran is killing Americans, and it doesn’t seem to register, I mean, Joe Lieberman was on the program yesterday, and it registered with him, and it registered with some of the Republicans. But the fact that Iran is killing Americans doesn’t seem, Mark, to make an impression on Democrats."

Steyn responds:
"I think essentially, Iran is at war with us, and we’re pretending not to notice."

The first full-leg amputee ever to return to work in a war zone

Marine Gunnery Sergeant William Spanky Gibson returns to work in Iraq after losing a leg in combat.

That's one tough Marine.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Positive revisionism

VDH - Nothing Succeeds Like Success:

Such positive revisionism can take years to develop. Assessments from the battlefield must be digested, partisan distortions rectified, and volatile news cycles balanced by the more measured perspective that comes only with time.

John McCain's youngest son

...gets a New York Times bio:

By enlisting in the Marines, Jimmy seemed to be giving up his birthright. The Navy is, by reputation, the most aristocratic of the armed forces, the McCains among its most storied families. Now he would hold the lowest rank in a branch known for its grittiness. “The first time I heard he was going to be in the company, I couldn’t believe it,” said First Lt. Sam Bowlby, one of Lance Corporal McCain’s officers in Iraq.

The article also notes Senator McCain's reluctance to discuss his son's military career:
Mr. McCain did not speak publicly about whatever anxiety he may have felt about his son’s deployment

And Lance Corporal McCain's humility
Just before Jimmy’s departure, Mrs. McCain decided she had to see him one final time, according to Lieutenant Bowlby. With a few well-placed phone calls, she won permission to visit the Air Force base from which his unit would depart. When Lance Corporal McCain found out, he protested. No special favors, he said. Mrs. McCain stayed away.

You have to admire Lance Corporal McCain's willingness to serve his country, particularly in the toughest branch of service, especially given his family's background. Likewise, John McCain's reluctance to exploit his son's military career for political gain is equally deserving of respect and admiration.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Al Qaeda Under Fire

Strategy Page:

The Sunni Arab and al Qaeda terror networks in northern Iraq have been under a lot of pressure these the past few months. These new desperation tactics, apparently to try and increase the number of attacks dramatically, failed. And the main reason was that you can't hustle around carrying guns, day or night, while the AH-64s are up there.

This, coupled with the hundreds of Mahdi fighters killed, captured and wounded in the south makes it a bad month already to be an extremist in Iraq.