Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I haven't really commented on the Able Danger story yet. When I first heard it, I knew that it had the potential to be explosive. But I was hesitant--and I still am--to jump on the bandwagon just yet.

First off, the fact that it proves that the Clinton administration dropped the ball on dealing with terrorism is a moot point. They aren't alone in failing to do all that realistically could have been done, but if failing to deal with a growing terrorist threat was an Olympic sport, Team Clinton would win the gold medal hands down. More proof of that won't change my opinion on the subject.

Secondly, the whole story on Able Danger isn't in yet. Let's say they did identify Atta and several of his accomplices. And let's say they did have information that pointed to an aviation-oriented threat. We still need context. For every terrorist or terrorist threat an analysis team accurately identifies, there are usually hundreds, even thousands that appear equally credible, but turn out to be wild goose chases. At this point, there is not enough info available to the public to paint a complete picture. We can only hope that there will be in the near future.

So far, three AD team members have come forward to blow the whistle about this breakdown in national security caused by the now-infamous "Wall". That's a good start, but I have a feeling there's even more to the story than what has been told so far. Like this little tidbit from a recent column by former USMC intel officer H. Thomas Hayden:
Critics of the Commission contend that the problems created by “The Wall” were never fully investigated by the 9/11 Commission, and no one involved in the process was ever called as a witness.

Some have reported that there may be other information in Able Danger that could
have significant ramifications in regard to the war in Iraq. Specifically, there was speculation that Able Danger links the 9/11 hijackers and Osama bin Laden to Iraq. Reportedly, Able Danger supports information from the Czech Republic's intelligence service that Atta met with the Iraqi ambassador at the Prague airport on April 9, 2001. Of course, the CIA of George Tenant disputes the Czech intelligence report.

Regardless, Czech intelligence informed the U.S. about this meeting shortly after the 9/11 attacks. Also, other intelligence documents indicate that two of the four terrorists that piloted the hijacked airliners were in Germany from late 2000 to early 2001. It was during that time that German authorities arrested two Iraqi agents on charges of spying against Germany. One of the hijacker pilots, Ziad Jarrah, left Germany the same week that the Germans arrested the two Iraqi agents.

At the same time, the Paris-based Islamic newspaper Al-Watan Al-Arabi linked Iraq to radical Islamic groups and Osama bin Laden. The paper reported that the Iraqi agents were part of an Iraqi operation to form a network of terrorist alliances to strike U.S. targets.

Would it surprise anyone to know that this information is also not in the Commission report?

(emphasis mine)

I'm not ready to get all worked up about this just yet, but I'm certain we haven't heard the end of this story.

Monday, August 29, 2005


No protest would be complete without an appearance by the patron saint of TV camera whores everywhere. Said patron saint is more commonly known as the "Reverend" Al Sharpton (does this guy actually even pretend to be a minister anymore?).
CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) — The Rev. Al Sharpton joined hundreds of war protesters camping near President Bush's ranch for an interfaith service Sunday, saying he felt compelled to meet Cindy Sheehan, the grieving mother who started the rally three weeks earlier.

Felt compelled to get some face time in front of the cameras is more like it. Apparently, the day didn't go entirely as planned. From FOXNews:
CRAWFORD, Texas — A driver for the Rev. Al Sharpton led Ellis County Sheriff's deputies on a nine-mile chase at speeds up to 110 mph before state troopers stopped the car, authorities said.

The driver was rushing Sharpton to the airport after his visit anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan on Sunday at her camp outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford.

The car carrying Sharpton and two other passengers was clocked doing 110 mph in a 65 mph zone on Interstate 35 in Ellis County in North Texas, said Lt. Danny Williams.

The car ignored deputies' attempts to stop it and continued speeding and weaving in and out of traffic before it was stopped, Williams said.

One hundred and ten mph? Damn, it looks like Big Al was in a hurry to get away from Cindy. Maybe she's even creepier in person than she comes across on TV. Scary thought.

One thing's for sure, the arrival of Big Al at Camp Casey is a sure sign that Cindy Sheehan has Jumped the Shark. Or is it Jumped the Sharpton?


Most of the news today is about the hurricane. There's not much I can add to what's being reported in the horrendously redundant 24 hour news cycle. If you get the chance, it might not hurt to send a few prayers and/or good thoughts the way of the folks down there.

Thursday, August 25, 2005


I was on base making up a missed drill day today (ssshhhh!!! don't tell the left, or they'll call me a deserter). My OIC handed me an article from Stratfor (a damn good source of intelligence). It was written by analyst George Friedman and was titled Al Qaeda's Global Campaign: Tet Offensive or Battle of the Bulge?. It was published about a month ago, but I hadn't seen it until today.

It costs money to join Stratfor and read all their best stuff, but I found the entire article posted here.
A spate of attacks have occurred recently that we attribute to al Qaeda. In addition to the two rounds of attacks in London this month and the bombings at Sharm el Sheikh, we have seen ongoing suicide bombings in Afghanistan and Iraq that targeted government officials, the bombing of a Sufi shrine in Islamabad, the abduction and murder of an Iranian security official and other killings in the Muslim world. In addition, we have seen an intensification of attacks in Iraq by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al Qaeda-linked faction. We are not great believers in coincidence and therefore regard these incidents as being coordinated. The degree of coordination and the method whereby coordination is achieved is murky, and not really material. But that we are experiencing an offensive by al Qaeda is clear.

At issue is the nature of the offensive. To put the matter simply, do these attacks indicate the ongoing, undiminished strength of al Qaeda, or do they represent a final, desperate counterattack -- both within Iraq and globally -- to attempt to reverse al Qaeda's fortunes? In our view, the latter is the case. Al Qaeda, having been hammered over the past four years, and al-Zarqawi, facing the defection of large segments of his Sunni base of support, are engaged in a desperate attempt to reverse the course of the war. It is not clear that they will fail; such counter-offensives have succeeded in recent years. The question is whether this is a Tet offensive or a Battle of the Bulge.

If you haven't read it yet, check it out. It is a well reasoned and dispassionate analysis of the global war on terrorism. George Friedman seems to have a keen understanding of the psychological aspects of war. Public opinion is as much a factor in war as troop levels, training, and munitions. Unfortunatley, the terrorists seem to understand this too.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


I was listening to the usual criticism of the United States the other day--and trying not to get too aggravated (my, what a horrible nation we must be to be the object of such criticism)--when I remembered an incident from my youth.

Back in the early 1970's, I lived in Syracuse, NY. A couple kids I hung out with who lived down the street had a cousin visiting them for a week. Their cousin was a couple years older than I was and was from Canada. This kid seemed to do nothing the whole time he was there but criticize the US. We're war mongers, our economy was f'ed up, we had an energy crisis. Even our highways sucked compared to Canadian highways--which were apparently paved in gold, to listen to this jackass bray.

This kid really pissed me off, but I had a tough time countering his arguments. He was older and confident in his "facts", which I later learned were standard leftwing bullshit talking points. I had never even been to Canada, so I was in no position to judge whether it was a better country that the US. I only knew what I had always been taught by my family: the US is a great country and I am fortunate to have been born here.

A few weeks later, I was out of town visiting my cousin when I related the whole story of the braying jackass to my aunt and uncle. They could see that it was still bothering me. My uncle told me he had something he wanted me to hear. He foraged around through his record collection until he found a .45 (anyone remember vinyl records?) he wanted me to listen to. The record was of a broadcast done by Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian broadcaster. It was titled The Americans:
The United States dollar took another pounding on German, French, and British exchanges this morning, hitting the lowest point ever known in West Germany. It has declined there by 41% since 1971, and this Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous, and possibly the least-appreciated, people in all the earth.

As long as sixty years ago, when I first started to read newspapers, I read of floods on the Yellow River and the Yangtse. Well who rushed in with men and money to help? The Americans did, that's who.

They have helped control floods on the Nile, the Amazon, the Ganges, and the Niger. Today, the rich bottom land of the Mississippi is under water and no foreign land has sent a dollar to help. Germany, Japan, and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy, were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of those countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.

When the franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. And I was there -- I saw that. When distant cities are hit by earthquake, it is the United States that hurries into help, Managua, Nicaragua, is one of the most recent examples.

So far this spring, fifty-nine American communities have been flattened by tornadoes. Nobody has helped.

The Marshall Plan, the Truman Policy, all pumped billions upon billions of dollars into discouraged countries. And now, newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, war-mongering Americans.

Now, I'd like to see one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplanes.

Come on now, you, let's hear it! Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tristar, or the Douglas 10? If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all international lines except Russia fly American planes? Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or a women on the moon?

You talk about Japanese technocracy and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy and you find men on the moon, not once, but several times, and, safely home again. You talk about scandals and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everyone to look at. Even the draft dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They're right here on our streets in Toronto. Most of them, unless they're breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from Ma and Pa at home to spend up here.

When the Americans get out of this bind -- as they will -- who could blame them if they said "the hell with the rest of the world." Let somebody else buy the Israel bonds. Let somebody else build or repair foreign dams, or design foreign buildings that won't shake apart in earthquakes." When the railways of France, and Germany, and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both of 'em are still broke.

I can name to you 5,000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name to me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.

Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I am one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them kicked around. They'll come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they're entitled to thumb their noses at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of these. But there are many smug, self-righteous Canadians.

And finally, the American Red Cross was told at its 48th Annual meeting in New Orleans this morning that it was broke.

This year's disasters -- with the year less than half-over -- has taken it all. And nobody, but nobody, has helped.

It's a sad state of affairs that there are many US citizens today who don't appreciate their own country the way Gordon Sinclair did.

You can hear Sinclair's original broadcast and read the text here. The story behind the piece can be found here.

Thursday, August 18, 2005


This story got old a long ways back. It has gotten to the point where I don't even feel any sympathy for Cindy Sheehan anymore. She's gone from sad, to pathetic, to just plain ridiculous. First it was "Bush the murderer", now it's Israel and the evil Jewish cabal bearing the blame for the death of her son. But still, the news media won't let it go. Because she's grieving, she lost a son, she deserves an explanation--or multiple explanations if necessary--from President Bush. And we're not allowed to criticize her or anything she says. We're not even allowed to question her association with the putrid Michael Moore & company.

If this story is so important that it must be covered continuously, then please tell me where was the wall-to-wall coverage of Herb Shugart. Shugart is the father of SFC Randy Shugart, one of two soldiers posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Somalia in 1993. Herb Shugart refused to shake President Clinton's hand at the award ceremony and told Clinton that he was unfit to be commander-in-chief. Had it been President Bush that he had criticized, Herb Shugart would be on the cable news channels 24/7. They could find Natalee Holloway and no one would hear it because the media would be too busy interviewing a grieving parent about how bad George W. Bush is. But Shugart criticized a Democratic President. And he did it before the advent of FoxNews and the blogs. Consequently, most people have never heard of him or heard what he had to say about President Clinton. But there's a new media in town, and they're not all in the bag for the left. I hope they keep us informed about what's really going on in Crawford, TX.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


I've seen ads for a show on the FX channel for a series called Over There. The show is about soldiers serving in the war in Iraq. Personally, I have not even been tempted to watch the show. I figured that they'd get it all wrong. According to Kevin at Boots on the Ground, I was right.
I unfortunately wasted an a few minutes of my life to watch "Over There." A new series on FX about US Army Soldiers serving a tour in Iraq. There are a few bad war movies and tv shows, but this one takes the cake. If the inaccuracies they made in this new show was to keep the real enemy from watching and knowing our real tactics, then they did a SUPERB job.

Since Kevin has logged in a fair amount of time on the ground in Iraq, I have to figure that he knows what's what. If you didn't think an infantryman could drop a MOAB, you'll see how wrong you were when you see what Kevin does to this show.

The Hollyweird crowd ought to consult with some folks who have been there and done that before they try to do a show about a war that is currently underway. I'm totally unsurprised that they screwed this one up. Most of the time, they can't even get uniforms right, and most actors can't even pull off a believable salute. Maybe they should stick to "reality" TV.

You can read the rest of Kevin's post here.


Slick Willie's at it again, trying to salvage the legacy of his ridiculous narcissistic presidency. From NewsMax:
Clinton: I Would Have Attacked Bin Laden

Ex-president Bill Clinton now says he would have taken out Osama bin Laden before the 9/11 attacks – if only the FBI and CIA had been able to prove the al-Qaida mastermind was behind the attack on the U.S.S. Cole.

"I desperately wish that I had been president when the FBI and CIA finally confirmed, officially, that bin Laden was responsible for the attack on the U.S.S. Cole," Clinton tells New York magazine this week. "Then we could have launched an attack on Afghanistan early."

Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Talk is cheap, and this kind of talk is the cheapest of all. "Yeah, I coulda kicked Bruce Lee's ass. If only he hadn't died before I got the chance." Sure you could.

I'll admit that I've never liked Bill Clinton, but this kind of talk makes him seem even more pathetic. It also makes me happy that the 9/11 attacks happened on Bush's watch and not on the watch of a man who obsesses over his image.

Monday, August 15, 2005


I'm trying to get back into the routine after a couple weeks of vacation. I tried to stay away from the news for most of the time just to keep my blood pressure down. I was in the process of getting caught up when I ran into this article:
Editors Ponder How to Present a Broad Picture of Iraq
Rosemary Goudreau, the editorial page editor of The Tampa Tribune, has received the same e-mail message a dozen times over the last year.

"Did you know that 47 countries have re-established their embassies in Iraq?" the anonymous polemic asks, in part. "Did you know that 3,100 schools have been renovated?"

"Of course we didn't know!" the message concludes. "Our media doesn't tell us!"

Ms. Goudreau's newspaper, like most dailies in America, relies largely on The Associated Press for its coverage of the Iraq war. So she finally forwarded the e-mail message to Mike Silverman, managing editor of The A.P., asking if there was a way to check these assertions and to put them into context. Like many other journalists, Mr. Silverman had also received a copy of the message.

Ms. Goudreau's query prompted an unusual discussion last month in New York at a regular meeting of editors whose newspapers are members of The Associated Press. Some editors expressed concern that a kind of bunker mentality was preventing reporters in Iraq from getting out and explaining the bigger picture beyond the daily death tolls.

"The bottom-line question was, people wanted to know if we're making progress in Iraq," Ms. Goudreau said, and the A.P. articles were not helping to answer that question.

Not helping to answer the question? Ya think? It'll be interesting to see how much traction this story gets. I'm surprised it came from the NY Times.

Hat tip to Drudge.

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