Thursday, December 28, 2006
Propaganda has become a dirty word to Americans. It conjurs up images of Joseph Goebbels, and movies by Leni Riefenstahl. But the truth is, propaganda is essential to winning a war. It can provide a warring nation with a sort of psychological momentum, while denying this to an enemy.
Our enemies in the war on Islamic extremism have made excellent use of propaganda. The infamous sniper videos, for instance, can be used to recruit troops for their cause (when shown on Arabic news channels) and to demoralize their enemies (when shown on CNN). War crimes by Americans are played up, exaggerated, or even completely fabricated.
And what is the American media's response to this? Why they lap it up, of course; always willing to be spoon-fed any story that paints the US military or the current situation in Iraq in a bad light, regardless of the source.
If we're going to win this war--not just the war in Iraq, but the global war on terrorism--we're going to need to learn wage a propaganda war. In his recent Townhall.com column, Michael McBride takes a hard look at what he calls the "information war," and the role that our news media has played in it so far.
Vietnam forever changed the relationship between the military and the Mainstream Media. I think that the case can be made to some degree that the real issue is between various administrations, their Pentagon inhabitants, and the media…not between the media and the troops on the ground. But what happens in this food fight is that the cafeteria fare almost always ends up on the faces, and uniforms of the troops. (good references here…A Bright and Shining Lie, Dereliction of Duty, Once Upon a Distant War, The Best and the Brightest, The Pentagon Papers) And all the troops I know are pretty unforgiving when their uniform is stained by someone else’s careless behavior, or their reputation is smeared through careless and biased reporting. (Hugh Hewitt’s interview with LtGen Mattis makes the case here.)
This fissure, first noticed after ApBac in Vietnam, and widened irreparably by Walter Cronkite’s 1968 Tet reporting, has only festered since. The military has done its part…successful campaigns in Panama, Grenada, Desert Storm and the current war in Iraq. There have been setbacks, Iranian Hostage Rescue, Beirut (driven by political constraints of the day, see The Root by Eric Hammel ), the USS Cole, but-by-and large, the military has more than upheld its contract with the citizens of this country by responding superbly when tasked by the nation Command Authority.
Their reward?...continuous deriding and minimalization of their accomplishments by the MSM corps. The badgering of generals, the callous showing of soldiers and Marines dying at the hands of snipers, the blatant disregard for other metrics of success other than US casualty counts, only reinforces the utter disrespect and disdain that the MSM has for the military, and by extension…the troops in the field.
As a result of the MSM messaging, our field generals, and our troops are being portrayed as failing. I think this is an incorrect representation of what is happening…we are really losing the information war, and as with Vietnam, if we don’t adjust fire soon, we may lose the war in Iraq…a vital battle in the Global War on Terror.
McBride goes on to outline what needs to be done to turn things around. Among other things, he suggests cutting much of the mainstream media out of the loop. That's a pretty radical solution, but I don't see any other choices. As things stand now, I have serious doubts about our ability to wage an extended war. No matter how much the country may be behind a war, the media--always in search of another scandal, higher ratings, and more awards--will turn on the military. It's not they they won't aid in spreading propaganda, it's just that they tend to do it for the wrong side.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
The "milestone" crowd in the media is at it again. The total number of US personnel killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom has exceeded the total killed in the 9/11 attacks. From ABC News:
In a span of a few hours, 2,973 people were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In a span of 45 months, the number of American troops killed in Iraq exceeded that grim toll as the war continues.
The milestone in Iraq came on Christmas, nearly four years after the war began, according to a count by The Associated Press. In announcing the Monday deaths of three soldiers, the toll from those fighting the war surpassed the toll from those killed by terrorists in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
For a little historical perspective, the number of US personnel killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 was 2388. Total US war dead for World War II: 418,500. That total includes those killed in the European Theater of operations fighting the Germans and Italians; who, by the way, never attacked us.
Look, either OIF was the right thing to do, or it was the wrong thing to do. The numbers game is nothing but a diversion, and the last thing we need right now is yet another diversion.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
As the sectarian violence in Iraq increases, I find myself wondering whether we ever really had a choice about fighting there. Had we left Saddam in power, we would have found ourselves embroiled in a sectarian war in the Persian Gulf eventually, anyway. In other words, it was a case of deal with the problem now, or deal with it later. And the longer we waited, the bigger the problem would have been. Rather than being caught in a sectarian war in Iraq, we'd have found ourselves caught up in a regional sectarian conflict.
Many people write as if the sectarian warfare in Iraq was caused by coalition intervention. But it is surely obvious that the struggle for mastery has been going on for some time and was only masked by the apparently iron unity imposed under Baathist rule. That rule was itself the dictatorship of a tribal Tikriti minority of the Sunni minority and constituted a veneer over the divisions beneath, as well as an incitement to their perpetuation. The Kurds had already withdrawn themselves from this divide-and-rule system by the time the coalition forces arrived, while Shiite grievances against the state were decades old and had been hugely intensified by Saddam's cruelty. Nothing was going to stop their explosion, and if Saddam Hussein's regime had been permitted to run its course and to devolve (if one can use such a mild expression) into the successorship of Udai and Qusai, the resulting detonation would have been even more vicious.
And into the power vacuum would have stepped not only Saudi Arabia and Iran, each with its preferred confessional faction, but also Turkey, in pursuit of hegemony in Kurdistan. In other words, the alternative was never between a tranquil if despotic Iraq and a destabilizing foreign intervention, but it was, rather, a race to see which kind of intervention there would be. The international community in its wisdom decided to delay the issue until the alternatives were even fewer, but it is idle to pretend that Iraq was going to remain either unified or uninvaded after the destruction of its fabric as a state by three decades of fascism and war, including 12 years of demoralizing sanctions.
The Middle East has been headed for a major war for decades. I don't think there was anything we could have done to stop it, short of military intervention. Iraq will wind up being the focal point of much of the war. And the real lesson of 9/11 is that the U.S. is not insulated from the problems brewing--or boiling over--in the Middle East. The Atlantic and Pacific oceans can't protect us. Our economic prosperity can't protect us. And our advance technology can't protect us. We can't hide anymore. Welcome to the real world, America.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
This just keeps getting better and better.
Boston--Massachusetts is considering following New York City’s lead and banning restaurants from serving artery-clogging artificial trans fats — a move some lovers of greasy food are giving a thumbs-down.
State Rep. Peter J. Koutoujian, D-Waltham, co-chairman of the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Public Health, filed a bill yesterday to make Massachusetts the first state to impose the ban.
“It’s basically killing people,” Koutoujian said.
Killing people? Well, we can't have that, can we? We have to ban anything that can kill people. Like trans fats. And saturated fats. And smoking. And alcohol. And cars. How about refined sugar? That's bad for you, we should ban candy and most breakfast cereals. Yeah, we can ban anything dangerous. We can create a world without risk. Without pain. Without freedom, too. But that's a small price to pay, right?
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I have come to a conclusion about my country that I knew then in my bones but lacked the courage to act on: America is good enough to die for even when she is wrong.
This is today's must-read item. Conroy doesn't pull any punches about his own behavior. I have to give him credit for having the courage to go public with such an honest self-examination.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Obese should have health warnings on their clothes
Oversize clothes should have obesity helpline numbers sewn on them to try and reduce Britain's fat crisis, a leading professor said today.
And new urban roads should only be built if they have cycle lanes, according to Naveed Sattar, Professor of Metabolic Medicine at the University of Glasgow.
He is calling for more government intervention with a central agency set up to deal with the problems of obesity.
Britain's fat problem is so acute that it could even bankrupt the health system if nothing is done.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: once the "government" is paying for your healthcare, they're going to use the cost excuse to take control of how you live your life. This is not a paranoid conspiracy theory, it's just the logical outcome of signing over personal responsibility to the state. Don't say I didn't warn you.
As it turns out, by the modern definition of tolerance no one is tolerant, or ever can be. It's what my friend Francis Beckwith calls the "passive-aggressive tolerance trick." Returning to the classic understanding of tolerance is the only way to restore any useful meaning to the word. Let me give you a real life example.
Earlier this year I spoke to a class of seniors at a Christian high school in Des Moines, Iowa. I wanted to alert them to this "tolerance trick," but I also wanted to learn how much they had already been taken in by it. I began by writing two sentences on the board. The first expressed the current understanding of tolerance:
"All views have equal merit and none should be considered better than another."
All heads nodded in agreement. Nothing controversial here. Then I wrote the second sentence:
"Jesus is the Messiah and Judaism is wrong for rejecting Him."
Immediately hands flew up. "You can't say that," a coed challenged, clearly annoyed. "That's disrespectful. How would you like it if someone said you were wrong?"
"In fact, that happens to me all the time," I pointed out, "including right now with you. But why should it bother me that someone thinks I'm wrong?"
"It's intolerant," she said, noting that the second statement violated the first statement. What she didn't see was that the first statement also violated itself.
I pointed to the first statement and asked, "Is this a view, the idea that all views have equal merit and none should be considered better than another?" They all agreed.
Then I pointed to the second statement—the "intolerant" one—and asked the same question: "Is this a view?" They studied the sentence for a moment. Slowly my point began to dawn on them. They'd been taken in by the tolerance trick.
If all views have equal merit, then the view that Christians have a better view on Jesus than the Jews have is just as true as the idea that Jews have a better view on Jesus than the Christians do. But this is hopelessly contradictory. If the first statement is what tolerance amounts to, then no one can be tolerant because "tolerance" turns out to be gibberish.
Mr. Koukl uses simple logic--something that modern politcal debate is almost ompletely devoid of--to show the ridiculous trap of moral relativism that most of us have been caught in for the last couple of decades. A trap we'd better escape from soon, if we want our culture to have any hope of surviving.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
A total withdrawal from Iraq would play into the hands of the jihadist terrorists. As Osama bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, made clear shortly after 9/11 in his book “Knights Under the Prophet’s Banner,” Al Qaeda’s most important short-term strategic goal is to seize control of a state, or part of a state, somewhere in the Muslim world. “Confronting the enemies of Islam and launching jihad against them require a Muslim authority, established on a Muslim land,” he wrote. “Without achieving this goal our actions will mean nothing.” Such a jihadist state would be the ideal launching pad for future attacks on the West.
And there is no riper spot than the Sunni-majority areas of central and western Iraq. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi — the most feared insurgent commander in Iraq — was issuing an invitation to Mr. bin Laden when he named his group Al Qaeda in Iraq. When Mr. Zarqawi was killed this year, his successor, Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, also swore allegiance to Al Qaeda’s chief.
Another problem with a total American withdrawal is that it would fit all too neatly into Osama bin Laden’s master narrative about American foreign policy. His theme is that America is a paper tiger that cannot tolerate body bags coming home; to back it up, he cites President Ronald Reagan’s 1984 withdrawal of United States troops from Lebanon and President Bill Clinton’s decision nearly a decade later to pull troops from Somalia. A unilateral pullout from Iraq would only confirm this analysis of American weakness among his jihadist allies.
I don't agree with Bergen on a lot of things, but there's no denying he makes a good point here. The analogy he makes later in the column compares a pullout from Iraq with the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, which eventually gave us the Taliban. And we all know what that eventually lead to.
The propaganda victory for al Qaeda should not be underestimated either. Check out this passage from bin Laden's 1996 fatwa:
Few days ago the news agencies had reported that the Defence Secretary of the Crusading Americans had said that "the explosion at Riyadh and Al-Khobar had taught him one lesson: that is not to withdraw when attacked by coward terrorists".
We say to the Defence Secretary that his talk can induce a grieving mother to laughter! and shows the fears that had enshrined you all. Where was this false courage of yours when the explosion in Beirut took place on 1983 AD (1403 A.H). You were turned into scattered pits and pieces at that time; 241 mainly marines solders were killed. And where was this courage of yours when two explosions made you to leave Aden in lees than twenty four hours!
But your most disgraceful case was in Somalia; where- after vigorous propaganda about the power of the USA and its post cold war leadership of the new world order- you moved tens of thousands of international force, including twenty eight thousands American solders into Somalia. However, when tens of your solders were killed in minor battles and one American Pilot was dragged in the streets of Mogadishu you left the area carrying disappointment, humiliation, defeat and your dead with you. Clinton appeared in front of the whole world threatening and promising revenge , but these threats were merely a preparation for withdrawal. You have been disgraced by Allah and you withdrew; the extent of your impotence and weaknesses became very clear. It was a pleasure for the "heart" of every Muslim and a remedy to the "chests" of believing nations to see you defeated in the three Islamic cities of Beirut , Aden and Mogadishu.
Adding Baghdad to the list of cities where we have been "defeated" by mujahedeen will not help our efforts in the war on Islamic extremism. If you think our presence in Iraq is creating new terrorists, just wait and see what our withdrawal would do.
Monday, December 11, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
East Greenbush, NY resident Lisa Robinson was on a quest to raise money to send care packages to troops deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. An honorable gesture, to be sure. But one that was rewarded with a dishonorable act, prepertrated by dishonorable people. From the Albany Times Union:
While Robinson was living on the roof of an American Legion post in Rensselaer to raise money to benefit U.S. troops, someone burglarized her Barber Road house.
"They got my jewelry. I just talked to my husband and found out they got my pocketbook, too. I'm sitting here in a tent up on the roof with no identification. It's probably in a Dumpster somewhere," she said.
The burglars who struck sometime Sunday afternoon also took jars filled with spare change and ransacked desk drawers inside her home office.
Robinson was hoisted to the roof of the American Legion Melvin Roads Post No. 1231 in Rensselaer at 9 a.m. Saturday with a sleeping bag, tent and provisions, and vowed not to come down until she raised $25,000. The money will buy supplies for troops in Iraq, who are often lacking practical and comfort items like batteries, beef jerky and DVDs.
I don't know who broke into Robinson's house, but I do know what they are: assholes. Don't get me wrong, I think all burglars are assholes. But these clowns are gold-medal winning assholes. Especially if they learned about Robinson in the news and targeted her because they knew she wouldn't be home.
In breaking news, Lisa Robinson is down from the roof of the Legion after raising $20,000. My hat is off to Ms. Robinson for her support for our troops.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
So we have a fairly simple choice here, reinforce and aim for a victory or retreat and manage a defeat. That's it. One must be chosen decisively and then implemented with a full effort. I choose to reinforce and here is what and why.
We never defeated Sadaam's Baathists and that has been our greatest problem. They cut and ran when the Thunder Run to Baghdad rolled by and when we disbanded the military we left a huge batch of thugs with no skills other than killing sitting idly by. They waited for the reprisals they assumed were coming, but when no one rounded them up for slaughter they cranked up the insurgency. Their initial successes led Al-Qaeda to begin the influx of foreign terrorists and we have been engaged with them ever since. Early on the Sadr brigades acted up and in a huge miscalculation we decided that the help of Al Sistani was more important than the trouble represented by Mookie and his iron-sandaled thugs. Wrong! A well-placed round or 2,000 lb bomb would have bought a lot more stability than a kow tow to a Shiite leader who, like the pope has no divisions.
Uncle Jimbo hits the nail on the head. We need to get serious there. We've been waging law-enforcement and diplomacy against these terrorist jackasses and their enablers when we should have been waging war.
I think our first target should be that snotty little pot-bellied pig Muqtada al-Sadr. Take him and his top henchmen out in rapid succession, and the Shiite militias will be in disarray. To keep them in disarray, we need to cut off their support from Iran, which means closing the border. That'll take more troops, but it'd be worth it. It's time to stop screwing around with these guys and start playing for keeps.
What will happen inside Iraq if we leave? Will the country be engulfed in an all-out war for control? I think it will.
Will outside forces become involved in an Iraqi civil war? There's little doubt that Iran will. In fact, they appear to be involved already. Look for that involvement to increase exponentially.
And what about predominantly Sunni Muslim countries? With the Iranians backing the Iraqi Shiite majority, will they just stand by and let their Sunni bretheren in Iraq be slaughtered? I doubt it. Look for al Qaeda and their supporters to head to Iraq in greater numbers. And remember, Iran is on the verge of possessing nuclear weapons. And Pakistan (a predominantly Sunni country) already has them. A "civil war" in Iraq could quickily turn into a regional conflagration that has global implications.
Before we leave Iraq, we need to answer the above questions. Strangely, I haven't heard any of the "bring them home now" crowd address any of those issues. Not that I blame them, because there are no easy answers. And selling easy answers to the public is what they do. Instead, they just ignore the problem.
Ultimately, I think the only solution available to us now is to keep pushing on and try to stabilize Iraq. It won't be easy. And it'll cost us in blood and treasure. But walking away will cost us more in the long run. And if we do stay, there's another question that begs answering:
How are we going to stabilize Iraq? Because what we're doing now isn't working. We need to get serious about waging this war while there's still time.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Many Americans see no link between the conflict in Iraq and America's war with the Militant Islamist movement. Osama bin Laden's top deputy, Ayman al -Zawahri, would beg to differ. He has called Iraq one of the "two most important battlefields" of the world war now underway.
The other key battlefield is Afghanistan. Should the U.S. accept defeat in Iraq, how many suicide - bombings in Kabul will be required before America and its allies retreat from that far less strategically vital front as well?
Make no mistake, once the terrorists have beaten us on one front (Iraq), they will redouble their efforts on other fronts, most notably Afghanistan. And then it's on to new territory. Maybe your back yard. The terrorists are in this for the long haul, folks. And we are too, whether we like it or not.
Monday, November 20, 2006
It looks like old Charlie Rangel is at it again. From the San Jose Mercury News:
WASHINGTON - Rep. Charles Rangel plans to resurrect a bill to reinstate the draft when Democrats take power in January, but the idea got a chilly reception Sunday in the heart of his Harlem district.
"There's no question in my mind that this president and this administration would never have invaded Iraq ... if, indeed, we had a draft and members of Congress and the administration thought that their kids from their communities would be placed in harm's way," Rangel said Sunday.
Rangel floated the same idea in Congress two years ago, but ended up voting against his own bill, along with 401 other Congress members, when the measure came up just before the presidential election.
At the time, he accused Republicans of rushing it out as a stunt against Democrats instead of giving it a legitimate hearing.
But the soon-to-be chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee said Sunday a draft bill will be no stunt this time, insisting he's very serious about it.
"You bet your life; underscore serious," Rangel said on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday.
Here's the deal. A draft would bring in many thousands of new soldiers. The problem is this, we don't have enough barracks and bases to house all these new troops. We don't have enough ships and airplanes for them to man and maintain. We don't have enough weapons for them to fire. We can't feed them. We don't even have enough uniforms for them to wear. We'd need a massive amount of infrastructure in place before we even think about that kind of expansion. And that costs money. Lots of money. Because building a new infrastructure is more expensive than maintaining an existing infrastructure. And Charlie Rangel has yet to even mention spending this kind of money, or where it will come from.
To put it another way, instituting a draft before we have the means to house, equip, train, maintain, and transport all of the new personnel it would produce is akin to forming an airline, scheduling flights, and selling tickets before even buying your first airplane, or hiring your first pilot. You'd have to be stupid to do this. And Charlie Rangel isn't stupid. But he hopes the public is. Because Rangel is playing politics with our military. Again.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
The advance of the nanny state continues. I saw this story linked on Drudge:
Belmont is set to make history by becoming the first city in the nation to ban smoking on its streets and almost everywhere else.
The Belmont City Council voted unanimously last night to pursue a strict law that will prohibit smoking anywhere in the city except for single-family detached residences. Smoking on the street, in a park and even in one’s car will become illegal and police would have the option of handing out tickets if they catch someone.
That story breaks on the heals of this one:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City's proposal for a near ban on artificial trans fat in restaurant food received overwhelming support at a hearing on Monday, as fast-food chain KFC separately said it would stop using oil containing the artery-clogging fat.
The American College of Cardiology was one of several medical groups that told the New York City Health Department hearing that trans fat needed to be removed to help the United States combat obesity and heart disease.
"We're all starting to look like Mr. Potato Head," said Howard Weintraub of New York University Medical Center. He was one of nearly 70 people who addressed the public hearing, a vast majority of whom supported the proposal.
Scared yet? Of course those are just local stories, reflecting the actions of only two cities. For now. And the stage is being set for the health nazis to go on a nationwide offensive. Hillary hints at it in outlining the Dems Congressional agenda.
She also said Democrats would focus on improving the quality and affordability of health care - a touchy matter for the former first lady, who in 1993 led her husband's calamitous attempt to overhaul the nation's health care system. The failure of that effort helped Republicans win control of both the Senate and House the following year.
"Health care is coming back," Clinton warned, adding, "It may be a bad dream for some."
A bad dream? Nightmare is more like it. Once the "government" is paying for our health care (which they'll do by raising our taxes), look for the health nazis to wield more power than ever. I can see it now.
"We have a problem Mr. Smith" the doctor said. "It looks like you've gained 15 pounds since your last exam. That's not good. Bad for the heart, you know. I'm afraid you'll have to come back for monthly weigh-ins until you meet the government mandated standard."
The doctor handed Mr. Smith a diet plan. "Now follow that to the letter" he said. "Failure to make adequate progress will result in heavy fines (no pun intended). I'm sure you'd agree that it's not fair to burden the taxpayers with the increased cost of your unhealthy eating habits."
Mr. Smith took the diet plan and left the office without saying a word. He didn't want to complain about the intrusiveness of this whole process. After all, he was getting "free" health care. And no one likes an ingrate.
Free health care. Free exams. Free surgery. Free drugs. At no cost to you. Unless you count the loss of your freedom.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
According to the Associated Press, CENTCOM Commander General John Abizaid is warning against setting a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Abizaid delivered his warning to the Senate Armed Services Committee today.
In arguing against a timetable for troop withdrawals, Abizaid told the committee that he and other U.S. commanders need flexibility in managing U.S. forces and determining how and when to pass on responsibility to Iraqi forces.
"Specific timetables limit that flexibility," the general said.
Earlier, Sen. Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat ready to take over the Armed Services Committee in January, said the administration must tell Iraq that U.S. troops will begin withdrawing in four to six months.
"We cannot save the Iraqis from themselves. The only way for Iraqi leaders to squarely face that reality is for President Bush to tell them that the United States will begin a phased redeployment of our forces within four to six months," Levin said at the outset of the hearing before Abizaid made his opening statement.
Let's see, it looks like we have a clash of opinions here. Which should we take more seriously? Who has the most credibility here? One is an experienced military officer who has commanded troops in combat, has extensive time on the ground in Iraq and the Middle East, Speaks Arabic, and has extensive first-hand knowledge of the situation in Iraq. The other is a pedantic blowhard politician with a bad combover and glasses that are about to slip off his nose. Tough call, isn't it?
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
It looks like the Dems will continue to block confirmation of John Bolton as Ambassador to the UN. It's not that they vote "no" on Bolton, it's that they won't even let a vote come to the floor of the Senate. To his credit, the President is standing by Bolton. For now. To understand the thought processes behind the Dem's strategy, just take a look at this quote from Senator Joseph Biden:
"Mr. President, if you really mean it, that you really want to cooperate and have a bipartisan (support) -- play by the rules, Mr. President. ... Send somebody else," Sen. Joseph Biden, a Delaware Democrat who is expected to head the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January, said on "This Week."
That's the Democrat definition of "bipartisan." The President and the GOP give up on everything they want, and do it the Democrat way. So much for "meet us halfway."
What the President ought to do is force the issue. Bring the Bolton confirmation to the floor of the Senate. If he's voted down, you'll get another nominee. Refuse to bring the vote to the Senate floor, and you'll get another recess appointment. Donald Rumsfeld. Yeah, that's right. Ambassador Rummy. You wanna play games? OK, let's play games. How about hardball?
Thursday, November 09, 2006
While you're thinking about this, you may want to read LTC (Ret.) Dave Grossman's On Sheep, Wolves, and Sheepdogs. It's very thought-provoking, and, in my opinion, dead on.
Let me expand on this old soldier's excellent model of the sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial, that is what makes them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids' schools.
But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police officer in their kid's school. Our children are thousands of times more likely to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard, and so they chose the path of denial.
The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed. The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative democracy or a republic such as ours.
Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa."
Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to hide behind one lonely sheepdog.
Sheep, wolves, and sheepdogs. Which are you? And which will you choose to lead our country come 2008?
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Well, the Dems got their wish. Now they have control of the House, and probably control of the Senate, too. Their campaign was based on the "time for a new direction" meme. Of course, they still haven't told us what that new direction will be. "Not the old direction" won't cut it. You can't navigate by setting a course for "not north." I guess they have two years to figure it out. If they want to hold onto Congress, and win the White House in 2008, they'd better figure it out fast.
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Mental state may affect 'fragging' trial
Defense attorneys hinted Friday that a Supreme Court decision barring the execution of mentally retarded defendants could keep the Army from seeking a death sentence against the only soldier known to be charged with "fragging" - or killing his superior officer - during the Iraq war.
Little else was said by attorneys for Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez during his arraignment Friday on two counts of premeditated murder.
He is charged with killing Capt. Phillip Esposito and 1st Lt. Louis Allen, his superior officers in the 42nd Infantry Division of the New York National Guard. Martinez did not enter a plea, which he can do later under military justice rules.
Col. Patrick Parrish, the judge overseeing the hearing, set a tentative trial date of June 4.
During the 30-minute hearing, defense attorney Maj. Marc Cipriano told Parrish they may raise issues of mental health that would prevent Martinez's execution under a 2002 Supreme Court decision that found sentencing mentally retarded criminals to death violates the Constitution's ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Both Cipriano and the chief prosecutor, Maj. Craig McNeil, declined to speak to reporters after the hearing.
Being a psychology major, I took a psych course or two back in the day. And I don't recall ever reading or hearing that murdering sociopaths were, by definition, "mentally retarded." But it's been 20 years since I graduated, so I could be mistaken. The fact that his attorneys are even considering this is a sign of desperation.
The Dems have been carping about "chickenhawks" for several years now. Yet their party's most prominent member, Hillary Clinton, voted for the war in Iraq. Furthermore, she never served a day of her life in the military. And her daughter, who is of age to serve, isn't in the military. As near as I can tell, Hillary fits the moonbat-textbook definition of a chickenhawk. Why didn't they try to shove Hillary out the door, like they did with Joe Lieberman? And why aren't they supporting John Spencer, a Vietnam veteran? Of course, we already know the answer to those.
And Seeaking of Joe Lieberman, if the GOP retains control of the Senate, will he jump ship? I wouldn't blame him after the royal screwing his own party gave him. And hell, he'd still be more conservative than several of the Republicans already serving in the Senate.
Democrat Eliot Sptizer has a ridiculous lead over Republican John Faso in the race for Governor. So why is Spitzer airing a gazillion campaign commercials a day? You can't watch TV for thirty minutes around here without seeing one of his ads. Watch for Spitzer to make a run for the Presidency in a few years.
Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand's campaign website bio says:
Currently a partner at Boies, Schiller & Flexner, one of the premier law firms in the United States, Gillibrand works on a wide range of legal and policy-related issues and understands how to negotiate at the highest levels. Gillibrand also understands the needs of those who have no voice, representing many pro-bono cases for those in need of first-rate legal representation. She has represented abused women and their children as well as tenants seeking safe housing after lead paint and unsafe conditions were found in their homes.
According to her law firm's web site:
Kirsten Rutnik Gillibrand is a partner in the firm's Albany office. Her main practice areas include complex commercial litigation, securities litigation and white collar criminal defense matters.
White collar criminal defense? Does that mean that crooked CEOs are a part of the downtrodden now?
Democratic State Comptroller Alan Hevesi will probably win in his reelection bid. Can we count on presumptive AG-race winner Andrew Cuomo to investigate Hevisi's apparent misuse of the taxpayers' money to chauffeur his wife around?
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Soldier accused of 'fragging' to be arraigned at Fort Bragg
RALEIGH, N.C. -- When Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez appears in court Friday, it will likely take less than an hour for a military judge to complete the arraignment of the only soldier known to be charged with "fragging" _ or killing his superior officer _ during the Iraq war.
The brief nature of the hearing doesn't matter to the widows of Capt. Phillip Esposito and 1st Lt. Louis Allen. They'll be at North Carolina's Fort Bragg, having made the long drive from their New York home to face Martinez.
"My husband started the process of holding Martinez accountable for his actions and I'm going to finish it for him," said Barbara Allen. "Every time he walks into a court room, he needs to walk past me."
Esposito, 30, of Suffern, N.Y., was Martinez's company commander in the 42nd Infantry Division of the New York National Guard. Allen, 34, of Milford, Pa., was the company's operations officer.
Allen said her husband, a teacher, was working with Esposito to stop black market sales of military equipment when they were wounded in June 7, 2005, by grenades and a mine that exploded in Esposito's room at one of Saddam Hussein's former palaces. The men died the next day at a base near Tikrit.
An Army captain testified at a hearing last year in Kuwait that Martinez, 39, of Troy, N.Y., twice told him he hated Esposito and was going to "frag" him, using the Vietnam War term that refers to a soldier killing a superior.
We're almost a year and a half down the road, now. The wheels of military justice are turning slowly, but they are turning.
They say they support us, yet they insult us. John Kerry did it a few days ago. He basically called us dimwits. I suppose that's an improvement over the accusations he was making about his "band of brothers" in the early 70s. But these days, Kerry's a bush leaguer compared to some others. Via Drudge:
If Americans knew the full extent of U.S. criminal conduct, they would receive returning Iraqi veterans as they did Vietnam veterans, Hersh said.
“In Vietnam, our soldiers came back and they were reviled as baby killers, in shame and humiliation,” he said. “It isn’t happening now, but I will tell you – there has never been an [American] army as violent and murderous as our army has been in Iraq.”
Thank you Seymour Hersch. Asshole. You can read the rest of this douchebag's screed here. My blood is still boiling.
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests
I'll concede that some of them are. But some of them, too many of them, aren't. Like the sorry excuses for humanity that are responsible for this:
I took these pictures this morning in the town of Clifton Park, NY. Here's some background on the story from the Albany Times Union:
Vandals desecrate Old Glory
CLIFTON PARK -- Someone spray-painted obscenities on a prominent American flag visible from the Northway and a nearby American Legion memorial.
The graffiti "(expletive) Bush" and a depiction of a penis were scrawled on the 20-by-40-foot flag attached to the side of Wit's End gift shop in Clifton Park and visible from the Northway between exits 9 and 10.
Similar pictures in the same shade of green were painted on the American Legion Mohawk Post on Grooms Road in Halfmoon. Vandals defaced a rear door and white fence that surrounds its recently built memorial to deceased veterans, past commander Bob Dyer said Monday.
He and Wit's End owner Susan Hoffman said they believe the sites were damaged sometime Saturday night. The graffiti, and disbelief, remained Monday as cleanup strategies were being considered.
"The most outrageous thing is they did it on the flag," Hoffman said. "It's not the place to air your political views and make statements."
She said passing motorists spotted the vandalism, which marred the flag's white stripes, and called from cellphones to inform her of the damage.
Defacing the flag, especially by writing obscenities and drawing genital pictures on it, is not patriotic. It's immature and it's disrepectful. And it's about the level of discourse I expect from the left these days.
Monday, October 30, 2006
As someone who usually votes Republican, I count myself among those who are disappointed with the GOP. What are they doing wrong? Here's a short list:
-Too many of them, especially the President and the Senate Republicans, refuse to do anything to protect the borders.
-Ditto on immigration.
-Why are we screwing around in Iraq? Why is Porky (pig) al Sadr still alive? When are we going to start fighting to win, and stop worrying about our popularity on the "Arab street?" You can't make people love you, but you can make them respect you. Ask any drill sergeant, they'll explain it to you.
-No one wants to tell America the truth about our military: it's too small. I don't care how "flexible" or "lethal" an army is, you need more people if you're going to be in more places at one time. We need a cold war-sized military. Structured differently, to be sure, but as large as it was in the '80s. And it's going to cost money.
-School choice, anyone? The GOP needs to grow a backbone and take on the teachers unions. The public schools are still a sinkhole for tax dollars. We need a voucher program.
-And speaking of tax dollars, our fiscal "conservative" Republicans in DC are spending tax money like drunken sailors. Or sober Democrats.
So, am I going to sit the election out, like so many other conservatives are supposedly going to do? Am I going to withhold my vote; send a message to the GOP? The answer to this question is based on what I see happening if the Democrats take over Congress. Here's what I think we can expect:
-Endless investigations of the White House, and possibly impeachment proceedings against President Bush, as payback for the Clinton-Lewinski fiasco.
-Lawyers and "due process" for terrorists (i.e. illegal combatants) on the battlefield. A whole slew of terrorists will be released.
-No more NSA terrorist surveillance program. It'll be replaced by a law enforcement-style investigation program that'll look a lot like the method the Clinton administration used to fight terrorism.
-Cutting off money to bring about a withdrawal from Iraq.
-More liberal judges, who'll give us more partial birth abortions, no notification for the parents of underage girls getting abortions, gay "marriage," and more constitutional rights for terrorists.
I could be wrong, of course. But based on the rhetoric of the past couple of years, I don't think I am. Sorry, but I can’t sit this one out, and I'm not voting for Democratic candidates. As much as I’d like to send a message to the lazy-ass Dem-wannabe GOP clowns in Congress, I won’t make my country pay the price for my anger with their stupid antics. I’ll hold my nose and pull the lever for GOP candidates. They may lose anyway, but it won’t be my fault.
Monday, October 23, 2006
There's a column on Military.com by Paul Reickoff about which members of Congress support the troops. The column contains a link to the website of the Iraq and Afghnaistan Veterans of America (of which Reickoff is Executive Director). The IAVA site allows you to search for any member of the House or the Senate and to see the score the IAVA gives them for their support of the troops.
I went to the site and checked out the scores of the Senators and Congressional Representatives from New York. Much to my surprise (insert sarcastic tone here), all of the Democrats got scores of "B-" and above (except for Major Owens, who got a "C"), and all of the Republicans got a score of "C+" or below. Now how could that be? The IAVA is "nonpartisan," or so Reickoff claims in his column.
I did a Google search using the keywords "IAVA" and "partisan." I found this post on Blackfive's site from March of 2006. To summarize:
The IAVA has a few good points to make, but most of their intent is purely partisan politics. Let's hope that their pro-military/pro-veteran stances aren't drowned out by opportunists like Gen. Clark and partisan political bull$#*!.
Hmm. Maybe the IAVA is partisan after all. On the other hand, maybe they aren't, and Blackfive is the one who doesn't support the troops. But I'm inclined to believe the former. And the latter is just ridiculous.
Friday, October 20, 2006
Retired Army officer Ralph Peters' column in Frontpage Mag yesterday takes a hard look at where we're going wrong in the GWoT.
Have we lost the will to win wars? Not just in Iraq, but anywhere? Do we really believe that being nice is more important than victory?
It's hard enough to bear the timidity of our civilian leaders - anxious to start wars but without the guts to finish them - but now military leaders have fallen prey to political correctness. Unwilling to accept that war is, by its nature, a savage act and that defeat is immoral, influential officers are arguing for a kinder, gentler approach to our enemies.
They're going to lead us into failure, sacrificing our soldiers and Marines for nothing: Political correctness kills.
Obsessed with low-level "tactical" morality - war's inevitable mistakes - the officers in question have lost sight of the strategic morality of winning. Our Army and Marine Corps are about to suffer the imposition of a new counterinsurgency doctrine designed for fairy-tale conflicts and utterly inappropriate for the religion-fueled, ethnicity-driven hyper-violence of our time.
We're back to struggling to win hearts and minds that can't be won.
Peters is right. There is nothing we can do to make the "Arab street" love us, but we can make them respect us. This is done by winning the war. And to do that, we need to start fighting like we want to win. If we lose, then it won't matter how civilized we were while we were doing it.
Monday, October 16, 2006
As if we needed more evidence of the arrogance of judges.
New York Court of Claims Judge James Lack, who once chased a woman driver into her garage in a fit of road rage, shut down two days of court hearings scheduled at an upstate prison after he refused to surrender his cell phone to enter the facility, state officials confirmed yesterday.
Lack, 61, a former Republican state senator from East Northport, was supposed to hear 12 cases brought by prisoners suing the state for matters ranging from personal injury to medical malpractice beginning Wednesday. When guards at the Sullivan Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison in Fallsburg, asked him to follow prison policy and either leave his cell phone in his car or allow them to store it, he refused, officials said.
"He was visibly upset," said Linda Foglia, state Department of Corrections spokeswoman.
"There was some reference that he was doing us a favor, and he left."
Lack declined to comment when reached at his court office in Hauppauge yesterday. But Court of Claims Presiding Judge Richard Sise said Lack was unaware of the policy and had told people with other court business to reach him on his cell phone.
"He just couldn't be out of touch that long," said David Bookstaver, Office of Court Administration spokesman.
Officials offered him the use of the facility's telephones, but he refused, Foglia said. The ban, in effect since September 1993, is so strictly enforced that even the state corrections commissioner is not allowed to bring a cell phone.
"If the governor came in, he would be required to give up his cell phone," said Denny Fitzpatrick, state corrections officers' union spokesman.
What a clown. Do you think Judge Lack would let an attorney bring a cell phone into his court during a trial? "I'll take HELL NO! for a thousand, Alex." How many of my tax dollars were wasted on this dipshit's temper tantrum?
I saw this story linked on the Drudge Report:
BRITAIN is such a soft touch that even Americans are coming here to claim asylum and sponge off the state.
The incredible revelation comes from immigration whistleblower Rory Clarke.
And yesterday the Government was forced to admit figures that backed him up.
Disgusted Rory, 34, contacted The Sun to expose the true depth of the asylum shambles. He said:
"Britain is seen as such a soft touch that poor people from countries such as America are even coming here now.
A couple of years ago I met two black guys from the States who were over here because they thought they could get a better standard of living.
One was from Ohio and the other from Kansas. They claimed asylum because they said they were racially discriminated against at home.
But they freely admitted they were here for the free healthcare and accommodation. It is an absolute joke.
They could have been here for up to five years before their application was processed."
Last night the Home Office admitted five American nationals have claimed asylum this year alone.
I think this is a great idea. We should encourage every whining crybaby in the country to seek asylum elsewhere. Sure, we'd lose most of our university professors, journalists, and lawyers (and almost all of our entertainers), but it would be worth it.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
It's sad that there is a need for this kind of thing, but I'm glad it's out there.
BROCKTON, Mass. - Gray-haired Patrick Barnes still wears a crew cut and sits ramrod straight in his chair. Before clamping his cell phone shut, he says "Semper Fi" to a buddy instead of "bye."
Barnes, a 58-year-old Marine veteran of Vietnam who earned a Purple Heart for wounds suffered during the 1968 Tet Offensive, is still military through and through. And he knows that in war, things happen "Boom!" - just like that - and triggers are pulled in split-second decisions.
That's why Barnes and fellow Vietnam veterans are starting a legal defense fund for Americans charged with war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"We're not concerned with guilt or innocence," he said. "We just want to make sure they have the best defense possible. Sitting here in Brockton or Quincy or New York or California, we don't know what happened."
Other similar defense funds have been sprung up. The mother of a Marine from New York who was cleared of murder charges created a fund, as did a group led by a retired Marine officer in Greensboro, N.C., who was twice wounded in Vietnam.
The funds have been set up in reaction to a series of cases in which U.S. servicemen have been charged with murder.
The Pentagon has contended that many of these cases do not involve split-second decisions made in the fog of war, but were deliberate, vengeful killings.
Among the major cases: Marines are under investigation on suspicion they deliberately killed 24 Iraqis civilians in a revenge attack after one of their own died in a roadside bombing Nov. 19 in Haditha, an insurgent stronghold in Iraq.
Separately, seven Marines are awaiting trial at Camp Pendleton, Calif., on charges of murdering an Iraqi last spring in Hamdania. Prosecutors said that Marines frustrated in the search for an insurgent dragged a civilian from his home, stuck him in a hole and shot him to death. They are accused of leaving a rifle and shovel nearby to make it look as if he had been caught digging a hole for a roadside bomb.
The Brockton veterans say they respect the Judge Advocate General Corps, the legal arm of the military, but fear the corps' young officers won't provide the best defense, especially against higher-ranking, experienced prosecutors. The defense fund would enable the servicemen to hire civilian defense attorneys if they want.
The article doens't give out an address or contact information for the fund. If I can find it, I'll post it here.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
One of the favorite topics of discussion in the media and among Iraq war critics is whether or not the Bush administration has properly prosecuted the war, but the topic I have yet to hear discussed is whether or not the anti-war left and the media in America have properly prosecuted their roles during the war in Iraq.
With Bob Woodward’s book, State of Denial, in the news, and the recent declassification of the April 2006 National Intelligence Estimate, the topic of how things are going in Iraq, whether we are more or less safe, and whether or not the action there has led to the recruitment of more terrorists, is a hot topic.
Not being debated, though, is what the status of the war in Iraq might be today if Democrat leaders and the media had conducted themselves differently. If all the successes of American troops in Iraq had been reported as studiously as the setbacks, would terrorists have been able to convince their young, impressionable followers that they were winning? If it were clear to the Iraqi people that politicians in D.C. were committed to finishing the mission in Iraq, would the attitude of the people there be different? If politicians and anti-war activists had not accused our own troops of engaging in torture, and worse, would world opinion, and specifically the opinion of the Iraqi people, be different?
I've said it before and I'll say it again, wars aren't fought by armies alone. If the politicians and the public aren't behind a war, the military can't win it. Our enemies understand this. The people who are supposedly poised to win control of Congress don't. As far as I'm concerned, that's all you need to know.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
I've been tracking the story of Alberto Martinez closely, but there haven't been any developments in some time. Until today.
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- A Schaghticoke soldier accused of killing two U.S. officers in Iraq will face death penalty charges at an arraignment scheduled for Nov. 3 at Fort Bragg, military officials announced Monday.
Staff Sgt. Alberto B. Martinez, a 37-year-old New York Army National Guardsman, is charged with using explosives to "frag" Capt. Phillip T. Esposito, 30, of Suffern, Rockland County, and 1st Lt. Louis E. Allen, 34, of Milford, Pa., in June 2005 near Tikrit in Iraq.
He faces the death penalty on two counts of premeditated murder, wrongfully possessing private guns and alcohol; and wrongfully giving or selling printers and copiers to an Iraqi national.
Lt. Gen. John R. Vines, the General Court Martial Convening Authority, referred the charges to General Court Martial last week, and sent the case up as a capital case, according to a Monday news release by the XVIII Airborne Corps Public Affairs Office in North Carolina.
A military judge at Fort Bragg will formally present the charges against Martinez. The judge also will ensure during the hearing that Martinez has adequate counsel, Fort Bragg officials said. Martinez, a former member of the 42nd Infantry Division, could have paid for his own civilian defense but opted for military lawyers assigned to him at no personal cost.
The military charged Martinez last year in Kuwait with killing Esposito and Allen. Authorities say he held a grudge against Esposito, and detonated a mine and three grenades in the officers' room.
Former Air Force officer (and Democrat-turned-Republican) Jeff Clonts has a column posted on Militarty.com today titled The Politics of Hypocrisy. It offers an interesting look into the liberal debate technique.
The modern liberal loves hypocrisy. It's just too easy and so politically correct. When faced with a diverse point of view, just raise the notion that your opponent is not worthy of taking a position. Some favorite fodder for liberals in our national history include slavery, our treatment of the American Indian, ignoring the Holocaust, US support for the Shah of Iran, the Iran-Contra fiasco, Viet Nam, and, of course, faulty intelligence about Iraqi WMDs. No matter the topic of discussion, you can bet the liberals will bring up one of these as proof we are we are not allowed to assume the moral high ground.
Every now and then I watch Prime Minister's Questions on C-Span. This is where the Prime Minister of Great Britain stands before the House of Commons and answers their questions. The first time I saw this I was astounded. Here was Tony Blair of the Labor Party receiving questions from his Conservative rivals and actually responding on-topic to the question at hand. They actually addressed each other, made extremely persuasive arguments, and debated national topics. Unlike our Congress, where most speeches are political sound bites made to empty chambers, or our presidential debates, where the candidates are not allowed to address each other directly, these men and women actually called each other on the carpet. At the end of the evening, the average British citizen not only knows why Blair supports an issue, they know both sides of the issue and can form their own decision.
Although all politicians are capable of political-speak, I've never heard a liberal actually answer a question with a salient, on-topic answer. They constantly criticize the war in Iraq and our efforts to fight terror, but when asked what they would do differently, they spout something like, "George Bush lied about weapons of mass destruction and took us into this war under false pretenses. Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with September 11th. We must change course. New leadership is required, a new vision, a new strategy." Did I miss something here? The President's stated strategy is to train the Iraqi security forces until they can handle the job themselves, then bring our forces home. This may or may not be a good strategy, but it is a strategy. If the Democrats have a better one, what is it? I'm not opposed to a better strategy. How about giving us one, please!
Someday, I hope to see our politicians engage in actual debate, as opposed to the sound bite snark-offs that we have now. Unfortunately, thoughtful debate doesn't make for exciting television. So don't expect the media to take any steps to encourage it.
Monday, October 02, 2006
In his latest column, Brian Bresnahan, a former Major in the USMC takes on the spate of leaks coming from our intelligence community.
The potential damage and consequences to our nation from what is becoming an increasingly transparent intelligence community are immeasurable, but they are not intangible. Predicting the worst-case scenario because our nation's secrets can't be kept is suddenly not just something that has to be done as a matter of planning and war game preparation. It becomes a necessary exercise because the possibility of someone using our own information to harm us has gotten one step closer to reality.
A passionate concern for our nation's top secrets should apply regardless of the administration or political party in charge. America's classified material needs to be kept classified and only published for public consumption under the laws and through the processes established for doing so. Acceptance or indifference of anything less than strict adherence to these laws sets a dangerous precedent all future administrations and generations will suffer from.
Damn right! It's time the Bush administration started doing something about all these leaks. I know why they aren't. They're afraid that investigation of the leaks, and the subsequent prosecution of the leakers will look politically motivated. But a politically motivated failure to investigate and prosecute is just as reprehensible as politically motivated investigations and prosecutions.
National security is at stake here. The defense of our country is more important than avoiding verbal attacks by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. They're going to criticize anyway. It's better to catch hell for doing the right thing than to catch hell for sitting on your ass. It's high time we start locking these blabbermouths in the intel community up. We're at war, people. Screw politics.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Check out this animated map. It's a great illustration of who has controlled what over the last few thousand years. The next time you hear some know-it-all blowhard spouting off about what Middle Eastern lands legitimately belong to whom, think of this map. It's not quite as black and white as some would have us believe.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Our old pal, former President "Dhimmi" Carter is at it again. That man's just not smart enough to shut his piehole.
FALLON, Nev. - Former President Jimmy Carter said Wednesday major policy changes are needed because the Iraq war has divided the nation "almost as much as Vietnam."
"So there's no doubt that our country is in much more danger now from terrorism than it would have been if we would have done what we should have done and stayed in Afghanistan," he said on the campaign trail with his son, Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Jack Carter.
The former president said the Bush administration made a "terrible mistake" by invading Iraq and diverting troops from Afghanistan.
OK, we "would have done what we should have done and stayed in Afghanistan?" Last time I checked, we still have troops in Afghanistan. If his argument is that we need more troops there, make that argument. But saying that we left is an outright lie. It is worth noting that during the 80s, the Russians maintained a troop level of about 100,000 troops in Afghanistan. And we all know how well they did there.
As far as the country being divided, that wasn't caused by the Iraq war. The division started in the aftermath of the 2000 Presidential election, when a gaggle of sore losers decided to do everything they could to make the Bush Presidency fail.
I should probably cut Dhimmi Carter a break. After all, he is old, he was a miserable failure as a President, and his backside probably still smarts from the buggering the Iranians gave him back in 1979-1980. But I'm not the forgiving type. Besides, we're at war. So shut the hell up, Dhimmi.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
So, the National Intelligence Estimate concludes that the Iraq war is creating terrorists, or so we are told by the NY Times (a/k/a Leak Central). The people on the left are dancing with glee over the "obvious" conclusion: "Bush causes terrorism." For the time being, I'll skip the obvious question here: What does the rest of the NIE say? (For an interesting analysis of this aspect, check out this excellent post by a former military intel specialist on the blog In From the Cold)
The question I want to ponder today is this: Why is the Iraq war the principle force driving the creation of terrorists? The anti-war crowd would tell us that the answer to this question is obvious. But is it? To find out, let's boldly go where no moonbat has gone before: a strange new world known as The Planet of Critical Thinking.
So here's the situation, the US has invaded and toppled the governments of not one, but two Muslim countries. One, Afghanistan, was an Islamist theocracy, governed under sharia (Islamic law), its leaders were deeply connected to the international Islamic extremist/terrorist movement. It's leadership was complicit in the attacks on 9/11. It's honored guest (UBL) was the most visible face of the Sunni extremist movement, and the head of the world's largest terrorist group.
The other country, Iraq, was a secular dictatorship. It's leadership, while Muslim, was more Stalinist than Islamic in the way it did business. There has been no definitive evidence that it was connected in any way to the 9/11 attacks, or to those who planned, financed, and carried them out. In fact, some have argued that bin Laden and al Qaeda hated Saddam Hussein and his Baathist regime.
So, again I ask why. Why is it that regime change in a secular dictatorship, one that supposedly had no relationship with Islamic extremism, would fuel terrorist fervor, and not a regime change in an Islamist, al Qaeda-linked theocracy? If anything, the Afghanistan war should be most prominently featured on the AQ recruiting poster. The way I see it, there are two reasons that the Iraq war plays more prominently in the recruiting of new terrorists.
1. The presence of US troops in any Muslim country will inflame the passions of Muslims. Regardless of the justification for the war, western troops are seen as a "crusader army." The US was attacked first? The UN approves? France is on board? The libtards at the Daily Kos are cool with it? Too bad. No crusader armies will be tolerated in the land of the faithful. And Muslims will travel from all over to repel the invasion of the infidels.
2. Arabs and Muslims, like the rest of us, get their view of the wider world from the news media. And let's face it, the war in Iraq gets more airplay (and 90% negative airplay, at that) than the war in Afghanistan. To listen to some media pundits, we gave up in Afghanistan. All our troops and resources are in Iraq. Of course, that isn't true. But perception is reality. Even in the middle east.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
The Democrats are opposed to a measure requiring proof of citizenship to vote. Big surprise, eh? I wonder how they'd react to a bill that makes it illegal to require I.D. for the purchase of alcohol? Or tobacco products? They'd cry foul. Accuse the GOP of selling out to the alcoholic beverage industry, or "big tobacco" (is there a "small tobacco?"). And they'd be right. But they're the ones selling out now. Whose interests are they representing here? Surely not mine.
UPDATE: For those who think that requiring voters to have a valid I.D. constitutes an undue burden, I looked into the New York State Non-Driver I.D. Card:
A person of any age who does not have a driver license can apply to the DMV for a non-driver photo ID card. You must provide acceptable proofs of identity and date of birth. You can apply for a non-driver photo ID card if your NYS driver license is suspended or revoked. When you apply for a non-driver photo ID card you must surrender your NYS driver license. There are no exceptions. You do not have to surrender a non-driver photo ID card when you get a driver license or your driver license is reinstated.
A non-driver photo ID card contains the same personal information, photo, signature and special protection against alteration and fraud as a photo driver license.
So, what's the fee for the Non-Driver I.D. Card?
If you do not drive, you may choose a short-term non-driver ID card valid for 4 to 5 years, or a long-term ID card valid for 8 to 9 years. The exact period of your ID card and your fee depend on whether you select a short-term or long-term ID and the relationship between the date you apply and the expiration date (your month and day of birth). A short-term ID card will cost between $9.00 and $10.00. A long-term ID will cost between $13.00 and $14.00. These fees include a $5.00 photo document fee.
Wow, 14 whole dollars. For eight years. That comes out to $1.75 per year. Hell, I spend more than that in gas just driving to the polling place. I'll bet the Dems spend more than $1.75 per "poor" voter bussing them to the polls. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to learn that most (if not all) of the states have a similar I.D., at a comparable cost.
If our illustrious politicians still think that this modest fee is too much, they can always change the law so that there's no fee for a Non Driver I.D. Even if the state had to spend $10 million a year on I.D.s for economically disadvantaged voters (which would buy over 5.7 million I.D.s), it'd be well worth it to prevent illegals, felons, and dead people from voting. Not to mention the double (and triple, and quadruple) voting that can happen when no I.D. is required.
With a voter I.D. requirement and a nation-wide low-cost I.D. program in place, no one gets disenfranchised, and voter fraud would be drastically reduced. So, why are so many Dems opposed to requiring I.D.? Is it because, as I just said, "voter fraud would be drastically reduced?"
I saw this story on Military.com this morning.
Most U.S. military reservists see their earnings increase when they are called to active duty, contrary to the common belief that the earnings of reservists fall when they are activated, according to a RAND Corporation study issued.
The study by the nonprofit research organization, titled "Activation and the Earnings of Reservists," examined reservists who served less than 30 days on active duty in 2000 and more than 30 days in 2002 and 2003. It found that:
83 percent of reservists did not lose earnings when activated. Only 17 percent experienced a drop in earnings.
The average earnings of the activated reservists increased by 32 percent - amounting to $13,539.
6 percent of activated reservists had an earnings loss of more than $10,000. A total of 11 percent had an earnings loss of more than 10 percent of their previous year's earnings.
"Typically, these reservists are people in their mid 20s to mid 30s, with some college but not necessarily a bachelor's degree," said David Loughran, a RAND economist and lead author of the study. "Generally, military pay is quite good for this group. Moreover, reservists receive additional special pay when activated and their earnings are not subject to federal taxes."
The study also finds that 40 percent of reservists who were not activated in the period studied experienced an earnings loss as civilians. Since only 17 percent of activated reservists experienced an earnings loss during the study period, this finding suggests that being activated actually reduces the likelihood a reservist will experience an earnings loss.
I wonder whether the mainstream media will pick up on this story. I don't know about you, but I'm not holding my breath.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
If Iran remains intransigent, the United States will probably have to accept that Iran will likely some day become a nuclear weapons state. Although undesirable, this outcome would not be catastrophic because the United States has the most formidable nuclear forces in the world and could likely deter any strike from the small Iranian atomic arsenal. The United States successfully deterred a nuclear attack by radical Maoist China after that regime got nuclear weapons in the 1960s. Nuclear deterrence should also work in the case of a theocratic Iran.
So, religious fanatics who believe that dying in a jihad is the noblest of acts will be deterred by threat of death? People awaiting the return of the mahdi can be counted on to react like secular westerners? What Mr. Eland has done is to superimpose his own value system on the Iranins. He knows how they would react to US deterrence because that's how he would react. My guess is that the French -- and others who are dragging their feet in dealing with Iran -- have the same viewpoint.
If this situation is going to be dealt with before it spirals out of control, it's going to fall on the US. Again. This shit is getting old.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Happy 59th birthday to the best Air Force in the world.
9/18/2006 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- The following is a message from Secretary of the Air Force Michael W. Wynne and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley on the Air Force's 59th birthday Sept. 18.
"Over the course of the past 59 years, the United States Air Force has established itself as the dominant force in air, space and cyberspace. Our knowledge-enabled Airmen have revolutionized the way our nation defends itself and its allies across the full spectrum of threats.
"Before our inception as an independent service, the Air Force responded wherever and whenever needed, whether for disaster relief, humanitarian operations or combat operations. We have only gotten better in time.
"Our heritage is one of technological innovation, courage and dedication. As we build on that proud heritage and look toward new and unlimited horizons, we will continue to deliver unmatched air, space and cyberspace dominance for the interdependent joint team and our nation.
"Your tireless commitment, agility and professionalism are the foundation for our successes. Without you, and the support of your families, we could not be the world-class team we are. America's Airmen exemplify our core values of Integrity First, Service Before Self and Excellence in All We Do.
"As we lead into our diamond anniversary celebration, we count on our most valuable asset -- our Airmen -- to continue the magnificent work our forebears began. We are confident you'll conquer tomorrow's challenges with the same courage, commitment and confidence that defined our first 59 years.
"Thanks to our entire Air Force family across the globe: active duty, civilian, Guard, Reserve, retirees, veterans and all their families. Happy birthday, Air Force!"
In response to a recent speech by the Pope, wherein he quoted a medieval text that portrayed Islam as a violent religion, angry Muslims have burned and shot Christian churches and murdered an Italian nun. The message is clear, "apologize for calling us violent, or suffer the consequences."
So, what can we learn from this episode? Apparently, Israel's existence is not the only thing that isn't being taught at madrassah's in the middle east. The concept of irony isn't on the curriculum either.
Friday, September 15, 2006
I challenge you to read this column by Richard Miniter without experiencing a sharp spike in your blood pressure. Go ahead, give it a try. Unless you're clueless or deluded, I'll bet you can't do it. I couldn't. Damn. Now I need some Advil or something. Or maybe a beer.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
It looks like Ned Lamont can count on some help from a former president in his bid to buy a Senate seat.
NEW HAVEN, Conn. - Democrat Ned Lamont's senatorial campaign got a boost Wednesday from former President Carter, who offered a blistering critique of Lieberman's support for the Iraq war. "He was one of the originators of public statements that misled the American people into believing that the Iraqi war was justified," the former Democratic president said on CNN's "Larry King Live."
"He's joined in with the Republican spokespersons by saying that Democrats who disagree are really supporting terrorism," Carter said. "So for all these reasons, I've lost my confidence in Joe Lieberman and don't wish to see him re-elected."
So, an endorsement from Jimmy "Punked by Islamic Extremists" Carter is considered a "boost?" Quick history lesson: Jimmy lost Connecticut to Ronald Reagan by 11% in the 1980 election. Hell, he even lost the state to Gerald Ford in the 1976 election. So, how is this a boost?
Conservatives often accuse liberals of refusing to acknowledge the existence of, and to stand up to, evil. Not true. Liberals are showing an increasing willingness to fight what they see as the most evil force in the modern world: Wal-Mart. George Will looks at this epic battle of good (liberals) vs. evil (low, low prices) in his latest column:
People who buy their groceries from Wal-Mart -- it has one-fifth of the nation's grocery business -- save at least 17 percent. But because unions are strong in many grocery stores trying to compete with Wal-Mart, unions are yanking on the Democratic Party's leash, demanding laws to force Wal-Mart to pay wages and benefits higher than those that already are high enough to attract 77 times more applicants than there were jobs at this store.
The big-hearted progressives on Chicago's City Council, evidently unconcerned that the city gets zero sales tax revenues from a half a billion dollars that Chicago residents spend in the 42 suburban Wal-Marts, have passed a bill that, by dictating wages and benefits, would keep Wal-Marts from locating in the city. Richard Daley, a bread-and-butter Democrat, used his first veto in 17 years as mayor to swat it away.
Liberals think their campaign against Wal-Mart is a way of introducing the subject of class into America's political argument, and they are more correct than they understand. Their campaign is liberalism as condescension. It is a philosophic repugnance toward markets because consumer sovereignty results in the masses making messes. Liberals, aghast, see the choices Americans make with their dollars and their ballots, and announce -- yes, announce -- that Americans are sorely in need of more supervision by ... liberals.
That's what we need, less shopping choices and higher prices. Am I missing anything. Oh yeah, I forgot the most important thing, more union dollar$ going to Democratic candidates. To hell with fighting terrorists. We need to stop Wal-Mart before it's too late!
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
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Tuesday, September 12, 2006
"Thinking red." That's the military term for analyzing a situation from your enemy's viewpoint. Or, to quote Sun Tzu:
If you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
Brian Bresnahan, who served in OIF as a Major in the Marine Corps, takes a look at the GWoT through our enemy's eyes.
We read their newspapers and watch their news channels to see the hand of Allah at work. When they count the death of 500 of our Taliban brothers at the cost of two Americans as a loss for America, we know that god's will is being done. When their leaders like Howard Dean come on television shows and publicly state the same thing, we are sure that victory is Allah's will for us.
We are grateful to their politicians like Murtha and Hagel who argue for running away from us. That is the life blood of our cause -- to break their will. And while breaking their will, it gives us the propaganda to recruit others, to show potential recruits America 's leaders won't fight, we are winning. We use the words of their politicians to debate and attempt to demoralize their soldiers. We may lack the means to defeat them militarily, but we don't need to defeat their military. When America 's leaders give their people reasons not to fight we are accomplishing our objectives and inching closer to the victory we wait patiently for Allah to deliver.
So much of the analysis of the war we get from the media is focused purely on the US. How many losses did we suffer? How much money will it cost us? What does the world think of us? Besides betraying a Paris Hilton-like narcissism, analysis that is centered on the US gives us a picture that is not only incomplete, it's misleading. Major Bresnahan's column is a good start, but I'd like to see more like it from our illustrious media. But I'm not holding my breath. Expecting the news media to abandon narcissism may be a bit unrealistic.
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