Thursday, November 30, 2006


In my last post, I mentioned a need for a new strategy in Iraq. Well, Uncle Jimbo over at Blackfive lays out a pretty good one.
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.


I'm sorry, but I just can't get fired up over the "Is it a civil war yet?" debate raging in the media. If someone has a gun to your head, you don't agonize over whether to call it a gun or a firearm. Your mental faculties are best reserved for more important things, like survival. But I don't expect the news media to focus on what's important when they report on war. They know less about war than I do about brain surgery. So, what are the important issues here? This is what I come up with:

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


Q: How is Senator-elect James Webb like a school holiday?

A: No Class.

h/t: Phoenix

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


With all of the talk about "phased redeployment" ( a euphemism for turning tail and running) of our troops in Iraq, and the debate about whether there is now a civil war raging there, there has been surprisingly little analysis of the long-term implications of our pulling out. Cliff May addresses these implications in his latest column at This one is a must-read.
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:

Rangel says he's serious about reinstating the draft

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.

(emphasis mine)

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 to be first U.S. city to ban all smoking

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 trans fat ban wins backing at hearing

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


It's hard to say what our next course of action in the GWoT will be now that the Dems have taken control of Congress. But while we play the waiting game, we need to reflect on what it is we're up against, and on what needs to be done to meet that threat. We also need to look at what we're willing to do to meet the threat. Is there a discrepancy between what we need to do and what we're willing to do? If so, why? And are we cognizant of the risks associated with falling short in our efforts?

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


A possible defense strategy may be emerging in the case of accused murderer Alberto Martinez.
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.


Here are some things that have crossed my as the election nears:

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


Here's the latest, from
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. 

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