Sunday, December 30, 2007

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

News of my demise is slightly--if not greatly--exaggerated.  Suffice it to say that life, as it is wont to do, got in the way of blogging.  It's not the first time that's happened, and it probably won't be the last.  Periodic, if not regular, blogging will resume in the near future.  For those of you who count yourselves among my (very) small cadre of regular readers, thank you for your patience.  And your loyalty; two things that are sometimes in short supply these days.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

ALBERTO MARTINEZ CASE UPDATE

A military judge has ruled on five of the nine motions made by lawyers for accused murderer SSG Alberto Martinez. You can get the details from the Times Herald-Record and WCAX-TV.

Monday, July 30, 2007

SCOTT THOMAS

Although I've been following the story of "Baghdad Diarist" Scott Thomas (whose real name is Scott Thomas Beauchamp), I haven't felt the need to comment on it.  Others--people who put a lot my time and energy into their blogs than I do--have done a more than sufficient job covering the story.  But there is one thing I feel compelled to point out.

When I first heard about Beauchamp's claims of troop misconduct, I was skeptical.  I figured he was probably a too-smart-for-his-own-good malcontent who was getting a little payback on the Army and the unit he thinks has treated him poorly.  If you've ever served in the military, you've probably met at least one of thses guys.  My guess is that he took a couple of real incidents he witnessed or (more likely) heard tell of, and exaggerated them for effect.  Essentially, adding credibility to urban legends by giving them TNR's stamp of journalistic integrity.

At any rate, the part of Beauchamp's account that really pegged my bullshit meter was the story of the Bradley driver that intentionally ran over the dog that was lying next to the street.  Aside from the usual arguments that have been put forth (all quite sensible, by the way) centering on the speed and maneuverability of a Bradley versus the reflexes of your average canine, there is one reality in play here that I haven't seen mentioned:  the Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP) being employed by the bad guys in Iraq include hiding IEDs in the carcasses of dead animals.  With this in mind, who in their right mind would swerve toward a dog lying by the side of the road?  And who--among this guy's leadership or peers--would let an act this ridiculously unsafe go by without comment (or an ass-kicking, for that matter)?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

MYTHBUSTERS

Today's must-read is Gitmo Myths Dispelled by Steven Groves and Brian W. Walsh at Frontpage Magazine.

Monday, July 23, 2007

PATTON!!!

Check this out.



h/t: Mark Levin

ALBERTO MARTINEZ UPDATE

Here's the latest form the White Plains Journal News:

Defense demands new investigation into Suffern captain slaying

Attorneys defending a soldier accused of killing a Suffern captain and another officer in Iraq claimed defective pretrial advice to their client and demanded a new pretrial investigation into their 2005 deaths.

Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez is accused of the premeditated murder in the deaths of Capt. Phillip Esposito, 30, of Suffern, who was his company commander, and Lt. Louis E. Allen, 34, of Milford, Pa., second in command of the 42 Infantry Division's headquarters unit.

A new investigation?  What's wrong with the one that was already done?  I mean besides the fact that it shows that their client is a murderer.

Court-martial postponed in Suffern Army captain's slaying

The court-martial of a man accused of killing a Suffern Army captain and another officer in Iraq will delayed until Oct. 22, the military said today.

The empaneling of a jury for the capital case against Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez was to begin mid-August, to be followed by a court-martial.

But defense lawyers for the accused told military judge Col. Patrick Parrish yesterday that their client received poor pretrial legal advice, and argued for a completely new investigation and new lawyers for the defense and the prosecution.

Parrish is expected to rule on the defense's request on Friday, said Thomas McCollum, a spokesman for Fort Bragg, N.C., where preliminary hearings in the case are being held. The court-martial is expected to be held there as well.

Parrish has scheduled an additional hearing for Sept. 5. McCollum did not say what issues that hearing would address.

(emphasis mine)

Poor legal advice?  New defense lawyers?  Don't get me wrong, I'm a firm believer in the rights of the accused, but this is getting ridiculous.  It's time to kick the tires and light the fires on this case.  Enough already.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

HEADLINE ROUNDUP

Here are some headlines of note from the Drudge Report.

A look inside the war rooms on the war
Leaders are instructing Democratic lawmakers to blitz their states with anti-Bush messages as the Senate gears up for an all-night debate on Iraq withdrawal, according to an internal memo provided to The Politico by a Democratic official.

Since when do Democrat lawmakers have to be instructed to deliver anti-Bush messages?

Sweden struggles to integrate Muslim immigrants
Sweden has welcomed immigrants with open arms for decades but now it is grappling with how to integrate them into society, especially in the southern town of Malmoe amid a massive influx of refugees.

Note that it's the Swedes who are doing the struggling, as opposed to the immigrants. Is there a lesson there for us?

FBI: Iraqis Being Smuggled Across the Rio Grande
The FBI is investigating an alleged human smuggling operation based in Chaparral, N.M., that agents say is bringing "Iraqis and other Middle Eastern" individuals across the Rio Grande from Mexico.

They're coming here to do the jobs that Americans won't do, no doubt. Will the shamnesty crowd come to their aid if we try to deport them?

Icongraphy: Homer-erotic mischief riles pagans
A DOUGHNUT-wielding Homer Simpson seems the perfect accompaniment for a sexually aroused club-wielding giant, but the pagans of England disagree. A 60-metre tall Homer, painted as a publicity stunt next to the Cerne giant carved into a hillside in southern England, was described as "very disrespectful and not at all aesthetically pleasing" by Ann Bryn-Evans, who rejoices in the title "joint Wessex district manager for the Pagan Federation".

How insensitive! Paganism shouldn't be treated so lightly. It should be repsected, like any other religious belief system. Except Christianity, of course.

Friday, July 13, 2007

YOU'VE GOT TO BE KIDDING

The sissification of America continues: 

N.J. senator proposes toy gun ban

Would make it illegal for anyone under 18 to purchase toy gun

A New Jersey senator wants to make it illegal to sell or give to anyone under age 18 toy guns that look so realistic they can be mistaken for a real firearm.

"The margin between a child's stupid mistake and a tragic ending is far too thin," said Sen. Nicholas Scutari.

Scutari, D-Union, introduced the proposal in late June and plans to push it when the Legislature reconvenes late this year. He said the bill stems from an incident in a Union Township where four students were suspended after bringing a cap gun to school.

"We need to stress to our children that guns are not toys, but deadly weapons which should always be regarded with extreme caution and handled with respect," Scutari said. "Restricting access to imitation firearms will help to drive that point home."

When I was a kid, every boy had at least one toy gun.  Some of them looked pretty realistic.  And somehow we all managed to survive childhood.  Of course society was less idiotic in those days.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

OUCH!

Retired Army Officer Ralph Peters rips the cut-and-runners a new asshole in his latest column.  He also dares to ask--and attempts to answer-- the question that no one in the antiwar movement will touch with a ten foot pole:  What will happen if we leave now?  This one's a must-read.

NANNY STATE UPDATE

Check out this story.  Via Drudge:

"Fat tax" could save 3,200 lives each year

LONDON (Reuters) - A "fat tax" on salty, sugary and fatty foods could save thousands of lives each year, according to a study published on Thursday.

Researchers at Oxford University say that charging Value Added Tax (VAT) at 17.5 percent on foods deemed to be unhealthy would cut consumer demand and reduce the number of heart attacks and strokes.

The purchase tax is already levied on a small number of products such as potato crisps, ice cream, confectionery and chocolate biscuits, but most food is exempt.

The move could save an estimated 3,200 lives in Britain each year, according to the study in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

"A well-designed and carefully-targeted fat tax could be a useful tool for reducing the burden of food-related disease," the study concluded.

The team from Oxford's Department of Public Health said higher taxes have already been imposed on cigarettes and alcohol to encourage healthy living.

This is what happens when the government takes over healthcare.  The need to control medical costs gives it an excuse to insert itself into the lives of citizens.  And if there's anything I don't want to give government, it's another excuse to stick its nose into my business.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO

Here's an interesting quote from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.--a member of the "Don't call us traitors for criticizing the war" left--at the Live Earth circus over the weekend.

"Get rid of all these rotten politicians that we have in Washington, who are nothing more than corporate toadies," said Robert F. Kennedy Jr., the environmentalist author, president of Waterkeeper Alliance and Robert F. Kennedy's son, who grew hoarse from shouting. "This is treason. And we need to start treating them as traitors."

(emphasis mine)

Link

So, is it OK for me to start calling them traitors?  Or should I just continue to call them hypocrites?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

HEAT WAVE

If the recent Live Earth concerts (I missed them myself--I couldn't afford to buy enough "carbon offsets" to watch it with a clear conscience) weren't enough to make you a Global Warming® true believer, maybe the heatwave that's currently roasting much of the nation is. But before you buy a hybrid lawnmower, you might want to check out this article in the NY Times.
Brutal? Yes. But those numbers are still nowhere near the records set in previous years for July 10, and according to weather experts, the heat today could easily be a lot worse. Back in 1936, when the record for Philadelphia was set, people there suffered through a high of 104 degrees. On July 10 in 1993, New Yorkers saw the mercury in their thermometers rise to a scorching 102 degrees.

This is also the day that the United States recorded its highest official temperature ever, which also happens to be the highest recorded temperature in the Western Hemisphere: 134 degrees, recorded at Greenland Ranch in Death Valley, Calif., in 1913. That is only two degrees short of the highest official temperature ever recorded on the surface of the Earth, on Sept. 13, 1922, when a thermometer in El Azizia, Libya, reached 136 degrees.

(emphasis mine)

It runs in cycles, people. Just like everything else in nature.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

GOP TASK LIST

1.  No Child Left Behind act, co-written by Ted Kennedy:  Completed.

2.  Increase in federal spending to record levels:  Completed.

3.  Passage of a massive Medicare prescription drug entitlement:  Completed

4.  Passage of amnesty for illegal aliens and their families:  In progress, due to be completed within the next few days.

5.  Withdraw support for the war in Iraq, call for the withdrawal of US troops/allow terrorists to drive us out:  In progress.

The GOP's plan to ensure that there are no registered Republican voters left in this country by the 2008 election is proceeding as scheduled.  Great work, people.

CONFIRMATION

So, what do you do when you're a liberal male politician, and a female conservative commentator repeatedly questions your manhood?  Why, you have your wife call her and tell her to stop, of course.  Apparently said politician's mommy wasn't available.  Suspicion confirmed:  John Edwards is a wuss.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

BYE BYE, MIKEY

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is leaving the GOP.  What a shocker.  He talked like a liberal Democrat.  He governed like a liberal Democrat.  Just how are the Republicans going to get by without him?  Time will tell, I guess.  I know if he does decide on a run for the presidency (as is rumored), he's sure to cut into the Dem's base a lot more than he will the GOP's.  Anyway, adiĆ³s amigo.  Don't let the doorknob hit you where the Good Lord split you.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

SHOCK AND DUH

Via Drudge:

Iran says won't rule out using oil as a weapon

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran will not rule out using oil as a weapon if the United States resorts to military action against the Islamic Republic over its nuclear program, an Iranian oil official said in remarks published on Tuesday.

"When the Americans say that military action in regard to the nuclear issue has not been put aside, Iran can also say that it will not put aside oil as a tool," Iran's OPEC governor, Hossein Kazempour Ardebili, told Iran's Sharq newspaper.

What, this is supposed to shock and surprise us?  They've already threatened (countless times) to wipe Israel off the map with the nukes that they deny they're building.  This begs two questions:  How stupid do they think we are?  And, more importantly, how stupid are we?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

TODAY'S MUST-READ: CAN ISRAEL DO IT?

Daniel Pipes takes a look at an MIT study of the feasibility of an Israeli military strike on Iran's nuclear weapons facilities in his latest column Israeli Jets vs. Iranian Nukes.  You won't hear about this from the MSM, but you really should read it.

Monday, June 11, 2007

NEWS FROM THE GWOT

Afghanistan
173RD ABCT ASSUMES RESPONSIBILITY IN EASTERN AFGHANISTAN

JALALABAD AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - The 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team, "The Herd", took authority of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division's area of operation in Eastern Afghanistan during a transition of authority ceremony here June 6.

During the TOA ceremony, the 3rd BCT commander described the last 16 months.

"It's been a lot of hard work," said Army Col. John Nicholson, commander of Task Force Spartan, "We have sacrificed much, but it has been a great honor to fight beside you. I'm sad to leave, but we are leaving you in good hands."

During their deployment, 3rd BCT, TF Spartan, conducted more than 100 medical engagements, 540 humanitarian-aid missions and brought medical aid to more than 44,000 Afghans.
The 173rd ABCT is no stranger to combat operations, the 173rd ABCT has deployed three times since 2003. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, "The Herd" made the largest combat jump on a single drop zone since World War II into Bashur, Iraq, in 2003. In the spring of 2005, the 173rd ABCT was once again called upon in support of Operation Enduring Freedom VI.

AFGHAN NATIONAL SECURITY FORCES FOIL ENEMY ATTACK ON AFGHAN CIVILIANS

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – While conducting a combat security patrol, Afghan National Security and Coalition forces prevented enemy fighters from attacking a group of innocent Afghans who were gathering for a shura in the Deh Chopan District of Zabul Province June 9.

The combined patrol foiled the imminent attack after identifying over a dozen enemy fighters carrying high powered rifles, 82 mm mortar tubes and rounds, near the village of Baylogh. In an attempt to escape, the enemy fighters moved north from the village into mountainous terrain. Coalition aircraft were requested and fired munitions at the fleeing enemy fighters, killing several of them.

No Afghan civilians were injured during the engagement.


Iraq
2/10th MTN, 1 ACB kill IED emplacers

AZ ZAIDON, IRAQ – Apache attack helicopters engaged and destroyed an improvised explosive device emplacement team near Az Zaidon, Iraq, southwest of Baghdad, June 7.


The IED emplacement team was observed preparing a site, emplacing, and covering the IED by an unmanned aerial vehicle at about 10:30 a.m.

The UAV, controlled by the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, continued surveillance of the team until AH-64 Apache attack helicopters from the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade arrived at the scene.

As the sedan was moving away from the IED site, the Apaches engaged the sedan with a rocket, killing the two occupants and destroying the vehicle.

The Az Zaidon area is known as a safe haven for al Qaeda and as a step-off point for launching attacks into Baghdad.

Six al-Qaeda suspects captured

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition Forces captured six suspected terrorists Sunday morning during operations that continue to deny safe haven to members of the al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorist network.

Based on information gained during a successful operation May 27, Coalition Forces targeted a location in Fallujah looking for an individual suspected of recruiting for al-Qaeda. The suspected jihad leader is known for using “join or die” sermons and indoctrination ceremonies where those who refuse to swear allegiance are killed. Coalition Forces detained one suspected terrorist associated with the leader.

In Mosul, two coordinated operations netted three suspected terrorists tied into the al-Qaeda in Iraq network. One of the suspects is allegedly a recruiting emir for the terrorist network in Mosul, while another is suspected of facilitating the movement of foreign fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq.

Southeast of Fallujah, Coalition Forces detained two suspected terrorists for their alleged involvement with a senior al-Qaeda in Iraq leader known for placing improvised explosive devices and coordinating terrorist attacks.

“We’re relentlessly attacking the al-Qaeda network to deny terrorists the ability to hide among the Iraqi people and spread their jihadist propaganda,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, MNF-I spokesperson. “The Iraqi people are choosing their own future, and it does not include terrorism.”

12 detained in Coalition raids

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition Forces detained 12 suspected terrorists during operations to disrupt the al-Qaeda in Iraq network Monday.

Coalition Forces targeted a location southeast of Fallujah where an alleged al-Qaeda in Iraq cell leader was staying based on intelligence reports and information gained from an operation June 7. The ground forces detained six suspected terrorists on site for their association with the cell leader, who is known for emplacing improvised explosive devices.

Coalition Forces raided a group of buildings in Tarmiyah in an operation targeting a suspected terrorist associated with al-Qaeda in Iraq senior leaders. Coalition Forces detained the individual, who is allegedly a financial emir for the terrorist organization.

During four coordinated raids in Baghdad, Coalition Forces detained five suspected terrorists linked to an al-Qaeda in Iraq emir. The ground force also found a cache of weapons at the site, which they safely destroyed.

“We will continue to steadily dismantle the terrorist organizations seeking to disrupt the security that Iraqi citizens desire,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Garver, MNF-I spokesperson.

THE CULTURE OF CORRUPTION

"Culture of corruption."  Does that phrase ring any bells?  It referred to Republicans, right?  And we were rescued from those GOP kleptocrats by the good and decent Democrats who took over Congress after the 2006 election.  Remember?  Yeah, right.

BILL CLINTON AND NANCY PELOSI'S SON GET PAID BIG BUCKS BY INFOUSA

By DICK MORRIS & EILEEN MCGANN

The son of former House Speaker Dennis Hastert moved to Washington when his father became speaker and landed a lush lobbying contract for Google.

When Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, she promised to change things -- to enact serious, and long overdue, ethical reforms -- to stop the growing trend of legislators and their families accepting gifts, trips, and jobs from lobbyists and corporations.

Well, some things never change.

Several days ago, Newsmax.com disclosed that in February, shortly after his mother became the first woman speaker, Paul Pelosi Jr., was hired by InfoUSA for $180,000 a year as its vice president for Strategic Planning. Pelosi also kept his other full-time day job as a mortgage loan officer for Countrywide Loans in California. And, unlike all of the other InfoUSA employees, he did not report to work at the company's headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska.

InfoUSA is the same company that has been cited by the New York Times for creating marketing lists that were used by con artists to fleece vulnerable elderly people. The lists had provocative names and offered the names of elderly people with cancer, elderly people with Alzheimer's and gamblers over 55 years of age who think their luck will change. After purchasing the lists, the con artists would call and convince the elderly person that they had actually ordered an expensive item. Once they received the victim's financial information, they often emptied their bank accounts, leaving many people penniless. Some of InfoUSA's internal e-mails suggest that company employees were aware that several of the companies they sold the lists to were under investigation.

And InfoUSA is also the same company that Bill Clinton works for as a consultant, and for which the former president was paid $3.3 million over the past five years. In addition, the Clintons got $900,000 worth of free travel.

Pelosi insisted that the unusual job opportunity had nothing to do with his relationship with his famous and influential mother. He just sent in an application for a job and they hired him.

Of course.

For a little background on InfoUSA, a company that has been implicated in making it possible for thieves to bilk elderly victims, check out this article in the NY Times.  And for some more information on Billary's relationship to InfoUSA, check out this article, also from the NY Times.  Must be the Times has been annexed by the "Vast Right Wing Conspiracy."

RIPPING HARRY REID A NEW ONE

Check out Dennis Miller's take on Senator Harry over at Hotair.

h/t:  Michelle Malkin

Monday, June 04, 2007

FORESHADOWING THE NANNY STATE

I just can't wait for that universal health care we're being promised by all of the Dem presidential hopefuls.  A recent story from the UK gives us a taste of things to come on this side of the pond.  Via Drudge:

Smokers told to quit or surgery will be refused

Smokers are to be denied operations on the Health Service unless they give up cigarettes for at least four weeks beforehand.

Doctors will police the rule by ordering patients to take a blood test to prove they have not been smoking.

The ruling, authorised by Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt, comes after medical research conclusively showed smokers take longer to recover from surgery.

It is thought that 500,000 smokers a year will be affected.

However patients' groups argue that the move is about the NHS saving money rather than improving patient care.

They claim that health trusts do not want to operate on smokers because they stay in hospital longer, blocking beds and costing more to treat.

The ruling applies to routine operations such as hip replacements and heart surgery for conditions that are not immediately life-threatening.

If smokers refuse to give up, they are still likely to be treated but may have to wait longer.

Today it's smoking.  What will it be tomorrow?  Alcohol consumption?  Obesity?  It's only a matter of time.  I guess "freedom of choice" only applies to abortion.

SOME NEWS FROM IRAQ

A few things that the all-knowing (but not all-reporting) MSM may have forgotten to tell us about:

SIX TERRORISTS KILLED, VBIED DESTROYED, 18 SUSPECTS DETAINED

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Coalition Forces killed six terrorists and detained 18 suspected terrorists in operations targeting al-Qaeda in Iraq Thursday and Friday.
 
North of Fallujah Thursday afternoon, Coalition Forces conducted an operation to capture suspected terrorists allegedly associated with al-Qaeda senior leadership.  Coalition Forces attempted to stop their vehicle, but when the suspected terrorists resisted, Coalition Forces used proper escalation of force measures and engaged the vehicle with automatic weapons, killing three men.
 
Inside the vehicle, Coalition Forces found two mortar rounds, a rifle and an approximately 100-pound improvised explosive device.  The vehicle and heavy explosives were safely destroyed on site.
 
While Coalition Forces were at the scene, they received small arms fire from a nearby orchard.  Taking appropriate self-defense measures, the ground forces engaged the armed terrorists, killing three.  Coalition Forces also found grenades and assault vests in the orchard.
 
In a follow-on operation Friday morning, Coalition Forces detained one suspected terrorist in a building north of Fallujah for his alleged ties to al-Qaeda senior leaders.  


Iraqi Special Operations Forces conduct early-morning operation

BAGHDAD – Iraqi Special Operations Forces conducted an early morning intelligence driven operation June 3 targeting a suspected senior militia leader. The targeted individual is responsible for coordinating and conducting kidnappings, small arms attacks against innocent civilians and Coalition Forces, inciting sectarian violence and directing the placement of improvised explosive devices.

The operation centered on a government building in Baghdad where the targeted individual was believed to be located.

While conducting this operation, ISOF came under heavy small arms fire from unknown insurgents. ISOF suppressed the attack with well-aimed fire.


Suspected EFP facilitator detained

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Iraqi and Coalition Forces detained one suspected terrorist and killed another terrorist Monday morning during raids in Baghdad.

The individual detained during the raid is believed to be a member of the secret cell terrorist network known for facilitating the transport of weapons and explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, from Iran to Iraq, as well as bringing militants from Iraq to Iran for terrorist training.

During the course of the morning's operations, Coalition Forces entered the roof of a targeted building.

While on the roof, one armed terrorist attempted to engage Coalition Forces with an AK-47.

Responding to the perceived threat, Coalition Forces engaged the armed terrorist, killing him.

Intelligence reports indicate the suspected terrorist detained during the morning raids is an integral member of the improvised explosive devises and EFP facilitation network.

He is also believed to be responsible for numerous attacks against Coalition Forces, including heavy involvement in mortar attacks, personally observing and adjusting fire in the past two days.


With Paris going to jail and Lindsay in rehab (again), I guess the newsies have just been too busy to give much attention to the stories mentioned above.  But they did take time out of their busy schedules to report on US casualties.  I guess that was all we really needed to know about Iraq anyway.

SCAM ALERT

You might want to pass this info on to any military family members you know.

New scam targets military spouses

5/31/2007 - WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- The American Red Cross is warning military spouses about a new identity-theft scam that targets family members of deployed troops.

The Red Cross was alerted of the scam earlier this month, said Devorah Goldburg of the Red Cross.

The scam involves a person with an American accent calling a military spouse, identifying herself as a representative of the Red Cross, and telling the spouse that her husband was hurt in Iraq and was medically evacuated to Germany. The caller then says that doctors can't start treatment until paperwork is completed, and that to start the paperwork they need the spouse to verify her husband's social security number and date of birth.

It is hard to determine how many spouses have been targeted by this scam, Ms. Goldburg said, as there are many ways for spouses to report problems like this. However, one confirmed report was enough for the Red Cross to act, she said.

"We know that it happened to one person; it was probably going to happen to others, and we wanted to be prudent and alert people," she said.

American Red Cross representatives typically do not contact military members or dependents directly and almost always go through a commander or first sergeant, according to a Red Cross news release. Military family members are urged not to give out any personal information over the phone if contacted by unknown individuals, including confirmation that their spouse is deployed.

Monday, May 21, 2007

CRUNCH TIME

I saw this story linked at The Drudge Report:
Iran's secret plan for summer offensive to force US out of Iraq

Iran is secretly forging ties with al-Qaida elements and Sunni Arab militias in Iraq in preparation for a summer showdown with coalition forces intended to tip a wavering US Congress into voting for full military withdrawal, US officials say.
"Iran is fighting a proxy war in Iraq and it's a very dangerous course for them to be following. They are already committing daily acts of war against US and British forces," a senior US official in Baghdad warned. "They [Iran] are behind a lot of high-profile attacks meant to undermine US will and British will, such as the rocket attacks on Basra palace and the Green Zone [in Baghdad]. The attacks are directed by the Revolutionary Guard who are connected right to the top [of the Iranian government]."

The official said US commanders were bracing for a nationwide, Iranian-orchestrated summer offensive, linking al-Qaida and Sunni insurgents to Tehran's Shia militia allies, that Iran hoped would trigger a political mutiny in Washington and a US retreat. "We expect that al-Qaida and Iran will both attempt to increase the propaganda and increase the violence prior to Petraeus's report in September [when the US commander General David Petraeus will report to Congress on President George Bush's controversial, six-month security "surge" of 30,000 troop reinforcements]," the official said.

Not a pleasant prospect, eh? But that's not the really scary part. Check this out:
But if Iran succeeded in "prematurely" driving US and British forces out of Iraq, the likely result would be a "colossal humanitarian disaster" and possible regional war drawing in the Sunni Arab Gulf states, Syria and Turkey, he said.

(emphasis mine)

That regional war is the sticking point here. In spite of what we are constantly being told, this is not Vietnam. When we pulled out of Vietnam, millions died. But for all the tragedy, we just sat here fat, dumb, and stupid, protected by our precious oceans from the carnage that resulted from our failure there.

If we run from Iraq, we won't be as lucky. Iraq sits in the middle of oil central. It ranks second to Saudi Arabia in known oil reserves. Saudi Arabia, of course, is right next door. A regional war would threaten the oil supply of the industrialized world. You think $3 (or more) a gallon for gas is a lot? Just wait till the entire Persian Gulf erupts into chaos. That $3 a gallon price tag will seem like a pleasant memory. We can blather on all day long about "fuel conservation" and "alternative energy," but oil is the lifeblood of the global economy. Regardless of what we do, this will remain true for at least the next two decades.

The bottom line is this: WE WILL HAVE TO DEAL WITH IRAQ SOONER OR LATER. THE LONGER WE WAIT, THE HARDER IT WILL BE. We failed to back the 1991 uprising, and now we're paying the price for kicking that can down the road. What will it cost us to stop a regional conflagration a few years from now? Just like with gasoline, the price we're paying today will seem like a pleasant memory.

We have a job to do in Iraq. It isn't easy, and it only promises to get harder if we put off doing it. It's time we stop listening to the wishful-thinkers and the political snake oil salesman, and get the job done.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

PERCEPTION IS REALITY

The American public is unhappy with the way the war in Iraq is going. We know this becuase the news media reports it ad nauseum. On any given day you'll see headlines like these:

Alabama poll: War not worth lost lives

Northwest Arkansas Poll Shows Opposition to War

Poll: Most Minnesotans oppose Bush troop surge

So why are so many people so unhappy with the conduct of the war? Because it's going badly. And how do they know this? Because the news media tells them so, of course.

Imagine for a moment that all you know about the war you learned from the mainstream media. Broadcast news and your local newspaper. No FOX News. No talk radio. No blogs. Just the old-school media. Here's what you'd know about the war:
The US has over 100,000 troops in Iraq. They're all young, uneducated, and poor. They live in spartan conditions on various bases throughout the country. They spend their days driving around Iraq in vehicles. Periodically, some of them are injured or killed by roadside bombs. Occasionally, they get so frustrated that they kill civilians, commit rape, and abuse innocent detainees.

That about sums it up. Note the items that are missing from the picture: no reports of the terrorists detained(apparently, all of the "abused" detainees are just innocent Iraqis being held for no reason), of weapons caches found, or of the heroics of our warriors.

Oh sure, they'll report on successes... if they're big enough; like the death of Zarqawi or the capture of Saddam. Of course, such reports are usually accompanied by analysis telling us (the ignorant masses) why it doesn't really matter. Even FOX News--which is supposedly a propaganda machine for the Bush administration--seldom reports on the day-to-day successes in the war.

In order to find stories like these, you have to go to places like the Multi-National Force - Iraq website. There you will not only find stories of success, you'll also get the bad news as well:

MNC-I Airmen Attacked

Roadside bomb strikes MND-B patrol

Search for missing Soldiers continues

It's sadly ironic that a military PR website--an unabashedly biased source--will give you a more balanced view of what's going on in Iraq than the "legitimate" media. Free press? More like bought and paid for.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

FIDDLING WHILE ROME BURNS

The world is going to hell in a handbasket, and we're preoccupied with inane bullshit.  Which brings us to today's must-read.  Victor Davis Hanson examines this phenomenon in his latest column at Frontpage Mag.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

GWOT ROUNDUP-MAY 2, 2007

IRAQ

Two suspected secret cell terrorists detained

Thursday, 03 May 2007

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition Forces detained two suspected terrorists Thursday morning during raids in Sadr City.

The individuals targeted during the raid are suspected members of a secret cell terrorist network known for facilitating the transport of weapons and explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, from Iran to Iraq, as well as bringing militants from Iraq to Iran for terrorist training.

11 Suspected terrorists detained

May 3, 2007

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Coalition Forces detained 11 suspected terrorists late Wednesday and early Thursday during raids targeting a foreign fighter facilitation network and improvised explosive device networks.

Wednesday afternoon, Coalition Forces raided four buildings in Mosul as part of two related operations.  When Coalition Forces searched the buildings, they detained three suspected terrorists that intelligence sources link to arms trafficking, a vehicle-borne IED network and attacks against Iraqi and Coalition Forces.

AFGHANISTAN

Suicide Bombings Backfire on Taliban, U.S. Officer Says

Apr 26, 2007

WASHINGTON (American Forces Press Service, April 24, 2007) - Recent suicide-bombing attacks against innocent Afghans indicate a changed Taliban strategy that is backfiring on the radical Islamic group, a senior U.S. military officer in Afghanistan told Pentagon reporters today.

SUSPECTED IED CELL MEMBERS DETAINED IN KHOWST

5/3/2007

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Afghan and Coalition forces detained two adult males after a raid on a compound in the Mandozai district of the Khowst Province early this morning.

Credible evidence led the forces to the detainees, who are suspected operatives in the Haqqani network, responsible for facilitating IED attacks on peaceful Afghans and Coalition forces in the Khowst Province.

OTHER

Air Force stands up first unmanned aircraft systems wing

5/3/2007 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. (AFNEWS) -- The Air Force's first unmanned aircraft systems wing stood up May 1 at Creech Air Force Base, Nev.

As Col. Christopher Chambliss assumed command of the 432nd, a piece of history was revived and a course for the way ahead continued.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

BAD NEWS FOR MILBLOGGERS

In a week filled with bad news, this is the worst thing I've heard so far.  Via Blackfive:

Army Squeezes Soldier Blogs, Maybe to Death

The U.S. Army has ordered soldiers to stop posting to blogs or sending personal e-mail messages, without first clearing the content with a superior officer, Wired News has learned. The directive, issued April 19, is the sharpest restriction on troops' online activities since the start of the Iraq war. And it could mean the end of military blogs, observers say.

Military officials have been wrestling for years with how to handle troops who publish blogs. Officers have weighed the need for wartime discretion against the opportunities for the public to personally connect with some of the most effective advocates for the operations in Afghanistan and Iraq -- the troops themselves. The secret-keepers have generally won the argument, and the once-permissive atmosphere has slowly grown more tightly regulated. Soldier-bloggers have dropped offline as a result.

Just when I thought things couldn't be worse in the PR arena for the war effort, they get worse.  I understand the Army's concerns.  OPSEC is essential to victory.  But so is public relations.  We can't win this war if the public, and the world, hear nothing but the bad news.  We can't count on the political activists who pass themselves off as journalists to get the word out.  And now the Army is about to close the door on the best source of information on what's really happeneing on the battlefield.

VIDEO--STRIKING A CHLORINE BOMB TRUCK IN IRAQ

This video is from April 5, 2007, and was shot near Fallujah, Iraq. A USMC F/A-18 Hornet takes out a dump truck loaded with chlorine tanks meant to be used as a VBIED.


h/t: MNF-Iraq

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

NEWS FROM THE GWoT

CENTCOM

April 29 airpower summary: Maintainers keep planes flying

Afghanistan

Operation Achilles update – ISAF troops continue to progress into Sangin Valley

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (30 April) – Multinational International Security Assistance Force and Afghan National Security Forces taking part in Operation Achilles have continued their advance into the lower Sangin Valley. This action is the latest in a series of sub-operations under Operation Achilles and commenced in the early hours of Monday in the area around Gereshk in the east of Helmand province.

The operation is still ongoing, but it has already successfully destroyed several positions used by the Taliban extremists to launch harassing attacks and is meant to stabilize the ongoing reconstruction and development in Helmand province. 

Iraq

72 SUSPECTED TERRORISTS DETAINED

4/30/2007

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Coalition Forces captured 72 suspected terrorists and discovered bomb-making materials Sunday during a constellation of overnight raids targeting the al-Qaeda in Iraq network.
 
In a massive synchronized effort, Coalition Forces descended on targets in Anbar and Salah ad Din provinces to disrupt the al-Qaeda network.

Operations in Samarra alone uncovered 36 individuals with alleged ties to al-Qaeda terrorists.

5 TERRORISTS KILLED, 20 SUSPECTED TERRORISTS DETAINED

5/1/2007

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Coalition forces killed five terrorists and detained 20 suspected terrorists Tuesday during overnight raids targeting senior leaders within the al-Qaeda in Iraq network.

Intelligence reports led Coalition forces to targets associated with senior al-Qaeda leaders west of Taji Tuesday morning.  During an operation there, terrorists engaged ground forces with small arms fire.

Coalition forces used appropriate self-defense measures and engaged the armed men, killing five.  Six suspected terrorists were detained.

Coalition forces found weapons and grenades, which they destroyed on site.

Monday, April 30, 2007

BOUGHT AND PAID FOR

As you might already know, I'm no fan of former President Jimmy Carter.  I once referred to him as "an arrogant buffoon hiding behind a mask of piety."  As it turns out, my criticism of Mr. Carter may have fallen short of the mark.  Adding the word "corrupt" to my characterization of him may get me closer to a bullseye.  If Alan Dershowitz is to be believed, and I see no reason not to believe him, Carter may very well be corrupt. 

Recent disclosures of Carter's extensive financial connections  to Arab oil money, particularly from Saudi Arabia, had deeply shaken my belief in his integrity. When I was first told that he received a  monetary reward in the name of Shiekh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahayan, and kept the money, even after Harvard returned money from the same source because of its anti-Semitic history, I simply did not believe it. How  could a man of such apparent integrity enrich himself with dirty money  from so dirty a source?
 
And let there be no mistake about how dirty the Zayed Foundation is. I know because I was involved, in a small way, in helping to persuade Harvard University to return more than $2 million that the financially strapped Divinity School received from this source.  Initially, I was reluctant to put pressure on Harvard to turn back money  for the Divinity School, but then a student at the Divinity School, Rachael Lea Fish showed me the facts. 

They were staggering. I was amazed that in the twenty-first  century there were still foundations that espoused these views. The Zayed Centre for Coordination and Follow-up, a think-tank funded by the Shiekh and run by his son, hosted speakers who called Jews "the enemies of all nations," attributed the assassination of John Kennedy to Israel and the Mossad and the 9/11 attacks to the United States' own military, and stated that the Holocaust was a "fable." (They also hosted a speech by Jimmy Carter.) To its credit, Harvard turned the money back. To his discredit, Carter did not.

You can read the rest at Frontpage Magazine.  I won't hold my breath waiting for the mainstream media to pick up on this story.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

THE MEDIA AS A WEAPON OF WAR

The must-read item for the week, maybe for the month, is the report from the Kennedy School of Government of a study done by Marvin Kalb titled The Israeli-Hezbollah War of 2006: The Media As A Weapon in Asymmetrical Conflict. Here's the abstract:
Based on content analysis of global media and interviews with many diplomats and journalists, this paper describes the trajectory of the media from objective observer to fiery advocate, becoming in fact a weapon of modern warfare. The paper also shows how an open society, Israel, is victimized by its own openness and how a closed sect, Hezbollah, can retain almost total control of the daily message of journalism and propaganda.

The report is 40 pages long, but it's worth your time to read all of it. Odds are that it won't tell you anything new about media bias, but the fact that the study was conducted by Marvin Kalb (nobody's idea of a card carrying neocon) makes it a bit of a surprise.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

MARTINEZ FACES DEATH PENALTY

The latest on the case from The Journal News:
Suffern soldier's accused killer faces death penalty

One of the motions that could have spared a National Guard sergeant the death penalty if convicted of killing two officers in Iraq has been denied by a military judge.

Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez is being tried for the slayings of Capt. Phillip Esposito of Suffern and 1st Lt. Louis Allen of Milford, Pa.

In decisions released yesterday, a military judge rejected a defense argument that the difference between premeditated murder and unpremeditated murder was unconstitutionally vague and therefore the death penalty for premeditated murder should also be unconstitutional. Another motion challenges the death penalty on the grounds that it is not officially a time of war. No ruling on that issue has occurred.

The judge, Col. Patrick Parrish, also has rejected three other requests by the defense for Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez, some of which could have consumed more time and further delayed a trial scheduled to be held Aug. 13 at Fort Bragg, N.C. Previously, it was scheduled for June.

Martinez, 40, of Cohoes, N.Y., is accused of mortally wounding Esposito and Allen at Forward Operating Base Danger near Tikrit on June 7, 2005.

The men died the next day at a military hospital. An explosion that tore apart their quarters was initially attributed to enemy fire, but an investigation implicated Martinez.

The other motions denied by the judge were:

-A request by the defense to appoint a liaison between Martinez's lawyers and the widows of the slain men.

-A request for more computer modeling of the locations and events relevant to the case.

-More time to investigate.


It's going on two years now since the murders. The wheels of justice are turning slowly, but they are turning.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

YOU CAN RUN, BUT YOU CAN'T HIDE

The insurgents in Iraq are ten feet tall, invisible, and bulletproof--NOT! Check out this video of a few terrorist thugs who were dumb enough to believe the MSM's reporting on them.

THE WILL OF THE UNINFORMED

Jonah Goldberg's latest column at Townhall.com is today's must-read.  Sadly, I fear that he's right on the mark.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

ALBERTO MARTINEZ UPDATE

Here are a few items on this story in the news to share with you:

Pretrial hearing set in Iraq fragging case

Judge in court-martial case asked to determine if U.S. "at war"
I'm no expert on military and international law, but I would think that the Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq is a de facto declaration of war. It may be time to update the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) to account for such situations, but such changes wouldn't apply in this particular case. Hopefully, the court will rule that we are at war.
Defense for alleged fragger asks for more time

Monday, April 23, 2007

FORGIVE ME IF I DON'T SHAKE HANDS

This is just too much.  Apparently Sheryl Crow wants to save the planet...one bowel movement at a time.  From her blog at Huffingtonpost:

I propose a limitation be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. Now, I don't want to rob any law-abiding American of his or her God-given rights, but I think we are an industrious enough people that we can make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where 2 to 3 could be required.

It isn't easy to parody the self-parodying, but what the hell, I'll give it my best shot.  I think Sheryl needs a nickname.  What do you think it should be?  Here are a couple suggestions:

"Stinky Fingers"
"Skidmark"

Feel free to vote for your favorite in the comments, or suggest another one if you wish.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA: THE VIRGINIA TECH SHOOTINGS

I guess I don't have anything profound to say about this horrific crime. It's been analyzed to death by the talking heads of the 24 hour news cycle, and it's already been politicized by some of the shameless whores who pass themselves off as our political elite. But there are a few points worth mentioning that come to mind:

--Gun control won't work. Phoenix sums it up pretty well:
The MSM and liberals will call for more gun control because of this. They will reconjure the images from Columbine and the clocktower of the University of Texas. They will tell you that we don't have sufficient control over guns. But the fact of the matter is this: no gun law will ever keep weapons out of the hands of criminals. Outlawing and criminalizing possession of drugs hasn't kept people from getting drugs and gun laws work the same way.

When the bad guys want to get guns, they will. Even the UK, with it's oft-cited strict gun control laws, is seeing a rise in gun crime.

--Angry parents are already calling for the resignation of the VA Tech President. Wonderful. Finger-pointing has become our new national pasttime.

--The ensuing policy debates will be driven by the news media. This is a bad thing, as the news media isn't trying to inform the public. The media's real job is to SCARE THE SHIT OUT OF YOU. Panicky people are more likely to stay tuned. John Stossel has done a good job of explaining this concept.

--I've heard a number of talking heads blathering on about how many bullets that the "clip" on the shooters gun held. Clip? Um, no. It's not called a clip. It's called a magazine. OK, here's a quick lesson in firearms terminology for you.

This is a clip:


This is a magazine:

A magazine is the part inside the firearm that holds the ammo (unless it's a revolver, in which case it's referred to as a cylander). A clip is used to load the ammo into a magazine.

--The media powers-that-be are going to beat us over the head with this story 24/7. Until the next big story comes along.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

MARINES TO THE RESCUE, MEDIA MISSING IN ACTION (AGAIN)

Here's a story the public needs to hear:
Alpha Company Heroes

MARINE BARRACKS WASHINGTON (March 28, 2007) -- What if you were given the opportunity to help a complete stranger who had been seriously injured? Would you just walk away or would you take immediate action to help save the person?

Two infantrymen from Alpha Company were faced with situation when they saw a male in his mid-twenties who was about to be assaulted in the late evening of Feb. 24.

Lance Corporals Jared Bolhuis and David Trester were on their way to watch a movie in Washington, D.C.'s Chinatown. They had just departed the subway when they heard a disturbance at the top of the escalator. As the two Marines reached street level, they found the man surrounded by a group of 15 young skateboarders.

"There was a young guy, nicely dressed like he was going out. He was squared off with a skateboarder that looked like he was about 18 years old. The skateboarder's friends surrounded the two of them and everyone on the streets was watching this build up," said Bolhuis, a Zeeland, Mich. Native. "Before I knew it, one of the older skateboarders came from behind and blindsided this guy with a punch right in the temple, knocking him out cold."

As soon as the victim was hit, the leathernecks rushed to his aid. As the Marines with their high and tight haircuts approached the victim, the gang of skateboarders quickly dispersed into the crowd.

Lance Corporals Bolhuis and Trester are a credit to the military, and the USMC in particular. Which is probably why (as of this writing), Google News lists exactly zero stories about their heroism. None. Two Marines save a man from assault by over a dozen thugs, and it's not news? Had 15 Marines beat up two skateboarders, there'd probably be over a thousand stories on Google News by now. I guess it falls on bloggers and other non-journalists to spread the word. Again.

h/t: Blackfive

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH

I ran across this little item at the Snopes urban legend website:
LOOK OVER THE DESCRIPTIONS OF THE FOLLOWING TWO HOUSES AND SEE IF YOU CAN TELL WHICH BELONGS TO AN ENVIRONMENTALIST.

HOUSE # 1:

A 20-room mansion (not including 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas. Add on a pool (and a pool house) and a separate guesthouse, all heated by gas. In ONE MONTH ALONE this mansion consumes more energy than the average American household in an ENTIRE YEAR. The average bill for electricity and natural gas is over $2,400.00 per month.

In natural gas alone (which last time I checked was a fossil fuel), this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not in a northern or Midwestern “snow belt,” either. It’s in the South.

HOUSE # 2:

Designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university, this house incorporates every “green” feature current home construction can provide. The house contains only 4,000 square feet (4 bedrooms) and is nestled on arid high prairie in the American southwest.

A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67 degrees F.) heats the house in winter and cools it in summer. The system uses no fossil fuels such as oil or natural gas, and it consumes 25% of the electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system.

Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000-gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Flowers and shrubs native to the area blend the property into the surrounding rural landscape.

HOUSE # 1 (20 Room Energy Guzzling Mansion) is outside of Nashville, Tennessee. It is the abode of that renowned environmentalist (and filmmaker) Al Gore.

HOUSE # 2 (Model Eco-Friendly House) is on a ranch near Crawford, Texas. Also known as “the Texas White House,” it is the private residence of the President of the United States, George W. Bush.

So whose house is gentler on the environment? Yet another story you won’t hear or see on CNN, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, or read about in the New York Times or the Washington Post. Indeed, for Mr. Gore, it is truly “an inconvenient truth”!

According to the folks at Snopes, the above is fairly accurate. Shocker, isn't it?

Friday, April 06, 2007

A MUST-READ ITEM

Today's must-read item is an interview with retired US Army LTC Ralph Peters at Frontpage Magazine.  Interviewer Paul Kengor questions Peters about the war in Iraq, the surge, withdrawal deadlines, and the state of Christianity in Europe.  Check out this quote from Peters on immigrants in Europe:

No European state--not one--has a functional model for integrating immigrants from different cultural and religious backgrounds. This is, indeed, a clash of civilizations. Europe's secular elites are, in fact, the last to get it. The average Frenchman or German or Englishman understands that the situation is dysfunctional, but the governing elites insist on pretending that all will be well--despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. And, of course, there's blame on every side. Immigrants don't want to assimilate, but neither do Europeans really want them to assimilate. The miraculous North American model, in which "America makes Americans," has no counterpart in Europe. And for all their pacifist masquerading, Europeans remain really good haters--you can still smell the smoke of the ovens of Auschwitz.

Harsh, but I think he may have a point.  Time will tell, I guess.  Anyway, read the rest.  Interesting stuff.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

STUPID IS AS STUPID SAYS

"I do believe that it was the first time in history that fire has ever melted steel."

-Rosie O'Donnell

Duh.  Get a clue Rosie.


And speaking of Rosie and her conspiracy nuttiness, Michelle Malkin reconsiders doing business with the companies that advertise on The View.

And speaking of advertising, actor and 9/11 conspiracy nut Charlie Sheen--who is rumored to be narrating the upcoming third edition of the 9/11 "documentary" Loose Change--is featured in the latest commercial for satellite television provider DirecTV.  As much as I hate my cable provider, I wouldn't switch to a service that uses a buffoon like that to hawk their product.  A spokesman is supposed to have credibility and inspire confidence in the product.  Any company that hires a clown who believes that real life is like an X-Files episode apparently doesn't get that.

Monday, April 02, 2007

DHIMMITUDE CREEP IN THE UK

Disheartening as it has been to watch the once-vaunted Royal Navy being punked on international TV by a gang of medievel thugs, this story from the UK may actually be worse:

Teachers drop the Holocaust to avoid offending Muslims

Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Government backed study has revealed.

It found some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial.

There is also resistance to tackling the 11th century Crusades - where Christians fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem - because lessons often contradict what is taught in local mosques.

The findings have prompted claims that some schools are using history 'as a vehicle for promoting political correctness'.

The study, funded by the Department for Education and Skills, looked into 'emotive and controversial' history teaching in primary and secondary schools.

So, they have to alter reality because it might offend Muslims?  That's pathetic.  And speaking of pathetic, check out this little bit of moral relativism from the above-linked story:

A third school found itself 'strongly challenged by some Christian parents for their treatment of the Arab-Israeli conflict-and the history of the state of Israel that did not accord with the teachings of their denomination'.

Note the fact that the school was challenged, and that there was no curriculum change made to accomodate the Christian parents.  It's also interesting to note that there were no details as to what was found objectionable.  Some pro-Palestinian propaganda, perhaps?  I guess we'll never find out, since that paragraph was just a little CYA for the newspaper.  Wouldn't want to offend any Muslims, right?

h/t:  Drudge

Thursday, March 29, 2007

HELPFUL HINT

If you ever wonder what the Democrats are up to, the best way to find out is to listen to what they are accusing Republicans of doing.  Case in point:

Kennedy:  Justice firings are keyed to '08 vote

WASHINGTON -- Senator Edward M. Kennedy yesterday accused President Bush of using the Department of Justice to further his administration's "right-wing ideology," saying that veteran prosecutors were replaced by political operatives in key states to ensure that "reliable partisans" are in place in time for the 2008 presidential election.

Kennedy noted that the recent rash of firings among US attorneys put new top prosecutors in place in several presidential swing states, including Florida, Iowa, New Mexico, Minnesota, and Arkansas.

At least two of the eight US attorneys fired by the administration refused to investigate spurious claims of voter fraud that were initiated by Republicans, Kennedy said. Two of the new US attorneys, meanwhile, had documented records of pursuing GOP goals, one as a Justice Department official and the other as a top aide to White House political adviser Karl Rove, he said.

"The administration views our system of justice as merely another arena for furthering its right-wing ideology," Kennedy said in a speech at the National Press Club. "The conclusion is inescapable that the administration has methodically placed reliable partisans in positions where they can influence the outcome of the 2008 election."

So, what does all this mean?  The way I see it, it means that the Dems' 2008 strategy must have included voter-fraud in key states, and the recent DOJ firings endanger that plan.  Ain't that a shame?

h/t: Drudge

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

ABC=DNC?

I was watching Good Morning America this morning, when I saw a report on the "purging" of US Attorneys by the Bush administration.  The report made this out to be a serious issue and an unprecented move.  When the report was over, they turned to acting co-anchor George Stephanopoulos for his take on the political ramifications of this.  Not one mention was made of the fact that former President Clinton--Stephanopoulos' ex-boss--fired all but one of the US Attorneys when he took office.  Did these ace journalists not know this?  Stephanopoulos has to know it.  But there was no mention.  And there is no mention of it in this article on the ABC News website.  It appears that the Democrats, and their lapdogs in the media, are counting on the ignorance of the American people.  Again.  But why shouldn't they?  It's worked before, hasn't it?

Monday, March 12, 2007

SLOWLY BUT SURELY

War is a marathon folks, not a sprint.  And we are making progress.

Locals helping troops find weapons

BAGHDAD — Iraqis in the country's north, fed up with ongoing violence, are leading U.S. and Iraqi forces to some of the largest weapons and bombs caches found in the region to date, the commander of Multi-National Division-North told Pentagon reporters Friday.

This comes as U.S. troops in that area are handing off most counterinsurgency missions to Iraqi forces.  This allows U.S. forces to focus on killing or capturing those who finance, make and emplace IEDs, said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of MND-N and the 25th Infantry Division.

So far this year, his forces have nearly doubled the monthly averages for finding IED caches, Mixon told reporters in the Pentagon via a satellite link from Contingency Operating Base Speicher, outside of Tikrit. The forces also have doubled the monthly average for killing the insurgents who use them, he said.

"The enemy is ruthless in using IEDs," Mixon said. "We are equally as aggressive and violent in our approach to defeat them."

Mixon said a cache found last week in Diyala had enough material to make about 130 "explosively formed projectiles," as well as military-grade rockets and mortars, the largest find of that type so far. While EFPs make up only one percent of IEDs used against Coalition forces, they are among the most deadly.

The find was part of an Iraqi forces-led mission and was based on a tip by a local informant, Mixon said. No arrests were made, but officials are still working with the informant to identify insurgents involved.

Locals are more willing to lead Coalition forces to weapons and bombs caches partly because of the increased presence of Iraqi forces, Mixon said.

What's that expression, "Slow and steady wins the race?"  And then there's "Patience is a virtue."  And let's not forget "Quitters never win."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

AN ANNA NICOLE UPDATE

Here's the latest:

Anna Nicole Smith is still dead.

The father of her baby is still unknown.

The disposition of her remains is still undecided.

And, most importantly, I still don't give a damn.  The media could stop covering this story tomorrow, and I'd be just fine with that.  But somehow, I suspect they won't.

In related news, the diapered astronaut is quite happy with the whole Anna Nicole saga.  After all, Miss Smith's "untimely" passing knocked her right off the media's radar screen.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A VOICE FROM THE PAST

As the 2008 Presidential campaign heats up, and the debate over whether we should have gone into Iraq continues, a little historical perspective might be useful.

STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

Today I am signing into law H.R. 4655, the "Iraq Liberation Act of 1998." This Act makes clear that it is the sense of the Congress that the United States should support those elements of the Iraqi opposition that advocate a very different future for Iraq than the bitter reality of internal repression and external aggression that the current regime in Baghdad now offers.

Let me be clear on what the U.S. objectives are: The United States wants Iraq to rejoin the family of nations as a freedom-loving and law-abiding member. This is in our interest and that of our allies within the region.

The United States favors an Iraq that offers its people freedom at home. I categorically reject arguments that this is unattainable due to Iraq's history or its ethnic or sectarian make-up. Iraqis deserve and desire freedom like everyone else. The United States looks forward to a democratically supported regime that would permit us to enter into a dialogue leading to the reintegration of Iraq into normal international life.

My Administration has pursued, and will continue to pursue, these objectives through active application of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions. The evidence is overwhelming that such changes will not happen under the current Iraq leadership.

In the meantime, while the United States continues to look to the Security Council's efforts to keep the current regime's behavior in check, we look forward to new leadership in Iraq that has the support of the Iraqi people. The United States is providing support to opposition groups from all sectors of the Iraqi community that could lead to a popularly supported government.

(emphasis mine)

-President William Jefferson Clinton, 1998

Saturday, February 17, 2007

MARTINEZ TRIAL POSTPONED

It looks like SSG Alberto Martinez will be getting an extra couple of months to prepare for his trial.

Judge postpones court-martial in Esposito slaying

A military judge has postponed the court-martial for a soldier charged with killing Capt. Phillip Esposito of Suffern and another officer in Iraq two years ago.

Opening statements for the trial of Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez were to begin June 4. But Col. Patrick Parrish acquiesced to a defense motion for a delay and set an Aug. 13 deadline for empaneling a jury.

The trial would begin soon after that, said Thomas McCollum, a spokesman for Fort Bragg, N.C., where preliminary hearings in the case are being held. The trial is expected to be held there as well.

"The defense is being afforded every opportunity so that this case is tried completely fairly," McCollum said.

He announced no firm date for the court-martial.

Martinez has been charged with two counts of premeditated murder in the deaths of Esposito, 30, who was his company commander, and Lt. Louis E. Allen, 34, of Milford. Pa., second-in-command of the 42nd Infantry Division's headquarters unit.

Both men were wounded in an explosion June 7, 2005, at Forward Operating Base Danger near Tikrit. They died the next day.

Whatever happened to "justice delayed is justice denied," anyway? Or does that only apply to defendants?

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

CREDIT CARDS FOR ILLEGALS?

Well isn't this nice:

Bank of America launches credit card for illegal immigrants

Bank of America, the country's second-largest bank, "has quietly begun offering credit cards to customers without Social Security numbers -- typically illegal immigrants," according to the Wall Street Journal.

Customers can qualify for a credit card if they have had a checking account at the bank for at least three months. They are required to leave a deposit and pay a relatively high interest rate, according to the paper.

The program is controversial. Bank of America says it will help undocumented workers build good credit. But critics say one of the USA's largest financial institutions should not be helping people who violate the country's immigration laws.

Well, this pisses me off.  How do you feel about it?  Oh, and you might be interested to know that BofA is the vendor for government travel cards.  That's right, our tax dollars are helping to subsidize these illegal immigration-enablers.  Wonderful.

Monday, February 12, 2007

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MR. LINCOLN

 Today is the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, our 16th President, and the man whose courage and determination held our nation together during its darkest hours.

Address given at Gettysburg, PA on November 19, 1863:

Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war...testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated...can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate...we cannot consecrate... we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us...that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion... that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain...that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom...and that government of the people...by the people...for the people...shall not perish from the earth.

RUDY ON GUN CONTROL

Well this isn't encouraging:

Giuliani says gun control helped reduce N.Y. crime

SACRAMENTO -- Rudy Giuliani addressed a potentially troublesome issue with conservative voters, saying his policies as mayor to get handguns off the street helped reduce crime in New York.

"I used gun control as mayor," he said at a news conference Saturday during a swing through California. But "I understand the Second Amendment. I understand the right to bear arms."

He said what he did as mayor would have no effect on hunting.

(emphasis mine)

No effect on hunting?  Sorry Rudy, but the Second Amendment has nothing to do with hunting.  And it's worth noting that NYC has had strict gun control laws for years, even when the crime rate was rising.  It looks to me like Rudy just doesn't get it.

h/t:  Drudge

Monday, February 05, 2007

GLOBAL HOT AIR

He's no Al Gore, but Dr. Timothy Ball is a former professor of climatology at the University of Winnipeg.  Consequently, he may know something about the current hysteria over man-made global warming, even though he hasn't ever been nominated for an Oscar.  Check out his column "Global Warming: The Cold, Hard Facts?" over at the Canada Free Press website.

h/t: Drudge

Friday, February 02, 2007

SCHOOL CHOICE IN NY?

Well this is surprising.  From WTEN:

Budget Controversy Sparked by Just Two Little Lines

The Governor calls it a tax break - a tax break worth a couple of hundred dollars. But the people who teach your kids call it bad public policy.

The idea that parents who send their kids to a private or parochial school get a tax deduction was a surprise for many in the budget plan Governor Spitzer laid out. And some are saying it was snuck in, in the five-volume budget.

And the proposal makes up just two lines. NEWS10's John McLoughlin explains why those two little lines could be what many people will care the most about.

The Governor never even mentioned it during his budget briefings - but there it was, a new personal income tax deduction of up to one-thousand dollars for each kid in private or parochial school.

"Were you surprised when you saw this in the budget?" McLoughlin asked Steve Allinger, the Legislative Director of the New York State United Teachers Union.

"Yes, we were surprised," Allinger said.

Allinger, the lobbyist for NYSUT, says tax deductions for religious schools not only harm public education - he says they are simply wrong, "to use the public's tax expenditures or appropriations to support narrow private sectarian uses."

"They've got a lot of nerve complaining," says Dennis Poust, Legislative Director for the New York State Catholic Conference.

Poust says NYSUT's got a lot of nerve after Spitzer pledged a record seven-billion dollars in new school aid, while the private and parochial schools are educating half-a-million youngsters for a lot less money.

This is something I didn't expect from Spitzer.  Most Democrats are so tight with the teachers' unions that they wouldn't even dream of proposing such a thing.  Of course NYSUT's response was exactly what I expected.  Their rep makes it a point to mention that money would go to "sectarian" schools.  No one ever seems to remember that millions of dollars in government financial aid and student loans goes to private religious colleges and universities every year.  I guess we owe this oversight to the lack of a powerful union for professors at the state instititions of higher education.  The squeaky wheel gets the grease, and all that.

It'll be interesting to see if our new Governor has the stones to stand up to them.  I'll keep my fingers crossed, but I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

SICK AND TIRED--A DETOUR THROUGH RANT CITY

A few of the things that have been getting on my nerves lately:

The New Democratic Majority
OK, they won already. So when is the media going to stop obsessing on the point. Let's move on and get down to business for crying out loud.

Scared Republicans
OK, the Dems won. Get over it. Stop running scared and stand on your principles. If you're going to act like Democrats-Lite, expect to stay in the minority for a long time. Or to get bounced from office altogether. Why should we vote for imitation Democrats when we can have the real thing instead.

"Don't Call Us the 'Democrat' Party"
Yes we know, it's "Democratic" party. Implying that any other party isn't democratic. Grow up. The only thing worse than crybaby losers is crybaby winners.

"Bless Me Doctor, For I Have Sinned"
Rehab is the new route to absolution. Whether you're a congressman who hit on an underage page, an actor with a racial epithet-spewing potty-mouth, or a naughty beauty queen, just pack up and head out to rehab. Substance abuse is the new "the Devil made me do it."

Cickenhawk Arguments
I'm sick of hearing the "anyone who didn't serve, shouldn't send our troops into harm's way" argument. Or the b.s. about how more Democrats served than Republicans. The next time I hear one of these, my reply will be this: "Yeah, I don't think non-veterans should be allowed to hold office. Or vote. Or express opinions about politics and national policy. Freedom isn't free, and if you didn't pay, you should STFU." I don't really believe this, but it's sure to end the conversation.

So, what's been on your nerves lately?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

ALBERTO MARTINEZ: CASE UPDATE AND STUPID LAWYER TRICKS

My blogging as of late has been inconsistent, so I haven't kept up on this story. In case you're not familiar with it, Staff Sergeant Alberto Martinez stands accused of murdering Captain Phillip Esposito and 1st Lieutenant Louis Allen in Iraq in June 2005. All three were part of the New York Army National Guard's 42nd Infantry Division. Here's the latest:
Judge orders independent investigator in Iraq ‘fragging’ case


FORT BRAGG, N.C. - A judge has ordered the government to pay for an independent investigator who will help prepare a defense for a soldier accused of killing two superior officers in Iraq. Military judge Col. Patrick Parrish granted the request after lawyers for Staff Sgt. Alberto Martinez complained Army investigators haven’t cooperated with them.

Martinez, 39, of Troy, N.Y., is the only soldier known to be charged with killing his superior officer during the Iraq war, also known as “fragging.”

He is accused of killing Capt. Phillip Esposito, 30, of Suffern, N.Y., and 1st Lt. Louis Allen, 34, of Milford, Pa., by setting off grenades and a mine in their room at one of Saddam Hussein’s former palaces in June 2005. The pair were his superior officers in the 42nd Infantry Division of the New York National Guard.

Allen, who grew up in Chester, N.Y., was a biology teacher at George F, Baker High School in Tuxedo.

Before issuing his ruling, Parrish noted that a civilian defendant in a death penalty case could be given an independent investigator at government expense.

“Do you think that would sit well with Congress, knowing that a soldier has fewer rights than a person sitting in a federal prison?” Parrish asked military prosecutor Capt. Adam Siple.


Parrish gave the defense until Jan. 19 to recommend an investigator to be hired.

And this:
Military judge grants access to files in Iraq murder case


(Fort Bragg, NC-AP) January 11, 2007 - Attorneys representing a soldier charged with killing two superior officers in Iraq will get access to the government's electronic data, including classified evidence.

The military judge ordered the access Thursday. Staff Sergeant Alberto Martinez faces two counts of premeditated murder in the deaths of Captain Phillip Esposito of Suffern, New York, and First Lieutenant Louis Allen of Milford, Pennsylvania.

Prosecutors say Martinez, of the New York Army National Guard, set off grenades and a mine in a room where Esposito and Allen were staying in June 2005.

The judge says that the government must allow access to both unclassified and classified data collected in the case. He also ordered the government to provide a computer expert to the defense lawyers.

Neither of these developments is unusual. This being a death penalty case, the court is going to bend over backwards to avoid looking as if Martinez isn't being given a "fair" trial. Of course to some people (especially the defense team), fairness is defined as a guarantee that Martinez gets off scott free.

This development is the one that really pisses me off:
At a November hearing, defense lawyers hinted that a Supreme Court decision barring the execution of mentally retarded defendants could keep the Army from seeking a death sentence against Martinez. They didn't elaborate.

(emphasis mine)

Mentally retarded? Martinez isn't just a soldier, he's a noncomissioned officer. Someone the Army had seen fit to give a position of authority to. It's disheartening enough that he may be a murdering sociopath, but now the defense team is going to tell the world he's mentally retarded?!?!

I apologize in advance for putting this so indelicately, but these lawyers are preparing to drop their pants and take a shit on the whole US Army NCO Corps. What's that going to do for the morale of our troops in harm's way? I guess murdering two men wasn't enough damage for him. Now his lawyers are helping him spread the pain. Disgraceful.

This whole episode just reinforces my belief that lawyers are no longer members of a profession. They are priests in some bizarre religion. A religion that performs sacrifices. Public safety. National security. And now the honor of our soldiers. All sacrificial lambs to some warped vision of "justice."

Friday, January 26, 2007

TODAY'S MUST-READ

In his book Hurray! We're Capitulating!, German author Henryk M. Broder examines the western world's total lack of courage in the face of Muslim intimidation.  Der Spiegel has posted an excerpt from the book on their english language online edition.  Mr. Broder gets it.  Too bad so many of his European brethren (and their American admirers) don't.

VOLUNTARY DHIMMITUDE

And surprisingly, it's not the Europeans this time.
Chinese TV Network Bans Pig Ads During Year of Pig Celebrations Due to Muslim Sensitivity


SHANGHAI — Companies looking to reach China's consumer market with pig images during Year of the Pig celebrations next month will have to adjust after a national television network adopted a policy to be sensitive to the country's small Muslim population, according to published reports.

China Central Television said it would ban all verbal and visual pork references from advertisements during Lunar New Year celebrations next month, the Wall Street Journal reported. This week, the network banned a TV ad from Nestle SA featuring a smiling cartoon pig and the message, "Happy new pig year."

Too bad China's Christians don't merit such consideration from the government. What is it about Islam that even communist atheists are willing to kowtow to it?

Friday, January 19, 2007

MOONBAT ALERT: ROBERT REDFORD

I saw this story linked on the Drudge Report.  From the Hollywood Reporter:

Redford lands left hook, criticizes Bush policy

PARK CITY -- Robert Redford came out swinging at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival's opening news conference Thursday, attacking the Bush administration for its politics as strongly as he dismissed film buyers who want his fest to serve as a market.

"Anyone with a rational mind and a sense of decency is being positioned as a lefty by the extreme right," he said, responding to an attendee who asked whether he thought Sundance selections were politically oriented to the left. "I believe in the tenets of democracy, and when they get pushed, it pisses me off," he said.

Redford maintained that Sundance films always have been politically diverse but said that "in light of what's happened in the past six years, we haven't adhered to snuffing attempts from the administration. ... (Documentaries) have become more of a truth to power in an environment where lying is treated like a political asset."

"I'm left-handed," he joked. "I'm not a very moderate person."

So, first he complains about his political opponents labeling him and other dissenters as "lefty."  Then, in the same sentence no less, he labels said opponents as "the extreme right."  Irony, anyone?  And just to make the ridiculousness of his statement complete, he basically admits that he is a lefty.  This would be funnier if there weren't so many people who take these clowns seriously.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

PLAYING POLITICS (AGAIN)

I wish this was surprising.  From the Washington Times:

On Dec. 5, Newsweek magazine touted an interview with then-incoming House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Rep. Silvestre Reyes as an "exclusive." And for good reason.

"In a surprise twist in the debate over Iraq," the story began, Mr. Reyes "said he wants to see an increase of 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops as part of a 'stepped up effort to dismantle the militias.' "

"We have to consider the need for additional troops to be in Iraq, to take out the militias and stabilize Iraq," the Texas Democrat said to the surprise of many, "I would say 20,000 to 30,000."

Then came President Bush's expected announcement last week, virtually matching Mr. Reyes' recommendation and argument word-for-word -- albeit the president proposed only 21,500 troops.

Wouldn't you know, hours after Mr. Bush announced his proposal, Mr. Reyes told the El Paso Times that such a troop buildup was unthinkable.

"We don't have the capability to escalate even to this minimum level," he said.

Don't even try to tell me these people aren't playing politics with our national security.  Of course Reyes is the same clown who didn't know whether al Qaeda was Sunni or Shiite.  But colossal ignorance notwithstanding, Congressman Reyes should at least know what his own position is on a troop increase.  But don't expect an explanation as to why his position changed.  Reyes will count on the MSM to give him a pass.  And they will, as they always do for Democrats.  Unfortunately, most of the mushy middle--the much coveted "moderate" voters--still get most of their news from the MSM. 

h/t:  Drudge

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