July 31, 2012

Do we wake or dream?

UK experts to help Iraq destroy chemical residues - Yahoo! News:

BAGHDAD (AP) -- Britain will help the Iraqi government dispose of what's left of deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons, still stored in two bunkers in north of Baghdad, the British embassy in Baghdad announced Monday.

The British Defense Ministry will start training Iraqi technical and medical workers this year, an embassy statement said. The teams will work to safely destroy remnants of munitions and chemical warfare agents left over from Saddam's regime. He was overthrown in 2003 following an American-led invasion.

Saddam stored the chemical weapons near population centers so that he could access them quickly, despite the danger to his civilian population.

Most of Iraq's chemical weapons were destroyed by military forces in 1991 during the first Gulf War or by U.N. inspectors after the fighting. The inspections halted just before the invasion.

Iraq is a party to the U.N. Chemical Weapons Convention and must get rid of the remaining material, according to terms of the pact....

Jeeze Louise. First the chumskys told us we shouldn't invade iraq, because millions would be killed when Saddam's WMD's were unleashed. Then they told us "Bush lied," for suggesting that Saddam had WMD's at all. Now this. I give up.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:42 PM

December 30, 2010

Christians in combat...

A lot of bloggers have been taking apart this stupid and shabby op-ed from the WaPo, Colman McCarthy - 'Don't ask, don't tell' has been repealed. ROTC still shouldn't be on campus. (Here's VDH)

I will merely touch one point, which no one else has seemed to mention...

...When I suggested that Notre Dame's hosting of ROTC was a large negative among the school's many positives, Hesburgh disagreed. Notre Dame was a model of patriotism, he said, by training future officers who were churchgoers, who had taken courses in ethics, and who loved God and country. Notre Dame's ROTC program was a way to "Christianize the military," he stated firmly.

I asked if he actually believed there could be a Christian method of slaughtering people in combat, or a Christian way of firebombing cities, or a way to kill civilians in the name of Jesus. Did he think that if enough Notre Dame graduates became soldiers that the military would eventually embrace Christ's teaching of loving one's enemies?

The interview quickly slid downhill....

As a president of a great university, Hesburgh should have been intellectually able to reply "YES, there is a Christian method of slaughtering people in combat." (Or at least have replied that there are arguments one can make--even if he did not personally hold them.)

So I will fill in the blanks. Let us ignore the fascinating question of Just War Doctrine and assume that diplomacy has failed and the war has already been started. And that it is generally accepted that this particular war is necessary, and is being waged against an unjust regime.

What might we see Christian forces doing in combat? I'd suggest...

  1. Following the laws of war as much as possible.
  2. Using the smallest amount of deadly force practicable.
  3. Being willing to sacrifice themselves when it will limit the destruction of war.
  4. Being willing to forgive enemy forces as soon as combat stops, and if possible, to welcome them back to friendly relations.
  5. Winning the war decisively, so as to make future wars less likely. (This, paradoxically, may over-ride #2)
  6. Working to restore a defeated nation to health.
So, let's apply these points to some recent conflict, and see how they fit. I'll just take out my Magic 8 Ball and turn it over and see what floats up. Ah ha. The American Coalition invasion of Iraq in 2003. Classic! (I personally would call this a campaign, not a war. But never mind.) Read on if you are curious...

(Note: All the following points cold be expanded into essays if needed. This is a quickie post, but I've been blogging on such things since 2001. I have the information to back this up.)

1. The basic purpose of the Geneva conventions and other war laws is to keep war away from civilians. For instance one may not use schools or hospitals as firing points, fight in civilian clothes, transport arms in ambulances, explode bombs in marketplaces or police stations...stuff like that. Hmm. I'd say the Yankees look good on that score, and their opponents are clearly a mob of war criminals. (Link)

2. Using the least force possible.That describes the American military to a "T," though our vile press doesn't report this. For instance America's ordinary cannon artillery gathered dust in Iraq--too destructive. The US Army rushed to develop very small and precise guns--with shells weighing only 50lbs! (Link) America also deployed bombs with no explosive at all! There are many other examples that could be mentioned.

3. Self-sacrifice to save lives. The perfect example is the Second Battle of Falluja. The US forces could easily have just flattened that nasty city. But many civilians would have been killed along with the terrorists. So Falluja was conquered in brutal house-to-house fighting. (Link)

4. Being willing to forgive enemy forces. Well, Americans have always done that. And a good example is the way American forces cooperated with the Sunni tribesman during the "Surge." In 2007 American forces were patrolling side-by-side with guys they knew perfectly well had been killing Americans in 2006.

5. Winning the war decisively. This may seem counter-intuitive. But the classic example of the other way is the Armistice that ended WWI. It was just a sort of cease-fire, without a clear recognition the Germany has lost, and should surrender. The armistice was the basis of Hitler's rise, since he could claim that Germany had never really lost, but had been "stabbed in the back." The result... World War II.

In the case of Iraq, the Americans and their allies persisted in the face of great difficulties, and in the end no one could doubt that al-Qaeda and the Ba'athists had been crushed beyond any hope of a re-match in Iraq. This is true pacifism; not the fake kind that encourages future wars.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:10 PM

August 23, 2010

You've probably already seen this chart...

... of "Deficits with and without Iraq War." Either way it is damning for Dems, but especially it demolishes the Democrat claim that our fiscal problems can be blamed on the Iraq Campaign. Or on the the Bush tax cuts...

Deficits with and without Iraq War

The chart is from a great piece in American Thinker by Randall Hoven, Iraq: The War That Broke Us -- Not. A quote:

...Just for grins, use the above chart to dissect Christopher Hayes' statement that our current and future deficits are caused by "three things: the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush tax cuts and the recession."

Two of those three things -- the wars and tax cuts -- were in effect from 2003 through 2007. Do you see alarming deficits or trends from 2003 through 2007 in the above chart? No. In fact, the trend through 2007 is shrinking deficits. What you see is a significant upward tick in 2008, and then an explosion in 2009. Now, what might have happened between 2007 and 2008, and then 2009?

Democrats taking over both houses of Congress, and then the presidency, was what happened. Republicans wrote the budgets for the fiscal years through 2007. Congressional Democrats wrote the budgets for FY 2008 and on. When the Democrats also took over the White House, they immediately passed an $814-billion "stimulus." (The $814 billion figure is from the same CBO report as the Iraq War costs. See sources at end of article.)...
Posted by John Weidner at 7:33 AM

April 4, 2010

Winner: Most awesome Easter Vigil experience!

Loyal reader SGT Ethan e-mailed me about his attending Easter Vigil Mass at St. Elijah Monastery, near Mosul, Iraq. The church is in semi-ruinous condition, and US forces have been trying to preserve it. you can read more about it here and here.

St. Elijah Monastery, Mosul, Iraq

He writes...

Very cool site, and a wonderful mass. Mass was first offered on this site somewhere between 1400 and 1700 years ago, depending on whom you ask. This structure is Byzantine construction from the 1600's, built on top of the old site. The mass was humble, very much unadorned, open air, occasional sound of automatic gunfire from the test fire pit not far away...two soldiers and one contractor were baptized, confirmed and received their first communion, and we had folks from everywhere - lots of Assyrians who work as linguists, then a lot of Indians and some Ugandans who work here, and a good number of soldiers.

It was awfully cool - if for no other reason than how often do you go to mass with an assault rifle on your back and a knife on your hip? The open air, the monastery – yeah, it was a stunning night. Honestly, now I don't want to go on the tour they offer – I want to keep that place in my mind exactly as it was...
Posted by John Weidner at 2:57 PM

November 25, 2009

PC imbecilicity...

The ultimate (so far) PC insanity...

Navy SEALs Face Assault Charges for Capturing Most-Wanted Terrorist (and giving him a fat lip):

Navy SEALs have secretly captured one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq — the alleged mastermind of the murder and mutilation of four Blackwater USA security guards in Fallujah in 2004. And three of the SEALs who captured him are now facing criminal charges, sources told FoxNews.com.

The three, all members of the Navy's elite commando unit, have refused non-judicial punishment — called an admiral's mast — and have requested a trial by court-martial.

Ahmed Hashim Abed, whom the military code-named "Objective Amber," told investigators he was punched by his captors — and he had the bloody lip to prove it.

Now, instead of being lauded for bringing to justice a high-value target, three of the SEAL commandos, all enlisted, face assault charges and have retained lawyers....

I was going to vent on this crap, but Uncle Jimbo was there fustest and bestest (addressing a certain fool who wants to toss our guys under the PC bus)

...Let me explain something to you amigo. That wrist slap would be a career-ender in Spec Ops for these men. You understand? We take three guys who accomplish more in a lazy afternoon than you have in your entire anonymous, snarking-from-the-sideline, existence and we put them out of work making dead tangos. And that sounds like what should have happened to this ass clown. If he dies during the take down we have no problems.

I know you have no earthly clue just how god-awful complicated it is to actually perform a raid and scarf up a bad guy, let's just say it rates up there with trying to conduct a Beethoven Symphony with your orchestra in free fall, screaming towards Earth like a phalanx of freaking lawn darts. That is why we like to send a f**king Hellfire down on them and last time I checked that leaves a little more than a god damn bloody lip. And yes I am saying I don't care if he got it once he got to base. What if the guy who clocked his murderous ass knew Scott Helverson, who this bastard helped kill, burn and then defile his corpse? Do you really want to be on record saying he should be made an example of? Do you remember what Kos said about the four men this scumbag killed you dumbass? I'll remind you "F**k them". You are sure in illustrious company.

I realize you get paid to say controversial shite all day long. Every once in a while you ought to take a gander at who gives you the freedom to flap your freakin' gums and think twice before you decide that zero-tolerance demands that your betters suffer for some bullshit like this. Don't offer the PC losers cover, ever. They will use it against my friends.
Posted by John Weidner at 7:44 AM

November 11, 2009

In a small, dimly-lit airport...

Something for Veteran's day. A re-post of an old post from August 05, 2004...

This is a splendid story. I've been in dingy airports at 3AM, and the thought of one of those spooky dumps becoming a place of Grace is weird and beautiful...

3 A.M. With the VFW
By Sgt. Michael Thomas

...Thirty-six hours after our scheduled arrival, we landed in Bangor, Maine. It was 3 a.m. We were tired, hungry, and as desperate as we were to get to Colorado, our excitement was tainted with bitterness. While we were originally told our National Guard deployment would be mere months, here we were – 369 days later – frustrated and angry.

As I walked off the plane, I was taken aback: in the small, dimly-lit airport, a group of elderly veterans lined up to shake our hands. Some were standing, some confined to wheelchairs, all wore their uniform hats. Their now-feeble right hands arms stiffened in salutes, their left hands holding coffee, snacks and cell phones for us.

As I made my way through the line, each man thanking me for my service, I choked back tears. Here we were, returning from one year in Iraq where we had portable DVD players, three square meals and phones, being honored by men who had crawled through mud for years with little more than the occasional letter from home.

These soldiers – many of whom who had lost limbs and comrades – shook our hands proudly, as if our service could somehow rival their own....

This picture has nothing to do with the above story, I just put it in for my own satisfaction. (It's from an old post about the death of the last combat-wounded veteran of WWI. Link. My 77th division post is here.)

Doughboys of the 77th divsion wait on the edge of the Argonne Forest, before the attack on September 26, 1918.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:29 PM

August 9, 2009

It's like being an anti-genocide activist and a Holocaust-denier at the same time...

I was inspired by this story to put certain things a bit more bluntly than I have in the past.

I love history. And I'm a real book&blog-devourer. As a result, I know a lot of stuff, especially in history and world affairs. (Don't rush to make me a job offer; my grab-bag of history seems to have no practical worth.)

Here's one simple fact. The regime of Saddam Hussein was to mass torture, as Hitler's regime was to mass killing, and Stalin's was to mass imprisonment. In all of history there has been no government that tortured people on the scale of Saddam's Iraq. None even comes close. I won't give you any stomach-turning examples, but they are out there if you want to look them up.

We are probably talking hundreds of thousands of people hideously tormented in a country about the size of California.

Any person who claims to make torture their big issue must be aware of this. To claim ignorance would be like someone (let's call him Mr X), in say the year 1947, whose big issue was genocide, or persecution of Jews—yet who seemed to be ignorant or indifferent to what had just happened in Europe! It is insane to even think about it. Right?

In truth, FDR and Winston Churchill are the two men who have prevented more persecution and murder of Jews than any other individuals in history. That's a simple fact, right?

If you care about Jews, or genocide, you must honor them, even if you hate everything else they stood for.

SO, gentle readers, suppose our "Mr X," in the year 1947, demands stridently that Franklin D Roosevelt (if he'd been still alive) and his men should be investigated and prosecuted because during its tenure American Jews were harassed by hate-groups like the KKK. What would you think, hmmm?

You would think Mr X was deranged with hatred of FDR. (You might say he has RDS, Roosevelt Derangement Syndrome.) Mr X is very sick, very twisted man.

"That's a preposterous hypothetical!" I hear you saying. NOT SO. A very similar thing is happening right now. It is a simple historical fact that former president George W. Bush, by inspiring and leading the coalition that overthrew the torture-obsessed fascist tyranny of Saddam Hussein, prevented more torture than any other human being who has ever lived upon the planet Earth.

And yet, farcical though it seems, we actually have our own "Mr X's." [Link] We really have people who claim to be anti-torture zealots, but are nonetheless ice-heartedly indifferent to the unprecedented sufferings of the Iraqi people. Who simply act as if that holocaust of agony never happened—they never mention it.. And at the same time they drool over the possibility of prosecuting the greatest "anti-torture activist" of all times.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:08 PM

July 13, 2009

Blogging helps you not forget...

This is an old post, from 2003. Frivolous souls may forget the pain and sacrifice and nobility of that time, but I don't forget...

I was just thrilled by this story by a 9/11 widow who went to Iraq on a USO tour...

by Christy Ferer
6/30/2003 - NEW YORK (AFPN) -- When I told friends about my pilgrimage to Iraq to thank the U.S. troops, reaction was underwhelming at best.
Some were blunt. "Why are you going there?" They could not understand why it was important for me, a 9/11 widow, to express my support for the men and women stationed today in the Gulf...
How can anyone not understand? Unbelievable! Well, actually not so hard to believe-- sure and I know the type. Prissy cold-hearted urban-elite liberals--this town is full of them too...
...As we were choppered over deserts that looked like bleached bread crumbs, I wondered if I'd feel like a street hawker, passing out Port Authority pins and baseball caps as I said "thank you" to the troops. Would a hug from me mean anything at all in the presence of the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders and a Victoria’s Secret model?

The first "meet and greet" made me weep. Why? Soldiers, armed with M16s and saddlebags of water in 120-degree heat, swarmed over the stars for photos and autographs. When it was announced that a trio of Sept. 11 family members was also in the tent it was as if a psychic cork on an emotional dam was popped.

Soldiers from all over our great country rushed toward us to express their condolences. Some wanted to touch us, as if they needed a physical connection to our sorrow and for some living proof for why they were there.

One mother of two from Montana told me she enlisted because of Sept. 11. Dozens of others told us the same thing. One young soldier showed me his metal bracelet engraved with the name of a victim he never knew and that awful date none of us will ever forget...

...One particular soldier, Capt. Vargas from the Bronx, told me he enlisted in the Army after some of his wife's best friends were lost at the World Trade Center.

When he glimpsed the piece of recovered metal from the Towers that I had been showing to a group of soldiers he grasped for it as if it were the Holy Grail. Then he handed it to Kid Rock who passed the precious metal through the 5000 troops in the audience. They lunged at the opportunity to touch the steel that symbolized what so many of them felt was the purpose of their mission -- which puts them at risk every day in the 116 degree heat, not knowing all the while if a sniper was going to strike at anytime...
In a recent post Donald Sensing wrote that 3d Division was a wasting asset. That because of its over-long deployment, re-enlistments would fall catastrophically and the division would have to be almost re-built with new people. Perhaps it will be so, it will be interesting to see. But perhaps he has overlooked one thing. We are all of us hungry to have meaning in our lives, to feel like we are making a difference. Our guys in Iraq have a difficult duty, but I would guess that every one of them also has the deep satisfaction that comes from doing something that may change the world... [As far as I've heard, The excellent Mr Sensing was, happily, wrong.]
Posted by John Weidner at 8:57 PM

June 20, 2009

Wasn't something like this... Predicted?

This is from a few days ago, but still right on target...Kathryn Jean Lopez - The Corner on National Review Online:

...Reading items like the piece you excerpted from the New Republic reminds me of the strategic opportunities that Obama has squandered by demonizing Bush and the Iraq war for years.

Imagine how powerful it would be for Obama (or, more likely, a surrogate) to be able to stand up and say to the Iranian protesters, "Under the USA, your neighbor Iraq held free and fair elections. The government of Iran went out of its way to demonize the US and undermine those elections. We are now seeing the results of that mindset come home to Iran as you are denied a voice by your government in your own elections. The US government stands behind all who seek free and fair elections."

Of course, he can't say that with any legitimacy because he has spent years putting down Bush and Iraq. This is a classic example of why partisan bickering needs to be toned down; it hamstrings the new Administration. So frustrating to watch....

I'm remembering all the chomskies who scoffed and sneered when people like me said that liberating Iraq could lead to the start of a wave of democracy across the Middle East. Of course you cowardly dogs will pretend it never happened, but I remember. I was right, and my pal George W Bush was right.

Remember this?
Note, Condoleeza Rice to the President, "Iraq is soverign."

Posted by John Weidner at 8:00 AM

May 12, 2009

Tuning out what doesn't fit the template...

I am, most of the time, a fan of David P. Goldman (Spengler). But I think this, from The Torture Debate Shows Our Vulnerability to Radical Evil, at First Things, is just malarky, and comes from his internal movie, not from reality...

...The scandal over torture is the perverse result of the previous administration's exercise in nation-building, that is, an attempt to bring the benefits of democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan. When Justice Department lawyers write memos to set ground rules for "enhanced interrogation," something has gone woefully wrong. In the case of Iraq, the American military got up to its neck in the septic-tank of Iraqi civil society without the means to engage it. Apart from first-generation immigrants, few Americans speak Arabic, let alone Persian or Pashtun. Iraq's welter of resistant organizations was entirely opaque to American intelligence, which proposed to beat the required information out of a large pool of Iraqi prisoner. In retrospect it seems delusional to believe that the United States could shape a civil society without even the ability to communicate with it...

1. Unless I've missed something (correct me please!) the "torture" scandal has little to do with supporting operations in Iraq or Afghanistan. The (very few) cases of water-boarding were about threats by al-Qaeda to the US or Europe. (Abu Ghraib was not about interrogation.) I think Goldman is simply making stuff up.

2. The "septic-tank of Iraqi civil society" is a false description. I would say that Iraqi civil society is surprisingly healthy considering the decades of totalitarian misrule, and the general state of Arab culture. The violence we experienced was deliberately ginned-up by several murderous groups, but does not seem to have ever been what Iraqis in general wanted.

3. "...entirely opaque to American intelligence" Even if true, where are the Iraqi Defense Forces in this analysis? Turned to zombies? This is a bizarre variant on the liberal tendency I've written about to only consider America "real." The picture Goldman is painting, with only America able to act, is simply crazy.

4. I've been following accounts by our guys in Iraq since 2003, and it is very clear that they do in fact communicate effectively with Iraqis. There are lots of English-speaking Iraqi interpreters, and many of our troops have learned at least some basic Arabic.

5. Though we provide lots of advice and aid, we are not "shaping a civil society," nor trying to. The Iraqis are clearly doing that themselves.

6. We seem to be succeeding. (See quote below by Nibras Kazimi.) Iraq is now safer than a lot of US cities. Therefore, it looks like "delusional" describes Goldman much better than it does American efforts in Iraq.

(Here are a few links to reports from Iraq, stuff I think Goldman just tunes out or ignores: Link, link, link, link. There is lots more where those came from.)

One of Goldman's schticks is that America is "arrogant," and will surely come a cropper. Maybe so, but I think in the case of Iraq he's seeing his own mental picture of the world, not what's there. (By the way, my list of reasons for invading Iraq is here. I don't just assert things, I back them up.)

I'd recommend Nibras Kazimi as a useful antidote to Goldman's fantasies. This is from an article of his, Dodging 'Democracy' in Iraq:

...It seems that U.S. policy views the words 'democracy' and 'Iraq' as mutually exclusive. Unfortunately, if it is policy then it was one begun by Clinton's predecessor, Condoleeza Rice, who in the latter years of the Bush administration began to shy away from the term.

Iraq is democratic. It has a noisy political process whereby politicians are always mindful of how their constituencies will react to their actions come election time. It managed to pass a constitution by referendum, and for the first time in the Middle East, the thorniest of issues such as sectarianism, minority rights and women's empowerment are being debated, and voted on, by the Iraqi electorate. A vocal parliamentary opposition assails a coalition cabinet on anything from budgetary pitfalls to the abuse of prisoners. Heck, even prisoners and ex-felons are allowed to vote in Iraq, something that can't be said about America.

Right before the last provincial elections, teams from the country's Electoral Commission visited prisons and hospitals to explain to voter their rights, and the procedures by which their votes would be collected and counted. That's not only a stark contrast to Iraq's brutal totalitarian past, but a stark contrast to Iraq's immediate neighborhood, where elections are 'managed' to produce the results the ruling establishment decrees...

Goldman is a great thinker, and I admire him very much, but in this case I think I'm seeing things more clearly than he. Why? Because I care about Iraqis, and like them. I'm not sure why—I ind neither other Arabs nor Afghans interesting—but I glom onto Iraqi news avidly, and have been for years now. I don't think Iraq is real to him. Just something useful for his arguments.

Democracies, by the way, are always uglier the lower the per capita income. Therefore, a reasonable level of success for Iraqi democracy would still be more flawed than even Mexico or Turkey.

* Update: Actually, I'd say that Iraq is evidence that America is NOT arrogant. We said we could do the job, and even though it turned out to be ten times a hard as expected, we pulled it off! Sounds like clear-minded confidence in our abilities and in the attractiveness of our ideas to me. Not arrogance.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:52 AM

April 16, 2009

Emma Sky

Nibras Kazimi, at his blog Talisman Gate:

...The "Sky" I'm referring to is Emma Sky. I've been watching her rise for some time, and couldn't tell whether this was a remarkably deft penetration of the American decision-making process courtesy of the 'cousins' across the pond, or that it was just an accident of history when mediocre characters, thrust into the eye of history, begin making irresponsible and ill-conceived choices. I'm still wavering between the two.

Sky has maneuvered herself into becoming General Ray Odierno's brain.

Sky has been recently quoted as saying:
"It is a fascinating society," she said of Iraq. "They have got things here that we have totally lost in the West: the appreciation of each other, whether it is the family, the clan or the tribe; values that aren't capitalist."
How foolish is that? What toxic mix of cluelessness and self-righteousness is necessary to allow someone to string together these words? Is Emma Sky arguing for a pre-capitalistic society for Iraq? Wheres the sense of irony here?

But I'll hand it to her, she has been quite clever in rallying the ranks of her fellow travelers among the western media (think Tom Ricks), as well as the left-leaning think-tankers. She's managed to manipulate them into adhering to a disciplined message about Iraq, one that is heavily colored by her politics....
"Values that aren't capitalist." When you hear that, don't imagine that the speaker has a non-capitalist economic philosophy, such as socialism or syndicalism or some such. "Capitalist" is a code-word for the dreadful state of affairs where the little people do what they want without being guided by their betters who have taste and style. Sky's "anti-capitalism" is exactly the same philosophy as the quote in yesterday's post:
"..Rid society of the dictatorship of the middle class," Parrington insisted, referring to both democracy and capitalism, "and the artist and the scientist will erect in America a civilization that may become, what civilization was in earlier days, a thing to be respected..."

Sky doesn't really care about "the family, the clan or the tribe;" what's important is that these people are still poor and unsophisticated (and "colorful"), and therefore may be amenable to being guided by people like Ms. Sky. As soon as they start to attain self-confident middle-class status she will drop them.

(Much like our own intelligentsia used to dote on poor wretches in Appalachia, and gourmandised on their folk music and folk art. And congratulated themselves on being caring (with the taxpayers' $'s) and on being cool and "genuine" while listening to recordings of some old granny singing hymns of a faith they in fact despise. And of course once those people managed to escape from dire poverty, they were "rednecks," they were "spoiled by capitalism," and deserved to be sneered-at or ignored.)

It goes without saying that Sky hates "Zionists," and is not fond of Kurds. "..toxic mix of cluelessness and self-righteousness..." Well put.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:02 PM

March 6, 2009


AFP: Iraqi detainees refusing to go home:

BAGHDAD -- An increasing number of Iraqi detainees are refusing to leave detention centres despite being eligible for release because they want to complete studies begun behind bars, a US general said on Sunday.

"In the last three or four months we have begun seeing detainees asking to stay in detention, usually to complete their studies," Major General Douglas Stone told a news conference in Baghdad.

The US military offers a wide range of educational programmes to the 23,000 or so detainees -- adults and juveniles -- being held at its two detention facilities, Camp Cropper near Baghdad's international airport and Camp Bucca near the southern port city of Basra.

Some parents of juvenile detainees, too, have asked that their children remain behind bars so they can continue their schooling, said Stone, the commanding general for US detainee operations in Iraq....

Actually, they only want to stay because they are captivated by Mr Obama. That must be it.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:38 PM

February 26, 2009

Former enemies

Mike Plaiss sent me a link to this Bloomberg piece, Former Iraq Enemies Share Raids as America Prepares to Withdraw. It's interesting to me for several reasons. One is that I think this is the analog, on the level of nations, of the Christian command to love ones enemy. Our contemporary fake-pacifists try to play Christianity as justifying their appeasement of tyrants. But the problem is, they are loving someone else's enemy--and looking on with ice-hearted indifference as the poor someone-else gets shredded like a pi�ata..

Another piece of crap that stories like this give the lie to is the despicable falsehood spread by America-hating toads that we are fighting the War on Terror for revenge.

Feb. 24 -- Capt. John Bradley, patrol leader of a U.S. field-artillery unit, sat with Col. Mohammed, an Iraqi Army officer, sharing tea and ambitions to wipe out rebels.

Mohammed explained how they would raid a roadside-bomb factory together in Mosul. Bradley offered computer discs of city maps to help.

It was a military love-in a long time coming. After the U.S. led an invasion of Iraq in 2003, American administrators disbanded Saddam Hussein's troops as an incorrigible remnant of dictatorship. Now, Mohammed, a Hussein-era vet who asked that only his first name be used for security, was planning forays with a solicitous American counterpart. "We’re here to back you up," Bradley said.

The performance of Iraq's army, rebuilt in the past five years into a force of 210,000 strong, is fundamental to the country's stability. U.S. soldiers, which number 140,000, are scheduled to withdraw from cities by the end of June and from the whole country by late 2011. President Barack Obama is pondering Pentagon proposals to pull out earlier: perhaps 23 months from now or even by mid-2010.

As the clock runs down, the U.S. is shifting responsibility for counterinsurgency to Iraqis, replacing Americans with recent enemies as the vanguard of pacification.

Officers who served under Hussein have quietly enlisted in the army, and on Feb. 15, Iraqi leaders invited more to return from exile and join up. Former Sunni Muslim rebels have been recruited to police troubled neighborhoods in Baghdad and towns in western Iraq. Desert tribes that once blew up oil pipelines to undermine the American occupation now guard them....
Posted by John Weidner at 9:59 PM

February 18, 2009

"We can run from our moral duty but we can't hide"

Bush's Greatness, by David Gelernter, in the Weekly Standard:

...Bush's greatness is often misunderstood. He is great not because he showed America how to react to 9/11 but because he showed us how to deal with a still bigger event--the end of the Cold War. The collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989 left us facing two related problems, one moral and one practical. Neither President Clinton nor the first Bush found solutions--but it's not surprising that the right answers took time to discover, and an event like 9/11 to bring them into focus.

In moral terms: If you are the biggest boy on the playground and there are no adults around, the playground is your responsibility. It is your duty to prevent outrages--because your moral code demands that outrages be prevented, and (for now) you are the only one who can prevent them.

If you are one of the two biggest boys, and the other one orders you not to protect the weak lest he bash you and everyone else he can grab--then your position is more complicated. Your duty depends on the nature of the outrage that ought to be stopped, and on other circumstances. This was America's position during the Cold War: Our moral obligation to overthrow tyrants was limited by the Soviet threat of hot war, maybe nuclear war.

But things are different today. We are the one and only biggest boy. We can run from our moral duty but we can't hide. If there is to be justice in the world, we must create it. No one else will act if the biggest boy won't. Some of us turn to the United Nations the way we wish we could turn to our parents. It's not easy to say, "The responsibility is mine and I must wield it." But that's what the United States has to say. No U.N. agency or fairy godmother will bail us out.

Of course our moral duty remains complicated. We must pursue justice, help the suffering, and overthrow tyrants. But there are limits to our power. We must pick our tyrants carefully, keeping in mind not only justice but our practical interests and the worldwide consequences of what we intend. Our duty in this area is like our obligation to show charity. We have no power to help everyone and no right to help no one. In the event, we chose to act in Afghanistan and Iraq to begin with--good choices from many viewpoints....

"If you are the biggest boy on the playground and there are no adults around, the playground is your responsibility." That's simply the way it is. We didn't ask the job, it just fell to us.

The complaints that we are oppressors amassing an empire because we are oil-stealing bullies are just stupid crap from nihilists who are desperate to avoid all moral duties. Including the duty of patriotism and love for this greatest of all countries.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:01 PM

February 7, 2009

They all laughed when I said Charlene and I hope to be tourists in Iraq soon...

Iraq: Basra is less dangerous than Manchester, British general says - Telegraph:

...Maj Gen Andy Salmon told The Daily Telegraph that following months of steady improvements in the security situation in Iraq's second city, the rate of violent crime and murder in Basra has fallen below some major British cities.

"On a per capita basis, if you look at the violence statistics, it is less dangerous than Manchester," he said, hailing a "radical transformation" in Iraq's prospects.

Since an Iraqi government offensive largely routed violent insurgent groups in Basra last May, British officials in Iraq say that the city has become ever more secure and stable and the Iraqi security forces increasingly competent. In the latest sign of progress after years of insurgent attacks on British and Iraqi forces, local elections last month passed off without significant violence.

"In a nutshell, Basra is stable," said Maj Gen Salmon.

The general, a Royal Marine Commando, also jokingly compared Basra and Stockwell in south London where he once lived. Asked where he would rather spend a Saturday night, he replied: "Downtown Basra, in the restaurants, enjoying myself."...

Saddam Hussein was a fascist dictator--in some ways more cruel and evil than Hitler. It is a mark of the utter insanity of our times that "liberals" and "pacifists" were determined to keep him in power, and then determined to allow al-Qaeda and Saddam's Ba'athist thugs to rule Iraq with terror and torture. All the while reviling the President of the United States for being "nazi," and a "Hitler!"

I'm probably boring everyone by repeating myself, but the utter moral bankruptcy of the left is a continual astonishment to me. And even more surprising is that people don't see it. Leftists can continue to present themselves as "anti-fascist," even though none of them would lift a finger to save people from real living breathing Hitlers.

Seven Iraqis who lost hands
These seven Iraqi men had their hands chopped off on orders of Saddam Hussein. We brought them here to receive the latest in prosthetic limbs.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:57 AM

January 31, 2009

Thise is what "Democrats" were (and are) against...

BBC NEWS, Iraqis vote in landmark elections:

...The turnout is expected to be strong even in Sunni areas. The head of the Iraqi electoral commission in Anbar province - a centre of the Sunni resistance to the US occupation - said he was expecting a 60% turnout.

Fewer than 2% voted in the 2005 election, with the result that Shia and Kurdish parties took control of parliament. Some Sunnis, like Khaled al-Azemi, said the boycott last time had been a mistake. "We lost a lot because we didn't vote and we saw the result - sectarian violence" he told the BBC. "That's why we want to vote now to avoid the mistakes of the past." The drawing of alienated Sunnis back into the political arena is one of the big changes these elections will crystallise, the BBC's Jim Muir reports from Baghdad.

On the Shia side, the results will also be closely watched amid signs that many voters intend to turn away from the big religious factions and towards nationalist or secular ones....

Thank you President Bush, for standing up for freedom and democracy, even for the "inferior races" that leftists despise. Democracy in Iraq may fail in the future, and it will certainly be more rough and trouble-plagued than ours. (But that's true of all of the poorer democracies.)

But it is still a million times better than what life was like under Saddam. Or under al-Qaeda, as they discovered in places like al Anbar. It was and is something worth fighting for.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:12 AM

January 20, 2009

They hate him for being right...

William McGurn: Bush's Real Sin Was Winning in Iraq - WSJ.com:

...In a few hours, George W. Bush will walk out of the Oval Office for the last time as president. As he leaves, he carries with him the near-universal opprobrium of the permanent class that inhabits our nation's capital. Yet perhaps the most important reason for this unpopularity is the one least commented on.

Here's a hint: It's not because of his failures. To the contrary, Mr. Bush's disfavor in Washington owes more to his greatest success. Simply put, there are those who will never forgive Mr. Bush for not losing a war they had all declared unwinnable.

Here in the afterglow of the turnaround led by Gen. David Petraeus, it's easy to forget what the smart set was saying two years ago -- and how categorical they all were in their certainty. The president was a simpleton, it was agreed. Didn't he know that Iraq was a civil war, and the only answer was to get out as fast as we could?

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee -- the man who will be sworn in as vice president today -- didn't limit himself to his own opinion. Days before the president announced the surge, Joe Biden suggested to the Washington Post he knew the president's people had also concluded the war was lost. They were, he said, just trying to "keep it from totally collapsing" until they could "hand it off to the next guy."...

But it is far more than just being right about not surrendering to al Qaeda. The implications concern the Democrats surrendering of Southeast Asia to Stalinist tyranny and genocide...

...This is Vietnam thinking. And the president never accepted it. That was why his critics went ape when, in a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars, he touched on the killing fields and exodus of boat people that followed America's humiliating exit off an embassy rooftop. As the Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti noted, Mr. Bush had appropriated one of their most cherished analogies -- only he drew very different lessons from it...

Well, they were right to go ape over it. If the numbers could all be known it is likely that the Democrat Party has killed more people than Hitler.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:25 PM

January 15, 2009

Analysis of President Bush must ultimately be literary..

This, by Orrin Judd, is right-on about President Bush...

...To that last point, one of the great ironies of George W. Bush's career is that while even his most devoted supporters--among whom we include ourselves--would not argue that he is eloquent, nearly every major set piece speech he has given rewards later reading. Of few modern politicians can it be said that they laid out as consistent, direct, and predictive a philosophy and policy program as the current president. For example, go back and read his 2000 acceptance speech at the Republican convention and you see the template for nearly everything he's done in domestic policy. What you saw then was exactly what you got. And, recall, that was just the first time that bewildered pundits puzzled over how far he'd outperformed expectations [their own, of course], how beautifully he'd expressed himself, and how moved they were despite themselves. The analysis of this not especially literary man's presidency must ultimately depend be literary, because he has explained himself so thoroughly to us as he's gone along.

This is particularly true of the decision to regime change Iraq, about which so much subsequent confusion arose, some of it Mr. Bush's own fault, much of it driven by his enemies (sadly, not just opponents). All of the contemporaneous accounts by participants in and reporters upon this decision confirm that as soon as 9-11 occurred the President determined to remove Saddam Hussein and the Ba'ath from power in Iraq. His personal preference even seems to have been to do so prior to taking on the Taliban--which would have been the better tactic politically, the Afghan War being inarguable even for the Left. Nor did he have any apparent concern about whether we had any allies along with us nor UN approval. However, during the period when the US military was getting the attacking forces into place, he acceded to Tony Blair's attempt to sell the war to Great Britain and to Colin Powell's attempt to get a new UN Resolution. Whatever those two good men may have known or believed about Saddam's Iraq, they chose to use the threat of WMD as the basis for their respective sales pitches. President Bush graciously backed them up and the public focus did shift to this raison de guerre.

However, in his seminal speech, before the UN on September 12, 2002, George W. Bush himself treated WMD as a somewhat peripheral and based his own case for regime change on holding Saddam Hussein accountable for violations of the UN Resolutions that had ended the Iraq War his father and General Powell fought and upon the ongoing human rights violations in Iraq. He challenged both Saddam Hussein to adhere to the Resolutions he'd agreed to--which actually required the dictator to regime change himself--and the UN to enforce its own edicts, or we'd do so for them....

There's never been a president who has so openly and clearly said what he wants to do...and then did it. My guess is that Leftists--including almost all journalists and historians--are incapable of seeing this, because it is a state of mind they cannot even imagine. Their very existence is about hiding the emptiness inside them. Think of all those loopy theories about Bush as secretive devious mastermind. (Or as moron manipulated by masterminds.) Yet he's been open all along about what he wants to do. My guess is that they can only interpret that as idiocy or a subtlety unfathomably deep...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:41 AM

January 13, 2009

Now us reality-based conservatives get to laugh at you...

This is NOT an important post--just my chance to "answer back" to a poor fellow who has enough sense to dimly percieve that something's wrong, but can't connect the dots...

Why the anti-war movement is lost, By John Bruhns:

AS INAUGURATION Day approaches, the anti-war movement is working hard to stay politically relevant. President-elect Barack Obama, the anti-war candidate [Nope. Obama is the Obama candidate.] has been empowered by a frustrated electorate demanding exactly what he promised in his campaign: change. [There were all sorts of "changes" hoped for, and each group of suckers lied to itself and "hoped" Obama agreed with them. Now us reality-based conservatives get to laugh at you.]

But the anti-war movement isn't buying the "change" Obama is selling. [Actually, we still don't know what he's selling.] Instead, they've crafted unrealistic demands for the next president, and should he not kowtow, they'll undoubtedly convince themselves he's no different from George W. Bush. Perhaps they already have. [And nobody will care.]

Most Americans agree that the war in Iraq has been a catastrophe financially and militarily. [In fact, compared to other occasions when America has liberated people from fascist tyranny, this one's been cheap and easy.] Some have strictly advocated against the war from a position of philanthropy for the Iraqi people and our service-people killed in action. Whatever the gripe, all aspects have legitimacy. [They are all just covers for nihilism.]

But many fail to realize that the war isn't something that can be easily corrected, because it's festered for far too long. [Festered? Wake up, mush-brain. The Iraq Campaign's been WON, and you are irrelevant.] And since day one, a bipartisan majority of Congress has repeatedly voted to give the Bush administration every tool needed to continue the war - even members of Congress who receive the anti-war vote. [As they say, never give a sucker an even break.]

In the summer of 2007, I had a meeting with Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and his senior military adviser. Davis, former chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, struck me as a concerned moderate looking for a practical and realistic solution to the mess in Iraq. [We found one. It's called "victory." Your al-Qaeda pals have been crushed in battle, and the poor people of Iraq have at least a chance at the freedom you despise.]

DAVIS UNDERSTOOD my frustration with the war and said, "We have to be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in." I would hear Obama echo the exact same sentiment repeatedly on the campaign trail. [Ya can't be too careful. We're still in Germany and Japan 60 years later. Why don't we round the number up, and plan for a hundred years?]

Later, I and two other vets met with Rep. Mike Castle (R-Del.). He listened for more than an hour. At the end, Castle agreed we needed to get out of Iraq. But he had no concrete solution - and neither did we. [How unfair. Al-Qaeda and the Ba'athists slaughtered tens-of-thousands of civilians for YOU, but some days you just can't get a break.]

As you can see, Republicans are not so different from Democrats on the war issue. [Nah, we're a million miles apart. Republicans love America and work for democracy and freedom. Democrats........]

The main contrast I saw in my years of anti-Iraq war advocacy was that while members of both parties voted the same way, the Democrats griped about their votes. They acknowledge that they were against what they were voting for. [Just when talking to you, sucker.] So what's the alternative? Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney aren't getting elected to anything anytime soon.

And here's what we have to look forward to. On March 19, many anti-war groups will assemble a tumultuous crowd at the post-Bush Pentagon. They'll scream for the immediate withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan and Iraq while jumping up and down in opposition to the military industrial complex. [It's all about making themselves feel good.]

They'll demand that legal action be taken against Bush for ordering the invasion of Iraq. [They hate Bush because he's a liberal, in the old sense of Truman and JFK. He shows what phonies they are.]

But the Defense Department doesn't decide whether or not we go to war - that's up to the president and Congress. The military HQ is the wrong venue. [They hate our military because it is symbolic of believing in something enough to fight for it---nihilists hate belief.]

Some Iraq vets will join this protest out of a feeling of nostalgia for a time before they were even born. But it's no longer the Vietnam war, civil-rights, military draft '60s. Sporting a grungy military uniform is a tactic that the real policymakers can dismiss as a non-threat to their political viability. Even John Kerry quit that gig more than 30 years ago. [Well put. It was phony all along.]

Over the life of the recent anti-war movement, the attempted revival of the '60s was destined for failure from the beginning. [The 60's were a stupid tacky failure from the beginning--except for the birth of the conservative movement. That was the one success.]

Too many other issues were dragged into the effort. What middle-of-the-road Americans would attend a demonstration against the war if they knew they'd be standing in a mob of Che Guevara T-shirts listening to chants of 'Free Mumia!'? [A tautology. If they are comfortable with leftist lunacy, they are not "middle-of-the-road."]

I support people protesting what they think are injustices, but all issues aren't linked. It's not a good tactic to force people to stand under an umbrella of issues, all of which that they may not support. [Clue-up, dolt. The "anti-war" movement was always and only about the internal psycho-drama of nihilist whack-jobs. They hate America and Israel, and anything else that is symbolic of allegiance to a higher cause.]

In a democracy, strength is in numbers. This anti-establishment and absolutist view of the political process is likely to be the real cause of their implosion. [Kooks are kooks. Can't get around that.]

As someone who's been fighting for years for an end to the war in Iraq, I find this tragic because we need the voices of millions to put pressure on our elected officials to end the conflict and fix the many problems facing our country. But those voices have to be credible to be taken seriously, and circus acts never are. [A question for you, friend. Suppose America pulls out of Iraq. Would you define that as "the end of the conflict," even if fighting goes on for years and millions die subsequently? Hmmm? That's what the Vietnam protestors did. They "ended" the war, and then patted themselves on the back even as MILLIONS were being killed, or put into concentration camps. Is that OK with you? Look at yourself in the mirror when you shave, and ask yourself if you are that kind of person.]

But the truth is that the 'real' anti-war movement has become far too radical to be effective. [It never cared about actual people.]

They've pushed themselves into a corner where there's no possibility of meeting an opposing side halfway. If they ever hope to regroup into a force capable of generating a strong political will, they'll need to accept that it's 2009, not 1969 - and be more tolerant of other opinions. [I beg you, friend, re-think. You take notice of all this craziness and futility--now ask yourself some questions. You are working with people who would flush the entire population of Iraq down the toilet just to feel self-rightous. You are complicit in their evil. Do you think the same way? If America leaves Iraq, will Iraq drop off your radar? Or do you actually care about that land?]

Posted by John Weidner at 8:56 AM

December 22, 2008


James S. Robbins - The Corner:

The number of daily attacks in Iraq has fallen almost 95% from levels a year ago. Also of note, the murder rate in Iraq in November was 0.9 per 100,000 people. That is lower than the rate from before Saddam was overthrown. For those keeping score, the 2007 murder rate in the US was 5.9 per 100,000. Can we declare victory yet?

Iraq? Somphin happnin' in Iraq? Impossible, we would hear about it on the news...

Posted by John Weidner at 1:53 PM

November 10, 2008

We all criticize McCain, but keep this in mind...

This is important to keep in mind. From Now it's our turn to hope, by William Kristol...

...In politics, as one suspects in life, no good deed goes unpunished. John McCain staked everything on success in Iraq. He advocated the surge publicly and made the case for it privately. He defended it passionately and intelligently, and was indispensable in beating back critics, shoring up nervous supporters, and keeping enough public support for the surge so the Democratic party's repeated efforts to abort it failed.

The surge worked. It worked better than even its proponents expected. The strategic and moral calamity of an American withdrawal in defeat from the central front in the war on Islamic jihadism was averted. The positive outcome of a reasonably stable, democratic, and friendly Iraq is now in sight. Thanks in large part to John McCain, we did not have a second Vietnam-like humiliation. Thanks in large part to John McCain, the United States is on the verge of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

And as a result of the remarkable progress in Iraq over the past two years--progress whose possibility was scoffed at and whose reality was then denied by all leading Democrats except Joe Lieberman--Iraq faded as an issue in the presidential race. And with it, the critical question of who should be commander in chief also receded. By the fall of 2008, McCain got no credit for one of the great acts of statesmanship by a senator--let alone a senator who was also a presidential candidate--in American history...

And it is important to realize that when he mentions a "Vietnam-like humiliation," it is precisely because of such that we are now fighting a global war. Vietnam, the Iran hostage crisis, Beirut, Somalia... We have repeatedly flinched away from war and casualties, and the result was something far worse. We TOLD the terrorists in no uncertain terms that we could be safely attacked. We TOLD the world that we were afraid to fight for our civilization, and the bad guys took note. And so we have to fight.

The success of the "Surge" will make future wars less likely. John McCain is a true Christian pacifist.

The people who label themselves "pacifists" and "anti-war activists" are warmongers. They are making future wars much more likely. What they are doing is profoundly twisted and evil. It is the opposite of Christianity. (And if any lefties and "Democrats" reading this are offended, well, the comments are open. Don't snivel and whine, you cowards. Make a case! Show how I'm I'm wrong.)

Posted by John Weidner at 10:48 AM

August 12, 2008

Boring is good...

Nibris Kazimi:

....But here's a quick note on all that's happening in Iraq concerning the Provincial Elections Law, the Oil Law, and Kirkuk: the question that everyone should be asking is "Will this political turmoil lead to violence?" and answer is that the potential for increased violence is minimal.

It's politics, folks. Why should Americans involve themselves in the nitty-gritty details of Iraqi politics? It is all being sorted out in heated bargaining and deal-making. Should Iraqis concern themselves with the pork-barreling and congressional re-districting of the U.S. Congress? No, they shouldn't.

The Iraq story is getting boring, and that's a good thing. The 'analysts' and 'experts' who staked their reputations on the idea that Iraq is a failed state are feverishly hoping that the embers of violence would catch fire anew so that a certain presidential candidate may win and they'd get to keep their fake status of self-styled 'expertise'. My own reading of the situation is that is futile to go delving into the ashes of a failed insurgency that hasn't got the wherewithal to burst aflame again....

It's hardly more than hunch, but I've had a certain confidence in the Iraqis since we started getting educated about them back in 2002. A confidence I certainly don't feel about certain other Arab Middle East nations and groups. Bloggers pass around stories, and the stories about Iraqis are often like meeting people one would like to know. My bet is that the Iraqis will keep their democracy, although it will be a rough-edged thing.

I worry however about Iraq having so much oil. That seems to be a curse on nations. When the government gets a lot of it's income from selling oil or other natural resources, it doesn't have much reason to encourage its people to be the sort of free and enterprising population that creates real wealth, and thus yields tax revenues. It doesn't need to serve the people, so as to dispose them to be willing to pay taxes. To some extant, it doesn't need the people at all, and can hurt them with impunity. A temptation few politicians can resist over the long run...

My advice to Iraq might be to give its oil profits directly to the people, and then support the government by taxing them.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:54 AM

August 7, 2008

It's the fighter who can make peace...

I recommend thus post by Greyhawk, The British Invasion, about the British occupation of Basra in Iraq. I won't quote from it, since it is itself just a long series of news quotes. Starting out with the Brits very disdainful of the crude Americans who know so little, and ending up with the Brits crawling off in disgrace while we and the Iraqis clean up the bloody mess and bring PEACE.

Short version: You whop the bad guys with the big stick first, then you speak softly.

Short version of underlying British problem: It's hard to whop the bad guys if you have lost the belief that you are the good guys.

Short version of application to Christian practice: Those Jews that Jesus told to turn the other cheek, to go the extra mile? They were dangerous men! In fact they were berserks who repeatedly rebelled against Rome, fighting to the death for what they believed. And every Roman knew it.

If they had been like today's pink-t-shirt nihilists, like our fake-Quakers and hippy-dippy peaceniks, Jesus would NOT have given them that advice, since it would have just encouraged evil. It's the fighter who can make peace.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:35 AM

July 16, 2008

More lies from our "intellectual elites"

Remember all theose sob-stories about how America is responsible for the destruction of Iraq's treasures? They've mostly turned out to be dirty lies. Now another one bites the dust....

So Much for the 'Looted Sites' By MELIK KAYLAN, Wall Street Journal, July 15, 2008; Page D9
A recent mission to Iraq headed by top archaeologists from the U.S. and U.K. who specialize in Mesopotamia found that, contrary to received wisdom, southern Iraq's most important historic sites -- eight of them -- had neither been seriously damaged nor looted after the American invasion. This, according to a report by staff writer Martin Bailey in the July issue of the Art Newspaper. The article has caused confusion, not to say consternation, among archaeologists and has been largely ignored by the mainstream press. Not surprising perhaps, since reports by experts blaming the U.S. for the postinvasion destruction of Iraq's heritage have been regular fixtures of the news.

Up to now, it had seemed a clear-cut case. It stood to reason that a chaotic land rich with artifacts would be easy to loot and plunder. Ergo, the accusations against the U.S., the de facto governing authority, had been taken on faith. No one had bothered to challenge the reports, the evidence or the logic, not least because many ancient sites were in hostile terrain and couldn't be double-checked. By implication, the U.S. had been blamed for that too: After all, the presiding authority is effectively responsible for allowing no-go areas to exist where such things can occur.

Yet, paradoxically, there always was thought to be enough evidence to adduce blame. "We believe that every major site in Southern Iraq is in serious danger," Donny George, the former head of the Baghdad Museum, was quoted as saying in the New York Times in 2003. A recent book by Lawrence Rothfield of the University of Chicago's Cultural Policy Institute carried the estimate that, every year, roughly 10% of Iraq's heritage was being destroyed.

One of the foremost specialists who went on the trip, Elizabeth Stone from Stony Brook University, actually quantified the damage with the help of satellite images -- just before going. Alarmingly, and prematurely it seems, she concluded that nearly 10 miles of land had been looted and hundreds of thousands of objects had been taken. Confident statistics of this kind have been regularly tossed around, yet one wonders how such calculations can be made, not least by viewing the remains of illicit digs from satellite pictures. When looters attacked the Baghdad Museum in 2003, the news media put the number of destroyed and looted objects at 170,000 -- a figure equal to the entire collection. It emerged later that most of the important pieces had been successfully hidden away. Others were soon found. The number of missing objects that is cited has since fluctuated between 3,000 and 15,000, with the figure never taking into account the systematic semiofficial looting and frequent substituting with fakes that occurred in Saddam's time.

Considering the political impact of such data, one would expect the experts to approach the subject with scientific circumspection, using numbers sparingly and conservatively. Too often they seem to have done the reverse. So now, as a matter of course, their method, their probity in sifting the evidence -- do they have a political agenda? -- has come into question...

OF COURSE they have a political agenda. They are America-hating Bush-hating lefty liars. Like a lot of academics, they are dishonorable scoundrels who will bend the evidence to fit the political agenda.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:35 PM

July 5, 2008

How to lie like a journalist #2338

Here's an interesting article on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's claim that terrorism has been defeated in his country.

But, slipped into the second half of the article is something that seems newsworthy enough for its own article: AP Exclusive: U.S. Removes Uranium From Iraq. It's about how Iraq is shipping Saddam's yellowcake Uranium to Canada, where a company has purchased it for peaceful use.

That's sneaky. And typical. Leftists really really need to downplay the simple fact that Saddam was indeed pursuing nuclear weapons, and had said openly that they were intended for use against Jews. This obvious truth puts those who opposed his overthrow in the same moral position as anyone who tried to prevent us from stopping Hitler from killing Jews.

But what I found especially interesting were the last two sentences, because they are an example of lying without saying anything that is factually untrue. A Satanic skill...

....And, in a symbolic way, the mission linked the current attempts to stabilize Iraq with some of the high-profile claims about Saddam's weapons capabilities in the buildup to the 2003 invasion.

Accusations that Saddam had tried to purchase more yellowcake from the African nation of Niger - and an article by a former U.S. ambassador refuting the claims - led to a wide-ranging probe into Washington leaks that reached high into the Bush administration.

Factually true but totally misleading. In fact, a sneaky dirty lie. You would never guess from reading this that the 9/11 Report showed that the "former U.S. ambassador" lied in that very article, and had previously told the CIA exactly the opposite; that he thought Saddam HAD tried to buy Yellowcake from Niger. You would never guess that that "wide-ranging probe" found that the leak was not in the White House, as had been eagerly hoped, but in the State Department, done by a person who was not friendly to the Administration.

You would never guess that huge numbers of leftists demonstrated that they were despicable frauds when their torrents of faux outrage over the unspeakable crime of "outing a CIA agent" evaporated the instant it was found that the culprit wasn't someone whose fall might hurt the Bush administration. It's also misleading because it is presented in the form of commonly-accepted background information that needn't be scrutinized.

And mostly it is a form of lie because it is deliberate smoke and mirrors to distract us from what we should be pondering. Which is that the Iraq Campaign is pretty much justified by the facts in this article: That a mad and violent dictator was stockpiling Yellowcake with plans to make nuclear weapons.

However, slipped into the second half of the article is something that seems newsworthy enough for its own article: AP Exclusive: U.S. Removes Uranium From Iraq. It's about how Iraq is shipping Saddam's yellowcake Uranium to Canada, where a company has purchased it for peaceful use...

...But what I found even more interesting were the last two sentences, because they are an example of lying without saying anything that is factually untrue. A Satanic skill...

Posted by John Weidner at 3:49 PM

June 3, 2008


Christopher Hitchens on Douglas Feith's War and Decision

....Bertrand Russell's principle of evidence against interest—if the pope has doubts about Jesus, his doubts are by definition more newsworthy than the next person's—doesn't really justify the ocean of coverage in which the talentless McClellan is currently so far out of his depth. For one thing, he doesn't supply anything that can really be called evidence. For another, having not noticed any "propaganda machine" at the time he was perspiring his way through his simple job, he has a clear mercenary interest in discovering one in retrospect.

If you want to read a serious book about the origins and consequences of the intervention in Iraq in 2003, you owe it to yourself to get hold of a copy of Douglas Feith's War and Decision: Inside the Pentagon at the Dawn of the War on Terrorism. As undersecretary of defense for policy, Feith was one of those most intimately involved in the argument about whether to and, if so, how to put an end to the regime of Saddam Hussein. His book contains notes made in real time at the National Security Council, a trove of declassified documentation, and a thoroughly well-organized catalog of sources and papers and memos. Feith has also done us the service of establishing a Web site where you can go and follow up all his sources and check them for yourself against his analysis and explanation. There is more of value in any chapter of this archive than in any of the ramblings of McClellan. As I write this on the first day of June, about a book that was published in the first week of April, the books pages of the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Boston Globe have not seen fit to give Feith a review. An article on his book, written by the excellent James Risen for the news pages of the New York Times, has not run. This all might seem less questionable if it were not for the still-ballooning acreage awarded to Scott McClellan...

Read it all.

What cowardly dogs liberals are. At least those who run those newspapers. They have heaped invective upon Douglas Feith, mentioned him thousands of times, and then, when he tells his side of the story, they do their best to make sure no one gets to hear it. They pretend he isn't "newsworthy." Scrubs.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:08 AM

June 1, 2008

A lull.......in the news coverage.

From the WaPo. Kudos to them for noticing, even if they are more than a year late...

The Iraqi Upturn: Don't look now, but the U.S.-backed government and army may be winning the war.

THERE'S BEEN a relative lull in news coverage and debate about Iraq in recent weeks -- which is odd, because May could turn out to have been one of the most important months of the war. [Not odd at all. Predictable. The news media's side is losing, so there's a news blackout.] While Washington's [meaning trendy-leftoid Washington] attention has been fixed elsewhere, military analysts have watched with astonishment as the Iraqi government and army have gained control for the first time of the port city of Basra and the sprawling Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City, routing the Shiite militias that have ruled them for years and sending key militants scurrying to Iran. At the same time, Iraqi and U.S. forces have pushed forward with a long-promised offensive in Mosul, the last urban refuge of al-Qaeda. So many of its leaders have now been captured or killed that U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker, renowned for his cautious assessments, said that the terrorists have "never been closer to defeat than they are now." [The US and her allies traditionally keep fighting until we hit on a war-winning strategy. Then we WIN. The good guys, that is. So how can it be so surprising when we do it again?]

Iraq passed a turning point last fall when the U.S. counterinsurgency campaign launched in early 2007 produced a dramatic drop in violence and quelled the incipient sectarian war between Sunnis and Shiites. Now, another tipping point may be near, one that sees the Iraqi government and army restoring order in almost all of the country, dispersing both rival militias and the Iranian-trained "special groups" that have used them as cover to wage war against Americans. [They are "waging war against Americans." The Post has said it. So where are the anti-war activists? Where are the pacifists?] It is -- of course -- too early to celebrate; though now in disarray, the Mahdi Army of Moqtada al-Sadr could still regroup, and Iran will almost certainly seek to stir up new violence before the U.S. and Iraqi elections this fall. Still, the rapidly improving conditions should allow U.S. commanders to make some welcome adjustments -- and it ought to mandate an already-overdue rethinking by the "this-war-is-lost" caucus in Washington, including Sen. Barack Obama....[Many people (those not blinded by hatred of Bush and America) were noticing a shift in the wind in EARLY 2007. So how stupid is it that the press is just now STARTING to wise up? And your brain-dead Dem politicians are still clueless? Do they all deserve to be fired? Yes.]

...Gen. David H. Petraeus signaled one adjustment in recent testimony to Congress, saying that he would probably recommend troop reductions in the fall going beyond the ongoing pullback of the five "surge" brigades deployed last year. [Let's all hold our breath waiting for the "anti-war" Left to thank him.] Gen. Petraeus pointed out that attacks in Iraq hit a four-year low in mid-May and that Iraqi forces were finally taking the lead in combat and on multiple fronts at once -- something that was inconceivable a year ago. As a result the Iraqi government of Nouri al-Maliki now has "unparalleled" public support, as Gen. Petraeus put it, and U.S. casualties are dropping sharply....

...When Mr. Obama floated his strategy for Iraq last year, the United States appeared doomed to defeat. Now he needs a plan for success. [Sullen silence, peevish carping, or re-writing history are the usual plan for lefties in these situations. See: Cold War, End of.]

Posted by John Weidner at 9:20 PM

May 23, 2008

More BS from AP...

Nibras Kazimi deconstructs the AP story about Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani issuing fatwas against the American "occupation." (Of course we are not really "occupiers," since we remain there at the invitation of Iraq's elected constitutional government.) It's worth reading the whole post.

Red Herring Fatwas
So what happens if the western media can’t spin or sensationalize events in Iraq when not much is happening? Why, they make it up!

The Associated Press put out a wire report yesterday hinting that Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani is about to declare jihad against the Americans. Whhhhhaaaaaat???....

....If we’ve learned anything from the recent events in Basra, Sadr City and Mosul—by the way, these are Iraq’s three largest population reservoirs—it should be that the reporters and commentators who are tasked to describe Iraq to American and western audiences are at worst dishonest and duplicious, at best some string puller’s chorus of useful idiots.

It is in this vein that this AP story is released; to distract from other things that could be reported in Iraq, such as how things are dramatically improving and how this war has been decisively won.....

....UPDATE: A source close to Sistani denied today (Arabic link) that the Grand Ayotallah's about to announce jihad, saying that Sistani believes that occupation (...in a general sense) must be resisted by peaceful, not military, means under a given set of circumstances.

Don't expect AP to release a retraction, though. Plus, don't expect the punditeers who feverishly linked to the AP fairytale to update their posts either.

That's you, Orrin...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:04 AM

May 21, 2008

We're the good guys. Of course we win...

Ralph Peters:

May 20, 2008 -- DO we still have troops in Iraq? Is there still a conflict over there?

If you rely on the so-called mainstream media, you may have difficulty answering those questions these days. As Iraqi and Coalition forces pile up one success after another, Iraq has magically vanished from the headlines.

Want a real "inconvenient truth?" Progress in Iraq is powerful and accelerating.

But that fact isn't helpful to elite media commissars and cadres determined to decide the presidential race over our heads. How dare our troops win? Even worse, Iraqi troops are winning. Daily.

You won't see that above the fold in The New York Times. And forget the Obama-intoxicated news networks - they've adopted his story line that the clock stopped back in 2003.....

...And Obama, the NYT, and al-Qaeda are the bad guys. They want America and the free people of Iraq to lose. They are on the other side.

Oh well. So what else is new...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:54 AM

May 17, 2008

You knew this, but it's nice to have them admit it...

Nibras Kazimi writes:

Fascinating: The Jihadists Admit Defeat in Iraq

A prolific jihadist sympathizer has posted an ‘explosive’ study on one of the main jihadist websites in which he laments the dire situation that the
mujaheddin find themselves in Iraq by citing the steep drop in the number of insurgent operations conducted by the various jihadist groups, most notably Al-Qaeda’s 94 percent decline in operational ability over the last 12 months when only a year and half ago Al-Qaeda accounted for 60 percent of all jihadist activity!

The author, writing under the pseudonym ‘Dir’a limen wehhed’ [‘A Shield for the Monotheist’], posted his ‘Brief Study on the Consequences of the Division [Among] the [Jihadist] Groups on the Cause of Jihad in Iraq’ on May 12 and it is being
displayed by the administration of the Al-Ekhlaas website—one of Al-Qaeda’s chief media outlets—among its more prominent recent posts. He's considered one of Al-Ekhlaas's "esteemed" writers....

Worth reading. Charts and all. They are in Arabic, but even so the picture is dramatic...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:20 AM

May 12, 2008

I'll bet this is right

From a 5/12/08 NY Sun column by Nibras Kazimi...

Iran’s Shifting Strategy

The healing in Iraq and the deterioration in Lebanon are not unrelated. In fact, Iraq will serve as both cause and effect to Lebanon’s misfortunes. Iran, eclipsed in Sadr City, had decided to allow its sectarian acolytes to put on a show of strength in Beirut. And the jihadists of Al Qaeda’s ilk, soon to be eclipsed in Mosul, will migrate to Beirut to meet Iran’s challenge.

Five years ago, there was a hope that held Iraq as a would-be beacon for democracy throughout the Middle East, but that vision had too many determined enemies both inside and outside Iraq. Yet as the situation there darkened through the actions of these regressive forces, the spontaneous outpouring of liberty demonstrated by the Lebanese people seemed to validate the notion that democracy and liberty would take in the region, and that the hope for what Iraq may portend was not misplaced. But the Cedar Revolution, as the March 2005 events of Beirut are remembered, also had too many internal and external enemies determined to spoil the elation.

Two countries that were dead-set against Iraq succeeding were Syria and Iran. These are also the two countries most responsible for fomenting political paralysis and chaos in Lebanon....
Posted by John Weidner at 12:42 PM

April 22, 2008

good job...

When casualties were high in Iraq, Democrat leaders deplored them loudly. Pretended they gave a damn about Americans and Iraqis dying. And SO, when casualty-rates dropped 80 or 90%, did they express pleasure? Satisfaction? Of course not, the liars.

They just changed the subject, and deplored that Iraq was not making political progress, and not hitting the "benchmarks." Pretended they cared about that. So, now that Iraq has been hitting one benchmark after another, do they say thank you? Do they say "Well done?"

Of course not. They are all black-hearted liars.

Iraq just achieved another one of those benchmarks, with a mass-release of prisoners, mostly Sunni, not accused of serious crimes. Shall I hold my breath waiting for the Ried's and Pelosis and Obama's and Clinton's to acknowledge that goals they said they considered important are being met? Of course not. They were lying. They are America-hating liars, and the magnificent feats-of-arms of our troops and our Iraqi allies are the last thing they want to happen.

They are on the other side.

Well, I'll say it. Congratulations, to Prime Minister al-Maliki, and to the free people of Iraq.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:21 PM

April 11, 2008

Liberation Day....

Nibras Kazimi:

For me, April 9th will forever be Liberation Day.

Last year, I expressed my feeling about this time of year in column titled Absolutely Worth It.

This piece continues to express how I feel. Yet, five years on, the sum of anniversaries has an added personal symmetry for me.

It was on this day, in 1998, that I formally joined the Iraqi opposition to Saddam at a young age a few days shy of 22. I had dabbled before here and there, but it was then that I took the plunge to do this for real. At first, my family thought that it was a waste of life, but they eventually came around after I made this argument: I won't do this forever, no way, but I'll do it for a maximum of five years or until whenever Saddam is overthrown within that time period. My paternal grandfather, my parents, and my uncles had all be badly bruised by their forays into politics, and those experiences had left them with broken hearts, surrounded by broken things. Another generation trying to fix things, especially after the bleak horrors of Saddam, was a fool's errand, a waste of youth, a despairing venture.

I sold my own stint in this field to my folks as a form of mandatory military service that I'd have to go through before I did the proper middle class thing of finding a real, paying job. Their attitude turned from one of initial hesitation to an outpouring of unconditional support. My brother, especially, took it upon himself to help me get by throughout the years I worked as a volunteer. I could tell too, as the years advanced and liberation was within sight, that my father and mother had started to look upon me with something beyond pride, closer to awe. This sustained me with immeasurable power, and clarity of mind. It kept me centered when I was scared or despondent or vengeful for I always had a point of reference to the values I was brought up with...

Awesome. It's no wonder that nihilists hate the liberation of Iraq with such intensity...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:00 AM

April 10, 2008

Just have the decency to shut up...

Orrin Judd, commenting on an article about how "realists" are trying to get the ear of John McCain...

...Given that the Iraq war is a function of their failure to remove Saddam in '91, the pragmatists ought to have the decency to shut up. Maintaining dictatorships so that we won't be bothered by messy new situations is a policy that is beneath the contempt of any decent party and should be left to the Democrats.
Posted by John Weidner at 3:07 PM

April 8, 2008

The “Fighting rages” dodge...

Nibras Kazimi is still, it seems to me, making sense of Maliki's offensive in Iraq...

...For how can one not pity those miserable journalists as they scramble to find new narratives to define the last 48 hours in Iraq?

Not only has Maliki not backed down, but newly emboldened with wide political backing he’s begun to smash through Sadr City itself and is threatening to banish the Sadrists to a political Siberia. Muqtada al-Sadr, the guy the media has us thinking had won, has prostrated himself at the feet of Grand Ayotallah Sistani, promising Maliki that he would indeed demobilize his militia if the wise old men of Shi’ism would have it so. Gone are the millenarian certainties of taking orders from the Mahdi, the messiah. Gone is all that bluster of al-Sadr’s virile, confident ‘Outspoken hawza’ contrasted with Sistani’s supposedly feeble and retro ‘Silent hawza’. And he sends out his plea for clemency from Iran. FROM IRAN?!! From a place of chosen exile with which he had often derided the Hakims for seeking sanctuary and shelter there after Saddam has nearly eradicated their lineage. The place too, towards which his father’s confidants still point their accusing fingers for the murder that had befallen the old man and that of Muqtada’s two older, more worthy brothers.

Sadr surrendering his fate to Sistani and submissively muttering, “Do as you please, Sir.” Who would have imagined?

It is almost as baffling as Maliki’s abrupt transformation from an incompetent administrator into a wartime commander-in-chief!....


...Well, it now seems that the rumor is official according to this press report (Arabic): Muqtada al-Sadr has cancelled his 'March of the Millions' anti-American demonstration set for tomorrow to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the liberation of Baghdad.

In retaliation for whimping out, Code Pink has formally revoked al-Sadr's membership and expelled him from its ranks. Furthermore, Barack Obama has withdrawn his offer of a cabinet post that he had offered to Muqtada. Going yet further, Nancy Pelosi has cast off her Mahdi Army bandanna. Dozens of western journalists were seen protesting the cancellation outside Sadr's HQ in Sadr City, angry over the time and effort they had lavished while pre-writing tomorrow's story and the waste of all those flashy headlines and headcounts that they won't get to use. Ha!....

I like this guy! And this for our fraudulent journalists, is perfect:

...Yes, you miserable souls: keep writing in that passive tense, that “Fighting rages” dodge. Never mind that Maliki and the Iraqi Army are actively picking a fight with the outlaws, a fight that the government is winning, and that’s the reason why the bullets are whooshing by...

There are times when fighting is supposed to "rage." Like, uh, when you are attacking somebody! That's good. That's a good sign. It's a war, you dolts. (I don't actually think that "war" is the correct term to describe the "Global War on Terror," but it will have to do until I think of a better one.)

Posted by John Weidner at 12:06 PM

April 5, 2008

Alternate views...

Nibras Kazimi is a Visiting Scholar at the Hudson Institute, who writes a weekly column on the Middle East for the New York Sun, and a monthly column for the Prospect Magazine (UK).

His blog is Talisman Gate, and he's been writing fascinating posts on what's been happening in Basra. I don't know enough to judge his accuracy, but he's a lot more convincing than what we've been getting from the Western media, and Western bloggers.

A sample: Monday, March 31, 2008 The ‘Intifada’ That Wasn’t

...The western media operating in Iraq regurgitated the Mahdi Army’s bravado as fact thereby serving as useful propaganda tools for the criminal cartels. I’d single out the New York Times, the Associated Press, McClatchy and CNN as the worst transgressors. Many journalists were positively orgasmic in anticipation of another ‘intifada’ or uprising to crease Bush’s message of hope and regeneration. But as the dust began to clear and the real scope of the battle was revealed, these journalists were reduced to alarmism of the “What if Martians decide to invade Basra too?” variety. Understandably, some of these journalists wanted the Iraq scene to heat up so that the public back in America would pay attention to Iraq and consequently to the careers of those reporting on Iraq for their once-glamorous war zone beat that was sure to land one a book deal a couple of years back had gone dull and dreary.

What then did these journalists do when they didn’t get their ‘intifada’? They couldn’t further imperil their careers by admitting that they were wrong—hell no!—so they’ve decided to brand Maliki and the Iraqi Army as the losers....

...Operation Cavalry Charge was a reality warp for all those who’ve internalized the rhetoric that Iraq is a failed state. Instead of being dismissed as a ‘Green Zone politician’, Maliki took his war cabinet to Basra and went all Untouchables on the Al Capones of Iraq’s oil-rich south; plenty of journalists and ‘experts’ simply could not grasp these dramatic changes to the political topography of Iraq.

Maliki won, pure and simple. The western media invented the narrative that Maliki was at war with the Sadrist movement, even though no such declaration was ever made. No one was interested in turning the Sadrists into martyrs when their stocks are sinking faster than Bear Stearns' anyway. Why turn the Sadrists into desperadoes with nothing to loose? Maliki’s approach is piece-meal: he’s taken out the intimidation factor that kept much of the Sadrist sway in place and he’s done that by showing them that they are no armed match for a better-disciplined, better-supplied Iraqi Army with plenty of stamina. The Sadrists are left with some political gains that they’ve accrued from joining the political process, such as government posts and lucrative contracts that they’d be loathe to part with and that’s their collateral for good behavior from now on....

Some other posts to read: The Great Green Zone Freak-Out of ‘08, and As the haze clears, and More Media Distortions...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:43 AM

April 2, 2008


From WSJ, Curveball Revisited, March 29, 2008; Page A8

In the long history of U.S. intelligence fiascos, few have been as minutely examined as the "Curveball" episode – the source whose fraudulent claims were largely responsible for the pre-Iraq War view that Saddam Hussein possessed biological weapons. So it's worth noting what a new, remarkable report from the German magazine Der Spiegel tells us about the spy who lied...

....But Curveball was nobody's stooge. On the contrary, he is Rafid Ahmed Alwan, an opportunistic Iraqi asylum-seeker who came to Germany in 1999. His claims to having inside knowledge of Saddam's illicit weapons program quickly made him a prized asset of Germany's intelligence service, the BND. So convinced were the Germans of the reliability of his information that in the fall of 2001 they purchased 35 million doses of smallpox vaccine for fear of what Saddam might be cooking up.

More remarkable is that even after September 11 – when then-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder promised "infinite solidarity" with the U.S. – the German government refused to allow the CIA to interview Curveball in person. Often, the Germans resorted to dishonest pretexts for their lack of cooperation, such as that Curveball didn't speak English, when in fact he spoke it fluently (and as if nobody in the CIA spoke German or Arabic). "It was a blockade that made it impossible for any other service to validate his information," David Kay, who ran the Iraq Survey Group that looked for WMD after the war, told Der Spiegel.

BND nonetheless sent some 100 reports about Curveball's information to the CIA. And while doubts about Curveball's credibility began to emerge on both sides of the Atlantic as early as 2000, the Germans persisted in believing him. In November 2002, according to Der Spiegel, Curveball's disclosures formed the centerpiece of a top secret briefing by the BND to the foreign affairs committee of the German parliament. This caused one of those who were briefed to note the "enormous discrepancy between the public statements made by the government" – which opposed the war and downplayed the Iraq threat – "and the knowledge it had in its possession."...

I don't really care about this in regards to our decisions--I think we had plentiful reasons both moral and practical to liberate Iraq. But it is very interesting as a psychological window into the nihilism of most of Europe. Germany believed that Saddam posed a huge danger to them and the world---believed it enough to purchase 25 million doses of smallpox vaccine. And yet, amazingly, at the same time, Germany was eager to prevent us from doing anything about it! That seems insane.

(Regular readers already know where I'm going here...feel free to skip.)

But it's not actually insane if you follow my thinking about these things. (And I'd be happy to entertain alternate theories, or critiques of my logic.) My theory is that the amorphous leftism (what we Americans usually call "liberalism") that is the norm in Europe's governing classes and much of its population, is now being worn as a disguise, to cover up the complete lack of any real beliefs. To conceal nihilism.

It was precisely because they believed or suspected that Iraq was a real threat that the bulk of the world's leftists hated the idea of taking any military action. (And regardless of how things turned out, it looked in 2002 like Iraq was a big threat, with a large well-equipped military, active WMD programs, and active sponsorship of many terrorist groups.)

The invasion of Iraq posed a huge existential threat to the left, because it was implicitly a blow in defense of Western civilization, and our own interests. It was saying that we believe that our world is worth fighting for. It said that we believe in our Western and liberal values, such as the value of liberating people from a hideous fascist tyranny. It is belief that is a threat to the nihilist.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:51 AM

March 24, 2008

A less-than-accurate description of the situation in Baghdad...

Michael Goldfarb gives a quote from a book I'm going to be reading soon, Cheney: The Untold Story of America's Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President

...In 2002, the vice president had been briefed on fresh intelligence that members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad had made their way to Iraq and had begun setting up safe houses in Baghdad. Cheney found the report interesting, but odd. He had understood that Egyptian Islamic Jihad had merged with al Qaeda several years earlier. Ayman al Zawahiri, the group’s longtime leader, was now Osama bin Laden’s chief deputy. Cheney wanted to know why the report did not simply conclude that al Qaeda was setting up safe houses in Baghdad.

He returned the report to the CIA with a question: Would it be accurate to substitute “al Qaeda” for every mention of “Egyptian Islamic Jihad?” The answer did not come immediately, but when it did, the CIA finally acknowledged that members of al Qaeda were operating in Baghdad.

To Cheney, the episode was one example of many that demonstrated the unwillingness of some CIA analysts to take an objective look at Iraq and its support for radical Islamic terrorists, al Qaeda in particular. In this case, analysts were so determined to avoid reporting the presence of al Qaeda members in Iraq that they presented Cheney with a less-than-accurate description of the situation in Baghdad...

To me it is one of the most interesting things of our time, the way liberals (and the CIA is very liberal; it's not a place you will find any Republicans) are repelled, as if by some invisible magnetic field, from looking straight at Iraq. They know, and they knew then, back in 2002, that it was the biggest danger to them. That it would unmask them.

They'd been decrying fascism forever, and preening themselves on their anti-Hitler credentials, and then......comes George W Bush who says, "Bully! Let's all go together and overthrow a fascist dictator who makes Adolph Hitler look like a moderate." Ha ha. He got them, the vile phonies.

If President Bush (along with Vice-President Cheney) never accomplished anything else (in fact the list of his accomplishments is a long one) he would be a great president just because he exposed "liberals" and "pacifists" for the nihilists most of them are.

      Dick Cheney on a Segway

Posted by John Weidner at 9:57 PM

March 21, 2008

Just routine air-transport....

This is interesting to me. The V-22 was mired in controversy and problems for so long, that I kind of assumed it would never be operational. And yet here it is, working away, hardly even being mentioned. Cool.

I wonder how well it is actually working out? The concept is awesome, and I've always tended to think that even if cost a mint, and failed to meet expectations, we should be pushing ahead with it in order to learn enough to build better models later. And of course it fits well with "small wars," which is all we have now.

V22 transports Iraqi troops
Iraqi army soldiers from the 27th Iraqi Infantry Brigade, 7th Iraqi Infantry Division, prepare to go on a patrol March 18 in the Hawron Wadi, which is just east of Baghdad, after exiting a MV-22 Osprey. The Iraqi army has been training with Marines and Navy SEALS to conduct helo-borne operations such as patrols and cache sweeps. While on patrol, the soldiers looked for any signs of insurgent activity and talked to locals to see if they had seen anything unusual. GUNNERY SGT. JASON J. BORTZ / MARINE CORPS. From Frontline Photos, 3-19-08

Posted by John Weidner at 10:15 AM

March 20, 2008

Question for "Democrats"

In Mr Obama's speech, he said:

...To succeed in Afghanistan, we also need to fundamentally rethink our Pakistan policy. For years, we have supported stability over democracy in Pakistan, and gotten neither. The core leadership of al Qaeda has a safe-haven in Pakistan. The Taliban are able to strike inside Afghanistan and then return to the mountains of the Pakistani border. Throughout Pakistan, domestic unrest has been rising. The full democratic aspirations of the Pakistani people have been too long denied. A child growing up in Pakistan, more often than not, is taught to see America as a source of hate – not hope...

So, question for Dems, for liberals: WHY are you so disdainful of democracy in Iraq?

WHY did you prefer "stability over democracy" in Iraq? Even to the point of supporting the cruelest fascist tyrant ever?

Iraq just passed its provincial election law, one of the" benchmarks" leftists have been complaining about. WHY is no leftish person expressing happiness?

What is it about Iraq?

My theory is that Iraq is not only the central front of the War on Terror, it is at this moment the "central front" in the much larger struggle for the soul of the Western World.

President Bush, with a wicked cleverness we never dreamed he possessed, has posed, in the form of the Iraq Campaign, the perfect "put up or shut up" test for that vast part of the West that can be labeled "liberal."

I could write a much longer list. Almost everything "liberals" claim to be for, Saddam was against. And when President Bush posed the question, "liberals" (most of them) failed on every count.

The test has been repeated, and "liberals" have failed, repeatedly. Not only did they fail to support, for Iraqis, things like a free press, women's rights, gay rights, worker's rights, the right to travel........they failed even to express pleasure when Iraqis gained any of those rights!

And when al Qaeda and many of the Sunni tried to destroy the new Iraqi democracy by a campaign of savage terror, "liberals" failed again. They were almost all of them in favor of handing the Iraqis over to the butchers. And now that Iraqis have turned strongly against terrorism, and American and Iraqi forces are working together to achieve a stunning victory over al Qaeda, "liberals" have failed yet again. They are not happy with our success at all.

From Obama's speech: "...And that is why Senator McCain can argue – as he did last year – that we couldn’t leave Iraq because violence was up, and then argue this year that we can’t leave Iraq because violence is down..."

Well, I would turn that sentence around. Mr O, whether violence is up or violence is down, you are desperate to get out of Iraq. Why? Whether things are going good, or going bad, whether we are winning or losing, you are desperate to get out of Iraq. Why? Some liberals, like you Mr O, claim they want to get tough in places like Iran, Afghanistan, or Pakistan.....other liberals don't want to get tough anywhere......but you are ALL of you desperate to get out of Iraq. WHY?

I think most liberals are writhing in agony because they are being put to the test over and over again. I bet Obama could have come out in favor of conquering Pakistan and making it an Imperial Protectorate, and no lefties would have minded, as long as he promised to get out of Iraq.

That's what that speech was really about.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:04 AM

March 13, 2008

"work together in pursuit of shared goals "

Here's the News Report from those foul lying traitors honest patriots you see on TV...

March 13, 2008 2:44 PM

ABC News has requested and obtained a copy of the Pentagon study which shows Saddam Hussein had no links to Al Qaeda.

It's government report the White House didn't want you to read: yesterday the Pentagon canceled plans to send out a press release announcing the report's availability and didn't make the report available via email or online.

Based on the analysis of some 600,000 official Iraqi documents seized by US forces after the invasion and thousands of hours of interrogations of former officials in Saddam's government now in US custody, the government report is the first official acknowledgment from the US military that there is no evidence Saddam had ties to al Qaeda.....

And, here's the first paragraph of the Executive Summary of the actual report...(Thanks to Steven Hayes):

Captured Iraqi documents have uncovered evidence that links the regime of Saddam Hussein to regional and global terrorism, including a variety of revolutionary, liberation, nationalist and Islamic terrorist organizations. While these documents do not reveal direct coordination and assistance between the Saddam regime and the al Qaeda network, they do indicate that Saddam was willing to use, albeit cautiously, operatives affiliated with al Qaeda as long as Saddam could have these terrorist-operatives monitored closely. Because Saddam's security organizations and Osama bin Laden's terrorist network operated with similar aims (at least in the short term), considerable overlap was inevitable when monitoring, contacting, financing, and training the same outside groups. This created both the appearance of and, in some way, a "de facto" link between the organizations. At times, these organizations would work together in pursuit of shared goals but still maintain their autonomy and independence because of innate caution and mutual distrust. Though the execution of Iraqi terror plots was not always successful, evidence shows that Saddam’s use of terrorist tactics and his support for terrorist groups remained strong up until the collapse of the regime...(my emphasis)

That's all you need to know. Saddam's was a terror-supporting regime. We are engaged in a global struggle against terrorism. For that reason alone we were perfectly justified in taking out Iraq. In fact there was no need to ask permission of Congress, just as FDR needed no special permission to invade French Morocco, (or Iceland, for that matter). The President could have just picked up the phone and told Rumsfeld to do it. And informed the public after the fact.

Wars are to fight. In a war you attack your enemies. Duh.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:17 PM

"A fatal threat to the terrorist organization..."

From Al-Qaida's Fading Victory: The Madrid Precedent, By Austin Bay

...Al-Qaida needed a Madrid Precedent. The "9-11 Precedent" hadn't worked as planned. Rather than perishing like a fire-struck Sodom or becoming "quagmired" in Afghanistan like the lurching Soviet military, the United States responded aggressively and creatively, and with an unexpected agility.

Moreover, America had chosen not merely to topple al-Qaida's Taliban allies, but had made the bold decision to go to "the heart of the matter" and wage a war for the terms of modernity in the center of the politically dysfunctional Arab Muslim Middle East.
[Well put!]

Don't think that al-Qaida's leaders didn't know that stroke -- establishing a democracy in Iraq -- represented a fatal threat to the terrorist organization.

Al-Qaida's dark genius had been to connect the Muslim world's angry, humiliated and isolated young men with a utopian fantasy preaching the virtue of violence. That utopian fantasy sought to explain and then redress roughly 800 years of Muslim decline. The rage energizing al-Qaida's ideological cadres certainly predated the post-Desert Storm presence of American troops in Saudi Arabia.

In February 2004, al-Qaida's "emir in Iraq," Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, bluntly noted he faced defeat. Islamist radicals were "failing to enlist support" and had "been unable to scare the Americans into leaving." Once the Iraqis established their own democracy, Zarqawi opined, al-Qaida was lost. Moreover, a predominantly Arab Muslim democracy offered the Muslim world an alternative to al-Qaida's liturgy of embedded grievance. Zarqawi's solution to looming failure was to murder Iraqi Shias and ignite a "sectarian war."...

And "sectarian war" was itself a disastrous policy. When it failed, as it has in Iraq, the result was a whole nation waking up and realizing who the realbad guys are. Iraq is now immunized against al Qaeda and similar groups. (And, despite what some silly people say, they are probably immunized against friendliness to the world's #1 terror-supporting nation, right next door.)

It's pleasant for me to read this, confirming what I've been arguing for so long. (See #'s 1 and 2 on my list of reasons for invading Iraq.)

And one thing that has amazed me is how blind people are to the simple fact that the result of the Iraq campaign has been that our enemies have been forced to react to our moves, rather than us reacting to theirs. This is something that has been stunningly obvious for years now, but most people refuse to see it.

In any war, seizing the initiative gives you a big advantage. But it's much more important in irregular warfare, against a shadowy and elusive foe. The normal pattern in terrorist campaigns is that something goes ka-boom!, and then we scramble around looking for clues. Wouldn't it be good if we could somehow choose a place to fight, far from our own civilians, garrison it with our troops, plus lots of potential allies, and then force al Qaeda to come there and fight us!

Posted by John Weidner at 6:23 AM

March 10, 2008

WE are always weak, THEY are always strong...

If you are peeved by that certain sort of pundit who opines endlessly that Iran is becoming preeminent and unstoppable in its region, and that Iraq is falling under Iranian sway—or maybe is already an Iranian client state....well, you must read A'jad's Endless Iraq Debacle, by Amir Taheri.

I found it grimly hilarious.

March 8, 2008 -- IT had been billed as a "triumph" for the Islamic Republic and "a slap in the face of the American Great Satan." However, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's two-day state visit to Iraq last weekend showed the limits of Iranian influence in the newly liberated country.

Weeks of hard work by Iranian emissaries and pro-Iran elements in Iraq were supposed to ensure massive crowds thronging the streets of Baghdad and throwing flowers on the path of the visiting Iranian leader. Instead, no more than a handful of Iraqis turned up for the occasion. The numbers were so low that the state-owned TV channels in Iran decided not to use the footage at all. Instead, much larger crowds gathered to protest Ahmadinejad's visit....

...The visit's highlight was supposed to be a pilgrimage to Karbala and Najaf, the "holiest" of Shiite cities in Iraq. There, Ahmadinejad was supposed to become the first Iranian government leader since 1976 to pray at the mausoleums of Imam Hussein and Imam Ali.

In the end, however, the tour was canceled amid reports that Shiite pilgrims, including thousands from Iran, were planning to demonstrate against his presence at the "holy" cities.

A more important reason motivated Ahmadinejad to drop his planned visits to Najaf - his failure to arrange an encounter with the leading ayatollahs of the "holy" city, especially Grand Ayatollah Ali-Muhammad Sistani, the leading Shiite clergyman. For a president who claims that he's the standard-bearer of a global Shiite revolution, that was one photo-op to die for....[There's plenty more].


Actually, the idea that Iran is destined to hold sway over Iraq has always been really stupid. The Iranian government is only tenuously in charge of Iran. There's a certain mind-set that always assumes that WE have problems and weaknesses, but our enemies don't. Perhaps it's just because they don't believe in anything they can't actually see.

And the same people always assume that Iraq must be weaker than Iran, since Iraq is our ally. Actually, over the long haul elected governments are always stronger than tyrannies. They take much longer to decide to act, but when they do they can act decisively. And they are normally stronger economically. Democracies tend to be peace-loving, but when they are roused to war they are very dangerous.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:31 AM

March 6, 2008

Below the �irreducible minimum�

Stuff well worth reading:

Monday, 03 March 2008
By Jim Garamone, American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD — The top military commander in Iraq gave some insight yesterday into what he will consider as he prepares to report to the president and Congress in April on the way ahead.

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of Multi-National Force - Iraq, spoke with reporters accompanying Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who is visiting the country.

The security trend lines all are favorable, the general said. “Attacks have continued to go down. We’ve had a five-month period consistently of a level of attacks we’ve not seen since spring of 2005,” he said. “This past week was the fourth-lowest since October 2004.”

Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan C. Crocker will explain why they believe attacks have come down when they report to President Bush and Congress.

The general said he is encouraged by the statistics and what he sees around the country. “In fact, the level of attacks has come down in recent weeks below a level we thought might be the ‘irreducible minimum,’” he said....

I wonder if Hillary will come out with her stuff about "a willing suspension of disbelief" again. What an evil America-hating creature she is, like all leftists. Fortunately, her side is losing in Iraq.

Give it a read...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:41 AM

March 4, 2008

Alternate title: "George W. Bush was Right"

Mike Plaiss sent me a link to this article in the NYT, Violence Leaves Young Iraqis Doubting Clerics.

...When Muath was arrested last year, the police found two hostages, Shiite brothers, in a safe house that Muath told them about. Photographs showed the men looking wide-eyed into the camera; dark welts covered their bodies.

Violent struggle against the United States was easy to romanticize at a distance.

“I used to love Osama bin Laden,” proclaimed a 24-year-old Iraqi college student. She was referring to how she felt before the war took hold in her native Baghdad. The Sept. 11, 2001, strike at American supremacy was satisfying, and the deaths abstract.

Now, the student recites the familiar complaints: Her college has segregated the security checks; guards told her to stop wearing a revealing skirt; she covers her head for safety.

“Now I hate Islam,” she said, sitting in her family’s unadorned living room in central Baghdad. “Al Qaeda and the Mahdi Army are spreading hatred. People are being killed for nothing.”...

Well, there you go. Bush was right, and I was right. I've been saying for a long time that the violence of al Qaeda in Iraq would immunize people against radical Islam. I doubt if the administration intended for things to work out just as they have, but you might call it unconscious genius.

Some people claim that if we nurture democracy in the Middle East, the populations will just elect radical Islamists. No doubt some of them would do just that. But, there's nothing like having your fingers chopped off for smoking a cigarette to concentrate the mind.

And while I'm glad to see young Iraqis rejecting violence-preaching clerics, my advice to them would be to not discard their faith. The combination of peace, prosperity and secularism is deadly, as we see currently in Europe. Shi'ism at least is probably compatible with democracy, since it generally advocates a separation of church and state, at least until the Mahdi comes. The Iranian regime is an exception to the general trend of Shia theology.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:25 PM

February 26, 2008

Making bricks without straw...

This is very interesting. By Major John Tammes, in Iraq...

Last night we had a bit of a surprise. We were paid a visit by Sergeant Major of the (Iraqi) Army Adel. He has possibly the hardest job I can imagine; build the NCO corps of the new Iraqi Army. The old Iraqi Army paid no heed to it's NCOs, it was a very Officer-centric/Soviet model force. So SGMA Adel has to fight not only to get his NCO corp built from almost scratch, he has to overcome an old and entrenched cultural problem. Training, doctrine, logistics and organization are all problems that he is facing. Oh, and all this during a war. I don't envy him his job one little bit.

SGMA Adel is probably the best of the old Iraqi Army's NCOs, and he joined the new Iraqi security forces as soon as possible in 2003. It is clear that he wants to serve his country and her army....

Arab military culture with an admixture of Soviet military culture. What a witches brew! Most people haven't a clue what makes armies work, and so they have no idea what an astonishing and audacious project the United States (and the Iraqi government) has undertaken, nurturing what we hope will be the first functional arab army in modern times. What's that old Seabees saying, "The difficult we do right away, the impossible takes a little longer?"

That useless dork Obama is prating about change (having never actually, like, done anything in his life that changed anything) and meanwhile the Bush administration is actually changing the world in numerous ways, and getting no credit from our fake press and fake liberals.

And the things that Bush is doing are liberal projects. At least as "liberal" was defined when I was young. They are Trumanesque. It continues to astonish me that (my one contribution to human knowledge as a blogger) "liberals" are not liberals anymore---they have become nihilists....

Posted by John Weidner at 7:10 AM

February 23, 2008

Here's a train I'd like to ride....

Baghdad's green-domed Central railway station

The green-domed Baghdad Central station. REUTERS/Ceerwan Aziz

Reuters: [Link] The service between Baghdad and Basra resumed with little fanfare in December after a hiatus of 18 months. Few dared use it at first, but word has spread of a safe and cheap journey, and railway officials are scrambling for funds for more carriages.

"There's been a great acceptance of the service ... People do not feel anxious. They're coming with their families," said Abdul-Ameen Mahmoud, the railway company's head of passenger transport.

The Iraqi General Railways Company halted the service in 2006 after killings, bombings and kidnappings intensified in the infamous "Triangle of Death", an area south of the capital through which the line passes.

Built by imperial German and British engineers in the first two decades of the 20th century in a race between Berlin and London to control the region, Iraq's railways were once a vital link between Europe and the Middle East....

I think the President should make another trip to Iraq. Oh, say, maybe in.........October. And ride the train from Baghdad to Basra. Just to show America which party wins wars....

Posted by John Weidner at 4:18 PM

February 11, 2008

Toxic to his cause...

This article in Weekly Standard, A New Middle East, After All, is worth reading . This is just a little part that grabbed me...

....Although Senators Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joseph Biden would rather burn in oil than give George Bush credit for his insistence on linking the war in Iraq to the battle against Islamic extremism, the president has damaged al Qaeda--and al Qaeda has damaged itself--more in Mesopotamia than on any other battlefield. Al Qaeda will live on in the forbidding mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and from there it may do horrendous harm to the United States and its European allies. But if al Qaeda is ever to evanesce, it will be because its jihadism lost its ethical appeal in the Arab heartland where it was born. American and Pakistani paramilitary successes against al Qaeda will never be sufficient to demonstrate the organization's evil to Muslims worldwide. Indeed, Pakistan's ineffectual attempts to assert control over tribal border areas have been counterproductive, giving bin Laden a fillip of hope at a time when his jihad is facing decided difficulty in Iraq.

By contrast, it is democracy in Iraq, as bin Laden correctly foresaw, that would be toxic to his cause: Few ideas elicit from him more venom. It is one of the great ironies of the war that President Bush, a man not known for perusing much primary material, actually did read bin Laden's declarations about Iraq and did consider his ideas. It is by no means clear Bush's antiwar critics ever have. We have not been able to counter the Egyptian and Saudi Arabian intellectual engines of jihadism against the United States; this would be difficult even if Bush's State Department actually tried it. But what we have done is help Iraqis grope their way toward democracy, even as al Qaeda's cruelty has rallied Iraqis to fight at our side....

"al Qaeda's cruelty has rallied Iraqis to fight at our side.." Exactly. WE can't defeat al Qaeda. It's impossible. It's like, we're gonna try to sort wheat from chaff from amongst a billion Muslims? No way. But, the Moslem world is as divided as any, and so any enemy of ours implies that there are allies we can work with.

Still, it's pretty amazing what George W. Bush has accomplished. He didn't nibble around the periphery, or futz around with half-measures. He flung us right into the Arab heartland, took one of the most populous and advanced Arab countries, and in a very short time (as cultural transformations go) and at a very small cost (as wars go) has converted 25 million people into al Qaeda-haters!

And what fills me with glee is that is is probably too late for our fake-pacifsts and fake-liberals to reverse the decision. Conservatives are still wringing their hands over the possibility that we might pull out and and a Cambodia-type bloodbath would ensue. But there's no need to worry, I believe. It's too late for the Democrat Party's al Qaeda allies. The game's over. We could leave Iraq tomorrow, and Iraq's government would still muddle through. (There are of curse, huge advantages to keeping some forces in Iraq, and we will certainly negotiate a long-term security agreement with Iraq before Bush leaves office. And President Obama will just have to lump it.)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:14 AM

February 2, 2008

"revenues declined 22.4%"

Charlene noticed this Bizzyblog post, about how the news media ignored or downplayed the fact that the two recent bombings in Baghdad we done using mentally retarded women. That's the sort of detail that might make almost anyone realize that surrendering to these monsters is madness. And realize also that al Qaeda is possibly scraping the bottom of the barrel for "single-use activists."

So of course the terrorist-allies in the news media slanted the story to “the new Baghdad feels a lot like the old Baghdad.”

The Bombings were not done to influence Iraqi opinion--it's long past obvious that the Iraqis are not going to be cowed by terror-bombings. Those women and children in the pet markets in Baghdad were killed for the New York Times. And CNN, and CBS, and the rest. They were killed BY our news-media, who have demonstrated a thousand times that they will spread the terrorist story-line. That they will reward al Qaeda for bloody slaughters.

Those poor people were slaughtered to give propaganda ammunition to our "anti-war" activists. They were killed for our "pacifists." They were killed for Barack and Hillary. They were killed for the Democrat Party. They were killed for Ron Paul. they were killed for the Quakers...

But there was a tiny crumb of comfort in the last line of the post:

...In totally related news, the New York Times Company (symbol NYT) reported Thursday that, though it turned a profit in its fourth quarter, December revenues declined a heart-stopping 22.4%.
Posted by John Weidner at 8:46 AM

January 26, 2008

Do not miss...

Do not miss How Bush Decided on the Surge, by Fred Barnes.

It is a fascinating article, and very important. Important especially because most of us have no idea how difficult a task it was to change our tactics, and persuade the leaders in government and the military to go along with the surge.

I hear people now claiming that Bush was a poor leader because our tactics should have been changed much earlier. Or that he should have dumped Rumsfeld earlier.(Rumsfeld does not seem to have been the main obstacle.) In fact, the turnaround was a long slow process, with many obstacles to be overcome. Bush was pushing for change long before anything could be seen on the surface.

The President is not a dictator, he can't just give orders and expect things to happen. Rather, any big change requires a vast amount of negotiation, and thought, and study, and the careful building of alliances. What was it that Clausewitz said?..."In war everything is simple, but the simple things are very difficult."

....Inside his own administration, Bush had few allies on a surge in Iraq aside from the vice president and a coterie of National Security Council (NSC) staffers. The Joint Chiefs were disinclined to send more troops to Iraq or adopt a new strategy. So were General George Casey, the American commander in Iraq, and Centcom commander John Abizaid. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice favored a troop pullback. A week earlier, the Iraq Study Group, better known as the Baker-Hamilton Commission, had recommended a graceful exit from Iraq.

The presence of former secretary of state James Baker, a longtime Bush family friend, on the commission was viewed in Washington and around the world as significant. It was assumed, correctly in this instance, that Baker wouldn't have taken the post if the president had objected. (At least one top Bush adviser faulted Rice for not blocking the amendment by Republican representative Frank Wolf of Virginia that created the commission in the first place.) Baker was seen as providing cover for Bush to order a gradual retreat from Iraq.

But retreat was the furthest thing from Bush's mind. "This is very trite," he told me. "Failure was no option .  .  . I never thought I had to give up the goal of winning." He wanted one more chance to win.

At the Pentagon, Bush listened sympathetically to the complaints and worries of the chiefs. He promised to ease the strain the war had put on the military. Bush knew the idea of deploying more troops and changing the strategy would be a tough sell. It had been hatched outside the Pentagon. Co-opting the chiefs was "tricky business," an aide said. It "would be the most demanding civil-military challenge the president would face."....
Posted by John Weidner at 12:58 PM

January 14, 2008

If you subscribe to the NYT, you are "embedded" with the Father of Lies

John at PowerLine demolishes that vile NYT story about how returning vets are committing murders....

...Now put yourself in the place of a newspaper editor. Suppose you are asked to evaluate whether your paper should run a long article on a nationwide epidemic of murders committed by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan--a crime wave that, your reporter suggests, constitutes a "cross-country trail of death and heartbreak." Suppose that the reporter who proposes to write the article says it will be a searing indictment of the U.S. military's inadequate attention to post-traumatic stress disorder. Suppose further that you are not a complete idiot.

Given that last assumption, I'm pretty sure your first question will be: "How does the murder rate among veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan compare to the murder rate for young American men generally?" Remarkably, this is a question the New York Times did not think to ask. Or, if the Times asked the question and figured out the answer, the paper preferred not to report it...

The evidence presented clearly says that the murder rate among returning vets is much lower than the national average for their age group!

But watch, this lie will not go away. It will probably become part of folklore. Like the despicable lie that Vietnam vets were more likely to have psychological problems than average.

The sort of people who work for the New York Times hate this country, and hate our military. They hate both for exactly the same reason--because both represent the idea that there are things worth fighting for. Things that are bigger and more important than "me." For nihilists, this is poison.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:57 AM

January 12, 2008


Salim Mansur, on Bush's current trip to the Middle East...

....George Bush could have remained indifferent to the Arab-Muslim world's malignancy, mouthing pieties as members of the ever fashionable lib-left political class in the West endlessly does, while watching the Arabs sink deeper into the political squalor of their making.

Instead, Bush struck directly at the most rotten core of the Middle East -- Iraq, the land of two rivers, choked to death by the vilest of Arab tyrants in recent memory, Saddam Hussein -- to give the Arabs an opportunity one more time to make a better future.

Regime change in Baghdad has brought a new Iraq to emerge with American support despite the fanatical opposition of the most backward tribal warriors of the Arab-Muslim world.

Iraqis -- Shiites, Sunnis and Kurds -- now bear responsibility that comes with freedom to write a new history for Arabs as, for instance, the far more populous and ethnically diverse people of India are doing.

The Arab leaders greeting Bush remain frozen in their hypocrisy, unable to say publicly what they will say privately, being relieved in knowing the United States remains committed to maintaining order and security in the Persian Gulf region.

But free Iraq looms large in the capitals of the Arab states, and if Iraqis keep progressing in freedom their example will be an irresistible attraction for the Arab-Muslim world spread between the Atlantic and the Persian Gulf.

A democratic Iraq is George Bush's formidable legacy, and the Arabs will be talking about him long after his contemporary critics bite the dust and are forgotten.

The Bush-haters are pygmies. Moral and intellectual pygmies. They will not be remembered. If you delve into history, you quickly discover that 99% of what is happening at any particular time is just noise--static. It is soon forgotten. And as soon as a bit of distance allows us to ignore the static, then the very few things that are of real importance start to stand out.

The big project for us today is dealing with Islam. Bringing it into the global "Core." The problem has been festering for decades, and no one, no country, has grappled with it. Until now. Until GW Bush and America and our Anglosphere allies smashed right into the nasty heart of Arab despotism, and started on some radical surgery.

And I doubt if our course will change, even if one of the current horrid Democrat candidates becomes president. I suspect the logic of war won't let them change our course now even if they want to.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:30 PM

January 4, 2008

"the most important public health response -- is ending the war."

Remember the Lancet study that claimed that more than 600,000 Iraqis had died since the US invasion? It was not even close to any other mortality estimates, and was widely condemned as bad science motivated by politics. Now National Journal has an article suggesting that actual scientific fraud may have been involved!

I found this part on the politics of those involved very interesting. My guess, from watching such people closely since 2001, is that that they are deranged enough that they could jigger the figures and then sincerely believe that they were telling the "real truth," and not committing fraud.

...In fact, the funding came from the Open Society Institute created by Soros, a top Democratic donor, and from three other foundations, according to Tirman. The money was channeled through Tirman's Persian Gulf Initiative. Soros's group gave $46,000, and the Samuel Rubin Foundation gave $5,000. An anonymous donor, and another donor whose identity he does not know, provided the balance, Tirman said. The Lancet II study cost about $100,000, according to Tirman, including about $45,000 for publicity and travel. That means that nearly half of the study's funding came from an outspoken billionaire who has repeatedly criticized the Iraq campaign and who spent $30 million trying to defeat Bush in 2004.

Partisan considerations. Soros is not the only person associated with the Lancet studies who had one eye on the data and the other on the U.S. political calendar. In 2004, Roberts conceded that he opposed the Iraq invasion from the outset, and -- in a much more troubling admission -- said that he had e-mailed the first study to The Lancet on September 30, 2004, "under the condition that it come out before the election." Burnham admitted that he set the same condition for Lancet II. "We wanted to get the survey out before the election, if at all possible," he said.

"Les and Gil put themselves in position to be criticized on the basis of their views," Garfield concedes, before adding, "But you can have an opinion and still do good science." Perhaps, but the Lancet editor who agreed to rush their study into print, with an expedited peer-review process and without seeing the surveyors' original data, also makes no secret of his leftist politics. At a September 2006 rally in Manchester, England, Horton declared, "This axis of Anglo-American imperialism extends its influence through war and conflict, gathering power and wealth as it goes, so millions of people are left to die in poverty and disease." His speech can be viewed on YouTube.

Mr. Roberts tries to go to Washington. Roberts, who opposed removing Saddam from power, is the most politically outspoken of the authors. He initiated the first Lancet study and repeatedly used its conclusions to criticize Bush. "I consider myself an advocate," Roberts told an interviewer in early 2007. "When you start working documenting events in war, the public health response -- the most important public health response -- is ending the war."..

When he says "ending the war," he is telling a lie. He really means ending American involvement in the war. If the US pulled out of Iraq, and a million people died subsequently, that would not be "war." That would be "peace," and these animals would be preening themselves on "ending the war." (And you can bet your last nickel that there would never be any "Lancet studies" of those deaths!)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:53 AM

December 31, 2007

One would need a heart of stone not to jeer and mock....

This morning I posted about the extraordinary turnaround in Iraq. This afternoon I was at the library, and saw a book, The End of Iraq: How American Incompetence Created a War Without End.

Ahh, life is good. Think of all those America-hating lefty poison-worms suffering because Iraqis are not suffering. [Obligatory boilerplate: Yes, I know, Iraq could still go off the rails again.] Think of all the fake-pacifists gritting their teeth because peace is breaking out. Think of seeing that shit-stupid book on the bargain tables for 50 cents....Ha!

Best of all, think of millions of lefties clamping-off the nerve pathways to yet another section of their brains! They won't dare to think of the implications of what has happened. Of course they will seize hungrily on everything that goes wrong in Iraq (in a place like that there will always be problems) BUT STILL, they will have to NOT THINK about the "end of Iraq" that wasn't.

They made predictions of disaster, and they don't dare to re-think! What miserable creatures they are, living in fear.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:33 PM

Good news to wake up to...

Lovely morning! Bad news for lots of bad people. Good news for the good guys. From Gatewaypundit:

With 24 hours remaining...
The US military is on track to see the lowest number of monthly fatalities in Iraq since the war began in March, 2003.

In February 2004 the US lost 20 soldiers in the 29 day period.This month the US has lost 21 soldiers in the 31 day period.

The Bush Surge continues to show amazing results.

This follows the news yesterday that 75% of the Al-Qaeda network has been eliminated in Iraq.

I don't think most people understand what has happened here. In war you always try to choose to fight where the situation is advantageous for you. It's very hard to do—you enemy is trying his best to make just the opposite happen.

And in fighting against a guerilla enemy it's harder yet. In fact it's common to put ones forces in a bad position just so the enemy will be tempted to come out and fight!

And we've all been learning a little bit about Pakistan lately, right? (As the old saying goes, war is God's way of teaching Americans geography.) That would be the worst place to fight al Qaeda. We may have to do just that one of these days, but if we do we will wish we were still fighting in Iraq.

President Bush chose to fight in Iraq, and forced al Queda to come and attack us there. In a country where we automatically had some natural allies—if one group is against us, their old enemies would tend to be for us. And where the population was advanced enough to be immune to most of al Qaeda's blandishments. (For instance, creating alliances by forcing local daughters into marriage with al Queda bosses did not work at all with proud Sunni tribes.) There are many other reasons why Iraq was a smart move. (Here are a few.)

Obviously the administration did not anticipate what a scrap it was getting into. Perhaps that's good; it might have been paralyzed if it had. The historical comparison I keep thinking of is the Guadalcanal Campaign in WWII.

In mid 1942 we were NOT ready to fight Japan head on. Seizing the island of Guadalcanal was very rash, and we were several times close to being defeated there. But, this situation was tactically advantageous for us because we held the airfield, while Japanese air support had to fly hundreds of miles to support their troops. They had better planes and pilots, but we usually knew they were coming, and they arrived with almost no reserves of fuel. Even a little bit of damage or bad luck would mean that the Japs lost a plane and pilot, while our guys had their planes (and wounds) patched-up time and again. The attrition of skilled Japanese pilots over six months of fighting was devastating to their long-term hopes. Everything else—thousands of soldiers killed, dozens of ships sunk—was secondary to that fact.

It was very easy at the time (or later) to perceive the fighting in the Solomon Islands as a pointless stalemate, and as military incompetence. Blood was being shed copiously, but the lines on the map did not move at all! But the real battle was almost invisible. In the Pacific War, air power trumped everything else.

I think Iraq is something similar. The arhabi have poured men and resources into Iraq, and their defeat will be a devastating blow, especially for future recruiting. Bin Laden boasted that Americans would not fight, that we would run away like we did from Somalia. (And our lefty nihilists have done their damnedest to prove him right.) That boast is not going to work any more.

It was decades of weakness and appeasement—pacifism—that caused the global war we are in. And it is only toughness and lots of bloody fighting that will end it. The real pacifists, the real Christians of our time are serving in the United States military.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:43 AM

December 30, 2007

Good news is bad news for certain people....

Michelle Malkin writes in NRO...

There should be no question what the top story of the year was: America’s counterinsurgency campaign in Iraq, the Democrats’ hapless efforts to sabotage it, and the Western mainstream media’s stubborn refusal to own up to military progress.

What happened in January defined the rest of the year. We rang in 2007 with vehement liberal opposition to the “surge” of 21,000 added U.S. troops and tactical changes to secure Baghdad. In the ensuing 12 months, Democrats tried and failed repeatedly to undermine this military strategy and starve the war of funding. Their poisonously partisan allies at MoveOn.org attempted to smear surge architect and patriot Gen. David Petraeus as a traitor. The New York Times and Associated Press fought tooth and nail to obscure the successes of the surge with their relentless “grim milestone” drumbeat. But by year’s end, with Shiites and Sunnis marching and praying together for peace, even anti-war Democrats and adversarial media outlets alike were forced to acknowledge that undeniable military progress and security improvements had been made....

....There’s a reason the magazine and newspaper editors are naming everything but the surge as their top story of the year. (Putin? The Virginia Tech massacre? Come on.) Good news in the war on terror is bad news for those rooting for failure. Far easier to play up casualties and sectarian strife, sensationalize accusations of atrocities, and demonize the men and women in uniform to indulge Bush Derangement Syndrome, as Washington Post staffer and NBC military analyst William Arkin did on Jan. 30 when he lambasted troops for enjoying “obscene amenities” and serving as a “mercenary” force...

Nothing shows what frauds and worms our peaceniks are, than their utter indifference to the enormous drop in casualty rates in Iraq, both military and civilian. That kind of peace they don't like one little bit. You can bet that if America had blundered somehow in Iraq, that would be the "story of the year."

An abu Ghraib gets 10,000 headlines. But the countless acts of courage and decency that are the daily routine of our forces in Iraq, and their many successes--those the poisonous reptiles of our press are not interested in. We would know almost nothing of them if it were not for the Internet.

(Thanks to Ed)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:01 AM

December 27, 2007


Michael Yon has posted another part of his Ghosts of Anbar series: Part III of IV, A Model for Success...As always, he is worth reading (and supporting, if you happen to have any extra shekels)...

...Now I started to understand why the Army officers had been telling me the Marines are more advanced in counterinsurgency. Normal Marines have morphed into doing vintage Special Forces work. Many of our Army units are excellent at this work, but the Marines, at least these particular Marines, did seem to have an edge for it.They were even studying Arabic in their filthy little compound. Lightweight study, but they were showing the Iraqis they were making the effort. The Iraqis appreciated it. I have yet to see an Army unit undertake such a clear effort to learn Arabic...

...Iraqis in every province I have traveled all respond to strong leadership. It’s a cultural touchstone. A man like SSG Rakene Lee is not someone they would overlook. Physically, the man is amazingly strong. But what is most amazing is the strength of his moral fiber. Whatever the man talked, he walked. After all of al Qaeda’s false promises, the people here have learned a hard lesson about the true value of character...

...Over the next several days, I saw how much the Iraqis respected Rakene Lee and the other Marines who were all courageous, tactically competent, measured, and collectively and constantly telling even the Iraqis to go easy on the Iraqis. It’s people like Rakene Lee who are winning the moral high ground in Iraq. It is people like this who are devastating al Qaeda just by being themselves. Over those same several days, I would also see the Iraqi Lieutenant Hamid treat prisoners with respect and going out of his way to treat other Iraqis the way he saw Americans treating them. Lieutenant Hamid, in his young twenties, seemed to watch every move of the Marines and try to emulate them...

Naturally I'm thinking today about Pakistan, a nation of 160 million people, + nukes, that just may be sliding into Islamist madness. How little there is we can do, directly, to influence Pakistan. How clumsy our tools are.

It makes me think once again that the invasion of Iraq was the best move we have made in the War on Terror. Why? Because we are sowing the seeds of change in the very heart of the Muslim world. Change in the direction of freedom, democracy and economic growth. Of course it is a risky and difficult operation. Big ambitious moves always are. But with a bit of luck we are starting another trend in the Middle East, one that will compete with the trend towards jihadism.

All the world's nihilists and America-haters leapt at the chance to declare Iraq an failure and a catastrophe. But that was always a pretty stupid idea. The "insurgency" could probably have been stopped at any time if the Iraqi government decided to go in for some serious slaughter. In fact that is sort of what happened, since the brutality of the Shia militias probably had a lot to do with the Sunni getting realistic about their chances of success as rebels. And it was pretty clear early on that the mass of ordinary Iraqis were not keen on al Qaeda's terrorism, and were going to be even less keen after a couple of years of murder.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:52 PM

December 20, 2007

A quote for today...

Would it kill... Time or Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi or any on the left to say: "Well done, American soldier, sailor, airman, and Marine?" -- Hugh Hewitt

Ha ha, what a kidder that Hewitt guy is. Of course, actually, it would kill them. Politically at least. And probably psychologically as well. They are on the other side. They are, to put it simply and bluntly, anti-American.

For instance, the obvious person to be Time's "Man of the Year" was General David Petraeus. But who did Time pick? Vladimir Putin!!! Is that sick, or what?

Posted by John Weidner at 10:36 AM

December 17, 2007

Pacifism kills, #389

Oliver North, writing in Human Events...

....The Iraqi military and police that we have seen on this, our 9th trip to Iraq since 2003, are now remarkably well trained and equipped. Though many of the personnel in these units have been on “active duty” for less than a year, they are, according to what we have seen and documented, ready, willing and able to fight for their country. Their motives for “signing on” are also important. In the town of Maderiya, east of Bagdad toward the Iranian border, I asked Captain Fawaz Nazzir, why he joined the new Iraqi Army eleven months ago. His reply was a testament to American resolve in prosecuting this campaign: “I waited,” replied Captain Nazzir, “to see which side was going to win.”

To some Americans that may sound like a cynical response -- but not to those who have spent years campaigning in Mesopotamia. “What would you expect given how uncertain our commitment was at home?” commented one U.S. officer on his third tour of duty here. He continued: “Until ‘the surge’ nobody in Iraq knew whether we were going to finish this fight. AQI (Al Qaeda in Iraq) and the Shiite militias were all telling their followers that we were going to cut and run. ‘The surge’ proved that we weren't going to abandon them.”

Not only did we not abandon them -- we upped the ante...

We spent many decades TEACHING the world that terrorism works. We TAUGHT Osama bin Laden that we would retreat from the possibility of military casualties. He openly boasted that our pulling out of Somalia after 18 deaths proved that he could win. and the cost to us is now in the thousands (and of course tens-of-thousands of poor Iraqis, who none of our fake pacifists care about in the slightest.)

(And what is etra maddening and stupid about our unwillingness to incur casualties is that our military suffers about 800 deaths a year from non-combat causes. That's the price of having a military doing nothing.)

Terrorism violates all the rules of our civilization. If we had enforced those rules 4 or 5 or 6 decades ago, we could have nipped radical islamic terrorism in the bud. But Noooo, we were too "peaceful" and "civilized" to take violent action. And the result is the necessity for a hundred times as much violence. Appeasement kills. Pacifism kills. Quakerism is murder.

(And if any pacifists or "anti-war" activists or "Democrats" happen to be reading this, and you don't like what I say, don't sneer or whine. Refute my arguments, you gutless nihilists.)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:58 AM

November 30, 2007

Strongest in the Gulf....

6,000 Sunnis Join Pact With US in Ira
By LAUREN FRAYER (AP) � Nearly 6,000 Sunni Arab residents joined a security pact with American forces Wednesday in what U.S. officers described as a critical step in plugging the remaining escape routes for extremists flushed from former strongholds.The new alliance � called the single largest single volunteer mobilization since the war began � covers the "last gateway" for groups such as al-Qaida in Iraq seeking new havens in northern Iraq, U.S. military officials said.

U.S. commanders have tried to build a ring around insurgents who fled military offensives launched earlier this year in the western Anbar province and later into Baghdad and surrounding areas. In many places, the U.S.-led battles were given key help from tribal militias � mainly Sunnis � that had turned again al-Qaida and other groups...

Fascinating news. There are lots of stories like this right now. I wonder if any of it gets onto the TV news? I don't watch TV, so I really have no idea.

I hope Republicans campaign next year as the party that brought us victory. A victory in our struggle with al Qaeda. One fears they may fall victim to the leftyist assumption that our country is something to be ashamed of, and that a hard-fought victory is a "mistake." As if only easy fights were worth fighting. Which is the shit-stupid idea that got us into the War on Terror in the first place. Pacifism kills.

I read someone's complaint recently, that the Iraq Campaign was a disaster because it has made Iran the strongest power on the Persian Gulf. I don't think so. First of all, the strongest power on the Gulf is the United States of America. And, regardless of who is President, we will have our forces in Iraq for a long time. Not to provide security within Iraq--that problem is shrinking fast, and is soon going to be handled by the ISF. But we are now negotiating a long-term security agreement with the Iraqi government, that will keep American troops on bases in Iraq. (Which tacitly insures that Iraq will not have any military coups.) And one of the many reasons for the Iraq Campaign was to bring this about. We will have an army right next to.........fill in the blanks. Ha ha ha.

But also, Iraq itself is on the path to becoming the strongest power on the Gulf. The Iraqi Army is of course growing steadily, it's up to about 15 divisions now. And with all that American training those divisions will be worth more than those of other ME countries. But MUCH more important, Iraq is a democracy. If it continues to be so, it will be able, in a crisis, to draw on the whole strength of its people. Democracies can be feckless in the short run, but over the long haul they are much stronger and more dangerous than tyrannies.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:08 AM

November 24, 2007

"Our dead and wounded have not bled in vain"

Good piece by Ralph Peters in the NY Post, IRAQ: WHAT WENT RIGHT

....Attacks of every kind are down by at least half - in some cases by more than three-quarters. A wounded country's struggling back to health. And our mortal enemies, al Qaeda's terrorists, have suffered a defeat from which they may never fully recover: They've lost street cred.

Our dead and wounded have not bled in vain.What happened? How did this startling turnabout come to pass? Why does the good news continue to compound?

Some of the reasons are widely known, but others have been missed. Here are the "big five" reasons for the shift from near-failure to growing success:

We didn't quit: Even as some of us began to suspect that Iraqi society was hopelessly sick, our troops stood to and did their duty bravely. The tenacity of our soldiers and Marines in the face of mortal enemies in Iraq and blithe traitors at home is the No. 1 reason why Iraq has turned around.

Without their valor and sacrifice, nothing else would've mattered. Key leaders were courageous, too - men such as now-Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno. Big Ray was pilloried in our media for being too warlike, too aggressive and just too damned tough on our enemies.

Well, the Ray Odiernos, not the hearts-and-minds crowd, held the line against evil. Only by hammering our enemies year after year were we able to convince them that we couldn't - and wouldn't - be beaten. If the press wronged any single man or woman in uniform, it was Odierno - thank God he was promoted and stayed in the fight....

....The surge: While the increase in troop numbers was important, allowing us to consolidate gains in neighborhoods we'd rid of terrorists and insurgents, the psychological effect of the surge was crucial.

Pre-surge, our enemies were convinced they were winning - they monitored our media, which assured them that America would quit. Sorry, Muqtada - that's what you get for believing The New York Times. The message sent by the surge was that we not only wouldn't quit, but also were upping the ante. It stunned our enemies - while giving Sunni Arabs disenchanted with al Qaeda the confidence to flip to our side without fear of abandonment.....

You don't have to read much history to see that wars and battles tend to be most ferocious and deadly just before the end. The fact that casualties are rising and things are becoming more difficult does NOT mean that you are losing! Unfortunately it has been impossible to debate the Iraq Campaign rationally with peace-niks because (along with 999 other reasons), they won't make their position explicit on this point.

Oh well, since we can't win the debate, we must just go ahead and win the campaign.

I also get especially infuriated by the notion—never expressed clearly enough so one can debate it—that if in battle we seize a position, and then the enemy counter-attacks furiously, it means we've done something wrong! That's just so stupid. The opposite is almost always true. If we piss off our enemies, we are probably on the right track.

Remember Little Round Top, at the Battle of Gettysburg? A few men seizing that pile of rocks, and then both sides throwing more and more more men into the struggle for the hill. Hey, you Lefties out there, that was stupid, right? That was a "totally mismanaged" battle, right? I mean, what could be more mistaken, thousands dying over a hillock you wouldn't even notice as you drove by? Right?

Posted by John Weidner at 8:06 AM

November 22, 2007

things to be thankful for...

We can all be thankful for our peerless military, and for the sight of happy schoolchildren in the Dora neighborhood. Thankful that Americans and the Iraqi Security Forces are even now delivering a crushing defeat to the murderous animals of al Qaeda. These children can smile because good and brave men took on the forces of evil.

 Soldiers and schoolchildren, Dora, Baghdad

A schoolboy waves at a U.S. soldier on foot patrol in Baghdad's Dora neighborhood on Wednesday.
Frontline Photos 11-21-07

� � � � � � � � � � �

 Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division celebrate Thanksgiving Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division celebrate Thanksgiving in their tent at Firebase Wilderness in the Afghanistan Paktia Province. The soldiers had saved up cheeses, sausages, pretzels and other treats from home, which were sent out in care packages.

John D. McHugh / AFP /Getty Images. Army Times Frontline Photos 11-24-06

Posted by John Weidner at 12:33 PM

November 16, 2007

"Come home"

From Michael Yon's latest dispatch, on the re-opening of a Christian church in Baghdad....

....A Bishop came to St John’s Church in Baghdad today, 15 November, where a crowd of locals welcomed him home. They were joined at the service by soldiers from the 2-12 infantry battalion, many of whom had fought hard to secure these neighborhood streets. Members of the hard-fighting Iraqi Army 3rd Division were also here for this special day...

....LTC Michael told me today that when al Qaeda came to Dora, they began harassing Christians first, charging them “rent.” It was the local Muslims, according to LTC Michael, who first came to him for help to protect the Christians in his area. That’s right. LTC Michael told me more than once that the Muslims reached out to him to protect the Christians from al Qaeda. Real Muslims here are quick to say that al Qaeda members are not true Muslims. From charging “rent,” al Qaeda’s harassment escalated to killing Christians, and also Muslims. Untold thousands of Christians and Muslims fled Baghdad in the wake of the darkness of civil war. Most of the Christians are gone now; having fled to Syria, Jordan or Northern Iraq.....

....Today, Muslims mostly filled the front pews of St John’s. Muslims who want their Christian friends and neighbors to come home. The Christians who might see these photos likely will recognize their friends here. The Muslims in this neighborhood worry that other people will take the homes of their Christian neighbors, and that the Christians will never come back. And so they came to St John’s today in force, and they showed their faces, and they said, “Come back to Iraq. Come home.” They wanted the cameras to catch it. They wanted to spread the word: Come home. Muslims keep telling me to get it on the news. “Tell the Christians to come home to their country Iraq.”....

I don't know how many of those Christians will return. ALL the Christian communities of the Middle East are shrinking, even disappearing. Or rather, they've moved--nobody disappeared, they've moved to Australia or Britain or the US. One thing is for sure, the America-hating Leftists who used the flight of Baghdad's Christians as a club to bash the Bush Administration and our nation will not take any notice if they do.

And of course they will never criticize the real villains--the vile murderers of al Qaeda. You can't criticize your allies! And anyway, only the United States does bad things to the world.

In 1900 Istanbul was about 50% Christian--Now there are only a few thousand Christians left there. Iraq is actually more hospitable to it's old Christian communities than most Moslem countries.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:12 AM

November 12, 2007

This is just SO 2006...

From AlterNet, (thanks to Dean) a paranoid rant about how Bush is, like the German military in 1918, preparing a "stabbed in the back legend" to shift blame for losing the Iraq Campaign...

....It may seem farfetched to compare a Prussian military dictatorship and its self-serving lies to the current Bush administration. Yet I'm not the first person to express concern about the emergence of our very own Iraqi Dolchstoßlegende. Back in 2004, Matthew Yglesias first brought up the possibility. Last year, in Harper's Magazine, Kevin Baker detailed the history of the stab-in-the-back, suggesting that Bush's Iraqi version was already beginning to germinate early in 2005, when news from Iraq turned definitively sour. And this October, in The Nation, Eric Alterman warned that the Bush administration was already busily sowing the seeds of this myth. Other Iraqi myth-trackers have included Gary Kamiya at Salon.com, and Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith at Commondreams.org. Just this August, Thomas Ricks, Washington Post columnist and author of the bestselling book, Fiasco, worried publicly about whether the military itself wasn't already embracing elements of the myth whose specific betrayers would include "weasely politicians" (are there any other kind?) and a "media who undercut us by focusing on the negative."

Is an American version of this myth really emerging then? Let's listen in on a recent Jim Lehrer interview with Senator John McCain, who, while officially convinced that the President's surge plan in Iraq was working, couldn't seem to help talking about how we might yet lose. His remarks quickly took a disturbing turn as he pointed out that our Achilles' heel in Iraq is... well, we the people of the United States and our growing impatience with the war. And the historical analogy he employed was Vietnam, the catalyst for the deployment of the previous American Dolchstoßlegende...

Of course the big problem here is that it looks like we are now winning in Iraq (and unlike Vietnam this will not be easy to conceal from the American people) and so there isn't going to be a need for defeatists to argue against a "Dolchstoßlegende." What they will need to be arguing is that the victory is a fluke, and does not validate the idea of fighting for our civilization and our traditional values. That's what's in store for Lefty nihilists everywhere.

Another problem with the piece is that what McCain was saying is the simple truth. In Vietnam we were "stabbed in the back," and the author, weirdly, includes the evidence, the smoking gun...

...It's a myth we ourselves are familiar with. As South Vietnam was collapsing in 1975, Army Colonel Harry G. Summers, Jr., speaking to a North Vietnamese counterpart, claimed the U.S. military had never lost a battle in Vietnam. Perhaps so, the NVA colonel replied, "but it is also irrelevant." Summers recounts his conversation approvingly, without irony, in his book On Strategy: A Critical Analysis of the Vietnam War. For him, even if we lost the war, our Army proved itself "unbeatable."

Though Summers' premise was -- and remains -- dangerously misleading, it reassured the true believers who ran, and continue to run, our military....

The thing is, that quote about how military victory was "irrelevant" was itself testimony of a stab in the back. What the colonel said was that our military victory was made irrelevant by a political defeat. And where did that that defeat happen? Was he saying that communists were winning elections or supporters in Southeast Asia? No, he is saying that the political defeat was here in America. And "stab in the back" is a perfectly reasonable description of that defeat...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:57 AM

October 30, 2007

"It's becoming almost bizarre..."

From Michael Yon's recent article in the NY Post, Inside The Surge:

....Today, I'm staying at a small outpost called JSS (Joint Security Station) “Black Lions" with the 1-18th Infantry battalion. Al Qaeda are so diminished in this area, according to the commander here, LTC Patrick Frank, that they are maybe 3 percent of the problem. But JAM (the Madhi Army created by cleric Muqtada al-Sadr) is the big problem around JSS Black Lion.

A soldier was blown up and killed about 400 meters away on Thursday evening. LTC Frank told me the other day that his best weapon system is his cell phone. Calls come to him (through his interpreter) every day and into the night, with information from locals about the whereabouts of wanted JAM members. Many local people are clearly fed up with the violence. Some even send e-mails with Google Earth maps showing exactly where suspects are, and they are doing it in real time.

We'll be sitting there in the TOC (tactical operations center or HQ) and an e-mail comes in and it's literally a map (or a photo of one) with detailed descriptions of wanted men and/or caches. And the information is turning out to be true. I have never seen anything like this before.

It's becoming almost bizarre how specific the informants are becoming. Informants have called up saying they are with bad guys right now and giving their location. Our guys show up and arrest everyone. Hours later, the U.S. soldiers let the informants go. JAM and AQI are getting slammed in many areas because local people are sick of the violence and local people trust Americans to help them end it.

Where all this can end was suggested to me on Wednesday, when I was at a large Sunni-Shia reconciliation meeting where more than 80 local leaders attended and signed an agreement....
[Thanks to Dave Price]

Google maps...I love it.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:53 AM

October 29, 2007

See the world...

From Victor Davis Hansen's blog...

....I spent some time in Iraq accompanying Col. HR McMaster who was on an inspection tour of the forward operating bases. He is a UNC PhD, former Hoover Security fellow, and author of an acclaimed book, Dereliction of Duty, on (the lack of) military leadership during Vietnam, as well as one of Gen. Petraeus’s top counter-insurgency thinkers.

I could not imagine a tour (some 30-40 days I think he is on) that would pose more risks—humveeing and coptering into all sorts of places, regardless of the recent 24-hour conditions. Over the years, in Gulf War I, and Operation Iraqi Freedom, he has seen a number of close calls, and walks with a limp from an injured hip (probably will have to be replaced). Full body armor, pistol, and M-16 to lug around can’t help the pain.

I would watch him negotiate with Sunni governors, police chiefs, and generals, then be debriefed by Marine and Army officers, then go on tour in Humvees or foot patrols. This would start at 7 am and end at 8pm. Then after the long helicopter trip back to Camp Victory, HR would eat and join discussion with fellow Colonels until after 11 PM.

We often talk loosely of the idea of a renaissance man, but colonels like McMaster come closest—I would add another Colonel Chris Gibson—to the idea that I have ever come across.

Something is going on in Iraq entirely missed by media. It’s not just that things are turning around, but rather Gen. Petraeus has assembled perhaps the most gifted group of Army officers seen in a generation—who feel they are going to snatch victory from the jaws of political defeat. I think they will pull it off and the entire political landscape here at home will have to readjust to it by early next year. The smarter Democrats will take credit by claiming their anti-Bush efforts forced needed change, the denser ones will just continue to deny, like Sens. Reid and Schumer, that any good is occurring at all.....

Life has many frustrations, but there are also some sweet moments. The thought of what a bitter pill victory in Iraq is going to be to fraudulent liberals gives me a warm feeling in my tummy like a shot of whiskey!

Another charming thing is that there are so many things that are not what the received liberal wisdom says they are. I suspect that guys like Col. McMaster are not just gifted in relation to army officers of the past, but also in relation to certain people who imagine themselves as the highly-gifted elite....academics especially. The academic world is not looking very impressive these days, and I don't expect history to be kind to it. Same with the realms of journalism, the arts, and the whole bi-coastal arts-and-croissants crowd.

Related to this, one of the oddities of contemporary American life is that liberals preen themselves on being well-travelled because they've been trekking in Nepal or have gone on a photo-safari in Tanzania. But people who are really well-travelled, who know intimately some place you've never even heard of, are much more likely to be found in rural or small-town America! Those people join the military, or thye oil companies, or do missionary work, and they really "see the world."

Posted by John Weidner at 5:22 PM

October 27, 2007

Second chances...

Michael Yon has a great piece on Private Beauchamp...

...The story of General Petraeus getting accidentally shot in the chest is a case in point. One of his own soldiers had pulled the trigger. Normally, something very bad would have happened to that soldier and his commander. Instead Petraeus sent that soldier to Ranger School, and his Captain (Fred Johnson) was promoted early. In June, I witnessed LTC Fred Johnson helping to restore security and rebuild Baqubah. Fred Johnson is a believer in second chances....


...It can be pretty tough over here. The soldiers in Beauchamp’s unit have seen a lot of combat. Often times soldiers are working in long stretches of urban guerrilla combat dogged by fatigue and sleep deprivation. This is likely one of the most stressful jobs in the world, especially when millions of people are screaming at you for failures that happened three years or more ago, and for decisions to invade Iraq that were made when you were still a teenager. Just as bad is the silence from the untold millions who have already written off your effort as hopeless. Add that to the fact that buddies are getting killed in front of you. (More than 70 killed in Beauchamp’s brigade.) I see what these young men and women go through, and the extraordinary professionalism they nearly always manage to exude awes me on a daily basis.

Lapses of judgment are bound to happen, and accountability is critical, but that’s not the same thing as pulling out the hanging rope every time a soldier makes a mistake.

Beauchamp is young; under pressure he made a dumb mistake. In fact, he has not always been an ideal soldier. But to his credit, the young soldier decided to stay, and he is serving tonight in a dangerous part of Baghdad. He might well be seriously injured or killed here, and he knows it. He could have quit, but he did not. He faced his peers. I can only imagine the cold shoulders, and worse, he must have gotten. He could have left the unit, but LTC Glaze told me that Beauchamp wanted to stay and make it right. Whatever price he has to pay, he is paying it....
Posted by John Weidner at 8:27 AM

October 24, 2007

Poor Iraqi's suffer in Bush's War...

UN ReliefWeb:

....Taxi driver Ahmed Khalil Baqir used to station himself outside Baghdad's main morgue, waiting for grieving families who went there to claim their relatives’ dead bodies.

"I was totally dependent on them for my living," Baqir, a 44-year-old father of four, said." I never thought about picking up people in the street as I was being hired five to eight times a day by these families. But now it is a waste of time to wait there and these days I wait only for about three hours in the morning and I continue my work picking up passengers in the street.” (Thanks to Belmont Club)

You'd think this stuff would be news, wouldn't you?

...."Violence-related deaths in September dropped remarkably to levels not seen in more than a year as the number [of violence-related deaths] stood at 290 while in September 2006 the number was about 1,400," Adel Muhsin, the health ministry's inspector-general, told IRIN in a phone interview.

According to the ministry’s statistics, between January and the end of September 2007, the number of violent deaths involving civilian, police and military in all of Iraq was about 7,100, against 27,000 in the same period of 2006.

According to Muhsin, the average number of dead bodies sent to Baghdad’s main morgue just over a year ago was between 100 and 150 a day. Now, it is no more than 10 bodies a day, and about 50 percent of them are dying in normal circumstances.

There have been days this year when no dead bodies were sent to the morgue and this gave the morgue employees a chance to refurbish it, something they couldn't do in the past....

In the old days of the Soviet Union, airplane crashes were not reported. People knew that an Aeroflot plane had gone down when they read in Pravda stories about air crashes in the United States! We have a remarkably similar situation with our news-media today. If there's no news about Iraq, you can guess that the news is good. (And if a Congressman is indicted for corruption, and there's no mention of party affiliation, you know he's a Democrat.)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:11 AM

October 13, 2007

There's one subject that's never in "all the news that's fit to print"

Bruce Kesler:

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez’ speech and Q&A session at the Military Reporters & Editors convention has unleashed a whirl of major media coverage and commentary. (See Memeorandum, for examples.) All are focused on his criticism of the Bush administration for inadequate strategy and prosecution of the war.

However, neither the New York Times or Associated Press mention that over 40% of Sanchez’ speech severely took the major media to task. The Washington Post merely mentions it, and then underplays it at the end of its report, giving it 67 out of about 850 words in its coverage:....

What frauds...

Posted by John Weidner at 1:18 PM

October 9, 2007

At least they are honest about their dishonesty...

From NewsBusters.org, ‘Journalists’ Tell Howard Kurtz Why Good News from Iraq Shouldn’t Get Reported:

....KURTZ: Joining us now to put this into perspective, Robin Wright, who covers national security for The Washington Post. And CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr.

Robin Wright, should that decline in Iraq casualties have gotten more media attention?

ROBIN WRIGHT, THE WASHINGTON POST: Not necessarily. The fact is we're at the beginning of a trend -- and it's not even sure that it is a trend yet. There is also an enormous dispute over how to count the numbers. There are different kinds of deaths in Iraq.

There are combat deaths. There are sectarian deaths. And there are the deaths of criminal -- from criminal acts. There are also a lot of numbers that the U.S. frankly is not counting. For example, in southern Iraq, there is Shiite upon Shiite violence, which is not sectarian in the Shiite versus Sunni. And the U.S. also doesn't have much of a capability in the south.

So the numbers themselves are tricky. Long-term, General Odierno, who was in town this week, said he is looking for irreversible momentum, and that, after two months, has not yet been reached.

KURTZ: Barbara Starr, CNN did mostly quick reads by anchors of these numbers. There was a taped report on "LOU DOBBS TONIGHT." Do you think this story deserved more attention? We don't know whether it is a trend or not but those are intriguing numbers.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: But that's the problem, we don't know whether it is a trend about specifically the decline in the number of U.S. troops being killed in Iraq. This is not enduring progress. This is a very positive step on that potential road to progress.

KURTZ: But let's say that the figures had shown that casualties were going up for U.S. soldiers and going up for Iraqi civilians. I think that would have made some front pages.

STARR: Oh, I think inevitably it would have. I mean, that's certainly -- that, by any definition, is news. Look, nobody more than a Pentagon correspondent would like to stop reporting the number of deaths, interviewing grieving families, talking to soldiers who have lost their arms and their legs in the war. But, is this really enduring progress?

We've had five years of the Pentagon telling us there is progress, there is progress. Forgive me for being skeptical, I need to see a little bit more than one month before I get too excited about all of this....

It would be hopeless to try to argue with such people. We can only be thankful that the Internet routes around them...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:37 AM

October 8, 2007

Only Americans commit atrocities...

From Gateway Pundit..

From The New York Times October 6, 2007
Last year, when accounts of the killing of 24 Iraqis in Haditha by a group of marines came to light, it seemed that the Iraq war had produced its defining atrocity, just as the conflict in Vietnam had spawned the My Lai massacre a generation ago.

But on Thursday, a senior military investigator recommended dropping murder charges against the ranking enlisted marine accused in the 2005 killings, just as he had done earlier in the cases of two other marines charged in the case. The recommendation may well have ended prosecutors’ chances of winning any murder convictions in the killings of the apparently unarmed men, women and children.
That's The New York Times special way of saying "I'm sorry" for condemning the Haditha Marines to hell for the "apparent" cold-blooded murder of innocents before their trial even started.

And, isn't it interesting how The New York Times is still searching for an atrocity to define the War in Iraq?

An Al-Qaeda atrocity like the Yazidi bombings, the murder of a brave young Sunni Sheik, torture chamber drawings, or dismembering and booby-trapping dead soldier's bodies just won't do.

It must be an American atrocity...

That's exactly right. An American war, especially when led by Republicans, must be "defined" by an atrocity. It cannot be "defined" by unimportant trifles, like, say, millions of people risking their lives to vote in free elections. That's worthless to the "Democrats" at the NYT. And worthless to (most at least) of the tens-of-thousands who subscribe to the NYT, or the many local papers and stations who let the NYT decide what's "news." And of those incidents like blowing up hundreds of people in a marketplace were not an atrocities at all...because they weren't done by Americans.

This is a very minor blog I have here, and so I really don't have to be tactful and pussy-foot around. I'll just say what I think: If you subscribe to the New York times, it's about 95% likely that you are anti-American. You hate this nation. Of course you won't admit it, but if I had you hooked up to some sort of emotion-detector, and I said: "I believe that this is the freest and best country ever, and when she is attacked YOU owe her a DUTY of generous warm-hearted loyalty and service, even at the risk of your life," the dial would go right over to "Oh Yecchhh!"

Hey, New York Times animals, how about a "defining moment" of courage or virtue or self-sacrifice? Hmmm? There have been thousands of candidates, though a person would never know it from reading the Paper Formerly Known As The Paper Of Record. Or how about thinking for a moment (That's not politically correct, but I won't tell anyone) about the implications of how you've been lusting after a "defining (American) atrocity" since March of 2003, and you haven't found one yet! What could that possibly mean?

Posted by John Weidner at 6:38 AM

October 3, 2007

Game over...

I recommend an essay by Bartle Bull in Prospect Magazine: Mission accomplished:

....Since 2004 I have pointed out that al-Sadr, as leader of the country's largest popular movement, has more to win from a functioning electoral politics than from fighting the Americans who guaranteed the polls that liberated his people, or from fighting the Iraqi government of which he is himself the joint largest part.

As we have noted, the real al-Sadr ceasefire began three years ago. But by saying publicly, again, that his men are putting down their guns, al-Sadr is declaring in the most unequivocal way that the violence in Iraq is not in his name.

Iranian-made rockets will continue to kill British and American soldiers. Saudi Wahhabis will continue to blow up marketplaces, employment queues and Shia mosques when they can. Iraqi criminals will continue to bully their neighbourhoods into homogeneities that will give the strongest more leverage, although even this tide is turning in most places where Petraeus's surge has reached. Bodies will continue to pile up in the ditches of Doura and east Baghdad as the country goes through the final spasm of the reckoning that was always going to attend the end of 35 years of brutal Sunni rule.

But in terms of national politics, there is nothing left to fight for. The only Iraqis still fighting for more than local factional advantage and criminal dominance are the irrational actors: the Sunni fundamentalists, who number but a thousand or two men-at-arms, most of them not Iraqi. Like other Wahhabi attacks on Iraq in 1805 and 1925, the current one will end soon enough. As the maturing Iraqi state gets control of its borders, and as Iraq's Sunni neighbours recognise that a Shia Iraq must be dealt with, the flow of foreign fighters and suicide bombers into Iraq from Syria will start to dry up. Even today, for all the bloodshed it causes, the violence hardly affects the bigger picture: suicide bombs go off, dozens of innocents die, the Shias mostly hold back and Iraq's tough life goes on.

In early September, Nouri al-Maliki said, "We may differ with our American friends about tactics… But my message to them is one of appreciation and gratitude. To them I say, you have liberated a people, brought them into the modern world… We used to be decimated and killed like locusts in Saddam's endless wars, and we have now come into the light." Here is an eloquent answer to the question of when American troops will leave Iraq. They will leave Iraq when the Iraqis, through their elected leadership, tell them to. According to a September poll, 47 per cent of Iraqis would prefer the Americans to leave. The surprise is that it's not 100 per cent. Who, after all, would not want his country rid of foreign troops? But if Iraqis had wanted government by opinion poll, they would have written their constitution that way. Instead, they chose, as do most people when given the choice, representative government....

There's a lot in the piece to think about. One thing that should have been clear all along if people would bother to think, is that an insurrection that consists of bombings and small scale violence can only win if the other side is unwilling to accept the pain and keep fighting. In addition, in Iraq, once the Shia had control of the government they could at any time "win" by escalating the violence. As soon as they had tanks and artillery they could simply obliterate any Fallujas or Ramadis if necessary. That's not what anyone wanted, but it was always a possibility.

The insurgency was testing both the Iraqi government and the American government. Neither has flinched, and so the game is basically over. The weakest point was never the Iraqis, because they have not yet been corrupted by prosperity, and still think it normal to fight for what they believe is right.

The weak point has always been the US, and especially the truly insane level of childishness and nihilism that is today's Democrat Party.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:10 AM

October 2, 2007

More of "No news is good news"

This from Investor's Business Daily:

That the media are no longer much interested in Iraq is a sure sign things are going well there. Instead, they're talking about the presidential campaign, or Burma, or global warming, or . . . whatever.

Why? Simply put, the news from Iraq has been quite positive, as Petraeus related in his report to Congress. Consider:

• On Monday came news that U.S. military deaths in Iraq fell to 64 in September, the fourth straight drop since peaking at 121 in May and driving the toll to a 14-month low.
• Civilian deaths also have plunged, dropping by more than half from August to 884. Remember just six months ago all the talk of an Iraqi "civil war"? That seems to be fading.
• The just-ended holy month of Ramadan in Iraq was accompanied by a 40% drop in violence, even though al-Qaida had vowed to step up attacks.
• Speaking of al-Qaida, the terrorist group appears to be on the run, and possibly on the verge of collapse — despite making Iraq the center of its war for global hegemony and a new world order based on precepts of fundamentalist Islam.....

They are Traitors. They are on the other side. The news media that is. Well, one of the pleasures of our time is enjoying the decline of the "press." Every month brings stories of falling circulation and declining revenues. Well deserved.

It is especially pleasant when I think of the frauds who weren't content to just be "reporters." Oh no, We are a "profession," not a trade. We are....Journalists! We go to a University to get an advanced degree in journalism, and thereby obtain mastery of a science that ordinary people can hardly understand, and should not be allowed to practice!

And we have, as befits a professsssionnn, ethics classes and "ethicists." Who occasionally tiptoe around the fact that journalism is about 95% liberal Democrat (and 90% trendy urbanite) and who could not report the news even-handedly if they tried, because they are not even interested in most of what makes up America. But the ethicists and "ombudsmen" never, to my knowledge, touch on the question of the duty an employee owes to his employer.

If I work for a company, I have a duty to the stockholders or owners to try to make that company profitable. If I worked for your company and I drove away your customers because they were not Republicans and I personally did not care for them, I would be stealing from you! I would be indulging a personal pleasure at your expense, just as much as if I took money from the till to buy ice cream. That's exactly what most "journalists" do.

Here's a good piece on the decline of, as Rand Simberg likes to put it, the Paper Formerly Know As The Paper Of Record,: Black and White and in the Red All Over...

....So, if the problem isn’t the global environment, the local environment, the labor environment, technology, the subscription model or regional conditions, perhaps it’s the newspaper. Could the problem be that the New York Times has a liberal bias? Perhaps. Circulation declines tend to support that idea. If I were an investor, I’d wonder whether general readers are nearly as interested in endless hyper-detailed reporting about Abu Grahib or the alleged Valerie Plame ‘outing’ as the editors seem to be. One wonders whether obsessing over such stories is the best way to separate Mr. and Mrs. America from their dollar and 25 cents Monday through Friday. Or a gusher of gushing praise over "Brokeback Mountain" the way to get four dollars from them every Sunday...

...The New York Times built its reputation by being America’s newspaper of record. If something big happened, it was in the Times. But that’s the Old New York Times. The new New York Times routinely ignores UN corruption stories and Democratic scandals far longer than other publications...

I feel an extra amount of venom for the NYT, because I grew up with the idea that they were the very acme and pinnacle of whatever it was that they were the acme and pinnacle of. It was all kind of vague, but the NYT was definitely tops, and was supposed to be looked upon with a special sort of reverence. In jr high and high school there were a couple of teachers I liked because they were bookish and intellectual (what a concept, an intellectual teacher!) and they always spoke highly of the Times.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:59 AM

September 28, 2007

Talking back...

Many big-name bloggers have already deconstructed Katie Couric's remarks at the National Press Club a few days ago...so I'm just doing the same for my own fun. It's my only way to "talk-back" to lefties...

“The whole culture of wearing flags on our lapel and saying ‘we’ when referring to the United States [if she were in a room with some flag-wearing gun-toting Americans, and terrorists were coming in through the windows, she'd discover the word "we" real fast] and, even the ‘shock and awe’ of the initial stages, [the term she means but won't use is "winning"] it was just too jubilant and just a little uncomfortable [uncomfortable for YOU, liberal girl] . And I remember feeling, when I was anchoring the ‘Today’ show, this inevitable march towards war and kind of feeling like, ‘Will anybody put the brakes on this?’ [the Iraq Campaign was debated for a whole year. You lost.] And is this really being properly challenged by the right people? [how dare those horrid Americans not agree with their betters!] And I think, at the time, anyone who questioned the administration was considered unpatriotic [no, we said you were wrong...it's true that you are unpatriotic, but that wasn't the argument made.] and it was a very difficult position to be in.” [THAT'S the part that REALLY interests me...see below.]

In some ways the fighting part of the War on Terror is a bit of a bore. If we can entice them into a real fight, we win. Every time. The really compelling question for me is all those Americans (and our putative allies within Western Civilization) who don't include themselves in the "we."

And especially, why has the Iraq Campaign aroused such lunatic excesses of opposition? (You regular readers have already heard this from me.) You would think that removing Saddam, one of the cruelest fascist tyrants ever, would have at least a partial appeal for people who call themselves "liberal?" (Or "progressive," or whatever this month's term is.) Fascist dictators are what they are against, right?

But the Katies of our world hated the idea from the start. They did NOT express themselves as "torn" between wanting to free Iraq and worrying that we might get into difficulties. And they still don't.

They hated it because it exposed them. Their liberalism is a fake. Not all liberals perhaps, but a lot of them. That's why I can never pin them down in arguments. There's no there there. There's nothing inside, no liberal philosophy or core values. Or any sort of philosophy. They are nihilists.

Same with "pacifists." The funny thing is that aggressive wars of conquest between nation-states are pretty much extinct. No Hitlers send their armies across neighboring borders. The only two exceptions in recent decades were both launched by....Saddam. The Iraq-Iran War, which may have killed a million people, and the invasion of Kuwait. So how come "pacifists" are not torn about the removal from power of this war-monger? Hmmm?

Posted by John Weidner at 8:00 AM

September 25, 2007

It's official, the surge is a success...

The UNITED NATIONS says so, and what could be more authoritative than that? They scooted once it got dangerous in Iraq, and now they want to come back. "To help," you know.

UNITED NATIONS -- Iraq's prime minister said his government would provide any necessary security for an expanded United Nations presence in his country...

That's good. We wouldn't want the UN to have to try to protect itself....with those, uh, "peacekeeping forces" I think they call them. I mean, those are very useful in the sex-trafficking and gold-smuggling line. And if you need a crew to extract sex from starving teenage refugee girls in exchange for food, well, the Blue Helmets have been doing that job happily for decades now.

But when it comes to using savage violence to kill terrorists and protect the innocent......well, you gotta understand which side those guys are on. They are "peacekeepers" like Quakers are peacekeepers.....that is, go ahead and kill anybody, as long as you don't help Republicans get elected.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:13 PM

September 20, 2007

These are the people Democrats want us to surrender to...

....Because, of course, if we horrid Americans leave Iraq, then there will be "peace."

Iraqi National Police Break Up al-Qaeda Rape, Terror Cell in Samarra - HUMAN EVENTS :

...Upon being taken into custody, Medhi openly declared himself to be a member of al Qaeda, and freely admitted (and signed a written confession stating) that he had helped orchestrate and execute these attacks on Iraqi Security and Coalition Forces. Perhaps wishing to escape the punishing clutches of the NPs, and knowing full well -- as do all fighters in Iraq and elsewhere – how strict the rules are that Americans must abide by with regard to the humane treatment of prisoners and detainees, Medhi asked to be handed over to the coalition forces from Charlie Company 2-505 PIR (82nd Airborne) at Patrol Base Olson, in northwestern Samarra. In exchange for the transfer of custody, he had more information (and more confessions) that he was willing to provide.

What it was that he confessed to once in American custody shocked and outraged even his seasoned coalition captors, who had been facing ISI in this city for over a year.

Without a bit of pressure -- indeed, without the appearance of a care in the world -- Medhi, described in graphic detail the other half of his ISI cell’s operations: running an organized al Qaeda Rape ring in Samarra. With a modus operandi of breaking into various houses and either raping women on the spot or threatening the family with death while taking their daughter away to become a hostage and a sex slave, Medhi, a self-described homosexual who engaged in intercourse (via rape) with women “because other members of this group” did, confessed to his cell’s penchant for abducing girls and “holding them [hostage] just for their pleasure.” Most recently, he said, he had taken part in the rape, kidnapping, and/or killing of five women, three of whom were supposedly still alive....

"Support the Troops, Bring Them Home." That's the bumper sticker one sees around town. Because you see, Iraqis aren't human beings, and in fact nothing exists except when Americans (or Jews) are present. So if we leave there will be "peace."

It drives me nuts, the way leftists just assume that nothing goes on except what's done by the USA. And you can't argue with them, because they will never make their position explicit. It's taken for granted that Iraq was at peace before 2003 (despite hundreds of thousands disappearing into mass graves). And that we angry Americans decided to "solve problems using violence and war." Just out of the blue, you know, "bombing" where all was peaceful and happy before, and children were flying kites.

And it's just assumed that when we leave there will be peace. The war will be over. Just like Vietnam, where the "the war was over" when we pulled out, even though millions were yet to die.

Regular readers know that I believe that many of the ideas held by leftists and pacifists are evil and sick. But what actually makes me spitting angry is mostly that they are unwilling or unable to write or speak or argue clearly for their positions. Debate with them is always like punching a blob of Jello. And there's probably a liberal or two who is going to read this. And if he catch me in some factual error he will pounce on me instantly. But he will never even consider engaging me in principled argument, and probably don't even know what I mean. Hey! You there, visualize me grabbing your collar and slapping your face and demanding that you defend your ideas or change them!

Posted by John Weidner at 8:42 AM

September 18, 2007

"not just pretending to be friendly "

Don't miss Michael Totten's latest. Even if you are becoming bored with good news from Iraq, this is just too cool. The pictures of the people...awesome. It's not just that al Anbar province as a whole is peaceful, it's this one special place. Ar Ramadi! Al Qaeda central!

....Ramadi has changed so drastically from the terrorist-infested pit that it was as recently as April 2007 that I could hardly believe what I saw was real. The sheer joy on the faces of these Iraqis was unmistakable. They weren’t sullen in the least, and it was pretty obvious that they were not just pretending to be friendly or going through the hospitality motions.

“It was nothing we did,” said Marine Lieutenant Colonel Drew Crane who was visiting for the day from Fallujah. “The people here just couldn’t take it anymore.”

What he said next surprised me even more than what I was seeing.

“You know what I like most about this place?” he said.

“What’s that?” I said.

“We don’t need to wear body armor or helmets,” he said.

I was poleaxed. Without even realizing it, I had taken off my body armor and helmet. I took my gear off as casually as I do when I take it off after returning to the safety of the base after patrolling. We were not in the safety of the base and the wire. We were safe because we were in Ramadi.

Only then did I notice that Lieutenant Colonel Crane was no longer wearing his helmet. Neither were most of the others.

I saw no violence in Baghdad, but I would never have taken off my body armor and helmet outside the wire. I certainly wouldn’t have done it casually without noticing it. If I had I would have been sternly upbraided for reckless behavior by every Soldier anywhere near me.....

You know, nobody's saying that all of Iraq is like Ramadi, or necessarily will be like Ramadi, or that Iraq's ten-thousand problems are solved. But I read things like this, and I remember the times I've written about the tremendous potential Iraq has...and all I can say is, Ha! I was right.

.....I asked Captain McGee the same question. I have no plans to do this. [live in Ramadi] The question is purely theoretical.

“You would probably be okay downtown,” he said, “but you would definitely be fine just north of town. If you tried that in February you would not have lasted four hours.”

“You trust the locals that much?” I said.

“I do,” he said.

“The only people I trust with my life in this country are the Kurds,” I said.

“I trust these people almost as much,” he said. “Are they petty? Yes. Are they tribal? Yes. Are they Arabs?” He rolled his eyes. “Yes. Do they believe in conspiracy theories? Yes. But they have their act together now.”....
Posted by John Weidner at 5:09 PM

September 15, 2007

Sounds like life at Random Jottings...

This is SO like my experiences for the last few years—gee how many years has it been? Since 11-01— trying and always failing to engage our phony liberals in debate....

From a good piece by Fred Kagan and Bill Kristol, Men at Work, Children at Play...

....The congressional critics provided quite a contrast with Petraeus and Crocker. If the general and the ambassador were men at work, the congressmen and senators were--with a few notable exceptions--children at play. They spoke almost entirely in generalizations--often months, sometimes years, out of date. They used selective quotations and cherry-picked facts to play "gotcha." They offered no meaningful proposals of their own. Petraeus and Crocker live and breathe Iraq, dealing with life-and-death problems seven days a week. Congress bloviates Tuesday through Thursday. That's one of the reasons to listen to the general and the ambassador rather than the congressional pontificators.

The contrast between those who know something about Iraq and those who don't continued with the president's speech on September 13. Bush described America's objectives in Iraq clearly, explained the strategy he is pursuing, outlined the progress that it has made in detail and in specific areas of Iraq, explained why he intends to continue that strategy with minor adjustments, and announced a conditions-based reduction of forces, which General Petraeus had recommended. In response, Senator Jack Reed spoke in the vaguest terms....

Gee Andrew, you may be wiser than I thought. I think you have a real future in Democrat Party politics. Your instincts were true...

Posted by John Weidner at 12:12 PM

September 14, 2007

Tells you all you need to know...

I caught a moment of Rush Limbaugh while running around this morning, and he made one really good point.

In all the news we've seen about the reception of Gen. Petraeus' testimony, not one Democrat, not one liberal has said, "What can we do to help you? What can we do to help the troops?"

Posted by John Weidner at 11:12 AM

Best book on the subject...

I finally got a perk for being a blogger. Free Press sent me a copy of a new book, House to House by Staff Sergeant David Bellavia.

It centers on the the bloody craziness of the second battle of Falluja, where Bellavia's army unit was one of the first to penetrate deep into the town... I'm a bookworm, and I've read lots of books on war. This is the best account of combat I've ever encountered.

I'm not going to even try to quote the wild stuff, you won't believe it unless you read the whole build-up. In fact you gotta just read the book. (All I'll say editorially is that anyone who thinks we should walk away and leave the jihadis to tyrannize over Iraq, or any other place, is insane. We have created monsters by decades of pacifism and appeasement and liberalism and nihilism, and now we must fight. There isn't a choice.)

....Inside the house, I start to move to the door. Before I can take a full step, I see a trip wire. It runs across the door and up along the doorjamb. Dangling from the wire is an orange-red pineapple grenade the size of a Nerf football. The pin is missing and the spoon is held on by the wire. If we open the door, the spoon will fly off and detonate the grenade in our faces.

"Knapp!" I shout.

He comes over and peers through the window.

"Check this shit out," I tell him.

He fingers the trip wire and sighs. "You know what? I've told my guys not to check for booby traps. This is high-intensity MOUT." Military Operations in Urban Terrain. "We're looking for bad guys. We don't have time for precision MOUT."

"No, you're right we don't. We could have dudes in the house ready to kill us. We've got to be ready for them, not heads-down searching for trip wires."

Knapp nods. We've got a serious tactical dilemma on our hands. If we're to treat each house as if it is booby trapped, we'll go in cautiously. In house-clearing, confidence and quickness are absolutely vital. If we hesitate, if we methodically search for booby traps, we hand the initiative to any insurgents who may be in the house. We'll get lit the fuck up. Moving swiftly and decisively from room to room is the only way to surprise the enemy and minimize our exposure to their fire.

So far, we haven't seen anyone inside these houses. Yet if we continue to move this quickly, we're likely to trip a booby trap. Right now, I can't see how we're going to get through this without anyone getting hurt. Either we move fast and hit a trip wire, or we move slowly and get shot at.

"Okay, Knapp, let's keep this to ourselves."

"Yeah, alright. We don't wanna fucking freak the guys out any more than they already are. I don't want them going into houses with this shit at the back of their heads."....

[There's a short video interview of Bellavia here.]

Posted by John Weidner at 8:36 AM

September 13, 2007


Penraker has some interesting quotes from Brookings Institute (no friend to Republicans) scholars on Iraq. This one is by Peter Rodman (I didn't find a link to the original)...

...I think it would have a stabilizing effect in Iraq, in the sense that the people of Iraq see staying power. One of the most destabilizing factors in Iraq - the whole Iraqi equation - the whole internal Iraqi equation - has been the fear of American withdrawal...it's very hard to counter this perception.

The election, the Baker-Hamiilton report, public opinion polls, there were plenty of reasons for Iraqis to believe that the Americans are someday going to leave. But this compounds the problems we have - it demoralizes moderates, it encourages people to resort to hedging strategies. I mean, if you think the Americans are heading for the exits, you're not going to take risks. You are not going to make concessions. You're going to husband your assets. You're going to hunker down and prepare for the great free-for all that's going to come.

And neighboring countries, by the same token are going to pick sides, and everything gets worse...

"One of the most destabilizing factors in Iraq....has been the fear of American withdrawal" Well, that's obvious. It's just like our everyday life--are people going to stand up to crooks if they are not sure that the cops are going to back them up? Are going to be there when called?

By not supporting their country, Leftists and pacifists and Democrats are actively (and probably knowingly) destabilizing Iraq, and many other parts of the world, and thereby causing the deaths of large numbers of people, including American soldiers.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:55 AM

September 12, 2007

It was in fact the only sensible option...

This is a question I've argued a number of times, so I was glad to see this piece by Paul Bremer, detailing why we dealt as we did with the Iraqi army... (Actually the people who claim we made a mistake never argue the point--they just assert it as if it were self-evident. Poltroons.)

How I Didn’t Dismantle Iraq’s Army - New York Times:

IT has become conventional wisdom that the decision to disband Saddam Hussein’s army was a mistake, was contrary to American prewar planning and was a decision I made on my own. In fact the policy was carefully considered by top civilian and military members of the American government. And it was the right decision.

By the time Baghdad fell on April 9, 2003, the Iraqi Army had simply dissolved. On April 17 Gen. John Abizaid, the deputy commander of the Army’s Central Command, reported in a video briefing to officials in Washington that “there are no organized Iraqi military units left.” The disappearance of Saddam Hussein’s old army rendered irrelevant any prewar plans to use that army. So the question was whether the Coalition Provisional Authority should try to recall it or to build a new one open to both vetted members of the old army and new recruits. General Abizaid favored the second approach....
Posted by John Weidner at 1:16 PM

"The slaying of a beautiful deduction by an ugly fact..."

Peter Wehner on Iraq:

General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker, testifying before the House and the Senate during the last two days, did what many people thought was impossible: They reset the Washington clock. These good men, by what they have achieved in Iraq and by the force and power of their testimonies, have recast the terms of the debate. They will now have until next summer to build on their successes, which in turn could eventually lead to a decent outcome in Iraq. To appreciate how extraordinary this is, it’s worth recalling how far we have come....

* * * *

...The effort to besmirch the good name of David Petraeus is politically insane. The claim by anti-war critics that they oppose the war but support the troops is a lot harder to make when those in their ranks maliciously attack the commander of the troops, who happens to be succeeding.

And for those of us who have watched much of the hearings on television, one could not help but be struck by this contrast: Petraeus and Crocker in command, unflappable, professional, radiating competence and confidence, respectful but never allowing themselves to be intimidated. Many Democrats, on the other hand, appeared angry, agitated, long-winded, and out of their depth. General David Petraeus is the military analogue of Justice John Roberts, and their critics looked equally foolish going after both men.

* * * *

“If ever (Herbert) Spencer wrote a tragedy, its plot would be the slaying of a beautiful deduction by an ugly fact,” Thomas Huxley wrote. It is an odd situation indeed to find members of America’s political class greeting demonstrable evidence of progress in Iraq as ugly and inconvenient facts. But fortunately we seem to be past the danger point, when Members of Congress can recklessly undo what General Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker, and the remarkable men and women of our armed forces have achieved. Now Members of the House and Senate are simply left to posture, rage against the wind, and passionately insist, against a growing body of evidence, that a war that might be won is hopelessly lost.

I can understand people opposing the Iraq Campaign because it seems to be going badly, but when certain people clearly hate the thought of getting good news, or hearing that it is going well....I say they are insane. Evil and insane.

(Opposing a military campaign because it seems to be going badly is not insane. It is however really STUPID. If you bother to read history you know that every war we have ever fought has had periods where things are going badly. And most wars and campaigns tend to look their ugliest and most brutal just before the end, just before one side collapses. This is reason #387 why liberals oppose the study of history.)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:46 AM

September 8, 2007

The big loser...

From the Belmont Club...

Here's a link to the transcript of Osama Bin Laden's message to the American people. Two things stand out. The first is his claim to victory in a theater (Iraq) where by all accounts his forces have been worsted and the only insurgent force with a plausible claim to victory is not al-Qaeda's but Iran's.

Secondly, his talking points, with their references to the Global Warming, taxes, Noam Chomsky, etc. almost seem to suggest an inversion. It's almost as if Osama the Muslim, not the infidel, has converted. From the tone of his remarks, Osama no longer speaks to the American people as the potentate of an unstoppable international apocalyptic movement, but rather as someone, who if you were ignorant of his true identity, might just as well be a spokesman for the Muslim wing of a Western political party....

As I've often pointed out, we had a number of different reasons and goals for the Iraq Campaign. So it's possible to both win and lose there. (Something most people seem weirdly incapable of processing.) For instance, we hope that sponsoring freedom and democracy in Iraq will start to break the grip of despotism and cruelty that plagues the Middle East. BUT, planting democracy in the heart of the Caliphate is ALSO waving a red flag in front of al Qaeda! They hate the idea. We forced them to fight on ground of our choosing! (I suspect this was unconscious genius on the part of the administration.)

And if one is fighting an elusive enemy who uses guerilla tactics, then almost any fight is good news for us. (Another obvious thing most people can't process.) We want a fight. We DON'T want al Qaeda free to plot and strike at its leisure. So the bloodshed in Iraq is both bad, for goal number one, and really really good for goal number two!

And lordy, what is Osama saying now? He's admitting he's lost!!!!! He's whining that his representatives in the Democrat Party have failed to win his war for him! What a loser. I am just SO trembling with fear. And quoting Noam Chomsky! Ha. Ha. Ha. And Ha. Don't they deserve each other. And this is really an information war we are fighting. The perception of al Qaeda driven from Iraq is far more important than us killing a bunch of them.

Losers! The next thing to expect is that he'll be bragging about how he gives his people free health care! And angling for a slot as Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at San Francisco State. Give him tenure guys, he's worked hard for it!

Posted by John Weidner at 4:05 PM

September 6, 2007

Ignore the facts, just listen to us Dems...

From the Washington Times: Dems already dismissing Iraq war report:

What Dems in Congress are doing is utterly loathsome and disgusting, and against all American tradition....but, on the bright side, think about how they placed their big bet on America losing.....and now....they suffer and squirm and lie....It gives me a keen pleasure similar to that time icky Warren Buffet put his chips on the Euro, against the dollar, and lost a few billion bucks....

Congressional Democrats are trying to undermine U.S. Army Gen. David H. Petraeus' credibility before he delivers a report on the Iraq war next week, saying the general is a mouthpiece for President Bush and his findings can't be trusted. [Remember, these dogs criticized Bush for not following the advice of his generals...]

"The Bush report?" Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin said when asked about the upcoming report from Gen. Petraeus, U.S. commander in Iraq.

"We know what is going to be in it. It's clear. I think the president's trip over to Iraq makes it very obvious," the Illinois Democrat said. "I expect the Bush report to say, 'The surge is working. Let's have more of the same.' " [Notice they present no evidence to the contrary. They can't, the surge is obviously working.]

The top Democrats — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California — also referred to the general's briefing as the "Bush report." [They think it's clever, calling Gen, Petraeus' report the "Bush Report." Like they call the Iraq Campaign—which they voted for—"Bush's War." But the WOT is America's war, and what they are saying is that they are NOT Americans.]

Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said Gen. Petraeus' report was potentially compromised by the White House's involvement in drafting it. [The President is also the Commander in Chief. That's his job.]

"If the same people who were so wrong about this war from the start are writing substantial portions of this report, that raises credibility questions," he said. [The bitter pill for the Dems is that it looks more and more like we were right about the Iraq Campaign. American success is their worst nightmare.]

Republicans bristled at the pre-emptive strike against the report.

"Are these leaders asking the American people to believe that the testimony of a commanding four-star general in the U.S. Army should be discarded before it's even delivered?" said Brian Kennedy, spokesman for House Minority Leader John A. Boehner, Ohio Republican. [Of course they do. They are traitors and nihilists. The most important thing to notice is that they have given any indication that they would be GLAD to hear of American success in battle. None.]

* Update: I keep being amazed by all this. I'm filled with wonder. Congress, including Dems, voted unanimously to confirm Gen. Petraeus, and the strategy and tactics he advocated. And there was to be a report in September.

SO, what the heck were they thinking? Did they imagine September would never come? Like schoolchildren thinking the summer vacation will never end?

Or did they believe their own propaganda about the US military, and our Iraqi allies? That we are incompetent brutes who are bound to fail? I myself am "embedded" in the liberal world, and I'd guess that's what happened. Leftists despise our military, and they only talk to each other, and read the same poison in the NYT. I could have told them a LOT about what's going on in Iraq, but never once has any leftist engaged in honest debate or an exchange of info with me...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:47 AM

September 3, 2007

From the President's speech...

President Bush Visits and Thanks Troops in Anbar Province:

As you know, today is Labor Day back home so I thought I'd come by to thank you for all your hard work. Every day -- every day -- you show bravery under incredibly difficult circumstances. Every day you're doing work on the sands of Anbar that is making it safer in the streets of America. And every day the United States of America is grateful for what you're doing. I want you to tell your families the Commander-in-Chief stopped by to say hello, and he said, I'm incredibly proud to be the Commander-in-Chief of such a great group of men and women.

I'm keeping pretty good company, as you can see. I brought out the A Team so they could be with the folks who are making a significant difference in this war against these radicals and extremists. In Anbar you're seeing firsthand the dramatic differences that can come when the Iraqis are more secure. In other words, you're seeing success.

You see Sunnis who once fought side by side with al Qaeda against coalition troops now fighting side by side with coalition troops against al Qaeda. Anbar is a huge province. It was once written off as lost. It is now one of the safest places in Iraq. (Hooah.) Because of your hard work, because of your bravery and sacrifice, you are denying al Qaeda a safe haven from which to plot and plan and carry out attacks against the United States of America. What you're doing here is making this country safer, and I thank you for your hard work...

....ut I want to tell you this about the decision -- about my decision about troop levels. Those decisions will be based on a calm assessment by our military commanders on the conditions on the ground -- not a nervous reaction by Washington politicians to poll results in the media. In other words, when we begin to draw down troops from Iraq, it will be from a position of strength and success, not from a position of fear and failure. To do otherwise would embolden our enemies and make it more likely that they would attack us at home. If we let our enemies back us out of Iraq, we will more likely face them in America. If we don't want to hear their footsteps back home, we have to keep them on their heels over here. And that's exactly what you're doing, and America is safer for it.....


Posted by John Weidner at 4:02 PM

September 1, 2007

Today's BS...

Desperation rules in the appeasement camp! From Weekly Standard:

The Washington Post, working hand-in-glove with Democrats in Congress, has gotten out front in preparing the domestic battlefield for September's fight over the war in Iraq. The Post led today's paper with an account of a leaked draft report from the Congressionally-controlled Government Accountability Office (the GAO's final report is due next Tuesday). The headline: "Report Finds Little Progress on Iraq Goals; GAO Draft at Odds with White House." Here's the good news: If this is the best war opponents have to offer, the administration is in amazingly good shape going into September.

The Post reporters--both strongly anti-Iraq war--characterize the GAO judgments as "strikingly negative." But there's nothing striking about them. The Democratic Congress ensured that the report would deliver negative "grades" for the Iraqi government by asking the GAO to evaluate whether or not the benchmarks have been met now--just two months after the major combat operations of the surge began. For the report from the White House, Congress asked the administration to detail if the Iraqis are making "sufficient progress." But Congress asked the GAO, by contrast, to report if the Iraqis had "completed" the benchmarks. This ridiculous standard was a Congressional trap that forced the GAO to waste time and taxpayer money to come out with a pre-ordained and meaningless judgment, since no one ever promised or expected that the Iraqis would have met the benchmarks by now. And the GAO report doesn't really shed light on the key question: Are the Iraqis making progress?....

This phony report will probably be made much of by the fake anti-war types.

Whether or not Iraq makes domestic political progress (my prediction is that over time it will do better then most expect) we are clearly on the verge of inflicting a huge defeat on AL QAEDA there. They have given Iraq their best shot, butchering thousands of innocent people for the benefit of CBS and the NYT. Their goal has been to (1) defeat the project of democracy and freedom in the heart of the Caliphate, (2) to drive the US to another humiliating withdrawal, giving them enormous prestige in the Muslim world, and (3) aiding the ongoing decline of Western Civilization, by throwing power in the US to nihilists and lefty anti-Americans...

And they are about to lose on all three goals! God speed our peerless troops, and the brave Iraqi Defense Forces.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:46 AM

August 29, 2007

to as few as nine...

From Protein Wisdom:

....I cannot speak for everyone who supports the mission in Iraq, but I would submit that Beauchamp’s apparent fables and embellishments are not a “weak link” to be attacked, but simply an egregious example of the establishment media’s flawed coverage of the conflict. Accordingly, what follows is an over view of the establishment media coverage of the conflict in Iraq.

Though public opinion polls consistently show that Americans consider Iraq to be the most important issue facing the country, establishment media has slashed the resources and time devoted to Iraq. The number of embedded reporters plunged from somewhere between 570 and 750 when the invasion began in March 2003 to as few as nine by October 2006. The result was the rise of what journalists themselves call “hotel journalism” and “journalism by remote control.” Janet Reitman, reporting for Rolling Stone, described the state of the media in early 2004:
When I arrive in Baghdad in April, most American journalists are holed up in their rooms, reporting the war by remote: scanning the wires, working their cell phones, watching broadcasts of Al Jazeera. In many cases, they’ve been reduced to relying on sources available to anyone with an Internet connection… While Arabic and European media such as The Guardian and Le Monde manage to cover the war on the ground, American reporters seldom interview actual Iraqis. Instead, they talk to U.S. officials who are every bit as isolated as they are, or rely on local stringers and fixers, several of whom have been killed while working for Americans. “We live in a bubble,” grumbles one AP reporter. “If we know one percent of what’s going on in Iraq, we’re lucky.”
There are exceptions of course, though the number of establishment embeds shows they are literally exceptions. I do not discount the very real danger to Western journos in Iraq, though independent bloggers like Michael Yon, Bill Roggio, Bill Ardolino, and Michael J. Totten seem to have been able to embed outside Baghdad with nothing like the institutional support available to journalists from the establishment media… and that the number of such bloggers is growing. Moreover, I cannot ignore the consequences of “journalism by remote control.”

Noah D. Oppenheim, who visited Baghdad for MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews,” noted that “The consequence of this system is that, on television, the story in Iraq is no more than the sum of basic facts, like casualties, crashes, and official pronouncements.” The data back Oppenheim. The television airtime devoted to coverage of Iraq has plunged dramatically. Television networks devoted 4,162 minutes to Iraq in 2003, 3,053 minutes in 2004, 1,534 minutes in 2005 and 1,122 minutes in 2006. The amount of time and space devoted to Iraq coverage has continued to decline through the first half of 2007...

Bad news stories, especially the daily death tolls, consumed an ever-larger share of this dwindling coverage. In 2003, it consumed 38% of the networks’ Iraq newshole. In 2004 and 2005, it consumed 44%. In 2006, it rose to 56%....

One of the ironies of the situation is that the really interesting story is not the terrorist violence, which is repetitive, but the story of a democraic nation struggling to be born amidst frightful difficulties. Reading Michael Yon or the other independent bloggers in Iraq is especially fascinating because they put us in contact with ordinary Iraqis, good and bad.

If anyone who still believes that their TV is giving them the real Iraq is reading this post, read This as an example, one of many...

Posted by John Weidner at 3:09 PM

August 27, 2007

If your read the NYT or WaPo or LAT...

...you are drinking from poisoned wells. From Captain Ed:

Let's say we're at war, and we're waiting for some specific action to take place to show us that our efforts are succeeding. Add in that the war itself would be rather controversial and that our political class is split as to whether we will ever see that specific action take place. Imagine that Congress and the White House have scheduled a showdown in the next couple of weeks to determine how much longer we will wait for that development.

Now imagine that the specific action for which we've waited actually occurs. Where would you think that story appear in Washington's biggest newspaper? The front page, one might assume. Would you believe ... page 9?...

Unbelievable. And apparently the news was not even in the NYT or LAT!

The news of course, is the announcement of wide political agreement within Iraq's government for changes in the de-Baathification law. For our major "news"papers to ignore the story is a sign of desperation within the al Qaeda/Democrat alliance, and a really indicator of progress for the forces of freedom...

* Update: And this certainly gives the lie to the claims of Leftists that they hate the Iraq Campaign BECAUSE it is not militarily winnable, or now, BECAUSE the Iraqi government can't make any political progress. Those are all lies.

They hate this campaign for the reason I explained here

Posted by John Weidner at 6:48 AM

August 11, 2007

"a final storm before breaking the enemy"

Victor Davis Hansen, from An NRO Symposium on Iraq :

...In a wider sense, the war is as most wars: an evolution from blunders to wisdom, the side that makes the fewest and learns from them the most eventually winning. Al Qaeda and the insurgents in 2004-6 developed the means, both tactical and strategic, to thwart the reconstruction, but we, not they, have since learned the more and evolved.

As in the Civil War, WWI, and WWII, the present American military — which has committed far less mistakes than past American forces — has shifted tactics, redefined strategy, and found the right field commanders. We forget that the U.S. Army and Marines, far from being broken, now have the most experienced and wizened officers in the world. Like Summer 1864, Summer 1918, and in the Pacific 1944-5, the key is the support of a weary public for an ever improving military that must nevertheless endure a final storm before breaking the enemy.

The irony is that should President Bush endure the hysteria and furor and prove able to give the gifted Gen. Petraeus the necessary time — and I think he will — his presidency could still turn out to be Trumanesque, once we digest the changes in Europe, the progress on North Korea, the end of both the Taliban and Saddam, and the prevention of another 9/11 attack. How odd that all the insider advice to triangulate — big spending, new programs, uninspired appointments, liberal immigration reform — have nearly wrecked the administration, and what were once considered its liabilities — foreign policy, the war on terror and Iraq — may still save it....

I actually have a much more positive view of the Administration's domestic accomplishments, but I think Bush will indeed be considered "Trumanesqe" by history because he got the big one right on the field of battle. The Korean War was a bloody shambles, with 40,000 dead merely to preserve the status quo ante bellum. It seemed pointless to many. Lots of people at the time thought Truman was a failure. But history says otherwise, because the simple fact is, he saw that we had to fight the Cold War, and he fought it (in both its hot and cold aspects). The mistakes made were beyond counting, but it was ever thus...

Posted by John Weidner at 4:36 PM

August 7, 2007

Beauchamp, Again...

Shakey Pete:

Okay, now TNR is offering as proof of Beauchamp's truthiness that his story of how his horrible treatment of a woman wounded in an IED accident happened in Kuwait. Yes, the war is so horrible that it robbed him of his decency before he even set foot in the country.

We have a new problem, PTSD to watch out for. Yes, friends, Pre Traumatic Stress Disorder. Please write your Congresscritter, we'll need to spend a few billion studying this disease. Since it affected Beauchamp before he ever set foot in Iraq I volunteer to take a few million to study this new form of PTSD, I'm qualified because I haven't been to Iraq, either.

That's pretty good. I myself was just thinking idly today about joining up and going to Iraq, and now I find myself dreaming of tossing babies up to impale on my bayonet. And running over dogs, of course, I can't wait to do that.

I wonder if TNR will pay ME to expose the brute savagery of war, and the way it turns innocent lads into sociopathic killers. I can do it, and I don't even need to go to Kuwait!

Actually, what poor Beauchamp was doing was getting a start on writing this generation's All Quiet on the Western Front. That's the model for all literary and journalistic views of war, and I'm sure Random House has a stack of hundred-dollar bills waiting for whoever can provide the product for this go-round. Just fill in the blanks for your particular conflict.

Great book by the way, unforgettable. Impressed the heck out of me when I was about 15. Of course, since I'm not a brain-dead lefty, I am aware that its applicability to the Fourth-Generation Warfare we are engaged in today is about zero.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:52 PM

August 5, 2007

"Watchmen on the walls of world freedom"

From the story of a Catholic chaplain in Iraq...

We rolled into Forward Operating Base, Rivera, the center of operations for 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment in the town of Saqlawiyah. The Civil Affairs Group and the 2/7 chaplain were transporting me so that I could make Catholic Sacramental and Pastoral visits to all their Battle Positions.

There is no separate space to set apart for Mass or a religious service, so I set up in the area where they eat and recreate which is also used as the triage area for the wounded. Foot patrols were returning after an eight hour shift through the night and others were departing on their shift. Marines and Corpsmen were rushing about trying to get a bite to eat and get ready to sleep for a few hours. Despite the intense operational tempo and grueling schedule, a group of Marines led by their Company Commanding Officer gathered in the corner for the Mass. Mass in these settings emerges from a kit smaller than a shoe box that I carry on my back. I am set up in minutes — drab olive colored Altar Linen are set down and a crucifix, chalice and paten made of brushed steel are assembled from their small compact parts and easily set in place. A copy of The Word Among Us is passed between them and me for the prayers and readings. The Altar is a wooden bench — the best piece of furniture in the room.

There is no singing, no stained glass, no pews or kneelers — just intense fervor reflected in their eyes and the bare floor beneath their knees. No one ever leaves anyone else out of the Sign of Peace. From the senior officer to the lowest enlisted Marine, embraces are exchanged and sincere wishes of peace are authentic and heart-felt! Holy Communion! I have never experienced communion like that among men who know that this could be their last! The Mass is brief but its effects are enduring...

—  —  —  —  —  —  —  —

....The next part of their story however, was quite tragic and very painful for them to relate. They had grown close to the Iraqi family that had lived in the house. The family would often cook them a hot meal and share their table with them. Their five year old son had grown very fond of the Marines and they of him. He would stop by every day to see them. That day he was arriving outside just as the bomb detonated. With tears in their eyes they described how they tried to save him, using all their combat medical skills but there was nothing that they could do. Their grief is palpable and their sadness deep. We gathered for Mass in the small yard where they once listened to the laughter of a little boy. We celebrated Holy Communion with God, with each other and, in our hearts, with a young Muslim boy — may he rest in peace!... (Thanks to Argent)

I suspect there's a special deep circle of Hell for the scoundrel dogs who are heaping lies and abuse on our troops, and those of our allies. And a extra sub-basement for those who pretend that their scurrility has anything to do with Christian hopes for peace.

Stories of the decency and great-heartedness of our soldiers and Marines, and the ways they risk their own lives to save and protect people in distant lands are extremely common, if one bothers to look. These are the true Christians of our time. They are not passing on the other side of the road. They are not eager to abandon the wretched of the earth to the savagery of terrorists and tyrants. I just wish I could be with them.

“We in this country, in this generation, are, by destiny rather than choice, the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of ‘peace on earth, goodwill toward men.’ That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago, ‘except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.’”
John F. Kennedy
Undelivered luncheon speech
Dallas, Texas
Nov. 22, 1963

"Random Thoughts Sundays"250

Posted by John Weidner at 6:43 AM

July 31, 2007

Good news is no news...

A good example, by Noel Sheppard, of how to dissect a bit of typical media bias. this one from—surprise—AP...

....In fact, in an article that, from the title, one would think would be about the declining death toll, and how things from a military standpoint might be improving in Iraq, the piece devoted seven of the first nine paragraphs, and more than 50 percent of the total print space, on political problems in the embattled nation.

And, when Salaheddin finally elaborated on the reduced death toll in July, it was curiously pessimistic....

—  —  —  —  —  —

....Hmmm. So, this was the lowest death toll since November, and since before the surge began. You couldn't find someone to quote who thought this was really good news, Sinan? Or that it was proof that the surge was working?

Oh. That's right. The surge wasn't even addressed in this piece. Instead, it was referred to as a "five-month-old security crackdown."

And, of course, Salaheddin nicely avoided any reference to President Bush having orchestrated this "five-month-old security crackdown" against the wishes of the left and their media minions.

I guess it's verboten at the AP to connect the president with good news in Iraq regardless of how much your article downplays it.....

"Five-month-old security crackdown." Sheeesh. Even if we had no other news about the shift in strategy and tactics labeled "the Surge," (which, by the way, started June 15) we would know it was working well just by the reluctance to name it. Sort of the opposite of news articles about politicians caught in wrong-doing: If the party affiliation is not mentioned, you know it's a Dem.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:31 AM


Don't miss Michael Yon's latest dispatch. We should always keep in mind how damn lucky we are that Information Age technology allows information to bypass the old gatekeepers, and gives us alternative sources besides the lies and dirt we get from the Gasping Media.

He never tries to paint a rosier picture than he sees, and he takes you there like nobody else...

...The foodstuffs are handled through the Ministry of Trade. LTC Fred Johnson was using force of will to get a frightened and inertia-laden local civil leadership to mount a convoy to Baghdad. He brought along an Iraqi journalist because he knew food distribution was a critical battle, and any victory could be hugely accentuated by getting it into the Iraqi media. Most of the Western press was now leaving Baqubah just when the real story began unfolding. Western media mostly missed the initial fight because they missed the signs, and then left immediately after seeing there was no brawl. 3-2 SBCT made no pretension of hiding their motivations for inviting me: they knew I was apt to stay around even if there was no fighting. They are a smart lot....

If you happen to have a few extra bucks, you might just give him a donation. He's supported by readers, and by some sales of his famous photographs....

Posted by John Weidner at 6:57 AM

July 30, 2007

News from the Front...

Too busy, so I'll quote another blogger...

Dave Price at Dean's World...

So, as has been widely reported, new Pew polling finds Muslim support for suicide bombings has fallen dramatically.

Hmmm, how could that have happened? Where has the world media's attention been focused the last few years, where lots and lots of suicide bombings have been killing Muslims? Must be that place the NYT has taken to calling

But weren't we told American invasions of
Khorasan and Iraq were radicalizing Muslims and creating terrorists? Seems instead they've actually been de-radicalized, especially by events in Babylonia.

By now it's obvious to all but the most thick-headed or information-deprived observers that not only are Americans not looting and pillaging either country, they're the ones driving the effort to make them decent places to live (and spending lots of blood and treasure to do so).

Meanwhile, the splodeydopes are just killing Muslims as best they can. Apparently they're not winning many hearts and minds with that strategy...
Posted by John Weidner at 1:03 PM

July 27, 2007

A bit of a follow-up on a old story...

From Michelle Malkin...

One of the most useful roles of the blogosphere is its service as an open-source intelligence-gathering medium. You can draw on the expertise of people around the world at the touch of a button. We saw this with typography experts during the Rathergate scandal; Photoshop experts during the Reutersgate debacle; and military experts during the Jesse Macbeth unmasking.

Now, it’s the statisticians and math geeks’ turn. Remember that massively-publicized 2004 Lancet Iraq death toll study? It was cited in nearly 100 scholarly journals and reported by news outlets around the world. “100,000 Civilian Deaths Estimated in Iraq” blared the Washington Post in a typical headline.

There were attempts made by lay journalists to debunk the 2004 study (as well as the 2006 follow-up study that purported to back up the first). But none of those dissections comes close to a damning new statistical analysis of the 2004 study authored by David Kane, Institute Fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University. I read of Kane’s new paper at this science blog and e-mailed him for permission to reprint his analysis in its entirety here so that a wider blog readership could have a look. He has given me his permission and adds that he welcomes comments and feedback....

....An interesting side note: as Kane observes in his paper, the Lancet authors “refuse to provide anyone with the underlying data (or even a precise description of the actual methodology).” The researchers did release some high-level summary data in highly aggregated form (see here), but they released neither the detailed interviewee-level data nor the programming code that would be necessary to replicate their results.....

I've written about this BS before.

...It's the same with that widely disseminated figure of 100,000 killed in the American occupation of Iraq. Statisticians have thoroughly debunked the number, though liars are still pushing it. But common sense tells us it's bogus. 100,000 bodies are hard to hide. There would be big piles of them lying around for significant periods of time. You can be sure Kevin Sites would have snapped pictures, and the MSM would have given them all possible publicity.

And 100,000 dead means at least a quarter of a million wounded! In a place the size of California. Where are they? I doubt if Iraq has even 10,000 hospital beds. There would be wounded people scattered everywhere...

I'm sure the fake-pacifists will still be pushing the fake numbers long after I'm dead and gone.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:26 AM

July 19, 2007

Lies, damn lies, and the New Republic...

From Powerline...

Last night we noted the New Republic's "Shock troops" article by the pseudonymous "Scott Thomas" portraying the disgraceful behavior of American troops in Baghdad. Michael Goldfarb has called for help from readers who can shed light on the veracity of the New Republic article. Goldfarb has already updated his post to include messages that tend to undermine the New Republic article. One is from Stuart Koehl, who addresses the story of the crazed Bradley driver running over a dog...

These lefties are not only liars, they are STUPID liars. EVIL stupid liars. There is no way a Bradley Fighting Vehicle could run over a dog. It's a tracked vehicle, similar to a tank. Or a bulldozer. Have you ever stood next to a big bulldozer in operation? It's very noisy, loud enough that you would have to shout to be heard. No dog is going to go close to one. And a Bradley is even noisier, with 20 tons of armor to move. On a quiet day you could hear one a mile away. So what dog is going to just stand there and let this roaring, and rather slow and clumsy, machine run over him? Or many different dogs, according to the story. Including a dog who was sleeping and didn't have time to get away! Bullshitters. I spit upon them.

The other horror stories about our sociopath soldiers are equally unlikely. check them out, you will see.

Hugh Hewitt:

...Aside from the manifest implausibilities in these accounts, the story seems a little too perfectly calculated to tug at our hearts and provoke outrage. Note that the victims are women, the disabled, children and house pets. Perfect. Or certainly too perfect to fact check. And given the fact that the soldier/author needs anonymity to tell his tales out of school, fact checking would be impossible anyway....

"To tug at our hearts and provoke outrage" This all reminds me of that shit-stupid lie that brain-damaged (by political correctness) lefties were circulating a year or two ago, about how female US soldiers were so afraid of being raped that they wouldn't use the latrines at night, and so were not drinking water, and ended up dying of dehydration! (Needless to say no names or evidence ever surfaced.) How they hate our military! NihilistsI Our troops are the real Christians of our time, risking their lives to help the helpless and bring peace and order to war-torn hell-holes. They are the Good Samaritans of our time, and lefty nihilists, whose whole lives are a "passing on the other side of the road," hate them because they hate and fear belief above all things.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:26 AM

July 18, 2007

Put up or shut up...

Remember how all the leftists condemned Bush for being a "unilateralist," and not respecting the wishes of the UN? And International law? and the International Community?" Remember? Any "Democrats" reading this, do you remember? Well, are you gonna respect these guys?

By Betsy Pisik - Washington Times — U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged U.S. policy-makers yesterday to exercise "great caution" in considering any rapid withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iraq.

"It is not my place to inject myself into this discussion taking place between the American people, government and Congress," said Mr. Ban, who was expected to repeat the message during meetings on Capitol Hill today.

"But I'd like to tell you that a great caution should be taken for the sake of the Iraqi people," he said at a U.N. press conference. "Any abrupt withdrawal or decision may lead to a further deterioration."...

...Other international critics of the war are also warning that a premature U.S. departure from Iraq could have devastating consequences.

"I hated the Iraq war, [but] a hasty withdrawal would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for U.S. interests," International Crisis Group analyst Joost Hiltermann said in Washington yesterday. He argued in favor of a regional approach to Iraq's problems.

Several Arab diplomats and leaders of relief agencies also have warned that Iraq would devolve into chaos with massive casualties if the American troops left too soon...(Thanks to Betsy N).

Of course our fake-leftists won't care a fig about the "Internationals" if it means doing what they don't like. It was always a foul lie. for them the only purpose of all the "international" crap (and likewise Just War theory) is to attack and hinder the US and Israel, and anything else they feel free to ignore.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:44 AM

July 17, 2007

A lunatic air...

Hugh Hewitt:

Against the backdrop of stories like this one, Harry Reid's surrender sleep-over takes on an almost lunatic air --a rushing about by the lefties to legislate defeat before the clear facts of progress leading to victory become widely known and lastingly illustrative of the Dems' inability to be trusted with the country's national security.

What pathetic creatures. And our Republicans aren't much better. If they were they'd be having bedspreads PRINTED for the slumber-party with all the recent good news from Iraq which our pathetic news-media don't want you to know about...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:41 AM

July 16, 2007

Nasty surprises coming...

Dr Sanity writes:

...Ledeen [link] is also absolutely correct about the surrender monkey part of the post. Al Qaeda's secret weapon; the Jihadi's "aces-in-the-hole," are none other than the pathetic leadership of the Democratic Party and their dysfunctional puppet-masters on the left, who are absolutely desperate to make sure that America officially loses; because in America's defeat and humiliation, they sense victory for their petty political agenda. They hope to finally succeed (they think) in discrediting George W. Bush, their hated enemy, for all time.

But I think Bush has several nasty (at least for them) surprises in store before the end of his term of office. Whatever you think about the President, he is a man who means what he says; and he acts on what he says. You can disagree vehemently with his agenda, but he will not be deflected by negative polls or lack of popularity...

All true. And the general pattern of the Bush Presidency has been to deliver the "nasty surprises" sometime around September. (Some thoughts here.) Andy Card once drew a ton of flack for saying, in regards to Bush's apparent inactivity in August 2002, "From a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August.'' Which was, in fact, a sensible thing to say, since the president is not a dictator, ruling by decree. He has to "market" his policies. And he's done very well at it.

I was very disappointed last year, 2006, when nothing of the sort happened. Although, in fact, something was cooking. It was labeled "the Surge." And it's going to be a very nasty surprise for our terror-supporters if the President gets up in the Bully Pulpit and explains convincingly that violence in Iraq is on the road to extinction, and we've basically won. Peace is the last thing the pacifists want.

I would only disagree with Dr Sanity in that I think lefty hatred of Bush and the Iraq Campaign has much deeper roots than just politics. The WoT is hated because it's based on the idea that what we have and are is worth fighting for. To the nihilist, that's the ultimate reproach and irritation�they have nothing they would fight and die for. And Bush himself is the symbol of that.

More from the good doctor:

...When it comes to Iraq and the war on terror, Like Kristol, I will go out on a limb and say that this Presidency will be judged well by history for his actions--however imperfect--in the war against Islamic fascism. It is amazing what he has been able to accomplish militarily with so little loss of life (despite all the hysteria, troop fatalities are historically low in this war). And, perhaps even more significant, Bush has significantly changed the status quo in the Middle East. He has set forces in motion that had been static and perpetually stalled on the side of despotism. Some will argue that the stasis was a good thing, but I don't see it that way. If nothing else, the world has now had a good taste of what the jihadis have been plotting for the last few decades and have begun to appreciate the potential danger to freedom and Western civilization inherent in Islamic political ideology.

Thus, I will continue to support this imperfect President (and what President, pray tell, has been even close to perfect?); the troops fighting the war; and America...

My sentiments, exactly.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:15 AM

July 14, 2007

This week's sham....

Hearing that the House had voted for a retreat in Iraq was very depressing. BUT, Amanda Carpenter looks at the details, and discovers—this will astonish you—that the Democrats are cowards and frauds, and the bill is yet another meaningless sham...

...Pelosi is publicizing that the Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act would force President Bush to dramatically change his Iraq strategy. The fine print, however, states that Bush must first agree to it.

The first few lines of the bill demand that the administration redeploy troops from Iraq within 120 days and “complete the reduction and transition to a limited presence” by April 1, 2008.

Later, the language in the bill weakens. On page three, the bill calls only for a “reduction.” The next page specifies that the Armed Forces’ presence be reduced to “minimum force levels required to protect United States national security interests” by the April deadline.

How many troops would remain after this reduction?

In an email, Pelosi spokeswoman Nadeam Elshami said,
“The bill requires that number and purpose to be justified by the President. It would then be up to Congress to decide whether to fund the deployment.”...

Congress could, of course, stop funding the Iraq Campaign at any moment. but that would require them to take responsibility for the results. The ice-hearted animals could care less if another Cambodia occurs, if millions of brown-skinned foreigners die, as long as the responsibility is diffused. Cowardly dogs, I spit upon you!

Posted by John Weidner at 9:38 AM

Signs of desperation...

I just noticed that Penraker has a long string of posts on how the WaPo is spinning the news from Iraq. See here, here, here, here, here, and here. They are really getting desperate!

An example is this one: Iraqi Military's Readiness Slips. Report Says That Since January, Fewer Units Can Operate Independently. They make a headline and a big deal about a slight drop in the number of units that are at Level One, glossing over the fact that if you are rapidly expanding your forces that is to be expected. It is not a bad sign. Officers, NCO's, specialists and equipment are being spread over much larger forces, so it takes time to catch up.

And more importantly, Level One is not important right now. (We've been through this crap before.) What's important is the number of units at Level Two, and that is steadily expanding. Level Two units can can operate independently except for American logistical and air support. And that's fine for our purposes at this point.

The deal, when the Senate unanimously confirmed General Petraeus, was that the results of the "surge in operations" (which only started 4 weeks ago) would be evaluated in September. Yet we are seeing a relentless drumbeat to declare it a failure right now. A curious thing! I'd say that leftists are getting very sweaty about what September might bring. Which makes me feel good.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:12 AM

Reports of his death perhaps exaggerated...

President Bush gave an interview to 10 conservative writers recently. Kate O'Biern and Rich Lowry have a report in NRO, He’s Not for Turning. Bush makes his case on Iraq.. Bush is not, perhaps, exactly Churchillian, but it's pretty good...

Forget the leaks and the speculation, President George W. Bush is not looking for a way out of the surge and the Iraq war. In a session with about ten conservative journalists Friday afternoon, a confident and determined president made it clear that he is going to see the surge through, and will rely on General David Petraeus’s advice on how to proceed come September, regardless of the political climate in Washington...Excellent. And I suspect all this may work out better than the pessimists expect.

...Pressed on whether the surge can be sustained despite all the difficulties, he said, “That’s the challenge, but I’m optimistic about it.” He said that back in January, “I suspect you’d be asked the same question, particularly since the outcry was quite significant.” But he went with the surge.

“How can he possibly do this,” he said, characterizing what critics of the war were thinking. “Can’t he see? Can’t he hear?” (At one point he acknowledged that these decisions aren’t easy — “You don’t know what it’s like to be commander-in-chief until you’re commander-in-chief,” he said.)

He explained “that last fall, if I had been part of this polling, if they had called upstairs and said, do you approve of Iraq I would have been on the 66 percent who said, `No I don’t approve.’ That’s why I made the decision I made. To get in a position where I would be able to say ‘Yes, I approve.’...

....He says he has four audiences when he broadcasts his commitment to the mission in Iraq: the American public; the American military and their families; the Iraqis (“because there are a lot of people who doubt America’s resolve”); and the enemy (“the enemy thinks that we are weak — they’re sophisticated people, and they listen to the debate”). As for that last audience, “I really think the additional forces into Iraq surprised them—a lot.”....I hadn't thought of it that way. Poor al Qaeda, they slaughter thousands of innocent men women and children, and then their newsmedia/Democrat/pacifist wing fails to carry out its part of the bargain, and there's MORE Americans coming! Suuuprise! I bet they were flummoxed!

....The president made his intentions clear Friday afternoon. He’s not going to abandon the surge, despite all the talk of his administration being willing to move to the Iraq Study Group model of the Iraq war. He views “this period as fundamental for deciding whether or not this nation is going to be secure throughout a lot of the 21st century. And therefore when it comes to the war in Iraq, as you know, I made a decision not to leave but to put more in, and I will support our troops and support Gen. Petraeus, his plan.”....Thank you. I'll depend on it.
Posted by John Weidner at 7:24 AM

July 12, 2007

Worst nightmares...

I highly recommend (no doubt everyone else will too) Victor Davis Hanson's The New York Times Surrenders: A monument to defeatism on the editorial page...

...We promised General Petraeus a hearing in September; it would be the height of folly to preempt that agreement by giving in to our summer of panic and despair. Critics called for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, a change in command in Iraq and at Centcom, new strategies, and more troops. But now that we have a new secretary, a new command in Iraq and at Centcom, new strategies, and more troops, suddenly we have a renewed demand for withdrawal before the agreed-upon September accounting—suggesting that the only constant in such harping was the assumption that Iraq was either hopeless or not worth the effort.

The truth is that Iraq has upped the ante in the war against terrorists. Our enemies’ worst nightmare is a constitutional government in the heart of the ancient caliphate, surrounded by consensual rule in Afghanistan, Lebanon, and Turkey; ours is a new terror heaven, but with oil, a strategic location, and the zeal born of a humiliating defeat of the United States on a theater scale. The Islamists believe we can’t win; so does the New York Times. But it falls to the American people to decide the issue...

And the left's worst nightmare is US victory in Iraq. The Iraq Campaign has exposed their pretensions to being "liberal" as a total sham. They are nihilists and reactionaries. And the only way to escape the harsh spotlight that is shining on them is for our liberation of Iraq to be discredited...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:23 PM

July 3, 2007

No news is...

Charlene mentioned that there doesn't seem to be much news from Iraq in the "mainstream" news media these last couple of weeks. Good news is usually no news, when it comes to Iraq.

I imagine the "journalists" standing around their Teletype machines, crumpling the little sheets of paper in disgust, and muttering, "Whatsa matter with our guys? How hard can it be to blow up a mosque or a school, for pity's sake!"

 Man at Teletype machine

Posted by John Weidner at 6:53 AM

July 2, 2007

Just torn apart, animals and people...

You've probably already seen Michael Yon's photo essay on the discovery of a whole village slaughtered by al Qaeda. I can't better Michael Ledeen's words:

Yon's latest provides a clear picture of the terrorists' savage methods. Literally, because it's mostly photographs of what happened to a village that fell into the claws of al Qaeda. They just tore apart the villagers, their livestock, their children and women, and then boobytrapped the area to try to kill our guys, knowing that they would honor the dead...

It's grim stuff. You want to see evil? Just take a look. Makes me really angry.

And "Democrats" are people who want us to surrender to those animals!!! "Anti-war" activists are those who want to hand the poor people of Iraq over to them to be tortured and slaughtered. Just like they did for the wretches of South Vietnam and Cambodia.

And if we pull out, and the Iraqi's are being crushed and massacred, or possibly fighting back successfully, but with with much more bloodshed than there would be with our presence......then the fake-pacifists will define the ongoing carnage as "peace!" PEACE! And congratulate themselves on "ending the war." Just like those vile frauds preened themselves on "ending" the Vietnam War, even as millions were dying or being sent to concentration camps. They will blithely flush millions of brown-skinned people down the toilet if it helps elect Democrats and hurt America. God, how I hate them. Or rather, I try not to hate them personally, but I hate their ideas unreservedly.

And what a torment it is to be able to do nothing, except spit out my disgust in the blog. (And pray for peace. REAL peace, not appeasement and self-hatred leading to a bigger war down the line.) If I could transform myself to young-and-childless, I'd be SO totally in Iraq. So would Charlene, probably. I remember when we heard that a friend had been offered a job in Iraq. We just looked at each other and thought "that would be so cool."

But why, exactly, do we all obsess over the Iraq Campaign?

But why, exactly, do we all obsess over the Iraq Campaign? As wars go it's not even that big a deal. In past wars we've suffered similar numbers of casualties in single days! If human deaths are an issue, Darfur is much worse. If suffering bothers you, North Korea is much worse. The War on Terror is economically trifling, with our tax rates lowered yet government receipts steadily rising. And nobody's being drafted...

I'll tell you why I care. Iraq is the fulcrum of our world right now, and so it calls to us. The second-largest challenge of our time is the Islamic world. (No, I don't think we are "at war with Islam.") That misguided world is being racked over the space of a generation or two by changes that the Christian West worked through, with lots of bloodshed, over many centuries. And Iraq is the fracture-point where we have to hit them, to make progress in dealing with the problem. It's a center-point where change is possible, and from which change can radiate outward. (The astonishing transformation of Kurdish northern Iraq exemplifies the possibilities.)

And as for the the leftists and fake-Quakers? It is not the slightest bit odd that leftists everywhere hate the Iraq Campaign to something near the point of insanity. They hate it for many reasons (see this post) but I think the single biggest one is that, by taking on this momentous and very difficult project, we Americans are declaring our belief in ourselves and the rightness of our cause. And leftists are nihilists (as I've bored you by writing many times) and belief is what they are allergic to. Belief makes a claim on me, it says that there is something bigger than me me me, something I must serve. If, like all nihilists, your only creed is non servum, then you must make war on anything that makes a claim on you. Whether it's God, country, Truth, or unborn babies....

Posted by John Weidner at 6:02 AM

June 27, 2007

"We played the enemy’s game for too long..."

Not everyone realizes that "the Surge" is not primarily a matter of increased troop levels, but is mainly a change in tactics. This discussion by Dave Kilcullen in the Small Wars Journal blog (Thanks to InstaPundit) is very good.

....The "terrain" we are clearing is human terrain, not physical terrain. It is about marginalizing al Qa’ida, Shi’a extremist militias, and the other terrorist groups from the population they prey on. This is why claims that “80% of AQ leadership have fled” don’t overly disturb us: the aim is not to kill every last AQ leader, but rather to drive them off the population and keep them off, so that we can work with the community to prevent their return.

This is not some sort of kind-hearted, soft approach, as some fire-breathing polemicists have claimed (funnily enough, those who urge us to “just kill more bad guys” usually do so from a safe distance). It is not about being “nice” to the population and hoping they will somehow see us as the “good guys” and stop supporting insurgents. On the contrary, it is based on a hard-headed recognition of certain basic facts, to wit:

(a) The enemy needs the people to act in certain ways (sympathy, acquiescence, silence, reaction to provocation) in order to survive and further his strategy. Unless the population acts in these ways, both insurgents and terrorists will wither, and the cycle of provocation and backlash that drives the sectarian conflict in Iraq will fail.

(b) The enemy is fluid, but the population is fixed. (The enemy is fluid because he has no permanent installations he needs to defend, and can always run away to fight another day. But the population is fixed, because people are tied to their homes, businesses, farms, tribal areas, relatives etc). Therefore—and this is the major change in our strategy this year—protecting and controlling the population is do-able, but destroying the enemy is not. We can drive him off from the population, then introduce local security forces, population control, and economic and political development, and thereby "hard-wire" the enemy out of the environment, preventing his return. But chasing enemy cells around the countryside is not only a waste of time, it is precisely the sort of action he wants to provoke us into. That’s why AQ cells leaving an area are not the main game—they are a distraction. We played the enemy’s game for too long: not any more. Now it is time for him to play our game....

Things are getting very interesting. And this is actually a fascinating confirmation of the wisdom of the men who wrote our Constitution. The Democrat/News-Media/al Qaeda Alliance has to provide the illusion of defeat and hopelessness not just right now, but over several election cycles. In a parliamentary system we might already be sunk. But our Constitution delays and attenuates the effects of popular hysteria. The founders wanted a republic, but were rightly distrustful of democracy. So the House changes on a two-year cycle, the presidency every four years, the Senate every six...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:43 AM

June 25, 2007

A day to be proud of...

Chemical Ali will hang for his lead role in the death of 180,000 Kurds murdered during the "Anfal" campaign, mounted between February and September 1988 by the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein...

GatewayPundit has the story, and some heartrending pictures...

That we have brought some of those monsters to justice is as good and noble and Christian a deed as trying the Nazis at Nuremberg. Better in several ways; this is not just conquerer's justice, but done by the elected leadership of the Iraqi people. And without the necessity of cooperating with the Soviets, who murdered even more people than the Germans did.

What really galls me is the utter ice-heartedness of our fake anti-war crowd. 180,000 civilians killed in one campaign, but they don't want to know. They don't want it talked about, because it might hurt them in elections. (Which is what they really care about, not "peace.") They claim to be against genocide...well, here's the real item. And if the fake peaceniks had their way, it would still be going on.

Mother and child dead in Halabja.Jpg

Posted by John Weidner at 5:49 AM

June 19, 2007

Read smart...

You have no doubt heard by now about our major offensive in Baquba, the capitol of Diyala Province, which is where al Qaida has set up shop after they stimulated the production of local "antibodies" in al Anbar. I won't presume to discuss the combat—Do NOT miss Michaels Yon's latest dispatch. But I do know the lie of the land locally, and can say that this is bad news for the al Qaeda/Democrat/News-Media Alliance, and we can expect a vicious counter-attack.

I liked this post, by Confederate Yankee...

....Read that again, "Baquba alone might be as intense as Operation Phantom Fury in Fallujah in late 2004."

The "Mahogany Ridge" media is tied up in the latest suicide bombing in Baghdad (simply look at the title, lede, and focus of the CNN article cited above as an example), and even those who chose to feature the Baquba assault clearly don't understand the magnitude of the just-joined battle.

Once reality slowly dawns on the media that they are misunderestimating the scope and scale of the assault, steel yourself for a rush of inaccuracies as they seek to get something, anything published, much of it based upon rumor, some of it based upon outright propaganda and lies.

We saw the same during and after Fallujah, when the U.S. military was accused of using napalm on civilians. We don't even have napalm.

The ignorati claimed that white phosphorus was a "chemical weapon," of a "poison gas" and ascribed horrible wounds to it. These claims turned out to be completely untrue.

There may also once again be claims that using .50-caliber machine guns and the cannons of Bradley IFVs and helicopter gunships against terrorist personnel somehow violates the Geneva Conventions. It doesn't.

We'll be hearing and seeing much more from Diyala Province, Baquba proper, and other areas surrounding Baghdad as full-scale surge operations seek to envelop and destroy al Qaeda.

Read smart....
Question. Does anybody understand that reference to "Mahogany Ridge" media? I never heard that one.

Also, the phrase "We don't even have napalm" is disingenuous, since we do have similar incendiaries. But we didn't use any such in Falluja, and won't I'm sure in Baquba.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:08 AM

June 10, 2007

Do a Good Turn Daily...

Via the Anchoress, a nice piece in TimesOnline on the revival of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts in Iraq.

Iraq actually has a long tradition of scouting, which was introduced by the Brits in the 1920's. It was corrupted and eventually destroyed by Saddam, but has sprung up again from the ashes.

I love to collect these stories. This won't get much attention from our news-media, you can be sure. It doesn't fit the anti-Bush Iraq-is-hopeless story line. And it won't be much noticed by those who think we are "at war with Islam." Nor, since the US military is helping out, by the fake-pacifists who claim we are "bombing Iraq."

Iraq is an odd and fascinating place, that never seems to quite fit the many stereotypes we try to impose on it. My belief continues to be that, notwithstanding the deep wells of evil and violence there, it is a place of great potential. And that it was and is the fracture-point where a blow to the sick realm of Arab despotism could be split open and changed...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:12 AM

May 17, 2007

You won't see it on the news....

...But we pass the word from blog to blog, like samizdat in days of yore. GatewayPundit writes on Iraq's observance of Mass Graves Day...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Iraqis Observe Moment of Silence to Mark "Mass Graves Day"

What if you had a mass grave day and no Western media noticed?
Wednesday marked the day back in 2003 when the first mass grave was uncovered in Mahaweel after the US & Allied Forces liberated Iraq.

The US didn't find 300,000 warheads.
The US found the remains of 300,000 Iraqis in mass graves instead.

Iraqi-American Haider Ajina wrote to tell about the moment of silence held Wednesday in Iraq commemorating those who died at the hands of the Baathists and especially during Saddam's years in power...

There's lots more, lots of pictures.

The simple fact is that the "War in Iraq" ended when the good guys invaded in 2003, and stopped Saddam's internal war against his own people. We were and are the peacemakers. And we immediately allied ourselves with the ordinary Iraqi people to try to stop the Ba'athists and al Qaeda who began waging a terror campaign against democracy and against the little people of Iraq.

And Western leftists, news-media, and fake-pacifists immediately allied themselves with the terrorists, and have worked tirelessly for their victory, because Iraq is a skirmish in the real war, for the souls of mankind, and in particular, at this moment, for the souls of Americans and Europeans.

And they hated and opposed the Iraq Campaign even before it was proposed by the administration. Why? Because of things like this...

victims from mass graves, Mussaib, Iraq
When people see the victims, it is hard to go along with the twisted fake-Quaker crap about how "war" is something done only by America and her allies, and "peace" is what Iraq had, and will have again if we pull out. (Just as the ghastly stories of the Boat People, and the millions of dead in Cambodia, give the lie to the crap about how the "peace movement" brought "peace" to Vietnam when the Americans pulled out.)

Of course the news media aren't going to mention Mass Graves Day. Their whole leftist world-view is based on lies, and the ugly truth will destroy them if it can get out.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:00 AM

May 15, 2007

"But influence is a two-way street..."

One of the reasons I placed on my list of reasons to invade Iraq was...Iran. Right now we are focused on how the Iranian regime is fomenting violence in Iraq. But we hardly stop to wonder what Iraq is fomenting in Iran. And exactly why Iran might wish to make trouble for a majority Shi'ite state. I found this article very interesting..

.....Traditionally, Shiites have believed that clerics should stay out of politics until the return of the Mahdi, the last of the revered early Shiite imams, who disappeared in the ninth century. Shiites believe he went into hiding and will someday reveal himself.

Only he can establish a perfect Islamic state, according to traditional believers -- including some in the Tehran bazaar, whose influential religious merchant class backed the revolution but has since grown more skeptical of the ruling clerics.

"Only the Mahdi is the genuine leader," said Ghaie's brother Mohammad, 45, whose family, like many Iranian merchants, has lived in both Iran and Iraq over generations.

Expressing such opinions is dangerous: Several prominent religious scholars -- chief among them Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri -- are under house arrest or other official sanctions for opposing clerical rule or proposing limits on it.

The quietist philosophy suited disempowered Shiites, who through most of their history lived under Sunni powers. Shiites are a minority among Muslims and within all modern Middle Eastern states except Iran, Iraq, and Bahrain.

But now, in Iraq, Shiites are witnessing a new alternative: They can defend their rights at the ballot box, without establishing a religious state.

"We believe that politics is separate from religion," said Iraq's ambassador to Iran, Mohammed Majid al-Sheikh. "Of course there are debates about this. If Iran wants to take on these debates, it will benefit. And I could say that the experiment of Iraq will ripple throughout the Middle East."

Iran has worked hard to influence Iraq. US officials have accused it of fomenting violence there. Analysts say Iran welcomes low-grade chaos in Iraq in part to prevent the emergence of a democratic Shiite alternative that could embolden Iranian reformists, while at the same time courting Shiite Iraqis by presenting itself as a stable and benign neighbor.

But influence is a two-way street, especially between two countries whose shrine cities and capitals have been tied by trade and pilgrimage for centuries. About 1,500 Iranians go to Iraq on pilgrimage every day, Sheikh said. The Ghaie brothers went recently and were impressed to see the parade of Iraqi politicians visiting Sistani's modest house in Najaf -- voluntarily -- for advice.

Last month, the Iranian press reported, Jalaluddin Taheri, a dissident cleric who resigned as Isfahan's Friday prayer leader in 2002 after criticizing the regime as corrupt and autocratic, went to Najaf to pay respects to Sistani.

The representative of Iraq's most pro-Iran political party, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, touted Iraq's freer system.

Majid Ghamas contended in an interview in his Tehran office that Iranians, because of their country's somewhat competitive elections, have more freedom than Saudis, Jordanians, or Egyptians.

"But not as much as in Iraq," he said, "now that we have a government that respects Islam and the rituals of Islam but does not impose Islam by force so that it becomes a rigid Islam."

But persuading the Iranian masses that their country should emulate Iraq would be an uphill battle.

"If there were security there, these changes [in Iraq] could be appreciated" by Iranians, he said. "But without security you cannot appreciate anything else."

The evil alliance of Democrats and despots and terrorists has, for the moment, derailed our efforts to spread democracy in the Middle East and other Islamic trouble spots. (The tyrants and terrorists at least have the excuse of not knowing any better.) BUT, ideas spread. No one can really hide the fact that Iraqis are voting for their leaders. And that Sistani is not setting himself up as a power.

Al Queda has succeeded in giving the Dems a congressional majority, and so Condi is no longer jetting about and leaning on the Mubarraks and Assads. But there is more to globalization than just McDonald's and KFC.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:10 AM

May 7, 2007

Ugly stuff...

Excuse me for ranting a bit, you've already heard me on this, but it's therapeutic to vent ones feelings...

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- American soldiers discovered a girls school being built north of Baghdad had become an explosives-rigged "death trap," the U.S. military said Thursday.

The plot at the Huda Girls' school in Tarmiya was a "sophisticated and premeditated attempt to inflict massive casualties on our most innocent victims," military spokesman Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said.

The military suspects the plot was the work of al Qaeda, because of its nature and sophistication, Caldwell said in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

The plot was uncovered Saturday, when troopers in the Salaheddin province found detonating wire across the street from the school. They picked up the wire and followed its trail, which led to the school. Once inside, they found an explosive-filled propane tank buried beneath the floor. There were artillery shells built into the ceiling and floor, and another propane tank was found, the military said.

The wire was concealed with mortar and concrete, and the propane tanks had been covered with brick and hidden underneath the floor, according to a military statement. Soldiers were able to clear the building.

"It was truly just an incredibly ugly, dirty kind of vicious killing that would have gone on here," Caldwell said...

Actually, it's late, I'm drinking some excellent scotch, and I just deleted a buncha venomous clever rants I had written this morning. Do they do any good? Naah. Can you fill in the blanks from your imagination? Of course you can! RJ readers are smart.

But spreading the truth around is a good thing, or so I surmise. Here's a healthy dose of it. Those who have ears, will hear. And oh my brothers and sisters, THINK about this stuff. A school for little girls. All in their little uniforms, all to be shredded like hamburger. And think about the state of mind of people who can IGNORE this. Who want "business as usual." Who want the illusion of "peace," and will sacrifice those children...

Here are some old Random Jottings images....

Boy at suicide bombingstudents and teacher return to school in Abu Grahib, Iraq, 4/26/03

Posted by John Weidner at 11:05 PM

April 30, 2007

Good, by Hitch...

Christopher Hitchins on George Tenet's disgraceful new book...

...A highly irritating expression in Washington has it that "hindsight is always 20-20." Would that it were so. History is not a matter of hindsight and is not, in fact, always written by the victors. In this case, a bogus history is being offered by a real loser whose hindsight is cockeyed and who had no foresight at all.
Posted by John Weidner at 1:56 PM

April 27, 2007

Another good read...

Along with Yon's piece you might want to read one by Rocco DiPippo in American Thinker: Hypocrisy has a Human Price on the Streets of Baghdad:

....There were other stunning differences between that trip, and the one I'd taken in December.

On the December trip I had seen abandoned shops and frightened people. On the latest one I saw many shops opened and people going about their business in what appeared to be a relaxed manner. On the first trip I saw cars and trucks in gas lines that stretched for miles. On the latest trip, though gas lines existed, they were far shorter, and looked about as long as those experienced by Americans at the height of the 1970s oil crisis. On the first trip I saw nothing but ruin: houses and other buildings in derelict condition, most appearing unfit for human habitation. On the latest trip I still saw many houses in poor condition, but I also saw homes being built, and a good number of existing houses and storefronts being repaired

As the miles clicked by and I viewed the passing scenes and the people in them, I realized I was seeing widespread signs of something I hadn't seen much of four months ago: I was seeing Hope. I saw that Iraqis had not yet given up on their lives or their country. I saw widespread evidence they are rebuilding both.

A simple thing is kindling that hope, and it is a thing being affected by the new security plan: the just imposition of basic law and order...

Of course it's hard to get the big picture from tiny slices seen by a few writers. Iraq is a big confusing place. That's why the gross failure of our mainstream media to cover the War on Terror honestly is such a terrible evil. And why the rise of the new media is so desperately important. Without it the Old Media can tell any lie, and ordinary Americans have no way to check. (Personally, I think President Bush should be asking Americans to sacrifice for the war effort---by investing time in reading blogs!) The classic example of such a lie was Walter Cronkite and the press telling the American people that the Tet Offensive was a defeat. In simple fact it was a huge victory for American and South Vietnamese forces, and the Viet Cong were never a significant factor in the war afterwards.

But the lie created a political defeat that ended in millions of deaths, and tens-of-mmilions of people being sold into communist slavery. And that's exactly what the the Left, the Democrat Party, the media and the "pacifists' are trying to do again.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:41 AM

Latest from Yon

Don't miss the latest photo essay from Michael Yon, embedded in Iraq...

...Combat soldiers can sleep anywhere: leaning curled in hallway steps , with bricks as pillows. With practically nobody here to tell the stories of their hard work, sacrifice and heartening professionalism, we have left our soldiers behind in this war...

...When we came back into the library, a soldier was awake and up on a ladder. A company commander, maybe it was Captain Cook, asked something like, “What are you doing?”
“Looking for something to read, Sir.”
“Nope. This doesn’t belong to us. Get down from there and leave the books alone.”
“Yes Sir,” and the young soldier crawled down...

...Standing in the dark library, I wondered if the people of who studied and taught at this place had said a prayer before they left, beseeching God to protect their school, their books, their sanctuary.

On the roof one night, American artillery boomed through darkness and distance, and then after long pause, far in a different direction, an orange flash appeared, and finally a small rumble, and then more.

Car bombs that folks at home can see on the news, and read about in the papers —‘More than 50 killed in Baghdad attack today,’ ‘32 killed in Baghdad Car Bombing,’ ‘At least 40 Victims in Latest Iraq Bombing’—can be heard from the college.

Some soldiers wonder how many booms of death they hear over the course of a year—it’s next to impossible to keep an accurate count; explosions come from so many places here. Drifting into the smell of fine books in that library, there might have been a shudder from those shelves. Over the course of the war, the rumbles and crackles of thousands of human deaths must have coursed through these books. On the first night, after the raid, a chill from sweaty clothes caused me to shiver as I fell asleep hungry on the library floor....
Posted by John Weidner at 7:00 AM

April 24, 2007

Cynical, indeed...

The Vice President's remarks today at Congress...

VPOTUS: I usually avoid press comment when i'm up here, but I felt so strongly about what senator Reid said in the last couple of days that I thought it was appropriate that I come out today and make a statement that I think needs to be made. I thought his speech yesterday was unfortunate, that his comments were uninformed and misleading. Senator Reid has taken many positions on iraq. He has threatened that if the president vetoes the current pending supplemental legislation that he will send up Senator Russ Feingold's bill to defund iraq operations altogether. Yet only last november, Senator Reid said there would be no cut-off of funds for the military in Iraq. So in less than six months time, Senator Reid has gone from pledging full funding for the military, then full funding with conditions, and then a cut-off of funding. Three positions in five months on the most important foreign policy question facing the nation and our troops.

Yesterday, Senator Reid said the troop surge was against the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group. That is plainly false. The Iraq Study Group report was explicitly favorable toward a troop surge to secure Baghdad. Senator Reid said there should be a regional conference on Iraq. Apparently he didn't know that there is going to be one next week. Senator Reid said he doesn't have real substantive meetings with the president. Yet immediately following last week's meeting at the White House, he said it was a good exchange. Everyone voiced their considered opinion about the war in Iraq, end quote. What's most troubling about Senator Reid's comments yesterday is his defeatism. Indeed, last week he said the war is already lost. And the timetable legislation that he is now pursuing would guarantee defeat. Maybe it's a political calculation. Some Democratic leaders seem to believe that blind opposition to the new strategy in Iraq is good politics. Senator Reid himself has said that the war in Iraq will bring his party more seats in the next election. It is cynical to declare that the war is lost because you believe it gives you political advantage. Leaders should make decisions based on the security interest of our country, not on the interest of their political party. Thank you.

Good. Stick it to them, Mr Vice President, they richly deserve it.

Vice President Cheney with troops in Qatar, March 17, 2002

Posted by John Weidner at 2:25 PM

April 17, 2007

In the midst of the rivers...

Alaa, The Mesopotamian, is back. He's worth reading, and this post is especially interesting...

....Regarding the situation in Iraq, again, events are unfolding in a way that I fully anticipated before. Remember how I emphasized the importance of two things. The first was the Zarqawi document. I proclaimed it to be the single most important and prophetic document in this whole Third Gulf War affair. Remember how little confidence he had in the Sunnis, and his final prophetic derisive remark: "after all they are Iraqis, too". Yes the Sunnis are proving to be finally Iraqi above all, and the end of the Al Qaeda-Wahabi scourge is going to be at the hand of these very Sunnis on whom they counted to base their Taliban-like Caliphate. The second thing: my emphasis on the "Anbar Slavation Council", and the necessity to promote and support this movement. The Al-Qaeda terrorists are defeating themselves by their blind brutality against all who oppose them. Also their stifling ideology simply cannot be tolerated long by the Iraqis that I know from any sect and ethnicity. Well the snow-ball effect has started and it would be very stupid not to invest in this natural movement which has already proved its tremendous effectiveness, having almost already cleaned the Anbar, with very modest numbers of poorly armed tribesmen. But these tribesmen know exactly where to find the enemy. Besides, this is a very good antidote to sectarianism. Sectarian civil war is receding now, as most Shiaas and Sunnis have both a common enemy now.

As the Iraqis have surprised the World before during events such as elections and the like, I expect the World has a very big surprise in store in the not too distant future. The haters, doubters, defeatists, anti-Amrica psychopaths etc. are going to have some very nasty surprises. This apparently endless and unresovable conflict is going to be suddenly and incredibly concluded in an abrupt and rather anticlimatic manner, and that before the end of the Bush term, too. This is my prophesy, and also my fervent hope. Despite all the errors, sacrifices, bloodshed and suffering, Iraq, our beloved Mesopotamia is going to emerge more united than ever and Sunni, Shiaa , Kurd and all other ingredients of Iraqi society are going to live in a harmony unknown in all their long history. This is my prediction and my dream. Have I ever told you anything before that has not been vindicated by the unfolding events ?

Best regards to all my friends.

I for one would not be completely astonished...

(Thanks to Penraker)

Posted by John Weidner at 6:12 PM

April 11, 2007

Good news (won't be seen on your TV)

Here's some good news, via Rand...

...The restoration of southern Iraq's Mesopotamian marshes is now a giant ecosystem-level experiment. Uncontrolled release of water in many areas is resulting in the return of native plants and animals, including rare and endangered species of birds, mammals, and plants. The rate of restoration is remarkable, considering that reflooding occurred only about two years ago. Although recovery is not so pronounced in some areas because of elevated salinity and toxicity, many locations seem to be functioning at levels close to those of the natural Al-Hawizeh marsh, and even at historic levels in some areas....

You know, since I've told you already, that the Iraq Campaign does not really have a military purpose. We just did it to test leftists. To test whether "liberals are really liberal. Test 'em to destruction; show them up for the evil horrid frauds they are.

I wrote here:

...Iraq was (and is) the big test. To propose regime-change in Iraq is really to say to the Left: , "OK wise guys, you claim to be anti-fascist. Help us remove the worst fascist tyrant of our times. You claim to be humanitarian; here's one of the most brutalized countries of the earth needing our help. You claim you are not anti-Semitic; stand with us against against a monster who was paying bounties to Jew-killers. You claim to care about a certain group that's been denied a homeland; here in the Kurds we have a far bigger group denied a homeland..." (I could go on for a long while with these. You get the picture.)...

Now I see there is another test. A test for the fake-environmentalists commonly known as "Greens." The deliberate destruction of the Iraqi Marshes was the biggest environmental crime of our time. Any real environmentalist would be thrilled by the possibility of bringing back to life this vast wetland, and succoring the simple people who lived in harmony with it for at least 5,000 years....

Real environmentalists would be eager to help out. So where are they?

Posted by John Weidner at 3:20 PM

In the dock...

John Byrnes notes a good cause, the defense fund for that American soldier who has been indicted by an Italian court for the crime of (quite properly and legally) shooting an Italian journalist whose car tried to run through a checkpoint in Iraq.

He won't actually be in any danger, unless he travels to Italy. But we should be squashing this sort of nonsense directly.

Of course we can't do much about the underlying problem here, which is that Italy is a dying country terminally afflicted with lefty nihilism. A condition that invariably leads to anti-Americanism. The Italian court isn't really interested in Specialist Mario Lozano, it's America they are putting in the dock.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:05 PM

April 2, 2007

NOT a "civil war"

The blog Back Talk (thanks to Glenn Reynolds) has a lot of interesting graphs and figures on the "surge" and Iraq. Well worth looking at. Some conclusions:

...My latest analysis shows that there is good news and bad news from Iraq concerning the troop surge. The good news is that casualties in Baghdad have come down very substantially. The bad news is that casualties elsewhere in Iraq have increased substantially. And, no, it's not because the civil war spilled over to the rest of the country. It's because al Qaeda started targeting innocent Shiite civilians where it was easier to do so. And, no, such attackes do not represent "sectarian violence" between Shiites and Sunnis. Only Democratic Senators and Representatives and mainstream media reporters believe that nonsense. The violence expanded beyond Baghdad because Sunni al Qaeda jihadists are doing everything in their power to get Shiites to kill Sunnis. Civil war is al Qaeda's goal (because it suits their jihadist objectives), and that's how this differs from the civil war schema that Democrats and reporters simply cannot get out of their heads. ....

...It is not a civil war. Instead, it is al Qaeda fighting against the people of Iraq. Yes, the Sunni insurgents initially allied themselves with al Qaeda in their fight against the hated Americans, but even they are finally coming to realize that the civil war that al Qaeda is trying to provoke is not helpful to them in any way...

...I know how much liberals treasure the idea that this is just a civil war in Iraq, the very civil war they predicted would happen if George Bush launched his "misbegotten adventure" in Iraq. Because they predicted civil war, all information from Iraq is processed through that obsolete schema. That's why Democrats have adopted an eerie code of silence about al Qaeda in Iraq. In terms of their sacred schema, al Qaeda in Iraq does not compute, therefore it does not exist.

But it does exist, and it killed nearly 400 innocent Iraqis in the last two weeks alone....

Leftists, the press, Democrat politicians, are all in a conspiracy to present what's happening in Iraq as meaningless violence. In fact it is an orchestrated production. It's a show put on for American TV cameras, and to influence American elections and Congressional votes. and of course to cause freedom and democracy to fail in Iraq.

Another quote from the same post:

...Americans don't realize that we are in a fight with al Qaeda and their affiliated jihadists in Iraq. And they don't know because the media equates attacks by al Qaeda with the phrase "sectarian violence." Look at this MSNBC headline again:
Tal Afar bomb toll hits 152, deadliest of Iraq war
Tally arrives during week in which more than 500 died in sectarian violence
Wrong. More than 400 of those deaths were caused by al Qaeda, not because they are Sunnis who hate Shiites but because they want Shiites to start killing Sunnis. It is wrong to call that "sectarian violence," and doing so just reinforces the obsolete schema that governs the thinking of Democratic leaders and mainstream media reporters, all of whom are sure they see a civil war spontaneously erupting before their very eyes. What they are seeing instead is al Qaeda fighting against Iraq and, more to the point, against America. We either stay in Iraq and defeat them, or we leave on a timetable and lose to them. That's your choice, take your pick. There are no other choices.
Posted by John Weidner at 8:19 AM

March 30, 2007

"rubble, smoke and chlorine gas, hard to see what was what..."

Awesome stuff! Here's part of a letter about the recent poison-gas and explosive attack on the Fallujah Government Center. By Lt. Col. Clayton Fisher...

...As for the IAs, they proved themselves. The jundi did a great job and pretty much stopped the initial attack as the insurgents were trying to shoot/ram their way inside. The IA and IP [Iraqi Police] figured it out and opened up on them, causing them to set off at the gates or just outside the buildings, vice inside where it would have been worse. Still too close than most would like, but it will do. After all "shook it off," we got most of us out of the rubble and the gas, did a head-count, realized there were still some back in. All rubble, smoke and chlorine gas, hard to see what was what, and of course you can't breathe. So of course, we ran back in it. Got to find those guys. It was not pretty but, we got them all out, to include a few guys you know. They are good now. We then got a US/IA triage and casualty system working. The chlorine thing is a whole other conversation.

And then those of us still standing, most wounded and gassed, ran back in again, slugged it out and fended off the counter attacks and any exploitation the insurgents were trying to get started. Many refused to be medevac'd during the fight. The USMC/Iraqi team was sluggin' it out side by side. Something to see. US Marines and Jundi still gasping for air, fighting side by side. Some jundi still in their sleeping sweats or shower sandals refusing to be evacuated, fighting back with their AKs and PKCs into enemy positions. Yes, some of these jundi got what it takes...

You maybe think heroes are something out of history books, at least if you get your news from the Gasping Media. Fortunately we have the Internet, so these bravos will not be totally ignored. These are the guys the Democrats are stabbing in the back. And those hostiles using poison gas on people—they are the ones Nancy Pelosi wants us to surrender to. In the interests of "peace," y'unnerstand.

Thanks to InstaPundit and Bill Ardolino.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:25 PM

Fides punica

I saw yesterday on Best of the Web something that's really disgusting. Joe Biden and Chuck Hagel wrote a Washington Post op-ed in 2002, saying that "we need to disarm Saddam Hussein and set the stage for a stable Iraq..." and that Iraq would be a tough challenge that might last a decade!

Now, out of scoundrel political calculation, they are betraying our troops and our country and our elected leaders in the very time of difficulties they predicted, and that they said it would be necessary to prevail in. And, of course, in the military campaign they voted to commit our forces to.

...Although no one doubts our forces will prevail over Saddam Hussein's, key regional leaders confirm what the Foreign Relations Committee emphasized in its Iraq hearings last summer: The most challenging phase will likely be the day after -- or, more accurately, the decade after -- Saddam Hussein.

Once he is gone, expectations are high that coalition forces will remain in large numbers to stabilize Iraq and support a civilian administration. That presence will be necessary for several years, given the vacuum there, which a divided Iraqi opposition will have trouble filling and which some new Iraqi military strongman must not fill. Various experts have testified that as many as 75,000 troops may be necessary, at a cost of up to $ 20 billion a year. That does not include the cost of the war itself, or the effort to rebuild Iraq.

Americans are largely unprepared for such an undertaking. President Bush must make clear to the American people the scale of the commitment...

I agree with the last two sentences, although I would not quite generalize it to all Americans. My own thoughts chime a bit with this, by Alan:

Military historian William Hawkins provides a precis on why wars are won or lost. I think he’s too hard on Donald Rumsfeld, who surely knew these things, but who was trying to work within political and bureaucratic parameters that he could not alter. Otherwise, I agree with everything Hawkins has to say. The West is in jeopardy for want of will, without which weaponry means nothing. We are wasting vast sums of taxpayer money on military hardware that will never be used, if the nation’s ruling Boomers wet their Depends every time some Third World thug says “boo.” My generation will ruin the nation. It’s a sad thing to contemplate as my own life approaches a premature close.
Posted by John Weidner at 12:37 PM

March 28, 2007

I'll just sit here with my stopwatch...

...With my little stopwatch, waiting to time the rush of activists and "Quakers" and leftists and "Democrats" and who are surely going to condemn these poison gas attacks, which are war-crimes that escalate the fighting to a new level of savagery...

Al Qaeda in Iraq is conducting a full fledged chemical war in Anbar province. Today, Al Qaeda conducted yet another chlorine gas suicide bombing, this time directed at the Fallujah government center, in the very heart of the city of Fallujah. The attack was coordinated; Multinational Forces West described it as “complex.” The two suicide truck bombs and small arms fire was preceded by mortar fire, which likely was designed to distract the guards at the gates...[link].

OK, I've clicked the button. The seconds are ticking by. Any time now.............

Any minute now. The TV news programs are going to be all over this—it's surely as newsworthy as, oh, say, abu Ghraib...

And the UN. Any hour now. And the Bishop of Bormenia, and other liberal churchmen. We will be hearing from them soon...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:00 AM

March 26, 2007

We''ll start negotiations by giving you what you want.

This was a recent interesting bit of news...

Exclusive to PJM by Richard Miniter, PJM Washington Editor
American forces in Iraq now hold some 300 prisoners tied to Iran’s intelligence agencies, Pajamas Media learned from both diplomatic and military sources.

This is believed, by both sources, to be a record number of prisoners tied to Iran. Virtually all were captured in the past two months...

Now I don't know to enough to comment on the Iran situation in general. But the following seems to cast light in a general way on WHY we are in a war on terror, and WHY we are likely to stay that way for a while...

...The Pentagon received “considerable pressure” from officials in the State department and CIA to release some or all of the Iran-linked prisoners to facilitate discussions between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Iranian officials...

So, we are supposed to give the other guys something they want before we start negotiations! That's smart. And of course there's no suggestion that Iranians should do anything to facilitate anything. And no mention of the fact that the Iranians are sending terrorist murderers into Iraq to "facilitate" the slaughter of innocent people. Noooo. That would be impossible, because it would suggest that the US and her allies are in the right, that we are the good guys here. That we are trying to protect innocent people. That would not be "liberal." Not "progressive." Actually believing in America is not done at State or CIA.

But the good news is that our soldiers are not—at least the ones who actually fight—infected with lefty sickness...

...Apparently, Gen. Petraeus sharply disagreed, saying that he intends to hold the prisoners “until they run out of information or we run out of food,” according to our sources who heard these remarks through channels...

The captives are thugs sent by a brutal tyranny to kill Americans and to kill Iraqi civilians and foment civil war in Iraq. We have no reason to apologize for holding them, in fact it would be perfectly legal and just to simply put them in front of a firing squad. (No, I'm not saying we should do so.) They are clearly war criminals, and, though this never gets mentioned by our lefty press, the Geneva Conventions only apply only to those who respect the rules themselves.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:32 AM

March 23, 2007

"Pork and defeat"

Hugh writes:

House Democrats vote for pork and defeat, with the supplemental demanding defeat by March of 2008 passing on a vote of 218 to 212.

It won't get through the Senate. And even if it did, the president will veto it. The Democrats are denying timely funding to troops in the field, troops that in fact winning, and massaging the enemy that half the Congress wants to surrender.

Republican Leader Boehner has wisely decided not to allow any reconsideration motions or other procedural gimmicks that could give the 218 cover. They voted for retreat and defeat plus a mountain of pork. The McGovern-San Francisco Democrats are back....

I've avoided commenting on all this, because everybody else is, and because you all can guess what I think about it. But really, just thinking about Dems running for office on their criticism of Republican pork spending, and then using billions of dollars in pork projects to buy the votes to undermine their own country in time of war....I gotta vent a bit.

Democrats got America into ALL the bloody wars of the 20th Century, and in every one of them the Republicans loyally supported our troops and our war efforts no matter the political cost. And now the Democrats repay us with treason. (You think I'm putting this too strong? Yes, you. I'm talking to you, Mr. Lefty Q. Sap reading this and sneering. I'm happy to debate the issue. Show me I'm wrong.)

One thing that really burns me up is the endless ankle-biting about how the Bush Administration made mistakes in Iraq. Every war we've ever fought has been filled with mistakes!

Including ALL those 20th Century Democrat wars. They all involved calamitous Democrat mistakes that make Iraq look like a picnic for the poor orphan children. Belleau Wood, Peleliu, Anzio, LZ Bitch, Slapton Sands, Chosin. I could go on. Did you know that, right before North Korean Army smashed into South Korea and drove US and ROK forces almost into the sea, our Democrat overlords ordered hundreds of P-38's stored in S Korea to be destroyed? Because they might be "too provocative" in the hands of the ROK?

Sainted Democrat Franklin Roosevelt pissed away 25,000 American casualties to seize a rock called Iwo Jima. Which never yielded any strategic or tactical advantage. And now his pigmy descendants have the nerve to criticize Bush? What a bunch of useless hippie nihilists...

Korean War: 36,516 dead (33,686 combat, 2,830 non-combat), 103,000 wounded, 8,142 MIA. And what exactly was accomplished with these casualties? Hmmm?

Posted by John Weidner at 1:27 PM

March 10, 2007

Then and Now

You have all seen, I'm sure, those lists of what Democrat leaders said then, about Iraq and Saddam, and what they say now, when they see political advantage in betraying their country and stabbing our troops in the back and undercutting a military campaign that they voted for..

But written documents lack a certain punch. A certain sort of impact.

Now there's a splendid YouTube, Democrat Hypocrisy on Iraq, with video clips collected of a LOT of famous Dems saying publicly...well, just take a look and see.

I won't say what I think about them, because I would be tempted to use language such as is not fit for publication.

Thanks To Rand Simberg

Posted by John Weidner at 11:34 AM

March 2, 2007

List, revised, yet again...

I've posted before my List of Reasons to Invade Iraq. (Most recently here.) I stand by them, they still look good to me. And, as always, one of the purposes of posting them is to invite debate. I may be wrong. If so, show me. (I mean, show me with logic and facts. I'm not impressed with, "Wahhh, You can't SAY those horrible things. It's not allowed.")

But I think I need to add one more reason. One that is shaping up to be the most important of all. (My underlying thinking, if you are not a regular reader, is that the actual fight against Islamic terrorists is a secondary issue, mostly a by-product of the decay of our own civilization. Which is the BIG problem.)

I wrote here:

It is really interesting to remember that, in early 2002, Bush was already getting hostile probing questions from the press (who are almost all on the Left) about Iraq. Before anyone in the administration had even brought the subject up. I'm thinking that, unconsciously, they knew that this was the rotting log that was going to be turned over. And they were very worried, because they were the bugs that were going to be suddenly scurrying to get out of the bright light!

That's just the way it has been. And we need that light shining on the strange evils of our day. So, I propose one more reason Iraq was the correct second move of the War on Terror (which I don't think is really a war�but that's another issue).

14. Test to destruction the idea that "Liberals" are liberal. Iraq was (and is) the big test. To propose regime-change in Iraq is really to say to the Left: , "OK wise guys, you claim to be anti-fascist. Help us remove the worst fascist tyrant of our times. You claim to be humanitarian; here's one of the most brutalized countries of the earth needing our help. You claim you are not anti-Semitic; stand with us against against a monster who was paying bounties to Jew-killers. You claim to care about a certain group that's been denied a homeland; here in the Kurds we have a far bigger group denied a homeland..." (I could go on for a long while with these. You get the picture.)

The other 13 reasons are listed below, if you are interested...

1. Avoid fizzle-out. The big danger of a war against shadowy terror groups is that they can destroy our resolve to fight by pretending to negotiate or change their ways. By attacking the very heartland of the Arab world, we will avoid the cycle of truces and negotiations that have crippled Israel's war on its terrorists. The jihadis MUST fight for Iraq, the stakes will be too high. They won't be able to just lie low for a few years and then strike again. We will be forcing them to react to our moves, instead of us always reacting to theirs. (This could really be a reason by itself.)

2. Until the culture of despotism and backwardness of the Arab world is changed, new terrorist groups will continue to arise. Iraq is the best choice for starting the process of change, with a well-educated population that has suffered terribly from tyranny. Changing Iraq will change the dialog in the region. Deposing tyrants is a start, but there are good reasons to believe that democracy might take hold in Iraq—That would really change the region.

3.Terror-supporting nations. We can't make progress in changing them, until we take out ONE of them. Iraq is a good choice because we already have a good legal case, with many binding UN Resolutions, plus Iraq's failure to comply with peace-terms from the Gulf War. And also because Saddam is the most considerable of the terror-supporting dictators, so his fall will have the biggest effect on the others.

4. Iran: The most important instance of the above is Iran (which is the worst of the terror-supporting countries). The Mullahs can't close off their border with Iraq, because their Shi'ite Holy Places are there. Invasion of Iraq puts an army right on Iran's border. And Iraqi Shi'ism, impotent under Saddam, does not agree with theocratic Iranian Shi'ism. We need its ideas to flourish.

5. The humanitarian reasons are compelling. Tens-of-thousands of people are being tortured and murdered in Iraq each year. This is an internal war--to end it is to be on the side of peace. The UN sanctions regime has left children dying without food and medicine, while Saddam builds palaces and funds terror groups and corrupts Western governments with kickbacks. And we are INVOLVED in the sanctions perversion--we have a responsibility to end it. Saddam is waging an internal war against his people. Pacifists are enablers of Saddam's war and want it to go on forever—America should end it.

6. Similarly, we bear responsibility for encouraging the Shi'ite revolt against Saddam after the Gulf War. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were slaughtered because of our mistakes. We should have moved against Saddam years ago for that reason alone.

7. WMD's: a danger that must be eliminated. (Note from the perspective of 2006: While it's true we haven't found large stockpiles, we've found weapons programs that could have quickly rebuilt stockpiles. And more importantly, this is a war. A global war against islamic terrorism. Not a case at law. The mere appearance of plans to attack us or our allies is justification for an attack. In a war, it is our responsibility to attack an enemy nation if feasable. The burden is on those who oppose war-like attacks during war time to provide reasons why we should not.)

8. We have partly created the terrorists, by consistent weakness and vacillation over several decades. We have taught the terrorists to attack us! Withdrawing from Lebanon taught Hezbollah that suicide bombs work. Failure to respond in the Iran hostage crises taught a generation of terrorists that we are weak and vulnerable. Withdrawal from Somalia taught bin Laden that we can't take casualties. We have waited so long to respond, that only a long bloody struggle will teach them a new lesson. If Iraq becomes a quagmire, that's good. Assuming we stick it out and win.

9. Diplomacy. Obviously it is best to solve problems peacefully by diplomacy and negotiations. But our diplomacy has been crippled by lack of a credible threat of violence as an alternative. This dates from our betrayal of South Vietnam, and is exacerbated by the decline of most other Western powers into military impotence. Diplomacy works as the "good cop" alternative to a military "bad cop." Our failure in this has been so great that it could only be redeemed by some seriously crazy violence. Iraq--perfect! Now Colin Powell's "good cop" will be contrasted with a really scary "bad cop" named Donald Rumsfeld. Expect big diplomatic payoffs.

10. Consensus of elected leaders. President Bush has requested approval for the invasion of Iraq from Congress. The Senate debated the question and voted overwhelmingly in favor. Our nation made this decision. We made the decision. That's a powerful reason in favor. [Note from 2006: For various people, including some of the Senators who voted for this campaign, to now sit on the sidelines and whine, "I don't know anything about this and nobody told me anything and it has nothing to do with me" is despicable.]

11. To learn how to fight this new kind of war. There has never been a war like this before. We need to learn how to fight it, and keep learning as enemy tactics evolve. There's no other way to learn than just plunging in and fighting. Armchair strategists are not much help. And Iraq is big enough to blood the entire US Army and Marine Corps, without being very dangerous (by historical standards, that is. Think Shiloh, or the Meuse-Argonne Campaign).

12. Revenge. Saddam and al Qaeda have been responsible for the terror-killings of American citizens, including American diplomats. These murders have gone unpunished. It was wrong for us not to avenge them violently. (I'm using the term "revenge" provocatively, to irritate appeasers. But feel free to toss out the concept of vengeance. it is still wrong, both morally and logically, to allow criminals to flourish and prosper through their crimes, and to prey on the weak. It is a sin.)

13. Archives. Totalitarian regimes always keep good records. We are going to learn a lot about what's really been going on in the world once we get into the files. (Me, I'd scan everything and put it on the Web.)

Posted by John Weidner at 12:58 PM

February 22, 2007

Life in the big city...

I recommend, for the stimulating of clear thought, this TechCentral piece, By Lee Harris, So, Did America Overreact to 9/11?:

...The inmates of any jailhouse know that even mildest acts of aggression must be instantly and firmly challenged. If you are a newcomer and another inmate demands that you give him your candy bar, the worst thing you could possibly do would be to try to put the incident into perspective. You cannot say, "Well, it's only a candy bar, after all. No big deal," because, in this context, your candy bar is a big deal. It means everything. If you hand it over on demand, then you have also handled over your dignity. You have thereby informed not only the inmate making the demand, but all the other inmates watching you give into his demand that they too can all walk on you at any time. They too can take from you anything you have. They too can make you their flunkey or slave.

Of course, in defending your candy-bar, you may have to risk your life. But it is absurd to say that you are risking your life "only" for a candy bar when you are in fact risking it to maintain your autonomy and independence. The danger in such a situation is not overreaction, but, paradoxically, the failure to overreact.

The same principle applies to groups, tribes, and nations. If any group wishes to preserve its dignity and autonomy, there will be times when it is forced to act like the inmate defending his candy bar. In terms of a cost analysis, this kind of "overreaction" will seem utterly irrational. Is the candy bar really worth risking your life over? But to you, the refusal to take this risk involves a loss that cannot be measured by statistics—namely, the loss of your status as an independent moral agent that others will be careful not to push around or walk over...(Thanks to SeeDubya)

The blunt fact is, the Planet Earth is currently a rough neighborhood. So, simply because of the way things are, we have to act like people in a bad neighborhood do, just to keep trouble to a minimum. The rule is, if you let yourself be bullied or pushed around, you will bring on yourself much more trouble. If you do not allow small slights to pass unchallenged, then you will be respected and left alone.

(It's a normal fact of life in the big city, that you don't want to brush against people on the street as if you don't see them. That's how to get in a fight fast. Because that's how people test others in the rough parts of town. A friend of mine once got in a fight because his newspaper touched another guy's head on a crowded bus. And I once almost had a fight when I paused on the sidewalk in someone's path.)

We in the developed West have caused the War on Terror, by consistently doing the wrong things. By allowing ourselves to be bullied without responding strongly. We have taught the terrorists that terror tactics work. We have taught them that we are weak and indecisive. We have taught them that they will be rewarded if they hurt us—that we will give them things they want.

So, am I saying that Christian Charity does not work in the real world? No, not at all. What I am saying is that giving the other inmate the candy bar is NOT Charity...because in fact you are teaching him that extortion works, and teaching him to despise you. It would be far better to fight—beat him up if you can—and then reach out to him and try to make him a friend.

And, by the way, this is in general what America stands for. We were at our best and smartest when we flattened our enemies in WWII, and then helped them to rebuild and form free democratic polities. Germany, Japan, Italy...anybody been attacked by those guys lately? (And also applicable here is that France and Britain had iniated the war by giving up various candy bars to Hitler—that "pacifism" killed 50 million or so people.)

And that is exactly what we are attempting in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is exactly analogous, on the political plane, to Christian love.

And the fascinating thing to me, the question of questions, is why this has aroused so much hatred. Such instant opposition. Particularly on the left.

It is really interesting to remember that, in early 2002, Bush was already getting hostile probing questions from the press (who are almost all on the Left) about Iraq. Before anyone in the administration had even brought the subject up. I'm thinking that, unconsciously, they knew that this was the rotting log that was going to be turned over. And they were very worried, because they were the bugs that were going to be suddenly scurrying to get out of the bright light!

Iraq was (and is) the big test. Bush was going to say, "OK wise guys, you claim to be anti-fascist. Help us remove the worst fascist tyrant of our times. You claim to be humanitarian; here's one of the most brutalized countries of the earth needing our help. You claim you are not anti-Semitic; stand with us against against a monster who was paying bounties to Jew-killers. You claim to care about a certain group that's been denied a homeland; here in the Kurds we have a far bigger group denied a homeland..." (I could go on for a long while with these. You get the picture.)

And the fact that Iraq has been more difficult then anticipated does not in the slightest bit mitigate or excuse the fact that our leftists and fake-pacifists have failed their big test.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:10 AM

February 19, 2007

Swatting flies. Since 2001

I seem to be encountering a lot of, well, let's be tactful and call it "unchecked data," about Iraq and the War of Terror lately. Today I heard "the war" associated with 600,000 deaths (of exactly who or where was not specified). Hey, what's an Order of Magnitude between friends...

And even the Washington Post felt moved to criticize the falsehoods of Congressman Murtha!

...Mr. Murtha's cynicism is matched by an alarming ignorance about conditions in Iraq. He continues to insist that Iraq "would be more stable with us out of there," in spite of the consensus of U.S. intelligence agencies that early withdrawal would produce "massive civilian casualties." He says he wants to force the administration to "bulldoze" the Abu Ghraib prison, even though it was emptied of prisoners and turned over to the Iraqi government last year. He wants to "get our troops out of the Green Zone" because "they are living in Saddam Hussein's palace"; could he be unaware that the zone's primary occupants are the Iraqi government and the U.S. Embassy?

It would be nice to believe that Mr. Murtha does not represent the mainstream of the Democratic Party or the thinking of its leadership. Yet when asked about Mr. Murtha's remarks Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered her support...

I doubt if I will get around to doing much more swatting of flies than I already have been for the last five years. But it's on my mind. But as a small bit of fighting back, I'm going to re-post this quote, which I originally posted here, almost a year ago. As far as I know, it NEVER was reported as news; I found it in a book. From The Faith of the American Soldier by Stephen Mansfield, page 156:

....It worked. Both through the reforms that the military enacted to correct the scandals, and through the proactive ministries of the new chaplains, Abu Ghraib has been transformed. Chaplain Taylor explained that there have been no further abuses and that, in fact, the prison has become a model success story. Attendence at chapel services reaches into the hundreds. Now, many of the soldiers stationed at Abu Ghraib with the 391st [Military Police Battalion, from Columbus, Ohio] carry medallions in their pockets that express their pride in the opportunity to live down the negative stigma of the prison. The slogan on the coin defines their newfound sense of mission. It says simply, "Restoring America's Honor."....

America's honor, and the Christian decency of our soldiers, are, of course, not newsworthy... Leftists continue to claim that abu Ghraib is the real face of America at war. They are right; you see the true America in the above quote.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:08 AM

February 17, 2007

Compass lost..

There's another good one from Nick Cohen, Liberals are now the appeasers of hate:

....Five years ago, if you could have asked journalists, diplomats, academics and the victims of oppression themselves who they would have trusted above all others to stay sober in a crisis, my guess is that they would have nominated Amnesty International. Peter Benenson, one of the great Englishmen of the 20th century, set it up as a rigorously, almost ascetically, impartial body.

At first, Amnesty dealt only with prisoners of conscience who espoused non-violence. It didn't matter which side they were on in the Cold War, or any other war, because Amnesty didn't concern itself with politics.

Its reputation couldn't survive the aftermath of 9/11. The first sign that it was losing its compass came when Blair cited Amnesty International's reports on Iraq in a dossier on his reasons for going to war. In September 2002, he urged MPs to "read about the routine butchering of political opponents; the prison 'cleansing' regimes in which thousands die; the torture chambers and hideous penalties supervised by him and his family and detailed by Amnesty International. Read it all again and again. I defy anyone to say that this cruel and sadistic dictator should be allowed any possibility of getting his hands on more chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons."

Faced with the prospect of Blair removing the regime it had denounced for 34 of its 41 years, Amnesty cracked.
Blair's description of the terror in Iraq was "opportunistic and selective", it snapped. Strictly speaking, Amnesty should have kept its mouth shut. All that should have mattered to its leaders was whether Blair was quoting their reports accurately - which he was: Blair was "selective" only in that he underplayed the scale of the terror. Amnesty couldn't admit that because the crisis was pushing it away from the necessary impartiality of any human rights worker or judge into a sly political posturing with echoes of the '30s. If it took sides in the war, Amnesty's history would have forced it to come out for a democratic Iraq.

But support for Bush, however limited, would have appalled its members. Equally, it couldn't support the Saddamists and Islamists. So in true Virginia Woolf style, Amnesty, along with a large segment of liberal opinion, pretended that both sides were equally bad and the US and Britain were moral equivalents of totalitarian movements and states.

Human Rights Watch, which had made its name as a rival to Amnesty with its investigations into Saddam's Iraq, tied its tongue in knots as it tried to find a way to oppose the war to overthrow him. Kenneth Roth, its director, came up with a canting formula that there was no humanitarian purpose to the war because, although there had been mass slaughter, ethnic cleansing and environmental destruction over 35 years, "no such slaughter was then ongoing or imminent" at the precise moment in 2003 when the war began. His lawyerly point was that although the Baathists were still killing, they were killing at a slower rate than in the past; the numbers of rapes and the intensity of the persecution of ethnic minorities were not up to their previous speed and nothing could be done until Saddam pulled his socks up and improved the strike rate....
(Thanks to Orrin Judd) I previously mentioned Cohen's great piece about being raised "on the Left."

Posted by John Weidner at 6:39 AM

February 2, 2007

A "don't miss"

An awesome little tale, The Hands of God, by Michael Yon. One that will stick in my mind for a long time. (Much like a certain unforgettable picture snapped by the same guy.)

...The closer a counterfeit comes to the genuine article, the more obvious the deceit. As the murderer dressed in women’s clothes walked purposefully toward his target, there was a village man ahead. But under the guise of a simple villager was a true Martyr, and he, too, had his target in sight. The Martyr had seen through the disguise, but he had no gun. No bomb. No rocket. No stone. No time.

The Martyr walked up to the murderer and lunged into a bear hug, on the spot where we were now standing.

The blast ripped the Martyr to pieces which fell along with pieces of the enemy. Ball-bearings shot through the alley and wounded two children, but the people in the mosque were saved. The man lay in pieces on the ground, his own children having seen how his last embrace saved the people of the village...

These are the human beings that our "pacifists" want to flush down the toilet.

(Thanks to Dean Barnett)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:53 PM

January 22, 2007

"How hard was it for opponents of the war to be against that?"

I highly recommend this piece by English journalist Nick Cohen, about being raised "on the Left,"...

In the early Seventies, my mother searched the supermarkets for politically reputable citrus fruit. She couldn't buy Seville oranges without indirectly subsidising General Francisco Franco, Spain's fascist dictator. Algarve oranges were no good either, because the slightly less gruesome but equally right-wing dictatorship of Antonio Salazar ruled Portugal. She boycotted the piles of Outspan from South Africa as a protest against apartheid, and although neither America nor Israel was a dictatorship, she wouldn't have Florida or Jaffa oranges in the house because she had no time for then President Richard Nixon or the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.

My sisters and I did not know it, but when Franco fell ill in 1975, we were in a race to the death. Either he died of Parkinson's disease or we died of scurvy...

and being forced to re-think some things...

....Journalists wondered whether the Americans were puffing up Zarqawi's role in the violence - as a foreigner he was a convenient enemy - but they couldn't deny the ferocity of the terror. Like Stalin, Pol Pot and Slobodan Milosevic, they went for the professors and technicians who could make a democratic Iraq work. They murdered Sergio Vieira de Mello, one of the United Nations's bravest officials, and his colleagues; Red Cross workers, politicians, journalists and thousands upon thousands of Iraqis who happened to be in the wrong church or Shia mosque.

How hard was it for opponents of the war to be against that? Unbelievably hard, it turned out. The anti-war movement disgraced itself not because it was against the war in Iraq, but because it could not oppose the counter-revolution once the war was over. A principled left that still had life in it and a liberalism that meant what it said might have remained ferociously critical of the American and British governments while offering support to Iraqis who wanted the freedoms they enjoyed.

It is a generalisation to say that everyone refused to commit themselves. The best of the old left in the trade unions and parliamentary Labour party supported an anti-fascist struggle, regardless of whether they were for or against the war, and American Democrats went to fight in Iraq and returned to fight the Republicans. But again, no one who looked at the liberal left from the outside could pretend that such principled stands were commonplace. The British Liberal Democrats, the continental social democratic parties, the African National Congress and virtually every leftish newspaper and journal on the planet were unable to accept that the struggle of Arabs and Kurds had anything to do with them. Mainstream Muslim organisations were as indifferent to the murder of Muslims by other Muslims in Iraq as in Darfur. For the majority of world opinion, Blair's hopes of 'giving people oppressed, almost enslaved, the prospect of democracy and liberty' counted for nothing....

(Thanks to Orrin.) Cohen has a book coming out, which ought to be good! One more snippet...

In short, why is the world upside down? In the past conservatives made excuses for fascism because they mistakenly saw it as a continuation of their democratic rightwing ideas. Now, overwhelmingly and every where, liberals and leftists are far more likely than conservatives to excuse fascistic governments and movements, with the exception of their native far-right parties. As long as local racists are white, they have no difficulty in opposing them in a manner that would have been recognisable to the traditional left. But give them a foreign far-right movement that is anti-Western and they treat it as at best a distraction and at worst an ally.

A part of the answer is that it isn't at all clear what it means to be on the left at the moment. I doubt if anyone can tell you what a society significantly more left wing than ours would look like and how its economy and government would work (let alone whether a majority of their fellow citizens would want to live there). Socialism, which provided the definition of what it meant to be on the left from the 1880s to the 1980s, is gone. Disgraced by the communists' atrocities and floored by the success of market-based economies, it no longer exists as a coherent programme for government. Even the modest and humane social democratic systems of Europe are under strain and look dreadfully vulnerable.

It is not novel to say that socialism is dead. My argument is that its failure has brought a dark liberation to people who consider themselves to be on the liberal left. It has freed them to go along with any movement however far to the right it may be, as long as it is against the status quo in general and, specifically, America. I hate to repeat the overused quote that 'when a man stops believing in God he doesn't then believe in nothing, he believes anything', but there is no escaping it. Because it is very hard to imagine a radical leftwing alternative, or even mildly radical alternative, intellectuals in particular are ready to excuse the movements of the far right as long as they are anti-Western...
Posted by John Weidner at 6:39 AM

January 13, 2007


A reader wrote and asked me to mention this article, Fighting Back, by Martin Fletcher, on the struggle for Ramadi. Happy to oblige. I won't even try to comment on the confused situation there. But, as ever, we see that the al-Qaeda are monsters, and those who think we should give up fighting them and retreat to "safety" are utter fools.

....Sheikh Sittar is a wealthy man. He owns homes in Oman and Dubai and several luxury cars. He and the other tribal leaders unquestionably prospered under Saddam Hussein, as did Ramadi’s many Baathists. Few cities had more cause to lament the dictator’s downfall, US troops made matters worse with their insensitive early conduct and al-Qaeda skillfully exploited the people’s anger with its promise to expel the infidel.

As al-Qaeda’s fighters tightened their grip on Ramadi, they became increasingly repressive and challenged the tribal leaders’ power. Soon they were kidnapping and beheading innocent people as part of a campaign of extortion and intimidation.

Some sheikhs fled to Jordan and Syria. Sheikh Sittar’s father and three brothers were killed, his father during the holy month of Ramadan, and he says he has himself survived several kidnap attempts. This summer a fellow sheikh was ambushed and beheaded by al-Qaeda supporters, who piled insult on injury by keeping his body so it could not be buried immediately, as demanded by custom.

“We began to see what they were actually doing in Anbar province. They were not respecting us or honouring us in any way, said Sheikh Sittar, speaking through an interpreter.” Their tactics were not acceptable.”

During the late summer he began enlisting his fellow sheikhs in a movement called the Sahawat or Awakening, whose goal is to drive al-Qaeda from Anbar province.

The US military wooed the sheikhs over what one US officer described as “hundreds of cups of chai and thousands of cigarettes”. They agreed that their chosen instrument should be the police force, which was practically defunct thanks to al-Qaeda death threats against anyone who dared to sign up. In June there were only 35 recruits; in July Sheikh Sittar sent 300 members of his 30,000-strong Resha tribe for training....

Here's another good piece by Fletcher...

Posted by John Weidner at 4:36 PM

December 30, 2006

“He scaaaares me,”

Dean Barnett shares some of my frustration with a certain American irresolution and fuzzyness in the War on Terror in recent times. But, he also sees the other side of the question...

...But President Bush has his strengths. The weak-kneed among us, like the NewYork Times editorial board and the president’s father, never knew what to do with Saddam Hussein. George W. Bush did – kill him. At his best, Bush shows a focus and a harshness that scares the stuffing out of the rest of the world.

Our enemies were watching last night. I bet Bashir Assad was picturing his neck in that noose, knowing full well that George W. Bush’s ire would be something that John Kerry, Arlen Specter and any other sympathetic Senatorial dhimmis would be unable to save him from. Kim Jong Il and a host of loonies in Iran probably took notice as well. For them, the sad fact is that they remain alive only at the pleasure of George W. Bush. I doubt that thought gives them much comfort.

I’VE NEVER OFFERED THE FOLLOWING SPECULATION in print, primarily because I didn’t want to jinx things. But I think the main reason we haven’t had a repeat of 9/11 or something worse in over five years is because George W. Bush scares the s**t out of his enemies. When domestic liberals whine, “He scaaaares me,” they really mean it. The world’s bad people feel the same way. The American reprisals to a terror attack that took place under George W. Bush’s watch would likely be swift, brutal and disproportionate....

"Swift, brutal and disproportionate.." That describes our response to 9/11. And it was exactly the right thing to do. We didn't just pursue al Qaeda, we invaded and deconstructed TWO terror-supporting Muslim countries. One of them in the very heartland of Arab culture and history. There's not the slightest doubt that we freaked-out our enemies (and we got to fight a lot of al Qaeda thugs to boot). And that's what we are supposed to do. This is a WAR.

Our actions are supposed to be "swift, brutal and disproportionate..." In fact, this is traditional, and there's even a old-fashioned locution to refer to this concept. The term (and this is a very specialized and technical word; you Democrats and fake-pacifists will probably be in over your heads here) is: WINNING.

Many of you have probably been taught that war is a thing to be cherished and coddled, like an endangered species. Pacifists for instance. But war is very destructive, in fact it is harmful to children and other living things, and it is better to bring them to an end. Dean mentions in his piece several little-known techniques to get to the condition called "winning." Such as "focus," "harshness," and scaring the bejeezus out of terrorist animals and genocidal tyrants...

Posted by John Weidner at 1:03 PM

December 13, 2006

Killing a strawman is like killing a zombie...

Dafydd has a good post, where he lights into Dean Barnett for saying that Iraq doesn't have "an Islamic Jeffersonian democracy..." Aside from the points that nobody claimed we going to have any such thing, and the the USA itself is not a "Jeffersonian Democracy", he writes...

....It's just about the biggest straw-man argument lobbed against Bush's Iraq policy, used only by right-wingers and libertarians who want to heap scorn upon the very idea that non-Europeans could possibly have a functioning democracy... and I sincerely believe it to be racist in its very essence....

....It's violent and bloody; but so was Greece during their civil war from 1946 to 1949, during which they finally crushed the Communist insurgency. The Britannica says that more than 50,000 combatants were killed during those three years, plus many tens of thousands of non-combatants who got in the way -- and that may not even count those who died in the first phase, 1942-1944....That is, more Greeks were butchered during that war than all but the most hysterical estimates of Iraqis killed since the liberation. Yet nobody today says that Greeks are incapable of governing as a democracy.....

....hus, Dean Barnett's sarcasm notwithstanding, the Iraq democracy is faring far better than the pessimists (like Barnett) could have imagined. Iraq is not even in a civil war; yet Barnett has the bizarre idea that a functioning democracy somehow doesn't count if there are a lot of deaths... but only when we're talking about non-Europeans. When countries whose citizens are of European extraction experience years of violent bloodshed, we still allow them to be called democracies -- whether it's Greece, the United States, or Northern Ireland.

I suspect that Dean is not even aware of his double standard; he's a nice guy, with his head well-screwed-on anent other topics. But he just reacts viscerally (via the reptilian part of his brain) to the very idea of democracy in an Arab country.....

I think that's true. And there's something else at work I think. A sort of decadent idea that violence and slaughter and war are things of the past that no one has to steel themselves for any longer. That they are things we don't have to tough through. It may turn out that democracy isn't going to work in Iraq, but that's for the Iraqis to settle, and it hasn't failed until they give up on it.

And also, the idea that our campaign in Iraq has "failed" because of casualties is just stupid. The WoT has averaged 620 US military deaths a year. But our military loses over 500 a year just from accidents! And around 300 a year from suicide and disease. Our current casualties are light. Especially compared to past wars!

(And NO, I am not going to insert the usual boilerplate line: "of course every death is a tragedy blah blah blah.") That's become an absurd bit of political correctness, with anyone who advocates vigorous prosecution of the War on Terror feeling the need to grovel and snivel about how much they care about casualties. Well, we do care, but it's totally beside the point.

Every major decision, political, public, private, involves accepting casualties or the risk of them. As voters and Americans, it is our job to make decisions that are going have the side-effect of killing people. About 40,000 Americans die every year in automobile accidents. (Do Cindy Sheehan and the fake-pacifists weep over that slaughter? Of course not, not a tear.) If I vote for bonds for a new highway, I'm voting to kill a certain number of people in exchange for benefits to the community as a whole. That's life. We should be very careful and responsible about such things, but also we should be tough! That's what life is about. We are all going to die. (Tomorrow, on a cosmic time-scale.) Get tough and get serious!

I'm really thinking that all this sniveling about casualties in Iraq is because we don't want to face our mortality, and life's grim responsibilities. Wake up, world. Every week 10,000 pickaninnies die in Darfur. And you are claiming the a hundred dead in Baghdad is unendurable? What nonsense.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:48 PM

December 9, 2006

It's good to have an authoritative answer on what it means...

The report of the Iraq Surrender Group, that is...

...In his weekly radio broadcast, Bush said the bipartisan group's report presented a straightforward picture of the "grave situation we face in Iraq." He said he was pleased the panel supported his goal of an Iraq that can govern, sustain and defend itself, even though that will take time. And he said he was glad the bipartisan panel did not suggest a hasty withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

"The group declared that such a withdrawal would `almost certainly produce greater sectarian violence' and lead to `a significant power vacuum, greater human suffering, regional destabilization and a threat to the global economy,"' Bush said, quoting the report, which was issued Thursday.

"The report went on to say, `If we leave and Iraq descends into chaos, the long-range consequences could eventually require the United States to return,"' Bush noted....[Link. Thanks to Orrin]

As Dean Barnett recently pointed out, the only time a "bi-partisan committee" is useful is when there is a consensus on what needs to be done, for which politicians need cover. Military base-closings are a good example. Everybody knew we had far too many bases, but no politician dared agree to cutting the one in his district. So the bi-partisan committee makes the choices, and every politician "puts up a fight to save Fort Comanche," and then accepts the inevitable.

If there is no consensus, then the results of a committee are going to be mush. Pure mush. Just like the 9/11 commission...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:09 AM

December 7, 2006

Suck-up to dictators, throw trouble-making Jews under the bus...

That's what the Iraq Surrender Group is all about. I'm too busy tired and pissed to write about it--Hugh Hewitt is worth reading.

The far right and the left both like this thing, so I spit upon it. And I think I hate "Blue-blazer Republicans" more than I hate the chomskies.

Friend of Israel emblem

* UPDATE: Dafydd has a lot of good thoughts. [Part one. Part two.] Worth reading. Short version: The dicta were written by the Democrats, but the holdings (ie: the actual recommendations) were written by the Republicans of the group...

* Thinking about Mike's comment, I suspect that the Dems needed a paper defeat. Remember the old Vietnam line, "Let's declare victory and leave?" The Dems want to declare defeat and stay! They don't want the political hot-potato of cut-and-run, they just need something to give to their drooling fake-pacifist supporters. Hopefully this will satisfy the peaceniks, and they'll now let the grown-ups get on with the War on Terror.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:46 AM

November 29, 2006

"It was not naive idealism"

If you haven't already read it, this Fouad Ajami column is worth reading...

...It was not naive idealism, it should be recalled, that gave birth to Bush's diplomacy of freedom. That diplomacy issued out of a reading of the Arab-Muslim political condition and of America's vulnerability to the disorder of Arab politics. The ruling regimes in the region had displaced their troubles onto America; their stability had come at America's expense, as the scapegoating and the anti-Americanism had poisoned Arab political life. Iraq and the struggle for a decent polity in it had been America's way of trying to extirpate these Arab troubles. The American project in Iraq has been unimaginably difficult, its heartbreak a grim daily affair. But the impulse that gave rise to the war was shrewd and justified....

That's what I've argued all along. Democracy is a weapon. (And the terrorists seem to agree.) Also, no one has another plan. The "realist" and appeasement nostrums being currently floated have all been tried and found wanting. In fact, they got us into this war. And they are not plans—not plans on how to conduct the War on Terror in general. They pretend that Iraq is the whole war, or a separate war from the greater war on Islamic fascism.

Also, it should always be kept in mind that the opposition to the Iraq Campaign by leftists and fake-pacifists has never been due to disillusionment. They've hated and opposed all American military action from the beginning. They gave only the most grudging support to even our campaign against the Taliban, and were calling it a quagmire within days. And even the happiest moments of the Iraq campaign, with millions of Iraqis risking their lives to vote, pleased them not in the slightest. They don't give a damn about Iraqis, and they don't care if American soldiers die. It's America they hate.

And especially, they hate the idea of Americans fighting, risking their lives, in defense of our freedom and our land. This strikes right at the heart of their nihilist hearts, for they have nothing in themselves they believe in enough to fight for,

Posted by John Weidner at 6:32 AM

November 27, 2006

Important info---pass it on

That big story about the people being burned alive in Iraq, while Iraqi troops stood by?



It's a clear and blatant lie fabricated by our country's enemies, and propagated by our internal enemies and traitors in the news media.

LINK (if you have trouble with that link, as I did, go to FloppingAces' main blog page and scroll down to 11-25, at 8:54)

Thanks to Lorie Byrd

Posted by John Weidner at 9:41 AM

November 22, 2006

Surprise, surprise...

violence declines after terrorist assistance to the Copperhead Party is no longer needed, and after appeasers have been elected as planned...

American Forces Press Service – As expected, violence in Iraq has dropped following the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a coalition spokesman said in Baghdad today.

Army Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said civilian and Iraqi security force casualties were at the lowest levels since the government was formed in May.

So far this month, the civilian casualty count is well below the casualty count in October and below the six-month average. The security force casualties reduced 21 percent over the past four weeks, and are at the lowest level in 25 weeks, he said.

“In Baghdad, there was a 22 percentage drop in casualties related to sectarian violence and executions,” Caldwell said during a televised news conference. “Coalition forces will continue to work closely with the Iraqi government and Iraqi security forces to control the sectarian violence and terrorist attacks.”...(Thanks to

"As expected."

Posted by John Weidner at 3:12 PM

November 15, 2006

Now they tell us...

Our friend Frank sent this NYT editorial, writing: "See 7th Paragraph. Amazing what a difference responsibility makes. They are covering their asses. ..."

The Democrats will not be able to savor their victory for long. Americans are waiting to hear if they have any good ideas for how to get out of Iraq without creating even wider chaos and terrorism. [NOW you let us know that you know that your party has no policy. AFTER you pull out all the stops to get them into office]

Criticizing President Bush’s gross mismanagement of the war was a winning electoral strategy. But criticism will not extricate the United States from this mess, nor will it persuade voters that the Democrats are ready to take back the White House.

Let us be clear. The responsibility for all that has gone wrong lies squarely with Mr. Bush. [Likewise with what's gone RIGHT---too bad there's a news black-out on that part] Even with control of the Congress, the Democrats’ role in changing things will be hortatory. And while we too are eager to hear the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group — better known as the (James) Baker commission — it should be the start, and not the end, of a bipartisan discussion on Iraq strategy. The Democrats need to be ready to play a full role. [Gee, maybe they should start a think-tank! I've only said about a thousand times that Dems have no policy. Nor principles, nor values. Nor morality, nor honesty.]

Under Republican control, Congress has exercised virtually no oversight of the administration’s misconduct of the war, and the new Democratic leadership is eager to hold extensive hearings. The public deserves a full accounting (backed by subpoenas, if necessary) of how prewar intelligence was cooked, why American troops were sent to war without adequate armor, and where billions of dollars in reconstruction aid disappeared to. [Who needs hearings, you've obviously convicted already.]

The Democrats will also need to look forward — and quickly. So far they have shared slogans, but no real policy. [So Random Jottings was right all along? Thanks, I appreciate you admitting it!] During the campaign, their most common call was for a “phased redeployment” — a euphemism for withdrawal — of American troops starting before the end of this year.

Threatening to pull out may be the only way to get cooperation from Iraq’s prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, who is thwarting even the most limited American efforts to disarm militias and set timetables for genuine political compromise on the most fundamental issues, like protecting minority rights and fairly apportioning the country’s oil wealth. [Threatening to pull out also tells the bad guys that their political/media strategy has worked and that they would be fools to compromise, or let to up on the killing.]

Unless America’s exit plans are coupled with a more serious effort to build up Iraq’s security forces and mediate its sectarian divisions, a phased withdrawal will only hasten Iraq’s descent into civil war — while placing American soldiers who remain behind in even greater danger. We also fear that Iraqis will have no interest in anything but retribution, until they see that security and rebuilding are possible. For that reason we have suggested one last push to stabilize Baghdad. That would require at least a temporary increase in American and Iraqi troops on Baghdad streets. [So, now that the election is over the NYT favors doing the sort of stuff the Bush Administration has been doing all along! But "more serious," of course, in some unspecified ways. Vile.]

We are skeptical of calls, by some Democrats, to divide the country into three ethnically based regions. Most Iraqis — except for the Kurds — show little enthusiasm for the idea. And while there has been horrific ethnic cleansing, it hasn’t yet got to the point that boundaries could be drawn without driving many more people from their homes. [Skeptical, eh. But not a word of your skepticism did we hear until your party got into power.]

Such ideas deserve a full discussion, something the United States has not had since its troops first rolled into Iraq. [Bullshit. We've been wrangling about Iraq since at least early 2002. But perhaps the NYT itself has not "discussed" Iraq? Perhaps they've been intimidate by people wrapped in flags, and have kept mum? I should look in their archives and find out.] We are not sure that any shift in strategy can contain the disaster. But we are sure that even a few weeks more of drift and confusion will guarantee more chaos and suffering once American troops leave. Voters gave the Democrats the floor — and are now waiting to hear what they have to say. [Insanity. The NYT sees nothing wrong with (Democrats) getting elected and THEN telling the voters what they stand for.]

Posted by John Weidner at 9:42 AM

October 31, 2006

Revised list of reasons to invade Iraq.

I'm re-doing my list of reasons to invade Iraq.—I've been keeping notes for possible revisions for a while now. And I've put it back into the present tense as of 2003, which eliminates reasons like our discovery of the UN Oil-For-Food Scandal, and any unexpected successes we've had since then. (Note: The redoutable Dean Esmay long ago posted Seven Reasons, which formed the origins of this list. And Wretchard blogged reason #1. I didn't just think this stuff up myself. Here's another good list, by TM Lutas.)

1. Avoid fizzle-out. The big danger of a war against shadowy terror groups is that they can destroy our resolve to fight by pretending to negotiate or change their ways. By attacking the very heartland of the Arab world, we will avoid the cycle of truces and negotiations that have crippled Israel's war on its terrorists. The jihadis MUST fight for Iraq, the stakes will be too high. They won't be able to just lie low for a few years and then strike again. We will be forcing them to react to our moves, instead of us always reacting to theirs—this should really be a reason by itself.

2. Until the culture of despotism and backwardness of the Arab world is changed, new terrorist groups will continue to arise. Iraq is the best choice for starting the process of change, with a well-educated population that has suffered terribly from tyranny. Changing Iraq will change the dialog in the region. Deposing tyrants is a start, but there are good reasons to believe that democracy might take hold in Iraq—That would really change the region.

3.Terror-supporting nations. We can't make progress in changing them, until we take out ONE of them. Iraq is a good choice because we already have a good legal case, with many binding UN Resolutions, plus Iraq's failure to comply with peace-terms from the Gulf War. And also because Saddam is the most considerable of the terror-supporting dictators, so his fall will have the biggest effect on the others.

4. Iran: The most important instance of the above is Iran (which is the worst of the terror-supporting countries). The Mullahs can't close off their border with Ira, because their Shi'ite Holy Places are there. Invasion of Iraq puts an army right on Iran's border. And Iraqi Shi'ism, impotent under Saddam, does not agree with theocratic Iranian Shi'ism. We need its ideas to flourish.

5. The humanitarian reasons are compelling. Tens-of-thousands of people are being tortured and murdered in Iraq each year. This is an internal war--to end it is to be on the side of peace. The UN sanctions regime has left children dying without food and medicine, while Saddam builds palaces and funds terror groups and corrupts Western governments with kickbacks. And we are INVOLVED in the sanctions perversion--we have a responsibility to end it. Saddam is waging an internal war against his people. Pacifists are enablers of Saddam's war and want it to go on forever—America should end it.

6. Similarly, we bear responsibility for encouraging the Shi'ite revolt against Saddam after the Gulf War. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were slaughtered because of our mistakes. We should have moved against Saddam years ago for that reason alone.

7. WMD's: a danger that must be eliminated. (Note from the perspective of 2006: While it's true we haven't found large stockpiles, we've found weapons programs that could have quickly rebuilt stockpiles. And more importantly, this is a war. A global war against islamic terrorism. Not a case at law. The mere appearance of plans to attack us or our allies is justification for an attack. In a war, it is our responsibility to attack an enemy nation if feasable. It is those who oppose war-like attacks during war time who bear the responsibility of providing reasons why we should not.)

8. We have partly created the terrorists, by consistent weakness and vacillation over several decades. We have taught the terrorists to attack us! Withdrawing from Lebanon taught Hezbollah that suicide bombs work. Failure to respond in the Iran hostage crises taught a generation of terrorists that we are weak and vulnerable. Withdrawal from Somalia taught bin Laden that we can't take casualties. We have waited so long to respond, that only a long bloody struggle will teach them a new lesson. If Iraq becomes a quagmire, that's good. Assuming we stick it out and win.

9. Diplomacy. Obviously it is best to solve problems peacefully by diplomacy and negotiations. But our diplomacy has been crippled by lack of a credible threat of violence as an alternative. This dates from our betrayal of South Vietnam, and is exacerbated by the decline of most other Western powers into military impotence. Diplomacy works as the "good cop" alternative to a military "bad cop." Our failure in this has been so great that it could only be redeemed by some seriously crazy violence. Iraq--perfect! Now Colin Powell's "good cop" will be contrasted with a really scary "bad cop" named Donald Rumsfeld. Expect big diplomatic payoffs.

10. Consensus of elected leaders. President Bush has requested approval for the invasion of Iraq from Congress. The Senate debated the question and voted overwhelmingly in favor. Our nation made this decision. We made the decision. That's a powerful reason in favor. [Note from 2006: For various people, including some of the Senators who voted for this campaign, to now sit on the sidelines and whine, "I don't know anything about this and nobody told me anything and it has nothing to do with me" is despicable.]

11. To learn how to fight this new kind of war. There has never been a war like this before. We need to learn how to fight it, and keep learning as enemy tactics evolve. There's no other way to learn than just plunging in and fighting. Armchair strategists are not much help. And Iraq is big enough to blood the entire US Army and Marine Corps, without being very dangerous (by historical standards, that is. Think Shiloh, or the Meuse-Argonne Campaign).

12. Revenge. Saddam and al Qaeda have been responsible for the terror-killings of American citizens, including American diplomats. These murders have gone unpunished. It was wrong for us not to avenge them violently. (I'm using the term "revenge" provocatively, to irritate appeasers. But feel free to toss out the concept of vengeance. it is still wrong, both morally and logically, to allow criminals to flourish and prosper through their crimes, and to prey on the weak. It is a sin.)

13. Archives. Totalitarian regimes always keep good records. We are going to learn a lot about what's really been going on in the world once we get into the files. (Me, I'd scan everything and put it on the Web.)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:14 AM

fog of war...

A friend e-mailed and asked about how I thought Iraq was going.

I've always seen the Iraq Campaign as working on several levels, and having various goals. (I've posted lists from time to time. None of my drive-by lefty critics has ever dared to debate them one-by-one.) So it's not simply a win or lose thing.

We've already won on many of those levels:

But of course we are hoping to transform the whole game, not just take some pawns and rooks. In that sense I'm worried and disappointed. We'll see.

And we hoped to have the other terror-supporting tyrants quaking in their boots, not just feeling a bit nervous. They were for a while there, but that hope has been sabotaged by our own domestic traitors, who have refused, for vile partisan reasons, to support their country (and Western Civilization) in its hour of need.

And It's hard to judge things while one of the big battles of the War on Terror is being fought. I refer to the US election. All the despots and terror groups have their heels dug in, hoping for a Copperhead victory. And it's no accident that attacks in Baghdad have been ramped up just now.

We are in the fog and smoke of battle. We onlookers just can't know how it is going. Look at this, for instance:

AFP najaf • Radical cleric Muqtada Al Sadr gave the go-ahead to a US-led raid on the bastion of his Mahdi Army militia in Baghdad and plans to purge his movement of violent elements, an aide said yesterday.

Sheikh Abdel Razzaq Al Naddawi, a senior assistant to the firebrand Shi’ite preacher, said Sadr had given the green light to last week’s action by US and Iraqi forces after meeting Prime Minister Nuri Al Maliki.

“It was meant to pinpoint the bad elements and hold them accountable before the law,” Naddawi said here. “This movement does not protect those who abuse people and the innocent.”

Last week Iraqi special forces and US advisers raided an address in Sadr City hunting what they described as a death squad leader. A subsequent battle left 10 militants and four civilians dead.

Previous raids by US forces in Shi’ite districts have drawn criticism from Sadr supporters, but the powerful young cleric is trying to reposition himself as an ally of Maliki’s struggle to halt a wave of sectarian violence. (Thanks to Orrin Judd)

Don't ask me what it means...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:28 AM

October 21, 2006

"Without incident"

Right now Democrat Party symbiotes are ramping up the usual pre-election slaughter in Baghdad. And Democrat Party surrogates in the "news" media are playing this for all it's worth.

But there are other things happening that I bet you won't see on your evening news. (Just a guess, I don't watch it myself.)

The second mass pilgrimage in a month was held this past weekend without incident of violence in Iraq.

This past weekend Iraqi security forces successfully provided security for nearly one million Shia pilgrims who thronged to Najaf, Iraq in a peaceful commemoration of the death of the first imam. The pilgrimage concluded without incident...

...In September, nearly 4 million Shia pilgrims flocked to the holy city of Karbala without incident....

Just thought you might find that interesting.

(Thanks to GatewayPundit.)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:38 AM

October 12, 2006

"We believe in what we’re struggling for and we are proud of our sacrifices"

The vile Lancet is at it again. Another absurd exaggeration-of-Iraq-deaths study, released, once more, right before a US election.

(You don't need to be a statistician to shred this "study." For instance, modern warfare usually produces 3 or 4 wounded for each fatality. So according to this study, about 1 out of 10 Iraqis should have been wounded in the past 3 years. Uh huh, right. So where are they? The thing is clearly bogus, so we can expect the "pacifists" to repeat this figure as gospel.)

Please don't miss this post by Omar, of Iraq the Model....

...Among the things I cannot accept is exploiting the suffering of people to make gains that are not the least related to easing the suffering of those people. I’m talking here about those researchers who used the transparency and open doors of the new Iraq to come and count the drops of blood we shed.

Human flesh is abundant and all they have to do is call this hospital or that office to get the count of casualties, even more they can knock on doors and ask us one by one and we would answer because we’ve got nothing to be ashamed of.

We believe in what we’re struggling for and we are proud of our sacrifices.

I wonder if that research team was willing to go to North Korea or Libya and I think they wouldn’t have the guts to dare ask Saddam to let them in and investigate deaths under his regime.

No, they would’ve shit their pants the moment they set foot in Iraq and they would find themselves surrounded by the Mukhabarat men counting their breaths. However, maybe they would have the chance to receive a gift from the tyrant in exchange for painting a rosy picture about his rule.

They shamelessly made an auction of our blood, and it didn’t make a difference if the blood was shed by a bomb or a bullet or a heart attack because the bigger the count the more useful it becomes to attack this or that policy in a political race and the more useful it becomes in cheerleading for murderous tyrannical regimes....

I despise these liars. But far more, I reject with the utmost contempt the unspoken sub-text of this "study," which is that there is nothing worth fighting and dying for.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:12 AM

October 7, 2006

Tough love...

Glenn Reynolds posted an e-mail from a reader. An excerpt...

We're not losing momentum in Iraq. The Pentagon strategy is a very deliberate form of tough love that is forcing the Iraqis to defend their own country.

Arabs are culturally the most passive, fence-sitting people on the planet. By their own admission they follow the strongest leader out there. If we had sent 500,000 troops to Iraq and fought a Soviet-style counterinsurgency, the end result would have been an Iraq with no incentive to do the very hard work of creating viable fighting forces from scratch. We would've been their new masters in perpetuity....

That's what I've been saying for a long time, but not expressing it as well. When we talk of bringing democracy to the Arab world, we are really talking about forcing them to grow up. And there's no way for people to do that except by trying things and making mistakes. Your children won't grow up if you map out their lives and protect them from having to make choices or face difficulties. Same with countries.

One of the lefty lines I've encountered goes something like: "Shi'ite death squads are killing people in Iraq. Look what a horrible evil we Americans have created." This is stupid on the face of it, since there was no possibility that Shi'ites would not take some revenge for generations of oppression and murder and torture by Sunni's. (Of course leftists are especially upset because they wanted Saddam to keep killing Shi'ites and Kurds by the hundreds-of-thousands. That's called "peace," folks, and is a blessed thing.)

But it is stupid on another level, because this is a problem that the Iraqis themselves must confront and solve. Or fail to solve. If there were some way we could have squelched all Shi'te militia activity, it would, I suspect, have been a bad thing.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:06 AM

September 28, 2006

Who would have dreamed...

A new poll of Iraqis shows that al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden are rejected by overwhelming majorities of Shias and Kurds and large majorities of Sunnis.

Shias have mildly positive views of Iran and its President, while Kurds and Sunnis have strongly negative views. Shias and Kurds have mostly negative views of Syria, while Sunnis are mildly positive. Shias have overwhelmingly positive views of Hezbollah, while Kurds and Sunnis have negative views.

The poll was conducted for WorldPublicOpinion.org by conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland and was fielded by KA Research Ltd. / D3 Systems, Inc. Polling was conducted September 1-4 with a nationwide representative sample of 1,150 Iraqi adults.

It may be easy to assume that as the Iraqi people become more supportive of attacks on US-led forces (see LINK TO WPO ARTICLE 1), they may grow warmer toward al Qaeda—the probable source of a significant number of attacks on US forces. However, this does not appear to be the case. Al Qaeda is exceedingly unpopular among the Iraqi people.

Overall 94 percent have an unfavorable view of al Qaeda, with 82 percent expressing a very unfavorable view.....
(LINK. Thanks to Orrin)

Who would have thought, who would have dreamed five years ago that we would be scrying the tea-leaves of opinion polls taken right in the very heart of the Arab World! Taking them seriously!

This is a stupefying fact, and what is even more astonishing is that we live in an age where it can just be taken for granted. (Reason #1826 why Leftists discourage the study of history.) FDR led us in similar transformations of Japan and Germany and Italy, but at the hideous cost of hundreds of thousands of deaths—millions if you include the other side—and cities turned to ash and rubble as far as the eye could see.

George W Bush does the same thing at a trifling cost (Yeah, yeah, call me insensitive. But our Iraq combat death rate is not much higher than our usual non-combat death rate for our military as a whole. And minor compared to 40,000 Americans dying each year in automobile accident.)

And FDR left millions of hungry children picking through oceans of rubble for scraps, and forced tens of thousands of their mothers into prostitution to feed them, or themselves. And he's called a hero!

President Bush is excoriated because he didn't fix Iraq's sewers fast enough!

Posted by John Weidner at 8:29 AM

September 23, 2006

and one from Polish Radio...

Pajamas Media:

Given the tsunami of news coming out of Iraq in the papers and on television, it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that the media organizations of the world must have a battalion or more of reporters assigned to cover the war. But if you guessed “one or two battalions,” you’d be far off the mark. If you guessed “several squads” you’d still be wrong....

....If you guessed 9 reporters, you guessed right.
Here’s the chart (CLICK HERE TO VIEW) showing who the nine embedded reporters were covering all of Iraq on 9/19/2006. You’ll see that of those 9 reporters, 3 were from the Armed Forces’ Stars & Stripes, 1 from AFN (Armed Force Network), 1 from the Charlotte Observer, 1 from the BBC, 1 from the AP, 1 from RAI, and 1 from Polish Radio. All the rest of the “coverage” of the Iraq war on that day came from reporters hunkered down in the hotels and other locations under the rubric “Baghdad News Bureaus.”...

Being embedded is VERY dangerous. Not especially physically dangerous, but something much worse--dangerous to the lefty world-views and hate-America Bobo prejudices of the reporters.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:00 AM

September 16, 2006

"winning a big talent contest, but your parents weren’t there to see...."

Callimachus at Winds of Change has an excellent interview with a woman who spent several years working in Iraq, for a company that oversees the contractors who are working on the many reconstruction projects. It's fascinating stuff, and I recommend it.

She's bitter about how our press so-called covered the stories...

...The press missed something vital about Iraq, and as a result the American and world public never really understood. Nobody ever got it. Iraq wasn’t just another city in the US or in Europe.

And as a result US and European citizens can share no connection to and no pride whatsoever in what those of us in Iraq have accomplished. You can’t feel it, because you’ve never seen it. And those of us who have experienced it have few ways to convey it to you so you can relate to it and share it with us. There’s a pretty hollow feeling that comes with that. It’s like being a sixteen year old and winning a big talent contest, but your parents weren’t there to see....

And I'm bitter too. I've been following the scraps of these stories that surface, and knowing all along there's a lot more going on...

....Most of us took our risks because we had to to complete our jobs. Others did so because we sincerely believed in what we were doing. For many if not most, we ultimately did so for both reasons. So it is difficult for us to watch or read much of what is reported here in the States. It is even harder to watch that same media mention their own "bravery and dedication" on those rare occasions when reporters would actually leave the safety of their burrows and venture out in clean flak jackets to cover some well-secured scene.

This didn’t go completely unnoticed by others who mentioned it on returning to the States. The media’s excuse has been that they are prime targets for armed thugs that routinely look for westerners to kidnap or kill. These people do exist and they are truly deadly. But far more contractors or Iraqi and third-nation workers employed by them have been killed, wounded, kidnapped, or raped, than journalists.

More international aid workers have been killed, wounded, or kidnapped, than journalists. More Iraqi doctors, police, government workers, social aid workers, teachers, government leaders, lawyers, businessmen and religious leaders have been individually targeted, killed, wounded, raped, or kidnapped than journalists. So as it works out, journalists aren't as high up on the hit list as they claim to be. But that hasn't moved them to go out and actually do their jobs, nor has it stopped them from trumpeting their own bravery, dedication, and ... uhhh ... integrity. ...

The news producers are only interested in the reconstruction projects if there's a hint that Halliburton has screwed up, and then only so they can tell lies about the Vice-President. Same for lefty-bloggers and left-politicians. The toads are not worthy to clean the boots of the brave men and women who serve our country around the globe in the messy dangerous work that actually accomplishes things and helps people.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:36 AM

June 11, 2006

Come to think, we never did find Lucy...

As you are probably already aware, the Haditha story is starting to get some interesting critical scrutiny. A good piece to read is: Haditha: Is McGirk the New Mary Mapes?

....The sum and substance of this thumbnail sketch on the Haditha claims is that it follows so closely the template for the TANG and Plame stories. Take a reporter with an anti-Administration agenda, an interested group (think of the Mashhadanis as the VIPS in the Plame case or Burkett and Lucy Ramirez in the TANG case) and a story too good to be checked and circumstances where the people attacked are limited in what they can quickly respond to and you get a story which smells to me like it will soon be unraveled.

This time, I’m betting the consequences to the press which rushed to judgment will be more disastrous than it was to Dan Rather. I surely hope so....

Me too. Oh Please please please. Even if the Marines are guilty, the actions of our press (with a few honorable exceptions) have been utterly foul and treasonous. They have already convicted, and are already gloating about how this will help put their party into power. And even worse, they are hungry to convict America, and ever eager to minimize the crimes of terrorists and Islamists. They are on the other side.

It makes me want to just spit with fury to see how eager they are to defame our troops, who have acted with more restraint and care than probably any army in history, and suffered many deaths by being careful not to harm civilians. Our guys in WWII would have flattened Haditha with hardly a moment's hesitation. Called in the artillery, or gone in behind tanks, tossing dynamite into basements.

Lafayette Baker, come back, come back, come back. Your country needs you.

* Update: TIME is issuing retractions on various details of their big "scoop." The retractions, of course, are buried where no one is likely to see them...except that, these days, there are these things called "weblogs"...Too bad, suckers.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:26 AM

June 7, 2006

Marshes destroyed by thoughtlessness...

Wretchard points to this invitation to a conference by the Harvard Design School, MESOPOTAMIAN MARSHES & MODERN DEVELOPMENT: Practical Approaches for Sustaining Restored Ecological & Cultural Landscapes

...The Mesopotamian Marshes, located between the Tigres and Euphrates Rivers in southern Iraq, were historically one of the world's most important wetland environments. The area of once over 20,000 square kilometers—thought by some to be the original Garden of Eden—provided habitat for millions of migrating birds and has been inhabited since the time of the Sumerians by thousands of people living on artificial islands of mud and reeds and depending on sustainable fishing and farming. Since the early 1990s, however, this important ecological and unique cultural jewel has been devastated by a series of thoughtless dam constructions and deliberate water diversions that has led to what many have come to regard as one of the most severe “ecocides” in human history...

I guess I'm glad to see anyone helping on this matter, which is near to my heart. And I guess the price we have to pay to enlist the help of the superior beings at Harvard is to never mention Saddam Hussein! No no, the Marshes were spoiled by "thoughtless dam constructions." It's funny how absent-minded people can be, especially when building dams.

I know how to re-build the marshes! We will declare that they were destroyed by a fascist-Republican conspiracy led by George W Bush. The the environmentalist organizations and the Europeans and Al Gore will then fling themselves into a spirited effort at restoration. (The Marsh Arabs would have to give up cigarettes, of course, but that's a small price to pay.)

Wretchard also links to this article which indicates that recovery of those areas that have been re-flooded is better than expected. Fascinating. And it's maddening how little information we get. One of the biggest environmental stories of our time, but news? No way. Our vile news media is on the other side, and the only "enemy" to be fought is the President of the USA. The crimes of Saddam go into the Memory Hole.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:10 AM

June 5, 2006

The real American crime in Iraq...

Actually, if you want an American crime, this is the real thing. From an NYT article on those investigating the mass graves of Iraq:

....What happened here is not only a macabre marker in the history of Iraq under Mr. Hussein, but a harrowing footnote in American politics. The victims here, American and Iraqi officials say, died in Mr. Hussein's suppression of the Shiite uprising across southern Iraq in early 1991. It was a rebellion that survivors — and American critics of the President George H. W. Bush — say that the president encouraged after halting American troops at Iraq's southern border with Kuwait at the end of the Persian Gulf war.

For years, Middle East experts have debated Mr. Bush's role in encouraging Iraq's Shiites and Kurds to mount a challenge to Mr. Hussein after the war over Iraq's invasion of Kuwait ended, before ruling out American military action to halt the mass killings of Shiites that Mr. Hussein initiated to crush the uprising. Mr. Bush himself has said that what happened to the Shiites was one of the deepest regrets of his presidency.

For the American forensic experts who came to Iraq after the 2003 invasion, the desert camp is a way station toward holding Mr. Hussein accountable for what many Iraqi human rights experts say was the most merciless passage in his 24 years in power.

Raid Juhi, chief investigative judge for the Iraqi court now trying Mr. Hussein in another case, said during a visit here on Saturday that the court had documentary evidence, and statements from witnesses, showing that at least 100,000 Shiites, and possibly 180,000, died in the 1991 repression....

I have blogged often about why the Iraq Campaign was a smart move, the best second step of the War. I should have emphasized more that it was also a moral necessity.

Neither sort of argument would, of course, make any dent upon the frauds of the "anti-war" movement. Nor do the mass-graves, no matter how many are excavated.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:59 AM

May 28, 2006

The unreported story...

The incident at Haditha is still being investigated. If the marines did murder civilians, it was a terrible thing, and they should and will be punished.

But the press and the anti-American Left is already drooling over the story, and has already convicted, and is already telling lies. (See this by Hugh Hewitt, where he interviews Gen Bahms, whose words were misrepresented by the WaPo.)

But incidents like this, or Abu Ghraib, or My Lai, always have another story that they cast like a shadow, a sort of anti-story. And that story is NEVER REPORTED.

There are two parts to the unreported story.

One is that the tactics of the Viet Cong, or the "insurgents" in Iraq, are intended to provoke atrocities. The My Lai Massacre story is still being told--my son learned about it in school--but it's never mentioned that the Viet Cong routinely used civilians to cover their attacks, and routinely pretended to be civilians. These are war crimes, they were committed daily, but get no attention from the sort of people who are eager to find American war crimes. And the explicit intention of these war crimes, taught by the Soviets, was to provoke attacks on civilians.

Similarly, there is very little mention of the terrorists in Iraq or Afghanistan using schools and mosques and civilian crowds for their attacks. It is virtually unreported that Abu Ghraib prison was under frequent mortar and rocket attack by the terrorists, and at the same time we were humiliating some prisoners, they were killing and maiming them by the hundreds! Kinda spoils the artistic effect of the story to put in those extraneous details...

Second, the other part of the unreported story is that, for every My Lai (or Haditha, or Abu Ghraib) there were tens of thousands of My Lais that didn't happen. Daily incidents that didn't result in any massacres. Another tiresome detail best left out, so as not to spoil ones Pulitzer possibilities.

And you know what's going to make me really furious, if this works out the way these things have in the past? Not the blatant Left who will be crowing and high-fiving over this, but the hypocritical Left, who will pretend to be "heartbroken," and to be "devastated" that the "American they love could have fallen so low," and "our military's honor be so besmirched." Foul liars. They never show the slightest interest in the (infinitely greater numbers of) good deeds our soldiers do, so they have not the slightest right to pretend that they care.

Oh, and Third. It occurs to me that there is another part to the unreported story. The tactics of our enemies (and similarly the enemies of Israel, or Britain or Australia) testify to the simple fact that we are the good guys. They only work because we care. We would never try to provoke the terrorists into massacring civilians--why bother, they do it voluntarily all the time, and the press and the Left don't care about those civilians anyway.

This whole story is based on the fact that we are the good guys, and the Left and the press is allied with our enemies to use this against us.

* Correction: The interview with General Bahms was by Mary Katherine Ham. She co-blogs at Hugh Hewitt's blog.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:32 AM

May 22, 2006


OK, whatever your theory of life and the Cosmos is, I'm guessing this data point doesn't fit your template. (Which pleases me. There are still mysteries!)

JOHN BERMAN, ABCNews, May 19, 2006 — I have been to Iraq nine times since the American invasion three years ago, for a total of about 10 solid months. (My wife is counting.) During that time, I have seen bombs and blood, I have seen rebuilding and restructuring, and I have seen death and democracy. So what have I heard? That's easy: Lionel Richie.

Grown Iraqi men get misty-eyed by the mere mention of his name. "I love Lionel Richie," they say. Iraqis who do not understand a word of English can sing an entire Lionel Richie song....

....I decided I had to investigate, and not just investigate, I decided I had to ask Lionel Richie himself. So I called him from Baghdad. Actually it was a formal interview. It was the first interview with Lionel Richie ever on the subject of Iraq and Iraqis.

I asked Richie if he knows just how big he is here. He said, "The answer is, I'm huge, huge in the Arab world. The answer as to why is, I don't have the slightest idea."

He has performed in Morocco, Dubai, Qatar and Libya. There is obviously something up there. The more we talked, the more he theorized as to the reasons his music might be so popular here. He thinks it is because of the simple message in his music: Love.

Richie says he was told Iraqis were playing "All Night Long," on the streets the night U.S. tanks rolled into the country in 2003....
Posted by John Weidner at 6:01 PM

May 21, 2006

It was indeed a true tale...

Last February I blogged the letter from the Mayor of Tal Afar, Iraq, thanking the people of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment for saving his city from terrorists.

But I wondered at the time whether I could trust its authenticity. Perhaps it was just an Internet fake? I've been burned before. I concluded, rightly, that it was too widespread, and so, if it were a fake, someone would have called it, and that news would also be spreading across the blogosphere (though not so fast as a good lie does.)

Here's a better confirmation. The mayor is visiting Fort Carson, to thank 3d ACR in person!

...."Thank you."

It was a telling gesture from Tal Afar Mayor Najim Al Jibouri, who spoke for about 20 minutes in his native tongue praising the 3rd Armored Cavalry for saving his city from certain ruin.

It was his first trip to the United States, arriving via Washington, D.C., then coming to Colorado Springs with his wife and son.

The mayor was invited as a part of a welcoming ceremony at Fort Carson for those who had just finished another tour in Iraq.

Al Jibouri, dressed in a black suit with a lavender tie, said he was glad to be back among them.

"Are you truly my friends?" he asked through a translator. "Yes. I walk a happier man because you are my friends. You are the world to me. I smell the sweet perfume that emanates from your flower of your strength, honor and greatness in every corner of Tal Afar. The nightmares of terror fled when the lion of your bravery entered our city."...
(From Rocky Mountain News. Thanks to Orrin Judd)

Rocky Mountain News, OK. I bet the story doesn't spread to the big papers. Now if the mayor criticized the USA, that would be "news." If not, not.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:51 AM

May 20, 2006


Washington Post: Iraqi Parliament Approves New Cabinet: May 20--Iraq's parliament swore in its full-term prime minister and his cabinet Saturday, a political milestone U.S. leaders hope will allow a new government to begin solving the country's problems and lead to the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops...

This is a splendid moment folks! As has happened many times in the past few years, the nay-sayers have been proved wrong, and George W Bush and his supporters have been vindicated. And the people of Iraq have once again repudiated the sneering democracy-hating leftists who said, wishfully, that their hopes of freedom were doomed.

<obligatory disclaimer>Of course Iraq will hit many rough patches in the years to come, and might even fail </obligatory disclaimer> But I predict that Iraq will continue to justify our faith,and there will be more moments like this to look forward to.

And it is also easy to predict that our despicable America-hating news media will continue to underplay any American triumph, especially if it might help Republicans. If you think I'm exaggerating, just read the article. One sentence of good news, "balanced" by the entire rest of the article being filled with any bad news that they could scrape up, with almost no positive information about the new Government. They've done their duty for their bosses at the DNC.

Even the one picture that accompanies the article is not of the new Prime Minister, but of a funeral some some guy in the Al-Mahdi Army, killed by police (Good for them).

And even that one sentence is stupidly snarky and negative. "a political milestone U.S. leaders hope will allow a new government to begin solving the country's problems" What crap. the Iraqis have already made enormous strides in solving their problems. Read this, if you doubt me.

Oh well, the annoyance is a small matter compared to knowing that I'm on the winning side, and the terrorist/news-media/Democrat Alliance is losing.

Posted by John Weidner at 5:48 PM

May 19, 2006

Vee haf VAYS of teaching you to bicycle...

You must read--you've probably already read--Amir Taheri's assessment of Iraq. this is one interesting point (out of many)...

....Their critique can be summarized in the aphorism that democracy cannot be imposed by force. It is a view that can be found among the more sophisticated elements on the Left and, increasingly, among dissenters on the Right, from Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska to the ex-neoconservative Francis Fukuyama. As Senator Hagel puts it, You cannot in my opinion just impose a democratic form of government on a country with no history and no culture and no tradition of democracy.

I would tend to agree. But is Iraq such a place? In point of fact, before the 1958 pro-Soviet military coup detat that established a leftist dictatorship, Iraq did have its modest but nevertheless significant share of democratic history, culture, and tradition. The country came into being through a popular referendum held in 1921. A constitutional monarchy modeled on the United Kingdom, it had a bicameral parliament, several political parties (including the Ba'ath and the Communists), and periodic elections that led to changes of policy and government. At the time, Iraq also enjoyed the freest press in the Arab world, plus the widest space for debate and dissent in the Muslim Middle East.

To be sure, Baghdad in those days was no Westminster, and, as the 1958 coup proved, Iraqi democracy was fragile. But every serious student of contemporary Iraq knows that substantial segments of the population, from all ethnic and religious communities, had more than a taste of the modern world's democratic aspirations. As evidence, one need only consult the immense literary and artistic production of Iraqis both before and after the 1958 coup. Under successor dictatorial regimes, it is true, the conviction took hold that democratic principles had no future in Iraq, a conviction that was responsible in large part for driving almost five million Iraqis, a quarter of the population, into exile between 1958 and 2003, just as the opposite conviction is attracting so many of them and their children back to Iraq today...

Actually, I think the argument "democracy cannot be imposed by force" is fallacious. It's an example of a "strawman argument." Nobody is, in fact, imposing democracy by force--it's always invitational. The voters can always stay home, or vote for the most anti-democratic party. But they never do.

Not only is this a strawman, but the truism is itself, I think, false. All humans "get" democracy; it's part of our natures. We can all do it. The argument is like saying "you can't impose bicycle-riding by force." In fact, you could, and if you did, almost all able-bodied people would learn to ride bicycles. What you can't do by force is keep people from falling down while learning.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:29 AM

April 14, 2006

Keep in mind...

You've probably noticed the people who are saying that, if we attack Iran, the Iranian-led terror groups will attack our troops in Iraq? Keep in mind that these are the same people who have been insisting that the "insurgency" is a purely domestic Iraqi movement, that arose only because of our horrid blunders...

(Of course, even if it is true that we face attacks in Iraq---I suspect it is a lot of wishful thinking---that's a reason to favor an attack, not avoid it. The idea that in a war you should avoid attacking because you might be counter-attacked is suicidal idiocy.)

Posted by John Weidner at 1:41 PM

April 4, 2006

They carry medallions in their pockets...

One of the things that pisses me off most, when I think of the Abu Ghraib scandal, is all the phonies and liars who claimed to be "heartbroken," or "So disappointed in America," or "I'm so sad our military has lost its honor" or "this country is not what it used to be."

How do I know they are phonies and liars? Am I just making wild accusations, or do I have evidence? (OF COURSE I have evidence! I ALWAYS have evidence. You read Random J, you get the straight dope, with no BS.)

IF, if if if, those people did, as they claimed, care about America, and about the honor of our military, etc etc., then they would also be looking for the GOOD in America, and the GOOD in our military, and stories like this would recieve wide publicity. This is from The Faith of the American Soldier, by Stephen Mansfield, page 156:

....It worked. Both through the reforms that the military enacted to correct the scandals, and through the proactive ministries of the new chaplains, Abu Ghraib has been transformed. Chaplain Taylor explained that there have been no further abuses and that, in fact, the prison has become a model success story. Attendence at chapel services reaches into the hundreds. Now, many of the soldiers stationed at Abu Ghraib with the 391st [Military Police Battalion, from Columbus, Ohio] carry medallions in their pockets that express their pride in the opportunity to live down the negative stigma of the prison. The slogan on the coin defines their newfound sense of mission. It says simply, "Restoring America's Honor."....

"Restoring America's Honor." Well, you could have predicted it. But they won't get any praise from media or leftiests or "pacifists", because this story doesn't fit the Party Line. And the harpies who gorged on Abu Ghraib don't want America's honor restored. They hate America. When Abu Ghraib hit the news, they swelled up to twice their size, and their eyes glowed, and they made little smacking noises with their lips (metaphorically speaking).

And, by the way, they were also liars and hypocrites when they claimed to feel sorry for the poor prisoners. At the same time the scandal was happening, hundreds of those prisoners were being killed or maimed by mortar attacks on the prison by terrorists. None of the sob-sisters ever mentioned that, or gave the slightest bit of criticism to the terrorists. They never do.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:07 PM

April 1, 2006

The raft of state...

From an article bout Secretary of State Rice's trip to England, 'Tactical Errors' Made In Iraq, Rice Concedes:

...But in response to a question about whether the administration had learned from its mistakes over the past three years, she said officials would be "brain-dead" if they did not recognize where they had erred.

"I know we've made tactical errors, thousands of them I'm sure," Rice said. "But when you look back in history, what will be judged is, did you make the right strategic decisions."...

This is so right, so smart, that it makes my head spin to think that brain-dead lefties will probably seize on it as an admission of something being wrong.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:56 PM

March 20, 2006

"We could have been living in a different world"

Mike Plaiss sent a link to this piece by Christopher Hitchins, and wrote, "Skip to the very last line if you want - its beautiful, and sounds like something you may have written..." Well, he's too kind about my writing, to compare it to Hitchins. But the ideas expressed are just right...

.....So, now I come at last to my ideal war. Let us start with President Bush's speech to the United Nations on Sept. 12, 2002, which I recommend that you read. Contrary to innumerable sneers, he did not speak only about WMD and terrorism, important though those considerations were. He presented an argument for regime change and democracy in Iraq and said, in effect, that the international community had tolerated Saddam's deadly system for far too long. Who could disagree with that? Here's what should have happened. The other member states of the United Nations should have said: Mr. President, in principle you are correct. The list of flouted U.N. resolutions is disgracefully long. Law has been broken, genocide has been committed, other member-states have been invaded, and our own weapons inspectors insulted and coerced and cheated. Let us all collectively decide how to move long-suffering Iraq into the post-Saddam era. We shall need to consider how much to set aside to rebuild the Iraqi economy, how to sponsor free elections, how to recuperate the devastated areas of the marshes and Kurdistan, how to try the war criminals, and how many multinational forces to ready for this task. In the meantime—this is of special importance—all governments will make it unmistakably plain to Saddam Hussein that he can count on nobody to save him. All Iraqi diplomats outside the country, and all officers and officials within it, will receive the single message that it is time for them to switch sides or face the consequences. Then, when we are ready, we shall issue a unanimous ultimatum backed by the threat of overwhelming force. We call on all democratic forces in all countries to prepare to lend a hand to the Iraqi people and assist them in recovering from more than three decades of fascism and war.

Not a huge amount to ask, when you think about it. But what did the president get instead? The threat of unilateral veto from Paris, Moscow, and Beijing. Private assurances to Saddam Hussein from members of the U.N. Security Council. Pharisaic fatuities from the United Nations' secretary-general, who had never had a single problem wheeling and dealing with Baghdad. The refusal to reappoint Rolf Ekeus—the only serious man in the U.N. inspectorate—to the job of invigilation. A tirade of opprobrium, accusing Bush of everything from an oil grab to a vendetta on behalf of his father to a secret subordination to a Jewish cabal. Platforms set up in major cities so that crowds could be harangued by hardened supporters of Milosevic and Saddam, some of them paid out of the oil-for-food bordello.

Well, if everyone else is allowed to rewind the tape and replay it, so can I. We could have been living in a different world, and so could the people of Iraq, and I shall go on keeping score about this until the last phony pacifist has been strangled with the entrails of the last suicide-murderer.

do read it all..

Posted by John Weidner at 2:16 PM

March 7, 2006

Worth noting...

Ralph Peters of the NY Post, is in Iraq, and writes:

AMONG the many positive stories you aren't being told about Iraq, the media ignored another big one last week: In the wake of the terrorist bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra, it was the Iraqi army that kept the peace in the streets.

It's routinely declared a failure by those who yearn for the new Iraq to fail. But an increasingly capable Iraqi military has been developing while reporters (who never really investigated the issue) wrote it off as hopeless.

What actually happened last week, as the prophets of doom in the media prematurely declared civil war?

* The Iraqi army deployed over 100,000 soldiers to maintain public order. U.S. Forces remained available as a backup, but Iraqi soldiers controlled the streets.

* Iraqi forces behaved with discipline and restraint - as the local sectarian outbreaks fizzled, not one civilian had been killed by an Iraqi soldier.

* Time and again, Iraqi military officers were able to defuse potential confrontations and frustrate terrorist hopes of igniting a religious war.

* Forty-seven battalions drawn from all 10 of Iraq's army divisions took part in an operation that, above all, aimed at reassuring the public. The effort worked - from the luxury districts to the slums, the Iraqis were proud of their army.....

If you've studied much military history, you will know that creating an army is extremely difficult. Creating an Arab army that can come close to Western standards, especially US and Israeli standards has never been done. This is actually a huge rebuke to those who think that the Arab world is incapable of change, and are doomed to be our enemies, all of them.

And yes, yes, I know that lots of things can still go wrong. But if I had said a couple of years ago that a major upheaval in Iraq in early 2006 would be dealt with without the need for US intervention, and without any (that I've heard of) failures or mistakes by the Iraqi Army, most people would have called me a crazy dreamer.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:15 AM

February 27, 2006

Bush did not lie...

Here's a good editorial in Investor's Business Daily, on the Saddam tapes:

...Inconveniently for critics of the war, Saddam made tapes in his version of the Oval Office. These tapes landed in the hands of American intelligence and were recently aired publicly.

The first 12 hours of the tapes — there are hundreds more waiting to be translated — are damning, to say the least. They show conclusively that Bush didn't lie when he cited Saddam's WMD plans as one of the big reasons for taking the dictator out.

Nobody disputes the tapes' authenticity. On them, Saddam talks openly of programs involving biological, chemical and, yes, nuclear weapons.

War foes have long asserted that Saddam halted his WMD programs in the wake of his defeat in the first Gulf War in 1991. Saddam's abandonment of WMD programs was confirmed by subsequent U.N. inspections.

Again, not true. In a tape dating to April 1995, Saddam and several aides discuss the fact that U.N. inspectors had found traces of Iraq's biological weapons program. On the tape, Hussein Kamel, Saddam's son-in-law, is heard gloating about fooling the inspectors.

"We did not reveal all that we have," he says. "Not the type of weapons, not the volume of the materials we imported, not the volume of the production we told them about, not the volume of use. None of this was correct."

There's more. Indeed, as late as 2000, Saddam can be heard in his office talking with Iraqi scientists about his ongoing plans to build a nuclear device. At one point, he discusses Iraq's plasma uranium program — something that was missed entirely by U.N. weapons inspectors combing Iraq for WMD.

This is particularly troubling, since it indicates an active, ongoing attempt by Saddam to build an Iraqi nuclear bomb. "What was most disturbing," said John Tierney, the ex- FBI agent who translated the tapes, "was the fact that the individuals briefing Saddam were totally unknown to the U.N. Special Commission (or UNSCOM, the group set up to look into Iraq's WMD programs)."

Perhaps most chillingly, the tapes record Iraq Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz talking about how easy it would be to set off a WMD in Washington. The comments come shortly after Saddam muses about using "proxies" in a terror attack.... (my emphasis)

The idea that Saddam had lost interest in WMD's, and was not a danger, was always a shit-stupid one. Now all sorts of information is oozing to the surface. The people pushing the "Bush lied" line were either liars themselves, or people who desperately didn't want to know. The truth is painful, and all sorts of pacifist fairy-tale castles and bureaucratic empires are endangered by it.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:26 PM

February 26, 2006

"those who felt like doing something have done what they've done"

Interesting, from Omar at Iraq the Model:

Curfew extended in Baghdad and three other provinces.
The defense minister in a press conference currently on Iraqi TV gave statistics to correct what he described as "exaggerated media reports" about civilian casualties and attacks on mosques since the attack on the Samarra shrine:

Mosques attacked/shot at without damage: 21 not 51
Moderately damaged: 6 not 23
Mosques destroyed totally: 1 not 3
Mosques occupied by militias: 1 not 2 (evacuated later).
Civilians killed: 119 not 183

It was also announced that day-time curfew in Baghdad and three other provinces (Salahiddin, Diyala and Babil) will continue for another two days.

More from the press conference:

In the same press conference, the interior minister said "we are not going to show tolerance towards those who cause violence anymore, those who felt like doing something have done what they done but we will accept no more of this" obviously referring to those who let their anger push them to violence.....

Somehow, that doesn't sound like "civil war" to me. I expect a lot of people were indulging in wishful thinking. Bush-haters of course, but also those who may be hoping for a "clash of civilizations" to make life seem exciting. But it looks like the slow boring work being done under the banner of the Bush Doctrine will go on.

And, though superior beings will recoil in horror from me for saying this, it also looks like the "insurgency" was a good thing. It has apparently immunized Iraq against terrorists. The Golden Mosque was surely destroyed in order to foment a civil war. But that isn't happening. Iraqis are seeing through this trick.

And I'd say it means that whoever did the deed--al Queda or Ba'athists (or NewsWeek)--knows they are losing. This was a desperate throw. Its failure will strengthen the forces of moderation and freedom in Iraq.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:55 AM

February 14, 2006

Avenging angels sent by The God Himself...

Excerpt from a letter from the Mayor...

In the Name of God the Compassionate and Merciful
To the Courageous Men and Women of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who have changed the city of Tall’ Afar from a ghost town, in which terrorists spread death and destruction, to a secure city flourishing with life.

To the lion-hearts who liberated our city from the grasp of terrorists who were beheading men, women and children in the streets for many months.

To those who spread smiles on the faces of our children, and gave us restored hope, through their personal sacrifice and brave fighting, and gave new life to the city after hopelessness darkened our days, and stole our confidence in our ability to reestablish our city.

Our city was the main base of operations for Abu Mousab Al Zarqawi. The city was completely held hostage in the hands of his henchmen. Our schools, governmental services, businesses and offices were closed. Our streets were silent, and no one dared to walk them. Our people were barricaded in their homes out of fear; death awaited them around every corner. Terrorists occupied and controlled the only hospital in the city. Their savagery reached such a level that they stuffed the corpses of children with explosives and tossed them into the streets in order to kill grieving parents attempting to retrieve the bodies of their young. This was the situation of our city until God prepared and delivered unto them the courageous soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who liberated this city, ridding it of Zarqawi’s followers after harsh fighting, killing many terrorists, and forcing the remaining butchers to flee the city like rats to the surrounding areas, where the bravery of other 3d ACR soldiers in Sinjar, Rabiah, Zumar and Avgani finally destroyed them.

I have met many soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment; they are not only courageous men and women, but avenging angels sent by The God Himself to fight the evil of terrorism....

NAJIM ABDULLAH ABID AL-JIBOURI Mayor of Tall ‘Afar, Ninewa, Iraq

(From Mudville Gazette, thanks to Rand)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:09 AM

February 7, 2006

A Morsel of good news...

Remember how Chrenkoff used to do his "good news from Iraq" reports? Alas, he got a new job that didn't leave him time for them.

Here's an interesting bit of news picked up by Sachi, about the Japanese helping restore the Iraqi Marshes...

...Japan's contribution is not just money. Japanese troops have been in southern Iraq since the end of 2003, many months before the UNEP got involved in July of 2004, helping the locals to restore clean water. (The Japanese troops are also helping open medical clinics in Iraq, something Americans rarely hear about: Iraq the Model's Omar once mentioned that the new clinic in Samawa was opened largely due to Japanese troops' direct efforts. Alas, it was some time ago, and we don't have the link.)

A major problem is that the Iraqi Marsh is a salt marsh with a very high sodium content, moreso now than when it was in its prime. In order to alleviate this problem, Japan employs highly technological desalinization equipment, equipment that needs constant maintenance and occasional repairs. (One of the best desalinization programs in the world is in Israel; but for reasons which should be obvious, Israelis cannot be involved with the program in Iraq.)

The good news is that there are many educated Iraqi civil engineers that the UNEP can reliably task to operate and maintain the desalinization plants. One Japanese official candidly told Silverlining that such a program could not possibly work in a place like sub-Saharan Africa, because there simply are not enough people who could keep it running.

Because of the abdication of the Antique Media from any news reporting about Operation Iraqi Freedom (other than an obsession with death counts), Americans and Europeans know virtually nothing about the numerous reconstruction (and construction) projects going on in Iraq. You would think that the American environmentalist groups would be ecstatic that we're busily restoring wetlands in Iraq; but then, as Ann Coulter says, they would have to be on the same side as the United States...

The marshes were one of the wonders of the world, about 20,000 square kilometers, with a culture that dates back 5,000 years.Their draining by Saddam was one of the greatest ecological crimes of our time. I read Thesiger's book the Marsh Arabs when I was a boy. And long ago I read about Iraq's problems with salinity of the ground water in crop lands, so I would love to know more about that desalination effort.

There's very little info at all about what's happening. it's a vivid sign of the deep sickness of our leftists that neither the press nor the so-called environmental groups can spare any attention for this. They are taking BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) to a new low...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:55 PM

December 26, 2005

It was just harmless garden-variety thiodiglycol...

I bet you don't see this on the TV news...

The TIMES: A DUTCH businessman was found guilty of war crimes and sentenced to 15 years in prison yesterday for helping Saddam Hussein to acquire the chemical weapons that he used to kill thousands of Kurdish civilians in the Iran-Iraq war....

....Prosecutors accused Van Anraat of delivering more than 1,000 tonnes of thiodiglycol. It can be used to make mustard gas, which causes horrific burns to the lungs and eyes and is often fatal.

He was also accused of importing chemicals to make nerve agents. The prosecution said that the lethal cargo was shipped from America via Belgium and Jordan to Iraq. He also imported other shipments from Japan via Italy.

Van Anraat was first arrested in 1989 in Italy on a US warrant. He then fled to Baghdad where he lived for 14 years under an assumed name. After the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 he made his way back to the Netherlands, where he was arrested a year ago....

So Saddam harbored this guy for 14 years. Uh huh. Probably the kind-hearted Iraqi leader was protecting him from persecution by lying Americans with their paranoid fantasies of imaginary chemical weapons...(Thanks to Captain Ed).

Posted by John Weidner at 5:18 PM

December 18, 2005

Massacre of the innocents...

Bill Roggio continues to be a must-read. This post is about the Iraqi elections, and a terrorist attack on a school...

....We waited on the top deck of the dam for the night flight back to the air base. The flights were delayed as there was a lightening storm across the lake, which along with high winds precluded the helos from landing. After a month in Iraq with dry clear skies, the lightening strikes in the distance were a sight to behold.

The weather cleared at 2:00 AM, and we loaded the ballots onto the helos, and took the short flight back to Asad. Once there, the ballots where unloaded and stored in a secure location. It was quite an experience to accompany the transformation of mere sheets of paper into a statement of self determination and will.

The elation of the long days of travel and witnessing history was punctured by events in Barwana late this morning. The place where I stood just hours ago, a place of joy and hope for the Iraqi people, became a scene of terror and sorrow. The polling center, which once was a Ba’ath Party headquarters and now has been converted into a school, was struck by three mortar rounds.

Four children and one Iraqi soldier died on the spot. The soldiers were cleaning up the site from yesterday’s crowds while the children were playing soccer in the schoolyard. Two other children were wounded and evacuated to the air base for medical treatment. One of the children died while being treated. “Insurgents” continue to have no compunctions against killing children in their quests to destroy the dreams of the Iraqi people. And the joy of the ballots – possessing the will of Barwana’s citizens – continue to stand against the perpetrators of such acts of evil....

These animals who fire mortars into a school are the animals that our "peace activists" want us to surrender to so they can work their will on the Middle East. And of course none of our phony peaceniks or phony bishops or phony "Democrats" will expend any energy condemning this outrage. Their only goal is to put Democrats in the White House, and a few children are worth sacrificing for that...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:17 AM

December 10, 2005

Known as "the Butcher"

Cori Dauber points to this fascinating story, which the "mainstream" media apparently don't consider "news." Only Fox reported it...

FoxNews BAGHDAD, Iraq — Iraqi citizens turned over a high-ranking Al Qaeda member known as "the Butcher" to U.S. forces in Ramadi Friday a military statement said.

Amir Khalaf Fanus was No. 3 on the 28th Infantry Division's High Value Individual list for Ramadi, wanted for murder and kidnapping in connection with his affiliation with Al Qaeda in Iraq.

"He is the highest ranking Al Qaeda in Iraq member to be turned into Iraqi and U.S. officials by local citizens," Capt. Jeffrey S. Pool said in a statement released from Camp Blue Diamond in Ramadi. "His capture is another indication that the local citizens tire of the insurgents' presence within their community."

According to Pool, Iraqi and U.S. Forces "have witnessed increasing signs of citizens fighting the terrorists within Ramadi as the Dec. 15 National Elections draw nearer."

He said that another 1,200 Iraqi Security Force soldiers were recently stationed in Ramadi, while 1,100 Iraqi special police commandos and a mechanized Iraqi army company had moved into the city.

What's grimly amusing, as always, is that the Gasping Media [one of the Iraqi bloggers came up with that term...I love it..] think they are helping Democrats by protecting us from good news from Iraq. In fact they are setting the Dems up for richly-deserved defeats in '06 and '08. Republicans are already creating ads featuring nothing but clips of Democrat leaders expressing their defeatist hate-America views. With a white flag for decoration. Ha ha. To see them is to know them...and feel utter contempt.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:03 PM

December 6, 2005

I think this means were at the "mopping up" stage

AP, WASHINGTON -- Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, likened the war in Iraq to Vietnam yesterday and said, ''The idea that the United States is going to win the war in Iraq is just plain wrong,"...(Thanks to Hugh)

Ha ha. Life is frustrating, but there are moments, oh yes. This is better than when RW Apple said that Afghanistan was a "quagmire! (A week after we started!)"

Actually our Iraq Campaign had multiple reasons (not all of which could be articulated in this limp-wristed age) and so it can have multiple "wins." Let's see how we are doing...

√ Transform WoT; make terrorists react to OUR moves, not vice versa.
√ End dangerous perception that Americans won't take casualties.
√ Destroy one terror-supporting tyrant, to wake-up the others.
√ Force the terrorists to stand and fight, by seizing part of the Arab Heartland.
√ End Saddam's internal war against his own people. (Which was so hideous a war you'd think even pacifists might be glad it was stopped--but you would be wrong.)
√ Eliminate future danger from Saddam's WMD's.
    Bring Democracy to Iraq, to create an anti-terrorist ally in the ME [On track]
    Bring Democracy to Iraq, to begin a wave of transformation in the ME [On track]
√ Uncover the Oil-for-Food scandal (Unanticipated, but very important)
√ Position our forces adjacent to certain terror-supporting countries; Syria, Iran, Arabia...
√ Restore national honor.
√ Expose Leftist pretenses of being "anti-fascist" and "pro-democracy" for the vile shams that they are.

Not too shabby. I could add more, but this seems to hit most of the high points...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:36 AM

November 24, 2005

"To Americans, genealogy is a hobby. To Iraqis, it is honor..."

I found very interesting an article by Michael Rubin on Ahmad Chalabi in National Review. (You can read the beginning here. But you have to be a subscriber to read the rest.)

...While the CIA has politicized its intelligence products to support its own proxies, its analytical failures go beyond institutional axe-grinding. Most analysts are in their 20s and 30s; recruited fresh out of college or graduate school, few have significant experience in the countries to which they are assigned. Security officers look with suspicion on anyone with too many foreign contacts and too much time spent in adversarial countries. While many CIA analysts gain book knowledge of their subjects, they lack cultural understanding. They study politicians, but have no sense of personalities. Too often, their products reflect mirror-imaging of the analysts’ own thought-processes into their subjects. Cultural equivalence, too, pollutes analysis: Family may be important to Americans and Iraqis alike, but it means much more for Iraqis. To Americans, genealogy is a hobby. To Iraqis, it is honor.

And here Chalabi has an advantage. Chalabi’s grandfather built modern Kadhimiya, a sprawling Shiite town that has since been absorbed into modern Baghdad; his father was president of the Iraqi senate during the monarchy. Genealogy gives gravitas. In contrast, even as Iraqis suffered under Saddam Hussein’s rule, they expressed disdain for Saddam with reference to his uncertain paternity. (In post-liberation Iraq, the CIA’s blind eye toward genealogy has been evident in its embrace of powerful Baathist families — the Bunias and al-Janabis, for example — even as many Iraqis dismiss such figures as déclassé and embarrassing beneficiaries of Saddam’s largesse.)....

....While all the other Governing Council members appropriated large houses abandoned by officials of the previous regime, Chalabi returned to his family’s home — and the symbolism was clear to Iraqis. Ayad Allawi, in contrast, hemorrhaged support after accepting a house in the Green Zone and employing American security contractors. ...
Posted by John Weidner at 1:52 PM

Pure malarky...

I've noticed Juan Cole's interpretation of the Cairo conference being quoted here and there...

...The other surprise of the Cairo conference is that the negotiators accepted the right for Iraqi groups to mount an armed resistance against the foreign troops. The participants were careful to condemn universally the killing of innocent non-combatants. They decried "takfir" or declaring a Muslim to be an unbeliever...[my emphasis]

In fact this is just Cole's Third-Worldist anti-American fantasy. Tony Badran has the real story...

(Thanks to Dan Darling)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:14 AM

November 23, 2005

Awesomely cute...

I loved this photo essay on Iraqi schools and children, by Michael Yon. I've read, in accounts by our soldiers, that Iraqis really love their children, and that you don't see there the abandoned or maimed begging children that are found in other poor countries...

Also worth reading is his account of the party thrown by the unit he was embedded with in Iraq, "Deuce-Four," after returning home to the States...

(Thanks to Hugh Hewitt)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:29 AM

November 4, 2005

A real man of peace...

You might want to read Kerry Dupont's article in NRO, Hero of the People: Meet Iraqi’s Mithal al-Alusi. Al-Alusi has been savagely attacked (his two sons were recently killed in an attack aimed at him) for his trip to Israel, for his call for peace between all nations of the Middle East, and for his refusal to have any dealings with former members of the Ba'ath Party...

...As for the advocates of religious intolerance willing to kill the [Iraqi] identity, or those who now imagine they might establish a [new] state in Iraq, be it religious or non-religious, I tell them, "Brothers, verily you have made a grave mistake." I tell them, "There can be no state in Iraq except for one founded on institutions and law. . . . I will continue to call for peace — even [for peace] with Israel. And may all the world hear that there will be no war if the Palestinians, Syrians, Egyptians, and Jordanians do not want war. I am not prepared to allow Iraqis to be turned into kindling for the flames of terrorists and ghosts of death....

He's a very different sort from our own worthless "peaceniks," who invariably align their campaigns to whatever the Left desires, and for whom "peace" means appeasement to terrorists, and eternal bondage for the oppressed. And you won't read about him in the Old Media, because he's a friend to America, Britain and the other coalition nations.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:07 PM

October 29, 2005


I just made a teensy little donation to Bill Rogio, and would strongly urge you to do the same...

Reading his blog, The Fourth Rail, has been the only way to see the fight in Iraq as a whole picture, and not just occasional unconnected scraps of information. The so-called major news media have failed utterly to do this. (It's easy to see why. The big picture shows their side is losing. Just noting where al Qa'im and Qusaybah [or Husaybah] are on the map clearly indicates that the situation for the NYT Coalition is dire.) He has been performing a major public service.

Now Bill has an opportunity to go to Iraq himself, as a reporter. And that takes a lot of dough. But it's the chance of a lifetime, and I only wish it were me going. I'll go there vicariously through him...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:03 AM

October 25, 2005

They stand on Freedom's Wall...and they do NOT want to be USED for propaganda...

Instapundit quoted from this piece, by J.D. Johannes, so you've probably already seen it, but it's worth noting again...

...Numbers 2,000, 1,999 and 1,997 also strapped up every day to stand on a wall many in America are willing let crumble. And to those who would let that wall crumble, they are just numbers.

They are not men of action and conviction, to the anti-war faction, they are merely numbers of sufficient quotient to send a press releases and hold press events.

I asked Marines all across Al Anbar province two questions:
1. If something goes bad and you die here. What would you think of people who used your death to protest the war.
2. After being here, and knowing what you know, would you still join the Marines/volunteer for this deployment?

The answers were invariably the same.

They did not want their death to be used as a prop and they would make the same decision all over again. These young Lance Corporals and Non-Commissioned Officers volunteered to join the Marines, many with the intent of coming to Iraq. And while few would say they like war, they all recognize the necessity of it.

The Marines and soldiers who fight in Iraq are not numbers, but the media and certain groups are treating them as if they were. Number 2,000 was a national treasure, just as number 1,435 was and number 2,038 will be. For what is the value of a man who will fight a war for others who despise him?

But for those who are willing to take action, there would be no wall at all hold back evil and those men and women on the wall deserve more than a number.

Hey, fake pacifists, how about a vigil for these guys in the coffins in the picture? There's a nice round number: 8,000. Thats 8,000 Kurds from the 1983 massacre of the Kurdish tribe of Mullah Mustafa Barzan. (A tiny part of the total of Kurds killed by Saddam.)

Coffins of Kurdish dead
So when do they get a candle-light vigil? Ha ha, silly of me, the answer, of course, is never. There's no anti-Bush propaganda coins to be made off of Kurds, so they get no notice.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:34 PM

October 22, 2005

Time for a whing-ding....

Apparently the leftizoids are planning to PARTY when American deaths in Iraq hit 2,000.

This is filthy in so many ways one is almost at a loss...

But number one, this is a big fat message to the terrorists begging them to kill Americans. And promising them propaganda support as a reward. And since we know that the arhabi are waging a media war, and do things like time attacks to get on the US news broadcasts, we can say that the American Friends Service Committee has just purchased the guaranteed deaths of some of our our soldiers. The next time you see some smoldering wreckage in Baghdad, remember that it was instigated by "pacifists."

And of course the only reason these frauds get to play at being fake-pacifist fake-leftist anti-Americans is that they are protected by the might of the US military. If they were ever grabbed by terrorists and were about to have their heads sawed off, they would sing a different tune. Like, "Why isn't George Bush protecting us? Where's the Marines?"

You only find "pacifists" in parts of the world where they are protected by tough men wielding deadly force. And when the hippie vegetarian Goddess-worshiper hears the chainsaw-murderer sawing into her house late at night, you can bet she calls the police, and feels damn glad when they show up with shotguns in hand. (And are willing to risk their lives to protect her even after they see the "Free Mumia" poster.)

Posted by John Weidner at 1:58 PM

It's hard, having my state represented by a moron...

David Gelernter writes some good words:

...We often hear from Democrats that President Bush's policy in Iraq makes no sense. But how can it make sense to the Barbara Boxers of Congress if they can't understand the explanation?

Rice was defending the administration's conduct of the war when Boxer objected. The administration, Boxer noted (correctly), has changed focus on Iraq. We went to war mainly on account of weapons of mass destruction and international terrorism, she said. But WMD turned out to be a hoax on the whole world, and nowadays we are told that our Iraq mission is gigantic. We plan for a freed Iraq to inspire and stabilize the entire Middle East and to promote democracy everywhere. What kind of bait-and-switch is the administration playing with the American people?

Rice answered that this is the way the world works. For example, we did not go into World War II to build a democratic Germany…. Here Boxer interrupted. World War II, she told Rice curtly, has nothing to do with Iraq. Boxer had lost relatives in the Holocaust. No one had to tell her about World War II.

But Rice's analogy was exactly right. And by the way, using the Holocaust as a bat to beat political enemies over the head is demeaning to Jews and to human dignity. Having lost relatives in the Holocaust does not, in any case, confer expertise in U.S. history.

Democracies rarely declare war to improve the world, as Rice could have explained had she had the chance. They fight to protect themselves, sometimes to fulfill treaty obligations. But once a war is underway, free peoples tend to think things over deeply. Casualties concentrate the mind. We refuse to let our soldiers die for too little. America at war has lifted its sights again and again from danger, self-interest and self-defense to a larger, nobler goal. Same story, war after war. Iraq fits perfectly....

That's a good point about the Holocaust. Especially, it should not even be mentioned by cold-hearted people who think that projects to liberate people from genocide and concentration camps should be put on the back-burner indefinitely.

Actually, I myself feel pretty confident that among the goals of the war was always to start the transformation of the Middle East, at least to some. To neocons, and to people like me, who all along have responded to those who snivel that we might "destabilize the region" by answering "YES! That's the plan!" WMD's in the hands of killers were always a valid reason for war (and still are, and even a bluff should be met with instant forceful attack) but they were also an excuse to bring around the cold-hearted fearful creatures who couldn't even dream of making the world a better place.

But the "larger, nobler goal" has come to the fore, as it has so often in our history. And only those with shriveled souls can't feel its appeal...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:36 AM

October 19, 2005

Men of Munich...

Gsood point from the Belmont Club...

...There may be valid technical criticisms of Saddam's coming trial. But attitudes toward the trial are colored by the extent to which parties feel themselves philosophically in the dock with him. Some in the direct sense, as his accomplices; others as his hirelings; still others implicated indirectly as the Men of Munich were, the enablers of evil by omission. For too many Saddam's trial must never be the day of judgment....
The whole world is somewhat complicit...and the incredible thing is that there are plenty of sick and twisted appeasers who wish Saddam were still in power, who would retroactively stop the liberation campaign if they could go back in time and do so. And would fight to prevent the liberation of the even more cruelly-treated people of North Korea. That they rely partly on the old "Treaty of Westphalia" arguments, saying we have no business interfering with a "soverign nation," highlights what a vast advance in human history the Bush Doctrine is. Thank you God for this President!

And, scary thought, if a handful of Supreme Court justices had not stopped the hijacking of the election process in Florida, Al Gore would have been President in 2001, and Saddam's brutal minions would still be torturing and murdering tens-of-thousands of people every year, and the mass graves of hundreds-of-thousands would still lie undisturbed beneath the sands. Liberalism = death.
Mass graves in Iraq
But hey, we would surely have taken a strong symbolic stand against Global Warming! That's much more important than the sufferings of a few distant foreigners. they are probably polluters anyway, and Gaia would want them snuffed.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:04 AM

October 17, 2005

Chemical Ali might do well as a prof

This article in Asia Times, by a Professor Mark Levine on the new Iraq constitution is a good example of why, whenever you hear the words "Professor of Middle Eastern Studies," you should reach for your revolver...
* Update: John Byrnes has more on this guy here

...But viewed from the perspective of the Middle East's recent history, particularly the failed negotiating strategies behind the collapse of the Oslo peace process...
The only relevance of Oslo here is that appeasing terrorists is suicidal stupidity...and if that's not exactly what he wants, I'll eat my hat.
...Saturday's referendum will likely neither end the insurgency nor bring the country closer to significant democratic development.
It IS significant democratic development, which is why this guy doesn't like it. And no one has ever claimed that it will magically end the Ba'athist terror attacks...But I'm guessing this is the "beginning of the end" for his Sunni fantasies.

The original draft of the constitution did set important benchmarks for democracy and personal freedom for Iraqis. It even concludes with a statement on environmental protection that Americans should envy...
Don't EVER let lefties write a constitution. A constitution is the framework of government, within which legislators can make laws. It is the job of legislatures to write environmental laws. To put such things in a constitution is an attempt to avoid democracy, EU style. Bad move by Iraq, but probably something they can work around.
But these advances are overshadowed by what the constitution left out. Specifically, there are no references to three issues that are of primary concern to most Arab, and especially Sunni Iraqis: a prohibition on the long-term presence of foreign - read American - troops in the country; ...
Probably should read "of primary concern to most Professors of Middle Eastern Studies." But really, why should this item be in a constitution? If the government of Iraq tells foreign forces to leave, they will leave. (And if they won't leave, a line in the constitution won't make them go.) But maybe Iraq will decide it wants a few Americans to stick around. It didn't hurt Germany.
...a firm statement emphasizing Iraqi control of production and distribution of the country's oil resources;
Why? Yeah, yeah, I know, I know. Wicked oil companies, versus virtuous government-controlled oil. Totally stupid. Actually, control of oil by government is probably the biggest danger to Iraqi democracy. Any government with oil resources doesn't need to pay attention to those tiresome tax-payers and voters. It's no accident that oil states are so often corrupt and dictatorial. (And one hears that some of that corruption includes baksheesh to certain "professors.")
...and a commitment to rebuilding the social infrastructure that was devastated by the invasion and subsequent wholesale privatization of the country's economy under US auspices.
Iraq's infrastructure was destroyed by neglect under Saddam, as anybody paying attention knows. But to lefty profs, Saddam's Iraq was a socialist paradise where the trains ran on time. All the problems are the fault of America. Plus even more dreadful, of "privatization." (Of which there has actually been little.) But again, what does this have to do with a constitution? If Iraq flourishes, infrastructure will be rebuilt. If not, then not. Nobody will say, "Sorry, can't fill potholes--it's not in the Constitution."
However, I wonder if his reference to "social infrastructure" means something I'm not aware of? Could it be some leftsh
code-word? Like "social justice," which seems to mean something very different from justice?
For most every Arab Iraqi the withdrawal of all American and other foreign troops is the sine qua non for ending the insurgency.
Bullshit. The "insurgency" is an attempt to restore Ba'athist/Sunni tyranny. Withdrawal of foreign troops would be the signal for the terrorists to go for the kill.
That the constitutional negotiators couldn't include any prohibition of foreign troops, or deal straightforwardly with the other two core issues, demonstrates the continuing and largely deleterious power of the US in the country's internal affairs.
Nah, it means they know how to write a constitution...And that "internal affairs" bit--I'd be willing to bet money he thought Saddam's internal affairs should not be infected with the "deleterious power of the US" either.
Posted by John Weidner at 6:59 PM

Grit, bravery, restraint...

You may have already seen this quote, but GOPVixen just nails it...

...The liberals are upset today. They discovered once again the Iraqi people agree with Bush: That their freedom is worth fighting and dying for. And they proved it by risking death to make a statement. They proved it by creating a remarkable Constitution in ten months -- when it took us years.

The Iraqi people are our allies in the War on Terror. And judging by their grit, restraint in the face of violence for a bigger cause, and bravery, we are lucky to have them.

Sorry, liberals, no Civil War here. Move on. Nothing to see. Maybe elsewhere you can propagandize on behalf of mass murderers to hurt the Bush administration, but not in Iraq. Not in Iraq....

The Iraqi people agree with Bush. And they DISAGREE with liberals, who in a thousand-and-one ways tell us that freedom is NOT worth fighting and dying for. Liberalism is the path to death, to laying down and dying rather than believing in a future worth fighting for.

Liberals and also "realists." I think of the people who keep repeating like a mantra that we should have kept the old Iraqi army in existence. But that army was a corrupt dysfunctional Ba'athist institution. To say that is another way of saying that the hard dangerous job of building freedom and democracy is not worth doing. (It's a mark of their intellectual bankruptcy that they never bother to try to refute the arguments against keeping the old army, but just act as if their position were already agreed upon. Something that will be harder to do as it becomes apparent that the new army is becoming something admirable. Also, the old army had many proud and honorable members even though it was broken as an institution. Where are they? In the new army, many of them, As those who read RJ have heard.)

Posted by John Weidner at 11:10 AM

October 16, 2005

Io triumphe, io triumphe; stronger than the scumbags...

Two good quotes for a historic event...

...The United States has no quarrel with the Iraqi people; they've suffered too long in silent captivity. Liberty for the Iraqi people is a great moral cause, and a great strategic goal. The people of Iraq deserve it; the security of all nations requires it. Free societies do not intimidate through cruelty and conquest, and open societies do not threaten the world with mass murder. The United States supports political and economic liberty in a unified Iraq.
      --President George W Bush, Speech at the UN, September 12, 2002
(Thanks to OJ)
And this e-mail from a Marine, posted by Hugh Hewitt...
The fact that there wasn�t a major mass casualty of voters, SBVIED in polling centers or assassinations conducted that the foaming mouth reporters could get in the middle of just reinforces how far the Iraqi forces have come and how they are getting stronger than the scumbags. Reporter�s countrywide saturated the area days prior to the elections to hopefully catch the US forces failing. Well to damn bad it didn�t happen so pound sand! You be the judge on just how much coverage there is of the actual elections on the news tomorrow. My bet is that there won�t be much beside some BS doubters or what if this or what if that negative crap on. I know that if there were an unsuccessful election, it would have been nothing but �Breaking News� shots about how we failed. It�s a good day to be an American, stand tall America we helped a country get on its feet today. Semper Fi-Capt B
"It's a good day to be an American." Yes.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:05 AM

October 15, 2005

Election a test for the critics...

Looks like the Iraq election is going well, with only a few scattered terrorist attacks. Which is good evidence that the Iraqi forces are becoming truly effective. As is the fact that US commanders only asked for an extra 2,000 American troops, as opposed to 12,000 last January.

Let me guess; we won't be seeing a lot of headlines that read IRAQ ELECTION TRIUMPH!

OpinionJournal:...The other big danger is that U.S. media and political pessimism will further erode American public support for the war. The attitude among some can only be described as defeatist. When General Casey and other Defense officials testified recently before the Senate Armed Services Committee, their measured reports were drowned out by criticism and gloom.

In response to one such riff from Senator Hillary Clinton, General Casey put it this way: "Your comments on the insurgency, on the levels of violence, I recognize that that is what it appears, but that is what the terrorists and insurgents are trying to convey. They're trying to convey that they are winning, and they're doing it by murdering innocent Iraqis. . . .

"And it's a tough situation. But that's what a terror campaign is all about. And this is about political will. And as I said in my opening statement, they are attacking ours and the will of the Iraqi people. They're not winning in Iraq, and they will only win here if we lose our will."...

Senaotor Clinton is on the other side. It is easy to find evidence of strong progress if you WANT to. Democrats don't want to.

This election, if it is the triumph that it is starting to look like, will be a good test of those who oppose the Iraq Campaign but claim they are patriotic Americans who "support the troops" and just want to save us from an un-winnable quagmire. If they are telling the truth, then they should be happy that things are going well. The "criticism and gloom" people, like Clinton, should be happy. The "pacifists" should be happy that (so far) there isn't much violence...

And if they are, as some of us skeptics suggest, actually on the side of the terrorists, then we will get sullen silence, or, if pressed, grudging admission of success followed by changing the subject, or focusing on some particular problem--there are always problems--as if it is the real story, and as if the stunning fact of an Arab country voting for a democratic constitution is no big deal...

We'll see, won't we...

Iraqi poll workers prepare a voting station in Basra Atef Hassan/Reuters. From slideshow at this NYT article

I liked this picture because of the glowing light, and because it's refreshing to see walls in Iraq that don't need a coat of paint. And also because I just remembered a line from a great British WWII memoir, by someone who had to fight around where this picture was taken: "The Persian Gulf is the a--hole of the world, and Basra is sixty miles up it." If there is hope for Basra, there is hope for all of us...

(And yes, I am perfectly aware of the problems they are having in Basra. But democracy is a process, not an event. Iraqi democracy will be ugly and flawed, by our standards, for a long time.)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:44 AM

October 13, 2005

The appeasers are toast...


The Iraqi election is day-after-tomorrow, and it doesn't look good for anti-democracy pro-terrorist investors, folks. Shares of NYT, alZark, HoDean, Sddm, Peaceniki, Progresso, and alKay are plunging on the Random Jottings Exchange, as panicked investors try to save a few pennies on the dollar.

Trading has been halted in Qogmar, PulOwt, and GenCapit.

Iraqis with new Constitution

Najaf residents get copies of the draft charter up for a vote on Saturday.
Photo Credit: By Ali Abu Shish -- Reuters
Related Article: Iraq's Shiite Hub Awaits Its Day, page A01

Posted by John Weidner at 5:34 PM

October 6, 2005


Michael Yon's latest is a must-read. Both our people and the Iraqi forces are doing great things in Mosul. (One might have guessed it, just from the dog what didn't bark in the night--our vile news media haven't been talking much about Mosul lately, so you just know the news must be good). In fact, the Iraqi units, police and army, far from running from trouble, are aggressively attacking any arhabi they can locate. And Iraqi morale is high, partly because the Iraqi officers are out in front in the fights, and most of the leaders have been wounded at least once...

...I expected to get blown up during every meeting with Colonel Eid. One day I accompanied Deuce Four soldiers to 4-West and Colonel Eid was wearing new bandages from an attack that had just killed his driver. Eid was back at duty, talking of how Americans shot him during the first Gulf War. Luckily, he had survived. I was sitting in the meeting when American soldiers spoke to Eid about the particular mortar crew they wanted 4-West to eliminate. Eid said he would try to get the mortar crew, and sure enough, his men killed them.

So, we headed to the sheep market.

Colonel Eid certainly didn’t need the sheep—he often fed us tasty meals of chicken or duck—but it was an important gesture of respect from commander to commander. In some ways, the delivery of the gift was more important than the gift itself.

The Iraqis have great pride. If an Iraqi colonel thought someone was patronizing him with trivial gifts, not only would he be insulted, he might also think the American was feeble-minded. But when the Iraqi commander respects the gift-giver, and the sincerity of the gift is not in question, the gesture by which it’s given takes on greater meaning. Kurilla and his officers never just delivered the sheep and said, “Thanks, here’s a sheep.” The delivery was always a spectacle.

One time, the soldiers arrived at COP Eagle to deliver a sheep to the commander, LTC Ali Gharza, only to find him sleeping. So Kurilla told the Iraqi guards to be quiet, and he snuck the stinking sheep into the commander’s room, shutting the door behind it. When the Iraqi commander jumped from bed in a state of confusion, Kurilla and his men burst in and everyone got a hearty laugh. Another time, Kurilla took a sheep and plopped it right on Colonel Eid’s desk....

Read it...

Posted by John Weidner at 4:26 PM

October 3, 2005

WORD NOTE: "arhabi"

There's been some confusion (by people who seem to want to be confused) about the designation 'fully capable" as applied to Iraqi units. "Fully capable" is in fact a very rigorous US standard. Major K explains more in this post...[Thanks to Greyhawk)

...As I write this, two sectors of Baghdad are controlled by Iraqi Army Brigades (4000-5000) assisted by a platoon-sized (30-40) MiTT [US Military Transition Team]. The number of Iraqi Battalions operating with only a small MiTT adviser group as I described is in the dozens, and that is only here in the Baghdad area. I assume it is the same or better in other, quieter areas of the country.

Are they fully capable by US standards? Perhaps not. The military forces of most of the rest of the world do not meet that standard. Are they operational and hunting down arhabi every day? - You Betcha!

My question was, what are "arhabi??" A quick Google found that Major K had already provided a definition:

It is pronounced: ahr-HAH-bee. It is the Iraqi arabic word for terrorist. 2LT C. does not like it because "it just doesn't sing. I learned this word from our interpreters and use it often. I never use mujahedin or jihadi, because they imply a measure of respect due an actual warrior. After all, both of those terms mean "holy warrior." This distinction is also very important to the Iraqis. They have told me repeatedly that these guys are cowards who will not even stand and fight. They kill innocent people, and bomb indiscriminately. They have been their own worst enemy in the public relations department. Even though 2LT C. likes to refer to them using the A-word, (describing a posterior extremity) he would like to find something more catchy. I am content to use arhabi. It lets the locals know exactly who we are after, and what this really is about - not oil, not religion, but security and the hope for a better future.

Sounds like a good word to add to our vocabulary...

Posted by John Weidner at 4:49 PM

October 2, 2005

October surprise...

This looks like good news to me...

By Nancy A. Youssef, Knight Ridder Newspapers

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The two strongest opponents of Iraq's proposed new constitution said this week that they wouldn't campaign against it aggressively, making it likely that voters will approve the constitution in an Oct. 15 referendum.

Passage would be a victory for the Bush administration's Iraq policy, but it's unclear whether the document will produce a stable Iraqi government with broad public support or further alienate the country's Sunni Muslim Arab minority.

Rebel Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's representatives said that while he's not thrilled about the constitution, he likely wouldn't encourage his followers to oppose it.

Hazem al-Araji, a senior al-Sadr aide, said that al-Sadr has formed a committee to review the document and that once he hears from them he'll make a final decision.

"But for now, his opinion is neutral," al-Araji said.

The largest Sunni political group, the Iraqi Islamic Party, said that although it has encouraged its supporters to vote down the document, its efforts are focused on the December election for a new National Assembly.

"There are powers that will make sure this bad constitution passes," said Ala'a al-Maki, a party spokesman. "We are focusing more on ensuring the Sunnis participate in the next election."....[Thanks to

A couple of thoughts. One: The people who say the Bush Administration is tottering on its last legs...you are toast once again. You are SO toast! Ha ha ha.

Two: I confidently predict that leftists and "Democrats" will NOT be happy about yet another triumph for democracy in Iraq. They didn't like the last one, and they will like this even less...

You can see the line they are going to take in the quote above. "...but it's unclear whether the document will produce a stable Iraqi government with broad public support or further alienate the country's Sunni Muslim Arab minority..." In other words, if part of the 20% who are Sunni Arab are not happy, then the government doesn't have "broad public support," and is a failure. Talk about moving the goal posts out into the parking lot...

Every summer since 2001, we've heard that the administration is adrift and ineffective. And every year in September or October it comes back strong. I'm guessing the timing of the Iraq election will tie in nicely with some other Bush moves. Probably the nomination of a strong conservative to the Supreme Court.

The Democrat/media suicide attacks against the nominee and the terrorist suicide attacks against the Iraqi constitution will both be bloody but pointless; both groups will fail because they are trying to beat something with nothing...

* Update: Harriet Miers? That don't sound too exciting to me. Oh well.
Posted by John Weidner at 12:51 PM

Setting the tone...

Tigerhawk's report on General Petraeus' talk at Princeton is very worth reading...You will learn a lot from it. [Thanks to InstaPundit]

...Finally, Anne-Marie Slaughter asked the Abu Ghraib question – “what can we do, going forward, to acknowledge what we have to acknowledge but also to restore the values that we stand for in others eyes?”

Patraeus said that Abu Ghraib had been very damaging, but that there has been “an enormous change in the detainee operations piece... One of the lessons is that the most important job of a commander or leader is the setting of a tone. That sounds very simplistic, but in combat setting the right tone is hugely important.” I think we have gone back and looked very, very hard the tone we are setting. We have 29 operations lawyers
[Good God. - ed.]. Patraeus described a recent "very minor" incident, and "we brought in the lawyers, brought in the imams," to discuss it openly and resolve it. And we are doing things that seem unimportant to us, but which are very meaningful to Iraqis. One of the imams asked us to install clocks in the prison so that the prisoners would know when to pray, so we put in clocks.

“How do we portray our sincere desire to help? It is very challenging, because the other side is enormously skilled in information operations. In Fallujah, by the way, there were two broadcasting stations in addition to the car bomb factories and the arms caches. The enemy is very sophisticated."....

It is indicative of how utterly fraudulent and dishonest the Abu Ghraib critics were, and are, that they have not the slightest interest in noticing what's being done differently now. They all dribbled faux tears and claimed they were "ashamed of America." OK turkeys, how about taking a turn at being "proud of America?" No, that part never happens.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:36 AM

October 1, 2005

"when you see good things happening all the time..."

I liked this article, Reservist Says Protesters are Breaking Faith.

...But it doesn't work that way, says Vold. "I try not to take it personally. The reason I'm a Marine is to ensure this is a free country. But I don't think the protesters know the effect they're having on the soldiers. You're always tired, cold or hot, homesick. The last thing you need is a sense that people back home say your mission is doomed, when you see good things happening all the time."

Vold adds that antiwar rhetoric sometimes implicitly portrays soldiers as dupes on a fool's errand. "We volunteered to go to Iraq. The guys over there, who know the situation best, are re-enlisting in great numbers. Most of the guys I served with think this is the best thing America has done in our careers."

How did the Sheehan protest play in Iraq? Yesterday, I asked Vold's friend, Lt. Col. James MacVarish, an adviser to Iraqi troops in Fallujah. He told me in an e-mail that the Iraqis he works with believe such protests and the press they generate "play directly to the strengths of our mutual enemy." Iraqis "are absolutely astounded," he adds, "that we 'allow' that to continue." A few days ago, he had to give his Iraqi colleagues an hourlong civics lesson on freedom of the press.

MacVarish says that the terrorists can't win militarily. So their strategy is to make the U.S. and Iraqi people "bleed a little every day." They hope that the resulting media attention will turn the tide of American opinion against the war, and make the political cost of sustaining it too high. "The more play the press gives Cindy Sheehan," MacVarish concludes, "the better the terrorists' chances are of ultimately succeeding here."....

I suppose we must allow the press and the protesters the freedom to support terrorists. But they don't deserve that freedom. Our soldiers are fighting in Iraq to protect us, just as much as if they were right in your town shooting al Qaeda killers. Congress has committed our troops to battle, and all who support the Constitution have the duty to support our forces also.

Debate? Of course one can debate. But from within the context of warm-hearted support of those who risk their lives to defend us. The hate-filled attacks of the Sheehanites are nothing of the sort. And the cynical manipulation of the "news" by the Gasping Media, purging all the good news and serving as publicity agents for terror-bombers--that's nothing but treason.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:57 PM

September 17, 2005

"booby-trapped dead child"

Quoted in The Corner (From Washington Times)

...Col. McMaster appeared in the Pentagon this week via a video hookup to describe how his 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, joined by 3rd Iraqi Army Division, routed most of the extremists.

But it was his description of how the enemy occupied their safe haven that got the most attention. Col. McMaster told of beheadings, gunshot killings, a booby-trapped dead child and kidnappings. "This is the worst of the worst in terms of people in the world," he said. "To protect themselves here, what the enemy did is they waged the most brutal and murderous campaign against the people of Tal Afar. ... The enemy here did just the most horrible things you can imagine, in one case murdering a child, placing a booby trap within the child's body and waiting for the parent to come recover the body of their child and exploding it to kill the parents." ....

These are the guys your friendly neighborhood "anti-war" activists and "pacifists" are FOR. These are the charming folk that Cindy calls "freedom fighters," and Michael calls "minutemen." Fortunately, they and the terrorists are losers, and the Americans and Iraqis are winners. And will continue to be.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:03 PM

September 13, 2005

A little common sense would help...

I glad to see that the death-toll from Katrina will probably be far lower than estimated. But actually, one could have guessed that just from common sense (no, I didn't do so myself). 10,000 dead means a lot of corpses! Sit down and try counting to 10,000, and you will see what I mean.

There would have been rafts of bodies drifting around in the floodwaters. Log-jams of bodies. And there would have been pictures. All those helicopters flying around? They would have been snapping pictures of the dead. There was certainly demand for them...And it's hard to kill that many people; people are tougher than you think.

It's the same with that widely disseminated figure of 100,000 killed in the American occupation of Iraq. Statisticians have thoroughly debunked the number, though liars are still pushing it. But common sense tells us it's bogus. 100,000 bodies are hard to hide. There would be big piles of them lying around for significant periods of time. You can be sure Kevin Sites would have snapped pictures, and the MSM would have given them all possible publicity.

And 100,000 dead means at least a quarter of a million wounded! In a place the size of California. Where are they? I doubt if Iraq has even 10,000 hospital beds. There would be wounded people scattered everywhere.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:34 AM

September 3, 2005


We're preoccupied here, but the Iraq Campaign of the WoT has not slackened. Check out the recent posts by Bill Roggio. Heavy ops in Tal Afar, on the ratline between Mosul and Syria. Interestingly, two Iraqi battalions were were flown in by their own transport, on Iraqi Air Force C-130's. Interesting things going on.
Posted by John Weidner at 6:08 PM

August 27, 2005


From a letter to OpinionJournal:

Iraq is just like Vietnam except: We occupy Hanoi. We've captured Ho Chi Minh.
The North Vietnamese have just held a free and democratic election. The North Vietnamese are working on a new constitution. Yes, Iraq is just like Vietnam.

(Thanks to Betsy Newmark)

Posted by John Weidner at 11:11 AM

August 23, 2005

Answer to prayers...

From a column by Katherine Kersten in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a heartwarming story about Americans helping Iraqi Christians...

Pastor Ghassan Thomas was overjoyed on April 9, 2003, when coalition forces toppled Saddam Hussein. For four years, in the face of relentless persecution, he had operated an underground Christian church of about 50 members in the heart of Baghdad.

Saddam's police had tortured him repeatedly, Thomas says -- beating him, suspending him from a ceiling fan and attaching electrodes to his tongue.

Though Saddam's fall brought an end to official persecution, it also brought challenges. The living quarters where Thomas' fledgling flock had worshipped couldn't accommodate his swelling congregation, and he lacked resources to address their daunting needs.
As his frustration mounted, Thomas says, "I prayed to God for a sister church to stand with me and help me."
The answer to Thomas' prayers came from half a world away: Eden Prairie, Minn....
Posted by John Weidner at 12:10 PM

August 15, 2005

Playing the Sheehan card..

Hitch has some sensible stuff on Cindy Sheehan...

...Finally, I think one must deny to anyone the right to ventriloquize the dead. Casey Sheehan joined up as a responsible adult volunteer. Are we so sure that he would have wanted to see his mother acquiring "a knack for P.R." and announcing that he was killed in a war for a Jewish cabal? This is just as objectionable, on logical as well as moral grounds, as the old pro-war argument that the dead "must not have died in vain." I distrust anyone who claims to speak for the fallen, and I distrust even more the hysterical noncombatants who exploit the grief of those who have to bury them.

I have a long list of arguments in favor of the Iraq Campaign, but if I claimed that "our fallen heroes would have wanted it," I would be out of line. I have no right to speak for them. Likewise, Ms Sheehan is wrong to use her son for political maneuvers that he probably would have not agreed with (Considering that he was a 24-year old who had just reenlisted after a 4-year hitch, and that he volunteered for the mission he was killed on, though as a mechanic he had no combat duties, one suspects he would not have wanted to be pictured as a gullible child bamboozled into a war he knew nothing about.)

But it's those cynical leftists who are using Sheehan who are really disgusting. To cry crocodile tears, and pretend they care about grieving mothers, when they care nothing for the opinions of the other couple of thousand grieving mothers, is despicable. And if Ms Sheehan were to change her mind, and started saying nice things about America, or about Jews, or about the President, they would instantly discard her like a sucked-out orange peel. Frauds.

And worse, they care nothing for the hundreds of thousands of mothers whose families were tortured and murdered by Saddam. Mothers who scratch through mass-graves in the desert, looking for scraps of bone. Mothers who died in Halabja trying to shield their children from poison gas with their bodies. Those mothers aren't even human to our lefty crowd. They are just political counters that have no value at the moment, and so don't exist.

And even worse, what the "anti-war" leftists are working towards is letting the Ba'athists and terrorists back into power in Iraq. So we can have a few hundred thousand more grieving mothers. Who also will not be real to the people who are now playing the Sheehan card.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:24 PM

August 11, 2005

Where to go for the news (not newspapers)

You probably already know this, but Bill Roggio's blog Fourth Rail has been covering Operation Quick Strike, and other recent operations in Iraq. You might want to look at recent posts, and his nice maps.

It just makes clear again the drooling irrelevance of the Old Media. You can't get this stuff from them, except in occasional dribs and drabs with no clear narrative. All they are interested in is reporting casualty figures. Partly this is because they are on the other side, but it's also just mental laziness. Being a "journalist" means figuring out the formula for each type of event, so you can crank out stories endlessly without much labor. (For instance, covering "Space" is done by showing clips of the Space Shuttle taking off and landing. The really important space stuff is too slow-moving and intricate to engage their butterfly minds.)

But still, it's a WAR! You'd think they would make a little effort.

* Update: The NY Post has an article on what's happening. Casualties are up because, duh, WE ARE FIGHTING. And I'll mention once again that, against enemies that hide, guerillas or terrorists, a fight is GOOD NEWS. We want to bring them to battle against our regulars, instead of letting them choose where to strike. Of course regular RJ readers will be insulted to have so obvious a thing pointed out, and Lefties have filters installed that keep them from absorbing such concepts.
Posted by John Weidner at 8:55 AM

July 18, 2005

Would you rather share a foxhole with one of these guys....or with

AWESOME. Amazing picture...

Iraq suicide bomber disarmed
The guy in the pickup truck is a suicide bomber, shot and wounded by Iraqi police. The two standing men are from an Iraqi explosive ordnance detonation team. They are disarming the suicide belt! Unbelievable. Hopefully they will squeeze some useful information out of the murdering fascist scumbag, to justify the risk to those brave men. The story is here. thanks to Chrenkoff.

There are many dangers on Iraq's horizon, but if the Iraqis can avoid them, they could well be splendid allies in a few years, and end up helping us clean out various terrorist pest holes. (By dangers I don't mean terrorists; it's clear that the Iraqis aren't going to be cowed by them. I mean things like socialism, nihilism, multi-culturalism and other soul-destroying infections they might pick up from Europe, or the UN, or even from us if the Democrats get back into power.)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:12 PM

July 4, 2005


A sunrise convoy in Iraq

The picture doesn't fit logically with "Taps," since it was taken at dawn. but the mood is right...(From Stryker Brigade News)


Day is done, gone the sun
From the hills, from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.

Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor,
God keep.
On the land or the deep,
Safe in sleep.

Love, good night, Must thou go,
When the day, And the night
Need thee so?
All is well. Speedeth all
To their rest.

Fades the light; And afar
Goeth day, And the stars
Shineth bright,
Fare thee well; Day has gone,
Night is on.

Thanks and praise, For our days,
'Neath the sun, Neath the stars,
'Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know,
God is nigh.

For the story of "Taps," go here. Thanks to Orrin Judd.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:46 AM

June 24, 2005

leaving Europe for another theater...

The "flypaper theory" has always made a lot of sense, but I've always hesitated to mention it, lest the appeasers scoff, and demand hard evidence. Now Impearls has posted some fascinating stuff. (Thanks to Glenn) Here's a bit of it:

...As BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner (who was crippled a year ago incidentally by gunmen in Saudi Arabia) narrates:
Under cover of darkness, Spanish police move into position. In five different locations around the country, more than 500 officers broke into the suspected hideouts of Islamist militants. Sixteen men of North African origin were arrested, in what's said to be one of Europe's biggest ever counter-terrorist operations. Spain's Interior Minister spoke today of jihad and would-be suicide bombers, but their targets, he said, were not in Europe, they're in Iraq. Investigators believe they have uncovered an international network of extremists, financed and supported by robbery, drug dealing, and false documents. They say most of those arrested in Spain are linked to a cell of Islamist recruiters in Syria dedicated to sending volunteers into Iraq to fight the US-led Coalition. Five of those arrested are accused of links to last year's Madrid bombings. The remainder are accused of connections to Abu Musab al-Zarkawi, the Al Qaeda operative who's been driving the insurgency in Iraq.
A BBC interviewee, Jeremy Binnie of Jane's Terrorism and Insurgency Centre, put it thusly:
The war in Iraq has minimized the threat to Europe [emphasis added] because everyone who's Jihad-inclined wants to go fight over there. So even though some of these… the guys suspected of involvement in the train bombings have reportedly gone over to lodge themselves in Iraq. So there are these radicals sort of coming out of Europe and actually going to a different theater altogether...

I I ever re-work my list of reasons why invading Iraq was the right thing to do, I'll probably give "flypaper" a formal entry...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:22 AM

June 20, 2005

More on torture-house.

I found the original of the story about our Marines finding a torture house in Iraq, which I quoted here.

Good for the NYT for publishing Iraqis Found in Torture House Tell of Brutality of Insurgents.

...The American military has found torture houses after invading towns heavily populated by insurgents - like Falluja, where the anti-insurgent assault last fall uncovered almost 20 such sites. But rarely have they come across victims who have lived to tell the tale...

BUT, they are not "insurgents." They are terrorists. They are abominable animals, and we should not rest until they are exterminated from the earth.

And the lefty crowd that's doing all it can to hinder our efforts shares responsibility. They are torturers too.

* Update: I'm going to paste the article into "extended entry," because the NYT link will not be available later. And we should have this on hand, when fatuous fatheads claim we are "torturing" people at Gitmo. Or Abu Ghraib, for that matter..

Iraqis Found in Torture House Tell of Brutality of Insurgents

KARABILA, Iraq, Sunday, June 19 - Marines on an operation to eliminate insurgents that began Friday broke through the outside wall of a building in this small rural village to find a torture center equipped with electric wires, a noose, handcuffs, a 574-page jihad manual - and four beaten and shackled Iraqis.

The American military has found torture houses after invading towns heavily populated by insurgents - like Falluja, where the anti-insurgent assault last fall uncovered almost 20 such sites. But rarely have they come across victims who have lived to tell the tale.

The men said they told the marines, from Company K, Third Marines, Second Division, that they had been tortured with shocks and flogged with a strip of rubber for more than two weeks, unseen behind the windows of black glass. One of them, Ahmed Isa Fathil, 19, a former member of the new Iraqi Army, said he had been held and tortured there for 22 days. All the while, he said, his face was almost entirely taped over and his hands were cuffed.

In an interview with an embedded reporter just hours after he was freed, he said he had never seen the faces of his captors, who occasionally whispered at him, "We will kill you." He said they did not question him, and he did not know what they wanted. Nor did he ever expect to be released.

"They kill somebody every day," said Mr. Fathil, whose hands were so swollen he could not open a can of Coke offered to him by a marine. "They've killed a lot of people."

From the house on Saturday, there could be heard sounds of fighting from the large-scale offensive to eliminate strongholds of insurgents, many of whom stream across Iraq's porous border with Syria. [Page 10.]

As the marines walked through the house - a squat one-story building of sand-colored brick - the broken black window glass crunched under their boots. Light poured in, revealing walls and ceiling shredded by shrapnel from the blast they had set off to break in through a wall. Latex gloves were strewn on the floor. A kerosene lantern lay on its side, shattered.

The manual recovered - a fat, well-thumbed Arabic paperback - listed itself as the 2005 First Edition of "The Principles of Jihadist Philosophy," by Abdel Rahman al-Ali. Its chapters included "How to Select the Best Hostage," and "The Legitimacy of Cutting the Infidels' Heads."

Also recovered were several fake passports, a black hood, the painkiller Percoset, handcuffs and an explosives how-to-guide. Three cars loaded with explosives were parked in a garage outside the house. The marines blew them up.

This is Mr. Fathil's account of his ordeal.

He was having a lunch of lettuce and cucumbers in the kitchen of his home in the small desert village of Rabot with his mother and brother. An Opel sedan pulled up. Two men in masks carrying machine guns got out, seized him, and, leaving his mother sobbing, put him in the trunk of their car.

The drove to the house here. They taped his face, put cotton in his ears, and began to beat him.

The only possible explanation for the seizure he could think of was his time in the new Iraqi Army. Unemployed and illiterate, Mr. Fathil signed up after the American occupation began.

But nine months ago, when continuing working meant risking the wrath of the Jihadists, he quit. In all, 10 friends from his unit have been killed, he said. So have his uncle and his uncle's son, though neither ever worked as soldiers.

The men tended to talk in whispers, he said, telling him five times a day, in low voices in his ear, to pray, and offering him sand, instead of water, to wash himself. Just once, he asked if he could see his mother, and one of them said to him, "You won't leave until you are dead."

Mr. Fathil did not know there were other hostages. He found out only after the captors left and he was able to remove the tape from his eyes.

The routine in the house was regular. Because of the windows, it was always dark inside. Mr. Fathil said he was fed once a day, and allowed to use a bathroom as necessary in the back of the house.

When marines burst in, one of the captives was lying under a stairwell, badly beaten. At first, they thought he was dead.

The others were emaciated and battered. Mr. Fathil had fared the best. The other three were taken by medical helicopter to Balad, a base near Baghdad with a hospital.

But he still had been hurt badly. Marks from beatings criss-crossed his back, and deep pocks, apparently from electric shock burns, were gouged in his skin.

The shocks, he said, felt "like my soul is being ripped out of my body." But when he would start to scream, and his body would pull up from the shock, they would begin to beat him, he said.

Mr. Fathil has been at the Marine base south of Qaim since his release, on Saturday around noon. His mother still does not know he is alive.

When she was mentioned, he bowed and lowered his head, and began to cry softly, wiping his face with the jumpsuit given him by the marines.

He asked a reporter for help to move to another town, because it was too dangerous for his family to remain in their house. He begged not to have a photograph taken, even of the scars on his back. The captors took pictures of that, he said.

His town has always been a good place, he said, but the militants have made it hell.

"These few are destroying it," he said, his face streaked with tears. "Everybody they take, they kill. It's on a daily basis pretty much."

Posted by John Weidner at 7:18 AM

May 12, 2005

A good statistic to keep in mind...

...when you hear a certain sort of person rant about the dreadful plight of the Palestinians, and pretend to be deeply concerned about a certain Middle Eastern group lacking a homeland:


182,000 Kurds are still unaccounted for...


Posted by John Weidner at 3:08 PM

May 11, 2005

9 line

From milblog Firepower Forward, a gripping story of soldiers watching as Marine friends call for a medavac....

...The big flat screen television in the operations center resembles a teenager’s compute monitor with multiple text chat message windows open at any given time and even though they are all encrypted and secure most of the time the messages that flicker across are just as benign. Not this time. I read the last message
“TRINITY: Stand by for 9 line.” [9 lines is the format for medevac requests]

We in the LTF aren’t in the medevac business, and no longer supporting Trinity, we had no part, but the people gathered at the screen because we had worked with these guys for the past 3 months and we had made a lot of friends. Absolutely powerless, we stood and waited for the next message to pop up.

“TRINITY: Line 1 – ##A, AA, ########” The series of numbers and letters that popped up reflected the grid coordinates of where the marines wanted the medevac to land.

SPC Stogner copied the coordinates and began to plot them on one of our wall maps.

As we waited the following lines, I scrolled back through the messages to see what had brought them to this point.

Having taken some fire from a hillside, the marines had pursued and seen the attackers disappear into a cave. Close air support was called, but the A-10s aren’t built to flush thugs out of a hole in the mountain, nothing is, except Marines.

“TRINITY: Line 2 - ####, Trinity.” It was the radio frequency and call sign of the Marines at the landing site.

The smoke cleared, and of course the Marines had to go in. The firefight ensued, the TIC was reported and soon after word came that there were 2 US WIA. 9 Line to follow.

“TRINITY: Line 3 – 2 critical.” Now I was worried. This line was supposed to be the number of patients by precedence.

It wasn’t only the word “Critical” that concerned me, but the fact that they had used it. There are only five different words that should be used here, each with a specific meaning to the medics as to the severity of the injuries. "Critical" isn't one of them. It was a break from protocol and uncharacteristic of the consistently professional, by-the-numbers behavior I had always witnessed from these guys. I could only imagine what was happening on the ground, and I prayed that it wasn’t a sign of panic....[thanks to
Winds of Change].

These guys are fighting for YOU. And ME. They are fighting the jihadis who are streaming into Iraq and Afghanistan from every stinking hell-hole of the Middle East. It's good and important that they should; the genius of the Iraq Campaign is that the terrorists have to fight for the heartland of the Muslim world. They have to come out into the open where we can kill them, rather than plotting new 9/11's in the dark.

Our troops are defending US, all of us. And defending ALL the peaceful people of the world, including those of the Arab and Central Asian world (who suffers the most from the Islamist animals). They are doing noble and heroic work, risking their lives to protect the weak.

Which is why I want to puke thinking of the lefty weasels who heap scorn and sneers on our forces....and not out of conviction (though even that would be vile), but purely for reasons of domestic politics...

Posted by John Weidner at 3:20 PM

May 10, 2005


This photo was taken by Michael Yon (thanks to Michelle) who writes:

Major Mark Bieger found this little girl after the car bomb that attacked our guys while kids were crowding around. The soldiers here have been angry and sad for two days. They are angry because the terrorists could just as easily have waited a block or two and attacked the patrol away from the kids. Instead, the suicide bomber drove his car and hit the Stryker when about twenty children were jumping up and down and waving at the soldiers. Major Bieger, I had seen him help rescue some of our guys a week earlier during another big attack, took some of our soldiers and rushed this little girl to our hospital. He wanted her to have American surgeons and not to go to the Iraqi hospital. She didn't make it. I snapped this picture when Major Bieger ran to take her away. He kept stopping to talk with her and hug her.

The soldiers went back to that neighborhood the next day to ask what they could do. The people were very warming and welcomed us into their homes, and many kids were actually running up to say hello and to ask soldiers to shake hands...

That there are Americans who think we should surrender to those murdering animals is just unbelievable. One suspects that Iraqis aren't real people to them, just abstractions...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:04 AM

May 4, 2005

hook, line and sinker...

PowerLine is deconstructing the stories of much-feted-by-leftists anti-war activist Delgado....

...What bothers me, though, is that Herbert apparently made no attempt to verify Delgado's charges. Delgado describes horrifying conduct by American G.I.s, and says it occurred routinely. Conveniently, however, he never names names--never identifies the soldier who whipped Iraqis with an antenna, or kicked a six year old boy in the stomach, or shot unarmed prisoners. So it's hard to know exactly where to go for the other side of the story. Still, it would have been easy to call the 320th and go from there. I suspect that anyone Herbert talked to would have something to say about Delgado and his sensational charges.

There are at least three reasons why Herbert should have checked out the other side of the story before swallowing Delgado's story hook, line and sinker.....

Haven't we heard all this before? Guy named Kerry was cheered and celebrated by the anti-war crowd when he said our soldiers routinely committed war crimes? Of course the stories were lies, and have been thoroughly debunked, but they are still believed by a certain sort. And Kerry actually ran for President. And if we hadn't had the New Media and the Internet to give the Swift Boat vets a voice, he might be President....

Posted by John Weidner at 12:03 PM

April 15, 2005

More mass graves found in Iraq...

You know all those "Realists" and State-Department-appeasers and "anti-war-activists" and euros and "international community" types and all the others who are AGAINST a muscular and idealistic (ie: Neocon) US foreign policy? Ever wonder what they are FOR?

This is what they are for:

....If the estimated body counts prove correct, the graves would be among the largest in the grim tally of mass killings that have gradually come to light since the fall of Hussein's government two years ago. At least 290 grave sites containing the remains of some 300,000 people have been found since the U.S.-led invasion two years ago, Iraqi officials say.

Forensic evidence from some graves will feature prominently in the trials of Hussein and the leaders of his government. Those trials are scheduled to start this spring.

One grave near the southern city of Basra appears to contain about 5,000 bodies of Iraqi soldiers who joined a failed uprising against Hussein's government after the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Another, near Samawah, is believed to contain the bodies of 2,000 members of the Kurdish clan led by Massoud Barzani, now the leader of the Kurdish Democratic Party.

As many as 8,000 men and boys from the clan disappeared in 1983 after being rounded up in northern Iraq by security forces at the command of Ali Hassan al-Majid, widely known as Chemical Ali. It remains unclear, however, how the victims ended up in the south....[

if you press them they always say "Of course we are against Saddam...BUT.." And they get all huffy if you suggest they are "effectively" pro-Saddam. But they were and are--if they were honest they would admit that they would gladly sacrifice a million or so Iraqis if it would put the Democrat Ancien Regime back in power...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:35 AM

March 22, 2005

Fiskus americanus "giganteus"

This collection of little poison dagger-jabs by the NYT really aroused my contempt. Warning: long Fisking ahead.

March 18, 2005 EDITORIAL New York Times
Two Years Later
The invasion of Iraq, which began two years ago this weekend, was a world-changing event. We can see many of the consequences already. The good ones, so far, exist mainly as hopes and are fewer than the bad ones, some of which are all too concrete...

The good starts with liberating 25 million people from one of the cruelest tyrannies in history. The good ALREADY far outweighs the bad.

One of the few positive domestic consequences of the war has been the nation's determination - despite obstruction from the White House and its supporters - to honor the memory of each American man and woman who has died in Iraq...

GROSS LIE. You lefty's "honor" our dead by using them as propaganda for America-bashing and appeasement--things that almost all our military community despises. And you rarely report the REAL honoring, such as the many times that whole communities in the heartlands turn out with flags for the funerals of our men, or to welcome troops home. Or the enormous amount of time the President and his supporters spend visiting the troops and families and the wounded. I wonder how many Timesmen visit Walter Reed Hospital to cheer-up wounded soldiers?

The administration has been shockingly callous about the tens of thousands of Iraqi victims, whom ordinary Americans cannot count let alone name...

LIE. Utter filthy lie. Our forces have bent over backwards to minimize civilian casualties, often paying the ultimate price themselves. Most of the Iraqi victims have been killed by Ba'athist and Islamist terrorists. Who don't even pretend to be trying to achieve military victory; their murders are done so YOU will gloatingly report them in the western media, so YOU will do your part for terrorist victory and western capitulation. The blood of many of those Iraqis is on YOUR hands, because you've done your best to encourage their murderers. "Shockingly callous" describes the NYT and the western press exactly.

The Real Reasons
The Bush administration was famously flexible in explaining why it invaded Iraq, and the most important reason, in the minds of Americans and in the arguments made by American diplomats, turned out to be wrong. There were no weapons of mass destruction to destroy...

The NYT and the French, and the UN had exactly the SAME belief about Iraqi WMD's. So why aren't they called "wrong?" And the main reason that WMD's were put formost in our war-arguments was that YOU, and your whole leftish realm, demanded that we seek approval of the UN. And the only thing the UN cared about was the WMD's. The tortures, the genocide, the stagnation and oppression of the Arab world, you and the UN cared nothing about those. You were cold-hearted bastards, and now you have the supreme gall to criticize the Bush Administration for over-emphasizing WMD's!

Worse, the specialized machinery and highly lethal conventional weaponry that Saddam Hussein did control was looted during the invasion and is now very likely in the hands of terrorists. As James Glanz and William Broad reported in The Times, among the things missing is high-precision equipment capable of making parts for nuclear arms. The WMD argument was not only wrong, but the invasion might have also created a new threat...

This is the grossest effrontery I've read this year. "There were machines to make nukes BUT there was no WMD problem BUT Bush has CREATED a WMD problem by attacking Saddam's nuclear bomb program, which wasn't otherwise a problem." Jeez. (And we know from that NYT article that "looting" isn't the right word; the stuff was hauled off using heavy equipment and truck convoys, before the Americans arrived. Bush's fault of course.) And if a terrorist nuke goes off in NY, I bet surviving Timesmen will blame Bush for letting himself be distracted by the UN instead of dealing with the Iraq problem sooner

However, there was another theory behind the invasion. Mr. Bush might have been slow to articulate it, but other prominent officials were saying early on that overthrowing Saddam Hussein would shake up the hidebound, undemocratic regimes in the Middle East and free the natural democratic impulses of Arab and Islamic people. This rationale may still hold up. Iraqi and Afghani voters marching stolidly to the polls was by far the most hopeful image in the past two years.

They were not "stolid," they were both joyful and determined even to the point of death. "Stolid" would describe a Timesman forced to concede that perhaps something good has come from an American war. And if Bush HAD articulated that reason earlier, the NYT would have been the first to deride him.

There is an endless list of qualifications. Many of the most promising signs of change have little to do with Iraq...

They have EVERYTHING to do with Iraq. The only reason these new flowerings aren't crushed by tyrants and terrorists is that they know the US is deadly serious. The reason Condi's frown caused Mubarak to announce elections was because he knows we are serious--BECAUSE we didn't flinch in Iraq.

The peace initiatives in Israel were made possible when Yasir Arafat died and was replaced by a braver, more flexible leader. The new determination of the Lebanese people to throw out their Syrian oppressors was sparked by the assassination of the Lebanese nationalist, Rafik Hariri, not the downfall of Saddam Hussein. And in Iraq itself, the voting largely excluded the Sunni minority, without whose cooperation Iraq will never be anything more than a civil war battleground or a staging platform for a new dictatorship...

Bullshit. Bush sidelined Arafat in 2002 by announcing that the Palestinians must have a peaceful elected government to earn our help getting a state. And the Lebanese can protest now because they know the Syrians are afraid of Bush. And the Iraq election did not "exclude" the Sunnis (they were welcome to vote and many of them did)---certain Sunni groups boycotted it, and now are scurrying to be included in the new government. "Excluded the Sunni"--what a slimy lie that is.

With all that said, even the fiercest critic of George Bush's foreign policy would be insane not to want these signs of hope to take root...

A lot of them are insane in exactly that way.

That would not excuse the waging of an unnecessary war on false pretences, but it could change the course of modern history. Grieving families would find the peace that comes with knowing that spouses, parents or children died to help make a better world...

They KNEW IT ALL ALONG! Anyone who follows military websites and blogs is aware that our forces have ALL ALONG been very aware of what they are fighting for, and how necessary it is. It's the vile America-haters led by the NYT who have been trying to convince them our losses were unnecessary and futile. (ALSO, bringing the hope of freedom to a billion or so people WOULD excuse waging war on false pretenses, although we did not do so.)

The Real Losses
Even with the best possible outcome, the invasion is already costly. America's alliances, particularly those with Europe, have been severely frayed since President Bush turned his back on the United Nations in the fall of 2002...

No no, we didn't turn our back on the UN. We begged the UN to enforce its own binding resolutions, and our "allies" refused to support us there. France and Germany are NOT friends. They don't like us and they hinder us at every opportunity.

Even some of his early supporters, like Spain, have edged away...

Spain didn't edge away, it cravenly capitulated to terrorist blackmail. Which is fine with the NYT.

Tony Blair remains the exception, mainly because of his willingness to ignore public opinion. If there is such a thing as the European street, anti-American feeling is strong and universal...

That "public opinion" doesn't just happen, your colleagues in the European press work non-stop to create it. They are bitterly anti-American, and you reveal your true colors by going along with them.

Things are even worse on the Arab street. While hope for change may be rising, opinion about the United States has never been as profoundly negative...

A LIE. We are suddenly starting to see the REAL Arab street, not the bogus one run by dictators and hyped by the NYT. Those million-or-so demonstrators in Beruit seem to have a rather good opinion of the US. They are the "Arab street."

Even under the best circumstances, it would have been hard for the proud people of the Middle East to acknowledge any benefit from an armed intervention by a Western power. And the occupying forces have made themselves easy to hate with maddening human-rights disasters. When the average Egyptian or Palestinian or Saudi thinks about the Americans in Iraq, the image is not voters' purple-stained fingers but the naked Iraqi prisoner at the other end of Pfc. Lynndie England's leash...

Because that's all Al-Jazeera and Al-NewYorka want to report. The hundreds-of-thousands tortured and murdered by Saddam go down the Memory Hole. The children tortured and wives raped to make their loved-ones confess mean nothing to you cold-hearted bastards at the NYT. ONLY incidents that can be used against America interest you. You tirelessly lead the media-chorus in tearing down America, then turn around and say, "Look how BUSH has made everyone hate us."

The atrocities that occurred in prisons like Abu Ghraib were the product of decisions that began at the very top, when the Bush administration decided that Sept. 11 had wiped out its responsibility to abide by the rules, including the Geneva Conventions and the American Constitution...

Rubbish. The Convention covers only Lawful Combatants who abide by the rules of war. Our opponents do not, but the NYT would never dream of criticizing them, while it reviles the US for not rewarding them anyway. And in fact we have treated our captives very humanely, while the Falluja terroritsts broadcast from the mosques their intention to torture and kill any American they captured. Which is OK by the NYT. The Abu Ghraib abuses were being investigated and dealt by the US Army months before the lefties became interested, but for the NYT it's the only thing that's ever happened.

For the United States, one of the greatest harms from the Iraq conflict has been the administration's willingness to define democracy down on the pretext of wartime emergency...

False. The War on Terror was debated vigorously during the last election, and the Iraq Invasion was argued about for over a year, and placed before Congress to vote on. And the voters and their representatives have strongly endorsed the President and his policies. That's what galls you at the NYT--the voters have rejected you. It's called democracy. Get ready for more of it.

Mr. Bush was not honest with the American people in the run-up to the war. He hyped the WMD evidence abroad and played down the cost at home. The results of last fall's election ensured that he would pay no political penalty. But other people sit in judgment as well. Mr. Bush's determination to have his war and his tax cuts at the same time meant masking the real price of invading Iraq, and even now the costs are being borne mainly by overseas holders of American debt. The international markets know this, and over the long run are most likely to be less forgiving than American voters...

So if the markets know it why aren't they unforgiving in the SHORT RUN? What a preposterous argument. The NYT peers into the future and declares international markets will agree with it...sometime or other. How Krugmanesque. And the enormous economic benefits that will come from VICTORY in the War on Terror are not considered. I suspect both victory and economic growth are not things the NYT is hoping for.

The New Challenges
Those stains on the index fingers of proud Iraqi voters have long faded. As Robert Worth of The Times discovered in interviews with average citizens, an inevitable disillusionment has set in. People reasonably want to know what comes next. More chilling, they seem to be prepared to blame competing ethnic groups for anything that goes wrong.

"Interviews" by Timesmen ALWAYS find that people agree with their position. But POLLS say that Iraqis feel very hopeful about the future. So which should we believe?

Iraq's newly elected leaders must organize a government that Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and smaller ethnic and religious groups feel has their best interests at heart. They must also accomplish some practical matters - more electrical power, cleaner water, better security - to give their constituents the confidence that things really can get better.

The first challenge is up to the Iraqis, and so far, there are not many signs that any group is prepared to compromise for the common good. Americans must help with the second problem, and almost no one inside Iraq seems to feel the infant government can survive right now without the Western military.

Yes, the ARE signs, starting with the disinclination of the Shi'ites to start slaughtering Sunnis, as many of them richly deserve. And the majority of Iraqis think they WILL be able to survive without the US forces in a year or two.

It is hard to imagine a quick exit that would not make things much worse. But at the same time, it's clear that the presence of American troops is poisoning the situation. Under constant fire from Sunni insurgents, the soldiers are seldom free to provide the good-will services that many would undoubtedly like to do. Instead they stand behind barricades, terrified that the next vehicle will be driven by a suicide bomber. The inevitable consequence is what happened to the Italian journalist and her protectors whose car was riddled with bullets en route to the airport. Far more often, the people inside the cars are Iraqis...

Of course. An Italian communist journalist rates high with the NYT, even though she's an obvious liar. American military personnel, however, often tell a different story. A story of courageous soldiering PLUS good-will services in enormous variety PLUS optimism about Iraq and its people. But the NYT is too wily to be taken in by a bunch of baby-killers from the primitive Red States. And the NYT would never dream of insulting Sunni terrorists by suggesting that THEY are "poisoning the situation." Only Americans are "poisonous"...

The invasion has stirred up other dreadful side effects that must be addressed. One is that other rogue nations watched what happened to Saddam Hussein and not unreasonably took the lesson that the only way to keep American forces away permanently was to acquire nuclear weapons quickly. Curbing the international market of the most lethal weapons must be the top priority for the White House, but it is not possible without the multilateral cooperation they scorned before the invasion. North Korea, which any sensible person regards as a far more deadly threat than Saddam Hussein ever was, can be kept in check only by allies working together...

There is in fact a LOT of multilateral work being done to curb nuclear weapons, such as PCI. But the NYT never sees it. And we have relentlessly pushed for 6-way negotiations in dealing with N Korea, but somehow that doesn't make us "multilateral." In fact, to the NYT, America (during a Republican administration) is ALWAYS guilty. If we try to do anything vigorous, and other nations won't help, WE are automatically guilty of alienating them. THEY are never guilty of shirking international responsibilities or letting an ally down.

The Enduring Principles
Like a great many Americans and most Europeans, this page opposed the invasion of Iraq. Our reasons seem as good now as they did then. Most important is our belief that the United States cannot work in isolation from the rest of the world. There are too many problems, from global warming to nuclear proliferation, which can be solved only if the major powers collaborate. Americans need both the counsel and restraint of other world leaders...

Restraint is what's on your mind, not collaboration. European "allies" have stagnant economies, chronic high unemployment, plummeting birthrates, seething masses of hate-filled welfare-dependent immigrants, decayed armies...but to the NYT it is self-evident that they should be restraining us with their superior wisdom. It never occurs that perhaps THEY night need some kind of kick-in-the-pants from us .

The White House has almost unthinkable power, and the rest of the globe has the right to take a profound interest in making sure it is exercised wisely.

But not to the point of actually, you know, HELPING us...

(I find The NYT's attitude loathsome, but it now occurs to me that they've been well-punished--It was obviously an agony for them to say anything good about a Republican war. What a sour and dreary world these Timesmen must live in. Their own country performs prodigies to succor the oppressed, and they can't feel any joy. Can't for even a moment forget their bile and just say, "Well-done America, we're proud of you!")

Posted by John Weidner at 5:48 PM

March 20, 2005

Potted Plants 1 and 2...

A friend notices this Thomas Friedman column in the NYT, where he suggests Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani should get the Nobel Peace Prize, and says:

Notice how Friedman reduces the liberators (Bushes I and II) to potted plant status who benefited mainly from good luck, while passing out Nobels to the liberated who demonstrated inspired cooperation and rational self-interest. Maybe they should give Academy Awards to theater chains for creative "movie selection."

It's gotta be hard to be Friedman right now. A liberal Democrat AND a Middle-East specialist. A lot of fancy footwork and smoke-blowin' is called for. And even if you manage to pass the credit to al-Sistani, that just calls attention to the the fact that Bush based his plans on the expectation that people like al-Sistani would emerge. That's what it means when you say that freedom is the gift of God. Rather than a largess of government given to the "little people," who probably won't appreciate it.

...The first person to vote in the [Afghan] presidential election, three years after the Taliban ruled that country with such barbarism, was a 19-year-old woman, an Afghan refugee, who fled her homeland during the civil war. Here's what she said: "I cannot explain my feelings, just how happy I am. I would never have thought I would be able to vote in this election." She's voting in this election because the United States of America believes that freedom is the Almighty God's gift to each man and woman in this world...
-- President Bush,
October 9th, 2004
Posted by John Weidner at 2:05 PM

March 15, 2005

On the defensive...

A lot of bloggers have quoted this paragraph from Time, and pointed out that it rather demolishes the idea that attacking Iraq would create a host of new terrorists...

...Al-Zarqawi's aide also revealed that his boss, after pondering the absence of attacks in the U.S. in recent years, concluded that a lack of "willing martyrs" was to blame. Al-Zarqawi believes, according to his lieutenant, that "if an individual is willing to die, there was nothing that could be done to stop him," even in the U.S. There is no evidence, say intelligence agencies, that al-Zarqawi's agents have infiltrated the U.S. But authorities remain vigilant...

My take is that it's not so much a lack of martyrs, but the fact that he's burning through the ones he's got in attacks on Iraqis and on Coalition forces. Al-Zarqawi is forced to. He can't admit defeat in Iraq, which is at the heart of the Arab world.

That's one of the many reasons why the Iraq Campaign was an act of genius. We are forcing the terrorists to react to our moves. We are not sitting like a bunch of Democrats or Euros waiting to be hit, and then deciding what to do or who to apologize to. Zarqawi would love to regain the initiative, love to attack your town, but he can't. Threats in Iraq keep coming at him. Elections, new constitution, cooperation between Shi'ite and Sunni and Kurd, reconstruction, spreading affluence and freedom, the spread of democracy to other Arab countries and to Iran.

Certain people would like you to believe that American deaths in Iraq are meaningless. But every attack on our troops is one less attack that can be made somewhere else.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:37 AM

February 13, 2005

Victory over CNN...

I just read in Stryker Brigade News about medals being given to soldiers who fought a ferocious action to rescue a downed helicopter and crew last September. I mention this because I'm fairly confident that the lefty slimeballs of the Gasping Media won't consider honoring American forces to be "news." (Except for local papers near Army bases)

The other media aspect of this, if you read the story, is that the crew of the downed Kiowa helicopter were rescued right away. And the helicopter itself was a wreck. But our troops and the "insurgents" fought a long bloody battle to hold on to a helicopter that wasn't going to fly again! Let us ask ourselves why.

WHY? Because the terrorists wanted to provide video footage to their allies in the world's newsrooms showing them dancing on an American helicopter, that's why. A battle was fought so that animals like Dan Rather and Peter Jennings and Al Jazeera and the BBC could strike a blow against America. American soldiers went into combat to prevent the scum of the media/Democrat party from portraying the Iraq Campaign as a Vietnam-style "quagmire" to try to help the Kerry campaign, and the general cause of appeasement.

You can read the whole story here, from Army Times. It will make you very proud. Or click below for a sample...

...By 9:30 a.m., B Company had consolidated near the crash site, but heavy enemy fire was preventing 3rd Platoon from securing the four buildings that formed an L-shaped high ground around the crash site.

A UAV flying overhead was monitoring a buildup of about 20 more insurgents linking up with several cars. They were taking RPGs and machine guns out of the trunks and moving east — straight into the alleyways that led to the Scout Platoon, Reed recalled.

Reed received word that two F-16s had come on station to provide close-air support, and the Sunday punch he needed now came in the form of a 2,000-pound Joint Direct Attack Munition.

The target was a burning wall at an intersection hit by RPG rounds earlier. The smoking structure was about 300 meters west of the 5-20 scouts and 300 meters due north of B Company.

The challenge was to drop the JDAM close to the enemy without harming friendly forces.

“Dropping a 2,000 pound bomb in the middle of a city close to maneuvering troops can get hairy,” said Reed, who was able to give his units a three-minute warning.

When Mason learned of the incoming JDAM, he saw his opening. “I said ‘OK, as soon as that bomb hits, I’m going to flank around and take those buildings.’”

Soon after, the JDAMs smashed into the battle zone with shocking force. The explosion drove a huge plume of smoke into the air.

“We moved under the concussion,” Mason said. “When that JDAM hit, they didn’t know what was going on.”

The blast stunned the enemy and B Company soldiers exploited the moment, rapidly dismounting and charging to clear buildings and secure an overwatch position.

It was now 9:57 a.m....

Those crazy guys eventually sawed off the rotors of the Kiowa and winched it onto a HEMTT truck and drove it home...all the while under morter fire.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:25 PM

February 8, 2005

Good story...

Omar recommended this tale, of an Iraqi boy, Pfc. Husam Razaq Almusowi, who was born in Iraq and grew up in the US, and joined the army to try to give something back to the country that saved his family in 1991...

...Escaping the bombs, large groups of Iraqis, mostly women and children, fled to Saudi Arabia, where they hoped to find safety at a refugee camp. Almusowi remembers the journey as if it were yesterday.

“We hitchhiked and walked all the way across the desert,” he said. “We camped out in the desert of southern Iraq and in the desert you can’t see anything at night. I remember finding a star and didn’t know what it was.”

When Almusowi awoke, he still had the metal insignia of a star in his hand. The morning light revealed the horror of their surroundings. “There were dead soldiers all around us and the star was an officer’s rank,” he said. “We spent the next day burying them and then we continued to move toward the border.”...

Almousowi's father was a general who plotted against Saddam. He was scheduled to be hanged on the day Allied bombs smashed his prison, allowing him to walk away. Almousowi is now an Army translator in Iraq.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:52 AM

February 6, 2005

Hurts just to think about it...

I just read a fascinating article in Wired, about a new method of pain control being used in Iraq...

...Now Buckenmaier is leading a group of army doctors and nurses determined, as he puts it, "to drag the military kicking and screaming into the 21st century." His team believes the future of wartime pain control is a new form of anesthesia called a continuous peripheral nerve block, which takes a more targeted approach by switching off only the pain signals coming from the injured limb, leaving patients' vital signs and cortical functions unimpaired...

....The blocks used by Buckenmaier and his team are made possible by the recent invention of small, microprocessor-controlled pumps which bathe nerves in nonaddictive drugs that discourage the transmission of pain signals. The pumps also can be used for weeks after surgery, enabling soldiers to adjust the level of medication themselves as they need it.

For soldiers evacuated from the battlefield, the advantages of nerve blocks over traditional methods of pain control are clear. The wounded troops flying in and out of Landstuhl are often in misery or a narcotized stupor, while those treated with blocks remain awake and pain-free despite massive injuries....(via
Stryker Brigade News)
Posted by John Weidner at 8:03 PM

February 3, 2005

Every silver lining has its cloud. Just look for it.

Blimpish had a good one on the Iraq election:

...Compared to the Cassandras' wilder predictions, it's all gone quite swimmingly, hasn't it? Even the Beeb hasn't been able to be other than positive today, despite looking for the cloud on the silver lining.

Which leaves me to wonder: how long until they do a 180 and start to ask about how the US and Britain can oppress such an assertive, vibrant young democracy?

Give it a day or two.
Posted by John Weidner at 2:23 PM

February 1, 2005

Maybe there's hope for this guy...

Mark Brown in the Chicago Sun Times has a column that, to his credit asks: What if Bush has been right about Iraq all along? Hold that thought Mark. Good, but I do have a few comments to interject...

[Brown writes]...On the other side of that barrier is a concept some of us have had a hard time swallowing:

Maybe the United States really can establish a peaceable democratic government in Iraq, and if so, that would be worth something.

Would it be worth all the money we've spent? Certainly.

Would it be worth all the lives that have been lost? That's the more difficult question, and while I reserve judgment on that score until such a day arrives, it seems probable that history would answer yes to that as well.
It's ALREADY worth it! We've already changed the thinking of the whole region, and changed the way the world looks at it. The fearsome "Arab Street" is starting to look like people with blue fingers. And there's also the little matters of the tens-of-thousands Saddam would have tortured and butchered if we hadn't stepped in. And the malnourished Iraqi children--remember them? And all those Jihadis we are fighting in Iraq--they would have been doing who-knows-what if we hadn't invaded...

I don't want to get carried away in the moment.
So if the news were bad would you be trying not to get carried away? Hmmm?
Going to war still sent so many terrible messages to the world.
That free people believe in their way of life enough to fight for it? Yeah that's a terrible message. 50 million people liberated from hideous tyrannies? Another terrible message--if you are a fascist pretending to be a "progressive." Whereas appeasers helping a monster like Saddam didn't send any. messages. at. all. Nooooo...
Most of the obstacles to success in Iraq are all still there, the ones that have always led me to believe that we would eventually be forced to leave the country with our tail tucked between our legs. (I've maintained from the start that if you were impressed by the demonstrations in the streets of Baghdad when we arrived, wait until you see how they celebrate our departure, no matter the circumstances.)
The demonstrations were in fact small and NOT impressive, except through the eyes of wishful thinking. And some of the demos were anti-terrorist. Bet those didn't get much play in the Sun Times.
...In and of itself, the voting did nothing to end the violence. The forces trying to regain the power they have lost -- and the outside elements supporting them -- will be no less determined to disrupt our efforts and to drive us out.
I see. Our opponents are fusion-powered robots who never feel discouragement when they've been defeated. In fact that's been the lefty line ever since 9/11. We musn't fight, because attacking the terrorists "will only create more of them." "Kill a terrorist and his five brothers will immediately become death-commandos." Crap.

How come you guys never wonder if killing an Iraqi or Afghan
election-worker might cause HIS five brothers to become "no less determined" to fight for democracy? In fact that happens a lot, but you ignore those stories.
...Somebody still has to find a way to bring the Sunnis into the political process before the next round of elections at year's end.
There will be LOTS of Sunnis in the new government, because there are lots of Sunnis on the candidate lists. I'm guessing this won't be noticed by the Gasping Media, who only notice pressure groups and not individuals. For instance it doesn't matter how many black people Bush consults (or puts in his cabinet.) If he's not talking to the NAACP, then he is "snubbing blacks."
...The Iraqi government still must develop the capacity to protect its people.
Duh. And is your paper going to HELP by starting to report the successes as well as the failures in this process? I won't hold my breath.
...And there seems every possibility that this could yet end in civil war the day we leave or with Iraq becoming an Islamic state every bit as hostile to our national interests as was Saddam.
NO, your statement is simply wrong. There is LITTLE possibility of those things. How do I know? The same way I knew the election was likely to be a success. There is a lot of information available that is not reported in your crummy paper. For instance there are opinion polls taken in Iraq. I bet they didn't get any headlines in the Sun Times, or you would be aware that Iraqis are overwhelmingly moderate, and are eager for neither a civil war nor an Islamic state. I knew that in late 2003, from the results of Iraqi local elections (which also didn't get headlines). I knew, YOU missed the news-story.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:33 PM

January 30, 2005

Simon says

It's late, and voting has been going on for several hours in Iraq. No bloodbath yet, and turnout seems good. I'll risk it and say the election is going to be a huge success. Roger Simon just put this well:

I know it sounds corny, but those of us in the blogosphere--readers, writers, commenters--who supported our government's actions in Iraq and suffered the opprobrium of friends and family, were called warmongers and chickenhawks, this is a time to celebrate. This is what we were fighting for in the war of opinion. It's not much, especially compared to our brave troops, but it's something.

So why am I a hawk? (As I've been asked?) Because I'm for peace! (And no, that's not Orwellian double-speak. Just the plain way things work.) Good night all.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:11 AM

January 29, 2005

good question...

A reader writes:

Shouldn't both the MSM and the blogosphere be burning up with discussions of how these three captured aides should be interrogated? This is perfect case in point for the "humane treatment" types to explain exactly how they would do it when they have the masterminds of everything from beheadings to placement of roadside bombs are sitting right in front of them. I haven't heard a peep.

Now that's a good question. I didn't even ask myself that. Maybe people are assuming the matter will be "taken care of" and don't want to bring it up, either because they approve, or because they don't approve but don't want a debate at this moment, which resembles those "ticking bomb" scenarios rather closely.

And probably the Gasping Media don't want to call attention to anything that looks like a victory for us. Or call attention to the awkward fact that a few terrorist monsters are attacking us, not a popular uprising "caused" by American blunders.

Anyway, most of the people who get into a shriek on the subject of torture are phonies. They only care about it when it can be used to hurt the Bush Administration. Their compassion is an utter lie.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:14 AM

January 28, 2005

Blogs on the ground...

We can be sure the Gasping Media will not INFORM us about the Iraqi elections. The will report the "news," which will look at lot like the "news" we are getting now--pictures of smoking rubble and ambulances... <pompous voice>You don't expect us to report that a plane took off and landed safely!</pompous voice>

But, blogs to the rescue! Friends of Democracy is a giving us ground-level coverage of what's going on. Keep you eye on them over the next few days...If this plane lands safely it will be big news an important historic event.

Campaining in the Iraq election

Picture is a detail of one found here, at Friends of Democracy...

One thing that continues to surprise me is the extant to which people in faraway places like Iraq or Ukraine or Indonesia "get" elections. Give 'em half a chance and parties, posters, debates, poll-watchers, and of course lots of politicians, emerge like mushrooms on a Spring morning.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:46 AM

January 27, 2005

Ready to vote...

From Friends of Democracy, a story about Iraqi-Americans voting in the Iraq election...

IRVINE – Some boarded buses in Modesto at midnight to get here. Others flew in from Seattle, or drove six hours in the family car.

Not Suad Aleshaiker of Irvine. All she did was persuade her doctor at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center to let her sneak out of bed about noon Saturday - three days after stomach surgery....

...There are only five polling places in the United States - Irvine is the only site west of the Mississippi.

All of which made for a celebratory scene outside the old Officers Club at the former [El Toro] Marine base. People carried Iraqi flags, wore pins and Iraqi caps; they cheered and whooped while some played Iraqi music from their cars. "I cannot even describe it. I had tears in my eyes when I saw all the people coming here," said Raghad Oueida, 37, of Irvine, who arrived with her husband and 19-day-old infant. "Compare it? Believe me, it's like when I had my baby."...(link to story in
Orange County Register)

Letting the expats vote in the Iraq elections is a very good idea. They will be a valuable resource for the new Iraq, and participating in the elections will help involve them in the country.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:54 PM

January 17, 2005

Sadr City of all places...

Arthur Chrenkoff's latest round-up of good news from Iraq is up, and as always is a useful counterbalance to the pro-terrorist press. (And, as always, he emphasizes that he is not denying that there are problems and violence in Iraq. Just giving us the part of the news that you won't see on TV.

One tidbit really surprised me:

...Now a U.S. officer, Brig. Gen. Jeffery Hammond of the 1st Cavalry Division, says Sadr City is the safest place in or around Baghdad...[link].

Astonishing! Sadr City, violent and impoverished home of Al Sadr's rebellion.

...About 18,000 people have reconstruction jobs, he says, earning about $6 a day. "Sadr City is what the future of Iraq can look like," he says.Those who were once taking up arms are now talking democracy.

"Before, the men were buying black cloth for their (martyrs') banners. Now for the election, we are buying white cloths" for posters, says candidate Fatah al-Sheikh.

Al-Sheikh, 37, rounds up a camera crew and a couple of reporters and heads out for a bit of campaigning. He presses the flesh — both cheeks and hands — and points to the failings of the current, American-backed administration, including high fuel prices and frequent power outages. "This is what will bring the people to vote for us," he says, pointing to trash and sewage along al-Falah Street, a main drag. "This kind of collapse of the services will make the people vote for us and not for the government."...

I'd say that's an answer to the people who claim that democracy is a long-term project that will do nothing right now to combat terrorism. Iraqi democracy is likely to be very flawed in the short run, but will still be a powerfully transformative, drawing people's energy into lawful contests...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:36 AM

January 6, 2005

"Only Iraqis can liberate themselves..."

Darn that Tom Friedman. Never fails, I complain that he's full of malarky and then he comes out with something brilliant. Such as this column on elections in Iraq (Thanks to Glenn Reynolds, who I think has the same view of Friedman)

...What the Bush team has done in Iraq, by ousting Saddam, was not to "liberate" the country - an image and language imported from the West and inappropriate for Iraq - but rather to unleash the latent civil war in that country. Think of shaking a bottle of Champagne and then uncorking it....

....The civil war we want is a democratically elected Iraqi government against the Baathist and Islamist militants. It needs to be clear that these so-called insurgents are not fighting to liberate Iraq from America, but rather to reassert the tyranny of a Sunni-Baathist minority over the majority there. The insurgents are clearly desperate that they not be cast as fighting a democratically elected Iraqi government - which is why they are desperately trying to scuttle the elections. After all, if all they wanted was their fair share of the pie, and nothing more, they would be taking part in the elections.

We cannot liberate Iraq, and never could. Only Iraqis can liberate themselves, by first forging a social contract for sharing power and then having the will to go out and defend that compact against the minorities who will try to resist it...

I get really annoyed at people who harp about how we've "failed" in Iraq because we haven't defeated the terrorists, or brought tranquility and happiness and enough electricity. That's not our job, that's not what we are trying to do. These things are tasks for the people of Iraq, and our job is to only to make things steady enough that they can start to do them.

We want Iraq to show the Arab world another path, to show how an Arab country can start acting like the grown-ups. We don't need Iraq to be an example of the administration of American charity and patronage, or an example of a helpless country that gets "fixed" by outsiders. A point that's probably opaque to the sort of people who don't even want the American people to be self-reliant.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:54 PM

December 28, 2004

More "voting with their feet"

Here's a little something to keep in mind when idiotarians (inluding UN Human-Rights types) tell you that the US has made things much worse in Iraq...

BBC News: The UNHCR is to close several camps for Iraqi refugees in Iran because more than half of the 202,000 exiles have returned home.

The UN's refugee body said 42,000 out of 50,000 Iraqis at the centres had left since the fall of Saddam Hussein. Six out of the UN's 22 camps in south Iran are empty and another two are due to close by the end of the month.

The agency has discouraged repatriation because of insecurity in Iraq and the border-crossing is riddled with mines. About 107,000 refugees have left Iran since the former Iraqi leader was removed last year...

(Thanks to Jonah)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:21 PM

December 19, 2004

What a story...

Blackfive has a great e-mail from a Marine Gunnery Sergeant in Iraq, thanking people for sending toys to give to children...

...On one such patrol, our lead security vehicle stopped in the middle of the street.  This is not normal and is very unsafe, so the following vehicles began to inquire over the radio.  The lead vehicle reported a little girl sitting in the road and said she just would not budge.  The command vehicle told the lead to simply go around her and to be kind as they did. The street was wide enough to allow this maneuver and so they waved to her as they drove around.

As the vehicles went around her, I soon saw her sitting there and in her arms she was clutching a little bear that we had handed her a few patrols back.  Feeling an immediate connection to the girl, I radioed that we were going to stop.  The rest of the convoy paused and I got out the make sure she was OK.  The little girl looked scared and concerned, but there was a warmth in her eyes toward me. As I knelt down to talk to her, she moved over and pointed to a mine in the road.

Immediately a cordon was set as the Marine convoy assumed a defensive posture around the site. The mine was destroyed in place...
Posted by John Weidner at 11:18 PM

December 14, 2004

No one wanted any part of it...

Roger Simon, writing about his meeting with Omar and Mohammad, of Iraq the Model, writes:

...As it happens, the question of whether we should have "disbanded the Iraqi Army" came up at our party for Iraq the Model the other night. Because I have never been to Iraq, speak no Arabic, never have been in the Army, etc., unlike others, I have never had a strong opinion on this issue. I simply do not consider myself qualified. But I have to say I was surprised at the response to the question.

Omar, the younger brother, all of twenty-four but waaay wise beyond his years, simply laughed and said it would have been impossible. There was no way we could have kept the Iraqi Army together even if we had wanted to. The Iraqi Army, hugely underpaid conscripts who hated what they were doing, had already dissolved before we got to Baghdad. No one wanted any part of it. There was no Iraqi Army to preserve. We had to start all over again - which we have... eventually...

That fits with all that I've heard about the old Iraqi army. It's hard for us to imagine how colossally bad the combination of an Arab army plus Soviet training and doctrine can be. We simply have no institutions in America that are that bollixed-up. So the people who keep repeating that the army should not have been disbanded should perhaps be cut a little slack.

But only a little. The people who write that are, as far as I've seen, intellectually dishonest. They never address the serious objections to that plan, or discuss exactly how it might have been done. If they think the old army was so useful, how come they never devote so much as a single sentence to discussing that army? And they never address the deeper problem—that preserving an instrument of Ba'athist oppression does not fit with our plans to bring democracy and freedom to Iraq.

Summer patriots like Andrew Sullivan use the Iraqi Army business as a throw-away line for Bush bashing, but they clearly don't actually care about the subject. If we had kept the old army, they would be sneering that such short-cuts show that the Administration is no better than Saddam!

Posted by John Weidner at 6:10 PM

Thanks Jeff...

I have several times lately been furious at things written by Jeff Jarvis, but I forgive him everything for his slashing response today to the odious Juan Cole's attack on my Iraqi blogger friends. (I sort of think of them as my friends, after reading their stories about their adventures and about all their funny relatives. link link link)

...Make up your mind, Cole: Who's the enemy? Free-thinking Iraqi bloggers? Or the CIA? Or Blogger? Or liberal media? Or free-thinking Iraqi bloggers who happen to disagree with you? Or everyone?

The twit to whom Cole links -- I won't dignify his paranoid crap with a link -- goes on about how the brothers have been interviewed only by right-wing media like The Wall Street Journal. Just one problem with that, fool: They went onto NPR (liberal) radio on Brian Lehrer's WNYC
show -- and held their own. And they met with Howard Kurtz of the notoriously liberal Washington Post and they went to Harvard and met with lotsa notorious liberals there and were scheduled to meet with the notoriously liberal LA Times.

: But I don't need to defend these fine men. Their own brother Ali does a very good job of telling Cole and his confederates to go F themselves
Posted by John Weidner at 7:34 AM

December 13, 2004

no one will ever know your name...

Rich Lowry wrote a good piece on that soldier with the questions for Don Rumsfeld...

...Specialist Thomas Wilson, who asked the question, is being hailed in the press for his bravery. Indeed, asking his question took guts (although it was apparently planted with him by a reporter). But make no mistake, there are much more stirring acts of courage by U.S. soldiers every day in Iraq that somehow escape the media's attention. Ask Rumsfeld a tough question, sue the military, desert or disobey orders, and you achieve fame. But if you happen to sustain a gunshot wound in the battle of Fallujah and ignore it because you so desperately want to stay with your fellow soldiers and believe so much in your mission, well then, no one will ever know your name.

But the press has its priorities. The old saw used to be that American Jews would ask of anything, "Yes, but is it good for the Jews?" The Rummy-hating media and Left evaluate any Iraq-related event through a similar filter, "Yes, but is it bad for Rumsfeld?"

Don Rumsfeld is an exceptional leader, and we are very lucky to have him. There aren't many areas of life where the leader of a huge organization lets himself in for sharp questions from the lowest ranks. Or many organizations where you can do that and not worry about retaliation. Wouldn't it be sweet if Dan Rather had to submit to probing questions from voters about why he tried to throw the election with forged documents? Or if newspaper management had to publicly sweat while answering questions about the circulation scandals?

And the lack of armored Humvees was not a scandal, it was an unanticipated need, one that the army quickly took steps to fix. Unanticipated because this was a campaign unique in the history of war. A enemy nation with a large modern military didn't fight, not seriously, but immediately dissolved itself and started a guerilla war! Even in the first weeks of the invasion, the serious fighting was against irregulars, not against Republican Guard armored divisions! (Read this for an example.)

Posted by John Weidner at 1:02 PM

November 30, 2004

Bitter? Who, me?

I recently got an e-mail from an old pal, one that gives me an excuse to rattle on interminably and bore you with favorite topics:
Browsing through your Random Jottings, I was quite moved at the quotation by John Kennedy that went undelivered... Not quite clever enough to figure out how to add a comment within your "Random Jottings" blogsite, however. Thank you for remembering that not all Dems come with horns and a pointy tail...

The Democrats you and I grew up with were often splendid patriotic Americans. JFK was a staunch anti-Communist, willing to fight to protect our country and others from tyranny. He cut taxes massively, triggering an economic boom. (Remember the Go-Go Years?) He was unabashedly patriotic and idealistic. He was a Hawk. Guess what...JFK wouldn't find any home in today's Democrat Party. That world is GONE, gone utterly. There are no more Trumans, no more Scoop Jacksons. Wake up to it.

...You lament the lack of a stiff opposition and a good debate. I believe you've got enough bile stored up to nuke my poor little computer into smouldering plastic, so I daren't stick my head into the Dragon's lair; but I do wonder from time to time how you became such a HAWK...

Hawks are the people who want to prevent war! If the Islamic terrorists had been stomped on hard a decade or two ago, tens-of-thousands of lives would have been saved, and we would not be in a war now. That´s what Hawks do. You "doves" (if that's what you are) are the ones who are causing wars. You want to let things slide so that we will have far worse battles in the future. You are the warmongers.

...Of course, we grew up in Dick Nixon's backyard in All-the-Way-Right Orange County; birthplace of touchy-feely organizations like the John Birch Society. So, naturally, we're inclined to go goose-stepping about and bitching about the trains running on time and whatnot, but Good Lord, man, with exposure to the world-at-large and possibly a little counseling, one can learn to overcome embarrassing twitches forcing the right arm erect and vocalizations sounding suspiciously like "Seig Heil!"

That's funny! Now that vee haf a zecond term, vee vill make der rabble OBEY!

[A small note enjoining historical accuracy. You've probably been educated to see politics as a spectrum, with socialists on one end, and fascists on the other. Wrong. The well-known fascist groups, such as the Nazis, were not right-wingers or conservatives. They were just another flavor of
Socialists, tarted-up with some oddments of nationalist and conservative rhetoric.]

Also, those Orange County right-wingers were not quite so wacky as portrayed by leftish historians. The extremists filled the headlines, while ordinary decent folks went unnoticed. But even the extreme ones may not have been so misguided as they are shown. Young Congressman Nixon looks rather better now that we've learned from the Soviet archives that Alger Hiss really was a secret agent for Stalin. And McCarthy was a scoundrel, but we now know that there really were a bunch of Communists in the State Department...

Here's a couple observations in your blogspot that I suspected might be half-a-bubble out of plumb- so long as you don't get sore at me! These are from previous postings: Shortly before the (tragic, in my opinion) election, you were criticizing John Kerry for expressing opinions on the War in Iraq, and suggesting the remarks might be treason. Treason?! As in None Dare Call it Treason, that hateful rant I slurped up in my misguided youth? It seems to me that one of the principal principles of our whole American ideal is that differences of opinion are allowed! It's the very cornerstone of our freedom- that opinions vary and are tolerated. In fact, that's what the whole idea of a democracy is about- the will of the majority of the people. For that reason, unhappy as I may be, I must respect the will of the American people in electing George Bush. (Note I say electing, not re-electing; but let's set that aside). It seems to me that suggesting Kerry's opinions as treason is too much, really unfair. It's all water under the bridge now, but what was the guy supposed to do? Say "no comment"? Say "Georgie's doin' a fine, wunnaful job over there?" He HAD to express an opinion, didn't he?

I don't remember using "treason." (But I might have, I'm very angry with the Dems) But what, exactly, am I angry about? Of course I agree that differences of opinion are allowed. However, things are a little bit different in wartime. Once our people are getting shot at, it´s the duty of both parties to be on OUR side. Constructive criticism—yes. OF COURSE! But what Kerry was doing was something else. The terrorists have no hope of defeating us militarily. Their only hope is to persuade us to lose courage, and withdraw from the fight. And Kerry´s whole campaign was one big hint that if elected he would cut and run. And that was a clear message to terrorists: "Kill lots of Americans, and help elect me."

And remember, Kerry VOTED for the Iraq Campaign. He voted to send our forces into harm's way, then undercut them, and told the world that what they are doing is wrong. Treason...well, no. DESPICABLE? yes! Am I bitter? Remember this: ALL our big wars of the 20th Century were
Democrat wars. And Republicans always supported our military whole-heartedly, even when they had been opposed to going to war before the fighting started. Damn right I'm feeling bitter.

Another thing that caused me a little indigestion was your apologizing for the conduct of those responsible for the mistreatment of the Iraqui POW's...

I did NOT apologize for those who abused the detainees. (They are not POW's; that is a status reserved for those who follow the rules of war.) But I am furious at the Dems/newsmedia/America-haters, who have given you a carefully edited propaganda campaign, so that Abu Ghraib is the one big thing on your mind.

You mention Saddam had no cameras. OH YES HE DID!!! There are thousands of videotapes available of REAL tortures (not "being humiliated by American trailer-trash"). Stuff like people being eaten alive by dogs. Children tortured in front of their parents. Wives raped in front of their husbands. But your lefty news media don't show you that, because it doesn't help their politics. Because you might be tempted to think America is doing something noble and good.

What ELSE is edited out? Well, for every crime we commit, there are also thousands of deeds of generosity and compassion (see
here, here, here). And heroism (see here, here, here, here). Us bloggers pass the stories around, like samizdat in the old Soviet Union. But anyone dependent on ABC, CBS, the NYT, the LAT—they almost never hear those things. It's ALSO not usually reported that most Iraqis are grateful for what we are doing, and are excited about the possibility of elections...(see here, here, here, here, here, here Or just click on Iraq in my subject list)

Instead Abu Ghraib was trumpeted in tens of thousands of news stories, and all the world was bombarded. Remember the time you were traveling, and people in distant typhoon-lashed places were all agog at LA's floods? Abu Ghraib is the same kind of
distortion amplified a thousand-fold. You are being USED. Duped. Fed a diet of lies solely to advance the Democrat Party. If it were just were lies about, say Social Security reform, that´s not such a big deal. But to distort and besmirch what our troops are doing—that's loathsome. VILE.

To me, that was the icing on the cake called WMD's and where the hell are they? If we already looked like Horse's Asses for starting a war over a Non-Issue in the opinion of the world, that was the black eye that sent us reeling into the ropes. And despite what too many Americans (probably including yourself) think, WORLD OPINION MATTERS.

Hmm, well let's see. Did your TV news give you much detail about the parts of a Uranium enrichment plant just found in South Africa? Hmmm? All packed up in shipping containers, ready to go? I bet not. They don't want you to start thinking bad thoughts.

In fact, we had a LOT of reasons for the Iraq campaign. (It's NOT a war, it is one campaign of the War on Terror) Here's my list of ten. But you know what? World opinion matters...to this Administration. So we worked hard to get UN approval, And the only way to do that was to justify the invasion as being about WMD's. Because the UN, and the French and Germans, (and your precious present-day Dems) care nothing for stopping genocide and torture, nor for freedom and democracy, nor for bringing new hope to a region sunk in despotism, nor for fighting vigorously for right in order to prevent far worse wars in the future.

And lack of WMD's was only a "black eye" because it is now
framed that way by people who hate America. Actually, the Europeans, the UN, and your precious Dems (read this) ALL agreed that Saddam's WMD's were a grave danger. It was not a "non-issue" then. Now they stand aside and pretend it was just Bush's idea. Bullshit. In fact, we now know, from the Duelfer Report, that even Saddam's top aides and generals thought he had WMD's ready to use!!

In war, intelligence is ALWAYS imperfect. The Rangers scaled the cliff at
Pont du Hoc, and discovered that the German guns had recently been moved. They were still heroes! The decision to attack there was still correct. Bush and Blair and Howard are great men, heroes, because they are willing to ACT to fix problems. They are willing to make tough decisions. They are willing to FIGHT. Your cutesy little Democrats want to ignore problems, and hope they go away. You are welcome to that crew—I despise them.

The problem is that- rightly or wrongly- I always thought of America and Americans as the Good Guys- the folks who came along in WW1, WW2, and Korea- who fought hard, set things right, and hit the trail. We didn't need to be told the Geneva Convention. To my knowledge- and I'll admit I could be wrong here- we never tortured or humiliated Japanese or German POW's in WW2, despite the atrocities they inflicted on our men. I don't think many Japanese POW's were "killed while trying to escape", and the German POW's were happy campers! So it seems so sad and unnecessary and frankly, sickening- to see the photos that came out of that prison. Is this how we look to the rest of the world? Did we really succeed in making Saddam Hussein look good by comparison? (At least he had the sense to not allow cameras, fer Chrissakes!!!)

We WERE and ARE the good guys. But we also did bad things. (Not incompatible) I'm a bookworm, and have wandered through scores of memoirs from those wars. We often shot people who were trying to surrender—sometimes in reprisal, sometimes not. But you never see that stuff in the general history books. (Because most historians are Democrats. If a Republican had been President, "history" would read very differently.) Japanese skulls were popular souvenirs. There were almost no Jap POW's—they didn't surrender. But we routinely shot any Japanese bodies, just to make sure they were dead. And a huge mass of Germans who surrendered right at the end were kept in squalor and actual-starvation because we had made inadequate provision for their numbers.

And we DID set things right. But it took some high-handedness, even brutality. Pushing people around. The sanitized history books make it all seem
gemütlich, but it wasn't. And it took a lot of time, and expense, and awkward learning-by-making-mistakes. Much like what's happening right now in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"Is this how we look to the rest of the world?" Only because of a vast edifice of lies and distortions. Did you know that hundreds of Abu Ghraib prisoners have been killed and wounded? Of course you don't, because Americans aren't doing it. (see here) So it's not news. You don't hear about it.

You've been gulled. Hoodwinked. A bunch of 60's "activist" flakes have taken over the Democrat Party/news-media, and, like children playing dress-up, donned the mantles of FDR and Truman and Jimmy Byrnes and JFK. And now sneer at anyone who acts with the decisiveness of those great Dems.
Posted by John Weidner at 10:02 AM

November 27, 2004

The next election on the horizon...

British writer Quentin Langley has a piece on 10 reasons elections in Iraq will succeed. They look about right to me. Including something I hadn't thought of:

7. The electoral system chosen (national lists) is not particularly vulnerable to intimidation. Votes are counted locally but the totals are calculated nationally, and seats in parliament are awarded in proportion to votes. A gang that intimidates voters locally will have almost no impact on the national vote.

I had thought that "national list" system was wrong-headed, but it makes sense in this context. And of course, this election is only for one year, for writing the new constitution...

We can guarantee that during this time, while the fighting is at its worst, the faint hearts and pessimists - the French and German governments; the U.N.; the Democrats; CNN and CBS - will tell us that the effort is doomed. They will say that the Iraqi elections will be a flop, turnout will be low, and that Saddam's supporters will likely come back to power. They will also tell us that only American soldiers are getting killed, with no reference to the brave Iraqis fighting to take their country back from the terrorists. Here are the top 10 reasons why they are wrong....

They are not "faint-hearted and pessimistic," they are on the other side. But maybe our "Democrats" will surprise me this time, and support democracy. With enthusiasm. And consider it something worth fighting for, and worth putting aside partisan advantage for. Ha ha, just kidding. Never happen...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:16 AM

November 23, 2004

Kerry-supporters, close your eyes. You don't want to know this...

If we didn't have the Internet, how little we would know about what's going on in Iraq...

This is amazing. Iraqis in Falluja leaving notes for our Marines, saying "please sleep in the beds!" Stupefying! From an e-mail posted by Rich Lowry at the Corner (Thank you, Andrea!):

I am also a professor at a military-related institution, and my little brother is an enlisted Marine (a sniper with 1-3) in Fallujah. This weekend he called for the first time since the battle began.
He informed us that a large number of the residents of Fallujah, before fleeing the battle, left blankets and bedding for the Marines and Soldiers along with notes thanking the Americans for liberating their city from the terrorists, as well as invitations to the Marines and Soldiers to sleep in their houses. I've yet to see a report in the media of this. Imagine that.

Additionally, he said their spirits are high, but they would certainly appreciate any "care packages" that folks in the States would care to send their way (preferably consisting of non-perishable food items, candy, deodorant, eye-drops, q-tips, toothpaste, toothbrushes, lip balm, hand/feet warmers, black/dark undershirts, underwear & socks, and non-aerosol bug spray)

It would be great if you could pass this message along to anyone interested in helping out."

[Emphasis mine, 'cause heaven knows our "official purveyors" of information won't pass this stuff on to us]

Marines resting in a house in Falluja
Marines with the 5th Division get ready for a new day
after staying overnight in Fallujah, Iraq,
in a house close to the city’s center.
Anja Niedringhaus / AP photo
Posted by John Weidner at 12:50 PM

November 20, 2004

Battle of the Bulge without the German Army...

Here's another interesting Paul Wolfowitz quote from the Prospect Magazine interview:

Radek Sikorski With the benefit of hindsight and now that the election campaign is over, what would you say could have been done differently in Iraq?

Paul Wolfowitz People make a lot about the decision to dismiss the Iraqi army. But I don't think people are shooting at Americans and blowing up schools because we dismissed the Iraqi army. When people talk about why Iraq is as difficult as it is, they always start and finish with a list of American mistakes. Nobody ever talks about the enemy. It would be like saying why the battle of the bulge was tough without ever mentioning the German army. Saddam Hussein didn't stop fighting us, at least until he was captured in December last year. Al-Zarqawi didn't surrender when Baghdad fell. He stepped up his efforts.

There are all these organisations that are unheard of in Europe and barely known in the US that people ought to know about. There was the M-14 division of the Iraqi intelligence service, its so-called "anti-terrorism" division, which specialised in hijackings and bombings, kidnappings and assassinations. There was the M-16 division, which perfected new bombing techniques. Many of these guys are out in Falluja and Ramadi in the western parts of Iraq today making bombs. A fellow named Abu Ibrahim spent 20 years in Iraq developing these techniques. He can fashion plastic explosives in the shape of decorative wall hangings. He was putting bombs in suitcases on American airplanes in 1982. If you don't understand that the people who killed and raped and murdered and tortured for 35 years are not quitting and still think they can win, then you won't understand what we're fighting...

It's a useful litmus test of attitudes, to just notice those who assume, ab initio, that any problems in Iraq (or anywhere) are due to mistakes by the US. There are sure are a lot of them, and they assume that all the world is peaceful and happy until American shows up. Of course they only look at those places in the world where America happens to be active. So those are the only places where they see problems.

The thought that there might be trouble in Iraq precisely because we are doing something right is not a concept they can grasp. Strange as it may seem, the fact that brutal killers—torturers and murderers—hate what we are up to, and will stop at nothing to prevent it, is never taken as evidence that we are on the right track...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:40 AM

November 10, 2004

We are just pygmies compared to these guys...


Pictures from Army Times Frontline Photos, 11/10/04

Weary Marine, smoking, Falluja
Luis Sinco, The Los Angeles Times / AP photo
A member of Charlie Company, 8th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, smokes a cigarette in Fallujah, Iraq, on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Allawi with wounded troops
John Moore / AP photo
Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi meets with U.S. Marines wounded in Fallujah at the 31st Combat Support Hospital in Baghdad on Wednesday. Two members of Allawi's family were abducted from their Baghdad home Tuesday evening, including his cousin, Ghazi Allawi, and his cousin's daughter-in law.
There's the price of freedom for you. I'm guessing the PM will not be stopped by this thuggery. He's already survived being axed by Saddam's assassins, he's tough stuff.

Cuffs removed from Iraqi freed from the terrorists

Anja Niedringhaus / AP photo
Marines from the 1st Division use a bolt cutter to remove the handcuffs from an Iraqi at a makeshift military hospital in Fallujah, Iraq, on Wednesday. The man, whose name was not released, was found handcuffed in an insurgent hiding place in Fallujah after being kidnapped 10 days ago in Baghdad's suburb of Abu Ghraib. The Marines believe he was used as a human shield.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:07 PM

October 25, 2004

Never let anybody to say that you shed your blood in vain...

...It was, however, the words of Humaila Akrawy, an Iraqi citizen, that were perhaps the most poignant of the evening. Her sister was killed for working with Americans, her brother was killed by Saddam Hussein's secret police, and another sister was targeted by Uday Hussein and had to be smuggled out of the country.

She spoke of the Iraq's gratitude to America and the troops who helped to free the country and its people from the terrorism of Saddam Hussein. She said the troops are, indeed, winning the war, because if they weren't, the insurgents would ignore them.

"I can never tell you how grateful I am and how grateful my people are for your sacrifice. You left your homes … to fight for a people you have never known," Akrawy said. "When the sun sets over the deserts and mountains of Iraq, the good people of Iraq look at the West and are happy to know that the sun is rising to the people who rescued us from the darkness and evil of Saddam.

"Never think that your work in Iraq was wasted," she continued. "Never let anybody to say that you shed your blood in vain. You have given the people of Iraq, of Afghanistan, the chance to be free."[link]

There are always, of course, people who think that braving great dangers and difficulties to help make the world a better place, is only for saps and suckers.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:52 PM

October 24, 2004

A single death is a tragedy. A million deaths is something the UN can live with...

UNITED NATIONS Oct 22, 2004 — The United Nations won't train judges or prosecutors for the Iraqi tribunal that will try members of Saddam Hussein's regime because it has no mandate and doesn't work with courts that can impose the death penalty, a U.N. associate spokesman said Friday.

"The Secretary-General (Kofi Annan) recently stated that United Nations officials should not be directly involved in lending assistance to any court or tribunal that is empowered to impose the death penalty," Stephane Dujarric said at a news conference.

"We have no specific mandate for this," he said. "In addition … we have serious doubts regarding the capability of the Iraqi Special Tribunal to meet the relevant international standards."...

Those are important standards! There's the Calmly Watching Genocide standard. The Wink at Nuclear Proliferation standard. The Israel Is To Blame For All Problems standard. The Palestinians Get a Pass On Mass Murder standard....

Most importantly, the NGO Comfortable Lifestyle standard always comes first.

The Iraqi courts are pariahs because they can impose the death penalty. So what did the UN call Saddam Hussein, who shoveled hundreds of thousands of people into mass graves? A Member.

(Thanks to Winds of Change)

Posted by John Weidner at 5:34 PM

October 23, 2004

One man's mistake is another man's smart move...

A reader writes:

You're the war guy. How would you rate Iraq by historical precedent? Aren't there always screw-ups? Ever read A Bridge Too Far? As I recall they dropped a bunch of Polish paratroopers right on a Panzer unit. They were slaughtered. Then of course there is the Light Brigade, Picket's Charge, Battle of the Bulge, etc.

The idea that our Iraqi problems would be solved if we had had more troops in the beginning is now accepted as a fact. But when pressed this view doesn't hold up very well. Seal the borders? That would have taken a million troops and casualties would have been higher. Looting? The problem was not numbers, it was that soldiers aren't police. Reports that soldiers were standing on corners doing nothing are probably true. So we could have used 3 times a many standing on corners doing nothing?

The usual military solution to looting is: All looters will be shot. It's very effective.

But somehow gunning down Iraqis who probably rationalized that they were getting their stuff back from Saddam doesn't seem very sensitive. Even Kerry would agree with that.

By historical standards this has been a war with astonishingly few mistakes. And the "mistakes" criticized are mostly "whatever Bush does is wrong." I remember fisking some clank-brain who said we should have had a draft and sent 500,000 Americans to mingle with the Iraqis in the villages and make friends. That's stupid in a dozen ways--I won't insult you by enumerating them. But imagine the criticisms if our government actually did such a thing!! Yow!

The real issue is that things that are called "mistakes" are only mistakes in relation to a particular goal that they move us away from. If you assume we have a different goal, the same thing may not be a mistake.

And the critics won't say what their goal is! Or what they think America's goal should be. That's sneaky. Dishonest. For instance, a frequent subtext of criticisms is that we ought to aim for stability over democracy. But they won't say that out loud! So you can't pin them down on it. Consider the oft-heard statement that we should have kept the Iraqi Army intact. This is, implicitly, an argument in favor of turning Iraq over to a Sunni strongman so we could get out. The old army existed for that reason above all others, and keeping it alive would have strongly tended towards that result. [keeping the old army was also a very impractical idea; click here for the CPA's reasons...which the critics invariably ignore.]

Similarly, many critics seem to assume that bringing democracy to Arab countries is quixotic, if not impossible. But they won't say this openly. They imply it by criticizing instances where we let the Iraqis try things, and make mistakes, and have failures. If our goal is democracy, we should be letting some problems fester, with the hope that the Iraqi people will be motivated to act. We should be letting the Iraqis do some very stupid things, like looting their own schools and hospitals, so they learn that that's not what freedom is all about. We should NOT solve all their problems, or make them perfectly comfortable. But it is hard to argue with those "critics," because they won't reveal where they stand on the bigger question. Or even admit there IS a question.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:34 PM

October 18, 2004

Can't be true...

This is impossible. Everyone knows that Iraq is a distraction from the War on Terror:

[Fox News] BAGHDAD, Iraq — The militant group led by terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi , believed to be behind many deadly attacks in Iraq, has declared its allegiance to Usama bin Laden, citing the need for unity against "the enemies of Islam."

The declaration, which appeared Sunday on a Web site used as a clearinghouse for statements by militant groups, said al-Zarqawi's Tawhid and Jihad group and Al Qaeda had been in communication eight months ago and "viewpoints were exchanged" before the dialogue was interrupted...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:56 AM

October 17, 2004

"the assertion of universal truths against postmodern excuses"

Poking around in old posts, I came across this inspiring example of how Andrew Sullivan used to write:

...It's a victory over those who marched in the millions to stop this liberation, over the endless media cynics, over the hate-America crowd, and the armchair generals. It's a victory for the two countries in the world that have always made freedom possible and who have now brought it to another corner of the world made dark by terror. It's a victory for the extraordinary servicemen and women who performed this task with such skill, cool, courage and restraint. It's a victory for optimism over pessimism, the righting of past wrongs, the assertion of universal truths against postmodern excuses, and of political leadership over appeasement. Celebrate it. Don't let the whiners take this away from you or from the people of Iraq.
It's too bad Sullivan has turned into a whiner himself, but every word of that is still true.

And freedom is still worth fighting for, and is still the wave of the future. And the Iraqi elections will take place as scheduled, and will strongly affirm that the Iraqi people understand this. (And Sullivan will sneer and disparage them, unless Prime Minister Allawi comes out in favor of Gay Marriage. What a flake Sullivan is. Such a waste of talent.)

Posted by John Weidner at 12:50 PM

October 13, 2004

what wold we do without "Europeans"

From an article on mass graves being excavated in Iraq:

...Mr Kehoe investigated mass graves in the Balkans for five years but those burials mainly involved men of fighting age and the Iraqi finds were quite different, he said.

"I've been doing grave sites for a long time, but I've never seen anything like this, women and children executed for no apparent reason," he said.

Mr Kehoe said that work to uncover graves around Iraq, where about 300,000 people are thought to have been killed during Saddam Hussein's regime, was slow as experienced European investigators were not taking part.

The Europeans, he said, were staying away as the evidence might be used eventually to put Saddam Hussein to death...

For "Europeans," doing anything at all to prevent hundreds of thousands of Iraqis from being slaughtered would have been just too too tiresome, too tacky, and probably against "International Law." But saving Saddam's life...Ahh, there's a project "Europe" can get behind. What a splendid opportunity to show the world that morality, and fighting evil, are outdated concepts.

You can expect our domestic lefties to follow suit. The mass graves will continue to be ignored, while "bishops" will lead candle-light vigils to protest the execution of Saddam.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:09 PM

October 8, 2004

"The press has been curiously reluctant to report ..."

Here are some Paul Bremer opinions the press/Democrats are not going to be repeating: (Emphasis mine)

...It's no secret that during my time in Iraq I had tactical disagreements with others, including military commanders on the ground. Such disagreements among individuals of good will happen all the time, particularly in war and postwar situations...

....Our troops continue to work closely with Iraqis to isolate and destroy terrorist strongholds. And the United States is supporting Prime Minister Ayad Allawi in his determined effort to bring security and democracy to Iraq. Elections will be held in January and, though there will be challenges and hardships, progress is being made. For the task before us now, I believe we have enough troops in Iraq.

The press has been curiously reluctant to report my constant public support for the president's strategy in Iraq and his policies to fight terrorism. I have been involved in the war on terrorism for two decades, and in my view no world leader has better understood the stakes in this global war than President Bush.

The president was right when he concluded that Saddam Hussein was a menace who needed to be removed from power. He understands that our enemies are not confined to Al Qaeda, and certainly not just to Osama bin Laden, who is probably trapped in his hide-out in Afghanistan. As the bipartisan 9/11 commission reported, there were contacts between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's regime going back a decade. We will win the war against global terror only by staying on the offensive and confronting terrorists and state sponsors of terror - wherever they are. Right now, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Qaeda ally, is a dangerous threat. He is in Iraq.

President Bush has said that Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. He is right. Mr. Zarqawi's stated goal is to kill Americans, set off a sectarian war in Iraq and defeat democracy there. He is our enemy.

Our victory also depends on devoting the resources necessary to win this war. So last year, President Bush asked the American people to make available $87 billion for military and reconstruction operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The military commanders and I strongly agreed on the importance of these funds, which is why we stood together before Congress to make the case for their approval. The overwhelming majority of Congress understood and provided the funds needed to fight the war and win the peace in Iraq and Afghanistan. These were vital resources that Senator John Kerry voted to deny our troops.

Mr. Kerry is free to quote my comments about Iraq. But for the sake of honesty he should also point out that I have repeatedly said, including in all my speeches in recent weeks, that President Bush made a correct and courageous decision to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein's brutality, and that the president is correct to see the war in Iraq as a central front in the war on terrorism...

(thanks to Betsy N)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:48 AM

October 7, 2004

Republicans force soldiers to buy own socks...

You know those "shortage of body armor" complaints that Democrats have been repeating for the last year? Just more lies! Oak Leaf explains:

Yesterday in the debate, the Senator that “represents” the brave soldiers, of the 82nd Airborne Division (Hooah), stated as fact, “they sent 40,000 American troops into Iraq without the body armor they needed.” Unfortunately, as a soldier, I now must correct the Senator who wants to serve as my Commander in Chief.

One must first understand that in the Army, “equipment” is either individual equipment (personal property) or organizational equipment (unit property). Individual equipment would include such items as a uniform, while organizational equipment would include things like canteens, compasses, helmets and yes, body armor. It is interesting to note that, officers, unlike enlisted soldiers, have always had to purchase their own uniforms (individual equipment), right down to their socks and boots. Lets keep that a secret or Senator Edwards will make an advertisement stating that some soldiers in Iraq have to buy their own boots and socks! The advertisement would be factually correct, but would be as misleading as his body armor debate statement...

...It is true that approximately 40,000 soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, did not have their own issued set of “interceptor body armor.” It is equally true that every soldier did not have their own issued compass. It is not true to infer, as Senator Edwards would, that 40,000 soldiers were on patrol without body armor and in need of a compass. Only a small percentage of soldiers are engaged in combat operations at any given time. Remember that this type of equipment is organizational equipment; it does not belong to the individual. A clerk typist, one of many jobs, working in a fortified defended structure has no need, nor any desire, to wear body armor. Because this is organizational equipment, body armor can be requested as needed from a supply point and then turned in when no longer needed. There was always enough body armor in Iraq and Afghanistan so two out of every three soldiers could be wearing issued body armor at any given time. In the very unlikely event that every soldier needed torso protection at the same time, 1990s manufactured “flak vests” were available for all other soldiers that were at less risk...

...Well, just who is buying body armor? Myself, for one. I have my own set, but not for reasons that Senator Edwards would want you to believe. Nor did my family have a bake sale to buy it. My own set is “tailored” for my body dimensions so I can function a little bit easier than the government issued version...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:54 AM

October 1, 2004

"It would destroy it."

A little more of what our soldiers and Marines think:

...Asked how Kerry's election would affect troop morale in the combat zone, Lance Cpl. Lawrence Romack told KWEL Midland, Texas, radio host Craig Anderson, "It would destroy it."...

... "We're pretty terrified of a John Kerry presidency," added Romack, who served with the 1st Marine Tank Battalion in Iraq.

The Iraq war vet said he fears that most of the news coverage is being skewed to make the mission look like a failure in order to give the Kerry campaign a boost.

"What they're trying to do is get Kerry into the White House, because they know he doesn't want us to stay [in Iraq]," he told Anderson.

Asked if Americans back home were getting an accurate picture of what's happening in the war, the Marine corporal said: "No, they're not. It's not even close. All the press wants to report is casualty counts. They don't want to report the progress we're making over there."

Romack noted that in the southern part of the country, Iraqis welcomed U.S. troops when they set up an immunization programs for children, opened schools and began distributing food.

"Almost immediately people were lining up to get their kids shots," he told Anderson. Contrary to reports that the general population was too afraid to help ferret out insurgents, Romack said, "We had Iraqis pointing out former Baath Party members for us to arrest."

When the KWEL host opened up the phone lines, a member of the 82nd Airborne who had returned from Iraq in March was first on the line.

He agreed with Cpl. Romack that media reports coming out of Iraq were often inaccurate – and sometimes even dangerous. "The news media – sometimes I felt like I had as much to fear from them as I did the Iraqis," he complained.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:32 AM

September 30, 2004

Monday-morning quarterbacking...

a reader writes:

Andrew Sullivan's "Maybe I need to be clearer" blog today entitled "The War", is a perfect illustration of why John Kerry is in a jam over Iraq. Andrew's at least twice as smart as Kerry, yet even he can't get beyond plain-old monday-morning quarterbacking. Bush made mistakes? Big deal! When it comes to what we should be doing now in Iraq, it's exactly what we are doing. Hold elections, train more troops and get on with reconstruction. Nobody's buying the "woulda, coulda, shouldas" or the "get the French and Germans to help us" bull. I don't see Kerry's way out of this morass. Guess we'll soon find out if he has one.
I'm an old-fashioned conservative Original Sin kind of guy, so I believe that individuals are fallible, institutions are fallible to some multiple of their individuals, and governments the same with bells on. So I'm not much impressed with "vote for me because the other guy made mistakes" arguments...There are always mistakes.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:18 PM

We whack at another Urban Legend...

Robert Novak has an article about urban myths being peddled by Kerry. One of them is that Gen. Shinseki was fired for asking for more troops for Iraq:

...Kerry picked up the story April 13 during a campaign event in Providence, R.I., declaring: "Gen. Shinseki said very clearly: We need 200,000 troops. And what happened to him? He was forced into early retirement." Kerry reiterated this last week at a Columbus, Ohio, press conference: "Gen. Shinseki told this country how many troops we'd need. The president retired him early for telling the truth."

 That is not true, and even Bush critics in the Pentagon know it. The truth is that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, demanding control of the Army, collided with Shinseki on issues unrelated to Iraq. In March 2002, Rumsfeld announced that Shinseki's term as chief of staff would end as scheduled in June 2003 without extension -- an unprecedented action that made the general a lame duck. It was after that, not before it, on Feb. 25, 2003, that Shinseki told a Senate committee the U.S. would need "several hundred thousand" soldiers (not precisely 200,000) for Iraq occupation duty...

My recollection (correct me if I'm wrong) is that Shinseki had a whole iraq plan. And what's being done now by Bush critics is to take one single item of the plan, one that seems good in hindsight, and say, <saddened> "Why, Oh why, didn't we follow the sage advice of this wise wise man?" </saddened>
Ignoring, of course, the other 97% of the plan, which would have left us FUBAR.

I could show you MY plan for invading Iraq and I'm sure you could find something in it to criticize the administration for not doing. What would that mean? NOTHING! Any plan has probably gets something right.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:42 PM

September 29, 2004

They line up before dawn...

[from CSM] HOUSTON – Every Friday and Saturday, they line up before dawn: people from around the country who, despite recent news reports, still want to work in Iraq.

The beheadings haven't swayed them, they say, as they wait to find out what openings are available with Houston-based KBR, the subsidiary of Halliburton, which won a $4.5 billion government contract to provide support to the US military.

There are spots for cooks, carpenters, truck drivers, even entertainment specialists - and plenty more open up every day as those who thought they could make it come home.

While last week's beheadings of two American contract workers sent shock waves through communities from Hillsdale, Mich., to Marietta, Ga., remarkably it didn't shorten the lines at recruiting fairs...

One of the things that is most disgusting about this time in politics is the smearing of the Halliburton Corporation. O'my'God, it's connected with War, Oil and Dick Cheney--it's EVIL. What lying crap, When the same company was doing the same kinds of things for Clinton in Bosnia, Al Gore gave them one of his "Excellence in Government" awards. Now they are the Forces of Darkness. How I hate that kind of brainless reflexive LeftThink. STUPID. Of course, if you don't have any positive message, stupid talk is all you can do.

Thank you, men and women of Kellogg, Brown and Root! Thank you for doing the hard and dangerous stuff while people not fit to clean your boots sit home in comfort and sneer and call you "war profiteers."

Posted by John Weidner at 8:52 AM

September 28, 2004

Chap. 11: Journalist, Captured: Care, Feeding and Hoodwinking Of

Here's a transcript of an interview by Tim Russert with General Abizaid. Russert pushes the Party Line hard, but the General isn't having it...

MR. RUSSERT:  A Turkish journalist was captured and then released, and I read very carefully some of her comments and I'd like to share them with you, General.

She said that, "People appeared eager to help anyone they thought was part of the resistance."  She said, "I saw that around Mosul," which is up north, "Everybody is the resistance.  They use the small kids to bring them water and no one treated them like children.  They'd be with the men who are talking about cutting heads and the kids would be standing guard like little men.  So you became afraid of the children too."

"Everyone is the resistance."  Can you win a war in which the populace is aiding the insurgency?

GEN. ABIZAID:  You know, Tim, every now and then in Washington, we need to take a deep breath and we need to look at what's happening in the region as opposed to the reports of one or two journalists that happen to think that everybody in Iraq is in the resistance.  If everybody in Iraq was in the resistance, Prime Minister Allawi would not be trying to lead his nation forward to a better future.  If everybody in Iraq happened to be part of the resistance, they wouldn't be volunteering for the armed forces.  We've got over 100,000 people that are trained and equipped now.  That number is going up higher.  There is more people that are coming forward to fight for the future of Iraq than are fighting against it....

Have you ever noticed that, for every terrorist/communist/guerilla/revolutionary/liberation-from-capitalism-people's-front group, no matter how many innocents they slaughter, there is ALWAYS some journalist to discover that the "militants" are austere, self-sacrificing, almost saintly...and glowing with warm vital folk-virtues that contrast sharply with cold unfeeling Western civilization? And they are always supported by the simple folk? (Remember Fire in the Lake? Gag.)

It doesn't matter what group—Lenin, Stalin, Tito, Mao, Che, Palestinians, Shining Path, Khmer Rouge—some damn dimwit journalist ALWAYS tells us how much more noble they are than us capitalist slobs. Now it's Ba'athist thuggizoids in Mosul! "The Re-zis-tance." What crap. Why not go the whole MichaelMoore, and call them "Minutemen?"

I bet there's a Handbook for Revolutionaries, printed in Zurich in 1912, and still being passed from hand to hand. And Chapter 11 is especially tattered, because that's the one titled: Journalist, Captured: Care, Feeding and Hoodwinking Of.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:42 PM

September 26, 2004

I don't have to draw you a map....

Shannon Love has performed a valuable service in this post.

She linked to this map, of population density in Iraq, which I here present in compressed form:

Iraq population density
And then she created another map, here, of all 58 U.S. combat fatalities for the month of September to date, by provinces of Iraq. Again, here's my compressed version (If you can't read the legend, green is zero deaths, yellow is 2-5, and red 20+):

Iraq, deaths per province
She writes:

Of course, other months would have slightly different maps. During Al-Sadar's uprising the province of Al Najaf would have been red for example. But the overall pattern is clear. The "insurgency" is geographically concentrated. Most of Iraq sees little or no violence directed against the Coalition. For example, a minimum of 29 of the fatalities occured within a 50 kilometer radius of a point halfway between Falujah and Baghdad.
I think Random Jottings readers are mentally acute enough that I don't have to point out the obvious. Remember these maps, when liars tell you that Iraq is sliding into hopeless anarchy, that "the Shi'ites have risen against us," that we are in a quagamire....the usual stuff.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:08 PM

"We have got to force them to comply, and we are doing so militarily"

The Daschle v Thune blog posted this tasty morsel of hypocrisy:

In 1998 when Bill Clinton was President:
"Look, we have exhausted virtually our diplomatic effort to get the Iraqis to comply with their own agreements and with international law. Given that, what other option is there but to force them to do so? … This is the key question. And the answer is, we don't have another option. We have got to force them to comply, and we are doing so militarily."

— Tom Daschle Senate Democratic Leader talking about Iraq with a Democrat President.

In 2003 when George W. Bush was President:
"I'm saddened, saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to war. Saddened that we have to give up one life because this president couldn't create the kind of diplomatic effort that was so critical for our country."

— Tom Daschle Senate Democratic Leader talking about Iraq with a Republican President.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:22 PM

"Leopard never changes his spots!"

If you wonder how our troops in Iraq feel about "Senator" Kerry's encouragement of terrorists, and disparagement of our work in Iraq, here's a Marine's father's post by Grim at Mudville Gazette:

Da Grunt [his son] called on Wed night (Thur morning 0200) and was waiting on a C-130 to fly him and the boys to Kuwait! He's out of it and in one piece.

And we'd best be keeping him and his compadres away from John Kerry for awhile! They are not real fond of him right now considering he threw them under the bus and they spent their last week fighting like hell because, and I quote, "The a**hole has let these %^&$* believe they can win and we're paying the price! Half of everything we worked so hard to do has gone to s**t!". I don't believe Kerry will get the Marine vote! If the new guys survive his rhetoric. Everyone over there will sure feel better when November comes! BTW, there was a huge absentee vote before the new guys went over. Enough politics but I thought y'all should know what the real story about the "quagmire" is and who is getting our boys killed again. Leopard never changes his spots! (In case you didn't notice, I'm really pissed at the crap spewed out this week and so is my son who had to pay a price for it!)....

The Democrats really deserve to lose. And yes I know there are many solid patriotic Americans who are Dems. Long my they prosper. But the heart of the party is rotten. And Kerry isn't real, he's just a sort of psychic projection of the "Democrat Base." If all the "Progressives" and "activists" were to magically disappear, Kerry would collapse and turn to mist and blow away, like Saruman...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:42 AM

September 23, 2004

My apologies, Mr Prime Minister...

...On behalf of my countrymen, who can sometimes be insular and unsophistcated, with no idea how to treat a foreign guest....

From The Corner:

My favorite part of the day was in the Rose Garden when the reporters kept asking Bush about how horribly things were going and Bush finally said (paraphrasing here) "because I ask him and talk to him," referring to Allawi, "and I believe him," he said looking right at the reporter. It was great. Similarly, another reporter asked Bush another question about how the conditions in Iraq, he was flustered and said "why don't you ask him" referring again to Allawi, "you have the Prime Minister of Iraq here, why ask me?" Again, great point. You could see that the reporters didn't care a bit about what Allawi had to say about what his firsthand impression of Iraq was, they just wanted to hammer Bush over and over. I don't think they succeeded. It was pretty obvious they were desperate to ignore Allawi and the positive message he was bringing.
The mainstream press is just pathetic..."desperate to ignore Allawi..." that sums it up.

Desperate to ignore a whole bunch of things....

Posted by John Weidner at 2:39 PM

Letter from Iraq....

This post by Hugh Hewitt includes a great letter from an Army Captain in Iraq...

...But my favorite story to tell you is the one that Natalie shared. She told us about a convoy that was traveling in Baghdad yesterday and it was hit by an IED. Unfortunately, one of the vehicles was so close to the seat of the explosion that it injured two of the soldiers in the vehicle. A Mercedes who had passed the convoy, saw the explosion in his rear view mirror and turned around to double back. When he got there, he got out of his car to help. The soldiers, all pulling security now as the medic tried to tend to the wounded, pointed their weapons at him, unsure of his intentions. The Iraqi man put up his hands and said in broken English, "I'm here to help!" He pointed to his cell phone in his hand. "Please tell me who I should call for help." The soldiers lowered their weapons and gave him the number to call. In the meantime, another vehicle came up behind the convoy. An Iraqi man ran over to the exploded vehicle where the soldier lay on the ground. With his hands raised as well, he told them, "I am a doctor, please let me help." With tears in her eyes, Natalie told us that he probably saved that soldier's life....
If you drift around the Internet, and the blogs, you encounter a lot of communications from our good people in Iraq and Afghanistan. Funny thing, they all seem to say that the Dems and Big Media are lying to us. I guess our troops are all delusional.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:36 AM

Sic semper terroristas...

Omar writes:

A group of Iraqi citizens in Al Karkh/ Khidr Al Yas arrested 6 Syrian terrorists after placing a land mine at the gate of Bab Al Mu’a dam bridge from Al Karkh side.

According to New Sabah newspaper, after a road side bomb exploded missing an American convoy that was patrolling in the area, a group of citizens who happened to be there noticed a bunch of young men who looked foreigners (turned out to be Syrians) that were gathering near the place and that looked suspicious. The citizens found their atittude very suspicious and they were not from the area, so they jumped on them and kicked them until some of them started to bleed and then turned them on to the American forces. Eyewitnesses said that the citizens were shouting “Terrorists. You are targeting our children and families. You are killing our youths”

This incident that took place near Haifa street comes after many attacks that terrorist Arabs were accused of carrying against American forces and Iraqi police stations...

Kofi Anan would probably say that they were violating "International Law."

Posted by John Weidner at 7:01 AM

September 21, 2004

"This is my last day. I’m going out with a bang."

This is from a great story, about a Marine and some Blackwater contractors in a tough spot during the fighting in Najaf last April:

...The noontime battle stretched into the afternoon. Young figured he’d die.

“I thought, 'This is my last day. I’m going out with a bang.’ If I had to die it would be defending my country,” Young said Friday.

“I just felt like we were losing ground, and I thought, 'If I’m going to die, I’m not going down without a fight.’ I knew we were seriously outnumbered. They were coming at us with pretty much everything they had. We were seriously struggling to keep our ground.”

The insurgents had machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades, and a sniper shooting out the window of a local hospital.

Young saw a red flash, then blood spurting 5 or 6 feet out of the jaw and neck of a contractor. He reached into the quarter-sized bullet hole in the man’s jaw and pinched his carotid artery closed, then dragged the man across the roof to where his medical kit lay sprawled open.

Midway across the roof, Young heard a loud smack. Pain danced across his face, chased by adrenaline, and he forgot about it. After a medic packed the man’s wounds with a substance that clots blood, Young strapped the man to his back and carried him downstairs. In all, the Marine left the roof five times: twice to transport wounded comrades, three times for ammunition.

When a group of U.S. Army military police officers joined the fight, Young used his experience as a weapons instructor to talk them through it. Conserve your ammo. Slow and steady before you squeeze. Adjust your sites for range and distance. Take breaks so your gun barrel doesn’t melt...

When you vote, think about how Democrat leaders can see lots of nuances and "shades of gray" while they decide whether they support American forces this week...

(thanks to Mudville Gazette)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:52 AM

September 13, 2004

And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness...

Ali writes;

...I don’t want to predict anything here but I want to say that if America decided to get out of Iraq before the job is finished, that will be not only disastrous but will be (in my opinion) the worst thing America ever did. Freeing Iraq (again in my opinion) was the best thing America ever did. It gave oppressed people everywhere a hope and a belief that the mightiest power on earth, the symbols of freedom is on their side and that it will help them in one way or another to get their freedom. Their misery has stopped looking eternal. Retreating now will prove some people’s theory that America is an imperialistic power that only care for its interests, and although there’s nothing wrong with caring about one’s own interests, most Iraqis and millions of oppressed people in Darfur, Iran, Syria...etc. like to think more than that of America. Keeping the course will turn this thought into a firm belief.

We understand perfectly that sacrificing lives and hard earned money for the sake of others (although there IS a personal interest here but it maybe not so clear) is a very difficult thing to do, and we know that it’s too much to ask, but tens of Millions of oppressed people around the world with brutal sadistic regimes laying their heave boots on their chests preventing them from even breathing freely, not to mention speaking out or doing something about it, all these people have no one else but you, Americans, to turn to. You are our/their only hope.

Be of good cheer, Ali. That's what America is all about. The Kerryites have forgotten, but that forgetfulness is why they are going to lose the election. They are like the man who buried his Talent, rather than putting it to work. They want to "preserve" America, by not attempting anything. But it is precisely in attempting great tasks that we are most ourselves, and re-learn our strengths.

[A Talent, by the way, was a unit of weight in the ancient Mediterranean, but was usually applied to money, in varying ways. A Talent was a LOT of money. In the Bible, traditionally 3,000 Shekels. When Jesus told the Parable of the Talents, he was, I suspect, making a bit of a joke. Giving your servant 10 talents might be equivalent to giving him a million dollars today.]

Posted by John Weidner at 11:15 AM

September 9, 2004

Honoring the dead...

Susanna Cornett writes:

Thinking of the war dead

The NYT has photos and brief information about the majority of the US military personnel who have died in the Iraq war. While it's apparent that the point of the exercise for them is to highlight that we've topped 1000 dead, I think we should use it for a chance to honor and appreciate these men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the US. When you can, take the time to look at as many photos as you can, read about each one, send prayers for their families, and thanks to their memories. I think what they were doing was a necessary and important task. I wish it could have been done without death. I'm grateful they were willing to do the hard work that wicked and inhumane people made necessary.

Let's just all assume that the NYT is a patriotic institution and intends to inspire us to rededicate our efforts to completing what these brave people have so well begun.

Thank you New York Times. There's not a lot I can do to help our efforts, but I will certainly give all possible support to President Bush and Vice-President Cheney and the administration as they fight this global war against terrorist madmen. And I'm grateful they and our troops are willing to do the hard work that feckless appeasement has made necessary....

Posted by John Weidner at 7:13 PM

Our goal is...

Captain Ed has an interesting post on how al Sadr's rebellion is running out of steam. I've heard some silly talk about how Al Sadr has "won" and is in a stronger position than ever. That's just Democrat wishful-thinking...

...As I wrote when Sadr backed down and left the mosque, he most certainly lost prestige in that negotiation. Sistani successfully asserted native philosophical control over Shi'ite Iraq, as opposed to Qumian (Iran's Shi'ite philosophical strain) radicalism. In a more practical sense, of course, rebels who continually sue for peace and give up territory -- especially holy ground like the Imam Ali shrine -- do not lead many men in the future.

Even more practically, Sadr's loss of status has led to a more measurable loss of cash flow. While controlling large mosques, Sadr had at his disposal the offerings given to the clerics by the faithful. At the Imam Ali shrine, this was a major source of income for Sadr and his militia, as believers make pilgrimages on a regular basis and usually leave large donations of cash, gold, and jewelry as their tithe.

Nor is that the only source of income for Shi'ite clerics. The mosques collect "taxes" from their regular attendees, which again go directly to the cleric. Sadr used to benefit from this cash source as well, but that has now dried up. His former mentor, Ayatollah Kazim al-Haeri in Iran, now demands that the more radical Shi'a that paid Sadr these taxes instead pay his representatives, which not only hits Sadr's pocketbook but also underscores his Iranian ties.

Sadr does have his power base in Baghdad's Sadr City still left, but the Americans have been targeting that area in order to disarm it while his Mahdi army is demoralized and running low on funds....

We and the Iraqis are sticking to the task of destroying Al Sadr's gang without making them martyrs.

And we are sticking to the task of encouraging the Iraqis to take control of their future. Many of the hesitations in our fighting in Najaf were requested by Allawi and the interim government. That's good. And it's something that elitist top-down-management types seem incapable of grasping.

Our goal is not to solve Iraq's problems, our goal is to get the Iraqis to grow up and start solving their own problems. That's the metric that we should be measured by.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:47 AM

September 8, 2004

This is rare...

Someone in the news media actually ASKED THE SOLDIERS what they think about deaths in Iraq having hit 1,000! (And it's Agence France-Presse of all the odd things.)

Surprise, surprise, they don't see things the way Democrat politicians and pundits would like us to think they do....

BAQUBA, Iraq (AFP) Sep 07, 2004
The deaths of 1,000 American troops in Iraq since the 2003 invasion to topple Saddam Hussein has only strengthened US resolve to restore security to the strife-torn country, soldiers said.

Dismissing parallels with the 1961-75 war in Vietnam, officers lashed out at the media for playing the grim-reaper over the mounting casualty toll and failing to appreciate the sacrifices made by each soldier.

"It sucks. The newspapers glorify it. Everyday, reporting the numbers going up and up, trying to push a point," said Captain Gregory Wingard, 39, at the 1st Infantry Division's Camp Warhorse near Baquba, north of Baghdad.

"Sad as it is for those 1,000 families and their friends, they're nothing to the number of Iraqis that get killed trying to defend their own families," he added, smoking a cigar with friends under the stars....

..."Every single soldier knows the risk. You do the best you can with your day and don't think about it. If I was to get killed tomorrow by an IED, I would not regret coming over here," said Captain Michael Adams, 37, from Oregon.

"Six months ago people were afraid of their own shadow. Now I've seen kids playing in the park, farmers are out working. Now they can have a chance at rebuilding their country," he added.

"Obviously when you loose people, its a tragic time. But you don't loose morale. It strengthens your resolve," said Specialist Robert Bybee, 21, deployed in Saddam's hometown of Tikrit....[link]

(Thanks to Arthur Chrenkoff)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:55 PM

September 6, 2004

Sinking ship deserts rat...

TEHRAN, Iran - An Iranian-based cleric who had been the former spiritual guide of radical anti-U.S. Iraqi Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr has distanced himself from his former pupil's actions, his Web site said Sunday.

Grand Ayatollah Kazem al-Hosseini al-Haeri, who lives in the holy Iranian city of Qom, said al-Sadr, whose loyalists have engaged in deadly clashes with U.S. forces in Iraq ... is no longer his representative in that war-torn country...[link]

Good news, but to be expected.

I've heard it said the Al Sadr has come out a "winner" from the recent uprising. That's silly; he's never offered anything to the Iraqis but thuggish violence. Now that it's become clear that he and his hoodlums are not going to be in charge of things, he's a nobody.

We, and the Iraqis, are very lucky to have leaders who don't fall apart when things get tough. Seriously now, can you even imagine a Democrat administration calmly staying the course during last April's uprisings?

Posted by John Weidner at 9:31 AM

August 31, 2004

Oooooh, did Allawi sting them, or what!

...Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's declaration, which came after the kidnapping of two French journalists in Iraq and accused France's position towards terrorism, was "unacceptable," the French Foreign Ministry said Monday.

    "This declaration seems in fact to have cast doubt on France's determination in the fight against terrorism ... France is leading untiringly a resolute action against this scourge and it is always bringing its support and contribution to all the initiatives of the international community in this field," said Cecile Pozzo di Borgo, spokeswoman of the French Foreign Ministry....

...France has opposed the US-led Iraq war and has no troops in Iraq.

    Allawi declared earlier Monday that the kidnapping of two French journalists showed that there was "no possible neutrality" in Iraq and that those who do not fight at the government level can not escape terrorism. "None of the civilized countries can escape," he said, noting "there is no possible neutrality, as shows the kidnapping of the French journalists." "The French deluded themselves if they would hope to stay outside," he added. [link]

Can't you just picture Chirac? "Ett eeze unacceptable for zeeze lessair nations to critique La Belle France!" Well Jack, your leverage here is about zero. You wouldn't help the Little Red Hen, so you get nothing to eat...

(Thanks to Orrin Judd)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:56 AM

August 27, 2004

listed again...

This is a re-posting in one spot of some of my reasons to attack Iraq, so I can point it out to someone who says, "One thing that's especially unsettling to me is how few people who supported the war in Iraq have been able to give me solid reasons as to why it made sense" [comment, here] (Of course Warbloggers have been explaining exactly that for several years now. But there's always somebody who doesn't get the memo. Also, the redoutable Dean Esmay long ago posted Seven Reasons, which formed the origins of this list. And Wretchard blogged reason #1.)

Some of the items on my list of reasons for the Iraq Campaign , as part of our War on Terror:

1. Avoid fizzle-out. The big danger of a war against shadowy groups is that they can destroy our resolve to fight by pretending to negotiate or change their ways. By attacking the very heartland of the Arab world, we avoid the cycle of truces and negotiations that have crippled Israel's war on its terrorists. The jihadis MUST fight for Iraq, they can't just lie low for a few years and then strike again. The stakes are now too high.

2. We couldn't make progress in changing the ways of the terror-supporting nations, until we took out ONE of them. Iraq was a good choice because we already had a good legal case, with both binding UN Resolutions, plus Iraq's failure to comply with peace-terms from the Gulf War. And also because Saddam was the most considerable of the terror-supporting dictators, so his fall would have the biggest effect on the others.

3. Until the culture of despotism and backwardness of the Arab world is changed, new terrorist groups will continue to arise. Iraq is the best choice for starting the process of change, with a well-educated population that has suffered terribly from tyranny. Already what's happening in Iraq is changing the dialog in the region.

4. The most important instance of the above is Iran (which is the worst of the terror-supporting countries). Hundreds of thousands of Iranians have already moved to Iraq looking for jobs or business opportunities. Iraq may look horrible to the NYT, but to Iranians it is already a little paradise of freedom. And the Mullahs can't close off that border--all their Holy Cities are in Iraq.

5. The humanitarian reasons are compelling. Tens-of-thousands of people were being tortured and murdered in Iraq each year. The UN sanctions regime left children dying without food and medicine, while Saddam built palaces and funded terror groups and corrupted Western governments with kickbacks. And we were INVOLVED in that sanctions perversion--we have a responsibility to end it.

6. Similarly, we bear responsibility for encouraging the Shi'ite revolt against Saddam after the Gulf War. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis were slaughtered because of our moves. We should have moved against Saddam years ago for that reason alone.

7. This is a WAR! WMD's: While it's true we haven't found stockpiles, we've found weapons programs that could have quickly rebuilt stockpiles, which Saddam clearly wanted and had before. And more importantly, this is a war. Not a case at law. The mere appearance of plans to attack us or our allies is justification for an attack. In a war, it is our responsibility to attack any enemy nation if feasable. It is those who oppose war-like attacks during war time who bear the responsibility of providing reasons why we should not.

7. This is a WAR! pt II. We have partly created the terrorists, by consistent weakness and vacillation over several decades. We have taught the terrorists to attack us! Withdrawing from Lebanon taught Hezbollah that suicide bombs work. Failure to respond in the Iran hostage crises taught a generation of terrorists that we are weak and vulnerable. Withdrawal from Somalia taught them the tactics now used in Iraq. We have waited so long to respond, that only a long bloody struggle will teach them a new lesson.

Iraq was the correct move because it is a bloody quagmire (though I don't think that term is really correct.) It is only by being resolute in the face of casualties and setbacks that we can overcome the education we have given terrorists by our past weakness. Failure to do so now will mean a much bigger butcher's-bill will be presented sometime in the future.

8. Diplomacy. Obviously it is best to solve problems peacefully by diplomacy and negotiations. But our diplomacy has been crippled by lack of a credible threat of violence as an alternative. This dates from our catastrophic withdrawal from Vietnam, and is exacerbated by the decline of most other Western powers into military impotence. Diplomacy works as the "good cop" alternative to a military "bad cop." Our failure in this has been so great that it could only be redeemed by some seriously crazy violence. Iraq--perfect! Now Colin Powell's "good cop" is contrasted with a really scary "bad cop" named Donald Rumsfeld. Expect big diplomatic payoffs...With Libya as a starter.

9. Successes. Proof's in the pudding. If Iraq was a bad move, we could expect it to turn out badly. That's exactly the picture the Old Media is trying to paint, by reporting only bad news. But nowadays we also have the New Media, to counteract those America-hating liars. Including bloggers, who pass along news of our successes like samizdata in the old Soviet Union. Especially, Chrenkoff has done splendid work in a long series of posts collecting good news from Iraq. (Look on his right sidebar under "The Best of Chrenkoff.)

10. Consensus of elected leaders. President Bush requested approval for the invasion of Iraq from Congress. The Senate debated the question and voted overwhelmingly in favor. Our nation made this decision. We made the decision. That's a powerful reason in favor. For various people (including some of the Senators who voted yes) to now sit on the sidelines and whine, "I don't know anything about this and nobody told me anything and it has nothing to do with me" is despicable.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:09 AM

August 21, 2004

Will wondas never cease?

Amazing! Another Iraqi soccer win! Over a small country called Australia. Too totally cool!

...The fact that Iraq even qualified for the Athens Games was a remarkable achievement. They clinched a berth in May, just three months after the country was reinstated by the International Olympic Committee following a nine-month absence. The national Olympic committee was previously run by Saddam Hussein's son, Odai, who tortured players when they fell out of favor.

Two months after qualifying, the team's German coach, Bernd Stange, resigned because of safety reasons and was replaced by his assistant and former Iraqi player, Adnan Hamad. The team could not play any home games because of the war and had virtually no funding...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:23 PM

August 18, 2004

Object lesson

Washington Post, Aug. 4 -- U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said Wednesday that efforts to assemble an international peacekeeping force to protect a future U.N. mission in Iraq have stalled, requiring U.S.-led forces to provide security for the foreseeable future.

Please please to protecting us, oh good good unilateralist cowboys...
The Bush administration has promoted the idea of a U.N. protection force as a way of broadening international support for the struggling Iraqi political transition, particularly among countries that are reluctant to serve alongside American troops in Iraq. But senior U.N. officials say the initiative is on the verge of collapse as Iraqi insurgents and militants have stepped up attacks against citizens from countries considering participation, according to senior U.N. officials.
Actually Bush promoted the idea as an object lesson in what a useless rotting beach-carcass the UN is.
Annan said months of negotiations with more than a half-dozen potential contributors to the U.N. force -- which would be distinct from the U.S.-led multinational army but serve under the overall command of a U.S. general -- have not produced any "firm offers." Pakistan, Ukraine, Nepal, Georgia and other countries that were asked to commit more than 3,000 troops needed to protect the United Nations have engaged Annan in protracted, inconclusive discussions, officials said.
This is called "diplomacy," Mr Kofi. It's purpose is to prevent action, especially if it might help the US. They learned it from you, and now they use it on you. Hey, why not ask the French?
Pakistani officials maintain that although they have not rejected Annan's request for troops, they have no immediate plans to go to Iraq. "Other countries are withdrawing troops so how can we send them?" Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, a Pakistani spokesman, said to reporters in Lahore on Tuesday...
How indeed? Can't go against the crowd.
Murari Raj Sharma, Nepal's ambassador to the United Nations, said: "Our citizens in Iraq would be potential targets for abductions or hostage-taking. That is one of the considerations."
Raj, pal, I think the "citizens" requested are of the type called "soldiers." We have soldiers too. They don't get abducted because they carry things called "guns," and use them to kill anybody who looks at them cross-eyed. You might consider trying that out.
The setback for the United Nations comes as a Saudi Arabian proposal to send a separate Islamic peacekeeping force to Iraq received a cool response from Muslim governments that were approached to participate in it. The Saudis envision the deployment of thousands of Islamic troops, serving under a U.N. mandate, to help stabilize Iraq and potentially replace the U.S.-led force there. Annan said today that the initiative also calls for providing security for U.N. personnel.
Poor Kofi..."Islamic armies" They would have been just the ticket. Why, everyone respects their fighting skills and dependability. What a cruel disappointment!
But several countries that have been asked to serve in the force -- including Pakistan, Egypt and Malaysia -- said this week it is too dangerous to send troops. "It is better for us to wait for a while and to see how the situation is," Malaysia's Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
Don't call us Abdullah, We'll call you.
...Despite his concerns over security, Annan assured the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Danforth, and Britain's U.N. envoy, Emyr Jones Parry, in a closed-door meeting that he would send his special envoy, Asharf Qazi of Pakistan, and a small team to Baghdad before Iraq convenes a national conference Aug. 15 to decide on its political future. But he said he would have to "monitor" the security situation before deciding "whether we send in large numbers of staff or not."
"Monitor." That's a good word. Better than skulk, lurk, hang-back, shrink, evade, scamper...or that classic: "take French leave"

You know, either us or them is suffering from some sort of bizarre disconnect from reality. We're talking about soldiers here, guys who risk their lives, fight battles...even wars, to protect civilians and civilization. Soldiers, right? Killers. Maybe the definition's changed. .

(Thanks to Greyhawk)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:06 PM

August 16, 2004


David Warren writes about his disgust that we are not crushing opponents like Al Sadr.'

...The news out of Najaf, and Kut, is murky, but it appears that, for at least the sixth time since last autumn, a powerful and successful U.S. Marine attack on some of Iraq's more notorious embedded "bad guys" is being halted before completion. It is the same story after each round: the Marines have the enemy on the ropes, and then a ceasefire is agreed. The enemy is given a few weeks to regroup, and then the battle resumes with fresh ambushes costing unnecessary U.S. casualties...

...The American military is superb, but the political will to use it decisively is not there. For again, it is Clintonesque to use an army to strike public relations poses. Armies are designed for destroying things. Either there is a war to finish, or they should return to barracks, Stateside... (Thanks to Alan)

Warren's a smart guy who I respect, but this time I think he's just way off base. He writes as if 4th Generation Warfare is not a concept he's heard of. Nowadays the news media is one of the battlefields. And public relations is a weapon of war. Which is why, in a recent battle in Najaf, our soldiers fought six hours for possession of one worthless damaged Humvee, just so the world's TV news stations would not have the pleasure of showing it in the possession of Al Sadr's militia. And Al Sadr's louts fought to get it for just that very reason. (And that's why those frauds the Democrats did nothing about Abu Ghraib though they knew about it for months—until they got their hands on some inflammatory pictures. Those pix were weapons in the war, and the Dems used them in tacit alliance with the terrorists against George Bush.)

But there's a more important thing. Defeating Al Sadr is not our goal in Iraq!

Our goal, or rather one of our goals, is to get the Iraqis to grow up and join the adults. And as part of that we want the Iraqis to destroy Al Sadr. Or at least to make the uncomfortable decision to do so, and then ask for our help. Sort of like when your child asks for help with the homework. You don't solve the problem for them, you encourage them to work it out themselves. Or if they aren't ready for that, you sit down and say "let's work on it together." And that kind of teaching is an art, not a science; there's no "right" way to do it, other than by feel. So it looks messy and slow to an outsider.

How do I know that's the goal? Because we in the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy made it perfectly clear to Dick Cheney what the policy was to be! Just kidding, actually I don't know for sure, but that's what I think is going on. And the little Neocon inside me resonates to these things. We are not in Iraq to make the Iraqis happy, or to bring stability. (Though I very much hope things work out for them.) We are in Iraq to drive a huge wedge into the despotic and backwards Arab Middle East. Right smack dab in the middle of the Arab world, we are nurturing a whole nation with many of the values of the West. And the entire realm of Islamist craziness is now reacting to this. They are reacting to what we do, we are not reacting to them. And I think they will be forced to continue to react as Iraq makes progress. This will be brutal for the people of Iraq, but if they make it they will value their freedom in a way smug westerners have forgotten.

And if I were running things in Iraq, these days I'd be dragging my heels on the project of defeating Al Sadr, or the Ba'athists in Falluja. In hopes that the Iraqis get fed up and start doing more of the job themselves. That would be a cold-blooded thing to do, no doubt about it. It would lead to many casualties, both Iraqi and American, in the short run. But that's what war is--sacrificing lives in the short run to save them in the long run.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:55 PM

August 14, 2004

Just happiness...

Iraqi Olympic soccer team Washington Times. Iraq''s Sadir Salih, left, celebrates with his teammates Abbas Bassim, center, and Haidar Abdul Razzaq, after scoring during a men''s Group D preliminaries soccer match at the Pampeloponnisiako stadium during the 2004 Olympic Games in Patras, Greece.
I just had to post this because these guys look so happy.

But to save you Democrats from tedious comment-posting, behold, I will concede all your points!

Of course they were better off under Saddam.

And of course the whole Iraqi project is hopeless,

And of course they hate us for our cowboy blundering,

And of course backwards brown-skinned people can't succeed at democracy (just look at Latin America--dictators everywhere.)

And of course the money would have been better spent here at home,

And of course trying to change the world is "hubris," and we will be punished for it...

There. Happy now?

Posted by John Weidner at 11:09 AM

August 6, 2004

Sinking into the quagmire...

BAGHDAD (AFP) - More than 1,200 militiamen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr surrendered following fierce clashes with US and Iraqi forces in Najaf, the police general directorate said. "Over 1,200 criminals have surrendered to Iraqi forces," it said in a statement, adding that the holy city of Najaf had been "secured."

It said most of the captured militiamen were criminals who were released from Iraqi prisons by ousted president Saddam Hussein before last year's US-led invasion....

... The US military said Friday that 300 militiamen were killed in Najaf since Thursday's fighting, while the province's coalition-appointed governor Adnan al-Zorfi said the number was as high as 400. The military said also three US soldiers were killed and 12 wounded....

Most of them were criminals released by Saddam. Nonetheless, it will remain a matter of faith to those on the left-side, that it was only the blundering and incompetence of the Bush Administration that caused Iraq to become violent...That those guys would be happy campers if only WE had not made mistakes.

Cori Dauber make a good point:

...But the reason I point this out is that it makes clear how little the press cares about anything but violence. As you read the coverage of Sadr's return to the frontlines, notice the names of the Shia cities involved, and ask yourselves: when was the last time you saw or read any stories at all about the way things were going in those areas...

And Zayed says:

...One also can't help but wonder about the timing of Sistani's departure from Najaf to London for treatment. The man is known for his subtle messages, could this be a sign for his tacit approval to finish Sadr and his militia once and for all? The remaining Hawza clerics are highly unlikely to issue a collective statement in the absense of Sistani, even more so when they have been threatened and attacked by Sadr's supporters on many occasions...

Posted by John Weidner at 3:29 PM

August 5, 2004

I had never heard that!

Karl Zinsmaster has written a great article on the distorted picture of Iraq we get from our news media, with one shocker for me:

How insightful is the Iraq reporting that you've been consuming? Take a little test.

If I tell you that scores of Iraqi detainees have been killed and maimed this year in Abu Ghraib prison, you may not be surprised. But you're probably guessing wrong about who hurt them. The moronic American guards who are now on trial for improperly humiliating some Iraqis caused no deaths or injuries: The many casualties in the prison were all inflicted by Iraq's guerilla terrorists.

During this spring's frenzy of reporting on the plight of detainees at Abu Ghraib, I was surprised that none of the stories mentioned what anyone who has spent time at the prison (as I have) knows is the central danger to the prisoners there. By far the gravest threats to the Iraqis in that facility are the mortars and rockets that guerillas regularly lob into the compound — knowing full well that the main victims of their indiscriminate assaults will be fellow Iraqis. One attack on April 21 of this year, for instance, killed 22 detainees and injured another 91...

I had never heard that!

Thousands of stories, tears of faux outrage, cries for impeachment, and claims that America has lost the "moral high ground" forever [that's what we got from that caterpiller Andrew Sullivan] and none of the wailing crowd gave a damn that the detainees were being slaughtered!

YOU ARE FRAUDS! I mean you bozos of the press and politics for whom Abu Graib was the big story of the year! You didn't give a damn about the prisoners, you only wanted to wound America and encourage terrorists and help Democrats get elected. (Which is saying the same thing three times over.) Those poor prisoners are being blown into bloody sheds of flesh and splinters of bone, and you cold-hearted bastards never cared, and never will.

One attack killed 22 and injured 91! Think about that, when you read the pompous buffoons who pretended they cared about the prisoners...

(via Cori Dauber)

Posted by John Weidner at 2:16 PM

July 30, 2004

WHO needs to "restore trust and credibility???"

A good line from Lileks:

... And so on. All the stuff about restoring trust and credibility is nice, but note how no one is questioning the trust and credibility of the Brits, the French, the Russians and the UN, all of whom shared the same opinions about Iraqi capability...
There are a lot of such questions that might be asked. It's funny how selectively the "must restore trust and credibility" stuff is applied. In fact it only seems to apply to the USA...while under Republican leadership.

Shouldn't we be suggesting that the antiwar anti-national-defense Left has some problems with THEIR utterly false predictions about Iraq? The predictions of Middle-East-exploding-in-war, the famine-refugees-epidemics-burning oilfields?

There's been lots of pointing at "alternate plans" that allowed for bigger forces in Iraq. But the other plans included stuff like taking SIX MONTHS of bloody warfare to defeat Saddam's mighty army. Shouldn't those people be shuffling their feet and stammering over their mistakes?

The recent investigative report shows that prisoner abuse by US forces is, in fact, very rare in this war. Shouldn't the people who wrote and spoke as if it were endemic, and directed from the top, have to restore THEIR trust and credibility?? Hmmm?

Posted by John Weidner at 9:54 AM

July 27, 2004

Real Minutemen...

A certain unspeakably vile flab-worm recently said that the terrorists in Iraq were "patriots" and "Minutemen" who were going to win.

Here are a couple of the real patriots:

...More than 250 Iraqi men had gathered outside the front gates of the compound here during the morning of July 17. Many were interested in joining the newly formed Iraqi National Guard and working to rebuild their country. One terrorist saw this as the best time to strike.

A taxi approached the front gates at 7:45 a.m., according to witnesses. One of the Iraqi soldiers on duty at the gate that morning was Adil Abed, a young man who was planning to be married next week. He would never see his ceremony or his bride-to-be again.

Abed attempted to stop the suspicious taxi. When the driver failed to respond, Abed fired his AK-47 and the driver returned fire with a pistol, hitting Abed.

The soldier's comrade Sadaam Obeeid rushed forward to help his friend when the taxi, packed with explosives, detonated...

SO, are the slimeballs succeding in cowing the Iraqi National Guard? Are they gonna win, as claimed by a certain maggot finding much favor among Democrats these days??

...That flow of eager men hasn't slowed.

Every hour, men approach the gate to join the ING. One recruit said he did not like the deaths of the soldiers but he was not afraid of it.

"The terrorists were trying to discourage people from joining the ING with their attack," Ahamy said. "In the days following it we have had many, many men come to us wanting to join. They see the attack as proof they are needed. Terrorists will not win here."

The soldiers gathered the remains of their fallen and draped them with an Iraqi flag. A ceremony was held on the compound before turning the fallen over to their families. Iraqi officers visited the families of the two men during the funeral ceremonies to offer their condolences.

"Their death makes a vibration that is felt in the town. The people want the violence to stop," Haair said. "We all know we must work hard and be responsible for that to happen. We support the soldiers' sacrifice by continuing their holy duty to make that happen."...

Yet perhaps this is all just an oddity, an unusual occurrence...not indicative of what's happening???
...The Iraqi solders' actions weren't surprising for the Marines dedicated to training them to take a greater role in security and rooting out terrorism. Lt. Col. Rick Jackson is a 46-year-old from Allendale, N.J. Marine serving as the deputy director of Iraqi Security Forces for 1st Marine Division. He said the actions, while tragic, are telling of the dedication of Iraqis sworn to protect their nation.

"These guys are out training with us every day," Jackson explained. "We do joint patrols together. To hear they stood their ground and acted the way they did isn't that surprising at all."...

The link is thanks to Blackfive, who adds:
One final note, I have heard directly from two Marines who believe that these Iraqi soldiers are the begining of a true professional and free Iraqi military. I have heard secondhand from others who have emailed me that they have been impressed with the dedication and abilities of the new Iraqi Soldiers."...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:31 PM

July 25, 2004

" its terrifying good"

Back on June 14, Firas Georges wrote

...After I got out of Tahreer Sq. and avoided traffic jam I passed the building of Baghdad Stock Exchange which we (my partners and I) spent a long time in as stock brokers (my basic profession) and I remembered what my partner said last Friday about it “its going to be opened this month and they practiced a test exchange last Saturday, and there was a great job done by the coalition helping the Iraqis old team to reopen as soon as possible”. Laws was changed, a new board of directors without government representatives, a new place, a new techniques of exchange, and of course many more job opportunities for the market staff and for brokers companies and for the investors.
For us as a stock brokers firm, it’s a dream to reopen and establish stock exchange, especially when the American experts who helped to reopen the market are saying “we are trying to develop new, modern exchange facilities”.
Any way I will keep the site visitors informed about what’s new in ISX (and thats Iraq Stock eXchange)reopening and its all on http://www.isx-iq.net/
I wondred what was happening, but he's been too busy to blog until recently, but now he says:
...What may back up my criteria is what is going on in the ISX (Iraq Stock eXchange). Things there are more than good, its terrifying good...(read about it here)
. And here's a photo essay on the Iraqi exchange, at DefendAmerica. (This stuff fascinates me, I love reading about countries coming alive again after socialism.)
Traders update sales boards at Iraq Stock Exchange

Iraqi stock traders update the sales boards with the latest prices on the available stocks at the Iraqi Stock Exchange, Baghdad, Iraq, July 18, 2004. U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. D. Myles Cullen

Posted by John Weidner at 6:41 PM

July 24, 2004

"What he did was kill me without pistol"

Robert Alt has a story that took my breath away. Iraqi Army Lt. Col. Ahmed Lutfi Raheem tells his tale:

"I was on my way home to Baghdad after my brigadier boss had told me the war was over and to go home," Ahmed said, describing his last moments as a major in the old Iraqi Army air defense unit he had been with for nine years. "He said it was an order," he added...

[Major Raheem starts walking home, and encounters an American soldier]

...The encounter would prove to be a pivotal one for the military veteran because for the next two anxious minutes, Ahmed went through what must be emotions impossible to describe to someone who has never known he was about to die. It was more the result of the 33-year-old’s lifetime of experience with the ways of Saddam Hussein.

Ahmed, though, was actually two minutes away from a rebirth of sorts. "He looked at me for a while and I thought he was going to kill me," Ahmed said. "But he didn’t kill me," he added. "Instead he came to the position of attention and saluted me as an officer," Ahmed said, "And said, ’Sir you can go.’"

"I took a few steps and began to cry," he said, "Because I think, ’Why do I fight these people for ten years?[’”]

"This moment changed me from the inside," Ahmed said. "What he did was kill me without pistol. He killed the old major in the Iraqi Army who fought America from 1993 to 2003.”

Ahmed was advised by a U.S. Army officer to apply at the recruiting center in Baghdad and was ushered into the army a short time later as an "officer candidate." After training, he was commissioned a lieutenant colonel in the new army having made the cut for promotion from his former rank in the old army....

There's more, Ahmed Raheem's adventures were just beginning. Read! (And if you are not touched by this, you are a blockhead with a heart of stone.)

I got two things to say. One: THIS is why (or rather, one of many reasons why) we did not just keep the old Iraqi Army intact. The army Raheem came out of was twisted and sick. We didn't go to Iraq to bring stability, we went to catalyze change.

Two: You don't see stories like this in your newspaper. Because the news media want Democrats back in power, and are trying hard to convince us that Iraq is a hopeless mess. But think about it, any of you Dems out there. Think. You are building the Democrat Party on a foundation of lies! Lies that disparage American achievements. You are building an election campaign on lies. How's that gonna work in the long run? Where are you going? And is it worth it?

(thanks to Betsy N)

Posted by John Weidner at 5:58 PM

July 22, 2004

The GREAT CLEANUP is coming...

I missed, but Tom Bowler points out this great piece by Alaa:

...Well, of course the Arabs are our brothers in so far as we are an Arabic speaking people. And of course we don’t wish them harm. And how many sacrifices have the Iraqis made for their sake? So, we wish them well, generally speaking. However, how we wish they could be less stupid, less cruel and more understanding. Also it would be nice if they could become less selfish, less hypocritical, less addicted to lying, treachery and jealousy. That would be nice. And perhaps they could show a little more concern about the murder of our people, the destruction of our livelihood, the sabotage of our national assets and infrastructure. It would be even nicer if they could actually stop perpetrating these rather unfriendly acts....
A nice rant, I just quoted the warm-up.

And then there's this:

...Oh yes, this new government is achieving amazing success in even such a short period. This is going to drive the enemy to desperation, and this is becoming clear in the increasingly venomous tone of his vituperations on Al Jazeera terrorist station and such similar media. Imagine this, a station run by Wahabis (nicknamed Filthy Beards henceforth), staffed with Baathist Palestinians and financed by a mini state, which is supposed to be an ally of the U.S. and enjoys the full patronage and protection of the West, without which protection it had no chance in hell at survival; a strange situation indeed!

If there are Iraqis amongst these people they had better come to their senses and stop destroying their country. Otherwise they will find the determination of the people getting more and more firm, and with each terrorist act more and more people alienated and determined at confronting and defying them. The GREAT CLEANUP is coming and the HOUSE shall be in ORDER sooner and later, with the vermin TOTALLY EXTERMINATED, God’s willing...


Salaam. Or as we say here, amen Brother. How's the song go? "...stone be rolled away, let the guilty pay, it's independence day..."

You know, I would guess that the postmodernist preemptive-surrender crowd can't even imagine that terrorist attacks might make a group stronger. More stubborn, more dangerous. They can't imagine people who still have what they have lost, a belief in the future...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:27 AM

July 19, 2004

Blogger hits the bigtime...

Chrenkoff's latest roundup of good news from Iraq is in OpinionJournal! Colossal!

His pieces are, of course, useful correctives to the distortions of the press. Plus any good news just makes me happy, and there's a lot of it today. And certainly the Iraqis could use some. Of course I imagine that a certain wavelengths of the political spectrum will look at this stuff and become...well...sad. Sorry guys, you have my sympathies. I know it's a hard time for you.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:21 PM

July 17, 2004

"You can't just do nothing..."

Here's an interesting little piece in the Washington Post, Iraq's 'True Heroes', by Steve Danyluk, a major in the U.S. Marine Corps:

...For 30 years Iraqis were brutalized by a tyrant. The collective psyche of the Iraqi people is akin to that of a battered wife whose oppressor has finally been removed from the household. They're far better off with the batterer gone, but they're scared, confused and lacking the confidence to go it on their own just yet. It will take continuous mentoring, counseling and a lot of time. Our Marines are doing these things with great skill and patience. The sooner we fix it the sooner we can come home.

I've become friends with a lieutenant colonel in the Iraqi National Guard here. Real bright guy, speaks good English, lived in Europe for five years. He makes $250 a month, doesn't own a car, rides a bus for two hours to get to work and lives in constant fear that his family will be targeted because he is in the guard. "Why do you do it," I asked him, knowing he could make five times that amount as a translator or a contractor here on the base. His response was that doing nothing is not an option. If you ask me, guys like him are the true heroes over here. "Is there hope for this place?" I asked. "No, there is no hope," he responded sardonically. Again, "Why do you do it," and again the answer: You can't just do nothing... (thanks to Athena)

Makes me think of that disgusting crack by a Democrat, that the Ba'athists and terrorists are Iraq's "Minutemen." Guys like this ING officer are the Minutemen. They deserve our respect and support. Ten or twenty years from now they will be helping us in some future scrap. Remember how the South Koreans helped us in Vietnam?

No, of course you don't, because the truth has been buried under a torrent of socialist propaganda. You won't see it in your schoolbooks. But they did; over 300,000 ROK troops served with us. Unfortunately, people like John Kerry had the say-so in the end, and so Vietnam is a brutal totalitarian tyranny...just as Iraq would be if they were in charge.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:48 AM

July 14, 2004

"let’s start with the first thing you see when you get out of your house.."

Mohammed has a great answer to a sneering nay-sayer of an uncle:

I became really angry, however I waited for him to finish then I asked him if I could answer. “Sure I want to see how you’re going to answer” he replied, putting a challenging face.
I said:
-you claimed that Iraq’s fortune was robbed an that you didn’t see a real change or any reconstruction and I will answer you with a picture that you have to see everyday because it’s within a circle of one kilometer around your house and you have to see this picture every morning while you walk out of your house for whatever business you want to do.
He looked at me and said:
-What do you mean!?
-Ok, let’s start with the first thing you see when you get out of your house....
You can follow him this way and that around the neighborhood. ..."I’ll move for another 50 meters and cross the street where lies one of the former evil military institutes that was used to train professional butchers; it wasn’t a target for American missiles but was robbed by some sick people who left it as ruins, and you know uncle how the American unit in charge of this area turned it into a residency for students"...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:31 AM

July 13, 2004

the liberation of Najaf as "a gift from God."

Here's yet another item for the Lonnng list of reasons why the Iraq Campaign was a move of pure genius, and will be remembered in history as a premier example of "Grand Strategy." Actually this item should be listed as a sub-section of one of the more general reasons: To destabilize Islamo-fascist tyrannies.

A New Voice Is Being Heard in Iran, by Amir Taheri
While the world is justly focusing on the movement of terrorists and weapons from Iran into newly liberated Iraq, a movement of ideas and those who preach them traveling in the opposite direction may prove to have more lasting consequences in the long run.

The ideas are coming from Najaf, a dusty nondescript town in southern Iraq which is re-emerging as the principal center of Shi'ite Islam after a hiatus of more than three decades. The men who are taking those ideas into Iran are Iranian and Iraqi clerics who believe that Khomeinism -- the official religion of the Islamic Republic in Tehran -- represents a betrayal of their faith...

The corrupt and brutal tyrants of Iran are at a disadvantage compared to other dictators. Because of their Shi'ite theology, there is one place in the world where they would like to forbid their people to go, but can't. Iraq. Iraq, where the Shi'ite Holy places are. And now literally millions of Iranians are visiting Iraq. They are meeting Americans (check this out!). When they visit they visit a free country, thanks to George W Bush. Iraq may look messy to us, but to Iranians it looks great. And the leader if Shi'ism is in Iraq.
..."Today, Sistani is probably the most influential Shi'ite [religious] leader in the world," says Sabah Zangeneh, who was Tehran's ambassador to the Organization of Islamic Conference until last year. "Many Iranians see in him a revival of the mainstream Shi'ite theology."

Many clerics agree. "It is now clear to most Shi'ites that Khomeinism is a political ideology and a deviation [from the faith]," says Ayatollah Mahmoud Qomi-Tabatabi. "Those who represent authentic Shi'ism cannot speak out in Iran. This is why the Najaf clergy, especially Sistani, are emerging as a pole of attraction for Iranians."

Another Iranian cleric, Hadi Qabel, says that Khomeinism should be regarded as "a political ideology" while Shi'ism, as a religious faith, is represented by "theologians like Sistani who do not seek power."

Hassan Sanai, a prominent mullah in Qom, sees the liberation of Najaf as "a gift from God." "Shi'ism needs a theological center that is not controlled by a government," Ayatollah Sanai says. "It is natural that Najaf should play that role. With Sistani now able to address the [Shi'ite] community, the faith could resume its natural course."...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:42 PM

Bad news for the Quagmiristas..

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi police seized more than 500 criminal suspects in raids in Baghdad on Tuesday, an Interior Ministry source said.

"Till now the police have arrested 527 people in Rusafa," the source said, referring to an area of Baghdad on the east bank of the Tigris river. He said the raids had begun in the early hours and were still under way.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:05 PM

amazing numbers...

I just got an e-mail from Spirit of America, concerning our little donation. It seems they got a wee bit more money than they needed...

... To provide the Marines with the basic equipment they requested for Al Anbar we spent $86,001 (6.9%) of the $1,248,967 that was donated. Including processing fees at 3% we have used 9.9% of the project donations.

This is your chance to reassign the unused portion of your donation or even get a refund, if that's your preference. This level of accountability is the only way to honor your support properly. So here are your options. Please select one and submit your choice before July 31st...

It feels nice to be on the side of the good guys.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:48 PM

July 12, 2004

I will be voting....

"I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force-- if necessary -- to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security." Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002.
You can find lots more hypocrisy like this here.
Posted by John Weidner at 6:26 PM

July 9, 2004

Summers without running water....

Simone Ledeen has a splendid rebuttal to Paul Krugman's stupid smear of her and her CPA colleagues. Lord, what an ass that man is. Suggesting that working 18 hours a day convoying cash-money around Baghdad is some sort of cushy post given to Republican princelings is just too stupid for words. Quintessential BDS.

...Mr. Krugman appears oblivious to the difficulties associated with rebuilding a formerly totalitarian state. Having worked in a rigid "command" bureaucracy — in which decisions were dictated from above, and deviation from the established ways of doing things was often severely punished — many Iraqis needed to learn to make decisions rather than waiting for orders. And the Baathist state had employed some unique methods: For example, some of my colleagues came across a payroll sheet from the ministry of education that detailed how one teacher was being paid 30 times what any other teacher received. Why? That teacher had been spying on all the others.

One of the greatest challenges we faced was the reluctance of Iraqis to disburse funds. Under the old regime, government employees were rewarded for withholding funds and punished — sometimes even executed — for spending money. This structure allowed regime loyalists to live in giant mansions surrounded by man-made lakes, while the average Iraqi suffered through summers without running water. These attitudes had to be immediately and drastically corrected...

People like Krug would gladly watch them die of thirst, if it would win them back political power. Which is precisely the reason they are losing all political power.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:40 PM

July 7, 2004

The point is to tell the story...

Cori with some good sense on war crimes trials:

...The point is not to live up to some abstract standard of "international law" and keep the human rights groups happy. The point is to tell the story of what happened so definitively, in a way that leaves so little grounds for question, that no one can question, that the old regime is utterly and completely discredited for all time, and the country can finally heal...
The people who yack about the importance of a "fair trial" for Saddam and his gang miss the point. We need the truth to be told with an appearance of fairness and impartiality to aid in discrediting a monstrous regime. Fairness would be to drop him into a plastic shredder, but he is a useful prop in the job of getting the truth out. Especially since much of the world will do their best to avoid the truth...

Posted by John Weidner at 4:46 PM

July 1, 2004

These are the nasty capitalists Democrats want to protect us from...

41 Halliburton Employees Killed in Iraq

[From NewsMax]Forty-one employees of the embattled energy services company Halliburton have been killed in Iraq and Kuwait since the company became the U.S.'s primary contractor in the Iraq rebuilding effort last year.

Halliburton's sacrifice in human terms is higher, for instance, than the entire British army's - which has the second largest military presence in Iraq. Twenty-seven British soldiers have killed since the occupation began on May 1, 2003.

Despite suffering a staggering death toll, Hallburton's contribution to the war effort has been derided by the Democratic-media complex as war profiteering. When a Halliburton employee is killed, kidnapped or injured in Iraq, it seldom generates any news coverage.

On the other hand, when a reporter dies covering the war, the media is awash in reports praising his courage and dedication....

I had no idea the death toll was so high. Well, of course I didn't, it doesn't get any news coverage, because that wouldn't fit the Party Line.

Well, people of Halliburton and our other contractors, Americans thank you. I thank you. You are heroes, and the Michael Moore crowd isn't worthy to clean your boots.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:26 AM

June 30, 2004


I just found the original piece about cell phone service in Iraq I mentioned below, I'll re-post it

by Stephen Pollard....Compounding the impact of the US’ military overstretch on security has been the State Department’s crippling bureaucratic mindset. Rather than recognising the exceptional nature of the Iraqi situation, officials have insisted at every point in applying the full rigour of US health and safety requirements, licensing procedures and other sundry impediments to progress. Take the mobile phone network. The sensible solution would have been to pick the most able and cost-effective operator and let them get on with it. But instead, the decision was taken to go through a full competitive tendering process, which takes an inordinate amount of time. One day, however, people suddenly found their mobiles working; a network had decided, to immense acclaim, to ignore the process and, indeed, get on with it. They were swiftly shut down, encapsulating just why things have been moving so slowly in Iraq: bureaucracy ahead of common sense...
My guess is that it's not just a case of "bureaucracy ahead of common sense." I think the people in our State Department are on exactly the same wavelength as lefty elitists everywhere...and they want us to fail.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:28 PM

June 29, 2004

"How do I know this? Because my fellow Marines and I witnessed it with our own eyes."

You really gotta read this, about some totally phony Washington Post Iraq reporting, by someone who was there and knows the truth.

..."The refusal of Marine commanders to recognize Fadhil's new title has fueled particularly intense anti-American sentiments here," Chandrasekeran continued. "In scenes not seen in other Iraqi cities, U.S. convoys have been loudly jeered. Waving Marines have been greeted with angry glares and thumbs-down signs."

Readers must have concluded that Kut was on the verge of exploding. The entire city was ready to throw out the despised American infidel invaders and install their new "mayor" as their beloved leader.

What utter rubbish. In our headquarters, we had a small red splotch on a large map of Kut, representing the neighborhood that supported Abbas Fadhil. When asked about him, most citizens of Kut rolled their eyes. His followers were mainly poor, semi-literate, and not particularly well-liked. They were marginal in every sense of the word, and they mattered very little in the day-to-day life of a city that was struggling to get back on its feet.

We knew the local sentiment intimately, because as civil affairs Marines, our job was to help restore the province's water, electricity, medical care, and other essentials of life. Our detachment had teams constantly coming and going throughout the city, and Chandrasekeran could have easily accompanied at least one of them.

Since he didn't, he couldn’t see how the Iraqis outside of the red splotch reacted to us. People of every age waved and smiled as we rumbled past (except male youths, who, like their American counterparts, were too cool for that kind of thing.) Our major security problem was keeping friendly crowds of people away from us so we could spot bad guys...

Slanted reporting to support the Liberal agenda is nothing new, though it is at a fever-pitch right now, due, I believe, to the 70-Year Cycle. My dad, who was in the nursery business, knew a greenhouse owner in the South. During the Civil Rights Era, this guy's face appeared on the cover of LIFE Magazine, as a grotesque rabble-rouser screaming up opposition to blacks. The trouble was, the photo was actually snapped at his company picnic, when he'd had a few drinks and was singing with his mostly-black employees...I'm sure millions of leftish types saw that picture, and thought of themselves as superior beings in contrast to the troglodytes of the Old South.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:41 PM

Guess who's got "talk-radio!"

From AP: On the airwaves, Iraqis rejoice and warn terrorists

...Her message was echoed by dozens of people on the day interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi was given a letter that transferred sovereignty of the country back to its citizens after about 14 months of coalition administration. But in the midst of adulation for the new government, callers urged that all must be vigilant for insurgents seeking to sow more chaos in a country plagued by violence since Saddam Hussein's regime was toppled.

"I send all the Iraqi people my blessings," said Ali, a caller from Baghdad. "But I warn these terrorists, all the Iraqis will rise up and strike them with steel."...

(Thanks to Betsy Newmark)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:23 AM

June 28, 2004

What a great time to be alive!

Note, Condoleeza Rice to the President, "Iraq is soverign."

A note from U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to President George W. Bush, confirming the formal handover of power in Iraq (news - web sites) on June 28, 2004 is seen in this White House photo. The note was passed to Bush during a NATO summit in Istanbul and read: 'Mr. President, Iraq is sovereign. Letter was passed from Bremer at 10:26 a.m. Iraq time -- Condi,' prompting Bush to scribble back: 'Let freedom reign.' Photo by Reuters.

Thanks to Athena at Leaning to the Right

* Update: Betsy Newmark writes: I saw on TV this moment taking place. She passed the note to Bush who wrote his note on it and passed it to Don Rumsfeld who got a big grin on his face. Bush then whispered the news to Tony Blair who also smiled broadly and the two leaders then shook hands. It was cool being able to see that little moment of history and the note. I bet that little note will end up in the future Bush Presidential Library.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:33 PM

"who also speaks Turkish, Arabic and Kurdish and is currently learning Spanish..."

Amazin' story, from Stryker Brigade News...

MOSUL, Iraq – If the Army had an adopt-a-child program, Logan Omar Sahle would be the poster child. For more than a year, the 13-year-old boy, who contends he’s 13 and a half, has lived and worked with Coalition forces Soldiers at a forward operating base in Mosul. The boy speaks four languages and his official title at the FOB is translator and supervisor, but he is a Coalition forces Soldier at heart.

“I love American Soldiers. I want to help them in every way possible, because without them we (Iraqis) would have nothing,” said Logan, who also speaks Turkish, Arabic and Kurdish and is currently learning Spanish.

“When Saddam ruled Iraq, he would kill somebody for speaking English or Kurdish. Things were very bad, but now we are much happier and I can speak all my languages freely.”

Not a day goes by that Logan doesn’t use his four languages. At the FOB, he helps Soldiers with more than 50 workers, who maintain buildings, electricity and plumbing.

“It would be very difficult to do my job without Logan. Some of the workers only speak Kurdish, Turkish or Arabic. Rather than having a translator for each group, Logan can talk to all of them,” said Staff Sgt. Phillip Powers, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the contracted workers on the FOB for 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division (Stryker Brigade Combat Team).

“We tell him what we need done and then he supervises the workers on the project...

...Logan’s story is both compelling and sad. His uncle was killed by members of Saddam Hussein’s regime for speaking Turkish in Baghdad. One of 11 children, Logan learned English from his mother, who speaks seven languages....

You can see a picture of Logan Sahle here.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:01 PM


One thing that really bugs me are the people who write, with ponderous grief, that the coalition has made mistakes in Iraq. Of course we made mistakes. Every single war we've ever fought has been a mish-mash of mistakes and blunders!

So why did we usually win our wars? Because every single war anyone else has ever fought has been a mish-mash of mistakes and blunders! The very essence of war is blundering in the dark. Using human beings as fingertips, to try to locate sharp moving objects.

What's important is not 'avoiding mistakes." (I'd like to see the complainers point out the mistake-free war they are comparing to.) What's important is learning from mistakes. Learning and adapting quickly.

This is a good article on the subject:

What is striking in Iraq, though, is an emphasis on learning from mistakes and moving forward, because there isn't any alternative. This is noteworthy among two groups in particular: Iraqis who have signed on at considerable risk to build a new democratic government, and U.S. soldiers and Marines...

...When some Iraqi units fled in the face of attack in April, it prompted a debate here in Washington: Will Iraqis fight for themselves or won't they? In Iraq, allied officers examined cases where Iraqi units had stood their ground (in Mosul, for example), studied why other units had failed and tried to adjust accordingly. Marines near Fallujah discarded numerical quotas for training Iraqi troops and concentrated on finding a few good sergeants. Maj. Gen. Martin Dempsey, commander of the 1st Armored Division, turned to Iraqi party leaders to supply assigned numbers of troops and to tribal leaders for police recruits. He set up new joint operations centers, to enable coordination between U.S. and Iraqi forces even while allowing Iraqis to report up through their own chains of command.

The same kind of improvisational pragmatism is evident in Adnon Palace, where the new Iraqi government is taking shape in a frenzy of corridor encounters and cell phone conversations about armed forces organization, amnesty and reconciliation, paying civil service salaries, and a hundred other gargantuan challenges. "I want to guard against major expectations," said Barham Salih, the new deputy prime minister. "This is a country that is in dire trouble."...

One oddity about the article is that the author says: By noting this distinction, I don't mean to join with critics of "negative reporting." Iraq-based reporters are focusing on violence because that is overwhelmingly the most important story, shadowing everything else that happens...

But unconsciously that's just what he's doing. For instance, he notes that Iraqi units fought in Mosul and didn't run. But that wasn't reported! You never heard anything about it, while the Kerry-crowd drooled with pleasure at our problems in Falluja. But in fact, Mosul was the real news! Read this! Violence and terrorism in the Middle East isn't news! It's just dog-bites-man.

What happened in Mosul, what's happening in hundreds of Iraqi local council elections, is strange and new! News. Fascinating. Unprecedented. An Arab country acting like no other Arab country. But the news media have intentionally buried the real story, to help elect their candidate and preserve their sinking Party. Jerks.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:25 AM

June 22, 2004

Thank you, Ali...

I'm trying to catch up on blog-reading after being away. It's hard. I just noticed this by Ali, at the indispensable IRAQ THE MODEL:

Iraqi soldiers save U.S. marine. I don't know why all we get (all of us) is pictures of a bunch of idiots throwing bricks at burned cars. Why don't they cover such stories!? Now of course I'm not surprised, I'm only disgusted by the attitude of the major media.
Disgusted is just the right word. Read the story, it's great! Thrilling. You won't see these things on TV or in your newspaper; the Media Wing of the Democratic Party suppresses such items. You're wasting your time, suckers, the era of the appeaser is about over.

Even if the newsmedia could suppress the truth entirely, even if they succeed in convincing Americans that Iraq is a hopeless quagmire, their party will still be crushed in November. It's probably impossible for the nihilist crowd to understand this, but ordinary Americans still believe in our country, in our freedoms and traditions. And we are willing to fight for them. And we will keep up our courage even in the darkest and most difficult times.

You watch. I'm predicting it. The War on Terror will be long and difficult, as the President has said. Democrats will continue to cackle with pleasure at every Coalition mistake and reverse, but ordinary Americans will just get more stubborn and tough and tenacious. (And if Ali is any indication, Iraqis will too.)

Posted by John Weidner at 10:15 PM

cool gadgets....

Combat PDA's

...The U.S. Army is sending more than three hundred Commander’s Digital Assistant (CDA) hand held computers to Iraq with platoon leaders and company commanders later this year. This CDA is a new design, based on experience with CDAs sent to Iraq last year. The CDA is basically a militarized PDA (Personal Digital Assistant, like the Palm). PDA technology is changing so fast, especially by traditional military procurement standards, that the army expects to have a new version of the CDA every year or so. The 2005 model (shipping out later this year) will have satellite phone capability and be able to download maps, along with instructions overlayed on the maps.... (via Donald Sensing)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:46 PM

June 4, 2004

Even cooler than "dot-com?"

By Donna Leinwand, USA TODAY
Iraq is making its first claim for an internationally recognized presence on the Internet.

Iraq's media commission and the U.S.-led administration in Iraq want to set up Web addresses using the domain code ".IQ" as the final tag. That would mean addresses for Web pages would be distinctively identified on the Internet with Iraq's own country code...[link]

(Thanks to Jeff Jarvis)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:30 PM

June 2, 2004

A small point cleared up...

Here's an interesting report from Iraq. Worth reading.

One thing I found noteworthy, because I've heard the same story:

...I read another article by a New York Times reporter who compared the term "Haji", which some soldiers have used when referring to an Iraqi person, to the term "gook" used as a derogative in Viet Nam. Again this is not the case. I have asked several Iraqis, including Police Officers and interpreters who have said they feel honored to be called a "Haji" because it refers to some who has made or is trying to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. Again, it seems that trying to put down the military is more important than getting the facts straight...
I suppose someone might turn Haji into an insult, but it seems unlikely. Anybody hanging around an Arab country knows it's a term of respect.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:38 PM

June 1, 2004

a culture of experimentation...

Don't miss this piece on Falluja in OpinionJournal. It explains a lot of what's going on:

...What they needed to do was drive wedges into the enemy ranks--divide and conquer. From studying the enemy, the Marines realized the insurgents can be separated into five disparate groups with widely varying goals: foreign fighters (some of whom are very skilled bomb makers), religious extremists, violent criminals released from prison by Saddam and willing to kill for money, Saddam loyalists (those Col. Coleman described as "bloody up to their elbows" in the old regime) and former military personnel.

The Saddam-look-alike former general who turned up to help coalition forces in Fallujah notwithstanding, that last group offered the best opportunity. It turns out there are a lot of former military personnel in Fallujah. These are mostly Sunni men who were professional soldiers and are patriotic and proud of their military service. Many sat out the invasion last year believing the coalition's promise that if they abandoned Saddam, they would have a future in the new Iraq. But since the fall of the regime, the coalition hadn't provided them with any opportunity for meaningful work. As a consequence, many were joining the insurgency.

That's when a former Iraqi general stepped forward and promised the Marines that within 24 hours he could assemble 300 Iraqis ready to battle the insurgents. The next day he met his promise and within a few days the ranks of the brigade swelled to 900 men. Col. Coleman tells me there are so many former Iraq soldiers willing to fight insurgents that the "Fallujah Brigade" could easily grow to several thousand if the Marines would let it....

What particularly interested me is the way the Falluja Brigade is considered an experiment:
...The Fallujah Brigade, however, doesn't have free rein. The Marines constantly test it to make sure it is fulfilling the coalition's goals. These tests include submitting to civilian rule, taking large-caliber weapons off the streets, ensuring the rule of law is prevailing in the city, working with and positively influencing city fathers, and adhering to all the Geneva Conventions and rules of war that the Marines themselves must follow. So far the brigade is passing these tests...[so much for "turning the city over to the general"]
This may sound strange to you, but I don't have a lot a faith in government planning. Nor am I much impressed with the critics of the planning for Iraq, since most of them are touting some wonder-plan that would have made the whole thing a breeze. I don't buy it.

What I find impressive and encouraging is when I see a culture of experimentation and trial-and-error. Feedback. When the people actually in contact with the problem are allowed to try different things, and learn from what works. I've heard that this is characteristic of the culture of the Marine Corps. If you try something and it flops the commander is likely to say, "Well, you learned something, didn't you?"

I was similarly impressed with the CERPs program. We gave our commanders a pile of cash and told them to solve problems in their area. By all reports it has worked very well. The article mentions that the Marines have $500 million to spend in their area. That's smart! (And I'll bet none of it gets embezzled, and little of it gets wasted. Trusting people is the secret of efficiency.)

In fact, I think what we should do is give Bechtel and other similar contractors $10 billion or so each, and tell them to forget the red-tape and just do what's needed! I bet we would get far more bang for our bucks that way. Of course that would hand the Copperheads a political weapon to use against the administration and capitalism. Hmmm. I got it—find a War Democrat and put him in charge! Someone like Zell Miller. Or maybe Armed Liberal.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:00 PM

May 31, 2004

A request...

Tim at CPT Patti has a request. About a documentary film...

...Of his film he says it shows soldiers as who they are. Human beings. See, Mike seems to trust us to be able to handle the fact that human beings are imperfect. So his film isn't one that portrays the US Soldier a la John Wayne. But, more importantly in my mind, it shows soldiers being imperfectly GOOD as well as being imperfectly bad...something that CNN can't seem to do.

So far no one will buy Mike's film for showing on TV or other outlet. It isn't that it isn't good. They've told him it is very good! But they think we the public want more of the same crap they show on CNN day in and day out. (I'm guessing prison scandal movie producers are probably in bidding wars for their films).

So here is my special request. I volunteered to pray that a buyer would come forward to buy Mike's film. Really, honestly say a prayer to that effect.

And I'm asking if you will do the same...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:45 AM

May 30, 2004

Good news in bad packages...

Cori writes:


I'm starting to believe that the New York Times will wait to mention projects or programs in Iraq that reflect real progress, certainly real change in people's lives since Saddam's time, until they can figure out a way to put a negtive spin on their admission.

The wind-up here is a bit long, but bear with me: the pitch is pretty good.

Thus although the CPA has been mentioning for some time that there are literally hundreds of local councils, freely elected, all over Iraq, the real beginnings of democracy not just in Iraq but in the Arab world, (and that in all these elections the Islamists keep losing) only now do they get front page coverage in the Times -- tempered by as much bad news as possible...

One thing that's been worrying me about Iraq is that we didn't appear to be doing much to promote local small-scale democracy. It seemed like a glaring omission.

But we have! It's been happening, just not getting much attention. The NYT article Cori references spins things to look as horrid as possible, but it is happening. And the article casts a sort of shadow or reverse...I mean, it doesn't quote anybody who is happy or excited about this stuff. Righhht. That may seem credible in Manhattan, but not to me. It conjures up in my mind a whole bunch of other people whose quotes never made it out of the reporter's notebook, or were stripped out by some editor in New York. I hardly know whether to thank the Times for the info, or revile them for coloring it to look as bad as possible.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:43 PM

Negative death-numbers won't melt those hearts of stone...

Katie at Resplendent Mango writes:

Win Without War -- Umm...no... If there was one thing I could drill into the heads of the loony leftists (pointy things not withstanding) it would be the fact that we are not necessarily at peace just because we're not at war. Nor is that faux-peace necessarily better than war. By some estimates, 11,000 Iraqis have died from unnatural causes in the past 14 months. As opposed to approximately 36,000 a year under Saddam. Now, I understand that the Left believes that the US is evil as a matter of faith, but I fail to understand how 25,000 people not dying in the past year, people that would have either starved, or been raped and killed, or dismembered, or buried in mass graves, or some combination thereof, is a bad thing. And that doesn't even count the people who's hands or ears or heads weren't cut off by Saddams thugs. The women who weren't raped by Uday and Qusay. The Olympic soccer players who will not be tortured if they fail at Athens. And now soldiers and government workers are being paid adequately. We spent 12 years trying to Win Without War, and if you're keeping score at home, 12 years times 36,000 people a year is 423,000 people. Give war a chance.

UPDATE: I stand corrected. Ed over at Captain's Quarters calculates the number of children dying yearly in Iraq was 50,000. 12 years times 50,000 kids a year is 600,000. Children. And then there were the adults, like the 300,000 Shia who were killed after Gulf War I. Or the conscripts who were forced to fight and die in Saddam's wars against Iran and Kuwait. Or the people that he killed for their beliefs, race, or no reason at all. And that was WINNING?

Of course saying things like this assumes the Ultras opposed the Battle of Iraq out of conscience. In fact the opposition was purely a matter of politics. If Bush is for it they are opposed. Plus they knew that once battle was joined, they would constantly be forced into verbal contortions, having to pretend to be American, and pretend to "support the troops."

Having to pretend that sullen silence in the face of allied success was merely "not being jingoistic." And pretend that the spring in their steps and the rosy glow on their cheeks once the Abu Ghraib photos hit, was merely because they loved their country and wanted to correct her hideous faults.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:10 AM

May 29, 2004

He makes the ankle-biters look puny...

After being exposed to so much of the infantile carping and sneering of Paul Krugman, it's a keen pleasure to encounter an economist one can admire! Australian Tony McDonald just jumped in and did a great job of work.

The Daily Telegraph | Economist who became a hero:...Before he returned after 10 months service in January, Mr McDonald rose through the ranks of the provisional authority to be senior adviser to Iraqi finance minister Kamal al-Gailani. He helped get payments out to a million pensioners and 1.3 million civil servants through a chaotic banking system.

In a letter to Treasurer Peter Costello, Iraq administrator Paul Bremmer said he "often acted solely upon Tony's macro- economic advice".

Under Saddam, the tax system consisted mostly of imposts on business and very high tariffs, designed to maintain the regime's monopoly on smuggling. Banks were not linked and money was safer "under the bed". Pensioners were paid $US4 a month and public servants' pay depended on how much they contributed to the regime's coffers.

"We were essentially dealing with a gangster economy. No one was happy with it but people had to live within it," he said."It is in the process of being rearranged to be very much more simple, with much more objective measures of overall income."...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:46 PM

May 28, 2004

Unsound advice...

Joe Carter has a thoughtful critique of General Zinni, A General Misunderstanding.
From his conclusion:

...I have the utmost respect for General Zinni, a man who served his country with honor and distinction. In fact, if this were a different era, I’d even support his nomination as Secretary of Defense. His ideas -- containment, forming international coalitions, preferring stability over democracy -- could form the foundation for a Cold War-era defense policy.

But we are not locked in a standoff with the Soviet Union. The UN doesn’t possess the legitimacy it once had. And we are fighting radical Islam rather than communism. Gen. Zinni’s ideas once had relevance. But that day has long passed and we cannot afford to listen to such unsound advice. Even when it comes from one of the good guys.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:36 PM

May 27, 2004

More on the Abu Ghraib seven...

Remember the seven Iraqis...hands chopped off? And American doctors and hospitals donated time and effort to help them? Gave them amazing prosthetic hands? That seemed to me like a fascinating, heartwarming story. One that would sell newspapers.

President Bush greeted them at the White House yesterday. Good for him. But our vile despicable America-hating press doesn't consider that "News Fit to Print." Us morons of the public need to be shielded from news that doesn't make America look bad, and doesn't help Kerry.

...But the New York Times, which has offered perhaps the most hysterical coverage of the prison scandal, mentioned not a word in Wednesday editions of the seven torture victims.

That other elite media cheerleader for the U.S. prison scandal, the Washington Post, was nearly as bored as the Times by the Abu Ghraib seven, offering only a few scant references to the Oval Office event in its Wednesday editions.

After introducing the Iraqi torture victims, Bush went on to thank the Texas businessman and surgeon who made their rehabilitation possible and offered to take questions from the reporters on hand.

But the only "torture" journalists wanted to discuss was that allegedly perpetrated by U.S. troops.

"Mr. President, can you say why General Sanchez is being replaced as the top commander in Iraq? Is that in any way related to the prisoner abuse scandal?" asked the first questioner.

Likewise, the second reporter's question had nothing to do with the genuine torture victims sitting in front of him.

After two more off-topic questions, the president thanked the reporters and ended the session. [link]

Utterly disgusting. And also a form of theft--the editors who suppress interesting stories for political reasons, or from a general loathing of the things ordinary Americans find heartwarming, don't own the paper. The stockholders do. Their profits are being sacrificed to please the lefty whims of the employees.

Infuriating, but it's one more reason to savor the crushing of the Democrats next November...

* Update: Take a look at this, in Volokh.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:44 PM

Things you might have missed while reading about prisoner abuse, Chalabi, prisoner abuse, Chalabi, al Sadr, prisoner abuse, bombed out wedding, Chalabi and prisoner abuse...

Chrenkof is back, with Good news from Iraq, part II 

You've seen the first installment - now prepare for the sequel. Because guess what? There's more good news from Iraq that every day slips under the radar or gets lost among all the bad publicity. So, after the phenomenal response to the first "Good news from Iraq", and back by popular demand, here's more good news from Iraq that you might have missed while reading about prisoner abuse, Chalabi, prisoner abuse, Chalabi, al Sadr, prisoner abuse, bombed out wedding, Chalabi and prisoner abuse...
The one I liked most:
In fact, the economy is going so well, that hundreds of thousands of Iranians... are believed to have crossed into Iraq since the fall of Saddam, looking for work, setting up businesses and buying property...
It's called 'voting with your feet." Some of the estimates claim millions of Iranians. Of course all those Iranians may cause problems. But they are also both coming for and causing economic development.

Keep 'em in mind when the ditzy crowd says we aren't accomplishing anything in Iraq. Iranians are "voting" the opposite. SO, lefty Democrats, how many people are moving to Cuba to enjoy your much-touted "worker's paradise?"

Posted by John Weidner at 12:14 PM

"are we going to be OK if the coalition forces left the country..."

Is there hope for Iraq? My friend Andrew thinks the Iraqis will tear themselves apart once we leave. But oddly, none of the Iraqi bloggers I read seem worried about the question...

Firas writes:

For a Monday it shouldn’t be so traffic jam in Baghdad, but it is today, with a very hot weather and imagine how it is to drive long distances…….. Any way what I noticed for the few passed days that we have many many check points by IPs [Iraqi Police] in all over Baghdad and they are started new procedures that we even forgot about for about a year now. They are stopping cars without license plates and stopping imported cars with license plates from UAE or Jordan if its being drove not during ministries working hours. I even saw an IP car modified for arresting criminals or any street disturbance which wasn’t seen before because what was left of the IPs and what we started with after April 2003 wasn’t ready to arrest anyone actually they were ready to be killed or beaten by the armed gangs in all over Baghdad who are starting to disappear or being arrested and send to Abo Ghraib jail……….I even was invited to a friend wedding last Friday with my family and we went out the party at 10.00 PM and they weren’t finished yet and the streets were secured all our way home………And there is a very important thing to tell here, all that is with out the coalition forces help anymore, I mean the IPs started to depend on their own resources and doing there job by them selves.

Few weeks ago I was thinking about a very important matter which is, are we going to be OK if the coalition forces left the country or we will face the kayos again……..Until a month ago I used to feel that we need the coalition forces to stay in streets, but now I can say and for sure that if the coalition forces left or stayed inside bases then we can depend on the IPs and the ICDCs and later on the Iraqi army to secure those who are working hard to rebuild the country. But we will need the coalition forces or what ever it’s turning to after the beginning of next July to help rebuilding new methods of working and procedures for our new establishments and ministries. That’s something is really needed after the corruption we had before April 2003 when the ext regime used to pay its employees less than two US Dollars a month and expect them to keep going to work spending about five US Dollars a month for transportation only. You can imagine how was it difficult to live those days....

I think the "Iraqis (or Afghans, or former Soviet Republics) will slaughter each other if the strong leader is removed" line has always been mostly a comfort to those who hate risk and love stability. And who have lost the belief in Liberty as something worth taking risks for. You always hear it from comfortable Western outsiders. Never from the people actually affected.

No Iraqis (except the Ba'athist elite) ever said, "Please leave Saddam in power. We are terrified of the possibility of civil unrest."

Posted by John Weidner at 10:07 AM

May 26, 2004

The latest lying spin...

The Paper Formerly Known As The Paper Of Record (To borrow Rand Simberg's phrase) is forced to report that lab reports confirm the Sarin found in Iraq. But they are downplaying it like mad, mentioning the minor symptoms of those who handled the shell, but not mentioning the thousands it could have killed if the Sarin had been properly mixed and dispersed.

And pushing the new "stockpile" spin.

...Saddam's alleged stockpile of weapons of mass destruction was the Bush administration's chief stated reason for invading Iraq, but U.S. weapons hunters have been unable to validate the prewar intelligence that described those stockpiles...
This is just as much a lie as the "imminent threat" lie. (but of course any lie is justifiable if it shows "Bush lied.")

Go here to see what was actually said. State of the Union, January 2003. Scroll down to near the bottom. Notice something? Every single thing Bush said about Iraqi WMD's is still valid! Still TRUE! Still cause for concern.

Thanks to Powerline for the links.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:36 AM

May 25, 2004

The Internet routes around obstacles...

Says a pompous idiot:

..The press isn't reporting bad news from Iraq because they hate America, they're reporting bad news from Iraq because there's lots of bad news in Iraq...
Says someone who actually knows:
...The enemy has returned to the tactics of the weak….primarily coming after us with IEDs. And not with very much success. The Marines are very competent at finding the things now and, more importantly, local Iraqis, Iraqi Police, and Iraqi militia are telling us where they are or destroying them on their own. That is a significant step towards our ultimate goal. Much of our effort has turned to training Iraqi Security Forces (ISF); both on joint patrols and in training centers we have built over the last months. Result is a quantum improvement in ISF confidence and capabilities and the development of trust and camaraderie between ISF and the Marines conducting the training.. This training combines with our efforts to improve the quality of the average Iraqi life…hard to shoot at someone who is building you a school. The RCT has put almost $5M against schools, clinics, water projects, sewage projects, and ISF infrastructure. We are starting to see the fruits of our efforts This is a mission requiring patient persistence and it is working. Please keep that in the back of your mind when the nay-sayers start screaming...
C.A. Tucker
Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps [link. RTWT]
CO, RCT-7.
There is both good and bad news from Iraq. They should both be reported, but the Media Wing of the Democrat Party only reports the bad. Then Pompous gets to say, there's lots of bad news in Iraq.

If you are reading this you are part of "routing around obstacles." The campaign of suppressio veri suggestio falsi won't last forever. In fact, I'm expecting it to unravel just around October.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:15 PM

May 24, 2004

Update...story worth reading.

Remember this story about seven guys who had their hands chopped off by Saddam? There's a heartwarming update in the WaPo:

... Last week, the men had recovered enough for the final fitting of their bionic hands, microprocessor-assisted marvels that receive instructions from the brain via electrodes attached to muscles in the arm. The Iraqis are training themselves to fire the right muscles to control hand functions, a process that will take months. Already, they can throw balls, shake hands, raise a glass.

Agris and North will go back to Baghdad with the seven in early June to make sure they have the proper medical support. Agris has arranged to visit other amputees, and he will help Baghdad hospitals upgrade their knowledge about amputations and prosthetics.

"The thing that'll win hearts and minds is the humanitarian effort, not guns," Agris said. "You take care of someone's child, not only do you help the child but you win over the family. And the family talks to the neighbors and you win over the neighbors. It just escalates."

He thinks Al Fadhly, Joudi, Kadhim, Salah and the other three men -- Laith Aggar, Hassan Al Gereawy and Al'aa Hassan -- will change some minds, too.

"I think we're going to see a ripple effect, especially with a guy like Al Fadhly who's got a job working for the coalition's new TV station. They're bringing back a different attitude, a different look." ...

Seven Iraqi amputees

Outside Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison are, from left, Qasim Kadhim, Salah Zinad, Nazaar Joudi, Laith Aggar, Al'aa Hassan and Basim Al Fadhly. They and three others were ordered by Saddam Hussein to have their hands amputated in 1995.
Photo Credit: Don North

Posted by John Weidner at 8:54 PM

May 22, 2004

300 sets of bedding gear...100 sets of pre-packaged clothing...

You may have heard from our darling newsmedia about how we slaughtered women and children at a wedding in Iraq. Here are some of the wedding trinkets found...

...[Brig. Gen. Mark] Kimmitt said troops did not find anything -- such as a wedding tent, gifts, musical instruments, decorations or leftover food -- that would indicate a wedding had been held.

Most of the men there were of military age, and there were no elders present to indicate a family event, he said.

What was found, he said, indicated the building was used as a way station for foreign fighters crossing into Iraq from Syria to battle the coalition.

"The building seemed to be somewhat of a dormitory," Kimmitt said. "You had over 300 sets of bedding gear in it. You had a tremendous number of pre-packaged clothing -- apparently about a hundred sets of pre-packaged clothing.

"[It is] expected that when foreign fighters come in from other countries, they come to this location, they change their clothes into typical Iraqi clothing sets."

At Saturday's briefing for reporters in Baghdad, Kimmitt showed photos of what he said were binoculars designed for adjusting artillery fire, battery packs suitable for makeshift bombs, several terrorist training manuals, medical gear, fake ID cards and ID card-making machines, passports and telephone numbers to other countries, including Afghanistan and Sudan...

Thanks to HD Miller

Posted by John Weidner at 7:53 PM

The Anti-Change Alliance

Mohammed says:

...Finally, I have a question to the anti-change [alliance] and to our friends in the biased media wherever they might be; if all your stories were true and if we were wrong about everything we did, what suggestions would you offer to make things better? what are your plans?

What?! What did you say? I'm listening.

The Anti-Change Alliance. That's it in a nutshell, Mohammed.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:24 PM

Intemperate rant...just skip over it...

When you hear of the so-called consciences of Democrats oozing remorse for the sin of being American, think of this story...

These are the people Democrats are FOR. [Yeah, yeah, I know. Not all Dems.] These are the ones they DON'T criticize, since they are busy with the much-more-important-work of criticizing Americans. These are the slimebags they want to help put into power in Iraq. These are the "victims" they want to protect from the brutality of the Americans. These are the "allies" they are tacitly working with to get Kerry elected:

...I looked off to the left at a frontage road and I saw nine cars in rows of three. There was a line of women in front of all the cars, and some of them had children with them. I thought they were just watching us get attacked, and then men started popping up behind them firing at us - they were using the women as shields!! It took me a second to realize that. They were standing on the hoods of the cars behind the women and children; it shocked the hell out of me. Then we started getting hit with small arms fire, which sounded like golf balls hitting metal. I started firing back at them but I couldn’t get passed the women; they were all I could hit, and they started falling down. The men turned around and ran back behind the cars to fire...(via Zhang Fei)
Keep this stuff in mind when you hear lefty-commentators saying "Abu Ghraib is all of us," and that we are tainted forever and should just slink away in shame and turn everything over to the saintly protectors of Rawanda. Those animals using women and children as shields are OK by them. No leftizoid will express the least morsel of outrage over this. Nor will you read about it in the mainstream press.

They don't care! They. Do. Not. Care! They are cold-hearted bastards, and would gladly turn Iraq over to whatever murderous thugs happen to seize power.

Read the whole story. It's an account of a fuel convoy getting shot-up in Baghdad. It's WAR. It's hair-raising. It's what Democrats are trying to pretend doesn't exist. Because WE are the good guys and WE are locked in desperate global combat with a lot of real bad guys. And any American who reads this kind of thing is going to say, "Why the hell aren't we supporting these men? They are heroes! Why are we putting 90% of our energy into attacking and hampering them?"

"And why, exactly, are our Democrat leaders not bursting with pride just to be part of the same country as these soldiers? WHY?

...We pulled up behind Mathew Maupin's truck, a fellow soldier who was riding with a civilian also, but no sooner did we get behind his truck then his tanker exploded, the truck swerving off the highway, down through a ditch into a bunch of buildings. It was one big ball of flames. Later on, Matt was seen on the Al-Jazeera network as a hostage, and is believed to be still in their custody. After his truck exploded in front of us, we came upon another truck that was laying on its side in the ditch on our left - it was one of ours. There were Iraqi civilian tankers on both sides of us, which the Iraqis use as roadside bombs - when you drive past them they blow them up.

Behind the military tanker on the right, I saw a man lying on his stomach, popping his head up and down to look at us. He just kept popping his head up, I propped my weapon up on the side mirror of our truck and started aiming for his head; I was either going to shoot him in the head or the back, all I could think at the time was, "he is one of the attackers and he is going to blow up both of the trucks as we pass." I saw that he was holding something up in his left hand. It was white. I didn’t know exactly what it was, my heart was pounding so hard, and I was sure it was a remote detonator, but I kept looking and I didn’t fire at him. As we got closer and closer, I saw that he was an American civilian, and he was holding his ID up trying to let us know he was one of ours. When I was in the hospital later on, I saw the same guy on the news, it was Thomas Hamill, who later escaped his Iraqi captors when he heard American soldiers outside the house he was being held prisoner in...

I'm grateful to those men, they are fighting for freedom. For Civilization! They are fighting in one battle of the World War that started 9/11. Fighting for us.

And when I think of all those lefties sitting like buttery buddhas oozing conscience-juice from every pore, steaming and bubbling with loathing of America, enveloped in a sickly perfume of moral posturing, and utterly oblivious to anything that won't help them get back into political power. Forget it, you clowns. You've forfeited the right to lead America. Come November, you're gone...

Posted by John Weidner at 3:16 PM

May 20, 2004

Hang your clothes on a Hickory limb...

I'll pull the troops out: Kerry
United States Democrat John Kerry promised that, if elected president of the United States, he would pull virtually all American combat troops out of Iraq - away from the "death zone" - by the end of his first term.

Pre-emptive surrender. We can expect the same "campaign contributions" Zapatero got. At least I won't feel bad for him when he loses all 50 states. The "death zone." What BS. Typical liberal, only Americans are real. It's the "life zone" for 25 million Iraqis, and hope for the whole Middle East. But Democrats would gladly sacrifice them for votes. Just as they happily sacrificed millions of Vietnamese to death and "re-education camps" and escape in leaky boats.
In an interview yesterday with AP reporters and editors, he also criticized President George W Bush for damaging relations with allies. There is so much strain in those relationships now, he said, that only a new president can repair them.
They'll love him. And leap to aid him in a program of passivity and appeasement and self-loathing...
"Every president of the last century, Republican and Democrat alike, worked differently from this administration, reached out to other countries and worked with greater respect through international structures," Kerry said.
So Democrats asked the UN and "allies" for permission to fight in Vietnam? I've really got to get a better grasp of history.
"This has been a terrible period of loss of American influence, respect and prestige, and it costs us all across the globe."
Terrorism and regional conflicts have declined across the globe. And many rogue nations are getting nervous and more cooperative. We are winning the War on Terror, though the struggle will be long and hard. The oppressed are with us. But elites everywhere are unhappy with all the nasty talk about freedom and democracy. You can vote for Kerry, so we will be popular at international cocktail parties. Or you can vote for victory, and for liberating the downtrodden...
Saying his goal would be achieved in his first term, Kerry explained: "Look, you may have some deployments of people for a long period of time in the Middle East depending on what the overall approach to the Middle East is. I'm not going to tell you we won't shift deployments from one place to another, but we're not going to be engaged in an active kind of death zone the way we are today."
"Hang your clothes on a Hickory limb. but don't go near the water.." It's a WAR, you dimwit. We are supposed to be in an "active kind of death zone." Dealing death.
Kerry also said he is confident that if he becomes president, he could persuade countries that sat out the Iraq war to contribute peacekeepers. But he said he would not place US soldiers in Iraq under UN command, or under the command of another country."
Oh boy. We've been hearing tons of news about "peacekeepers" recently. Usually something like "Peacekeepers fail to prevent massacre." Or "Peacekeepers hide in barracks while riot rages."

Did you know there were "peacekeepers" in Mogadishu when our guys were being attacked? And who were too peaceful to help fight? Who stood by peacefully while Americans were slaughtered? Hmmm? Mr Kerry? Mr Kerry? I'm talking to you, you useless lump! Is that your plan? Is them the guys whose "respect" we are desperate for? The "allies" we are desperate for? Or did you mean the peacekeepers of Rawanda? Or the "sex-trade" peacekeepers?

Posted by John Weidner at 9:42 AM

May 19, 2004

"This idiot is taking advantage of his father’s name"

I feel a bit silly mentioning the blog IRAQ THE MODEL every other day, but really, it's just too cool. I'd love to go to Iraq, but this is the next-best thing. Today Ali is in a cab, stuck in a traffic jam. The driver is from Sadr City, and we learn a lot about what the people are really thinking...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:06 PM

May 18, 2004

"We know our enemies"

...Are we sad? Yes of course, but we’re absolutely not discouraged because we know our enemies and we know their ways and we decided to go in this battle to the end. They think they can force us to give up but they’re totally mistaken. I’ve tasted freedom, my friends and I’d rather die fighting to preserve my freedom before I find myself trapped in another nightmare of blood and oppression.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:35 PM

May 16, 2004

The sunny utopian image endures...

Another good one from Mark Steyn, The last thing Iraq needs is the cheats of the UN:

'War without the UN is unthinkable," huffed The Guardian's Polly Toynbee a year ago, just before it happened. For a certain type of person, any action on the international scene without the UN is unthinkable. And, conversely, anything that happens under the UN imprimatur is mostly for the unthinking.

No matter how corrupt and depraved it is in practice, the organization's sunny utopian image endures. Say the initials "UN" to your average member of Ms Toynbee's legions of the unthinking and they conjure up not UN participation in the sex-slave trade in Bosnia, nor the UN refugee extortion racket in Kenya, nor the UN cover-up of the sex-for-food scandal in West Africa, nor UN complicity in massacres, but some misty Unesco cultural event compered by the late Sir Peter Ustinov featuring photogenic children.

So the question now is whether the UN Oil-for-Food programme is just another of those things that slip down the memory hole, and we all go back to parroting the lullaby that "only the UN can bring legitimacy to Iraq/Afghanistan/Your Basket Case Here"...

Read the whole ticket. The extent of the scandal is stupefying. And that's just the stuff Kofi admits to, there's no imagining what might turn up if they really had a thorough audit.

Yet Democrats keep repeating that we need the UN. It's robotic and delusional. Seriously delusional! Marching-off-the-cliff delusional. The UN is not just corrupt, it's evil. It's a club for despots.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:09 AM

May 14, 2004

"Those were the peaceful and stable times..."

The blog IRAQ THE MODEL has the most fascinating stuff. Mohammed, Ali and Omar tell tales of everyday life that illuminate what's going on in Iraq. If you are one of those people who wishes we had left the Iraqis to Saddam's tenderness, you better not read it! All those uncles and cousins and their odd stories are just too real and charming.

Ali's recent post Ibrahim and the dark future I've seen quoted several times. But only the first part, the conversation between Ali's oldest uncle and his stuffed-shirt 16 year old son Ibrahim. (which is a don't-miss!)

But the rest of the post also interested me. Ali writes about his simple delight in having a stable currency! A luxury we take for granted. And what that might mean for the country...

...Saddam’s regime used to sell dollars at half the market price, for about one week or so, in small amounts and spread rumors that the sanctions were going to be lifted as part of a secret agreement, and when the price goes below even that of the bank, as many people change their dollars into dinars in the hope that it will rise more, the Mukhabarat, through their men in the market, would buy back more than what the banks had sold, striking two birds in one stone; giving Iraqis a false hope to keep them busy and stimulate the greed of rapid fortune that occurs at such circumstances, and getting extra profit to keep his regime alive (this was not just a guess, I knew this from many Mukhabarat’s men with big mouths). The results were as expected disastrous; few people get rich and thousands get bankrupt, which led in many times to furious disputes between people about unsettled businesses or debts in Iraqi Dinars that mounted to murder in some cases. Those were the peaceful and stable times...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:00 PM

May 13, 2004

Quagmiristas, don't read this...

You gotta read this great article on the young volunteers working for the CPA:

..."When you go over there you hear the stories of what happened to the Iraqi people, you just want to do whatever you can to help, in whatever way possible. You can't help it, your heart goes out to them," Ledeen says.

"Contact with Iraqis has been inspiring," Brendan Lund says. "We've established such strong ties. By coming into the Green Zone [to see whether we're alright after there's been an attack], they put themselves at risk, because it's an admission that they are cooperating with or supporting the Coalition forces, which to some of their neighbors is not a popular idea right now.

"The majority of Iraqis support the effort. They don't want the U.S. here forever but they know that they need us now."

Ledeen's group lost one of its translators — she was murdered — but the next day all of her Iraqi colleagues nevertheless showed up for work. Another translator told her, at a time of heavy bombing in the Green Zone, simply: "I would die for you."...
. . . . . . . .

...If no one knows about the good stories, then surely no one knows about all the volunteers working day and night to make those good stories happen. Energetic, passionate young people going abroad to work on traditionally left-wing causes get plenty of accolades from the media. But risk your life to bring democracy to Iraq and in the eyes of many in the liberal elite you don't qualify as a humanitarian: You're a privileged Republican child interested only in advancing your already flourishing career.

Speak to a few of the volunteers, however, and a completely different picture emerges. Ledeen tells the story of an Iraqi colleague in the Ministry of Finance — an older man with a family — who found a grenade in his home. He said he supposed it was an occupational hazard, and added, "I really admire you. You're all so young, you don't have to be here." Ledeen responded, "It's the opposite. We're here because we're young. We're going to have to live in this world for a long time, and we don't really like it right now."...

The article totally shreds that piece in Washington Monthly that claimed that the CPA was full of Republican fluffbrains put there as some sort of political payoff. Which was always absurd on the face of it: "As thanks for your donations, the Republican party would like to send you a signed portrait of George and Laura. And a chance to live in a trailer in the Green Zone, and work 14 hours a day!"

Posted by John Weidner at 8:51 AM

May 12, 2004

A grim but salutary service...

Andrew Sullivan writes:

...In fact, of course, the Berg beheading does a grim but salutary service. In the midst of our own deserved self-criticism, we are suddenly reminded of the larger stakes, the wider war, why we are in Iraq in the first place. Most Americans do not in any way excuse Abu Ghraib, but also see that any sort of moral equivalence between our flawed democracy and Islamism's pathological hatred is obscene. In a purely strategic sense, stiffening American resolve and inflaming American outrage at this juncture is exactly what a smart al Qaeda would avoid. But there is no such thing as a smart al Qaeda. Evil can sometimes be stupid, and often is. Hitler, remember, invaded the Soviet Union...
I bet there are more than a few people right now saying, "What's the matter with those guys? Don't they know there's a War going on? A Global War Against Bush?"

We are also reminded that part of what we are fighting in Iraq is Al Qaeda! Remember all that "Bush Lied" crap? And "Iraq is a sideshow--a distraction from the fight against Al Qaeda?"

And the "Bush Lied" crowd really dodged a bullet when the Al Qaeda chemical weapon plot was stopped in Jordan. 20 tons of poison gas, including VX! Trucked from Syria. It's very that Syria has the advanced technical capacity to produce VX. So guess where it probably came from? Chew on it, you "Bush Lied" ninnies. You are lucky it didn't happen; 80,000 dead would be hard for our newsmedia to suppress, even though they are enlisted in your war, and not the War on Terror.

* Update: I just heard on the radio some clips of Democrats referring to this as a cycle of violence! Get it? It's our sins that killed Mr Berg. Al Qaeda would not do bad things, if we weren't committing atrocities. That's the same thing they say about Israel. Hamas shreds men women and children with bombs full of nails, Israel kills a Hamas leader, and all the blobbo pundits and politicians start up the, "mumble gurble cycle-of-violence mumble mumble must-exercise-restraint grobble grobble ancient grievances mumble mumble..." Now these Democrats are saying the same crap about my country!

I got bad news for you, Senator Porkbottom. Al Qaeda are not enlistees in your Global War against Bush! They are not your allies. They will happily cut your throat when the opportunity occurs. And if they are "retaliating" in a cycle of violence, exactly what American evils were they forced to respond to when they cut Danny Pearl's throat? What sins did we commit, to bring on 9/11?

And bad news for Democrats. The American people are not going to buy your moral-equivalence-we-are-just-as-bad-as-they-are line. You said it about us and the Soviets, you say it about Israel, and now you are saying it about us and the terrorists. And it's always been a filthy lie. And come November, you're OUT. You're history!

Posted by John Weidner at 8:55 AM

May 10, 2004

Just getting on with it, with no fanfare...

We had some idea of this, but it's nice to see it expressed clearly, by HD Miller, at Travelling Shoes:

...Something that seems to have slipped by Reuters, AP, et al. these past few weeks is that the U.S. Army has been steadily whittling away at Sadr's troops, to the point that today, an American military spokesman is estimating that Sadr is down below a thousand hard-core supporters in his home town...

...Hey, didn't the Mahdi Army have over 5,000 members just a month ago?

There is no real reason to go headlong, hell-for-leather into Najaf, not when Army snipers, tanks, and helicopters are on the edge of town (and in Baghdad) picking off 30 or 40 Sadr supporters a day, every day. (And given the level of marksmenship and military acumen of the Mahdi Army, it's not a surprise this is happening.)

The Americans are winning without forcing the giant conflagration that almost everyone had predicted.

This same dynamic also explains why a Marine patrol was able to wander through the streets of Fallujah relatively unmolested today...

Posted by John Weidner at 9:40 PM

Entirely different...

If you are, ahem, a little bit tired of certain matters-Iraqi getting 99% of our attention, Mohammad at IRAQ THE MODEL has a great story! Heartwarming. About his relative who fled the hell of the old Iraqi army:

...He remained a fugitive for years, hiding from the eyes of the military police. He couldn’t see his family more than 2 or 3 times in the year. We helped him find a job and a place to hide where they couldn’t find him.

Few days ago I was visiting his family to pay our respect in the 1st annual anniversary of his father’s death.

When I saw my relative, and despite the nature of the occasion, I felt happy. Here’s a free man. I smiled as I said, “you must be very happy to be free again, and not fear the MP”. He said, "you can’t imagine! It’s like being born again. I’ve never felt so free before”. “But what are you doing for a living now? I hope you’ve found a job”. I asked. He smiled as he said, "I volunteered in the new army". “Really! I thought you’d never wear a uniform after that terrible experience” he replied "Oh no, this is entirely different"...

...My relative’s face was glowing as he continued, "you can’t imagine how much valued we are and how much our religion and traditions are respected. When we pass by a mosque, the officer in charge shouts “no talk” until we pass the mosque by a considerable distance, and when one of the officers enters our hall, if he sees that one of us is praying he remains silent and order us to keep quite until our comrade finishes his prayer.

For the first time in my life, I feel I’m somebody. I’m not a trash as Saddam and his gang tried to make me believe” as he finished his last words his voice went faint as if he was chocking...

(Thanks to Donald Sensing)

Posted by John Weidner at 4:56 PM

May 9, 2004

Not a pretty picture that's going to look...

Richard Cohen in the NYT is declaring defeat:

...It is precisely such a rout of the American idea that now confronts the United States in Iraq. The world is asking what sort of liberation is represented by an American woman holding a prone, naked Iraqi man on a leash in Saddam Hussein's Abu Ghraib prison, of all places...
"The World?" What exactly does that mean? Probably those parts of the world where they never make mistakes. France, Germany, the NYT, the Democrat Party...
...No matter that the offenders represent a tiny minority of the American military or that torture may be common in Arab jails...
It's "no matter" to you. You are totally focused on what's important: America and Bush to be defeated and humiliated so that the march of change will cease, and liberal Timesmen will be restored to their former glory and influence. Too late, it's not going to happen.
...Such images will be held aloft for many years whenever America declares itself determined to right a wrong...
That's your plan in a nutshell. You, and the NYT will be recycling those images for decades. (And suppressing images of 9/11, hoping that we will forget.)
"This is the most serious setback for the American military since Vietnam," said Richard Holbrooke, a former United States ambassador to the United Nations in the Clinton administration. "We now have to admit that the American position is untenable."
In your dreams, Clintonista. We've not yet begun to fight.
...In Europe, some people are saying that if America were a country of 10 million people, its leaders would be hauled before an international criminal court...
We've been hearing some nasty stories about Dutch and German troops in Kosovo recently. So, when are those national leaders going to hauled before a court? What's that you say? The purpose of "International Courts" is to hurt America only? Gee, who'da thunk it. Well, bad news, Jacques. We'll never join your kangaroo court, and even if America were shrunk to 10 million people, we would still be strong enough to thumb our noses at you.
...So, a little more than a year after American tanks swept into Baghdad, the central question has become how to salvage the American credibility on which peace in places from Kosovo to the Korean peninsula depends."...
Credibility flows from being willing to fight, not from pleasing lefty journalists. America's enemies, such as you, may take momentary pleasure in Abu Ghraib. Go ahead, revel in the pleasure while you can, wallow in it. But the war will go on. The terrorists will continue to plot and to attack. You are the one in a quagmire, because you have to pretend that we are not locked in a savage global war. Pretend that there is no real danger. You are forced to pretend, because if we really are at war, then what you are doing is hindering and demoralizing your own country in wartime, Not a pretty picture that's going to look, once your pretense wears thin.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:04 PM

May 8, 2004

Sympathy for the oppressed...

I don't watch CNN, but i hear they are giving a LOT of time to the prisoner scandal. Before you assume that it's because of that famous leftish empathy with the oppressed...

You might recollect this article, CNN Refuses to Report on Saddam’s Atrocities by Brian Yates:

...Possibly the only people unmoved by the sight of jubilant Iraqis dancing in the streets and tearing down statues of Saddam Hussein last Wednesday were the good people of CNN. In an op-ed written for Friday’s New York Times, CNN chief news executive, Eason Jordan admitted covering up knowledge of the brutality and atrocities committed by Saddam’s government.

Jordan tells of having Baghdad station employees abducted, beaten, tortured, and killed. He speaks of aides of Uday Hussein having their teeth ripped out with pliers for the inexcusable act of upsetting his boss. But never once did Eason Jordan or anyone else at CNN ever report on these atrocities. These people should be ashamed of themselves. They have allowed the brutality of the Iraqi regime to continue on, all the while promoting their own anchors at home who all oppose the war effort. If this isn’t an example of a media bias, I don’t know what is. And not only is it an example of media bias, but it is a bias that allowed countless Iraqi civilians to be killed...

(Thanks to Tim, whose wife, CPT Patti, is serving in Iraq)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:09 PM

May 7, 2004


Here's some pictures of Iraq that definitely won't be considered "news."

Posted by John Weidner at 3:26 PM

May 6, 2004


...But these photos are us. Yes, they are the acts of individuals (though the scandal widens, as scandals almost inevitably do, and the military's own internal report calls the abuse "systemic"). But armies are made of individuals. Nations are made up of individuals. Great national crimes begin with the acts of misguided individuals; and no matter how many people are held directly accountable for these crimes, we are, collectively, responsible for what these individuals have done...[link]
Pure steaming lefty hate-America bullshit. For every brutal prison guard, there are hundreds of guys and gals working their tails off, and risking their lives, to make our projects in places like Iraq and Afghanistan succeed. Their stories and letters are passed around the blogosphere, often culled from small-town newspapers. Rarely from the likes of the WaPo, where this piece appeared. Never noticed by trendy Liberals. That's why people like me keep posting them—because our "media elite' dump them right into the circular file.

InstaPundit linked to an ugly story of prisoner abuse in German civilian prisons today. I bet we don't get any WaPo tales about how that's the real Germany. (Not unless they elect a pro-Bush government. Then the story will suddenly be important, as "evidence" that fascism is on the rise.)

Posted by John Weidner at 1:55 PM

Our military's system works...unlike certain others.

OpinionJournal points out that it's our military, not the press, that discovered the prisoner abuse, and has been working to fix it.

...This is a cover-up? Unlike the Catholic bishops, some corporate boards and the editors of the New York Times or USA Today, the military brass did not dismiss early allegations of bad behavior. Instead, it established reviews and procedures that have uncovered the very details that are now used by critics to indict the Pentagon "system." It has done so, moreover, amid a war against a deadly insurgency in which interrogation to gain good intelligence is critical to victory--and to saving American lives...
Democrats are now trying to turn this into a Watergate-like scandal, and use it to attack the President. I think they are making a big mistake!

They are betting on the stupidity of American voters. But I suspect that the simple folk will knit those thick Neanderthal brows, and slowly put 2 and 2 together. "Terrorists attack us. Ugh! Bush attack terrorists. Ummm. Democrats attack Bush...1 - 2 - 3 - many time...Urrghhh. Me not see wisdom here." [For the simple folk of Internet-Land, that's a joke.]

And our press. The Media Wing of the Democrat Party. Where was their concern about prisoners when Saddam was in power? In fact we learned belatedly that the press had been actively covering up Saddam's crimes to preserve "access." But they wouldn't have reported them anyway. It wouldn't have been "news," not unless it could somehow hurt Republicans.

Our press is doing its best to create the quagmire they want to have happen. Doing its best to re-create the Watergate/Vietnam era, the only time the world seemed to work the way it's supposed to. A world where "brave" and "honest" reporters, and activists and "Democrats" stymied and humiliated the US, sold free people into Communist slavery, and strutted and preened forever after on the moral high ground.

I hope and pray this all backfires on them. Surely people will notice that all this concern for Iraqis clicks-on the moment it can hurt Bush? And will click-off if it doesn't seem to be hurting him? If a Democrat were in the White House we would be hearing about how "the system works," and how "our leaders have moved quickly to fix a minor problem"...Remember how tear-jerking stories about the "homeless" disappeared the moment Clinton was elected? And reappeared as soon as Bush became President?

The feeding frenzy over this will hearten our enemies and discourage our friends. It will therefore result in more deaths of American soldiers. And moderate Iraqis. The Dems are murdering our people for political gain. They care nothing about those Iraqi prisoners, the issue will disappear the instant it can no longer hurt Bush. A new Iraqi government will almost certainly be less squeamish about prisoners rights than we are. But don't expect any press coverage over their prisons unless the new government is very pro-Bush.

I'll repeat myself. The Democrats and their press-allies are deliberately killing American soldiers. Our failure in Iraq will help Kerry, and that's all they care about. They have no positive program or agenda, no vision of hope or joy to offer voters. Their only chance to get back in power is through American failure. If the economy goes bad or we fail in war, that's good news for them. That's what they want.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:10 AM

May 5, 2004

A long long list...

Everyone and his uncle are wallowing delightedly in the misdeeds of a dozen or so Americans. So I felt like posting some of the stuff that isn't considered newsworthy...

Amy Ridenour posts a letter detailing what just one Engineer battalion has done in Iraq. This post is just a part of the list:

...Constant and exhausting are the IED sweeps, searching for roadside bombs. This combined w/ a route clearance effort of trash removal, vegetation clearance and filling abandoned fighting positions that amounted to $73,000.

This list is huge and too long to recount in detail, but weapons cleared in such efforts included over 10,000 artillery pieces, over 4000 RPGs, around 5000 mortars, over 1200 grenades, even including large missiles, rockets and warheads. Realize that some of these items are now in use in IEDs (roadside bombs). Imagine if we had not cleared all this. As it is, we have located and neutralized 95 IEDs.

Our infrastructure missions included major bridging construction that opened up highways for Iraqi commerce and travel. Along w/ this, 24 kilometers of main roads and many more secondary roads were repaired and cleared.

In what may be the US Army's record accomplishment for any single unit carrying out humanitarian missions, we completed 224 neighborhood projects totaling nearly $5 million. Twenty-eight primary and secondary schools were repaired, built and improved. We also completed 67 projects to construct and improve Baghdad University and Mustansariyah University, which included 7 colleges, 3 dormitories, 250 renovated rooms, and many internet and computer labs, totaling around $1.5 million. This included restoration and improvement to the Museum of Natural History.

General infrastructure projects included 23 major ones that involved everything from major repairs to establishing security at a value of $140,000. Sewage projects covered 31 major items, 19 substations and 15 vehicle trucks totaling $1.97 million. We also completed 4 major water projects at $152,000 and $94,000 of irrigation systems.

All this was accomplished by our single unit in Baghdad's toughest areas while averaging around 285 soldiers...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:58 PM

It's the other guys who are in a quagmire...

I was pleased of course to see the New York Times article, on 150 Shiite leaders urging Moktada al-Sadr to end his rebellion:

...Several Shiite leaders acknowledged that they had delayed issuing their statement until there were clear signs that public opinion among Shiites had moved strongly against Mr. Sadr. Reports in the past two weeks have spoken of a shadowy death squad calling itself the Thulfiqar Army shooting dead at least seven of Mr. Sadr's militiamen in Najaf, and several thousand people attended an anti-Sadr protest meeting outside the Imam Ali shrine in the city on Friday, according to several of the meeting's participants.

Mr. Mahdi, from the Sciri group, which is close to Ayatollah Sistani, was blunt about Mr. Sadr's decline in popularity. "He's 100 percent isolated across most of the southern provinces; he's even isolated in Najaf," he said. "The people there regard him as having taken them hostage." He said Mr. Sadr had also been criticized by his most powerful religious backer, Grand Ayatollah Kazem Hossein Haeri, based in the Iranian city of Qum, who had urged Mr. Sadr to pull his militiamen out of Najaf and Karbala and to stop storing weapons in mosques...

We knew already, from polls and from the elections that have been held in soutern Iraqi towns, that most Iraqis want a multi-party parliamentary democracy, and do not support would-be dictators, religious or otherwise.

But a loud and violent minority can drown-out and cow a moderate majority. Especially one that hasn't developed the institutions and connections that allow moderates to apply influence. It may well still happen, but it doesn't look like this is the time.

And a lot of people here were deliriously happy to have a chance to declare defeat, and began enquiring where one goes to surrender. Hey, it's a tradition! A lot of Americans are proud that we abandoned the South Vietnamese to slaughter and "re-education camps." I suspect Mr Kerry is one of them. They are eager to find an excuse to abandon the Iraqis to any convenient dictator.

Some people were saying that, "the Shiites are rising up against us." That's totally stupid; if they were we would be bundled out of Iraq in a week. Shiites in toto outnumber us 100 to 1! Or "We're trapped in a hopeless quagmire. I said so when we failed to capture Baghdad the first week. And now I've been proved right." Yeah, you hope so. Got that last helicopter ready to take off from the embassy roof?

You know who's really feeling like they are in a quagmire? Those people who are attacking us! Nothing's quite working out as they hoped.

Najaf and Karbala were boomtowns until a month ago. People were making big money just renting out spots on their floors for pilgrims to sleep. Now the pilgrimages are stopped--until Mr Sadr is neutralized. This is an education for Iraqis. The next "Mahdi" will have a harder time of it.

And in Falluja the people who attacked us are apparently penned in in the northwest corner of the city. They can still get a lot of civilians killed (which the world will blame on us) and inflict casualties on us (Which Democrats will say are "unbearable," though they are utterly blasé about 500 murders a year in a Democrat stronghold like Washington DC. In fact the two cities have much in common. Democrats want ordinary people disarmed and passive, while thugs and killers get to run amok.)

BUT they certainly don't look "triumphant" any more. They keep attacking, they keep taking losses, but we're not running away. Think how frustrated they feel right now. And they are trapped. They can't just write-off Iraq as unimportant, as if it were Afghanistan. It's part of the heartland of Arab culture. They have to fight!

Posted by John Weidner at 1:01 PM

May 4, 2004

Punching way above their weight...

Sometimes I get discouraged and think the defeatists and appeasers will win, and the War on Terror will have to be fought all over again a few years down the line, when it will be much worse. But then things like this lift my spirits...From the Washington Times:

NAJAF, Iraq — One of his friends was dead, 12 others lay wounded and the four soldiers still left standing were surrounded and out of ammunition. So Salvadoran Cpl. Samuel Toloza said a prayer, whipped out his knife and charged the Iraqi gunmen.
    In one of the only known instances of hand-to-hand combat in the Iraq conflict, Cpl. Toloza stabbed several attackers swarming around a comrade. The stunned assailants backed away momentarily, just as a relief column came to the unit's rescue...
and there's this
...Phil Kosnett, who leads the Coalition Provisional Authority office in this holy Shi'ite city, says he owes his life to Salvadorans who repelled a well-executed insurgent attack on his three-car convoy in March. He has nominated six of them for the U.S. Army's Bronze Star medal.
    "You hear this snotty phrase 'coalition of the billing' for some of the smaller contingents," said Mr. Kosnett, referring to the apparent eagerness of some nations to charge their Iraq operations to Washington. "The El Sals? No way. These guys are punching way above their weight. They're probably the bravest and most professional troops I've every worked with."...
(Thanx to Andrea)

Posted by John Weidner at 7:09 PM

Some Krugman thoughts...


The Krugman Truth Squad is on hiatus these days—because they're economists, and Paul Krugman hasn't written anything solid on economics for a long long while.

But I'll just take a slice or two of off Krugman's latest column, Battlefield of Dreams:

...Less has been said about how dreams of making Iraq a showpiece for free trade, supply-side tax policy and privatization — dreams that were equally oblivious to the country's realities — undermined the chances for a successful transition to democracy.

A number of people, including Jay Garner, the first U.S. administrator of Iraq, think that the Bush administration shunned early elections, which might have given legitimacy to a transitional government, so it could impose economic policies that no elected Iraqi government would have approved. Indeed, over the past year the Coalition Provisional Authority has slashed tariffs, flattened taxes and thrown Iraqi industry wide open to foreign investors — reinforcing the sense of many Iraqis that we came as occupiers, not liberators...

So where's the evidence? Where are the facts? We don't need no facts, we're the NYT!

From what I've read, low-priced goods are flooding into Iraq, and many people now have money to spend, who didn't before. Cars, sat dishes, cell phones, are selling like hotcakes. Police, teachers, government employees all have greatly increased salaries. Our planned spending on various projects has been horribly delayed by State Department rules of a sort that Krugman doubtless supports. But it's starting to kick in, and unemployment is falling. Exactly who's complaining? How does K know that "no elected Iraqi government would have approved?" Instinct? Actually any smart government would want to have economic reforms made now, because they will be much harder to do once voters have a say.

But then Krug gets to what's really bothering him. PRIVATIZATION! He hates it like poison. (Which is just what it is to his dreams of being a kingpin in a big-spending Democrat administration.) He mentions various private contractors in a way that just assumes that they perform worse than government doing the same job. No evidence needed, of course, Merely mentioning "profits" and insinuating political connections (Republican) is enough.

Of course the prisoner-abuse scandal is handy to taint all:

...We don't yet know for sure that private contractors were at fault. [at Abu Ghraib prison] But why put civilians, who cannot be court-martialed and hence aren't fully accountable, in that role? And why privatize key military functions?...
Why? Well, for one thing you can lay them off when the war is over. When the contract expires the taxpayer's expense ends. And it frees up soldiers for other jobs. Like actually hunting for the bad guys.

And Krugman doesn't mention that the contractors doing things like body-guarding or interrogation are almost all retired US military personnel. Also that those aren't key military functions. (For key functions, think, "killing people and breaking their things.")

Posted by John Weidner at 1:59 PM

May 3, 2004

The opposite of flip-flop

I was pleased to see that President Bush still stands behind what he said after his carrier landing a year ago. What he said then was right and true:

...We have difficult work to do in Iraq. We're bringing order to parts of that country that remain dangerous. We're pursuing and finding leaders of the old regime, who will be held to account for their crimes…The transition from dictatorship to democracy will take time, but it is worth every effort. Our coalition will stay until our work is done. Then we will leave, and we will leave behind a free Iraq...
What he said was the simple truth, and scoundrels have worked ever since to spin a lie, claiming he said that all fighting was done, and therefore "he lied."

Lorie Byrd writes:

Regardless of the conventional wisdom, I wish Bush would use that footage in a campaign ad, because everything he said on that carrier was true. What we accomplished in April 2003 in Iraq was unprecedented and to say it was wrong to congratulate the troops on a job well done is asinine. Especially when they had, in fact, accomplished the mission, regime change in Iraq, that President Clinton declared U.S. policy in 1998.
One thing I'm bitter about is that our military has not received proper credit for what was not only a stunning feat of arms, but also one of the great humanitarian deeds of our time. A more conventional campaign would have taken months, and the death toll would have been far far higher.

To simply bypass much of Iraq's military and population was extremely daring and risky. And we made it look easy, like the trapeze artist sailing through the air over the circus crowd. And because it looked easy most people never realized what a virtuoso performance they had witnessed. They didn't know what it was they had seen!

Instead, bitter joyless people filled the news with the looting of the Baghdad Museum (which in fact never happened) as if that was the only important thing going on. That our blitzkrieg had saved tens-of-thousands of lives meant nothing to them. That almost all Iraqi soldiers lived to see their families again meant nothing to them. In fact, the damn Museum meant nothing to them! They ceased their crocodile tears the instant it was no longer useful to bash Bush and defame our military. Frauds.

Not one of those pious prevaricators said, "I'm glad I was wrong, and the Museum treasures are safe." They just dropped the subject.

Someday Charlene and I will tour the Baghdad Museum. And remember with pride our President landing on an aircraft carrier. and the splendid "mission accomplished" of our forces. Accomplished so fast and well that many evils and destructions never had a chance to happen. Including perhaps a real looting of the museum, which might well have occurred if Saddam's regime had not been bewildered by the rapidity of their demise.

...Decades of lies and intimidation could not make the Iraqi people love their oppressors or desire their own enslavement. Men and women in every culture need liberty like they need food and water and air. Everywhere that freedom arrives, humanity rejoices; and everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear...
President Bush with crewmembers, USS Lincoln, May 2003

* Update: I should add that I am aware that there were losses among Iraq's antiquities. And I regret them exceedingly. But things might have been a million times worse. In the plan, 3ID wasn't to enter Baghdad at all. A messy urban battle was anticipated, with our airborne divisions fighting building by building. But we moved so fast the Iraqi defense never got organized. Our daring entry into Baghdad was an improvisation!

Posted by John Weidner at 8:51 PM

May 2, 2004

Real tortures

While you are busy being outraged over prisoner-abuse in iraq, keep in mind the tens-of-thousands of Iraqis who haven't been tortured and murdered just because Coalition forces have liberated the country.

I remember one story from a year ago, about an Iraqi man who thanked the US forces for liberating his country. But it was too late for him, poor man. The body of his 12-year old daughter had been dumped on his doorstep. With a video-tape, the contents of which I won't describe to you. Just a little warning from the Ba'ath. A little message from Saddam.

That's what we are fighting against, in a thousand ever-shifting forms.

That's what ABC and Ted Koppel don't give a damn about.

That's what the Bush-haters and the America-haters don't give a damn about.

That's what the French and the Germans and the UN don't give a damn about.

That's what the "anti-war" activists don't give a damn about.

Evil cold-hearted phonies.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:39 PM

April 23, 2004

The Myths of Iraq

From StrategyPage, The Myths of Iraq (this is my condensed version)

The country is in flames! Actually, most of the country continues to rebuild and is at peace. The fighting is restricted to a few areas, but this is where the reporters and cameras go. Construction and commerce do not make for dramatic news stories and so are rarely covered...

Americans are hated in Iraq! Not according to the polls that have been conducted, nor according to the experience of most Americans working in Iraq...

U.S. troops are fed up with the war and leaving in droves! New recruits, and people wanting to stay in are at record levels in the armed forces. This applies to reservists as well as active duty troops...

The Iraqi Governing Council is despised by most Iraqis! Any 25 Iraqi leaders would be despised by most of the population.... But Iraq has lots of constituencies, including over a hundred tribes and dozens of religious leaders with large followings...

The U.S. Army doesn't have enough troops to handle current combat operations! Although combat commanders feel that "too much ain't enough" when it comes to troops, they learn how to go with what they got. ... Sending more troops won’t help with the basic problem; gathering intelligence. That requires people who speak Arabic and have police experience. More American troops won’t solve that problem, more trained Iraqi police will. 

The effort in Iraq detracts from the war on terror! Arab countries are where al Qaeda comes from, they were just using Afghanistan as a base. Invading Iraq forced al Qaeda to come and defend its Arabian heartland. The Iraq operations inflamed al Qaeda members in Saudi Arabia to start attacking Saudis and other Arabs. This cost al Qaeda a lot of support among Arabs, and would not have happened if Iraq were not invaded.

The war on terror is mainly a police and intelligence function. The troops that are needed most for counter-terrorism are special operations (Special Forces and commandoes.) Special operations forces were pulled out of Afghanistan for the Iraq campaign, but most of the action in Afghanistan is best handled by regular coalition troops, Afghans and the Pakistanis. After 2001, the war in Afghanistan was mainly political, not military. Special Forces troops specialize in a particular part of the world, and they are all over the planet chasing down terrorists. The war in Iraq gave the Special Forces an opportunity to work intensively, and without restraint, in an Arab country. 

U.S. Army should be expanded! It takes several years to recruit new troops, train them and organize them into new units. By then, the army leadership feels they won’t be needed. But the army will still have to pay for them. This will mean less money for training and new weapons and equipment. To the army leadership, that strategy will get more soldiers killed in combat in the long run....

Iraqi army should not have been disbanded after Saddam fell! The Iraqi army has been, for over half a century, the chief source of tyranny and oppression in the country. Army commanders overthrew the government time after time, and used their soldiers to brutalize the population. By keeping all, or part, of the army intact, and armed, coalition risked a quick return of the warlord attitude that gave the Iraqi people dictators like Saddam (and several others who preceded him.)...

Iraqi security and army troops, and police cannot be relied on! About half the police and security troops have worked well with coalition troops when put under pressure (attacked by al Sadr militia or Sunni gangs). Another 40 percent simply fled and about ten percent went over to the rebels. This was because the screening and training process for Iraqi police and security troops is still a work in progress....

Posted by John Weidner at 8:07 PM

April 22, 2004

Falluja, Mosul, two cities...

Wretchard quotes this backgrounder on Fallujah from the Department of Defense:...

While Iraq is laced with antiquities, Fallujah isn't one of them. Just after World War II, the population of the town was around 10,000. The city, about 40 miles west of Baghdad, is on the edge of the desert, and now has about 300,000 citizens. It is a dry and arid landscape, made productive only because of extensive irrigation from the nearby Euphrates River. It was, however, located on the main routes into Jordan and Syria. And in crime, as in real estate, location is everything. The city was on the main route for smugglers, and sheltered a number of very successful crime lords...
And Andrew Sullivan has a a fascinating letter from a chaplain in Falluja:
...Nonetheless, in Faluja, the supposed hotbed of dissent in Iraq, countless Iraqis tell our psyopers they want to cooperate with us but are afraid the thugs will slit their throats or kill their kids. A bad gang can do that to a neighborhood and a town. That's what is happening here...
If you believe news reports, anywhere things are going badly is the real Iraq. And where they happen to be going well isn't considered "news."

But in fact, there are signs of things moving in the direction we hope them to go. If people like me think we should not panic yet, and not turn things over to the brave protectors of Rawanda, it's because of stories like this:

...Like the rest of Iraq, residents of Mosul had seen what was happening in Fallujah and had demonstrated. Unlike in the rest of the country, their demonstrations remained peaceful. "That was due to the early involvement of religious and government leaders, members of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps and the Iraqi Police," Ham said.

But when the attack came later that night, it was not Task Force Olympia's Stryker combat vehicles that answered the call. Instead, the men of the Iraqi Civil Defense Corps and the Iraqi police responded. "They stood strong," Ham said. "It was those forces that repelled the attack."

The galvanizing force was the governor of the province and the city, Ham said. "He never left the building, and his personal courage made a big difference," the general noted.

"The Iraqi people in Mosul got the message that here is a strong, democratic leader with a competent security force." Ham said.

He pointed out that the Iraqi Security Forces had to call on U.S. forces to help in only one incident that night, but all the heavy lifting was done by the Iraqis.

Ham said it was Iraqi leadership that made the difference with the security forces. He said he is very proud of them for the way they reacted...

I'm proud of them too. I've come to care about these people. Unlike the "anti"-war activists, who would dump them down the sewer if it would hurt Bush.

Mosul shows what Iraq could be. That's what we are fighting for. Not out of altruism, but because such a transformation in the very heart of the enemy realm, will be a blow more devastating to our enemies than any number of nukes. The "enemy realm" is not a place, but a culture that repeatedly brings forth terrorist groups. And we are planting a counter-culture in the midst of it.

One of these days Charlene and I (if we ever make any money) will vacation in Iraq. And feel smug. We will wear our Bush/Cheney pins, and be popular...(And if you think that sounds optimistic, reflect that we could do it right now in the Kurdish north. Those guys have made tremendous progress in just ten years, both in prosperity and freedom and democracy. I would make much of them, but the prune-faced crew would just sneer that Kurds are different, and that Arabsstill aren't suited for freedom, and would rather be ruled by strongmen. )

Posted by John Weidner at 12:01 PM

April 21, 2004

It's easy to ask, there's this thing called the Internet...

Francis W. Porretto writes

...In the many assertions from the anti-war camp that the Iraqi occupation is "turning into a quagmire," there's a common thread: the implication or outright statement that the morale of American forces in Iraq is low and sinking. That this claim is contradicted by statements from the troops themselves, who see their job as a necessary one, albeit arduous and dangerous, is seldom discussed. Moreover, the most recent reports on enlistment and retention rates from all the armed services have been better than satisfactory; all of them have met their quotas in all areas, except for a handful of technical specialties...
It's interesting how often those who claim to feel deeply the plight of our soldiers show little evidence of having actually asked any of them what they think.

It would be easy to do, The guys in Iraq and Afghanistan have e-mail. And there are many military bloggers, and various web sites for military units, with forums. Heres a sample (and again, this time facing bad news)—This brigade is in the thick of it. Or here's Sgt Hook, who took a little survey...

When you read someone's lament that our hapless troops are stretched to the breaking point, bogged down, beleaguered, battered, bewitched, bothered,...notice whether they asked any of the people most involved.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:43 PM

April 20, 2004

I like how he puts it...

David Cohen writes:

...The ABC slant on the poll is "Iraq is a quagmire, so why isn't the President tanking?" There are a lot of assumptions built into this, but I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that the American voters may actually be adults. Shocking, I know, but there you are. The downfall of these polls is always the pollsters unspoken assumptions, and here ABC is misled by its assumption that Americans hate military casualties most of all, and that stability in the mideast is a good thing. The idea that we might be willing to take casualties in order to destabilize the current Arab regimes never occurs to them...

Posted by John Weidner at 10:18 PM

April 18, 2004

an in-depth question...

I recommend this post and discussion at Winds of Change

In the comments section of "Daily Kos - Again", Amy Alkon asks:
"...as a sort of common-sense-loving moderate...I keep waiting for somebody to offer me a reasonable explanation of the following:

The US is attacked in the most major way ever on our shores, by Osama Bin Ladin and co. We respond, not by decimating Osama and his evil followers, but by waging war on...Iraq! ....Come on -- somebody answer me - not with defending the current administration in mind as you write every word - but by persuading me with the (supposed) common sense behind what we did."

That's an in-depth question, Amy, and it demands an in-depth answer. So let's look at the situation as if you were in charge back in 2002. Then tell me what you want to do instead....

Posted by John Weidner at 12:38 PM

April 15, 2004

Here's a valid criticism you can make about the Iraq Campaign...

It seems almost unbelievable, but Iraqis are still getting their news from Al Jazeera! Madness. We should have had independent TV stations starting up in the first week. And we haven't done it in the first year! Those of you who grasp hungrily at every US mistake, make the most of it...

But wait! I have another idea. Why not take a break from being negative,and do something positive. Click on this link, and you will find out how our baby killers Marines are doing something about the problem! Just hit the PayPal button, as we have, and make a contribution. (In the privacy of your own home, no one need ever know how un-hip you are...)

* Update: After mention in the WSJ, the project has now raised $600,000! Are we gettin' serious, or what?

Posted by John Weidner at 5:40 PM

April 9, 2004

So naive we were

Stephen den Beste writes:

..Eastland contends that those revelations [referring to a report on atrocities and mass executions in Iraq] will end the discussion of whether the US was right to invade and remove Saddam, making clear that questions of WMDs and whether Bush lied are moot. I'm afraid Eastland is hopelessly naive. I once thought that myself...

... The last 12 months of political rhetoric has long since opened my eyes: "compassionate" leftists don't in the slightest care about people in the world who are tortured and maimed by their own governments. They only care about whether anyone is injured or killed by American military action. Far better that thousands of Iraqis die at the hands of Saddam's torturers than that a few hundred die because of an Anglo-American invasion to take Saddam out...

I was naive the same way. I thought people would surely realize that Saddam was waging a war against his own people. One that, in proportion to the size of the population, was one of the most destructive wars of our time. Surely those who are anti-war would be anti that war? At least a teensy bit?

And then, I thought that the revelations that followed upon the liberation of Iraq...people clawing up the bones of loved-ones from out of the sand...the heart-rending tales of torture...surely those would touch the hearts of the Ultras? But their hearts are cold, cold, cold.

I thought the reaction to the revelations of the Nazi death camps was, well, the human norm. The normal way people react to these things. But come to think, there have been a lot of mass killings since then, with the world yawning every time.

Actually, the Nazis were vilified mostly as part of a propaganda campaign to identify them with conservatives, and with the right. A particularly nasty lie: They were Socialists, tricked-out in a few rags of nationalist and conservative rhetoric. Yet they've been used ever since to "justify" socialism, as a supposed "antidote" to the evils of the right. And the socialist mass-murders went on and on. Stalin's millions, Mao's millions, Pol Pot...And all of them apologized for and excused because they were "anti-fascist."

And now George W Bush is the new demon. And the Ultras are once again tolerating and protecting mass murder for their 'higher cause."

Posted by John Weidner at 9:53 PM

April 7, 2004

Old Glory

Rosemary passed on a suggestion that we fly flags on blogs as a response to what seems to be a bit of PC foolishness, the removal of American flags flown by our forces in Iraq. The idea is to not "offend" Iraqis, but I suspect that people who are offended by the sight of Old Glory are much more likely to be found in San Francisco, or Paris, or at the New York Times, than they are in Iraq...

Here's my contribution...

Elizabeth Menegon greets her brother with a flag
Elizabeth Menegon, sister of Army Special Forces reservist Maj. David Menegon, rushes toward her brother, who has just arrived, at the Old Greenwich train station in Greenwich, Conn., on Wednesday. He had been deployed to Iraq for 14 months.

Mel Greer, Greenwich (Conn.) Time / AP photo From Army Times, 4/2/04

Posted by John Weidner at 9:37 AM

April 6, 2004

Excellent news...

Guess who's going back to Iraq? Major General David H Petraeus, who was so notably successful as commander of the 101st Airborne, is being sent back to oversee the organization and training of all Iraqi military and security forces...

Sounds like Rumsfeld's got his thinking cap on, as usual.

Posted by John Weidner at 4:38 PM

"The word "quagmire" will once again become fashionable..."

It always amazes me that people can't understand that, if we are fighting a guerilla-type enemy, a battle is almost always good news! Militarily speaking, the Tet Offensive was a splendid opportunity, and our soldiers seized upon it, slaughtering Viet Cong in such great numbers that they never were an effective force again. (Politically it was a catastrophe, giving many Americans an excuse to align with a totalitarian tyranny in the much more important struggle against Republicans.)

Right now all we know of Falluja is that the Marines are there in force, and gunfire and explosions are being heard. That's almost surely good news. Especially since some of those we are fighting are foreigners, members of a shapeless witches-brew of jihadis from a score of countries. They are Islamist wackos who might be past or present or future Al Qaeda, might belong to any number of other groups, might help found tomorrow's Al Qaeda-type organization. But instead of plotting God-knows-what atrocity in the year 2010, the darling fellows are emerging to beg for martyrdom! Rejoice. Don't anybody tell them that Iraq is a "sideshow." [And a year ago we were killing them by the hundreds. You won't convince me that that hasn't made the world safer.]

Stephen den Beste writes:

...However, in the short run it's going to be painful. The rate of casualties will rise.

And the usual suspects will come out of the woodwork. Opponents of the war will point to these uprisings as proof that the project is a failure and that "Iraqis" (collectively) oppose "the illegal occupation". "Non-aligned" organizations will condemn nearly everything we do as being war crimes, or violations of "international law". The "legitimacy" of the process will be questioned, and second-guessers will say that if we'd only turned it all over to the UN none of this would have happened. Once this new phase of combat opens in earnest, there will be wild predictions of catastrophe. There will be predictions of huge numbers of civilian deaths and hordes of refugees; of destruction, misery, starvation, plague. We will be told that this will cause a broad uprising against us inside Iraq, and that it will anger the "Arab street". We'll be blamed for the next terrorist operation in Spain. News reports will slant everything to make the situation look as bad for us as possible. The word "quagmire" will once again become fashionable...

Update: Here's an account of the fighting in Falluja.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:02 PM

They are really aiming at you back in the United States...

Take a look at this letter from a soldier, published in the Houston Chronicle:

...This is the work of the U.S. military. Our progress is amazing. Many people who knew only repression and terror now have hope in their heart and prosperity in their grasp. Every day the Iraqi people stream into the streets to cheer and wave at us as we drive by. When I'm on a foot patrol, walking among a crowd, countless people thank us — repeatedly...
Remember the scorn, the sneering contempt expressed about Cheney's saying that we would be greeted by cheering crowds? But if you read what the soldiers write, they show it to be the simple truth, again and again.
...I realize the shocking image of a dead soldier or a burning car is more salable than boring, detailed accounts of our rebuilding efforts. This is why you hear bad news and may be receiving an incorrect picture.

Baghdad has more than 5 million inhabitants. If these people were in an uprising against the United States, which you might think is happening, we would be overwhelmed in hours. There are weapons everywhere, and though we are working hard to gather them all, we simply can't.

Our Army is carrying out 1,700 convoys and patrols each day. Only a tiny percentage actually encounter hostile action. My unit covers some of the worst and most intense areas, and I have seen some of the most tragic attacks and hostility, such as the bombing of the United Nations headquarters.

I'm not out of touch with the negative side of things. In fact, I think my unit has it harder than many other Army units in this whole operation. That said, despite some attacks, the overall picture is one of extreme success and much thanks...

It wouldn't take much effort for our newsmedia to convey that success, even IF the nature of the news business demands they focus on bad news. (I doubt that, but I'm an oddball, and anyway get my news on the Internet.) But good news is good for Bush, so it's doled out very sparingly.
...The various terrorist enemies we are facing in Iraq are really aiming at you back in the United States. This is a test of will for our country. We soldiers of yours are doing great and scoring victories in confronting the evil terrorists.

The reality is one of an ever-increasing defeat of the enemies we face. Our enemies are therefore more desperate. They are striking out more viciously and indiscriminately. I realize this is causing Americans stress, and I assure you it causes us stress, too.

When I was a civilian, I spent time as a volunteer with the Israeli army. I assure you we are not facing the hostility Israelis face. Here in Iraq, we Americans are welcomed by most Iraqis...

"Keep moving folks. There's nothing going on here. It's just a sideshow, the terrorists are all in Afghanistan. They don't care about Iraq, no siree..."

Posted by John Weidner at 7:51 AM

March 31, 2004

Not worthy to clean their boots...

When I think of the coldly calculated campaign of lies and smears leftists have waged against our contractors in Iraq, especially the Halliburton Corporation, with charges of war profiteering and "crony capitalism..."

And when I think of the efforts of myself and many other more important writers to carefully debunk these lies with facts and reasoning...see here and Here and HERE and HERE (With zero hope of affecting anyone on the left, though perhaps a few people in the middle noticed.)

And then thinking of those Americans murdered today in Falluja, while leftist frauds sit safe at home and sneer and sneer and sneer....

I'm feeling so angry I could spit.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:12 PM

March 26, 2004

Reality TV...

This article from Stars & Stripes really tickled me. 'tis a far different Army we have now than when I was young:

MOSUL, Iraq — Armed police burst into a house, subdue a gang of bandits and rescue the hostages.

The scene could be straight out of the U.S. television reality show “Cops,” but instead of American police officers, the lawmen getting their 15 minutes of fame are Iraqi police.

The show is “Heroes in Blue,” an Iraqi reality television program funded by the U.S. military as a way of informing Iraqis about the work of their own security forces. It is a collaboration between an Iraqi television producer and Lt. Col. Wayne Swan of the Mosul-based I Corps Task Force Olympia....

Posted by John Weidner at 3:49 PM

March 20, 2004

Luke 10: 30-32

Deroy Murdock has a moving article on Iraq's mass graves. A subject some ice-hearted bastards have no interest in...

..."Iraq's mass graves have received some attention, but foes of Operation Iraqi Freedom prefer to discuss other things. They would rather focus on unseen weapons of mass destruction than on obvious scenes of mass death.

The liberal media appear only mildly interested in all of this. The Nexis database shows, for instance, that between January 1 and March 15, 2004, America's so-called paper of record, the New York Times, featured 191 references to Iraq and "weapons of mass destruction," but only six to Iraq and "mass graves." It's far easier to slam President Bush on Iraq while some 400,000 Iraqis who loudly would defend him, instead are busy decomposing.

Those who still believe America and its allies should have left Iraq untouched cannot avoid this conclusion: Had their arguments prevailed, Saddam Hussein's mass graves would be in business today, increasingly brimming with Baathism's voiceless victims"

Posted by John Weidner at 2:17 PM

March 14, 2004

"to do nothing in the face of such evil is to perpetuate it"

John Powers writes

Allied forces driving toward Berlin at the end of World War II discovered the Nazi death camps that contained the corpses and barely living remains of Jews and other enemies of national socialism. When the scale of brutality and murder carefully was laid bare, filmed and documented, a deeply shocked world promised, "Never again!"

But within only a few years the Chinese communists killed millions of "small landlords." In the 1970s, Pol Pot succeeded in killing two-thirds of the Cambodian population. Countless dead filled the countryside of the former Yugoslavia, and in 1994 militant Hutus killed as many as a million Tutsis and Hutu moderates within only three months, supposedly protected by the French government -- which, in fact, withdrew its troops -- and ignored by the United States and the United Nations.

Now another pandemic of mass killings is being documented, recorded and widely ignored...

Ignoring is what we are good at....
...Prince also visited the torture chambers with victims, and remembers: "To me it became intensely personal. I was looking at somebody that experienced this." He says it changed his mind about the war in Iraq. Prior to seeing Saddam's legacy of brutality firsthand, he thought a peaceful resolution to the Iraq crisis had been possible, but after seeing the evidence he had a change of heart. He describes why:

"You come away from these fields and torture chambers -- the senselessness of it -- having seen pure evil and knowing that to do nothing in the face of such evil is to perpetuate it. It's not a question of weapons of mass destruction, it's a question of evil, and if you let it continue, you have to take responsibility for what's happening. You can't just turn a blind eye."...

Turning a blind eye is something we are good at. And in the apocalyptic fight against the evil George Bush, 400,000 is chump change.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:50 AM

March 10, 2004

Just like here...

I once read an anecdote, I think Isaac Asimov told it about a once-skinny friend. The friend said: "All my life my mother complained that I was too thin—until the day she switched over and started complaining that I was too fat. I don't think there was a single day when she thought I was just right."

It's the same way with the newsmedia, when Republicans are in charge. The economy is always dismal, there's homelessness and joblessness and despair. When at last the awkward day comes that economic good news can no longer be denied, they flip instantly into lamentations about how greed and capitalism are destroying all that was once charming and simple!

Now it's the same with Iraq! Look at this WaPo article Iraqi Holy Cities Bow to a Capitalist Impulse! Shi'ite pilgrimage towns are booming as Iranians flood in—both to pray and to shop. It's sad, it's lamentable, the quiet charm is gone...greed and materialism are corrupting the people...

Well sure. There's a lot to be said for sleepy and charming places (assuming you are not one of the sleepy locals doing nothing because you're broke.) But if Clinton or Gore were President, we wouldn't be hearing how greed is spoiling Karbala. No sir. Remember the "Decade of Greed?" The 80's, the Reagan/Bush years? So why weren't the 90's called: "The Decade of Even Greedier?" The dot.com boom made the 80's look serene...But since a Democrat was in the White House, a capitalist feeding-frenzy was no bad thing.

Posted by John Weidner at 1:29 PM

February 19, 2004

Wearing baseball caps that read SWAT in homemade letters...

[NY Times] BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 19 � A bad day is when (1) you get arrested (2) by the people who once worked for you and (3) they tell you exactly what they think of you.

Muhammad Zimam Abd al-Razzaq was having a really bad day. Mr. Zimam, a former interior minister under Saddam Hussein and an enemy of Iraq's Kurds, was No. 41 on the American occupation force's most-wanted list in Iraq.

He was in his house in the southern Baghdad neighborhood of Saidiya on Sunday, when a squad of Iraqi police officers showed up around lunchtime. No burly, locked-and-loaded American soldiers to hunt down the dangerous; no, this was a bunch of Iraqi cops barely old enough to shave, wearing baseball caps that read SWAT in homemade letters...

The flavor of this story is bizarre and dreamlike and blackly comical, with Keystone Cops jumping up from the floor one after another with their accusations while Mr Zimam is offered tea and coffee on a comfortable couch�Al Jazeera apparently filming it all...

(Thanx to OxBlog)

Posted by John Weidner at 9:10 PM

February 17, 2004

"My art teacher would hate it!"

It makes my head spin to think about the scorn that our intelligentsia and "artists" would heap on this if it ever came to their attention. It won't of course, since the members of the newsmedia are part of the same club, and shield us from such things...I took the pix from a 4ID web-site (link). My daughter saw this and instantly said, "My art teacher would hate it!"

Statue of kneeling American soldier, by Iraqi artist Kalat

FORWARD OPERATING BASE, Tikrit, Iraq � When he was forced to fashion statues of Saddam Hussein on horseback, the Iraqi sculptor had no idea that someday he would melt them down to create a memorial for American soldiers....�The toppled statues were cut up into pieces by members of the 555th Engineer Group and spirited quietly to the artist, Kalat, who reshaped the chunks of bronze into a likeness of an American soldier being comforted by a small girl as he mourns a fallen comrade....

...The artist, who fears retaliation from former regime loyalists for his work with the Coalition, spent several months sculpting and casting the statue. Though he created the original statues of Saddam along with another artist, he created the 4th ID memorial through his own design, said Anderson.

�����The sculpture is based on a scene many in Iraq have witnessed in one form or another. A soldier kneels before a memorial of boots, rifle and helmet � his forehead resting in the hollow of his hand. Behind and to his right stands a small Iraqi girl with her hand reaching out to touch his shoulder....

Well the Weidners thank you, Kalat, and to hell with "Art."

(Thanks to Brian Tiemann, who had a good comment: "You won't be seeing this in Doonesbury anytime soon." )

Posted by John Weidner at 12:23 PM

February 15, 2004

Good news, plus a big disappointment...

Lt Col. Hammad
Lt. Col. Suliman Hammad, left, describes the attack on an Iraqi Civil Defense Corps compound to Capt. Mark Zahaczewsky, right, an Army intelligence officer from Washington, D.C., as Spc. Khaled Dudin, an Arabic-speaking medic from Chico, Ca., aids in translating. Army Times photo

Wretchard notes the good news in this article on the attacks on police stations in Falluja:

...No American troops were involved in the fighting. Officers from the 82nd Airborne Division stationed a 10-minute drive away could hear the battle clearly. They offered help but [Lt Colonel] Hammad said it wasn't needed. The Americans did provide additional ammunition and weapons, including light machine guns...
I'm still not sure the Iraqis are ready to handle representative government, but there's no doubt they can slaughter terrorist scumbags if they decide to...I vaguely remember reading of this incident as "police station overrun in Falluja.", with the implication that things were, as usual, geting worse. But in fact five places were attacked, and the Iraqis said, "no help needed, just send more bullets..."

[Update: Bill Quick has it right: "We've won in Iraq. The rest is just taking out the garbage - and shooting it."]

Not-good news
Unfortunately, the much touted British methods of pacification, so nuanced and superior to those ham-handed insensitive US Army methods, seem to have resulted in Basra becoming thug-city. Here's the story, read it and weep...Sounds like the Brits are too multi-culti and sensitive to actually choose between good guys and bad guys...

Posted by John Weidner at 2:12 PM

February 12, 2004

better ambassadors than the "human shields' were...

An interesting WaPo article on a side-effect of our being in Iraq:

... Anti-Americanism is not what it used to be in Iran...Iranian pilgrims returning from Iraq are spreading admiring stories of their encounters with American troops....

...Thousands of Iranians have visited the holy cities of Najaf and Karbala since the war ended. Many have expressed surprise at the respectful and helpful behavior of the U.S. soldiers they met along the way.

Leila Araki, waiting in the back of a Renault sedan as her husband peddled shoes, recalled that her mother-in-law somehow lost her money on the road to Karbala. She said a U.S. soldier reached into his pocket and handed her taxi fare back to Najaf.

"This is something quite contrary to what we have been told about Americans," said Araki, 31, who was told of Americans flashing thumbs-up and saying, "Good, Iranians."

"They were really surprised. I would never be this respected and well-treated even in my country, by my countrymen."

Esmaeil Omrani told of a relative with asthma struggling to breathe in the dust of Najaf. A young American in full battle dress advised him to switch inhalants, then gave the pilgrim his own, plus an extra for the road. "Everybody liked them," Omrani said.

Hossein Amiri related a similar story from a thirsty relative given water by a U.S. soldier outside Najaf when the city was closed by a car bombing...

It's pleasing how the Islamic fondness for pilgrimage is coming in handy to spread that old destabilization...
We are the Pilgrims, master; we shall go
Always a little further; it may be
Beyond that last blue mountain barred with snow,
Across that angry or that glimmering sea,...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:44 PM

We're holding the good cards...

I started to write a comment to this post by Alan Sullivan, but it kinda got out of control, so I'll just post it myself...

Thought-provoking, but I really can't go along with you here. You're painting a world where the good guys drift along in confusion while the bad guys are cunning and active. Maybe, but I don't buy it.

WE'VE abandoned diplomacy in Iraq and started rearranging things at gun-point. The other countries are scrambling to find some way to appease us before we decide to abandon diplomacy with them. They need to appease us and at the same time they are willing to anger us to prevent a democratic Iraq, which really scares them. THEY are the ones caught between a rock and a hard place. THEY need exit-strategies.

And maybe the Iraqis will be cowed and disrupted by bombings. But that will be a big change from the recent past, where they've been murderous and capable of absorbing huge losses in war. And freedom is a Ent-draught that can call forth new reserves of energy and toughness. I'm thinking that having foreigners killing hundreds out of a population of millions is a good way to produced a lot of really pissed-off bloody-minded Iraqis. And since we are building up their police and army and militia as fast as we can....

And maybe the Iraqis don't want to live together in a single state, but, apart from the Kurds, I don't see much evidence of that. I don't hear any Iraqis complaining that Iraq is bogus. Or proposing partitions. Or saying that visiting Basra is like going to another country. There are probably only a handful of Iraqis still alive who remember any other name or shape for their country. If I were an Iraqi I'd probably think that one of the world's greatest river valleys was the natural center for a great nation, and the only thing bogus is that some pieces of MY country were given to Syria and Iran and Kuwait.

And our goal here is not to please the Turks. It's to have a free and prosperous Iraq as a huge object lesson to the whole Middle East. We want people in Iran or Egypt or Arabia to be thinking: "Wow, those Iraqis just voted in a new government. And people are getting rich there, and everybody has DSL. And the kids are setting the new styles, and getting real educations instead of this religious stuff. And their efficient western-style army has to turn away recruits. And it scares the hell out of our so-called leaders..."

And sure that's high-stakes poker, and we could fail in a variety of ways. But if we win, we win big, and we're holding good cards. We've finally got men running things instead of boys, and our government is stable�the chances of Kerry getting elected are slim to nim. Now is not the time to talk about exit strategies, it's the time to ratchet-up the pressure.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:12 AM

February 9, 2004

Fiction can't match things like this...

John Galt, at the CPA, posts this curiosity

...The second notice is even stranger. So strange, that I'll just post it rather than try to explain it:

NO. 01-A047
DATE: 29 JAN 04
Looking for "Original" Nooses from Abu Gharaib execution chamber

The Ministry of Human Rights has been asked to establish a memorial museum at Abu Gharaib prison. Cafeteria grapevine says there is an individual in one of the trailer camps that has one of the original nooses, and intends to take it home as a souvenir. Such an item is actually property that belongs to the Iraqi people, and would be an excellent addition to the memorial museum.

We are asking for an anonymous return of the noose, no questions asked.

Posted by John Weidner at 12:12 PM

February 6, 2004


When our Lefty pals dump their usual choking gas of lies and insinuations over the Administration and our military, the Blogosphere gets busy debunking them. But the lies come back again and again, and even if they don't there is left a sort of bathtub ring of doubt and ugliness.

One of the lies that has been repeatedly debunked is the "crony-capitalism" of the Halliburton Corporation. Halliburton is doing the same things now that they did under the last few administrations...because they are good at them, that's their specialty. And their profits are not all that large, and the contracts are given by career bureaucrats, not politicians.

Debunking doesn't matter, the Josh Marshallish slime will cling to them forever. As my tiny morsel of balance, I'll quote a bit of this. Let you see those nasty Capitalists at work...


HOUSTON -- In a shuttered J.C. Penney store here, more than 500 job recruits sat at long tables and leafed through packets of information. John Watson, a staffing supervisor for Halliburton Co., welcomed them with a somber introduction.

"I'd like to start out by saying we've already had three deaths on this contract so far," he told the workers, who had signed up to support the U.S. military in Iraq. "If you're getting any pressure from home, if you have any doubt in your mind ... now is the time to tell us. We'll shake hands and get you a plane ticket home."

By the end of that early January week, four of every five recruits would be packing to leave for a one-year stint in Iraq. There, in the largest mobilization of civilians to work in a war zone in U.S. history, they drive trucks, deliver mail, install air conditioners, serve food and cut hair...

Halliburton, which has an open-ended logistics contract with the Army, has 7,000 workers on the ground in Iraq and is bringing another 500 each week to Houston. It posts fliers at truck stops and takes out banner ads on job-listing Web sites. Most recruits come in by word of mouth. So far, Halliburton has plenty of takers...

During a week in Houston, the new hires are trained in the use of chemical-biological weapons suits. They get physicals to make sure they can handle desert living. An accountant explains that they have to spend more than 330 days outside the U.S. to avoid federal income taxes. If the recruits pass their physical and background checks, they are issued military IDs and are dispatched directly from Houston without a trip home for a final goodbye....

"So far, Halliburton has plenty of takers." Sure they do, these are Americans. I wonder how many Belgians are lining up to join the UN in Iraq?

Posted by John Weidner at 9:37 AM

January 29, 2004

wrap-around guys...

Here's a little more from Omar Masry in Bagdhad. (no permalinks, Jan. 29, 2004)

...As for some of the newer soldiers, they amuse when they show up wearing wrap around dark sunglasses. We used to wear them at first but found that you need to be able to establish eye contact with Iraqis if you want to convey your message, whether its while stuck in traffic or discussing issues outside the Amanat (city hall). One newer brigade commander, a Colonel, tried to come off as real hardcore to us and the locals. He wouldn't wave at any of the Iraqis as we gave him a orientation ride. We get stuck in traffic over near the downtown market district and a little girl walks up and says "I love you", amazingly the facade broke and he cracked a smile, even mustered a "salam" back....��

Posted by John Weidner at 6:58 PM

January 27, 2004

A mystery solved...perhaps

Yesterday I blogged about the James Risen article on the disarray in the Iraqi WMD programs.

...After the onset of this "dark ages," Dr. Kay said, Iraqi scientists realized they could go directly to Mr. Hussein and present fanciful plans for weapons programs, and receive approval and large amounts of money. Whatever was left of an effective weapons capability, he said, was largely subsumed into corrupt money-raising schemes by scientists skilled in the arts of lying and surviving in a fevered police state....
That may explain something that was mysterious.

In September 2002 there was a scare because of evidence the Iraqis were developing Aflatoxin as a weapon. It's carcinogenic, and the thought of a cancer-causing terror weapon was especially creepy. But then it turned out that it's extemely carcinogenic in mice, but only mildly so to humans. It's useless as a weapon. (I blogged about it here.)

Well, if you want to sell a terror weapon to Saddam, Aflatoxin is a good bet. Sounds frightful, it's easy to make, and if you spill it it's not going to kill you. And since the results are not expected to happen immediately, it's hard to prove that it's ineffective...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:21 PM

January 26, 2004

In a mood to rattle some teeth...

A friend sent a link to the James Risen NYT article: Ex-Inspector Says C.I.A. Missed Disarray in Iraqi Arms Program. I hesitate to quote it because probably everybody will, but, what the heck...

...From interviews with Iraqi scientists and other sources, he said, his team learned that sometime around 1997 and 1998, Iraq plunged into what he called a "vortex of corruption," when government activities began to spin out of control because an increasingly isolated and fantasy-riven Saddam Hussein had insisted on personally authorizing major projects without input from others.

After the onset of this "dark ages," Dr. Kay said, Iraqi scientists realized they could go directly to Mr. Hussein and present fanciful plans for weapons programs, and receive approval and large amounts of money. Whatever was left of an effective weapons capability, he said, was largely subsumed into corrupt money-raising schemes by scientists skilled in the arts of lying and surviving in a fevered police state....
- - - - - -
...Dr. Kay said the fundamental errors in prewar intelligence assessments were so grave that he would recommend that the Central Intelligence Agency and other organizations overhaul their intelligence collection and analytical efforts.

Dr. Kay said analysts had come to him, "almost in tears, saying they felt so badly that we weren't finding what they had thought we were going to find � I have had analysts apologizing for reaching the conclusions that they did."....

No doubt the failures of the CIA will be shoveled all over Bush. "Buck stops here" and all.

But what I'm really bugged about is the way we got into this position. I'm sure that the thinking in the White House, post 9/11, was (the little Neocon inside me knows this): "We've got to stop the terrorists, and the ONLY way to do so is to stop the terror-supporting countries, and the ONLY way to do that is to pick one of them up and throw it against the wall." And then Bush's people probably ran the MANY factors and possibilities through a few iterations of their mental spreadsheets, and everybody came up, as I still do now, with one best answer: Iraq.

But then we were forced by a clamor to seek the approval of the UN, and France and Germany. "We MUST respect International Institutions, we MUST have German bases, we MUST be multi-lateral." And so, to get the approval of the "multi" crowd we decided to ignore our decision-matrix and pretend that our only interest was in WMD's. Because the callous Multi's don't give a damn how many Iraqis are shredded. (Iraqis are no more human or real to them than Texans are.) And they don't give a damn if Saddam was paying bounties for the murder of Jews and Filipinos, (with the occasional US citizen thrown in.) They were at least PRETENDING to believe in WMD's, and in the UN. And so we went the UN route, and enforced their UN Resolutions (which Saddam was in violation of even if he had no WMD's).

And now the very same crowd of prissy ice-hearted bastards is drooling over the lack of WMD's and gloating that the the US and Bush were in the wrong. There's not a hint that their precious UN might have any egg on its face here. I just want to SHAKE those frigid bastards and scream, "YOU forced us to play this stupid game. Why don't you show some guts and take some responsibility here?"

Oooooooh. And while I'm in a shaking mood, I'd love to rattle the teeth of those academic jerks whose only interest in the Founding Fathers of this country is to gloatingly dwell on how some of them owned slaves, yet at the same time are utterly indifferent to millions of blacks being murdered and enslaved in Sudan�not 200 years ago, but NOW. And who also care nothing that progress towards ending this nightmare is being made�NOW. By President Bush, and his warmongering gang. Progress because, and ONLY BECAUSE, we made the decision to clean out one terror-supporting country.

Oooooh, I'm feeling so pissed. How I would love to use my magic powers to pick up little Professor Snib Snib of the History Department, and paint him black and drop him into Sudan. Let him get the real low-down on slavery...

Posted by John Weidner at 8:21 AM

January 23, 2004

The "anti-war Left" wasn't anti-THIS war...

...Mass graves "are everywhere," said Sandy Hodgkinson, a U.S. State Department attorney who has been working with Iraq's Human Rights Ministry, the agency in charge of investigating the mass graves. "You follow reports, and they turn up in places you would never suspect."

Iraq is littered with bodies stuffed dozens at a time into cemetery plots, bodies shoved over cliffs, tossed in lakes or hidden in farm fields where vegetables still grow, said Saad Sultan, 32, a lawyer and detective with the Human Rights Ministry's mass graves research team.

So far, 282 possible mass grave sites have been identified, 55 have been confirmed and 20 have been explored. But nine months after Hussein's fall, the total number of graves is unknown. So, too, is the number buried, though the figure is estimated to be in the hundreds of thousands.

Among Kurds alone, for example, there are at least 182,000 people missing, 8,000 of them from one clan, the Barzanis.... (Chicago Tribune)

When I find a magic lantern, and the genie gives me three wishes, I think number one is going to be to send the entire "anti-war left" mob off to Iraq and let them sift the sands with teaspoons to help find the remains of the victims of the merciless war that they did so much, and worked so hard to support and encourage and prolong. Sort of like how the GI's marched Germans through the concentration camps...

Posted by John Weidner at 6:39 PM

January 22, 2004

Tomahawks and the SOTU...

I found this article on the popularity of a tomakawk as an all-purpose breaching tool in Iraq interesting. What most caught my eye was a tiny hint of sanity in the bureaucratic looney-bin of military procurement:

...In the summer of 2001, Prisco submitted his company's tomahawk to the Soldier Enhancement Program, a congressionally mandated system that allows the military to evaluate and adopt commercially available, off-the-shelf items. But after almost two years, progress on the tomahawk proposal seems to have bogged down.

Then, just a few months ago, Prisco learned of a relatively new program, the Rapid Fielding Initiative. Prisco said that in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, RFI was introduced as a way for military units about to be deployed overseas to quickly equip themselves with commercially available items that are not part of the military inventory.

RFI provides a brigade commander with a budget and the discretion to purchase whatever he feels he needs for the members of his unit � typically, a list of hundreds of individual items. It is a limited program, however. RFI budgets and ordering authority are given to an individual brigade commander in the months prior to a deployment...(via Stryker Brigade News)

Quite a few people have been saying that we need a larger military. Quite possibly it's true (though I suspect that if Bush and Rumsfeld were suddenly in favor of it, most of those people would suddenly be against it.)

Well, the procurement process employs a huge number of people. Get rid of half of them, and we could probably pay for an extra division. For all the small stuff, we should just have a testing lab to evaluate products, and more importantly, to make sure information flows between units. (Web forums and blogs would be helpful. There's an interesting mention in the article of units getting "menus" from previously deployed units.) Then give the various units budgets and let them buy what they like.

Some mistakes would be made, but they would be dwarfed by the savings in overhead, and by the better decision-making that would be done by people who actually have to live and fight with the gear, or eat the food. And who would be much more rigorous in evaluating the trade-offs between price and utility.

I think it's Office Depot that has a program, where businesses give people or departments budgets for supplies, and Office Depot keeps track of them, so people can just order supplies without any purchasing-department overhead. That's a model we should be following more.

It's called "choice." As in school choice, private Social Security accounts, Medical Savings Accounts... President Bush is pushing choice on a variety of fronts, though not as hard as I think he should. If I had had written the SOTU, the domestic half would have had a theme, rather than being just a Clintonian hotch-potch. You can guess what the theme would have been.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:26 AM

January 19, 2004

"Iraq 2.0"

Omar Masry is an American with Arab parents serving with an Army Civil Affairs unit in Iraq. I like his blog, called Iraq 2.0

Watching TV news about Iraq your usually subjected to three main themes: raids, soldiers standing around a street, and aftermath of a car bomb or roadside explosion. What you don't see is manuever commander (someone in charge of an area) of units running tankers in front of others in line for fuel at refineries so they can get more supplies for their respective neighborhoods.

You don't see captains normally trained to drive the most advanced tanks in the world pulling over a trash truck to see if it really is being used to clean up trash in the neighborhood he's working in. You don't see a Major normally assigned to a Cavalry Regiment giving a presentation on how hes working to move internal refugees out of buildings to be handed over to Iraqi ministries with slide graphics that consist mostly of pictures of Iraqi kids. Normally his graphics would be infantry formations or flanking moves, instead theres a picture of him giving a male sheikh the traditional arab customary kiss on the cheek. Briefings that would normally be preceded by a call to attention as the commander walks in are sometimes replaced with the Iraqi translator giving his/her "5 arabic phrases to learn today" lesson.

I dont think they could ever really make a good American movie about Iraq because so much here isn't black and white (good vs. evil) like American movies tend to portray; its infinite shades of gray, where so many decent and honorable Iraqis are paralyzed by fear and too many of the corrupt minority fashion themselves as sheep's in wolf's clothing...(Jan. 5, '04, no permalinks )

It's sure not the same Army we had when I was growing up...

Posted by John Weidner at 7:25 PM

January 16, 2004


Here's an interesting article on the reduction in American forces in Iraq that is now starting:

....The 101st Airborne Division's approach to waging peace in this northern Iraqi city is frequently lauded as the ideal of what men and women trained for war can accomplish by setting their guns aside and targeting development and local ties.

But now it faces a crucial test: doing the same mission with half as many US troops.

In just a few weeks, 18,000 soldiers of the 101st in northern Iraq will start streaming home, part of a rotation of all 120,000 US forces in Iraq. Replacing the 101st will be a much smaller force: The Army's new Stryker Brigade, a force of 5,000 or so soldiers whose unit is built around the capabilities of the Army's latest high-tech combat vehicle, and [other] units that will bring the total to 9,000....

It's the obvious next step (and was planned months ago). The torrents of insincere criticism will continue, but this is surely bad news for those who claim we are "in over our heads," or "bogged down without a plan." Or for those who claim we don't have enough troops, or that we should beg for allied help, or that our grandchildren will have to work in factories to pay for it all...Cheer up, things may get worse.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:22 PM

January 15, 2004

Truthtelling with statistics...

Here's a website that carefully tabulates US and Allied casualties in Iraq. A good thing to know about, especially because the press is somewhat imprecise on such figures. For instance, not differentiating between hostile fatalities and ordinary accidents (a certain number of which could be expected to happen even if the troops were somewhere else.)

It's good to see that the trend is clearly downward since the evil month of November.

Posted by John Weidner at 6:34 PM

January 7, 2004

�Emergency Exit� plans

On the question of Iraqi WMD's, this, from StrategyPage is verry interesting...

....Ion Pacepa, the highest-ranking East Bloc defector, wrote of how the Soviet Union developed �Emergency Exit� plans, in which Russia would assist rogue states to make their illegal programs disappear. The plan called for dumping some weapons in the sea, destroying others, and also waging an intense propaganda campaign against the politicians and countries that claimed the rogue state had banned weapons. Although all technical documentation and research would be preserved, the disappearance of the weapons �would frustrate the West by not giving them anything they could make propaganda with.� Yevgeny Primakov, one of the Russians that told Pacepa about the plan, went to Iraq and advised Saddam Hussein in the months before the war....
What I would like to know is, when they planned the "intense propaganda campaign," did they plan, did they expect that the heavy lifting would be done by our press, and by the Democrat Party, and by our so-called "allies"......or was all that just a happy accident for them?

There's lots more in the article, do read it. There is, for instance, heaps of evidence that Iraqi WMD's have been hidden in Syria. We know where they are. But the very success of the Democrat/Iraqi/Russian propaganda campaign (centered, ironically, on not-yet-found WMD's) has made it politically impossible for us to go into Syria and "find" them.

Don't despair. Time is on our side, and Bush is a patient guy. Evidence accumulates, and, as somebody once said, "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."

Posted by John Weidner at 1:46 PM

January 4, 2004

"The Meerkat and the Buffalo"

I'm always interested in evidence that our people can change and adapt quickly. That's what's really vital in the 4th Generation Warfare that we are now involved in. The people who obsess over whether our planning for Iraq was adequate miss what's important. Our enemies, if they are any good, will continue to throw surprises at us. And those surprises will have to be dealt with by ordinary people. We can't depend on having "masterminds" handy when we need them. But we can (and hopefully are) building organizations where change and creativity are expected and rewarded.

This is an article from Stars and Stripes on novel ways to deal with IED's.

....Equipped with South African-designed vehicles � the Meerkat and the Buffalo � the Arkansas-based Army Reserve troops have taken an Army side project [mine-detection vehicles] to the forefront in the military�s efforts to counter the threat of improvised explosive devices, or IEDs....

....But for six weeks, South African trainers taught Fletcher�s platoon about the equipment from the inside out. Then soldiers translated the schooling into Army tactics. And there were no mine-clearing missions. Meanwhile, IED attacks against U.S. troops were rising. �They had all this multimillion-dollar equipment sitting around, so we put it to use against IEDs,� Fletcher said. �It was pretty scary at first.�....

....Savre, 43, of Edina, Minn., recommended that the Army supply one system to each division in Iraq. Three weeks after filing the request, a half-dozen more sets were shipped out, Savre said. �I�ve never seen anything like this in my 19 years in the Army,� Savre said. �The senior leaders saw the threat and immediately bought more [systems].� ....

As Johnson said, there's nothing like the threat of death to concentrate the mind. It's not so different in the business world. Businesses and business divisions that can't adapt die. That tends to make people more open to new ideas.

Project the next: Applying that sort of pressure to bureaucracies. That's what the President is at least making a small start on. When you hear Teddy Kennedy yelping, you can guess that progress is being made...

Posted by John Weidner at 11:39 AM

January 3, 2004

More news from the Big Muddy...

From StrategyPage:

...January 2, 2004: With over a hundred thousand Iraqis armed and performing security duties, the crime rate had rapidly come down, and most American troops are now concentrating on operations against terrorist and pro-Saddam Iraqis who are still fighting. A data collection system for crimes has also been installed, and it showed that Baghdad's murder rate in October was lower than New York City's (which has the lowest rate of any major city in the United States). Baghdad had six murders per 100,000 population, while New York had seven. This, however, does not count the deaths from American military operations, or terrorist acts, which would increase the Baghdad "murder rate" by at least fifty percent. That would still put it below many large American cities. The murders per 100,000 are 17 in Los Angeles, 19 in Philadelphia, 22 in Chicago and 46 in Washington, D.C.

American journalists have no problem getting English speaking Baghdad residents to complain bitterly about "high crime rates." This is because many of the victims are Sunni Arabs who grew rich working for Saddam. These people still occupy nice homes in fancy neighborhoods. The criminals go where the money is, obtaining an additional satisfaction in sticking it to someone who worked for Saddam....

Maybe we should just cut our losses and pull out of Washington DC.

Posted by John Weidner at 7:35 PM

December 27, 2003

"The way you train is the way you will fight."

If you are wondering how (or if) our soldiers are being trained for deployment to Iraq, you will find this article, National Guard at War at Home to Prepare for Real Thing in Iraq, as fascinating as I did.

...One thing is certain: The newly minted soldiers are being given a vivid taste of what they will face in Iraq during their five months of training. The drill at Fort Drum, which is being replicated at bases across the country, required six weeks of preparation and battle scenes worthy of a Steven Spielberg film.

More than 100 Iraqis were flown in from Dearborn, Mich., to play the angry villagers of Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's birthplace. The call to prayer blasted from a makeshift mosque, and there were even angry signs � as in Iraqi cities � hanging from the walls. To complete the simulation, real Red Cross workers and soldiers dressed as journalists milled about, getting in the soldiers' way at every opportunity.

If not for the snow, the fir trees and the fact that the temperature hovers around 15 degrees, the scene might almost have been mistaken for central Iraq...

- - - - - - - -

....On the drill's third day, things got tougher. There was still no water in Tikrit, and when Captain Heintz and some of his men drove back to the village, a full-scale riot broke out. The soldiers tried unsuccessfully to keep them at bay, and watched helplessly as one middle-aged woman, her face shrouded in a cotton kaffiyeh, got into two of the Humvees and made off with about $20,000 of military equipment.

Then came the suicide bomber, smiling deceptively in the simulation, and the loud bang....

via Cori Dauber.

Posted by John Weidner at 10:03 PM

December 26, 2003

"And, guarding, calls not Thee to guard..."


Army Cpl. Kerry Otwaska, of Genoa City, Wis., guards the entrance of St. Raphael�s church in Baghdad on Wednesday during Christmas mass.
Dusan Vranic / AP photo

Posted by John Weidner at 2:14 PM

December 25, 2003

Freedom's mudhole...

As you unwrap the shiny presents, or drink your glögg, stop a moment and remember those who stand on Freedom's Wall. (Or try to snooze in Freedom's bog....)

soldiers sleeping in the mud

I got the picture from Spot On, and also a link to...

. . . . well, if you want your SOCKS KNOCKED OFF,

. . . . . . . . if you are "urban sophisticates" like us and you want to feel REALLY HUMBLED,

. . . . . . . . . . . . .go HERE to see how our war dead are honored in a small Texas town....

Posted by John Weidner at 1:13 PM

December 19, 2003

Bogus, again...

If you are susceptible to the HALLIBURTON/CHENEY/CORRUPTION/CRONY-CAPITALISM syndrome, you are probably NOT susceptible to reasoned argument. But, for the record, the recent charges that Halliburton overcharged us for fuel are BOGUS.

The Army asked Halliburton to buy fuel from Kuwait (For the very good reason that it is adjacent to Basra, where there were riots over fuel shortages.) It was the Halliburton Corporation that initiated purchases of fuel from Turkey (much cheaper). This saved the US a bundle. Now they are being accused of overcharging for the Kuwaiti fuel.

Thank you, oh loyal opposition, for your CONSTRUCTIVE criticism in time of war. blerrrp.

Of course it would be much better to turn for help to the saintly people of the NGO's, who are untainted by Capitalism... but...what's that you say? They've left Iraq? Scooted? Too dangerous? Too "unstable?" I guess somebody forgot to tell the heartless private sector that it's cut 'n run time.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:30 PM

December 16, 2003

To clarify what I was saying...

* Update: Xavier in a comment to this post, added a link to a Russian blogger who argues against forcing Russia to forgive too much debt.

So I hasten to add that my post was not arguing for or against debt-forgiveness. What I was arguing against was the NYT's view that our contracts policy would hurt our negotiations. (What's really contemptible about their argument is that it's purely partisan. I'm sure the NYT's management starts its business negotiations from a position of almost-arrogant strength, even if they expect to make concessions later. That's normal. And they would just as happily criticize Bush for starting negotiations from a position of weakness. They are phonies! Hypocrites.)

There are many different sorts of debts involved, some much less odious than others. Mr Baker knows that. That's what the negotiations are all about. You guys watch. In the end, no one will get everything they wanted, but no one will get skinned, either. (Except maybe the French. Ha!)

The argument against toughness, to the extant that it isn't just pure hypocrisy, is part of the larger idiocy of our time, the idea that it's wrong for the US and its allies to fight to defend our civilization. And that somehow being unwilling to fight will bring us peace. Whereas now we find it's brought us war. And if we flinch from this war, we will get a bigger one down the line. Fortunately, or perhaps thanks to God, we have men of peace running the US and Britain and Australia, and many other countries in our coalition....

Posted by John Weidner at 8:14 AM

December 14, 2003

"bad-cop credibility"

I was thinking again about the notion that our contracts policy will damage the debt negotiations. But to believe that, you have to believe that the Thuggish Three really WANT to be helpful, and just need a little sweet-talk, maybe some flowers and a box of candy, and then they will pour tens-of-billions of odious dollars down the drain. Out of the goodness of their hearts, y'know. I think Musil has the right idea here...

....Mr. Baker is surely the right man for the job. And despite the ridiculous posturing of the New York Times the Pentagon has done him a huge favor by barring obstructionist European nations from reconstruction contracts. That act - and the President's endorsement of it - credibly evidences United States willingness to have Iraq unilaterally repudiate every last dime of that $120 Billion.

Citing out-of-the-loop senior diplomats telling tales out of school, the Times and other opportunist hand-wringers, such as Herr Doktorprofessor Paul Von Krugman, argue that the Pentagon decision and its "highly offensive language" about national security needs constitute a gaff that has made Mr. Baker's job harder, even though the White House signed off on the Pentagon decision ahead of time.

Maybe. But, personally, I don't believe a word of it.

The Iraq gifters/lenders are the same bunch who refused to contribute more than a pittance to the construction effort. Having refused voluntarily to contribute funds directly, these same players are not going to agree to do the same thing indirectly by voluntarily agreeing to debt foregiveness. THIS IS GOING TO BE A CRAMDOWN.

What Mr. Baker needed was a club and a lot of bad-cop credibility. And he got it from that Pentagon decision - especially its nasty tone and "highly offensive language." I'll bet he's a very happy debt negotiator right now....

Posted by John Weidner at 5:33 PM

"and I will fight this battle with all the good men and women on earth..."

Here's what an Iraqi says about the Coalition Of The Unwilling....

.....Your masks can no longer cover your ugly faces. Just now you remembered that wars are evil and bring only disasters! What about those endless wars you dragged us into? What has suddenly turned you from cold-blooded murderers (at least in the second degree) into peaceful pigeons?

The UN evacuate their officials after a terrorists attack, the media declare war on us, showing the terrorists as resistance, the companies refrain from sending their officials to Iraq in fear from terrorist attacks, the peaceful world supports the (resistance).

Yet, you still have the insolence to demand a share of the contracts of Iraq's reconstruction process. I was glad to hear what the US had decided about this matter.

Yes there're dangers in Iraq, but what about us? Whom terrorism lives next door or block. Yes you can't afford the loss of your men and your money, but Iraqis? Well... they're used to it, death is a daily routine to them. They don't appreciate life as you do. Let me tell you something, you coward hypocrites, this may surprise you, but I love life, and love my family and friends. I can't bare it if something bad happens to them. Yet I don't intend to run away. I and a lot of my friends could get a job any where, with much better income, but I'm not leaving, not because I'm a patriot, as I don't believe in your classification of human beings; Iraqi, Indian, German, black, white, Jewish, Muslim, etc.

I'm a human being, and I feel responsible towards all mankind, and I will fight this battle with all the good men and women on earth. And you keep watching from a distance, and don't even think of coming near, and carrying the risk of smearing your fancy clothes with (our cheap blood). I don't need you, and even if I did, I won't ask your help, we've had enough of it. Go somewhere else, go to Africa, and relieve your conscience by donating some pennies to the poor, starving people there, and don't bother how their dictators will use the money, and don't even bother asking why they are so poor. I will stay here and fight for freedom and democracy with the good and brave Americans (yes..the good and brave.. Eat your hearts), and with all the honest soldiers and people of the coalition.

Bon voyage to Africa...have some conscience....

Posted by John Weidner at 2:02 PM

December 13, 2003

The United Kingdom, Denmark, Poland, Azerbaijan, Moldavia, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Japan, and Spain........

Jason Van Steenwyk, a blogger in Iraq, writes:

I just don�t get sentiments like this:
The president made a series of promises to us--number one, that he was gonna make every effort possible to build a legitimate coalition. He did not--he built a fraudulent coalition.
--Senator John Kerry, in this interview with Rolling Stone magazine
I�ve been in Southwest Asia since April. In that time I�ve personally met and talked to soldiers and civilians from The United Kingdom, Denmark, Poland, Azerbaijan, Moldavia, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Japan, and Spain. I haven�t met any Italians yet, Japanese, or Spaniards yet, Koreans, but I know they�re here. Some of them lost their lives on this ground.

There are also, at any given time, thousands of Iraqis risking assassination or mass murder in order to help rebuild Iraq. I see them almost every day. Are they frauds?

All of them are here on the ground, risking their necks along with us. Is that fraudulent? Within the last couple of weeks, men from Italy and Japan have sacrificed their lives along with our troops. Was that fraudulent?

A soldier from Fiji was wounded�shot through both knees�while providing security for an Iraqi Currency Exchange program in the Battle of Samarra. Was that fraudulent, too?

Why don�t you come out here and speak to the boots on the ground from our coalition partners? Try calling them �fraudulent,� Senator....

The Democrats are going to suffer a crushing loss in 2004, and THEY HAVE EARNED EVERY PENNY OF IT!

Posted by John Weidner at 4:42 PM

December 10, 2003

"Heros" is the only word I can think of...

This LA Times article The Thunder Run on the first incursions into Baghdad is absolutely hair-raising stuff! Don't miss...

.... The main gun was bent and smashed. It flopped to the side, useless. The tank continued up Highway 8, Gruneisen on the .50-caliber and Hernandez on a medium machine gun. They rolled up to the spaghetti junction into a curtain of black smoke�and missed the airport turn. They were headed into the city center.

Hernandez saw that they were approaching a traffic circle. As they drew closer, he saw that the circle was clogged with Iraqi military trucks and soldiers. It was a staging area for troops attacking the American column.

From around the circle, just a block away, a yellow pickup truck sped toward the tank. Hernandez tore into it with the machine gun, killing the driver. The tank driver slammed on the brake to avoid the truck, but it was crushed beneath the treads. The impact sent Hernandez's machine gun tumbling off the back of the tank.

The tank reversed to clear itself from the wreckage, crushing the machine gun. A passenger from the truck wandered into the roadway. The tank pitched forward, trying to escape the circle, and crushed him.

The crew was now left with just one medium machine gun and the .50-caliber. Firing both guns to clear the way, the crewmen helped direct the tank driver out of the circle. As they pulled away, they could see a blue "Airport" sign. They were less than five miles from the airport....

We have, of course, made lots of mistakes. That happens in every war. But what's fascinating is the unusual number of things that were really well done. When we got to Baghdad we tossed out all our plans and doctrine and invented totally new tactics on the spot. And they worked superbly.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:13 PM

December 7, 2003

Chateau generals...

I was sent a link to this NYT piece on Iraq by Lucien Truscott IV. It's very interesting and worth reading, but he seems to have a template that all his observations must fit into.

....Commanding generals have had lavishly appointed offices before, as well. My grandfather, Gen. Lucian K. Truscott Jr., occupied the Borghese Palace when his VI Corps swept into Rome in 1943. His aide kept a record of the meals prepared for him by his three Chinese cooks, while every day dozens � and on some days, hundreds � of his soldiers perished on the front lines at Anzio, only a few miles away from his villa on the beach.

So there may be nothing new about this war and the way we are fighting it � with troops on day and night patrols from base camps being hit by a nameless, faceless enemy they cannot see and whose language they do not speak. However, the disconnect between the marbled hallways of the Coalition Provisional Authority palaces in Baghdad and the grubby camp in central Mosul where I spent last week as a guest of Bravo Company, First Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, is profound, and perhaps unprecedented.....

Well. maybe. But his picture of confused, resentful and ill-supported grunts fighting a war they don't understand while the brass sit comfortably in safety doesn't seem to fit with all the other accounts we are getting from Iraq, including those of military bloggers.

Posted by John Weidner at 3:30 PM

December 5, 2003

Those evil corporations...

Brian writes

....I'm racking my brains to come up with a word to use in place of the woefully inadequate "pathetic". But all I can think to do is to bear down on that very word, to turn to its florid definition and history in the OED, and ponder its meaning on all levels of interpretation and etymology. Pathetic. There is no more appropriate word.

What must it be like in the breakrooms of these news offices? Editors hunched glumly around metal folding tables, drinking coffee, heads propped in hands as they moan to each other about their collective failure to come up with a sufficiently explosive scandal with which to detonate the Bush Administration?

What level of despair must there be among the senior editors, for them to conclude that it's worth a shot to run a story on whether the turkey that Bush posed with was the one they carved the soldiers' portions from or not?...

I can't improve on that.

But something else occurs to me. Some in the press are trying to whip up interest in this, to help their party. But they haven't mentioned, as far as I've noticed, who actually is decorating the chow lines here. Who added that extra touch of holiday cheer? I don't know for sure, but I suspect it's gone unmentioned because the mess hall is run by the Halliburton Corporation. Or rather, by some of the many living, breathing, caring human beings who actually make up the Halliburton Corporation.

When you are hoping the Administration will be tarnished by vague accusations of connections with sinister Capitalists, and with "the corporations," you don't want to put a human face on the bad guys.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:18 AM

December 1, 2003

Not to get too Zen about it...

Roger Simon says:

....After I lost my copy of "What Is To Be Done" on some subway in some city long ago, I became more entranced with the pronouncement of that Other Lenin (John): "Life is what happens when you're making other plans!"

These words seem to have applied to my life (and those of others I have observed over the years) with remarkable accuracy, personally and politically. So when I read the (a tad lengthy) George Packer New Yorker piece that Drezner links, my reaction was: "Mr. Packer, what exactly are you looking for?" Not to get too Zen about it, the best policy for Iraq may be "No policy"--in other words the ability to switch direction at the drop of a hat (always mindful that the goal is democracy). I don't know whether the administration realizes that, but it doesn't matter. That would be what would happen to any administration, whether they adopted the lengthy position papers referred to by Packer (or didn't even read them, as he infers)....

The nice thing about thousand-page position papers is that, like the prophecies of the Delphic Oracle, they are sure to contain something that pans out. So you get to say "I told you so," no matter what happens. (And the other 17 TPPP's gather dust in some file cabinet.) "If only the Administration had followed my advice, all would have gone swimmingly."

Maybe there was some splendid plan that was ignored. But when I read the critics, I'm not impressed. For instance, they insist repeatedly that we should have kept the Iraqi Army intact. But the CPA didn't do that for some very good reasons, which they have made public (and which the critics ignore). And mostly it was because of circumstances beyond our control. Even if we had tried to follow some super plan that kept the Iraqi Army intact, it wouldn't have happened! It would not have worked. We would have still ended up creating a new army.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:57 AM

November 29, 2003

Paying off a large debt...and making an investment

Bill Whittle gets it precisely right:

....Those men and women who are being killed weekly in Iraq are hard deaths for us to accept. On the surface it looks like a long, painful grind without any victory or consolation.

But something much, much deeper is going on here, and it is this: we are paying off the red ink we have accrued by cutting and running when it was the easy way out. We are paying off a brutal and unforgiving debt that we have incurred by our lack of resolve in decades past. Lincoln once wrote that the only thing worse than paying off a large debt was being forced to pay off a larger one; exactly so.

But remember this, America: Those men and women of ours who are paying with their lives are not just paying down a debt. They are making an investment, too.

Because if we show that we have the will and the resolve to finish the job we started there, then we will succeed, and by succeeding we will immeasurably strengthen our security in the decades to come.....

We cut and ran over and over again, starting with Vietnam. And anyone who argued against this was considered heartless and cold and callous of lives. But the oh-so superior, oh-so humanitarian bleeding-hearts who were disgusted by the idea of fighting for American ideals, were, in truth, murderers. And now we are paying the blood-price for their foolishness.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:46 PM

Bake it from scratch...

From Deeds blog, a look at some of the frustrations of the CPA:

....For example, we need ID cards, like our drivers' licenses, for our 50K+ Facilities Protection Service (FPS) guards, and the 65K+ Iraqi Police. (The list continues but we'll start with these individuals.) We need to buy the machines that are used to make the cards, which requires that we obtain the funds to pay for the machines. Can't use Iraqi money per CPA mandate. So, we have to use CPA money. That will take at least 90 days to process. Okay, working on that.

Now, how many machines do we need? Someone must call the FPS to find out exactly how many guards are located where. FPS doesn't have permanent offices from which a quick report with the information can be generated.

How do we call them? Use cell phones. We just got 100 cell phones and are trying to link up with the appropriate Iraqis to hand them out.

Before handing them out, however, FPS wants us to make sure they have authority to do so, in writing, from their Ministry of Interior (MoI). Okay--but MoI needs a policy decision made by the CPA Senior Advisor to the MoI. All right, another step.

And this step must go through all 25 CPA Senior Advisors for approval and comment. (Okay, I "cheated" and did this before the ID card requirement was an issue.)

Now I have to wait to get it signed. And wait. While we are waiting, the foreign embassies tell us they want their guards to get cards first, and they want special uniforms for them.

The above consumed three long, hard days, interspersed with lunch, supper, sleep, mortars and sleep....

There's an amazing amount of ordinary stuff that one takes for granted, until you have to build it up from scratch...probably our efforts will start to visibly get traction just when the experts declare that they've failed.

I would prefer see a bit more slashing through red tape�as a taxpayer I'd like to say that I appreciate the effort to be thrifty, but in this case, hey guys, just spend the stuff and get what you need.

Posted by John Weidner at 2:00 PM

November 28, 2003

Now THIS is real sport...


Soldiers with the 21st Combat Support Hospital team move a simulated casualty (stretcher loaded with sandbags) under a wire obstacle at the combat medic challenge. The competition provided Army medics in Iraq the opportunity to display skills that are normally only required on the battlefield.
U.S. Army photo by Spc. Joshua M. Risner
(See photo essay here.)

Posted by John Weidner at 2:55 PM

November 26, 2003

We need 270,000 servings of corn on the cob, Squanto...

If you find the logistics of your feast burdensome, read this

By Sgt. Maj. Larry Stevens, USA
Special to American Forces Press Service

CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait, Nov. 26, 2003 � 145,000 pounds of turkey. 71,000 pounds of smoked hams. 71,000 pounds of prime rib. 38,000 pounds of shrimp. 576,000 servings of stuffing. 270,000 servings of corn on the cob. 150,000 servings of cranberry jelly. 41,000 pies � apple, pumpkin, cherry, pecan and sweet potato. And don't forget the decorations, eggnog, candies, nuts, ice cream and sparkling non-alcoholic wine.

When the Coalition Forces Land Component Command goes grocery shopping for Thanksgiving supper for its family, it does it big time. And it starts its shopping early.

The CFLCC Food Service section placed its order back in mid-July and started receiving it in October to ensure its soldiers in Iraq and Kuwait get a taste of home this Thanksgiving when they are so far from home fighting for their country. "It took a lot of work and a lot of long hours to make sure the plan was executed right, but I'm proud to say every one of our soldiers will receive their Thanksgiving meal," said Warrant Officer Raymond M. Beu, the CFLCC Theater Food Service chief....

Posted by John Weidner at 1:44 PM

November 25, 2003


The Army's new armored vehicle, the Stryker has been very controversial. Critics, including Donald Rumsfeld, say it's overpriced, overweight, and I don't know what all. It's hard to know what credence to give the criticisms, especially since I remember similar things being said about Bradlys and M1 Tanks, both of which turned out to be superb.

So I'm very interested in how the Stryker Brigade does in Iraq. They have an embedded journalist too. He's said nothing interesting yet about the vehicles, but this, about the training our guys are getting when they deploy, is fascinating.

....Troops from the brigade's 296th Brigade Support Battalion have spent the last several days in classroom and field training on Camp Udairi's barren ranges just south of the Iraqi border.

Instructors from a private military contractor, Military Professional Resources Inc., talk to soldiers about the most recent tactics employed by insurgents in Iraq. They suggest ways to respond. And the soldiers get live-fire training, in which they shoot on the move at targets that come at them from nearly all directions.

"It was an eye-opener," Love said. "I expected to see IEDs (improvised explosive devices) in piles of rocks, but I didn't expect MRE boxes, or soda cans, or some of the other things they were telling us."....

....Pugh said he's been working with the Army at Udairi for a few months. All units on their way to Iraq get the convoy training, and many units that have been in Iraq for months are being sent down for the sessions, too, he said.

"We've had a couple of Guard and Reserve units come through here who've lost a couple soldiers to IEDs. They say, 'Why didn't we get this training before we deployed?' and that's a good question," Pugh said.....

When you read in the NYT that the Embed Program is over, you are reading lies.

Posted by John Weidner at 8:14 AM

November 22, 2003

Our Arab can beat your Arab...

Take a look at this good artcle in the Atlantic on General Abazaid:

....he had an understanding that the new graduates [of West Point, where Abazaid was Commandant] had to be more than just guys who could shoot rifles and maneuver. You were going to find a young lieutenant by himself as the mayor of a small town."

That is just what is now happening across Iraq. The problem, of course, is that General Abizaid cannot command a 130,000-strong army of occupation the way he led the cadets at West Point or his airborne brigade in war games at Fort Polk�by leaving his staff behind in order to be hands-on at the front. The irony of being a four-star general is that all your tremendous power must be wielded through others. Abizaid has spent three decades building the experience and the education that now underlie his plans for running Central Command, but he can be only as effective as the soldiers working for him on the ground. It is the young captains and lieutenants in their twenties�the generation brought up in the new military that Abizaid helped to create�whose day-to-day decisions will pacify, or provoke, the people of Iraq..

(via Brothers Judd)

Posted by John Weidner at 4:44 PM

"one of the most-wanted 55 is my neighbor's uncle"

It's interesting to see how Iraqi weblogs are slowly starting to emerge and join the conversation. I think it's another example of something we are re-learning: It takes a lot of time for life as we know it to start up again in what was a totalitarian police state. The yammering critics have (or pretend to have) absurdly unrealistic ideas about how quickly things can be expected to change. [Reason #87 why Leftists dislike the study of history]. This is a selection from a post by Omar, at Iraq the Model:

Here are some answers to questions sent to me by one of the readers, I feel these questions are important and worth answering them....

-About unemployment: yes before the war more Iraqis had jobs, very little of those jobs were making enough money to keep a family alive and each official employee had to find a second job to support his family (for instance I, a dentist had to open a grocery to pay for daily life expenses).
Surely I gave it up after liberation....

-About affording more consumer goods: here's a simple example, one of my relatives who's a high school principle had to sell his furniture piece by piece to support and educate his 5 kids, his house was nearly empty a year ago (no TV no fridge. no car no air conditioner) today 7 months after liberation he has all these stuff, still looking for a car though, and his kids are much more properly fed and dressed....

-About women safety: it's been months since ordinary life came back to the streets of Baghdad and the rest of Iraq, and women do walk completely safe through all Baghdad even at night, and they do not have to cover up except in the holly cities of shia (najaf&kerbala)while elsewhere especially Baghdad and the northern parts of Iraq the majority of women do not cover-up, and there's absolutely no one trying to force such an attitude, though the mullahs are still preaching in the mosques about this as they have been doing for decades....

-About Iraqi police: they have the authority to investigate, do arrests, enforce law and they do patrol all over Iraq unaccompanied by coalition forces and they're well armed and I haven't witness a single situation of authority abuse.
-About detained people: I can't tell the exact number, maybe some thousands, I can tell you they have contact with their families, for example: one of the most wanted 55 who is detained by the coalition is my neighbor's uncle and his family was allowed to contact him through the red-cross and supplied him with his needs....

Posted by John Weidner at 12:27 PM

November 18, 2003

a shower, clean clothes, pep-talk, a lot of coffee...

I just read some of the "letters to President Bush" in the Guardian. I couldn't read very far; the smug, flippant, condescending tone of most of them was just too irritating. This one is by the famous Blogger of Baghdad himself...

Dear George,

I hate to wake you up from that dream you are having, the one in which you are a superhero bringing democracy and freedom to underdeveloped, oppressed countries. But you really need to check things out in one of the countries you have recently bombed to freedom. Georgie, I am kind of worried that things are going a bit bad in Iraq and you don't seem to care that much. You might want it to appear as if things are going well and sign Iraq off as a job well done, but I am afraid this is not the case.

"Bombed to freedom?" You weren't bombed. You don't know jack about bombing! Try Googling "Daisy-Cutter." If we wanted to minimize our casualties, we could have worked you guys over for a couple of months. Dropped millions of pounds of bombs. Tikrik wouldn't even exist any more. But instead there was almost no preliminary bombing. We sent a hundred-thousand of our guys racing into Iraq on the first day of action to avoid the usual destruction of war.
Listen, habibi, it is not over yet. Let me explain this in simple terms. You have spilled a glass full of tomato juice on an already dirty carpet and now you have to clean up the whole room. Not all of the mess is your fault but you volunteered to clean it up. I bet if someone had explained it to you like that you would have been less hasty going on our Rambo-in-Baghdad trip.
YOU don't get it. What we are doing is not "cleaning up the mess." It's more like getting you into good enough shape to start cleaning up your own nasty mess. Sort of like taking in hand someone who's been on a drunken binge. Get 'em a shower, clean clothes, pep-talk, a lot of coffee...so that maybe they can make it into work and not get fired. What you would call "cleaned-up" is just a starting-point for what we call a clean-up. The best day Iraq ever had is still squalor by our standards.
To tell you the truth, I am glad that someone is doing the cleaning up, and thank you for getting rid of that scary guy with the hideous moustache that we had for president. But I have to say that the advertisements you were dropping from your B52s before the bombs fell promised a much more efficient and speedy service. We are a bit disappointed. So would you please, pretty please, with sugar on top, get your act together and stop telling people you have Iraq all figured out when you are giving us the trial-and-error approach?
Actually, we are a bit disappointed in Iraq. Have been for, oh, well, quite a few centuries now...You have no idea how pathetic you sound, whining and sniveling because Uncle Sam isn't taking care of you.
Anyway, I hope this doesn't disturb you too much. Have a nice stay in London, wave hello to the demonstrators, and give my regards to your spin doctors. I bet they are having a hell of a job making you look good.

Salam Pax
The Baghdad Blogger

Is this jerk like, 16, or something? Didn't his parents teach him any manners? And where exactly was he when Saddam was murdering his countrymen by the hundreds-of-thousands? If he calls what was going on "an already dirty carpet," I'd guess he wasn't worrying too much about having his own tongue cut out or his own sister raped. Wonder why? Well, my sympathies are with those Iraqis who are sifting bones out of the sand, looking for their loved ones. NOT for smart-alec kids of the nomenklatura.

And what exactly is he doing to help his country? Not much I'd guess. Just looking down his nose at any poor grown-ups who are foolish enough to roll up their sleeves and try to fix things. If he were here he'd be a Democrat for sure.

What we've given you Iraqis, Mr Salam Pax, is not freedom. It's a chance to become free. Like teenagers wanting to leave home, you will be truly free only when you can take care of yourselves.

Posted by John Weidner at 9:57 PM

November 16, 2003

Art in iraq...

The latest issue of Steve Mumford's Baghdad Journal features not his own art, but things he's encountered in the local Iraqi art scene. Very interesting stuff.

(Via Mark)

Posted by John Weidner at 8:18 PM

November 15, 2003

Don't stir up the peasants...

Glenn just linked to the letter from an American officer in Afghanistan. The picture of our soldiers lined up along a road in the rain, saluting as the funeral of three Romanian soldiers passed by was something I found very moving. And he writes:

..."I would like to make one more observation if I may. Since I have been in Afghanistan, I would say that, on average, I know of about one U.S. or coalition soldier getting killed every week. However, I see almost no news reports on these deaths - and my wife at home does not either. My point is that per capita (with 10 - 15k soldiers in country), we are taking as many, or more hits than Iraq, yet no press coverage. Given this fact, it seems to me that the mainstream media are controlling public opinion by which information they cover. The liberals have a difficult time saying they are against the war in Afghanistan, but can oppose Iraq because the decision to attack wasn't as clearly obvious - thus only report the bad stuff in Iraq - at least this is my take....
That's exactly what's happening. They don't want to talk about Afghanistan for precisely the same reason that they don't want to talk about or remind us of this:


Posted by John Weidner at 12:30 PM

November 14, 2003

Untold stories ...

Take a look at this article on the fight for Objective Curly. It's titled Meet Capt. Harry Hornbuckle

"When American troops were attacked on April 7 on a road to Baghdad, a battle broke out at a dot on the map Army commanders called 'Objective Curly.' Eighty U.S. soldiers, expecting little resistance, were met by 300 well-armed Iraqi and Syrian fighters. Grenades and bullets flew for eight hours. The U.S. counterattack killed an estimated 200 enemy fighters, according to the commanding officer who oversaw the battle. The American team had never trained or fought together, but all its men got out alive. The team was headed by Capt. Harry Alexander Hornbuckle, a 29-year-old staff officer who had never been in combat before.....

...."He ordered his team to encircle the cloverleaf to repel an assault from any direction. There were 22 vehicles in all -- five Bradleys, four armored Humvees, four mortar-firing vehicles and three ambulances. 'Wow, that was easy,' Capt. Hornbuckle recalls thinking during the first 30 seconds of silence. Then came chaos: bullets pinging off trucks, grenades kicking up clouds of dirt and concrete, and, he says, noise louder than anything he imagined possible. The Fedayeen were firing rocket-propelled grenades from nearby buildings and driving pickup trucks with machine guns mounted at the back.

"The biggest threat came from just beyond the circle of U.S. troops: The enemy soldiers had dug trenches under the highway overpass. The men in the trenches seemed invisible, and they were shooting at close range, Capt. Hornbuckle says. 'It was like we kicked over an anthill.' Air support was out of the question. Any attempt to bomb the enemy from the sky would kill American soldiers, too. There would be no help from the forces at Larry and Moe, because they too were under heavy attack. This battle would be fought on the ground, the old-fashioned way, with guns, grenades and mortars....

Posted by John Weidner at 6:54 PM

November 12, 2003

When you seek it, you cannot find it ...

From Roger Simon:

....One of the more salient rhymes in Dulles' [1945] memo is the complaint "Yikes! We have no plan!" In fact, I'd say that's more than a rhyme. That's an exact repeat. And yet it worked out. Why? I'm going to be corny here and embarrass my sixties self but the reason is simple: we kept our core value of democracy while staying the course. I don't think it is possible to have a "plan" in a situation like this. (I think even the Democratic candidates must know that, but to admit it is tactically difficult for them.) Instead of a plan, what is necessary is a more Zen-like ability to react to a shifting reality that will remain fluid for some time. Leadership will come through explaining what is happening to the public and why. For a while, I worried that Bush wasn't up to this. But his recent speech was a definite step in the right direction.

Posted by John Weidner at 11:14 AM

November 11, 2003

Constitution trampled on ...

It's always nice to get some reassuring little sign or indicator, that says we are on the right track. So I was charmed to find that Leftists are appalled that not only has Iraq been torn from the benevolent care of a leader who received 100% of the vote, but that it now is being fed into the rapacious maw of Capitalism! And in defiance of International Law!

....The Hague Regulations state that an occupying power must respect "unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country." The Coalition Provisional Authority has shredded that simple rule with gleeful defiance. Iraq's Constitution outlaws the privatization of key state assets, and it bars foreigners from owning Iraqi firms. No plausible argument can be made that the CPA was "absolutely prevented" from respecting those laws, and yet two months ago, the CPA overturned them unilaterally.

On September 19, Bremer enacted the now-infamous Order 39. It announced that 200 Iraqi state companies would be privatized; decreed that foreign firms can retain 100 percent ownership of Iraqi banks, mines and factories; and allowed these firms to move 100 percent of their profits out of Iraq. The Economist declared the new rules a "capitalist dream."....

This is from an article in the Nation. It includes the usual baloney, suggesting that Iraq will be owned by Bechtel and Halliburton (who are actually, in the field of International Capitalism, hardly players at all, and not in the habit of buying "banks, mines and factories"). And assuming somehow that Iraq already has "foreign corporations controlling its essential services." (Wow, that was fast!) And assuming that privatization and foreign investment will benefit us, but not Iraq. But it's the legal aspect that tickles me.

How I love to see those "International Law" phonies extolling Saddam's laws and Constitution! Go for it! build a case. I know nothing about that Constitution, but here's the very first thing that came up when I Googled it:

The ICL Edition of the 1990 Constitution did not include the most recent changes of Sep 1995 preparing the popular confirmation of Saddam Hussein as president.� It has been used by the Hussein government as a ruling constitution even though the "referendum" of 15 Oct 1995 only indirectly concerned the constitution - it was a vote to establish Saddam Hussein as president.� The constitutional referendum originally planned for the early 1990s could not take place due to the state of war....�
Such is the venerable, the musty, the ancient, the beloved and time-hallowed document upon which our friends on the Left are pinning hopes of opposing the Americans. So shocking! We are violating Saddam's Constitution!

Posted by John Weidner at 6:54 PM

November 10, 2003

Powerful stuff ...

Veterans Day is a good time to read about what our soldiers are doing and enduring in the War on Terror. I strongly recommend this piece from USA Today, a profile of Alpha Company, 2 Battalion, 8th Infantry. Part of 4th Division, serving just North of Baghdad, in some of the worst of what's going on (thanks to Bill Hobbs)...

...Summer was the worst. Temperatures were so intense that in a two-day period in August, 60 soldiers in 2nd Battalion suffered heat exhaustion and had to be revived by intravenous fluids. Men shoved pistols too hot to touch under vest armor where their body temperatures cooled the weapons. Every morning, GIs awoke soaked in sweat. "I honestly didn't think human beings could live in 140-degree heat," says the battalion surgeon, Lt. Col. William Smith, 53, of Murray, Ky.

Diarrhea and gastroenteritis took their toll, as did swarms of sand flies � maddening little hoppers that descend on an ankle or arm, creating a rippled harvest of hard, itchy bumps. In the worst cases, they spawn ulcerated sores impervious to antibiotics. Troops have taken to strapping on Hartz flea collars, received in care packages from home, to their ankles....

If one of our guys gets killed, You can bet you will hear about it in the news. But our major media don't want you to suffer brain-fever due to an overload of facts, so some unimportant details are left out. Such as that we are killing lots of the bad guys...
....And there was dealing with the slain enemy. Alpha has killed 47 insurgents in raids and ambush counter-attacks. Then the soldiers collected the bodies, loaded them into the back of the first sergeant's Humvee and transported them to the local police station. This was not a task taught at Fort Hood. "At first it was a shock," says Oquendo, "You never see that in the States. You don't know how powerful the weapon that you have is, the amount of damage it can do to a body, until you see that."

In six months, the learning curve for these GIs has been dramatic. Their quick and overwhelming counter-fire in the face of ambushes has, their officers believe, quelled direct assaults by the enemy,