I think ^(link) therefore I err

Friday, March 31, 2006

Speaking of hostages

Harmeet Sooden, one of the Canadian hostages rescued last week believes a ransom was paid because no one was guarding him when the troops arrived.
He has no evidence. None. But he took it upon himself to publicly state this thinking perhaps that this will dissuade others from doing more kidnapping???
What an dumb ass.
Instead of the story in his head being this:
Within moments British soldiers were cutting them free. Another soldier wearing a mask removed it to show he was an Iraqi, a move Mr Sooden said he thought was supposed to indicate the Iraqis were involved in the rescue.

His captors were "nowhere to be seen" during the release, which was "highly unusual", he said.

"I felt it was contrived," he said. Asked if he thought a ransom was paid, Mr Sooden said it was "highly probable" though he had no evidence for that.

Why not this:
"I think that one of my captors, after the killing of American prisoner Tom Fox, had a crisis of conscience. He leaked the location of where we were being held. Then he made certain the others (kidnappers) realized that the military knew where they were so that they could escape."



We crack me up.

You're a woman, you've been kidnapped. Your translator killed. You've had your head threatened if President Bush doesn't personally do what your kidnappers have requested. You've been on TV twice, both times, stressed and crying and begging for help. Did I mention, you're a woman.

Re Jill Carroll:
Three months without exercise had made her face round. Her captors had treated her well, she said, and she never dared turn down their offers of meals or candy for fear of giving offense. I'm fat, she said.

I am not in the least belittling what she went through or questioning what she talks about to reporters. I can not imagine for even a second what it would be like. I am cracking up about women in general. I don't know a single one, fat, skinny, short, tall who wouldn't be thinking something about their weight in and amongst all of this. This is probably particular to American
women, and we fight it. Not necessarily the weight, but the thoughts about the weight. Oh how we fight it. But it's there. Lingering in the background....waiting to strike.

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Ok - I posted this morning with no time and little sleep and forgot the most important part of this blog. How cool it is!!
I have great people like my friend Deanna commenting along with my net buddy Scott. They both are great encouragers too, along with Stewart. Julie and Sanjai, you send interesting articles. Thank you and keep them coming!

It's just cool. Random people sharing their thoughts. You get to meet people like Shayne and more. (Great picture Shayne!) You do get to feel like friends with people in this 'verse. And I am happy to have started this little blog with my 10 loyal readers!
Thank you.


Is my blogiversary.

Happy Blogiversary to me.....Happy Blogiversary to me.


Blogging every day has been hard to discipline myself to do, but easier to find subjects than I thought it would be. And basically I just stick to a few subjects I find VERY important at the time. Always the war. And the MSM or anyone else who disses us as a country. No matter who's in charge. I love this country and while I know we can make mistakes, we are absolutely a great country and my respect, admiration, love and pride for it are well....I'm getting teary eyeed just thinking about it. Peggy Noonan gives it a great shot and makes a number of good points about this country, what we think of it and what little we share of it's great ideals and how that relates to the subject of the day, immigration. Get your hanky. Blogging, I have found is a small, nay minute way for me to try to share what I'm thinking concerning all of this. I'm happy it comes across and I am pleased that this has helped me on one on one personal discussions with others.

Thank you for a great year!

Andy Card

Powerline has the thought of the day.
One more point: Polman and many others assume that Bush dismissed Card and replaced him with Bolten. That may well be true, but I'm not aware of any evidence to that effect. One persistent report is that Card resigned in order to join Mitt Romney's Presidential campaign. Again, I have no idea whether that's true or not; my point is that it's unwarranted to assume that every time a significant Executive Branch official resigns, he's been fired.
President Bush is known for his loyalty AND for overworking his employees! Put those two together and I really doubt Mr. Card was "fired". I'm quite certain he's tired though.

Forming a new government

Sounds like a pain. Iraq the Model has the feelings on "the street".
It's all like a long Mexican novela.
are performing that many of them would tell you they've stopped following the news. One friend told me yesterday that he used to follow the political news every single day but "not anymore, these negotiations have much in common with those thousand-episode Mexican series, you can skip ten episodes and then come back and you will find things exactly where you left them!".

And we all know this feeling of "whatever". They'll get over it. We do.
Most of the debate in Baghdad today was about the alleged message from Bush to al-Hakeem telling him to replace Jafari with another candidate. The simple people I meet at work have made a simplified version o their own of this story that goes like this "Bush told the government that if they don't agree on a president, I will appoint that I choose"!
This is followed by a "whatever, maybe this can put an end for this mess" which reminds me that we still believe in firm and direct orders from a boss thinking that one shout or frown from him would be enough to solve the dispute while negotiations seem boring and taking forever, something not unexpected with all the stress and frustration Iraqis have to deal with.

Jill Carroll Freed

And this time, it's true. She was freed, not rescued. NPR almost gets it right.
They screwed up with this paragraph:
Carroll is the fourth Western hostage to be freed in eight days. On March 23, U.S. and British soldiers, acting on intelligence gained from a detainee, freed Briton Norman Kember, 74, and Canadians James Loney, 41, and Harmeet Singh Sooden, 32, from a house west of Baghdad.
Sorry guys, those guys were not freed. They were rescued.(***SEE UPDATE 2***)

UPDATE: Here is the BBC version.
Ms Carroll's release comes a week after the freeing of three other Western hostages, a Briton and two Canadians.
Not quite the same level of disconnect, but let's be sure not to give the good guys credit, right?

The Washington Post gets it right.
Kidnappings of Westerners in Iraq has grown more common in recent months. One week ago, British and U.S. soldiers freed three members of the Chicago-based advocacy group Christian Peacemaker Teams who had been abducted in late November. A fourth member of the group who was kidnapped then, Tom Fox, of Clear Brook, Va., was shot dead and dumped on a Baghdad street in early March.
Though I'm not sure that's a true statement about kidnappings of westerners being up recently.

As does CNN:
Carroll's release also comes a week after U.S.-led coalition troops in Baghdad freed three Western hostages from the aid group Christian Peacemaker Teams who had been held hostage for nearly four months.

So - GREAT news! And a quick rundown of the quality of the news you read brought to you by me.

***UPDATE 2: Re-reading this after my commenter commented I see that I was clearly still asleep when blogging this morning. NPR's story is just fine!
The BBC is still off. My apologies to NPR!***

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


Dr. Demarche takes on the subject. His outrage and mine seem to match a bit. Mexico is a beautiful, resource rich place. Fix it! On the first comment is a link from someone scoffing that Mexico is even in bad shape. Oh, yes, the economy is improving, but read the link - Mexico is a mess. It could be fixed. If all these very bright, very brave, very innovative and entrepeneurial people that are here were to instead put all of their talents into their own country......what a nice place it could be.


From all over.
In Saudi Arabia, through Pakistan.
In Iran through Germany.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


On free speech.

On Canada


Illegal Immigrations
The Washington Post on the line politicians have to walk on the illegal immigration bill.
Views on immigration break into two camps. At one end are law-and-order types, mostly conservative Republicans, who want to tighten border security and step up enforcement against illegal workers. The business community, the Roman Catholic Church, many Republicans and most Democrats occupy the other camp -- joined, notably, by President Bush. Although they generally support tougher enforcement, they also want to change federal law to allow illegal workers to gain legal status so they can continue to fill many low-skill jobs that they believe would otherwise go vacant. Moreover, they say, welcoming outsiders is a core American ideal.

I'm not sure why this is so hard. Illegal immigration is just that. If we've pooh poohed it for years that doesn't mean that the illegal immigrants who are here did not skirt the law to get here. And they know that. Either they snuck across the border at night, or hired someone to help, or accidently forgot to go home or something. It seems that a reasonable discussion could be had. Yes, increase the green cards if needed, but surely a regular family that arrived here illegally can see that our borders are porous and we may want to do something about that. Sure, make the point that because we have looked the other way on this that people who have been here over 1 year may get to the head of the line or something, but quit the yelling and start the talking.

Sunday in Iraq
Sunday in Iraq.
BAGHDAD - US commanders in Iraq have accused powerful Shi'ite groups of moving the corpses of gunmen killed in battle to encourage accusations that US-led troops massacred unarmed worshippers in a mosque.

"After the fact, someone went in and made the scene look different from what it was. There's been huge misinformation," Lieutenant General Peter Chiarelli, the second-ranking US commander in Iraq, said.
This is the part I mentioned yesterday about reading between the lines.
Major General J.D. Thurman, whose division controls Baghdad, said: "If it was a mosque, why are they using it as a place to hold hostages?" He added that weapons, including 34 assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades were also found.

The Documents
The NYTimes is taking up the story of the documents. Luckily for us they are doing it with their usual little twists.
1) President Bush lies
WASHINGTON, March 27 — American intelligence agencies and presidential commissions long ago concluded that Saddam Hussein had no unconventional weapons and no substantive ties to Al Qaeda before the 2003 invasion.

But now, an unusual experiment in public access is giving anyone with a computer a chance to play intelligence analyst and second-guess the government.

2) I was going to add "it's a right wing conservative plot", but after re-reading it, maybe not so much. Just a first impression, so I'm letting it go. It's a short article. Read it, see what you think.
This article does claim that ALL the documents have had a quick review. I don't believe that was the case, but I suspect whoever is posting these must make a quick review anyway.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Yesteday in Iraq

When I read the news from yesterday in Iraq, both in the American Washington Post and the New Zealand, New Zealand Herald, I got the gist that a number of people had been rescued, and the US has had it up to here with Moqtada's army. But you did have to read between the lines in order to know that it wasn't US troops killing civilians and arresting politicians.
Big Lizards will give you the blow by blow.
It's pretty sad when we use the media to interpret events for us and then we have to re-interpret what they say.

Iraqi Soldiers

This was pretty cool to read from the Mudville Gazette. Iraqi's WANT to be soldiers and work for their country. Yes, country.
"The Iraqi people are tired of the terrorists, extremeists, and instability, and this unit fights that....I am very proud that I am part of this special unit that will help stabilize this country," he said. "The terrorists have had their time. This is our time now."

American Missteps

Brought to you by the LA Times.
It was very nice of Niall Ferguson to let us know what all thought processes we got wrong before going into Iraq. Here's his list:
The first big neocon error was their abandonment of realism. In particular, there was a failure to grasp the implications of toppling Hussein for the Middle Eastern balance of power. Henry Kissinger was right when he said of the Iran-Iraq war: "A pity they both can't lose." By getting rid of Hussein, the United States unwittingly handed Iran a belated victory.

Second, there was a woeful lack of historical knowledge. Too many people in Washington bought the idea that the postwar reconstruction of Iraq would be akin to the post-communist reconstruction of Poland.

But the third and perhaps worst sin of omission was a lack of self-knowledge. In assuming that the United States enjoyed "full-spectrum dominance" and was therefore in a position to do as it pleased in Iraq, the neocons failed to appreciate four deep-seated American weaknesses.

First, the U.S. has a chronic financial deficit, which is making it increasingly dependent on foreign capital and strapped for resources when it comes to nation building. Second, the U.S. has a chronic manpower deficit, which means it cannot deploy enough soldiers to maintain law and order in conquered territory. Third, the U.S. has a chronic attention deficit because after two years of even quite low casualties, American voters lose their enthusiasm for small wars in faraway places. Fourth is the chronic legitimacy deficit from which the United States now suffers. The most recent findings of the Pew Global Attitudes Survey — a compendium of international opinion polls — reveal just how precipitously the standing of the United States has fallen in the eyes of foreigners in the last six years.

So to re-cap: 1-Our government of pretty smart people along with all their advisors, the CIA, the state dept, etc could not figure out that ousting Saddam would leave a power vacuum.
2- Those same people thought that working in the middle east would be just like working in Europe.
3 - We think that not only do we own the world, but that the world loves us.

This is all in a column discussing our presence in Iraq. Those are his reasons for what we screwed up. His column includes reasons why we must stay in Iraq and that it was ok to get ride of Saddam. His column does not include one word about the reasons we went in in the first place! There is also not one word about the world before Saddam was ousted. How it is that he thinks all those smart people had things so wrong. What's his evidence of this?

His conclusions are fine, but he's trying to "Kerry" the subject. Be against it for all of these very smart, very intellectual reasons and yet vote for it, if only it was someone smarter running the war.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Protests in the Air

Tim Blair takes a look at the rebellion of French youths. Favorite headline of the year so far was from Drudge.
French anarchists riot for job security. LOL

In the meantime, here in the US of A people were out en mass protesting a bill that would make illegal immigration a felony. 500,000 in LA the land of prop 187. The California Conservative has a nice rundown of many of the issues. Including a link that notes
Furthermore, a 2005 Pew Hispanic Center report says most immigrants from Mexico had jobs at home, but came to the United States for higher-paid work. Mas dinero is the name of the game.

These people coming to the United States each have their own story and reasons. However, the excuse that we need their labor in the great magnitude of illegal immigration is simply not true. This nation's grocery stores sell "pre-cut" potatoes and "pre-bagged/pre-washed" lettuce because distributors are finding that food is so cheap people will pay the extra for these value added services.

Instead of doing that, perhaps we should be paying American wages or even union type wages to farm workers. The law of supply and demand, demands it. With the guest worker program of Bush's, essentially if an employer can't find a worker here, then he/she gets to import one. How about if an employer can't find a worker here at 10% above his/her original asking price, then you get to import one. This would work, en mass. However, it would create a problem for that one emplyer if the borders are still open. Other employers, their neighbors, will potentially continue to hire illegally. It's a crap shoot. Until those borders closed to illegals nothing is going to work.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned is the inherent racism in all of these arguments. What the heck is so wrong with Mexico that they can't fix their own economy and get their average wages up to $9/hr? They've had years and years to work on this and I don't believe I've seen any "try" out of the government there. Just outrage anytime border issues come up.
Robert Samualson in the Washington Post says basically all of this. I like it when people agree with me.

It's a myth that the U.S. economy "needs" more poor immigrants. The illegal immigrants already here represent only about 4.9 percent of the labor force, the Pew Hispanic Center reports. In no major occupation are they a majority. They're 36 percent of insulation workers, 28 percent of drywall installers and 20 percent of cooks. They're drawn here by wage differences, not labor "shortages." In 2004, the median hourly wage in Mexico was $1.86, compared with $9 for Mexicans working in the United States, said Rakesh Kochhar of Pew. With high labor turnover in the jobs they take, most new illegal immigrants can get work by accepting wages slightly below prevailing levels.

Hardly anyone thinks that most illegal immigrants will leave. But what would happen if new illegal immigration stopped and wasn't replaced by guest workers? Well, some employers would raise wages to attract U.S. workers. Facing greater labor costs, some industries would -- like the tomato growers in the 1960s -- find ways to minimize those costs. As to the rest, what's wrong with higher wages for the poorest workers? From 1994 to 2004, the wages of high school dropouts rose only 2.3 percent (after inflation) compared with 11.9 percent for college graduates.

President Bush says his guest worker program would "match willing foreign workers with willing American employers, when no Americans can be found to fill the jobs." But at some higher wage, there would be willing Americans. The number of native high school dropouts with jobs declined by 1.3 million from 2000 to 2005, estimates Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors less immigration. Some lost jobs to immigrants. Unemployment remains high for some groups (9.3 percent for African Americans, 12.7 percent for white teenagers).

Business organizations understandably support guest worker programs. They like cheap labor and ignore the social consequences. What's more perplexing is why liberals, staunch opponents of poverty and inequality, support a program that worsens poverty and inequality. Poor immigrant workers hurt the wages of unskilled Americans. The only question is how much. Studies suggest a range "from negligible to an earnings reduction of almost 10 percent," according to the CBO.

PS: On a more personal note. I am not a bigot. (though I don't have a card or certification or anything that says so!) I am a middle aged, middle income, middle America, white, protestant woman. 6 years ago I was head over heels for an illegal immigrant. While we disgreed on his status - he was here just looking for better wages and I thought he should have crossed legally, he was great fun to be around. It was never going to last but it definitely ended on 911. He always thought that Americans were dupes and his callousness on that day turned my stomach. His friends did not all agree and were very sympathetic. I haven't seen/heard from him since. So - while "none of my best friends are hispanic" - it's only because of who I've met over the last years and not because I don't like them.

Abdul Rahman

The Officer's Club directs us to a nation that has learned the hard way not to accept an inch or they'll take a mile. Denmark has a good suggestion that might open up some eyes over there.
Spokesman on Foreign Issues, Naser Khader, Social Liberals, Jyllands-Posten, March 21:

The government must act on this matter and show that Denmark is at the forefront in the fight for Human Rights and international rule of law. That is why we are in Afghanistan. If necessary, the Danish forces in country must liberate Abdul Rahman and offer him asylum in Denmark. This case underlines the need for Sharia law to be fought wherever it is found.”

With the threats to Mr. Rahman's life should the courts let him go, this is probably the only answer that's going to work. BUT, if the courts don't let him go, we have to get out of there. So what we need is this liberation special op done as he's leaving the courthouse.

ps Charlie Munn is linking to Mark Steyn in his post. Read Charlie but then as always, read up from Steyn too!
In a more culturally confident age, the British in India were faced with the practice of "suttee" - the tradition of burning widows on the funeral pyres of their husbands. Gen. Sir Charles Napier was impeccably multicultural:

"You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: When men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks, and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours."

UPDATE: Drudge has the story, through AP, the case has been dropped! For lack of evidence.

Buck Owens


Saturday, March 25, 2006

Oh those pesky documents

The big story yesterday was that the Russian ambassador had warned Saddam about American troop movements in the lead up to this war. Captain Ed has the confirmation from Russia agreeing that it was "quite plausible".

It reminds me of a country song by Toby Keith.
"I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then"

But, moving on. Barcepundit gives us this link to Ray Robison who from what this post reads, I think is helping with the translations. He has found documents that admit to hiding Turkish and Russian experts during one surprise inspection. The document is requesting instructions should there ever be an accidentaly face to face meeting.
1- I was informed by the team leader (Coalfield) that during the past days two clothing suitcases belonging to inspector Greg Lavender and the inspector (probably Coalfield: translator’s note) were broken into and their contents dispersed. They informed the hotel who promised to buy them new ones. But for the inspector the problem is not with the suitcases but the infraction and he does not want to make a problem but requests that this infraction be stopped.
2- When we visited Badr company there were Turkish and Russian experts at the site and they had to hide away from the inspectors. We demand your (General Director of the Office of National Supervision: translator’s note) instructions for what to do in case there is a face to face between the agency’s inspectors and the experts.
3- During his meeting with the general director of Badr company the team focused on how the new machinery is being imported. The director told them that it is advertised in the newspaper and middlemen or equipment agencies apply for the bid. He also told them that the equipment agency for Badr company is Al Ariqa company.
4- A copy of the special instructions for dealing with journalists was given to the director of Oumm Al Maarek company.

Read the whole thing, it isn't long.

I can't believe these documents have been unclassified all this time. The cat is officially out of the bag now.

UPDATE: Just a little more about Ray

Civil War in Iraq

Powerline doesn't think so either.
JOHN adds: I agree. A civil war is a species of war. If it isn't a war, it can't be a civil war. A "war" exists when opposing armies take the field; such is not the case in Iraq. What is happening there is not a war, it is terrorism, pure and simple.

What the terrorists are doing in Iraq, they could do here. If terrorists started exploding IEDs along American highways, would we be experiencing a "civil war"? No. The fact that most of the terrorists in Iraq belong to a particular religious faction does not convert their terrorism into war.

Actually, I think this point is an important one. What makes the situation in Iraq difficult is not that a war is going on. There was a war, and we won it easily. The situation is difficult in Iraq precisely because it is not a war, civil or otherwise; it is terrorism, which is far less devastating than war, but much harder to bring to an end. If we can't outlast terrrorists in Iraq, what reason is there to think we can outlast them anywhere else, including here?

Friday, March 24, 2006

Abdul Rahman

Today, after Secretary Rice let it be known that we seriously need Mr. Rahman freed, a bunch of top Muslim clerics have said he must die.
"Rejecting Islam is insulting God. We will not allow God to be humiliated. This man must die," said cleric Abdul Raoulf, who is considered a moderate and was jailed three times for opposing the Taliban before the hard-line regime was ousted in 2001.
(after all these years I wouldn't think God was so sensitive, but whatever)
So a couple of things are going around right now. 1) bloggers are saying that declaring Mr. Rahman insane isn't good enough to end our outrage and 2) Reuters apparently caused enough complaints about it's story yesterday when trying to put some perspective on this that they've changed their story.

To address number one, I'd have to say, back off guys, for now. Afghanistan has some inconsistencies in it's constitution that says both, there is religious freedom and if you reject Islam, you will be executed. Right now Mr. Rahman is on the block. If the only way for that exTaliban judge to save face (and face is hugely important there) is to declare this guy insane, then please do. AFTERwards, we can follow up on making sure the constitution means religious freedom if we are to stay there.

To address number two, here's the original:
ROME (Reuters) - The strong Western response to a threatened death sentence for an Afghan convert to Christianity looks something like a mirror image of the Muslim reaction to the Prophet Mohammad caricatures printed in the European press.

There have been no riots or sackings of Afghan embassies, unlike the violence that marked the uproar in Muslim countries after the Danish cartoons were published, but the shock and mutual incomprehension expressed in both cases are similar.
Reuters' bottom line is the "shock and incomprehension expressed in both cases are similar", not that they circumstances are equal, so give them a break. The cartoons exploded because (I think) Muslims had had enough of being made fun of. They want to be taken seriously and not be run by the west. It's horrible, it's wrong, and it's babyish, but we can have a little understanding. (no, I'm not saying it's ok) It's especially not ok for the Muslims in Denmark to be upset about the cartoons, but the ones in the Middle East who have been brought up to believe and get to see it all the time, that the west runs the world exploded.

We here in the west, in this circumstance, know we're right about freedom. We are willing to die for it. We've given it to the Afghani's and they need to know that while yes they are sovereign and get to do what they want, so are we. The American people will not stay in Afghanistan and watch one more young man or woman hurt, or dead for them if they choose Sharia law over freedom. This is our boiling point. I'm not positive our government realizes it, but by having Secretary Rice call yesterday I suspect they are getting a clue.
So, yes, the Muslims were shocked and couldn't understand what the heck we were doing spreading idolotrous (sp?) cartoons. (actually, if you made them racist instead of religionist, it's easier to comprehend some outrage. Personally, I think God has a sense of humor and perspective) And yes, the west is shocked and can not understand why Mr. Rahman must be put to death. Give Reuters the benefit of the doubt if we are ever to have peace between left and right and let this one go.

UPDAT: Ps if you're in DC, join the 'Support Abdul Rahman' event outside the Afghan embassy.

noon to 1pm
Outside the Afghan Embassy
2341 Wyoming Ave NW.
Washington DC

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Those documents

Stephen Hayes writes for The Weekly Standard this week, going through just 3 out of millions of communications recovered in Iraq and Afghanistan. I bow to his expertise and am thankful people have taken an interest in these documents. Why on earth was getting them out such a problem? I just want someone to tell me again how Saddam's Iraq and Al-qaeda had nothing to do with one another. Please, I'm beggin you....
Yours truly
getting Armed and dangerous

Hillary and Jesus

Thank you Captain Ed. I read her quotes yesterday and just shook my head and then forgot about them. You've got the story. Thank you for blogging this one.

(I'm assuming you all read the story where Hillary said the bill changing illegal immigrants to felons would turn "probably even Jesus himself" into a criminal.)

Hillary has all the chutzpah of her husband and almost none of his deft political touch. This speech sounds exactly as if a marketing firm designed it. One can almost hear the debate around the table: "She needs to reference religion more." "Hillary has to connect with the base." "She needs to be more aggressive in attacking Republicans." At this point, one of the young geniuses would leap to his/her feet and say, "Eureka! Let's have her slam Republicans for turning Biblical figures into criminals with their immigration policy!"

Why is she popular?

Another cartoon

Brought to you by the Religious Policeman. This guy cracks me up.


On stability.

He describes a civil war better than I did too.
I see the western press has pretty much given up on calling the Ba'athist dead-enders and foreign terrorists "insurgents" presumably because they were insurging so ineffectually. So now it's a "civil war." Remember what a civil war looks like? Generally, they have certain features: large-scale population movements, mutinous units in the armed forces, rival governments springing up, rebels seizing the radio station. None of these are present in Iraq. The slavering western media keep declaring a civil war every 48 hours but those layabout Iraqis persist in not showing up for it.

The Media

It's subtle, but it's left. Yesterday Powerline looked at headlines after Bush's press conference.

Let's look at some headlines today.

The Washington Post: Canadian, British Aid Workers Freed in Iraq
The BBC: Western Peace Hostages Freed in Iraq
The New Zealand Herald: Harmeet Sooden and Two other Hostages Freed in Iraq

Subtle huh. I really thought they were "freed" as in let go. Until as I was flipping (I flip through and then go back to read) CNN showed up with 3 Iraq Hostages Freed by Special Forces. Good for them.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Bush's Press conference

I have to say I loved it. Taken as a whole it reminded me that he really does have the big picture. Which is what I want in a president. He wanted to do a lot of things. Some have worked, Energy Bill, Patriot Act, Prescription drugs, and some haven't Social Security. But he's ok with that. He's not mad (in public) because congress has to deal with actual voters who may not want to vote in change on Social Security. Oh well - move on. The war in Iraq, isn't about any single battle, it's about changing the region. Democracies don't attack other people. (ok - we do, but we run the place) In general, Democracies don't "terrorist" attack other people. Islam isn't the enemy, terrorism is the enemy. And it's bigger than just Iraq. And it's serious.
I like him. He did well. He sounded like a goofball, but an incredibly smart goofball with huge amounts of empathy for others, including the press.
Go Mr. President!

UPDATE: Captain Ed follows up.

Abdul Rahman

Makes the front page of CNN.com. Mr. Rahman has become the west's cartoons. The straw that will break the camel's back so to speak. I'm still surprised that it's not front page news on the major papers and really surprised no report yesterday followed up the president's assessment of freedom in Afghanistan with a question about Mr. Rahman.

UPDATE: Aljazeera has the story too. It sounds like they've found a possible way out. Thank goodness.
An Afghan man facing a possible death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity may be mentally unfit to stand trial, a state prosecutor has said.

A Western diplomat in Kabul and a human rights advocate - both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity - said the government was desperately searching for a way to drop the case because of the reaction it had caused.

Earlier, Gianfranco Fini, the Italian foreign minister, whose country is one of four Nato members with troops in Afghanistan, told Italian television late on Tuesday he had indications the Islamic punishment for apostasy would not be imposed on Abdul Rahman.

"From what I've been told, and I have no reason to doubt it, the death sentence will not be carried out," said Fini, whose ministry had summoned the Afghan ambassador in Rome on Tuesday to discuss the case. He gave no other details.

The ruling caused a series of protests in Western states more sensitive to the role of religion in international affairs after the Prophet Muhammad caricatures in a Danish newspaper triggered violent protests and demands for an apology in the Muslim world.

May I add, I haven't read Aljazeera in a long while but this story may bring me back. This sounds like actual reporting to me! Good job guys.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Civil War in Iraq

Instapundit has the link from the Belmont club and this telling quote:
So what's the truth? The principle in determining truth should be to apply the factual indicator test. A civil war is a visible event whose indicators include the insubordination of armed units, mass refugee flows, the rise of rival governments, etc. The test is whether those events are being observed. What famous individuals say about a situation is a shortcut for encapsulating a factual assessment; it describes reality as public figures see it but is not the reality itself. . . .

Politically what's interesting is how the narrative has changed. Nobody is talking about the Sunni insurgency succeeding any more. Even the press hardly makes the claim of an insurgency on the brink of success. As late as November 2005, the Daily Kos was boasting: "The occupation is exacerbating terrorism in the country. America is losing, the insurgency is winning. Maybe we should say, 'has won.'" But by the December 2005 elections this view could no longer be held by anyone with the slightest regard for the facts. . . .

Instead of insurgency the talking points have changed to how Sunnis might soon become victims of an ethnically hostile Iraqi army in a Civil War. Going from a boast of conquest to a portrayal of victim is usually an indicator of something. In my view, the shift of meme from the "insurgency" to a "civil war" is a backhanded way of admitting the military defeat of the insurgency without abandoning the characterization of Iraq is an American fiasco. It was Zarqawi and his cohorts themselves who changed the terms of reference from fighting US forces to sparking a 'civil war'. With any luck, they'll lose that campaign too.

I know, I said it yesterday, but they said it better.
Iraq the Model has the roundup of three years and says that

Before the liberation we were suffering and we had no hope, now we are also suffering but we have hope and I see this hope even in the words of those that are cynical about the outcome of the political process; who say they hope things will be better in four years or eight years…
When Saddam was here we didn't have any hope and we could expect nothing good from a dead regime that cared only about its absolute existence.
Read the whole thing. I love his ending.

Abdul Rahman

And since the UN is so involved in racism in Denmark, they probably have no time for actual death penalties for thought crimes. That being the case, Mr. Abdul Rahman of Afghanistan will be needing our help. Abdul converted to Christianity 16 years ago and is now being charged with the crime which includes a death penalty. Michelle Malkin is all over this story and has included places for us to write and help this man and make clear to our own government what we will and won't be willing to fight for.

The Religious Policeman has even branched out from Saudi Arabian politics/religion to note this case.

Trial judge Ansarullah Mawlazezadah told the BBC that Mr Rahman, 41, would be asked to reconsider his conversion...."We will invite him again because the religion of Islam is one of tolerance. We will ask him if he has changed his mind. If so we will forgive him,"

Mmmmm, can't you just feel the Brotherly Love? Doesn't it just wrap its warm arms around you? Doesn't it make you feel so good about the Human Race?

We will ask him if he has changed his mind. If so we will forgive him.

If not, we'll chop his friggin' head off.

Scratch one Christian.

I had always thought that Mohammed Karzai was one of the Good Guys, but the BBC informs us that

Mr Karzai's office says the president will not intervene in the case.

If that's the case, why waste lives and money on a multinational force to go in there in the first place? Instead, couldn't we just pay the billions of dollars into their bank accounts, and let them practice their "moderation and tolerance" all by themselves?


The UN

I don't know why they continue to shock me.

Michelle Malkin has their latest campaign. Even considering that the Muslim cartoons are racist how on earth are they connected to the business of Legos except that the creater of the cartoons and the creator of Legos are in the same country? That's like condemning Ford for whatever crap the KKK puts out.
And this is the international day of racism campaign. They can't come up with something a little more brazen than mild cartoons?
The Environmental Republican found the UN to be the go to righter of "wrongs" for Muslims.
This is interesting. A few cartoons are drawn and it makes it up to a major UN committee. Meanwhile, tens of thousands are dead or raped in Darfur and Nigeria at the hands of Muslims and it doesn't warrant two friggin' column inches or any response by the UN.

Letter from the DNC

Dear Terri,

Three years have now passed since the start of the Iraq war.

First Americans were misled by the use of manipulated intelligence and outright false claims about Iraq's ties to September 11th. Since then, we have received a steady stream of propaganda, declaring "Mission Accomplished", describing an insurgency in its "last throes" and claiming great progress as Iraq descends into civil war.

The distortions continued this afternoon, as President Bush took the stage and again misled people. Here's what he said:

BUSH: "First, just if I might correct a misperception, I don't think we ever said -- at least I know I didn't say that there was a direct connection between September the 11th and Saddam Hussein."

That is false. In fact, almost exactly three years ago he did just that:

"The use of armed forces against Iraq is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations or person who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001." [President George W. Bush, Letter to Congress, 3/21/03]

Um - where in that quote from 3/21/03 does it say there is a direct connection between 911 and Saddam Hussein?

Moving on:
Republicans in the White House and Congress have a three-part political strategy on Iraq: ignore the reality on the ground, cover up past failures and distortions, and attack the patriotism of anyone who demands accountability. None of that will solve anything in Iraq, and none of it will make America safer.

When has this administration attacked anyone's patriotism?

It goes on from there and isn't worth your time. So they start the letter with the "evidence" proving their premise but the evidence isn't even there.....Then they move on to another accusation only this time they don't go with any evidence. The next round, (ok, ok, see below) they start with the evidence, but use it to prove someone else's guilt.

Last week nearly 90,000 Americans like you singled out Republican Senator Wayne Allard for accusing a Democrat of siding with terrorists by demanding accountability from the Bush administration for its illegal domestic spying program.

That quick reaction by Democrats who won't stand for this kind of disgusting attack put Allard on the hot seat and generated press coverage of his ridiculous, desperate comments. Your steadfast defense of Democrats like Harry Reid, Jack Murtha and Russ Feingold when they have stood up and demanded accountability shows everyone that there will be a political price for underhanded and un-American attacks.

People are tired of this administration's dangerous incompetence and consistently misleading statements.

(one statement from one Republican senator makes the administration guilty of un-American attacks? )

Monday, March 20, 2006

Civil War in Iraq

I was listening to NPR yesterday and heard once again about the civil war in Iraq. This morning the papers are repeating the weekend's stories that the administration is "upbeat" while everyone else including Allawi knows there is a civil war going on in Iraq. The New Zealand Herald has Cheney denying such a case.
WASHINGTON - Vice President Dick Cheney today said Iraq had not fallen into a civil war that insurgents were trying to incite, and predicted success despite the constant violence three years after the US invasion.

Former Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi had earlier said on BBC television that Iraq was nearing the "point of no return" and had already plunged into sectarian civil war.

Cheney said "terrorists" like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq, and others were trying to stop the formation of a democratically elected government in Iraq by violence such as the bombing of the Golden Mosque in Samarra on February 22, one of the holiest Shi'ite sites.

"What we've seen is a serious effort by them to foment civil war, but I don't think they've been successful," Cheney said on CBS television's "Face the Nation."

Of course all of this relates to the President's falling poll numbers, etc, etc.
What the hell? Just hush people! And help me by defining what exactly you think constitutes a civil war? Shouldn't a civil war include a group of people within a country that is trying to overrun and take over that country? Or split away and create a new country?? What is happening in Iraq that is making people think that's what's going on? Have there been requests to the nascent government there? You know, the one that hasn't really even had it's first meeting. Has anyone seen a "new" leader emerging from the insurgants who would then be able/willing to head a new government?
Democrats sharply criticized the administration's Iraq policies.

"I think that the political leaders in Washington have failed when it comes to our policy in Iraq. They misled us into believing there were weapons of mass destruction and connections between 9/11 and Saddam Hussein. None of that existed," Sen. Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, said on "Fox News Sunday."

Ok Mr. Durbin - what do you propose? What are the policies that are working so badly that you would change? (And yes, once again I'll let you get away with that dumb ass wmd comment. As the documents get out, I realize you will ignore them for a while and then one day just incorporate it all into the daily dialog.) And not just in hindsight. What would you do differently tomorrow? Shall we quit training Iraqi troops? Should we use a heavier hand? Should we force a different government? Seriously. What exactly is it that this president is doing wrong there?
And Mr. Allawi - do you know anything about leadership? Do you know that your words mean something to people? Or should anyway. If you think you are in the midst of a civil war, then what does that mean to you? What should happen next? Come on ....you can not just come out and say something so serious like that without some words of something following it. What does it mean in the big picture? Do you want to encourage strength in the fledgling country? Do you want to encourage the insurgants? Do you want the Sunni or the Shia to "win" this new war you are talking about? It matters what you say so use your head.
Thank you Mr. Cheney for doing so.

Captain Ed this morning has the latest on evidence for Sadaam's trial. It basically shows that he personally ordered the gassing of the Kurds in Halabja. He ends thusly:
It's fashionable these days to claim that the Iraqis were better off under Saddam than after his liberation, given the civilian death toll from the fight against the insurgents. Some claim that over 100,000 Iraqis have died since the invasion, although the methodology for those calculations has been highly suspect. In two years, Saddam killed over 180,000 Kurds just for being Kurds, and destroyed their homes, forcing them to live in the hills to survive -- and that doesn't count the hundreds of thousands of Marsh Arabs, Shi'a, and even Sunnis who died either in droves in reprisals for suspected disloyalty or individually as Saddam and his henchmen desired. This letter reminds us that Iraqis and the world have all benefitted from the removal of this sick, twisted dictator.


(ps: The Officers' Club links to some interesting charts on casualties in Iraq. )

(pps: If this Christian man in Afghanistan gets put to death for converting from Islam to Christianity, then I say screw em. Keep our satellites on that country and work to be able to identify every little thing that is going on but get hell out. It is not worth one more American life to keep a country going that will prosecute, to death, "thought crimes" such as this.)



Poetry from an ex Apple guy.
Expanding my repertoire, from just cowboy poetry to "computer poetry"....


On the passing of the DPW ports deal.
Congress' demand that DPW sell its U.S. operations to someone even if there's no someone to sell them to is almost a parody of the Democrats' (and naysaying Republicans') approach to national security: Goddammit, we may not know what we're for but we sure as hell know what we're against.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Those Documents

Omar is working on translating them and Barcepundit is linking along with Pajamas media and everyone else. What he says:
it's open source intelligence at its best, all thanks to the Internet. Ain't that grand?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Friday fun with music at Vodkapundit.

Land of Sad Oranges

Well, this is sad. Or a mistake. This new blog from a Palestinian woman is forbidden on my home computer. I know I don't have any software that would do this. Can you get to it?

UPDATE: Nevermind.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Negotiating with Terrorists

Step one: Say it loud and say it proud. Restate pre-emptive doctrine.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Undaunted by the difficult war in Iraq, President George W. Bush reaffirmed his strike-first policy against terrorists and enemy nations on Thursday and said Iran may pose the biggest challenge for America.

In a 49-page national security report, the president said diplomacy is the U.S. preference in halting the spread of nuclear and other heinous weapons.

"If necessary, however, under long-standing principles of self defense, we do not rule out the use of force before attacks occur -- even if uncertainty remains as to the time and place of the enemy's attack," Bush wrote.

Step two: Wait for the evil doers to show up on your doorstep
Iran's top nuclear negotiator said Thursday that Teheran was ready to open talks with the United States over Iraq, marking a major Iranian foreign policy shift.

This is the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that Iran is officially calling for dialogue with the United States, which it has repeatedly condemned as "the Great Satan."

"To resolve Iraqi issues and help establishment of an independent and free government in Iraq, we agree to (talks with the United States)," Ali Larijani told a closed meeting of the parliament Thursday.

Both of these things occurred today. The Jerusalem Post item on Larijani follows up with
But on Thursday, President George W. Bush, undaunted by the difficult war in Iraq, reaffirmed his strike-first policy against terrorists and enemy nations on Thursday and said Iran may pose the biggest challenge for America.
(emphasis mine)
The item from Iran is too new so I can't find the timing of it, but I suspect that Iran was given a copy of Bush's speech in order to allow the Iranians a little "save face" time in the timing of their offer.

Good signs

David Ignatius is finding reasons to be optimistic in Iraq.
The Iraqi political dialogue will move into a new and potentially fractious stage soon, when the leaders begin bargaining over who will hold top positions in the new government. Those negotiations could blow apart the fragile hopes for a unity government. But, for a change, pessimism isn't necessarily the right bet for Iraq.
I have not read his stuff for a while so I didn't realize that pessimism HAD been the right bet for Iraq.

In the meantime the BBC notes the spirit of cooperation from the current leaders there as Jaafari agrees he'll step down if needed.
"If my people ask me to step aside I will do this," Mr Jaafari said, shortly after attending the much-delayed inaugural session of Iraq's parliament.

The Shias' nomination of Mr Jaafari has been a major sticking point in forming a government as he lacks wider support.

He has been criticised for not doing more to curb Iraq's violence.
Signs of maturity here that have made me optimistic on most days.

Iraq the Model while disappointed in their leaders, thinks they will assure better decisions next round!
But that's not the politicians' mistake, it's in my personal opinion the people's mistake for they have elected those unqualified politicians and now the people must accept the fact that they will have to live with a government below their expectations for four years but I have hope that the people will learn from this experience and make better choices when the next time comes…that's if Iraq survived these four years and I believe it will.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Middle East

We have been told over and over how we don't understand how things work over there. It is becoming clearer. Extortion is something to try.
From Andrew Apostolou:
Recently our embattled allies in Denmark engaged in some dialogue with Amr Khaled. According to The New York Times:
Mr. Khaled sought to emphasize that "we are here to build bridges for dialogue," and suggested that a continuing boycott of Danish goods in Arab countries could stop if Danes and their government reached out with initiatives like help for small businesses, or health care.


Ok guys, nows the time to decide what you want out of life. Iraq the Model gives us a run down of where things stand right now.


This is cool. Mexico found a bunch of oil. Maybe now they can lose the excuses for a bad economy and all the workers leaving the country, get on the stick and turn 1st world.
(Of course now that President Bush has told us we're on the brink of a new energy source, maybe this plan won't work so well!)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Those Documents

Will be seeing the light of day. California Conservative has the story as American Future writes of what Sadaam thought based on what's out already.

Dr. Sultan

Neo-Neocon has the story of Dr. Wafa Sultan. She's an amazing and brave woman.

UPDATE: I always assume everyone has read what I read, but for those who don't, Dr. Sultan is a woman from Syria who has been standing up to Islamists. Out loud. On Al Jazeera. She's very moderate and the fact that she's been on these shows has actually shown some moderation movements going on. Of course now there is a price on her head as she tries to write a book.

WalMart and Pharmacies

I like it when other people do my research for me. Yes - I'm lazy.
When I wrote this post about Walmart being forced to carry the morning after pill in part because in rural areas they are the only game in town and hence have to carry all commonly prescribed medications, I was thinking to myself that WalMart doesn't really exist in true rural areas where they would be the only game in town. They exist in medium sized towns that would have at least a grocery store pharmacy. So I thought the argument was silly but didn't do the research.

Well, Walmart has decided to go ahead and carry this pill here in Colorado. View from a Height conveniently did the research that I didn't do and found that here in CO there isn't a town where Walmart is the only game in town.
As I said earlier, I would have closed the place and cut off my nose.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Al Qaeda

Memri has the latest and final threat.
Last Warning to American People - Two Operations Will Occur; Your Homeland Security Agency Must Surrender; States Far Away From Washington, D.C. Such as Arizona Will Be Hit; We Await Orders From Our Commander Osama Bin Laden; America Will Be Brought to its Knees

The Officers' Club responds.
Initial analysis, bullsh*t.

I haven't seen it in the newspapers, but maybe I'm just not looking hard enough.

Getting to Know Iraq

via Michael J. Totten. Visit his tip jar at the bottom. The pictures themselves are worth the price of admission! Beautiful.

Iran and those documents from Iraq

The Washington Post today has this story about what's going on with US policy and Iran.
Iran has vaulted to the front of the U.S. national security agenda amid Bush administration plans for a sustained campaign against the ayatollahs of Tehran.

Good plan. Essentially it talks about making sure all the preliminary steps have been taken before doing anything radical. Worries about intelligence are at the forefront.
But as the administration gears up, the struggle with Iran remains shadowed by Iraq. The botched intelligence on Saddam Hussein's weapons has left a credibility challenge in convincing the public and the world that the administration is right this time about Iran.
Such a decision (attacking militarily) could prompt deep skepticism after the Iraq intelligence failure. "As far as Congress, they're certainly going to do their homework more this time and demand more from the intelligence community before they go along with this," said a Senate Republican leadership aide who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
All of which makes sense. What doesn't make sense is that in the meantime there are 3,000 hours of tapes from Sadaam along with millions of pages of documents from his regime that are not getting released even though President Bush has specifically requested their release.
For months, Negroponte has argued privately that while the documents may be of historical interest, they are not particularly valuable as intelligence product. A statement by his office in response to the recordings aired by ABC said, "Analysts from the CIA and the DIA reviewed the translations and found that, while fascinating from a historical perspective, the tapes do not reveal anything that changes their postwar analysis of Iraq's weapons programs."

Left unanswered was what the analysts made of the Iraqi official who reported to Saddam that components of the regime's nuclear program had been "transported out of Iraq." Who gave this report to Saddam and when did he give it? How were the materials "transported out of Iraq"? Where did they go? Where are they now? And what, if anything, does this tell us about Saddam's nuclear program? It may be that the intelligence community has answers to these questions. If so, they have not shared them. If not, the tapes are far more than "fascinating from a historical perspective."

Officials involved with DOCEX--as the U.S. government's document exploitation project is known to insiders--tell The Weekly Standard that only some 3 percent of the 2 million captured documents have been fully translated and analyzed. No one familiar with the project argues that exploiting these documents has been a priority of the U.S. intelligence community.

Only 3% of these documents have been analyzed! I would think the intelligence community would want these documents out there to prove they were right all along concerning Sadaam's weapons programs (assuming that's what they would prove). By doing that, then the American people, Congress, and even the world would have more confidence in today's intelligence concerning Iran.

If the intelligence in Iraq was not botched, credibility is increased and Iran can be dealt with with confidence vs second guessing. I am not suggesting that going slow and getting consensus isn't the way to deal with Iran. I am suggesting that analyzing the information from Iraq could very well have meaning when dealing with Iran.

Sunday, March 12, 2006


On Muslims in America.
Ronald Stockton of the University of Michigan doesn't see it that way: (where the negative poll numbers of how American's feel about Muslims has to do with the bombings all over the world.)"You're getting a constant drumbeat of negative information about Islam," he told the Post. By "negative information," Professor Stockton presumably means the London bombings, and the Bali bombings, and the Madrid bombings and the Istanbul bombings. But surely it's worth asking why in 2006 the Washington Post needs a man with a name like "Ronald Stockton" to explain Islam to us? The diversity bores in the media go out of their way to hire writers of color, writers of gender, writers of orientation. Yet, five years after 9/11, where's the New York Times' Muslim columnist? Where's the ''Today Show's'' Islamic weather girl? Why, indeed, are all the Muslim voices in the press broadly on the right -- Amir Taheri in the New York Post, Stephen Schwartz in the Weekly Standard, Fouad Ajami in the Wall Street Journal?

UPDATE: The link is fixed.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Documents

Powerline has the link to Stephen Haye's story about the documents in Iraq. There is a big circle of secrecy around these documents that has been frustrating for him to follow. It doesn't sound like the secrecy is coming from the president either.


Is dead. Sadaam? Are you listening? Let this be a lesson to you. You can make sure the verdict in your trial gets delayed for years and years and years, but there is a 100% chance you'll end up dead in the end anyway. And hell isn't pretty from what I've heard.

Michael J. Totten

In Iraq.

Friday, March 10, 2006

New Foreign Policy

Still dealing with the hotel connection but here's a story for your enjoyment today. Back home tomorrow!

The Officers' Club has a suggestion about post Bush foreign policy plans.

Thursday, March 09, 2006


Iraq Hangs 13 for insurgency role.
In October, the Iraqi Transitional National Assembly passed a new law which extended the use of the death penalty to include "those who commit... terror acts" and for "those who provoke, plan, finance and all those who enable terrorists to commit these crimes".

The assembly also approved a sentence of life imprisonment to "whoever intentionally conceals terrorist activity or gives shelter to a terrorist for the purpose of hiding him".

I'm pretty iffy about the death penalty, but, they have it. They purposely voted it in, and these are the first executions for terror related activities to actually happen there. Now to see how this effects other would be terrorists.

Iran and Venezuela

I generally have been posting about Venezuela over this last year and of course Iran is all over the news. Today the Officers' club connects the two in ways that we'd rather not think about.
Castro smart enough to keep Iranian medium range ballistic missiles off of his lawn, but Chavez wants attention and respect, and is willing to take the necessary steps to play ball with the big boys. Leeden may be on to something here, I say throw Venezuela into the same lot as North Korea, Syria, and Iran, and stick Chavez --like Hassad, Ahmadinejad, and Kim Jong-Il-- on the "men that need to be spanked" list.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I'm staying in a hotel this week in CA that has very spotty internet service, so I'll just link to a number of interesting stories.

Captain Ed discusses the Iranians' feeling about their govt's nuclear ambitions. Yes, they feel they have the right to nuclear power but with limited amounts of uranium in the country, wouldn't it be best not to tick the world off so that more can be bought in future years? doh

The Jawa Report notes that Iran now has a submarine capable of launching missiles.

The California Conservative follows Ralph Peters writing from Iraq. He's back now but notes the increased confidence of the Iraqi military after their expert handling of the post Shrine instability.

Perhaps having taken steps for a new air force has helped too! The Officers' Club has pictures of their first squadron. Congratulations!!!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Weapons in Iraq

Jeff Goldstein has the story about weapons found in Iraq with 'made in Iran' stickers on the side. Is this any surprise to anyone? Under ABC News: EXCLUSIVE (dateline March 6)
March 6, 2006 — U.S. military and intelligence officials tell ABC News that they have caught shipments of deadly new bombs at the Iran-Iraq border.
They are a very nasty piece of business, capable of penetrating U.S. troops' strongest armor.

Iranians are involving themselves in Iraq. This article in the Wall Street Journal lays out the playbook.
While journalists concentrate on the daily blood, Iraqis describe a larger pattern which U.S. officials have failed to acknowledge let alone address: Step-by-step, Iranian authorities are replicating in Iraq the strategy which allowed Hezbollah to take over southern Lebanon in the 1980s. The playbook--military, economic and information operation--is almost identical.

I am the optimist and I think democracy will prevail vs violence and I believe if the WSJ can figure things out, then our military certainly can. But even before the news of Maj. General Mubdar Hatim Hazya al-Dulaimi hit the papers this morning, Mohammed (of Iraq the Model) had a bad day yesterday.
Morters had hit a neighbor's house and his dad is sorely disappointed in the politics going on.
Me(Mohommed): Is there a chance the situation will further escalate?

Dad: Most likely yes, we are a state still run by sentiments rather than reason which means it's a brittle state and any sentimental overreaction can turn the tide it in either direction.

Me: what kinds of challenges can make things worse?

Dad: Virtually anything…assassinating a leader, a fatwa, attack on a shrine like last time; we do not possess the institutions that can abolish the effects of severe sentimental reactions.

The Iraqi's were able to handle the attack on their shrine and I believe they can handle this. Sometimes it takes the bad to happen to really rally people together. Pass them some encouragement because now they could use some.

Anyone know when the next elections are there? I've often thought that our elections are perfect. Every 2 years we, the people, get a say. And every 4 years we get that say in the President him/herself. Any longer and it would feel like forever! I can handle 4 years of anything. But 6? That's almost a decade. Parliamentary elections just seem to come out of nowhere so you can't really look forward to them and plan.

Monday, March 06, 2006


On...well, I'm not sure. I think he's bored with it all this weekend. Evidence...

Title: "Long War" is Breaking down into Tedium
That's self-explanatory.

Excerpt: My worry is that on the home front the war is falling prey to lack-of-mission creep -- that, in the absence of any real urgency and direction, the "long war" (to use the administration's new and unsatisfactory term) is degenerating into nothing but bureaucratic tedium, media doom-mongering and erratic ad hoc oppositionism.
Does he want a real emergency here just to break the log-jam of bureaucrats from the DHS?

Except: William F. Buckley and George Will have more or less respectfully detached themselves from the insane idealism of shoving liberty and democracy down people's throats whether they want it or not.
Does he think the Iraqis don't want democracy?

Between the Patriot Act and it's bureaucratic fakeries, and the war, and Dubai, and the Democrats - I don't think he really had a point. Just that he didn't know what else to write about. I have days like that. Either way - rule number 1 - always link to Steyn!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Blog Devolution

By now you've probably heard of the blogosphere moving south. This will catch you up if not.

What cracks me up about all of these stories, is that they are coming from the MSM who, once again, gets it wrong. They have made the story out to be about themselves really. The numbers games in the blogosphere is not even close to the numbers games needed in the MSM. The MSM exists to make a buck. Just like any venture, it fulfills a need and hence makes that buck. Blogs are written for so many different reasons - sometimes to make a buck - that it's completely bogus to lump them all into the category of "people who, pie in the sky like, think they are going to make a living by writing a blog".

Someone wants to throw cash? Excellent. Someone wants to grace this blog with their presence? Excellent. Send me a comment? - Love them.

Site meters are great and interesting ways to keep track of what's going on with your blog, and frankly we're all a bunch a geeks in this 'verse, so numbers? Oooh - love the numbers.
(PC police: If you're not a geek and you're reading this, you might want to re-think that. I mean, I apologize, I didn't mean you.)

UPDATE: I took the dog for a walk and decided I wasn't clear. What I meant to say is that numbers are important to the MSM so it feels as if it's an important phenomenon that the numbers for blogs/blog readership has stabilized. It's isn't really. Blogs are still oftentimes very, very smart and on the next big thing, will be an important source of information. They are now - and "numbers" are saying that the people reading blogs and blogging are those who are involved. They are on boards, they run campaigns, they're lawyers. Or they're the involved people in the tech industry, or science fiction, or cooking or whatever type of blog it is. And still, the numbers stabilizing doesn't matter.

Soldier's Angels

Needs your help! Blackfive sends out the request. This is a great organization. Apparently January and February they need the most.

An "Army of Davids" in Saudi Arabia?

This story in the Arab News (ht Religious Policeman) sure sounds like it.
Members of the Commission for the Prevention of Vice and the Promotion of Virtue were attacked in Riyahd.
We cannot simply ignore a recent incident that occurred in Al-Suwaidi center in Riyadh last week where members of the commission were attacked. Every citizen should notice this event. Weakening of the commission is dangerous under the deteriorating social conditions we are currently experiencing; the lack of morality and loss of principles are shattering our traditions.

The title of the item is "Kind Advice Makes a Difference" and it suggests that the commission spread it's message kindly. Apparently the Commission has been pushing the envelope. In the same paper is an article about the Riyadh book fair.
This year’s Riyadh Book Fair was eventful — mostly unwelcome events, though. Somehow, the fundamentalists found in it an opportunity to flex their muscles and prove a point. They wanted all to know that no matter how far we progress on the road of women and minority rights, speech and press freedoms, democracy and all, they are still in a strong position of influence. But they went too far, this time.

According to press reports, members and volunteers of the Commission for the Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue were in force everywhere. In the family days, where single men are not allowed, they were the exception. Carrying sticks and wielding religious authority, they went around telling women to cover their faces, wear “abayas” (black cloak) over their heads in one piece, rather than two — head scarf and body cover. In some instances, they told salesmen in bookstands not to smile or joke when talking to women. A man holding the hand of his half-blind wife was told not to show affection in public.
Never having lived in an oppressed environment, I usually think of people in these countries as just "following the rules". There may be a rebel or two, or 50, but they get thrown in jail, or stoned or some other horrible thing. Either these little protests (such as the attack and the news item) have always been going on or people are feeling more inclined to complain about things like the overzealousness of the Commission for the Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue. If you know - let me know. Is this normal or is this Army of Davids under less free governments new and spreading? I'll search for more info myself.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

News Photos and Captions

Sadly I can not replicate the story and photo in the Longmont Daily times call today. Oftentimes their website stories are a day off or not exactly the same as the newspaper. However, I'll explain, because it's funny. Here's the ap story by Terence Hunt on "Bush Opens Pakistan visit to show solidatity with Musharraf."
The story talks about the heavy security and the anti-American sentiment and the rioting. It talks about Bush trying to spread good feelings around.
The picture that goes with the story has this caption.
"Pakistani protesters hold a placard as they shout anti U.S. slogans during a rally in Karachi, Pakistan, on Friday. Anti-U.S. protests erupted across Pakistan just hours before President Bush was to arrive for a visit."

The picture shows a bunch of protesters carrying a placard that reads:

Sounds good to me!!
I'm just not sure if ap got the story wrong and all the crowds were anti-terrorist or did the protesters get the sign wrong?

Terrorist in NC

Tim Blair has a laugh out loud little observation.
"Taheriazar apparently told police he tried to rent the biggest SUV he could find to use in the attack. "

The biggest he could find was a teensy Jeep Cherokee? No wonder Mohammed (rental fees be upon him) failed to kill anybody. For serious retribution work, you need something like this.

(Via LGF)

UPDATE: I assumed everyone knew the story, but it's not in my paper, so maybe not. In Raleigh, N.C. a Muslim man ran an SUV through a crowd of people on the campus "pit" (which sounds like a quad or something). He told ABC news that it was retribution for the treatment of Muslims around the world. (via Michelle Malkin)
See the Environmental Republican too.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Colorado Kid

Have you yet heard the recordings of Mr. Bennish the geography teacher who teaches about the evils of the US or A? (quick re-cap: a kid in the class taped a lecture for studying later. His dad was appalled and they went to the media, now we're all appalled.) The Belmont Club has some links to follow around and there are recordings to hear that you can find on Michelle Malkin. The story is all over so I don't want to repeat it, but here's my beef.

I went to school, not all that long ago and in all of my history, geography, and social science classes all the teachers/professors liked to get discussions going. You didn't get an F for disagreeing with the teacher. You got an engaging talk. The object of the game was to have backing, or evidence, or research. Listen to the tape. No one disputes this guy as he rants. No one asks the question during the rant about capitalism being uncaring about "what would a better system be?". Communism? Or, "Isn't taking fromt he rich to give to the poor a little uncaring to the high achievers and go getters?" Or "What about failed welfare systems?"
On the rant about invading other countries with WMD besides Iraq, and why don't we invade them. Shouldn't someone have raised their hand and mentioned either the spoken threats by Sadaam, or the UN security council's multiple resolutions? Or even that this govt. exists because of the people, so you have to please the people and who among us want to send our military to dicatatorgenericland who is no threat to us?

What is with these kids? Do they seriously take what their teacher says as fact? This is an advanced geography course. I've always thought the rhetoric about our school system was just that, rhetoric, because I've been hearing about it my whole life. The same song, over and over. I don't have kids though, so what do I know. But the kids I know seem as smart as we ever were. Maybe the school systems do suck. This school with Mr. Bennish is in a very rich part of Denver, but based on the tape it really sounds like the kids are not "questioning authority" which was the basic motto in my day!
UPDATE: The point being - I've had clearly liberal ranting teachers, and clearly conservative ranting teachers and they all relished a good discussion. As long as you could back up your points - that's what it was all about in liberal arts. This nut should be suspended, but not for his views. He should be suspended because based on that tape - he's got a completely cowed class of supposedly advanced students. Even the guy who did the taping, Sean, said that students regurgitate in order to get the good grade. Mr. Bennish must be grading on agreement, vs scholorship.

Reason in Iran

Haaretz had this story about the ex-president of Iran, Mohammad Khatami who has denied the denial of the Holocaust:
Iran's reformist former president Mohammad Khatami has described the Holocaust as a "historical reality" - a stinging attack on his controversial and revisionist successor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"We should speak out if even a single Jew is killed. Don't forget that one of the crimes of Hitler, Nazism and German national socialism was the massacre of innocent people, among them many Jews," the cleric said in comments carried in the Iranian press yesterday.

AND stated for the record what the Koran says about killing innocents.
"The persecution of Jews, just like Nazism, is a Western phenomenon. In the East, we have always lived side by side with them. And we follow a religion that states that the death of an innocent person is the death of all of humanity," Khatami said.

That shows us a couple of things,
1) that there are sane people in Iran and
2) it's not so bad there, in Iran, that sane people are afraid to speak up.
Good things. Oh, one more thing, this emphasizes that
3) Presidents in Iran don't have a lot of power. Who remembers Khatami and what he did?
(maybe it's just me with no memory of him)

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Running late

IMAO has a funny riff on port security. (ht Varifrank who says that this (IMAO's piece) is clearly the last word)

Captain Ed sees Chief Justice Roberts in action on money in politics. He's a keeper. (both Captain Ed and Chief Justice Roberts!)

Instapundit has a link to a great act of Civil Obedience. Don't tell me that kids these days are worthless. These guys are great.

and finally
Powerline discusses how really, really important the UN's words are. Not.

Bush's visit to Afghanistan

Written in a way I would never write it. The New Zealand Herald has this story from Reuters.
My notes in italics. It's subtle, but there.
Bush visits Afghanistan

01.03.06 10.30pm

BAGRAM AIR BASE - US President George W. Bush made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Wednesday to see for the first time the emerging democracy that replaced the Taleban he ousted in 2001 after September 11.

Bush was set to hold talks with President Hamid Karzai and other officials of the US-backed government after the Taleban regime was ousted for refusing to hand over leaders of the al Qaeda network responsible for September 11.
I think there was more to it than that.

Security was tight for what was expected to be a five-hour visit to Kabul and Bagram, the main base for US troops in Afghanistan.

Bush was due to fly to India later as part of a tour that will also take him to Pakistan, another important ally in Bush's declared war on terrorism.
Isn’t this more than just Bush’s war?

The US president is visiting Afghanistan at a time when the country is still troubled by a stubborn Taleban insurgency that has claimed 1500 lives since the start of last year, including dozens of US soldiers.

US officials have portrayed Afghanistan as a relative success story compared to the US front in Iraq.
I don’t believe I’ve ever heard the administration do this comparison. Maybe the press.

Millions of war refugees have returned to the country and presidential elections installed Karzai in October 2004 and the country's first democratically elected parliament in September.
Installed?? Democratically?

But more than four years after US troops toppled the Taleban, al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Taleban chief Mullah Mohammad Omar remain at large.
The tallest man…..

There is an 18,000-strong US-led force stationed in Afghanistan, along with around 9000 Nato-led peacekeepers.
And they still can’t find the tallest man.


Not a big deal fisking, but it's the subtle things in news reports that get me. The ones that others deny exist.


On the bravery of Geoge Clooney.
(this was in the National review on the 22nd, so if you get that subscription, you've already read this.)