Friday, February 29, 2008

More Iraq insight

Blackfive over at Black Five shares an email from a Marine Corporal that you need to read called "Iraq and the Marine Corps" - a Corporal's View
  • Allcon- This was written by David at the end of his tour in November. I've waited to post it for almost three months. Several retired Marine Officers took this email in all its honesty and made sure the chain of command *cough*Commandant*cough* received it in early January.

    I'm not trying to air the Corps' dirty laundry. We post AARs here from Marine Corporals occasionally and some have ended up as resources at Army Training Centers and for Commanders and Sergeants headed to Iraq.

    It's long and valuable. And I've waited long enough to ensure OPSEC wouldn't be truly violated (this has been posted on some open forums already) and actions could take place.

Angelina Jolie actually gets it right

You wouldn't expect this kind of common sense and sensibility from a Hollywood actor, but Angelina Jolie has the Iraq war figured out. From Pinch over at Black Five is Angelina Jolie: The Surge Is Working! Yeah, we all know it's working, but I thought you needed to see someone in Hollywood actually figure it out.
  • Wonder what Harry Reid and the rest of the pusillanimous poltroons on the Potomac think about this? Plus, Obama's love-fest with Hollywood may not like this little OP/ED.

Poor Hillary

Even though Hillary is my preferred Democrat candidate to go up against the GOP candidate, you can easily see that it's slipping away from her. People are just not buying her candidacy for some reason. It's getting so bad that Ed Morrissey over at Captains Quarters reports on Hillary: I Want My VRWC
  • What's worse in politics than being attacked? Being ignored -- and Hillary Clinton wants it to stop. She wants back into the national discourse after mostly being overlooked since the debacle of Super Tuesday:

Kinda just tugs at your heart strings, don't it...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Normally, about this time of the year...

...I'd be writing some great emails about day one on my yearly NASCAR weekend in Vegas. That's not happening this year as I faced the fact that it's too much money. It's always a great time, but I have to pay more each year, and last year it finally got to be expensive enough to not make sense anymore. I need to find a money tree...

Some things I'll truly miss though. The part where I shut off every thing but the vacation mentality and drive. Then, I'd end up in the desert, so I'd need to drink. Next, I'd blog it in an email in great detail. I'd laugh as much or more than those of you who were reading and not on vacation.

I'll do something cheaper but along the same lines sometime this year, so the good times will be had, it'll just be somewhere down the road.

Yeah, and I've saddled myself with a car payment. I'll make that work as I've also saddled myself with the Mustang GT.

Neener, neener....

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Be afraid, be very aftraid...

I hope I'm wrong, but my gut tells me that Obama will be our next President. There seem to be lots of voters that are buying in to his hope and change message, and the fact that he doesn't present much for specifics doesn't appear to be a problem for them. Here's why I sure hope I'm wrong on that.

First, his perception of the situation in Iraq. The money quote and response by McCain is:
  • Obama said during the debate with Clinton that once he withdrew U.S. troops from Iraq, if al Qaeda were to form a base there, "then we will have to act in a way that secures the American homeland and our interests abroad."

    "I have some news," McCain said. "Al Qaeda is in Iraq. It's called Al Qaeda in Iraq. My friends, if we left, they wouldn't be establishing a base, they'd be taking a country and I'm not going to allow that to happen."

Next, Deebow over at Black Five has A surrender monkey says what??? which points out a myriad of other very dangerous stances Obama takes, including banning all fissile material which would pretty much shut down every nuclear power plant on earth, and his want to slow the development of future combat systems. Even the anti-war crowd have to understand how bad an idea that last one is. Future combat systems are what will keep our troops from the ultimate sacrifice in any upcoming conflict. Slowing the development is consigning more troops to death then would happen with state of the art weapons.

Like I said, be afraid, be very afraid...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Iraq politics, continued

Bill Ardolino at The Long War Journal has part four of his five part series up on Iraqi politics. Inside Iraqi politics – Part 4. A look at legislative progress: Reconciliation via wealth distribution
  • Some of the most important measures of progress are the Iraqi government’s efforts to propose and pass legislation allocating wealth. This includes the 2008 budget, which is immediately essential to executive functions and represents a de facto distribution of revenue among Iraq’s provinces and sects, and the hydrocarbons laws, which will have long-term ramifications for the apportionment and development of the country’s oil resources.

Another Iraq/Vietnam comparison

Well, to be exact, the Democrat's handling of both. It's another history lesson on Vietnam which is surprisingly similar to how the Democrat's are trying to handle Iraq. This one is about the battle for Hue (pronounced way, if I remember correctly). From Arthur Herman at The New York Post is MEDIA & 'NAM: LESSONS FOR IRAQ
  • CRITICS of the war in Iraq like to claim they "oppose the mission" but "support the troops." But the experience of Vietnam shows that turning our backs on the mission always means turning our backs on the courage of those who fought for that mission, and what they achieved through their skill and sacrifice.

    Consider the battle that ended 40 years ago today, when US Marines and Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) troops retook the Imperial Palace at Hue, South Vietnam's third largest city, from Communist forces after a 27-day siege.

Global warm... er... Climate change

Lorne Gunter at National Post has a report called Forget global warming: Welcome to the new Ice Age which points out that.
  • Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Iraq and Afghanistan

Anthony H. Cordesman at The Washington Post has Two Winnable Wars posted which accurately describes what it will take to win in Iraq and Afghanistan. This will take a commitment from the next president and most likely for his/her whole first term in office. If that commitment isn't there, we most likely lose.
  • No one can return from the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, as I recently did, without believing that these are wars that can still be won. They are also clearly wars that can still be lost, but visits to the battlefield show that these conflicts are very different from the wars being described in American political campaigns and most of the debates outside the United States.

We might need an adjustment

Sounds like we need more troops in Afghanistan. We are able to clear areas but don't have the man power to hold the gains. We need to get the Afghans up to speed like we are doing in Iraq. From Pat Dollard is Gates: Nature Of Afghanistan Conflict Changing.
  • “The problem is that, while we were able to clear the Taliban in certain areas when we had an operation, we don’t have enough force to be able hold some of those areas. It’s the same kind of problem we encountered in Iraq,” Gates said. “The way to deal with this long term clearly is (developing) the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police. So it has to be a partnership between ourselves and the Afghans, with more and more of the effort gradually shifting to the Afghans.”

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Friday humor

Guts or Balls...

There is a medical distinction.

We've all heard about people having guts or balls, but do you really know the difference between them? In an effort to keep you informed, the definitions are listed below:

GUTS - Is arriving home late after a night out with the guys, being met by your wife with a broom, and having the guts to ask: 'Are you still cleaning, or are you flying somewhere?'

BALLS - Is coming home late after a night out with the guys, smelling of perfume and beer, lipstick on your collar, slapping your wife on the butt and having the balls to say: 'You're next, fatty.'

I hope this clears up any confusion on the definitions. Medically speaking, there is no difference in the outcome, since both ultimately result in death.

Support Move America Forward

Here's the TV ad they've made in answer to the idiots in Berkeley, California.

Interesting read on Iraqi infrastructure

From MNF-I called Iraqi Judges get Automated. It's kind of a fluff piece, but it was interesting to me from the nuts and bolts aspect of the Iraqi government workings.
  • BAGHDAD — Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s legal system suffered from neglect, abuse and stagnation for nearly 30 years.

    Now, through a joint initiative by the United Nations, the U.S. State Department and the 3rd Infantry Division, the courts are being drawn into the 21st century with training on laptops and CD-ROMs loaded with ninety years of Iraqi case law.

Is the Iraq war over?

Matt Sanchez says Iraq War No More. He's there and thinks it's moved out of the war category.

Devoy Murdock over at National Review Online has Reports of Reconciliation.
  • Terrorism is collapsing across Iraq. In February 2007, when President Bush ordered 30,000 additional troops into Iraq — as Senator John McCain cheered and Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama jeered only 8 percent of Baghdad’s neighborhoods were rated secure. That number is now 75 percent. In 2006, coalition troops defused 2,662 terrorist weapons caches. In 2007, they neutralized 6,956. Since June, attacks on U.S. soldiers have slid 60 percent. Meanwhile, sectarian violence fell 90 percent from January to December 2007, sparing Iraqi and U.S. lives alike.
Which leaves us with Al Qaeda's last safe haven in Mosul. I haven't seen much reporting on the battle for Mosul, but it looks like Michael Yon finally made it up there. He has a RUBS up today called RUBS: At Long Last Justice. Another great read from Yon where he also comments on the battle for Mosul which he is concerned about.
  • The fighting in Mosul, the capital of Nineveh Province, is likely to look much different than combat that has taken place elsewhere in Iraq.

Mookie's ceasefire decision

Looks like it will be announced during Friday prayers. Bill Roggio at The Long War Journal has this Report: Sadr to extend cease-fire
  • Muqtada al Sadr, the leader of the Sadrist movement and the commander of the Mahdi Army, has ordered the extension of the cease-fire, anonymous senior officials in his movement have told Reuters. The cease-fire, which was put in place after a major clash in Najaf in August 2007, will be extended by six months.

This is certainly good news. Mookie could have made 2008 somewhat painful if he had allowed the Mahdi Army to start up the sectarian killings again.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Couple of beers in the bank

And, I'm just looking out for you guys. I had to replace the old dilapidated toilet in the second bathroom. You know, the one that gets high usage when we do the beers on the patio thing. I'm figuring that's worth at least 2 beer rewards that I'll just bank for now. Don't let me forget. We're in good shape for summer. Got a nice manly looking throne in there now. And, for an added bonus, it doesn't appear to be leaking! That might just be worth a third beer reward...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

So, what's our policy for ops inside Pakistan?

Looks like it's one of my favorites, you know the one, sometimes it's easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. From Pat Dollard - New U.S. Policy Is To Launch Pakistan Attacks Without Permission
  • In the predawn hours of Jan. 29, a CIA Predator aircraft flew in a slow arc above the Pakistani town of Mir Ali. The drone’s operator, relying on information secretly passed to the CIA by local informants, clicked a computer mouse and sent the first of two Hellfire missiles hurtling toward a cluster of mud-brick buildings a few miles from the town center.

    The missiles killed Abu Laith al-Libi, a senior al-Qaeda commander and a man who had repeatedly eluded the CIA’s dragnet. It was the first successful strike against al-Qaeda’s core leadership in two years, and it involved, U.S. officials say, an unusual degree of autonomy by the CIA inside Pakistan.

More from Totten in Fallujah

Michael J. Totten has another Fallujah post put up yesterday called The Dungeon of Fallujah
  • FALLUJAH – Next to the Joint Communications Center in downtown Fallujah is a squalid and war-shattered warehouse for human beings. Most detainees are common criminals. Others are captured insurgents – terrorists, car-bombers, IED makers, and throat-slashers. A few are even innocent family members of Al Qaeda leaders at large. The Iraqi Police call it a jail, but it's nothing like a jail you've ever seen, at least not in any civilized country. It was built to house 120 prisoners. Recently it held 900.

The heat is still on Mookie and the special groups

From Bill Roggio at The Long War Journal Pressure on Sadr and the Iranian-backed Special Groups continues
  • As previously reported at The Long War Journal, US and Iraqi forces have stepped up operations against the Iranian-backed and Mahdi Army-linked Special Groups terror cells. The increase in activity comes as Muqtada al Sadr is deliberating the reinstatement or cancellation of the self-imposed cease-fire.

Make a note that we're still waiting on Mookie to decide if he keeps his ceasefire going or not. I think the six months are all but up on that.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A little debunking

Iraqpundit has the lowdown on the myth that we are creating more terrorists by being at war in Iraq. “Sunni extremism is now in retreat."
  • Former CIA case Officer Reuel Marc Gerecht argues today that, barring a precipitous U.S. abandonment of the country, “Iraq could well become America's decisive victory over Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda and all those Muslims who believe that God has sanctified violence against the United States.”

Just in case you hadn't heard

Maliki declared "Victory in Baghdad" yesterday. I'm sure you've already read it in the newspapers or seen it on the news, right? Yeah, right...

From Pat Dollard - Maliki Thanks America For Victory Over Al Qaeda
  • BAGHDAD — Iraq’s prime minister declared “victory in Baghdad” yesterday, claiming U.S. and Iraqi troops have chased al-Qaida in Iraq out of the capital in the year since a security crackdown began, and vowing to pursue insurgents who have fled northward.

    In remarks broadcast on state television, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki thanked the U.S. military and its allies for “standing with us in defeating terrorism.”

Sons of Iraq

Teflon Don from Acute Politics has his first article posted at The Long War Journal called Sons of Iraq. As a refresher for you, TD was in Anbar province for most of 2007 as a Marine performing route clearance and he blogged it pretty steadily. He's managed to get back to Iraq as an independent journalist working for Bill Roggio's Public Multimedia Inc.. So, his first article is posted.
  • As Coalition forces in Iraq have moved to a doctrine centered more on counterinsurgency and begun to engage the sheikhs, the military has relied more and more on security forces supplied by local sheikhs to point out bad guys, weapon caches, and IEDs. In Arab Jabour, those forces are called Sons of Iraq.

    Sayifiyah, in southern Arab Jabour, had local villagers trying to start a Sons of Iraq program before US forces even reached their village.

TD has slideshow to go along with it at In Pictures: The Sons of Iraq

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Yahoo, Beer rewards!

Had a great day. Went out this morning for the first cigarette and looked up to see a strange bird flying towards my house. I watched it fly directly over and saw that it was a bald eagle! That's a great way to start the day. I determined at that point it gets a beer reward.

Made a run up the road to J.C. Penny's as the big and fat department was having a sale. got 4 shirts at half off. Bingo, beer reward number two! Also went to Sears to get some craftsman tools for the next project. They were on sale at $70 dollars off. Yep, another beer reward.

Installed the K&N cold air intake on the mustang. Beer reward obviously.

Mom and Dad called to ask me to feed the dog as they were heading to Denver for the evening. Upon completion of that mission, another beer reward.

I'm doing a quick blog and then it's time for some serious collections.

Like I said, it's been a great day...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Friday humor

A woman woke in the middle of the night to find her husband missing from their bed. In the stillness of the house, she could hear a muffled sound downstairs.

She went downstairs and looked around, still not finding her husband. Listening again, she could definitely hear moaning. She went down to the basement where she finally found her husband crouched in the corner facing the wall, sobbing. "What's wrong with you?" she asked him.

"Remember when your father caught us having sex when you were sixteen?" he replied. "And remember he said I had two choices: I could either marry you, or spend the next twenty years in prison." Baffled, she said, "Yes, I remember, so what?"

The husband sobbed, "I would have gotten out today

Iraq and the general election

I had earlier thought that Iraq might be a back burner issue come election time. I had the impression the troop levels would be drawn down a lot, therefore making the "get out of Iraq" calls somewhat muted. I might have read that wrong though. From David Ignatius at The Washington Post we have Bush's Iraq Calculus.
  • The last thing the Bush White House would want, you might think, would be to make the 2008 presidential election a referendum on the unpopular war in Iraq. The 2006 congressional elections were such a referendum, and the Republicans got hammered.

    But President Bush, newly confident that his troop-surge strategy is working, is taking steps that are likely to guarantee another Iraq-driven election. He favors keeping a big U.S. force in Iraq through the November elections, probably close to the pre-surge level of 130,000 troops. That large presence will draw Democratic fire -- and it will make the presidential contest all the more a test between a pro-war Republican nominee and an antiwar Democrat.

I think I can see the logic, but read the whole thing and make up your own mind.

Iraqi political progress

From Small Wars Journal is Movement on the Political Front, Finally.
  • In the it's about time category there seems to be some movement towards national political reconciliation in Iraq. In today's New York Times Alissa Rubin reports that Iraq’s parliament approved three measures - the 2008 budget, a law outlining the scope of provincial powers and an amnesty that would apply to thousands of the detainees held in Iraqi jails.

We'll see if the Democrats even acknowledge this has happened. My bet is not...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Set back for Hezbollah

Bill Roggio at The Long War Journal is reporting on the death of a major Hezbollah leader with Hezbollah terrorist leader Imad Mugniyah killed in Syria. Neither Israel or the U.S. are going to admit that we know anything about what happened. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge...
  • Imad Mugniyah, the leader of Hezbollah’s military wing and a senior officer in Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, was killed in yesterday’s car bombing in Damascus, Syria. Mugniyah was behind multiple terror attacks against US, Israel, and other nations, and most famously the 1983 Beirut suicide attacks which killed 241 US Marines and 58 French paratroopers. Hezbollah has confirmed Mugniyah’s death, and has issued the following statement:

Al Qaeda on the run

From MNF-I is Al Qaeda Fighters Flee Cities, Head for Desert or Out of Iraq
  • Citizens in the four-province region of Multi-National Division - North have begun shifting their support to Coalition and Iraqi forces in “droves,” and security gains are increasingly putting extremists on the run with no clear place to go to be safe, said Army Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, commander of Multi-National Division - North and the U.S. Army’s 1st Armored Division. The northern division is about the size of Pennsylvania and includes Diyala, Salahuddin, Ninevah and Tamim provinces.

Iraq politics, continued

Bill Ardolino at The Long War Journal has Inside Iraqi politics – Part 3. Examining the legislative branch posted now.
  • Understanding the constitutional structure and current composition of Iraq’s legislative branch is a prerequisite to analyzing the much-maligned progress of key legislation. As with the executive, the political diversity of Iraq’s legislature presents many significant challenges and a few opportunities to meeting the legislative benchmarks considered important to stability and reconciliation.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

More information on the Iraq Security Forces

Michael Yon has RUBs: Dinner with General Dubik posted which is pretty informative on the ISF. RUBS, for those unfamiliar with Yon's work, are Raw Unedited and Barely Spell checked, as he types them up on the fly between missions.
  • Tuesday, 12 February 2008

    [Baghdad] One of the most important measures of progress in Iraq is the development of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). In order for our troops to draw down without squandering the tremendous recent gains, Iraqis must be able to govern and protect their own country. There are conflicting reports concerning the ISF’s capability and reliability. Understanding that this is a complex issue which depends to a great extent on projections, predictions and interpretations rather than hard facts, I will describe the situation as I see it.

More from Fallujah

Michael J. Totten has The Final Mission, Part III up now.
  • ANBAR PROVINCE, IRAQ – The United States plans to hand Anbar Province over to the Iraqis next month if nothing catastrophic erupts between now and then. The Marines will stick around a while longer, though, and complete their crucial last mission – training the Iraqi Police to replace them.

Monday, February 11, 2008

So, how's the new tree feeder doing?

Glad you asked. It's truly an economy car. Well, compared to what it replaced, it's an economy car. I took a drive on Sunday and visited my daughter. Just kind of dropped in out of the blue and gave her and her Mom rides in it, then drove back. Daughter seems to like it, although she wants a better stereo in it. I'll have to look into that. For me though, just listening to the pipes is good...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What's left of Al Qaeda in Iraq?

Bill Roggio has the answer over at The Long War Journal. Al Qaeda in Iraq under pressure in Balad, Anbar is complete with a good map of Al Qaeda's diminished areas.
  • A document seized by US forces in Balad and a communiqué from al Qaeda in Iraq's leader intercepted by US intelligence paint a bleak picture of the terror group's ability to conduct operations in former strongholds. Al Qaeda in Iraq is threatened by the rise of the Awakening movements spreading throughout Iraq and is forced to change its tactics.

Yon headed to Mosul

From email:


South Baghdad has truly quieted down. There is still some violence reminding us this is not over, but I walked down the street of one neighborhood the other day wearing no body armor or helmet.

I mentioned back in December that I expected US casualties likely would rise in January and February, and unfortunately this is occurring. The same is likely to happen in March. This masks the reality that much progress is being made and Iraq as a whole appears to be settling down, because it is easy to cherry pick facts that make it appear worse than it is. I believe that JAM is cooperating more than is being reported in the news.

The increased US causalities are to be expected due to the rapidly diminishing habitat for al Qaeda. Al Qaeda continues to get hammered south of Baghdad, out in Diyala, up in Salah ad Dinh, Nineveh, and other places, but of course some of them always squirt and escape.

Many al Qaeda have "escaped" to (or are being trapped in? ) Mosul. There are reports that al Qaeda has learned from their mistakes and are treating the people in Mosul better than they have treated people elsewhere; this could make it tougher to root them out of Mosul. But these reports are ambiguous: AQI typically treats people mostly well when they first move in, but the pattern is clear: eventually they go Helter Skelter and start cutting off kids' heads and so forth.

I expect fierce fighting to unfold in Mosul, and I should be there in a few days.

On Monday, I'll talk on the Dennis Miller show, and Tuesday on NPR. Please click here for more information, and to see three "Photos of the Year" (almost), that I shot in Iraq.



Saturday, February 9, 2008

The failed goat farmer may be done

Rumor has it that Adam Gadahn might have taken one for his team. Bill Roggio at The Long War Journal is reporting Adam Gadahn rumored killed in North Waziristan strike. I'm pretty sure, if this is true, it's a matter of wrong place, wrong time, for Gadahn. I can't see our military actually targeting the goat farmer as he was so lame he probably helped our propaganda more than he helped Al Qaeda's propaganda.
  • One day after a Pakistani newspaper reported al Qaeda propagandist Adam Gadahn may have been killed in the same airstrike that killed al Qaeda leader Abu Laith al Libi, the rumor remains unconfirmed.

More Iraq politics

Bill Ardolino at The Long War Journal has Inside Iraqi politics – Part 2. A look at executive branch progress up now.
  • The Government of Iraq’s executive branch has several goals central to maintaining security gains and achieving sectarian reconciliation: effective hiring and management of the highly publicized Concerned Local Citizens (CLCs), the auxiliary security forces greatly responsible for the significant reduction in violence; the delivery of reconstruction resources, including basic services, to Baghdad and the provinces; and the creation of jobs and economic opportunity for average Iraqis.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Friday humor

Pay me a compliment

A woman, standing nude, looks in the bedroom mirror and says to her husband, "I feel horrible, I look fat and ugly. You need to pay me a compliment".

The husband replies, "Your eyesight's damn near perfect".

He never heard the shot..

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The state of politics in Iraq

Bill Ardolino at The Long War Journal has started a multi-part series on the political situation in Iraq that's pretty in depth and informative. The first installment is up called Inside Iraqi politics – Part 1. Examining the Iraqi executive branch
  • Security gains in Iraq have maintained momentum for five months and the focus has turned to spurring and gauging the country’s political progress. The ultimate goal of the troop surge executed by the military was for improved security to provide “breathing room” for such progress, which can be simplified to three fronts: “ground-up” political progress, executive political progress by the federal government, and federal legislative progress.

Mookie's ceasefire

Muqtada al Sadr had his Mahdi army stand down for six months and that time frame is just about up. Bill Roggio at The Long War Journal takes a look at the situation and what Mookie might do with Coalition, Mahdi Army clash over cease-fire
  • As Muqtada al Sadr's self-imposed six-month cease-fire for the Mahdi Army nears an end, the war of words and between Multinational Forces Iraq and the Mahdi Army has heated up. Over the past several days, Multinational Forces Iraq has stated the attacks from the Special Groups have intensified, while leaders within the Mahdi Army are calling for an end to the cease-fire.

Tet and what actually happened

The Tet offensive during the Vietnam war has been discussed a lot lately and related to the situation in Iraq, and for good reason. To really understand the comparison, a little history lesson is in order. Arthur Herman at The Wall Street Journal has The Lies of Tet posted which covers it well.
  • On January 30, 1968, more than a quarter million North Vietnamese soldiers and 100,000 Viet Cong irregulars launched a massive attack on South Vietnam. But the public didn't hear about who had won this most decisive battle of the Vietnam War, the so-called Tet offensive, until much too late.

    Media misreporting of Tet passed into our collective memory. That picture gave antiwar activism an unwarranted credibility that persists today in Congress, and in the media reaction to the war in Iraq. The Tet experience provides a narrative model for those who wish to see all U.S. military successes -- such as the Petraeus surge -- minimized and glossed over.

Politics in the NIE admitted

The director of national intelligence is backing off of the NIE report that came out late last year which claimed that Iran had stopped it's nuclear weapons program in 2003. He says now he should have worded it differently. In other words, Iran only halted one third of the nuclear weapons program. The continual enrichment of uranium and the developing of long range rockets to deliver the weapons did not actually stop at all. From Eli Lake at The New York Sun is U.S. Spy Chief Retreats on Iran Estimate.
  • At a hearing yesterday of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the intelligence director, Michael McConnell, said, "If I had 'til now to think about it, I probably would change a few things." He later added, "I would change the way we describe the Iranian nuclear program. I would have included that there are the component parts, that the portion of it, maybe the least significant, had halted."

What a friggin' relief that the least significant part was what had halted. Thanks for the accuracy in reporting in that initial report, Mr. McConnell.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The Teflon Don

TD over at Acute Politics is on his way back to Iraq. This time he's going as a independent journalist working with Bill Roggio from The Long War Journal. Check out (and check back with) Teflon Don at Acute Politics. Start off with his On the Road Again. You will enjoy his writing style. He blogged from Anbar Province through most of 2007 as a Marine performing route clearance missions.

Bumper sticker

Seen on the way home from work tonight:

"Black Holes - When God divides by zero"

The fantasy war

Tom Donnelly at The Weekly Standard has Dissonance on Iraq (subtitle Cartoonish views of the war) up in which he looks into the Hollywood/liberals view of the Military and the situation in Iraq. In it he brings up a good point in that part of the problem with how it's viewed is the fact that people's minds are already made up on it. Most people don't really want to check out the milblogs to see what's going on. They most likely wouldn't believe you or I if we were to try to explain what we're seeing reported on security and political progress happening from the ground up. They would already "know" something completely different.
  • The problem for Democrats is that their core belief that those fighting in Iraq are simply victims translates into a rhetorical kind of pity that strikes a military mind as condescending. Thus Sen. Barack Obama, in his otherwise soaring speech after his South Carolina primary win, sympathizing with "the soldier who doesn't know his child because he's on his third or fourth tour of duty." Or his opponent, Sen. Hillary Clinton, promising, on the same night, that "when we bring them home [from Iraq], we're going to take care of them. They have been neglected and ignored. . . . We're going to give them the health care and compensation and support they deserve to have."

Monday, February 4, 2008

More from Michael J. Totten

Just in case you aren't checking in on him, Michael J. Totten has The Final Mission, Part II posted and you need to read it. Make yourself a note to follow the whole series. He and Yon are continuing to provide very unique perspectives to the goings on in Iraq.
  • FALLUJAH – The United States military plans to formally hand over Anbar Province to the Iraqis this spring because the insurgency truly is finished in that part of the country. Most Americans have heard about the success in this province by now, but few seem to be aware that the cities of Anbar were the scenes of the most ferocious fighting: Ramadi, Haditha, and – worst of all – Fallujah.

The Democrats and the Iraq battle

I've pointed out before that the Democrats have married up to defeat in the war against Al Qaeda when it comes to the battle in Iraq. I thought that sometime after Petraeus came back last September and reported about the progress of the strategy he employed for 2007 they'd have to shift their stance to something supportive. For some reason, they haven't. More on that from Fred Schwarz over at National Review Online in his Will Vietnam Cost the Democrats the White House -- Again?
  • A year after the American troop surge in Iraq began, its success is clear, even to Newsweek, the Washington Post, and Rep. John Murtha. As Wesley Morgan details in the current issue of National Review, violence is way down, American troop levels are decreasing, tribal leaders are casting their lot with America, and a tattered al-Qaeda is on the run. Yet most leading Democrats sound like they haven’t heard the news.

The Global Warming problem

The problem with global warming isn't as much what is causing it as it is what the recommended remedies for it are. Whether it's man made, or a natural occurrence, almost makes no difference. The global warming alarmists are taking us down a road that we need to understand and make every attempt to get heading in the right direction. It's easy to get into the argument on whether it's man made or not, or if it's even happening (not all that apparent in the last decade), but when we do that we lose track of these absurd remedies the alarmists have come up with.

For instance, read what George F. Will has to say about The Biofuel Follies over at Newsweek.
  • To avoid drilling for oil in ANWR, the planet savers evidently prefer destroying forests that absorb greenhouse gases.

Make a note that in developing our biofuels we produce almost as much greenhouse gas emissions as we do using what we're trying to replace. And, we also run up the price of food as we take that source and try to convert it to fuel while we destroy forests which naturally take CO2 out of the atmosphere.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Iraq oil info

The New York Post has an informative article posted called AT LAST, AN IRAQ OIL RUSH DELIVERS $15B ...
  • February 3, 2008 -- The gaunt 52-year-old Iraqi army private stands on top of a rudimentary guard post fashioned from huge, sand-filled hessian sacks, brandishing a rifle.

    The post stands in a strip of featureless brown desert, broader than a motorway, which is flanked by deep ditches, great earthen berms and chain-link fences covered in coiled razor wire that stretch away to the horizon in two almost impenetrable parallel lines.

It's worth noting that we are investing in infrastructure that is easier to protect from sabotage. Iraq would have had problems with this forever if it hadn't been addressed.

Worth remembering

Or, if you're young enough, worth learning for the first time. J. Peter Pham at The Tank has Remembering the Real Tet Offensive
  • In a column in today's Ottawa Citizen, journalist David Warren recalls how forty years ago Viet Cong guerrillas and North Vietnamese regulars violated a negotiated truce to launch what became known, after the Vietnamese lunar new year, as the "Tet Offensive," a total military defeat from which they nonetheless salvaged a propaganda victory.

New tree feeder update

I've been playing most of the weekend with the new tree feeder. Filled it up this afternoon so I could see just how bad the gas mileage will be, and was somewhat surprised. I actually got 18 mpg which is actually 2 mpg better than I used to get in the Explorer. That's pretty amazing as I haven't really lifted my foot of the floor while I feel the car out. Wonder how much it will improve if I start driving like a normal person...

Alright, I'll start getting back to blogging. Maybe not much tonight as I'm a little sidetracked with the Super Bowl, but I should at least get to finding stuff tomorrow night.

Friday, February 1, 2008