John McCain gave a major foreign policy address in Los Angeles Wednesday, and if his intention was to convey a subtle message about what distinguishes him from the current White House occupant, he seems to have succeeded -- at least with the press.
The presumptive Republican nominee spoke of the need for a "new global compact" based on "mutual respect and trust," of adding "luster to America's image in the world," and of "paying a 'decent respect to the opinions of mankind.'" The media played it all up as an attempt to distance himself from the "unilateral" President Bush, although the Arizona Republican never used that word.
We fully understand why Mr. McCain feels the need to show that his Administration would not simply be a third Bush term. But with Mr. Bush's days in office nearing an end, it's worth blowing apart the myth of the "go it alone" Presidency. The truth is that, with a couple of exceptions, he's been the model of a modern multilateralist.
Friday, March 28, 2008
Fighting in Basrah and Baghdad and throughout much of the South continues as Iraqi security forces and Multinational Forces Iraq press the fight against the Mahdi Army and other Iranian-backed terror groups. The Iraqi Army has moved additional forces to Basrah as the US and Iraqi military have conducted significant engagements in Shia areas of Baghdad. The Mahdi Army has taken significant casualties. The US military has denied the Mahdi Army has taken control of checkpoints in Baghdad.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
It comes in many forms. There's "phased withdrawal" or "responsible troop redeployment" (a Pelosi fave) or "phased redeployment" or "refocus America's efforts on the wider struggle yet to be won."
Each has a nice ring, to whichever ear seeks to hear such pretty words wrapped around the ambition to look for surrender wherever and whenever an extra vote or campaign dollar can be mustered. None say, specifically, what the intention is, nor do they describe what the net result will be once the Tuck Tail and Run Doctrine™ has been enacted.
- Let's let you two in on a little secret, Congressmen. We already knew that you - and your colleague Bonior - were being enthusiastically used by the Hussein regime to hamper the American war effort. It wasn't exactly hidden, after all. 9/11 had demonstrated quite graphically that our working definition of "acceptable risk" with regard to rogue states needed drastic revamping, and under any civilized or rational standard the Iraqi situation was intolerable. So there's no reason to be shocked now that the late, unlamented genocidist might have been more than happy to smooth your path to Baghdad and dishonor.
We just hadn't realized that he was actively paying your way.
Monday, March 24, 2008
KARMAH, IRAQ – Just beyond the outskirts of Fallujah lies the terror-wracked city of Karmah. While you may not have heard of this small city of 35,000 people, American soldiers and Marines who served in Anbar Province know it as a terrifying place of oppression, death, and destruction. “It was much worse than Fallujah” said more than a dozen Marines who were themselves based in Fallujah.
- The sun was setting over Nineveh as four terrorists driving tons of explosives closed on their targets. On August 14, 2007, the Yezidi villages of Qahtaniya and Jazeera were under attack, but only the terrorists knew it as they drove their trucks straight into the hearts of the communities.
The shockwave from detonation far outpaced the speed of sound. Buildings and humans were ripped apart and hurled asunder. Superheated poisonous gases from the explosions gathered the smoke and dust and lofted heavenward, while the second detonation quickly followed. The terrorists had landed their first blows straight through the heart of the Yezidi community, turning a wedding party into hundreds of funerals.
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Newly declassified documents show a number of links between the Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein and violent terrorist or Islamist groups, many of them dating from the early 1990s.
A Pentagon-funded study of the documents failed to find a direct link between Saddam and al Qaeda, the group that carried out the September 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. But it did establish Iraqi support for Egyptian Islamic Jihad, whose leader Ayman al-Zawahri merged the group with al Qaeda years later.
A growing number of foreign fighters are leaving or attempting to flee Iraq as U.S. and Iraqi forces have weakened al-Qaeda and forced its members from former strongholds, U.S. military officials say.
The trend reflects a broad disenchantment among foreign fighters, particularly since al-Qaeda has lost sanctuaries in parts of Baghdad and Anbar, a Sunni province west of the capital, U.S. military intelligence officials say.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
- By now everyone sees what he wishes in Iraq — a disaster of many proportions, a necessary war that will still be won. Liberals who used to demand that we promote democracy abroad are fierce critics of Iraqi democracy; conservatives, who want an iron hand dealing with a hostile Middle East, support spending hundreds of billions of dollars in rebuilding Iraqi society.
So it will be left to historians, as has been true in the case of the far-more-costly Korean and Vietnam wars, to adjudicate the final verdict.
This alarming report caught my eye this morning:
The Arctic seems to be warming up. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters, and explorers who sail the seas about Spitzbergen and the eastern Arctic, all point to a radical change in climatic conditions, and hitherto unheard-of high temperatures in that part of the Earth's surface.
Okay, maybe we really should be getting worried.
- We've been at war in Iraq for 5 long years now, with more long years to go (assuming, of course, that we don't pull out like naive teenagers). I wonder, though... who remembers (without looking!) when the war began in Afghanistan?
Jules Crittenden has your roundup of blogger opinion and editorial opinion on the anniversary.
It took5 years to research what a lot of those serving in Iraq already took prima facie, but Havard University social scientists believe there is a link between public criticism of the war and increases in violent insurgent attacks.
Monday, March 17, 2008
He's got a great writing style and we need more Milblogs from Iraq. He also season's up his site with some great tunes. Check out his latest called Deep Thoughts with Biggie Smalls
- As someone whose foreign language efforts usually resemble beluga whale mating calls, I have zero right to criticize non-English primary speakers attempts at my native language. I rationalize this by saying that my love for the English language is just too pure and too right to be tainted by something else, but really, who knows. I guess that synapse hadn’t connected yet before I escaped the womb in a Caesarian jailbreak. I even dated a French chick for a few months and never made any serious progression to learn her language. If a woman can’t make you do something despite all her harassments to the contrary, it probably isn’t meant to happen.
He has that white on dark thing going that's hard to read, so you may have to take it in small doses or you'll get a headache.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Permit me, please, to ask a very basic and fundamental question that must be answered:
Are we, the United States, fighting a War on Terror, or are we just fighting a War on Al-Qaeda Senior Leadership?
Answering this question would go a long way toward unspinning and unpacking what most Americans probably see as a dizzying contrast in reporting. Case in point: Consider the headlines that followed the disclosure of the latest Iraq Perspectives Project analyzing hundreds of thousands of Iraqi documents and other intelligence captured in Iraq.
ABC: Report Shows No Link Between Saddam and al Qaeda
CNN: Hussein's Iraq and al Qaeda not linked, Pentagon says
New York Times: Study Finds No Qaeda-Hussein Tie
Washington Post: Study Discounts Hussein, Al-Qaeda Link
AFP: No link between Saddam and Al-Qaeda: Pentagon study
McClatchy: Exhaustive review finds no link between Saddam and al Qaida
The headlines and the narrative dictated by the bodies of the stories hover over a single sentence in the Executive Summary, which reads:
"This study found no 'smoking gun' (i.e., direct connection) between Saddam's Iraq and al Qaeda."
The journalists cherry-picked a single sentence out of a 94-page report and have written multitudes of stories on it. One can question whether some of the writers even read the report beyond that line, which appears in the second paragraph.
Friday, March 14, 2008
That's always been BS. You know it and I know it. Michael Weiss over at Pajama's Media breaks it down and goes In Focus: Saddam's Ties to Global Terrorism.
- The most important findings of the new Pentagon report on Iraq’s prewar sponsorship of jihadism have gone unnoticed by the MSM, says Michael Weiss. Here’s what you should know.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
In a trial, a Southern small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly woman to the stand. He approached her and asked, 'Mrs. Jones, do you know me?' She responded, 'Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a boy, and frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you'll never amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you.'
The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, 'Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?'
She again replied, 'Why yes, I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He's lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can't build a normal relationship with anyone, and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. One of them was your wife. Yes, I know him.'
The defense attorney nearly died.
The judge asked both counselors to approach the bench and, in a very quiet voice, said,
'If either of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I'll send you both to the electric chair.'
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
From The New York Post's Amir Taheri is IRAN'S FEAR - IRAQ'S CHANCE
March 11, 2008 -- 'I HAVE lost hope of liberating Iraq and turning it into an Is lamic society." So said Muqtada al-Sadr in an open letter to his followers published last week.
LACK of electricity is still a big problem in Iraq, and there’s lots of blame to go around. Much of it goes to the usual suspects: too many insurgent attacks, too few experienced engineers and technicians. But there’s another factor, big and getting bigger, which you probably haven’t read about. It’s one that Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and his bureaucrats could solve quickly, if they wanted to: Iraq’s Ministries of Oil and Electricity are at loggerheads.
The building of new combat outposts has been an integral part of the counterinsurgency plan to secure Mosul. The expansion of the outposts inside the city, as well as the rebuilding of a berm surrounding the city, is seen as vital elements in reducing the violence in the northern city.
Monday, March 10, 2008
One little adjustment is needed, however. The Mustang has sensors that can tell when someone is sitting in the passengers seat, as opposed to "just hauling grocery's". The 160 pound keg appears to be "people" to the system, so I'll need to actually strap it in with the seatbelt. The seatbelt warning bell went off a dozen times on the short drive home from the liquor store.
All in all, that's not too bad for a first time trial run. Hopefully, in a couple of months when I need to do this again, I'll remember the seatbelt thing...
The funny thing is, I saw that the "passenger airbag is off" light was off and had thought to myself "cool, if I get in a wreck, the airbag will save the keg!". Too bad I didn't add it up.
ANBAR PROVINCE, IRAQ – The Iraqi town of Al Farris looks like a model Soviet city up close and a rounded square from the sky. Saddam Hussein built it to house workers in the now-defunct weapons factory to the east, and they live in neighborhoods called City 1, City 2, City 3, City 4, and City 5. “Socialist living at its finest,” Sergeant Edward Guerrero said as we rolled through the gates in a Humvee. The place made me think of Libya, where I have been, and North Korea, where I have not.
To start off with, Bill Roggio at The Long War Journal reports on the Targeting Mosul’s kidnappers
MOSUL, IRAQ: As al Qaeda and allied extremist groups attempt to regroup in the northern city of Mosul, kidnappings inside the city have spiked in the past week. Six Iraqis have been kidnapped in the last six days. The latest victim was a Muslim sheikh.
Men crept in darkness to plant a bomb. They moved in an area where last year I was helping to collect fallen American soldiers from the battlefield.
Terrorists. The ones who murder children in front of their parents. The ones who take drugs and rape women and boys. The ones who blow up schools. The ones who have been forcibly evicted from places like Anbar Province, Baghdad and Baqubah by American and Iraqi forces. Terrorists are here now in Mosul. They call themselves al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI). AQI cannot win without Baghdad, and cannot survive without Mosul. The Battle for Mosul is evolving into AQI’s last great stand.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Great commanders often come in pairs: Eisenhower and Patton, Grant and Sherman, Napoleon and Davout, Marlborough and Eugene, Caesar and Labienus. Generals David Petraeus and Raymond Odierno can now be added to the list.
It's natural to assume that successful pairs of commanders complement each other's personalities (the diplomatic Eisenhower and the hard-charging Patton, for example) or that the junior partner is merely executing the vision of the other (Sherman seen as acting on Grant's orders). In reality, the task of planning and conducting large-scale military operations is too great for any single commander, no matter how talented his staff. The subordinate in every successful command pair has played a key role in designing and implementing the campaign plan.
History does not always justly appreciate such contributions. The role that Davout played in shaping operational plans for Napoleon is a matter for specialists. General Odierno deserves better. He played an absolutely essential role in designing and executing the successful counterinsurgency operations in Iraq. His contributions to securing Iraq offer many important lessons for fighting the larger war on terror. As he and his team return to Fort Hood, Texas, it is important not only to commemorate their achievement, but also to understand it.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
MOSUL, Iraq - Two mothers, one Iraqi and one American, stood looking at one another at an entrance gate at Forward Operating Base Marez, Iraq. One was crying, looking for help and the other on the verge of tears because she could not provide assistance.
The show was about the birth of the internet and there was absolutely now mention of Al Gore in it anywhere. Man, talk about a glaring error they should have picked up early on. Everyone knows Al invented the internet so I'm amazed they didn't correct the shows creators before buying into the project. Now, they have no credibility whatsoever.
They probably won't even give him credit for inventing global warming, either.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
FALLUJAH, IRAQ – Captain Steve Eastin threw open the door to the Iraqi Police captain’s office and cancelled a joint American-Iraqi officer’s meeting before it could even begin. “Someone just shot at my Marines,” he said. “We can’t do this right now.”
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
I was listening to Sirius Buzz saw and the intro to an old Doors song was a clip from a British comedian (I'm assuming) and he was saying, the cemetery where Jim Morrison is buried wanted to dig him up and move him to another cemetery. Apparently, his fans stop by and hold vigils from time to time and the caretakers were tired of picking up beer bottles, used condoms, drug needles, and, well, you get the picture.
As the comedian aptly pointed out, the dude's been dead for thirty years he's still getting kicked out of places for partying...
Monday, March 3, 2008
One year ago, in the wake of the Democrats recapturing Congress, it was unimaginable that in 2008, Republicans (or for that matter, any American politicians) would be emphasizing military and political successes in Iraq. But thanks to the outstanding leadership of Gen. David Petraeus and the men and women who participated in the Iraq troop surge, things have changed quite dramatically. For now, their achievements sem to have sapped the MoveOn.org, anti-war- movement crowd of much of its political support and energy.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
March 2, 2008 -- Barack Obama says he's got the perfect prescription for Iraq: Pull out all American troops now, but then rush back in once al Qaeda overruns the place - which, of course, it would after a US cut-and-run.
Actually, Obama didn't really promise to confront a resurgent al Qaeda - only that he "would always reserve the right to go in and strike" if "al Qaeda is forming a base in Iraq."
John McCain rightly noted just how nonsensical that position is - by pointing out to Obama that "al Qaeda already is in Iraq."
To which Obama replied: "There was no such thing as al Qaeda in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq."
Just as it's true that there used to be two tall office buildings in downtown Manhattan until al Qaeda in Afghanistan - that is to say, radical Islam - decided to knock them down, initiating a global war that has taken many unpredictable turns since then.
As it will continue to do, no matter who is elected president in November.
- The fifth ship of the new San Antonio class, the New York already holds a special place in the hearts of Americans because the steel that makes up her bow section includes steel salvaged from the World Trade Center.