Friday, March 28, 2008

That Cowboy diplomacy myth

The Bush Derangement Syndrome people have as one of their favorite sayings regarding President Bush as using "Cowboy Diplomacy" in his foreign affairs dealings. It's used in a derogatory fashion and it implies that Bush prefers to go it alone and doesn't bother to consult with allies before acting. You've all heard it before and you've also heard how that's damaged our credibility around the world. All three leading candidates for President are using this as something they will change if you would just elect them. Interestingly though, the facts don't support the claim. From the Wall Street Journal is Bush the Multilateralist.
  • 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.

Sucks to be one of Mookie's boys

In what is a critical test of the Iraqi Security Forces, Mookie's Mahdi army is attempting to stand up to the Iraq government in Baghdad and Basrah. Bill Roggio from The Long War Journal reports that Fighting in Baghdad, South against Mahdi Army completes fourth day.
  • 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.

If you remember, last year the British handed off Basrah to Iraq control and started moving their people out of country. Basrah is a great example of what can happen if we recklessly pull our troops out per Clinton or Obama's plans before the Iraq security forces are up to the job of holding the security gains.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A couple of good Redstate reads

First off, Haystack has Visions Of Phased Withdrawal Dancing In Democrat Heads which highlights the major problems of the Democrat plan to surrender Iraq to Al Qaeda.
And, just to underscore that the Democrats have been doing their best to undermine American security, Moe Lane has Jim, you ignorant slut.
  • 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

The awakening of Karmah

Michael J. Totten has a new series of posts started with The Liberation of Karmah, Part I.
  • 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.

More bad news for Al Qaeda

Michael Yon has Stake Through Their Hearts: posted.
  • 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.
Another dispatch with great writing and great photography.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Dressing up the Mustang

Added louvers to the 1/4 windows.

Friday, March 21, 2008

You'll do a double take on this one

Pat Dollard reports on a Washington Times article that states Saddam Worked With Terror Groups
  • 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.

The link between Saddam and terrorism has been known for years, but it's interesting to see the liberal media actually report it.

Al Qaeda's Iraq problem

From Pat Dollard is Foreign Fighters Fleeing Iraq
  • 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.

Clinton and Obama aren't the only ones wanting us out of Iraq.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The two Michaels

Michael J. Totten has What Iraqis Want You to Hear which is a little insight into the latest Iraq poll whose numbers have improved.
Michael Yon's website has been redone. Didn't see any new dispatches, but I like the look of the new site. You need to check out the new look.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Looking at Iraq

From Victor Davis Hanson over at The National Review Online is a great read on Iraq called Mirror, Mirror ...
  • 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.

Alarming global warming news

Skanderbeg over at the Redstate blogs has Today's New "Global Warming" News and it's pretty bleak.
  • 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.

Go read the whole thing for the punchline.

Good reading

Teflon Don over at Acute Politics has 5 Years, 1 year posted.
  • 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

Another Milblog you need to follow

This one is Kaboom: A Soldier's War Journal

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.
If you have the time, go back through some of his latest and get up to date. If not, check back with him when you can. He seems to have a little Teflon Don in him.

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

More on the MSM misreporting

Steve Schippert over at The Tank has more on the misreporting of the Iraq Prospectives Project with his post Cherry-picking Intelligence: Saddam's Iraq and Terrorism

Friday, March 14, 2008

The "Saddam had no links to terrorism" myth revealed

Starting with the Houston Chronicle this week, all the MSM outlets twisted around a Pentagon report to make it what they wanted it to be. Reaffirming their long time argument that the Iraq war was bogus and that Iraq had no terrorist connections until we went to war there, and then the terrorists showed up.

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.
Most people will never understand this though...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Friday humor

Lawyers should never ask a Mississippi grandma a question if they aren't prepared for the answer.

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

Iran takes Mookie out of the game

Iran has decided to take Muqtada al Sadar out of Iraq's political scene for now. They intend on grooming him and preparing him to rule Iraq 5 or 10 years from now. Apparently Iran has lost confidence in the anti-war Democrats ability to hastily surrender Iraq to the nearby powers and Al Qaeda and have decided they need to plan longer term.

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.

Amir also points out that Iran may actually have another reason to do this though. If they continue to attempt to weaken the Maliki government, the could end up with an anti-Iranian coalition of Arab Sunnis, Kurds, and secular Shiites openly hostile to Iran and backed by the United States.

Iraq's electrical grid problem

I've wondered why it's been taking so long to get Iraqi's electrical power all the time. Apparently, the problem is not the dilapidated grid as much as the Iraqi Oil ministry not supplying fuel for the generators. Hat tip to Small Wars Journal Blogs for this from Glenn Zorpette at The New York Times online called Keeping Iraq in the Dark
  • 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.

That helps explain a little more some of the political hurdles the Iraq government has to overcome.

More on the battle for Mosul

Bill Roggio at The Long War Journal has a post up on Walling Mosul
  • 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.

Sounds like they're going to wall it off just as they did in Fallujah. Worked pretty well down there in cutting off access to the city for Al Qaeda. It will either keep them out or keep them in so they can be hunted down and eliminated.

Monday, March 10, 2008

And now for the really important stuff

I know you all were probably worrying that I wouldn't be able to haul the empty keg in and get the replacement keg home in the new tree feeder, but, you can relax. It worked just fine.

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.

Totten in Anbar

Another great writeup by Michael J. Totten in Anbar province. He spent some time In the Villages of Al Anbar
  • 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.

The battle for Mosul update

There's not much reporting on the battle for Mosul. Luckily, Bill Roggio and Michael Yon are there. That's probably the two most reliable Iraq war reporters we have, so we're okay.

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.

After that, check out Michael Yon's reporting from Mosul in his dispatch titled Guitar Heroes. This is another great eye opening piece by Yon that you must read. Man, I'm glad he got up there to bring us this stuff.
  • 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.

Both are must reads, actually. We got lucky and have the best two on hand covering Al Qaeda's last stand in Iraq. About the time it's over, the major news networks will discover it and send people to look into it but we will have already followed the Roggio and Yon reporting so, once again, we will be months ahead on the situation.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

General Raymond Odierno

Hat tip to The Victory Caucus for the pointer to a great article by Frederick W. Kagan and Kimberly Kagan over at The Weekly Standard called The Patton of Counterinsurgency
  • 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.

Worth reading as General Petraeus is generally getting the credit for the big turn around in Iraq and Odierno's contributions are largely unreported. It's a good reflection of what most likely will be recounted in the history books years from now. They were one hell of a team.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Here's a cool story

Michael Yon has a great read posted called Soldier makes helping Iraqi family personal mission
  • 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.

Well, that just ain't right

Just watched a show on The Discovery channel and they had it all wrong. I would have thought they would check their facts before airing any show, but apparently the don't.

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

Friday humor

I don't think I've ever seen it illustrated so well...

A little more insight into Iraq and our forces there

From Michael J. Totten is a great read called In the Slums of Fallujah
  • 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.”

Like I said, it's a great read and he gives some great insight into the good and bad of our forces over there.

Mailed off the first car payment

Yahoo! Just 71 more and this baby's mine, all mine!

Okay, that won't happen for awhile, so I'll just continue driving it like I stole it and enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Jim Morrison

Not sure how much truth there is to this one, but there's obvious humor.

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

Can the politics of surrender pay off?

You make the call. From the Washington Times we have Obama's politics of surrender
  • 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, anti-war- movement crowd of much of its political support and energy.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Obama's lack of understanding Iraq

Covered very well in an editorial at The New York Post called BARACK'S IRAQ ATTACK
  • 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."

    True enough.

    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.

It's scary stuff, ain't it?

The USS New York

Pinch over at Black Five reports that USS New York Christened
  • 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.