Thursday, June 30, 2005

Iraq and Al Qaeda 
Melanie Phillips lays out the connection:

Reporting from a well placed source disclosed that bin Laden was receiving training on bomb making from the IIS's [Iraqi Intelligence Service] principal technical expert on making sophisticated explosives, Brigadier Salim al-Ahmed. Brigadier Salim was observed at bin Laden's farm in Khartoum in Sept.-Oct. 1995 and again in July 1996, in the company of the Director of Iraqi Intelligence, Mani abd-al-Rashid al-Tikriti.

And then later, from the same source:

'The Director of Iraqi Intelligence, Mani abd-al-Rashid al-Tikriti, met privately with bin Laden at his farm in Sudan in July 1996. Tikriti used an Iraqi delegation traveling to Khartoum to discuss bilateral cooperation as his "cover" for his own entry into Sudan to meet with bin Laden and Hassan al-Turabi. The Iraqi intelligence chief and two other IIS officers met at bin Laden's farm and discussed bin Laden's request for IIS technical assistance in: a) making letter and parcel bombs; b) making bombs which could be placed on aircraft and detonated by changes in barometric pressure; and c) making false passport [sic]. Bin Laden specifically requested that [Brigadier Salim al-Ahmed], Iraqi intelligence's premier explosives maker--especially skilled in making car bombs--remain with him in Sudan. The Iraqi intelligence chief instructed Salim to remain in Sudan with bin Laden as long as required'.


'During a custodial interview, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi [a senior al Qaeda operative] said he was told by an al Qaeda associate that he was tasked to travel to Iraq (1998) to establish a relationship with Iraqi intelligence to obtain poisons and gases training. After the USS Cole bombing in 2000, two al Qaeda operatives were sent to Iraq for CBW-related [Chemical and Biological Weapons] training beginning in Dec 2000. Iraqi intelligence was "encouraged" after the embassy and USS Cole bombings to provide this training'.


The Sunday Telegraph’s Con Coughlin, Saddam's biographer, got hold of a top secret memo made available by Iraq's interim government which explicitly linked Saddam's regime to Mohammed Atta, the terrorist mastermind behind 9/11, and the Palestinian terrorist Abu Nidal. Written to Saddam by the former head of Iraq's intelligence service, it contained the following incendiary passage:

'Mohammed Atta, an Egyptian national, came with Abu Ammer (an Arabic nom-de-guerre - his real identity is unknown) and we hosted him in Abu Nidal's house at al-Dora under our direct supervision. We arranged a work programme for him for three days with a team dedicated to working with him . . . He displayed extraordinary effort and showed a firm commitment to lead the team which will be responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy'.

Note the date: July 1 2001


*Item: an article by Stephen Hayes, author of The Connection, about the evidence of links between Saddam and al Qaeda. He came up with new disclosures following the identification from captured documents of one Ahmed Hikmat Shakir as a Lt Colonel in Saddam's feared security force, the Fedayeen Saddam. An Iraqi of that name was known to have been present at al Qaeda planning meeting for 9/11. Now of course, it is possible that this could have been a quite different Iraqi who just happened to have the same name.


'Six days after September 11, Shakir was captured in Doha, Qatar. He had in his possession contact information for several senior al Qaeda terrorists: Zahid Sheikh Mohammed, brother of September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed; Musab Yasin, brother of Abdul Rahman Yasin, the Iraqi who helped mix the chemicals for the first World Trade Center attack and was given safe haven upon his return to Baghdad; and Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, otherwise known as Abu Hajer al Iraqi, described by one top al Qaeda detainee as Osama bin Laden's "best friend."

'Despite all of this, Shakir was released. On October 21, 2001, he boarded a plane for Baghdad, via Amman, Jordan. He never made the connection. Shakir was detained by Jordanian intelligence. Immediately following his capture, according to U.S. officials familiar with the intelligence on Shakir, the Iraqi government began exerting pressure on the Jordanians to release him. Some U.S. intelligence officials--primarily at the CIA--believed that Iraq's demand for Shakir's release was pro forma, no different from the requests governments regularly make on behalf of citizens detained by foreign governments. But others, pointing to the flurry of phone calls and personal appeals from the Iraqi government to the Jordanians, disagreed. This panicked reaction, they said, reflected an interest in Shakir at the highest levels of Saddam Hussein's regime.

Don't miss Melanie's hard-hitting conclusion.

I don't believe Saddam was directly complicit in the 9/11 attacks per se, simply because I don't believe Saddam would have perceived anything to gain in it. But I do believe that there were extensive contacts. No, I don't need to believe it. The evidence that there were extensive contacts is overwhelming. That is simply an established fact.

I also know that Saddam would have benefitted from cutting a deal with Al Qaeda to be left alone. In exchange for what?

The left, and their half-witted stooges in the media, are utterly without credibility here. Look at the facts:

Al Qaeda was only able to operate in brigade strength in two countries in the whole world.

One was Afghanistan. The other (witness Ansar al Islam), was in Iraq.

I mean, geez...we're tracing Mohammad Atta to Abu Nidal's house? In Baghdad? Through official correspondence from Saddam's intelligent service?

How fucking clear cut do they want this?

Splash, out


Ward Churchill and Tenure 
Hey, if we can't fire this guy for publicly advocating sabotage, mutiny, and murder, can't we fire him for using words like "impactful?"

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Is the Humvee doomed? 
Some in congress are questioning its future on the modern battlefield.

Remember what George C. Scott said in the movie "Patton?" He said that fixed positions are monuments to the stupidity of man.

So is a purely defensive approach to vehicle armor.

Even the most heavily armored Humvees may be inadequate to protect U.S. troops from ever-changing insurgent tactics, the Marine Corps' second-ranking general told lawmakers Tuesday. New vehicle designs, however, would take years to develop.

The House Armed Services Committee questioned Gen. William Nyland, assistant commandant of the Marines, about how long it has taken to get armored Humvees into the field. Nyland said hundreds of new armored Humvees and armor kits to upgrade standard Humvees have been put to use or are en route to Iraq.

However, the roadside bomb attacks that have killed and wounded hundreds have forced the Pentagon to consider alternatives to the Humvee, he said. "If this is the threat of the future, the long-term utility of the Humvee has to be questioned," he said. "We have to take continued steps to find what will defeat this kind of a threat."

Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who has a son who served in Iraq, said the Marines should have moved faster to increase vehicle armor when insurgents began devising more powerful roadside bombs using triple-stacked mines, 155mm artillery shells and "shaped charges," which concentrate the force of an explosion. Nyland told Hunter the final batch of vehicle armor upgrades will be in Iraq by December.

Look: You will NEVER be able to defeat everything the enemy throws at you. There's been an armor/projectile contest going on ever since Zog the Caveman tried to club someone through a buffalo hide. The defense always loses in the end.

There will NEVER be an armored humvee kit that can defeat a triple-stacked mine, because a properly emplaced triple-stack will simply remove the vehicle and the driver from the county.

Ditto with a good shaped charge from a 155. Look, the 155 has a lethal radius of hundreds of meters. Slapping some extra sheet metal on the side of a humvee is not going to defeat a 155 blast from the side of the road 10 feet away.

But it CAN defeat a frag grenade, a 60mm mortar shell, and all manner of home-made improvised explosive devices. It can defeat small-arms fire, and thereby make a combined-arms attack much less inviting to the enemy.

You will never have a perfectly surviveable system. And you cannot turn Humvees into tanks. You will bankrupt the country.

No one ever gave a tip to me when I was buttoned up. I never had an interaction with an Iraqi in an armored Humvee with the doors closed and the windows up. (We didn't have grenade screens in those days. Heck, most of my Humvees had CANVAS doors, if they had doors at all.!)

Part of the solution is going to lie not in making our vehicles invincible. You CAN'T make it invincible to a triple stacked anti-tank mine.

So don't even try.

Rather, the real solution to defeating this measure is not going to lie with the vehicles at all, but outside them.


Get into the communities. Leverage Iraqi contacts.

Yes, we're doing that already, as much as we can. But these knuckledragging trogs in Congress are focusing on the wrong things. And the ignorant press is dragging us along with them, and damaging the war effort, by pulling us into a defensive mentality.

The insurgency will not be defeated by putting an extra armor on our vehicles. The insurgency will be defeated by dismounts. Dismounts out there engaging with the Iraqi people and collecting real-time intelligence.

And THAT is the effort the Media should focus on. THAT is the effort that Congress should focus on.

Where is all the heat forcing colonels to jump through their asses to develop HUMINT? There isn't much. All anyone wants to hear about is armor this, and armor that.

Fuck the armor. Get out and clobber the enemy, and let HIS sorry ass wish he had more armor.

Get back on offense. Close with and destroy the enemy.

The Army and USMC are on the offense in Al Anbar. When are Congress and the media going take up an overwatch position and lay down supporting fire?

Splash, out


How First Command Gets Access to Troops 
The old fashioned way, of course! They pay the leadership off!

Acting State University of New York Chancellor John Ryan has served on an advisory board of an investment firm that paid $12 million to settle a federal probe into the company's use of misleading statements to sell "enormously expensive" mutual funds to active servicemen. Minutes after his membership was reported yesterday, Ryan announced his resignation from the advisory board of the firm, First Command Financial Planning. Ryan, a retired Navy vice admiral who is also on the board of Cablevision Systems, has served on the First Command panel since 2002, collecting $10,000 to $15,000 a year. Ryan said that unlike other companies that targeted enlisted personnel, First Command sold only to commissioned and noncommissioned officers, who he said are more savvy investors. Nevertheless, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 405-2 yesterday to ban the sale of such funds.

In fairness to the Admiral and to First Command, this is pretty standard fare. A lot of mutual funds have lapdogs on their boards of directors who rubber-stamp outrageous fee increases while looking the other way while fund managers rape investors with market-timing schemes, after-hours trading, sweet deals, and 12-b-1 charges that do nothing - NOTHING!!!! - to benefit the investor who relies on the directors to look out for their interests.

Amerindo Funds had a board of directors. What were they doing while Alberto Vilar was stealing millions?

And then there's the Enron and Global Crossing crew. So Meyers was making chump change.

Nevertheless, Meyers was letting his palm get greased so First Command could beat out USAA's good business, and charge ridiculous up-front 50 percent commissions to unsophisticated investors so their reps could put soldiers and sailors and marines and airmen into chronically lousy investment products.

And then run around badmouthing the people who point out how lousy they are.

Thanks, Admiral!!!

Splash, out


Introducing Tune blogging!!!!! 
As mentioned below, I've been working on tightening up some Irish session tunes in a duet format with another trad head. Normally, the fiddle is tuned GDAE, from low to high, and the normal set of Uilleann pipes is in the key of D.

But lately, we've been exploring a fuller, richer, and mellower sound you get when you tune things down a minor third. So Kynch uses a B chanter. Occasionally we'll drop even lower, to Bb.

Recently, he got a new toy: a B concertina, which sounds beautiful (and doesn't have the wierd intonation challenges the pipes have.)

Also, I've been brushing up my guitar skills lately: Most noteably working on my flatpicking, using Irish fiddle tunes.

So guitar pickers, if you're up for some fun, try these on for size!

Lord Gordon's Reel.

This is an uptempo fiddle tune, but I can't flatpick it at full speed. But I think it sounds better at full speed. Pay close attention to the triplets, and to the rolls in the third part. There's a lot of richness in this composition.

The Boy in the Gap

The A part seems like a filler to me, but the B part is beautiful. Here's my good friend Roisin Dillon playing it on fiddle! (Danu's version is very good, too, and contains another section.)

Lady Anne Montgomery

One of my favorites from way back. Try it with a dramatic pause as you head into the B part. If I'm fiddling, I'll take my bow well of the strings, and then attack it.

St. Anne's Reel

One of my early favorites. Very popular. Learn this one and you can play it anywhere. The rapid D and Em arpeggios make the tune, in my book (I usually play it with a D and G arppegio, which isn't quite proper, but makes it a touch more accessible to the ear I think. If I play it in a sesssion I take care to listen to which way everyone else is playing and adjust fire.)

Also, I prefer playing a G natural in the B part to the G sharp. Most guitar players won't go to the E major chord that implies. That's because most guitar players are idiots.

Sailing Through Walpole's Marsh

A modal, atmospheric tune I got from the playing of Zan McLeod, on James Kelly's wonderful recording, "The Ring Sessions." Some tunes just have imagery! Again, mind the triplets, and keep them tight. I love tunes with ambiguous tonality. I.e., tunes built on "gapped" scales, like 1, 2, 4, 5, 6 b7.

Like Zan, I play it with a very distinct dotted eighth note feel, and with some tight picked triplets as an ornamentation. I'm better at the triplet with a bow than with a pick, for some reason.

Rights of Man

This is a popular hornpipe, but I like to play it as a lively reel, with a straight 8ths feel. Use as much crosspicking as possible, so that the strings resonate over one another. When I play this one on guitar, I'm really trying to mimic a hammer dulcimer. Try alternating the quarter notes in the first measure with a "B" on the open 2nd string.

Cavan's Potholes.

Swing it. But not TOO much. Don't lose that gentle accent on beats 2 and 4. I love the B part. Learned it from the infectious playing of accordionist Sharon Shannon.

Lemme know if you like the tune-blogging, and if there's anyone out there who actually works through the tunes. If there's a following, I'll do more of it.

Have fun, and tune carefully.

Splash, out


Nope, didn't see the President's speech... 
Spent this evening playing fiddle/concertina and fiddle/bagpipe sets with a music prof buddy of mine.

You gotta have priorities, y'know?

Gold Star Mothers Relents 
The board of directors of Gold Star Mothers has unanimously voted to allow noncitizens to join.


A Shameful analysis 
A UK reader writes in:

Read the Guardian report that you linked to with increasing incredulity.

1) 10 dead insurgents and 40 captured. FORTY! I'm no soldier, but presumably it takes impressive fire-and-manouvre tactics to cut off an enemy's retreat such that he surrenders in a tight urban environment.

2) Police machine gunner pinning down the attackers and permitting flanking manouvre - these are police rather than trained soldiers (although I suppose the Iraqi police is essentially a paramilitary force now) and yet they show considerable skill and discipline.

3) The locals phoning the police with details of insurgent movements, and taking potshots at them as well - this must prove that the insurgents are a popular uprising *cough cough*, probably downtrodden peasants. Or something.

4) A synchronised attack by the insurgents - does this display an increased level of tactical skill, such that you had been advising us to keep an eye out for in previous posts? Even so, it was handily defeated.

I wonder if there has ever been a more egregious example of reported fact and moronic analysis? Shameful.

Agreed. Reporters should know their limitations, and not attempt analysis without involving a pro somewhere in the process.

Of course, that doesn't prevent me from analyzing a bunch of crap I know nothing about on this blog, does it? :)

Monday, June 27, 2005

A Victory!!!!!!!!!!!! 
We may be getting somewhere.

Bill Keller, the Grand Poobah of the New York Times, published a memo on the paper's internal website announcing that the paper will make a concerted effort to increase the diversity of its staff in order to improve coverage.

Keller specifically mentions military experience as one of the things he's looking for. I guess he's tired of people like me emailing his public editor that the Medal of Honor is not something given to songwriters.

More here:


Of course, the lefties are disconsolate.

Which goes to show you just how far gone the New York Times is.

Splash, out


VA Benefits 
No, not Veterans' Administration benefits. I'm talking about variable annuity benefits! And noted Miami financial planner Harold Evensky's having a Road to Damascus moment.


I believe that my first public pronouncement on the subject of VAs was a January 1997 quote in Humberto Cruz’s nationally syndicated column: “Under any rational scenario, the real value of the guaranteed death benefit is negligible.” Never one to hide my feelings, referencing the tax shelter benefits of VAs, I told Business Week in July ’97 that “I’ve run scenarios upside and down and backwards, but it just doesn’t work out. You end up turning gold to lead,” a reference to converting potential capital gains to ordinary income. Finally in September of 2000, I told Bloomberg Wealth Manager, “The only reason to consider buying an annuity is if the agent is your son or daughter.” Pretty strong stuff. In hindsight, I believe my heart was in the right place but my framing was far too narrow.
    Since then, my thinking on the subject has evolved as I studied and learned more (as, I hope, my thinking on all of the planning issues important to my clients continues to evolve). By November 2002, I told Money Magazine “A year ago, I would have washed my mouth out with soap if I said the word ‘annuity.’ Now I believe they can be an important part of retirement planning.” What were the elements leading to my new perspective?

No, he's not a convert or a big annuity fan. He's just coming to accept that VAs may have a role.

Me? I like annuities, actually. But I like them as a risk management tool, and not as an investment tool.

As a risk management tool, they're important, because I don't think investors want to take the risk that they will outlive their retirement stream of income. That's a gamble they can't afford to lose. So it's entirely proper that that risk be transferred to an insurance company, which is in a better position to handle the risk.

As an investment, I hate them, because A.) Their fees are stupendously high (why should it cost more to maintain an annuity wrapper on an account, over and above mortality, than it does to open an IRA?), and B.) I'm not convinced yet that the tax deferral is worth as much as everyone thinks it is, considering that you wind up paying income taxes rather than lower capital gains tax rates.

Yeah, the tax deferral beats your run-of-the-mill, high-expense, high-turnover crappy mutual fund, which jacks up capital gains distributions with every trade and turns its portfolio over every year.

But I think when you compare the tax deferral in a VA to, say, a low-turnover tax-managed index fund, I'm not sure you come up with much of a benefit at all.

Anyone wanna argue different?

Splash, out


Saturday, June 25, 2005

The insurgents suffer a disastrous defeat 
...A company-sized element attacks a Baghdad police complex and lose perhaps 50 percent of their number.

Of course, their unwitting stooges at the Guardian think that counts as a victory.

I mean, they couldn't get more obsequious PR if they put the Guardian on the payroll.

Splash, out


Friday, June 24, 2005

CIA Nabs Terrorist, Italian Judge Issues Arrest Warrant... For CIA Operatives! 
So reports the Muslim American Society.

Don't know what we had on the guy, but we must have wanted him bad.

ROME, Jun 24 (MASNET & News Agencies) - Italian authorities have issued arrest warrants for 13 agents of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) accused of kidnapping an Islamic leader in northern Italy, an Italian newspaper reported.

Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, was seized from a Milan street and stuffed into a white van on February 17, 2003, by two Italian-speakers claiming to want to check his identity. He has been missing since, the Corriere della Sera reported.

Nasr was the former imam of a Milan mosque which had been placed under close watch following the September 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Confirming the arrest warrant without mentioning the U.S. intelligence agency, the prosecutors office said the 13 suspects were believed to be behind Nasr’s abduction, reports Reuters news agency.

But an Italian official familiar with the investigation confirmed newspaper reports Friday that the suspects worked for the CIA, reports the Associated Press (AP).

The official also said there was no evidence Italians were involved or knew about the operation. He asked that his name not be used because official comment was limited to the prosecutor's statement, the news agency reports.

The CIA agents are suspected of abducting Nasr and transferring him to the U.S. military base at Aviano in northern Italy, and from there to an Egyptian jail, where his entourage claim he was tortured during interrogation.

Nasr was spirited away purportedly as part of the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" program in which terror suspects are transferred to third countries without court approval, subjecting them to possible torture, reports the AP.

Milan prosecutors twice asked the Egyptian authorities for information about the whereabouts of Nasr, who is under investigation in Italy as part of an inquiry into international terrorism, but to no avail.

Foreign intelligence officials believe Nasr had fought in Afghanistan and Bosnia before arriving in Italy in 1997 and obtaining political refugee status. When he disappeared, he was under investigation in Italy for suspected ties to terrorism, including recruiting militants for Iraq, reports Reuters.

Now, ok, I grant that it's reasonable that Italy might object if the CIA goes about willy-nilly capturing its residents and spiriting them away. Former Fascist states are a little sensitive about that since that whole Eichmann affair, you know.

But it's not until later in the article that we get this:

Italy laid charges against Nasr on Friday, formally ordering his arrest for terrorism, which paves the way for his possible extradition to Milan. But his current whereabouts are unknown, the news agency reports

Yep. The Italians were pressing charges on the guy anyway. Even THEY think he's guilty.

You'd think the Italians would think we were doing them a favor.

I mean, they've already had one airport shot to hell by these monsters.

Thank goodness we've got someone in charge who remembers that this is a war, not an episode of "Cops."

Splash, out


I knew the Marine Corps was a little weird, but... 
What's up with the "His" and "Hers" convoys?


The Guardian answers my question, with more details:
The women were part of a team of Marines who were assigned to various checkpoints around Fallujah. Female Marines are used at the checkpoints to search Muslim women ``in order to be respectful of Iraqi cultural sensitivities,'' a military statement said. It is considered insulting for a male Marine to search a female Muslim.

It's tough to lose troops. I was extraordinarily lucky, in that my battalion didn't lose any of its organic members. But losing one of them was my worst nightmare.

I think it would have been doubly hard for me to have lost a woman. Let alone six. Chauvenist that I am, my instincts towards women are still protective.

There's a unit that's hurting terribly today. And some families who have lost their wives and daughters.

"The war in Afghanistan is over." 
That is the verbatim contention of the Democratic House minority leader.

That's right - this whack brain is seriously contending that the reason we should begin releasing people from Guantanamo is that hostilities between the United States and the Taliban have ceased.

"I assume that the war in Afghanistan is over? Or is your contention that it continues?" She said to a reporter yesterday. She followed up, a few minutes later, with a flat declarative: "This isn't about the duration of the war. The war in Afghanistan is over."

In other news, six US soldiers were wounded in Afghanistan in combat operations in Southern Afghanistan.


Jeff Guckert was right - these people have divorced themselves from reality.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Linda Foley tells us who really matters... 
And it sure as hell isn't us mere readers.

Pick your battles 
Anklebiting pundits has more on the Rove flap, and poses a wonderfully succinct question:

Do the Democrats really want to spend the next week arguing about who is tougher on terrorism?

Here's Susan Sontag, less than a week after the WTC attack:

Where is the acknowledgment that this was not a "cowardly" attack on "civilization" or "liberty" or "humanity" or "the free world" but an attack on the world's self-proclaimed superpower, undertaken as a consequence of specific American alliances and actions? How many citizens are aware of the ongoing American bombing of Iraq?

Splash, out


For the record... 
Calls for Durbin's head are a little overblown.

What he said was stupid, but I think Kos had it right (for once!): He wasn't really saying that what the US did was as bad as Pol Pot. What he was saying was that if the US makes a detainee wet himself, that's as bad as Saddam making a detainee wet himself.

Which is at least arguable.

Now, that ought to bring into stark relief the lunacy of Rangel's assertion that the war in Iraq was "worse than the holocaust," was "worse than those six million Jews being killed."

Durbin is a tool. What he said was foolish, and now his statement is being used by the enemy as propaganda. But Rangel is the one that needs to be ridden out of town on a rail. The people of New York need to bury that man, politically.

They won't. The New York Times is too chickenshit to even cover the controversy.

Splash, out


P.S., No. Al Jazeera is not the enemy. Al Jazeera represents a potential customer.

Quote of the Day 
Today's Quote of the Day comes from NY Senator Chuck Schumer: "The last thing we need is someone to divide us for political purposes."

Today's companion quote of the day:

[Republicans are] "not very friendly to different kinds of people, they are a pretty monolithic party ... it's pretty much a white, Christian party."

Howard Dean.

Think he was trying to divide the electorate?

Just sayin, bro!

The genius of Karl Rove 
Once again, Karl Rove has tied the Democrats in knots. With their own rope.

Karl Rove's statement costs the GOP no political capital. He's not head of any party, he's not running for anything. No one can hang anything on him in an election.

But in one fell swoop, he has simultaneously stuck a thumb in the Democratic Party's eyes, and as the fools run screaming from the hive, demanding an apology, every stupid thing Reid, Rangel, Durbin, Byrd, Dean, McKinney, Donna Brazile (Who once called Colin Powell an "Uncle Tom," and all the other lefty bloviators ever said percolates right back up into the headlines, as the media tries to compare what Karl Rove said (Every word of which is demonstrably true. Susan Sontag alone validates Karl Rove's point) to those boneheaded things each of the Democrats said.

And now people are digging into the archives and finding that what Rove said is true - liberals were calling for "Restraint and moderation" from day one. They can't deny it. It's in their own rhetoric.

What's more, Karl Rove is genuinely speaking for conservatives, here. The Republican Party's not splitting over his words, the way the Democratic bird-brains all tried to snipe at Dean, for example.

The Democrats are so predictably incompetent, they couldn't find their ass with two hands and a flashlight.

Rove is, as usual, three steps ahead of the Dems. The Dems would be better off just writing him off as a political hack, not bothering with demands for apologies or resignations, which bring their own legion mistakes back to haunt them, saying they pity him, and be done with it.

Instead they play right into GOP hands.

They would never be able to defeat the Mujahedeen. They can't even defeat the GOP.

And these guys want to take over responsibility to run a war?

They couldn't run the frigging shuttle bus to the PX!

Splash, out



Letters, Lord do I Get Letters 
Here's an interesting one from Jimmy [last name withheld], a "motivated registered Democrat."

Not all democrats are against 401ks. Some of us think they are a good idea, while company sponsored plans are not such a good idea.

Interesting distinction, Jimmy.

Here's another one from a college professor:

I guess an advantage of being an untenured academic is that my position in a liberal-enough-to-kill-the-career-of-any-too-outspoken-conservative university does impose a certain circumspection on me, if only because I have a wife and daughters to support and a career that I genuinely believe is a calling, but it is going to be very hard to think that any democrat should ever be trusted anywhere near the levers of real power in this country again. I am beginning to question the patriotism of more and more Democrats who speak openly of our possible failure in Iraq (as if we could really afford to let the Jihadniks win) or who advocate “getting tough” on N. Korea by engaging in the kind of bilateral talks that got them nukes in the first place. And I don’t simply question the patriotism of anyone who would compare this country to Nazis – they are engaged in treasonous speech. What would the dems have to say to make them legitimate targets as a party for being unpatriotic? It might not be a good criticism to make because it could backfire politically, but it is getting harder and harder to believe that it is an unjust criticism.

Yep. There are a few conservatives in the college trenches. But they're afraid to speak out. The academic left has such a stranglehold on our nation's higher education system that expressions of conservatism - expressions of dissent - are stifled a priori. Before they are even uttered out loud.

Think about that next time some leftie who claims to be a civil libertarian frets about a "chilling effect" on speech or the free exchange of ideas.

Here's the rest of his letter:

With the comment you posted by Libby Sosume, Durbin’s tirade, Rangel’s STILL UNFUCKING REPORTED comparison between US policy in Iraq and the holocaust (sorry, but that one drives this student of East European history to absolute distraction) and Amnesty’s Gulag, it is getting very hard to even want to maintain civility. God knows I’ve tried to see it from the other side, ‘cause I do believe there are people who are opposed to the war have worked themselves into a lather and are genuinely afraid, and people do and say stupid things when they are afraid (and there are one or two insightful critics among them, though if you were to press me for names right now I’m drawing a blank – and besides there is the general principal that it is important to listen to your enemies because every once in a while they will not only throw you insults but tell you things that you don’t want, but might need to hear…). Still, granted their fear and their potential utility as critics, many opponents of the war seem to have forgotten that this is a war, and there should be some limits to the kind of rhetoric employed by any loyal opposition – but I’ve not seen anything like a recognition of that by the Democrats.

He's not the only academic who's written in with ideas but who's worried about losing his livelihood to the left-wing star-chambers on the tenure boards. I hope this guy gets tenure soon.

Here's another letter I got from another academic who's working on a book:

Sounds like you mostly had parachute journos. That's part of the
problem with MSM coverage, IMHO. Parachute journos come into a scene
with preconceptions, and--wouldntcha just know it?--leave with their
preconceptions intact.

Different story with embeds, because they're around long enough to
actually understand the complexities of the situation they're reporting

(Oy--don't even get me started on those jokers who used to rely on
Baghdad Bob's statements about how things were going.)

Oh, please. Let's get him started. Let's name names and links! Let's sick Nexis Lexis on their ass and light a firecracker under it!

Oh, and finally, one Dan Hoover writes in and corrects me on a pop-culture fact:

The girl who covered "I Think We're Alone Now" in the 1980s was Tiffany, not Brandi, and barbs: "Editors, how many 80s mall bunnies are in your newsroom?"

In my case, none! But feel free to set me up!

Splash, out


Kudos to the Supreme Court 
...For upholding the right of local government officials to condemn homes in order to turn real estate over to the highest campaign contributor.

It's high time someone stood up for Lobbyists' Rights in this country.

Campaign contributors have been trampled on for far too long.

Splash, out


The Flag Desecration Amendment 
I'd vote against it.

It's a flag. Not a graven image. I'm a civil libertarian. Flag burning and desecration should be legal. In the long run, having the freedom to burn this nation's symbol actually makes us look good. Every time some moonbat burns a flag in the U.S. on TV and it gets shown overseas, we get shown to be a tolerant and democratic society.

Freedom of expression is more important to me than a piece of cloth.

I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution, not the flag.

Plus, it helps us reliably identify the idiot fringe.

Burn, baby, burn!!!

Splash, out


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The ghoulish left 
Kevin Drum wants us to succeed in Iraq, but he's sceptical - as am I - of claims that the insurgency is "in its last throes." The original post is worth a read - it includes a good infographic depicting the general rise in Iraqi casualty RATES since the invasion. But what really caught my eye was a comment from someone who calls herself "Libby Sosume, who is actually calling for the loss of MORE American lives.


We have to fail. Utterly and completely. Here's why:

The country is reaching a tipping point. With the elections behind us (US and Iraq) the administration is running out of excuses. Without demons (liberals, antiwar) to focus on, the wo/man in the street is now paying attention to the people in charge - and not liking what s/he sees. We need that. We need for the country to realize for itself that any old fratboy can't be president. That politicians' lies are not "something to be expected," but rather something that is treasonous and kills people. We need to end this war not by a lucky 51-49 vote but by popular growndswell. We need to have this fiasco burned into the American psyche for decades to come. Not just the lefties, but the people in Kansas.

But Americans are too optimistic and forgiving. Give them a teeny bit of good news and they'll fall back into their default position: "He's a nice guy, just give him another chance."

AS perverse as it sounds, we need bad news, even at the expense of a few more American soldiers' lives. We need for it to get so bad that the administration is forced to end it now, not 10 years from now. That will save many more lives in the long run.

As far as I'm concerned, Americans who die in Iraq now are heroes because they may change the course of history in THIS country. They are saving OUR freedoms. They are helping bring democracy to the USofA. Their lives add up to the tipping point we need. Don't make their loss be in vain.

So, be careful what you wish for.

No further comment needed.

Splash, out


On behalf of terrorists everywhere... 
I'd like to thank the New York Times for publishing how roadside bombers, IED makers, and other vile slimetubs can circumvent American electronic jamming of their remote detonation devices.

Splash, out


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

More on logistics 
Now we have a different take on the NETties: The Knights Who Say "NEE!" (Not Enough Equipment).


Ok, first of all, we have a reporter here who doesn't even know the weapons:

The units also need more M240G machine guns, a heavy gun used in battle, and more of the lighter MK19 machine guns, used at checkpoints to thwart insurgent attacks.

News flash, scoop: The M240 is a light machine gun, not a heavy machine gun. The M240 is easily man portable and fires a 7.62mm ball. The Mk-19 is a 40mm automatic grenade launcher.

Which is lighter: 7.62mm ball? Or 40mm high explosive? Think about it REAAAAAALLLLL hard, scoop!

Old Scoop fails to understand the issue on a lot of levels, here:

The Marine Corps force was designed for amphibious light infantry actions. It is now fighting a totally different battle, logistically. They're fighting as motorized infantry, with tank reinforcements. Totally different, battle, totally different equipment, and logistical problems are to be expected.

The operational requirement for 50 cal machine guns in the kind of fight they're in now are on the order of two per platoon. That's enough to equip two gun trucks, which can escort a 4 truck convoy and enable a platoon to move. Plus the two guns can provide mutually supporting fire from the flanks in a platoon level op.

But NO light battalion was designed like that - army or Marine Corps. The 50 cals are not practical for light infantry. They're too big. It takes two people to carry one, and even then you won't want to carry it that far. You have to mount it in a fixed position, or on a vehicle. And under the Expiditionary TO&Es, and the Air Assault and Airborne and light TO&E's, you don't get vehicles at the platoon level.

The ONLY units that would have two or more 50 cals at the platoon level are the tank battalions and the mech infantry battalions, which would have about four per platoon. The Army converted many of these units to mounted infantry.. They kept maybe one tank company per Bn and converted the rest to Humvees. But the platoons still have their .50 cals and two M240 Bravos per platoon.

And the vehicles! Now, genius, suppose you designed a vehicle that was heavy enough to withstand an extra half-ton or so of supplemental armor, including the baseplates. How useful do you think that would be on a beach? In a swamp? Along a riverbed? Anywhere they have amphibious operations?

That's right, genius. Not very. It would be dumber than a sack of hammers, then, to try to make that standard equipment on a Marine Corps Expeditionary TO & E. If the Marines were operating elsewhere - say, offroading in the Marshes, we'd be howling that their vehicles were too heavy. And indeed, the transformation of the land forces into a LIGHTER (hint!) more deployable force (meaning, you know, lighter vehicles WITHOUT SO MUCH ARMOR), so they can be loaded onto cargo aircraft, and transported by Chinook helicopter, is a transformation that goes back decades.

(How is it you think we can concentrate quickly in offensive after offensive around Iraq, from Najaf to Al Qaim? It's not because we're musclebound.)

The reporter fundamentally misunderstands the nature of the question.

Look at the graphic! It depicts an erosion in the % of equipment deemed battle ready.

Well, shit. Welcome to the war zone, pal! Shit gets broken! Optempo has been high. There's going to be attrition. The Army offered to fix their vehicles. Maybe they can use some more support forward, but that's Brigade commander business. The reporter doesn't seem to have the wherewithal to ask, "Well, how's your CL IX budget? Is it adequate? Where's the bottleneck?" The reporter sheds no light on the significance of the graphic. Hell, an operational readiness rating of 39% is roughly what mine was BEFORE we went to Iraq (we left Iraq at about 80%). It was easier to get parts over there.

It may have to do with fundamental incompatibility between reserve component and active equipment, or USMC and Army equipment. That takes time to work out.

There are ALWAYS logistics problems. You NEVER have everything you think you need. You ALWAYS have shortages. It's a WAR ZONE!

Commo: Yes, SINGARS FM radios are insufficient in Al Anbar. We figured that out on Day One. Enter the Thuraya Cell Phone, and the Satellite Phone. Hell, there's local vendors for that stuff. We were buying those FOR OURSELVES before they installed a phone center by every chow hall. Think outside the box, people!

Again, though, a Light infantry platoon is not designed to operate alone, but as part of a company, as part of a battalion.

The light/heavy difference is by design, and is decades old. Armies adjust. And reajust. It's a zen like process, and it's happening continually. It's not going to change overnight. And if it does, if all of a sudden, we magically got the optimum T O and E for some theoretical optimal Survivability/mobility/firepower mixture for the terrain, the enemy would simply shift his emphasis to some area we're not optimized for.

Geez...get some persective, will ya?

Splash, out


Dem congressman moves to strangle Roth 401(k) 
Let me let you people in on a dirty little secret:

Democrats hate 401(k)s.

With a passion.
With a vengeance.

They can't say so out loud, because they would be so far out of touch with the mainstream. They'd lose even more elections. As if that were possible. (Actually, it is.)

Now, not all Democrats are 401(k) hostile. But a sizeable, pro-union wing is, and will fight tooth and nail against anything that smacks of improving the 401(k).


Because in the Democrat land of make believe, in which U.S. companies can labor under ridiculous pension burdens and actuarial assumptions from the 1950s and still remain competitive in a global economy, 401(k) plans simultaneously reduce US tax revenues and tend to supplant traditional defined benefit pension plans.

Well, they do tend to do both of those things. Because companies know they cannot compete against China while simultaneously undertaking to support generations of retired workers who still draw a pension though they contribute nothing of value to the company (and therefore endanger thousands of other jobs in the process.)

The 401(k) plan, of course, is easier to administer, and much, much less expensive from the company's perspective, since they contribute only the match to tenured employees. Employees are more responsible for securing their own retirement. The 401(k) plan, then, goes the logic, will tend to undermine traditional pension plans, and screw over core Democratic union constituencies.

The argument, in its purest form, extends to IRAs as well. Remember how the $2,000 annual IRA contribution limit didn't increase for over 15 years? That was because the Clinton Administration - and before that, the Democratic congress under Reagan - adamantly opposed incentives allowing people to save for their own retirements. It was only when Republicans gained control of Congress and the Presidency that some sanity was restored to savings incentives in the tax code.

Democrats will pay lip service to investing and responsible retirement savings. But don't watch what they say - watch what they actually do:

Clinton outright said he would veto any proposal to increase IRA contribution limits, as well as 401(k)s because "it would undermine traditional pensions."

Employees are not well suited to the task, the argument goes, and will do stupid things with their money. Which is true. And it's even more true for the party who targets as its core constituency people like the stupidest 2 percent of Palm Beach County in 2000, but I digress.

Enter the Roth.

Do you like your Roth IRA? Do you like the idea of tax-free growth? Would you like to be able to have the same choice about tax deferral in your 401(k) that you do in an IRA? After all, you can choose to contribute to a Traditional, or a Roth IRA. Do you like choice? Does knowing that once you pay today's taxes on a Roth contribution you and your spouse will not have to pay taxes on it again, ever -- does that give you an incentive to save and behave responsibly?

At least one congressman doesn't think you should have that freedom.

Roth 401(k)s are scheduled to become street legal in 2006. Which means that if your plan allows, you can choose to contribute money on an after-tax basis and get the remaining years of growth tax-free. This gives you more incentive to save, because you don't have to worry about retiring with more income than you have now, since it won't put you in a higher tax bracket. Roth IRA retirement income is tax free!

But Representative Ben Cardin would like to strangle the Roth 401(k) in its crib. He has introduced a bill to that effect: H.R. 1961.

A Republican-sponsored similar bill (on pension reform generally) does not eliminate the Roth 401(k). Only the Democratic version targets the Roth 401(k) for extinction.

Democrats hate 401(k)s.

Splash, out


That's Gratitude For Ya 
A 21 year-old Palestinian woman was entering Israel because she was seeking medical treatment for severe burns she suffered in a kitchen accident.

Only problem is, she happened to be carrying 22 pounds of explosives hidden under her clothes.

She planned on blowing up a hospital.

Cease fire, my ass.

I blame the Joooooooos.

Oh, and Canada, of course.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Thinking of Real Estate? 
Real estate, in some areas, is about as risky a proposition as it has ever been. And there are a lot of lambs lining up for the slaughter in some areas like California and South Florida (where I'm renting, chicken that I am, although I do own a small amount of the Vanguard REIT Index because that's just the kind of die hard asset allocator that I am).

A lot of people are going to get disappointed. And the higher real estate prices soar, the riskier the whole house of cards gets, and the more difficult it will be to ignore the siren song of your friends getting rich.

And so Real Estate newsletter author John T. Reed seems to be providing an invaluable service with his "ratings of investment gurus" page.

For example:

[Wade]Cook is a best-selling author (Wall Street Money Machine) and also wrote Real Estate Money Machine previously. He is one of a number of best-selling financial authors who make that list, in large part, a rogue’s gallery. The many people who buy Cook’s books and attend his seminars are idiots. I have talked to some on the phone. When they ask about him, I recite all his legal troubles, including his bankruptcies. They then ask what I think of his latest book. Like I said, idiots.


His evisceration of that insufferable hack Robert "Rich Dad, Poor Dad" Kiyosaki is especially noteworthy.

American Sucker: A fisking 
That pretty much describes this Dad, this reporter, and anyone else who takes this news story at face value.

John Tod of Mesa had been prepared to face Father's Day worrying about his son's pending date with the war in Iraq.

Then Uncle Sam stepped in with more disappointing developments.

Marine Pfc. Jeremy Tod called home with news that his superiors were urging him and fellow Marines to buy special military equipment, including flak jackets with armor plating, to enhance the prospects of their survival.

Ooooh. A Pfc. An E-2. That's one rank below a private first class in the Army. Now THERE'S someone who knows how the supply system works.

There are sufficient flak jackets in theater, with kevlar plates, to equip everyone in theater now. But they are not sitting in warehouses at Cherry Point and Camp Pendleton, dumbass! A departing unit gives them up in Kuwait and the incoming unit picks them up. Basic Class II stuff.

I don't expect a pfc to know that. And I certainly wouldn't expect a pfc's dad to understand it when he's operating with second or third or fourth hand information.

So why would a reporter believe him?

Answer: Because this dad's story fits the template. The reporter is writing the story he WANTS to hear, because he thinks he's got a scoop. He's not writing the story that's actually there. Which is, to be sure, not much of a story in the first place.

But does this reporter bother to call anyone at the unit - say, the Battalion S-4 - to get to the bottom of it? No. He calls the ONE man in the Marine Corps who's least likely to know what went on: A Marine Corps spokesperson. Sure, the spokesperson can make a few calls and get back to the reporter in a day or two. But this reporter doesn't wait for an answer. He's not interested in the facts of the story: He just gets a quick, cheap quote and moves on. It's "check the block" reporting. He does just the bare minimum so he can say he got a quote from a Marine Corps spokesperson, but quotes Dad at length.

Yes, he does say that Dad's opposed to the war in Iraq. He throws transparency a meager morsel. And that allows us to figure out that Dad - who presumeably called the reporter - how else did the reporter get the story? - just might have a little agenda of his own.

But does that prompt the reporter in to being a little extra careful? Maybe digging into the story a little bit more?



He said they strongly suggested he get this equipment because when they get to Iraq they will wish they had," Tod said.

Ok, who's "they?" Is that from the command? Or did that originate with Joe Snuffy E-4 team leader, who might have done an Iraq tour and saw some of the Special Forces guys with some cool gear?

Am I really going to believe that the Marine outfit isn't issuing load-bearing equipment? Bullshit.

Does the reporter bother calling anyone else in the unit to check it out?


By the way, I've got boxes full of knee and elbow pads, in a quiet corner of the National Guard. Had 'em for years. Had 'em long before the Iraq war. I know the USMC has them, too. They might not issue them to typists, though. I don't know if this kid's in the infantry or not, but not everybody needs a set of kneepads.

I've got Camelbaks, too. Didn't have 'em when we got mobilized. They only became common about five years ago. But we did get them on the way over, through the mobilization station. They wouldn't neccessarily be on the unit property book, because, first of all, MOST TROOPS DON'T FREAKING NEED THEM!!!!

They're great to have, especially out on patrol, and in certain contexts, they make it easier to hydrate. (They're also bacteria farms unless you bleach them once in a while). But for the vast majority of soldiers, two 1 quart canteens and a five quart will suffice.

The unit has only a limited Class II budget. It's up to the commander what he spends it on. Maybe the commander knew he would get Camelbaks going forward, and used the money to buy weapons cleaning kits instead.

The reporter didn't bother to find out.

Of course, like a true moron, he called the congressman.

We're supposed to have a professional army," he said, "the best in the world. And we're not providing them with the type of gear they need to protect themselves as they do their jobs."

We do. And while you don't get every single gee-whiz item you'd like to have, anyone with a lick of historical perspective understands that ours is far and away the best-equipped Army in the history of the Planet Earth.

This Dad has no idea what the fuck he's talking about.

His dad says America was better served with the military draft because today's professional army is not representative of the country's economic and cultural spectrum.

Hmmm. Hooookay. Dad can't tell the difference between the Marine Corps and the Army, but he can speak with authority on whether America was better served by the military draft.

He's 45 years old, and would have no adult memory of a time before the all-volunteer Army. He was 18 years old in 1978 or so.

Marine Maj. Nat Frahy, a spokesman in Washington, said the military issues equipment, but it's possible that young Tod's commanders told him that it was perfectly OK to buy equipment that would help him on the battlefield.

Yep. Troops do it all the time. You don't need to get the latest fad gadget on sale at Ranger Joe's (and make no mistake - a lot of these things are fads). Troops see cool gear that might be able to make life 0.00000003% easier in the field, and they spend a small fortune on it.

That's their decision. Not the Bush Administration's.

I suppose this article is filed under "columnist," so I guess we can't fault him, even though the whole story looks like it's been spoonfed to him from the DNC.

But we can sure as hell fault him for laziness and a reckless disregard for the truth.

Splash, out


Sunday, June 19, 2005

Good news.... 
We nailed a big fish named Abu Younis.

I would not be surprised to learn that we took him down in Baghdad thanks to intelligence gained from being on the offensive out by Al Qa'im.

This is the beauty of the offensive. The offensive often pays dividends far from the field of battle.

Get out there and clobber the enemy. Stay on him and at him and hit him hard, and harder again, until your own troops collapse from exhaustion. And then rally them and bring in your reserves and hit them still again.
"Keep the Skeer on 'em," as Nathan Bedford Forrest would say.

Splash, out


Now I've Seen Everything! 
No more Mister Nice Blog reads the NY Times story on the recently liberated victims of Al Qaeda torture chambers -- and accuses U.S. forces and the New York Times of "stage managing" fake news stories!

Am I wrong to think it's awfully convenient that just as we're having a serious discussion of prisoner abuse at Guantanamo, the front page of The New York Times has a story telling us that U.S. troops have found a torture chamber run by Iraqi insurgents -- and that the troops also discovered a surviving victim of the torture (who, alas, won't allow himself to be photographed, or even allow his wounds to be photographed)?...

I question the timing of this story, with details that oh-so-perfectly line up as a right-wing rebuke to the critics of Gitmo.

This is what the wild-eyed, drooling left has come to.


Splash, out


We've been at war what--nearly four years now? 
...So when in God's name is the New York Times going to get someone who knows what a frigging regiment is?

Editors, how many veterans do you have in your newsroom?

Splash, out


Why we fight 
CNN's Jane Arraf reports from Karabilah

What I see in front of me is absolutely heartbreaking. It's two of four hostages who are being taken away, rescued. They were rescued this morning. They're Iraqi, and they were found in this complex that Marines first thought was a car-bomb factory. In fact, they did find what they believe was a potential car bomb or suicide car bomb.

But inside this complex, they found something even more sinister -- four Iraqis who were handcuffed, their hands and feet bound with steel cuffs. They're now being taken away for medical treatment, one being borne away on a stretcher.

The man in intense pain that they're trying to get into a vehicle, has been tortured, he says, and has all the marks of being tortured with electricity. His back is crisscrossed with welts. The other man is even ... in worse shape. Their crime was to be part of the border police.

The Marines came in here this morning, rescued them. The battle is still raging around us. I don't know if you can hear the gunfire, but this is a major offensive to get rid of insurgents and foreign fighters in this city near the Syrian border....

... Two young men say they don't know why they were seized. They say they didn't hear the voices of their captors, only people whispering in their ear that they were going to be killed.

But we have just watched the two who were most badly treated be carried out of here for medical equipment, one of them on a stretcher, an older man who worked for the border police, along with his colleague. ... the Marines showed us the room where he says he was hung by his feet, his head dipped in water and then tortured with electric shocks repeatedly.

One of the other men, the other border police, was too weak, really, to tell us what had happened. But he obviously was in very, very bad shape.

They were rescued this morning as Marines and Iraqi forces came into this complex, which included an underground bunker, weapons stockpiles and other things, and found them here. Their captors have fled.

No word yet from Senator Durbin comparing the tactics and sadism of our enemies to that of the Nazis or Communists.

I guess he only hates U.S. troops.

What's missing from the story? Al Qaeda and the Ba'athist resistance do that shit all the time. But thanks to Jane Arraf for reporting it, and not burying the story underneath 20 paragraphs of boilerplate.

Splash, out


Saturday, June 18, 2005

Lancet Discredited 
Boy, all you knuckleheads who hang your hat on the Lancet study estimating 100,000 Iraqi civilians dead must be feeling pretty stupid right about now.

That is, you would if you had any shame.

Splash, out


A rebuttal of the antihumanitarian argument... 
...And the introduction of Moral Perspective Deficiency Disorder (MPDD)

Terrance has graciously responded to my rebuttal of his rebuttal of this post. Sorry for the delay, Terr...I hadn't noticed the response before. I should Technorati myself more often.

Anyway, here's the nut of Terrance's argument:

One of Jason’s links refers to the mass graves found in Iraq. I’ve written about them once or twice before, and I’m always a bit cynical when I see folks from the war party throwing up references to these mass graves as a justification for going into Iraq. I’ve even had one person refer to those buried in the mass graves, saying “those people want us there.” Yet I tend to think that those people might have wanted us there a lot more before they ended up in those mass graves, as opposed riding to the rescue more than 20 years too late.

Terrence's argument, at first glance, seems to be humanitarian. It's not. In practice, it is, in its essence, a fundamentally ANTIHUMANITARIAN position, made all the more objectionable because it cynically tries to clothe itself in humanitarian robes. In reality, it's reall an argument for the sellout.

I'm quite sure what the left would be saying had the Reagan Administration intervened against Saddam in 1988. I'm sure everything would have been all sweetness and light, and no one would have speculated about the whole thing being about oil. And the Soviets, who had a veto in the Security Council, even then, would have played right along.

If Terrence thinks intervening in Iraq was an option even then, he doesn't seem to understand the Cold War politics of the Middle East. Iraq was Moscow's closest ally, and was considered by many (Drew Middleton among them) to be a sattelite state of the Soviet Union. The Soviets would never have sanctioned an intervention against Saddam then. It just wasn't on the table. Even with the Soviet Union a shell of its former self, in 1990, it was exceedingly difficult to get the Russkies to buy off on intervening against Iraq in Kuwait - and part of the deal that got the Russkies to stay neutral was an agreement that Saddam would not be deposed - that the operation would stop with the liberation of Kuwait. Which was the case, until Saddam's viciousness against the Kurds and Shia just got too vile to ignore. (Which it wasn't. The west can ignore anything so long as the people aren't white and there aren't a lot of pesky cameras around).

(Incidentally, anyone who points to Rumsfeld's appearance in Iraq during the Cold War and spouts off about Saddam being "OUR man" pretty much demonstrates his ignorance of the relationship between Moscow and Baghdad during that time.)

Moreover, prior to 1991, there simply would have been no logistical basis from which to stage an intervention. (It's always easy to tell the argument of an amateur simply by considering the logistics involved).

The only way to defeat Iraq's tanks was with a mechanized force of our own. And fielding a mech force would have been impossible without a logistical base from which to do it. In 1991, it was King Khalid Military City. In 2003 it was Camp Victory and Camp Arafjan in Kuwait.

Who would have allowed us to tie up their ports, roads, and highways to topple Saddam in 1998? The Kuwaitis? Why? Saddam hadn't invaded them yet. The Saudis? Fat chance. Turkey? How are you going to get your army from Constantinople to the Iraqi border? And is the terrain favorable to a mech fight? How do you truck two full armored corps full of supplies all the way across the country? Think they'd be vulnerable? And what if the Russians decide to use their submarines to cut off the army while it was committed in Turkey?

The idea that it was logistically or politically feasible to intervene in Iraq in the late 1980s is so far divorced from reality as to be laughable.

So, having dispensed with that straw man, I move to Terrence's curious position that the humanitarian justification for intervention fails because Saddam had already killed so many people, and they were already dead.

I don't know where Terrence gets his crystal ball from - the one that enables him to somehow obtain a priori knowledge that Saddam, who had already launched perhaps 40 chemical strikes against Kurdish villages and who had already murdered hundreds of thousands, would not do so again - particularly since the Anfal campaign was not a one-off occurance. Saddam had already engaged in at least four major genocidal military campaigns BY TERRANCE'S OWN COUNT! (Three against the Kurds in 1983, 1986-1988, and 1991, and one against the Shia in 1991, not counting the millions killed in the war with Iran, which Hussein started.) I guess Terrance's prediliction to appeasement is infinite. I'm not so patient with people, and I probably would have figured things out by 1987 that Saddam was not going to stop of his own accord.

At any rate, while the scale of Saddam's trepidations had mellowed since 1991, his cruelty, by any account, had not. The only reason Saddam's murderous impulses had been kept in check during the 1990s was the fact that the US and the UK were stepping on his neck and ensuring he could not get an air cap over operations in the No Fly Zones - and made it clear that any incursions for the purpose of genocide would themselves be attacked from the air.

Somehow, though, Terrance is able to argue that Saddam's killing days were through in 2003, which is the lynchpin underlying the whole antihumanitarian argument.

Terrance then goes on to embrace the logical fallacy that since we have found it in our interests to deal with murderous thugs elsewhere, it is therefore somehow neccessary that we apply a consistent standard in Iraq.

And there are situations that could benefit from our humanitarian leaningings, and we don’t do the right thing when they’re happening right in front of us. We’re still allying with torturous dictators today, and give billions in aid to them...

Somehow, Terrance manages to invoke this argument without actually calling for a humanitarian intervention in those places he mentions. Which I guess is easy to do if you're held in sway by a morally bankrupt political philosophy which requires meaningful belief in absolutely nothing: You cannot argue that intervening in Iraq was wrong because you have not intervened elsewhere and then not call for broader intervention. Terrence just exposes this red herring for what it is: Those who argue along these lines are really not concerned for the people anyway.

And they say they're not concerned for the oil.

And so if they're not concerned with people, and are not concerned with the strategic interests of the U.S., then what in the world DOES drive their policy?


Yet somehow when our allied dicators do stuff like this along with killing hundreds of protestors, despite all of our rantings and ravings about Saddam’s “rape rooms” we don’t seem to think it warrants more than a good talking-to and hope for the best.

Funny, since this position Terrance criticizes is EXACTLY the default position any antihumanitarian such as Terrance MUST take vis-a-vis Iraq. If you aren't going to topple Saddam, then all you are left with is a "good talking-to and hope-for-the-best."

Which did so much good in the 1990s that Bill Clinton felt obliged to launch a massive series of air strikes.

The simple answer is that we ally ourslves with their oppressors when it suits our purposes, and we turn a deaf hear to their cries for help. That is, unless they are cries from the grave. Once dead, they may be safely “rescued.”

This is a great argument against the liberation of Auschwitz. There were already so many dead, you see.

What Terrance is missing is that while Saddam did murder hundreds of thousands, there are 25 million people still alive in Iraq. And most of them were damn glad to see Saddam gone.

As long as we’re shaking hands with torturous and murderous dictators, and caking our own with more blood in the process, don’t talk to me of decades old mass graves and a “shortage of moral perspective.”

He's referring to this statement by me:

Terrance does not seem interested in addressing the current recruitment shortfalls. And my post is not meant to address the current recruiting shortfall. The recruiting shortfall doesn't worry me all THAT much. My post was instead meant to address the current shortage of moral perspective, and the shortage of committment to REAL liberal values which exists on the left.

The idea that freedom is not worth defending at all is the real cowardice. The idea that having abandoned the Kurds and Shia once, that we should do it again, ought to be the real outrage.

And it is this faithlessness that I'd present with the white feather.

My argument still stands. Indeed, Terrence's argument simply confirms what I had been saying all along: The antihumanitarian left does not feel that freedom is worth defending, advocates abandoning the Iraqis to Saddam then, and now many of them advocate abandoning the Iraqis to Al Qaeda now. Democracy is not worth sacrifice, and Saddam's word is to be esteemed above those of the democratically elected leader of a free nation.

So I'll talk about the absence of moral perspective all day long. Especially when the leadership of the Democratic party is seriously comparing US troops to Nazis, gulag overseers, and Khmer Rouge, and argues that "this is worse than those six million Jews being killed."

THAT is overwhelming evidence of late-stage moral perspective deficiency disorder (MPDD).

Further, I don't even have to rely on decades-old bodies to illustrate Saddam's brutality. I've spoken to people who had their arms broken by Saddam's goons and who had their loved ones murdered just days and weeks before Saddam fell. I've spoken to people who were guests at weddings when one of Saddam's serial rapist sons drives up with his entourage and kidnaps his choice of young women at gunpoint.

MPDD it is.

Terrance would be on somewhat firmer footing on the WMD question than duking it out on antihumanitarian grounds. But he chose not to engage in that argument with his post.

Which is just as well, because the "See? He had no WMD argument" also fails because it assumes that a priori knowledge of Saddam's WMD status was knowable in the winter of 2002 - a postulate that is clearly false.

To argue that we should have taken Saddam at his word when his word had never been good for anything ever is to evince a breathtaking naivete.

The bottom line:

25 million people in Iraq are now free, and have a shot at a better life. No thanks to the antihumanitarian left.

Splash, out


For the record... 
I don't think the Terri Schiavo autopsy report told us anything we didn't already know. Yes, she suffered from massive brain damage. I think most of us had figured that out. Yes, her condition was unlikely to improve.

I think the video pretty much falsifies the "persistent vegetative state" idea that the autopsy asserts. The idea that an autopsy can reliably establish that smells fishy to me, when all accounts said she could cry, laugh, make noises, follow objects with her eyes.

At any rate, I also believe that allegations that Michael Schiavo beat her, or that Michael Schiavo deliberately tried to sabotage her care by not calling 911, are about as responsible as Ed Klein's vile accusation that Chelsea Clinton's conception was the result of Bill Clinton raping his wife.

Splash, out


Chicago, chicago... 
Chicago, home to Muddy Waters, John Williams, and Liz Carroll, wouldn't know bad music if it hit them in the ass. They've never heard it.

So John Kass is totally out of his league when it comes to thinking up bad music.

Just as good music is timelessly good, bad music is timelessly bad.

Ballerina was an engaging, lively tune in its day. The snippet even has a nice little pizzicato line in it to create the melodic interest the melody lacks. And those old chord changes still sound cool.

You want to get a terrorist to crap his orange jumpsuit and sing like a boid?

Force him to listen to "Let the Eagle Soar."

Bonus points for irony: It's John Ashcroft singing.

Jeez, does Bette Midler know he stole her vibrato?

Put it in a tape loop with Leonard Nimoy singing the Ballad of Bilbo Baggins., a vile piece of tripe marred only by some chromaticism in the turnaround, melting into a third harmony with the bacground singers. Which is actually interesting.


Did they really used to pay for guitar playing that bad (It's probably Tommy Tedesco.) I hope his estate doesn't sue me for mentioning the possibility.

Well, it might not be. Tedesco usually played in tune.

And while we're at it, how about Barry Sadler singing "The Ballad of the Green Berets?"

This knucklehead actually thinks the BeeGees were bad. The BeeGees created some of the best dance tracks in the history of man!

How about Brandi covering "I Think We're Alone Now?"

Or, speaking of Bette Midler, how about the overwrought and pretentious "From a Distance?"

Anything recorded by Yoko Ono.

Kids today.

What do they know about bad music?

Gulag survivor bitch-slaps Amnesty International 
From the nation's best newspaper, the Washington Post

Several days ago I received a telephone call from an old friend who is a longtime Amnesty International staffer. He asked me whether I, as a former Soviet "prisoner of conscience" adopted by Amnesty, would support the statement by Amnesty's executive director, Irene Khan, that the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba is the "gulag of our time."

"Don't you think that there's an enormous difference?" I asked him.

"Sure," he said, "but after all, it attracts attention to the problem of Guantanamo detainees...."

The most effective way to criticize U.S. behavior is to frankly acknowledge that this country should be held to a higher standard based on its own Constitution, laws and traditions. We cannot fulfill our responsibilities as the world's only superpower without being perceived as a moral authority. Despite the risks posed by terrorism, the United States cannot indefinitely detain people considered dangerous without appropriate safeguards for their conditions of detention and periodic review of their status.

Words are important. When Amnesty spokesmen use the word "gulag" to describe U.S. human rights violations, they allow the Bush administration to dismiss justified criticism and undermine Amnesty's credibility. Amnesty International is too valuable to let it be hijacked by politically biased leaders.

Nice to see the kids put down by the adults.

And he's absolutely right - America needs to uphold a higher standard. Because, dammit, we're 'Muricans! (Fuck, yeah!)

Splash out


Lie down with dogs... 
get up with fleas.

The Donald: A Remixing 
Coming just a couple of days after the President excoriated Democrats for espousing "The philosophy of the stop sign," which I thought was brilliant and long overdue, the Administration's rhetorical counteroffensive continues with this USA Today editorial by Secretary Donald Rumsfeld -- and fizzles.

The man gives a brilliant press conference. And his intelligence is so far above those who usually cover him the mismatch is embarrassing to behold. But this editorial barely clears the barrel.

Here's the lead sentence:

Arguably, no detention facility in the history of warfare has been more transparent and received more scrutiny than Guantanamo. There have been numerous visits from members of the news media, congressional representatives and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

That's college composition fluff. Meanwhile, look at this gem:

It is important to remember that the purpose of detaining these enemy combatants is not to punish them for committing a crime, but to gain intelligence about terrorist operations and to prevent them from attacking again. We have gained intelligence at Guantanamo that have stopped terror attacks and saved American lives.

Enticing. Alluring. I'm drooling to know more. What was the attack? Where was it supposed to be? How did we get the intelligence? How did we foil the attack? Is someone dead or behind barbed wire now because of it?

This would be a terrific lead for the story. Saving lives. It's really the whole point of the exercise, right?

So why do I have to read all the way to the last paragraph to find it?

And then, now that I have read it, there's no specifics. There's nothing there to prove to the reader that, yes, we need a Gitmo.

Donald's editorial seems designed to put readers to sleep. But imagine if the Donald had led with this, instead:

As Al Qaeda operatives Hussein Thamir Ibn Tamim and Mohammed Abu Moqtad arrived at a Poughkeepsie construction supplier to pick up the explosives they had planned to use to blow up an elementary school gymnasium, their car was surrounded by FBI agents who took them into custody.

Thanks to intelligence gained at Guantanamo Bay.

Another cell had planned to blow up a US consulate in Izbanistan. They had obtained the explosives, and were already assembling a truck bomb, when Izbanistani security forces happened to raid their safehouse, just hours before the planned strike. The raid probably saved dozens of American lives - again, thanks to intelligence gained by interrogators at Guantanamo Bay.

The fact is, our translators and our interrogators at Guantanamo Bay are saving lives around the world. And while there have been regrettable incidents of individuals violating policy responsible individuals must weigh the significance of these incidences against the lives of Americans both at home and abroad.

Responsible people have no difficulty in discerning which way the scale tips.

Our soldiers and law enforcement men and women are engaged in a tough business. And sometimes, we need to conduct tough interrogations. That said, we will not tolerate abuse or cruelty on our part, and we will vigorously investigate and prosecute those who engage in sadistic or illegal actions.

In doing so, though, we must also remember that al-Qaeda members are trained to falsely allege abuse and mistreatment while in custody.

Arguably, no detention facility in the history of warfare has been more transparent and received more scrutiny than Guantanamo. There have been numerous visits from members of the news media, congressional representatives and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The latest calls for Guantanamo's closure were prompted by a series of news accounts about alleged mistreatment of the Koran. America has gone to unprecedented lengths to respect our enemies' religious sensibilities — including detailed regulations governing the handling of the Koran and broadcasting the five daily calls to prayer required by the Muslim faith over loudspeakers.

America does this because we respect and admire the proper practice of Islam, which calls on its adherants to practice kindness, tolerance, and charity.

The problem is not Guantanamo Bay. The problem is that, to a large extent, we are in unexplored territory with this unconventional and complex struggle against extremism. Traditional doctrines covering criminals and military prisoners, historically, have assumed that military prisoners are NOT criminals, and that rank-and-file detainees are NOT themselves co-conspirators in terrorist attacks against civilians.

As such, military prisoners are not routinely tried. There was never any "due process" hearing. Those captured under arms were simply held for the duration of the conflict, and then released back to their home countries.

It is therefore not appropriate - indeed, it's naive - to call for trials or hearings in order to hold those captured under arms in war. If they are combatants, they don't require trials. Indeed, it would be a violation of international law for us to treat them like criminals.

In order to keep some of them beyond the cessation of hostilities, though, there must be some mechanism by which to charge some of them with crimes. This is a complex legal matter, and we are still trying to create a mechanism that respects both the rights of Americans to feel safe and secure and the rights of the accused to due process, legal representation, an impartial weighing of the evidence.

Since hostilities have not yet ceased, however, it is entirely appropriate for us to continue to hold these individuals, even as we investigate possible crimes or conspiracies to commit terrorist acts. Indeed, we have released some of them - only to recapture them on other battlefields, taking arms against us, and trying to kill and maim our soldiers.

It is important to remember that our purpose is not to punish them for committing a crime, but to gain intelligence about terrorist operations and to prevent them from attacking again.

Where's Peggy Noonan when you need her?

Splash, out


Congratulations SGT Leigh Ann Hester 
SGT Leigh Ann Hester, a military police soldier and Kentucky National Guard member, became the first woman since WWII to win the Silver Star.

She won it for her courage, leadership, decisiveness, quick thinking, and aggressiveness at this action at Salman Pak.

My comments on the action here.

Well done, sergeant! And a well-earned medal.

Without taking anything away from SGT Hester's accomplishment, though, I think it's safe to say that the Army's chock full of soldiers like her - both men and women.

I'm so very proud to be a member of this Army.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Debunking the "Not enough troops" meme 
I'm getting pretty tired of this "not enough troops" meme that's been bandied about, by Tom Friedman and others.

All of a sudden, everybody's a military expert, and it's fashionable to claim that A.) Rumsfeld fought the war on the cheap, and B.) Rumsfeld didn't commit enough troops, and that C.) This was the reason there was so much looting. If the U.S. had just had more troops, there wouldn't have been so much looting, and we wouldn't have all these problems.

This is idiotic on a lot of different levels:)

• It ignores the fact that we had only one harbor, and as I wrote before, that harbor had only limited throughput. Could we have used another division? Possibly. But remember, we DID try to put another division, the 4th Infantry Division, in through Turkey, but we were blocked from that course of action by our friends, the saboteurs of liberty in France.

Could we have put another mechanized division in through Kuwait? Possibly. But only if we had started much, much earlier. Which meant we would have had to start the rotation much earlier and then the planning much earlier. And then we would be reading headlines about how the Bush Administration was planning the invasion of Iraq even before 9/11.

• It ignores the fact that the securing of the oil fields was an overwhelming success as it was.

• It places culpability for Iraqi looters on US commanders, rather than where it belongs: on the looters themselves.

• Iraq, fools, is not Los Angeles during the Rodney King riots. (Yes, I was in Los Angeles during the Rodney King riots). The time-honored way for armies to control looting is to shoot looters on sight. Only shooting looters on sight would have controlled that looting.

And that would probably have been a violation of international law. I guarantee the left would be screaming about that, in all its glorious, self-righteous, self-indulgent hypercritical naivete.

There was a conscious policy out at the time specifically NOT to shoot looters. It is properly the job of the Iraqi police to enforce the law, and the Iraqi police were not disbanded. Their failure to enforce public order is an Iraqi failure, not an American one. (But any Iraqi cop who hit the streets with an AK 47 would have been shot on sight by American troops, so it's a failure I certainly understand.)

Short of shooting looters on sight, and in the absence of a strong Iraqi police presence, then the only other measure would have been to start using US troops to physically chase looters down, one at a time, wrestle them to the ground, and then arrest them (to be tried in what court? They're not combatants.).

American troops, dear birdbrains on the left, had more important things to worry about. Like establishing local security and consolidating their gains and developing local intel.

And doubling the number of troops on the ground would not have changed that.

• It ignores the principal of economy of force. It wasn't hard to imagine, at the time, a lengthy occupation. If you blow your wad on the first rotation, where are you going to get the troops for OIF II and III?

Related to the principal of economy of force, it would have drained the US's strategic reserves of trained groundpounders. Overcommitting in 2003 would have been a gamble we could not afford to lose. North Korea and China cannot be relied upon to be charitable.

And remember, the 10 division army is just a fraction of the size it was in 1991. We did not have to draw down in North Korea in order to liberate Kuwait. But we would have, severely, in order to provide the 400,000 troops that the SAINTED General Shinseki wanted. (Shinseki was off his rocker.)

If we had committed 400,000 troops, dear leftie bozos, where would we get the troops for OIF II and OIF III?

Are you guys flipping crazy?

• It ignores the law of diminishing returns. The next 100,000 soldiers to have been committed would have accomplished little except their own point-blank defense. But they would consume an equal amount of food, fuel, and most critical in the early weeks, fresh water.

• It ignores the fact that we didn't even have enough body armor plates for the troops that were there during the first year. Committing more troops would have meant giving insurgents more targets. And casualties would be higher, not lower. Again, with little payoff for the United States.

• It ignores the principle of the offensive. "NETties" (Not Enough Troops) are always harping on our failure to control the borders and to secure the power infrastructure and pipelines.

But hear me, o ignorant ones: Anyone who's ever had to man a linear front that extends beyond walking distance will agree--the borders extend for thousands of miles. There additionally are thousands of miles of pipeline and power cables. Any troops assigned to their protection would have been assigned A.) A purely defensive mission (AKA a stupid mission. The ONLY reason to be on defense is as an economy of force, to preserve offensive capability elsewhere. You don't waste troops defending what you don't need to. Those troops are better employed going out and clobbering the enemy)

B.) They would have been targets.

C.) They would, necessarily, have to be spread out beyond small-arms range, so they would be dispersed, with no means of mutual support.

D.) The enemy could choose to mass anywhere along these lines and attack it anywhere, and could overwhelm and destroy any U.S. detachment at will.

E.) This series of border outposts and powerline babysitters - this picket line - this monument to the stupidity of man, would have to be supported. Each individual team out on the picket line, would need their own Humvee, equipped with a radio. (Manpack radios barely work as far as you can see out in the desert, dumbasses.) Actually, over those distances, you'd need to get a Thuraya satellite phone to every platoon headquarters, at least. That's a $5,000 item right there.

Once you gave them the Thuraya phone and the extra radios (at $10,000 each), you'd have to bring them food, fresh water, mail, change shifts, etc. Which means that every day, TWICE A DAY, you'd wind up with a massive string of convoys launching all around the Iraqi frontier, each of which would itself be an (easy) target, each of which would need to be supported. And the roads themselves would need to be patrolled and secured, which would require still more troops, which would themselves need to be supported, and lo and behold we've created the Army planner's nightmare: The self-licking ice-cream cone - an Army whose purpose has become not to kill the enemy, but an Army whose purpose has become merely to sustain itself.

F.) The vulnerable outposts would provide terrorists (and foreign governments) with a steady supply of hostages.

G.) 400,000 troops STILL would not have been nearly enough to simultaneously secure the borders and the powerlines and defeat the Ba'athist insurgency in the cities.

Ach, the argument goes on and on and on.

Remember: Amateurs talk tactics. Rank amateurs talk strategy. Professionals talk logistics.

Splash, out


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A Question for Saddam 
Iraqi blogger Hammurabi has a question for Saddam.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Firm grasp of the obvious department 
Knight Ridder's Tom Lasseter files this breathless report from the front:

A growing number of senior American military officers in Iraq have concluded that there is no long-term military solution to an insurgency that has killed thousands of Iraqis and more than 1,300 U.S. troops during the past two years.

Instead, officers say, the only way to end the guerilla war is through Iraqi politics

What's that "growing number?" From 97 percent to 99 percent? I don't get it. I've never met an officer in my life who didn't think that the decisive point in the counterinsurgency was political, not military. In fact, I wrote just that in some of the very first posts to this blog in November of 2003.

We don't have the combat power to defeat radical Islamism in the same way we defeated Nazi Germany. Radical Islamism thrives on being the underdog. But I think it can be defeated in the same way that Communism was defeated: wallop it with Satellite TV, Fax machines, and the internet age, push it until it eats its own young, and force it to deny reality until it is thoroughly discredited with its own people on its own turf.

And here:

*We provided our own soldiers-soldiers who are trained police officers
in the civilian world-to run a police academy to train the recruits. That's
really a big deal, because we were introducing these kids-and many of them
were 15 or 16 years old-to CONCEPTS like 'due process of law,' 'rights of
the accused,' and having a police force that exists to protect and to serve
the community, rather than the Ba'ath party. That's a huge paradigm shift.

And here:

Now, I'm all for going after terrorists and their bases of operation with everything we've got. But...

The most effective way to 'send a message' to the people of Iraq, in my view, is to translate the Bill of Rights and key passages of Thomas Paine's "Rights of Man," with any Christian references removed, into Arabic, print about a gazillion copies, and take them to the streets.

I've written that the war on terrorism is fundamentally a war to defeat an ideology. There is no militarily decisive point on the ground. Decisive victory cannot be achieved with the capture or killing of Saddam or Bin Laden or anyone else.

Rather, decisive victory will only be achieved when the violent, radical expression of Muslim ideology is thoroughly discredited on its home turf.

The military arm is important, but it's only one leg on a many-legged stool.

Ideas like natural, God-given rights, the rule of law, the freedom of expression, the social contract, a government by and for the people, the protection of minorities, the redress of grievances, separation of powers, and the peaceable transfer of executive power are our most powerful weapons.

In the long run, every successful municipal election, every public official who, in the service of the people, resists the lure of corruption or the threat of terrorism, and every new independent newspaper, will be worth dozens of airstrikes.

Of course, back then, soldiers thinking that way looked progressive and forward thinking. You'd almost think we were planning an occupation! Can't have that! But now the media moosebrains have figured out a way to pervert what was the near-unanimous opinion of the officers on the ground in OIF I - That military success was a precondition of victory, but there was no military solution to the insurgency - into sheer defeatism.

I wasn't making that shit up. It was the underlying assumption under everything we did. When we put people at risk sending our computer geeks over to the government center to wire them up with the Internet, when we reached out and established contacts with the Ramadi Wahabbis to lay the groundwork for their participation in eventual elections more than a year before the fact, when we sent our lawyers in to the court system to assist and advise them in creating a real justice system in July 2003, it sure as heck wasn't because we weren't looking to Iraqi politics and Iraqi society as the decisive player in the counterinsurgency.

Furthermore, it wasn't just the opinion of the officers on the ground then. It was doctrinal. These are ideas we were importing from papers written at the Army War College and Proceedings and a variety of other professional organizations. The Army was embracing the role of Iraqi politics as the decisive factor in the War on Terror from the very beginning. In writing those essays back in 2003, I was borrowing on ideas in papers I had been reading as early as the summer of 2002, just as the doctrinal lessons of the Afghan war were being digested.

Hell, you stupid imbiciles, the idea that politics is paramount is the central, unifying idea underlying neoconservatism!

If the idiots in the press corps are still writing stories like this, and their editors are still running them, it shows beyond doubt that they don't understand a damn thing.

Splash, out


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